Determinism Essay

428 Words2 Pages
If determinism is true, then we don’t have free will. Discuss. It can be argued that if determinism is true, then we do not have free will. However, this argument really depends on which stream of determinism is being referred to. The argument that supports this idea the most is the fatalism argument - the idea that everything is predetermined before we are born and our actions do not affect this. This theory is referred to as hard determinism If this is true, then the claim that we do not have free will seems fairly convincing. However there are more ways of looking at determinism through soft determinism and libertarianism. Broadly speaking, determinism is the position that every event could not have had another outcome, and therefore any decisions that we make as humans do not impact this ultimate outcome. This clearly is supportive of the title statement as if true, then all outcomes are already decided and therefore our decisions are similarly already decided by some sort of greater power. An implication of hard determinism is the possible rejection of ethics and morality – for if our actions make no difference to any outcome then why would we act ethically? For example, if a person is to make a decision between two options, if their choice is already determined, then how can their actions be considered immoral and how can they possibly be held accountable for their choice? Hard determinism is not the only form of determinism, as soft determinism presents the theory in a slightly different manner. Soft determinism argues that while determinism is broadly true, we still have free will nonetheless. This theory is also referred to as compatiblism because it presents the idea that the existence of both determinism and free will are compatible, and that this is not at all logically inconsistent. Compatibilists define free will as freedom to act according

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