Free will means that you own your action so much that if you could go back in time you may do it or do something else. You are free to go either way. This is called indeterminism or libertarian free will.

Some say we are programmed by psychological forces that we picked up over time unawares and these make the "decisions" we think we make. This view is called determinism.

Compatiblism is just a redefinition of free will - if you don't feel forced you are free. It can be safely ignored as semantics.

If you have free will it is not the only thing you have.  You have biases some of which are in your genes.  We all have psychological issues that ruin our decision-making.

Religion wants YOU to be accountable for what you do.  But if people or God implant desires in you that draw you to evil they are to blame too.  So bringing God into the free will controversy does not help.  It is unfair to us.

Other factors are at play so nobody knows if you murder somebody how much you should be punished for it is not all you.  The same goes for rewards when you are on the other side of the coin.

In that light, we might affirm free will as true but in practice differ little from a determinist.  We might argue that being determinist then is no huge matter.

Desire refutes free will in ways we do not expect.  To say that desire which seems to support free will in fact fails or even refutes it seems counter-intuitive. Religion takes advantage of that.
We do not have free will because when we make a so-called decision we do not know what we are doing at that exact moment and you need to be aware to be responsible. We might be free if we could concentrate on several things per moment.  You do know you may say.  Yes but imagine if what you knew before the choice was implanted by some ghost or some matrix set-up?  You are led up to a result and that says nothing about whether you led yourself up to it or not.  The feeling, "I will act on this" is there and at a certain point it will make you unable to go back.  You will act on it.  A desire at a certain point causes what you do in the very next moment to be inevitable.  It replaces the thought that leads to the decision.  A feeling causes your action not our thought at the critical point, in that very moment.

When you unconsciously put one foot past the other you are said to be responsible because you knew what you were doing. But if you are sleepwalking you are not responsible because you are unconscious.

Some would say that when you walk down the street and are reading the paper that you can be free in walking and not know what you are doing. They say you freely walk down the street or that you are using your free will to walk down it. You freely intend to walk down it. But it is just a part of your brain that obeys a past command from you that does it while you engage your consciousness with another activity. It is like you commanding a computer to print and it doing it while you organise the filing cabinet. You might have freely chosen to walk and your brain obeys you though you no longer freely command it to for it is working by a command in the past. You program the brain to carry on without being directed consciously by the will. Yet it is said that I am walking intentionally. It is nonsense to say I am intending to walk now when I am not aware of anything but the paper for intention is something I have to be aware of. The intention that caused the walking is in the past and it programmed a part of my brain to carry on without it and it does not exist any more.

When I make a choice, it is the strongest desire I am aware of that moment that causes me to make that choice. No matter what I always do what I want under the circumstances. Free will is the power to do other than what I would like to do plus the power to do what I want. Since I am egoistic (not egotistic which means selfishness that abuses others) and incapable of selfless love I do not have free will. And if I only please myself there would be no point in me having free will either.

Religion itself does not sincerely believe in free will because it says that we only do what we think, correctly or incorrectly, is right. This renders evil to be insanity rather than deliberate badness though religion insistently denies it and still strangely still says it is insanity. Religion says we cannot have free will to do good unless we have it to do evil as well. But if evil is insanity then it follows that we are only free when we do good and should be set to do good only and have no desire to do evil implanted in us by nature.

Insanity is not just how your twisted mind works but the feelings it makes as well.  The mind twists the feelings.  The feelings twist the mind.   Both of these may be happening in a person.  Your insanity may be more than just one aberration.  You may have insanities.

Warped desire and/or warped thinking can cause an insanity that is blurry and hard to define but which will hinder your free will, assuming free will is there at all.

On the human level we know what insanity is. But what if there are supernatural or paranormal versions?  Everybody's mind is a mystery to a large extent even to themselves.  So you can find a natural cause for somebody's derangement and miss other causes, causes from another reality.

The point is that if you say my act is insanity and therefore evil you are being judgemental.  You cannot know enough about my insanity to morally assess.

The religious cannot call evil a mistake for even if evil is a mistake that is not all it is. A mistake as such is a different thing.  They want to call evil insanity and a mistake.  This is about having the cake for an ornament and also eating it.

We know that we can only do what we feel or think is good, so evil is a sickness that commands our concern and compassion as much as any other sickness does. Evil is not a sign of strength but of weakness. Evil is not a sign of cleverness but of foolishness. It is not a sign of badness or criminal responsibility but insanity.

Religion says that when you sin you damage and hurt yourself and yet many of its victims allow anger against sin. Jesus often got mad. But if you damage and hurt yourself where does the sympathy come in? You need sympathy if sin is its own punishment or part of the punishment. And yet when it is self-inflicted there should be no sympathy! To damage yourself is worse than to damage another person for we all know we care about ourselves most and love others not for themselves but ourselves and can’t help it from which it follows that sympathy for the sinner should be predominant. It implies the person hurt should not resent you but pity you.

Some have argued that determinism misunderstands the nature of mental phenomena.

So how do the non-determinists understand it?

