Responsibility of a Creator
Perhaps one of the greatest questions that Frankenstein poses is what is the responsibility of a creator. In order to answer such a question, there are a number of definitions that need to be outline. First, what is it to be a creator? Next, how do we define responsibility? Once these are addressed, we can begin answering the question.
There are many different examples of a creator across different times and cultures. The most readily available example is ones parents, the two individuals who came together and decided, intentionally or not, to create a life. It is within these individuals that one can point towards as the most empirical evidence of their source. Another example of such is the idea of a monotheistic god, who people of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic faiths point towards as the true source of their existence. In both these examples, the notion of ‘source’ is what stands out, and thus I will follow this idea as a potential outlet for defining creator. A source is a point of origin, the formal causality without which the outcome could not exist. The source of a river could be the snowfall of a distant mountain, or the tiny crack in the earth from which water bubbles up. Without these things, the river could not exist. ‘Without which could not exist’ though does not adequately define the separate individual creator, as without all causes and condition nothing could be. The river could not exist without the mountains which created the valley, or the soft ground over which it flowed. However, when following this train of thought, all of reality would be the source of all other things, and while this is the concept which I follow on a metaphysical level, it brings me no closer to answering the question and thus I will leave this it be answered at a later date. Thus, I would propose that a creator is simply the individual entity by whose actions has formed the outcome, in other words, the individual who is the point of origin for the given result. Under this definition, Victor is clear the creator of the monster.
Now we turn to the question of responsibility, which is a far more difficult question to answer. Personal responsibility has never been adequately defined by any philosopher, and not for lack of trying. It seems that there is no objective responsibility that can be outline, only the subjective, which is an important notion that I will return to later. Responsibility in the most common sense relies on the matter of free will, that individuals choose and cause their actions. While once again I metaphysically disagree with these notions, I do not have the time in this paper to lay out the issues with free will, and thus it will be tabled for a later discourse. So, presupposing that individuals are freely choosing their actions, Frankenstein chose to create the monster. With this supposition comes with it certain moral obligations. There are two kinds of responsibility that, while entirely connected, should be distinguished, which are responsibility that comes with owning up to ones actions and the responsibility that presupposes doing actions. I suppose they are in essence the same thing, but in this essay we, now that I’m writing it, are referring to both, thus we should scratch the past few sentences. I would then discuss responsibility as the moral obligations of an individual, both presupposing and in response to ones actions. In the case of Frankenstein, we are discussing what are Victors moral obligations to the outcome of his actions, which in other words are what are his responsibilities, as a creator, to the monster, his creation. I believe one his Victors fatal flaws is not outlining what is the role of a creator, the position he will be filling, prior to the actualizing of his actions. If he had outline what this position entailed, he would not have been so thrown off course after his creation unfolded a result that he was not looking for. Now that responsibility and creator have been outline, I can begin to discuss what the role of a creator is. This analysis will stem from both the fiend’s understanding of what Victor’s responsibilities are and Victor’s counterargument, which I think need to be analyzed in terms of what are the natural rights that belong to all sentient beings that a creator must do everything in their power to ensure that these rights are protected. These rights, I believe, are grounded in life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of satisfaction.