Compatibilism: Free Will Or Free Choice?

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“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt with is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” (Jawaharlal Nehry). People may not be able to choose what they have to face; however, they have a choice as to how they will choose to react. Compatibilism or soft determinism is the idea that although our experiences may influence our choices, in the end, humans possess free will and our choices are free acts. A free act is when someone, without being coerced or under duress, could have done otherwise, if they had chosen otherwise, thus being responsible for their actions. This happen in the case of William Balfour. William Balfour drove up to his estranged wife’s house, Julia Hudson, where he spotted a gift and balloons in which…show more content…
Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper”. Albert Einstein is trying to say that things are predetermined by a force greater than us and in the end, we do not have free choice, supporting determinism. This acknowledges that people don’t choose to be born or to die, they don’t get to choose their genetics or the home they are born into. In a way, that is all predetermined and out of one’s control. However, people have control over what they choose to do with their life. External factors and past experiences may influence decisions as they may make an individual more likely to want to do something, however, people are capable of making that final decision on their own. Thus, supporting compatibilism. Erich Froman stated “All of us have the potential to control our lives, but many of us are too afraid to do so. As a result, we give up our freedom and allow our lives to be governed by circumstance, other people or irrational feelings. Freedom on its own is the definition of the ability to make our own decisions that it be good or evil”. (1941) People have the opportunity to take charge of their lives.…show more content…
They get praised for good behaviour and punished for unwanted behaviours, by teachers, family and friends. As children mature, their morality slowly changes from what other people taught them to their own personal beliefs and opinions. William Balfour grew up in an unsteady household. His father was in prison for murder for the majority of Williams childhood and his mother’s discipline techniques were often abusive. He felt neglected by his mother who gave up on him and longed for a father he never had. He ended up marrying his elementary school girlfriend when they met again years later. However, they separated because he would often threaten her life. One day, he visited his wife’s home and saw a gift with balloons, assuming that it was from a boyfriend of his wife’s, he became filled with jealousy and rage. Every choice has a cause or a motive. This is where determinism comes into play. However, Philosophers believe that there must be a connection between our will and our actions. If there was not, then people would react consistently in similar situations. Just because somebody grows up in an unstable home, does not mean they all turn to violence to make up for what they did not have. People are all motivated by different conditions. In this particular case, Balfour’s motivation came from the envy he felt. Despite his motive, Balfour is fully responsible. He assumed the gift was from a man without any physical proof, by jumping
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