Free-Will Vs Determinism

1397 Words6 Pages
At first though free will and determinism seem completely incompatible. How can we have free will, the option to choose whether we do one thing or another, if determinism, the belief that all events are predetermined by previous events in the universe, exists? We cannot make a free choice if we in fact are not in control of the choices we make. However though debate are further thought it can be seen that in fact free will and determinism are compatible and it is possible to believe in both whilst still being logically consistent. This is known as compatibilism, the belief that free will can be both present or absent in any situation. In this essay I am going to look at both views but ultimately my view is that they are compatible. When we…show more content…
However if determinism is true, that we could not have chosen other than what we did, then we oppose the view that we could have done otherwise to what we actually did. This leads to the view that determinism and free will are incompatible, known as incompatibilism. Yet if free will is a necessity for our moral compass then it could be viewed that our lives are based on an error that we believe we are morally responsible for our actions (lecture notes). If this is true then we must also be living on the illusion that we have freedom as if we are not in fact responsible for our morality then we cannot have free will as our actions have already been predetermined and we have no other choice but to do that action. Furthermore, if free will and determinism are not compatible then it seems that our moral responsibility is also not compatible with determinism. For an act to occur we must have a cause such as lying to save your own skin. However if we have no causation eg, beliefs and reasons then we do not act for a reason and thus we would not be acting responsibly, therefore if there is no cause we cannot be held accountable for our actions. Thus this leads to the view, known as, hard incompatibilism. This is a view that we are not accountable for our actions because if determinism exists free will cannot. Yet we also cannot be accountable for our actions if determinism does not exist as it is not…show more content…
This is known as compatibilism, where compatibilists believe both free will and determinism can be both present and absent in all events, it is also argued that free will in fact requires determinism or else it is just a lucky chance or complete randomness. Two influential philosophers Thomas Hobbes and David Hume have many views and discussions on this belief. Hume viewed that “By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting, according to the determinations of the will; this is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may” (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) [R&R, p. 475]). I believe Hume is arguing that moral responsibility and free will can be harmonised though determinism. The idea of ‘could have done otherwise’ for Hobbes and Hume in fact means; ‘would have done differently if one had the option to do differently’. This is known as “classical” compatibilism (or Conditional Analysis) where we are able to do other than what we have done even if determinism is true. An example of this is ‘I went shopping and brought two of the same jeans, but I could have done otherwise. I could have brought only one’. When we look at this in the conditional analysis view it means ‘I brought two of the same jeans, but I would have done otherwise if I had chosen to do otherwise. I would have brought only one pair if I had chosen to only buy one of the same pair’. This

More about Free-Will Vs Determinism

Open Document