Monday, 27 January 2014

The necessity of believing in Free Will


It is a striking aspect of modern life that so many people - brain scientists, psychologists, social scientists, geneticists, metaphysicians, artists, journalists, politicians - are all trying so hard to persuade other people that there is no free will

...that people cannot control the way they behave and what they do: that people are in fact (and whatever they may feel about it) helpless puppets of their lower brain, subconscious mind, conditioning, upbringing, social circumstances, genes, instinct, class, sex, age, race, philosophical necessity, or propaganda.


Just imagine! We apparently 'know' for sure that we are either helpless puppets of all these, at the same time (and others I haven't mentioned), or else whichever one of them happens to interest us (or pay our wages).

Or maybe all of them and one or more of them at the same time - or something...


...We apparently know this for a fact - or many facts - or one fact and many facts at the same time; despite that it may be the deepest experiential conviction (deeper than belief in religion, science, art, politics or anything else) that we are autonomous agents; and despite that to assert anything else is very obviously self-refuting.


Presumably the hordes of people in scores of professions who are so keen to assert that we all lack free will (and who spread their confusion/ despair-generating views by all possible channels in the research literature, educational establishments and mass media) are likewise merely helpless puppets that cannot stop themselves from spouting evil nonsense. 



George said...

If life is partially or wholly about theosis, what better way to fight it than convince people they can't do it?

The source is definitely evil.

I imagine enough generations adhering to such a philosophy - of basically living like animals - eventually turning into animals.

Matthew C. said...

Life is SO VERY ABOUT choosing to rise up and refute the nonsense, stand up for the truth, and choose good over evil.

That's why we are here. To say with our words, and even more through our deeds: 'there is a reason we are here, life matters, our choices matter, we will serve God and not ourselves, regardless of whatever toxic philosophical nonsense is being applauded today.'

So simple, really.

Contradiction said...

So we're not free to disbelieve in free will?

Brett Stevens said...

I do not think it is necessary to believe in free will; all we must believe in is that we have the capacity for choice.

Free will implies that I can create in the world an object of my will. That is usually not so. What I can do is pick the better option from what life offers, and that is usually enough.

Bookslinger said...

My question is where the meat-computer ends and where free will begins. We don't know. An honest self-aware person may have an idea where that is in regards to himself, but we have no idea about others. That is why we must leave judgement of the individual up to The One True Judge who sees into the hearts of men.

This is not to say that we should not judge actions, nor to say that legitimate authorities should not enforce just laws and punish evil-doers.