Hume vs. Beauvoir

1073 Words5 Pages
The debate regarding free will and determinism has made its appearance in history several times, and the argument only continues to grow. The topic under debate deals with “the doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will” (determinism) and “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate” (free will). Hume’s argument concerning “the doctrine of liberty” and “the doctrine of necessity” mostly focuses on establishing the truth and character of necessity. He centers on the relation between the two concepts and effectively reflects what liberty means [to him]. Hume declares himself a compatibilist, defining an instance of free will as one in which the agent has the independence to act to his own ambition. That is, the agent is not coerced to act in a presumed manner. Hume believes in free will and determinism, arguing that the two beliefs can be adjusted. By taking this position, he redefines free will and determinism in order to avoid the logic of the incompatibilist position. According to Hume, the incompatibilist’s belief of determinism claims the existence of causation/necessary connection in physical communications that we deny exist in human behavior. For Hume, determinism steers from events being randomly coerced, and relies only on our perception of them being sporadically necessitated. On page 64 Hume states, “It is universally allowed that matter, in all its operations, is actuated by a necessary force, and that every natural effect is so precisely determined by the energy of its cause that no other effect, in such particular circumstances, could possibly have resulted from it.” Hume instills the idea that every effect has a cause, and every cau... ... middle of paper ... ...t notice that the alcohol has changed their motives, but might also take note of the idea that they will forever be labeled an alcoholic. Beauvoir on the other hand, believes that a person can change who they are and make a complete 360. If the alcoholic has stopped drinking and does not wish to take another drink ever again, then said person should no longer bear the label of an alcoholic. The alcoholic is a new human being in the eyes of Beauvoir; able to become anything they wish to be. In conclusion, Beauvoir and Hume ultimately believe separate ideas. Hume believes in free will and determinism, while Beauvoir believes that free will and necessity are not compatible. Hume believes that events in a person’s life are determined by causes external to the will, and Beauvoir believes that a person is able to change who they are no matter what the circumstances are.

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