May 18, 2011

Another Essay for Team IPO

Write an essay on the following theme
In short, the actions of man are never free; they are always the necessary consequence of the temperament, of the received ideas, and of the notions, either true or false, which he has formed to himself of happiness; of his opinions, strengthened by example, by education, and by daily experience. (Holbach, Paul-Henri Dietrich, System of Nature)

The author's argument and a possible counter argument
A1) Man acts according to his beliefs
R) Actions are necessary consequences of the temperament of
a) recieved ideas
b) self notions of happiness (truth not important)
c) opinions (reinforced by edu., exp. & eg)
Rx) Being forced may govern your actions
X1) interactions with the world translate into experiential beliefs which in turn help construct a belief system (temperament)
X2) Temperament helps frame new beliefs
X3) A1 + X2 -> Actions follow from R)
C1) Man's beliefs are not independant
C2) Man is not free to act
Counter Argument:
1) if some ideas are dependant then is your entire belief system (temperament) dependant???
2) Can your most initial thoughts be ever your own? ... does this mean that you cant think on your own?
3) How do you explain the development of human knowledge if there is no independant idea???
4) Man always can choose to accept a belief in its given form or to modify it ... thats what R claims ...
CC) The above, especially 4, imply that beliefs are independant to quite a degree.... Thus C1 & hence C2 is WRONG!!!