Difference between revisions of "Free will"

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'''Free will''' is the ability to choose future alternatives.  
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'''Free will''' is the concept that it is possible to make choices by an act of will based on independent thought.
  
The logic of free will has 2 main parts, the agency which does the choosing, and the alternatives which are chosen. These two parts are wholy different from each other, the agency is called spiritual, what is chosen is called material. Together with these dual substances come dual ways of reaching a conclusion, subjectivity and objectivity.
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*... free will can be defined as the unique ability of persons to exercise control over their conduct in a manner necessary for moral responsibility<ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] </ref>
  
Subjectivity: to choose / express what exists in the spiritual domain, resulting in opinions.  
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This would appear to be impossible in a solely naturalistic system in which biochemical processes obey natural laws, not will.
  
Objectivity: to measure what exists in the material domain, resulting in facts. <ref>William of Ockham, http://www.philosophos.com/philosophical_connections/profile_050.html#ocksec2 ,  quote: "we can have no knowledge of an immaterial soul; nor can we prove its existence philosophically. Instead we must rely on revealed truth and faith"</ref> [[Image:William_of_Ockham.jpg|frame|William of Ockham philosophically justified both objectivity and subjectivity]]  
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[[Incompatibilism]] views free will as being in conflict with the doctrine of [[determinism]], while [[Compatibilism]] sees no conflict between the two.
  
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In some denominations of the [[Christian]] faith it is believed that humans were created with free will so that they would choose to believe in and worship [[God]].  Other Christian traditions, such as [[Calvinism]], believe that humans were created without free will, but that God's will determines our choice of him. The issue is theological. It relates to the human's acceptance of God, and does not mean that man is without free will in other respects.
  
=== Overview of the dual categories in free will ===
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For many, freedom of will is required for a functioning morality; that is, if we were not free we could not be held responsible for our actions, having been incapable of making a moral choice. 
  
{| class="wikitable"   
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== Viewpoint of David Hume ==
|-   
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! what chooses (agency)!! what is chosen   
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|-   
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| subjectively identified || objectively measured   
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|-   
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| spiritual domain || material domain
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|-   
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| opinion (creates information) || fact (rewrites information)
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|-   
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| soul || body   
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|-   
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| God,love, hate, self, happiness etc. || solids, gasses, fluids, (fermions), etc. fantasy figures, mathematics
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|-   
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| creator || creation   
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|}
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Decisions connect the spiritual domain to the material domain, which because of the freedom in choosing leaves no evidence of a spiritual domain.
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However some philosphers (e.g. [[David Hume]]) have held that not only can morality and determinism co-exist, but in fact that morality ''requires'' that our actions were determined. The reasoning is as follows:
  
===Objectivity and subjectivity===
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Decisions are just like any other event in that they have causes. The relationship between a reason and a decision is broadly similar to that between a cause and an effect; if an effect lacks a cause, it must necessarily be [[random]], and the same is true of a decision. Every element of the thought process that goes into making a choice must be either caused by external stimuli (the reasons for deciding one way or the other) or completely random. We could not be considered moral beings if our actions were random and therefore responsibility can fall only on determined individuals. Hume considered free will to be the freedom to do as one chooses (freedom of action), and therefore moral blame falls upon those who have acted immorally when they were at liberty to act otherwise.
  
The way in which something can be known about material is relatively straightforward, through measurement we can know the properties of a material thing. For instance when a videocamera is turned towards the moon, then the information travels from the moon by medium of light, through the lens, through the circuitry of the videocamera, onto the videotape.
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==Free will and punishment==
 
