Human nature and free will

Is there a basic and irreconcilable conflict between human nature and all philosophies that deny free will?

What we believe to be human nature, the normal accepted behavior, is naturally opposed to such philosophies, and therefore completely devoid of free will?

Welcome 2_of_8,

“There is a disputation [that will continue] till mankind is raised from the dead, between the Necessitarians and the partisans of Free Will.”
Jalalu’ ddin Rumi, 12th C. Persian Poet

In which camp do you pitch your tent?

Kind Regards,

I say no free will, collection of behaviors. /end

Depends on your definition of free will.

If by “free will” you mean “I could have done other than I did”, no - it definitely doesn’t exist.

If by “free will” you mean “I make choices and act on them”, yes, it definitely does exist.


what do we define as will? conscious choice.

freedom of will exists in so far as we all have the capacity to choose one action over another. in that sense i believe that free will exists, but that said it is of little value. as soon as we try to put our will into action we have limitations. possesing a freedom of will doesn’t imply a freedom of action, as our actions can never be free from consequences.

i would say that consciousness, memory, belief forming(thinking), freedom of will, sensation(physical response to actions/external stimuli) are all parts of human nature.

I don’t see the conflict between free will and human nature as i see free will as a part of human nature.

I don’t think Hitler youth had much free will :frowning:

I’ve a nasty feeling that for our conscious minds to perform their (primary) function (finding a novel/creative response to a set of external stimuli if such is beyond the ability of the unconscious for a given situation) it must ‘believe’ it is unencumbered by any ‘hardwired’ instinct or genetic drive, it must ‘believe’ it is in total control, long-term and short, possessing the holy-grail free-will.

The reality however is, at least from what I’ve read and thought about, that our conscious selves are the unconscious’s genie in the bottle, to be taken out and rubbed from time to time when in dire straits.

[size=75][Please no Dire Straits cracks Imp, and no “Who moi…?” 's either :wink: ][/size]

Think about what you are doing right now, the full focus of your consciousness is focussed on my words as the stagelight of your perception jitters across the patterns of black and white: Think of all the operations your unconscious autonomics are undertaking while you are preoccupied thusly - Hey - you scratched your nose !!! - were you aware of the itch…? Did you send your finger a’scatchin’…? Of course not. You were busy reading… But, no actually, you weren’t were you - were you consciously deciphering each letter in the sequence d-e-c-i-p-h-e-r-i-n-g…? Nope - your unconscious was doing that too - you, your ‘I’, was simply processing the meaning of my words into a narrative.

And while your curvaceously conscious mind is processing rationally the slippery meaning of this exotic narrative, your unconscious is also busily attaching those tit-bits of meaning to emotional responses. And not just to the words here, spread before you waiting, but the flow of them, how they roll across your liquid synapses. You are also unconsciously associating them with me, Tabula Rasa, and what you know of me and what you have read in the past of my posts, and all of these shadows flickering unseen in the caverns and crevices of your mind are priming your conscious mind to believe, disbelieve or discount me.

You may also be thinking about screwing, for no particular reason beyond a bit of tit and ass sprinkled through the last passage.

Of course we have free-will, but it is the freedom of the prisoner to walk where he likes in the jail-yard, a few hours a day, even then overseen by pot-bellied screws on towers with shotguns.

Sorry to have depressed you - but hey, you could have stopped reading anytime you liked… Couldn’t you…?



“Philosophies” that deny free will are religious in essence. All religions oppose human nature - that is their purpose. Read all of Nietzsche and report back to us. All of your questions will be answered.

What Twiffy said.

The same could be said of morality in general… Religion is just morality with an extra serving of sauce, and God the Maitre-De.

Well, Tab, you know I disagree. Morality that seeks to prevent “wrong” is as you describe. Morality that regulates “wrong” - that addresses it and provides sanctions against “wrong” actions, and not against the people who commit them (per se), is not untrue to human nature.

What is untrue is to suppose that people can be “bad” or “good”. Morality is purely social, and sensibly says nothing about individuals, but only about acts.

Morality has most often supposed that human will is judgable. That it is a variable. It is not. It is a constant, a given. Only acts can be unacceptable. Even if we destroy a person because of repeated “bad” acts, we do not sensically judge that person “bad” - again, only his acts.

“Free will” is religious, and so allows this mistake. Only God can judge us. Only a religious conception allows for “evil” thoughts. “Evil” intentions. Free Will is an idea that seeks to describe the existence of evil in the world. Since this is fiction, it has been the domain of the metaphysician.

A real world, lifebased morality would dispense with this notion.


There you go again. Smearing Dawkins paste all over the place. You speak of the unconscious as if it is knowable as a causal agent in thought and decision making, but the reality is that you are proposing another set of smoke and mirrors with no more credence than any other set. I like the theory, but in terms of grasping reality, it is just a trip into the hall of mirrors a reflection of a reflection of a…


I so wish this were true. But humans have given “morality” a bad reputation. While your distinction is correct, the on-the-ground reality is 180. We do judge the individual by the acts. Not only the individual, but his family, his religion, his race, his everything. I suppose it is human nature to stereotype. It gives us a convenient way to dismiss a whole class of people. Morality (as practiced) is the game of us/them. It is absolutely true that we do not judge a person sensically. That’s the problem.

tent - my general contention is that Nietzsche provides the basis of a Social Contract theory that operates as a morality in the way I describe. Maybe in another couple of hundred years.

Amor fati - faust, what the hell are you on about?

saitd - could you be just a bit more specific in your question?

Nietzsche was opposed to free will (theoretically and practically). I’ve no idea why you’re directing people towards his work in the manner that you are.

“Free will” is a religious concept. A good way to understand religion is to read Nietzsche.

My point is a bit more complex than that, but not much.

saitd - I am opposed to free will. It’s a bogus idea.

edit - I see why you are confused - I do not accept Free Will as a meaningful idea. The original question was posed about philosophies that deny it. Nietzsche thinks outside that box, and so do I.

My point is that we should neither deny nor accept it. I was unclear again. It is a religious idea - otherworldly - N’s amor fati is simply a different rendering of fate than the religious one.

I think human nature has one basic decision in regards to free will and this determins there outlook on life and governs much of it. The best suggestion of a goal to aim for is Aristotle’s idea of everything leading towards a good expressed in Nicomachean Ethics.
As for there being a conflict between human nature and those who deny free will… I am not quite sure why you think there could be irreconciable conflict as even if man did not have free will it would still have some type of inherent nature, whether or not this was implemented by God.