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Essential philosopical and film thought of this essay was taken from:

● Thinking trough film – Doing Philosophy Watching Movies; Part 3. 7. Fate and Choice: The
Philosophy of Minority Report; D. Cox, M. Levine;

● Introducing Philosophy through Film; Part VI Free Will, Foreknowledge, and Determinism; R
Fumerton, D Jeske
Introducition
● In this presentation we will examine dystopian Sci-Fi films, Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange",
Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report", sharing the premise of crime preventing before it occurs. We
will also examine „The Boys from Brazil“from the director Franklin J. Schaffner. As we will see, in
next ten slides, choice or predetermination of violance raises a great philosophical dilemma of a free
will. But first lets introduce our films.

● Minority Report tells us the story about an elite law enforcing squad "Precrime". They use three
gifted humans (called "Pre-Cogs") with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes
beforehand. John Anderton heads Precrime and believes the system's flawlessness steadfastly.
However one day the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton will commit a murder himself in the next 36
hours. Worse, Anderton doesn't even know the victim. He decides to get to the mystery's core by
finding out the 'minority report' which means the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha that
"might" tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent.

● Clockwork Orange follows young mischief Alex, jailed for committing a murder and a dozen of
other crimes to society. He gets offer to get back to society, if he goes by experimental treatment,
Lenscrafters technique, which will erase violent nature engraved deep within him.

● In The Boys from Brasil, Dr. Josef Mengele, the chief doctor at Auschwitz, plans the rebirth of the
Nazi empire. He sends his minions to assassinate 94 men over a two year period just around the time
they will turn 65 years of age. Famed Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman gets hold of this information and
isn't quite sure how killing these 65-year old men will lead to a new Nazi regime. That is, until he
visits some of the dead men's families and sees their Hitler-alike sons.
● So the major questions that occur at the moment are, how can we jail people that have not yet
committed crime? If they did not murder they are not criminals (yet). If PreCogs haven't seen
their crime would these people really commit it? Are they predestined to a murder, even if they
are not once of violent nature? On the other hand, if we meddle with someone's mind and take
out violence (or generosity, love or anything else) are we taking their freedom of choice?

● Should one be free to choose violence or rather forced to do good and vice versa? Or even
better do we have a freedom of choice or everything is predetermined? Let‘s introduce some
philosophy now.

1. Fatalism
● Fatalism is the view that all of our actions are fated and we are powerless to alter our fate. There
are three main varieties: metaphysical fatalism, theological fatalism, and causal determinism.
All of them are philosophically controversial.

● According to metaphysical fatalism, every fact about the future is already settled in just this
way. The only strange thing in our story is that we know our fate; but our having a fate does
not depend on our knowing it. We have a fate regardless. Life is simply the business of
discovering what it is.

● Theological fatalism adds a special twist to this story by appealing to God’s omniscience and
omnipotence. God decided to create the world, and She did so with full knowledge of every
event that would occur in it. If God wanted us to act in a different way, God could always have
chosen to create a different world. We are victims of God’s choice.
1.1 Determisnim
● Determinism tells us that every decision we make is necessitated by prior states of the world
and this chain of necessitation stretches back before we were even born. Every thought we have
had, every choice we have made, was settled for us before we were born. We are caught in the
grip of the giant machinery of the world. All in all there is a first cause from wich all causes
have started and are continously growing)

● „We are all just cogs in a machine, doing what we were always meant to do, with no actual volition.“
- Baron d'Holbach

● Belief + Desire + Temperment = Action

2. Libertarianism
● In order for you to act freely, your future must be open. This means either that your future is
undetermined by the past (so that you escape causal determinism) or that your future is not yet
factual (so that you escape metaphysical determinism).

● So Libertarians deny the determinist thesis that all events have causes that necessitate their
effects. Libertarians require that one‘s choice is not determined by past events. Some
libertarians insist that the human will– lies outside all causal nexus in which the physical world
is caught.

● Libertarians make destinction between event caustaion (determined causes of nature) and agent
causation (mind can create cause which is not determined by anything else)
2.1 Compatibilism
● Compatibilists have a very different take on the relation between free will and fatalism. They
think that free will is compatible with fatalism. According to the compatibilist, a person acts
freely as long as they choose under their own steam: so long as their actions are fully down to
them. This means that your choices are things you can be said to be the author of.

● For compatibilists universe operates with law-like order, and the past determines the future,
but self determined actions of one could be seen as a free will.

2.1.1. David Hume „Of Liberty and Necesity“

● According to Hume, we need to get clear on what causation is and on what freedom is in order
to see the causation and freedom are compatible with one another.

● For Hume, causation is just a matter of constant conjunction, whenever an A is observed, a B


has been observed following A. Sufficient regularity in the conjunction of an A with a B
constitutes what it is for A to cause B.

● It seems obvious to Hume that human actions are caused. Here is a lawful connection between
motives/character traits and certain actions. We make predictions about human behavior based
on what we know about people‘s characters and desires, and our predictions often turn out to
be correct.

● If what we mean by free is uncaused then we are not free. Hume claims, the one is able to do
otherwise as long as she would in fact have done otherwise if she had chosen to do so: as long
as one‘s actions have the right kind of causes – desires and motives of the one‘s self – action was
a free action, and the one is responsible, because her actions are causal result of her character
and choices.
2.1.2 Henry Frankfurt argument

● According to Frankfurt, Hume has given us an account of freedom of action, not of freedom of
the will. Frankfurt claims that one has freedom of the will and is, thus, responsible, if she could
have willed otherwise. If she would have had a different will if she had wanted a different will.
In other words, you did what you wanted to do even if not aware of it.

2.1.3 Free will and moral responsibility (Fischer argument)

● Fischer distinguishes between two ways in which one has control over her actions. He calls
them guidance control and regulative control.

● We have guidance control of our actions if they issue from our deliberations in an
appropriately reason-responding way. That is, we have guidance control of our actions if we
deliberate about them, using our reason to guide our decisions. We might have had guidance
control over an action even if we were predetermined to do it.

● Regulative control, on the other hand, is the control we would have over our actions if we really
could regulate their occurrence or non-occurrence. To have regulative control of our actions
requires that we could really choose otherwise. It requires that the future is genuinely open to
us. In this way, Fischer distinguishes between a compatibilist concept of the control of our
actions (guidance control) and an libertianism concept of the control of our actions (regulative
control).

● Fischer thinks only guidance control is necessary for moral responsibility. Regulative control
might be needed if we are to gain the status of truly free beings, but only guidance control is
needed for us to be morally responsible for our actions