The illusion of free will

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by barcelonic, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    For me there is no issue in philosophy as interesting as free will. I would love to hear from others on this and what their opinions on the matter are. I expect that some will have steadfast beliefs because of Christianity or other religions, but I ask all to have an open mind when discussing this subject.

    As far as I'm concerned science has proven that we do not have free will: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/mind_decision
    Although admittedly this may not be enough in itself to convince everybody.

    The thing with an illusion is that it seems real. Also, it is important to remember that illusion is not deception, nor does it have to be a bad thing; in this case we have an illusion which is as essential for human life as air or exercise.
    If we didn't have this illusion then how many of us would become moral nihilists as a result - how many of us would give in to our less empathetic sides. Guilt is a powerful and a very necessary emotion; if I do something bad I need to feel
    guilty so that I avoid doing that same thing again. It serves a valuable evolutionary purpose.

    I'd like to know, among those who believe their will is free, the number one point they would raise to support that position (or the biggest obstacle to accepting the illusory nature of free will).
     
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  3. Anew Life isn't a question. Banned

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    Illusion is relative. working to recognize truth from distortion, is often a sobriety matter.
    free will is not necessarily illusory. choice is a thematic matter.
     
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  5. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    I'm not saying it is 'necessarily illusory' - it doesn't have to be. It just is.

    And it isn't possible to determine the truth about free will from subjective experience, so i see it as a more academic matter than a case of soberly recognising truth from distortion
     
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    With the advent of the computer today many people do not need much money to learn many things that they would like to know. Education on the internet is becoming more prevalent daily and more people are using this means to achieve their goals that they might not have been able to do just a decade ago. So with that plus many public colleges people can and do have the free will to choose many ways that they want to become and advance their knowledge in other subjects they enjoy learning about.
     
  8. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    All you're describing here is a choice. We'r presented with choices all the time, but my assertion is that our decisions are not our own.

    Any choice would be a suitable example, whether choosing a college or a breakfast cereal.
     
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    You can believe there is no free will - that's your choice.

    However, those of us that have been around for a while (I turned 71 a few days ago) know quite well that you are just spreading garbage.

    Under your belief system, it was determined a long time (millions of years ago - or billions?) what shirt you would wear today. That's about the height of garbage and stupidity. (Shrug)
     
  10. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Actually I'm showing free will. By just buying the computer and using it that in itself is free will because no one needs a computer nor do they need to learn anything but they have free will to do so.
     
  11. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    Guys -- please read the Wired article and comment on the findings of the study, or at least something related to the topic. Just because you understand the words 'free' and 'will' does not mean you have the right end of the stick here.


    CT -- in both of your posts you are talking about opportunity and not the philosophical notion of free will.



    Are you implying there are no elderly people who believe free will is an illusion. As i said before this is an academic issue; it's not a 'life lesson' thing. You're presuming an awful lot about the views of other people here and I don't think that being 71 qualifies you to speak on their behalf about matters you clearly know nothing about.

    How old were you when you first tackled this issue? I'm assuming you read it in a book at some point right? Or are you like other people who express their view without academic forethought, only trying to pass your old age off as a credential?

    Before bringing shame to your age group once again by issuing another juvenile response, perhaps you'd care to comment on the neuroscientific study from Berlin? I post that this is a scientifically proven fact, and you have nothing AT ALL to say about the study? With as much respect as its possible for me to give right now, I do wonder whether old age is a crutch on issues like this, because for most of your life there simply was no neuroscience.

    I shall give you a chance to restate your position, because I don't believe you've given this issue much thought; it is a fascinating topic and your childlike lack of any substance indicates very little consideration on your part.
     
  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Wouldn't you agree that without opportunity there is no free will?
     
  13. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    No. It has nothing to do with it. I am talking about decision-making in the brain.
     
  14. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not changing ONE thing. To the contrary, you are just some young kid who thinks he's (she's?) found something profound. While, in fact, the study you linked to does NOT absolutely make the claim that you do - it leaves the door OPEN for free will.

    Get a grip, kid!
     
  15. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    What exactly are you doing in a philosophy forum if you don't know anything about it. And if you do, then why don't post something besides rude presumptions which are incorrect.

