Are our lives predetermined, or do we have free choice? By Greg Mackie Published:
Hard determinists such as Clarence Darrow and Ted Honderich believe that human actions, decisions and choices are wholly determined by external factors and that humans do not have genuine free will and therefore are not ethically accountable for their decisions.
Ivan Pavlov also holds a psychologist view of hard determinism. However, soft determinists such as John Locke and Hume claim that although we are controlled by external factors to an extent, humans still possess free will. Whereas, the libertarian view according to Thomas Reid is that humans are free in reality to make moral choices and thus are responsible for their actions.
Therefore, the main issue for discussion is to whether or not human decisions are predetermined or whether we have free will to make our own decisions and thus are responsible for the choices we make. Clarence Darrow was an American Lawyer who upheld a psychological hard deterministic view and believed that our actions are determined by our upbringing and social conditioning.
Darrow became famous after he defended the murder case of two young boys, Loeb and Leopold who had kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old boy named Bobbie Franks. As a result, the sentence given to the youths was reduced from a death penalty to life-imprisonment.
Therefore, Darrow would argue that our decisions All of our choices are predetermined essay pre-determined and that we are not responsible for them.
However, this can be challenged by arguing that if a court dismisses a murder as hereditary, what purpose is the court fulfilling, because this seems as though there is no justification for the punishment of any crime. Therefore, Erasmus may disagree with Darrow in that our actions are not pre-determined, but that we do have free will to make decisions.
Therefore Erasmum would argue that our decisions are not pre-determined. Honderich believed that nothing happens without a reason, as Aristotle concluded and human beings have no control over why something happened as it did.
All events are determined, internally and externally and anything that a human does is as a result of what has already happened.
Therefore, humans are not responsible for their actions because they are just a part of a chain of events which have already been set into motion. Thus, Honderich would argue that our decisions are predetermined. However, David Hume who was a Philosopher that was influenced by the works of Sir Isaac Newton, would argue that although events are predetermined because of a causal link between two objects, he believed that this causal link which was predetermined produces free will.
For example, if an individual is stuck in Rome they have the free will whether to take a train to Paris through the Channel Tunel or enjoy another week in Rome. Hume then states that this is free choice, the liberty of spontaneity. Therefore, Hume would argue that although predetermined events cannot be controlled, they create free choice and thus, to some extent humans are responsible for the way they choose to act.
Ivan Pavlov, was a Physiologist who upheld a hard determinist view. When he rang a bell to bell to feed his dogs he noticed that the sound of the bell alone would make the dogs salivate because they associated the bell with food.
Pavlov later got rid of the food and found that the sound of the bell alone, even without the food, would make the dogs salivate. Thus, although Pavlov did not argue that human actions are predetermined he suggested that we could perhaps do something similar to manipulate human behaviour.
Thomas Reid, a Scottish Philosopher, would argue that human actions are not predetermined, because although humans are limited by nature, it does not affect free will because free will is subject based, which means that one is free to make choices and follow them through.
For example, an individual wishes to support a charity but is limited to because they do not have any money to donate. The individual, still wanting to help this good cause walks to the nearest charity shop and asks how they can help to support the charity. Therefore, Reid argues that our actions are not determined but that it is our ability to control our life and free will allows us to develop and gain moral responsibility, during the process.
John Locke, an English Philosopher argued using his analogy of the locked room that free will is an illusion. The analogy shows a man in a darkened locked room, who awakens from his sleep and decides to remain in the room, but he is unaware and ignorant to the fact that the room is locked.
Due to his ignorance of the actual situation he is led to believe that he has the freedom to leave the room if he chooses to.
Thus, Locke would argue that due to this it was predetermined that the man would have to remain in the room and to an extent he would state that our actions are predetermined. Therefore, Nehru would state that although some of our decisions are predetermined, not all of them are because of the existence of free will.
Spinoza believed in cause and affect and argued that freedom is gained from reason of knowledge through our emotions, however we never have complete control.
Thus, we cannot be held morally responsible for our actions if they are causally determined and not a result of our own moral choice.In this essay I aim to assess whether or not we are to make ethical decisions or if we have are predetermined and so therefore are not morally responsible for our actions.
Hard Determinism states that everything in the universe, including our actions and choices, are predetermined, so meaning that everything that happens and has happened in our lives has already been chosen.
Our total character is a product of these environmental, social, cultural, physiological and hereditary forces, thus our beliefs, desires, values and habits are all outside of our control. The Choices of Life essaysThe choices that we make in life are never easy, and we face many of them in our lifetime.
The poem "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost is a first person narrative poem in which Frost himself can be considered the speaker. A person walking in the woods is faced. We like to think that we make choices on the basis of our own conscious deliberations.
But isn’t all that thinking things over irrelevant if . Essay on Our Decisions and a Predetermined Fate: Oedipus the King Words | 4 Pages ancient Grecian time, god’s word was worshipped and fate was all but fact.
Determinism is the philosophical theory that all events, including moral choices, are completely determined by previously existing causes. Determinism is at times understood to preclude free will because it entails that humans cannot act otherwise than they do.