Why Your May Freewill Just Be an Illusion: An Essay on Determinism

November 15, 2011
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The average American goes about their day at school, at work, or at any other assorted locale buying groceries, sharing gossip, and doing homework never once questioning whether or not they have a choice in the matter. To most the existence of freewill seems basic but with some time, reasoning, and an willingness to question preconceptions can prove that freewill may not be the given that most assume it to be. You'd be hard pressed to find an educated individual over that age of 7 that doesn't understand cause and effect. You throw a ball, it goes into the air then falls. For every cause there is an effect, balls don't just spontaneously throw themselves, there must be some other force to act upon them. The entire universe, from galaxies to atoms to, yes, even your own life operate by this rule. Think, for a moment, of a game of pool as small-scale universe. The cue ball hits the others sending them into predictable motion based on the direction and force behind the cue ball. This represents the Big Bang and all subsequent events after it. All actions of the balls are determined by the first ball and the parameters of the environment. By this reasoning one can conclude that what is happening now, all that has ever happened only happens because there is no other possible way for it to happen given the previous events. This is known as the concept of determinism and though it does not necessarily rule out freewill it definitely calls it into question.

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