A Philosophy Lesson

I want to write something.  I want for it to be inspiring and captivating.  I want for it to be interesting and important.  Honestly though, lately I have been far too absorbed in myself to think about anything that I could write in here.

This blog is supposed to be about where I stand on issues and what my philosophies are.  It could also serve as an outlet for some of my creative works; poems and pictures.  I’m supposed to use proper sentence structure and correct grammar as an indication of how well I can write.  I’m supposed to be funny and easy to understand.

However, at the moment,  all I can do is think about how I’m actually just writing to continue procrastinating studying for my philosophy final.  So, (in some attempt to coax myself into studying) I am going to teach everyone who cares to know about what I am learning.  Fun?  I know, so much fun!

Everyone loves to talk about free will, right?  If you don’t understand the merits of this conversation, you will if you read a little more.  I promise!

Do you believe that you have free will or do you believe in fate?  Most people like to think that they are free to choose any path they want in life.  They believe that they always have a choice and that their actions are not determined for them.  If you believe this, you are a libertarian.

But there is this view that everything we do in life is already determined for us by previous events.  Meaning, we are not free to choose the path we want to lead in life.  Most people hate this view, because it’s basically saying that you are fated to end up where you end up.  It is saying that you have no free will!  You may not be aware of it.  You certainly think that the choices you make in life are choices you make freely but, alas, they are not.  To be completely honest, I am a determinist.  Now you’re like “What the EF!?”  You are, aren’t you?  Allow me to explain.

This argument only works if you believe in God.  If you don’t, then you can consider it flawed.  But I think that the arguments for God are strong and therefore I feel it is a good basis for this argument.

1. God knows what you will do before you do it.

2. You are going to do what God knows you will do.

Conclusion:  You cannot do anything other than what you are going to do.  Hence, it is determined.

I am able to accept this argument because I don’t have a problem with thinking that everything is determined.  When we act.  We act believing that we have free will to do whatever we want.  Regardless of believing that I have no way to behave other than the way I am destined to behave, I still do what I want.  Because, I have realized, it is our fate for us to do what we want.  We end up exactly where we want to be and exactly where we work to be.  If it is fated then it is fated just because the person we are has made it that way.  That is all determinism is.

Another argument for determinism:

1. Our genetics and our environments shape our beliefs and desires

2. Our beliefs and desires cause our actions

3. We cannot control our genetics or our environments (for the most part)

4. We cannot control our actions

Conclusion: We cannot act freely because our behavior is determined by things which w cannot control (genetics and environment)

Cool, huh?

The problem with believing in determinism is that we can’t blame people for their actions.  How can you put someone in jail for rape if they can’t control their behavior because it is caused by their genetics and environment?  That is the huge issue.  Everyday we punish people because we think that they choose to do evil.  It we become determinists, we can’t punish them for actions cause they are destined to act that way!

Compatibalism comes to the rescue.  Compatibalists are like those people who just want everyone to get along.  They say that determinism can be true and freedom can be true.  All you have to do is redefine what freedom is.  A person is not free if they are impeded by restraints. But a person is free if their own desires or character move them to do whatever they want.

It seems nice but consider this.  A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder does things because he or she can’t really control his or her actions.  I’ll use me as an example, I don’t have OCD that bad, but for this example I will say I do.  OCD is the result of  my genes and the way I was raised.  I need to organize things because I want to.  But do I really want to do this.  Is it something I do freely?  I say no.  I honestly don’t have the choice not to obsessively clean and organize.  Is there freedom in this situation?

Hence, why I am a hard determinist.

I can tell I have perplexed enough.  If you thought this post was totally awesome, congratulations!  You, like me, are a huge nerd!  Consider taking philosophy class.  If you hate me now, sorry!  I actually have to study now. Bye!

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2 thoughts on “A Philosophy Lesson

    • danielleuniverse

      It is just easier to just disregard the arguments all together and think about what is best for us to believe. If we believe we don’t have any free will then some people would give up doing what they are doing (working hard etc.) because they may say there is no point if everything is determined. So it is better for the human race to believe in free will…gives us something to aspire to, and we need that.

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