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

Discuss critically the claim that Freewill and Determinism are incompatible

Extracts from this document...


Discuss critically the claim that Freewill and Determinism are incompatible. A person's "will" is their ability to decide and choose among different options. The term "freewill" suggests that the choice this person has made, although it may have been influenced by outside circumstances or people, was ultimately his or her own choice. There is a related principle. It generally states that "ought" implies "can". If someone ought to do something that implies that they can do it. After all, if they cannot do something then surely they are not obliged to do it. For example: If I see a drowning child in a rushing river and I cannot swim, then I cannot be blamed if I do not jump in and try and save the child? I can't do it, so surely it's not the case that I should do it regardless. A moral obligation requires an ability to do the thing you're obligated to do; and an ability to do the thing that you are obligated to do requires that you are free to do it. ...read more.


The idea suggests that salvation cannot be achieved through actions on this earth, but through God's grace alone. As regards to the ethical ramifications of such a view, the notion that human beings are not autonomous moral agents raises a number of problems. If we aren't free, how can we be morally responsible for our actions, and how can we be punished for those actions; and if God has already decided who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, do our actions on earth count for anything at all? Hard Determinism has some ethical similarity to the protestant "predestination". It maintains that all of our actions have a prior cause. Humans aren't free to act, but our actions are determined by a complex set of previous causes. It is as if we were trains, running along a fixed track. Hard determinism has a number of profound consequences. It puts into doubt our hopes for the future and how we consider the morality of others. Determinism means that we cannot praise people for being good, or blame others for being bad. ...read more.


In each case the relationship is different. Humans may be limited through their circumstances, but not by their choice. Hard determinists often criticise soft determinists for failing to realise the extent to which human freedom is limited, and by libertarians for failing to realise the full extent of human freedom. Many criticise soft determinists suggesting that soft determinism if the easy option, the "soft" option. I believe that no matter which way you look at it if the universe follows the laws of determinism, it may well be determined that I believe the universe follows the laws of free will. However if the universe follows the laws of free will, it is allowed for me to believe the universe follows the laws of determinism. Regardless of whether free-will or determinism is the way the universe works, it is clear that society does hold me accountable for my actions; does dish out praise and blame; does decide whether I am sufficiently sane to be held accountable. Even self-proclaimed determinists will hold me accountable for my decisions and my actions. It therefore compells us to behave as if we have free-will, and expect to be held accountable for our decisions and actions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rosie Jackson 07/05/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ethics 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 GCSE Ethics essays

  1. The Dual, Blurred Symbolism of The Scarlet Letter

    "The letter was a symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, - so much power to do, and power to sympathize, - that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength"(131).

  2. Euthanasia can never be justified

    Surah 2:153 Muslims also believe that no one has the right to chose when they die or has the right to interfere with God's choices for us. When their time...arrives they cannot tarry for a single hour nor can they go ahead.

  1. "Miller's plays show is that happiness can only be achieved by making moral compromises" ...

    Miller uses irony to demonstrate that even when people believe that a person has made moral compromises, happiness is still possible. This is shown in All My Sons by the fact that Joe knew that he caused death but because a court found him innocent i.e.

  2. How might a moral relativist respond to the claim that people should always tell ...

    Another form of ethical naturalism reduces all ethical statements to expressions of approval or disapproval, whether personal or general. So if I say 'Mother Theresa was good', I am not saying anything about the person herself but I am saying that 'I approved of Mother Theresa'.

  1. Are all human actions motivated by self-interest?

    What they are saying is that the motive behind such actions is always ultimately selfish. For example, a man who is in a position to save a persons life, may do so because everyone will look up to them, or because they would not be able to live with themselves

  2. Euthanasia should be a mater of choice.

    This argument however is countered because most of those patients were not at a stage in their illness were euthanasia would become an option and even if they wished to die they would not need the help of the institution.

  1. "Medical research in the U.K. is being suffocated by excessive governance and ethical review".

    report in the whole is in good nature and it does follow the trend of concluding that more reform is needed again. The time allocated for the report and the narrow references used in it may have affected the ability to thoroughly review UK's ethical legislations.21 However the reform seems

  2. War should never occur. Do you agree? Critically discuss this statement. Include an Christian ...

    must be a last resort, there must be a reasonable chance of success, fought with the right proportion and lastly the requirement of discrimination must be met. Britain's declaration of war against Germany in World War 2 appears to have met most of The Just War criteria.

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