Free Will Versus Determinism Essay Research Paper

Free Will Versus Determinism Essay, Research Paper Free Will Versus Determinism The controversy between free will and determinism has been argued about for years. What is the difference between the two? Looking in a

Free Will Versus Determinism Essay, Research Paper

Free Will Versus Determinism

The controversy between free will and determinism has been argued

about for years. What is the difference between the two? Looking in a

dictionary, free will is the power, attributed to human beings, of making free

choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such

as fate or divine will. Free will allows free choice. Yet, determinism is the

total opposite. Determinism has this definition: The philosophical doctrine

that every event, act, and decision is the inescapable consequence of

antecedents that are independent of the human will. Determinism states that

humans have no free will to choose what they wish. That seems real extreme and

harsh. Even though this is what determinism is, doesn’t mean that the

determinists are trying to steal your freedom. It’s only what they believe

because of religion and cause and effect. In religion, many people believe in

the existence of a god supports determinism. The basis of god is that he is

all-knowing and all-powerful. If free will is allowed, there would be

decisions and actions in which God could not know due to the person’s choice.

This would limit God’s omnipotence, which is unacceptable to some. The other

argument for determinism is causation, or causes and effects. This argument

depends on relationships that should happen with the same results every time,

such as a baseball breaking a window, breaking the window. Basing on this,

everything in the universe has a cause. And if all the causes and the events

were known, then it would be possible to easily predict the future. If

everything can be foreseen, then this proves that nothing that anyone does can

change the courses of the future. This, of course, is not possible.

Determinism says that what you do can be the cause of what your life turns out

to be. This can be true. Yet, you can act otherwise that would steer you off

that path of where your life was heading. Common sense tells us that we can

change, which determinism opposes to. It also says that if we feel we are not

forced, we could have acted differently. That is why I choose to side with

free will. Determinism has too many extremes and limits that, already shown,

is not possible in this world.

Free will is the mind’s ability to choose with intelligence. That

doesn’t mean that our choice has all the freedom in the world. Our choices

cannot and obviously should not be totally free from our knowledge, values and

perceptions of everyday life and the things around us. Our choices are not

free from past thoughts and decisions or from outside influences. The freedom

in freewill is not the dismissal of these influencing factors: our self

awareness, our imagination, our ability to seek out knowledge and project the

future, and our awareness of and observing our own thinking. This is our

source of freedom. This makes us self-determined, being aware of what we want.

The proper understanding of free will is that choices are not free from

influences, but free to make intelligent choices.

If determinism were true, no person would be able to change his

actions, therefore no one could ever be held morally responsible for his own

actions. Common sense says that we can change our actions by our own choice.

Everyone in this world has common sense. In this argument determinism is

definitely not true. One can want to do something, but from past experiences,

can stop and not do the actions he had planned. A thief, who finally got

caught and suffered two awful years in prison, can decide to not steal after

seeing a desirable pair of pants lying openly on a rack. He can restrain

himself from doing wrong, after realizing from past consequences. This leads

to the next argument. We can and have overcome our desires and inclinations.

Both common sense and fact show that we can actively change our behavior. Yet

a determinist would say that we only perceive that we can change our actions

and behavior. But, that too, is false. Before, I wanted an expensive shirt

that I really, really liked, but I, then, remembered the last time I bought a

shirt that expensive, begging on my knees to my mom to buy it for me, and I

rarely wore it. That made my mom really mad. This would leave me to not buy

that desirable shirt, changing my actions ( I really have not bought an

expensive shirt, after that incident ). Free will states that we do not feel

forced to act. At the time of a decision, we feel we have other choices. A

determinist would say to this that such feelings of control are illusions, that

we are just ignorant of all the irresistible forces acting upon us. Again, I

would have to disagree to that. Noticing the consequences of an action could

cause the individual to not act. The feeling of control is not an illusion; we

see the actions and think about what may happen if we acted. Free will says

that at a certain time we feel that we could have chosen to act differently. A

determinist reply to that is that our behavior is already determined by

previous events. Therefore we can not change our behavior. Previous events do

affects us; we cannot ignore that. But, like the previous examples, if the

previous events’ consequences were not good, we would mostly likely change,

unless that individual was deranged. These arguments on free will definitely

does not pertain to all people. Everyone is different. Yet mostly likely,

individuals think towards free will.

An implication to determinism is that man becomes nothing more than

a puppet. That may sound cruel, but it is true. Under the rules of

determinism, man must go by past events, doing the same thing he did in the

past, right or wrong. He can not change his behavior, unable to let out his

emotions. The man has become a puppet, being controlled and restricted. And

in everyday life, determinism does not exist in most lives.

It is logical and reasonable to say that the all of free will is a

measure of our humanness. Whatever we choose will effect our future. But we

will base our decisions on what we feel is right, taking in our moral feelings.

Free will is a measure of self-determination that people feel themselves to

possess and by which they make moral judgments.