Friday, December 31, 2010

Essay on Determinism

Essay on Determinism

The controversy between free will and determinism has been a long standing argument. We must first know a little about what we are arguing. As stated in the dictionary, free will is the power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will. In a nutshell, it is the freedom to choose our own fate. The definition for determinism is total opposite. Determinism is the philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs. Basically every effect has a cause.

For the religious minded, determinism supports the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing God. The opposite argument, free will, says that God would not know or have any say in the paths chosen by a human being. This would limit the existence and power of God, which is not acceptable to some.

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Another argument for determinism is cause and effect, or causation. This states that an event should happen over and over with the same result. So if everything in the universe has a cause, all causes would be known, then the future would be easily predicted. Basically the course of the future has already been mapped out, which is not totally possible. Determinism is a bit limiting in its possibilities.

Free will is the ability to make intelligent choices. Although some choice are hindered by past experiences, thoughts, or influences. The freedom of free will is our self awareness, our imagination, observing our own thinking, and the knowledge we seek.

If determinism were true, a person would not have the ability to change their actions and could not be held accountable for them. It is predetermined in his genetic make-up. Based on determinism a person could murder and he would not have any choice in the matter.

One could want to do something such as steal, but from knowing the possible repercussions he could make a choice from the options presented to him, which is free will. He would also be held accountable for his action or decision. If he got caught stealing and was sentenced to years in prison, he would know that he made the wrong choice.

Under the determinist view, we are all puppets. We have a set path in life that has been predetermined. I do not believe that to be true. We can overcome desires and inclinations. Either we have learned from a past experience or we know that the possible outcome of the event at hand is not something we want to experience. We make decisions everyday that affect our lives, whether we make the right ones is up to us.

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