Other related topics at:
All In Your Mind
Religion and Morality
80. Free Will
"Sir, we know our will is free, and there's
an end on it."
273. Free Will
Boswell: "The argument for the moral necessity of human
actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal
prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity."
Johnson: "You are surer that you are free, than you are
of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or
not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a
deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the
objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home
tonight or not; that does not prevent my freedom."
Boswell: "That it is certain you are either to go
home or not, does not prevent your freedom; because the liberty
of choice between the two is compatible with that certainty. But
if one of these events be certain now, you have no
future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go
home to-night, you must go home." Johnson: "If I
am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability
how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my
judging. God may have this probability increased to certainty."
Boswell: When it is increased to certainty,
freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which
is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it
is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be
afterwards any contingency dependent on the exercise of
will or anything else." Johnson: "All theory is against
the freedom of the will; all experience for it."