View Single Post
Old 08-06-2019, 07:43 PM
monstro is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 21,148
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Er, this is the first I've ever heard it hinted that babies and idiots don't have free will.
Really? You've never heard someone argue that a person shouldn't be held responsible for his crimes by reason of insanity or mental impairment? You've never heard of juveniles getting lighter sentences than adults based on the argument that "they don't know better"?

You've never heard someone try to excuse their behavior by saying they were drunk, sleep-waking, or blind with rage at the time?

If you have heard these things, then you've heard "hints".

And I wouldn't expect (or believe) that most people would or even could give a right and complete explanation for why they do things.
Exactly. So why should we believe these people when they say they have free will? If they are so wrong so frequently, why should we trust they know what the hell is going on in their own cognition?

Compare these statements:

"I don't know why I killed that person, Your Honor. I was insane at the time. Please spare me."

"I don't know why I killed that person, Your Honor. But because I believe in free will, I guess I performed an act of free will? What do you think?"

I think if you say you're committing an act through your own "will", you know good and well why you're committing it. Otherwise you're functionally no different than a puppet on a string. A slave to your subconscious--like someone who has been hypnotized. Do you think a hypnotized person has free will?

I think your definition of "free will" is far, far more restrictive than most other people's.
That may be. But if free will was as simple as the majority of posters seem to think it is, why has it been the subject of debate for so long? Volition is pretty self-evident and thus not worth caring about. But the ability to carry out actions completely independent of external factors and events is a different matter all together. This is what "free will" means to people who spend a lot of time thinking about it.