• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Can free will and determination coexist?

Extracts from this document...


Can free will and determination coexist? Some philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes have argued that the two can not coexist because of environment in which one lives. However, if one closely examines the arguments for the compatibility of free will and determinism the association is striking. The articles of soft determination lend themselves to the coexistence of free will and determinism in the individual. Therefore, an argument could easily be made that free will and determinism are compatible with each other and can coexist even if the environment the individual is living in does not allow the existence of either. Free will is the ability to act freely. Put simply, free will is the ability to act as one wishes. In order to perform an action two events have to take place. One of these events is that of freely thinking and deciding of an action to take, without any interference from the external world. ...read more.


For example, if one were forced by another person to shoot a rifle and kill another person (as is the example given on page 192), then neither aspect of compatibility is true. This example might very well be true; yet, it is important for one to remember that events had to transpire for one to be in that situation. What caused those events to transpire? Did the person who was forcing the other person with the rifle to kill the other person in complete control over both individuals lives? Clearly this could not be true, for if this were the case it would be easy for one person to move others around as one wished. Moreover, it is important to remember that there will never be a time when an individual is completely free in any society because the individual gives up certain freedoms to be a part of that society. ...read more.


That individual has free will and determination over how to eat that meal. Thus, traditional compatibility would exist because of the free will and determinism of the individual to eat the meal as they please. Whether that person wanted steak instead of soup, or beer instead of water does not matter in that for the premises of traditional compatibility to be met for the actual eating of the meal itself. This example proves the coexistence of free will and determinism. Traditional compatibility philosophers such as Hobbes assert that one must live in a completely free society in order to experience the coexistence of free will and determinism. Yet, no such society has ever existed. More importantly, free will and determinism do not have to be massive events that take place, such as deciding where to begin eating a meal. Thus, through the doctrine of soft determinism both free will and determinism can coexist. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Is free will compatible with determinism?

    The easiest way to visualise such a predicament is to use the idea of forks. We can visualise a point in our life when in life we come to a choice as a single line which then branches out into a number of forks, however with determinism it would seem

  2. Sartre is a very strong proponent of strong determinism, that is, he does not ...

    Free will cannot and must not exist. More so, the determinist argues that while we may have certain mental states, they are entirely influenced by the physical world but cannot influence the physical world themselves. The primary flaw is that it the determinist principle goes against our every perception.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work