Do we actually choose our beliefs?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Feb 25, 2022.

  1. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I agree... but i thank most people disagree wit that.!!!

    Yikes... now youv'e convinced me that you'r confused :-(
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2022
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  3. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    You can abstain from asserting trust towards the existence of God, but not belief in life. Belief in life is the conscious existence of a level of satisfaction in life, and hedonistic stride towards freedom from the struggle. Hedonistic beliefs are subjective, but societal truth is objective, and that should include the law.
     
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  5. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    Paradigm shifts and discussion seem to go hand in hand. At one time I felt the need to defend my position or at least convey and articulate it. Anymore, I take the role of a student but no less the role of messenger or rather voice. If you matter so do I, and if we matter so do they, so it can get tricky in the considerations department of discourse.
     
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I was thinking about this the other day - where do our beliefs come from? Are they ever our own? I’d say they stem from our childhoods, adults back then telling us what to think and then assessing and reassessing them when we ourselves, are adults. Some things may stick, other ideas may fall away.

    Do we choose our beliefs? I don’t know - seems like some of them were chosen for us and we may spend a lifetime trying to rid our minds of bad ideas or build upon the good ones.

    Eventually though, we are responsible for what we do with our ideas (if we do anything at all with them), and you can only blame your childhood/others for so long.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2023
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    "who we are" is part nature and part nurture (experiences). Our experiences are an integral part of our identity.
    So, the answer to the question "are our beliefs ever our own" is "yes".

    Very true. I know some people who still use childhood experiences to justify their behavior.

    It's like building a sandcastle on the beach.

    You can't change the foundation of dry, shifting sand.
    Some children keep trying to use dry sand to build their castle and it just collapses. Some learn to wet the sand, and their castles stay standing.
    Even though both are built on the same foundation.
     
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  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    If we change our "programming" at some point in life, it's still (barring brain injury, surgical alteration by outsiders, radical drug effects, etc) the result of our particular identity configuration (at that time) being receptive to whatever external factors bring about that transformation.

    Whereas another person -- with different innate and environmentally acquired tendencies slash thought orientations -- may resist change under the same influences (whether they be harsh or comforting). This doesn't mean the resistant individual "can't be reached" at some point in the future, only that he/she may require different triggers or stimulus.

    Free will (FW) is not about being able to choose what, who, and where one is at conception and birth. Nor any innate programming, nurturing values, and the socioeconomic situation one acquires as the result of that (without having a choice). Such is erroneously conflating FW with the origins of the subject.

    The very notion of the above implies an immaterial and more fundamental version of selfhood that exists prior to being conceived and born as a body, with the latter's capacity to make decisions. Which is incompatible with a natural world to begin with.

    Some incompatilists focus on or submit skewered conceptions of FW like that because they motivatedly desire beforehand that FW be contradictory with the human circumstance, prior to the term even leaving the starting gate. And also to wriggle around the possibility of determinism not being strict or absolute, should events not be perfectly predictable -- to still have a hammer to hit FW with, just in case. (Since much ado is also mistakenly made in the incompatibilist camp about indeterminism or randomness being a qualifier for FW.[1])

    Free will merely denotes the subject/body being [contingently] free from external coercion (i.e., free to do what an autonomous entity does) and (in legal context, at least) free from clinical conditions (not insane), so that the decisions/acts performed by the subject are indeed the (occasionally excusable) responsibility of the subject: what the subject wanted (regardless of consequences, mistaken thinking, ignorance, etc).

    - - - footnote - - -

    [1] FW isn't dependent upon randomness or unpredictability. Totally disorganized interactions cannot output deliberated choices, and intermittent (mitigated) randomness intruding upon and disrupting a regulated system is just another type of external intrusion causing one to do something one otherwise wouldn't. Not unlike a gunman, out of amusement, forcing a non-addict to snort cocaine.
    _
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2023
  10. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    My beliefs have changed often due to new information, a convincing argument, or just thinking about it, but I don't choose my beliefs. I don't even choose to be open minded to new information, even this belief was the result of experience.

    "Free will merely denotes the subject/body being [contingently] free from external coercion (i.e., free to do what an autonomous entity does) and (in legal context, at least) free from clinical conditions (not insane), so that the decisions/acts performed by the subject are indeed the (occasionally excusable) responsibility of the subject: what the subject wanted (regardless of consequences, mistaken thinking, ignorance, etc)."
    I disagree with this definition. I conceive of the notion of free will as having the ability to transcend determinism. We are never truly autonomous, we are the result of sensory experience. We have merely the illusion of choice, which is good enough for me. External coercion could not rob one of free will if we had it. It strikes me that the mentally ill might be the only people with free will, since they are not bound by previous sensory experience and their thought processes can be chaotic. Quantum events are not deterministic, but they are also not ordered. Thus, an orderly state of mind must be deterministic, and a chaotic mind is a free mind.
     

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