Why free will is impossible

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by litewave, May 20, 2011.

  1. Regular0ldguy This is so much fun! Registered Senior Member

    Massive internal inconsistency, as previously pointed out.
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Pointed out by whom? I have to admit you do seem to be on the money with the "massive internal inconsistency" in your own arguments and refutations.

    You don't seem to really know what a consistent argument is.

    It's ok though, this is a forum and nobody is expecting any less; besides most posters aren't studying philosophy or logic, and they don't have exams to sit. Why would they come here for "answers" if they did?
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  5. Regular0ldguy This is so much fun! Registered Senior Member

    No one is coming here for answers. This is exercise. But you don't seem to have the right gear.
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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Funny, that's exactly what I think of your somewhat fuzzy logic.

    You appear to be unable to see the flaws in your own arguments; you come across as someone who doesn't have a good grasp of logic. That you accuse others of having the same faults is ironic at least.

    But basically, you don't know how to argue a point, and when you don't understand an argument all you can do is disagree with it. But you can't say why you think it's wrong. You're the one who doesn't have the goods.

    I bet you don't even know what a valid form of argument is, or what Aristotle was on about.

    So nya nya.
  8. Regular0ldguy This is so much fun! Registered Senior Member

    Start the thread over. You so conveniently forget the past.
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Do any of us really know the nature of time or of the future? Can any of us talk about time with any kind of assurance? This whole argument seems to mostly be about dueling metaphysical theories that to a large extent are matters of faith.

    As for me, I lean towards a compatiblist account of free-will that define both 'causality' and 'freedom' in such a way as to make them compatible. (Determinists implicitly argue that this is impossible and that 'causality' and 'freedom' are inherently incompatible.) But I'm not sure what a satisfactory compatibilist account would look like.

    The reason why I'm unwilling to give up the idea of free-will is that I observe myself making choices in my own life all the time. Our whole ethical system presupposes choice and responsibility within the limits defined by the conditions of our lives. And animal neural systems certainly seem to have evolved to be decision-making engines of some sort. Presumably they have some real task to perform.

    And ultimately, I just don't believe that every event in the entire history of the universe, including every thought and decision that every sentient being in the universe will ever make, was already present, fixed and encoded in the conditions of the big-bang. That assertion is what hard-determinism seems to ultimately amount to. To my eye, that looks like another sort of creationism, just as outlandish in its own way as the divine sort. I don't believe it.

    Of course, I don't already possess the ultimate secrets of time, so my favoring compatiblism is basically just my own metaphysical intuition at this point.

    What about present propositions about future events? On the hard-determinist theory, the future is already determined. So propositions that are uttered today about future events presumably already possess fixed and determined truth-values. (If the future isn't determined yet, then today's propositions about future events might not possess any fixed truth-values at all until the future events actually occur.)

    Aristotle discussed this famous problem of 'future-contingents' in Bk 4 of his 'On Interpretation' and it's remained a topic of philosophical discussion ever since the 4'th century BCE. The medieval philosophers paid a lot of attention to it. For anyone who might be interested, the SEP article on 'future contingents' is HERE.
  10. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    which making something a law, takes away both our choice AND our responsibility..

    and don't get me started on how much our society is conditioned..
  11. Arkonos Registered Senior Member

    You lifted your arm up because you wanted to. Whatever the reason was that made you want to lift your arm also was caused by something previous too it and so on ad infinitum. There is absolutely no proof for Free Will and it would seem that in the end all it is is that we feel we have free will simply because of our perception of ourselves and our actions in the universe. Being omniscient would give us an entirely different point of view and would never let us slip into the delusion of free will, which is caused by us feeling an uncertainty about everything we do and its possibly ramifications.
  12. Pierre-Normand Registered Member


    I think if you are to trace the causal source of an action to the *reason* for doing it then you are latching on an item that isn't a mere link in a sequence of mechanically ordained events. This is similar to explaining the source of a belief. You may want to identify the acquisition of a belief with some neurophysiological event, say, but when you explain the acquisition of this belief through mentioning reasons a subject has for holding it, then you are likewise rooting free of a mere chain of mechanical events. That's because you aren't merely providing an explanation of an empirical event (the neural correlates of the belief acquisition, say) but you are locating that event into an irreducibly normative space. You are taking a stance on the mental state being rationally correct or incorrect when you mention reasons for someone to exemplify it.

    So, if someone sets out to prove the Pythagorean theorem, say, and then on the basis of that proof acquires the belief that it is a true proposition of geometry, then what explains the acquisition of the belief may that he set out to prove it. But the more fundamental explanation should explain the source of the correctness of the belief -- how did he come to see the truth of the theorem? -- and this is something to the effect that the theorem itself is true and the subject has the requisite skills to prove it. Those aren't mere empirical items for which you need to find determinations in the past. They are items towards which you take an irreducibly normative stance.
  13. Telemachus Rex Protesting Mod Stupidity Registered Senior Member

    Most of what I have read suggests that the average person searches for reasons to support his or her pre-existing core beliefs. They do not develop core beliefs because they are the the logical consequence of reasons.

    This gets to Scott Adams's supposition. Suppose there is free will, but not all humans have it? What if some people are complicated automata, and a few—he specifically suggests those who are able to escape the bonds of confirmation bias—have free will. Suppose you are the only one with real free will? How do you distinguish that universe from the one we now live in?

    It's a silly question, of course, in that I know I have free will...but I am not so sure about anyone else.
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    There was motivation to do something. What to do and to do it at all was a choice, which has bearing on future choices.

    We have choice within a framework.

