RE: Ethics and free will

From: fudley (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2005 - 09:30:43 MST

On Fri, 4 Feb 2005 "Bantz, Michael" Wrote:

> Ethics is based upon the idea that the ethical
> individual could have performed an action different
> from the one that was actually performed.

Most people would probably agree with you, the law is based on it too
and that is why the criminal court system is such a mess, it’s based on
an absurdity. I don’t have a rigid definition of good and evil but my
rule of thumb is that if someone or something generally causes misery to
those who encounters it then it is probably evil, if it’s joy rather
than misery then it’s probably good; the reasons why the person or thing
has these effects on other people is (almost) always irrelevant.

> the movie, "What the bleep do we know?"
> argues for free will by incorporating quantam physics.

I haven’t seen the movie but I’ll be willing to bet that just as in
every pop philosophy book it will go on and on trying to prove we have
free will and never once ask what the term means. It’s like arguing if
humans have the clogknee property of not and never explaining what
clogknee means.

 And I don’t see how quantum physics helps in the slightest because even
 in the quantum realm everything, absolutely everything, happens because
 of cause and effect and is thus mechanical OR it does not and thus is
 random. Believers in free will (whatever they mean by it) are unhappy
 being compared with either a Cuckoo clock or a pair of dice but I fear
 they are destined to be unhappy.

> freedom is the act of choosing which reality
> your subjective consciousness experiences.

The key word is “choosing” and the thing I don’t understand is that even
the most passionate believer in free will still asks other people “why
did you do that?” when they do something they don’t understand, that is
they want a reason, a cause for the action; but they must already know
the only answer is “because I have free will.” As for me I tend to think
an inability to provide an answer to “why did you do that?” is a sign of

John K Clark


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