What is confluence? It’s a meeting point. Meeting Point for what? It could be for anything. In the literary sense confluence is a merging of rivers at a location. I would say some debates span a wide spectrum and give scope for a confluence of thinkers from different disciplines to articulate their views. A debate on Determinism vs Free will have everyone from philosophy, psychology, science and religion interested and will continue to interest future thinkers in times to come until the puzzle is unraveled to put it to rest once and for all. I have also decided to join the bandwagon and contribute a few lines to the ever continuing debate.
Now where do I start to make it simple and easy I will just define all those big words so that I can get the ball rolling.
Determinism is the doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will. It is the philosophical position that for every event, including human action, there exist conditions that could cause no other event. Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.
Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically ( causality) by prior events. It is the opposite of determinism and related to chance. It is highly relevant to the philosophical problem of free will, particularly in the form of metaphysical libertarianism.
Fatalism is the view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do Included in this is that man has no power to influence the future, or indeed, his own actions.
Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the “paradox of free will”, whereby God’s omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism. Read More
Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics. In particular, libertarianism, which is an in compatibilist position argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe and that agents have free will, and that, therefore, determinism is false
Karma refers to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering
Free Will is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion
Are we responsible for our Moral Actions from a Deterministic Perspective surely not we all act in a given way because we are bound to act that way. A deterministic philosophy would be a nectar for all the morally downtrodden for it’s the nature which shaped them such and hence they are not reprehensible. As per a Deterministic view Human life is like a role of a preprogrammed Robot who is just going through a sequence of actions. Deterministic Philosophy argues that all events in human life are a result of the past events. Well for me Determinism is a theory apt for philosophical text books with no practicality for if our society operates with a deterministic outlook one thing for sure there would be no need for penal system and judiciary for no one is morally accountable. Indeterministic philosophy should be ideal stuff for dreamers who wish great things happen to them by chance. Here every one gets lucky by chance a guy looking for a girlfriend would find one by chance an unemployed man would find a job by chance and of course our life ends by chance either we die of cancer a stroke or an accident it’s all by chance. So its highly random and uncertain out there. Well the day dreamers would vouch for this philosophy for indeterminism, for it unequivocally ratifies the role of chance and chance is all what day dreaming is all about.
Now things get a bit interesting here as we knock on the doors of Fatalism. Fatalism from a distance looks like determinism but the closer we get we realize it’s just a look alike. Fatalism also sees humans as programmed robots however here the programmed robots try to get ahead of themselves. They are becoming too sure of their abilities and think their actions have an overbearing impact on the outcome but in the fatalistic world what is fated to happen happens irrespective of the human effort to negate an unwanted outcome. There lies the subtle difference in the deterministic world the fated outcome happens anyway and in the fatalistic world it happens anyway even after human intervention.
Where does Predestination fit in? In the debate between Freewill and Determinism a different breed of thinkers I mean the theologists decided it is God who has to play the judge. Here again Humans are just puppets who think they have free will but all comes to naught because as the old saying goes man proposes god disposes. So here how it goes Free will gets glorified in case of great success stories as God approves and the Free Will is called a failure if God disapproves. Well then why bother to try in the first place? Well to know if God Approves or disapproves that’s what predestination boils down to.
Let’s take the discussion to the next level. Determinism, Indeterminism, Fatalism, Free Will and Predestination we have discussed it all but what about Karma? Again from a distance Karma also looks like Determinism but hold your breath the closer we get we realize how fooled we are thinking Karma is like Determinism. Karma is an ideal peace broker between Free Will and Determinism. Karma gives scope for both the philosophical views to co-exist. Determinism argues all future events are because of past events and nature laws but what caused the past events in the first place? As per Karma yes Humans do have free will but how they manage their free will manifests specific events in the future. So a deterministic outcome good or bad in the future is because of a free willed action in the past. The Free will can sets up some event in the future which Free will itself cannot contemplate giving a deterministic twist and Fatalism kicks in when Human action dwarfs completely when the karmic forces unleash a snowball effect. But again it is because of Free will in the first place to begin with well it’s a never ending cycle and I don’t want to be going off the track discussing the philosophy of Nirvana and Moksha.
So here I am ending this discussion and I wonder why I wrote the article in the first place? Was it because of determinism, indeterminism, Free will or Predestination? Oh well some debates never see the end of the light.