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Assess the claim 'Our lives are determined'

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Assess the claim that our lives are determined In order to address this question, we must consider whether our futures are already set out or we have the power to determine our own destiny; better known as free will. For the sake of the question at hand I will be backing the argument that we do have free will and our lives are not already set in stone. I will explore the ideas of free will and determinism; branching out into predestination, fatalism, species essence, economic determinism, fatalism, libertarianism and existentialism. However to begin tackling the assessment of determinism, we must first elaborate on what free will is. In order to have free will, we as humans require two things: we must have mental free will, the ability to be in complete control where nothing forces our decision. We must have physical free will, the ability to act accordingly to our decisions; doing what we want because we have chosen to do it. Determinism is the belief that a determinate set of conditions can only produce one possible outcome given fixed laws of nature. Primarily, determinism is based around the idea of causality; everything that happens has a cause. This view clearly agrees with the idea that our lives are determined; however it is important to remember that determinism is subject to the natural laws of physics. ...read more.


This implies the power of free will because predestination means that God knows what action we will take before we make it, but we retain the ability to make the decision ourselves. Therefore we can say that predestination disagrees that our lives are determined because there is no implication that God makes our choices for us, his omniscience is merely present. Although in my opinion this claim is unrealistic to those who are atheists, mainly due to the fact that this idea strictly relates only to those who believe in God. Libertarianism coincides with the idea of free will. The reiteration of the belief that our choices are not subject to the laws of nature shows us that libertarians do to not agree that our lives are determined. Libertarians believe that we have the power to reject our desire, refashion our personality and choose morality over self interest. In order for our lives to be determined, there must only be one outcome for every cause in our life, however a libertarian always believes that 'I could have done otherwise' this goes to show that the consequences of our actions are directly linked to our choices; therefore showing that the outcome was not down to causality, but to our decisions. This claim directly agrees with the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre and his existentialism. ...read more.


In terms of free will and determinism, randomness does not work. If every event was to happen by random i.e. chaos theory then there is no way to prove that our lives are determined since the term random goes hand in hand with the concept that it is unknown until it happens. In the same respect, randomness does not work for free will. By accepting that everything is random, it destroys the importance of human agency and at the same time takes away our responsibility since randomness denies causality. On the other hand, some people may think that events happen at random (for example winning the lottery), however in my opinion I put this down to ignorance; looking at the semantics of the word it clearly states that something appears to be chance, simply because they do not know the actual cause. In conclusion, there are many theories that address the question of our lives being determined. But only a few seem to work in my view. Libertarianism and existentialism both provide adequate evidence to support my opinion that we have free will and we adopt it to shape our lives. Marx's economic determination provides some interesting and accurate ideas in retrospect and leaves me with the conclusion that our lives are not determined but we are however shaped by our economical environment. Word Count: 1,400 (bang on!) ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Septim Assess the claim our lives are determined Page 1 ...read more.

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