Does Free Will Exist?

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While it is reasonable to believe that physical laws determine the movements and placement of atoms, it is also a commonly held belief that we do things of our own free will. For these beliefs both to be true, however, one must search for a common denominator.

One the one hand, it is thought that physical laws govern the atom’s movements and placement, and for this to occur, a specific situation must call for the atoms to be rearranged into a particular form. In contrast, when humans make a decision to do something like swing a tennis racquet, for example, they do so because they choose to; hence, atoms are rearranged in the manner we stipulate (Moore & Bruder, n.d.). 

So far, a common denominator between the two beliefs is not immediately obvious, unless we speculate about what governs physical law itself. If one made the assumption that thought is the driving force behind this law, then both beliefs are valid because one becomes necessary for the other to occur.

There is no solid argument provided, as to why one belief is preferable to the other; perhaps this is because each scenario appeals only to our capacity for common sense. Unfortunately, when something requires little to no explanation or proof to be thought of as true, there is nothing to distinguish one belief from the other. In addition, one belief could be considered subjective opinion and not actual fact. If belief in free will is to be thought of as subjective opinion, this means it is not true for everyone, which also leads to the conclusion that it is not correct in the first place.

Individually, each belief has its own merit. However, when pitted against one another, both beliefs are incorrect because they are absolutely contradictory. Opposing views cannot both be correct. Only the presence of a common factor, in this case, thought, can make both beliefs true. 

With the absence of concrete evidence, there is considerable weakness for both beliefs if one were to exclude the appeal to common sense. While scientific evidence regarding the movement of atoms does exist, it has not been used as support for the belief stated. Likewise, free will and the thoughts we can conjure are said to influence matter through vibration, but no reference was made to this fact. While the support for both arguments rests solely on common sense, sense alone cannot add any weight, prove, or disprove anything. 


  Axia College of University of Phoenix. (2009). Metaphysics and Epistemology:      Existence and Knowledge. Retrieved November 20, 2009, from Axia College,      Week One reading, aXcess, PHI105— INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY  Web site.  


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