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Re: Bertrand Russell on Free Will

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  • eoinstephens59
    Hi I was wondering if it would be more accurate to say that people only partly believe in free will in practice? Eoin
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 11, 2011
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      Hi

      I was wondering if it would be more accurate to say that people only partly believe in free will in practice?

      Eoin

      --- In naturalismphilosophyforum@yahoogroups.com, "jimclatfelter" <jimclatfelter@...> wrote:
      >
      > "The free-will question consequently remains just where it was. Whatever
      > may be thought about it as a matter of ultimate metaphysics, it is quite
      > clear that nobody believes in it in practice. Everyone has always
      > believed that it is possible to train character; everyone has always
      > known that alcohol or opium will have a certain effect on behavior. The
      > apostle of free will maintains that a man can by will power avoid
      > getting drunk, but he does not maintain that when drunk a man can say
      > 'British Constitution' as clearly as if he were sober. And everybody who
      > has ever had to do with children knows that a suitable diet does more to
      > make them virtuous than the most eloquent preaching in the world. The
      > one effect that the free-will doctrine has in practice is to prevent
      > people from following out common-sense knowledge to its rational
      > conclusion. When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him
      > wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is a
      > result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will
      > take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for
      > which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of the imagination."
      > Bertrand Russell from Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to
      > Civilization, 1930
      > More often people say that we feel we have free will even if we are
      > logically sure we don't have it. It's refreshing to hear someone say
      > that we don't really believe in free will in practice. Nobody believes
      > in it, he says! It may be a good starting point when you are talking to
      > someone about free will and they insist they have it.
      > Jim
      >
    • Fabio Milito Pagliara
      I think that the problem here is one of defining free will as described by Russel it s more of a mind over matter thing, but if I can train character is
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 11, 2011
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        I think that the problem here is one of defining "free will" as described by Russel it's more of a "mind over matter" thing, but if I can "train character" is this a decision I can take?

        probably we can just take small decision at each step we make, something like do I make a 1/2 yard step straight forward or I move 45 degree to the right or maybe 90 degree to the left and so on, the sum of all this will take us in a place instead of another

        I think the same is with all other thing there are external pressure and our reaction to them, but do we have only 1 possible reaction to all external pressure? and our previous action do build or not internal pressure?

        and all this contrasting pressure and the various possible reaction to them are our choice or what

        if you prefer the fact that we can have more than 1 possible reaction/action while not being free will is a form of freedom or not?

        On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 1:04 AM, jimclatfelter <jimclatfelter@...> wrote:


        "The free-will question consequently remains just where it was. Whatever may be thought about it as a matter of ultimate metaphysics, it is quite clear that nobody believes in it in practice. Everyone has always believed that it is possible to train character; everyone has always known that alcohol or opium will have a certain effect on behavior. The apostle of free will maintains that a man can by will power avoid getting drunk, but he does not maintain that when drunk a man can say 'British Constitution' as clearly as if he were sober. And everybody who has ever had to do with children knows that a suitable diet does more to make them virtuous than the most eloquent preaching in the world. The one effect that the free-will doctrine has in practice is to prevent people from following out common-sense knowledge to its rational conclusion. When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is a result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of the imagination."

        Bertrand Russell from Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization, 1930

        More often people say that we feel we have free will even if we are logically sure we don't have it. It's refreshing to hear someone say that we don't really believe in free will in practice. Nobody believes in it, he says! It may be a good starting point when you are talking to someone about free will and they insist they have it. 

        Jim






        --
        Fabio Milito Pagliara
        Salerno (SA)
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