Whither morality in a hard determinist world?

Trakakis, Nick 2007, Whither morality in a hard determinist world?, Sorites, no. 19, pp. 14-40.

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Title Whither morality in a hard determinist world?
Author(s) Trakakis, Nick
Journal name Sorites
Issue number 19
Start page 14
End page 40
Publisher Spanish Institute for Advanced Studies, Center for Analytic Philosophy
Place of publication Madrid, Spain
Publication date 2007-12
ISSN 1135-1349
Summary What would the world be like if hard determinism were true, that is, if all events were determined in such a way as to render all our decisions and actions unfree? In particular, what would morality be like? Indeed, could there be anything distinctively moral in such a world, or would we be left with a moral nihilism in which nothing of moral significance remains? In this paper I explore the ethical implications of hard determinism, focusing on the consequences that our lack of free will would have for moral responsibility (and thus praise and blame), moral obligation, moral rightness and wrongness, and moral goodness. I argue that the truth of hard determinism would compel us to significantly revise our commonsensical understanding of these moral categories. I add, however, that this change in moral outlook would not have dire practical consequences, for we would retain the attitudes and emotions that are essential to forming good interpersonal relationships and to developing morally. In fact, far from being a threat to human flourishing, hard determinism offers the prospect of a life that is morally deeper and more fulfilling than in a world in which we are free.
Language eng
Field of Research 220399 Philosophy not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Nick Trakakis and Sorites
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022121

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