T.A. Matt Dee
Determinism and Freewill
Determinism presents when an event, or an action that caused by human, are brought about by previous events in accordance with the natural universal law. In “The Illusion of Free Will”, Holbach argues that determinism is incompatible with free will. In other words, external causes that give rise to the desires on which we base our actions and decisions. He argues that we are not responsible for our actions.
He provides three specific reasons to prove why there is no such thing as free will. His first argument is choices that do not prove freedom. The fact that we can chose between at least two distinct options enable us to have the freedom to choose whatever we want. Holbach, being a determinist, believes that every action is completely determined by preceding causes. The only reason a person has at least two options is because of the preceding events that led up to this point. The motives of “good or bad, painful or relieve, etc,” store in our memories to create our decisions and actions, is not our pure choices. Therefore, Holbach believes there is no freedom of choice or free will. He used an example; if when a man is greatly in pain of thirst, he will highly be aware of a stream of cool water to relieve his desire. At this moment he is not in control of choosing whether to drink or not, when coming to obeying his burning thirst. But what if he finds out the water is poisoned? Of course, despite of his thirst, he will not drink it, because of a greater desire, to live. In his second argument he writes of how the absence of restraint is not the absence of necessity. Here he argues that if a man is restrained such as a prisoner in chains. Even when the chains are loose, the prisoner will not make the choice freely to save himself, because of the fear of punishment. Similar to the thirst of water case above; the man has the will to drink the water, but won’t make...