philFINAL - Jason Frankel Philosophy 100W December 9 2009...

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Jason Frankel Philosophy 100W December 9, 2009 Determinism, Fatalism, Predestination and Free Will: Do We Have a Choice? Earlier today, I ordered a cheeseburger for lunch, and I was asked if I wanted fruit or french fries to accompany the burger. In my head, I ran through what I had eaten earlier that day, and even thought about what I had eaten all week. After thinking about it, I realized I could splurge a little and I chose the french fries. I hadn’t eaten anything all day, I have been working out a lot recently and fries wouldn’t kill me, and lastly, I had eaten healthy all week so I felt like I deserved the carb-filled side. But what really caused me to choose the french fries? Was I always going to choose the fries, or did I have a choice? This argument is a microcosm of each and every one of our lives, and philosophers have debated for years the starting point of our so-called “choices.” Theories such as determinism, fatalism, and predestination, point to higher beings or cause and effects that take choice out of our hands. We are simply puppets in a greater scheme, and our actions are only the reaction to something that happened before it. On the other hand, some philosophers argue that there is an inherent flaw in this argument called the problem of freedom and determinism. The problem, philosophers claim, starts with the fact that determinism, fatalism, and predestination all assume human actions are not free. I am going to take this one step further, and argue that believing in some form of predetermined set of actions is not only wrong, but hinders our ability to understand the world in which we live. Determinism, the notion that every cause has a certain effect, has a fatal flaw in its argument, and that is the idea that humans are just like everything else in this world.
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Logically speaking, determinism sounds rational. Every cause has an effect, and that effect in turn will cause a chain of future events. Actions are based on current situations, and therefore what we do in the future is related to past and current conditions. This also can go in the opposite direction. Every event in the past was caused by something previously happening, thus leading to where we are today. This idea, however, has to be segmented between objects and humans because we have a choice in our actions. As the autumn season comes around, the temperature gets colder, and that causes leaves to fall off of trees in early November. When the temperature gets warmer in April, those leaves come back, and this is all because of a cause and effect chain that can never be broken, determinists argue. Determinists additionally argue that this goes beyond nature and to human beings as well. We are just another piece to the puzzle of nature’s planned course. As we get deeper into the month of December, humans start to wear
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philFINAL - Jason Frankel Philosophy 100W December 9 2009...

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