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Hope Matson

on 4 April 2017

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Transcript of Free

Charles Whitman Presentation
Charles Whitman: Free
Charles Whitman: Not Free
Muhammad Ali
Originally born Cassius Clay
One of the worlds best boxers of all time
Switched his name to get rid of relation to slave owners
Even though he was a heavy weight world champion he was still a victim to racism
Muhammad Ali didn't let society stop him from pressuring his dream of boxing
Charles Whitman blamed society for alienating him.
If he had overcome the negative effects of society, just Muhammad Ali did, he could have lived a very different life
Conceptual Framework
Agents of Human Action
The different stages of conceptual Framework can easily be related to Charles Whitman's case
Who: The agent is Charles Whitman
What: Charles Whitman was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, who shot up the school killing 13 and injuring 30 more
Why: Whitman's reason for his murders was because he felt alienated from the rest of society
How: He believed this was the only way people would notice that he was struggling
Under what Circumstances: Aggravating
Against: Society
Conceptual Framework also states that the agent is responsible for all of the outcomes of their actions whether they intended them or not
Carly's Story
Although Carly suffers from Autism she proved that she had a voice
For the majority of Carly's life she was unable to communicate with those around her due to her mental barriers
Through a lot of therapy and will she was able to use technology to speak with those around her
She chose to overcome her mental barriers
Although Charles Whitman clearly struggled with mental health, he could have worked hard to overcome these barriers
Leibniz Perspective
Distinction between necessary and contingent
Without free will there would be no human activity and everyone everyone would be like robots
God has our actions predetermined but we make our choices freely
From Leibniz perspective, God gave every human free will, therefore Whitman made the choice to murder the people at his university
Cruel or Kind
It is your free choice to mentally separate yourself from difficult situations.
Although moral disengagement becomes habitual and can occur without even thinking after awhile, it is the persons free choice to morally disengage the first time they perform a task.
If Whitman had decided not to morally disengage he would not have been able murder hes wife, mother and 13 others
Zak Ebrathim

Son of the terrorist El Sayyad Nasair
Parents were hateful towards others
He chose to take a different path than his parents
He is not his father.
Charles Whitman could have always made the decision to not allow his childhood to affect his adult life
DNA and Behavior
Ryland's Story & Carly's Story
Pheromone Parties
Cruel or Kind
Evolving Mortality
Guests sleep in a t-shirt for a few days and bring it into a party where other guests will choose the t-shirt they are most attracted to; attraction is based on your natural genes
Shows how humans are NOT free because we cannot choose what we like and the things we choose to do; everything you do is as a result of your natural genes
Due to natural genes Charles Whitman did not have the choice to commit his actions
St. Augustine
Before dedicating his life to others and God, St. Augustine led a very secular life
His life consisted of partying, drinking and drugs
He looked at himself in the mirror one day and realized that he needed to change his ways
St. Augustine says that "Evil is the result of human reason"
St. Augustine would argue that Charles Whitman's actions was only a result of wrong human reasoning
"We are not free when we act from desire... we are free when we act from reason alone"
Hegel believes that freedom lies within human reason
Charles Whitman freely chose his own actions
Whitman knew that what he what he was doing was wrong and could have used his better judgment to seek proper help
Example of a Free story
Author J.K. Rowling
She was rejected from university, abused by her husband and found herself bellow the poverty line
She was depressed and suicidal
In the darkest and most hopeless time of her life, she used reason to turn her life around
J.K. Rowling began writing her famous series; Harry Potter
She became one of the riches women in the world
J.K. Rowling proves she is free by turning her life around
Moral Disengagement (slowly over time people automatically disengage from unpleasant situations
Charles Whitman morally disengaged from unpleasant situations overtime because he became used to them; he developed the same attitude towards these situations

