Last week, before watching the Adjustment Bureau, we talked about varying degrees of fate and free will and their connections to philosophers that we've studied so far.
Determinism - everything that occurs in life happens out of necessity, whether it is God's plan, the laws of nature, or something else's plan. Or, in other words, every action that we take has something that came before it that triggered that action, whether external (out of our control) or internal (feelings, thoughts, experiences).
Hard Determinism - believes that Determinism is true and that as humans, we have no freedom. Psychologists B.F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud believed in many respects that Hard Determinism is true and that humans are little machines who are slaves to our upbringing / conditioning (Skinner) or our conscious and unconscious desires (Freud).
- One of the things that I said that I found problematic with HD is that we really aren't responsible for our actions if HD really is the case, because we have all been fated, if you will, to do the things we are going to do. I feel that we need to be held responsible for our actions, to a great extent.
- Another thought (new for this blog and not in notes) is that because we're all physical beings in a physical world, we are subject to physical or natural laws, and we can't change them. Try to defy gravity. I've tried it. I almost broke my ankle once when I was ten jumping off of the roof of my grandparents' garage. (not my ankle).
Soft Determinism - this occurs when there is an intersection of our will and our capacity to do something that we want. We are free to the extent that we are able to get the things that we want. If I wanted to date Heidi Klum but didn't have the capacity, then I wasn't really free. If I had the capacity or ability to ask Heidi Klum out on a date, and I met her (let's say I was hanging out at a taping of Project Runway, non-stalker like), I would be free to ask her out. But that doesn't mean I have the freedom to actually go out with her, because that would also require her consent. So, my freedom is very limited in this sense.
- St. Augustine, an early Catholic Church father and once prodigal son, felt that our free will (within God's plan) can lead us to sin if we deviate from His plan.
- The Hellenist philosophers, the Stoics, believed that we should be happy with what we get, since they believe that to fight the laws of nature is futile.
Indeterminism - Determinism is wrong and there could be a few different options:
a. In life, there are only random events.
b. In life, some events are random, some we have choices over.
c. Some things are uncaused (or we don't know or understand the cause)
d. Some events are caused by not necessary (I gave the example of heavy smoking causes cancer).
A branch of Indeterminism is called Libertarianism, rejects determinism and states that everyone has free will, and regardless of the circumstances or parameters, you still have a choice. This is something that Existentialist philosophers, most notably Jean-Paul Sartre, believe in. We are truly free as long as we have options to choose from - latte, mocha, coffee, frappaccino?
Below is the Crash Course episode on Determinism vs. Free Will. Enjoy. It may frustrate you.
So, after watching the Crash Course video, The Adjustment Bureau, and reading over some of the thoughts listed above, what are your views on determinism vs. free will? Are you buying Hank Green's argument about hard determinism? Is our free will just an illusion? Or are you o.k. with God's plan (if that's what you believe) or just rolling with the flow (if that's your belief)? Do you believe in free will despite what Hank is saying?
Please provide some specific examples from either CC, Adjustment Bureau, the thoughts above, and your own life.
Thanks for reading. Due Thursday, April 20th by the beginning of class. 250 words minimum.