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Author Topic: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?  (Read 919 times)

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Offline ShrowdedPoetTopic starter

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Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« on: November 23, 2008, 06:41:32 PM »
Morality and free will, is there a connection?  If there is a connection, what exactly is this connection and how does it play on free will?  Does everybody and everything possess morality?  Does everybody and everything possess free will?  What if your moral compass is broken?  If animals do not possess morality and free will is directly dependant on morality, do animals possess free will?  What are the set standards for morality?  Does this mean that there has to be absolute truth? 

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 08:17:10 PM »
Anyone who has owned been owned by a cat wouldn't question whether or not animals have free will.  ;)

There are situations where people are forced by morality to make a certain decision (in other words, if they were amoral, they would have a greater range of options), so it seems likely that morality restricts free will to an extent.  However, moral codes are not rigid in the same way that computer codes are, so it would probably be a stretch to say they fully prevent free will.

Offline ShrowdedPoetTopic starter

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 08:25:49 PM »
Well, my question really wasn't if morality prevented free will but does free will depend on morality.

The thought that morality limits free will is an interesting one. 

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2008, 08:40:20 PM »
Well, think about it - for many crises there is going to be at least one option that involves breaking society's rules - be it stealing a loaf of bread when you're starving (Can you hear the people sing?), or growing pot when you're on chemo for cancer or AIDS, or killing someone for abusing you.  Morality will take away those options until a certain threshold is met (as I mentioned in the other Free Will thread), at which point, moral codes break down, and those 'immoral' actions become possibilities.

It's an influence on decisions, but doesn't take away the ability to make them.

Offline ShrowdedPoetTopic starter

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2008, 08:42:13 PM »
Oh I was thinking about it and I completely agree. 

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008, 12:44:41 AM »
Morality, immorality, or amorality are all the products of the exercising of free will. To put it simply. Every action anyone makes will result in that person doing something moral, immoral, or something that morals don't apply. (Buying cereal is the best example.)
Even if a person steals a loaf of bread because they're starving doesn't mean that stealing is moral. It might be deemed necessary (Especially by that person) however, there might have been other avenues the man could have gone down. Asking for food, going to a soup kitchen.

To say that immoral actions become possibilities is sort of misleading. They were always possibilities. However, they weren't the more rational or favorable ones. It's much easier to do the wrong thing, and in times of hardship the wrong becomes much more tempting, and more easily rationalized.     

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Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 12:49:55 AM »
Perhaps I should have said 'personally acceptable possibilities'.   :P The point is that the individual's moral code nullifies that branch of the decision tree until the crisis point is reached, at which point the weights of those options increases from 0 to some p>0.

Offline Gnomez

Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2008, 08:15:20 PM »
I view morality more as a constriction of free will, just as free will can be a destroyer of morality. Because, morals are a standard of ethics adopted by a given set of people. They are guidelines which a populace 'should' abide by in order to be viewed as good or decent. However, what is considered moral by one group of people, can easily be viewed as sacriledge by another. (Such as beef-eaters vs. followers of Hindu)

That is not to say though, that free will and morality cannot coexsist. Someone can exercise their personal perspective of free will while abiding by their codes of morality. As in all things when it comes to such rhetorical questions: Pespective is the key.

Animals, absitively posolutely have free will. The social codes which they abide by are not influenced by a set of morals, but rather the codes for survival, and whatever behavioral modifications (i.e. domestication) that the human populace has given them. And just because humanity influences animal behavior, does not mean that it is an implication of moralistic behavior. It is perfectly fine for dogs to sniff each others genitals...but I dare you to try and go up to someone in public and not find yourself in jail for the next few days.

Are there absolute truths in which most people can agree on? Yes, I believe there are some things everyone in the world can agree on:

Do not rape
Do not kill (in cold blood)
Do not steal
Charity
Love

Certain virtues will always ring true with the human spirit, no matter where you come from, or what God/s you follow.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2008, 09:27:25 PM »
Morality is a function of free will.  The two cannot exist apart from one another simply because without free will, nothing a person does can be moral.  If a person does not have a choice but to do good then they are not held responsible for doing good.  Just as a person that cannot avoid doing wrong cannot be held responsible for doing wrong.  No option, no choice and no responsibility.  Free will is required in order for that person to make a just and right decision or a wrong one. 

Also just because someone is following a moral code does not mean they no longer have the options.  For instance when on a diet, the options are still there.  All of us are painfully aware that simply because we are on the diet the food options do not disappear.  Just as saying I will always do right does not necessarily mean the “wrong” options disappear. 

Social norms and morality are also not the same thing.  Morality depends on an absolute truth, on something being right in all ways and all places.  That absolute truth goes beyond a particular society and is not tied to social punishment.  Me sniffing someone’s bottom is probably not immoral, but the social norms are obviously against such an option.

And no, many societies don’t follow those “truths” so plainly.

Offline Tomor

Re: Morality and Free Will, is there a connection?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2008, 10:59:01 PM »
The philosophy of morality and free will is going to be different for everyone. We tend to congregate with those people that share the same morals as we do and in doing so give up a bit of our free will, contray to the act of choosing, which is an element of free will in its self.

Morality and free will are connected, but I believe that it is free will that dictates morality. As people we are going to 'adjust' our morals, which is an act of free will, but I dont believe that we ever give away our free will completely. When we choose to live in a society it seems as though we give up a bit of our free will, but everyday that we choose to be a part of that society is a choice of free will.

They are linked....which i suppose is what everyone has been saying in one way or another?