Hard Determinism vs. Soft Determinism
By: Michael Soltys
Determinism is the idea that occurrences in our life have already been determined and are a result of another element in the universe (cause and effect) and every occurrence can be traced back to the original state of the universe therefore nothing is random. Indeterminism, is essentially the opposite of determinism, humans have the free will to do as they please therefore nothing is predetermined. Now assuming one does hold the deterministic approach to their metaphysical beliefs, there are two different beliefs within determinism: hard determinism (HD) and soft determinism (SD). As the name suggests hard determinism is determinism at the literal level. People who are hard determinists believe in determinism (our lives are pre determined, no random events). Initially, soft determinism seemed to be similar to HD, however the difference between the two is relevant when looking into the subject. Soft determinists believe that our actions are both determined and governed by free will, hence the name “soft” determinists. Many philosophers reject the idea of hard determinism for a variety of reasons: out dated scientific evidence, fallacies within logic, no counter example, leading many to side with the idea of soft determinism. If one believes in determinism, soft determinism is the only logical way to justify determinism.
To have a good grasp of what soft determinism is, it’s important to understand what constitutes freedom, or an act of free will. “Freedom is capability + desire” (Sandra LaFave, 6). Basically freedom is doing what you want, 17th century philosopher David Hume believed in soft determinism and has choice words when it comes to freedom and determinism “a person’s action is free if, and only if, had the person wanted to do otherwise than the act, the person would have had the power to do otherwise than the act.” This statement from Humes conforms to the idea of determinism however touches...
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