Blog Break 9: A question on free will


For the frequent readers of this blog, I guess my position on free will is known. I am interested in knowing a few things  from those who argue that we have free will. These are, but not limited to;

  1. what is your understanding of free will?
  2. in what way are our actions free?
  3. at what time in our development do we start to employ this free will?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “Blog Break 9: A question on free will

  1. Mordanicus says:

    Sorry, but I can’t help you. Personally I am sceptical whether there’s such thing as a free will, and even if there would be such thing I am afraid it will be beyond our comprehension.

    My mother used to believe in a free will, but I got her doubting when I asked if we are free to want what we want?

    Like

  2. Mike says:

    Who knows what our Nairobian friend is up to… Something is cooking…

    I personally haven’t thought about free will so much. I just keep hearing a lot about it, that God gave it to us, and we chose to sin based on our will. Idiotic if you think about it, because if I am to give my kids something that, and I know it might kill them, then I won’t give them that thing.

    Some people might argue saying: “Well, even the food that you give your kids might kill them by chocking to death, so wouldn’t you still want to feed your kids?”

    Of course the answer is yes, that is because of several reasons.
    One: I have no alternatives, either they eat or die
    Two: Chances are small statistically speaking of dying from food stuck in your throat
    Three: I am not omnipotent. If I were, I would invent a way of not letting them eat and avoid dying by something stuck in their throats or maybe separate the respiratory system from the digestive system so that you can get more chance of removing that thing from your throat with enough time and at your own ease.
    If I were omnipotent and do not give freewill to my people and would invent a way of not letting them know about it, so they won’t sin and die

    So it is either God had no other alternatives (meaning he doesn’t know how to solve the issue, meaning he is not omnipotent) or he is malevolent, or he doesn’t give a Damn, or simply, he doesn’t exist. I opt for the last.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      well the brother is always up to some good :-P.
      For those who argue that a god gave them free will, I don’t know what to tell them. And as you say, it makes no sense to say god has given man free will and will punish man for employing it. How ridiculous?

      Like

  3. And, I ask you back, if there is free will, where’s the switch? (on/off one) 😉

    Like

  4. Hi there, Mak!
    I think Mordanicus is on to something here: Schopenhauer tried to explain why we act like we have free will.
    Nietzsche imagined the world to be very different if we started to acknowledge that we don’t have free will.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hello lively how are you?

      In genealogy of morals, Nietzsche writes that free will is a religious idea to make man responsible ands to justify punishment. He writes I think in the same volume that we are being unreasonable when we judge ourselves or others.
      Schopenhauer in his principle of sufficient reason and in a separate essay on free will writes that it is not possible to be a free agent.

      Like

      • I’m fine, Mak. And you?
        That is exactly what I meant: if we don’t believe in free will we should recognise that others don’t have it either. This is what I read yesterday in Human, All Too Human: “How does it happen that every execution offends us more than a murder? … For the guilt is not punished, even if such a thing existed: this lies in teachers, parents, environment, in us, not in the murderer — I mean the instigating circumstances.” (HH 70)

        If we don’t believe in free will there is no guilt. I think that is quite a radical idea! That doesn’t mean that we should allow people to commit murder without doing anything, but it should perhaps influence the way we deal with these things as a society. Do you have ideas about that?

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Am doing well friend, can’t complain.

          Do you have ideas about that?

          I think I do. Education, proper education is important to train man to focus his energies in doing those things that are not injurious to him or his fellow being. Society must be healthy here I mean no exploitation of the weak by the poor including corporations. No insane inequalities in distribution and access to resources. Society must be seen to be just; if it must protect itself, the corrective measures it puts in place must be applied fairly with an aim to correct behaviour and should be just. It makes no sense to sentence a guy to life imprisonment for stealing a hen because he can’t afford a lawyer and a person gets to walk free or have an easy punishment because he could buy a good lawyer. This does not create a healthy society, it breeds discontent and it slowly puts itself on the path to destruction.

          Like

          • I think I can agree with most of what you say. Especially about education. I’m always surprised to see that even very rich countries don’t make a priority of that. It’s so important!
            I also think education should prepare you for life: it shouldn’t be restricted to just learning many different things.
            And of course society should aim to correct behaviour and be just. I can’t think of any country where this really works at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work at it.
            What will you be reading next?

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              I will be reading Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Idea. I started but paused to read d’Holdbach, Myra Breckenridge and Fahrenheit 451.

              I don’t think there is any society we have currently that is anywhere close to being what I would call a healthy society.

              There are a series of lectures titled The future of our educational institutions that Nietzsche gave where he critiques the German education then and which I think is still relevant today. An education which trains people on just how to get a well paying job but hardly how to think, rather as he calls it a man of culture.

              Like

              • Thank you, Mak.
                I’m really curious to see what you make of Schopenhauer. I hope you’ll blog on it. You certainly read a lot of interesting books.
                I haven’t read these lectures by Nietzsche, so thanks for mentioning them. Education is a subject that I find very interesting.

                Like

  5. […] I love this one on Free Will! I just can’t have enough of it! (by the way, I dedicate this to my friend Makagutu) […]

    Like

  6. Real real me says:

    1. My understanding is that we do have free will and we use it all the time, our minds are not controlled by anyone, but us. God has given us the free will, and with the temptations we need to prove we’ve chosen Him
    2. Well, our minds are limited, we are limited beings, but we do have free will to act using our abilities (there are restrictions from the laws (as you would say), but it’s our free will to chose whether to accept them or to rebel against them)
    3. Can’t say exactly, I’m not sure how the brain develops from the earliest age

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      1. So your actions are free from causes?
      2. Give me an example

      Like

      • Real real me says:

        Those are tough questions. I understand your attitude now. I thought to give the example: I want to go to holiday, I’ll save money and I’ll go, but when I think better, there has to be a reason for wanting that (e.g. I worked and need rest), so…
        But you had a free will to become an atheist, some people decide to be atheists and others don’t, isn’t that free will?

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Are you sure my friend, you chose to be religious? Or you are religious because you were brought up in that manner and has not the courage to question your beliefs

          Like

          • Real real me says:

            Well of course when I accepted the religion I accepted because I was told to, without being sure from my own experience there was God. But now it is my choice to believe. For example people can be raised supporting a political party, but they may decide to change it later.

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              I hate to tell you that you haven’t chosen to believe. That is what you tell yourself, you want to feel responsible. No, you believe as you do because a man believes to the extent of their convictions and not otherwise. It is the same with politics and it is the same reason most people never change their political stands.

              Like

              • Real real me says:

                That sounds selfish. I do have the courage to question my beliefs. And just to prove you here are excerpts of my recent diary (of 2013, but I’m still in 2012 here on my blog):
                “If God is a synonym for love (as they say) then have all the atheists experienced hate only?

                I needed somebody to hug me and say “Nick, you are doing it right”. All of this just because of my interpretation of a religion. … Shouldn’t putting someone above you be considered as a great virtue?
                I didn’t want to be something I am not/different just because of someone or something anymore, God has created me like this with a purpose. Where was I?”

                Like

We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s