What is free will?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by fess, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Some of them do. But that's the point, really, isn't it? What motivates us to make "bad" choices? And if something is motivating us, how is the choice "free"?
     
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  3. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    What do we do that isnt somehow "motivated".???
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. So how are our choices "free" if we can't analyze the complex network of motivations?
     
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  7. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    So none of our choices are free.???
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    If the motivations are not conciously known, how are the choices conciously free?
     
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Choices free of being forced upon them by external agents... Except when they are not unforced. Free will should be grounded in or formulated to reflect the practical needs and contingencies of everyday life. Not bound to a metaphysical stipulation of being universally in effect everywhere and everywhen. The justice system, for instance, does not deem every single person who commits a crime as responsible for what they did (of their own volition). Determinism, in contrast, is a metaphysical orientation (absolute as a standard, what it declares is ubiquitous).

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  10. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Well... along that line of reasonin... i dout that anybody has ever been suffeciently conscious of the complex network of motivations to analyze whether a choice was free or not... which dont allow for will to be free.???
     
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Sometimes what a word, expression, or concept means can be settled by looking at its opposites. "Consciousness" is a good example of one that even experts wrangle over, lacking a complete consensus. But simply ask what non-consciousness or death is and the answer is pretty obvious: Lack of everything being present or manifested in anyway whatsoever, including personal thoughts and bodily sensations. Flip that around and we have what consciousness is (at the bare minimum): Anything at all being exhibited as sight, sound, smell, feeling, pain, etc -- with some manner of cognitive thought (also phenomenal) coinciding with it that acknowledges that _X_ is there.

    Similarly, what are the opposites of or the items pointing away from free will? They're words like involuntary, coerced, unintentional, forced, random, chance, unpremeditated, unplanned, accidental, instinctive, etc. (Freewill antonyms)

    At the very least a reversal of the above reinforces what Yazata stated earlier in the thread regarding the appeal to randomness being required for free will. (An outsider hijacking the system is an outsider, whether random or deliberate.)

    Being a governed organization that keeps the degree of chance and chaos down within us is the very thing we want! Determinism metaphysically hand-waving about and classifying antecedent causes as being against free will ... and our being predictably restricted to our habits, beliefs, and self-management as being against free will ... and those general or abstract "cosmic principles" (which would lack awareness of even our existence) setting in advance what we are and how we behave, being against free will ... That's akin to declaring that "the only way you can stay afloat on the lake is if there's a big hole in your boat".

    It's irrelevant that the past determined who we are because we don't have a more fundamental identity (like a soul) that could have alternatively been somebody else either physically or psychologically. To be someone else with a different personality and interests and life history is to not exist. Freedom is being free to be who you are (even if that was set), to make the decisions you do, and it's not supposed to be absolute. Just now and then is enough, desiring to be a god with capacity to do anything (unlimited choices) is not realistic. Plus, even gods or "technological in origin" archailects would shackle themselves to their rules if they wanted to be seen as consistent and something other than disordered, to whatever lesser beings they lord over.

    Being dependent upon prior body states, being self-regulated and confined to our nature, conditioning, and beliefs without external coercion... That IS free will, an autonomous system operating as it should. If a murderer eludes conventional prison or capital punishment because he qualifies as insane, the latter classification is essentially asserting that he is not functioning normally or conventionally in his expected hum-drum or eccentric way. An introduced breakdown in the dynamic organization or working configuration of his body forced or caused him to act against his usual programming. He actually stopped being "free" of alien influences and got hijacked by something else via unintentionally departing his constrained and managed identity. Even an inebriated person who commits murder placed a dominating or disrupting external substance into his body, but did voluntarily consume alcohol in the first place (responsible for the results in that sense). Unlike the legitimately mad person who didn't choose his insanity.

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  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    That you actually could puposely hurt yourself is an illusion. You would be physically able, true, but you would never purposely do harm to yourself, unless you are mentally unstable and you are not "responsible" for your thoughts.

    Nothing in the universe acts from "free" will. Every action has a mathematical causal equation, which determines not only the action but also the result, IMO.

    Even if the causal equation is a product of the brain, it still a mathematical function what controls the event.
    We live in a (mathematically) deterministic universe and a good thing it is. The other option is not "free will" but "chaos".
     
