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Free Will posted 04 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by TheDarkness, Peralogue

i believe the question is this. does choice entail free will? If it does then of course we have free will because all of us have decided to join this forum. If choice does not entail free will. then we must come up with a new definition for free will. will start a new topic about this. view post


Free Will posted 07 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Aesmael, Candidate

How is a choice made? view post


Free Will posted 07 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Sorcerous-Words, Auditor

by weighing the most beneficial aspect of the options...at least the most beneficial to our knowledge. view post


Free Will posted 07 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Sorcerous-Words, Auditor

of course with above it can also be instinctual. like moving out of the way of an oncoming car... view post


Free Will posted 22 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Corvis, Commoner

As Nietzsche said, and is quoted in the prince of nothing book one,
"I shall never tire of underlining a concise little fact which these superstitious people are loath to admit-namely, that a thought comes when "It" wants, not when "I" want..."

So what do you belive? Does it come when &quot;it&quot; wants or when &quot;you&quot; want it too? and if the thought comes when &quot;It&quot; wants not when &quot;I&quot; want then there can be no free will for, we would be moved by something out of our control making decisions so we think on thoughts that are not our own for they come when they want so it would seem that thought alone has free will... <!-- s:?: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_question.gif" alt=":?:" title="Question" /><!-- s:?: --> <!-- s:?: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_question.gif" alt=":?:" title="Question" /><!-- s:?: --> <!-- s:o --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_surprised.gif" alt=":o" title="Surprised" /><!-- s:o --> view post


Free Will posted 22 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Harrol, Moderator

Yes but I can choose what thoughts dominate. I never just have one thought come to mind on an issue but rather I have many. Then I choose which one to follow. view post


Free Will posted 23 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Corvis, Commoner

ah but the thought of choosing is a thought all its own. view post


Free Will posted 26 December 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Harrol, Moderator

Too true Corvis too true. view post


Free Will posted 05 January 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

&quot;Not free from what, but free for what.&quot; - F.N.[/i] view post


Free Will posted 07 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

All actions are the result of causal events and certain circumstantial conditions that induce us to act. Without these influences we would be unable to act, unable to decide between A or B. view post


Free Will posted 07 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Jamara, Auditor

Free will is one's ability to act against one's instincts because one chooses to. view post


Free Will posted 07 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

If an agent's action is free the agent has to have had the ability to do otherwise. view post


Free Will posted 08 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

I'm afraid I'm of the opinion that the question is a pointless one. Without accepting the idea of free will the whole background behind human interaction and one's idea of self ceases to have meaning - it literally is a question without meaning, because it negates both the self and others, and the world as seen through human eyes. I can't remember which philosopher it is, but the person I agree with most on this debate essentially says that even if determinism is true, it's not something that can mean anything to us because all our actions in effect are predicated on the truth of free will. It is impossible to truly believe or act as if free will doesn't exist, and is therefore irrelevent to pursue the matter of whether our actions are actually free.

Also if anyone mentions compatibilism they deserve a slap... view post


Free Will posted 08 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Israfel&quot;:2we977y3
I'm afraid I'm of the opinion that the question is a pointless one. [/quote:2we977y3]

Pointless because you don't like the answer? Or pointless because you fail to gain anything from it? The way I see it, I gain a whole lot from the discussion of free will, in the same way people gain a lot from their belief in a god.

Quote: &quot;Israfel&quot;:2we977y3
Without accepting the idea of free will the whole background behind human interaction and one's idea of self ceases to have meaning[/quote:2we977y3]

How does anything change by accepting that we have no free will?

Quote: &quot;Israfel&quot;:2we977y3

It is impossible to truly believe or act as if free will doesn't exist, and is therefore irrelevent to pursue the matter of whether our actions are actually free.[/quote:2we977y3]

It isn't impossible to believe anything, I could wholeheartedly believe that the sun rotates around the earth; I could believe any number of things. I fail to see how my belief in the non-existence of free will changes anything. view post


Free Will posted 08 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;jub&quot;:2sy15dp9
Pointless because you don't like the answer? Or pointless because you fail to gain anything from it? The way I see it, I gain a whole lot from the discussion of free will, in the same way people gain a lot from their belief in a god. [/quote:2sy15dp9]

No, not pointless because I don't like the answer, I fully accept that people could get a whole range of subjective bonuses from the discussion of free will. What I don't think is that the question can have any real meaning (see my points below).

