Three Theories


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An event occurs, then there must be an antecedent event, prior to it, causing it and this event will serve as an antecedent to another event and will lead it, if this theory is agreed means then there must be a starting or beginning for everything. This theory is called “theory of causal determinism". Now let us consider an event A, is said to occur, then two type or arguments can be posted one is called ‘Fatalism’ and other is called ‘Free will’.

The former concept is that whatever happens now, happened by, and going to happen in future is predetermined. Fatalism is the view that we are powerless to do anything other that what we actually do. It may be argued for in various ways: by appeal to logical laws and metaphysical necessities; by appeal to the existence and nature of God; by appeal to causal determinism.

When argued for in the first way, it is commonly called “Logical fatalism" when argued for in the second way, it is commonly called “Theological fatalism". When argued for in the third way it is not now commonly referred to as “fatalism" at all, and such arguments will not be discussed here.

The later concept is of Free will, is postulates that whatever happens are merely because of freewill, whatever he/she thinks he carries out and the corresponding consequences he faces. Free will is a concept in traditional philosophy used to refer to the belief that human behavior is not absolutely determined by external causes, but is the result of choices made by an act of will by the agent. Such choices are themselves not determined by external causes, but are determined by the motives and intentions of the agent, which themselves are not absolutely determined by external causes.

Sphere of discussion:

In essence, the sphere of discussion covering the subject human freedom and causal determinism has two poles. At the one is the idea that our will is ‘completely free’ in essence, though it may be ‘conditioned’ by the various different circumstances surrounding each person. At the other pole are the extreme doctrines of total fatalism or unalterable causal determinism. Other relevant standpoints fall somewhere between these ‘polar extremes’.

Most thinkers in the social, historical and political sciences are found well away from the poles, as are those who contribute to some form of ordinary common sense, especially in modern and more Westernized cultures.


Now let us take the side of “Fatalism". By ‘fate’, I mean what the Greeks call heimarmenê – an ordering and sequence of causes, since it is the connexion of cause to cause which out of itself produces anything. It says all actions, deeds, and their results are predetermined, prewritten. If it is so then a question may arise, why all these then? why these things should happen, what is the fruit of it?. These questions remain unanswered by these people, some theologist answer these but those were not up to the desired. This type of argument is called “lazy-argument", and ‘If we gave in to it, ’ ‘we would do nothing whatever in life. ’

There are two sorts of people in this side, theist and atheist. Let me put forth a question to the theist people “Every individual during his life course does action good or bad, sometimes he stays passive, if at all, it is fate then why it is he ordered or written to do a bad thing, then why should he suffer, why supreme power did him so?". No response for this from them. Now for atheist people, they say “for everything, it is like this that is all no reason for this and no one had made this like this. The argument is posed as follows: ‘If it is your fate to recover from this illness, you will recover, regardless of whether or not you call the doctor. Likewise, if it is your fate not to recover from this illness, you will not recover, regardless of whether or not you call the doctor. And one or the other is your fate. Therefore it is pointless to call the doctor’. Is that right? By considering these things it is clear that “the concept of Fatalism is ruled out"


The second dogma is that Free will, it states that “all actions deeds & outcomes are due to free will of every individual, nothing is pre determined", and as an individual he moves according to his own will and everything is the result of his actions. Ok let me go in their way, if it is so then why should humans suffer, then why is his actions confined, why is he not opened to everything, why he is suffering most of the time, by nature no one wishes for sorrow or disasters, then why all bad happens to him. An answer can be quoted for this; it is because he is ignorant to good and bad, then what causes that ignorance, if everything is because of free will then why can’t that ignorance be evacuated.

The second drawback of this concept is that “if everything is free will, then why some things remain unalterable? Why certain things are beyond his control, if so then what the line of separation is, where things go beyond control, what causes it. No answer is found yet. We can see immediately that this option is unhelpful and probably rather silly.

Co-Fated events:

Ok, if we rule out both extremes what is going on actually, if not fatalism or free will then what? Here comes the answer, all these can be categorized under Co-Fated events. By Co-Fated events what I mean is “no action is completely due to free will or due to fate, but both these giants have a hand". Now for the example quoted initially of the doctor, we can say that, Some events are complex and ‘co-fated’. It is false that you will recover from the illness whether or not you call the doctor, because you’re calling the doctor, and having some treatment, may be the reason why you recover. Calling the doctor, and recovering, is ‘co-fated’. So, to take action certainly can be effective – you’re calling the doctor resulting in your recovery. So we should not simply sit and watch. This is the most apt argument of life.

Though seeing this doesn’t to any degree undermine the fatalist’s position, for just as your recovering was fated (if only you had known it), so was your calling the doctor! This might be how it happened, all right, but if the event of your calling the doctor was caused by prior circumstances (as all events are, according to the theory of causal determinism) then in what sense could you be considered to exercise your free will?

I have read a wonderful example explaining this context; this is quoted by CHRYSIPPUS (Cicero, On fate 42–3 = Long and Sedley 1987, 62C 8–9; Aulus Gellius, Attic nights 7.2.11 = Long and Sedley 1987, 62D 4). if it is added here would surely help in easy understanding, so am adapting it here.

It goes with rolling of a cylinder; he says that there are two distinct types of cause working here. One is our pushing the cylinder to make it move; this is the ‘auxiliary and proximate cause’ – we can call it the ‘external cause’. And the other is the cylinder’s being round; this is the ‘complete and primary cause’ – which we can call the ‘internal cause’. We may be inclined to object that the being round is not really a cause. It is a property that the cylinder has, as would be its redness and heaviness, just in case it is red and heavy. The color and weight of the cylinder have no bearing on its rolling – a blue, light cylinder rolls just as well – its roundness does have a bearing on its rolling: if it weren’t round, it wouldn’t roll. We would say that the roundness was a necessary condition for the cylinder’s rolling, just as the pushing of the cylinder was also necessary: no push, no rolling. But together both the roundness and the pushing were sufficient for the rolling.

Chrysippus wants us to note that both the external cause and the internal cause themselves had causes properly located in the causal nexus comprising the entire history of the world. The external cause of the push was itself caused by our foot swinging to meet the cylinder, and the internal cause of the cylinder’s roundness was caused by the manufacturing process that made it. And we may suppose that the rolling will itself cause something else to happen, such as the knocking over of a sheep, or a splash in the stream, or both. In short, nothing has happened which violates the theory of causal determinism. I think the above example would have certainly cleared everything, for this same concept I would like to quote my example. (Note: this is based on theism and for atheist I have a separate thing let me not put that here).before going into the example, by this time you would be clear that god has predetermined certain things and the rest remains in our hands, to be more clear I add the example here “the ‘fate’ is that you have to travel in a particular road, the lane you choose in that road is your ‘free will’, you may choose a smooth lane, or a thorny one. Depending on what you chose you will be given the results and that implies your good and bad deeds. " now a question may be raised if not everything is free will, or fate, but a complex of both, then where is the boundary that separates the duo. For that the above example will stand for. Thus even though deity has given us power and will, we are limited with our powers, with that power circle we can act according to our free will and that decides all. So it is clear that whatever happens now, happened by, and going to happen in future is ‘co-fated’ and doesn’t falls in either of the two poles.

In this area I have just given a brief introduction and description of what is what and why it is and why it is not. It is just a succinct picture depicted about different notions.

Bala Arjun


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