According to Holbach

According to Holbach, any action one takes is the direct result of a stronger impulse triumphing. This impulse could be received by either an object, the idea is ones brain or disposed his will. Holbach states that when one does not act on ones impulse it is because a new motive, idea, or cause modified ones brain to react in a different manner. This results in a new impulse which determines ones will differently while simultaneously suspending the former impulse. Holbach maintains that this effect happens when a greater impulse overrules the original impulse which is opposed to when one may object to determinism on the stance that one acts occasionally against impulses.

An example offered by Holbach is that of a frenetic man afflicted by brutal thirst who comes upon a fountain of water and has the strong inclination to drink from it. If the man in his current state is informed that the fountain water is in fact poisoned, he will deny his impulse of drinking the water unless other elements incline him to risk fatality for the dimishment of his brutal thirst are more substainal and win out. Either way, whether he choses to drink from the fountain or not, these two actions, separate of each other with totally different consequences, are equally necessary. Both actions are the effect of the motive which is found to be most influential which in consequence acts as the highest imperiously fashion upon his will. Holbach is stating that is ones motive is the result of the determined action and the motive is influence by external actions then the action is consequently determined by external causes.

I believe that Holbach’s view on our actions and impulses does not lead me to have strong inclinations either for or against it. The nature of free will is arguably the most important aspect of the argument which Holbach terms will as an adaptation of the brain which it is inclined to act or give preparation to give play to the organs. A formal objection could be to identify the almost impossible scientific determination of what free will is. I believe Holbach’s determination arguments are quite compelling and can not be completely refuted. To do so one would have to prove the existence of a soul or dualism which I believe to be conclusively impossible.