Our Free Will
because we are all helpless products of blind forces which have made us what we
determining how determinism is false, give arguments for determinism, and then
refute those arguments.
There are those who think that our behavior is a result of free choice,
of determinism is that every event is the necessary outcome of a cause or set
of causes. That everything is a consequence of external forces, and such
forces produce all that happens. Man is not free. If we accept the
factors rather than of free choice, then we must realize that our explanation
actions, then they are not really responsible for them, and there is no need
for praising or blaming them. If determinism were true, then there would be no
basis for human effort, for why should a person make an effort if what he or
she does doesn’t make a difference? If what will be will be, then one has an
deterministic grounds. ?The nature of human life may be such that man must
understand himself as being free, for human life as we know it would not make
youths in inner city projects, in which individuals feel that their effort can
make a difference.
In our everyday lives, there are many times when we have to make
walk. When we talk or write, we are deciding on the arrangement of our
thoughts, and we have to search for the right expressions. Our life, while we
are awake and active, is a mixture of important and unimportant choices.
Having free will means that we are able to act voluntarily, that we could have
decided to act differently than we did. When someone is criticized for looking
sloppy, or making an offensive remark, he may try to excuse himself with a ?I
could have helped it; he could have acted differently. ?The great American
James rejects determinism on the grounds that there is no free choice. James
appealed to direct experience to provide evidence of the existence of free
believe they could have done otherwise. If determinism were true, then people
could never have done otherwise and there should be no reason to feel any
A determinist may argue that human behavior is caused by environment
human effort and will.
?Freudians have shown that men do things not because of free choice but because
of deep unconscious forces and libidinal energy or sexual drives. Darwin
is shaped by economic forces over which he has no control; and behaviorist
psychologist explained human behavior of evidence in favor of deterministic
Determinist believes that people believe they are free only because they’re
ignorant of the causes of their actions. Spinoza makes that point when he says,
?Men are deceived in thinking themselves free, a belief that consists of the
causes by which they are determined.? He continues: ?In the mind there is no
absolute, or free will. The mind is determined to this or that volition by a
cause, which is likewise determined by another cause, ad infinitum.? All of
the world because we are all part of a grand causal chain, but his philosophy
also claims the idea that if we accept determinism we free ourselves from
ignorance and emotional servitude. If a person has the capacity to free
himself from the bondage of ignorance and emotional impulses and come to agree
with Spinoza, then this would seem to be a very significant type of freedom.
understood the reality and value of freedom. Human experience over the course
of history does rely itself on freedom.
If determinism is true, why should people bother deliberating about what
to do or deciding and choose seriously? If determinism is true, then whatever
is determined to happen by the past history of the universe is going to happen.
A person’s biography was written before he or she was born, so there’s no sense
do. So then why even bother getting out of bed?
Thomas Ellis Katen, Doing Philosophy (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc, 1973), p.
Ibid., p. 386.
Ibid., p. 315.
Spinoza. The Ethics. Part 2, proposition 35, sholium.
Ibid., proposition 48.