Determinism or Free-Will?

Determinism or Free-Will?

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Excerpt: ...appear just as rational as the other." There is no means by which we can distinguish chance from a rational necessity. A universe which allows a certain loose play of the parts is as rational as one which submits to the most rigid determinism. Before dealing with the above, it is necessary to take another phrase on which much of the above argument depends. Professor James says that the stronghold of the Determinist sentiment is antipathy to the idea of "Chance," and chance is a notion not to be entertained by any sane mind. And the sting, he says, seems to rest on the 68 assumption that chance is something positive, and if a thing happens by chance it must needs be irrational and preposterous. But I am not aware that any scientific Determinist ever used "chance" as being a positive term at all. Certainly the last thing the present writer would dream of doing would be to predicate chance of any portion of the objective universe whatsoever. The only legitimate use of the word is in reference to the state of our knowledge concerning phenomena. To say that a thing chanced, or happened by chance, is only saying that we are not aware of the causes that produced it. We say nothing of the thing itself, we only express the state of our mind in relation to it. Professor James says all you mean by "chance" is that a thing is not guaranteed, it may fall out otherwise. Not guaranteed by our knowledge about the thing, certainly; in any other sense, his definition seems invented for the express purpose of bolstering up his hypothesis. For, he says, a chance thing means that the general system of things has no hold on it. It appears in relation to other things, but it escapes their determining influence, and appears as "a free gift." Thus whether he walked down Divinity Avenue or Oxford Street was a matter of chance; and the future of the world is full of similar chancesshow more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 188.98 x 246.13 x 1.78mm | 77.11g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236727746
  • 9781236727749