October 17, 2014
Word Count: 560
Determinism vs Free Will
“Determinism is the thesis that everything that occurs happens of necessity.” (Palmer, pg 220). The question of free will is one which has been hotly debated for millennia. Some people believe that humans have the capacity for free will - the ability to choose their actions without being forced to follow a certain course by either by the influence of others or by natural laws. For many theists, free will is regarded as a special gift from God. The notion of human free will is also an important premise for a lot of what happens in human society, in particular, when it comes to our legal system. Professor Embree stated in class free will is necessary for the notion of personal responsibility (Embree, 10/14/14). If people do not have free will, then it is difficult to argue that they are personally and morally responsible for their actions - and if that is the case, how can they be punished for their misdeeds? Free will and determinism are two major theories that have been argued throughout time in order to explain the way individuals’ lives are projected and set up throughout their lifetime.
Others, however, argue that if the universe itself is deterministic in nature, then human actions must also be deterministic, thus, modern determinism tends to be an outgrowth of modern science. If human actions simply follow the course of natural law, then it is difficult to hold that those actions can be "freely" chosen. Those who advocate determinism run into something of a contradiction, however, when they try to argue their point with those who argue for free will. If it is true that nothing is freely chosen, then those who believe in the existence of free will do not do so by choice - so what is the point of trying to convince them otherwise? Indeed, what is the point of trying to convince…