tisdag 10 mars 2009

Freedom of choice vs Freedom of will

Dear Dino

I agree. Free will can really only exist in a strictly dualist environment. Because it requires for there to be something that wills in the first place (a soul isolated within and from the body). In addition, the concept of freedom is far from clear. Free from what? Free to do what? I prefer to emphasize that the world is indeterministic and that within an intedeterministic world no outcome can be totally determined. This open up the future to a multitude of possibilities and it is more meaningful for us to talk about an open future than to discuss any freedom of will. To Zarathushtra, the freedom of the will is of no concern whatsoever, Instead, his focus is on our (ethical) identity. He is concerned that we should understand that WE ARE the thoughts, the words and the actions that are bodies produce. It is merely as a feedback loop of those phenomena that Zarathushtra is concerned with an ethical "freedom" of sorts.


2009/3/10 special_kain

Dear friends,

To ask whether we have a free will or not is not the most sophisticated philosophical question, but it's important and getting more so in the light of brain research. Benjamin Libet's experiment allegedly proved that we can't want what we want, that decisions were taken subconsciously (or preconciously) and we only had the possibility to react and say "No!" (veto). Libet's experiment and theory became extremely popular amongst neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists and some philosophers, psychologists and sociologists. Fortunately, Libet's experiment didn't prove anything at all. Anyone interested in free to find the important and convincing methodological objections on the net.
But hasn't this debate been way too tiring? Of course, there's no free will in the sense that there was a totally unconditioned will: past experiences, socialization, cultural norms, biological and neurophysiological restrictions and other influencing factors do exist, for better or worse. But Zarathushtra's freedom of choice comes handy right here: there are restrictions, yet there's also contingency. And freedom of choice acknowledges the fact that restrictions and contingency exist. So there are options that we can choose from and other options that we can create for ourselves. Freedom of choice is a more pragmatic concept than freedom of will. Freedom of choice doesn't mean that there wasn't any free will - of course, there's self-control and there are more complex decisions to be made than grabbing an apple when being hungry! We can learn from our past experiences, we can use our (more or less) wise minds. So we can make free choices based on reasoning and past experience. We can create alternatives to those restrictions mentioned above (even though they'll continue to exist), widening our range of freedom.

My two cents on a Tuesday morning,

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