Philosophy: Responsibility after Hard Determinism?
Philosophy 203: Free Will, Responsibility, and Agency
Your final paper is *not* a research paper. Instead think of the paper as a kind of ideal exam question / answer wherein you can cite text and produce a longer more compelling argument / explanation. I do not expect you to go outside of the readings that you’ve been assigned for the course. If you do go outside of those readings, please make sure to carefully cite the texts from which you’re drawing. You will cite text where it is appropriate to give evidence of your claims.
Directions: Is the world better or worse if we let go of the concept of free will and the kind of moral responsibility that accompanies it? Defend a thesis. First, please describe why we might be motivated to hold the Hard Determinist’s view. Second, drawing on Harris and Waller, please describe what follows from this viewpoint concerning our account of responsibility. If we can still hold persons responsible for their actions as Harris suggests, how has that holding changed under the new pressures associated with maintaining a Hard Determinists standpoint? Third, Please explain Waller’s extreme optimism and assess it, providing examples and critical analysis. Finally, please explain Dennett’s view including his main objections to Harris’ arguments. Is Dennett’s view compatible with Waller’s optimism? Explain.
– 1st person
– Thesis must be clear in the beginning and will tell what I’m going to talk about.
– Must have strong conclusion summarizing point
– Paper needs to clearly demonstrate a familiarity with THE TEXTS.
– Identify quotes and analyze texts clearly articulating what they mean, and why they’re important to your overall paper/project.
– CITE quotes and references to texts
– No cover pages
– No spaces between paragraphs
– Last but not least, this class has been a challenge for me to comprehend, but I want my paper/arguement to show a strong effort and quality work but not come off as an expert in the field.
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