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Free Will Philosphical Dialogue

MS. Why is it so necessary for you to consider that whatever happens is somehow ˘necessary÷? How do you account for the behavior of persons who are placed into situations not of their own making?

PH. They will act in a way to conserve themselves (419). I give the example of the thirsty man who can choose to take a drink or not, and ˘in either case, whether he partakes of the water, or whether he does not, the two actions will be equally necessary; they will be the effect of that motive which finds itself most puissant; which consequently acts in the most coercive manner upon his will÷ (419).

MS. You are conflating an issue of physical survival--which has to do with the laws of nature and the human organismĂs need for water--with moral choice. A drink of water, except in a condition in extremis, does not rise to the level of moral choice, and any situation in which it does will involve not a shelf of motives floating in a sea of necessity but competing wills.

PH. You are deliberately misunderstanding me. I am saying that natural law is indeed working on the (illusory) will of man and determining his behavior. The individual responds to the force of such law as a motive power. Just because you may not be able to identify the source of the manĂs decision does not mean there isnĂt one. You must ˘recur[] back [and] . . . perceive[] the multiplied, the compli


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Free Will Philosphical Dialogue. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:45, October 24, 2014, from
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