What is free will?

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

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I just want to say that #74 was an exceedingly good post.

    I agree with it entirely. (No, that isn't what makes it good.

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    It just is.)
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Not at all. Who says that Determinism forbids making common law?
    Public laws are preventive warnings and become part of the deterministic environment.

    Is building a dam to prevent a future flooding an act of FW or preventive action against a future "probable" deterministic weather event?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  5. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Well... thers alredy a lot of lawless induced chaos... if even more people thout they were not responsible for ther actions ther prolly woudnt be much of an inviroment left to protect.!!!

    Or do you thank ther will be less chaos if nobody thanks they are responsible for ther actions.???

    Wit-out free will... how can punishment be justified.???
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That would be the opposite of my reasoning. Directly opposed.
     
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, and it is not already happening, inspite of lots of believers? Is it just the atheists at fault here?
    Do you believe there will be less chaos if people believed more in God's will?
    Easy, you break societal law, you are removed from society. Religion breaks scientific law and is therefore removed from science.

    In days of old, you were executed for being atheist, not for anything you did. That did not work out too well either.

    IMHO, religion is a contemplative discipline and like many other spiritual exercises it has its value to the individual practitioner. But it has no standing in the physical sciences and should not invite objective scientific opposition by making unsupported and unprovable subjective claims.
     
  9. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Considering that you are a device that was designed, constructed and triggered by the universe, how is it opposed?
     
  10. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    No it ant a God thang… an i dont have beleifs in Gods anyway… but i woud want societal laws based on common sinse for the betterment of the community as a whole… but how coud i count on others to do the same if they dont feel that they are responsible for ther actions.???
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I grew, as noted, over time. That makes me part of the universe that did the "designing and constructing" - a central and major factor or agent, not a separate thing.
    You are trying to bite your teeth. We are largely our own puppeteers, as well as puppets.
     
  12. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    You certainly did grow, a healthy set of telekinetic testicles that is. By your reasoning you were the puppet master of not only your own neurochemistry, but the chemistry and material behavior of all of the elements that composed your entire evolutionary history. Any word on your second coming?
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    29,555
    By my reasoning, I am the product of the universe that is making the decisions you are talking about "the universe" making - the maker of the device, in your misleading attempt to obscure agency here. And I became who I am through a long process of growth, in which prior versions of me were directly involved in many complex ways.

    You are trying to deny the existence of a decision and a decider, entities in the universe, both of which are observed physical facts.
     
  14. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Every version of you was governed and molded by the environments they inhabited, and you as a minor element in those environments acted as a conduit for universal expression.
    The act of deciding is a representation of a determined action. It’s no different than entering values into a calculator and having a result displayed based on a given function of the device. Would you claim that the calculator decides to express its results?
     
  15. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    21,001
    This is why I guess this debate will get no where...because you/we are yet to define the term "free" in free will.
    it is true sure that we have to determine what to do with what is determined for us...whether that be by our bodies health, hormones etc or our ambient environment, but determine we must. The moment we stop determining we are dead.
    The real question is : "Is OUR ability to choose (determine) between at least two determinations (alternatives) or choose not to choose actually free?"

    Example: ( a "fruitful" version of the Sophie's Choice conundrum

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    )
    I determine that I place 3 pieces of fruit on a table for another person to choose from.
    The fruit he decides upon is the fruit I must eat.
    I choose an Apple, an Orange, and a Plum. from a huge selection of fruit. I am happy to eat any of them.
    The other person has had his choices limited by my determination.
    Is the other persons choice over which one to choose or not to choose at all, free?
    Is the fruit I end up eating freely chosen by the other person?
    Is the fruit I end up eating freely chosen by me?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  16. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    There is the illusion that an alternative exists, but the reality is that your determined environment and nature will dictate the path you take. It's like a river encountering a fall, it has the apparent choice of going up or down.
     
  17. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    This was the issue raised at the start of the previous thread(s): no common acceptance of what it meant to be free.
    And one side couldn't discuss the other without using their own concept rather than the one applicable to the other side.

    A process can be said to operate freely if it is unencumbered by undue external influences.
    A ball rolls freely down a hill if there are no obstacles.
    A river similarly flows freely if there are no dams, no obstructions etc.
    A computer could be said to operate freely if there are no viruses.
    The will, as a process, is said to operate freely if there are no undue influences to its normal operation: no duress, for example.

