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

Length: 1188 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Three Main Perspectives on Our Freedom Essay

- It is debatable as to whether we are free to make our own choices or not. There is a fair range in people's ideas on our freedom. The three main perspectives on our freedom, however, are determinism, indeterminism and compatibilism. The belief that all our choices are determined by forces beyond our control is called determinism. Determinists believe that every event is a result of a previous one. While determinists may all agree that everything can be traced back to a cause, they don't necessarily all agree on what the cause might be....   [tags: determinism, indeterminism, compatibilism]

Free Essays
600 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Implications of Determinism and Free Will

- Having the free will to write an essay on the “implications of determinism for our understanding of free will” clearly shows that we have the free will to write the essay and the implication for failure of not writing is our decision. Upon reading this essay the free will to decide to write the essay was decided upon by the writer. It was already determined before embarking on this course that an essay would need to be written. Therefore, as logic would have it, it would be irrational to say that determinism and free will are not compatible....   [tags: William James, Theory of Determinism, Decisions]

Good Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

Free Will And The Theory Of Determinism Essay

- Humans have always question if we have free will or if we are unconsciously control by someone, and to understand or to answer the question, first we have to understand what is free will. According to the oxford dictionary, free will is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion. However, most philosophers have decided that there might not be one single concept for the definition of free will. The question of free will has been around for ages and philosopher have taken sides....   [tags: Free will, Determinism, Causality, Psychology]

Good Essays
1032 words (2.9 pages)

William James Basie's Biography Essay

- William James Basie's Biography During the heyday of the swing era, many big bands flourished. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, and Chick Webb fronted big bands that could swing, but none of these legends could swing like the Count Basie Orchestra. Count Basie proved that a big band could still swing, without losing the spontaneity so essential to jazz. William James Basie was born August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey (Hare, par. 3). His father was a coachman and caretaker for a wealthy judge, and his mother took in laundry to help with the family's financial situation....   [tags: William James Basie Biography]

Good Essays
1339 words (3.8 pages)

Freewill And Determinism : Is It Truly Exist? Essay

- Freewill and Determinism Every morning has its routine: alarm goes off, roll out of bed, shower, makeup, brush teeth, and get to class. But do these things happen because that’s what we choose our routine to be. Are we choosing to do these things on our own accord, or are they already predetermined. What is “freewill,” and does it truly exist. These are the questions that philosophers have delved into for centuries, all coming up with different ideas and limitations of “freewill.” AJ Ayer’s concept of compatibilism conflicts with d’Holbach’s idea of hard determinism, and the comparison makes for an interesting debate....   [tags: Free will, Determinism, Causality, Libertarianism]

Good Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)

Determinism And The Limits Of Freedom Essay

- Determinism and the Limits of Freedom In Philosophy there are many questions that individuals have asked and one of the most important questions is “are we truly free?”. Many individuals have their opinions on free will; some may argue that we are free inhabitants of this world and that the world is our playground and we may do as we wish, and some believe that we have to abide by this world and its rules which discourages many from doing as they wish, therefore in essence, we are not truly free....   [tags: Free will, Causality, Determinism, Libertarianism]

Good Essays
995 words (2.8 pages)

Freedom and Determinism Essay

- 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.)....   [tags: Free-will, Determinism, Predestination]

Good Essays
2359 words (6.7 pages)

The Vision for the Future of American Jewry in The Modern Age by Salo Baron

- The Vision for the Future of American Jewry in The Modern Age by Salo Baron In the excerpts presented in Glatzer from Salo Baron's essay, "The Modern Age," Baron describes his vision for the future of American Jewry. He questions whether an outbreak of anti-semitism will ultimately bring an end to Jewish life in America or, whether the American political system is such that that would be difficult. He says that some argue that an economic depression would once again make American Jewry what they had been so many times before, a scapegoat....   [tags: Salo Baron]

Free Essays
292 words (0.8 pages)

The Dialectic of Metafiction and Neorealism in Calvino's Baron in the Trees.

- The Dialectic of Metafiction and Neorealism in Calvino's Baron in the Trees. "I agree to my books being read as existential or as structural works, as Marxist or neo-Kantian, Freudianly or Jungianly: but above all I am glad to see that no one key will open the lock". The above quotation perhaps shows more than anything else the ambiguity of Calvino's works. The obsession to label all narratives arises from our compulsion to make sense of this world, as literary generic categories form part of our cosmologies....   [tags: Calvino Baron Trees Essays]

Good Essays
2560 words (7.3 pages)

Essay on Autonomy in Determinism

- Autonomy in Determinism (1) ABSTRACT: There are good reasons for determinism — the option for pure freedom of will proves to be a non-tenable position. However, this collides with the everyday experience of autonomy. The following argument will attempt to show that determinism and autonomy are compatible. (1) A first consideration going back to MacKay makes clear that I myself cannot foresee in principle my own determination; hence fatalism has lost its grounds. (2) From the perspective of physical determination, I show that quantum-physical indetermination is not at all in a position to explain autonomy, while from the perspective of systems theory physical determination and autonomy is...   [tags: Determinism Papers]

Free Essays
3852 words (11 pages)