Research Paper On Determinism

1466 Words6 Pages
Traditionally, “Free Will” is one of those things that is supposed to separate human beings from everything else in the universe. Human beings have free will, it is said, and nothing else does (with the exception of, maybe, for God). Free will is said to be extremely valuable. Many people would say that life would not be worth living without it. So…what exactly is free will? Free will is the ability to have willfully chosen otherwise for any previous decisions. And, the general population/scholars who trust that people are free from physical determinism and the various different types of determinism are called libertarians.

According to me, determinism is a highly general claim about the universe: very roughly, that everything that happens, including everything you choose and do, is determined by facts about the past together with the laws. Determinism isn’t part of common sense, and it is not easy to take seriously the thought that it might, for all we know, be true. The incompatibilist (including me) believes that if determinism turned out to be true, our conviction that we have free will would be false. The compatibilist denies that the truth of determinism would have this drastic consequence. The philosophical issue of free will and determinism is the problem of deciding who is right: the compatibilist or the incompatibilist.
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But it’s important to distinguish questions about free will from questions about moral responsibility. What one believes about determinism and moral responsibility will depend, in large part, on what one takes moral responsibility to be and many other factors. For these reasons I am not going to confuse the question of the compatibility of free will and determinism with the question of whether moral responsibility is compatible with

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