• Felix1982
    Hey there! In my college, the professor sent us to prepare a review between free will and determinism, after some studies by authors pertinent to the subject and personal meditation on the topic, I got this. So I decided to leave it here for you to enjoy :)

    Predestination versus free will is a wordplay and a confusion of plans. We can only be predestined from the point of view of divine omniscience. How do we deal with an issue with true philosophical technique? If you are seriously committed to philosophy — as I suppose you all are and those who may have come in with the wrong perspective, which can happen, little by little will understand how the business works and will adopt the true and efficient perspective — , then you cannot accept any question. Because there are questions that are posed to you as riddles and as pranks — and the one who likes this is the devil. The devil likes to ask you questions that have no way out, which you get confused. So you go crazy to find an answer and chase after it like a dog that had a sausage tied around his tail and he chased after it. We can see people running after the sausage for centuries. The true philosophical spirit does not play with abstract concepts; in fact, he wants to create concepts to describe or explain the reality of experience, the reality of human life.

    That is, you want to dig where you are and not at a hypothetical theoretical height where you get a final answer on a metaphysical question, as in the case of determinism and free will — this is mental theater! If you read Plato’s dialogues, you will see that Socrates is continually bringing people back from the height where they create their opinions to the reality of what they actually know. Sometimes, even showing that they knew more than they imagined, that they were enjoying false, invented, constructed knowledge, and that if they actually searched within themselves, they would find more knowledge simply by the method of confession, as he does in Meno dialogue, with the illiterate slave. I don’t know if the example that Plato invented there is totally adequate, in showing that the slave knew something about geometry, but it is an image, a figure of speech meaning that there is a lot that you already know, you just have to declare things as they are and you will find that you have a huge knowledge deposit.

    In other words, you don’t need to invent, you don’t need to create, you don’t need to build anything. But when someone comes and puts these pranks on you, for example, in the case of determinism and free will, what you have to do is the following: “Let me see if I understand what you mean by this thing”. That is, let’s take this pair of concepts and try to apply them to the reality of the experience, as I know it to see what they actually refer to.

    So, determinism and free will, of the two, one: if you have to choose one of them it is because you are taking them as absolutes, that is, it is total free will or total determinism. Now, if these concepts are absolute, they can only apply to beings that have this absolute dimension. So, let us ask: is there determinism and free will in God? In infinity? Can God be free or pre-determined? Well, on the one hand, we can say that He already knows everything that is going to happen and everything that He is going to do, because He is omniscient and, therefore, He already knows everything. Thus, we could say that He is predetermined. However, I ask: By whom is he predetermined? If nothing predetermined Him, He cannot be predetermined! It is not because He decided to do this or that, that you can say that He is predetermined. He is not predetermined, but determined, He is decided. On the other hand, can God be free? I ask: free from what? Is there an external element that can coerce Him? No! So, He can neither be prisoner nor free, that is, these concepts do not apply. So, right away, we exclude this dimension. Concepts of determinism and free will do not apply to God and therefore cannot be treated at this level.

    Let us now try to apply them to human beings. Let us see if an absolute determinism or an absolute freedom can be conceived according to the reality of human beings, as it is presented in our experience. If I had absolute freedom, I would do whatever I wanted and nothing could limit me, that is, the beings around me would all be predetermined by me. So, my absolute freedom would bring determinism to everyone else — everyone would be screwed. If there is an absolutely free human being, he is the only one. There cannot be two free human beings. Therefore, the concept of absolute freedom is out of the question. If, on the other hand, I were totally predetermined, my thoughts would also be predetermined and there would be no possibility for me to put myself in alternatives; if I am predetermined, my knowledge is also predetermined now, and I have in me the set of all the predeterminations that define me. Therefore, I need to have them not only in my being, but also in my knowledge. So, if I were totally predetermined, I couldn’t ask this question.

    Remember: first, we exclude determinism and free will from the divine plan — they do not apply to God — and, taken as absolute concepts, they also do not apply to me. Now, I will give you an example: you fell in love with the girl, you want to propose and you know that she is in love with you — you know because you are not an idiot, you already realized the business. So, you are going to propose and you know that she will accept. Did she do it out of determinism or free will? Is she totally free? No. If she were totally free, she could change one hundred percent, in an instant, for no reason. Is it totally predetermined? No. Because otherwise the “yes” she is going to give you would be of no value to you, which you would not even ask her to marry. So, this simple human situation — an elementary situation that all married people have been through at least once in their lives, divorced people too, widowers too, almost everyone has been through it and those who haven’t will still do it, I hope they do at least — cannot be described in terms of determinism and free will. Well, if there is a human situation, a unique one, that cannot be described in terms of determinism and free will, let alone the totality of the human condition

    So, I wanted to know who was the son of a bitch who invented this problem: he invents two extreme and absolute concepts, he throws this at you and he wants your choice. If you choose one is wrong, if you choose the other is also wrong; if you choose a mixture of the two it is also wrong, because a mixture would automatically cancel them out. If you say, “We are kind of determined and kind of free” — you didn’t say anything, and I don’t need to explain that much. You are intelligent and understand that a guy who is half determined and half free, is neither determined nor free, but a third thing that you don’t know how to explain what it is. Very well, it is this third thing that matters: the reality of the human condition in all its complexity. A word of warning: there are hundreds of philosophical concepts that are just pranks, that are escapes from reality, and you cannot describe reality with them. So, I ask: if you can’t describe reality in those terms, why use them?

