Hard Determinism: True Or False - Philosophy Philosophy 101 - Essay

1377 words - 6 pages

Hard Determinism True or False
Tauntay Williams
Professor Vecchio
Philosophy 101
December 13,2018
Williams 1
There are many viewpoints when it come to the topic of whether we are free
when making decisions or taking a course of action. The topic to free will and hard
determinism is an extremely complicated argument. Some say that we have free will
because we control our actions; we are able to make our own decisions. Others believe
that our actions are predetermined by factors outside of our control; we do not have the
ability to decide for ourselves. Many philosophers have made strong and sound
arguments for each stance however, in this essay I examine the question of free will. I
attempt to show through a hard deterministic view that free will is merely an illusion. I,
then,attempt to show the implications hard determinism has on morals.
Hard Determinism is a philosophical position that consist of three main claims: 1
determinism is true, 2 free will is an illusion, 3 freewill and determinism are
incompatible.​Incompatibilism is the view that if determinism is true no one can act freely
(Vaughn 221). A humans every action is completely determined by preceding events
and the law of nature. All events, including our actions and choices, are created
unappeasable by previous events, which are caused by earlier events, which are
caused by even earlier events and so on; the chain of causes continue back into an
indefinite past. Deterministic typically refer to scientific research in many fields, from
astrophysics to zoology to prove that determinism is in fact true. Through the
discoveries of the human behavior and how it is molded a great deal by heredity, the
brain's biochemistry, evolution and behavioral conditioning, the thought of human
Williams 2
choices and actions being predetermined by past event and the laws of nature are
reinforced. Since a humans behaviour and actions are determined by previous event
and the law of nature, they do not have genuine free will or moral responsibility.
Hard determinism states that determinism and free will are incompatible. . Peter
Van Inwagen states in An Essay on Free Will, “if determinism is true, then our acts are
the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But is is not up
to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of
nature are. Therefore the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are
not up to us” (Vaughn 245). Give the truth of determinism and give the truth of
incompatibilism, free will is false by default.
Simple everyday human choices and actions may seem to be completely free,
however they are actually determined. Purchasing water is typically a free action
because one can simply chose to purchasing juice instead; there is nothing preventing
them from purchasing juice or forcing them to purchase water. However free those
decisions may seem, they are actually not. The decisions a person makes are the direct

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