Human Free Will

Komal: If there is no soul, then there cannot be free will. I disagree with the compatibilists on this point. [...] Yes, there are many external influences, but there is still a free will, even given those influences, provided there is a free choice-making entity, whose choices are themselves undetermined; undetermined in any causal sense.

Me: What I feel about the human free will issue is that there is definitely a free will, but there are also strong deterministic influences. It is possible for the deterministic influences to direct what action is eventually taken. This is what i have always felt, and when I read Satprem*, I felt he was talking something similar. He speaks of a "frontal man", and the free psychic being (soul). The frontal man is essentially the psychologically deterministic being, while psychic being is free, and the over-all result of human behavior that we see is the combination of the two.

Komal: Yes. The more a person is attuned to their psychic being, the freer they are.

Me: Exactly. So it seems to me that the Compatabilist view cannot entirely be rejected, because that describes the 'frontal man', but at the same time, it is not the whole story, and we do have a Libertarian sort of free will co-existing with it.

Komal: No, that is not the compatibilist view. The compatibilists hold that the person is determined but still free; but the psychic being isn't determined. It's libertarianism. It's a kind of continuous libertarianism. There are degrees of freedom, I suppose.

Me: What would you call my view "a free will exists but that free will is not always being exercised"?

Komal: It broadly comes under libertarianism. Libertarians can still believe that human behaviour is constrained. It's just that there are degrees of free will, that's all.

* "The truth is twofold, but in no way are we puppets, except when we insist on mistaking the frontal being for our self, for it is a puppet. We do have an individual center, which Sri Aurobindo calls the psychic being, and a cosmic center or central being." [Satprem, Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness]


Awais Aftab said…
By soul we mean 'psychic being', although I should clarify that our position on the mind-body problem is not dualist but panpsychist.
Shazia said…
Quite an interesting topic. I have also been quite amused with this Human Free will versus predestination. I find your post interesting :)

Do find time to read something that I came up with:

Happy writing and reading!
Komal said…
I should point out that I'm somewhat conflicted about whether this is libertarianism or compatibilism (though it sure didn't come off that way in the post :P).

The key question is whether the soul would have made the same choice if the constraints of the situation were exactly the same. I do not know the answer to this question; or at least, I am not certain about it at the moment. If the answer is 'yes', then this may be a compatibilist position, even though the choices are not causally determined. If the answer is 'no' then this is definitely a libertarian position.
Komal said…
A great mystic, who is knowledgeable in the Integral Yoga, has indicated to me that in fact the libertarian position is correct. Both God and the psychic being (which is God is microcosm) are capable of acting spontaneously. Hence, they can make different choices in the same situations, provided that they abide by the general rule that God's will is to be expressed and His Kingdom brought closer.
Komal said…

'... which is God in microcosm...'