Free Will

This weekend I read an article about the paradox of free will. I didn’t know such paradox existed so I did a little research and discovered:

“The paradox of free will is a philosophical problem that has been debated for centuries. It arises from the apparent incompatibility of two seemingly contradictory propositions:

  1. Humans have free will. This means that we are capable of making choices that are not determined by prior events or by any other external factors.
  2. The universe is deterministic. This means that every event that happens is caused by a previous event, and so on, all the way back to the Big Bang.

If the universe is deterministic, then it seems that our choices cannot be truly free. After all, if every event is caused by a previous event, then our choices must also be caused by something. And if our choices are caused, then they are not free.

There are a number of ways to try to resolve this paradox. One way is to argue that the universe is not deterministic after all. This is the position of indeterminism. Indeterminism holds that there are some events that are truly random, and that these random events can give rise to free will.

Another way to resolve the paradox is to argue that free will and determinism are not incompatible after all. This is the position of compatibilism. Compatibilism holds that free will is compatible with determinism, even though our choices are not ultimately uncaused.”

Frankly, I think we complicate things when the simplest answer is usually the best. God gives each of us free will up to a limit. What that limit is up for discussion.


About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

1 Comment +

  1. Calvin the theologian (not the cartoon figure even though they do share some views on life) spent hours and much writing on this exact issue. He left it unresolved but came closest to a pre-determined dictum as anyone ever did. Thus Calvinism was injected into arguments of all kinds regarding whether acts were pre-meditated or not, there was no way to stop something and bad behavior was not the responsibility of the one acting badly.
    So we all are left to our own determination.

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