Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Will?

Here goes nothing..

free will
–noun 1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2. Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

Do we really have free will?

I have been thinking about free will and determinism for quite some time. A few months back, I believed that men have free will and that men have control to its choices, decisions, and actions. But just recently, I read a couple of articles and arguments that shows that we do not have free will and that free will is just an illusion. I think (as of the moment) that we (men) do not have free will, we do not have control to our choices, and that we just think that we have free will (thus an illusion). I am not really a hundred percent certain about this because I am still in the process of learning about free will and determinism but let me just show you as to why I (for the moment) do not believe in free will. The point of this post is to simply show that our decisions, choices, and actions are not really 'free' at all.

There are two reasons why I believe that we do not have free will. Causality and chance. We end up choosing an option because of these two or a combination of these two. And both causality (cause and effect) and chance (random) shows that we do not have control to our choices.

Let's say I am walking from my work to my house one afternoon. Before I can arrive at my house I have to either pass one of two streets, Street A or Street B. I can arrive at my house in 25 minutes if I will take Street A and Street A is not that safe. On the other hand if I will take on Street B I will arrive at my house for only 10 minutes and it is much safer than Street A. Street B is nearer and a much safer course than Street A so I took Street B. I took Street B because of of the said reason and this reason (cause) led me to take Street B. As you can see, this decision is not really "free" because it is determined by an external force (the danger in taking Street A). This external force is called a determinant, or something that has a role in causing, or determining an outcome. A determinant could also be internal (genetics/biological).

But what if one afternoon I took on Street A for no particular reason whatsoever (random). Would this scenario tell me that I have free will? No. It is because this chain of purely 'random' event is, by definition, not really controlled. If it is, then it would not be random. Even a combination of causes and a random event or random events and cause/s still do not show that choices are 'free' because we cannot control chance and causality.

All in all, our choices are determined by determinants (external or internal force) or by chance. These two reasons led me to believe (right now) that we do not have free will.

Objections and criticisms are welcome.


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