Free will in Kingston

Went to the Kingston Philosophy Cafe last night for a very interesting talk by Roger Jennings on Free Will.

Two things stayed with me:
1. is it possible to imagine how one would act if one was convinced that there was no free will and every action was predetermined? (I can’t imagine that.)
2. Is there a difference between having free will, and believing that you have free will? (it’s possible to conceive of situations in which you thought you had, but actually didn’t, or in which you did, but did not realise you had.) It is of course one of those questions, as I think Anthony Flew said of the existence of God, that you can neither prove nor disprove, because it makes no actual difference (that we can perceive) to life on earth. There is no generally accepted evidence either way.

Roger quoted from a book by Julian Baggini:”Thinking about the freedom of the artist should change how we see the free will of everyone…. to be free is to be able to generate highly personal outputs from the inputs of nature, nurture and society, not to be free from their influences, able to create from nothing…”. I hadn’t seen it this way before: struggling with my own artistic practice, I was beginning to see art as a kind of monstrous egotism the artist imposes on society. (I have taken this photograph or created this image, now you must look at it…). If you see it as the exercise or even the evidence of free will, it sounds a lot better!

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