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Freedom, Determinism And Predestination

             Over time, philosophers have tried to explain this in their own ways, some sticking to the fact that it is simply the ability to make a choice, while others have tried to fit it in with determinism and predestination. When freedom is limited or controlled it is no longer free, but a set of prearranged actions where one is acting out like a preprogrammed robot. Rene Descartes spoke of choice, but only when one is human, meaning they have the capacity to understand choice. When one is human they are reasonable for their actions. B.F. Skinner, a determinist, believed that behavior is controlled by genetic and environmental factors. These influences cannot be escaped, according to Skinner. Finally, Jonathan Edwards believed in predestination or theistic determinism, where humans do have a will, but their will is determined by God. Since that will is determined by God, so are their choices. These three views take freedom and try to explain it by putting it in a box of set rules, but once this is done, it is no longer freedom. .
             Rene Descartes saw freedom as choice, and showed that a person could choose to do something else. In order to make any choice one must be human, in the sense that they are capable of understanding and have the ability to make the choice. He says we are responsible for our actions because as free humans we have the choice to "turn away from the good and truth given to our intellect by God and partake in sin and deceit" (1). Descartes says that we are given knowledge by God, but we have the choice to do otherwise. If someone is truly unable to understand the choice or have the knowledge to make the choice then they are not responsible for that action. Our understanding and ability is finite and is limited to our perception of things, but our will, making choices, is not limited, but has an infinite capacity. In some cases, one's will is unable to make such a true decision, not because of a defect in the will but rather because the understanding is lacking complete knowledge of the circumstances (1).

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