Free Will?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Neutrino_Albatross, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. Neutrino_Albatross Legion of Dynamic Discord Registered Senior Member

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    Since every decision we make is determined by a combination of factors we can't control and experiences we've already had and can't change does that mean we really have no free will?
     
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  3. Firefly Registered Senior Member

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    Maybe we only have a degree of free will?
     
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  5. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    We control our surroundings to an extent, and they control us to a greater extent.

    Free will is a rather unnecessary concept.
     
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  7. Firefly Registered Senior Member

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    Unnecessary to ... ?
     
  8. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Philosophy. We don't need the concept of free will except as a comparison perhaps.

    No-one is absolutely free.
     
  9. Zero Banned Banned

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    True. I think free will is all relative, is it not? I don't think there is a set goal for people trying to get self will. What is the highest form of free will, though? Insanity? This is confusing...

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  10. ~The_Chosen~ Registered Senior Member

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  11. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Xev, you could stae the debate of free will.

    Think of all the matter that makes a person up and then picture it in a scales pan, on the other pan think of all the matter in the universe.

    Which one is heavier? well it's not going to be the person (No matter how many television dinners they put back).

    This suggests that the universe has more control over us, than we have over it. So "Free Will" doesn't actually exist.
     
  12. Kater Registered Member

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    Hi all , nice to find such a cool place

    I think that there is no such thing as free will but at every point in our lives we are offered choices/options/ routes , call it what you will, which are created in part by our surroundings and in part by the very nature of who we are. Each choice offers up more possibilities and whilst there probably can't be an infinite number of choices i:e free will, we can still make choices that to us in our own very small but unique environment seem like 'free will'.l
     
  13. orthogonal Registered Senior Member

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    Doubtless, nature made us what we are. Every organic molecule in my body interacts with every other molecule on this planet according to nature's whim. If we were lumps of coal that would be the alpha and the omega of it.

    However, we aren't lumps of coal, are we? We are men. We turn up half-baked as it were, and then have to finish the process of defining ourselves. Thus to my mind, Sartre's assumption that, "Existence preceeds essence," is only half-correct.

    Sartre did not believe that man has a human nature. I disagree. I say we do have a human nature, that is, we are predisposed to certain common behaviors. For example, both rain-forest Pygmees and arctic Innuits alike, laugh when they are happy and cry when they are sad.

    Though we share common predispositions, fortunately, we also possess a complex human mind quite capable of over-ruling these predispostions. Richard Dawkins has always taken pains to stress the point that we are not merely genetic automatons.

    In an ontological sense, as long as I think that I have a free-will, then even if I can't see the big wind-up spring in the middle of my back, the very apparition of my free-will, in fact, represents a free-will. Though imperfect, it is a free-will nevertheless, and we shall have to make do with it.

    Aside from the consideration that we actually have a free-will, even if we were little more than marionettes dancing on strings; society only functions properly on an assumption of personal responsibility. As Isaac Bashevis Singer wittily noted:

    "We have to believe in free-will. We have no choice."

    I believe we have a very imperfect form of free-will. In any case, I believe we have to act as though our free-will were sufficient to bestow a sense of personal responsibility upon us.

    Welcome Kater!

    Michael
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2002
  14. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    How droll my life would be if I thought everything preordained and that there were no choices in life. I would much rather think that I have the influence over my own life to a great extent. Now whether I choose and how I choose to exercise that free will is the point. I must of necessity accept the results of exercising that option. If I up and choose not to go to work, that is my choice and I have exercised my choice of free will. If I do so and then get fired as a result of that choice then that is a result that I must accept with the choice. But each and every day I go to work, I have the option of making that choice. I work because it is what I choose to do. In choosing, I have excerised the choice of free will.
     
  15. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

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    Hi Kater.

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    I have free will. Don't I? Someone tell me!
     
  16. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    Oh. I forgot, welcome to sciforums, Kater!

    Yes Adam, you have choices also. Therefore you have free will...
     
  17. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Adam,

    I couldn't tell you if you have free will or not, because that would bring us into a discussion of "Observatory relative positioning" in relation to the universe we know.

    In otherwords, if I had my special little quantum-comuptational device that inhurs spacetime bends and dimensional distortions. I would know what path your going to walk before you were decided about walking it.

    Unless you yourself have the ability to observe that path and chose otherwise then you'd start a fractalating pattern of Chaos that would exist until you have a coherent path to travel.

    (The question should be, "Do you feel free?")
     
  18. orthogonal Registered Senior Member

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    Stryder,
    Two Taoist sages were walking on a bridge. One says, "I wish I were a fish. They are so happy!" The other replies, "You're not a fish, so how could you know if they are happy?" The first sage says, "You're not me, so how do you know whether I know how fish feel?"

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    Michael
     
  19. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    Okay, I'm having trouble tackling the idea of free will.

    Perhaps this is just a pipe dream (okay, it is just a pipe dream!) but I'm having a serious problem comprehending what the words 'free will' mean.

