Originally published @ http://sites.google.

com/site/journaloftheaofmn/chestersonphilosophical-materialism-and-the-concept-of-free-will Includes live links to references Chesterson, Philosophical Materialism, and the Concept of Free Will by Curtis Edward Clark Since the determinist doesn't believe in free will, it is true, as G.K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, Chapter II, that he believes "he is not free to raise, to curse, to thank, to justify, to urge, to punish, to resist temptations, to incite mobs, to make New Year resolutions, to pardon sinners, to rebuke tyrants, or even to say 'thank you' for the mustard." You can't have your cake and eat it too. Ayn Rand made the observation that free will is simply the freedom to think----or not. This supports Chesterson's words. But there is another important distinction Chesterson made, that "Determinism is quite as likely to lead to cruelty as it is certain to lead to cowardice..." The following excerpt, from the page called "Guide to Naturalism" from the website Center for Naturalism.org , will show the epistemology of this cruelty. [Look at the names of the contributors to the site. They are all contemporary, famous, and influential in today's society, so don't ask yourself why our nation is what it is.] "Our bodies and minds are shaped in their entirety by conditions that precede us and surround us. [I.e., determinism] Seeing that we are fully caused creatures not self-caused - we can no longer take or assign ultimate credit or blame for what we do. This leads to an ethics of compassion and understanding, both toward ourselves and others. We see that there but for circumstances go I. We would have been the homeless person in front of us, the convict, or the addict, had we been given their genetic and environmental lot in life." Thomas Clark This does not "appeal to the better feelings [of a criminal or to the] encouragement in their moral struggle," as Chesterson criticized determinism would not and could not. It leaves them free to bask in the "compassion" of fools when "(I)t is quite idle to pretend that it is in any sense a liberating force. [It is only liberating the criminal from his punishment.] It is absurd to say that you are especially advancing freedom [in this case certainly not of those who demand to live in a society of rational laws] when you only use free thought to destroy free will." [insertions are not Chesterson's] If the determinists can say, "there you or I would have been because we have not the free will to refrain from our actions", then they are destroying free will, and being cruel at the same time--not to the coddled criminal, but to the general populace who deserves "justice" in the moral sense of that word, (not as "retribution"). If one can accept the philosophically materialistic concept that there is "a coherently conceivable distinction between minds and material bodies" [PofM], but accept the concept as metaphysical and not as material, then the choices that the will can choose from are not "fully caused", free will isn't dead, we are not puppets of our physiology, and the determinists are wrong.

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