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Essay/Term paper: The reality of choice

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Philosophy

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The term philosophy encompasses various meanings and raises
many questions for example, it seeks to explore the true meaning of reality,
truth, values, justice and beauty. ( Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia, 240 ).
There are many terms used by philosophers that are often interpreted
differently by other philosophers . Free will is an example as well as an
important debatable issue. Some philosophers view free will as non existent
, while others argue that it really exists and I strongly agree with the
latter . Every philosopher view the world according to his own culture and
religion and that's why each of them created different hypothesis and
theories . Some argue that the environment plays a major role in shaping
a person's personality and therefore is held responsible for all his
actions . Others claim that nature in itself has the upper hand with regard
to the actions of human beings. While Blatchford stressed that predicting a
person's actions proves the non existence of free will . ( 105 ) However,
Stace contrverted that there are both free and unfree will acts (112) but
I disapprove with all the previous theories because my religious upbringing
allows me to believe that free will determines our destiny.

Philosophers like Mill believe that a person's
environment is the major shaper of his character . He believes that
everything around the person affects his personality in some way or another
and thereby directing his actions to reach a certain goal previously
identified for him. He believes that a person has little power over forming
his own character , since his character is formed by the circumstances
surrounding him and since one of these circumstances is his desire to
change . This desire is awakened when the person experiences painful
consequences associated with his previous character ( Mill , 477: 481) .
Mill also states that " A person feels morally free who feels that his
habits or his temptations are not his masters , but he theirs ; " ( Mill,
480) .Free will is the ability of deciding freely what to do without fearing
anything or being influenced by a habit , a temptation ,an earlier
experience or tendency. For example , I know two twins who come from a very
religious and conservative family they were both brought up properly and
lived in the same environment . One of them chose to conform with her
family values and religious beliefs, while the other rebelled against those
beliefs . She doesn't pray , she smokes, drinks alcohol and pays no
attention to her family values . This example shows that any person
possesses free will and that the environment influences the personality ,
but doesn't determine his fate or decisions .

Similarly, D'holbach claims that nature has the upper
hand with regard to a person's choices and that no one can deviate from the
path drawn for him . He states that a person's actions are reactions to
forces implied upon him from outside objects , inside motivation or ideas.
This is why his actions are never free they're always influenced by nature
either internally or externally . Even when he doesn't act according to
those forces it is probably because a new motive or idea arose and thus a
new force was created that directed his will in another path and preventing
the former action from happening . (D'holbach, 470:472) . This theory states
that nature decides for us and we are part of nature then we decide for
ourselves . When we act with regard to our motivations or sets of ideas ,
then we are choosing to act this way because those forces directing us are
coming from inside us . Thus free will does exist , because in any
situation there are always more than one path and we always end up choosing
only one. This chose we make is infact our soul and our whole- being.



According to Blatchford , free will does exit but
it is affected by both heredity and the environment . Blatchford states that
if the will is free and not affected by anything then blaming a person for
any of his actions is meaningless since the will is separate from that
person as it is free and acts as it wishes . Blatchford denotes heredity
by the temperament of the person and denotes that the effect of the
environment by training . Thus to him a person is affected by his emotions
, ideas , intelligence , mood , etc. as well as by his surroundings and
emotions . He adds that when a person hesitates to make a decision it is
because there is a conflict inside him between his hereditary and
environment , his personal traits and his customs or his feelings and his
up bringing . Furthermore , his theory declares that knowing a person
thoroughly we can predict his actions in any situation ; since we can
predict those actions, then there is no real free will . ( Blatchford
102:107) . However , this is not always the case because usually your
predictions do not comply with what happens in reality as only God knows
what will happen in the future . For instance , in the previously mentioned
twin example , you would have predicted that both girls would have acquired
the same ethics and morals as they were both subjected to the same religious
beliefs and environmental experience , yet the outcome was completely
different from our predictions ; for one of the two girls turned out to be
an alcoholic .


Stace is one of the philosophers who called upon the
real problem of free will . He asserted that free will really exists and
that those who deny it's existence , do so because of their
misinterpretation of the word . Thus philosophers must first identify and
agree upon only one meaning of free will . If a philosopher interprets the
word differently , then the conflict here is non existent since the two
opinions are based on entirely different matters or concepts . Moreover ,
Stace's theory implies that free acts are caused by internal factors like
desires , motives and the person's psychological state , while unfree acts
are often caused by external forces and conditions . (Stace , 112 ). He
adds that we should not deny a good person his reward for a job well done
just because we previously predicted that he will be able to do it well. (
Stace ,114 )On the contrary , we should encourage him by rewarding him for
his good choices and behaviors . Stace is one of the few philosophers that
I agree with because behavior is not predictable and whatever a person's
actions are , they are always stemming from his soul . In addition , to be
fair we should reward good behavior and punish bad behavior .


To sum up , man possesses free will in every aspect of his
life . Through the past decades many philosophers emerged each having his
own sets of ideas regarding the concept of free will . Some argue that
nature was the most influential factor , others stated that a person's
environment and experiences are the major factor that affects people's
choices . Some thought that free will exists but it is affected by both
heredity and environment . Another group of philosophers claimed that free
will exists and in not affected by any forces because every free act stems
from a person's conscience and every person is totally responsible for his
actions . God gave us the ability to choose between right or wrong and good
or bad . It is up to us whether to choose this way or the other . Ofcourse ,
God knows our choices in advance yet , God did not make our choices we made
them ourselves . I believe in God's justice and fairness . Our choice
determines our fate ; whether we should go to heaven and enjoy it's delights
or hell and experience the torture we deserve . 

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