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The Logic of Believing in Free Will

  1. Dec 3, 2011 #1
    The Logic of Believing in Free Will

    Please Be Aware:
    My “proof” here is by no means complete. In all honesty, although I have spent countless sleepless nights pondering this in my head, my thirst for knowledge and truth in the matter has only just begun. With that in mind, I kindly request that any material, supporting or debunking my ideas, be brought to my attention, for at the heart of this discussion, I seek the truth. I realize I have my own biases which is in part why I have decided to put this small bit of work I have up to public scrutiny.

    Furthermore, I feel it is either pointless and irrational, or simply irrational to criticize someone for believing in free-will. The reasoning behind this can be seen in the statement itself, but to assure we are on the same page I will explain anyways. If free will exists, then it is irrational to criticize because the criticizer is wrong. If free will does not exist, it is irrational to criticize because the one being criticized (not having free will) does not have a choice but to believe in free will. I feel this is a simple concept and thus I apologize if I have insulted anyones intelligence with it, but I want to make absolute sure no one criticizes either party (believers and non-believers) in a demeaning way (with hostility or insults) for their stance on the subject. Criticize, but in a civilized fashion please (at least if free will allows us so). So without further adieu, the “meat” of the matter.

    My proof not of free will, but that to believe in free will is the most logical choice:

    If we believe in free will and are wrong, we don’t stand to lose anything.
    If we don’t believe in free will and are wrong, we do stand to lose something.
    If we believe in free will and are right, we stand to gain something.
    If we don’t believe in free will and are right, we stand to gain nothing.
    We act in correspondence with our beliefs.

    Therefore, the only way we can harm ourselves in respect to the belief of free will is by not believing in free will and the only way we can help ourselves in the same respect is to believe in free will.

    Therefore, the most logical choice is to believe in free will.

    Further clarification on each above point:
    We would not lose anything because we had no choice in the first place and everything that happens was already bound to happen.
    We lose whatever advances the motivation of free will would have provided us with, should we believe in it.
    We gain whatever advances the motivation of free will provides us with, should we believe in it.
    We gain nothing because we had no choice in the first place and everything that happens was already bound to happen.
    I have no further clarification on this matter. My conclusion on this point comes only from what I have personally read and observed. Therefore, this is likely the weakest of my points and if you would wish to debunk my proof, I would suggest to start here. Further more, if you have any information on this premise (supporting either side) I kindly request that you share it in order to help me further my study.

    Further clarification on “Free Will”:
    In this discussion, free will means that we have a choice in everything we do.

    Final Note:
    I personally feel that the belief in free will is a motivating factor for the human race, a factor in social darwinism even. Whether free will exists or not is besides the point here. The belief in free will itself is a stimulant, a motivator. If free will exists, to believe in it gives one some reason to do what they do. If free will does not exists, the belief of free will may be seen as a part of human instinct, a driving force determining what a person will do.

    Now, I open this debate to your well-mannered criticism.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2011 #2

    micromass

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    This violates the philosophy forum guidelines. Please actually read the rules before posting.
     
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