What Is The Difference Between Leopold And Loeb Not Free?

1526 Words4 Pages

In Chicago in the year 1924, there occurred a kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old Robert Franks. The perpetrators of this act of murder were two 19 and 20-year-old, wealthy, and intellectually gifted young men, who were known as Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr and Richard Albert Loeb, collectively referred to as Leopold and Loeb (Staff 2009). Leopold and Loeb were ultimately taken into trial to face justice for their actions. Leopold and Loeb’s lawyer Clarence Darrow convinced Leopold and Loeb to plead guilty for the crimes of kidnapping and murder. Darrow pleaded with the judge that punishing Leopold and Loeb with the death penalty was the immoral conviction to be made. This was because Darrow stated that our genetics and environment are not …show more content…

Darrow explained to the judge that Leopold and Lobe did not act freely because they had no decision in the environment they were born into nor the genetics they were born with; hence they were destined to carry out this act (Sommers 2004). Darrow’s plea succeeded and Leopold and Loeb avoided the death penalty. Was Darrow correct that Leopold and Loeb’s actions were not free? Are all human decisions strictly a result of the environment they were born into and the genetics they were given, hence not free? In this paper, I will be refuting Darrow’s proposition that the Leopold and Loeb actions were not free.

Premise one in my argument is based on the philosophical view which is referred to as soft-determinism. In the following paragraph, I will attempt to adequately explain what is soft-determinism. Soft determinism is one of several opposing philosophical views to what is referred to as hard determinism. Hard determinists devoutly subscribe to the philosophical view of determinism. Determinism is the view …show more content…

It is true that our behaviour is the result of certain external forces. What is not true is that our behaviour is manipulated to such an extent where our actions are not regarded as free. Murder is an act which is universally acknowledged as a reprehensible act. If external forces do truly subjugate and manipulate our intrinsic beliefs and desires, no one would not commit murder. This is because for one to commit the act of murder they would have to eliminate the external societal forces which prevent one from committing this act. If it is then possible for one to eliminate an external force which does not align with one’s beliefs and desires, then external forces are evidently an influence on one’s actions not the sole explanation for their actions, nor a manipulation. The inherent predisposition for Leopold and Loeb to commit murder was indeed amplified by certain external forces which aligned with their beliefs and desires. Leopold and Loeb’s decision to murder was externally influenced to a certain degree but they both allowed the external forces to freely propagate within their minds and the ultimate decision to commit murder was a result of their free

More about What Is The Difference Between Leopold And Loeb Not Free?

Open Document