The Central Conflict Behind Free Will: Problems From Philosophy By James Rachels

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Thesis: The central conflict behind free will is determining whether or not it humans have the freedom of Summary: In chapter eight of Problems from Philosophy, author James Rachels explores the topic of free will. He begins the chapter by discussing a crime that consisted of two teenage boys murdering a boy simply to prove that they were capable of committing such an act. The lawyer of these two boys was a man named Clarence Darrow, who held the belief that crimes did not exist. In other words, he felt that people should not be faulted upon what they cannot control. He then described the childhood of one of the murderers by stating that did not receive adequate attention and affection. Darrow also described one of them as having an antisocial personality disorder. He utilized…show more content…
If the future is already determined, people cannot control their own destiny. Through a religious point of view, God knows the fate of our own lives which means we do not have the ability to change them. James Rachels mentions a famous mathematician by the name of Pierre-Simon Laplace. He believed that we could predict the future of the universe if we knew everything about its current state. The author asserts that another underlying cause of behavior is neurological events in the brain. A scientist by the name of Jose Delgado conducted experiments with various animals to prove that certain behaviors are caused by stimulating the brain. Eventually, he applied electrical stimulation to humans and found that they would create reasons for their behavior, suggesting that each action serves a purpose. Another scientist known as Kornhuber performed similar experiments using an EEG that allowed him to observe brain activity before decisions were made. In relation to psychology, social, environmental, and genetic factors play a major role in behavior. This also supports the idea that people do not have free will. Famous theories relating to behaviorism and

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