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No god, do we have free will?

Discussion in 'Atheism DIR' started by dust1n, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Humans are naturally selfish. They call their natural selfishness free will.
    Humans notice they are naturally selfish, and think it is better for them to not be naturally selfish. Humans notice that selflessness is essentially in self-interest, they go back to selfishness. All the while, humans maintain this selfishness as free will.
     
  2. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    If we have "will' at all, it is free. Do we have will, Dust1n?
     
  3. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Is this definition good?

    1. a. The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action: championed freedom of will against a doctrine of predetermination.



    I don't like it because it's suggesting two different things.

    "The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action." That happens. We have brains, and we use them 'deliberately' to choose from one action from all actions available to us at any point in time.

    "championed freedom of will against a doctrine of predetermination."
    Ok.. so we have brains that we use to choose actions... this doesn't qualify as "against a doctrine of predetermination" and is unjustly ruling out the possibility of the 'actions of a brain' to be predetermined as well. I do not agree with statement, we do not have the freedom to act against doctrines of determination.


    Why is that because we are able to choose from a selection of actions, that we have somehow broken determination?

    We are born and created from the moment of conception by DNA, and then from that point constantly barraged with environmental effects that we have no control of. Our brains operate as they do with no conscious decision at all. You are existing at one point in time, capable of only making an action that you are aware of. You take all actions you are aware of and weigh out the options. All judgments, opinions, declarations are based off the experience (knowledge comes directly from experience), which were not in your control of, and then you pick out the one that you think will lead to the most desirable effects (though, you cannot know the circumstances of the future.) At best, you are a slave to your interests, which are not in place because you want them there. You do not have will over you beliefs, your interests, your tastes, your attractions. You simply encounter and observe them.
     
  4. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    Excellent question. There is no reason why free will has to be considered incompatible with determinism. I think that people confuse unpredictable behavior with behavior that is somehow undetermined. Random behavior is unpredictable, so people also confuse free will with randomness. However, fully determined behavior in a chaotic system is also unpredictable. The fact is that human behavior is at least partially predictable, which means that it is not random. It is not fully predictable, because we do not have the means to predict it. That is all.
     
  5. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    There are a couple views I know of, in response to this philosophical question. One: the very insistence upon "us" being the determinants ('deliberately') of actions is language that expresses control over ourselves independent of the world around us. Is this control actual, or just a product of the language we've developed?

    The other examines the "we" who is, and has "capability" to do things. Are "we" separate beings, independent of the world around us, or a part of a whole? Can we be both; and in being both, is the divide between us and the world actual?

    Good times to be had examining both questions.

    Still, there is "us" operating, "us" aware, "us" with experience, "us" being effected by surroundings --the language of separation. There is "us" weighing options, "us" making judgements, "us" declaring opinions, "us" picking out (making a choice) --the language of control. Always behind it there is "you" ('me").

    If this will to behave, to act, isn't "real,' then is this "you" or "me" behind it? The issue calls into question whether the controller is real. What do you think, Dust1n?
     
    #25 Willamena, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  6. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    How is language the expression of control over ourselves independent of the physical realm? (I mean, one can use language to say, "I have control over myself independent of my circumstance." But what backs that up, because the statement in itself does not mean it's true.) What we express is already limited to the methods of human expression, let alone expressions are only reactions to impressions. What comes out of you is directly related to what goes in, though it may be different, it is still cause and effect. Example: Impression - I see pretty girl, she begins a conversation with me. Analysis - I am suddenly aware of my options of choice (converse back, slap her, run away.) I chose converse. Why, because for whatever reason I have decided that option, whether in the short run or long run, will be of benefit to me. (I might get laid, I want to appear as polite to a stranger to reaffirm my identity as 'polite', because all other options are impractical or may lead to even worse results than the conversation.) As a result, my thought comes to my expression. I repeat, decide what would be the "best response/most beneficial response", and choose my reply. She replies. I repeat. She replies. I repeat. She hesitates from replying, my last reply was a little out there. I reply again to bring tension off the last statement. She replies.....

    This is just one small factor taking place, there are thousands of other factors that would be going on. If I just got out of a relationship a week ago, or a month ago, would change the entire situation. If I had a headache, If I even noticed her in the first place, etc. etc.

    People often act this out, and don't consciously think about it. A reply is needed quick, your subconscious knows how to handle sudden replies (reactions.)

    When it is conscious, you analyze it, more perspectives are provided by your subconscious (or superego.) You decide what is best on a more conscious level, but where is the will, if the decision is made on information from the subconscious level (something you have no control over.)

    We have the capability to examine the world around us, and make decisions based off the information provided. We could not be independent of the world of us, nothing can. When there is an action, there is a reaction. If something happens to us, there is a reaction.


    Cats and tree and physics operate. We are aware, but have no control of what we are aware of. We accumulate experience, but have no control over the effects of experience, and we react based on the effects of experience. Everything is effected by surroundings. Language is just a form of communication, other animals communicate as well. How those options weigh to us if not of our control, we just have the ability to measure the weight. Our judgments and opinions are based on accumulated experience (which I mentioned earlier, we can not control the effect of experience.) Our choices are to serve out our own interest, what reaction has the most enjoyable/beneficial perceived effects. "I" am always behind it, but I can't control it, just observe it.

    The controller is 'real', he's just really an observer. Only he can observe it, and no one else can. He's presence is built by and for his body.
     
