Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Free Will and Determinism: Navigating the Controversy

The philosophy of free will and determinism has sustained its time-honored existence, pertaining to human agency alongside the degree to which external causes guide our actions. In formulating a response on determinism, it becomes crucial to discuss which side poses the greater threat: prediction or unpredictability in free will. In this paper, determinism will be defined, and two opposite standpoints on predictability will be considered, with an argument supporting one of the views.

Determinism, as expounded in Lewis Vaughn’s “Philosophy Here and Now: Powerful Ideas in Everyday Life,” is described as the belief that everything, including human actions, takes place because of previous situations or events. It undermines the entire concept of free will since it contends that our decisions have an unchallengeable connection to the last elements outside us. The problem with free will is that if everything has a causal antecedent, the reality of real self-determinant diminishes.

Vaughn presents two opposing stances on predictability. The first view claims that people’s behavior is ultimately determined by the well-known as there are deterministic circumstances within which external factors create individuals. This equals a deterministic threat of free will because our lives are governed by choices that we do not have enough access to (Vaughn, p.268). The deterministic approach assumes a strict causation, and there is no room for the choice.

On the other hand, a second perspective, as articulated through Cormac McCarthy’s quote, holds an element of ambiguity. It contemplates the uncertainty of life, addressing how little control is dependably foreseen based on information regarding consequences or outcomes as one acts (Vaughn 265). The McCarthy view adds a dimension to our narrative, reminding us that life is not black and white in all situations; the probable effects of human actions cannot be encompassed.

The very first one implies a form of determinism as the outside forces determine individual choices, depriving them of their autonomy. If everything is deterministic, it means a straight causal arrow with no room for free will. This deterministic view translates into a situation whereby life was predetermined beforehand, determined by the choices that we don’t have control of.

On the other side, however, McCarthy’s view lodges a charge of indeterminacy by pointing out that life is more complicated than we can make an accurate prediction from every action. It describes it as random and the countless things that define life. In this sense, everything is not predetermined or predictable, so human agency should be considered multidimensional.

In my careful consideration, the second position that emphasizes nature’s unpredictability befits longevity and complexity from human lived experience. While determinism gives a captivating explanation for some parts of our behavior, McCarthy’s approach to the problem reveals all those many factors that affect our lives and cannot be predicted. Our lives are full of surprises, and the interaction between various factors makes any foresight impossible.

This argument can be defended through the recognition of the inability of determinism to accommodate complex human agency. Life is the creative process in which internal and external components interact, and that explains why no results can be determined for certain. In this respect, authentic free will emerges from the complex network of factors that influence our decisions with the consciousness that not everything is dependent or assumed.

In a nutshell, the dispute between free will and determinism circles around how much of human behavior is predetermined or unpredictable. In this regard, determinism challenges the notion of free will through causal certainty, while a wide array of opinions with reference to predictability provides opposing positions. The intricacies that cannot be fully predicted in McCarthy’s notion of life enhance resonance to a certain extent. This rational argument highlights the subtlety of human agency because it implies that one has to go past determinism and randomness in order to look for what freedom truly means.


Vaughn, L. (2021). Philosophy here and now: Powerful Ideas in Everyday Life. Oxford University Press, USA.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics