Kant’s Thoughts On Human Dignity – Philosophy Essay
Determinism is a philosophical concept relating to human freedom. This concept declares that every action (including human behavior) is believed to have a cause. Every situation is therefore the outcome of a preceding
situation. Determinism can be further defined as hard or soft based on causality and action. On the other hand belief in free will is one’s ability to make rationale choices based ones motivation and desire. These actions are not determined by external causes.
Philosophers of hard determinism declare that there is no such thing as free will. They assert that every event has a cause and that there is a chain of causality that extends back to ones birth or even before one was born. It is believed that each link of the chain determines what will happen with the next link. Therefore, human beings actions are based on a chain of event that cause them to react in a particular way. This is because there is no free will and individuals’ behaviors are predetermined. Everything that happens to an individual is based on the effect of some set cause. A person’s thoughts, actions and beliefs are all determined by preceding events. Therefore, the choices that individuals make in life are predictable and cannot be avoided. So, individuals should not be held accountable for their actions since, they are not acts of free will. The action to make choices is determined by an individual wants, wishes, desires, feelings and motivations. So, universal causality is incompatible with human freedom.
Soft determinism supports the idea that every action has a cause, but every action is not compelled or forced. Therefore, actions that are voluntary are considered to be of free will. Subsequently, individuals should be accountable for these actions and their consequences. Philosophers of soft determinism redefined freedom as been both positive and negative. The positive connotation of soft determinism suggested that if an individual is the cause of their actions then they are thought to be acting freely and are therefore responsible for their behavior and its consequences. In addition, if an individual acted voluntarily to fulfill ones desire then that individual is believed to have free will. Secondly, the negative connotation suggest that if individuals are forced, coerced, or compelled to function in a manner that they normally would not do, the individual is not free or have human freedom. Such individuals has no control over their behaviors and therefore have no act of free will. Soft determinism believes that universal causation is compatible with freedom
Belief in free will is the idea that human behaviors is not just based on external causes but is the result of the individuals ability to make choices bases on their motive, and intensions, which is not determined by external causes. To have free will is been able to make alternative choices. Therefore, ones actions are not predetermined. One is free to make choices based on what is most appropriate to him or her without being influenced by external stimulus. Human beings having free will are the cause of some of their own actions based on the choices that they make.
All three philosophical concepts, hard determinism, soft determinism and belief in free will share differences on the idea of freedom. Hard determinism argues that if all events in someone’s life are dependent on prior events then there is no such thing as free will. They believe that human actions are predictable and predetermined. As a result an individual could not possibly do anything other than what he would have always done, so individuals do not have any control over their actions. Philosophers of soft determinism support the concept of hard determinism in that every action has a cause. However, they believe that some actions are of free will, while others are forced. They do not believe that all behaviors are predetermined. Soft determinist believes individuals have free will to make choices voluntary. These choices are based on their prior exposures.