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Lisa B.'s picture

Week 7

Does free will exist? One of the first philosophers and theologians that wrote about free will was St. Augustine (254-430).  Augustine wrote that "all can be saved if they wish," where God gave man the power of saving themselves and the power of damning themselves. However, Augustine's teaching seems inconsistent with free will. If God foreshadows who will be saved and who will not, then why does the Roman Catholic Church acknowledge the existence of free will? A research physiologist, Benjamin Libet (1916-2007), had one of the strongest arguments against free will. His procedure showed that the brain initiated any action before we were conscious of the act. While Libet's data violates the concept of free will, the debate within philosophy and theology is far from over. Before I researched Augustine and Libet for this blog I wanted to believe in free will, but Libet's data was persuasive and I am now comfortable thinking about life without free will. 


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