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Free Will perhaps not dead?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Mock Turtle, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked

    Even if this is hardly the only aspect that has seemingly condemned Free Will, I have always been suspicious of such evidence, since we just do not know enough about the workings of the brain yet.

    Comments?
     
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  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    How can a poor fella have free will if somebody can de bunk it?

    Oh the agony!
     
  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I've yet to see a viable definition of the term 'free will'. But it is an interesting article. I had seen that 'action potential' argument used (I didn't think it really went that far), so it is interesting to see it debunked.
     
  4. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
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    I think such studies are worthwhile to learn why humans make the choices they do, but I tend to see "Free Will" as an exclusively religious notion. "Free Will" is essentially used as a justification for God to send people to Hell. That's mainly why I don't believe in it.
     
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  5. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    This.

    The term "free will" is quite vague. On the one hand, it can be used as a placeholder for all that we don't know about human motivation. That's a lot, we do not know much about why we choose what we do, especially the stupid and destructive choices we are so prone to make.

    On the other hand, it seems that the primary use of the term is to plaster over the Problem of Evil. Why won't God talk to everyone? Why is there so much suffering and idiocy in the world if God is omnimax and benevolent? Free will is a conveniently vague term that can give the illusion of having answers to such questions, when in fact you don't.
    Tom
     
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  6. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Of course you were completely free to post or not post that OP.
     
  7. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    This is why the wise man doesn't believe every popularized notion supposedly based on science.
    I'm glad that scientists and philosophers are going discuss the meaning of free will more deeply. Maybe they can come to a deeper understanding of what consciousness is while they are at it.
     
  8. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    The experiment has nothing to do with free will, or philosophy in general.

    Free will is self-determination. It is often mistaken as some thing inside of us (a "self") that determines what we do, but that's just a realist interpretation. "Self' is none other than the things we do. Since it is not some thing inside of us making us do things (which would be determination, not self-determination), it is not contradicted by things outside of us making us do things (experimenters).
     
  9. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    As soon as I saw it I knew I had to - so probably not. Always willing to poke people in the eye. :D

    I'm mostly a believer in free will actually - well at least to the extent of having a belief that I do have control over my own behaviour. The brain timings I have always been a little suspicious about but my knowledge (and my ability) has left the matter up in the air. Likewise, the philosophical proofs of determinism also don't convince me entirely - and where too I lack the ability to know for sure.
     
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  10. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    The brain timings were used as an argument that events happened before we consciously knew about them though. Which some seemed to use against free will.
     
  11. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I am quite happy knowing that i can turn left, right or walk straight ahead when i go out of the front door.

    Sure, sometimes its to go the shop. I turn left, others i will just walk where my feet take me
     
  12. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Which is also not contradicting free will.
     
  13. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Strange Loop

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    One thing I find surprising is how people debate about "free will" without actually defining it. In my experience, everybody "knows" what it means, unless you can get them to think about it.

    The only notion of "free will" that I think makes any sense at all is compatibilism but a surprising number of people refuse to accept that it counts.
     
  14. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    It may not be, but as per the article, few of us having any interest in such matters will not have come across this as an argument against free will:

    Today, the notion that our brains make choices before we are even aware of them will now pop up in cocktail-party conversation or in a review of Black Mirror. It’s covered by mainstream journalism outlets, including This American Life, Radiolab, and this magazine. Libet’s work is frequently brought up by popular intellectuals such as Sam Harris and Yuval Noah Harari to argue that science has proved humans are not the authors of their actions.
     
  15. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Is there some significance in that choice (all choice, by the way) happens unconsciously? It's still self-determination.
     
  16. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Determinist arguments are centered around a physicalist/materialist worldview which to me has already been debunked.
     
  17. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Sure, why not?
    The unconscious is still part of you. The decisions made by the unconscious you may not be aware of but it is still you.

    Consciousness is only a small part of the brain. Still this conscious part thinks it is in charge. Realistically I think our conscious awareness has only limited control over our choices whereas actually we have the unconscious self making most of our choices for us.

    Free will, the ability to decide between alternate courses of actions. Maybe the the unconscious mind is simply making the majority of these choices for us. Only the choices that need special attention rise to the level of conscious awareness.
     
  18. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Consciousness is a state, not a thing (unconsciousness doubly so). There's no thing "the unconsciousness" that "makes choices for us," that's the language of determinism (something acts upon "self") and the thinking of realism (unconsciousness exists objectively).

    Free will is nothing more controversial than us doing things.
     
  19. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    How would you know. It's about 95% of the brain acting, doing things you are not consciously aware of.

    Contrary to what most of us would like to believe, decision-making may be a process handled to a large extent by unconscious mental activity. A team of scientists has unraveled how the brain actually unconsciously prepares our decisions. Even several seconds before we consciously make a decision its outcome can be predicted from unconscious activity in the brain.
    Decision-making May Be Surprisingly Unconscious Activity
     
    #19 Nakosis, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  20. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    Meh, free will in modern times is such a scarce commodity that if I wasn't aware a few individuals directly I'd doubt it even exists.
     
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