Determinism and Free Will. Understood by Few

Essay, 2009
8 Pages, Grade: A


Understood by Few

Many lives continue to glow brightly as they journey on throughout the course of their existence. It is in these lives, that we are exposed to the joys and wonders of the world through the subjective interpretation of our ownexperiences. Pivotal decisions are made everyday which continually dictate the opportunities available to us. Yet one question remains unclear, who makes these decisions?

Naturally, many people believe that these decisions are our own to make. This belief, referred to as “free will,” implies that we have a conscious choice between one option and numerous alternatives. The ability to make a decision based on these circumstances implies that the mind is free.

Alternatively, the less popular view of determinism suggests that we have no free will; decisions are made based on an antecedent casual chain of events. In other words, before choices are presented a decision is already made, or pre-determined, and cannot be deviated from. In this regard, the mind is preconditioned based on experiences, genetics, and other factors.In essence, the mind is not free.

Following these views, it should not come as a surprise that free will, often synonymous with freedom, is regarded more reputably. However, this belief is unsupported by empirical evidence and neglects the surrounding factors that influence cognitive processes. In other words, a broad spectrum of circumstances, both past and present, influencesbehavior and opportunities. By adopting a determinist perspective, people will learn to see beyond the surface of what is available to them. It is with this that a deeper understanding of context and casual factors, which influence behavior and events, can be used to decipher the world around us. By achieving this new outlook, people will be capable of joining an elite esoteric group which provides a foundation for awareness, understanding, and growth.

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper” (Albert Einstein).


Generations before us, decisions were made for today. Battles were fought, protests occurred, voices were silenced while others were heard. Consequently, this lead to the creation of ideals and principles for society. It is under this basis that determinism holds value. Ultimately, we as individuals cannot determine the actions of what has happened before us. We do not choose the time period in which we are born. Mahatma Gandhi has inspired both the love and hate of many people. His peaceful protests in India contributed to a powerful movement for the country. Yet, it also resulted in his imprisonment and eventual assassination. If Gandhi were born today, would he still be a hero? Would he still need to protest? The time in which he was born, and the circumstances that occurred, dictated his fate. Today, India is a thriving country no longer under British rule. It holds thesecond largest population in the world, boasts a thriving economy, and is predicted to be a world superpower in the future (Schaefer and Haaland 331).

Free will would argue that while it is true that we cannot dictate the past, we have the freedom to make our own choices in the present. However, one flaw with this belief is that it overlooks the way we gainour sense of morals and ideals that we use to make decisions.


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Determinism and Free Will. Understood by Few
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
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Pro-determinism essay examining supporting historical, sociological, and biological interpretations.
philosophy, english, determinism, free will, freedom, fate
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Bachelor of Arts Criminology and Psychology Richard Teotico (Author), 2009, Determinism and Free Will. Understood by Few, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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