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Philosophy-Imputable Acts

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Dr. Kitchel

Ethics 2314

"Imputable Acts in Regards to the Fate of a World"

An act is called imputable when the person committing the act is in possession of both knowledge and consent in regards to the action at hand. Imputability is a thing that is always completely possessed or completely not possessed by a person. Imputability causes accountability. Accountability has degrees upon which it is based and these degrees depend on whether or not the person was influenced by some modifier of either the intellect or the will. Imputability's requirements, knowledge and consent, have to do with the relationship between the act in question and whether or not it is a good or evil act. An act is either objectively, morally good or evil. To the degree that the person committing the act is aware of this in the form of either knowledge or consent is the degree to which the act itself is imputable and thereby also the person is accountable for the act. The characters in C. S. Lewis' novel, "Prelandra", make choices and perform acts that drastically effect the outcome of the world in which the novel takes place. Some of these acts are wholly imputable while others are not. However, all of the acts are either good or evil. As a result of this, the novel illustrates the importance of being able to distinguish the difference between good and evil acts in the consequences that befall its characters from their own actions within the novel.

The novel's protagonist, John Ransom of Thucalandra (Earth), is sent by Maleldil (God) to the planet of Prelandra (Venus) in order to stop the Bent Oyarsa (Satan) from corrupting that planet as he did with Earth though Ransom has no knowledge of the exact purpose of his journey upon leaving or even once he is there on the planet. Once he arrives on the planet, he encounters the person he deems "the Green Lady." Lewis' character, the Green Lady, is Prelandra's counterpart to the Eve character in the Genesis story of creation in the Bible. After meeting her and realizing who she is, Weston the villain from the first book appears in Prelandra. He is there on a new "mission." This new mission is no longer for the survival of the human race as it was on his journey to Malacandra but is now for the survival of the "Human Spirit." At first he does nothing in regards to the Green Lady and he only mentions her to Ransom in suspicion of her and Ransom's conduct. However, after getting into a long argument about morality, God, and the existence of good and evil, Weston undergoes a change that is shown in a horrific seizure and facial contortions. After this he ceases to be Weston but is now described as the Un-man. Right before this transformation, Weston was telling Ransom about him being "prepared" by forces and that he was opening himself up to them in order for him to be their instrument in the perpetuation of the "Spirit." This preparation turns out to be quite real in that the eldila (angels or in this case, demons) from Thucalandra are for lack of a better term, preparing him for possession so that they can enact out the Bent Oyarsa's plan for Prelandra. This plan is to cause the first inhabitants, the Green Lady and the King, of Prelandra to disobey Maldil and fall just as Adam and Eve did in the Genesis story of Earth. The Unman is the tempter and at this point Ransom understands why he is there, to fight the Un-man in one way or another to ensure that what happened on Thucalandra does not happen again on Prelandra.

Amidst this story line, there are countless acts and choices that the characters make. However, there are four choices in particular that greatly determine the outcome of the story. The first of course is Ransom's decision to go to Prelandra as Maleldil has asked him to. He freely consented to this. In no way was he physically forced by Maleldil to got to Prelandra and while there was fear present, Ransom did not fall into a state of dread which could have damaged his consent to going. His knowledge of going was clear in that he knew what going would entail though not what would happen once he got there. This made the action imputable and he is accountable for it, though it was a good action to make.

The other choices and actions are much more complicated. The choices and actions are first, Weston leaving himself open to the forces of the Bent Oyarsa of Thucalandra thus allowing the Unman to come into the story. Another major factor in the story is what the Un-man does once it comes into being. The third and arguably the most important choice, is Ransom deciding to stay in Prelandra and to fight the Un-Man despite all of his rationalizing.

Weston only existed as far as the reader can tell, for the first few hours he was in Prelandra. In the middle of explaining his new purpose for interplanetary travel, he goes through a horrible transformation that frightens Ransom. At the end of it he passes out and Ransom leaves him thinking him dead or at least in the process of dying. However, not too much later he runs into him while the Un-man is talking to the lady. This is the first time he realizes that what he sees only appears to be Weston but inside is something else, something that he describes as diabolical and pure evil. Here Ransom begins to understand why he is in Prelandra. At the beginning of their talk while Weston still truly existed, he mentioned to Ransom about being guided and prepared by something greater than him in order to carry on his "work" or continuing the "Spirit." It is not a bad inference to make that these tutorial forces were the eldila who followed the Bent Oyarsa in his rebellion against Maleldil. This act is an evil act. It is choosing to let oneself follow evil and perform evil, and pure evil at that. It is also the act that brought about the existence of the Unman. However, to the degree to which he is accountable for both of these acts is not as easy to see. While he was fairly certain forces were guiding him he had no idea what forces they were. He surly could have himself as to whether or not the forces guiding him where heading him in the right direction. However, the direction they were heading him, as far as he knew, was the one he was seeking. He believed that good and evil were conventional thoughts that were outdated and wrong. He believed that they actually went together, one sort of causing the other. Weston believed that what people called evil was the dynamic force that changed things while good was the result that came from these changes. He also believed that the people everyone else identified as villains where actually

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