Is free will inherent in life? Is it an illusion?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by alteredperception, Oct 6, 2005.

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  1. Rosnet Philomorpher Registered Senior Member

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    I think I should make clear what I mean by being able to do what one wants. I mean that he will be able to try to do it. And is he can't try, then he can try to try, and so on to the most basic level. But even that definition is somewhat pointless. Free will exists by definition. It can't be otherwise. It depends on what you <I>want</I> to do. But if you have the capacity to 'want', then you also have the capacity to try, and that makes free will inevitably tied up with 'wanting'. A machine has no free will because it doesn't want anything. The problem disappears once you have clearly defined free will.
     
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  3. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I would argue that if your dress choice is predetermined then you weren't really free to choose any dress you wanted. If there was only ever one possible outcome for your decision then you weren't really making a choice, since by definition to choose between two options there must be two options available. If the outcome is certain then you don't really have a choice - if the outcome isn't certain then it isn't really predetermined. Perhaps you <i>felt</i> that you could have made a different choice, but that was an illusion; since your choice was predetermined, there was no possibility of you choosing anything else.
     
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  5. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    But still there are no limits to what we could want

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  7. alteredperception I know not what I do Registered Senior Member

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    The type of free will we have is really not free. It can be more accurately defined as DETERMINED WILL. Compatibalism is illogical because FREE will cannot exist in a determined universe.

    Rosnet, I think me and you are both hard determinists now that I think about it.

    A clear definition of free will is if an entity has agent-causation. Free will can only exist if a human can be the sole cause of something. But agent-causation is unfounded. Since we already established that the universe is determined, we must acknowledge that our freedom isn't free. We still have "will" but we must call it determined will.
     
  8. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    There is no way to establish that the universe is determined. How did you go about to establish that?

    We have free will to the best of our understanding, in that we are free to do what we want.
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    We must seperate humans wants from its needs. That way we still have free will to seek what is needed first then if time and money are prevelant things we want could be achieved. Humans are only seeing things they want today more than what the really need. How much is enough, few really know in a industrialized nation but those from 3rd world countries can tell you.
     
  10. Rosnet Philomorpher Registered Senior Member

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    Nasor, AlteredPerception,

    You haven't been paying attention to my last post. It is in the definition of free will that the solution lies. We have the freedom to do what we <I>want</I>. This immediately means that we have free will. From a slightly different point of view, the very fact that we can "want" something means that we have free will. Yes, I think that's it. That uur wants are predetermined, does not alter this. But if you don't accept this, then give a model of the universe which can possibly have entities with free will. You'll see that free will as per any other definition does not exist in <I>any</I> type of universe. The problem is not determinism. If hte universe waws random, so what? Does that mean we have free will? No. If we can do what we want, then we're free. That's my definition. I don't care why I want what I want. For instance, I like a particular type of music. Maybe it's because I've been hearing that music since my childhood, and have been conditioned to it, and also perhaps nostaligically attached to it. So what? I like it, onw way or the other, and what matters is whther I can listen to it when I want.
     
  11. alteredperception I know not what I do Registered Senior Member

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    Rosnet - I know what you are saying, except you are re-defining free will.

    Of course we can do what we want. Our "wants" are determined. We don't have choices. It only appears that we do because our brains deliberate between different options, but the option you choose was always determined to be. Therefore we have no real choices, everything we do is determined. This is n't compatible with the free will people normally think we have. But if you define free will as "doing what you want, despite having no control over what you want" then, sure, we have that kind of free will. Except that isn't really free will at all, and calling it free will is extremely misleading, because "free will" implies a certain freedom that is impossible to have in our determined universe.

    Thats why I said, "don't call it free will, call it determined will." !!!
     
  12. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    alteredperception,

    That depends on whether or not you beleive in God, if you believe, and act upon it, then i believe it is quite possible. If you don't believe in God, and act accordingly, then I believe it to be impossible.

    Bhagavad Gita is an excellent book to read, as it deals exactly with this enquiry.

    From a spiritual perspective, the universe is a maifestation (creation) of unmanifested matter (random), conciosness being the cause of its manifestation.

    Jan Ardena.
     
  13. Darkman Registered Senior Member

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    But what is your definition of will (free or otherwise)? I see will as want; if someone wants something it is their will that allows them to get it, but I could be wrong.
    This brings us back to your original question of determinism etc. How could a fly or some small creature have avoided the web or trap of another animal? It would be interesting to see the results if we could judge an individual on their decisions: imagine we could repeatedly replay an event, and then change the factors involved in that decision. For example what if we took a sub-dominant figure and replaced them with a dominant figure; how much would that change the person's decision? Do all living things avoid harm and seek the good?
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2005
  14. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Remember, your "will" is your intentions/desires/wants. Having "free will" means that we are able to decide for ourselves what we want to do. If our wants are predetermined then by definition they are not "free". Being free to <i>do</i> what we want to do is merely freedom of action, which is not the same thing.
     
  15. alteredperception I know not what I do Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly Nasor, that is why we don't have free will. "We do what we want to do" based on reasons. These reasons ARE the prior causes. Reasoning is the method by which our brain computes things and finally takes an action. This deliberation appears to be free will, but the mere fact that we have to take the time to deliberate (reason), as opposed to just instantaniously taking actions (reasonsing is in the unconcious), does NOT give any evidence for free will.

    Lets say our brains were so advanced we didn't even have to weigh the alternatives, or think about problems, rather we just knew the answer instantaniously, because our brain could compute all of this efficiently its in our unconcious or something like that.

    Either way, the action we make is still pre-determined.
     
  16. gukarma Beijo do Gordo! Registered Senior Member

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    It really depends on how optimistic you are. Society shapes all, there's no question about that, it comes down to whether or not you see it as society influencing our choices or outright determining them.

    Oh, right, either that or you believe in God.

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  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    It's not just whether society influences our wants, but whether or not ALL our wants are determined in a mechanistic, inevitable manner by a deterministic universe. It’s a question of whether or not determinism applies to our wills in the same way that it applies to the motion of billiard balls.
     
  18. gukarma Beijo do Gordo! Registered Senior Member

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    That's exatly what I said.
     
  19. alteredperception I know not what I do Registered Senior Member

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    We are just one big complicated set of billiard balls. The causal chain is not seen clearly like it is with billiard balls, so it seems free to us.
     
  20. Rosnet Philomorpher Registered Senior Member

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    Alteredperception, Nasor,

    I understood what you were saying. Okay, then give your definition of free will. and give an example (a hypothetical one).
     
  21. alteredperception I know not what I do Registered Senior Member

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    Free will relies on agent-causation. Performing and action that you are the sole cause would be free will. You would have a free thought, a thought that you caused to happen by your will alone. It could be anything. But the point is, free will is incompatible with determinism. Free will is also incompatible with randomness (if the universe is based on random events). A universe compatible with free will would be crazy. People would spontaneously do things that no one could predict. The free will people think we have is really something they wouldn't want.

    The type of freedom we have in our determined universe is all we really want, we just have to describe it properly. We can do what we want! That is all the freedom we need. Our "wants" are determined by prior causes, so therefore we don't have agent-causation.
     
  22. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I already did.

    From my previous post:
    Having "free will" means that we are able to decide for ourselves what we want to do.

    I cannot give you an example because I do not think that this is possible. Hence the wide-spread opinion that free will does not exist.
     
  23. Victor E Registered Senior Member

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    We have no free will.
     
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