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Freewill and Determinism (Term Paper Sample)


The paper required one to provide a philosophical argument for and against the proposition that freewill and determinism are compatible. it was a multi-pronged argumnet, requiring a double position for each proposition. for example, in the idea that Whether or not it is the case that determinism and freewill are compatible, the writer had to provide a perspective from UTRUM and Videtur. after discussing both sides of teh argument one further proceeds to provide Responsio which highlights the key points supporting the side the writer adopts and Ergo, which is a counter argumnet on the adopted rationale.


Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Determinism and freewill are compatible
Whether or not it is the case that determinism and freewill are compatible
It seems that determinism and free will are not compatible. Such a perception is rooted in the fundamental principles of the two diverging schools of thought as fronted by C.A Campbell in Has the Self “Free Will”? and Pierre Simon de Laplace in Absolute Determinism. Therefore, reviewing the cause and effect related to decision making in the context of external influencers and the flexibility or absoluteness of a decision deriving from the two models provides sufficient reasons the argument is plausible.
Incompatibility may be viewed from the context of cause and effect in decision-making. Notably, in relation to decision making, free will and determinism have diverse approaches, especially on the role of external influencers on decisions, which affects the final outcomes. In Laplace’s argument, the universe is an all-inclusive system governed by deterministic rules, meaning that all within its settings must similarly function under such guidelines (Cottingham 318). In line with such a school of thought, human actions and influencers of behavior are also part of this deterministic system. In that regard, impact of external factors on human actions in this closed system is insignificant. Comparably, Campbell argues on the role of external influencers, such as heredity and environment, on human actions (Campbell 448). These influencers unseat humans as the sole actors of their behaviors. In that regard, decision-making is dependent on several dynamics, powerful enough to influence one’s moral responsibility in a decision, terming such a decision as not a product of free will. In light of this, the role of external influencers in the Laplacian deterministic system is insignificant compared to that in Campbell’s Free will ideology, suggesting a disagreement between the two schools of thought.
Incompatibility between determinism and free will is also evident when focusing on whether a decision made is flexible or absolute. In Laplace’s argument, in a deterministic system, although an unobstructed agent may be obliged to pursue a certain objective and ultimately attains it, the system dictates that such an actor did not have any other chance of engaging in an otherwise course of action, since the deterministic system had already defined the course of action undertaken by this actor. Such a course of action is known as the free will classical compatibilist requirement (McKenna and Coates). In such a system, a decision is absolute, with the actor having minimal control over the outcome apart from what the system defines. Notably, there was no other choice the actor could have made the system has already determined this, meaning that there is no freedom of choice and that the concept of free will is illusionary (Cottingham 318). It is rooted in hidden causes that push one to, unwillingly and unknowingly, disregard a choice in favor of the other. However, this line of thinking differs from Campbell’s free will concept that one has a choice in decision making. In Campbell’s argument, one’s choice is not absolute since it is largely flexible based on the underlying moral responsibility and ability to exercise sufficient moral effort (Campbell 451). Notably, Campbell links free will to moral responsibility. If one is in utter control of their actions, translating to sole authorship, one can logically make a comprehensible decision (Campbell 448). Such action may make sense to self but not to others, but it means that one had the option of choosing other alternatives but ultimately arrived at one that was convenient or comprehensible to them. It means that at times, the decision made potentially changes accordingly due to a change in context, conditions, or even that which defines one’s personality leading to consistency in decision making in varying contexts. Besides, the strength of one’s moral effort to avoid a certain outcome or make a certain decision means that the outcome varies depending on the ability to prioritize moral duty or personal desires or even strike a balance between the two. Therefore, in the context of free will, a decision will always have at least two potential outcomes, compared to determinism that has a single predetermined outcome regardless of the course of action.
If the argument for whether it is not the case that determinism and free will are compatible, then a) The lack of congruence on the significance of external influencers on decision making and b) the difference in the possibility of choices as absolute for deterministic systems and flexible for free will models, then the conclusion is evident: a difference in foundational principles leads to incompatibility of free will and determinism.
I answer that if it is the case of whether that determinism by Laplace and Freewill by Campbell are compatible, compatibility can be attained when focusing on select facets, such as motives behind decision making and comprehensibleness of such decisions, and reworking the decisions made from both models.
Campbell argues that moral responsibility is a predisposition of free will. In such a system, discounting the influence of external determinants of choice, such as heredity and environment, suggests that a decision cannot be said to have been made from free will, meaning that then one is not morally responsible in such a context (Campbell 448). Therefore, he indicates that although the freedom of humanity is vast, in this case, it is associated with moral responsibility as a prerequisite (Campbell 450). In that regard, Campbell non-implicitly makes a basis that choices have consequences, the foundation upon which moral responsibility and subsequently free will rests. Campbell also argues that moral responsibility mostly originates from a choice between desires and duty (Campbell 453-54). In that context, making a morally acceptable decision requires sufficient moral capability manifested through a moral effort to avoid the undesirable course of action (Campbell 451). On the other hand, Laplace argues that the occurrence of events is related to causation, meaning that select motives lead to given outcomes (Cottingham 318-19). Notably, it can be argued that desire or moral duty decisions in free will can fulfill the requirement of reasonable motive that Laplace’s argument requires. While Laplace argues that adopting a choice in disregard of the other means that the non-selected option leads to an effect without a cause (319), it is possible to adopt a logical stance against this argument to showcase compatibility with Campbell’s free will. It would require ignoring the aspect of blind chance that Laplace proposes in the context of absent determinate motive. The outcome would tie Laplace’s argument to one of Campbell’s premises that in the context of free will, at times, one may surrender to their desires, making a decision unrelated to moral duty. In such a scenario, although the decision may be incomprehensible to those observing since they view the course of action as different from one’s character (453), it makes perfect sense to the individual (455). Therefore, simply because an external observer cannot comprehend or even derive a determinate motive from one’s choices, it does not mean the absence of plausible reasons. Notably, adopting the decision maker’s perspective can help clarify such a position and reiterate the existence of sufficiently enough underlying motives in a free-will decision. In that regard, determinism and free will are compatible when focusing on motives relating to decision-making on two preferred choices.
The argument on choices and consequences can further be expanded to display the compatibility between determinism and free will. In a way, Laplace’s opinion about the acquisition and advancement of knowledge aligns with Campbell’s view of decision-making. Notably, weighing the dec

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