    Freedom is a vital property of the human psyche, but it does not have it as a perfect and finished gift, but only as a possibility that in a way creates and expands itself as it is assumed and exercised. That is why the famous controversy of determinism and free will has no general theoretical solution: these two factors do not weigh uniformly in all lives, but are distributed unevenly according to a very subtle dialectical game that varies from individual to individual, from situation to situation, from case to case. There is no way to prove freedom except by exercising it, but to put it in doubt is to refrain from exercising it, thus proving its inexistence through a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    God is not limited by the objective consequences of His previous actions, but the matter on which He operates — reality — is. That is why the question of “determinism versus free will” is not a serious philosophical problem. The determined and the indeterminate will be mixed in the body of reality for centuries and centuries.
  • TheMadFool
    He can neither be prisoner nor free, that is, these concepts do not apply.Felix1982

    Most perceptive. Thank you! :up:

    a third thingFelix1982

    Any ideas on what this "third thing" is?
  • Felix1982
    It is reality itself whose tensional nature cannot be simplified in absolute terms. You can see it in yourself, in different situations, etc. Stop and live it, you will get what the third thing is.
  • TheMadFool
    It is reality itself whose tensional nature cannot be simplified in absolute terms. You can see it in yourself, in different situations, etc. Stop and live it, you will get what the third thing isFelix1982

    Believe me, I've tried but, till date, no positive results from stuff like "stop and live it, you will get what the third thing is". I'm not poking fun at the idea itself, just that it's, to my reckoning, the proverbial act of beating around the bush and that too ad nauseum. Why don't we try and get a closer look at this mysterious bush. Is it something real? Is there a truth to be learned? Or, depressingly, is it just a mirage, an illusion, a delusion, a wild goose chase?
  • Mww
    who was the son of a bitch who invented this problemFelix1982

    Maybe the same guy that invented the third thing, in order to demote “problem” to mere “inconvenient consequence”.
  • Felix1982
    Imaginative penetration into a personal intellectual universe is, in essence, the same operation with which one apprehends the inner conflict of a fictional character, only much more complicated, because in it the imagination is not free to create the analogies that it understands but has to satisfy the multiplicity of data and the sense of reality.

    We have partial free will. It is not total because we live under social rules and ethics. We participated in a theater. The family, the country we were born in, were determined, and although a lot seems to be determined, in this density we have free will, that is, we are responsible and authors of our actions. That is why you see the attitude of repentance so prevalent in the Christian religion, for example.

    What I am dealing with here is reality, not deconstructionist nonsense. If you took a minute to seriously meditate on yourself by Socrates' method of confession, you would see that there is neither one thing nor the other absolutely, but a mixture of the two, that is the third thing. If you are unable to realize this, do not waste my time as I will not draw the explanation for you.
  • Aryamoy Mitra
    Free will is yet still a philosophical novelty from my perspective (in all truth, to whom is it not?), but I believe that the degree of abstraction at which this problem is unearthed is precisely what determines its solution.

    In my estimation, there are three intellectual domains that underlie this discussion: a metaphysical, psychical and practical one (the latter pertaining the reality of experience as we know it to be). Metaphysical illustrations in this regard, such as cosmic and ancestral determinism, run contrary to physical ones (the reality of experience, as you so articulately pinpointed).

    If one accepts the proposition that mere consequence of one's being is a result of indivisibilities beyond one's control (the abiotic constituents of all physical matter and their inertial motion, for instance), then the biological perception of free will is illusory. We may choose to exercise it, but those choices originate outside the Cartesian self, in the materiality of the universe. Consequently, there exists no innate mode of choice, but merely the illusion of choice conferred upon the consciousness of biological beings by their physical constitution (such as their cellular composition).

    Should one allow for the definition of free will to circumvent this hurdle, a psychical conundrum arises. If the undeterred self is said to lie underneath the Freudian Ego, and its illicit instincts are stifled by the necessity of ethical and social adherence, then distilling one's free will from one's behavior is entirely meaningless. In fact, this is a reconstruction of the 'partial free will' concept you delineated - one can't necessarily exercise an unequivocally free will without liberating his/her unconscious.

    Finally, should this notion too be discarded, and the practicality of free will ascribed solely to the conscious, thinking and acting being (even by Darwinian means), then the deterministic argument begins to capitulate. Conscious beings act on ineradicable perceptions of their own 'will', and do so believing that their actions are at the behest of their will. Nietzsche pointed this out too. There is both a command and a subservience to the carrying out of the human will; but that the will exists is incontestable.

    On a tangential note, the arguments underneath this thread are genuinely invigorating.
  • Yohan
    Do I decide what it is that I will?
    Am I restrained from doing what it is I have been determined to will?

    Do I have free will? Not in the sense that I can control what I will. But I am free to do as I will
  • Lokii
    "So, if I were totally predetermined, I couldn’t ask this question." Wrong. I could be predetermined to ask this question, like any other. It's just a question. This would only make any attempt to change reality a mere illusion. That simple.
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