Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Freedom Of The Will

"'...we have free will. The fixed-time concept need not, logically, produce fatalism...man's will is itself one of the links in the causal chain.'"
- Poul Anderson, "Wildcat" IN Anderson, Past Times (New York, 1984), pp. 7-57 AT p. 32.

I agree so far although, since the speaker is a chaplain, he and I would probably disagree if we discussed free will further.

Determinism is the belief that every event is caused. Fatalism is the belief that every human effort is futile. (Futilism?) I can only know whether my efforts are futile by making an effort and making an effort makes a difference. It may be that some people are caused to make an effort and that others are not but those who do make an effort do make a difference. Otherwise, we would not have a civilization.

Determinism and "...fixed-time..." are not necessarily identical. We explain an event in three ways. It is:

(i) caused, an effect of an earlier event;
(ii) uncaused or random;
(iii) a free act.

However, I suggest that "free" means "unconstrained" but not "uncaused." And, if a free act were uncaused, then it could be classified as random. Thus, (i) and (ii) are sufficient to explain all events, including free acts.

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