Freedom and Determinism Essay

Freedom and Determinism Essay

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Freedom is a human value that has inspired many poets, politicians, spiritual leaders, and philosophers for centuries. Poets have rhapsodized about freedom for centuries. Politicians present the utopian view that a perfect society would be one where we all live in freedom, and spiritual leaders teach that life is a spiritual journey leading the soul to unite with God, thus achieving ultimate freedom and happiness. In addition, we have the philosophers who perceive freedom as an inseparable part of our nature, and spend their lives questioning the concept of freedom and attempting to understand it (Transformative Dialogue, n.d.).
Freedom, or the concept of free will seems to be an elusive theory, yet many of us believe in it implicitly. On the opposite end of the spectrum of philosophical theories regarding freedom is determinism, which poses a direct threat to human free will. If outside forces of which I have no control over influence everything I do throughout my life, I cannot say I am a free agent and the author of my own actions. Since I have neither the power to change the laws of nature, nor to change the past, I am unable to attribute freedom of choice to myself. However, understanding the meaning of free will is necessary in order to decide whether or not it exists (Orloff, 2002).
The concept of free will has developed slowly, though ancient philosophers did address the subject when trying to reconcile intentional action with religious concerns about human and divine freedom. It wasn’t until the end of medieval times that the modern-day understanding of freedom as a completely undetermined choice between alternatives was introduced. However, it is unclear how to reconcile contemporary science that acknowledges the in...


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...ical determinism (Science.jrank.org, 2011).



Works Cited

Collins English Dictionary (n.d.). Determinism. Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/determinism
Frame, J. M. (n.d.). Determinism, chance and freedom. Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2005Determinism.htm
Gill, P. (2005). Determinism: An essay. Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://www.determinism.com/essay.shtml
Orloff, G. M. (2002). Where's the free will? Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://www.determinism.com/05042002.shtml
Science.jrank.org (2011). Determinism free will and predestination. Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://science.jrank.org/pages/7709/Free-will-Determinism-Predestination.html
Transformative Dialogue (n.d.). Freedom and existential philosophy. Retrieved July 26, 2011, from http://flower888.tripod.com/id12.html

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