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The Powers Of Rational Being : Freedom Of The Will

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The laws of nature as well as past and present states of the world motivate our actions, whether or not we are able to recognize the complex causes for the decisions we make. Every choice is the result of factors outside of our control. “Free will” can only exist if a person truly has the choice between multiple possible options; however, as hard determinists claim, every choice is fixed to only one possible outcome based on any number of existing outside factors. While libertarians believe in the concept of free will and choices based entirely on personal deliberation, compatibilists assert that the state of the world does potentially offer multiple outcomes, and so free will is possible alongside determinism. Peter van Inwagen, in his article, “The Powers of Rational Being: Freedom of the Will” states that the belief in free will is necessary for survival to avoid chronic indecisiveness, although he confuses the absence of free will for the absence of action, and simply makes an unconvincing case for duping oneself into believing in free will. While believing in the concept of free will necessarily ignores the influence of unchanging outside motivators, hard determinism provides a logical position on how certain results come to be without contradicting our ability to choose. The theory of causal determinism explains the way in which the laws of nature and the state of the world govern our decisions. There can be only one fixed outcome for every scenario, because man “is
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