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Free Will Determinism Essay

1448 words - 6 pages

     
Every day in our lives and everything we do involves some degree of decision making or choice selection either mental or physical. We start making choices and decisions from the moment we wake up everyday to the second we sleep. Some decisions we make are blatantly obvious to ourselves because of our need to reflect on the choices before choosing. However, most decisions we make throughout the day are made without much thought. We are even, quite often, unaware that we are making decisions due to habituation and preference. Before going further, we must define the terms free will, determinism and fate or destiny. Free will is the ability to choose. Furthermore, it is the power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate. Fate, or destiny, can be defined as the inevitable events predestined by this force. However, there is a better position to take when it comes to arguing against free will; and that position, or belief, is called determinism. Determinism states that the conditions at one moment are the necessary result from the “previous” conditions. Simply put, every effect has a cause, every action is predetermined. Unlike fate or destiny, it does not mean the future is already established. It is one thing to say that our choice is caused. It is another thing to say that we do not choose, and fate says, we cannot choose. This is definitely an endless argument given that it is a matter of personal opinion with no facts involved. However, free will definitely seems like the most plausible standpoint. We do have free will.
First of all, we can all experience something within ourselves that we can conclude to be a decision making process. These decisions we make are obviously made from our own will and not determined by anything other than ourselves. Baron Holbach, an 18th century French philosopher, believes that free will is an illusion. According to Holbach, we have no choice in anything because everything is predetermined. Holbach also states that our decision making boils down to preference. For example, if Bob walked into an ice cream store filled with numerous flavors, it would seem that Bob is free to choose any flavor he wants. Holbach would have to argue that Bob has already made a decision in his mind before walking in due to vanilla being his favorite flavor, his preference. However, there is no relation between the fact that he chose vanilla and his choice being predetermined. As stated earlier, it is one thing to say Bob’s choice is caused and another to say that he didn’t have a choice. Bob’s preference caused him to choose vanilla. According to fate, Bob didn’t have a choice. He was destined to pick vanilla. That conclusion doesn’t seem logical. It’s obvious that he could have chosen otherwise considering that he wasn’t restrained in any way. Let’s imagine if Bob’s best friend, John, was in the ice cream shop with him. John says, “I bet you are...

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