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Free Will posted 08 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

Quote: "jub":2sy15dp9
Pointless because you don't like the answer? Or pointless because you fail to gain anything from it? The way I see it, I gain a whole lot from the discussion of free will, in the same way people gain a lot from their belief in a god. [/quote:2sy15dp9]

No, not pointless because I don't like the answer, I fully accept that people could get a whole range of subjective bonuses from the discussion of free will. What I don't think is that the question can have any real meaning (see my points below).

Quote: "jub":2sy15dp9

How does anything change by accepting that we have no free will?[/quote:2sy15dp9]

Quote: "jub":2sy15dp9
It isn't impossible to believe anything, I could wholeheartedly believe that the sun rotates around the earth; I could believe any number of things. I fail to see how my belief in the non-existence of free will changes anything.[/quote:2sy15dp9]

I think you're missing what I'm saying, which is that the way we regard people, and ourselves as people necessarily involves us believing that people are making their own choices and have responsibility for their actions. The way we think every day, the decisions we make, our judgements of others, our justifications to ourselves depend entirely upon the notion of ourselves as free beings. It is impossible to truly accept that you yourself are a robot-like being driven only by causal levers that you have no control over, and, I would suggest, to apply this to others and be an absolute solipsist in this way. The point is that the way we think and act every day depends absolutely on a whole range of assumptions that directly and indirectly assume the existence and force of free will in both yourself and others. Next time you have a negative thought about someone's decision, "I wouldn't have done that, that's a stupid thing to do" for example, you assume that you have a choice and that they do too, as they are morally/otherwise culpable for the action, which they would not be in any real way if determinism was true. So therefore, whether determinism is an actual fact or not, one cannot truly act as if it was true, and thus for me the question is literally a non-question. It is not one that the human mind and english language are equipped to deal with and cannot legitimately be answered in a way that affirms determinism given these contraints upon the human mind and our language, regardless of whether or not determinism is a fact. Hope that helps clarify the position I hold on this issue. view post


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