Responsibility and Freedom:

‘Value is attached to our own interpretations of the theories’

People in most cases shun punishments, in the sense that punishments deprives off a person important things like money, life and personal freedom among others. The truth of the matter is that people cannot do without punishments, and that punishments exist with people in the society. Punishments present a threat to the human beings, hence acting in a way that it modifies the human behavior. Social stability in a society is enforced through standardized way of administering punishments; the standards are in form of laws and regulations that defines what is right and what is wrong (Strawson, 2013).

It is expected that the level of responsibility in people depends to the consequences of their actions in which they are subjected to free choice (Caruso et al, 2013), an indication that laws at some situations offer exceptions to people with inability to be responsible; like the mentally disabled persons and the children among others. Laws and regulations drives at an ideal system pegged to penalties and awards. The main challenge is proving if the people asserted as ‘free’ or ‘responsible’ are justified by the legal system.

Determinism argues that the people are responsible free on what they will do or for what they had done (Dworkin, 2000). Definition of freedom will be critical in the eyes of the determinants. The word free according to determinists is undetermined, an indication that people in whatever aspects are not responsible for their actions, since people do whatever they do because they have no absolute choice but have to do. In a way that the actions of people are predetermined, this raises questions as to what actions done by people are predetermined. In the initial stages, determinants argued that everything is shaped by causes as the first premise.

It is argued that the first determinant is true, showing logic relations to the causes of human actions. Logic and science are all defined by logic demonstrations. The minds of human beings act in accordance with the causal sequences. Understanding any form of writing is part of the causal system of thinking.

Second premise argues that causal sequences are dated to times before human beings are born, the prove of the second premise is definite, relating the second premise with the first premise, birth of human beings has a cause, and that the cause can be traced back to the causality. There are causal relations existing between the first and the second premise showing direct proportionality. The causal relations can be termed as infinite causal sequences, which are dated before the birth of the human beings. In general, it can be argued that the actions of people are predetermined and that people are neither free nor responsible.

Compatibilists argue that freedom and determinism are free and compatible; this is a similar argument as put forward by the determinism. Defining freedom is useful in understanding the arguments put forward by the compatibilists. Freedom according to the compatibilists is said to be absence of the external influence, which is related to the determinism’s first premise. There are some form of relations in the meaning of freedom according to determinism and compatibilists (Sommers, 2011). Outside influences are related to the external causes which are out of control, examples being the changes in the weather patterns among others. There are number of issues that are caused by internal influences.

Taking an example of an external influence, John prepared to go to work, unfortunately it was foggy, and the traffic snarl up was high, which resulted in late arrival at work. It can be argued that John was not responsible, in that his lateness to work was influenced by changing weather condition, and that weather is beyond human control. Taking another example, choosing a breakfast of eggs, sweet potatoes and buns; assuming that the three products have similar nutritional and economic values, my concerns is on tastes, under this circumstance, tastes will define the choice to be made by the person; This is an example of making an internal decision in which a person is responsible, since the person has the control.

In my opinion, compatibilism makes sense as compared to determinism, in that people are expected to be responsible for their actions; if this attribute of being responsible is negated, then the world would turn into a mess since people do whatever they want, since they have no attached responsibilities (Trakakis & Cohen, 2008). Determinism premises are true, in my view; a theory does not carry a lot of weight, as compared to how human beings interpret the theory into reality. There are people who can indulge in illegal activities, while quoting determinism, in the sense that the culprits are not responsible for their ill deeds. Interpretations of theories are different to people.


Caruso, G. D. et al. (2013). Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. New York: Lexington Books .

Dworkin, G. (2000). Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility . Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Sommers, T. (2011). Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Strawson, P. (2013). Moral Responsibility. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from

Trakakis, N. & Cohen, D. (2008). Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.





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