Freewill and determinism conflict (choice)

Essay by kewlnessCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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We ought then regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its previous state and the

cause of the one which is to follow. An intelligence knowing at a given instant of time all the

forces operating in nature, as well as the position at that instant of all things of which the

universe consists, would be able to comprehend the motions of the largest bodies in the universe

and those of the smallest atoms in a single formula - provided that it was sufficiently powerful to

submit all these data analysis. To it nothing would be uncertain and the future would be present

to its eyes as much as the past.

This passage comes from P.S. de Laplace's "Philosophical Essay on Probabilities." If such

determinism is true, then everyone's every thought and action must be inevitable; that no

one really has any choice about anything, because we are all helpless products of blind

forces which have made us what we are.

In this paper concerning the free will and

determinism debate I will argue that determinism is not plausible, I shall do this by giving

reasons for determining how determinism is false, give arguments for determinism, and

then refute those arguments.

There are those who think that our behavior is a result of free choice, but there are

others who presume "we are servants of cosmic destiny or that behavior is nothing but a

reflex of heredity and environment." The position of determinism is that every event is

the necessary outcome of a cause or set of causes. That everything is a consequence of

external forces, and such forces produce all that happens. Man is not free. If we accept

the determinist argument and assume human behavior as a consequence of external factors

rather than...