    Our brain and thoughts are a series of chemical reactions and neurowhatnots and all. There is no possible way for things to happen differently. As it stands, the Universe was created in such a way that I would one day be typing this with my legs crossed and 34 C weather outside in Toronto. There is no chance I would not post this thread. Because of the way my brain works there is no alternative to me writing this as I am. As Time by Floyd (one of the few Floyd songs I thuroughly enjoy) plays in the background this is the only possible thing I could be doing at this moment on this day. There are no complete randomes in nature, everything is dependant on something else. So because of the way the Universe began I must end up doing this.

    When I hear people debating free will a lot of times you get people talking about themselves as if there is a conscienceness seperate from the chemical reactions in their brain. In this case free will assumes a 'spirit' exists. And that pretty much assumes a god exists, does it not? Which would complete obliterate free will. So, things are going to happen as they are goign to happen. Whatever you do, that is what you were going to do. The Universe was set in such a way that you would end up doing everything as you do it.

    Point out my pipe-dream flaw please!
     
  20. Kater Registered Member

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    Much obliged to you all for the welcome, I'm glad I found such an interesting place just diheartened that there are so many threads that I want to post on and at 56k time really is money, I digress

    I think it all comes down to definitions, as orthogonal wrote:
    "Though imperfect, it is a free-will nevertheless, and we shall have to make do with it."
    In the universal understanding of free will which to me would be an ability to go anywhere and do anything we don't have freewill but, I assume because you all have access to a comp and thus the net, because our situation is such that we are not really hindered by materialstic problems, no complaints I'm a student

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    , that anything we wish to do is open to us.
    As wet1 said:
    "In choosing, I have excerised the choice of free will"
    However small the number of options available to us, go to work/don't go to work, there is still that free will to chose from the two. So whilst someone could say "I knew you'd do that", they were simply guessing 50/50 and their random speculation would no way be linked to the resons for your choice.

    Tyler wrote:
    "So because of the way the Universe began I must end up doing this."
    Sounds like predestination to me. There is nothing to suggest this idea, simply by sitting back in that chair for the rest of your life won't get you a girlfriend(this is conjecture only

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    ) but going out may. You can choose to do either and so there are two possibilites for the universe. Its easy to second guess everything but if every act I do has already been preordained then what I do means nothing because I can't do it any other way. This, to me at least, is not the way the world/universe works and I have to believe this otherwise my life and everyone else's is worthless. Free will does not IMO assume a spirit or therefore a God it is simply the ability to have multiple choices to do x amount of things at any given second and to exercise those choices unhindered.
     
  21. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    Kater you're confusing my idea with the concept of 'Destiny'. Destiny is to suggest (most often) that no matter what I do, be it lay back on my chair or go out and work, things will end up the same way. I'm not talking about that at all. What I'm saying is that everything you do do, whether it be sitting back in the chair or going out and working, was going to happen.

    Choose a number between 1 and 10.

    Stop.

    There was zero possibility of you picking another number.

    Now, you can say something like 'Oh? But I could have picked 5 and I actually picked 7'.

    Well, no, you didn't pick 5 you picked 7. And that's exactly what was going to happen.

    The idea of Destiny means that an ends will be met not depending on the means. What I'm saying is that the beginning, means, ends, EVERYHTING was going to happen that way. When I talk to someone because of the chemical reactions going on in my brain and due to the factor that there are no actual randoms and everything is dependant on the beginning of the universe (if you trace it back far enough) then everything was going to happen the way it did. The comment that because of this someone could just sit back and do nothing and reach the same ends as if they'd done something is preposterus and does not relate at ALL to what I'm saying. If I sit around my whole life then that's how things were going to happen. All I'm saying is that from the beginning of the Universe on there was no other way for things to happen but how they did.
     
  22. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Tyler:
    Actually, free will was invented by the Catholics to explain how anyone could disobey an omnipotent God.

    If memory serves.

    Anyhow, there are a few flaws in your logic:

    You assume that we cannot control our brains. We can.

    You also fail to take chaos into account. Otherwise your theory leans towards determinism, and the thought of you as a determinist made me laugh so hard I got Port up my nose.

    Which kinda sucks.

    Oh, and determinism is bunk.

    Shit, I thought you bought them at the Wal-Mart.

    Welcome to Sciforums, Kater.
     
  23. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    This is definetly too much of a pipe dream to explain.


    "You assume that we cannot control our brains. We can."

    I think you've just confused me beyond all possible belief Xev. Either I'm really stupid or you're really stupid, and this is up to you to decide. Are you suggesting that we are more than our brain? I highly, highly doubt it.

    So what you are saying is that we can control parts of our brain with another part of our brain. And what I'm saying has nothing to do with this fact at all. It's not even part of my logic!


    Answer me this one question - do natural randoms occur in the Universe? And I mean COMPLETE randoms? As in ENTIRELY NOT AFfECTED BY ANNNNNNNYTHING ELSE? I honestly don't know and this is central to my pipe dream.
     

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