Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 25, 2016

Free Will

Brian Sally   
Section 4

        Free will is one of the most important aspects of what human life is. One would have a hard time arguing that free will doesn't exist but that doesn't stop people from trying. There are many theories that range from scientific to religious reasons. Some aspects involving science say that there are neurons are firing before we even think about doing something. For example, if I were to raise my hand there are studies that show some evidence that before I even announced or a conscience thought about it that the neurons to raise my hand were already going off. On the other side of the spectrum many religions such as Christianity state that God gave us free will. Some argue that even though God gave us free will that we don't really have “free” will, meaning that although we think we have the freedom to choose God knows what we will do anyways. If God knows what we will do have could we possibly have the freedom to choose if He knows and will try to put us on a path back towards Him. 

        St. Augustine says that will exists and it seeks to choose between good and evil. As a Christian would believe, we are all born sinners meaning that the tendency of our will is to lean towards evil. Going along the same line, free will much exist since there is even a chance of going good rather than evil. If there wasn't free will then, in the christian view, we would all be evil and making immoral decisions left and right. Augustine continues and says the evil half of free will clings to material things in there world and thus leads some of them to make immoral or evil decisions in hopes to save said material items. The good side of free will tend to be the people who look more towards the spiritual side and don't cling to physical items. Since the person doesn't have to weight of holding on to the material then it unloads them to make better decisions that don't lead down the road to evil. For example, if one were trying to escape a burning house and valued some material item more than anyone alive in the house then the person would seek out the item before checking on any survivors. The person’s lack of investigation into survivors could lead to the death of another that might of needed help to get out. Luckily for the human race as a whole we do indeed have that choice of free will.

      Lastly, it would be difficult to believe that we don't have a free will. The studies that show neurons firing before we do an action may just be a nod towards a more powerful entity that is trying to show us we have a choice. The studied also might just prove what we already know, our sub conscience is much more powerful and fast than our conscience brain.

1 comment:

  1. "One would have a hard time arguing that free will doesn't exist but that doesn't stop people from trying." - you'd think so, wouldn't you? But in fact that seems increasingly to be the conventional view, especially among brain researchers who (as you say) notice neural firing in advance of conscious decision-making. I still hold out for free will, or at least "free won't" - a veto of some actions, in advance, that conditions or constricts subsequent behavior. There's still a question of how "free" such conditioning might be. But even if free will is largely an illusion, it may be inescapable so long as our institutions and laws insist on holding people accountable for their actions.