This planet contains many forms of life from the birds in the air to the fish in the sea and everything in between. Each with their own set of instincts governing functions, primarily those of reproduction and survival. As humans, we believe that we are different; that we posses a capacity for higher-level brain function that allows human activity outside the parameters of primal, base instinct. As evidence, mankind has been able to produce language, art, and music. We are able to demonstrate both a capacity of experiencing emotion and understanding the difference between right and wrong. Clearly, these examples demonstrate humanities ability to act independently of the survival ...view middle of the document...
Another constraint that has the ability to govern human behavior is the environment in which we are raised, which provides the socialization necessary for survival and the primary basis for human interaction.
Secondly, the definition proposes that free will exercises an element of control; that despite constraints of genetics or upbringing and socialization, humans are able to exercise a level of control necessary to exercise action via independent judgment. This implies that mankind is endowed with an innate capacity to control behavior. This second tenant of the definition will prove highly important, as several critical ideas regarding free will challenge this notion.
A fundamental criticism of free will is the Distant Causation Argument, which proposes that free will is impossible. The argument states that an agent has no responsibility for actions outside their control. Following, the theory suggests that every action an agent preforms is a result of genes and childhood upbringing, which an actor has no control over. Therefore, human action isn’t truly free because it originates from factors outside of an actor’s control.
The flaw in this argument is that it attempts to isolate the agent from the actions preformed, asserting the position that genes and upbringing are responsible for the act and not the actor themselves. In asserting that one can’t be responsible for actions outside of one’s control, the theory fails to take into account that the actor still committed the action. Defining responsibility then becomes essential to understanding the theory. If responsibility entails simple causation than of course the actor is to blame; however, if responsibility involves some moral consideration than it is possible for an actor to be considered not morally responsible for their actions.
Another theory challenging free will is the Could Not Have Done Otherwise Argument, which proposes that if an actor choses to commit a certain act for whatever various reasons, their exists several other actions...