preview

Free Will Determinism

Better Essays
Every day in our lives and everything we do involves some degree of decision making or choice selection either mental or physical. We start making choices and decisions from the moment we wake up everyday to the second we sleep. Some decisions we make are blatantly obvious to ourselves because of our need to reflect on the choices before choosing. However, most decisions we make throughout the day are made without much thought. We are even, quite often, unaware that we are making decisions due to habituation and preference. Before going further, we must define the terms free will, determinism and fate or destiny. Free will is the ability to choose. Furthermore, it is the power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate. Fate, or destiny, can be defined as the inevitable events predestined by this force. However, there is a better position to take when it comes to arguing against free will; and that position, or belief, is called determinism. Determinism states that the conditions at one moment are the necessary result from the “previous” conditions. Simply put, every effect has a cause, every action is predetermined. Unlike fate or destiny, it does not mean the future is already established. It is one thing to say that our choice is caused. It is another thing to say that we do not choose, and fate says, we cannot choose. This is definitely an endless argument given that it is a matter of personal opinion with no facts involved. However, free will definitely seems like the most plausible standpoint. We do have free will.
First of all, we can all experience something within ourselves that we can conclude to be a decision making process. These decisions we make are obviously made from our own will and not determined by anything other than ourselves. Baron Holbach, an 18th century French philosopher, believes that free will is an illusion. According to Holbach, we have no choice in anything because everything is predetermined. Holbach also states that our decision making boils down to preference. For example, if Bob walked into an ice cream store filled with numerous flavors, it would seem that Bob is free to choose any flavor he wants. Holbach would have to argue that Bob has already made a decision in his mind before walking in due to vanilla being his favorite flavor, h...

... middle of paper ...

... that neurons firing chemicals and so forth could have deterministically resulted in his choice of vanilla. There are arguments which claim that free will is an illusion. It is an illusion that we accept because of our inability to observe all of the processes going on involved with making a choice. Basically, this point of view states that we are unaware and have a lack of understanding for numerous processes present within human thought.
Despite the differences between free will and determinism or fatalism, there is some middle ground. Libertarian is the belief that free will is affected by human nature but retains ability to choose contrary to our nature and desires. This is a balance between the ideas from free will and determinism. This is a good stance because of its incorporation of both views. This whole argument about free will is purely subjective. However, it seems that there are stronger arguments for the idea of free will as opposed to determinism and fatalism. As was stated earlier, it would seem rather pessimistic to view the world as a determinist. Just by being a determinist, one is choosing not to believe in free will which is an example of free will in itself.
Get Access