An English essay. Because everyone loves to read those in their spare time, amirite?
-Written October 2012
I know that my as-yet-nonexistent daughter will one day get her driver’s license. I know that she will blow out candles on a cake at her birthday party. I know that she will have hair on her head and calcium inside her bones. Have I just removed all free will from her life? Have I doomed my future child to be pushed about by determinism? Or is it that perhaps free will is not the opposite of determinism? There rages on a great philosophical debate about free will vs. determinism, with some arguments stretching back to Lucretius1 and earlier, and with some arguments being as recent as those put forth by the behaviorist B.F. Skinner. The idea that the two concepts cannot exist at the same time is called “Incompatibilism,” but this artificial dichotomy can be demonstrated to be fallacious. We shall see that free will and determinism are not actually at odds with one another.