Free Will Spark Notes

This essay has a total of 789 words and 7 pages.

Free Will


Free Will



Analyzing our individual free will can be very intriguing and can almost

reach the point of being paradoxical. Ultimately, free will determines the level

of responsibility we claim for our actions. Obviously, if outside forces

determine our choices, we cannot be held responsible for our actions. However,

if our choices are made with total freedom than certainly we must claim

responsibility for our choices and actions.

The readings I chose offered two quite opposite theories on individual

human freedom, determinism vs. existentialism. In comparing these two

theories the contrasts are quite outstanding.

Evidently, some philosophers felt that human beings did not really have a

free will. This view, defined as determinism held that certain casual laws rule

what occurs in the universe. There are two major forms of determinism,

including hard determinism and soft determinism.

Hard determinism taught that each of our actions is determined by factors

beyond our control such as heredity and environment. From this point of view

there can be no real moral responsibility for our actions if our actions were

determined by factors beyond our control. There is a complete denial of

personal free will in hard determinism.

Soft determinism, however, appears to combine determinism and free will.

It teaches that all human actions are determined by such things as early

childhood experiences thus relinquishing us from total responsibility for our

actions caused by such determining factors. However, if my actions were the

result of my own reasoning exclusive of outside factors than I must take

responsibility for my choices.

In total contrast with determinism, existentialism professes the complete

freedom of the human being. The particular reading I read dealt with atheistic

existentialism, this view of personal freedom rejected a belief in God, feeling

that it would be incompatible with the uncertainty and harsh reality of life

during the time of two wars. This view shared that a person was not ruled by

heredity or environment but was always free at any time to make his own

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