So we’ve spent the last week talking about Hobbes political science but very little into his philosophical theories. One of my favorites is his underlining belief in determinism.
So where to begin? Lets start with the fact that Hobbes strictly believes in the vacuum of the material world. By vacuum I mean the confines or restricted boundaries, and by materialistic I mean matter’s actions without the belief in either superficial or a deities influence. He believes in the Prime Mover; the creator or spark of creation, the first domino in life’s succession. Whether this be a God or a Big Bang is irrelevant, all what really matters is that the Universe began. Now Hobbes firm belief is that man is predictable and our actions can be likely predicted. We’re like robots our watches, our actions are certain. In theory this really is sound when you get into the core of the argument. Are we constantly just reacting to matter around us? Is every action we make an inevitable succession of prior actions? If so what was our Prime Mover or action that began our succession of actions? Does this destroy the theory of free will?
To be more concise, let’s just think. We pride ourselves with the freedom of choice, but when exactly did we gain conscious choice? We couldn’t of obtained it when we were born, We were merely infants. Babies can hardly do anything on their own nor rationalize their actions.They only reacted to their environments. Dad gives bottle we drink because we’re thirsty. We couldn’t feed ourselves on our own. Shiny read ball? We touch or analyze because it intrigues us. Our parents controlled our fate, and we only responded to their actions. So when did we really start being able to freely choose our own actions? Well according to determinism… never! From that moment onwards our actions were a succession of the actions made when we were infants. If there were a way to compute and account for the nearly infinite number of stimuli that affected us from that point forward we would come to the same equation or conclusion, which is me sitting down and writing this blog post. If we could add like an equation literally every molecule of influence around us we’d arrive at the same instance and character we are today. It’s incredibly complex but easy to rationalize.
Today I woke up at approximately 9:22. It occurred because I went to bed at 2:17 the night before and I would predictably need that amount of sleep due to my biological needs and my characteristic of laziness which I have fostered and developed in my lifetime. I went to my psychology class because I am a creature of habit and have never missed a psychology class and furthermore I fear missing out of lectures, because I fear failing. I fear failing because my parents and society instilled that belief into me whether conscious or unconsciously. Today I didn’t feel a desire to skip class for breakfast because I had a large dinner last night, and because intrinsically I as a person have developed the consistency to make it class and eat late night meals… I’m probably not explaining this as well as I can, but essentially my life as well as yours and all others are dominoes falling in succession, that inevitably interact in a predictable (By which I mean certain, it would be rationally impossible to predict it) manner. At the end of the day our actions are dictated by our surrounding stimuli. We don’t really have free will, we’re just responding to external world surrounding us.
Let’s put it this way. If I were all-powerful. Let’s just say for fun I decided to recreate your morning for you. I place you in a bed, your memories and biological neural circuits are in the exact same condition they were that day at exactly 7:14:0456 am. I place every individual on the earth in the exact place, ready to carry out the plans they did the night before. Every rain drop is ready to fall and every piece of nature and shade of grass is in the exact place it was that very day. I click the play button and watch everyone carry out their days. Would it not be an exact replicate of the initial day I’m trying to recreate? If everything were exactly as it was before would it not be like rewinding a VHS tape to rewatch the same scene carry out? Well determinist like Hobbes, would think so. If we do have free will, we’d be doing completely random actions at every decisions turn, but why would we when actions and influences prior to these decisions have already led to the decisions likely outcome.
Anyways I’m ranting on, but it’s moments like these where I feel we need to embrace the philosophical aspects of the course which are overshadowed by political science. Really makes me think of my actions everyday. Makes me trip balls on life.
SEE YOU ALL IN A MONTH. Happy Holidays!