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Here is the Problem I have with Free Will.

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It’s the same problem I have with “deterministic universe” or “omnipo-
tent being.

You can imagine a model of the Universe in which everything is causally
related in some way, but then you look at the entirety of the thing —
all of it — and because it is everything there is nothing else and so
therefore there is nothing that could have caused that Universe to be
the way it is, or to be at all.

So even a totally deterministic Universe doesn’t mean everything is
connected to something outside itself. So you could, in turn, argue
that it isn’t really deterministic at all but completely arbitrary.

Then there’s ultimate power. Does it mean power over the very princi-
ple of cause and effect itself? The only way you have power is if
your decisions cause desired results. For that cause and effect must
exist first. If there were no cause and effect then no decisions
would have consequences, desired or otherwise.

So being all-powerful cannot mean having power over literally every-
thing. There are conditions that must exist for power to exist, over
which there is, therefore, no power to be had.

So then I hear all this talk about free will. Freedom means without
constrictions and coercion. But if there were no constrictions such as
causal relations between what you do and what happens then nothing you
did would have an effect and you would therefore not be free to choose
what happens. On the other hand, if there are such constrictions, al-
lowing you to have an effect on the world, then you are not totally
free to live in whatever world you choose, such as one in which your
decisions have no consequences.

No matter which way you turn it. Freedom is always relative. Deter-
minism is never perfect. Power is never all-encompassing. All those
terms, if you analyze them properly, contain contradictions in terms if
you try to create totalitarian versions of them.

So I’m actually bored by titles such as “Free Will is an Illusion,” or
whatever. Freedom, power, causation, are always relative, and if only
you go far enough you can seemingly turn those expressions on their
heads. But it’s like saying that because there is no up or down in the
Cosmos as a whole we should all be floating around “down here.” No, we
shouldn’t, because locally there are virtually inescapable gravity
wells. Stop wasting my time trying to blow my mind in such a primitive
fashion! It takes more than that.

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Written by ulrichschreglmann

March 29, 2010 at 4:32 am

Posted in Free Will, Philosophy

Tagged with ,