Free Will- Quick Revision

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  • Created by: Sharnie6
  • Created on: 29-05-15 11:49
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FREE WILL- QUICK REVISION
Sharnie6
What is meant by Free Will and Free Action?
Thomas Hobbs
· Freedom meant that there were no external constraints stopping you from making a
free choice
Hume
· Suggested the same thing and said that free will or Liberty is the power of action or
of not acting according to the determinism of the will.
It is generally agreed that if someone is forced to do an action, they are not morally
responsible as the person did not do the action from their own free will.
Determinism poses a problem for ethics because if there is no free will, there can no
moral responsibility.
What is Determinism?
States that everything in the universe has a prior cause. This can be seen in various
forms and ideas, fate, destiny. It argues that as everything has a prior cause we do not have
free will.
Are actions necessitated by the prior events?
This can be seen in Aquinas' causation argument.
Determinism can generally be seen in 4 forms:
1. Predestination
2. Hard Determinism
3. Libertarianism
4. Soft Determinism (Compatibilist)
How does Augustine's idea of the fall fit into Determinism?
Augustine argued that individually humans are incapable of doing good deeds. This is
because of our immersion in sin after the fall.
Therefore to do good deeds humanity needs God, or more precisely God's grace, which
handily is a free gift from God.
We do not all have this grace, which means that God alone determines who will receive
this grace, and therefore who will do good deeds which will ultimately result in gaining
salvation. Hence God decides who get to heaven.

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FREE WILL- QUICK REVISION
Sharnie6
Predestination
What is Predestination?
Predestination is a Christian doctrine which argues that your salvation is pre-
determined by God and there is nothing you can do about it, it was formulated by Augustine
and John Calvin.
Augustine
· God is omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent. God is also the creator of all things,
the heavens and the Earth. God is also the alpha and the omega (beginning and the
end).…read more

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Hard determinism
What is Hard Determinism?
There is no free will and no responsibility. Their position is very strict, it does not
change. All actions have a prior cause, meaning we are neither free nor responsible.
A person cannot be blamed for their negative actions, they simply need repairing or
'fixing', just like a machine. If someone is violent then they should not be blamed for their
violence.…read more

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However, he chose to stay in the room, and chose not to check the door, so he must
have made a free choice.
What is psychological behaviourism, in accordance to Hard
Determinism?
First discussed by John Watson, it is the idea that peoples' behaviour can be both
predicted and controlled. This is because all things in the universe, including ethical decisions,
are determined by prior causes. These prior causes are in theory knowable and this these
actions are predictable.…read more

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What is scientific determinism, in accordance to Hard Determinism?
Science is mechanistic as it is based upon the theory of UNIVERSAL CAUSATION.
Science tells us that for every physical event there is a physical cause, and this causal chain
can be traced back to the moment of the Big Bang.
If we consider the mind to be material activity in the Brian, then our thoughts and
decisions are also pre-determined.…read more

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FREE WILL- QUICK REVISION
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Libertarianism
What is meant by Libertarianism?
This states that we are both totally free and totally responsible. They argue that
ideas of cause and effect cannot be applied to human beings as we possess the freedom to
act.
Our decisions are a result of the values and characteristics of the individual. This
often appeals to our sense of intuition. We see ourselves as free agents, not robots of
puppets.…read more

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choose only that you choose freely. Everything depends on the individual, this is what gives
life meaning and purpose. `To be free is to be condemned to be free'- to be free is to have a
humanly fulfilling life. To avoid freedom makes life meaningless and absurd.
What are strengths of Libertarianism?
1. Libertarianism recognises that people do have a real sense of decision-making and a
sense of freedom
2. It gives humans a purpose and goal in life
3.…read more

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Soft Determinism
What is Soft Determinism?
Argues that YES our actions are determined, but this does not diminish our
responsibility. Firstly it argues that determinism has become confused with fatalism.
Freedom of choice is not compatible with fatalism, but is compatible with determinism.
Soft determinism argues that all human actions are caused. It argues that if were not
the case then we would be unable to predict action, we know this to be true.…read more

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1. How many causes can actually be said to originate with human beings? Surely most
causes leading up to a particular effect can be traced back to factors outside their
control.
2. Ultimate causes are always outside of humans control
3. Libertarians criticise soft determinists for failing to realise the true extent of human
freedom.
4. Soft determinists do not state clearly what is determined and what is open to choice.…read more

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