Here is how

Feeling is a mental event.  Emotion occurs in and to the mind. That which makes the difference between voluntary and involuntary acts is not a mental event for you cannot feel anything in your mind. This implies that the source is something outside what is determined by nature.

There is a jump here.  Just because you feel nothing as far as you can tell does not mean that you feel nothing.  There is more to your feelings than just the feelings you clearly recognise.  A feeling you sense as one thing might actually be something else.  We know we have subconscious feelings that we are not aware of and these influence our actions. In short, they think the force that makes us follow one feeling and not another is not a feeling itself and is something spiritual. That is untrue for the crave for happiness is a feeling and is the reason why one feeling is gone for and not another.

Nature could be the source. There is more to nature than what we see.

The argument is messing with words.  Try this.  That which makes the difference between a thought about a person and a thought about a thing is not a mental event therefore it is a spiritual one.  It is mixing up abstract differences with our reactions.  They are different things entirely.

The doctrine that when a being with free will does evil just because they think it is good (page 71, Moral Philosophy; chapter 95, Summa, Book One) is really a repudiation of free will. You can’t even say evil is deliberate ignorance.  The religionist says you can.  So I have to be deliberately ignorant to decide to be deliberately ignorant.  So do we have an ad infinitum thing going on?  Ignorance that is not deliberate must be behind what you think is your deliberate ignorance so we are going around in a circle.

Ignorance is bad and you can only be ignorant on purpose if you are attracted by the good side of the ignorance not the ignorance itself. Choosing to be ignorant could not be meant to be evil if you can only choose what seems good.
The doctrine of free will assumes that if you are rational or good creature you have to have free will. In what sense? In the sense that even when we are evil we mean to be good and are being rational as we know it. But be this true or not, it need not be true and you only need your eyes opened to see that. The doctrine is founded on a circular argument and circular arguments are not only stupid but downright evil for they logically undermine reason totally. A real free agent could choose something simply because it is evil. Religion says there is no such thing as anything that is just evil. But what an evil is and choosing something for you think it is pure evil is a different thing. The latter is about you. So pure evil not being there does not mean you cannot aim for it. You can intend to break the steel door down with a push. Yet all say nobody really aims for pure evil. There is no real free will in this.

The doctrine of free will is anti-rational.  Oddly it manages to be against itself.  It is anti free will for you cannot use the power to choose good or believe in good if you reject reason to believe in free will. Free will is supposed to be the power to do what is really good or really real good so it is supposed to exalt rationality but we see that it does not and tries to stunt it. If your starting point in philosophy is absurd the whole edifice you built on it is as well even if it looks rational for anything that is based on an irrational assumption is irrational itself. What lies on an irrational foundation is necessarily irrational.

Altruism is doing good for no other reason than for another person’s benefit without seeking anything for yourself. It is sacrifice or something you don’t want to do and it hurts you. Egoism is doing whatever is best for yourself and means helping others because you want to do it and enjoy it and it is really about just loving yourself. The two are opposites and are opposed because when you make the “choice” that directly results in the action you can’t have both motives at the one time. If you carry a stranger ten miles to the hospital and seek nothing back you have in fact got something back. You wanted to experience doing this difficult thing and that gratified you. Analysing the act proves there is no altruism in the act. Yet it would be taken by wishful thinkers to show a combination of altruism and egoism.

Altruism is absolutely impossible because when you “choose” something it is the strongest desire you are conscious of at that moment that makes you do it. And you wouldn’t be doing it only to fulfil or relieve that desire to make you happy. Even if you desire to suffer for some good you only desire to suffer because you see and feel the suffering as the lesser evil. Sometimes we want to suffer to experience it or to remind ourselves of how great the joys of life are or just to feel that we are not driven by pleasure-seeking all the time. Examine yourself and this will become clear. 
People may object that doing good because of the desire is not the same as doing good to satisfy the desire. But then you are doing it because you feel like it and not because of other people. Thus it is selfish or egoistic. And their argument ignores the fact that you are only aware of one moment at a time and the desire you have in one moment determines what you will do the next.

So we have no free will to be altruistic.

If we have free will we only have it to choose between different types of self-indulgence.

We cannot choose to love other people for we only value ourselves but we can choose to do good to them. We only value them for ourselves, which means we really just value ourselves.

The view that free will is for deciding between self and others is mad. If I can only choose for self-indulgence, then it follows that I only go for what I see as the best for myself. I cannot help my desires. Even when they change it was because I had the pre-determined desire to change so I could not help changing. Free will in the sense they mean is meaningless and impossible. It can only be true if altruism is possible. This would imply that altruism alone is moral no matter how much harm it does for it is what we are naturally meant to practice for free will was given for its production. Egoism would be like trying to destroy free will. If altruism is bad so is the free will hypothesis and altruism is rotten.

Religion tells you to see the other as another self.  If you are naturally selfish, you can trick your inner nature so you treat the other as you.  This is not altruism.  If altruism is possible, we have found a reason why it might still never happen.

We have found that feelings mean that if there is free will it is not a useful idea and we may as well be determinists.  Just keep it simple as you should and take the step to determinism.  It avoids the incoherent ramblings that the doctrine of free will encapsulates in seed form.


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