Essay by EctoplasmaHigh School, 12th gradeA-, December 2004

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I will in this essay discuss the theory of determinism. The principle states that all physical events are determined by en unbroken chain of prior events. Therefore the principle also states that free will is an illusion, since the outcome of all future events already has been determined, hence the name; determinism.

This theory is also closely linked to the billiard ball hypothesis that claims that since the rules of nature already have been established it is in theory possible to predict the time and place of every event that will ever occur, relaying of course that you posses complete knowledge of all physical matter and the laws that govern that matter.

However many paradoxes and contradictions can be derived from these theories. Imagine for example if you had a computer that infact did have the complete knowledge of everyone and everything in the present, and was asked to predict the outcome of a coin toss.

Would that be possible? According to determinism, yes of course. But what if you ask it to predict your own future, for example tell you if the coin in your hand will remain there x minutes in the future. If the computer gave you the answer that it would remain, there is nothing hindering you from dropping the coin proving the computer, and in theory, the whole concept of determinism false.

Well a determinist would state that since this computer is all knowing of the present, and to a certain extent the past, it would also be all knowing of your behaviours and thoughts and therefore also able to predict your future actions. However the self awareness of humans could make things much harder for the computer. Because what if you already, prior to the computers decision, had decided to do the opposite of...