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Freedom and Determinism Problem - Essay Example

One should distinguish between the idea that events in the universe are linked causally and the idea that events in the universe are linked correlatively. In the first view, exemplified by Newtonian physics, is that the trajectories of billiard balls are determined by their interactions (using factors such as velocity, momentum, and so on). In the second view, certain events are correlatively linked to others, leading to the perception of a causal relationship. 2. Libertarianism Metaphysical libertarianism is the contrary position to determinism, holding that a human free will does exist and that free will is incompatible with determinism. A completely free will implies that no external events act upon or causally determine the chosen actions of human beings. In other words, a person is able to take any of a set of actions under particular circumstances; that is, his choice is not limited to only one possible choice, as is claimed by determinism. One should distinguish between the idea that libertarianism applies to non-physical objects and physical objects. In the first view, the mind is a non-physical entity outside of physical causation and does not rely on the brain for causative explanations. In the second view, libertarianism implies indeterminism in the physical world (invoking ideas of newer quantum physics), which extends to the physical mind. 3. Compatibilism If libertarianism and determinism are two sides on a continuum, then compatibilism is the middle ground between those two positions. Essentially, the idea is that free will and deterministic causation are compatible ideas, making it possible to logically believe in both at the same time. Of course, compatibilists do not believe in the same kind of free will that libertarians do. While libertarians define free will in a way that is logically inconsistent with a physically deterministic universe, compatibilists define it in a manner that is consistent with a deterministic physical universe, making how one defines his terms very important in the debate. A common way of expressing the compatabilist view is explaining that man is not coerced into following his will; however, what he wills is likely subject to forces outside of his mental life. For instance, many human motivations and drives are unconscious, which points to a role both for determinism and man’s choice of actions in human life. This implies also that notions of “alternatives” used by metaphysical libertarians are not real. II. A. Do humans have free will? Humans have free will, but it is not a completely free will. Clearly, certain constraints inhibit the complete freedom of a human free will. For instance, a person cannot fly off a roof or breathe under water, even if there is a clear wish to do so. Moving physical and non-physical constraints aside, any person can clearly demonstrate a free will by choosing their actions among many alternatives. For instance, I can continue typing or get up to get something to drink. But one should notice that both of these actions are at the top of my mind because they are motivated by some process in my physical brain, subject to the causes and effects of electrical and chemical processes. This produces the compatabilist notion of free will: courses of action are suggested by my brain, which my mind eventually chooses from. Are all human actions determined? Not all human action is determined. From psychology, there are numerous examples of how human ...Show more
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I. 1. Determinism Determinism is a metaphysical theory that all events (a category that subsumes the subcategory of human events and actions) are subjected to causes external to the willful choices of human beings. This idea is similar to the idea in physics that cause-and-effect occurs for every phenomenon in the known universe…
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