Free Will vs Determinism Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 November 2016

Free Will vs Determinism

“Suicide is the only thing you have control of in life and that’s why it’s a sin; you’re beating ‘God’ at his own game. ”( S. H. ) This is what some people who believe in free will think. However, there is also some determinism in that quote because it talks about how they don’t have control over anything and the only thing they do control is whether they live or die. It is a bit ironic because yes they take their own life but after who will they meet, God, and who will still be in charge, God, not them. Determinism creates a reason for people to blame their actions on someone else.

People who believe in free will take full responsibility of their actions because they choose to do it. In this life, our decisions and actions are half determined and half chosen by the people. Some people do not have a choice in life like mental illness. People do not choose to have depression, they do not want to be this way. Other people think that you can just snap out of it , but you can’t. I claim that people should think about their decisions in a half free will and half determinism way because it will help give people justice.

It will blame those that need to be blamed and it will show innocence for those who had no fault. Determinism is like saying that a person did not do the actions that they committed. It is like blaming someone else for what they did and not taking responsibility for their actions. On the other hand, it also has some truth to it. For example people with mental health issues, depression, to be specific, did not choose this for themselves. They did not want it nor can they get rid of it. They can take medication but it is never really gone.

It is in their genes , or something caused them to be this way. People cannot control it. This is due to the chemicals in our brain change and they do not have the same brain activity. The brain is an interesting thing, it can be controlled by outside forces. “This is absolutely out of my control,” (Tom Chivers) This is said by Professor Haggard while his brain is stimulated by a magnet, therefore causing movements in his body. He is not in charge of his body, the person controlling the magnet is. The experiment shows that an outside force can influence the brain and can control it.

Like with depression, it slowly starts to takes over peoples brains. Determinism is saying that everything is already planned out, every action you ever made or will make is already known and it was planned from the beginning. Another opinion would be that something caused that person to take those decisions, to manifest themselves the way they did. Free will ,on the other hand, says that you choose what you do and you take full responsibility for your actions. It is saying that you control your own life and nobody can make decisions for you or influence you.

In mental health issues, depression which sometimes leads to suicide, people say that they are taking control of their life by killing themselves, because they decide when it is time not someone or something else. People with depression are suffering every day and they can’t be cured of it, they can treat it but it is never really gone. “When living in severe despair, this actualises the existential question whether life is worth living or not. ”(Frank Lorentzon) This is the question many people with depression ask themselves.

If it is worth living in a world where people choose what they do and they choose to hurt these people but only some actually take responsibility for what they did. “ As for my own end it was in this wise: heaven did not take me swiftly and painlessly in my own house, nor was I attacked by any illness such as those that generally wear people out and kill them, but my longing to know what you were doing and the force of my affection for you- this it was that was the death of me. ” (Odyssey) In this quote Anticlea, Odysseus’s mother, is talking about how she died.

She did not choose to be depressed, the events that happened with her son made her this way, she could do nothing about it except take her own life and that is what she did. “Conceited as they were, they believed that they, and only they, could escape the iron law of cause and effect that governs everything. ” ( Christof Koch) He is talking about how people think that they can do anything for without a reason and that people are excluded from the cause and effect law. This is what people believe that free will is, that you can do anything without any consequences. My point of view is compatibilist.

Both, determinism and free will work together to give us the system that we have now. It is deterministic because every action causes a reaction in our everyday lives. Like with bullying, the bullies are not taking responsibility for their actions and the people that they bullied pay the price. The people that are bullied take it out on themselves and not the bully, that is why we have a high rate of suicides. But the free will part of this whole argument is that bullies choose to harass people and those that were affected by this become depressed but not by their own free will.

On the other hand the people that were depressed chose to commit suicide , they had a say in it but they did not have a say in their depression. It gives some people with mental problems justice because they cannot always control how they feel and act and they do not deserve to be treated like it is all their fault. It is important to realize that not everyone may be teling the truth because they do not want to take responibility for what they did, but that is why we have doctors and tests that can be administered to give everyone justice.

For example in court, a mentally ill person would be treated differently than a sane one. If they had personality disorders, or some other kinds of diseases that might cause them to do something that they would not do. Without a little determinism, even the mentally ill would be found guilty, when they are actually innocent. On the other hand, there are those who fake illnesses so they are found not guilty and they put the blame on something else that they say “ they have no control over” when they actually do and those people need to be punished. Determinism and free will combined will give us justice.

Free Free Will vs Determinism Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 10 November 2016

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