Quote: &quot;jub&quot;:2sy15dp9

How does anything change by accepting that we have no free will?[/quote:2sy15dp9]

Quote: &quot;jub&quot;:2sy15dp9
It isn't impossible to believe anything, I could wholeheartedly believe that the sun rotates around the earth; I could believe any number of things. I fail to see how my belief in the non-existence of free will changes anything.[/quote:2sy15dp9]

I think you're missing what I'm saying, which is that the way we regard people, and ourselves as people necessarily involves us believing that people are making their own choices and have responsibility for their actions. The way we think every day, the decisions we make, our judgements of others, our justifications to ourselves depend entirely upon the notion of ourselves as free beings. It is impossible to truly accept that you yourself are a robot-like being driven only by causal levers that you have no control over, and, I would suggest, to apply this to others and be an absolute solipsist in this way. The point is that the way we think and act every day depends absolutely on a whole range of assumptions that directly and indirectly assume the existence and force of free will in both yourself and others. Next time you have a negative thought about someone's decision, &quot;I wouldn't have done that, that's a stupid thing to do&quot; for example, you assume that you have a choice and that they do too, as they are morally/otherwise culpable for the action, which they would not be in any real way if determinism was true. So therefore, whether determinism is an actual fact or not, one cannot truly act as if it was true, and thus for me the question is literally a non-question. It is not one that the human mind and english language are equipped to deal with and cannot legitimately be answered in a way that affirms determinism given these contraints upon the human mind and our language, regardless of whether or not determinism is a fact. Hope that helps clarify the position I hold on this issue. view post


Free Will posted 12 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

Determinism isn't the only argument out there, of which I am sure you know. Yet I am still puzzled as to why you would call this a non-question? I understand all the contradictions that determinism imposes, but what philosophical question does not come with these issues? From your explanation I would say you find the argument on personal identity a non-question also? What about consciousness? Dualism? view post


Free Will posted 12 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

It's true determinism isn't the only thing out there, but the forms of compatibilism I've seen all reduce the concept of &quot;free will&quot; or, in the more sophisticated forms, &quot;choice&quot;, to something far less than the everyday understanding. To my mind denying this form of free will is what is in essence nonsensical in the most basic way. There literally is no honest way we can begin to consider ourselves without effective choice, for the reasons I've mentioned, and still less is there a way you could begin to apply that in social relations.

Therefore, since even were we able to seriously consider the idea of free will not actually existing (which I would argue against, as stated), it would not be something that would have any ramifications for social matters, and I'd call that a pretty perfect case of a non-question. A question that is possible, perhaps, semantically speaking but makes pretty much no sense investigating from any philosophical or sociological perspective beyond, perhaps, a mere thought experiment. So to me it's a question that's a little like Ryle's Category Error (e.g. someone being shown round all of Oxford University's colleges and buildings and saying afterwards, &quot;yes, but can I please see the university, all I've seen are these colleges and facilities&quot;) - a basic error in mistaking a semantically possible quesion for one that actually makes sense.

I'm not sure what aspect of personal identity you're getting at, could you clarify? But I would mention that I'd probably come at it from a perspective much like Heidegger and perhaps Husserl; that the way we've become used to looking at ourselves in the world, that of a detached observer looking out onto a world of qualia, is a mistaken way of going about it. view post


Free Will posted 15 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Jamara, Auditor

I've always believed that free will exists. And it is a quality unique to man. But I have also firmly held the belief that we, as all animals, succomb to conditioning. And reading the last few posts, I had a thought. If you take an immigrant as an example, and you take watch how that immigrant intigrates into their new society, couldn't that be a study on free will? You have taken the person out of their conditioned environment and placed them into a new environment where the stimuli are different and proper responses are different as well. Some immigrants choose to intigrate, some choose not to, and some choose to mix the two societies . . . but in the end, they chose how to react to the environment, they weren't simply reacting. view post


