On Free Will And Determinism


Midnight thoughts and realizations as I finish my reflection paper for Philo 1…
 
After reading through the concept of free will and determinism, I have come to realize that we are not truly free. In all of our decisions or actions, may it be big or small, it seems as though these are determined. They say “free will” is a necessary condition for being morally responsible for our actions. When most of us, if not all, act on certain things, we think about the consequences. If we are truly free, should we not think or even care about the consequences? Shouldn’t we just freely do whatever the hell we want? But what we want or what we decide what we want is also something that is determined. For example, me simply choosing between hotdog and pork chop for breakfast is a determined decision. It is determined in the sense that I have been wanting to eat hotdog and that I don’t think pork chop is a breakfast meal. It may feel and look as if I chose freely but the decision was determined by those factors. Yet, I am conflicted by this realization. If we live deterministic lives, then it must mean that all our fates are sealed. So what is the point then? Doesn’t it seem like we are just mere characters in a Sims game?
 
I keep coming back to the thought that perhaps, we are just pawns, puppets of an elaborate cosmic joke, fooling us that we are superior beings capable of thinking, deciding, and acting for ourselves.
 
It’s 1 a.m. where I am, and my mind is a little messy. And to be honest, this scares me.
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2 thoughts on “On Free Will And Determinism

  1. Fear not. Causal determinism is not pulling your strings. What you will inevitably do is exactly identical to you just being you, doing what you do, and choosing what you choose.

    Determinism doesn’t actually cause anything. It is simply a comment, an assertion, that the actual objects and forces of the real world behave in a reliable fashion.

    You happen to be one of those actual objects, specifically a living organisms. And all living organisms come with a built-in purpose to survive, to thrive and to reproduce. To accomplish this they cause stuff to happen. The tree sends roots into the ground to get water and branches to the sky to expose leaves to the Sun for photosynthesis. The lioness takes down the buffalo to feed her young. Bees build hives, termites build mounds, and people build cities.

    Each living organism uniquely encapsulates this “biological will”. And those with sufficiently evolved neurological systems can imagine alternative ways to accomplish its purpose, evaluate them, and choose which methods it will use. This choosing process takes place in physical reality, within the central nervous system. It is not an illusion. It really happens.

    The process itself is also deterministic. We will choose the option that seems to best fit our purpose and our reasons. Thus our purpose and our reasons are the causes of our choice as to what we WILL do. Choice determines will.

    And it is really you doing it. For example, if you’re hungry and decide to eat an apple, both the hunger and the choice are you. And the apple too will soon become you as well.

    What you will inevitably do is exactly identical to you just being you, doing what you do, and choosing what you choose. Thus causal inevitability is not a meaningful constraint upon your will. After all, it is your will.

    Liked by 1 person

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