Free will is compatible with determinism

Free will happens when people are rational and they can make rational decisions, based on beliefs and desires, which means that brainwashed people, very young children, and mentally disabled people can hardly exert free will. Free will is compatible with determinism, specifically with soft determinism, because soft determinism argues that 1) everything has a cause, but this cause is not sufficient alone to lead to particular results, 2) quantum physics proves that the laws of nature cannot ascertain everything exactly based on past behavior and observations, and 3) science can only help explain, but not fully predict human behavior, because free will enables rational people to make cogent decisions that can shape outcomes that can veer away from hard determinisms inflexible causal relationships.

Hard determinism states that everything has a sufficient cause, which means that people cannot be morally responsible anymore for their actions. This cause, however, is not entirely adequate on its own all the time, because everything can have a number of required conditions to take place, although they may not always be satisfactory for something to happen (Philosophical conversations, p.18). For instance, I can throw a ball and I can predict that it will go to the door, because I threw it to the door. The action of throwing is required in order to get the ball rolling. Hard determinism says that the ball should go to the door, since the action is already planned beforehand and the sufficient cause for the balls movement is present. On the other hand, anyone can stop the ball anytime. If my mother suddenly decides to stop the ball because it is raucous, then the ball will not reach the door. Having no blockages must be an adequate condition, in order for the ball to reach its destination. In relation to free will, it is possible, according to soft determinism, that there are required cases that can allow for something to happen. Everything has a cause, but this cause is not adequate alone to lead to particular results. Nevertheless, there must also be satisfactory conditions, in order for something to happen exactly as it has been planned, and free will can be part of that sufficient condition. With free will, people can make rational decisions and question the intransigence of hard determinism.

This brings us to the concept of moral responsibility. Hard determinism argues that moral responsibility does not exist, because past initial actions or conditions can be used as the basis for predicting future actions. This has been used by the famous lawyer Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), who defended the murders done by Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb, by arguing that they are not morally responsible for their actions Darrow underscored that The principal thing to remember is that we are all the products of heredity and environment that we have little or no control, as individuals, over ourselves, and that criminals are like the rest of us in that regard. Darrow stated that these murderers also suffered from other inhumane actions. Because of precedent experiences, they have been molded to be immoral, and so these murderers should not be held responsible for their actions, when former actions can be blamed for present immoral behavior. Darrow, in this context, is promoting hard determinism, so that he could undermine moral responsibility and save his clients from the death penalty.

The response to this is that it is true that heredity affects our personalities, as well as our physical and psychological attributes. It is also true that human bodies act in line with mechanical and determinable conditions. But if this is the case, then why is it that other people who have also suffered from physical, emotional, andor sexual abuses did not choose to victimize other people These people are examples exertion of agency. They know that they can also affect their own actions. They may be psychologically predisposed to do harm also, because they have already been psychologically andor morally corrupted. They can also choose to do something immoral unto others, because after all, they had also been harmed before. It will only be fair to settle the score, if not with the people who have harmed them, but at least with those who they can harm back. However, when the time comes that they are in a condition to affect other people, they still choose the right thing, which means they do not choose to harm other people. If you ask them, why did you choose to the right thing They could answer that they wanted to make better choices in their lives. This choice, this capability to make a rational choice based on coherent beliefs of morality and ethics means that there is free will that can also change future actions, without solely relying on heredity to define ones personality.

In addition, if it is true that there is no moral responsibility because of hard determinism, then why did people build social institutions, such as schools and justice systems Schools are learning institutions, so that people can shape their destiny and be who they want to be. A child cannot be an expert electrical engineer, if she cannot finish her studies and pursue an engineering course that will teach her the skills and knowledge needed to become a proficient electrical engineer. She needs to make a conscious effort to apply herself to education, in order for her to become a professional electrical engineer someday. If she has the talent to be an excellent engineer, she does not need to study anymore. But in the first place, how does she come to know the skills of an engineer, if she does not use observation and experimentation Even without formal schooling, she applies effort, in order for her to shape her destiny. Thus, a child can exert free will and make the choice to study, so that she can be an expert engineer. She cannot rely on heredity alone to achieve her goals, because her conscious actions and decisions also influence the attainment of her goals.

Another example is the justice system. What is the use for the justice system if there is no free will Society should then let people be and have them do what they want. When all is predetermined and nothing can be changed, there would be no need for governing political systems. The justice system, however, confirms free will. It assumes that people have free will and they should be punished for their wrong acts. At the same time, it is assuming that through the law, it is possible to change people. But these sentiments and aspirations are not possible under hard determinism. Hard determinism says that given the realities of the universe and the laws of nature, criminals only perform what is already designed for them, and any form of human intervention to change them or to stop them would be futile. Soft determinism argues, on the other hand, that criminals have a choice to turn their lives around. They can make their lives better, because the justice system can help them recognize their faults, and at the same time, they can also choose to act and be good this time. This exemplification underscores that moral responsibility is a factor of free will, which legitimizes the need for public social systems that seek to preserve order and pursue learning.

Soft determinism also argues that quantum physics proves that the laws of nature cannot ascertain everything exactly based on past behavior or observation. This is similar to a mathematical problem that can have countless ways of solving them, but there can only be one answer. There is only one answer, which is a form of determinism. However, soft determinism argues that there are numerous possibilities for a specific goal to be achieved, which is another way of saying that there are diverse resolutions to the same problem, wherein free will can exist as the means to finding other viable paths for finding concrete solutions. Hard determinism can counter argue that some laws of nature and understandings of the universe can determine future behavior, such as Newtons Law of Motions. These laws can predict motion, depending on the action of external forces and the mass of bodies in motion. This is true for objects that are inanimate. For people, however, who can make cogent decisions, they can shape their future according to free will. As long as no external forces are constraining them, they can also change what is expected of them.

Soft determinism also argues that science can only help explain, but not fully predict human behavior. Science has opened our minds in understanding different phenomena. Being a child of separated parents can mean that he might also be separated in the future, as some studies indicated. Children of broken families tend to end up having broken families also. Nonetheless, many children from separated parents also do not wish the same to happen to them, and a number of the former choose to exert more effort in selecting more compatible partners and in making more balanced decisions to make their relationships work. Given this example, free will can also be attuned with soft determinism, because lucid people can still make coherent decisions that can alter what science explains about trends in human behavior.

Hard determinism is already nullified by quantum physics and experiences of real people, who make the right choices, even in conditions that will make it easier to just follow what science and society say. Soft determinism says that free will enables moral responsibility and for people to be accountable for their actions and their repercussions. Free will is compatible with soft determinism, because it provides cogent people the opportunity to make lucid choices. The future cannot be controlled by initial causes and genetics, but can be shaped through human free will.


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