Free Will posted 16 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

I suspect that the response doubters would leap at is that all that would be a test of is how and to what degree societies conditioned their citizens to cope with the unknown in its different forms. So perhaps someone from an incredibly remote (perhaps, say, prehistoric) tribe, who cast everything in terms of a rigidly ordered world where nothing changed and this was the uncontestable will of their god, would be utterly baffled by being plunged suddenly into modern western society, whereas someone from a more globalised culture, or even simply a more imaginative one, would be better prepared to deal with the situation. view post


Free Will posted 17 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Randal, Auditor

I think this is all a bit vague. &quot;Free will reduced to something less than is commonly understood.&quot; Well, what is commonly understood?

I believe free will of a sort exists in that people make choices all the time... but also that they're determined, in that given the same arguments they would make the same decision in every parallel universe. After all, your decisions aren't made by random chance, are they? They have reasons. If those reasons don't change, the decisions do not change either.

&quot;I would not have done that in his place&quot; still applies, because you -would not- have done so in 'his' place. After all, you have access to different information, have a different brain with which to process the information, different experiences, different desires, priorities and ideals to motivate your decision... you would make a different decision because of that. Quite possibly in fact a better one.

I think that is plenty free enough. We do the best we can according to our abilities and desires. But there's nothing magical about it, nothing that stands above the laws of nature, nothing that escapes the principles of causality. The causes just very often are found in your character, rather than in external circumstances.

I don't see how that conflicts with concept of humanity at all. view post


Free Will posted 18 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

That's pretty much a statement of the more plausible compatibalist theories I've heard. But I can't see how you can argue that the mere act of making a choice can be free if there's no way you could or would ever make a different choice - that seems to me to be reducing the concept of free will far below any rational use of the phrase; saying that you have a choice but will (and can) never choose any other way is to me simply a more dishonest version of determinism. 'Choice' in those terms is not a choice at all. I understand your point about reasons playing the predominant, but in the process of deliberation, one may weigh many reasons against another, and the ability to judge either above the another at a certain moment I would not call random chance.

To toss out an example (forgive me if it's overly complex or mildly retarded), if one supposes a case where one is deciding whether to condemn a murderer to death or life imprisonment, there may well be many varying reasons for either side. And while one's past experiences will necessarily have influenced how one views the options, I would suggest that to say that one would always make the same decision is to believe wholeheartedly in determinism - and if that's your point of view you'd do best to leave free will out of your conception at all. However, to believe in the concept of free will, and the possibility of either choice being made, is not to say that it comes down to random chance. It's a case of making a decision that is informed by and probably strongly influenced by the past and reasons, but not being utterly constrained by them.

So in this example I can recognise (for example) my great fury at this murderer for killing someone, who perhaps reminds me of a person who killed a relative of mine, and that society would be better off with this person dead, thus. causing me to want to put the killer to death. I can feel there are compelling reasons to put this man to death. However, I nonetheless recognise that the evidence is not entirely fool-proof and perhaps I believe that rehabilitation works better as a penal system than simply locking them away. Or perhaps balancing these reasons I simply weigh up the concept of justice against mercy. The reasons do not change, but which ones I ultimately accept as more convincing is something that I can debate in my mind and decide on through deliberation. The fact that reasons exist and provide motivation does not therefore mean that these reasons compel us to accept them.

So I would agree that causes are very often found within our character, but deny the assertion that these causes shackle us to a certain path. And it is that assertion that I believe stands at the centre of the point I made earlier about the lack of sense in asking the question as we do.

Added to that, I'd add that the principles of causality aren't quite as rock-solid at their foundation as we'd like to believe. Tossing out things I'm definitely not the best person to elaborate on (but hoping you take the point in the spirit in which it's offered), quantum theory and the idea that if you ran into a wall enough times, theoretically you'd eventually pass through it (something to do with alignment of particles or the like, I believe - sue me, not a scientist...) alone should make us pause and think that perhaps we should not take as coldly mechanical a point of view as I would suggest is taken in the above post.

