Today is another day of our exclusive interview for this week. We have a topic being set before us today, “can human freedom be separated from moral responsibility?” We have with us a man i call Prof because he acts like a Prof and speaks like a Prof. He is a scholar, a B. A. degree holder in Philosophy from the University of Ibadan and one whom you would wish to talk to always because he will surely motivate you check your dictionary [hahahaha]… guess what?
He also dropped some new words for us today… Sit back and enjoy this philosophical discussion.
Contact Prof Ferguson @ firstname.lastname@example.org, via email:
KSInfo: Good Evening Sir Thank you once more for granting us this privilege of having this exclusive interview with you, we are indeed honoured.
Feg: Good evening. You are always welcome.
KSInfo: Please sir can you start by telling us your name and one or two things about yourself.
Feg: My name is Ukpebor Ferguson-Mario I. I am a philosopher who desires truth and hates self-deception because it is a malady towards intellectual and even spiritual growth.
KSInfo: This is really strong. Truth is one thing lacking in our world today. There is a constant and continuous effort by people to hide the truth. Self deception is the order of the day. And because of this, growth, in all ramifications, cannot be found, (as the programmers would say, error 404 “not found”).
Feg: In addendum to the aforesaid, I love a disciplined life because life without principles is full of obstacles and ridicules which will not take me to the pinnacle of success I desire.
KSInfo: Thank you so much for that brilliant one Sir.
So let’s get to the discussion proper. The theme of our today’s discussion is “Can Human Freedom be Separated from Moral Responsibility?”.
Statement of the Problem
We live in a world where everyone wants to be free; everyone is advocating for freedom. The child wants to be free and be able to take decisions and do things like it’s parents or like other elderly ones. Everyone wants to be free to take (steal) IPhone 7 and similar gadgets from a shop without paying. But no one is willing to accept the responsibility attached to such decisions when it is called for.
A child who does what it isn’t supposed to do, due to wrong decision, would hide under the shadows of I am not up to 18 in order to escape from jail terms.
A person who steals the IPhone 7, would blame it on the devil, why it was clear that he did it. Why are you blaming the devil when you were the one who stole the phone? why are you not willing to take up the responsibility?
People are making continuous and constant efforts to separate freedom from moral responsibility.
What do you have to say about this escapade?
Feg: This is a very timely topic. I thank you for picking this amongst others.
KSInfo: You are welcome.
Feg: Trying to separate human freedom and moral responsibility is like trying to separate water from a river
KSInfo: Okay sir.
Feg: According to Jean-Paul Sartre “human beings are condemned to Freedom with responsibility, not only for our actions but also for our present situations as well.” So, in morality the freedom of man must not be denied. Human beings must be willing to take full responsibility for their actions.
A child who steals iPhone from a shopping mall, for instance, should be made to face some disciplinary measures. Since he or she did it without any compulsion or coercion.
But someone can only be responsible for his or her actions if and only if he or she does it neither by force nor by ignorance but by free choice.
KSInfo: In other words it is inseparable
Feg: Of course, it is. Although the determinists try to separate it using different theories. One of such theories holds that human beings are not free because their actions are determined by psychological factors such as instincts as held by Sigmund Freud, motives as held by Thomas Hobbes, by the influence of one’s environment as held by Skinner.
KSInfo: In this case, I can give an excuse like, it wasn’t me that stole the money. My mind should be held responsible. What we see these days is the blame game and i guess this theory supports that. Blaming one thing or the other, physical or spiritual entity receives the blame. The devil is the highest blamee [hehehe].
Feg: [Hahahahahaha] In the cases of Monkey, Dragon, Fish, Rat, etc., it is really sad, it is a very kalapwated something, i wonder how this our country is going to mevdoo out of this current miasma we are in, it is really a vialicious zagade. but i believe God will hippopotatise every eluwalu we’re in.
KSInfo: Even if I didn’t really understand your hi-fi grammar, I cannot but say “AMEN”. [hehehe] this theory is amazing because it provides escapist ‘s route for so many people
Feg: No, that could be untrue. The next question that will give us some clarifications is how can we juxtapose the views of the determinists that deny the existence of human freedom?
KSInfo: Okay, we are following
Feg: Human beings are free by nature because freedom is part of their fundamental essence. Freedom is devoid of coercion, it is the capacity for one to think or to choose or to do anything else at any point in time.
Human beings are free to choose not to choose what they desire, but they are not free not to choose in view of the fact that, to refuse to make a choice is already a choice made. Put succinctly, for human beings to exercise their absolute freedom, they can decide to do anything they want and also enjoy the responsibility that flows from it. Using the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, man is condemned to be free.
Hence, human beings must be responsible for their actions carried out in their absolute Freedom.
KSInfo: But, looking at it from another perspective. Can human beings be absolutely free?
If they can’t, then you won’t have to blame them for any action committed. Stemming from the absolute freedom idea, how true is this?
Feg: According to the Encyclopedia of Philosophy volumes 3 and 4, “freedom may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.” F. I. Ogunmodede, in his book, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Social-Political Philosophy, sees freedom as “a state of being free to do whatever you like in whatever way you choose, and at whatever time you elect”.
Why human beings must take full responsibility for their actions is simply because they carried out those actions willingly. Infact I may be bold to say that freedom presupposes essentially non-restrictions of the exercise of the free will of the mind and the ability to make choices either at the theoretical level or practical level. This means freedom is being free from both external and internal influences or compulsions.
KSInfo: By saying non-restrictions, you are giving a negative definition of freedom
Feg: No, not at all. I mean that even the free will and other human facilities are not restricted.
KSInfo: But is it possible to be free from internal and external influences or compulsions?
Feg: It is possible not totally. You can be very free from external influences, but for the internal influences, the freedom you have is to choose not to choose what you desire.
KSInfo: I am a bit confused here, that means for me to be free I will have to choose what I don’t desire, or anytime I choose what I desire I am not free?
Feg: Let me make it simple, to be free you choose what you desire and be responsible for whatever follows
KSInfo: Hence responsibility is an essential factor in the exercise of freedom.
Feg: Yeah. Without responsibility freedom is not complete
KSInfo: Thank you so much for your time and patience sir. We sincerely appreciate you for your support so far and for honoring our request. Thanks once more sir.
Feg: Thanks too and I pray that the possibility of your prosperity becomes a reality because of your inequality and identity which forbids all forms of mediocrity. The intensity of your integrity cannot be measured knowing the credibility of your intellectual ability.
KSInfo: Amen ooo
Thanks so much.
That’s why I call you Prof.
This topic is actually one that can be viewed and interpreted from different perspectives. Thus there is no “one answer” or an unanimous answer to this question.
Feel free to drop your comments and contributions below. Also don’t forget to check other contributions by some people with regard to this topic…. Click here to view other Contributions