Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
Ontology & Free Will
Ontology & Free Will
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless.
Understanding why God hardens Pharaoh's heart.
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless. The Stone is featuring occasional posts by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, that apply critical thinking to information and events that have appeared in the news. Could science prove that we don’t have free will?
Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts.
According to some thinkers, God only watches over people in a general way; according to others, divine providence extends to the minute details of life. The Jewish Religion: A Companion The Hebrew term for divine providence, , was first used by the medieval Jewish theologians who, under the influence of Greek philosophy, preferred abstract terms to denote ideas found in concrete form in the Bible and the rabbinic literature.
Our experiences indicate that we have free will.
The Bible records several problematic instances of God hardening human hearts, seemingly stripping them of free will.
Medieval commentators suggested justifications for God's hardening Pharaoh's heart.
If humans do not have free will--the ability to choose--then actions are morally and religiously insignificant: a murderer who kills because she is compelled to do so would be no different than a righteous person who gives charity because she is compelled to do so. Jewish tradition assumes that our actions significant. According to the Bible, the Jews were given the Torah and commanded to follow its precepts, with reward and retribution to be meted out accordingly.
From the beginning of biblical time, man has struggled to break his binding ties in order to become free, independent, and fully human.
If humans are to be held responsible for their actions, they must have free will, the ability to choose right from wrong.
Modern thinkers have addressed the free will problem by questioning the authority of science, acknowledging the limits of freedom, and asserting the transcendent importance of choice. Medieval Jewish thinkers were concerned with reconciling the contradictions between human free will and divine providence and foreknowledge. Modern Jewish thinkers, on the other hand, have been primarily concerned with the challenges to free will posed by the natural and social sciences.
Can we choose our way?
In the Middle Ages, Jewish thinkers struggled to reconcile God's knowledge of the future with human choice. The Jewish Religion: A Companion
According to some Hasidic thinkers, human free will is an illusion; God causes all human actions. There were at least two distinct clusters of ideas in Hasidism congenial to the denial of free will in one form or another, and which historically exerted pressure in that direction. The first was the Hasidic interpretation of the (Divine "contraction") in the kabbalistic thought of Isaac Luria, [known as] the "Ari."