Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 8 – St. Augustine’s Predestination

OVERVIEW: St Augustine of Hippo wrote about Predestination as part of his response to the Pelagian Heresy. Pelagius taught that man did not need Christ to be saved but rather could save himself. Augustine responded to this by emphasising that through Original Sin, all were damned and that it was through the sacrifice of Christ alone […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 7 – Calvin’s Predestination

OVERVIEW: Predestination is the Christian doctrine that God has predetermined who will be saved and who will be damned at the end of time. John Calvin adopted this doctrine after reading the writings of St Augustine of Hippo and St Paul and interpreting the doctrine within passages in scripture such as the parable of the […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 6 – Lady Philosophy’s Response

OVERVIEW: In Book V of Consolations of Philosophy, Boethius records the response to his dilemma through the voice of Lady Philosophy, a manifestation of philosophy itself sent to console him.Through her voice, Boethius realises that the cause of his problem is because his own reasoning cannot approach the directness of divine foreknowledge, God’s nature is completely […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 5 – Boethius’ Dilemma

OVERVIEW: Boethius was a 5th Century philosopher who was imprisoned for treason. During his time in prison, Boethius considered his fate and the extent to which he would be justly rewarded and punished for his actions.Boethius considered the nature of God’s omniscience and how, if God’s Providence saw all human actions, past, present and future, […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 4 – The Case for Incompatibilism

Compatibilism The case for incompatibilism OVERVIEW: Incompatibilism is the position that a deterministic universe is completely at odds with the notion that people have a free will; that there is a dichotomy between determinism and free will where philosophers must choose one or the other. If we cannot bring together free will and determinism, then […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 3 – The Case for Compatibilism

OVERVIEW: Compatibilism is the thesis the determinism is compatible with free will. While some aspects of the universe and even of our own thought processes are determined by other factors, ultimately, human beings are capable of making free will decisions and so can still me morally accountable. Compatibilist opinions Stephen Pinker: Emotions have a biological […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 2 – The Case for Freewill

OVERVIEW: Free will is the belief that human beings are morally accountable for their actions and, despite the world appearing deterministic, human actions are free. We all act as though we are free, we crave freedom and we cannot function if we did not accept that we were accountable for our actions. Free will opinions Thomas […]

Freewill and Moral Responsibility – Lesson 1 – The Case for Determinism

OVERVIEW: Determinism is the doctrine that all states of the universe are caused by previous states of the universe which can be observed with the scientific method. Newtonian causality operates in this way, one actions causes another action and so on. This also accounts for thought processes and human actions. Every state of the mind […]