Charles Whitman is responsible for his actions. Although he did have certain factors pushing him to make a fatal decision, he knew what he was doing was wrong. As Aristotle mentioned, the defining human characteristic is our ability to reason. If we did not have this ability we would be acting on desire alone and we would be just like animals.
Both Ryland and Carly did NOT choose to be how they were
Ryland was not able to control the fact that they truly felt that they were a boy
Carly could not control the fact that she had autism
Charles Whitman obviously had mental health concerns and could not control the way he acted out due to his mental health
Charles Whitman Biography
Behavioral genetics are the reason for how we act
We are not free due to the fact that behavioral genetics control our actions
DNA-based techniques have allowed more specific studies of genetic influences on human behavior; geneticists will find a particular gene that will influence a behavioral disorder such as manic depression
Charles Whitman would've had certain behavioral genetics that would have influenced his actions
"...ability to do what we please" is a concept/thought of immaturity
We are free when we act from reason, we are not free when we act from desire
Desire=wants; we all want something in life and out of situations, therefore we always act out of desire
Charles Whitman acted out of desire because he had a specific motive that he wanted to fulfill; acted out of desire not reason
Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior
Morality is influenced by cultural teachings but is also so deep and universal an aspect of human existence that it is effectively "hard-wired" into the brain, much like the instinct for language
"The system that allows us to intuitively, unconsciously make moral judgments about what's right or wrong, and that capacity is distinct from how we go about justifying what we do, or what we actually do."
Charles Whitman unconsciously made his moral judgement that what he chose to do was morally right; he had his justifications for what he did(his unusual and irrational thoughts, mental health, feeling of isolation)
Charles Whitman joined Marines; received a Sharpshooter's Badge; clearly had a natural talent for shooting-not free because you cannot control what you are good at, comes from natural ability and talent
Whitman admitted that he was suffering from depression and other mental health concerns that would have affected the way he thought
He experienced his mother being beaten by his father; Whitman had an upbringing where he was exposed to violence so violence was not an unusual concept to him; something he could not control
Whitman had a cancerous glioblastoma tumor in the hypothalamus region of his brain; tumor would have affected his thoughts
Science is right
All natural selection-NO FREEDOM
Everything can be explained in terms of natural causes
DNA defines who you are
The scientific perspective of the Charles Whitman case is that the tumor in his brain would have affected his thoughts
Naturalism relates to DNA&Behavior; Whitman would've had certain behavioral DNA and genetics that would have contributed to his violent thoughts and actions
Majority of what we experience in our lives, the underlying emotions, beliefs, feelings, and impulses are not available to use at a conscious level; most of our drives are buried in our unconscious
There are defense mechanisms between our ego and superego; however these do not always work 100% of the time
Freud would argue that the reason for Charles Whitman's actions was because his defense mechanisms were down which caused his thoughts and actions from the unconscious world to go into the conscious world, causing Whitman to shoot the university
Modern Day Example
In 2008, Will Baker beheaded a fellow passenger on a greyhound bus in Manitoba
It was revealed that Baker was schizophrenic and claims his mental illness as the reason for his violent actions
Recently, a psychiatrist stated that Will Baker is unlikely to go off his medication because he doesn't want his disease to take over again; shows how he was not in control when he beheaded the man and blames his mental health
In 2008, Baker was not found criminally responsible for killing the man, however, it is still being decided whether he will get an absolute discharge
Relates to Charles Whitman because mental health was out of Baker and Whitman's control and affected their thoughts, actions, and how they functioned; both men committed violent actions as a result of them NOT being free; they did not have free will over their actions since their mental health was so severe
It is clear to see that humans are not free in the perspective's of DNA&Behavior, Ryland's story, Carly's story, Pheromone parties, Cruel or Kind, Evolving Morality, Freud, Naturalism, and Hegel.

Charles Whitman did not have any control over his actions and it is clear that due to mental health, DNA, moral disengagements, and Freudian slips, he was unable to control his thoughts and actions which caused the tragedy of the school shooting.
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