Deterministic Freedom

Freedom is a consequence of determinism. Well freedom in any meaningful sense. There are certain levels to the meaning of freedom and some of these levels are impossible. Not only are they impossible but they are inconceivable – that is they are impossible to think of. But the types of freedom we all want, the types of freedom we all care about are absolutely compatible with determinism. In fact I would go so far as to say that for us to have the freedoms we really care about determinism must be true.

 

So what are these definitions for freedom that we all care about? One is being able to do what we want. Sure we can’t do every single thing that we want. For instance I want to be able to fly unassisted but the laws of nature will not allow it. That is to say that there are certain aspects to reality that impinge upon and restrict my will from the outside. I am restrained by gravity from floating. Everyone allows this. But I can try to fly unassisted if I want. That is to say that there is a desire that arises internally and expresses itself in my behavior.

 

I think a lot of people have the absurd idea that if determinism is true then we are forced to do things we do not want to do all the time. This is not so. Or rather nature – that is reality – is constantly coercing us to do things we do not want to do. We need to eat after all. But I think people believe that there would be some deeper level of coercion. That somehow our will would be caused to change against our will which is absurd.

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