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Determinism and Indeterminism

Determinism and Indeterminism

Chisholm’s Arguments

Chishom’s theory of action and agency begins by questioning freedom and determinism. In other words, the theory seeks to draw a link between responsibility and determinism. Chisholm underpins that responsibility tends to conflict with determinism and indeterminism. On the one hand, Chisholm’s argument concerning determinism is that an individual or agent is responsible for actions only if they could have done otherwise (Feldman & Feldman, 2021). Consistently, one may have only done otherwise if their actions are not determined by prior circumstances, including personal convictions and beliefs. Chisholm also conflicts with indeterminism by arguing that an event is not caused by anyone if it just happens out of the blue (Feldman & Feldman, 2021). The primary argument presented by Chisholm is that sometimes, humans are not responsible for their actions or lack of initiative. Some events occur based on previous circumstances or simply because they are bound to happen, and no one should take the blame.

Hitchen-Perry Debate

Hitchens-Perry debate concerned drug addiction and policies targeting to arrest the issue. On the one hand, Perry believed that drug addiction is a medical condition that requires special attention from a specialist medic (Rawlinson, 2013). Perry argues that drug addicts require medication to transform. On the other hand, Hitchens opines that addiction is a social issue and not a medical condition (Rawlinson, 2013). He cements his point by arguing that drug addiction is a menace in some Western countries because the government allows legal possession of use drugs, as some private citizens take advantage and abuse the drugs. The debate highlights a longstanding social debate on whether drug addiction is a behavioural or medical problem.

Substance abuse affects rational thought, impeding the human brain’s functioning. Therefore, the statement ‘chemical dependency affects rational agency’ is true. Due to the effects of drug use on a user’s brain, they cannot engage in rational thought and make the decision to quit. Drug addiction creates a sense of pleasure and satisfaction, a reward system that inhibits an addict’s ability to quit.


Feldman, R., & Feldman, F. (2021). Roderick Chisholm (E. N. Zalta, Ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.

Rawlinson, K. (2013, December 17). Matthew Perry and Peter Hitchens clashed on Newsnight over the drug policy. The Guardian.


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Determinism and Indeterminism

Determinism and Indeterminism

What do you think of Chisholm’s arguments?
What about the Hitchens-Perry debate? Does chemical dependency destroy rational agency? If so, how?

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