In the society nowadays, people don’t always have free will and they sometimes don’t need to have responsibility for their action because actions are caused by factors outside of us which were family history, society, gene or even pressures of life and the actions are determined by environment, hereditary and life experiences. It is called determinism. There are two kinds of determinism. Hard determinism and soft determinism. What are those?
Hard Determinism: How to get away with murder?
Criminals loves their lawyer to defend them if they use determinism. Especially hard determinism. It is stated that we don’t have free will so it will be a big mistake to hold people morally responsible for their actions. Hard determinism is lack of responsibility. There are some problems that I think hard determinism is wrong and lack of responsibility. First, if we just think that they have a problem with the brain or they herniated from the family led them to commit with what they did, they will be innocent meanwhile maybe their crime is so horrible. A year ago, there was a massacre in Florida high school, took away the lives of 17 innocent people. The killer is Nikolas Cruz. He lived with the loss of the love of parents and no education and nobody loves him. That led him to do that. He said to the authority that there was a voice in his head tells him to do that. Who will believe that? Nobody. He should have responsibility for what he did. And second thing is that there will be no justice if people believe in hard determinism. Agree that we must see a thing on both sides and give out the final judgment. But we can not be sure that person is normal or not, maybe that person is fine and nothing wrong. We must obey just laws, which were a law created through a democratic process in which the people affected by the law could participate. Hard determinism is against with moral responsible and human lives. There is no way that people can get away with their action that they ever committed so easy like that. If they can get away because of hard determinism, there will be karma in the future, just like the traditional view of free will. I always believe that whatever you do, there will be consequences come after that. Soon or late, karma will be there.
One of the famous case, which is a very famous example, O.J Simpson. From a very famous footballer to the most hated man in Hollywood for murdering his wife and Ron Goldman. Before that event, we must mention the violent abuse of Rodney King, who was a taxi driver and he was caught after a high-speed chase. The LAPD beat him brutally and it had created a massive outrage among the African American, which led to the riot in Los Angeles back then. People believe that the action of LAPD was an act of racism and discrimination and violate civil rights. Until the trial of O.J Simpson, I think that when he found not guilty, jurors didn’t want to be a racist. However, there were not enough evidence or unclear evidence. There were a lot of criticism and opinions around this case. Return to the trial of O.J, I think it is the Hard Determinism because somehow, there were many people involved in this case, evidence was not clear enough, even the police department that made O.J become a victim. Lawyers of O.J, which they called “Dream Team”, were so good when they defend him from covering evidence to wearing a black leather glove at court. They also convinced that his wife had affair and cheated on him and he had nothing to do with it. All of those helped him to get away with murder. If a libertarian controlled the trial, O.J would have been found guilty and be sentenced to death or to life in prison based on how serious the case was.
Soft Determinism: Justice for all?
Soft determinism stated that human behavior is causally determined by factors outside of us. However, human should still be held morally responsible for actions within control. Philosopher Patricia Churchland believes that human brains allow for self-control, which human has the ability to control themselves from actions that they are planning to do. In this society, it is very necessary for a living because you can do greater things if you know to control your temper. Patricia also said that as long as someone processes regular mechanism for self-control, they should be held responsible for actions they decide to commit. But somehow, it still has some exception in soft determinism. A person should not be held morally responsible when they have a problem with their minds, which is neurological issue limit their ability for self-control. And something or someone makes us do something through coercion or forces like extortion and threat of harm. I believe that soft determinism is correct because soft determinism sees things on both sides. One side is the reason why they did it and the other that what impulse them to do that action. A person who is committed with the crime, somehow they can have the right to remain silent or right to have a lawyer to defend for them. Soft determinism is the same as human rights. They can be found guilty or innocent based on what you hear and see. They might have mental problems or they can be hereditary from their families. Soft determinism is justice and equal to everyone. It gives them a chance to tell people what they think and why they do it. So that people can base on that to judge. People must have morally responsible with their action whether they have a problem or not unless they have an issue or threatening.
Everyone is familiar with Cyntoia Brown, who is serving a life sentence for murdering a man who raped her and sex trafficking. She was only 16 years old back then and the punishment is compared with an adult. People didn’t believe what happened to her and put the blame on her. Society just thinks that murder is wrong and need to be punished by the law. In this case, Cyntoia needed soft determinism to defend for her actions. A soft determinist should have concluded this case like this. Because she could not control herself, she was being pushed to the brink of misery and she was threatened with harm. Besides she was only a child and no children should be held responsible for what they did because they were too young. But the court considered her as an adult and punished her as an adult. Since she couldn’t control herself, Cyntoia should be freed and the person that society needed to judge is the man that she killed. Yes, we all agree that people should be punished if they do something wrong. But we had to see why she did that and what led her to do that. Cyntoia was raped and abused brutally by that man and at that moment she couldn’t take anymore, she had to do what she had to do. Nowadays, society is speaking up to against abusing, raping and sex trafficking. If anyone did like Cyntoia, people had to look at both sides to give the judgment. Everyone can have self control and Cyntoia’s action was self control to protect herself. Back then she was just a child, if she was adult, she was probably sentenced to death.
After all, hard determinism doesn’t believe in free will, which gives the human the power to choose their activities and must be responsible for the actions that they committed, so all the actions that we did will never be judged or criticize whether we are wrong. It is the total lack of responsibility and out of justice, another way to say, hard determinism is an unjust law, which degrades the society. Unlike those two, soft determinism can balance everything. People should hold moral responsibility if they know self-control but if that person has a mental issue or any problem that affect their self-control, people have to see it again in order to judge. The choice is yours. Do whatever you want that you feel comfortable and not feeling guilty and get bad consequences in the future.