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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; students meet with the instructor in pairs for roughly an hour each week
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
five 5-page papers and five 2-page papers
one PHIL course
current and prospective Philosophy majors
Five 5-page papers and five 2-page papers, evenly spaced throughout the semester. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses