Free will

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'''Free Will''' is the power of a conscious mind to have control over its environment, future, and "destiny".
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'''Free Will''' is a being's ability to have control over its environment, future, and "destiny". A human being (presumably) has free will, and can therefore decide what to do; a rock does not have free will, and is a slave to the blind forces of physics.
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==Omniscience and Free Will==
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[[God]] is said to be [[omniscient]], and this poses a special problem for free will: if God knows the future, that means that the future is predictable and immutable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. We may have pondered long and hard over which action to take, but the very act of pondering is as predictable as the execution of a complex computer program.
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Note that this reasoning also applies to God: if God is omniscient, then he knows what he will do, and must inevitably do what he already knows he will do.
  
 
==Christianity and Free Will==
 
==Christianity and Free Will==
  
According to [[Christian]] doctrine, [[God]] gave humans free will. But, also according to doctrine, God knows everything: past, present, future, what you had for breakfast this morning.
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According to many [[Christian]] doctrines, [[God]] gave humans free will, and it was this that allowed [[Adam and Eve]] to disobey God in the garden of Eden.
  
If God knows what you are going to do in the future, then you really have no say in the matter.  It doesn't matter what you do, you will always end up living the future that God already knows about.
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==Compatibilism==
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'''Compatibilism''' is a philosophical position that holds that [[predestination]] and free will are compatible.
  
Also, the doctrines of [[predestination]], and that God is the Creator of all things, contradict the idea of free will. If God has a plan for us all, then no matter what you do, it's God's plan.  That, presumably, includes killing, or raping somebody, or (gasp!) being an atheist.
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==External Sources==
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* Daniel Dennett, ''Elbow Room: the Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting'', MIT Press, 1984 ([http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0262540428 Amazon.com])
  
[[Category: Philosophical issues]]
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[[Category:Philosophical issues]]

Revision as of 10:12, 1 August 2006

Free Will is a being's ability to have control over its environment, future, and "destiny". A human being (presumably) has free will, and can therefore decide what to do; a rock does not have free will, and is a slave to the blind forces of physics.

Contents

Omniscience and Free Will

God is said to be omniscient, and this poses a special problem for free will: if God knows the future, that means that the future is predictable and immutable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. We may have pondered long and hard over which action to take, but the very act of pondering is as predictable as the execution of a complex computer program.

Note that this reasoning also applies to God: if God is omniscient, then he knows what he will do, and must inevitably do what he already knows he will do.

Christianity and Free Will

According to many Christian doctrines, God gave humans free will, and it was this that allowed Adam and Eve to disobey God in the garden of Eden.

Compatibilism

Compatibilism is a philosophical position that holds that predestination and free will are compatible.

External Sources

  • Daniel Dennett, Elbow Room: the Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting, MIT Press, 1984 (Amazon.com)
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