Topic: Compare and contrast the concepts of determinism, compatibilism, and libertarianism, as outlined in Chapter 4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these positions? Which one do you believe is the most likely to be correct? Why? In the Philosophy, Determinism has many different categories. Actually according to the textbook, the Determinism is the view that every event, including human actions, are brought about by previous events in accordance with the natural laws that govern the world.
Human freedom is an illusion. Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza does not deny that people’s wishes and desires will lead to the soul, and he said, “but neglected one important factor”, that is, in Baruch’s view, “the will” or we could call it the freedom of choice, is also determined by another factor. Meanwhile, this factor is again determined by another factor, “and then another, then another, and thus infinite persistence.
” Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher, who has the same opinion with Baruch, wrote that, “We all believe that we are born to be free”, “But afterwards, we will be surprised to find ourselves that we are not free at all, but subject to the necessities”. In other words, Baruch gives the view that man is not free, and Schopenhauer finds the reasons of why man is not free. While considering the strengths of the Determinism, the Determinism can be said to be the pioneer of the science.
The Determinism argues that everything in the world is in some kinds of causal relationships; all the movements of the world are determined by natural laws. Once we know the causes, we will definitely know the results. Because of this, science experienced a huge development. For instance, Newton’s calculation of planet motions makes it possible for us to accurately predict the foreseeable future. Under this circumstance, the world is like a clock, and it seems like man could know everything in the future. However, it is not quite like this.
I think the Determinism ignores a very important factor, which is human’s role in this process. Human factors are involved wildly in human behaviors and various social systems, including social laws and religion doctrines. Just like what I mentioned previously, scientists believe that the human life is pre-determined and human’s behavior is inevitable. They consider that if someone has all the information of one person, he or she may get to know how he or she is going to change in advance. But from the point of view throughout the history of human society people often turn to emphasize personal responsibility.
Law and legal penalties for criminals act based entirely on the idea of individual “free will”. Most Jewish and Christian also believed that individuals should be responsible for the crime and suspects should be punished. We can imagine a psychology professor who believes determinism would say to a student: “You have to concentrate to your study, otherwise you will get nothing! ” You can see the contradiction of human behaviors from this typical and ironic statement above, and notice that there exists a deviation between theoretical knowledge and actual human behaviors.
At the same time, the Libertarians believe that people have “free will”, and there are no such inevitable results of those behaviors that are controlled by “free will”. Libertarianism has different meanings in different academic fields. From the general level, the libertarianism refers to people’s ability to decide whether or not to do something according to their conditions. Or in other words, according to the text book, it is the view that humans are able to make authentically free choices that are not determined by previous events in accordance with the natural laws that govern the world.
In other words, given a choice, “we could have done otherwise. ” There is a “Brake theory” that belongs to the Libertarianism argues that the actions under “free will” are cases of “actors causal relationship”, that is, from an actor leads to a result. In other words, a libertarian is likely to emphasis more on subjective randomly selected without external oppression, and any random selection reflects a kind of chance. However, once the people make choices under their “free will”, relative to the present results, the past is always a choice determinant.
Just as the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s “Battle of the problem”, although in the “Today” perspective, whether the naval battle will occur “Tomorrow “cannot be determined, but if we guess that “Tomorrow ” the naval battle will occur, and the naval battle actually took place the next day, then we look from “Tomorrow ” to “today”, the result is inevitable established. John Locke, a British philosopher, even thinks that, “If a man describes the will as ‘free’, that person is guilty of a ‘category mistake’,” and he also believes that the freedom is a power belongs only to the actors.
Thomas Hobbs, another British philosopher, also considers the “free will” as an “absurd language”. He believes that the freedom is defined by the will. As a result, the freedom cannot be used to describe the will, and I think this is the biggest weakness of the Libertarianism. For Compatibilism, according to our textbook, it is the view that all events, including human actions are caused. However, we can consider human actions free if they are a result of internal motivations, not the product of external influences or constraints.
I think, first of all, we should be clear that there is no absolute freedom. Any freedom should be based on a pre-determined range. As far as I am concerned, reality problem is made ?? of all the options provided in some choices, and the so-called freedom is to provide more options for those choices, or we can say it expands the scope for choice. So based on this fact, we could summarized that, any freedom has the will as its boundary, in other words, the freedom is limited by the will, and definitely it cannot describe the will itself.
Furthermore, the freedom of choice exists only in a moment, and it is a property of action’s initiation process. Once ?? a choice is made, there is no meaning for the freedom at this moment. For each choice it provides, determinism is there. In fact, each of these options we have at the choosing moment is associated with one or few past factors, and even we can say that those factors determine the existence of this option. But for the selection process contains all those options, the concept of the “free will” can also exist because every option is inside the range of choice, and each choice is the result of chance.
For example, if life is seen as a string of pearls, each “free will” can be expressed as the choice of each pearl and all those pearls could form the causal chain, which reflects the Determinism. Overall, I think the Determinism and the “free will” cannot be separated. Determinism offers countless possibilities, and the “free will” can be expressed in those choices under such possibilities. Personally, I would say the Compatibilism the one I like the most and I think it ought to be correct in the real world. The reason is that, first, just like I said, there is no absolute freedom.
Everything can be interpreted differently by using different perspectives. Second, please don’t forget or underestimate the power of humans inside these decision making process. Human have learning skills and we could get experiences from the past and use those to guide the future decisions. This is a reflection of the Determinism. However, things are always changing. The problem you faced last time may or may not be the problem you have at this moment. Just like Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
” That’s why the “free will” also exists and it might lead you to another new option you have at this moment. This is a reflection of the Libertarianism. Source Citation: Chaffee, John. The Philosopher’s Way. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson Education, 2013. Print. Wolfson, Harry Austryn. The Philosophy of Spinoza. New York: Meridian, 1958. Print. Schopenhauer, Arthur, Judith Norman, Alistair Welchman, and Christopher Janaway. The World as Will and Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print. Eisenach, Eldon J. Narrative Power and Liberal Truth: Hobbes, Locke, Bentham, and Mill. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Print.