By Jeffrey Shamberger
of responsibility we claim for our actions. Obviously, if outside forces
determine our choices, we cannot be held responsible for our actions. However,
if our choices are made with total freedom than certainly we must claim
responsibility for our choices and actions.
The readings I chose offered two quite opposite theories on individual
theories the contrasts are quite outstanding.
including hard determinism and soft determinism.
Hard determinism taught that each of our actions is determined by factors
personal free will in hard determinism.
Soft determinism, however, appears to combine determinism and free will.
It teaches that all human actions are determined by such things as early
childhood experiences thus relinquishing us from total responsibility for our
actions caused by such determining factors. However, if my actions were the
result of my own reasoning exclusive of outside factors than I must take
responsibility for my choices.
In total contrast with determinism, existentialism professes the complete
freedom of the human being. The particular reading I read dealt with atheistic
existentialism, this view of personal freedom rejected a belief in God, feeling
that it would be incompatible with the uncertainty and harsh reality of life
heredity or environment but was always free at any time to make his own
moral laws, thus, individuals were free to determine their own human nature
any existing moral laws). ?Authentic? living involves free choices that allows
the individual to become his own person. The big difference between
existentialism and the previously discussed views is the emphasis on the
freedom of the person to do and be anything with no limits and all choices are
Any attempt to avoid freedom of choice would be considered ?bad-faith?,
or living in an inauthentic way. Examples of this would be saying that we
could not help ourselves or that we are not really responsible for what we did
thus placing responsibility on someone or something else.
Existentialism cannot include ?groupthink?, which includes large
organizations such as church. If you belong to a church, there are some moral
issues you must believe in and some you should not. The same is true for
acting in ?bad-faith?.
Furthermore, love automatically would put a person in ?bad-faith?. This is
to insure we don?t lose our loved one or ones. An authentic existence would be
impossible if we had to check our actions against the imagined judgement of the
person who fulfills our need for true love.
Obviously, a huge contrast exists between determinism and existentialism.
individual free will to the left of soft determinism and to the right of
existentialism. I have come to this conclusion because of a few definate beliefs
I would have to consider. I personally believe in God, who I believe represents
hopefully, we can sift through our influences and sort out the love or fear
involved in our choices. Ultimately, I feel that although there can be many
circumstances that interfere with our choices and actions we all have the power
to make choices for ourselves and learn from those choices. This could be why
God gave us, human beings, the precious gift of our own free will.