    I'm sure to a 71-yr old everybody seems like a kid but allow me to give you some of my info so you can make your attacks a little more accurate...

    I'm a 30-yr old male; i've been housebound with disease for almost a decade; i've spent this time studying and I even joined Mensa.

    The internet, i know, is filled with cocky 'kids' but I am not one of them and I'm sorry if this issue offends you somehow but there is no reason a 71-yr old can't show a little more grace and simply ask me how old I am and what my background is.

    I studied philosophy in college and I am a long-time fan of Sam Harris, who writes and speaks publicly about his work as a neuroscientist and how it pertains to free will. I write in a manner some people find threatening/unattractive and I'm no stranger to drawing ignomy from 'high horses' such as yourself, not that it makes it any less pleasant when i encounter another one.

    But until you raise one single point about free will there's only so much you can annoy me. Now if you've nothing more to say I'd appreciate it if you hijacked another thread (there are plenty here which could use a good trolling tbh).
     
  16. Anew Life isn't a question. Banned

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    ^ I like the idea of experience being subjective relative to thematics of life, such is inspireing. (*
     
  17. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    I've already raised a point and you ignored it completely - do you actually believe that it was determined millions/billions years ago precisely what shirt you would wear today?? Yes or no!
     
  18. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    That wasn't a point! It was a rude presumption and I have told you that if you wish to know what I believe you should ask me. You didn't!

    No I don't believe that and this is why I am finding it impossible to reason with you; you've been putting words into my mouth (in my own thread) since your first post. I do not believe that but if somebody did it would be a perfectly valid point of view. On the other hand the idea that everybody who holds different views to a 71-yr old must be a young kid "spreading garbage" is almost insane as the suggestion that one can learn more about this topic from simply 'being around for a while'!!

    I had wanted to have a conversation about this with interested people and not be told what my "belief system" is. I'm sure you think you are very smart, and indeed if we learn something new each day and you are 71 then perhaps you are, but you have hate in your heart for certain people and somehow think you know them well enough to describe what it is they believe.

    Respectfully I'd ask you not to reply in this thread as I have heart troubles and I find having to defend myself against you somewhat taxing. But just so we are clear the following is NOT a point...

    "However, those of us that have been around for a while (I turned 71 a few days ago) know quite well that you are just spreading garbage.

    Under your belief system, it was determined a long time (millions of years ago - or billions?) what shirt you would wear today. That's about the height of garbage and stupidity. (Shrug)"
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It doesn't interest me all that much. My suspicion is that it's kind of a pseudo-problem, a seeming-problem that arises as the result of misconceiving something.

    But if I had to choose a more conventional position, I'd be a 'compatibilist', I guess.

    I don't agree.

    My own experience that my actions (and my mental states in most cases) are the result of my own actions.

    Of course, that leaves the question of what the word 'my' refers to open. Pursuing that would take us into the philosophy of mind, which probably isn't necessary in this thread. Whatever 'my' refers to, it's pretty clearly making choices.

    Another thing - the word 'freedom' in the sense that I use it in the 'free-will' arguments doesn't mean 'uncaused'. It doesn't mean 'uninfluenced by one's circumstances and cultural environment'. It means something more like 'uncoerced'.
     
  20. barcelonic Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks Yazata for a relevant reply and a valid compatibilist position

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    Do you have anything to comment on the study, because you say you disagree it has been proven.

    I hold valuable opinions myself and if somebody saught to disprove one and presented me with what they claimed to be evidence I would endeavour to refute that study as best i can.

    Thanks

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    EDIT: FYI everyone... the article does seek to provide both a report and also the reports of those who remain unconvinced. It is standard practice in many cases for journalists to want to write unbiased pieces, but for me nobody has yet explained how the study got it's results if our will is our own.
     
  21. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

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    There are some physical factors that influence decision-making in our nondeterministic universe, so what? We already knew that, right?
    God doesn’t play dice. He plays chess…with dice.

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    Certainty is not to be had. :mufc:
     
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Who or what is the "you" in all this, the "you" that has - or doesn't have - free will?
     
  23. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    But decisions are many times based on opportunity. Who to marry, whether or not to see a doctor, have a child or many other decisions. The brain must decide what it wants to do by the choices or situations that are presented.
     

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