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Free Will Vs. Determinism Essay

1833 words - 7 pages

Picture yourself in line in the cafeteria, you have two main dishes to choose from: pizza or a plate of fierce-looking meatloaf, so you decide to go with pizza. So was your decision based off of free will or was this decision predetermined? To fully understand whether your actions resulted from free will or determinism, we must first define each. Determinism is the idea that everything happens due to a cause or a determinant, which is something that can be observed or measured. To put it simply, determinism does not mean that the future can be predicted. Rather, it is a prediction of the possible outcomes that may occur. To help predict outcomes we use facts, knowledge, and previous experiences (Ott, par. 4). Free will, on the other hand, is caused by a person’s independent decisions, which means that they cannot be predicted or measured; they are the genuine, unpressured decisions that we make. Therefore, the answer to the question I asked above is determinism. The decision to eat pizza and all other decisions one makes throughout life are predetermined by three factors: our ancestral information, cause and effect within ourselves (our genes), and our environment which includes our family and external factors. Personally, I’ve always felt that we live in a deterministic world and that there was never a need to challenge it. However, research on the topic suggests that people are going to believe only in what they want. This is why this topic remains to be an intensely controversial subject among psychologists. The common individual, of course, believes that, yes, we have free will and we use it every day. From Ott’s understanding, however, these people are blind to the unseen forces of the universe that manage us. Therefore, they assume that there is no management at all. And according to Searle, the reason why free will is so widely accepted is that we have the notion that our brains are able to make decisions alone. We believe the choices we make can be made randomly if we so choose. People who believe in free will don’t understand which of our actions are free and which actions are simply illusions. This gap in our perception, of what is free and what is just an illusion, is free will.
Free will is deceiving because we have no free will at all except in one thing, but besides that one thing, all that we do is dictated by inner and outer nature. My purpose in writing this paper is to persuade individuals to stop placating their egotism by believing in pseudo-philosophical ideas. In order to discover where our freedom really lies we need to look at a level of life below ours to understand the factors that are employed. The first factor is our ancestral information, the information already embedded within us from birth. To understand what this concept means, picture a seed of wheat. In your mind, take that seed of wheat and bury it into the soil. As days go by it will slowly decompose. The body of the seed will disappear, but the information...

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