• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is a human being?

Extracts from this document...


Philosophy Core Theme: What is a human being? The comic shown raises a provocative concept of freedom and moral obligation that has been debated by philosophers throughout the ages. There is a significant connection between freedom and moral obligation as it is generally believed that we are responsible for our moral actions that we freely perform. If one commits an immoral act freely, they should be subjected to blame; however, if one was forced into committing the immoral act by external forces they should be exempt from any blame or punishment. Praise or blame should only apply to actions which have been made as a result of free will. The belief that we are all free to make our own decision in life is commonly known as Libertarianism. Libertarianism claims that all human beings are autonomous moral agents and as a result we are fully responsible for our actions. On the other hand, Hard Determinism believes that all of our actions are pre-determined by an external force; therefore, free will is immaterial as it is merely an illusion created by the contenting thought of having the liberty of making our own choices. ...read more.


Libertarianism is favourable because the concept of having freedom and control over our own moral actions is an appealing one. However complete free-will can be also extremely frightening as it leaves us accountable for any mistakes that we make, we will be subjected to blame for any immoral action we make as we have been given the power of free will to make it. Although the cartoon provides a strong portrayal of Libertarianism, it can also express ideas of Hard Determinism. Although it may appear that the man is "trespassing" the Philosophy Department due to his own free-will, Hard Determinists would argue that he was in fact, predetermined to do so and that the free will that he appears to have had is nothing but an illusion. Hard Determinism is has ethical parallels with the idea of predestination - an idea originating in St Paul's letter to the Romans that God has already chosen beforehand who will be saved and who will be condemned. John Calvin - a protestant reformer- described predestination as "the eternal decree of God... ...read more.


The major criticism of Hard Determinism is that because everything we do is predetermined, we cannot be responsible for any immoral actions that we make as it is not our fault. This leaves people with the ability to justify anything as they can claim it was always going to happen. Considering both sides of the argument, it is evident that the most logical and realistic idea would be a middle ground between the two extreme views. I believe that although Libertarianism an appealing ethos, disregarding all external and predetermined values would be irrational. There should be an extent to which free will is not applicable and instead take into account some aspects of human beings that are determined. For instance genetics, socio-economic, backgrounds, religio-cultural backgrounds and experience of life are all aspects which can affect the outcome of a person's decisions, the idea of taking into account both predetermined aspects and free will is known as Soft Determinism. Soft Determinism makes free will and Determinism compatible by considering that some actions are freely made while others are conditioned by causes which are unavoidable. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Misc section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Misc essays

  1. Comparing and Contrasting Envy and Deception in Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing and Othello

    However, when Don Pedro and Claudio lie that Beatrice has declared her love for Benedick, knowing full well that he can hear, he is overjoyed but still says that, "I will be horribly in love with her." He still has to gain the upper hand against Beatrice by being more in love with her than she is with him.


    * The buyer has not yet obtained delivery of the goods. * The buyer has not been declared insolvent. 4) Right to resale - If the price of the goods are not paid the seller may resale the goods to any other buyer.

  1. What is a human?

    On the whole, all three characteristics relate to the intellect of a someone/something, as intellect is required to fulfill either of these 'requirements'. This argument has many weaknesses. The fact that the mentally handicapped people have not been addressed is one of the weaknesses.

  2. (English Literature) "Ivan Denisovich", despite its subject matter is in the final instance, a ...

    well as their speeds of eating, since authorities for once do not control their decision. For example, even in the bleak coldness of the camp, Shukhov takes off his hat every time before eating, even with a "clean shaven head".

  1. Extended Essay: How do different Flavours, Storage Times affect the Effectiveness of Crisps as ...

    Attach a Bunsen burner to a gas tap (make sure the gas cock is turned on). Put the burner on a heatproof mat. Use the lighter and turn on the gas tap to start the Bunsen. 2. Use the 100ml measuring cylinder, pour in 100ml of tap water into each of the 2 copper calorimeters.

  2. Free Will and Determinism

    Scientific argument: based on the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle. Because at the quantum level, we can never have certainty about both the location and momentum of a particle, there is an element of fundamental indeterminacy in nature. 3. Moral argument: based on the implications of determinism on morality.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work