Determinsim 3: Free will?

Determinism cannot be right, ‘they’ say, else there would be no free will. Ok, so what is free will? Let’s go back to our person facing choices A, B and C. And now assume he has free will. So, he makes a choice – say, C – for which we offer due praise and compliment him on his choice, made of his own free will. But let us, ask why did he make that choice? Because he is a good person. And, why is he a good person? Because his parents raised him well, he was not exposed to contrary behaviour etc etc. So, what are we saying here? His choice was determined by his fundamental nature which was determined by his prior experiences. His choice was determined. No, they claim, it was not determined, it was made under free will.

But what is this free will? I know it sounds as if I am trying to ‘fit’ free will up with a deterministic nature but, really, where does it come from? If it does not come from the person’s experiences and nature then where does it come from? If it is not formed by experience, is it external to the person and, if so, what is it? If we exclude the nonsensical ‘soul’ and exclude dualism then the free will must be wholly part of the person and so, must be formed by that person’s nature and experiences, just as every other part of the person is so formed. So, whatever free will is, it must be determined.

Or, let’s say there is a little choice module in the brain, to which choics are referred. But, again, the bases for that module’s making choices must be the person’s nature and experiences: what else is there to influence the development of that module? Even if that module has some sort of dice throwing mechanism for the really tight choices, the choice is still wholly determined because no dice throwing is wholly random.

Basically, if we exclude the supernatural, there is no place for free will.

Posted on May 11, 2009, in Philosophy, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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