Discussing the Claim that Freewill and Determinism are Incompatible

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Discussing 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 …show more content…

A traditional Judeo-Christian view is that human beings are free, autonomous agents, responsible for their own actions. In Genesis, Adam and Eve exercise their freewill by choosing to eat the forbidden fruit. They are held responsible for their actions, and God punishes them, banishing them from Eden. Many of the main Christian denominations therefore believe that we are free to choose whether to do good or sin. However the Protestant Church holds the view that God has chosen who will be saved and who will not on Judgement Day. This idea, which originates from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, is called “predestination” “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” The idea that God decides who receives salvation and who doesn’t at creation suggests that humans don’t have freewill with regard to their moral or religious behaviour. 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

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