The problem of free will refers to the examination of whether or not we as conscious beings have control over our own actions. French philosopher Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach argues that all acts are caused by past events and conditions, a belief known as determinism. Physical laws shows us that all events in time are determined by prior events, but the belief in free will implies that our actions are results from what we perceive as choice, are undetermined random events in time. Therefore, I argue that there can not be free will because if our actions were random it would defy physical and natural laws. Every event in nature occurs because of a prior events, following back all the way to the big bang or the beginning of the universe, our actions are of no exception. Consider my "choice" to reach my arm out and pick up a cup of coffee. This action is determined by physical laws starting from neurons firing in my brain, electrical signals sent to my muscle fibers as well as chemical reactions that occur during these states. The initial cause here is the will to perform this physical action, however even will is determined by motives and desires which are influenced by my collective experience and memory, in this case the desire to taste coffee. Holbach refers to will as the initial action that gives play to the organs (Holbach 285). This "choice" to perform this action was not a random occurrence, but determined by events leading up to it. I believe if Holbach were aware of genetics as well, he would conclude further that our genes play a crucial role in determining our actions as well. Nature has endowed all of us with the genes which pre determine part of our behaviour. Everyone has different idiosyncrasies which determine how we will act or react in certain situations. Holbach argues that all of our actions is the result of having one motive being stronger then another (Holbach 286-289). Considering the fact that not all people have the same...
Cited: Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry. "Humans are determined." Classic Philosophical Questions.
11th ed. Ed. James A. Gould and Robert J. Mulvaney. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. 283-292.
James, William. "Humans are free." Classic Philosophical Questions.
11th ed. Ed. James A. Gould and Robert J. Mulvaney. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. 293-302.
Aquinas, St. Thomas. "The Cosmological Argument." Classic Philosophical Questions.
11th ed. Ed. James A. Gould and Robert J. Mulvaney. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. 242-247.
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