On Free Will, Part 3: Reason

We now come to the last part, most likely the last part, of this blog series. I have already discussed the importance of free will as it relates to love and to justice. In this last part, I will address free will and reason.

THE ABILITY TO REASON

Do you have the ability to reason? Without libertarian free will, the answer must be “no.” Again, I will point to puppet-determinism and mechanical determinism (or robot-determinism). A puppet cannot reason. Even if it is a very complex puppet with a brain, it is still not able to reason, for it is not it that reasons but rather the puppeteer. Therefore, if free will is an illusion, it follows that the ability of that individual to reason is also an illusion, since it is another that reasons in that person’s place in the case of puppet-determinism.

As for mechanical determinism, one cannot reason if that person’s thinking is determined by a form of preprogramming. Now, I am not saying that a robot cannot learn, since recent advancements in artificial intelligence do show that following a script robotically can allow one to learn, although in my opinion artificial intelligence is significantly more robotic than it is actually intelligent, at least in the same way humans are. Of course, I am not expert in artificial intelligence, and I do not wish portray that. With that out of the way, I do not think that humans can be considered rational creatures if their entire thought processes are determined by a script, even a very complex script. Following a script does not give one the ability to contemplate, which is a part of reasoning.

IF WE ARE PUPPETS

If we as humans are mere puppets, then the debates, discussions, and contemplations which humans claim to have become very odd. After all, it is not actually the individual who is debating but the puppeteer, assuming that there is only one. In other words, either the puppeteer argues with himself; or there are multiple puppeteers, arguing through puppets, a very odd scene indeed.

IF WE ARE ROBOTS

If, on other hand, we are mere robots, then debates, discussions, and contemplations are ultimately useless or beyond the control of the individual. What this means for those who hold to determinism is that it is a pointless to try to persuade anyone of their position. After all, no one has any real say in the matter anyway if there be no libertarian free will. All opinions are determined. Furthermore, why even boast in having the correct position if there be no free will? What does it matter? You who say that there is no free will have not chosen this position: your very worldview is itself determined.

CONCLUSION

Truly, a world without free will is one of utter despair. All choices are illusions. Every thought is an illusion. The concept of free will allows us to better understand the individual and gives hope that there is truly opportunity of change.

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