Free Will Is an Illusion Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1541 Words
Date:  2022-07-05

Determinism and free will are two major philosophical ideologies that juxtapose each other. Supporters of free will argue that people have free control and liberty to control their actions. Human beings, unlike other creatures, have the independence to deliberately make decisions undeterred by internal or external elements. Thomas Hobes is one of the philosophers who trust individuals of the right mind tend to enjoy free will to make choices and hence they should demonstrate accountability on the decisions they make (Dancy, & Sandis, 2015). According to Hobbes humans do what they do because they want to. Determinism ideology holds that any action is always triggered by other factors and hence individuals do not possess full control of their decisions and what they choose to do. According to St. Thomas Aquinas argues that an individual conduct is predisposed by some other internal or external elements(Dancy, & Sandis, 2015). I fully agree with the idea that individuals are not free to make their choices or decisions because there are other elements beyond human control that influence their behaviors. My stance is that free will is just an illusion and determinism is correct.

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Thomas Raid believes that any sensible individual possesses the power to control their behaviors, omissions, and actions (Dancy, & Sandis, 2015). Nevertheless, it is apparent that most of the individuals' behaviors are controlled by other external elements and nothing different can come into existence without the control of other factors. This infers that an individual's behavior cannot just come from themselves; there must be a cause for such behavior. Their actions are determined by preceding occurrences in their lives. These incidences can either be environmentally or genetically influenced because, in all of them, the doer cannot carry all the accountability of the behaviors (Hyland, 2015). The idea that individuals are free to make decisions unaffected by other elements is an ordinary illusion.

Modern matter in the determinism is the genetic composition (DNA) of a person which determines the characteristics of an individual. Some behaviors demonstrated by individuals are genetically acquired which are passed down from one generation to another. However, these characteristics can change as a result of mutation. Irrespective of the way of acquisition, people have no say on the type of genes that they have. The genes determine both the mental and physical individualities of a person. For instance, disorders such as bipolar are inherently developed and they have adverse mental repercussion on the patients. Individuals are a victim of their genic composition and therefore should not be fully blamed for their characteristics. Their behavior and morality are predetermined and it is useless to try to alter it. This situation is called "puppet determinism" because the individuals are dancing to the tune of their genic composition (Woo 2016).

Individuals characteristics inevitable determined by genetic fixity which is the genes they acquire from their parents. However, individuals' environment also affects their characters or decisions. There are many environmentally acquired features for instance if one is brought up in a violent neighborhood; he may tend to be violent to others when he became an adult. This explains the reason why people brought up in ghettos are prone to violence. Therefore, there is a high chance that people residing in slums are hostile and more likely to engage in crime compared to people from other less hostile areas. For example, individuals brought up in a leafy suburb will be less likely to be hostile or engage in criminal activities because they were not taught to fight. It is wrong to judge these people simply by their characters without considering the fact that there is a possibility that they could have acquired different characteristics if they were brought up in non-hostile communities.

People learn by adopting and coping with other's behaviors. If one is brought up in a community where most people have particular characteristics, there is a high chance that the individual will adopt such characteristics. This indicates that some criminal delinquents have no choice because they are driven by the forces of nature which sometimes are intrinsic for victims to recognize their existence. A good example is the Red Indian Apache community which is linked with bitterness and violence. Apache children cannot control their behaviors because they are not free to make independent decisions (Pearce, 2015). They should not be condemned for their empathy and an urge to kill an exotic American. It is because they are bitter because they were made to believe that their land was grabbed so that they could be eliminated. On the other hand, an individual who complies with the law will always tend to continue following the requirements of the law. This indicates that the individuals follow the law not because they freely choose to but there are severe consequences if they do not abide by it (Woo 2016). It could also be that at one point in their lives they were really rewarded for doing as per law and that makes them to involuntarily do the right thins to appease the law enforcement agencies. A fresh graduate army officer or FBI agents will hesitate to pull the trigger once they spot a criminal but as time goes by they would develop the courage to shoot whenever they spot an enemy or suspect. In other words, individuals do what they do not because they freely choose to but due to a force driving them. In these cases, the two officers do not have free will to shot an enemy but if they do not do it the enemy may kill them.

According to St. Aquinas there is a prime creature that controls humans' behaviors. He said that "every movement, be it from the will or from nature originates from the prime mover, which is God" (Dancy, & Sandis, 2015). He was explaining that every occurrence on earth is determined by another activity, and this action is also triggered by another incident and so on. This results in a sequence of reactions and actions in the events of people's daily lives. Individuals within the sequence of actions have no power to determine the trend. Aquinas believed that this sequence of action initiates from a superior being, God. Determinism is correct because it shows that God is responsible for the existence of evil on earth when he introduced his control over the people (Dancy, & Sandis, 2015). People do good deeds not because they want to but to appease God and in return receive his blessing. This situation also indicates that free will is just a mere illusion because the earth is controlled by a supreme being who also controls individuals' behaviors and actions.

The brain is designed to operate on a straight line but internal and external factors hinder this from happening. When a brain receives an impulse, it does not act in straight lines due to factors such as alcohol and substance use. The actions of individuals will adversely be altered by taking these substances (Pearce, 2015). The individuals cannot be blamed for any act done under the influence of these substances because he would not be actin at free will. This is the reason why people are advised to stop using them because they influence their behaviors. Moreover, the choice of whether or not to abuse these substances is also is determined by other external elements (Woo 2016). For instance, the individual was brought up in a family where the close relative were addicts or in a society where substance abuse is rampant. This indicates that the individual has no free will to decide his actions because there will always be a cause for creating another cause.


In conclusion, the ideology that individuals have free will and are in control of their behaviors is just an assumption. There are always factors influencing individuals' actions or behaviors to make them choose a certain action over the other. For instance, people choose to obey the law not because they like it but to avoid being sentenced to a jail term. Although people feel that they are free to control their decisions, this is not the case because one action is caused by another occurrence. It is noble for people to feel responsible for their actions because they do not investigate the real cause of these actions. Human beings are blinded by their endeavor to achieve liberty hence cannot recognize that there are external and internal factors that influence their actions. Individuals' responsibility for their decisions does not mean full control because they have conscious that determines their actions. Nonetheless, the truth is that irrespective of such consciousness people still have little control over what they become. It is therefore rational to support the ideology of determinism because it gives them the actual cause and effect explanation of their characteristics.


Dancy, J., & Sandis, C. (Eds.). (2015). Philosophy of action: An Anthology (Vol. 40). John Wiley & Sons.Hyland, T., (2015). The Illusion of Free will. Retrieved from

Pearce, J. M. S. (2015). Is society accepting that free will is an illusion? Free Inquiry, 35(4), 55-58.Retrieved from

Woo C., (2016). Free Will Is An Illusion, But Freedom Isn't. Retrieved from

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