Prompt: 1

“Determinism is a belief in the inevitability of causation.Everything that happens

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is the only possible thing that could happen.The chains and networks of causes are so

powerful and inexorable that every outcome is inevitable.We are already locked in to

everything else that is going to happen in the entire future of the universe.If you knew

all the inputs of the system and had enough information about the present, you could

predict the future with complete accuracy.Baumeister compatres determinism to The

likes of the universe and how it resembles a giant machine, grinding alone exactly as it

must inevitably continue to do, following a set of rules.That is determinism”

(Baumeister).Baumeister defines determinism as a belief that something will happen

because the universe says it is so.In determinism, there is no choice.Things will

happen and there is nothing you can do to change them.There is no other option, that

being said determinism has both strengths and weaknesses (Baumeister).

Some of the strengths in determinism are that it seems to follow from our views

in physics, that it has set rules and a solid structure.We believe that the material world

that we live in is governed by laws and that given enough information about an object in

this world and other relevant objects along with the laws of nature in our world, we

would be able to predict what will happen to that object as far into the future as we

would like.This makes the deterministic viewpoint very difficult to create an argument

against.There are definite patterns and connections throughout the physical universe

and the biological realm.However, humans are just aggregates of matter, and

therefore, according to a deterministic thought, we humans are also subject to the same

laws which means that our behavior should be determined by the properties of the

matter that makes us up, just like the behavior of an inanimate object.This means that

there is no other way for us to choose how to act and our actions are set in stone


A weakness in the deterministic thought is that you cannot act except under the

assumption of free will. Determinism asserts that humans may have circumstantial

freedom, but they do not have metaphysical freedom.In other words, we may have the

freedom to stand up and sit down, but we don’t really have the freedom to choose a

path in life.For this, we are at the mercy of our physical bodies and circumstance.

Determinism does not take into account the human free will at all.Free will does

not exist if our actions are set in stone as mentioned above.You will find yourself asking

“Should I do this or that?”If you believe in determinism, why would you ask yourself that

since the universe has already decided what course of action you are to take.

Choice seems to be built into our moral philosophy which completely disagrees

with what determinism says.”Choice is fundamental in human life.Every day people

face choices, defined by multiple possibilities.To claim that all that is illusion and

mistake is to force psychological phenomena into an unrealistic strait jacket.”

(Baumeister). If determinism was correct about the lack of free will, you would not be

able to possibly punish anyone or think they are a bad person for something they did

not choose to do, since free will does not exist.Because free will does not exist, they

have been set on that course of action by the universe and there is nothing that they

could have done to change it.To punish someone for something that they could not

control would be immoral.We see this today when someone commits a crime but is

pardoned to a degree because they are mentally unsound and unable to control their

actions (Thoristad).

True deterministic thinking is an extreme area of thought and real life often lies

somewhere in between, thinking that some things are meant to happen but under the

illusion that if we try hard enough, we will be able to change them and direct our future

in the direction we want it to go.Free-will will always exist to some degree and that is

where determinism falls short (Thoristad). Using its name as its definition, determinism

asserts that man’s path is predetermined.In other words, freedom is an illusion.When

we think we are making choices, we are really just at the mercy of physical impulses or

events which have already occurred (Baumeister).

Building on this question, many philosophers hold to the opposite of determinism,

libertarianism.Libertarianism can also be called indeterminism.”In the most general

sense, libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the rights of individuals to

liberty, to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings, and considers the protection of

individual rights the primary role for the state.This entry is on libertarianism in the

narrower sense of the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have

certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things.”(Vallentyne).

“Libertarians can range from market anarchists to advocates of a limited welfare

state, but they are all united by a belief in personal liberty, economic freedom, and a

skepticism of government power.”(What is…)Libertarianism asserts that man has both

circumstantial and metaphysical freedom.We are not just puppets dangling from a

string, however we are also not subject to some predetermined path.We have got the

capacity and intellect to choose between options.For example, on my own, I made the

conscious choice to get an education, just like I am making a conscious choice to write

this paper or my choice to grab a snack.In other words, this means that free will is alive.

For this reason, the criminal deserves punishment for what they have done, and the

saint deserves adulation.Libertarianism allows for moral responsibility;our choices are

down to our volition and what we choose to do by using our free will.We are able to

make causally undetermined choices; no overriding power making out choices for us; to

be able to make ethical choices without inner moral self, making us responsible for our

actions, however on the flip side, it does not consider internal and external influences

enough that may affect our ability to make ethical choices freely.An example of this is a

psychopath who has a ‘warrior gene’.This means that they are unable to feel guilt and

capable of murder.It is not an ethical action, psychopaths therefore do not seem to

have an inner moral self.

To bring the two together, compatibilism sides with determinism in that it agrees

that actions can be predetermined in the metaphysical realm.However, it also gives a

nod to libertarianism.Compatibilism can be seen as the belief that free will and

determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without

being logically inconsistent.

Compatibilists think that freedom can be present or absent in a variety of different

situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.Compatibilists believe

that the universe is deterministic, and that humans have free will (although, not it its

purest form).

I think some of the weaknesses might be that people could think it is almost a

cop out of making a decision either way.I think in some respect, there might not be an

option in the middle, and people might look to this position as an excuse for not picking

either side.Another weakness of compatibilism might be that in essence, this position is

just a drawn out way of determinism.By this I mean that if something occurs in our life,

we say we have free will to react to this, but do we really?To a certain extent, there are

only certain ways in which you can respond based on what previously occurred.Does

this mean that there really is no free will in this scenario?Those are just some thought

about the weaknesses of the compatibilism belief.However, on the other side of this,

compatibilism has some strengths as well.

One strength might be the fact that there is some comfort in knowing that there is

something greater than us who has a hand in our lives.Personally, I know that God has

His hand in my life and is actively working in my life.This gives me a comfort because I

know that all of the events that happen in my life are for a reason and I know that He will

never give me something I cannot handle.

Another strength of compatibilism is that it really is the best of both worlds.

People like the idea of having free will.They like the idea of freedom and being who

they want to be and not being controlled by anything.Compatibilism gives you the

freedom people want, but also the comfort of knowing you cannot control everything.

In the end, after reviewing these three schools of thought, I believe that

compatibilism is more likely to be correct.I believe this since we are kind of morally

responsible for making conscious decisions and choices in our lives,which is how most

part of our lives are being run and determined.We do not blame the universe for the

choices we make which means that compatibilism is what makes the most sense.I think

that both determinism and libertarianism are extremes on both sides of the scale.

Determinism says that there is no such thing as free will and everything is

predetermined, nothing you can do will change the outcome of what is already fated to

happen.Libertarianism says that everything is up to you.There is no higher power in

the universe guiding you.You make all your choices alone and everything you have

done is a result of you.Compatibilism is an in between of determinism and

libertarianism and that is why I believe that it is most correct.