Nietzsche's Argument Against Free Will

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The concept of free will is thoroughly of significance to German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche just as it is of relevance to all other existentialist philosophers alike. In understanding Nietzsche’s account against free will, it is of utmost importance to first be aware of his theory on human nature in general as the two are interconnected. For a strong believer in free will, Nietzsche’s philosophy might simply be regarded as the ‘other’ or the opposite view, that is, a determinist view of human nature. Nietzsche’s view, however, is not necessarily deterministic per se and it is wrong to label him as such since he goes beyond the belief that all our actions are pre-determined. While it seems as though Nietzsche explicitly denies the existence…show more content…
Not only that, he thought that the way this term was exploited in society corrupted its meaning. Nietzsche claims that the idea of punishment relies heavily on how the agent has free will and chose to go against social conduct, which implies that the notion of free will was created as a ploy in order to create and foster guilt. Furthermore, he believes that a subject who acts under his or her supposed free will, and thus is responsible for some crime, is not really free as this subject or agent is restrained by social regulations. In other words, Nietzsche found that free will is a contrivance so that we are able to judge people guilty. Nonetheless, he argues that we cannot ultimately assign accountability because we are not free. With accountability being gone, we do not have a difference in kind anymore, only difference in degree. Nietzsche offers the example of a thunderstorm as one does not “accuse nature of immorality when it sends us a thunderstorm and makes us wet … [so we call the harmful man immortal] because … we assume a voluntary commanding free will.” For this reason, Nietzsche claims that we are natural beings and like everything else in nature, we are part of casual determinations. In other words, like a nature force (thunderstorm), we do not relate to…show more content…
Will relates more to action, that is, something we do, rather than anything we possess. For Nietzsche, free will is not affected by the course of events, fate, and it has no law. Furthermore, will is something that merely accompanies actions rather than anything that causes them. For example, he argues that “just as the … mind separates the lightning from its flash and takes the latter for an action, for the operation of a subject called lightning, so popular morality also separates strength from the impression of strength, as if there were a neutral substratum behind the strong man, which was free to express strength or not to do so … [the doer is merely after the fact].” From this, it is evident that Nietzsche does not argue that the will is simply constrained by causality as he takes a more subtle position, which claims that it is a mistake in essence, to categorize the subject as anything that can be said to exist independently of
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