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Philosophy 4 Pages

The Philosophical Problem Of Free Will And Determinism


Instruction: This assignment consists of a short essay question. The main intent of this question is to ensure that you have a sound grasp of the fundamentals of the material presented in this unit. To that end, there is a 4 to 5 page (1250 words) limit for this question. I’m not so concerned with whether you agree with a particular author or not. The quality of your answer is based on your exposition of the competing positions, your comparative analysis of those positions and, lastly, your argument in support of the position you defend. 

As with all the assignments in this course, this question is not designed to be a “research” question. There is no requirement to get material from external sources such as websites like Wikipedia. In fact, doing so can count against you. The point of your essay is to formulate the course material and develop your critical response. You can do this by working with the course material and developing your own ideas about the issue. The essay is simply your opportunity to set that out in paper. 

So, the material you need to successfully complete this assignment can be found in the online course materials available through the course website. There may also be some reading material that is part of the hard copy course readings package. You can find this information on the course materials section of the course website.

Source you can read:

Assigned reading/viewing/listening 

The assigned readings should be read in the following order:

1. Baron D’Holbach. Chapter XI: Of the system of man’s free agency. In The system of nature.

2. C. A. Campbell. Has the self ‘free will’? In On selfhood and godhood

3. David Hume. Of liberty and necessity, Section VIII. In An enquiry concerning human understanding.

4. Edwards, Paul. 1992. Hard and soft determinism. In Argument and analysis: An introduction to philosophy, ed. Martin Curd, 367-371. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company

Available in your readings package

5. Nagel, Thomas. 1979. Moral luck. In Mortal questions, 24-38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Available in your readings package

6. Goldman, Alvin I. 1968. Actions, predictions, and books of life. American Philosophical Quarterly 5: 135–151.

Available in your readings package

7. Rowe, William L. 1987 Two concepts of freedom. In Proceedings and addresses of the American Philosophical Association 61: 43-64.


Title: The Philosophical Problem Of Free Will And Determinism
Length: 4 pages (1100 Words)
Style: Havard


The Philosophical Problem of Free Will and Determinism

Determinism is explained as the theoretical belief that each event or act is the inevitable result of past events and activities. Based on this explanation, each human action or behaviour could be predicted before it occurs. Unlike the believers of free will, determinists are opposed to the notion that people will do something that is of interest to the majority. According to the ideology, therefore, anything that an individual does is directly related to a past event. 

Furthermore, determinism is never associated with moral responsibility. The human behaviour and action are predetermined by the atomic events and this means they are not free in any way. If people were free, they would be at liberty to make any decisions as they wish. Unfortunately, people make their decisions based on what they already know. It implies their previous or past behaviours influence their current behaviour significantly. Lack of freedom suggests thus implies a lack of moral responsibility.


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