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PH403M: FREE WILL AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY (2022-2023)

Last modified: 05 Oct 2022 15:20


Course Overview

It seems obvious that many choices you make are entirely up to you. But according to an attractive and currently popular view, we're nothing over and above the physical universe, subject to same laws of nature that govern colliding billiard balls and decaying fruit. But if this is so, how can our actions and decisions be entirely up to us? Aren’t they the result of a string of complex physical, chemical and biological reactions that are outside of our control? If so, then why should we be praised or blamed for them? For further details see the course guide

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Stephan Vincent Torre

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

It seems obvious that many choices you make are entirely up to you: you freely choose what to do this evening. But according to an attractive and currently popular view, we are nothing over and above the physical universe, subject to the same laws of nature that govern colliding billiard balls and decaying fruit. But if this is so, how can our decisions be entirely up to us? Aren’t they the result of a string of complex physical, chemical and biological reactions that are outside of our control? If our choices and actions are outside of our control, then it seems that we ought not blame murderers or praise philanthropists for their actions. In this course, we will examine these questions and the main philosophical debates in free will, determinism, indeterminism, and moral responsibility. Some topics to be covered include the consequence argument, compatibilism, illusionism, indeterministic accounts of free will, Frankfurt cases and moral luck. We will also look at some recent results from neuroscience and assess their philosophical import for the free will debate. The reading will include works from A J Ayer, Laura Eckstrom, Roderick Chisholm, Daniel Dennett, Harry Frankfurt, Jennan Ismael, Robert Kane, Benjamin Libet, Daniel Wagner, and Peter van Inwagen.


Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 8 - 18
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 9 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback
Written on essay and marking sheet; office hours/appointment.
Word Count 3500
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback
Written on essay and marking sheet; office hours/appointment.
Word Count 3500
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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