Free Will and Determinism Can Coexist

Topics: Free will, Determinism, Peter van Inwagen Pages: 4 (1188 words) Published: April 13, 2011
Can freewill and determinism coexist?
Discuss the claim that we humans have no real freedom of choice.

Throughout history, the problem of freewill vs. determinism has sparked major debates between philosophers.

The debate between freewill and determinism stems from the apparent conflict between the universal rule of causality that is deeply rooted in nature, and between the apparent ability of human beings to choose between multiple courses of action in order to lead to the most desirable outcome. The universal rule of causality simply claims that inorganic matter such as tables, chairs and rocks are acted upon by whatever forces affect it, however, human beings seem to be an exception to this rule by their unique ability to ponder about how to go about making decisions in their life and which principles and morals to live by. In simple terms, determinism is the thesis that everything is caused whereas on the other hand, the doctrine of freewill maintains that some of our actions are free. It is for this reason that the problem of freewill and determinism is a paradox because these two equally evident assumptions seem to lead to inconsistent results and leads to the question about whether or not freewill and determinism can co-exist.

It is for this reason also that nowadays one must accept as a fait accompli that the problem of finding out whether free will and determinism are compatible or whether freedom of choice actually does exist is a large part, perhaps the major part of the problem of free will and determinism; Van Inwagen book.

On the other hand, other such incompatibilists accept freewill and disagree with the determinist position; these incompatibilists are known as “Metaphysical libertarians,” such as Thomas Reid and Peter Van Inwagen. Van Inwagen ( ) in his book claims that many philosophers hold not only that free will is compatible with determinism but that free will entails determinism.

Determinism is the thesis that there is at...
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