Free Will Vs Determinism Essay

Good Essays
The Controversy Between Determinism and Free Will Determinism is a controversial topic to free will with multiple theories proving and disproving it. As printed in The Collins Cobuild Learner's Dictionary, determinism is defined as “...the belief that all actions and events result from other actions, events, or situations, so people cannot in fact choose what to do.” Meaning, all life choices are predetermined from the minute we are born, to the minute we die. In contrast, “freewill is an individual taking control and responsibility for his/her actions according to his personal will” (Freewill Verses Determinism). People who believe in Free will, accept the idea that life is not predetermined, and they can independently act however they see fit. Free will and determinism can be further simplified and have multiple differences as well as similarities. Determinism can be broken down into two major groups. …show more content…
Hard determinists believe that every event has a cause, therefore, no one can act freely. In the video, Free Will and Determinism, the speaker states that society, upbringing, culture, and environment all play key roles as to how we feel emotionally. These four concepts interfere with our lives, and establish our actions. In addition, Honderich offers, “It is not merely a chance [External situations that may occur] or random event.” Hard determinists believe we have unknown forces acting upon us that cause us to act in a certain way. Everything that happens to us has already been mapped out and we are forced to live the life we have been given. In contrast, soft determinist believe that every event has a cause.This results in the person being free (Vaughn, Lewis, and Theodore Schick, Jr.). As described in the video, Freewill and Determinism, soft determinists believe in two types of causes: internal causes and external causes.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Free-Will Vs Determinism

    • 1491 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The debate between free will vs determinism is important because it reflects on actions and intentions of humans, but free will brings up strong valid points supported by evidence. Free will can be simplified as a human does what they ultimately and truly want in their mind, through their own beliefs and character. Determinism is about having strong influences in an environment, that the decisions of individuals reflect off their unconscious mind. Determinism can influence decisions, but the final decision and action is up to the individual. Through past experiences a person can learn and be influenced by everything in their surroundings, but it does not force a person to make a decision based on their past. I do not believe that anything is…

    • 1491 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    One of the main questions that we face is whether or not, we as humans have genuine freedom. Are we free to make our own choices? Do we decide what happens in our lives in the future? Or are our lives set pathways in which we have no say at all? Are all our choices already decided? In other words, do we have free will or are our actions pre-determined, or both? Hard determinists, libertarians and soft determinists all set out to provide answers to these questions, holding different views on whether or not free will and determinism are compatible. Both hard determinists and libertarians believe that free will and determinism are incompatible but hard determinists reject the idea of free will whereas libertarians support the idea of free will and reject determinism. On the other hand, soft determinists believe that free will and determinism are in fact compatible.…

    • 2062 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Free Will vs. Determinism

    • 1948 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Society walks about day-by-day living their lives and never really thinking or breaking down how their day unfolds or why it plays out the way it does. Some people have said that individuals have a choice and are able to decide on where their day goes. Others on the other hand would argue this assessment and state that your day and your life as whole are all pre determined. The different is free will vs. determinism. Do you believe we live in a free will world or has everything been planed out and is determined to happen no matter what? To start out on finding an answer to this question we must first break down the two terms and a bit about their background and what they mean to us as an individual walking around day-to-day living our lives.…

    • 1948 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Is it possible to act freely if all of our decisions were already predetermined? This interesting question is connected to the most discussed philosophical question. Every philosopher wants to know, “Do human beings ever act freely?” Incompatibilist and compatibilist have been going back and forth about it for years. Compatibilist believe that determinism and free will can both exist. In this paper, we will define determinism, free will, compatibilism, and incompatiblism. I will show how the incompatibilist are right. I am an incompatibilist because I believe determinism and free will cannot coexist since determinism eradicates free will and the purpose of life.…

    • 1409 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Soft Determinism

    • 1913 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Determinism currently takes two related forms: hard determinism and soft determinism [1][1]. Hard determinism claims that the human personality is subject to, and a product of, natural forces. All of our choices can be accounted for by reference to environmental, social, cultural, physiological and hereditary (biological) causes. Our total character is a product of these environmental, social, cultural, physiological and hereditary forces, thus our beliefs, desires, values and habits are all outside of our control. The hard determinist, therefore, claims that our choices are determined by these factors; free will is an illusion because the choices and decisions we make are derived from our character, which is completely out of our control in creating. An example might help illustrate this point. Consider a man who has just repeatedly stabbed another man outside of a bar; the other man is dead. The hard determinist would argue that there were factors outside of the killer's control which led him to this action. As a child, he was constantly beaten by his father and was the object of ridicule and contempt of his classmates. This trend of hard luck would continue all his life. Coupled with the fact that he has a gene that has been identified with male aggression, he could not control himself when he pulled the knife out and started stabbing the other man. All this aggression, and all this history were the determinate cause of his action.…

