December 9, 2009
Determinism, Fatalism, Predestination and Free Will: Do We Have a
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
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.
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
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.