Our practice of holding people responsible seems justified as long as their choices are free. But when does a choice qualify as free? Must it be unaffected by any outside influences? If so, freedom may seem impossible since we’re all deeply influenced by factors ranging from the general laws of nature to specific features of our genetic endowment and social environment (including religion, political ideology, and advertising). These affect not only our particular choices but also, more fundamentally, who we are and what we value. The real question, then, seems to be whether, and how, free choice is possible amidst all of these influences. We’ll attempt to answer this question by examining recent philosophical work on the nature of free will and responsibility.
Format: tutorial; This tutorial will meet remotely by Zoom on a fixed weekly schedule agreed to by the instructor and participants.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Five tutorial papers (5-6 pages in length) and five critiques (2-3 pages in length)
one PHIL course
current and prospective Philosophy majors
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Students will write a tutorial paper (5-6 pages in length) every other week, and a peer critique (2-3 pages in length) in alternating weeks, evenly spaced throughout the semester. The instructor will provide timely comments on writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses