Essay On Free Will Vs. Hard Determinism (philosophy) - Introduction To Philosophy/bellarmine University - Essay

815 words - 4 pages

Circumstances: Self-Made or Natural?
Many people have wondered throughout the world, why am I in the position I am right
now? How did my life go so wrong/right? Some may answer that their circumstances are a result
of their own decisions, while others may say the reason is because of the “universe”. To
understand both perceptions, Richard Taylor’s Agency Theory and Baron d’Holbach’s Hard
Determinism Theory will be analyzed. By comparing, contrasting, and examining the two
theories it will be concluded that Richard Taylor’s Agency Theory and the belief in free will is
the superior theory.
Richard Taylor’s Agency Theory is centered on the idea of free will. Free will is the idea
of one’s ability to act at his/her own discretion. Taylor describes two actions every human does
which coincides with the theory of free will. First, he brings up the action of deliberation.
Deliberation is when people think about which action to take, this or that. Deliberation is an
example of free will because it involves one making up his/her own mind. Second, Taylor brings
up a point that we often overlook. He brings up the feeling that it is up to the person about what
he/she will do and he uses the example of one’s want and ability to move his/her own finger any
which way he/she wants. Taylor’s theory can easily take on other theories such as simple
indeterminism and soft determinism. Simple indeterminism states that many things people do
happen at random. With that said, simple indeterminism means that the vast majority of human
activity would have no meaning and be highly unpredictable. Soft determinism states that human
behavior and actions are wholly determined by causal events, but where human free will does
exist it is still shaped by external factors such as heredity, society, upbringing, etc. However,
when looking at a person-by-person analysis it does not hold up. For example, if you were to
look at a person who was raised in the inner city in an impoverished neighborhood where there
are drugs and a high crime rate you would expect that person, according to soft determinism, to
either be involved with drugs or crime. While that may be true for some individuals, how does
that explain people like Ben Carson who was raised in government-subsidized housing and
raised by a single mother in an area riddled with crime, but is today one of the best
neurosurgeons in the country and in 2016 was a candidate in ...

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