text and image roberto voorbij
At the Amsterdam Felix Meritis is every third Tuesday of the month Felix and Sofie being organized. A philosophical lecture / debate night open to anyone with just the slightest philosophical interest. Last week this well attended meeting was dedicated to the free will. As an introduction the three guest speakers each unveiled their widely differing views in a brief discourse. After which a debate followed. The first speaker of the evening was Jan Verplaetse who in his words took the ‘radical view’ that man does not posses a free will and that from this one can conclude he is not to blame for his actions. Instead of blaming the other for their behavior Verplaetse recommends us to put ourselves in the place of the other. From there can possibly be tried by calculated influencing to make the other change his mind and his behavior. Bert Keizer‘s speech formed a counterweight to this as he confronted the public with the to date scientific elusiveness of the human mind. In other words an MRI scan can not read minds. Keizer declared to really experience a daily ongoing confrontation with an appeal to his responsibilities. A feeling of guilt that in his words, by no philosophical argumentation whatsoever can be eliminated. Keizer does for that matter correspond with the only argument that pleads for free will, which is essentially not a real argument, namely that everyone has the strong feeling to posses a free will. Maureen Sie was the third speaker of the evening and took a middle position by underlining the importance of an on reasons based acting in relation to our fellow man, while keeping in mind that a large part of our decisions take place outside of our free will, outside our conscious actions.
The Bleeding Tomato – Free Will (2011).
Self I agree mostly with Jan Verplaetse and must rationally admit that no free will is possible. Everything has its cause. So does my culturally / genetically determined behavior as an endless chain collision of cause and effect. Rationally speaking no one is to blame. It’s a pragmatic decision to subsequently still punish people for bad behavior. Otherwise society would degenerate into chaos. To whether or not completely relieve man from his feeling of guilt is difficult to answer. After all it is a powerful motivator for humans as social beings. Or positively formulated, you don’t want to live in a world without compliments, without reward, since you are not responsible for the good deed. Guilt and reward appear this way to fall in the same category of socially usefulness as punishment. Behind which only an illusion hides of an autonomous self…