'I Am the Master of My Fate' -- A New Take on Free Will

October 28, 2014 9:40 PM

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'I Am the Master of My Fate' -- A New Take on Free Will

The sentiment being expressed is more than empty piousness. Henley had grown up in poverty, and when he was 29 one of his legs had to be amputated as a consequence of tuberculosis. The other leg was saved only after many surgeries, and while he was recovering, Henley was inspired to write his poem, which ended on a triumphant note: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

On many grounds this anthem to free will can be refuted. There is no proof you have a soul, if you are a materialist. There is ample proof, on the other hand, that deterministic forces are at work inside us. A generation ago human behavior was largely attributed to genes, although the fashion today...

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