Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Free Will: A Philosophical Discussion

The Hand Of Reason
There’s never a good time to discuss philosophy with Kellie, but there are certainly bad times. One of those less opportune moments is right after Kellie has consumed a half liter of Turkish wine following a twelve-hour flight from Los Angles to Istanbul. I’m not sure why I brought up the subject of free will, but I certainly regret it.

“We don’t have free will,” I told Kellie. “We believe we're in control our own actions but it’s just an illusion.”

Whack! Kellie's right palm landed landed flush against my left cheek.


“See! That’s free will. I didn’t have to slap you in the face,” said Kellie. “I just chose to do it.”

“Don't hit me."


"There are scientific studies where researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) equipment were able to predict a subject’s actions seven seconds before the subject was consciously aware of his decision to act,” I explained.


Whack! “That’s free will again,” declared Kellie. “You should have seen that coming seven seconds ago.”


“I can’t read your mind. I don’t have an fMRI. Just stop hitting me for a minute and listen?" 


"The universe is governed by the laws of physics even if we don’t understand them all yet. That doesn’t leave much room for free will.”


“It was my choice to slap you. No one made me do it.”


“You were just responding to external stimuli,” I explained.


“Okay, so I’m not responsible for smacking you?" she asked.


“No,” I answered, immediately regretting my response.


Whack! “Free will again.”


Kellie failed to grasp the subtly of my argument. It was time to try approach another approach. 


“The concept of an omniscient god is also incompatible with free will. If an all-knowing being can foresee every decision we will ever make, then we 
really don’t have a choice.”

Kellie isn’t religious so I shouldn't have expected she'd be swayed by God.


Whack! “Of course I have free will,” insisted Kellie. “ And I'm going to slap that silly idea right out of your head.”


It was at this juncture that the forces governing the universe compelled me to grab Kellie’s wrists. She’s quite weak, and once restrained she could no longer pursue her former line of reasoning. 


I faced a dilemma: either concede that we have free will or endure Kellie's brutal, philosophical onslaught. I had no choice but to admit that Kellie has free will. In return, the universe stopped slapping me in the face.

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I'm back on the grid at Yeah Write.

10 comments:

  1. Well, I guess that you learned a valuable, albeit painful, lesson. And that lesson is to never, ever, have philosophical discussions, right? Glad to see you again!

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  2. Kellie had the perfect rebuttal to your argument, over and over. I'll have to remember that technique.

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  3. What a way to drive a point home. Very funny! :-D

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  4. I suspect she's not a great philosopher, but Kellie is some feisty lady!

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    1. The word feisty doesn't even begin to capture Kellie's temperament.

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