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Publication Details

The Freedom of Thinking and the Principle of Causality

(Original title: Sloboda myslenia a princíp kauzality)
Filozofia, 24 (1969), 1, 75-82.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
Natural, biological as well as nonbiological sciences and from them rising technical sciences are not thinkable without the consequentially valid principle of causality. The principle of causality is the standpoint that nothing in the world happens without cause, and that the momentary state of things and phenomena is the necessary consequence of the previous state and the determining cause of what is following. The development of physiology, cytology, biochemistry and the so-called molecular biology in the last two decades made real attempts possible to explain materially and functionally the substance of memory and the process of human thinking. Cybernetics and electronics constructed logical machines comparable, to a certain degree, with human central nervous system. This made it possible to analogize the functions of machine physical system and of human brain — biological system. There is no doubt that logical machine as a physical system behaves causally and, hence, in a determined way. The question can be raised of whether even human brain as a material system subject to the regularities inherent in matter, functions causally and whether its functions are therefore determined, predetermined by its own structure and factors which influence it, e. g, by percepts, conditions of the function, individual modifications — for instance, the so-called education etc., which are then causally determined by foregoing events etc., the so-called regressus in infinitum. This would mean that thinking and decision of an individual and of mankind would not be free but evidently predetermined by the past. Man would be only an object of blind powers of nature, subjective feelings of freedom would be a fiction and ethics a concept without meaning. The determinism of thinking and decision contradicts all the noble created by man in his history. The determinism of thinking and decision is not acceptable to mankind. Thinking is a discontinuous, gradual process consisting of individual steps whose biochemical background forms physiological and chemical processes of a synthetic, intergrative character. The elements of thinking, the memory records, are probably based on identical principle of linear records coded by a combination of the bases of nucleic acids, as it is in the so-called genetic records. In contradistinction to the free combinational capacity of the elements of a genetic record — genes, the association of coded elements of thinking must be uncomparably more complicated. Thinking can make sense and lead to a logical solution of a given to their if the biochemical process of association of material elements of thinking is subordinated task only inner, conceptual content. Secondly, the chemical or biochemical association of the coded elements of thinking must be thermodynamically possible or it must follow the chemical regularity as well. The chemical and physically chemical conditions of these reactions could be in principle expressed by equations. The equations would have to represent the possibility of a great variety of forms of thinking as well as its principal uniformity. From the purely chemical and physical point of view, parts of these reactions can have several equally possible and probable solutions. These, from the „mechanical“ point of view equally probable solutions do not have, however, from the standpoint of their inner content of thoughts, identical value. Therefore, one of two or several physically equally probable solutions need not be realized only on the basis of simple probability, but the process of thinking prefers one of the solutions according to the criteria for its inner content of thinking. In the process of thinking composed of a great number of steps, where equally possible and probable variants are thinkable in each step, the conscious process of thinking proper in the chain of dichotomously branched variants within very broad bounds can freely move and, within those broad bounds, make „freedom of thinking“ possible.
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