Investigate at least three of the references listed in the module
Investigate at least three of the references listed in the module. In a short essay format, try to answer the question: Are we free? Provide at least three points that support your answer to the question.
Be sure to review the academic expectations for your submission.
• Submit your assignment by 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday.
• Contribute a minimum of 2 pages. It should include at least 2 academic sources, formatted and cited in APA.
The question of whether we are free is a complex and controversial issue that has been debated by philosophers, theologians, and scientists for centuries. Some argue that we are free to make our own choices, while others believe that our choices are predetermined by factors beyond our control. In this essay, we will investigate three references to help answer the question, “Are we free?”
Reference 1: “The Illusion of Free Will” by Sam Harris
In his book, “The Illusion of Free Will,” Sam Harris argues that our sense of free will is an illusion. He believes that our choices are determined by a variety of factors, including our genetics, upbringing, environment, and brain activity. Harris asserts that even our conscious decision-making process is influenced by subconscious impulses that we are not aware of. He concludes that we are not truly free to make choices because our decisions are predetermined by factors beyond our control.
Three points that support Harris’s argument are:
Neuroscience research has shown that our brains make decisions before we are consciously aware of them. Studies have demonstrated that brain activity associated with a decision can be detected up to ten seconds before a person becomes aware of making that decision. This suggests that our decisions are not the result of a conscious, deliberate process, but rather are predetermined by unconscious processes in our brain.
Our genes and environment also play a significant role in determining our behavior. Research has shown that identical twins raised in different environments still exhibit similar personality traits and behavior. This suggests that our genes have a significant impact on our behavior, and that our environment only shapes it to a certain extent.
Our experiences and memories also influence our decisions. Harris argues that memories are stored in our brains in a way that affects our decision-making process. For example, someone who has had a traumatic experience may be more likely to make certain decisions based on that experience, even if they are not aware of it.
Reference 2: “Freedom and Responsibility” by Jean-Paul Sartre
In his essay, “Freedom and Responsibility,” Jean-Paul Sartre argues that we are free to make our own choices, but that this freedom comes with a responsibility to act ethically. He believes that we create our own meaning in life through the choices we make, and that we must take responsibility for the consequences of those choices.
Three points that support Sartre’s argument are:
We have the ability to choose our own values and beliefs. Sartre argues that we are not predetermined to act in certain ways, but rather we have the freedom to choose how we will act. This means that we have the ability to choose our own values and beliefs, which in turn shape our actions.
Our choices have consequences, and we are responsible for those consequences. Sartre believes that we must take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, even if those consequences are unintended or unforeseen. He argues that we cannot simply blame our actions on external factors, but must take responsibility for our choices and their outcomes.
We create our own meaning in life through our choices. Sartre argues that there is no inherent meaning in life, but rather we create our own meaning through the choices we make. This means that we are responsible for our own happiness and fulfillment, and that we must choose how we will live our lives.
Reference 3: “Free Will: A Philosophical Reappraisal” by Nicholas Rescher
In his book, “Free Will: A Philosophical Reappraisal,” Nicholas Rescher argues that our sense of free will is not an illusion, but rather is a necessary part of our human experience. He believes that although our choices may be influenced by external factors, we still have the ability to make meaningful choices and act freely.