    I could point my .38 at you and tell you to raise your arm, giving you the illusion of not having a choice...since you might think I'm enough of a maniac to actually shoot an unarmed person and do it. After all, I'm nuttier than an effing fruitcake these days.

    OTOH you could wrestle my gun away from me and try to shoot me, then figure out I forgot to load it...:facepalm: At which point you'd have pissed me off and I would probably try to choke you, since for some reason that's what I do when I'm scared and angry....
    Why did we get in this fight anyway? Jeez, I'm sorry, this was really dumb. Can I buy you a cup of yuppie coffee instead?

    Life is all about choices.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  15. Incompatibalist Registered Senior Member

    Wow.. it's ridiculously simple. The universe is composed of laws. These govern everything including ourselves. Everything has an effect, you cannot choose the effect it has. You have a brain from this all your thoughts and actions originate. The brain has in it, all the effects it will have towards every single stimulus. Just like a basketball does. Throw it at the ground hard enough it will go up at a certain height and certain speed. All effects are 'preprogrammed' so to speak. Crush it with enough weight and it will burst. All effects are 'preprogrammed'.

    You get punched in the face you feel pain. It's the result of the configuration of the brain. You may ask... 'well what if I change my configuration'... well you rdesire to do so is also 'preprogrammed' because it is who you are as an object in this world governed by laws that you would want to do such a thing. It's really simple and it annoys me that people cannot get it.

    The debate of compatibalism and incompatibalism is resembling the debates of religion and atheism/agnosticism. That is to say... on the religious side (ie compatibalist side) you have people claiming something for which they have 0 evidence and something which may as well be unprovable. And then you have the agnostic/atheist side where you have a shit load of evidence to the contrary.

    There is a quote on the incompatibalism page of wikipedia and I think it articulates all this quite nicely and concisely.

    "Man is free to do what he wills but cannot will what he wills." /thread
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  16. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    It is not as simple and straightforward as you are saying it is. For one free will and absolute freedom are not the same thing.
  17. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Meh...I will a lot of things.
    Aliester Crowley used the analogy of a hundred-headed nail when he was talking about will.
    Most of us will different and conflicting things. We do have a free choice of a finite number of options.
    Does that mean absolute free will? Of course not. This is physical reality, you can only do so much with it.
    But just because we have a variety of programming imput, we still have some power to choose our actions and reaction.

    You are not the program alone, or the body alone, or you genes and history alone, or a product of your culture alone. You choose in a framework.

    So not totally free, not totally predetermined either.
    It's not something that resolves into absolutes.

  18. Pierre-Normand Registered Member

    It's so simple, really, that you managed endorse the position you claim to be contrary to all evidence. This Schopenhauer quote, which you seem to endorse, is actually the statement of compatibilim in a nutshell. You may also want to look at the Wikipedia page about compatibilism. You also seem not to have noticed that the most prominent thinkers who have endorse compatibilism, from Hume to Skinner, have been atheists.
  19. Incompatibalist Registered Senior Member

    I will disregard chipmunks post because less value could found in pointing out his idiocy.

    You are an idiot my friend. If you are making errors at this point in the discussion Viz. me pointing out the resemblance of this debate to the religion debates, I would suggest you stop dipping your head into threads of this kind. Obviously you couldn't infer that I am saying that it is my position Viz. the incompatibalist position that has most evidence supporting it... while your position has almost 0 evidence for anyone to assert the existence of freewill. Again... once more... the freewill position is resembling the position of any religious person. And mine.. the incompatibalist is resembling the atheist/agnostic position. And it's funny that you claim that what I quoted is something in support of compatibalism. Just give up on thinking about something deeply philosophical (at least more philosophical than what you probably think is philosophical) until you can understand the words you are using and have studied logic.

    It is obvious that you don't understand anything, you have other people think for you which is why you are talking about 'greatest thinkers' 'endorsing compatibalism' like I'm supposed to care. And even specifically talk about their religious believes as if it's even closely related. I don't care who endorses what, I want to see your reasoning for believing something, and you have no reasons... other than 'omg hez a grate thinker durr imma agree' or 'omg these particles act randomly which leaves the door open for freewill durrrrr de ddurr'
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Wow, can Incompatibilist respond to anyone politely?
    According to himself, no.
    He maintains he has no free choice, after all.

    Personally, I think he freely chooses to insult people, and it really is quite free: this is not a choice with very much consequence in his life.
    He gets banned on an internet forum? big whoop. He is therefore able to allow his inner id out to play and anonymously say the nastiest things to people, with no real penalty.

    So, the genuine Incompatibilist would like to run around in RL calling people names, but does not as that would entail serious consequences.

    Incompatibilist...if your purpose here is, as I believe you stated it, to enlighten people...being abusive does not do it.
    Arrogance in an instructor is a real mind-closer.
    I don't know who educated you, but if they were as abusive as you are I can see where you got your serious anger issues.
    If it was a parent I'm quite sorry.

    I actually suspect you're really here to vent your hostility and will get banned shortly. But I'm going to put you on ignore anyway, so I can be blissfully unaware of the vitriol you're spewing. I've put people on ignore for much less, so it's high time.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Besides that, you keep misgendering me.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  21. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    You got some kind of problemo there sport . Are you trying to make a run for the Devil position sperm bot . Yeah like one of a million sperms trying to grab hold the brass ring . There can only be one
  22. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    I am glad you found the thread . Post your evidence. Lets see some of that set theory you said can prove it . I am sure Alphanumeric will get an endorphin rush when He see it. He be the Major Math around hea !
  23. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Mod Note:


    Read the Site Rules and Regulations.
    If you cannot engage in discussion without resorting to insult, I'm afraid your time here will be brief.
    Consider this a verbal Warning.


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