Free Will and Determinism Essay Samples & Outline

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Essay on Free Will and Determinism

The philosophical problem of Free Will and Determinism entails the following key accounts: Libertarianism, soft determinism, and hard determinism. The sole purpose of this assignment is to explain the three competing accounts and explain which of them gives the most plausible response to the Free Will problem and why.

Hard determinism holds that determinism is true and incompatible with moral discourse, therefore, in the consistency interest, moral discourse is eliminated from the worldview. It argues that determinism is true, in that actions are inevitable causes of anteceded causes. An act is determined but not free, as a person has a choice not to do it and people are morally accountable for only free actions, but not all of them.

Soft determinism argues that freedom is the absence of the hindrances to desires’ realization. Hard determinists are objectionable in their (according to soft determinist) belief that moral evaluations are not justified or valid, and so is the determinism itself. Although soft determinists believe in determinism, they have not made any step in jettisoning moral discourse like their hard determinists’ counterparts. They hold that most of the moral discourses are compatible with determinism. This is an attempt to prove that determinists can be committed to moral judgments. They also argue that few notions in the moral discourse will be forgone but agree that determinism is true, and a person is in some cases morally responsible for their actions. Therefore, soft determinist must refute one of the premises so as to discredit the conclusion of the hard determinist.

Soft determinism argues that the term true is ambiguous because people’s moral discourse is considered true the same way determinism is believed to be true. Libertarians and hard determinist oppose this and argue that if determinism is believed to be true, then the moral responsibility is false or senseless.

Libertarianism argues that it is people’s decisions to do morally responsible acts, which are acts of the will, not causally influenced by upbringing, volitional and physiological, states. Their actions are never the inevitable consequences of causes but believed to be uncaused, original, spontaneous, and self-caused. A person is entirely responsible for his or her acts of will, a person has the power to choose whether to act immorally or morally, and for his or her decisions, an individual cannot blame the biology, upbringing, or economic situations for their actions.

Libertarians’ claims that this is not true for all human states but applies to the actions that people are morally accountable. Libertarians’ law-based explanations are inappropriate for their acts of will. These actions cannot be reduced to human behavior and causes, and making a decision is thus not subjected to causal explanations. Most people prefer libertarianism because they believe that the distinction between acts performed following an individual’s desires and those against his desires does not give a plausible difference between morally right and wrong actions.

The three accounts differ in their senses of freedom. For instance, in libertarians hold that “free” implies self-causes or free from causes. This is referred to as contra-causal or categorical freedom. This implies that choices are free only if, according to any law, are not influenced. Determinist, soft determinists and hard determinist agree that freedom does not exists in such a sense, but agree in another sense of “free.” For instance, freedom is compatible with people’s practice of attributing moral responsibility. Further, people are only morally responsible for the actions if only an external compulsion does not exist that would make them act against their wishes to do a certain activity.

For instance, if someone has a gun held to his head, and compelled to commit a crime, he or she is not considered culpable for such a crime, because they are forced against their desires and will commit that crime. With these facts, soft determinists hold that free has another sense, which is freedom from external compulsion to commit an act against one’s desires. This is freedom from constraint, compulsion, or circumstantial self-realization of freedom as opposed to free because “free” in that freedom is self-caused or uncaused. Soft determinists differentiate between acts done in agreement with one’s desires and those committed against their will. The distinction stems from the compulsion idea and explains why a person is morally responsible for part of his actions and not others. On their idea, a lack of compulsion not that of cause is the free act mark and moral accountability recognizes this type of freedom.

They reject the principle that for one to be morally accountable, he has to be free in the contra-causal freedom sense. Soft determinists respond to libertarians and hard determinist claim that a true or meaningful moral discourse use depends on the free will reality, is that both libertarians and hard determinists hinge on a morality theory, which is wrong-headed. Like determinists, soft determinists argue that events are predictable and controllable if people know the relevant laws, including psychological, economic, and physical.

Their view is that it is sensible to reward and punish someone because rewards and punishment may cause people’s desire that will influence their subsequent actions or behavior. Blame and moral praise act as a reward and punishment, and may affect people’s behavior. Libertarians argue that an act is rewarded because it is a good deed courtesy of free will. Similarly, an act is punished because it is considered morally wrong act courtesy of free will. From their view, punish and reward is because a person’s free will influences bad or good behaviors.

The three accounts give a plausible response to the problem of free will but Soft determinism gives the most plausible one. Unlike others, soft determinism holds that human behavior and actions are solely determined by causal events, but human free will exist as the capacity to act according to a person’s nature influenced by external factors such as culture, heredity, society and socialization.