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Some people deny free will but still claim that punishment is necessary to deter harmful behaviour and protect the community. Such people argue that punishment should be the minimum necessary to deter harmful behaviour.{{fact}}
This transferring or copying of information unchanged (also known as rewriting) is called being objective. The videocamera provides objective information about the moon. When somebody looks at the moon, then in the same way as the videocamera, information transfers from the moon, by medium of light, through the eyes, to the memory in the brain, resulting in objective facts about the moon in memory.
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In the case of the videocamera the information from the moon was rewritten as magnetism on the videotape, in the case of the person the information was rewritten as electro-chemistry in the brain.
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Where objectivity works by force, subjectivity works by freedom. The way in which something can be said about the spiritual doing the choosing is thus very different from measurement. If we want to identify the agency of any decision, then we must choose what the agency consists of.
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For example: if X can turn out A or B in the moment, and the decision turns out B, then the question "What made the decision turn out B instead of A?" must be answered with a new decision between alternatives like:
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1 - it was hateful that X chose B instead of A
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2 - it was loving that X chose B instead of A
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If for example alternative 1 is chosen, then that results in the opinion that it was hate which made X turn out B instead of A.
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Because the conclusion must be arrived at by choosing, it means that for every question about what is in the spiritual domain there are at least 2 logically correct answers available. This doesn't mean that every available answer is morally upright, or that any available answer is morally upright.
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== Logical fallacy of scientism ==
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[[File:Jim_Parsons_(The_Big_Bang_Theory)_3781567513.jpg|right|thumb|The "mad evil scientist" is a staple character in Hollywood productions, like the portrayal by Jim Parsons of Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory TV-show]]
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Refers to an argument common among scientists, which argument is to reject the existence of subjectively identified things, because subjectively identified things cannot be objectively measured.
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The argument competes objectivity against subjectivity, resulting in the rejection of all emotions, and pseudoscientific knowledge of good and evil.
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In scientism the definition of choosing is redefind to mean "calculating an optimum" or "sorting out the best result". Instead of the focus being on the spirit in which a decision is made, the focus is on the "best" result of a decision.
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The acceptance of scientism leads to the "mad evil scientist pathology", which is often caricatured in Hollywood productions involving scientists as characters.
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==Biblical interpretation==
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The biblical doctrine outlined in the book of Genesis, during the creation of the world explains the importance of choosing in regards to morality. The original parents of mankind, [[Adam]] and [[Eve]] as real historical persons, made the first human choice; the choice between the will of God which they were influenced by since their creation, and their own will as influenced by Satan. Both original and separate influences offer a distinct alternative that persons decide to follow based on their free will, in relation to experience filtered through their [[sensory system]], which is analyzed by [[logic]] within the [[mind]], which offers up alternatives for the human spirit to decide. The free will exercised by Adam and Eve severed the covenant with God by acting outside of His will. This act of free will had the consequence of a generational curse upon the rest of mankind, fundamentally altering life as they (Adam and Eve) knew it because of their [[sin]]. The [[original sin]] against the will and therefore nature of God physically and spiritually had a sort of epigenetic affect on all of biology, introducing death and the struggle and survival that comes with it.<ref>[http://normangeisler.net/articles/theology/2010-EpigeneticsSolvesTheologicalProblems.htm Epigenetics Offers New Solution to Some Long-Standing Theological Problems: Inherited Sin, Christ’s Sinlessness, and Generational Curses Can be Explained] By Norman L. Geisler, 2010</ref> By eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve less felt what is good and bad, instead they became more emotionless and calculating in determining their course of action. Calculating in terms of survival and death.
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{{quote|1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" 2The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" 4The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! 5"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.|book=Genesis|chap=3|verses=1-6}}
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==Scientific evidence==
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The problem in evidencing free will is to empirically establish the existence of alternatives '''not''' chosen. In 2006 a team of researchers at the University of Illinois managed to search a database without running the search algorithm, instead exploiting the information on the alternative state that the algorithm '''could have''' run to infer the search result. <ref> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7079/extref/nature04523-s1.pdf </ref>
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==Politics and Ideology==
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[[File:CharlesDarwin.jpg‎|right|thumb|Charles Darwin wrote that he could measure love]]
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[[File:Cutout_expression_of_emotion_in_man_and_animals.JPG|right|thumb|Photographic evidence used by Darwin for his theory on equating emotions with physical manifestations]]
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[[File:Haeckel.jpg‎|right|thumb|Ernst Haeckel wrote that Jesus was loving, as a matter of pseudoscientific fact]]
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[[File:Stalin-140508_27880t.jpg‎|right|thumb|Josef Stalin did not know what making a decision meant]]
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[[File:Hitler.jpg|right|thumb|Adolf Hitler used nazi ideology to surpress his free will]]
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Theories about free will in which the agency of decisions is treated as a matter of subjective opinion and faith are strongly related to ideological doctrines where democracy is central. Theories about free will which treat agency as a matter of objective fact instead, are strongly related to ideological and political doctrines in which freedom plays a subordinate role, like Nazism, Communism, Atheism and Liberalism.
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Social darwinist doctrines about the heritable character of people, based on the theory of natural selection, greatly influenced intellectual and political climate of opinion in the past, and continues to do so at present. Starting from Darwin's theory of natural selection evolutionists began a massive onslaught against all knowledge in terms of freedom (alternatives and decision), replacing it with knowledge in terms of force (cause and effect). Theories about people deciding in freedom were replaced with  theories about people being forced by genes and environment. Agents of the human spirit, such as love and hate, were treated as a mattter of fact, instead of as a matter of opinion.
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Charles Darwin wrote a book called "The expression of emotions in man and animals.", in which he explained all emotions in terms of a darwinian struggle for survival, and advanced a pseudoscience of measuring emotions using facial measurements. <ref> http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1142&viewtype=text </ref>
