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Essay on the Limitations of Free Will

ByThomas MacDonald

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When we begin to question the world around us, there is a possibility that there can exist a change that comes to the individual instantaneously. The shackles of mental slavery release themselves from us, and we are then free to realize our lack of freedom. Paradoxically, we are in the position where we are forced to see our limitations as they exist in our daily lives. Regardless of this realization, we must continue to fight for a more nuanced understanding of our predicament. This is the essence of a life that is lived. The will is structured in the world as a device whereby the illusion of choice is manufactured. We are taught from a very young age to buy into the concept that the world is our oyster, so to speak, and that the limitations we have are of our own manufacturing. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, because as we shall see, the will is limited by time, space, position, and other factors which interrupt our lives continuously. John Stuart Mill, in his famous work Utilitarianism, puts it thusly: “The ultimate sanction, therefore, of all morality (external motives apart) being a subjective feeling in our own minds, I see nothing embarrassing to those whose standard is utility, in the question, what is the sanction of that particular standard? We may answer, the same as of all other moral standards - the conscientious feelings of mankind. Undoubtedly this sanction has no binding efficacy on those who do not possess the feelings it appeals to; but neither will these persons be more obedient to any other moral principle than to the utilitarian one.” Morality is subject to agreed upon principles, and so is the expression of the will. If most human beings were able to accept this fact, then we would be in a position where there would be a perceived need for change. To be more precise, the change that is perceived would allow for augmentations of morality in a way that could either maximize, or minimize, our practice of the will in any capacity. This line of thinking does not recognize the utility of dogmatism outside of the usefulness it might have to impress upon the masses the foundations which have thus changed to accommodate novel ideals.


Publication Date
Feb 18, 2022
Education & Language
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Thomas MacDonald


Interior Color
Black & White
US Letter (8.5 x 11 in / 216 x 279 mm)

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