Okay, that was possibly an overlong way of saying, &quot;good points, but I still disagree&quot;. Beg pardon. I'll try to think on it some more and come up with some points that will perhaps do your argument more justice. view post


Free Will posted 18 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by coobek, Candidate

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3j9a9yij
I think this is all a bit vague. &quot;Free will reduced to something less than is commonly understood.&quot; Well, what is commonly understood?

I believe free will of a sort exists in that people make choices all the time... but also that they're determined, in that given the same arguments they would make the same decision in every parallel universe. After all, your decisions aren't made by random chance, are they? They have reasons. If those reasons don't change, the decisions do not change either.

&quot;I would not have done that in his place&quot; still applies, because you -would not- have done so in 'his' place. After all, you have access to different information, have a different brain with which to process the information, different experiences, different desires, priorities and ideals to motivate your decision... you would make a different decision because of that. Quite possibly in fact a better one.

I think that is plenty free enough. We do the best we can according to our abilities and desires. But there's nothing magical about it, nothing that stands above the laws of nature, nothing that escapes the principles of causality. The causes just very often are found in your character, rather than in external circumstances.

I don't see how that conflicts with concept of humanity at all.[/quote:3j9a9yij]

I did not read all of the 4 pages here but to support your view of things - the 1st 100 odd pages of economic treaty 'Human Action' by Mises are a very interesting literature on this subject. Moreover reading it you will non stop have flashback of - oh my this is darkness which comes before or this is conditioning or thid id how Kelhus acts. A very interesting treatise, mind you if sombody hates economy - those pages are not about economy at all - and than again they are 100% about economy. The book is free to download from the web. view post


Free Will posted 19 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Randal, Auditor

The problem is, I fail to see the distinction. The causes do not shackle us to a certain path?

What -then- are your choices based on? If you choose to execute the murderer in your example, why? And if next you do not, why not?

Do you really think that given the exact same data and reasons, the exact same time to deliberate, you would make a different choice in a paralel universe? A choice not based on what you believe right, not on the reasons given, not on anything visible or measurable? You would 'just' come to a different conclusion?

Why would you choose differently if the circumstances are the same? I honestly see no reason why anybody ever would. Or should. What meaning do our choices have, after all, if they can change... for no discernable reason?

I do not see how that is any better than random chance.

Note that I am not arguing against your example at all. Of -course- deliberation plays an important role. -Of course- you make every effort to choose what you think is best. Deliberation is an important factor in deciding what is best, in analysing the data you have. Your mind and thought processes are one of the most important causes that determine the eventual outcome.

However, I also think that your deliberations would bring you to the same result in the end in any and all possible paralel universes provided the circumstances remain the same. You would think the same thoughts and arrive at the same conclusions. Why? Simply, because you are doing the best you can given your capacities. So you always choose what you think best or most pleasant, etc.

I suppose I am not very much hung up on the question of whether the choice is &quot;free&quot; or not. I don't care, as long as I am still exercising judgement, still trying to find the best path. That to me is a lot more relevant than any ephermeal concept of &quot;free will.&quot;

So in short, what I am saying is you could choose differently, if you were a different person. But you will not choose differently as long as the circumstances remain the same, because your deliberations will eventually lead you to accept one choice as the right or most favourable one. And you will go with that.


PS: Quantum theory is a nice one, often pushed forward by people advocating free will. Unfortunately, quantum universe does not support a truly free will either, as all it allows for in the way of undetermined events is random chance. view post


Free Will posted 21 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3emwejj1
The problem is, I fail to see the distinction. The causes do not shackle us to a certain path?

What -then- are your choices based on? If you choose to execute the murderer in your example, why? And if next you do not, why not?[/quote:3emwejj1]

The answer here would be, the way I see it, if you choose to execute the murderer, that would be because you let your anger overcome your beliefs, or upheld one reason for doing it over another. There are motivating reasons that could push you either way.

