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Determinism Versus Freedom

Determinism vs. Freedom
From its onset, the idea of free will has been heavily associated with the question of moral responsibility. Free will is defined as the ability to make choices unconstrained by physical, social, and mental factors. For example, assuming a person is not insane or a child, he or she makes the conscious, free choice to commit a crime without the impact of the causal influences of past events. Contrasting with the notion of free will is the concept of determinism, or, the idea that there exist conditions that could cause no other event, for every event that occurs. The debate over free will and determinism has laid the foundation for many basic laws of modern science.
The dilemma between determinism and free will traces back to a group of ancient Greek philosophers, better known as the Athenian Triad, composed of greats like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Plato, a pupil of Socrates, had perhaps the most influential impact on the debate over determinism and free will because of his ideas on epistemology and ethics. He felt that cases of inner, psychological compulsion define freedom of will in contrast to the phenomenon of determinism. For such thinkers, true freedom of the will involves liberation from the tyranny of base desires and acquisition of desires for “the Good” in his book The Republic. Plato, for example, asserts rational, spirited, and desired aspects to the soul and holds that wants issue from the higher, rational part alone. In other cases, one is dominated by the irrational desires of the two lower parts.
It was the Stoic school of philosophy that molded the idea of natural laws controlling all things, including the mind. The influence of stoic philosophers still persists to this day,...

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...since most of them are largely based on the subject’s personality. Sometimes experimenters are able to account for this limitation by coming up with control variables, but often the isolation of the desired variable is never suitable for a complete conclusion. After having studied the subject, my personal belief is an amalgam of both theories. I believe that we do have free will in the sense that we have the ability to actively make and carry out our own decisions, but each decision has certain outcomes. It should be noted however, that personal and religious beliefs are a huge factor in my personal opinion on the matter, since I deny the existence of any supernatural omniscient deity. I contend that in every situation we have a finite number of choices, and depending on how we rationalize or deal with each situation, we then have a finite number of outcomes.

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