    • 1913 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Determinism is the belief that your future is fixed or determined, either by what you have genetically inherited or by your social environment and experience. The alternative to determinism is choice and interaction this is the belief that people can take control of their own lives through the choices they make. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘free will’ viewpoint.…

    • 3239 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Free will is the term made up of ‘autos’ meaning self and ‘nomos’ meaning rule. Many philosophers such as Kant say that you can only be responsible for actions that you undertake of your own will, this is opposed to Determinism.…

    • 1582 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Determinism Vs Fatalism

    • 1220 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Determinism and Fatalism are beliefs or, in general, outlooks towards life, between which several variances can be acknowledged. Both of these philosophies hold the view that there is no such thing as a free will and that it is merely a deception. If we think that we are powerless and what is destined - or is our fate - will happen, regardless of we may do we hold an attitude that is referred to as fatalism. On the other hand, those who believe that there is a source of every result and that tomorrow is constructed on what we do today are determinists - or having belief in determinism. Fatalists belittle all human activities, saying that happenings in life are predetermined and whatever is going to happen will happen, regardless. Determinists…

    • 1220 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    I believe that free will is true in saying, the idea that humans can freely choose their actions rather than all our lives being predetermined like the way determinist believe. Determinist think free will is just simply an illusion, and that our thoughts come from our background, and we are unaware as to which we strive no conscious control. As Sam Harris philosopher, claims that our thoughts and desires impose instinctive circumstances that define the character of your consciousness in that moment.…

    • 632 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gary Gutting, the author of the article, What Makes Free Will Free? deliberates that we do not have free choice as we assumed which a researcher confirmed. By free choice, this means the conviction that our conduct is dictated by our own unrestrained choice and that we have complete power over our activities. Also, Gary Gutting examined various thoughts on determinism as the researchers suggested. Determinism refers to the conviction that all human conduct or any other occurrences have a cause. This is opposed to a person's will to accomplish an action. Gary Gutting discussed what David Hume, a philosopher, believed and the belief of David Hume is that both determinism and free choice are possible, they are compatible with each…

    • 1857 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The excerpt I chose was “Free Will versus Determinism”, and I noticed from the beginning the piece was written with reasons to support the content. First, the presentation introduces two beliefs; the behavior of atoms is governed entirely by physical law, and humans have free will. Immediately after presenting these ideas and questioning the relations in the two, the excerpt explains the logical approach to why they do not necessarily favor one another. Any argument that is presented, or comparison of two aspects, needs facts and reasons to confirm why the person is trying to convince the reader or other person that the argument is supported.…

    • 462 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The dialogue between philosophers over the existence of free will versus the inevitability of determinism is a debate that will always exist. The discussion centers around the true freedom of humans to think and act according to their own judgment versus the concept that humans are intrinsically bound by the physical laws of the universe. Before I enter this chicken and the egg debate I need to quantify my terms:…

    • 2044 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Free Will is defined as the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Libertarians believe in free will and recognize that freedom and determinism are incompatible.. The determinist also follow the doctrine of incompatibility.…

    • 606 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    To consider the extent to whether free will is compatible with Determinism, you must first think about whether or not we actually possess free will in the first place. A Hard Determinist would say that individuals are not free to act upon anything as it is like a path set up by other natural factors in which we have no control over, this leads to the conclusion that humans are not morally responsible for any action. Any moral decisions we make have causes prior that are uncontrollable. Therefore a Hard Determinist would say that free will and Determinism are not compatible with one another. On the other hand is Libertarianism, with which free will is closely compatible. Philosophers such as Kant, believe that we are completely free meaning that we are morally responsible for every action we take. Between these two extremes stands soft-determinists, such as Hume. These think that most decisions we make are the result of external factors but also we have acted upon free will to make it happen. In fact, they go so far as to say that true freedom requires causation, without this there would be randomness. Therefore free will is completely incompatible with a hard determinist, but a Soft Determinist however would argue that free will must be compatible. So a libertarian approach seems like the most convincing as it implies that we are morally responsible for our actions but takes into account the fact that external factors may have caused this.…

    • 934 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Free Will and Determinisim

    • 1135 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Both Steven Cahn and W.T. Stace have written essays concerning the compatibility of Free Will and/or Determinism. However, they have opposing views on the subject, whereas Cahn believes free will and determinism are incompatible and Stace believes that they are. Free will can be defined as one’s ability or power to freely make choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate. On the other hand, Determinism can be defined as the, “philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences” (Wikipedia). So what are the arguments concerning their compatibility?…

    • 1135 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Powerful Essays