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The Illusion of Free Will

In Paul Holbach’s article “The Illusion of Free Will”, Holbach asserts that nature is the predeterminate of man’s actions and therefore connected to the choices that compose his will.  Despite the elements that abound that are said to provoke the free choices and therefore can compel man to believe there is free will, there are predisposed actions that precipitate any will man may fell he is freely exhibiting.  Consequences are based on qualities of good or evil and agreeable or painful.

The Illusion of Free Will

Holbach continues his dissertation by explaining the free will of man as nothing more than natural phenomena controlled by the forces of nature itself.  These controlling elements may be visible or obscured, but nonetheless command man’s ideas and consent throughout his existence.  Even reactions compelled by the actions of others placed upon him, although perceived to be made out of his free will, are in essence derived from an already predetermined state that the actions placed upon his mode of thinking.

Philosophers, who have followed the free will thinking of man, base this idea on the origin of man’s motives and actions.  They therefore must disregard the chain of causes that gave motion to man’s will at the outset of any beginning actions.  Further examination of the elements that combine to give way to man’s choices reveal that they are fixed components that render man confined to the will of nature.  Factors that promote such consequences are temperament, opinions, and religion.  Each of these elements set their own prescription for choices that involve actions. 

For example, the temperament is based on from notions of happiness derived ultimately from the nature of effects around man.  Opinions are based on elements of daily experiences and education from, of course the nature of circumstances around man.  Religion can definitely be seen to encompass the origin of nature and man’s values of it adopted from teachings and preachings on the subject.

Claiming that man is never a free agent from birth to death, Holbach insists that choices do not signify free will.  He explains this view by giving the example of man having the free will to throw himself out a window or not.  Holbach insists that either choice made be precipitated by the already concluded temperament of the man that is at that time in control of his action to jump from the window or not. He continues by equating a man throwing himself out of a window to that of another throwing the same man out of the window.  Holbach’s point is that each act carries the same amount of control for the man. 

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