Monday, May 21, 2007

free will and posthumans

If God is so great then why is there so much suffering? Again, you'll have to take my word for it that the free will defense is the generally regarded as the best response to this question. You have to pick free will or pain free bliss and free will is better.

Free will is a slippery thing but, even supposing that we have it, not everyone has the same amount of it. And the people who have the most of it could probably stand to have quite a lot more. It's our ability to make choices that suggests we have free will, but because of our biological nature, there are many things that we simply cannot make choices about. Children and the mentally handicapped are less free than ordinary people because we don't trust their ability to take many decisions. Presumeably beings much smarter and more mature than the most able humans are better able to make even more choices and hence are more free.

So, in the future, if we suceed in improving our capacities (becoming more free), and significantly reduce the amount of suffering in the world, what will God's excuse be then?


Uri Kalish said...

Just two problems...

1. There is no God:

2. There is no free will.

Uri Kalish said...


I've just discovered your blog, and it seems like we have a lot in common, so... welcome to my blogroll ;-)
You are welcome to visit my blog too (I like comments):

mutt said...

hi uri, glad you could stop by. I'll check out your blog now.

I actually don't believe in God or free will (depending on how you define it), but thinking about the traditional philosophy of religion/theology arguments with transhumanism in the background is interesting. I'm sure it doesn't change anything fundamentally, but it does make the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds seem less plausible. I doubt most theists are very keen on transhumanism.

p.s. how did you remove the second comment?

mutt said...

oh, you should check out dan dennett's "freedom evolves", he has a long discussion of why Libet's experiments don't show what people normally think it does. I'm agnostic about who "wins" because I'm a total ignoramus on the subject.

Uri Kalish said...


Even if Libet's experiments are all wrong, I still believe in causal determinism, so no free will for me (and you).

p.s. Deleting a comment: When signed-in to blogger, you will see a trash can icon beneath your comments.