  13. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    is past tense
    thus your ability to define the past as being subjective interpretation is a process of preferred desire rather than fact
    free will only exists in 2 places
    the future
    now

    free will does not exist in the past
     
  14. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That's why I say "free will" isn't a very useful concept.
     
  15. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    At least the term "free will" is useful to pont out what it is that you dont believe exists

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  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Well, it's as useful as "big elephant".
     
  17. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    And it is indeed a useful concept. Civilization would fall apart if individuals couldn't be held responsible for their destructive actions. Just imagine how angry Social Justice Preachers would be if they couldn't accuse someone of being racist or sexist and make it stick because the insensitive party was "not culpable for his/her speech and actions". A secular excuse like "The predictable or computational-like nature of the universe made me commit a crime" would serve the same function as the theistic "God made me do it." Both claims thrown out of court.

    "Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded." ... "Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible, which is inconsistent with the existence of free will thus conceived."

    Decision-making by definition entails reducing two or more choice options to one ("only one course of events is possible"); and thus actually is compatible with determinism. Since the processes of a human body outputted the selection on the basis of its interests, needs, habits, beliefs, or its overall specific pattern of identity -- we in turn have the reason why/how a particular choice was made or the "limiting to one event" (antecedent factors or cause is actually essential). The regulated, autonomous running of the human organism is compatible with determinism.

    It's when outer entities -- usually sapient themselves -- coerce the body to do something against its usual parameters of determining, that "being the cause of one's own choices" is derailed (no longer free). The meaning of freewill from a common dictionary: "The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies."

    Fortunately we have a legal system that also takes into account introduction of certain affairs into the body which can disrupt normal functioning (like a brain tumor, mental illness, etc). That should prompt a semantic adjustment to "The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies and new or long-term erratic medical issues (internal) which disrupt the normal capacity -- and potential future, manipulative bodily invasions via technology."

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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    duplicate deleted
     
  19. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    The only reason to throw out the defense that the “universe made me do it,” is that even though the defense is valid, the justice system is not equipped with the necessary fact finding capability to weigh all of the relevant particulars. Just as the universe conspires to lead individuals down a criminal path, it also conspires to motivate societies to mediate such behavior preemptively by moral conditioning and threat of punitive action, and after the fact by judicial retribution. The universe will over time better equip societies with the capacity to recognize the factors the lead individuals astray, and adjust social conditions accordingly to minimize the cycle of crime and punishment. These will not be choices made by societies and individuals, but action determined by conditional existence.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The defense is not valid.
    The universe made you do it in large part by making you, with your full cooperation and help along the way. You are the most responsible part of the universe that made you do it.
    You made you do it.
     
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, that ol' anthropomorphic universe or anthropomorphic "laws of nature" subtext in the narratives of some secular incompatibilists: Sapient, conscious, authoritarian, machiavellian, interested in and conspiring in human affairs, mapping out the destiny of species and individuals. Externally providing our decision-making ability and manipulating us like wooden puppets, since we actually aren't internally autonomous at all (the nervous system, internal organs and blood flow are just physiological props which don't really do anything).

    I actually don't know whether you were really serious or just engaging in bits of facetious irony as I did wholly above... Either way, it does bring up that particular conception, which is all I was addressing there. Usually thinly obscured or the advocates of it aren't fully conscious of what they're reflexively upholding in a different context than usual.

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  22. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Just as when you construct an explosive device and light the fuse, you attribute the responsibility for the resulting carnage to the device, rather than the maker. Tim McVeigh should’ve used your reasoning in his criminal defense. There is no cooperation in regards to maker and device, only obedience to their determined natures.
    Other than we experience in regards to our own immediate existence, I don’t expect anthropomorphism in universal dynamics as a whole, and the term conspiracy is just a convenient way to conceptualize those observed and suspected dynamics, not to infer any characteristic intent.
     
  23. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Humanity is far from perfection… but If people were taut that ther was no free will… that the deterministic universe didnt effectivly stop whar the autonomy of humans begin… then that woud be true chaos cause nobody coud be held accountable for ther actions = no rule of law… NO order.!!!
     

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