Free Will and Determinism: Can They Co-exist?.
The question of free will has been discussed by philosophers for ages, and will undoubtedly continue to be an issue. David Hume, as a determinist, believed that every event in the world is caused by some previous event, and that there is no randomness present in the universe. He also believed in the idea of free will, which is contradictory in that it goes against everything that he believed in as a determinist.
Liberty, or free will is the power of acting or not acting according to the determination of the will of the individual. Hume somehow contends that humans have free will while remaining adamant about his deterministic beliefs. As a determinist, Hume believed that God, as the first cause, initiated all future causes, and that all causes continue to initiate future causes. The contradiction between the ideas of determinists and those who believe in free will is apparent by simply comparing these definitions. The idea of free will is that we, as humans, are able to choose our own destinies in life. When determinists claim that every event is caused by some previous event and that randomness does not exist, they attack the very essence of free will, that being that we can make any choice that we want at any time, with complete randomness. .
Hume states that, "By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting according to the determinations of the will- that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may" (665). The problem here is that when Hume claims to be a determinist, he must adhere to the belief, as part of determinism, that our actions are determined by each prior action, and therefore the "will" that guides us is not free, it is determined by each prior action. This libertarian philosophy is in direct opposition to Hume's idea of free will and determinism. .
When people make choices, they are making choices that, while affected by past events, are not determined by past events.