Free Will ? A Matter Of Perspective Essay, Research Paper
Free Will?A Matter of Perspective
I want to argue that there is indeed free will. In order to defend the position that free will means that human beings can cause some of what they do on their own; in other words, what they do is not explainable solely by references to factors that have influenced them. My thesis then, is that human beings are able to cause their own actions and they are therefore responsible for what they do. In a basic sense we are all original actors capable of making moves in the world. We are initiators of our own behavior.
The first matter to be noted is that this view is in no way in contradiction to science. Free will is a natural phenomenon, something that emerged in nature with the emergence of human beings, with their kinds of minds, minds that can think and be aware of their own thinking.
Nature is complicated. It includes many different sorts of things and one of these is human beings. Such beings exhibit one unique yet natural attribute that others things apparently do not?that is free will.
A reason why some think that free will is not possible is because many believe that the only way we know about nature is from observations that we collect. Since observation can not give us a justification of free will, it is easy to think that there isn?t any such thing. Free will may not be something that we can see directly, but what best explains what we do see in human life. This may include, for example, the mistakes that human beings make in contrast to the few mistakes that other animals make. We also notice that human beings do all kinds of odd things that cannot be accounted for. We can examine a person?s background and find that some people with bad childhoods turn out to be decent, and vise versa. Free will comes as a very helpful explanation of this.
Another matter that might count against free will is that the beings in nature do not exhibit free will. Dogs, lizards, fish, cats, frogs, etc.; have no free will and therefore it appears arbitrary to impute it to human beings. Why should we do things that the rest of nature lacks? It would be an impossible aberration. The answer here, is that there is enough variety in nature?some things swim, some fly, some just lie there, some breathe, some grow, while others do not; so there is plenty of evidence of plurality of types and kinds of things in nature. Discovering that something has free will could be yet another addition to all the varieties of nature.
I am going to give four agruments on why, in my opinion free will exists. The first argument has to deal with determinism. If we are fully determined in what we think, believe and do, then of course the belief that determinism is true is also a result of this determinism. But the same is true for the belief that determinism is false. There is nothing you can do about whatever you believe?you had to believe it. There is no way to take an independent stance and consider the arguments unprejudiced because all various forces making us assimilate the evidence in the world just the way we do. One either turns out to be a determinist or not and in neither case can we appraise the issue because we are pre-determined to have a view on that matter one way or another.
We will never be able to resolve this debate, since there is no way of truly knowing. In fact the there is no way that one will ever reach philosophical truth. If we are engaged in learning about truth and distinguishing if from falsehood, we are committed to the idea that human beings have some measure of freedom?free will.
Another dilemma of determinism is the fact that determinist want us to believe in determinism. But as the saying goes in philosophy, ?ought implies can?. That means, if one ought to believe in or do something, this implies that one has a choice on the matter; it implies that we can make a choice as to whether determinism or the free will is better. However, that then, assumes that we are free. In other words, even arguing for determinism assumes that we are not determined to believe in free will or determined but that it is a matter of our making certain choices about arguments, evidence, and thinking itself.
In many contexts of our lives personal knowledge is taken very seriously. When you go to the doctor and he asks you if you are in pain and you say yes, why doesn?t the doctor say ?how can you know this, this is not proven evidence?? In all reality this is very good evidence. It is the same as a witness in a trial giving evidence, personal evidence.
Personal evidence is considered reasonably reliable. Those examples I previously mentioned were only included to prove the point I am soon to make. There is a lot of evidence around us that free will exists. Think of all the times that you have made a bad decision and realized it later. We all are faced with choices and we all make the wrong ones sometimes.
Finnally, there is also the evidence of the fact that we do seem to have the capacity for self-monitioring. The human brain has a kind of structure that allows us to, speak, and to govern ourselves. We can inspect our lives, we can detect where we are going, and we can, therefore, change it?s course. The human brain itself makes it possible. The brain, because of its structure, can monitor itself and as a result we can decide whether to continue in a certain pattern or change that pattern and go in a different direction. That is the sort of free will that is demonstrable. At least some scientists maintain that there?s free will in this sense. This view depends on a number of points I have already mentioned. It assumes that there can be different causes in nature, so that the functioning of the brain would not be a kind of self- causation. The brain as a system would have to be able to cause some things about the organism?s behavior and the depends, of course, on the possibility of there being various kinds of causes.
This relates to our lives. We make plans and revise them. We explore alternatives and decide to follow one of them. We change a course of conduct we have started or we continue with it. In other words, there is a lot of self-responsibility that is evident in the way in which we look upon ourselves, and in the way we behave.
There clearly are cases in conduct in which some people behave as they do because they were determined to do so by certain identifiable forces outside of their own control. A brain tumor, a sever child trauma, or some other force sometime incapacitates people. This is evident in those occasional cases when a person who engaged in criminal behavior has no control over what they did. Examples such as these, cannot be said to have free will.
Those that deny that we have free will simply cannot make sense of our distinction between cases in which one controls one?s behavior and those in which one is being moved by forces over which he or she has no control.
Finally, what I have eluded to earlier, that when we put all of this together we get a more sensible understanding of the complexities of human life. We also get a better understanding, for example, of why there are so many cultural differences, why people can?t work together, why there are problems in general. It is because they are free to do so, because they are not set in some pattern, the way cats and dogs and organisms tend to be.
All of the behavior of these creatures around us can be predicted because they are not creative in a sense that they originate new ideas and behaviors, although we do not always know enough about the constitution of these beings and how it would interact with their environment to actually predict what they will do. Human beings produce new ideas and these can introduce new kinds of behavior in familiar situations. Yet we can make some predictions about what people will do in certain situations, but we are never for sure. Clearly, very often people change their minds and surprise us. If we go to different cultures, they will surprise us too. This complexity, diversity and individualism about human beings is best explained if human beings are free than if they are determined.
So these several reasons provide a kind of argumentative support of free will. Are human beings doing what they do solely as consequences of forces acting around them? Or do they have the capacity to take charge of their own lives? Which question explains the human world and it?s complexities around us? I think the latter make much better sense. It explains, better than deterministic theories, how it is possible that human life involves such wide range of possibilities, accomplishments as well as defeats, joys as well as sorrows, creations as well as distractions. It explains, also, why in human life there is so much change?in language, customs, style, art and science. Unlike other living beings, for which what is possible is pretty much fixed by instinct and reflexes. From their most distinctive capacity of forming ideas and theories, to those of artistic and athletic inventiveness, human beings remake the world with uniqueness. With all that said, there is no other source besides free will