Master of Arts (MA)
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Traditionally, the defense of freedom appeals to moral responsibility: if we are not free, then we have no moral responsibility, but we believe in responsibility, so we must acknowledge that we are free. In this thesis, I show some of the ways that this argument has been attacked, both by showing that we might not be morally responsible and by showing that we might be morally responsible without being free. Then I argue that the defense of freedom needs a broader scope in order to succeed. Arguments from Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason are used to show that we must be free in order to acquire knowledge and to progress, individually or as a society. Then Heidegger’s ontological notion of freedom is explicated in conjunction with the problem of explaining human creativity, which also seems to depend upon a very broad concept of freedom. The defense of freedom is strengthened by this consideration of other human activities, besides the practice of holding others morally responsible for their acts, the explanation of which seems to require a concept of freedom.
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Cook, Marijo, "Concepts of freedom: ethical, epistemological, ontological" (2009). LSU Master's Theses. 14.