Freedom and Determinism Essay

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Freedom is a human value that has inspired many poets, politicians, spiritual leaders, and philosophers for centuries. Poets have rhapsodized about freedom for centuries. Politicians present the utopian view that a perfect society would be one where we all live in freedom, and spiritual leaders teach that life is a spiritual journey leading the soul to unite with God, thus achieving ultimate freedom and happiness. In addition, we have the philosophers who perceive freedom as an inseparable part of our nature, and spend their lives questioning the concept of freedom and attempting to understand it (Transformative Dialogue, n.d.). Freedom, or the concept of free will seems to be an elusive theory, yet many of us believe in it implicitly.…show more content…
A determinist believes that even though an individual makes voluntary, conscious decisions, those decisions are influenced by a multitude of determinants. These determinants may include genes, upbringing, culture, current situations, and past experiences, among others. Modern determinists believe determinism promotes tolerance in how we view ourselves and others. Instead of focusing on our own or others’ mistakes, we believe that each individual is doing their best given their particular combination of determinants. Those who believe in free will seek to blame individuals for not making the right decisions or choosing the right thing. Determinists argue that if free will truly existed, all of us would possess health and achieve wealth and happiness. Since none of us have this much control over our lives, we become disillusioned and give up trying, leading to defensive and self-defeating behavior (Gill, 2005). However, the belief in free will or freedom is hard to give up because it is seen as the agent of change. Ancient Greeks based their understanding of freedom by distinguishing between intentional and unintentional action. Socrates’ understanding of human action reflected
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