Should Free Will Be An Illusion? Essays

Should Free Will Be An Illusion? Essays

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When considering whether free will is an illusion or is not an illusion, it is crucial to examine four significant philosophical ideologies: determinism (hard), compatibilism, fatalism, and libertarianism. Free will is the power of acting without the constraint of fate. In considering this question of free will, there are two are two arguments to consider; free will is an illusion or free will is not an illusion. Each argument is substantiated from one or more of the three previously mentioned philosophical ideologies nonetheless, this assignment will demonstrate that free will is an illusion through the ideological standpoint of hard determinism and fatalism. This argument will be manifested through identifying and explaining each argument with the inclusion of supportive examples and by refuting opposing arguments presented by both libertarianism and compatibilism.
Determinism, specifically casual determinism, states that human behaviour is entirely determined by several influences that are outside of a person’s control. Determinism is better defined by the idea that all human happenings are in fact, pre-determined by causal events and experiences. Additionally, according to Sappington (1990), in regards to free will, many determinists believe that, “…concepts such as free will are meaningless” (p. 19). Closely related to causality, free determinism states that a person is only able to make a single decision because of past causal effects (The Information Philosopher, n.d, p. 1). With this given information, a person may believe that he or she has the free will to make a certain decision, when in reality, he or she really only has one option because of previous events in his or her life. In terms of determinism, the previous ev...


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...al objection to consider for the argument of determinism and fatalism is the position of libertarianism, specifically the objection from philosopher Robert Kane. Liberationists such as Kane state that people are free from all types of determinism and that people have the ability to control their own free will (Kane, 2009, p. 35). In response to determinism, Kane explains that when a person is challenged by their own beliefs, that person is acting in terms of free will. For example, alluding back to the story of the woman who domestically abuses her children, when she was growing up she had the ability to become the woman she wanted to be, thus acting in form of free will. By forming herself, the woman had free will. In addition, the woman could have made the decision not to beat her children, but she did not, thus proving that she had free will and made a decision.

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