Me: Hi, Socrates! I have a question and its bothering me.
Socrates: What is it that’s bothering you and that you want to examine?
Me: Do men have free will or are they determined?
Socrates: Let me clarify first from you what you mean by free will.
Me: For me, free will has something to do with our desire to do what we willed even when there are internal or external constraints. Likewise, free will is the unrestrained ability of an individual to make conscious intentions, decisions, and other human choices, which refer to preferences or alternative courses of action.
Socrates: You mean doing what one wishes to do and doing it to the end?
Me: Precisely! Doing what one has intended to do until its fruition given the explanatory causes for one’s volition (free will). By the way, by explanatory cause, I mean the reasoning, justification or effects behind a person’s decision or action that provide the generative force for consequent events, which are outcomes of previous phenomenon. But I just couldn’t say that every human choice has an explanatory cause.
Socrates: Well-said! But how about determinism?
Me: Determinism? Okay, let me see. I think it is about doing what one desired or wished to have done, but there were forces beyond one’s control that made them to take place or not. That is, in determinism, whatever men’s conducts or behaviours are, all events are the unavoidable consequents of previous sufficient causes. For example, I would have wished I were born from an affluent family, but that is next t impossibility because, in the first place, I am even unaware that I was going to be born in this world. There are actually countless other examples.
Socrates: You mean: if you did something, whether it occurred or not, it was already determined even before it started and when it transpired, it was simply a fulfilment of something destined to happen anyway?
Me: Yes. As if my world is already determined no matter what I do. I even assume that “everything,” that is, even my free will is subject to determinism; hence, for me, there isn’t even a free will at all because of the interrelatedness of human choices and human events that unfold and then resulted to a chain of events from previous human undertaking and natural phenomena.
Socrates: Well, my friend. It looks like you are making an inference by now: free will as self-determination whereas determinism as fatalism? Is that what you have attempted to explicate?
Me: Yes! But what is really the answer to my question: Do men have free will or are they determined?
Socrates: Based on your account, you have said that free will is the capacity to make free human choices without constraints from other agencies; whereas, determinism is your belief that all human events are inevitably the consequences of previous events.
Me: Uhmmm, that’s my point. Well, I just could not agree that to have an explanatory cause mean not being free. For me, being free does not mean absolutely without restraints. There are simply events, entities, or phenomena in this world that are part of reality that are beyond our capacity to control, comprehend and fathom . Thus, I also hold the opinion that free will and determinism may coexist in one way or another, such that there could be external/internal free will and determinism.
Socrates: It looks like I have more questions to ask from you than answers. Anyway, let us continue our dialogue later as I have an emergency to attend to.