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3emwejj1
Why would you choose differently if the circumstances are the same? I honestly see no reason why anybody ever would. Or should. What meaning do our choices have, after all, if they can change... for no discernable reason?[/quote:3emwejj1]

You would choose differently because you have reasons on both sides, that often struggle against each other. What tips the balance can be many things, a surge of anger, a moment of clarity or inspiration that comes to you regarding the morality of your acts, a resolution one way or the other that depends on your volition and will-power.

It seems to me that you're assuming that people's reasons for doing things are always reasonable. Which is blatently untrue - someone might kill another for sport, stop an argument by force because they're bored, do something they regret later while angry, depressed and so forth, and so I can see many reasons why people would make different decisions given the same reasons and time to reason in.

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3emwejj1
However, I also think that your deliberations would bring you to the same result in the end in any and all possible paralel universes provided the circumstances remain the same. You would think the same thoughts and arrive at the same conclusions. Why? Simply, because you are doing the best you can given your capacities. So you always choose what you think best or most pleasant, etc.[/quote:3emwejj1]

This strikes me to be so overly optimistic I'm astounded - and I'm a liberal and oft-time optimist myself. People don't always do what they think is best or most pleasant. People often drift through life without thinking, without challenging social norms with their beliefs even when they're deliberating. People often do things they regret, sometimes only seconds later, and to say that they were doing the best they could according to their capacities strips away any kind of notion of moral responsibility you could possibly have. If everyone is doing the best they can, and it's the only thing they can, or ever could, do, there's no way on earth you could possibly blame them.

As well as 'choice' being bereft of meaning in your interpretation, then, you also have stripped the idea of responsibility for one's actions of any kind of relevence. If all we are doing is determined by internal systems of reasoning within our head, and these in turn are caused by a multitude of other factors, also unable to be anything but determined by their causes, then you are left with full blown determinism and no matter how much you claim it for this theory, the idea of 'choice' and, as mentioned above, 'responsibility' has no place within it. We might have an illusion of choice, but this in no way affects the fact that there's no way you can legitimately blame, criticise, praise, appreciate anyone, and many other things besides. All you are doing is acting out the result of many causal levels upon your brain. I'm not sure determinists and compatibalists realise the extent to which they are attempting to strip the world of meaning...

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3emwejj1
I suppose I am not very much hung up on the question of whether the choice is &quot;free&quot; or not. I don't care, as long as I am still exercising judgement, still trying to find the best path. That to me is a lot more relevant than any ephermeal concept of &quot;free will.&quot;[/quote:3emwejj1]

But this is exactly what you're not doing by your account... You are not &quot;exercising&quot; judgement at all. Your brain is merely following a path laid out for it in advance, and your brain is simply experiencing something that is essentially an illusion of judgement. No analysis is taking place, no choice is the end result, that isn't entirely set up in advance - because the importance of different reasons is set by your experiences (and can't change, which is the key point in your argument), things that have caused you to think in certain ways determine what you'll do in advance, and so you're no more &quot;trying to find the best path&quot; and &quot;exercising judgement&quot; than a robot programmed to move in certain ways.

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:3emwejj1
PS: Quantum theory is a nice one, often pushed forward by people advocating free will. Unfortunately, quantum universe does not support a truly free will either, as all it allows for in the way of undetermined events is random chance.[/quote:3emwejj1]

I'm not saying quantum theory on its own proves free will. What I'm saying is that the purely deterministic and mechanical conception of the universe has taken a hit with Quantum theory - why shouldn't it take another hit by acknowledging free will <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> I'm sure finding new laws for it would be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. That's conjecture of course, but I'm essentially pulling a Hamlet without resorting to religion; &quot;There are more things in heaven and earth...&quot; etc.

