Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
Tellwell Talent

"Procirclism has departed from the free will issue and proclaims there is neither free will nor no free will. There is just will and that is the force necessary to manifest behavior."

The free will debate has raged for over 2,000 years. Do individuals have control over their own actions and decisions, or are these actions and decisions predetermined by the gods, logic, nature or nurture, or many other forms of determinism? In this new work by Kral, he takes the reader on an intellectual journey that attempts to provide an alternative to the free will question. Upon initial inspection, the question, at its heart, seems to imply either a yes or no with explanations while excluding other answers. However, Kral manages to create a compelling third option, which posits that the question itself is flawed. He argues that “will” cannot be considered free or not free. His reasoning breaks down what the word means in the context of this question, and his results lead him to create an additional theory about the source of human behavior. which he has titled procirclism.

Many of the earliest philosophers, including Socrates and Plato, who began to tackle this debate leaned toward humans having free will as it gave humans control and made arguments about morals and responsibilities easy to understand and reconcile. Later, the Stoics leaned into a kind of determinism in which the natural laws controlled nearly everything. Since that time, nearly every philosopher and thinker has weighed in on the argument, on one side or the other. Emmanual Kant attempted a sort of hybrid or dualistic answer with determinism present while still leaving room for human freedom. In 2005, Robert Kane wrote an extensive overview of the topic in A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will. It is a debate that has kept going on for thousands of years. Considering its lengthy history, Kral’s attempt at questioning the question itself and providing what he deems as a revolutionary approach is admirable.

Kral’s writing is easy to follow, and he makes a topic that can be mentally taxing accessible to nearly all readers. This is quite an achievement. Kral gives the reader multiple examples from daily life to help explain his ideas as well as using simple math when applicable. The book’s format is also an interesting component of the overall experience. Through the first few chapters, readers may feel that Kral’s ideas are easily countered or that they are partially confusing. However, the reader who sticks with the book will find that this is part of the process and a conscious decision by Kral. He purposely uses his theory of procirclism through the writing process. The reading causes questions that spark more thought, and then he gives the reader more information, thus promoting more thought and so on. The easy counters begin to lose their weight, and the parts that may be confusing are fleshed out as Kral digs deeper into his thinking on the subject. Whether or not the reader is convinced of Kral’s argument, believes it is just another form of determinism, or comes to a wholly different conclusion is secondary. The experience of revisiting what seems like a tired debate with a fresh lens is worth the time, and Kral’s book is easy to recommend to anyone with a passing interest in philosophy.

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