Free Will and Human Dignity

What is the value of free will and the ability to make your own choices? Prof. James Otteson recalls a parable his teacher taught him in high school.

If you had the ability to make a woman fall in love with you, would you like it? Would you prefer to force someone to love you or to have someone offer to give their love to you freely? Love freely given is so much more valuable.

This story illustrates an important moral insight: Respecting people means allowing them to make their own choices, even if you believe the choices they will make are poor. Without the ability to choose for ourselves, we lose a bit of what makes us human.

Do you find it frustrating when you are not allowed to make your own decisions? What would you do differently if people or government were not preventing your actions? Do you think you’re better or worse when your choices are limited or taken from you?

Have your say… Leave your comments below

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  • razer

    Still on topic somewhat but get a 404 on new content. I don’t believe it is the the British- British who are committing these atrocities. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/06/10/dispatches-uk-modern-slavery-bill-leaves-migrant-domestic-workers-unprotected

  • razer

    Well and good. B.F. Skinner’s book Beyond Freedom and Dignity was a hot topic with my university generation. Since that time many books have been written about the subject. In today’s world, if we are lucky, are free to make choices, but the choices we make are predetermined by a variety of media. We are void of critical thinking and accept things as true because someone on the tellie said it was true and we never bother to verify the information. That’s how it is folks.

    • http://www.meebal.com/ meebal

      Certainly agree with the influence of the media and marketing also plays an enormous role which again almost removes our ability to make a free choice. I’ll have to look up the book Beyond Freedom and Dignity.