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In the early part of the 20th century the influential darwinist Ernst Haeckel wrote about the “loving” agency of Jesus Christ as exhibiting an “Aryan” blood character.<ref>http://www.pantheism.net/paul/haekrace.htm Jesus' noble personality was not semitic, but "more characteristic of the higher Aryan race"</ref>Haeckel was not a Christian but an atheist, he treated the love of Christ as a matter of scientific fact, not a matter of faith. Social darwinism is considered the main ideological input in the rise of Nazism, which led to the holocaust. Specifically the denial of free will in Nazism is considered it's [http://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Germany-A-New-History/dp/0826409067 most lethal aspect]. Because of the influence of social darwinism on Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin they largely  did not even know what it meant to make a decision, which willful ignorance effectively sabotaged their conscience.
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China is currentely drifting towards Social darwinism. <ref>{{cite web|last=Dikötter|first=Frank|title=Throw-Away Babies
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|url=http://www.frankdikotter.com/start-reading/throw-away-babies.html|publisher=Times Literary Supplement,|quote=Whether the regulation of sexuality has replaced ideological control as the main tool of repression in the People's Republic is an important question which is open to debate. It is beyond question, however, that the signs of a drift towards an authoritarian form of government guided by biological imperatives have been accumulating in China for some time, and anybody with a serious interest in that country and its people should consider the implications of that drift carefully.}}</ref> The overwhelming majority of scientists in the world at present support some form of social darwinism, where agency is treated as a matter of objective fact, and moral imperatives are derived in a context of natural selection theory.
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==Psychology==
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Pscyhological research has found that disbelief in free will is related to increased agression and reduced helpfulness. <ref>http://psp.sagepub.com/content/35/2/260</ref>
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Inducing disbelief in free will has been found to alter brain states related to  preconscious motor preparation <ref> http://pss.sagepub.com/content/22/5/613.abstract</ref>
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Belief in free will predicts better job performance.<ref>http://spp.sagepub.com/content/1/1/43.abstract</ref>
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==Biological function of free will==
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Free will of organisms appears to contribute to their survival in many ways.  The variation in use of muscles caused by free will reduces wear and tear of them. Search algorithms for food are more optimal when based on freedom.  Free will also provides predators with surprise in attack, and prey with unpredictability in escape.
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DNA consists of chosen alternatives C,A,T and G. When looking at any particular string of DNA one should consider the alternatives that could have been chosen instead. DNA from one generation to the next is constructed based on informed and reasoned choices. <ref>{{cite web|last=Taborsky|first=Edwina|title=Biological Organisms as Semiosic Systems: the importance of strong and weak
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anticipation|url=http://ebookbrowse.com/gdoc.php?id=180133786&url=0d3490b8c6d0e279f0b2fef473f4a08a |publisher=Signs vol. 2: pp. 146-187, 2008 ISSN: 1902-8822|quote=a framework that rejects anticipation and is instead based around a primary random or uninformed mutation of a single model supported by a post hoc ‘natural selection’ of that model – is an inadequate analysis. The semiosic biological system is not a random or mechanical process but an informed, reasoned and selfcontrolled process. pp 161}}</ref> The DNA is kept in a state of indecision, at which point the alternative states C, A, T, and G present themselves, and the organization of DNA as a whole is chosen.
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==Creation, Creatio ex nihilo==
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In a choice information is created, namely the information which way the choice turns out. The information is new in the universe, and therefore the information is derived from nothing. Commonly this principle is referred to with the latin phrase "Creatio ex nihilo". This nothing where the information derives from is objectively measurable. The measurements and calculations about where the information derives from simply turn out zero for position, mass, velocity, and so on. For instance the noise in a random number generator, which is used for encrypting data so that it remains secret, is derived from the socalled quantum mechanical zeropoint.<ref>http://www.tested.com/science/math/43887-noise-from-nothingness-the-quantum-random-number-generator/</ref> When scientists look for the origin of a thing, then they always find nothing at the origin, and not a creator. The creator can only be found by deciding about the agency of the decisions found.
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==Other views==
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Non creationist views on free will treat the agency of a decision as a matter of objective fact.The overwhelming majority of scientists currently support a socalled compatibilist or determinist position on free will, and thereby the majority of scientists currently provide no room for subjective opinion or faith.
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===Compatibilism===
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This doctrine redefines the meaning of all words associated to free will, to make them use a logic of force. For example darwinian philosopher Daniel Dennett regards a thermostat as an agent which chooses, eventhough he says that in it's workings the thermostat is completely forced. <ref>{{cite web|last=Torley|first=Vincent|title=Anatomy of a minimal mind|url=http://www.angelfire.com/linux/vjtorley/Anatomy.pdf|publisher=philosophy department University of Melbourne|quote=Dennett, on the other hand, regards the attribution of intentionality to thermostats as more than metaphorical: he argues that if we are to explain what all thermostats have in common, we “have to rise to … a level that invokes belief-talk and desire-talk or … semantic information-talk and goal-registration-talk 1995a.}}</ref>
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===Dualism of fantasy and reality===
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This doctrine replaces the dualism of spiritual and material, with a dualism of fantasy and reality. The objects in fantasy are contrasted with objects in the external world, where objects in fantasy are regarded as not being real. For example Descartes used the latin phrase "cogito ergo sum", which means "I think therefore I am." To Descartes this meant a demonstration of the objective matter of fact of his spiritual existence as the owner of his choices. According to the logic of Ockham, this phrase only means a subjective assertion of purpose. Like a baker might say, "I bake therefore I am, baking is my purpose.", "I think, therefore I am, thinking is my purpose." Despite hat there is a glaring inconsistency in that objects in fantasy are regarded as a matter of fact, yet they are regarded as not real, this is still an accurate representation of what these dualists believe. The distinction between gods and fantasy figures is lost with this kind of dualism, leading to widespread ridicule of religion by people believing in this doctrine, accusing religious people of believing in fantasy figures.
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===Determinism===
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This doctrine advances an illusion of free will. Intellectually determinists deny free will is real, but in daily life they affirm it's existence on a practical basis as an illusion.
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==External Links==
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* [http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/professors-coyne-and-miller-clash-on-free-will/ Professors Coyne and Miller clash on free will] October 4, 2011
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* [http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/RF_podcast/Questions_Molinism_Compatibilism_Free_Will.mp3 Questions on Molinism, Compatibilism and Free Will] Podcast by William Lane Craig.
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==See Also==
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* Randomness
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* Probability
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==References==
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<references/>
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==Notes==
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<references />
  
