Hospers wants to make it clear he is not arguing Hard Scientific causal determinism in Holbach’s sense. He is not arguing from the realm of cause and effect but from the fact that our psychological makeup/our mental framework, that for Hospers, is the central point of man’s being, is determined to be what it is outside our control. Because of this, because our psychological attitude is formed outside of us by parents, genetics, society, so much so, we have unconscious motivations as evidence of our deep and powerful psychological determination, we are not free beings and are not responsible for our actions. For Hospers, Holbach’s determinism is a question of not being able to act differently than what was acted out. For Hospers, our determinism is not so much a wuestion of action but of desire. It is absurd and impossible to prove man could have or couldn’t have acted differently. What Hospers sees as the root of determinism is desire. Man may act differently but he cannot desire differently than what is determined by his psychological makeup. We are determined not so much to our actions but our desires. Again, for Hospers not only can man 1) like Holbach’s Hard determinism- remove the stimulus that causes something to reach a critical mass and thereby prevent the act from happening , 2) Psychological determinism also makes the allowance that parents and the familial environment have the limited possibility to change or stop compulsive behavior in children up to a certain age before the patterns are set in stone. This additional allowance of psychological determinism transfers the emphasis of determinism from Holbach’s scientifical causality and actions that are determined from the beginning to Hospers Psychological determinism where desires become set in stone and while actions may appear to change the desire underneath them all is the set in stone. 12 | P a g e
Augustine (354–430) handout #1 – On Free Choice of Will, Book 1 Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will , trans. Th. Williams, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993. Q. Is God the cause of evil? (Books 1–3, pp. 1ff.) A. God does no [moral] evil, but he punishes the wicked and thus causes the evil of punishment. When people do evil, they are the cause of their own evildoing (1.1, p. 1). Q. Did we learn how to sin (i. e. to do evil)? (1.1, p. 1) A. Learning is good, therefore we do not learn evil (1.1, pp. 1–3) Q. What is the source of our evildoing? Can we trace back our sins to God? – If the sins come from our souls, and our souls come from God, do our sins indirectly come from God? (1.2, pp. 3–28; Books 2–3) Q. What is evildoing? (1.3, pp. 4–28) A. (Preliminary answer:) evildoing is inordinate desire (= cupidity) (1.3, pp. 5–6). Inordinate desire is “the love of those things that one can lose against one’s will” (1.4, p. 8). Q. Is all evildoing due to inordinate desire? For instance, when you kill someone, is this due to inordinate desire? (1.4, p. 7) Can you kill someone out of self-defense? (1.5, p. 8) Q. By which criteria can we decide when killing is allowed and when not?
- Fall '19