The Determinism and Freedom Philosophy

This paper illustrates that the first group of philosopher does not know what the thesis of determinism is. So, the first group is quite clear in its mind on the issue and does not wish to venture any further. The second group of philosophers is divided in its opinion. So, this group is divided into two sub-groups. The first sub-group is the pessimist, and in their opinion the thesis of determinism, if it exists, nullifies the concepts of moral obligation, responsibility, practices of punishment and blame, condemnation and approval. The optimistic sub-group holds the view that the thesis of determinism in no way loses its significance if it exists, and may actually be aiding the concepts of moral obligation and responsibility. Strawson goes on to add another minor group of the moral skeptic. According to this minor group, the issues of moral obligation and responsibility are confusing. The moral skeptics are naturally inclined to be closer to the pessimists. Thus, the thesis is embroiled in the way determinism relates to freedom and responsibility, and how people react to them in terms of personal attitude rather than of facts or truth. Elaborating, Strawson goes on to emphasize determinism by using terms such as personal reactive attitudes, objective attitudes etc. The author tries to simplify the comparison by attempting to coalesce the different points of views by highlighting the fact that the thesis of determinism is exclusive as well as inclusive, in the sense that it could be argued both ways, with strong viewpoints expressed by both sides, ultimately ending up in something of a no man’s land. For every argument that personal reactive attitude puts forward, there is a counter-argument used by objective attitude. The whole idea seems to be rotating in circles and ending up in a blind alley. Strawson is, however, diplomatic in his stand. While he is willing to side one, he is not prepared to sidestep or antagonize the other. He voices his opinion in favor of the first group, the group which simply dismisses the thesis of determinism as something it does not know anything about. However, he sympathizes with the other group or sub-groups. Could it be hypocrisy on his part? No, says Strawson. He favors reconciliation because he believes that there is some light in what the group of pessimists, optimists, and skeptics say.