Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Possibility of Free Will

Consider a real object in the world around you, e.g. a brown chair. Maybe the chair is really made of atoms, but if so then that underlying chair is not so much brown as capable of reflecting photons in certain ways. And since there is only one chair not two, out there in the real world—where you can see that the brown chair is—so there is no atomic chair. But of course, we need not become Idealists for that reason.
......Why should there not be many different but equally sound ways of regarding things? That there appears to be a puzzle may just be due to our being in the world that we are thinking about. So we might expect greater puzzles when thinking about ourselves, due to our being them identically. Therefore the following argument—that we couldn’t have morally significant free wills—shouldn’t convince us that we don’t.
......The argument is that, whatever a free choice between at least two alternatives—say, X and Y—is, either something beyond one’s power to choose determines that choice or else nothing does. One chooses, say, X; but why? If some reason for choosing X appealed to one, then something in one’s nature must have been predisposed to be so appealed to (and if that thing was chosen, then the regress just goes one step back, to why one so chose), but if nothing does then one’s choice was made randomly, irrationally, irresponsibly and so forth.

No comments: