A Primer on Ethics by Tibor R. Machan

By Tibor R. Machan

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Does God allow free will? According to a theological argument, if God knows everything, God knows the future, and what we do is therefore unalterable. If God knows that you will have three children, then you have no choice-you have three children. Your fate is preordained. God's "knowledge" is mysterious. We cannot draw inferences about human knowledge on the basis of divine knowledge. God's knowledge is not likely to be the kind that humans have. Indeed, the nature of God's knowledge is a mystery.

Sperry, have found evidence for the existence of free will in this sense. Sperry's view depends on some of the premises that I have already discussed. It presupposes, for example, that different kinds of causes occur in nature and that the brain as a complex neurophysiological system may manifest self-causation. (In an organism with our sort of brain, some mental functions may occur by what Sperry calls "downward causation," for which he finds some evidence in the external environment as well.?

As we have seen, any proposed ethical theory that cannot provide such guidelines is unsuccessful by definition. Another criticism observes that people might act in accordance with utilitarian ethics and have obviously nonutilitarian motives. ) simply to achieve a good reputation, with no thought of the greatest happiness. ) Still another objection to utilitarianism holds that it requires a centrally organized, dictatorial state. A great bureaucracy would be needed to assemble a vast quantity of information before the greatest welfare of the greatest number could be achieved.

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