Free Will and Schopenhauer

Topics: Metaphysics, Causality, Free will Pages: 4 (1462 words) Published: October 27, 2012
The Delusion of Free Will

Free will is considered as having the ability to choose a course of action solely based on one’s character. Immanuel Kant argues that humans have free will and act accordingly, while Arthur Shopenhauer suggests that humans are delusional and desire to have free will, yet they are lead by laws of nature and motives only. Perceiving ourselves as acting with free will is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action. Free will is a phenomenon that does not exist; what is perceived to be free will is causes that we act upon and motives that drive us to do so.

Every single action needs a cause to act upon. .Kant connects free will with morality and implies that morality lies within reason. He does not really explain free will but only refutes objections against it by stating that we are free by knowing we have duties. His argument suggests that even though we have morals we can always act immorally, by having the ability to act otherwise we have free will. Shopenhauer’s water example proves otherwise. “This is exactly as if water spoke to itself: “I can make high waves (yes in the sea during a storm), I can rush down hill (yes! in the river bed), I can plunge down foaming and gushing (yes! In the waterfall), I can rise freely as a stream of water in the air (yes! In the fountain) I can, finally, boil away and disappear (yes! At a certain temperature); but I am voluntarily remaining quiet and clear in the reflecting pond.”

This example is deterministic and proves that in order for the water to do all those things, it needs a cause to act upon. Just as a man must have a cause that pushes him forward in order to act accordingly. The man needs a motive that will act as a cause. The causal determinism proposes that all future events are necessitated by past and present events combined by laws of nature.

It is not a man’s free will that makes him act morally, but rather, it is...
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