Why you should get up in the morning even if you believe in fate

thu17jan2008—03w017d4%— 03h48m00s—0utc

Si, abbiamo un anima. Ma รจ fatta di tanti piccoli robot. Yes, we have a soul. But it’s made of lots of tiny robots.

Giulio Giorelli, quoted from Daniel Dennett’s wonderful Freedom Evolves, which inspired this post

Assume fate exists: everything that is, has been and will be, was determined from the Start Of The Universe on, just as when throwing a pebble it’s trajectory is completely determined from its starting conditions (velocity, direction, mass, local gravity, friction,…). The Whole Universe is just one big mindless marble following a rut, or, alternatively, it’s an inconceivably vast number of inconceivably small marbles all following their dim ruts.

How, if we’re part of such a universe, if we’re made of such a universe, can we believe ourselves free agents? What is the meaning of our freedom if our thinking, feeling, or being is as determined from initial conditions as a whirlpool in your sink? How could we be subjects of praise or blame if we are, just as, say, a falling branch, nothing but the unfolding of natural laws?

Let’s start from the last question. Even if fate existed, it makes sense to attribute praise or blame because it still makes sense to talk about causes in such a universe. Yes, in a sense, everything that happens had its “first cause” in the Start Of The Universe, but do get over it.

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