Free Paper Example on Hard Determinism

Published: 2023-12-25
Free Paper Example on Hard Determinism
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1283 words
11 min read


Hard determinism philosophical view argues that there is no free will and all human actions have a reason, or humans pre-determine their efforts. Determinists argue that every occurrence that happens in the natural world is a result of a preceding event. Hence, everything that occurs has to happen. Besides, determinists postulate that all human did are foreseeable. Also, determinists believe that there is nothing like a free will or it’ just an illusion. Hard determinism position argues that what influences what humans do is the law and about the past. External forces determine people’s actions and behaviour. Therefore, humans do not have ethical accountability or genuine free will (Gwara 10). Although law and past determine humans’ behaviour, determinists indicate that there is no comprehensive understanding of laws governing human behaviour. If this information were available, it would be impossible to forecast the human decision. The position taken by determinists is that there is no free will, and there is a cause for all human actions (Gwara 10).

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The cause of human action can be theological, ethical, logical, psychological, and ethical (Gwara 11). Theological determinism says that a knowing and a mighty God pre-determine or pre-ordains all human action. Further, they argue that knowing God is aware of people’s intentions, desires, the past, present, and the future. Therefore, foreclosing the future, leaving no space for free will (Gwara 11). Physical determinism is a view that connects its argument on the laws of physics. They suggest that everything in the universe responds to permanent laws of nature (Gwara, 14). Psychological determinism is another version which indicates that people’s psychology enslaves them (Gwara 15). Ethical determinism argues that individuals know what is best for them, and nothing can persuade them to go otherwise. Thus, any wrongdoing is due to ignorance, or it’s involuntary (Gwara 15). Finally, logical determinism highlights that men’s will is a victim of fate, and they have no power to alter (Gwara 16). Besides, individuals cannot avoid what happens to them. Therefore, it is senseless to speak of a free will.


Libertarianism argues against determinists. Unlike determinists, libertarians argue that every action has no cause, but free. They agree that some events are as a result of a free will and refute the belief that every event has a cause. Libertarians base their freedom to choose argument on moral responsibility and experience of space (Gwara 36). Individuals experience that some of their actions result from free will, and they had an option to choose otherwise. All libertarians agree that there is freedom in determining human activities. Besides, they argue that no condition or law specifies that a person will conduct a particular action or not (Baker 3). Also, libertarians suggest that there is no relationship between an outside force and actions of an agent. It means that any action by an agent is within its control and desire. A human has a free will concerning his deeds and is morally accountable for it if the agent had choices in a non-hypothetical manner (Baker 3). The above argument by libertarians suggests that agents are the primary originator or creator of actions and preferences provided that the agent has full control of those choices. However, individuals do not have complete control of all conditions for their choices. In such a case where the agent does not have ultimate control over a situation influencing a particular action, then the agent is not the final creator of it.

Soft Determinism

Compatibilism is a philosophical theory that deterministic laws influence actions, and still, people are free to determine their choices (Gwara). In simple terms, soft determinism supports both claims that individuals have a free will and causal-determinism. On the one hand, determinism seems to restrict agents from freedom to decide their actions. Therefore, if the position by determinists is right, individuals are not responsible for their choices in any significant manner. On the other hand, libertarians think that we are reliable and free for our action. Soft determinism highlights determinism and libertinism philosophical positions are compatible (Baker). Compatibilism believes that determinism position cannot limit human from conducting their activities and choices freely. It tells us that the reality of determinism is not a threat to individuals as morally responsible agents.


Indeterminism philosophers insist that some actions happen randomly, and not influenced by an external force (Gwara, 40). In other words, certain events are not pre-determined but happen by purely by chance and nothing to do with the agent. It means that some events are predictable while others are not. Indeterminism holds that a complete determinism is unwarranted. In this case, if determinism is the reality, we are not responsible for our actions, and we are not free to make choices. If indeterminism is the way to go, some events are random. Thus, no free will for options and no accountability for our actions. Whichever position is right, humans are not responsible for their actions and preferences.

Simulation Hypothesis

Some philosophers, like Nick Bostrom, argues that we are likely to be living in a “Computer simulation”. If the simulation hypothesis is correct, it means that we are not responsible for our choices and actions. A universe run by computer simulation would mean no freedom in decision making, and our actions would be pre-determined by an external factor. The concept of free will focuses on whether causal determinism is compatible with freedom of choices and actions. With a simulation hypothesis, an external force limits freedom in decision-making, leaving no room for free will. Therefore, the determinist position would prevail and control the universe. Simulation hypothesis holds that individuals cannot be originators of thoughts. In this case, humans are limited to alternatives. Pre-determining human actions imply that libertarianism position where people are free to decide their fate would be an illusion.

Libertarianism hypothesis stipulates that humans influence their actions, and they are personally responsible for their actions (Gwara, 36). In contrast, the simulation hypothesis would mean that individuals would not be morally accountable for their actions because their actions are beyond their control, or there is no moral deliberation (Footh, 34). It would mean that a criminal would not be morally liable for crimes than a law-abiding citizen. Besides, it implies that there would be no right to punish crime because criminals would not be accountable for their moral choices that are beyond their control. The compatibilism theory is partially determinism, and the other part is libertarianism. For a simulated world, there is no room for free decision-making. Therefore, soft determinism would be irrelevant in such a universe. The possibility of people influencing their choices would be an illusion, making compatibilism worthless. There is compatibility between moral responsibility and free will. It means that humans have the freedom to originator their actions by choosing between rights and wrongdoing. However, with a simulated world, there is no freedom of choices. Therefore, lacking moral incompatibility. Besides, the simulated simulation would eliminate determinism and indeterminism dilemma.


Since indeterminism argues that some actions happen randomly without any influence from an external factor, it can contradict the simulation hypothesis where a civilised world as an external factor influences our choices and actions. In the simulated world, nothing can happen by chance. However, determinism position would true in a simulated world where humans have no control over their choices.

Work Cited

Baker, Lynne Rudder. "Moral responsibility without libertarianism." Noûs 40.2 (2006): 307-330.

Footh, Gunnar. "Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility: An Analysis of Event-Causal Incompatibilism." (2017).

Gwara, Joyline. Metaphysical freedom and determinism: an African perspective. Diss. 2017.

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