  7. Mr Spinkles

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  8. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Yes, that question is my point. We use language to express things that are true, like the physical world, its laws, properties and principles, and models like determinism. Is the self-determinism ('control') that is built into the very foundation of our language (verbs, nouns) just as true? Or equally uncertain?

    Right. Cause and effect exists. But where we are able to act upon the world --that is, where we (I, you) are an agency independent of the world-agency that is the that flow of cause and effect --we are looking at a model that expresses some form of "free will." So the question was, "Is this control actual, or just a product of the language we've developed?" If we conclude that the control of self-determinism is not actual, that brings into question whether "we" (I, you, the agent of our actions) are actual.

    This is an example of how self-determinism is built into our language. To "have the capability" to do a thing is the language of a separate being: "me" acting upon the world that is "not me." So if you are accurately using language to express what you really mean, here, it suggests that you do not have a firm (hard) deterministic model at work. The "capability to act" is an expression of will, and if there's really a "you" who initiated that act, then it was "freely" done (not done by the flow of cause and effect).

    Does that help explain how "because we are able to choose from a selection of actions, that we have somehow broken determination"?

    He's not much of a real controller if he has no control. ;)

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  9. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    "We use language to express things that are true." And We use language to express things that are false. Is the self-determinism ('control') that is built into the very foundation of our language (verbs, nouns) just as false?

    Truth is extremely different between all people. Even those who agree on the 'truth' do so uniquely, as to disagree in the details or implications. By which 'truth' should I compare the 'truth' of 'control' by the man that endures and observes the qualia?

    All living things act upon the world. They pick up whatever from the earth they are genetically incline to, and then utilize that information in order to perform tasks needed survive, language included.

    The self determinism is not actual, and the agent of our actions are actual. We are just not in control of our actions (our feelings, our thoughts, or beliefs). We observe them. We endure them. We feel the human condition associated with it.


    I don't understand as to why "the capability to act" or the "expression of will" or "initiating that act" are automatically considered not done by the flow of cause and effect just because we do them... "you" acting upon the world that is "not you" is but a tiny fraction of the world that is "not you" acting upon you.

    Does that help explain how "because we are able to choose from a selection of actions, that we have somehow broken determination"?


    He's not, but that doesn't mean the 'controller' isn't something else.
     
    #29 dust1n, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  10. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Okay. So if I read this right, if what this says is that there is essentially no "you" acting upon the world, but only the world acting, then this is the point at which your understanding and the understanding of people who profess "free will" deviate. They firmly believe in "me".

    And that's not a bad thing. It's just a different thing.

    So... the controller isn't real. ;)
     
  11. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Haha, I suppose. I wish I could understand this "me" more, but it would seem the "me" can not exist, acting independently without at least the majority of the action noticeable influence.

    No, I don't think the controller is real.
    I think the observer is real.
     
  12. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    In a religious context: probably not. Unless you assume there are other agencies capable of mind control or reality alteration...

    In a philosophical context: that depends on your definition of Free Will. Does having your actions correspond to your desires indicate the existence of Free Will? If not, then the most likely answer is no. All things influence everything else. There is no such thing as an action in a vacuum of influence. Exactly what would such a thing look like? I certainly can't conceive of such a thing.

    MTF
     
  13. Doodlebug02

    Doodlebug02 Active Member

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    We do have free will.
     
  14. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    ...care to elaborate?
     
  15. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    how would you know if you have free will or not?
     
  16. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    With out any doubt? I wouldn't. I wouldn't know anything at all then.

    Can I logically conclude it's unlikeliness.. yes.

    However, I think I would know better than anyone else if I had free will or not.
     
  17. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    but how would you know if there were certain ideas that were not accessible to you?
     
  18. ericoh2

    ericoh2 ******

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    As long as something is a part of existence itself I don't see how total free will can be possible. That which exists will always be subject to those laws which govern its environment. Cells in our body are subject to the laws which govern the body they exist within, on earth we are subject to the laws which govern earth, the earth is subject to laws which govern the solar system, the solar system is subject to laws which govern the galaxy etc. Some teachings say that, since the earth is under the influence of the solar system, galaxy etc, that the potential for us to align ourselves with the laws of these "higher" natures exist. In this case we would be subject to fewer laws (thus more "free") and would essentially become one with this "higher" force. Ultimately though, only the totality of existence as a whole would be totally free and subject only to it's own law.
     
  19. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Well, the fact that even being able to identify if I am free will or not, seems to make it less likely I do.
     
  20. Mr Spinkles

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    You could say we don't have free will, but then we need a new term for the decision-making, planning, and self-awareness that distinguishes an intelligent, thinking being from inanimate matter.

    Wouldn't it be most useful to simply say, we do have free will, with free will defined in this way? Then you wouldn't have to accept unsound ideas, like the idea that humans are somehow outside of the mechanics of Nature, but on the other hand you wouldn't be neglecting the obvious and important fact that intelligence and decision-making IS something that occurs in nature and it's worth distinguishing from the usual case of unthinking matter.

    And there is no denying we experience things, like the ability to examine the likely consequences of our actions, and make decisions accordingly. This is an undeniable experience, I think materialist/atheists make a mistake by trying to deny it. The real issue is that this experience does not require humans to have magic powers or to have minds which exist outside the laws of nature. It requires an information-processor, like a brain.
     
    #40 Mr Spinkles, Feb 12, 2010
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