Free Will & Responsibility

Publication1CXFree Will & Responsibility [Julian Bagginni]

– free will – is it real?
– are we pre-determined by our biology & our upbringing [out Nature & our nurture]
– some neuroscientists say free will is an illusion
– free will definition: conscious & deliberate choice
– but what about what you are not conscious of
– doing things automatically is the normal way of doing things in everyday life
– our conscious minds are not exerting executive control & driving things all the time
– the conscious mind is a “hands off” manager
– Dawkins: humans are survival machines; the body is a robot machine programmed & motivated by the selfish gene
– he acknowledges humans are also capable of reflection
– Einstein did not believe we had free will – that our concept of it was an illusion
– laws of Nature – everything is an algorithm, including ourselves
– for a choice to have meaning, it is grounded in beliefs
– constraints make a choice meaningful
– feelings compel choice – & yet feelings are not always a choice
– psychology: ask a question & people will say they believe something, even when they do not have a thought-through position
– free will & responsibility go together very easily in our culture – we worry people that excusing this lets the person off the hook / to not take responsibility
– yet in Greek tragedies, they used to show free will was compromised
– free will & the creative process – they often express that they had no control over the source of their ideas in books; musicians say they channel God; creative artists often describe being harnessed, that they are vehicles for what is being created;
– dissidents often express that in expressing their freedom, they had no choice but to act against oppression
– freedom is not limitless choice, but having the liberty to choose what you wish to do
– addiction: is there no choice – if there is not, there would be no prospect of recovery
– free will is a capacity best-defined by degree, rather than an absolute – yes, it exists or no, it does not exist
– freedom is not doing what you like, but having the liberty to do what you ought
[submission to laws, rules & norms & recognise things that have a claim on you]
– true freedom implies constraint

Source: ABC RN | Conversations | podcast date: 20 May 2016


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