The Determinism Debate Unveiled: Are We Masters of Our Own Destiny?

Harper Quill

Updated Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

Have you ever pondered the age-old question of whether we possess free will or if our actions are predetermined by the universe? Well, a thought-provoking image has recently surfaced, igniting a philosophical conversation on the concept of determinism. In this captivating four-panel comic strip, two young boys engage in a deep discussion, challenging the very essence of our existence.

The image begins with one boy, donning a green sweater and blond hair, expressing his struggle to reconcile causal determinism with free will. He asserts that if the universe operates under predictable rules, our freedom becomes an illusion. According to him, the state of the atoms within our bodies dictates our every move. A profound statement indeed!

Moving to the second panel, the conversation continues as the blond boy questions the moral responsibility associated with the absence of free will. He wonders why individuals should be held accountable for their actions if they had no choice but to act in a certain way. These inquiries raise fundamental concerns about the fairness and ethics of punishment.

In a surprising twist, the third panel introduces a shift in perspective. The brown-haired boy takes the floor, acknowledging that regardless of whether their mom grounds them due to her own will or because it is causally determined, the outcome remains the same. This fresh perspective challenges the significance of personal agency in the grand scheme of things.

The final panel reveals the boys outside, clutching badminton racquets, their expressions tinged with melancholy. The blond boy simply utters a single word: "True." This solemn acceptance seems to suggest a resignation to the notion that perhaps our actions are, indeed, governed by forces beyond our control.

The thought-provoking nature of this comic strip has sparked a flurry of comments and interpretations from online communities. Some users engage in a debate surrounding determinism and free will, presenting various viewpoints.

One user highlights the deterministic perspective, asserting that our decisions are influenced by the universe's deterministic nature. They argue that our actions are a result of an intricate web of cause and effect, shaped by past experiences and choices. According to this viewpoint, while our outcomes may be predetermined, the path we take to reach them is governed by our free will.

On the other hand, another user expresses skepticism towards determinism, suggesting that true free will exists. They propose that our minds transcend the laws of the universe, granting us the ability to defy the constraints of physics. This perspective elevates human consciousness to a god-like status, challenging the very fabric of our understanding of the world.

In the midst of this spirited discussion, one user recommends a book titled "Determined" by Robert Sapolsky, which delves deeper into the intricacies of determinism. This thought-provoking read promises to shed light on the complex relationship between determinism and free will.

Ultimately, the image and ensuing conversation prompt us to reflect on the nature of our existence. Do we truly possess free will, or are our actions predetermined by the universe's predictable rules? The answers to these existential questions remain elusive, but the discourse they inspire serves as a testament to the human pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

As we navigate the intricate web of causality, let us continue to ponder the mysteries of determinism and free will, seeking enlightenment in the realms of philosophy and science.

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View source: Reddit

Top Comments from Reddit


I never understood these kind of philosophies where link determinism with free will. * The universe is deterministic, there for our decision are already set in stone, so no free will * The universe is non-deterministic, there for our decisions are not yet set in stone but instead decided by true randomness on a quantum level, so no free will. * There is true free will, our minds are not limited by the laws of the universe. Our minds have the power to break the laws of physics. Spacetime and it's laws is irrelevant to our mindpower. We are above it, we are super beings, we are gods! For some reason option 3 seems the least likely to me.


The risk of punishment is a factor in determining what your causally determined will does.


I just read Determined by Robert Sapolsky and would highly recommend it. But I had to recommend it...I had no free will to do otherwise.


ofcourse it was tennis, no one ever has such intricate philosophical thoughts while playing football.


It give consciousness a purpose. It is the universes random number generator.


Que sera, sera.


AND... if the Universe is governed by quantum effects that are essentially random in nature, then everything we do is just the end result of an unimaginably long chain of coin flips. We can't be held accountable for our actions if they're the result of random chance. I plan on making both of these points at my upcoming murder trial. And when the judge brings up the concept of "free will," I'm going to argue that he's using a religious argument and therefore convicting me on that basis is a violation of my First Amendment rights. Checkmate, judge. You've been physics'd. [sound of mic hitting the floor]


I have a slightly elementary view on this. The Universe has determined the outcome but how we reach the outcome is governed by our free will. The deterministic view of Universe is derived from a summation of our previous actions i.e. what we do today builds our destiny for tomorrow and what we will do tomorrow will pave the path for the day after.


A deterministic philosophy doesn't mean people are unaccountable; quite the opposite. Since we know that the likelihood of being caught and the severity of punishment contribute to whether someone will commit a crime or not, we would need to ensure there is an adequate chance of catching and punishing someone to deter those actions. We would then have empathy for the individuals who committed the crime and see what actions we can take to improve their lives. After all, if we can transform that person into a good actor, that behavior will ripple throughout society in a chain of cause and effect.

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