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Free-will and Determinism: Conflict and Choice

Uploaded by dropthechalupa01 on Feb 26, 2000

Suppose that every event or action has a sufficient cause, which brings that event about. Today, in our scientific age, this sounds like a reasonable supposition. After all, can you imagine someone seriously claiming that when it rains, or when a plane crashes, or when a business succeeds, there might be no cause for it? Surely, human behavior is caused. It doesn't just happen for any reason at all. The types of human behavior for which people are held morally accountable are usually said to be caused by the people who engaged in that behavior. People typically cause their own behavior by making choices; thus, this type of behavior might be thought to be caused by your own choice-makings. This freedom to make your own choices is free will. Determinism, a philosophical doctrine against freedom, is the theory stating that all events, physical and mental (including moral choices), are completely determined by previously existing causes that preclude free will. This theory denies the element of chance or contingency, as well as the reality of human freedom, holding that the "will" is not free but is determined by biological, environmental, social, or mystical imperatives. Since every event in our lives is determined by outside causes, then we are just some sort of robots. Freedom, on the other hand, is rooted behind the idea that we do have control over the choices we make, thus having free will, a requirement for being morally accountable for an action. But if determinism is true, and we have no control over the choices we make, then we do not have free-will; and therefore, nobody can ever legitimately be held morally accountable for anything. Our common practice of thinking of others and ourselves as accountable is simply not justified! There are those who think that our behavior is a result of free choice, but there are others who presume "we are servants of cosmic destiny or that behavior is nothing but a reflex of heredity and environment." The position of determinism is that every event is the necessary outcome of a cause or set of causes, and everything is a consequence of external forces, and such forces produce all that happens. Therefore, according to this statement, man is not free. If we accept the determinist argument and assume human behavior as a consequence of external factors rather than of free choice, then we must realize that our explanation...

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Uploaded by:   dropthechalupa01

Date:   02/26/2000

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   5 pages (1,013 words)

Views:   1496

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