Existentialism and compatibilism

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Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:24 pm
Given the recent advances in modern quantum-physics and the advancement of various other sciences, what do you think about a compatibilist interpretation of free will and existentialism? Personally, I think wherever there is free will to any degree, existentialism is going to be needed as a guide for how to live. Of course, this does go against the orthodox existential view of Sartre that we are "condemned to be free" but I have come to think that, just as existence precedes essence, so necessity precedes freedom. But just because necessity precedes freedom, and thus there is some determinism in the universe, it doesn't have to be in conflict with free will. Thoughts?
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 04:37 pm
@Necron99,
Necron99;162505 wrote:
Given the recent advances in modern quantum-physics and the advancement of various other sciences, what do you think about a compatibilist interpretation of free will and existentialism? Personally, I think wherever there is free will to any degree, existentialism is going to be needed as a guide for how to live. Of course, this does go against the orthodox existential view of Sartre that we are "condemned to be free" but I have come to think that, just as existence precedes essence, so necessity precedes freedom. But just because necessity precedes freedom, and thus there is some determinism in the universe, it doesn't have to be in conflict with free will. Thoughts?

Exxistence preceeds essence??? you should prove it before you say it; don't you think...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 06:50 pm
@Necron99,
"Condemned to be free." How very Christian, in some ways. Free will means one is responsible for one's actions. One can't claim determinism as an excuse for the needle or the liquor store robbery. Sartre didn't like depth psychology, rejected the notion of the psyche as largely unconscious--which is my mind is a ridiculous move, because where are our memories when we aren't remembering them? Or are memories not part of the psyche?

Even if we aren't free, and I'm no determinist, we still need a culture that encourages the taking of blame, the taking of personal responsibility. At the same time, it seems childish to utterly ignore how determined we are statistically (a tricky thing) by education, exposure to positive role models. I say again that we live with a split attitude on this matter. We believe in free will when it suits us, and in determinism when it suits us. And this does have its advantages, as the question is a difficult one. What is causality for Christ's sake? So often, I see causality taken as a given, as if it were not a strange concept. This shows the dominance of the naturalistic worldview, which I generally embrace, except where it crowds out philosophical investigation.

Nietzsche railed against the priest for using Free Will as a means to blame, accuse, etc. But then Nietzsche wasn't exactly a determinist either. He about as easy to pin down as a fart on certain matters. It seems that Einstein was a determinist and that this made him forgiving. I suspect it was the same with Spinoza. If all is one, then there's no sense in objecting to this or that aspect, as all aspects of the one (Nature/God) are equally justified and necessary.

The existentialist often strike me as iconoclastic Christians. If the individual living human is "everything", this is an echo of the incarnation myth. We see the same rebellion against anonymous systematization. K didn't want to be swallowed by Hegel's abstractions, right? It's a tricky game to make abstractions about the superiority of the concrete to the abstract. But perhaps I misinterpret.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 06:54 pm
@Necron99,
Necron99;162505 wrote:
Given the recent advances in modern quantum-physics and the advancement of various other sciences, what do you think about a compatibilist interpretation of free will and existentialism? Personally, I think wherever there is free will to any degree, existentialism is going to be needed as a guide for how to live. Of course, this does go against the orthodox existential view of Sartre that we are "condemned to be free" but I have come to think that, just as existence precedes essence, so necessity precedes freedom. But just because necessity precedes freedom, and thus there is some determinism in the universe, it doesn't have to be in conflict with free will. Thoughts?


I believe free will can be obtained without being free to make any choice you like. "Free Will" contains two distinct elements, freedom and the ability to will.Free will can be obtained by willing what is necessary, even if what is necessary is all that can occur. Your will is what is free, and you are free to will whatever you'd like in any situation.

I'm sure you've heard of the thought experiment concerning the man imprisoned in a jail cell who believed that he could leave whenever he chose. By choice he decided to stay in the jail cell, so whether he was actually free or not to leave didn't have any bearing on the situation. He was exercising free will by willing the situation in which he was presented. I think that example fits well here.
 
 

 
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