The Freewill and Determinism debate.


(Lightning.  Deterministic in how it’s formed.  But random and uncertain where it ‘strikes’ )

Quite possibly one of the most useless philosophical debates in the history of the human race.  Yet, paradoxically compelling.  Do we govern our will to be free?  Or are we predetermined as a continuum in our actions?  As the unconscious brain is preprogrammed in it’s delayed causality since we were born.  The debate somewhat peaked in 2011 when hard deterministic proponents, these would be some scientists and a sprinkle of philosophers who went head to head, in a determined vigor I might add, within the social media confines – as an attempt at backslashing against, what they saw, was the encroaching of religious ideologies, particularly from the Middle East.  Of course for the ones in favour of dismantling the Freewill argument it also entailed the selling of their books, talks and whatever else they had on offer.  But the debate and it’s tedium shows no end, however, of late, it has died down over the course of the last five years.

Why is the debate useless?  Because it’s speculative retorts against each other is of the academic realms, in which the average person would not understand.  Nor care.  We believe in freewill, as naive to the academia it might seem, to identify our individuality.  Simple.  Being told that it’s a predetermined unconscious action, does not mean anything.  Even with the neuroscientist Benjamin Libet’s experiment in 1983,  that an unconscious action takes place and therefore prompts a physical action (predetermined), still does not convince the broader public that our actions are free of determinism.

Or course the whole determinism argument relies on the laws of nature and laws of physics to round off the theory as complete in its empirical representation.  But, this is not reliable in it’s case study.   In regards to the laws of nature, we create the construct or idea that nature exists and we live it.  The reasoning being as an assertion that ‘nature’  is a terminology that has been created by the human construct.  Which is fine as an understanding of our evolution as we needed to offset a religious explanation that  a god created us, the Earth and the Universe.  However regardless of the principles of Darwinism, nature doesn’t care nor is consciously aware of humanity, whether we, as participants within natural systems, assuming we are governed by laws or not, follow a clockwork mechanism of the natural laws.  If the human race was to suddenly to become extinct, to whatever ever was an deterministic or uncertain guiding force, in the end, it wouldn’t matter to the natural construct or environment and certainly not the Universe.  The Earth, which we have named, will continue on – as an orbiting planet around the Sun within it’s Solar System.  This is important to understand as a new philosophical discussion within the anthropocentric sense.  That we are separate from Nature and the ‘laws of nature’ should be broken, manipulated and controlled for humanity to survive.

From a quantum physics level, which has been studied and what we know is that there are unpredictable and random events in particle physics, which is essentially entails the fabric of the Universe.  Astrophysicists and physicists have yet to reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics, the laws of physics, so precisely calculated by Albert Einstein in General and Special  relativity – in which have so far checked out, but, the lack of reconciling the theories, have in turn established new mysteries in the Cosmos, such as   Black Holes, Neutron Stars and Pulsars which continue to defy the laws of physics.  Closer to home, radioactivity (on Earth) in it’s decay occurs within a random, non deterministic system.  So not only are the laws of physics under strain, but also the laws of nature.   This, by it’s definition begins to erode the causal determinism of a clockwork and orderly Universe.

I have touched upon the determinism /freewill discussion in the following books:

Paradox of the Locus


2 thoughts on “The Freewill and Determinism debate.

  1. Most of us see no conflict between reliable cause and effect (determinism) and our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will). If you ask someone why they chose A rather than B, they’ll be happy to tell you their reasons. Reasons are causes.

    So there is no naive claim that there was no cause for their choice. To have no reasons at all would be literally “unreasonable”. And everyone views themselves as a reasonable person.

    What they object to is the idea that something else, other than themselves, is controlling their choice. They object to the idea that their choice was “predetermined” by something else. They object to the notion that they are merely “puppets”, “robots”, or any of the other negative designations laid upon them by the so-called “hard determinists” (a variation of the species “fatalist”).

    And they are quite right to object. If a man feels hungry and chooses to eat an apple, the only meaningful and relevant cause of that choice is the man himself. As you point out in your post, the Universe has no interest in this event. It has no mind with which to conspire to bring about this event for some purpose or reason of its own.

    Nor can we reasonably say that anything “predetermined” this event without including the man, and his hunger, and his logic for choosing the apple rather than the banana. In fact, we may say that all prior causes must first become integral to who and what the man is before they can have any influence upon his choice.

    Even in a perfectly deterministic universe, the most meaningful and relevant cause of the event is the man himself.


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