Inconsistency of Moral Thinking is Based on Free Will

In this post I connect the fundamental inconsistency of moral thinking established in my previous post Inconsistency of Moral thinking with belief in free will.

This is my understanding of what it is to have free will. We have the opportunity to exercise free will when we have a a choice between the following alternatives. We weigh the benefit of gaining a true good, e.g., life, over the costs of pursuing a path to attain a true good where benefits and costs are characterized in terms of satisfaction of inclinations. It turns out that the costs of pursuing the true good outweigh the satisfactions of having the true good. A clear case of this occurs when a patient is suffering a painful terminal illness.

In this post I do not elaborate on true human goods. They will be conditions such as life, liberty, knowledge and dignity. Here I need only specify that inclination satisfaction is not a true human good

Certainly, any characterization of the genuine human goods will bring out that they satisfy desires and inclinations. Still, it cannot be guaranteed that in all conditions the inclination satisfaction of true human goods outweighs the pains required to get them. This is especially the case when the probability of getting the satisfaction of the true human good is low.

Back to free will.

The alternatives for a free will choice when inclination satisfaction is attained by a situation different from having the true human good:

1. to pursue the true human good
2. follow our inclinations

The choice to pursue the true human good will be a choice to follow a rule commanding choice leading to the true human good.

The reality of free will as characterized here is well established in everyday life. It seems that people are faced with a choice of obeying moral laws when doing so is challenging. Frequently people seem to meet the challenges. I am almost certain that I have done so. Note that free will as here characterized makes no assumptions about universal causal determinism or divine omniscience.

So, the belief in free will leads to recognition of moral laws commanding pursuit and protection of true human goods. And now we have the source of the inconsistency of the previous post. This source of inconsistency is the concept of an obligatory good.. The moral rules both tell us that no harm ought to be but that some harm ought to be if the rules are violated.

I will not go into detail. But I think it obvious that as I have sketched out an interpretation of free will, there is free will if and only if there are moral laws commanding that certain goods be protected and pursued.

So, all that is needed to make the triad: belief in true human goods, belief in free will, belief in moral laws, an inconsistent triad is belief that at least one moral law has been violated