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Featured we have no free will - prove me wrong!

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Eddi, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    To my mind, this ends up being one of those things that does not matter in the slightest.

    No matter what, you are forced to deal with reality as it presents itself. To the point that, even if you don't have "free will", and all your decisions are pre-determined, you still must make decisions, you still must act while you are alive and experiencing the reality we share.

    And if anyone is worried about that whole, ridiculous argument about how criminals are then not responsible for their actions, because everything in their lives pointed them in the specific direction that caused their transgressions... my answer to that is "so what?" They can and should still be locked up because guess what? This "no free will" thing doesn't just work one way. I am also incapable of doing anything but worry for my safety with them on the streets, based on my history of experiences leading me to this moment. And the authorities don't have any choice but to act in the manner that they act - which is again a series of events and experiences leading them to the moment in which they arrest and detain said criminals.

    No one gets a "get out of jail free" card... because any attribute of fundamental significance (like "free will" or "no free will") you ascribe yourself must necessarily be ascribed to all other human agents.
     
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  2. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    There are rules. The choices we make are within rules. But we still have to choose are actions. Will I choose a chocolate flavored icecream or a vanilla one? The past offers icecream. But will I eat the icecream and which flavour will I pick?
     
  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    That is not free will. You were of course free in choosing which side of the bed you got out of or what you had for breakfast.

    Sure the day may have worked out differently but there was no will involved.

    Free will is the ability to act at ones discretion.
     
  4. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    What is the difference between will and free will?


    But you have a point, matter is deterministic (or random according to some interpretations of QM) matter doesn’t have free will, it is arbitrary to make an exception with the human brain.

    Thanks God this argument only applies if you are a materialist.
     
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  5. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    Things are simple

    1 your senses and experiences tell you that you have free will, it really seems as if you are making a choice.

    2 you don’t have good reasons to deny your senses and experiences

    Therefore to me it sounds reasonable to grant free will, unless proven otherwise. (assuming that you grant 1 and 2)

    How do you know that you are not living in the Matrix? I guess you would use a similar type of reasoning, it seems as if you live in a “real world” and there are no good reasons to assume that we live in the Matrix, therefore the default answer should be that we live in the real world until proven otherwise.
     
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  6. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, that's part of the point. Given the degree to which we know the laws of physics, there *are* good reasons to question whether we have 'free will'. And, in general, there are plenty of known illusions regarding perception and memory that can incline us to at least wonder if our perception of free will is accurate.
     
  7. Eddi

    Eddi Mark 5:9

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    "Free will" would be human agency; that which is not determined by previous causes, it is in a sense an independent phenomenon, independent from reality but nonetheless a part of it - basically, it's agency

    "Will" is the manner in which various causes determine human actions - it is part of a network of cause and effect - things act upon it and it acts upon other things in a manner that is determined by how it came to be - basically, this is behaviour
     
  8. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Is 'free will' in this definition even desirable? To not be determined by previous causes means that *I* am not part of the cause. The point is that *I* am a part of reality and NOT independent of it.
     
  9. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    Will requires agency. Free will if I understand correctly is acting on agency without restriction or any determining factors.
     
  10. Eddi

    Eddi Mark 5:9

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    I see what you're saying and have some thoughts:

    I'd say Free Will would be:

    Determined by reality, no

    Influenced by reality, yes - necessarily so or else it would be a meaningless island

    It would be a part of reality but not dependent on it for what it does, so in that sense independent, rather than independent as in separate from

    In any human it would rely on the divine spark of the unmoved mover (God) that all humans have, which makes us able to respond to real life events in an influenced but non-determined manner - this is i believe an ineffable process, to us humans at least!

    ...or so I think??? :confused:
     
  11. WalterTrull

    WalterTrull Godfella

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    That we can consider the question lends support to the free-willers.
    On-the-other-hand, we do operate in conjunction with the rest of the universe.

    We can think all kinds of things. How about:
    The universe is mental and not objective.
    Time is an illusion. There is only now.
    If there is only now and the universe is mental, then the past is created now and manipulated according to present wishes. One way to manipulate the past might be some sort of "future" concept.

    Thinking is fun.
     
  12. youknowme

    youknowme Whatever you want me to be.

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    I give you a choice: You can either response to my post or not, you are free to choose either one.

    Actions speak louder than words.
     
  13. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    Granted, if materialism where true, there would be good reasons to deny free will, after all, if matter doesn’t have free will, why making an arbitrary exception with humans?
     
  14. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    I think that depends on definitions.

    After all, we are happy to call a play of dice being ru led by probability, when there is nothing ultimately random about that. And deploying statistics for studying these things provides excellent results, even though, again, there is nothing fundamentally probabilistic about dice, roulettes, throwing coins, etc.

    So, maybe, in the same way, we can make some sense, or using some working “free will” ontology for our minds, even thought it is ultimately not free at all.

    For instance, if free will is defned as the capacity to make choices, then I am free, even if my choice was predermined 1 million years before my birth.

    So, even though I agree that LIBERTARIAN free will borders to nonsense, I am not sure we cannot productively use some definition of freedom.

    I believe there is a philosophical position that is called compatibilism. Ergo, an attempt to make sense of free will even under a regime of strict determinism (randomness ala QM would not improve things, anyway),

    Ciao

    - viole
     
  15. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    On the other hand, as I have been attempting to describe, I think there are concepts that are quite close to 'free will' that are consistent with materialism. The decisions I make are made within my head and are primarily determined by my brain state, i.e, me. That seems to be a useful definition that is still quite consistent with materialism.
     
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  16. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I have an apple and an orange on the table. You like apples but not oranges. I can keep the apple from you but I can't make you eat the orange. You can choose just to walk away. Is that using your free will?
     
  17. BilliardsBall

    BilliardsBall Well-Known Member

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    I can prove you right, but I choose not to do so.
     
  18. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    The cause of my actions is my free will.
     
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  19. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    What is the cause of your free will?
     
  20. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    That might be, if free will meant the ability to act without a cause rather than the power to decide what is moral. As far as I can tell the entire discussion about free will tends to ignore the really important question of whether we can identify right from wrong. Must we be slaves in need of moral direction, or can we direct ourselves? That is the important kind of free will and not the question of whether our choices are deterministic. Questions about free will originate from observations about the Bible and oft misunderstood terms such as 'Predestined'. For generations protestants wondered if salvation was predestined and how a person could be righteously condemned to hell by the same God who created them. These questions were irrelevant, and the Bible was only interested in a different question: the question of freedom which originates in moral judgment. It begins with Adam deciding its better to die than to live without this power, and from him judgment descends upon us all. Mythically now we all die, and by direct implication we are all like gods knowing good from evil. We pay the price for it. That is the only free will that matters.

    Free will has nothing to do with determinism or non determinism except in seminaries that are so ignorant they teach nothing that can't be learned from the back of a cereal box, and I'd say that is about 99% of them.
     
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