Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A very tricky issue

There's No Such Thing as Free Will - The Atlantic

This perhaps isn't the best article on the matter of free will, and the consequences of not believing in it, but still worth reading, I think.

As it happens, I noticed that the edition of Philosophy Now magazine  currently at my local newsagent had several articles on free will.  I haven't finished them all, yet, but I'll probably get around to mentioning one of them here, later.

[I keep thinking, incidentally, that the current way young folk in particular in Western society are thinking about gay and transgender issues is influenced not just by Freud, but by their increasing and almost unconscious acceptance that free will is not real, and our feelings are all determined by a dance of atoms that we have no control over.]  


TimT said...

Is it just another variant of the same old determinism? I mean, some of the Gods have changed but it strikes me that the philosophy remains: if we are all determined by our neurons, then we have a fate, and that fate will either be tragic or glorious, etc...

By the way, it strikes me that the accepted narratives around gayness and around transsexuality are at odds, because the first emphasises the inability to choose, whereas the latter often emphasises the importance of choice.

Steve said...

Re transexuality: I don't think it's sold as being about choice, but that they think they are aligning their body with a gender identity they have always felt was innate.

Steve said...

By the way, not entirely sure about the comparison with the way the old Greek/Roman/Norse gods dealt with humans. My (very inadequate) knowledge of Greek/Roman mythology would lead me to guess that Greeks & Romans thought they were at the (sometimes capricious) mercy of the Gods, and although "fate" was puzzled over, they might be more inclined to argue that it was a case of both humans and the Gods having free will - just that the Gods' choices got to win at the end of the day.

Norse mythology, though, I thought was much more about fate, destiny, predestination and doom, and as such they may be more inclined to be free will questioners.