When are people responsible for their actions? According to Simon Blackburn's theory of "Soft Determinism" people are responsible for their actions as long as true and available information is possessed. Blackburn's short story revises the compatibilist definition several times. The revised revised definition reads as follows: The subject acted freely if she could have done otherwise in the right sense. This means that she would have done otherwise if she had chosen differently and, under the impact of other true and available thoughts or considerations, she would have chosen differently. True and available thoughts and considerations are those that represent her situation accurately, and are ones that she could reasonably
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Once the Misfit and his accomplices decide to murder the family, Bailey is aware of what is going to happen and he says" Listen we’re in a terrible predicament! Nobody realizes what this is"(O’Conner 1209). Although there is no right or wrong decision there are beneficial and nonbeneficial decisions. Bailey chose to do nothing, that decision was nonbeneficial to his whole family. Bailey could have chosen differently in every step along the way. The thoughts and consideration differ from person to person as do motives. Bailey wanted to take his family on a vacation. The grandmother wants to visit her friends in a different state. Who is to say who was right and wrong, it is more about the decisions one makes that shape who they are. Bailey is an angry pushover and the grandmother is manipulative and conniving towards her son and his family. I’m sure if the grandmother knew she would run into the Misfit, she wouldn't have asked the family to take that route. Similarly Bailey would not have gone down that road at his mother's request if he any inkling of the coming events. The point is our decisions are our responsibility. These decisions help to make Blackburn's point that people can make different choices with all of the true and available information.
• O'Conner, Flannery, "A Good Man is hard to find", The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.