Consciousness: a philosopher believes in free will (General)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 17, 2019, 18:34 (93 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Straight forward, there is no illusion of free will, as per Dan Dennett.

dhw: I remain neutral on this subject, but I find his arguments far too simplistic, despite the complications of his language. He seems to think causation stops at the level of physics. It doesn’t. We are all products not just of our materials, but also of our upbringing, our education, our experiences, chance events and other influences we may not even be aware of. There is no doubt that we feel responsible for our decisions, but that does not mean our decisions have not been moulded by factors beyond our control. People who believe in an omniscient God would by definition have to assume that God would know every decision they make even before they make it, and he would also know all the causes that led to their decision. Hence belief in predestination (= no free will). There is no conclusion to the debate between materialists and dualists, and although I did try to find a compromise in my Theory of Intelligence, of course that debate – which is integral to the subject of free will – also remains wide open, and is absolutely not “straightforward”. We have no way of knowing whether free will is an illusion or not.

You have described ways in which our theories are molded by past experiences. That alone does not remove the concept of free will. The deep problem is how the brain functions in semi-automatic ways, seemingly beyond our control, which Dennett touts. As for God knowing every one of our thoughts in advance, that is an interpretation of God I do not accept. It is a God- controlled form of determinism. I'm with the philosopher, and feel I have free will.

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