    None of these require the actual activity of the process to be anything other than strictly deterministic.

    However, if something is strictly deterministic then what it does is predetermined from the outset.
    If something is predetermined, how can it be free in the sense of being able to do otherwise?
    It can't.
    There is no ability to do otherwise.
    Any perceived alternatives are counterfactual at best.
    There is no genuine alternative, the path is already laid out and it must be followed.


    So, two different notions of what it means to be free.
    To me, the former is trivial: an object in space orbits freely until acted upon by a force, and that notion of "free" applied to the will is just a matter of complexity, but not conceptually different.
    A process can be shown to exist, can be shown to reach an output.
    So what.
    If all people want to do is talk about defining a process as the will, and show how it operates "freely" (per the first notion), then that seems rather dull and uninteresting.

    To me, the latter is where the fun lies: how does a deterministic universe where we are not "free" (according to the second notion) lead to us having the illusion that we do have genuine alternatives to our actions?
    How does a predetermined universe offer the illusion of there being no predetermination when it comes to the will?

    So if you/anyone wants to talk about that, I'm in.
    The former... not so much, as I consider it trivial in comparison.

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  18. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Good point of view

    I find it very hard for the Universe to be deterministic from the Big Bang

    And now with your point of view

    How does a predetermined universe offer the illusion of there being no predetermination when it comes to the will?

    I would contend all the POVs around us are there by predetermination, and it matters not WHAT they are THEY are the illusion we are presented with

    Again though I don't agree every thing is predetermined

    Large events may put small events in motion but eventually the sum total of the events vanish

    Most small events do not grow (butterflies wing flap to cyclone) in significant numbers if at all

    So can you connect the dots of my actions to the dots of a walking dinosaur

    No?

    Good enough for me to claim free will

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  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    Why is this not acceptable:
    "It has been determined that human beings determine how they are being determined" - aka self determination.
    It could be argued that it is impossible for humans not to self -determine.
    So in a sense a human is obliged to self determine thus in that sense a human is not free to not determine.
     
  20. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    To be honest, I find that sentence to be nonsensical.
    It is like asking how we choose how we choose.
    We don't.
    We simply choose.
    Yes, we could up with multiple ways of reaching a decision, and choose among those with which to make a further decision, but ultimately you're just pushing it back a step: how did you choose which method of choosing you will choose?
    You end with an infinite regress of trying to choose how you choose how you choose how you choose how... Etc.
    And determining how you determine suffers the same.
    You can create linguistic Möbius strips but ultimately it has to ne sensible.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    29,555
    By being capable of making choices with reference to its own internal criteria.
    It is then "predetermined" by itself, see?
    We have genuine alternatives to our actions. This has been observed in laboratory settings, measured and quantified. Failing to account for them leads to gross error in engineering analysis of even simple systems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    29,555
    I have been a major element. The universal expression is determined by me to a very significant degree.
    Determined by the decider.
    It's at least two logical levels "up", or more abstract.
    This seems a difficult point. Maybe start by considering a calculator that enters its own values, for its own reasons. Do you see a difference between that and an ordinary calculator?
    You are attempting to omit the existence of the decider and the decision - both of them observable physical entities. You are denying physical reality.
    What is the "environment" of the decision to stop or go at a traffic light? (hint: it includes alternatives). What is this thing that has a "nature"? (hint: it's making a decision. Watch it).
     
  23. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    1,899
    Like a computer.
    It hasn't ever been shown that we do.
    No, it has not.
    What has been shown is perceived counterfactual alternatives.
    Nothing more.
    To think otherwise is to grossly misunderstand determinism and/or when an alternative is genuine or merely counterfactual.
    No it doesn't, in any way whatsoever.
    Engineering doesn't concern itself with genuine alternatives but with deterministic output for a given input.
    At no point in the history of Engineering has the notion of a philosophical genuine alternative ever been considered, or ever needed to be considered, perhaps until one gets to the dawn of quantum mechanics, where superposition et al raises its head.
    The question of genuine alternatives is the remit of philosophy, not engineering.
    You are stuck in the pond of triviality in this regard, only looking at deterministic systems and going "look, I can select between alternatives" without understanding that any alternative you didn't select was counterfactual, and only had the illusion of being a genuine alternative.
    And I have no desire to rehash discussion with you on the trivial matters that you wish to wallow in.
     

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