Determinism vs. Free-Will
According to Marcus Aurelius, a sense of free will is somehow perpetuated despite laboring in the face of an engulfing sense of determinism. How is it that an agent can have any influence on the direction that he takes, if he is condemned to adopt the path that fate has preordained for him anyway? This essay will serve to explain the Aurelius approach to the idea of free will and secondly, to project ideas on free will while emphasizing the flaws in relation to the Stoic/Determinist approach.
At a rudimentary level Aurelius designates rational, affixed cognizance, whether manifested as an idiosyncrasy or as the upshot of that characteristic. All occurrences are determined by the Logos, and follow in an infrangible fetter of cause and effect. Stoicism is thus from the inception, a deterministic scheme that appears to leave no latitude for fallible free will or moral liability. In reality the Stoics were timorous to adopt such an arrangement, and attempted to brush over the difficulty by clarifying free will as a non compulsory acclimation to what is in any case ineludible. This ideology can be mirrored in Aurelius’s statement “Submit to the fate of your own free will.”
Determinists, such as Aurelius, have spent ages composing a single dirge for free will. Bogged by not only what seems to be an inability to conceptually make sense of the necessity of past, but also with the causal laws of the natural world, determinism continuously depicts the present and beyond as wholly predictable if only one had a God’s eye with which to view all. They have wrested from humans some of the most intuitive, everyday ideas of choice and the ability to act otherwise. As far as determinists can tell, the laws of nature and essentially all that has preceded this very moment have made it such the case that there is only one future entailed, and all humans can do is hold tight to this tumbling snowball of a life.