In our readings in chapter seven
In our readings in chapter seven, we learned about the different types of determinism: hard determinism, soft determinism, and indeterminism, we also learned about how these are different and how they feed off each other. These ideas have been argued by many philosophers since Isaac Newton, who was a hard determinist by saying we are matter in motion. We also learn about the idea of freedom in philosophy and how freedom is a person’s responsibility.
What is determinism? Determinism is “the thesis that everything that happens in the universe is determined according to the laws of nature” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.444). In determinism, an event will only occur if its prerequisite conditions are fulfilled. Within determinism, there are three different categories: hard determinism, soft determinism, and indeterminism. Hard determinism is that all human actions are causally determined by the laws of nature. Hard determinism is made up of two claims: 1. Determinism is true and 2. Free will is only an illusion. In hard determinism, it is believed that every event has a complete explanation. “According to them [hard determinists], we, too, are ‘matter in motion,’ physical bodies that are subject to all the laws of nature. What we ‘do’ is just as determined by these laws as any other event in nature” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.445). This means that if every event is causally determined, according to hard determinists, this also means that human decision and actions are also predetermined too. Within hard determinism, we learn that free will is only an illusion. We, as humans, like the idea of freedom and want to feel as though we are making our own choices; however, if our actions are already arranged by a higher power, we are not in control. Therefore, I believe in hard determinism we are not morally responsible for our own action. The second type of determinism is soft determinism. “On the one hand, they accept the determinist’s argument, but on the other, they refuse to give up the all-important demand for human freedom and responsibility” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.457). Soft determinism believes that when we are the cause of our actions, then our actions are free. Soft determinism is also referred to as compatibilism because it believes in freedom and determinism. John Stuart Mill defends the soft determinism position by saying “Given the motives which are present to an individual’s mind and given likewise the character and disposition of the individual, the manner in which he will act might be unerring inferred” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.458). Soft determinism says that even though actions or events are fully determined, it comes from the person’s character. The last type of determinism is indeterminism. Indeterminism rejects hard determinism and soft determinism; indeterminism claims that not every event has a cause. When saying that not every event has a cause, free will is then involved. “… the British physic-philosopher Sir Arthur Eddington advanced the indeterminist argument that determinism is false on physical grounds. Not every event in the universe is predictable” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.453). When comparing hard determinism and soft determinism, we see the similarities in that they both agree with determinism, that they believe that events have a cause; however, the main difference between these two is the fact that soft determinism says that freedom and determinism go hand in hand, but hard determinism believes that freedom and determinism are only polar opposites. When comparing soft determinism and indeterminism, we see the similarities between free will. Both of these types of determinism believe in free will and that we are in control of our own actions; however, the main difference in these two is that soft determinism accepts the determinist view, with freedom, but indeterminism says that some events do not have a predetermined action. Indeterminism can be just a problematic as hard determinism. “The object of indeterminism is to deny the determinist position in order to make room for human freedom” (Solomon et al., 2016, p.453). Within indeterminism, some events have no explanations of their causes. Philosophy defines freedom as an idea that a human decision is their own. An act is free when a person does the action, regardless of the consequence. Hard determinism says that determinism and freedom cannot go hand and hand, because every event is already predetermined by nature. When contrasting indeterminism and hard determinism, we see that indeterminism is just as hurtful to us as hard determinism. If we have too much freedom, we cannot see the causes of our actions; however, if we have no freedom, we feel trapped and as if we aren’t in control of our own lives.