Thesis of determinism and moral responsibility

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Emil Fackenheim is most insistent and most persuasive in The Religious Dimension in Hegel's Thought on this issue. He points out that the philosophy of the Absolute in Hegel does not necessarily involve the absorption of all of reality within the one Idea. Indeed, it is only in the victory of the Absolute over its antithesis (contingency) that an affirmation could be complete. Whence does this contingency arise? From the Absolute itself. Necessity (which is defined by the Absolute), "consists in its containing its negation, contingency, within itself." Or, stated in a bit more arcane but complete form: "it is therefore necessity itself which determines itself as contingency -- in its being repels itself from itself, and in this very repulsion has only returned into itself, and in this return, as its being, has repelled itself from itself." Thus the antithesis, which is contingency, must be "overreached," but can never be abolished else the dialectic be destroyed. As Fackenheim argues, "the entire Hegelian philosophy, far from denying the contingent, on the contrary seeks to demonstrate its inescapability." Contingency must exist for absolute freedom to realize itself.

First objection to Proposal One: (i) Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert F. Kennedy. But when did it 'become true' that Sirhan Sirhan killed Kennedy? At the moment of his pulling the trigger? But the bullet was not yet lodged in Kennedy's body. At the time of the bullet's entering Kennedy's body? But Kennedy did not die immediately. He was rushed to a hospital where he died some hours later. At the moment of Kennedy's death? But at that moment Sirhan Sirhan was in the custody of police in a building remote from the hospital where Kennedy was. (This conundrum is the handiwork of Judith Jarvis Thomson (1971).) The point is that although it is clearly true that Sirhan Sirhan killed Kennedy, it is problematic to pin down an exact time (or even a candidate for the exact time) when Sirhan killed Kennedy and, by extension, when it 'became true' that Sirhan killed Kennedy. (ii) When did Germany lose World War II? When the Allies' invasion force landed on the beaches of Normandy? When British scientists and engineers invented and were able to use radar against the German Luftwaffe? When Alan Turing and his team broke the German secret code? When …?

Thesis of determinism and moral responsibility

thesis of determinism and moral responsibility


thesis of determinism and moral responsibilitythesis of determinism and moral responsibilitythesis of determinism and moral responsibilitythesis of determinism and moral responsibility