“Determinism is a belief in the inevitability of causation.Everything that happens
is the only possible thing that could happen.The chains and networks of causes are so
powerful and inexorable that every outcome is inevitable.We are already locked in to
everything else that is going to happen in the entire future of the universe.If you knew
all the inputs of the system and had enough information about the present, you could
predict the future with complete accuracy.Baumeister compatres determinism to The
likes of the universe and how it resembles a giant machine, grinding alone exactly as it
must inevitably continue to do, following a set of rules.That is determinism”
(Baumeister).Baumeister defines determinism as a belief that something will happen
because the universe says it is so.In determinism, there is no choice.Things will
happen and there is nothing you can do to change them.There is no other option, that
being said determinism has both strengths and weaknesses (Baumeister).
Some of the strengths in determinism are that it seems to follow from our views
in physics, that it has set rules and a solid structure.We believe that the material world
that we live in is governed by laws and that given enough information about an object in
this world and other relevant objects along with the laws of nature in our world, we
would be able to predict what will happen to that object as far into the future as we
would like.This makes the deterministic viewpoint very difficult to create an argument
against.There are definite patterns and connections throughout the physical universe
and the biological realm.However, humans are just aggregates of matter, and
therefore, according to a deterministic thought, we humans are also subject to the same
laws which means that our behavior should be determined by the properties of the
matter that makes us up, just like the behavior of an inanimate object.This means that
there is no other way for us to choose how to act and our actions are set in stone
A weakness in the deterministic thought is that you cannot act except under the
assumption of free will. Determinism asserts that humans may have circumstantial
freedom, but they do not have metaphysical freedom.In other words, we may have the
freedom to stand up and sit down, but we don’t really have the freedom to choose a
path in life.For this, we are at the mercy of our physical bodies and circumstance.
Determinism does not take into account the human free will at all.Free will does
not exist if our actions are set in stone as mentioned above.You will find yourself asking
“Should I do this or that?”If you believe in determinism, why would you ask yourself that
since the universe has already decided what course of action you are to take.
Choice seems to be built into our moral philosophy which completely disagrees
with what determinism says.”Choice is fundamental in human life.Every day people
face choices, defined by multiple possibilities.To claim that all that is illusion and
mistake is to force psychological phenomena into an unrealistic strait jacket.”
(Baumeister). If determinism was correct about the lack of free will, you would not be
able to possibly punish anyone or think they are a bad person for something they did
not choose to do, since free will does not exist.Because free will does not exist, they
have been set on that course of action by the universe and there is nothing that they
could have done to change it.To punish someone for something that they could not
control would be immoral.We see this today when someone commits a crime but is
pardoned to a degree because they are mentally unsound and unable to control their
True deterministic thinking is an extreme area of thought and real life often lies
somewhere in between, thinking that some things are meant to happen but under the
illusion that if we try hard enough, we will be able to change them and direct our future
in the direction we want it to go.Free-will will always exist to some degree and that is
where determinism falls short (Thoristad). Using its name as its definition, determinism
asserts that man’s path is predetermined.In other words, freedom is an illusion.When
we think we are making choices, we are really just at the mercy of physical impulses or
events which have already occurred (Baumeister).
Building on this question, many philosophers hold to the opposite of determinism,
libertarianism.Libertarianism can also be called indeterminism.”In the most general
sense, libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the rights of individuals to
liberty, to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings, and considers the protection of
individual rights the primary role for the state.This entry is on libertarianism in the
narrower sense of the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have
certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things.”(Vallentyne).
“Libertarians can range from market anarchists to advocates of a limited welfare
state, but they are all united by a belief in personal liberty, economic freedom, and a
skepticism of government power.”(What is…)Libertarianism asserts that man has both
circumstantial and metaphysical freedom.We are not just puppets dangling from a
string, however we are also not subject to some predetermined path.We have got the
capacity and intellect to choose between options.For example, on my own, I made the
conscious choice to get an education, just like I am making a conscious choice to write
this paper or my choice to grab a snack.In other words, this means that free will is alive.
For this reason, the criminal deserves punishment for what they have done, and the
saint deserves adulation.Libertarianism allows for moral responsibility;our choices are
down to our volition and what we choose to do by using our free will.We are able to
make causally undetermined choices; no overriding power making out choices for us; to
be able to make ethical choices without inner moral self, making us responsible for our
actions, however on the flip side, it does not consider internal and external influences
enough that may affect our ability to make ethical choices freely.An example of this is a
psychopath who has a ‘warrior gene’.This means that they are unable to feel guilt and
capable of murder.It is not an ethical action, psychopaths therefore do not seem to
have an inner moral self.
To bring the two together, compatibilism sides with determinism in that it agrees
that actions can be predetermined in the metaphysical realm.However, it also gives a
nod to libertarianism.Compatibilism can be seen as the belief that free will and
determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without
being logically inconsistent.
Compatibilists think that freedom can be present or absent in a variety of different
situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.Compatibilists believe
that the universe is deterministic, and that humans have free will (although, not it its
I think some of the weaknesses might be that people could think it is almost a
cop out of making a decision either way.I think in some respect, there might not be an
option in the middle, and people might look to this position as an excuse for not picking
either side.Another weakness of compatibilism might be that in essence, this position is
just a drawn out way of determinism.By this I mean that if something occurs in our life,
we say we have free will to react to this, but do we really?To a certain extent, there are
only certain ways in which you can respond based on what previously occurred.Does
this mean that there really is no free will in this scenario?Those are just some thought
about the weaknesses of the compatibilism belief.However, on the other side of this,
compatibilism has some strengths as well.
One strength might be the fact that there is some comfort in knowing that there is
something greater than us who has a hand in our lives.Personally, I know that God has
His hand in my life and is actively working in my life.This gives me a comfort because I
know that all of the events that happen in my life are for a reason and I know that He will
never give me something I cannot handle.
Another strength of compatibilism is that it really is the best of both worlds.
People like the idea of having free will.They like the idea of freedom and being who
they want to be and not being controlled by anything.Compatibilism gives you the
freedom people want, but also the comfort of knowing you cannot control everything.
In the end, after reviewing these three schools of thought, I believe that
compatibilism is more likely to be correct.I believe this since we are kind of morally
responsible for making conscious decisions and choices in our lives,which is how most
part of our lives are being run and determined.We do not blame the universe for the
choices we make which means that compatibilism is what makes the most sense.I think
that both determinism and libertarianism are extremes on both sides of the scale.
Determinism says that there is no such thing as free will and everything is
predetermined, nothing you can do will change the outcome of what is already fated to
happen.Libertarianism says that everything is up to you.There is no higher power in
the universe guiding you.You make all your choices alone and everything you have
done is a result of you.Compatibilism is an in between of determinism and
libertarianism and that is why I believe that it is most correct.