Free Will Doesn't Exist, Responsibility, Naturalism
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I Agree With The Naturalist Perspective - Free Will Does Not Exist

Before you say anything, hear me out.

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So, this is the scene: freshman year, second semester, in a philosophy class.

Free will was the topic of discussion for only a few classes, but because of those classes this topic has never left my mind.

A question was posed by the professor:

"Can we meaningfully say that we have free will? Why or why not?"

This question was dropped towards the end of the semester, so I guess you could say I was feeling like a well-seasoned philosopher. Here's what I came up with- and still believe today... free will does not exist.

The classroom was divided up into two categories.

1. The people that believe in complete free will were considered philosophically practicing substance dualism.

2. Those that believed complete free will does not exist, were practicing naturalism.

Substance dualism is a philosophical theory coined by Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. This theory suggests that the physical world and mental world are two separate substances. For example, everything in the physical world can be measured and extended to dimensions in space. But, everything in the mental world, like our thoughts and beliefs, can never be extended, or measured. Substance dualists believe one can never measure a thought or belief. So, they concluded that the physical and mental are two separate domains of existence-in order for complete free will to be possible.

Naturalism focuses on the belief that external causes have the most control, which means we are not the only influence on our behavior. Holbach argues that free will cannot exist because when the mind and body are seen as one substance, external causes begin to have a major impact on our behaviors and decisions. External causes don't just influence you; they determine who you are, including your thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions.

So, I agree with the naturalist perspective- Free will does not exist.

Before you say anything, hear me out.

Naturalists have similar beliefs about free will to those working in the fields of neuroscience and psychology. Psychology has always assumed free will doesn't exist. For example, the early psychologists, Freud and Skinner, had separate theories of the mind. However, they both believed that external causes had an impact on our behavior.

In "Do We Have Free Will?" by Schwartz, Ph.D, he explains that Freud and Skinner agreed that human behavior was determined by influences within or outside the person. Freud believed in unconscious conflicts and Skinner believed in environmental contingencies. Regardless, both supported the idea that free will doesn't exist- not everything is in our control.

Within the field of science, there has been an overall assumption that free will does not exist; and a quiet worry of what that implies for morality.

Unfortunately, through this belief a person's level of responsibility can decrease because external causes control their behavior and they begin to believe they 'could not have done otherwise.'

That's the last thing we need in a community, or in a court system. Do you ever do something 'good' simply because you believe you have a choice in the matter? And you believe your practicing your 'free will'?

Imagine if whenever you did something bad you would say, 'I couldn't have done otherwise?!?'

Some people already do that, but still....I'm shook.

Here's what I think though.

Yes, external causes have more of an impact on our behavior than we do- which means complete free will does not exist. HOWEVER, this may seem like it diminishes responsibility but that is false. We are still responsible for our actions because we are the source of that behavior!!! A person could not have done otherwise but there will still be a form of punishment, or reward.

So after reading this piece, still act right please.

In conclusion,

Free will does not exist because in order for the physical and mental to interact, they have to be considered one substance. Naturalism makes a better argument than substance dualism because there is not a satisfying answer to the question of how two separate substances are able to interact while being in separate domains of existence. If the physical and mental are one, then they are constantly affecting each other.

Free will doesn't exist boo.

But its okay, you still have a say in the matter and your decisions are still connected to you!

lovveCS.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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