For many years there has been a debate in philosophy about what we call 'free will'. Partly thanks to Nietsche's statement that everything is only interpretation and his statement that God is dead, determinism has been gaining ground since the early 20th century. Even today, the general view is that 'science' will eventually find an answer to everything and that we are therefore determined. Here my view which, of course, is only an interpretation.
Because the world around us and our interaction with this world is too complex for our brains to comprehend, our brains have evolved over time to think in meaning. This enables us to attribute meanings - which are not there in themselves - to phenomena in the world, in order to be able to do something with the complexity of the world. Language is an important tool in this [a]. Unfortunately, ambiguity is a common flaw in the language; a semantic reference seldom corresponds exactly to the ontological reality [b]. This cannot be otherwise, because if language did cover reality perfectly, it would again be so complex that it would not help people.
A simple example of interpreting at different levels is given by Joel Anderson (1).
Imagine that a participant in a chess tournament (…) suddenly realizes that the game of chess is one big fake, because "Pawns don't exist - it's just wood!". (2)
At that moment, this participant does not realize that we live in a world of meaning and have thus placed a kind of new reality on the complex reality [c]. In his 1949 article, Gilbert Ryle accuses Rene Descartes of making a category error. Since Descartes claims that mind and body have different properties and must therefore be something essentially different (3), Ryle says that one does not follow logically from the other (4). It's like having met all the players on a soccer team, but wondering where it is team now is [d]. The participant in the chess tournament makes the same mistake; on a different level, the same physical substance can have a different meaning. “They don't as if it is a pawn; it is a pawn ”(5).
Another similar error can be found in the question of how it is possible that we, even though we seem determined, still think that we can act freely and therefore have free will. Harry Frankfurt states that although our actions are determined, we can bring our 'will' into line with these actions (6). Freedom is guiding your behavior based on desires; what you do in the end is then a result of your will. This illusion of free will is, in a sense, emergent to the structure of the brain and the world of meanings. Even if we try our best to escape this illusion, it is still inevitable. Or to quote an example from Daniel Wegner: even if you know that you are going to be fooled by an illusionist, you still allow yourself to be fooled (illusion of the magic self)(7).
The conception of the different levels of meaning shows similarities with the 'perspective dualism' of Jurgen Habermas. Habermas states that you can still be held morally responsible for your actions (2nd person perspective), even though you cannot abstract free will from reality as such (3rd person perspective) (8). It is therefore not possible to appeal to the deterministic perspective when acting, because from the reality of meanings - which in this context can also be read as 'society' - you are held responsible for your actions.
Suppose that after reading this article you can agree with the thesis and substantiation and you believe in the vision of the world in the form of meaning, then the chance is small that you will actually act differently in response to this article. the daily life. As mentioned, this is no different: the current reality of meanings and the pressure (too) that this places on us from society is still too complex for us not to be fooled and to switch perspectives. It is no different: our brains are not like that.
[a] Meanings only make sense from a second person perspective, so when interacting between people. As Wittgenstein (9) and Malcolm (10) indicate, it makes little sense to keep these meanings within a 'private language'.
[b] I don't have a source that says this literally, but I think (if I had more time) I could deduce it from Chapters 2 and 3 of Semantics (11).
[c] I use 'reality' to indicate the ontological, complex reality independent of man. I use 'reality' to describe the world as human beings describe it in language (and meaning).
[d] Example taken from a lecture by Dr. Annemarie Kalis.
- Anderson, J. (2011). Freedom Through Involvement: Strawson and Habermans Against Free Will Skepticism. Why Free Will ?, pp. 232-251.
- Ibid., P. 244.
- Ruler, H. van (1999). About the nature of the human mind; that it is better known than the body. Finished Descartes, pp. 237-244
- Ryle, G. (2002). Descartes' Myth. The Concept of Mind. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 11-24.
- See source 1, p. 244.
- Frankfurt, HG (1971). Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person. Journal of Philosophy 68, pp. 5-20.
- Wegner, DM (2008). Self is magic. Are we free? Psychology and free will, pp. 226-247.
- Habermas, J. (2004). Freedom and Determinism. Pp. 1-11.
- Wittgenstein, L. (2006). Philosophical Investigations. Translation Derksen, M. and Terwee S., pp. 109-127.
- Malcolm, N. (1958). Knowledge of other minds. The Journal of Philosophy, LV No. 23, pp. 969-978.
- Saeed, JI (2009). Semantics (3rd edition). Pp. 23-80.