Humans are metaphysically free
Our choices define us and as a result our
intuitions about the human condition are
What does all of this mean?
Metaphysics, uses logic based on the
meaning of human terms, rather than on
a logic tied to human sense perception
of the objective world
Metaphysics might include the study of
the nature of the human mind, the
definition and meaning of existence, or
the nature of space, time, and/or
The origin of philosophy, beginning with
the Pre-Socratics, was metaphysical in
nature. For example, the philosopher
Plotinus held that the reason in the world
and in the rational human mind is only a
reflection of a more universal and perfect
reality beyond our limited human reason
What does all this mean in terms of human
dualism is a set of views about the relationship
between mind and matter, which begins with the
claim that mental phenomena are, in some
respects, non-physical.
While Aristotle shared Plato's view of
multiple souls, hierarchical arrangement
corresponded to distinctive functions of plants,
animals and people: a nutritive soul of growth
and metabolism, shared by all three, a perceptive
soul of pain, pleasure and desire, shared by
animals and people only, and the faculty of
reason, unique to humanity
While Aristotle shared Plato's view of
multiple souls, his hierarchical arrangement
corresponded to distinctive functions of plants,
animals and people: a nutritive soul of growth
and metabolism, shared by all three, a perceptive
soul of pain, pleasure and desire, shared by
animals and people only, and the faculty of
reason, unique to humanity.
If we have a soul which works in tune with our
physical body, how would this effect the human
condition and free will?
The idea of a good will is supposed to be the
idea of one who only makes decisions that she
holds to be morally worthy, taking moral
considerations in themselves to be conclusive
reasons for guiding her behaviour. This sort of
disposition or character is something we all
highly value.
Kant claims as human beings we feel we have a
‘duty’ to do the right thing. ‘Ought implies can’
therefore we have the free will to choose whether
to act selflessly and therefore morally (based on
his idea of universal moral law) or in our self
interest, regardless of the consequence.
Søren Kierkegaard maintained that
the individual is solely responsible
for giving his or her own
life meaning and for living that
life passionately and sincerely, in
spite of many existential obstacles
and distractions including
despair, angst, absurdity, alienation,
and boredom.
Subsequent existentialist
philosophers retain the emphasis on
the individual, but differ, in varying
degrees, on how one achieves and
what constitutes a fulfilling life, what
obstacles must be overcome, and
what external and internal factors are
involved, including the potential
consequences of
the existence or non-existence of
 Existentialism
fashionable in the post-World
War years as a way to reassert
the importance of human
individuality and freedom.
 Which
has an extremely close
relationship to the views of
Libertarianism makes a distinction
between a persons formed personal
character and their moral self.
Personality is an empirical concept.
Governed by causal laws.
The personality one has formed limits
actions, influences choices and may
make us accustomed to certain
actions, e.g. Bulger case
But it is not definitive.
It is possible that the youths moral self will
counteract the tendencies of his personality.
The moral self is therefore, an ethical concept rather
than an empirical concept.
It is operative when we make choices.
Most commonly this is in operation when we talk
about making a decision between self-interest and
duty. (Kant)
In the example of stealing / not stealing the moral
self is able to make a causally undetermined choice.
Through an effort of will the moral self
overcomes the pressures of personality and
becomes morally responsible for what they
It is this capacity which distinguishes men
from animals, the former are capable of
moral choice, whist the latter are not.
Political libertarianism investigates the relationship between the
state and the individual.
We are free and morally responsible for our actions.
JS Mill – On Liberty
Contains an outspoken defence of free speech. Individuals
should not be crushed by the will of the many in society. The
individual should be heard at all times and they are the most
important. The freedom of the individual is primary. What
theory have you studied which is an opposition to this point?
Individuality is part of what being human is. It is part of the
human condition and allows the person to develop fully and in
order to do this they must have free speech and freedom of
action. (within reason)
Our freedom to act marks both our moral capacity but also
our personality.
Who I am is defined by the choices I have made in the past.
Freedom is important because it is an important part of what
it means to be a moral self. Why do you think this is?
JS Mill
On Liberty
In this age the mere example of non-conformity, the
mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind
would be no more justified in silencing that one person
that he, if he had the power, would be justified in
silencing mankind.
The worth of the state, in the long run, is the worth of
the individuals composing it.
The individual is not accountable to society for his
actions in so far as these concerns the interests of no
person but himself.
The only purpose of which power can be rightfully
exercised over any member of a civilized community
against his will is to prevent harm to other members.
The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited, he
must not make himself a nuisance to other people.
JS Mill
On Liberty
Individuality is essential for
what it means to be a human.
Freedom is necessary to be
able to express that
The state should protect the
rights of the individual.
What does this idea not cover?
JS Mill
On Liberty
Mill only says that Freedom is
required for moral
responsibility and to be truly
He does not say whether or not
it is possible.
He does not provide an
argument against determinism.

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