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physical universe Philosophy Examined

Assignment: Comment on the Following Statements

1)Out of the people edited in Abel or discussed by Palmer, the following are hard determinists
Well, Palmer only discusses two hard determinists: B.F. Skinner, and Sigmund Freud. Out of the texts read in Abel, Abel discusses Skinner and DHolbach as hard determinists.
2)Hard determinism conflicts with some of our ordinary beliefs and experiences. For example:
On the one hand, we are raised to believe that we are free, that we posses freedom of thought and action. If we come to a fork in the road, we can either go left or right, either choice is a free choice. A hard determinist would have us believe that our actions are determined, hence, unfree. If the hard determinists theory were in fact true, then, if we were to come to a fork in the road, what use would it be to choose the right, or the left path? For out decision has already been determined, according to the hard determinist point of view. Frankly, I find the idea of hard determinism utterly ridiculous, and incredibly hard to defend.
3)If hard determinism is true, then people cannot be held responsible for their actions.
This statement is true. For if hard determinism is true, then our actions are determined. Meaning that we have no control over our own actions. Therefore, we cannot be held responsible for out actions, because, we are not responsible for them, for they were determined. If this is indeed true, then the worlds judicial systems have been making mistakes for several thousands of years.
4)It is possible to interpret Freud as being committed to hard determinism. It is also possible to interpret Freud as believing in freedom.
This statement is making two claims, which may be interpreted differently by different people. Thus needing some explanation. It is true that Freud was committed to hard determinism, for he believed that the majority of a persons actions are motivated through the subconscious mind, the subconscious being a driving force in the decision. Subconscious decisions are not free, for the person is not aware of the force of the subconscious. The second part of the above statement is in a sense, true. Freud, being committed to hard-determinism, could not believe it direct freedom.  However, Freud did believe that a person could change, thus gaining some control over their actions, and that in a sense, is freedom (i.e. the case of the woman who kept choosing partners who beat her).
5)Stoicism is the view that one can never be happy.
This statement is false. Stoicism means that one can be happy. As Palmer stated, according to Seneca and Epictetus, it is possible to be totally happy all the time. This is accomplished by accepting ones fate. What Nietzsche called amor fati: love ones fate.
6)Soft determinism conflicts with common sense, since it holds that there is no difference between the amount of freedom exhibited in the actions of a drug addict, and the actions of a war hero or a saint.
I hold this statement to be false, based on the soft-determinism discussion in chapter six of Palmer. Let me try to dissect my chain of thought into a comprehendible answer.
Palmer states with great emphasis that, we are free to the extent that we are able to do and get what we want.  Meaning that we are only free in our context, in our immediate situation. We can make choices, however, the choices that we make exhibit only so much freedom, because our situation may prevent us from doing otherwise. The above statement claims there is no difference between the amount of freedom exhibited by a drug addict and the actions of a war hero or saint. That is ridiculous. A drug addict has a physiological addiction, hence he has limited freedom, and he needs that drug. Whereas, a war hero chose the action that he took to become a hero, he could have run the other way. The same goes for a saint, the saint could have chosen a different life, but he/she didnt.
7)Soft determinism holds that concepts such as free will, choice, freedom, dignity, responsibility, are based on confusions and illusions, which need to be discarded.
I hold this to be false. Hard determinists would say ... more

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Thomas Jefferson

1.
Jefferson had destroyed political traditions. From his contradictions and defecting his priciples, Jefferson destroyed the political precedent and is a exemplatory hypocrite,
which can be seen throughout his administration. Jefferson was an admired statesman who was grappling unsuccessfully with the moral issue of slavery. Thomas Jefferson,
the author of the Declaration of Independence, opposed slavery his whole life, yet he never freed his own slaves. He championed Enlightenment principles, yet never freed himself of the prejudices of his soceity. Jefferson was extremely hypocritical
in the issue of slavery. Jefferson was a plantation owner early in his life, and had slaves working for him throughout his life. Jefferson had tolerated while he didn't accept others who owned slaves. Jefferson denounced the slave owners, while he was owning and using slaves. Although Jefferson was supposedly a good slave owner, his hypocritical nature made him accuse others not to own slaves while he, himself was owning slaves. Another part of the hypocrisy was that Jefferson believed that the slaves were dependent upon the white man, while he, himself was dependent upon the slaves. Jefferson also was hypocritcal in his acquisition of the Loisiana territory. In Jeffersonian principles, large expansive governments were bad, and small was good. This was a antithesis of that principle. Jefferson knew that the acquisition of the Loisiana territory was beneficial to the welfare of the U.S. According to the constitution, nowhere in the constitution is the acquisition of land a right of the government, Jeffersons' predisposition was to strictly go by the constitution (as seen with the national bank controversy), this is another contradiction during his administration. Since the appropriation of the Lousiana territory was important for the expansion of the united states, he temporarily dismissed his principles, therefore destroying political traditions. Another hypocritical event during Jeffersons' administrationwas his acceptance of the National Bank. Early in Jefferson's political career, Jefferson had debated with Hamilton on whether to have the National Bank. "When this government was first established, it was possible to have kept it going on true principles, but the contracted, English, half-lettured ideas of Hamilton destroyed that hope in the bud, We can pay off his debts in 15 years." Early in Jefferson's Administration, Jefferson had denounced the National Bank. At the end of his administration, Jefferson realized that the National Bank was important and this is hypocritical by disregarding his principles.  The Burr conspiracy depicted Jefferson as a ruthless, and a individual who will do anything inorder to achieve his goal.
Jefferson championed civil liberties and unalienable rights. Yet, Jefferson violated civil liberties by coercing witnesses, arrested with out habeus corpus and prosecuting in a "court" of his own. Jefferson and Jeffersonians are hypocrites from the start and they destroyed political tradition as seen during Jeffersons' administration.
Jeffersonians show an immense amount of hypocritism in their policies. For example, Federalists had supported high tarriffs, inorder to protect national manufacturers and american industry.The tarriffs were a vital determinent, which kept the economy of
the United States viable. The Jeffersonians, not the Federalists began the American system of protecting american industry which initially was a major constituent of the federalist platform.  


2
THOMAS JEFFERSON
In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albermarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello. Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the "silent member" of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in ... more

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