The Case for Free Will
we have been considering the main lines of argument leading to the theory known as determinism, the view that every event in the universe is the inevitable outcome of previous events. If determinism is true, then certain conclusions about human life and values seem to follow, conclusions that at least at first sight are both unwelcome and difficult to believe. The fact that a conclusion is unwelcome is, of course, no good reason for supposing it to be false. But the conclusion that no event in the universe, including human actions, could be other than it is, is difficult to believe as well as unpalatable. There are two principal reasons for this. A developed statement of these reasons constitutes the positive side of the argument for the reality of free will. The negative side of the argument consists in attempted refutation of the arguments for determinism. We shall consider these in turn. One result of our consideration will be that we get a clearer idea of what we mean both by “free will” and by “determinism,” concepts that, at this stage of our discussion, are far from clear.
KeywordsMoral Responsibility Free Choice Inevitable Outcome Categorical Sense Strong Conviction
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