Originally posted by sumydid
"I have found that most people when they speak of free will, they are indeed talking about autonomy,
Well, no, I don't see how full autonomy could give us unlimited power, or maybe I don't have the context right.
I have found that most people when they speak of free will, they are indeed talking about autonomy, i.e., we are a law unto ourselves and we, the human race, have no higher authority to answer to.
I don't believe in autonomy either. Most sec say, if we can't do anything we want to matter what it is, then life isn't worth living.
i.e., we are a law unto ourselves and we, the human race, have no higher authority to answer to."
Interesting, I usually hear it put the reverse, we have free will in the sense we are responsible for the actions we take.
We have the autonomy to make decisions and face the consequences.
If we had no free will in that sense we would not be responsible for any crimes we committed, as we wouldn't have
the ability to not commit the crime.
In the same way a computer program does what it was instructed to do and doesn't have any choice as to the outcome.
In that instance if a computer program does something harmful, you blame the person who wrote the program, not the
I believe we do have free will in the sense that we have responsibility for our actions and can chose to do good or evil,
and then face the consequences of those choices.
However I would add in the caveat that people with particular mental disorders or brain damage may not have this capacity,
at least not in the same way.
Which is why we differentiate the criminal, from criminally insane.
However the feeling of free will, of making concious decisions is an illusion.
In brain scans we can now 'see' the brain come do a decision, and then there is a detectable lag before the person becomes
consciously aware of it.
While this doesn't remove free will from the person as a whole, as the brain is making the decision, it does mean we are not
making the decision consciously, our decisions are made subconsciously and then the conciousness is informed of what those
"Like some folks say including my brother just yesterday. If you are not 100% COMPLETELY free, then you are enslaved
and held captive. Almost as if to say, if we can't do anything we want to matter what it is, then life isn't worth living."
I would have to disagree with this position.
The fact that we have boundaries on our freedoms does not remove the fact we have freedoms or free will.
We have many limitations, we are bound by the laws of physics, by our anatomy, by our environment, and by other people.
I might decide to try to kill you, you are unlikely to just let me, so you resist, and thus impinge on my ability to do whatever I want.
And the example can be much less extreme.
However the fact that you (or law enforcement) would try to stop me, and punish me for my acts, or attempted acts, this doesn't
remove my free will to make the decision to attempt the thing.
However having made the choice I then face the consequences of it.
In the same way that if I decide to jump off a tall building because I want to fly, I have to face the consequence of gravity,
and solid ground.
The very essence of civilisation, and morality, is that we do things that benefit the collective of society, and limit our own freedoms.
A good society will do this as little as possible, so as few freedoms are impinged as little as possible.
But a society with no limitations on actions is no society at all.