Sunday, 24 July 2011

Free Will

There's a British Sitcom  called Outnumbered. It tells the adventures of a middle class couple and their precocious children. It's actually a lot better than that sounds. The children are fine actors and the script is geniunely funny.

One of the children told his parents that it was their fault that he'd done something or other. His logic ran thus:

Our behaviour is determined by the effects of nurture upon nature. Since his nature was genetically determined by his parents, and since his parents were by far the most important nurturers in his life, then anything he did must be their fault.

And so to Amy Winehouse. Predictably, reaction to news of her death has involved people taking a moral stance on the use of drugs. "Sorry to hear, but stupid bugger." The argument being that she chose to do what she did, and that because she made the choices she did, she was less of a person than if she had made a different choice.

Along with a moral judgement, there is an assumption that we, as rational creatures, should choose what's in our own best interests.

I think I disagree, at least to some extent. I will try to add more tomorrow, but right now I'm exercising my free will, and going to bed, rather than continue to delve into what is becoming an increasingly complicated idea.

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