Monday, 27 December 2010

Honderich and hard determinism

Ted Honderich and Hard Determinism
‘...all our choices, decisions, intentions, other mental events and our actions are no more than effects of other equally necessitated events.’
He believes...

  • Scientific determinism
  • Everything is determined externally and internally.
  • There is no choice so no moral responsibility exists
  • Doesn’t believe in  punishment for these reasons
  • Soft determinism and libertarianism are incoherent and meaningless. 
  • In hard Newtonian principles and is not concerned with ethical issues as they don’t exist they are something we just do.
The difference between Honderich and Darrow is that Honderich is not concerned with the way individuals are affected by particular circumstances but rather by the principles of physics and causality.
What are the strengths of his argument?
  • Logical, rational and to a certain extent realistic.
  • Unlike Calvin’s proposal Honderich has some form of evidence.
What are the weaknesses of his argument?
  • It is difficult not to be concerned with the way particular circumstances affect individuals.
  • Any action can justified with his point making the perspective dangerous. Furthermore, it poses a threat to our judicial system which is what keeps the vast majority of humankind in order. 
  • Saying that morality does not exist is a large statement and Newtonian physics can not only be used to back this up. He needs more evidence. Also, as far as I recall some Newtonian physics principles are not correct.
  • How would he explain quantam physics if everything is so easily based on causality.

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