Free will vs. determinism. This has been debated in philosophical circles for hundreds of years. It’s always been a fascinating discussion to me. When I first took Introduction to Philosophy as an undergrad, I went back and forth on this issue hundreds of time. The majority of the class sided with the “free will” argument, as do I now. But do those of us who believe in free will believe in it due to the fact that we don’t want to cede control of our lives to outside forces?
Many feel that there is an inherent weakness in argument for determinism - that weakness being that determinism and morality cannot logically coexist....for an immoral act could not possibly be looked upon as immoral if there was an absence of "choice" to begin with. Consequently, there is a mistaken belief that "chance" (or fate) and free will are mutually exclusive. This concept is fundamentally flawed because it presupposes that the mere existence of free will renders "chance" an impossibility.Those who argue for determinism contend that even though we may agonize over certain decisions…changing our mind from one minute to the next until we have made a choice, that there was in fact one, and only one, choice to begin with. The alternate choices that we agonized over were merely "illusions". That they were not choices at all....they were nothing more than the illusions of choice. It’s very difficult for me to bring myself to believe that. Call me naïve but I will always remain a strong believer in free will.
What about you. Do you believe in free will or are you a determinist?