Essay: Free Will and Determinism

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  • Subject area(s): Philosophy essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: January 21, 2020
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
  • Free Will and Determinism
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For centuries the argument of free will and determinism has been the ongoing great debate. Between a philosophical and scientific stance there have been many debates as to which notion upholds truth and abides by the laws of nature; determinism or free will. Free will is the concept that we as conscious human beings have the ability to freely and genuinely make undetermined choices in situations where we are free to do so. The opposing view to this, determinism, is the notion that all events in the world are effects or outcomes of previous events. In this essay I will briefly explain both notions as well the varieties behind both them. I will give a brief overview of the scientific and philosophical approaches to the notion of free will. If determinism is true then the concept of human morality is merely an illusion of choice. Therefore, free will is the most sensible in the case of human beings because as we are aware of our free will or our ability to choose and this makes us responsible for moral actions and all other acts as human beings.
Determinism is the notion that all things are determined by previous events. It is closely related with the domino effect; as one domino falls the next will fall and so on and so forth. This closed universal view means that there everything is predetermined and predestined to happen leaving no room for anything new to come into existence. Every action, thought or conscious decision that we make as a human is the effect of our previous action. In a greater sense, all events that have happened in history are effects of prior events. This leads one to believe that all things are concrete and unalterable in past, present or future. Determinism is a far reaching and radical notion that affects streaming beliefs such as morality, science and religion.
Contemporary scientists have taken on the relative issue of human freedom by linking determinism and genetics through genetic determinism. This notion links determinism directly to DNA and the gene expression of a human. Gene determinism is supported by the idea that because of mishaps with certain genes it can lead to physical and mental alterations which means that we are physically determined by our genes. However, this is where genetic determinists want to expand on this idea and conclude that since we are physically determined by genes our behavior must also be determined by genes. This idea that our behavior is determined by our genetic makeup seems too radical and leaves no room freedom since we are genetically predetermined making us victims to our genetic makeup.
Since science has the capability to alter genetics then that means they have the power to alter our physical determinations as well as our behavioral determinations. This knowledge of genes means we can alter ourselves and ultimately alter our behavior which will alter our morality. Although, if determination is true then human morality is merely an illusion because everything that happens would be considered a necessity. If all occurrences are set in time naturally without disturbances then there would be no room for immorality because morality would not exist. If we are predetermined to murder then it would be considered normal because it was aligned for us genetically and/or through our predestined behavior. This is where determination is faulty because it excludes all idea of freedom or choice. No one genetically wants to murder just as no one genetically wants to be murdered. According to a determinists it would be predetermined you would be a murder. However, this cannot be true because universally we have moral standards so therefore morality cannot be an illusion which eliminates the theory of genetic determination and determination as a whole.

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