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Free Will posted 12 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

It's true determinism isn't the only thing out there, but the forms of compatibilism I've seen all reduce the concept of "free will" or, in the more sophisticated forms, "choice", to something far less than the everyday understanding. To my mind denying this form of free will is what is in essence nonsensical in the most basic way. There literally is no honest way we can begin to consider ourselves without effective choice, for the reasons I've mentioned, and still less is there a way you could begin to apply that in social relations.

Therefore, since even were we able to seriously consider the idea of free will not actually existing (which I would argue against, as stated), it would not be something that would have any ramifications for social matters, and I'd call that a pretty perfect case of a non-question. A question that is possible, perhaps, semantically speaking but makes pretty much no sense investigating from any philosophical or sociological perspective beyond, perhaps, a mere thought experiment. So to me it's a question that's a little like Ryle's Category Error (e.g. someone being shown round all of Oxford University's colleges and buildings and saying afterwards, "yes, but can I please see the university, all I've seen are these colleges and facilities") - a basic error in mistaking a semantically possible quesion for one that actually makes sense.

I'm not sure what aspect of personal identity you're getting at, could you clarify? But I would mention that I'd probably come at it from a perspective much like Heidegger and perhaps Husserl; that the way we've become used to looking at ourselves in the world, that of a detached observer looking out onto a world of qualia, is a mistaken way of going about it. view post


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