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Frankfurt account - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Frankfurt Account Harry G. Frankfurt starts his essay, Freedom of the Will and Concept of the Person, by pointing out the two different forms that desire takes. We are introduced to first order desires, which are those desires that a person has to either do or not do a thing or the other and second order desires that encompass those desires that use self-evaluation…
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Download file to see previous pages Human beings, however, can be said to possess second order desires with these desires, however, not being experienced by all people (Frankfurt 7). To my understanding, people who cannot use self-evaluation to validate their desire; therefore, deficient in second order desires, are referred to as wanton. According to Frankfurt, these second order desires are what distinguish a person from non-humans. Wantons or those without second order desires include small children, animals, and even adults who are not able to exhibit these desires. These non-persons are not bothered about will, and they do not have a care concerning where their life is going and how they could change it. In order to clarify the definition of a person, we can use the example of two child molesters. In this case, we can take the first child molester as having a first order desire to molest children given her affinity to do so, as well as having a second order desire that makes her desire to stop molesting children, although their urge may be uncontrollable. On the other hand, another child molester is in possession of desires in the first order that makes her molest children but is deficient in second order desires since she does not concern herself with what may happen if she is caught, which may lead to jail and embarrassment. For this child molester, who could care less concerning her will, her option of stopping the vile act and continuing the act are present in her mind, and none is more prevalent than the other is since she does not even attempt at evaluating her options. Therefore, she continues with what she does. Second order desires, to my understanding, then equate to a person being in possession of the will to carry out an action or not to carry out the action. If someone is not able to self-evaluate; therefore, not being in possession of desires of the second order, then they can be said to be deficient of will. In turn, they cannot claim to be persons according to Frankfurt, instead being considered as wantons (Frankfurt 6). While it is possible to understand where Frankfurt is headed with his argument, as well as where he is coming from, I disagree with the conclusion that a lack of will disqualifies someone from being considered a person. It is my belief that this someone still feels emotive, and exhibits feelings, even if they are vile characters like child molesters with no second thoughts about their actions and, therefore, to me at least, they are still persons. Early thought on the definition of a person held that, moral responsibility would be only applied to a person who commits a certain act if they had the chance to do something else. Throughout Frankfurt’s article, I found the inference to be that persons are not morally responsible for the acts they had committed when they had no chance to do something else. Frankfurt takes specific issues with this line of thought claiming, “our theoretical ability to do otherwise, he says, does not necessarily make it possible for us to do otherwise” (Frankfurt 10). The examples that Frankfurt assert to are important because they are suggestive of other ways that can be used to defend how determinism and moral responsibility can be compared, especially through the rejection of the argument’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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