Dostoevsky is my favorite author.  Part I of Notes From Underground is one of my favorite things concerning philosophy and religion he wrote (also The Grand Inquisitor chapter in Brothers Karamazov, both must reads).  In it he talks about the possibility of science explaining away free will, and his opinions have greatly influenced mine on the subject.  These are some excerpts,  I'd like to know what you think about them and the topic at hand.


"All man wants is an absolutely free choice, however dear that freedom may cost him and wherever it may lead him to.  Well, of course, if its is a matter of choice, then the devil only knows…"

"But I repeat for the hundredth time that here is one case, one case only, when man can deliberately and consciously desire something that is injurious, stupid, even outrageously stupid, just because he want to have the right to desire for himself even what is very stupid and not to be bound by an obligation to desire only what is sensible."


"He would even risk his cakes and ale and deliberately set his heart on the most deadly trash, the most uneconomic absurdity, and do it, if you please, for the sole purpose of infusing into this positive good sense his deadly fantastic element.  It is just his fantastic dreams, his most patent absurdities, that he will desire above all else for the sole purpose of proving to himself (as though that were so necessary) that men are still men and not keys of a piano on which the laws of nature are indeed playing any tune they like, but are in danger of going on playing until no one is able to desire anything except a mathematical table.  And that is not all: even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematically, even then he would refuse to come too his sense, but would on purpose, just   in spite of everything, do something out of sheer ingratitude; actually, to carry his point."


"I believe this is so, I give you my word for it; for it seems to me that the whole meaning of human life can be summed up in the one statement that man only exists for the purpose of proving to himself every minutes that he is a man and not an organ stop!"