Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

A Perennial Question Revisited: Free Will

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

A Perennial Question Revisited: Free Will

Article excerpt

There is probably no more important question for ethics than the status of the human will. Since the earliest days of western thought, philosophers (and more recently scholars in many other esoteric disciplines) have ruminated on the possibility that our actions are proscribed, delimited, controlled, determined-by god, karma, fate, and a precise preceding empirical cause. Nothing occurs ab ovo; therefore, a result must derive from a cause, and therefore (illogically) the actor is incapable of acting otherwise. Whatever he or she does is the only possible course of action.

Recall that Laplace claimed that a super intelligence knowing all that preceded could predict the future accurately on both a micro- and macroscopic level. This is as naïvely hyperbolic as Archimedes' claim that given a standpoint, he could move the earth with a long lever.

One of the problems that determinists simply ignore is that physical action may occur as a result of a specific cause but mental rumination may fly in a thousand different directions simultaneously and even when hypostatized, when one is faced with a dilemma of sorts (should I go left or right), one may vacillate back and forth many times before arbitrarily choosing a path. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.