Some thoughts on free will

Just a few dribbling thoughts inspired by the history of philosophy podcasts coming from Kings College at the University of London.

First–if you’re not subscribed to this, think about doing so. It’s really a fascinating listen.

To more weighty things, now.

I’ve started listening to the podcast episodes dealing with the history of philosophy in the Islamic world; there’s a ton of great stuff there. The episode I listened to this morning dealt with Kalaam, the Mu’tazilites, and arguments concerning tawhid and free will.

Listening to the discussion of the arguments on how free will can exist–that God’s justice is unique and not particularly readily defined by our own notions of justice, which are necessarily separate–I was reminded of the problem of positing such radical oneness and transcendence while also positing that there are normative results that come from concepts of justice somehow different from yet apparently compatible with human notions of justice.

If you could excise the idea of a moral, commanding God from philosophy and ethics, would it make it easier? I think so–at least in the sense that there would be no need to tie ourselves into knots in reaching any number of ethical and metaphysical conclusions.

Huh. I wonder if there’s an intellectual tradition that allows for that? Oh, right…