Determinism thesis statements

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Furthermore, how can one know that a negative action is indeed negative if it does not stir feelings of regret and remorse as a result? Finally, how can one rationally feel regret or remorse as a result of an action if that action was determined by the structure of the universe in the first place? James believes that these three questions are fundamental in making the concept of indeterminism seem more rational due to the fact that the determinist perspective removes people from their sense of moral reality.

It is nonsensical, for James, to remove that moral reality from the process of creating moral judgments about the experiences that one has. Rationally speaking, he cannot state with good conscience that the aforementioned murder case is not vile solely due to the fact that it could be a function of a predetermined universe. If, instead, the world has a chance of being good, even if the chance is never realized, this idea of the world is better than the alternative.

As his argument wraps up, James adds one last clause for those that may not agree with him because his argument may come off as one that presupposes that God Providence does not exist. His explanation of God as a master chess player who knows each move the novice can make and the likelihood of each chance therein is a powerful way for him to explain this alternative perspective to his audience.

Still, his greatest point in the last section of this piece is that no matter the case, the ability to make moral judgments still exists, and as James has presented, this is fundamentally paradoxical with both hard and soft determinism. That being said, my primary complaint is that his standard for why this perspective is valuable is somewhat weak in comparison to the other links in the chain of his argument.

Additionally, I found his take on God to be interesting. It certainly challenges my perception of God, one that is built by notions of divinity from an Abrahamic perspective. At the same time, I believe that James gives too much leeway to the theists that he is presenting to.

This is the only point at which his argument feels like it is pandering more than it is logically or rationally explaining the truth of the universe or experience. It satisfies my theist sensibilities, but it feels like something that is more of a backwards construction of thought — one that relies on the truth of the idea that God exists and creates a narrative to fulfill that truth within the context of his indeterminist argument.

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Free Will And Determinism Vs. Determinism

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Present to your audience Start remote presentation. Do you really want to delete this prezi? Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again. No description. Comments 0 Please log in to add your comment. The Classical Formulation involves principles governing six different concepts: an agent, action, could have done otherwise, event, cause, and causal determination. And 5 arises from a commonsense understanding of what it means to claim that an event is causally determined—that, if it were, then given the antecedent causal conditions for the event, it was not possible for it not to have occurred.

By looking at the Classical Formulation, we can see how different stances might emerge. For instance, within the framework of this Classical Formulation, compatibilists would deny 5. Incompatibilists, on the other hand, might move in a number of different directions. Consider the incompatibilist who remains agnostic about the free will problem. Her thesis is merely that free will and determinism are incompatible.

Hence, given the Classical Formulation, she would be committed to the truth of 5. Yet she is not prepared to say whether determinism is true or whether instead any person has free will. Her view is simply that there is no world in which it is the case that a person acts with freedom of the will and determinism is true. This sort of agnostic incompatibilist might frame her position by appeal to a disjunction, such as: Either 1 is false or 4 is false.

She might appeal to a different disjunction, such as: Either 1 is false or 3 is false. Now consider the incompatibilist who commits to the hard determinist thesis that no person has free will and that determinism is true. Clearly, the hard determinist will reject 1. Finally, consider the libertarian—the incompatibilist who embraces free will and denies that determinism is true.


She has a number of options. She might deny 3 , that every event is caused, thereby claiming that the universe is causally indeterministic. Or she might deny 4 , that if an event is caused, then it is causally determined. On this account, she might well agree that actions are events, and that every event is caused that is, she might accept 2 and 3 , but she will claim that human agents are the cause of freely willed actions, and that human agents are not themselves caused which would entail that they are not events.

The Classical Formulation of the free will problem has fallen out of fashion. But it is meant to function here merely as an illustration of how different positions on the free will problem might emerge, and as an illustration of the ways that the differing positions might seek to disentangle the collection of concepts giving rise to the problem. To warn against settling exclusively on any single formulation of the free will problem, it might be instructive to show why this formulation is no longer helpful.

Just to mention one problem with it, notice that the only proposition used to represent the freedom element of the notion of free will is 1.

However, as will become apparent later in this entry, there are notions of free will that do not appeal to a proposition involving the claim that an agent could have acted otherwise. All the same, such notions of free will do seem to be at odds with the thesis of causal determinism.

Hence, there are debates between compatibilists and incompatibilists regarding a notion of free will that is entirely independent of could have acted otherwise. Rather than seek a formulation of the free will problem that allows a single, perspicuous demonstration of every possible position adopted with respect to it, it is more helpful to think in terms of different sorts of formulations.

These different formulations will involve different considerations pertinent to the sort of freedom that is at issue when theorizing about the conditions for moral responsibility. In the following section, two formulations will be presented in the form of two arguments for incompatibilism.

Compatibilism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Regardless of the specific form they take, what is central to a proper understanding of them is that they emerge from an apparent problematic entangling of concepts that are a deep part of our conceptual repertoire. These concepts will include some subset of the following: freedom, control, person, agency, cause, causal necessity or determination, event, moral responsibility, as well as notions like the past, and a law of nature.

The philosopher's task is to disentangle these various concepts in a useful and illuminating manner. Determinism poses at least two different sorts of threats to free will. In each case, we can begin with the theory-neutral definition of free will set out in section one: the unique ability of persons to exercise control over their conduct in the fullest manner necessary for moral responsibility.

This characterization of free will in terms of control can be developed in two ways. One concerns an agent's freedom over alternatives. Another concerns the source of an agent's actions. Incompatibilists have rightly exploited both.

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Each builds upon a different model of control, and each has instigated a different incompatibilist formulation of the free will problem. A natural way to think of an agent's control over her conduct at a moment in time is in terms of her ability to select among, or choose between, alternative courses of action.

How to write a thesis statement for an analytical essay

If a person is choosing between voting for Obama as opposed to Romney, it is plausible to assume that her freedom with regard to her voting consists, at least partially, in her ability to choose between these two alternatives.