Determinism is self-refuting

When the determinist claims that man is determined, this applies to
all man’s ideas also, including his own advocacy of determinism. Given
the factors operating on him, he believes, he had to become a
determinist, just as his opponents had no alternative but to oppose
him. How then can he know that his viewpoint is true? Are the factors
that shape his brain infallible? Does he automatically follow reason,
evidence and logic? Clearly not; if he did, error would he impossible
to him.

The determinist’s position amounts to the following. “My mind does
not automatically conform to facts, yet I have no choice about its
course. I have no way to choose reality to be my guide as against
subjective feeling, social pressure, or the falsifications inherent in
being only semiconscious. If and when I distort the evidence through
sloppiness or laziness, or place popularity above logic, or evade out
of fear, or hide my evasions from myself under layers of
rationalizations and lies, I have to do it, even if I realize at the
time how badly I am acting. Whatever the irrationalities that warp and
invalidate my mind’s conclusion on any issue, they are irresistible,
like every event in my history, and could not have been other-wise.”
If such were the case, a man could not rely on his own judgment. He
could claim nothing as objective knowledge, including the theory of

Volition, accordingly, is not an independent philosophic principle,
but a corollary of the axiom that “there is a faculty for perceiving
that which is” – a.k.a. consciousness. Not every consciousness has the
faculty of volition. Every fallible, conceptual consciousness,
however, does have it. If a determinist tried to assess his viewpoint
as knowledge, he would have to say, in effect: “I am in control of my
mind. I do have the power to decide to focus on reality. I do not
merely submit spinelessly to whatever distortions happen to be decreed
by some chain of forces stretching back to infinity. I am free, free
to be objective, free to conclude – that I am not free.”.

Like any rejection of a philosophical axiom, determinism is
self-refuting. Just as one must accept that “there is something” or
that “I can perceive that which is” in order to deny it, so must one
accept “I can choose between alternatives” in order to deny it. A
philosophical axiom cannot be proved, because it is one of the basis
of proof. But for the same reason it cannot be escaped either. By its
nature, it is impregnable.


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