Topics in Value Theory: Moral Responsibility and Free Will


This course examines philosophical problems surrounding moral responsibility and free will, using contemporary and classical readings in an attempt to better understand kind of freedom required for moral agents.


What you can learn.

  • Explore arguments for and against the incompatibility of free will and determinism
  • Reason about the nature of moral responsibility
  • Read philosophical texts
  • Evaluate philosophical arguments

About this course:

This course wrestles with some of the most stubborn and important philosophical problems: Are our actions ever really, truly free? Are we morally responsible for what we do? What sort of freedom do we need to be morally responsible agents? And--if our modern scientific understanding of the world, the brain, and human action is correct--do we ever have that sort of freedom? We begin by exploring the origins of the concept of free will, then read a range of contemporary philosophers who attempt to answer these questions. Transferable for UC credit.

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