The View Of Free Will Essay

1515 Words Oct 28th, 2016 7 Pages
Discussion regarding free will is inescapable in philosophy, as a correct characterization of free will is paramount in comprehending our place in the world, as well as how to navigate it. Spinoza and Descartes have both conjured up an interpretation of free will that is consistent with their own systems of metaphysics but drastically different from the conclusions of their counterparts. In this essay, I will summarize and contrast their views, and demonstrate how each of their analysis of free will is significant in the context of intellect and freedom. It is evident that while Spinoza and Descartes’ conceptions of volition are irreconcilably different, humanity is still responsible for its own being in either case.
Spinoza: Free Will
Spinoza’s rejection of the conventional notion of free will is built upon his construction of the primal substance (i.e. God/nature). Unlike the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of God, who possesses the ability to choose, God for Spinoza must necessarily conduct itself in the way that it does as a part of its infinite nature. To quote, “that eternal and infinite being we call God, or Nature, acts from the same necessity from which he exists” (Part IV, Preface). In other words, God cannot behave contrary to its nature, and its nature is to be the way it is. There remains however a sense of freedom for God despite the appearance that it has no control over its activities, by the virtue of the fact that nothing can constrain…

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