Sorites 19:14-40 (2007)

Nick Trakakis
Australian Catholic University
What would the world be like if hard determinism were true, that is, if all events were determined in such a way as to render all our decisions and actions unfree? In particular, what would morality be like? Indeed, could there be anything distinctively moral in such a world, or would we be left with a moral nihilism in which nothing of moral significance remains? In this paper I explore the ethical implications of hard determinism, focusing on the consequences that our lack of free will would have for moral responsibility , moral obligation, moral rightness and wrongness, and moral goodness. I argue that the truth of hard determinism would compel us to significantly revise our commonsensical understanding of these moral categories. I add, however, that this change in moral outlook would not have dire practical consequences, for we would retain the attitudes and emotions that are essential to forming good interpersonal relationships and to developing morally. In fact, far from being a threat to human flourishing, hard determinism offers the prospect of a life that is morally deeper and more fulfilling than in a world in which we are free
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