On free will- a question

A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition. ~José Bergamín

Yours truly is a determinist, and in quite a few instances, I have written to try and explain why I think the idea that we have free will is an illusion. In this post I would like to be persuaded that am wrong.

Consider this an open invite to anyone who usually reads this blog but is afraid to comment because some of the views expressed here are too strong. I want to be persuaded, though there are no prizes to be won at the end. It is just an opportunity for those opposed to determinism to plant doubt in my belief.

I have indicated am open to persuasion, but this will not sell.

Fire away!

About makagutu

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

62 thoughts on “On free will- a question

  1. shelldigger says:

    You know, there are groups who will threaten to kill your family if you don’t do something they ask of you. How does that figure into the free will question?

    …there are times where playing the philosophy game goes beyond its usefulness. Philosophy should be limited to determining whether lines of logic make an argument… arguable. When an argument fails on its premise, gods for example, there isn’t much point on arguing the meaning of a bible verse, when the argumet is flawed from the start. I see this line of questioning in a similar vein. if our supposed killer did this crime, he is guilty of the crime regardless of the question of free will.

    My deterministic side sees the possibility something like a simple pickpoctet event would be a matter of pickpoket and target being in the same place at the same time. Fate. My neccessitarian side sees that the intent of pickpocketing, could result in a murder of either individual, by the consequence of any of several actions that could arise in the process of what was meant to be nothing more than a stolen wallet. Once a course of action is initiated, there is no way to forsee all of the possible actions that could be taken, or the resuling outcome. The argument of Free Will doesn’t care if the crime resulted in a murder. The judge does.


    • makagutu says:

      As long as our justice systems remain as presently constituted, you are right that the decision of whether it was an act of murder or self defence remains with the judge and freewill doesn’t even get a chance to be debated.


  2. Argus says:

    Of course Free Will is an illusion. Convenient, but non-existent. Setting aside rationality, consider God. God knows everything (that’s what you get when you’re omniscient) qua everything. No?
    Yes …
    So He not only knows, He knew even before the Creation what you and/or I would do at every moment of our lives.
    You, me, and hundreds of millions of others throughout their existences in all of history—past, present, and future.

    If He knows the future then it cannot be changed. It is set in stone.
    If you can’t change anything that is already set in stone before you were even born … what Free Will do (or did you ever) have?

    God’s omniscience blow the whole concept of Free Will out of the water.


    • Argus says:

      But our own ignorance of the ‘future’ leaves us with the comfort of the illusion.


    • makagutu says:

      You have not met apologists, I guess. God’s foreknowledge does not affect your freewill. Which if is the case, there is no justification whatsoever to punish anyone for acting as they did for it’s god’s will they do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Argus says:

        If Big G’s foreknowledge does not affect our freewill then it has to be win/win all round, no? God knows what we are indisputably doomed to do but we can use our Free Will to not change a thing … hey, I like it! (Good old God—He thought of everything.)

        For myself discussing with the ‘broken record’ religiosi is a form of mental masturbation—briefly eases an itch, but achieves nothing—whereas if you want to actually achieve something, get the young thinking for themselves.

        As for apologists, they can indeed be fun (sometimes) but like I said …


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