Free Will vs. Determinism

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August 2010
Week 1 – Checkpoint 1

Arguments and Logic
Free Will VS Determinism

Free Will and Determinism are two separate beliefs, contradicting one another. Determinism is the idea that all matter in this known universe is created for a specific purpose; a specific action. Therefore, the behavior of all atoms are governed by their physical law; their purpose. Free Will is simply defined as humans having free will. Humans have the ability to choose their next action, thereby choosing their path to their future. In the excerpt given these two beliefs are in contradiction with one another and therefore cannot exist. One must believe in a single belief, not both.

The arguments given for Determinism is that whatever an atom does, it must do in a given circumstance. By laws of nature and physics, it must behave in a specific manner. Following this argument, an atom must behave in manner “A” when in circumstance “Z”; therefore, if present in circumstance “Z,” the atom must behave in manner “A” in accordance with its physical laws. A behavior as a result of free will; however, is an event that did not have to happen, thereby contradicting the argument for Determinism.

Free Will is an event that is the direct result of my actions because of my choices. Therefore, if an event were to occur as a result of Free Will, this event did not have to happen. For example, let us imagine that I am walking along a path and I choose, of my own free will, to pick up a rock and throw it. I could easily have chosen not to throw the rock; therefore, when I threw the rock, the atoms in my arm did not have to move even if this situation. Given this example, we will assume that Free Will is the correct belief, thus illustrating that it is not true that an atom must have done what it did, given the situation. If Determinism is true, then my arm would have moved and the rock been thrown, regardless of my choices and actions.

The arguments for these...