But also, I personally wouldn't be averse to a conception of consciousness in which the role of chance played its part. Why shouldn't things like inspiration, of whatever kind (musical, artistic, social), genuinely new ideas that strike out of the blue, and perhaps other things too, have a certain element of chance? Maybe (to take it further, though I wouldn't necessarily agree with the following) your account of having to act a certain way is true, but certain realisations only come to me randomly, and it is this randomness that causes parallel universes. And what would be wrong with this compared to your purely mechanical version where we can do nothing but what we do? Either way we have no genuine control over our actions, but in one version those actions are fixed and in others there's a degree of chance. It seems to me you have no legitimate way of criticising one without criticising the other. view post


Free Will posted 21 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Randal, Auditor

I apologise for not replying to your post point by point. I had started to, but felt it reduced the clarity of my post and risked getting side-tracked into endless rambling. I will shortly note that my opinion of human nature is not all that optimistic. I just do not feel there is much of a difference between rational and irrational reasons where this discussion is concerned, and threw them all under one header. Maybe I should have been clearer.

Now, your main objection seems to be the lack of meaning in a deterministic universe, so I will try to clarify my position on that.

My point, and it may seem like sophistry though I do not intend it that way, is that even though you will always make the same choice no matter how many exactly parallel universes there are, it still -is- a choice. It -is- based on all those deliberations, on what goes on in your mind, on rational reasons and irrational ones like that sudden surge of anger when the defendant smiles smugly.

Just because it is predictable, does not to me make it any less valid. Another person would have made a different choice, a better one or a worse one. You yourself in a bad mood might have made a worse one. You yourself but with less self discipline might have made a worse one. So why not praise a person who makes good choices? Why not condemn one who makes bad ones? It still is your personal achievement as much as anything you do is.

When deconstructed far enough, your ability to make those choices is not really the result of personal merit, yes. It is determined by your inborn intelligence or lack thereof, by the experiences you have had, by whether or not you are easily swayed by emotions or not and then whether your toast burned in the morning... you make good choices, but someone who makes bad ones through hot-temperedness could not suddenly to decide not to be hot-tempered and start making good ones.

But all that would -also- go if through some unknown measure the choice was -not- predictable. Just like a top athlete isn't really that good by his own merit, it is largely inborn talent. A genius is praised for his work, but he was born a genius. An altruist is praised for his good deeds, but derives pleasure and statisfaction from helping others. Self-control can be learned to an extent, but is much easier for some than for others.

Maybe that too makes you think the world is devoid of meaning. However, I think the evidence is incontrovertible even leaving aside the issue of free will that much of who and what we are is decided by nature and nurture, and that any praise (or blame) given is given to those people who were lucky enough, talented enough and ambitious enough (or the reverse) to achieve greatness. (or be failures)

I confess I do not find that greatly troublesome. I mean, it would be nice if the world was truly fair, but obviously it is not. If someone achieves great things, I am impressed even if his talent was inborn. If someone makes good choices, I will praise them even if he made those choices because he was born with a sound sense of judgement. And if someone lets his judgement be swayed because he broke his shoelaces in the morning and is in a bad mood, I'll kick him out of the court if at all possible because he will achieve bad results, even if he cannot really help his temper.

That also applies to choices made. Even if they are as free as you believe I think you would agree that that freedom only goes so far, that not everybody has it in him to make good choices no matter how hard he tries, and that not everybody has it in him to even try hard. Some people would just not care.

So my bottom line would be that finding out free will does not exist would not make the world any more devoid of 'meaning' than it is already, and does not make people more or less accountable than they with free(er) will.

I'm sure you've noted I have made no effort here to defend my position that there is no true free will. We can get back to that later, if you wish. I found this more interesting to talk about. view post


Free Will posted 21 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Israfel&quot;:2z395ubl

So I would agree that causes are very often found within our character, but deny the assertion that these causes shackle us to a certain path. And it is that assertion that I believe stands at the centre of the point I made earlier about the lack of sense in asking the question as we do.
[/quote:2z395ubl]

So how does this make us any less of a 'robot programmed to move in certain ways'? Are you suggesting at some point in your judgement you way up the possible decisions, and act on what you feel is best? So to put it crudely, you systematically eliminate possible decisions until you find the most probable action for success. Or do you somehow avoid using any form of judgement in your decision making? view post


