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Free will - an irrelevant argument

Arguably one of the most broadly debated subjects of all time would have to be that of whether we have free will or not. I will assume some basic universality, in that whichever position applies, applies to all. Some basic positions include:

  • Each individual has complete control over their actions and is responsible for the consequences.
  • Each individual reacts automatically to external stimuli and suffers the consequences for their actions.
  • There is no free will - each individual is controlled by some higher power and so cannot be held accountable for their actions. This position is commonly held by American litigants.
  • There is no free will, as in the third point, but the consequences are as in the second point.
  • Obviously, we have no way of determining which is true. Any test to see whether we have free will could naturally be corrupted by the higher power giving the same answer. Or corrupted by us freely choosing to believe that we are not responsible. So ultimately this is really just an argument to give philosophers something to do. It serves no materialistic or spiritual benefit, but the answer is 42.

    Firstly, lets assume that someone is begging for an immunity from consequences because they believe the third point is the truth, and that some higher power controls them. This can be dealt with by the inflicter-of-consequences also claiming that they are being controlled to inflict the consequences. If you walk in front of a moving vehicle, the consequences are the same whether you have free will or not, so, whatever your position on free will, you suffer the consequences of your actions.

    I will also point out the following on the experiment. Regardless of what position you take, if you are prepared to try it, you may, well, find your name entered here.

    So, ultimately, we have established that you suffer the consequences of your actions, and you can't tell whether you have free will or not.

    Personally, I discount the automata theory, and choose to define "me" as the power in control of my actions. Html coded to give this: me. If I have free will, then I suffer whatever consequences. If my body is just a puppet, controlled by some greater power, then I am a part of the greater power, which therefore means that I have free will, but raises a question as to who I am.

    I wonder whether Kermit believed in Jim Henson


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