The Existence of External Forces


To determine whether a particular action was decided upon by an
individual or whether the action was predetermined one must study its cause. In
studying cause one finds that there are two types of causes those that are
typified by natural laws, such as a dropped book falling to the ground, and
those typified by the moral considerations of men. This distinction is
important because it shows both that no man can control his environment contrary
to the laws of natural or scientific laws, but neither are his actions
completely out of his control.
The first type of cause we can consider as accepted facts, these would
be the natural and scientific laws that all objects must obey. It is obviously
false to assume that a man may walk through a tree or fly like a bird, but these
things can be factors in the set of causes leading to an action.
The second type of cause is more difficult to define. It is made up of
the past experience and perceptions of men, but more importantly it is the way
in which men use these things. This type of cause is arrived at differently in
everyone, and it cannot be measured, predicted, or understood as well as the
other type. In fact it is often unable to be seen at all, but it must exist
simply because the entire world or even the simple workings of one man\'s brain
cannot be described completely using only the laws of nature. A complex moral
decision is created in the mind of men by more that just a random or predictable
set of electrical impulses, but by the not completely understood spiritual and
psychological make-up of men. This type is the “true” cause of an action.
When one sees this combination of causes he must accept the idea of
dualism. Dualism is the idea that there are two hemispheres of the universe,
the physical, ordered and understood by science, and the spiritual, abstract and
not understood. The spiritual hemisphere is the force that guides actions that
cannot be explained solely by physical causes. While the moralistic cause may
have more weight in the type of action, it cannot ever defy natural laws. For
this reason both radical determinism and free will seem impossible. With this
description given, to determine the amount of free will that a thing has, it is
only necessary to see how that thing uses or is affected by the two types of
causes.
Let us first consider man. Man is obviously the creature for which this
argument is designed principally. Man is affected by his physical surroundings
and uses a complex cognitive system and a complicated set of morals to consider
his actions. Man might first, upon seeing a picture, be stimulated
neurologically by and use past experience to make a recognized pattern from the
shapes seen. This would be the purely physical and determine reaction to the
picture, but this would probably not be the total reaction. Man might use his
knowledge to create opinions about the picture, he might experience an emotion
in response to it. He might ultimately make judgments based on the opinions and
emotions that in a way that is not scientifically ordered, understood, or
predictable. Man then, must have free will within the bounds of natural law.
The distinction is more difficult in the case of a dog. A dog quite
obviously is affected by his physical surroundings, but can he use cognitive
processes to make decisions beyond his instinctual drives? The answer to this
question is yes, and no. A dog can rely on past experience and in the very
simplistic ideas of rewards and punishments can determine right from wrong.
This alone does not give a dog free will, he could still be bounded by his past
experience and have little conscience effect on his decisions. However, as many
dog owners know, dogs often do purely “human” things which show their ability to
exert some level of control over their actions beyond the instinctual level.
For example, a dog probably, on seeing his owner after being left alone for the
day, would have the physical reaction of noting the presence of and recognizing
the owner. The dog might connect the return of the owner with a filling of his
food dish and anticipate it with hunger. These would be determined reactions
set both by the instincts of the animal and his past experiences, however, the
dog might also feel the emotion of anger towards the owner for having left him
alone for the day, and act out