Thought and Man

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According to Holbach, humans have no control whatsoever, no matter how much said humans believe they do. He explains that free will is a construct of the human mind and that all of our choices are determined by desire and necessity. Even when a mad man sticks his hand in a fire, he is acting on some sort of greater desire to impress upon his counterparts or for his own self-betterment. In his opening deposition he states that man is connected to universal nature and submitted to the necessary and immutable laws she imposes on all beings. This is interesting because many arguments that are connected to the idea of determinism and free will are linked to the existence of God or another omniscient power. This is one of the only well explained arguments against the belief of free will that doesn’t lend itself to imposing personal religion onto the reader/scholar studying the work. The examples provided by Holbach are wide and well prepared to lend significance to his argument. He starts off talking of a man tormented by a violent thirst, if said man is shown water he will automatically want to drink it, as it is an inherent need for that water to live. He will however falter and think about not drinking the water if someone were to tell him it were poisoned. Holbach covers any conflicting thoughts to this situation by saying that a mad man may very well still drink of the poisoned water. He is not acting of his own free will as the actions of fools are as necessary as those of the most prudent individual almost set to be counteractions that hold the world in balance. Holbach continues on saying that the actions of man are never free. Man acts selfishly in every action he partakes in, he does make fairly educated decisions over what he must do though as he bases all his decisions on opinions, received ideas, consequences of his temperament that point to his own happiness. As we said in class about the door holding situation, you may not want to hold a door open...
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