Free Will posted 22 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;jub&quot;:mz77zt58
So how does this make us any less of a 'robot programmed to move in certain ways'? Are you suggesting at some point in your judgement you way up the possible decisions, and act on what you feel is best? So to put it crudely, you systematically eliminate possible decisions until you find the most probable action for success. Or do you somehow avoid using any form of judgement in your decision making?[/quote:mz77zt58]

Not sure I understand the question you're asking here; The reason you wouldn't be like a robot if you had free will would be the existence of a genuine choice. Battling internal causes that depend on an exercise of will, or at least acquiescence of an intellect with the capacity for choice, to motivate action is the very opposite of a robot. Hence my confusion with your question.

Judgement is of course exercised in choice, but it is not the systematic elimination of possibilities whereby we eventually come to one answer - that seems to me to be what is being suggested in the deterministic/mechanical conceptions of human action. Nor, I would argue, is it simply the stronger feeling that wins out. We decide which arguments persuade us, or at least whether we act upon the contradictary dictates of our different feelings and rational judgements (which both often conflict amongst aspects of themselves as well as each other), and to conceive of judgement in the above ways seems to me to be demonstrably incorrect and overly simplistic, as well as condemning one to a coldly deterministic world whereby you're placed in the odd predicament of having to disbelieve in meaning while living in a world full of it...

I would say one's judgement is composed of many aspects, both emotional and rational, with some of those aspects hidden even to ourselves at first glance as well as the usual elements we are aware of.

When we are considering whether to give money to a beggar, there's (for example) the sympathy we feel for another being in distress, the consideration that they might spend the money on booze, any moral code we follow that might dictate kindness to strangers or those in need, perhaps even a feeling of mild revulsion at their appearance, which we might not even admit to ourselves. These all combine in different ways, and then you get onto issues of self-analysis, or aims you have (other uses for the money?) and other beliefs about society, yourself, and so forth. These combines to form various arguments for and against. How you finally act, what final weight you give to them is what I would suggest is not (and cannot sensibly) be determined. Do you side with certain feelings over others (revulsion vs empathy), rational reasons over others (giving money to charity vs money that will help individuals now), all of which have a certain weight beforehand in your mind, perhaps, but with the myriad interpretations and complexity (as well as lack of certainty) it's nothing so simple as weighing two scale in your head and the result that wins dictates your actions.

God, listen to me ramble on. Apologies if my replies aren't always amazingly insightful, but I'm still exploring the issue myself and trying to weigh up what I actually think as well as argue the point <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


Free Will posted 28 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by jub, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Israfel&quot;:10hi1foa

Not sure I understand the question you're asking here[/quote:10hi1foa]

In plain terms, how would you explain your actions as being free? view post


Free Will posted 29 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Israfel, Peralogue

An action is free (in the sense of free will) if in making a decision about actions, there is a genuine choice about which action we will in fact take. If there is not an actual sense in which another decision could have been made then the action is purely determined by other factors, both inside yourself and out - you put in certain stimuli and through a complex reaction inside of you (elements of which are structural and all of these are themselves determined by outside factors according to a determinist viewpoint) a certain action results. Essentially mine is a conception of action in which the consciousness has a choice to make, and can genuinely decide which way to go. Further ideas of mine about how the internal process works I included in my posts above. view post


Free Will posted 29 November 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionFree Will by Raz, Commoner

Well all decisions depend on predetermined circumstances, so theres no way to rationally differentiate between the ideas of free and controlled will. If all our decisions are just results from all the factors involved and the role played by human thought, then one could say that free will is just an abstract concept, and to question the validity of free will is to assume that the 'will' is in a state where it can be free or essentially controlled, or that there is even a will to be free.

If someone is limited to subjective thought however, I guess they could judge the will of someone else being imposed on him or her as an infringement of their own will, but theres nothing to suggest they have ever been forced to make a decision; no one can be forced to make a choice, because they fact the choice is made makes it free, and all else just became a factor in its making. view post


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