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Links With Your Coffee - Friday

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This is definitely worth your time. It provides some excellent insights into the hard science vs. soft science debate.

You arrive at a bakery. It’s the evening of a national holiday. You want to buy a cake with your last 10 dollars to round off the preparations you’ve already made. There’s only one thing left in the store — a 10-dollar cake.

On the steps of the store, someone is shaking an Oxfam tin. You stop, and it seems quite clear to you — it surely is quite clear to you — that it is entirely up to you what you do next. You are — it seems — truly, radically, ultimately free to choose what to do, in such a way that you will be ultimately morally responsible for whatever you do choose. Fact: you can put the money in the tin, or you can go in and buy the cake. You’re not only completely, radically free to choose in this situation. You’re not free not to choose (that’s how it feels). You’re “condemned to freedom,” in Jean-Paul Sartre’s phrase. You’re fully and explicitly conscious of what the options are and you can’t escape that consciousness. You can’t somehow slip out of it. . .



re: "Your Move: The Maze of Free Will"

The flaw in logic in the article I think is the either-or, all or nothing approach it applies. I don't think "free will" need be a all or nothing proposition, but rather it is a commodity that increases with awareness and ability.

For instance, once you learn to count and learn that 2+2=4, then you have acquired an awareness. You then have the ability to differentiate between a logical right and a logical wrong, and so you have acquired some degree of "free will" in choosing right from wrong.

Awareness is an ability. Ability is "the way you are". "The way you are" + experience = a new "way you are".

I don't see the logical flaw.

The logical flaws I see in the argument are the following:

1) You either have complete free will or you have no free will (i.e. a false dichotomy).

2) Because a person is not born with free will, therefore, a person can never have free will.

So, I guess I agree with your logic Teodomiro. Experience changes people. People acquire knowledge and ability. Increased knowledge and ability enable people to make choices and can lead to an understanding (at least to some degree) of the consequence of a choice.

We might not be responsible for how we come to have such ability and knowledge (more likely we could be said to be at least partially responsible), but once we have that ability, it can be said that we do in fact have (at least to some degree) "free will".


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