Role of Man’s Free Will in Shaping Society, History

Society has no rules independent of individuals and man, using his free will, can play a role in society.



Muslim scholar, Faqih, thinker and Quran scholar Allameh Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi (1934-2020) believed that all fields of humanities have both descriptive and recommending aspects, and that in some the first is stronger and in some the second.

There are topics in humanities in which the issue of free will have been effective. For example, in sociology the issue of social determinism is an important topic. Those who believe in social determinism say society has natural foundations and people’s free will cannot stand against social laws.

Allameh Medbah Yazdi, who was familiar with Western thinkers’ views and with the impacts of this theory on determinism, believed that society have no rules independent of individuals. He questions determinism and proving that individuals in society have free will, rejected sociologists’ theory and said that men can play a role in society. He said people are not followers of society but society is follower of people.

In history too, some believe that history has an independent identity and is a live and intelligent being that has a purpose and that people’s will and resolve has no impact on the path and destination of history. They say man cannot change the path of history and that history takes people with it whether or not they want to.

But Allameh Mesbah Yazdi rejected this by pointing to the issue of free will and says what shapes history is people’s interactions. He said by proving free will, historical determinism becomes meaningless.

Also in the field of politics, an important topic is people’s participation in governance and Allameh Mesbah Yazdi linked the role of government with free will, saying people, by participating in elections, can play a role in governance.


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