Free Will as a Cultural Trait

Stephanie Wilson (swilson@BIGCAT.MISSOURI.EDU)
Mon, 23 May 1994 11:09:50 -0500

On Thu, 19 May 1994, Dave Rindos wrote:

> I think the interesting question WRT 'free will' is why the concept
> bothers to exist at all. From the anthropological perspective, it is less
> interesting whether IN FACT such a thingamabob called Free Will actually
> IS than *why* it, and concepts like it, are present as cultural traits at
> all, and why it appears to have different forms in different cultures and
> in different settings within any given culture.

[Stuff Deleted]
> What sort of cultural 'function' might Free Will have? What role could it
> play in cultural processes? How could this relate to its evolution in
> specific cultural settings? What would be its effect on other cultural
> processes and beliefs?
In terms of development and applied anthropology, could the concepts of
free will and determinism effect the success/failure of a development
project? Could a culture's belief in determinism contribute to a concept
of "limited good", meaning that `there is only so much to go around and
I'm not likely to get any'?

Food for thought,
Stephanie Wilson