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The Problem With Free Will Essay

1602 words - 6 pages

Free will can be determined as the ability or power to choose, which can include making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances, Descartes identifies the faculty of will with freedom of choice, "the ability to do or not do something" (Meditation IV), and even goes so far as to state that "the will is by its nature so free that it can never be constrained" (Passions of the soul,I, art.41). On this level it is often the common and everyday assumption that we all possess free will, and there is no argument. However the varying schools of thought ( determinist, indeterminist) hold contrasting theories regarding how we can attempt to explain the possession, or the absence, of free choice. This is where the dilema concerning free will takes place.Determinist theorists argue from a perspective that every event, and everything that happens, is caused by antecedent events. The basic argument lies in the statement that if an event were uncaused, it wouldn't have occurred. Hard determinists believe in the theory of determinism and as a result state that no person has free will. The more scientific explanation holds on the principle that for every physical event that occurs, there is a physical (or series of physical) events that cause it. If an action occurs, and those physical circumstances (conditions) are replicated again exactly, the same action will repeat (same cause, same effect)Indeterminists, on the other hand, hold the belief that at least some events that take place can be deemed as being uncaused. So free will may be demonstrated in the choices or decisions we make for actions that are uncaused, the final choice was not pushed in that direction so it must have been of the persons free will.At this point, the argument for free will may already seem to be solved, in general people do not want to abandon the thought of free will (it seems so obvious in everyday life) and therefore take onboard the belief that some events are uncaused, and their outcomes are a demonstration of free choice. Indeterminists point out the fact that whilst the determinist theory seems to be plausible with relation to most physical occurrences, the vast complexity of human behaviour and action is far to complicated to apply such a scientific and basic principle to. They stand by the idea that whilst simple actions may have an identifiable cause, there are undoubtedly cases by which no cause can be identified. Determinists respond to such accusations by implying decisions that are made based on a persons beliefs and desires, are yet another demonstration of cause and effect. They argue that it is the very beliefs and desires that are influencing the choice and therefore the final action is not of free will as there are factors which are encouraging it. It is a plausible argument to suggest that each individual is influenced by a series of hereditary and environmental factors. From a determinist perspective, it may seem far to simplistic an assumption...

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