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]
 
[[Category:Christian Theology]]
 
[[Category:Christian Theology]]

Revision as of 23:23, 15 March 2013

Free will is the concept that it is possible to make choices by an act of will based on independent thought.

  • ... free will can be defined as the unique ability of persons to exercise control over their conduct in a manner necessary for moral responsibility[1]

This would appear to be impossible in a solely naturalistic system in which biochemical processes obey natural laws, not will.

Incompatibilism views free will as being in conflict with the doctrine of determinism, while Compatibilism sees no conflict between the two.

In some denominations of the Christian faith it is believed that humans were created with free will so that they would choose to believe in and worship God. Other Christian traditions, such as Calvinism, believe that humans were created without free will, but that God's will determines our choice of him. The issue is theological. It relates to the human's acceptance of God, and does not mean that man is without free will in other respects.

For many, freedom of will is required for a functioning morality; that is, if we were not free we could not be held responsible for our actions, having been incapable of making a moral choice.

Viewpoint of David Hume

However some philosphers (e.g. David Hume) have held that not only can morality and determinism co-exist, but in fact that morality requires that our actions were determined. The reasoning is as follows:

Decisions are just like any other event in that they have causes. The relationship between a reason and a decision is broadly similar to that between a cause and an effect; if an effect lacks a cause, it must necessarily be random, and the same is true of a decision. Every element of the thought process that goes into making a choice must be either caused by external stimuli (the reasons for deciding one way or the other) or completely random. We could not be considered moral beings if our actions were random and therefore responsibility can fall only on determined individuals. Hume considered free will to be the freedom to do as one chooses (freedom of action), and therefore moral blame falls upon those who have acted immorally when they were at liberty to act otherwise.

Free will and punishment

Some people deny free will but still claim that punishment is necessary to deter harmful behaviour and protect the community. Such people argue that punishment should be the minimum necessary to deter harmful behaviour.[Citation Needed]

Notes

  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy