Essay on Determinism

This essay has a total of 1535 words and 6 pages.


Free Will
James Anderson
Imagine if you found yourself in a state of bondage where every action desire and feeling
was planned on an inexorable agenda that you could not help but comply with. Although this
seems like a dark and fantastical world, if the idea of determinism is fully accepted than
it may not be as distant as you might think. The idea of Free Will is one of the most
timeless and dubitable philosophical questions and is imposable to disregard. The idea of
Free Will has three prevailing schools of thought, consisting of Determinism, (The belief
that every action is determined and therefore, not free.), Liberalism (the belief that our
actions are not causally determined and therefore, free.)and lastly, Compatibilism (The
belief that Determinism is Compatibilism with Free Will.). Each outlook has its points as
well as dissentions, but of all the angles, the one I must believe in is Compatibilism and
this is why. Although Compatibilism is what I choose to believe, the other arguments are
based on principals that cannot be ignored. The first view that I am going to deal with is
that of the Determinist, namely the "Hard" one. Determinism is the belief that every
action is the result of a previous action, and was therefore determined to occur. If all
actions are determined by previous actions than no actions can be made freely. Like the
cosmological argument, determinism rests on the logical fact that no uncaused event can
occur. What separates a Determinist╦ť from a compatibilist is the belief that any action
that occurs could not of happened in any other way. If this were the case then it would be
theoretically possible to predict the future simply by observing the past and present.
Because nobody can successfully and consistently predict the future, some people believe
that this is an argument against determinism. The determinist easily dismisses this
argument with the response that humans don't have the power to see let alone interpret the
myriad of events that lead to an action. Another common argument is the idea that if you
were told what the future had in store for you, you could therefore consciously alter this
out come. This argument is smashed with the fact that if you were told the future and you
altered it, the future you were told was not the future because what actually occurred was
different than what was predicted. Although, the strongest argument against determinism is
the inherent moral dilemma. If every action was already predetermined and there was no way
of going around it, than how can we hold people responsible for committing crimes, or give
praise for noble deeds, if the person had no choice but to do as they did, how could they
be held morally responsible for their actions, it would be like punishing your dog for
eating. Could you imagine a world with no moral responsibility, albeit the world would be
a much more accepting place, the

price would be indifference and there would be nothing left to strive for, or to restrain
you from treachery. It would be like sitting contently as a passive train pasengar, just
waiting to see where the train's terminal track takes him. The deterministic argument that
every action is the result of a prior action is imposable to dismiss, but whether or not
you have a choice in what action you make is still up for grabs.

Although it is very difficult to indisputably prove the case for Determinism, it is
equally testing to argue free will. As I mentioned before, free will relies highly on the
idea of responsibility. In order to deny free will, you must also deny responsibility,
which is a very difficult thing for anyone to do. If we are truly ruled by causal law,
than how could any event of occurred other wise, so in order to save moral responsibility,
we must either disprove or reinterpret these causal laws. Most people consider free will
as being able to make choices and find alternatives that have not already been determined.
The Incompatibilist or liberalist believes that in order to make these choices freely,
Determinism must be false. Although it is a hard battle to fight for the liberalist,
seeing that the argument for determinism is fairly air tight, they still make some
reputable arguments. The Incompatibilist's case for free will is generally broken down
into three groups; non-causal accounts, event-causal accounts and agent-causal accounts.
Non-causal accounts are actions that have no internal or external causal

factors and are therefore free actions. Some Incompatibilist's believe that
this is the only free action while others believe that a free action may be caused as long
as it is not determined. It seems to me that in order for an event to be uncaused it would
have to be a random event, because it could have no thought, purpose, or any type of
grounds to it. Even though true random events occur on a metaphysical level, there is no
proof that they can occur on the behavioral level and even if they could would you really
consider a random action a free action. Event Causal accounts are actions that are caused
by previous events, but unlike the Compatibilist's view, they are Non-Deterministically
caused. This conviction
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