Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
You will be reading an argument for a position on freedom that I call ‰Û÷Reformed Perfectionism‰Ûª. This position avoids the problem of free will as we have inherited it, by positing freedom as a developing quality of persons. The argument that I make for this position is two-fold. After an introduction to the history of the free will debates in chapter one, in chapter two, I will argue that the commonly held positions regarding free will (i.e., compatibilism and libertarianism) are untenable due to a regress problem. I will argue that this regress follows from viewing freedom as solely having a free will. I will further argue that the free will assumed in these common views is an ultimate, all or nothing quality, as opposed to a developmental quality. Then, in chapter three, I will argue for an alternative account of freedom, namely, perfectionism. First, I will argue that a solution to the regress can be found in Traditional Perfectionism (my term for standard perfectionist accounts), which indicates that that control over and responsibility for our characters is not possible by the will, but is only possible through the process of attention to and caring about an end. Traditional perfectionism, however, does not give us a control over what this end is. I will explicitly argue for a Reformed Perfectionism that addresses problems with the old account by positing a plurality of freedom-enhancing ends. I will lastly, in Ch. 4, flesh out the details of a perfectionist theory of freedom via examples by responding to a few puzzles and possible objections.
Wallace, Robert Hamilton Jr., "Perfectionism: Rediscovering Freedom Without Free Will" (2012). Honors Theses. 77.