Monday, June 25, 2007
Freedom of the will
Recent investigations have shown that a person first acts and then has a will to act: the will for an action comes a fraction of a second after the action concerned starts. Does this mean that there is no freedom of the will? That the action causes the will to do this action? No, for the essence of the freedom of the will is not simply that I am free to do now what I want to do now, but freedom of the will means that I am free to make plans for the future and that I can execute them when the time for doing them arrives. That I can plan an action long, if necessary months or years, before it will take place and that I can adopt it to the circumstances. Free will is a long term phenomenon that has nothing to do with momentaneous causation. If that would not be so, a falling tree that suddenly blocks my road would be a clear falsification of the existence of a freedom of the will. Maybe there is no free will, but then it is for other reasons.