Human Dignity and the Freedom to Choose

Prof. James Otteson describes how the freedom to choose is a crucial element of human dignity. Part of what makes us human is having free will and the freedom to choose. Therefore, if you are to respect people as moral agents, you will abstain from restricting other individual’s choices. This principle is especially applicable when you’re fairly certain that they will make bad decisions.


  1. Matt Wavle

    Watch this video:  (at your own risk)
    This guys goes so deep as to say that "free will" is complete freedom from cause and effect, and thereby negates the possibility of "free will".  I would describe free will as one’s freedom to choose, even self-destructive, hurtful behaviors.  And of course suffer or be rewarded based on his choices, good or bad.

  2. taschrant

    I remember watching an animation on this.  Wish somebody would have told me this lesson when I was a kid.  Would have put things in a better perspective I imagine.

  3. Dr Ugl

    This video is still the best way to communicate my own thoughts on why I feel the way I do about moral agency and freedom. Professor Otteson says it so well.

  4. Mike Hines

    I wonder if institutions (governments, companies, unions, etc) can act with Moral Agency?

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