One can write about innumerable degrees and meanings of freedom as well as of will. Obviously will seems to indicate for-itself a sort of implicit determinism to enact beliefs or ideas exclusive of random chaotic subjective experience, so in that regard free will is reliant upon a self-determinism that may or may not be contingent upon anything else.
Having read the Tractatus logico philosophicus long ago and moved on to other works in logic and language including Witt’s Blue and Brown Books, and works of Strawson and Quine, I appreciate the notions of words and means and their relations to forming expressions that convey ideas about what people mean in words. That is I intend to say I don’t want to get too technical and hung up on Kantian noumenon, or empiricist dichotomies with analytic philosophy and the relation of words to objects. Instead I am content for now to just let a sort of perennial philosophical naive realism serve as the context in which I will discuss will and determinism. In fact I don’t intend to go too far into the subject here because of time limitations in a public library.
Free will perhaps might be added to the entire notion of what freedom is, and one might fairly include biblical references from the new testament on that subject, yet of course there are those with inherent bias against ‘religion’ or ‘theology’ and on the premise that the logos or word of God is Jesus Christ, they would ‘a priori’ exclude discussion of the Truth…oh well…to return to a plain naive empirical ground for discussion of what freedom means in order to determine if it’s addition to the word ‘will’ in a phrase has any meaning.
Will is an aspect of consciousness or sentience rather than attribute of inanimate objects. When one posits ‘does one have free will’ it must needs be a relational concept…’does one’ have free will in relation to some choice a or b, some non-choice, some activity or inactivity, or is one the prime mover of oneself in relation to the subjective being that one is as a Universally contingent being (one could not after all exist before the Universe (only Jesus claimed that, sort of, when he said before Abraham was, I am’) and instead must exist contingently grounded within the existing non-self universe.
Does one have ‘free will’ in relation to other social persons, or in relation to the Universe and inanimate objects, or in relation to a pre-determinism within a theophysical or teleogical context? These are some of the possible relational contexts of free will…including the obvious ‘Can one travel to Mars next week, or travel to the past of far into the future right now?
In reading a science news article December 17, 2005 I was impressed by an article on infinite minimal surfaces that mathematicians have modeled. A two-sided helix is one such.
These helixes have an obvious resemblance to d.n.a. models and thus the minimal structures and perhaps evolution that they might take, yet they also comprise as minimal structures some of the forms such as a saddle shaped universe that cosmology might present. Interestingly cosmological shapes and minimal structures might fit in a paradigm with d.n.a. structures, yet biological evolution, dimensions represented in math and so forth offer a sort of deterministic paradigm based on boundary “conditions’ perhaps?
Boundary conditions or parameters of being seem to implicitly entail set values that pre-determine possible ranges of ‘will’, conditions of being and such for both sentient and non-sentient existents.
The Higgs Field that is posited to have pre-existed the big bang or inflaton as an infinitesimally small field in perfect balance that became out of balance through quantum uncertainty and expanded at superluminal speed for 10-35th second is posited to have set the initial boundary conditions for the later locations of clumps of matter that became the galaxies of the Universe and I suppose the minimal surface shape segments cut out of infinite surfaces metaphorically speaking that phnomenalize as d.n.a. helixes.
I suppose it might seem that free will or life is supported by determinism, yet one still has all these unsolved initial boundary conditions that Christians such as myself like to attribute to God based on the scriptures such as one finds in Genesis and ‘let there be light’. In the initial Higgs field what set of boundary parameters allowed that quantum uncertainty to exist as a facet of the uninflated ‘universe’?
Uncertainty is a necessary aspect of free will, and perhaps of determinism too, if one takes Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothingness’ as necessary reciprocals of one another. The uncertainty principle appears as well to be an unavoidable compliment of quantum mechanical forms for the location of minimal forms of mass ‘existing’ or seeming to exist for observers in-the-Universe.
A particle or string seems to collapse upon observation to a speed or location yet not each from an infinite number of possible unobserved locations. Each particle seems to have a property of being quantum entangled with another poarticle at a distance in a spooky way allowing ‘information’ to be transferred faster than light. The grounding of particles seems ultimately to be beyond Planck length sizes on the smaller, unobservable side and so the infinities in relativity theory and quantum mechanics that are eliminated when they are formed together into a functioning ‘string’ super-theory transfer the mechanics mathematically into an observable range of smaller alternative ‘dimensions relying on theory, or eliminate a dimension or two and posit the world as information in fewer dimensions that seem like more. The infinite minimal surface conditions or analogues of D.N.A. helixes and perhaps curved space-time in an Einstein Desitter universe of a saddle shaped seem deontologically selected for temporal use by sentient human beings (oopps! sorry about that anthropic principle interpolation here) to usefully ponder while in existance and thinking about cosmological and philosophical topics.
Ranges of freedom are of course contingent, or within the problem of the criterion as Roderick Chisholm put it, in fields of motion and perhaps will. The relation of human will or conscious thought to various inhibiting or influencing factors are obviously useful to consider. In the range of logic or math one may strike similar elements from lateral sides in order to simplify, and one may in a sense strike the Universal criterion of determinism/indeterminism for humanity from social and subjective or individual relations without damage at that level…inately all human beings have either natural determinism or indeterminism regarding free will (Jesus offers salvation from that ‘original sin’ and allows one to overcome the natural determinism of a fallen universal criterion beseting humanity with temporality and such). Social freedom and the freedom to overcome natural challenges in the environment are proximal concerns regarding human free will(the Republican leadership seems to fail environmental intelligence presently-Science News reports the Greenland glaciers are doubling their melting rates over a few years, and of course polluting the oceans can be much more difficult to clean up than air pollution–the oceans can stay polluted hundreds of thousands of years perhaps).
One can consider if one has free will if someone has one in ‘chains’, or if the media target one as an individual and persecute making a mockery of the constitution and the ‘quaint’ notion of a society living by laws equally applied to all. Speaking of which, is the Presidents advocay of torture, torture prisons abroad, and wiretaps on Americans without substantive congressional and judicial oversight a good way to promote U.S. constitutional and democratic values? Even if their is a terrorist dangers a good communicater ought to be explaining that but equally and convincingly expressing the vital need for a free and just democratic society and not some sort of intimidating corporatist entity. Japan’s stock market is 70% owned by corporations, and individuals have very little to say about the real directions of what is in some senses a neo-corporatist state that the U.S. administration seems to want to emulate in several ways as ift has a sharing and caring economic relationship with socialist neo-authoritarians in China.To finish this up, determinism is contingent and yet necessary in several different relationship protocols of being, yet at every infinite level of micro and macro cosmology there seems to be an essential reliance on uncertainty, with being starkly accompanied by non-being, and of course non-being, non-space, and such difficult concepts can’t be actualized within the criterion of being.Determinism and indeterminism coexist like being and nothingness, the temporal and the eternal, and perhaps anisotropic directions of time with physically reverseable or isotropic field theories as imaginable yet unrealizable possible circumstances.