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F REEDOM Chapter 16. F REEDOM For centuries, writers and philosophers regardless of their belief in God or a god, have been asking: How free are we? Can.

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Presentation on theme: "F REEDOM Chapter 16. F REEDOM For centuries, writers and philosophers regardless of their belief in God or a god, have been asking: How free are we? Can."— Presentation transcript:

1 F REEDOM Chapter 16

2 F REEDOM For centuries, writers and philosophers regardless of their belief in God or a god, have been asking: How free are we? Can we really do what we please-on any level? 2 major sides of the debate- Determinism-freedom of the will does not exist, there are too many factors governing our choices Libertarianism-there are ways to prove the existence of free will

3 D ETERMINISM Growing up hearing “free country” lulls us into the unexamined assumption that we must obviously be free Freedom of will- ability to choose between alternatives There a variety of limitations to our alternatives (laws, economics, laws of physics, social class, responsibilities, etc.) Rigid determinists believe the limitations integral to our lives are too numerous for there to be any question of making a free choice ever. Rooted in science- every effect must have a cause

4 I NSTITUTIONAL D ETERMINISM Jean-Jacques Rousseau- father of French Revolution Total freedom is impossible, but it is an affront to all civilized people to take what freedom we have and give it all to one human being (King) Revolution, even if violent, is a genuine alternative to exploitation, perhaps the only alternative Credited with the idea of Social Contract, government controls are needed to protect people from other people

5 E CONOMIC D ETERMINISM Our behavior, hopes, career choices are all determined by our social class (Marx) Economic determinism- quest for money controls thinking and dictates action Even though few still view a classless society as possible, we still use Marxist theory to explain motivation and one of the greatest limitations to our freedom

6 Marxism and Capitalism share the same underlying assumption: Economic needs dominate To be an “infinite person” doesn’t mean we have to choose between the humanities and money, but we do need to observe ourselves and make sure economics is not the only reason we do something We begin a step on the path to freedom when we begin to see the things that limit us-or when we impose the limitations on ourselves.

7 C HARACTER CONSISTENCY We characterize our friends, family and associates as we interpret what they say and do. “He isn’t asking like himself.” Determinists argue that the more predictable and consistent a person is, the less free they are. “Only the insane are totally free” Libertarians argue we can be rational without being predictable, otherwise how can we explain divergent thinkers- are all of them insane?

8 BEHAVIORISM- B.F. S KINNER School of thought that says we are what we do, and how we behave is determined by a series of rewards and punishments from the time we are born Human nature is our capacity to be conditioned (trained) everything we do is a result of a reinforcement. Pleasant consequences-action repeated Unpleasant consequences- action avoided According to Skinner, freedom is nothing but the desire to escape from the unpleasant consequences of certain actions Conditioning

9 S KINNER CONTINUED … People identify the state of absolute freedom as one in which “aversive control” is absent (there is no apparent oppression) and imagine themselves to be free Skinner calls them “happy slaves” they are molded by hidden control and don’t know it Argues that victims of oppression are in a sense better off because they at least know they where they stand.

10 G ENETICS Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Cystic Fibrosis, certain cancers can be inherited Can we/should we interfere with genes to prevent illness? Nature vs. Nurture debate Do these things determine our destiny? Argument can be made that by interfering and lengthening a person’s life we can let them maximize their potential (increase freedom)

11 S OCIO B IOLOGY Assumes the absence of free will and studies human behavior in terms of genetic investment. Everything we do pertains to our genetic strain (love is due to pair bonding in order to raise offspring) All decisions relate one way or another to genetics.

12 F REE W ILL Schopenhauer- “What is the will for?” Pessimistic view of humanity The will is actually the will to live, that drives us to actions we think will benefit us, ensure our survival. Even if the action is evil. We should constrain our free will, and therefore will be less aggressive

13 F REE W ILL William James coined phrase “indeterminism” World is a random collection of chance happenings We could only feel regret if we had chosen wrongly (means there must be a real alternative) Relief we made the right choice shows we were free to make the wrong choice Seeks to free people from acting without the knowledge of why they do what they do Tries to lead people to a rational state of mind where free choice is possible Roots of problems are subconscious, id (Dionysian) vs. ego (Apollonian) Regret and Relief Psychoanalysis

14 E XISTENTIALISM New philosophy that emerged after WWII Teaches that people are free to be anything they want-but that freedom comes with a price 2 types of existentialism

15 Kierkegaard- religion is a psychological reality freely accepted rather than a revealed truth with required acceptance When one felt complete despair and was ready to turn to God, one takes a leap of faith Fitted the depressed mood of countries that had been devastated by loss Does not seek to address a God whose existence we cannot prove All we can be sure of is existence, we are all free because there is no obligation to a god Religious ExistentialismSecular Existentialism

16 F REEDOM WITHIN LIMITATIONS What does freedom mean to who grow up in societies which are not “free”? Is freedom a Western idea? New Theory-freedom is achieved only when we place limits on our options. Running How can I do the most with the one life I have after I take inventory of how much freedom of choice is available to me?

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