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Is free will compatible with determinism?

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Is free will compatible with determinism? Free will is the ability to do what one wants without being constrained in any way i.e. being able to think, speak and act without any external impediments. E.g. if I wanted to get up and open a door and I was able to do so without any physical constraints or the act having been imposed on me by anyone else then I can be said to have acted out of free will. Determinism is the idea that at a certain point in time and the laws of nature remaining constant that there is only one possible way the world can be later on. Determinism is based on general view that the world works based on 'cause and effect' i.e. everything has a cause. Determinism would seem to effect everyone and everything, it would seem that our current situation in life is based on causes that we have had no control over and even deeper still, that the decisions we make and the ...read more.


notion of escaping from determinism would seem determined by the fact that it was determined through some sort of research that we would attempt such an 'escape' once finding out about it due to some quality that has been instilled inside of us when we were younger. However as is always the case, a number of philosophical arguments have often been raised about this dilemma. There are some arguments that determinism in itself does not exist. Opponents have used such example of seemingly random events such as the position of an electron or even the creation of the universe, to state that random events (i.e. events that have not followed a logical chain of cause and effect) are examples where determinism has not followed. Some have argued that the laws of nature can determine a number of futures, the gap between these possible futures and the one that eventually occurs is due to free will. ...read more.


affected, any action carried out is free. Hume's views can also seen to be shared by the 17th century philosopher Hobbes; 'from the use of the words free will... the liberty of the man... that he finds no stop in doing what he has the will, desire, or inclination to do.' Once again free will relies on the 'inclination' of man not on what caused him to have such a inclination. Under the same context, some philosophers have disagreed and used the example of 'liberty of indifference'. A 'level' of freedom that is higher than the 'level' cited by the philosopher of 'liberty of spontaneity.' Interestingly Hume when discussing free will described all other liberties as a 'negation of necessity and causes.' In essence it denies the idea of cause and effect and thus is open to easy criticism. Many would thus argue that 'liberty of spontaneity' is an incoherent concept. The idea that our actions have no effect would effectively make any action futile, for it is randomness that causes our actions not ourselves. ...read more.

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