Baron d'Holbach and William James on Free Will and Determinism Essay example

Baron d'Holbach and William James on Free Will and Determinism Essay example

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Baron d'Holbach and William James on Free Will and Determinism

3. Discuss the issue between Baron d'Holbach and William James on free will and determinism?

Before we can discuss the issue between Baron d'Holbach and William James we have to know the definitions of the items the issue is about. Free will according to the Encarta encyclopedia is "The power or ability of the human mind to choose a course of action or make a decision without being subject to restraints imposed by antecedent causes, by necessity, or by divine predetermination. A completely freewill act is a cause and not an effect; it is beyond causal sequence or the law of causality." So according to this statement freewill is the ability for humans to make decisions without influences or outside restrictions.
The other issue that is being discussed between the two philosophers is determinism. Also determinism must be defined before interpreting their views. Determinism according to the Encarta encyclopedia is "A philosophical doctrine holding that every event, mental as well as physical, has a cause, and that, the cause being given, the event follows invariably. This theory denies the element of chance or contingency." Also like to other definition for free will this is confusing and incomplete to the reader. I think that determinism is a theory that every event has a cause and effect and that once a cause is stated than the event will follow.
Now that we have a clear picture of the issues being discussed we need to talk about the philosophers. The first philosopher is William James born in New York City during the year of 1842. He was an American philosopher and psychologist, who developed the philosophy of pragmatism. He attended priv...

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...would consider reality. But it must be noted that while Bouwsma has made a valid suggestion, it does not prove that the evil genius does not exist. It is as impossible to prove that the evil genius doesn't exist, as it is to prove that God does exist.
No one can prove or disprove the existence of an evil genius; they can only go so far as to say that it does not matter. He tried to prove that the existence of the evil genius would not make a difference in our lives. For this reason, I believe that although Bouwsma has made a valid point, but he only touched the surface of Descartes' argument. He has succeeded in proving that life is not meaningless, but that was not the purpose of Descartes' argument to begin with. All in all the two philosophers both have valid points to back there individual arguments but it is a matter of opinion on which one is right.

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