Author Topic: For you who like to discuss Free Will  (Read 1219 times)

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Online One Above All

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2012, 08:53:16 AM »
To me, that sounds like randomness.
<snip>
......that's random.
<snip>
how is that anything other than random?

As I said, the issue is irrelevant. Free will is impossible to prove, and thus indistinguishable from the truth.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2012, 09:21:09 AM »
The issue of free will is irrelevant.

So why are you still posting in this thread?
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Online One Above All

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2012, 09:45:49 AM »
So why are you still posting in this thread?

I like sharing my opinion if I think it's relevant.
EDIT: If you don't want me to post, just say so. I can easily make a new thread.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline RNS

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2012, 09:49:29 AM »
.....under the same circumstances, there would be different outcomes.....

To me, that sounds like randomness.  To have everything in one particular state - memories, preferences, weather, environment, thought pattern to that point, temperature, hunger.....- and have there be more than one possible "next thing"......that's random.

If everything up to that point does not determine what you do next, how is that anything other than random?
Depends on how you define random. If you are talking about predictability, then yes, it is random. But if you are talking about purpose, then it is not necessarily random. Hypothetically, a scenario could exist where free will would allow for different,  but still directed[1], outcomes from the same circumstances.
If this were the case, however, then the obvious next question would be, "how would this be possible?". The answer could depend on the nature of conciousness. Clearly awareness does effect our decisions, I don't think there is any doubt about that. But, some people have some strange views about consciousness (most of which have little to no evidence behind them), which could allow for such a scenario. Most of them involve the supernatural, and so are illogical by definition.
So I guess, in reality, it is random in both senses of the word, but for the sake of argument, the hypothetical free will could account for different outcomes from the same circumstances that do have a purpose.

Let us get back to the first meaning of randomness I proposed: predictability. This, I believe, is another factor that influences the view that there is something called free will and that it is special. I think that every instance where you have the same circumstances and yet get a different result, is only because the circumstances are perceived to be the same, but actually aren't. Human (and other animal) decisions are a perfect example for this, because external factors can seemingly be very very similar, in some cases it could possibly be justified to say that the factors are pretty much exactly the same. The only difference  in those circumstances lies in our brain chemistry and wiring. But again this relies on previous events, as they rely on the events preceding them and so on..

The real proof IMO, is the fact that we make the same decisions all the time, and that apparent "randomness" is not very common. People react similarly to the same things, and certain circumstances tend to breed the same type of people. There is so much evidence, thousands of years of human history in fact, that show us we aren't as special and unique as we like to think.
 1. and thus not random in the second meaning of the word (without aim or purpose)
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Offline screwtape

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2012, 10:01:57 AM »
EDIT: If you don't want me to post, just say so. I can easily make a new thread.

No, no.  It's a free thread.  Post until your keyboard wears out.  You mentioned it being irrelevant more than once, so I was curious. 
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2012, 11:04:41 AM »
I'm trying to understand your perspective, since to me the concept of free will is very abstract. Which part specifically is the free will part? Would you be able to define free will?
The fact that the concept is abstract prevents me from defining it accurately, and there's little point in grasping at straws.  However, the ability to make decisions which fly in the face of constraints is, if anything, free will.

Quote from: RNS
Also if possible, maybe provide examples of constrains influencing an action and two possible outcomes of the action:
1) when the decision goes along with those constraints
&
2) when the decision doesn't go along with those constraints
A person lives their life in a certain way.  As a result, their actions are constrained by their prior decisions and other factors.  When/if that person decides to do something which goes against the constraints their face, and carries through with the decision, then they have diverted their life into a new direction, which could not be predicted beforehand.  Sure, this could be the result of a completely random event, but we cannot determine whether that is the case with any reliability.

So, is it free will?  Perhaps.  Just as we can't rule out the idea of "free will", which is a bad term to use in any case, we also can't definitely state that it exists.  It's like talking about Schrodinger's cat, except we can't open the box to check.

Offline RNS

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2012, 11:56:04 AM »
So you are saying that a decision being made against constraints is free will? Does that mean a decision that goes with the constraints is not free will?

Is there any chance of getting some real life examples to help illustrate your idea?

Quote
Just as we can't rule out the idea of "free will"
Well considering that I can't form or acquire a meaningful definition of it, I posit that it does not exist.
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2012, 12:22:51 PM »
I've already participated in too many freewill threads to get excited about another one, but I ran across this article today and thought I'd tell you guys about it in case it is of any interest.

It is an interview on a site called 3a.m. with an author on the subject who does not think that determinism and free will are opposites. Here is an excerpt:

Quote
3:AM: You’re thinking about free will and you argue that we need to be careful about what we think free will is and what it entails. To some, determinism is the opposite of free will, and it seems to be a bad thing. Determinism seems to imply the end of responsibility and stops us from being able to make our own choices. But you think that folk don’t always think determinism is a bad thing. You say they make a distinction between determinism and reductionism, epiphenomenalism and/or fatalism, which people think is threatening, and determinism that doesn’t imply these things. So can you say what your evidence is for saying that people don’t always think determinism is a bad thing?
 
EN: As you say, determinism is often presented as the opposite of free will (if that’s what ‘determinism’ meant, it’d be silly to debate whether it is compatible with free will). But people understand ‘determinism’ in many ways, and it’s not always clear how it is meant to threaten free will. In my dissertation I used a metaphor of a many-headed monster - if we can distinguish, and take on, the various heads one by one, we can see more clearly what the threats are supposed to be and how they might each be confronted (hopefully, it is not a hydra that will grow back two heads for each we cut off). We also learn more about free will and responsibility by seeing more clearly what exactly it contrasts with- what we are free from (hint: it does not really make sense to say we are free from determinism).

Screwtape, I thought you might enjoy the article, even if you continue to disagree with his thesis. Hope everyone else does too.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline screwtape

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2012, 01:43:46 PM »
linkypoo?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2012, 02:12:52 PM »
So you are saying that a decision being made against constraints is free will? Does that mean a decision that goes with the constraints is not free will?
If you are forced to do something, it can hardly be called "free will".

Quote from: RNS
Is there any chance of getting some real life examples to help illustrate your idea?
Why do you need them?  You understand the idea I am trying to get across well enough without them.

Quote from: RNS
Well considering that I can't form or acquire a meaningful definition of it, I posit that it does not exist.
As I expected.  However, your statement is incorrect, as you cannot prove a negative.

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2012, 04:02:33 PM »
linkypoo?

You guys always want everything. Can't you just learn to guess like me?

Actually, I'm sorry, but I don't want to admit it.

Here it is,, if I can figure out all this high-falutin computer talk jargon stuff...

http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/questioning-willusionism/

If there no link above this sentence, I mucked up again. Woe is me if you ever find out, screwtape. Woe is me.  :)
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Offline RNS

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Re: For you who like to discuss Free Will
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2012, 02:04:36 PM »
If you are forced to do something, it can hardly be called "free will".
I see. Well I wasn't quite sure what constraints meant to you.

Quote
Why do you need them?  You understand the idea I am trying to get across well enough without them.
Actually I need them precisely because I don't quite get exactly what you are trying to get across. For example, what would constitute a constraint? In my eyes there are different types and levels of constraints influencing a decision. Your comment that I first quoted seems to imply that a constraint must force a decision (rather than just influencing it, for example)- is that right? If not please elaborate, and if possible with a real life example so it will be easier to relate to.

Quote
As I expected.  However, your statement is incorrect, as you cannot prove a negative.
At the moment my problem isn't proving a negative. It's finding something to disprove in the first place; out of the definitions of free will I have posted, they are either too vague to really mean anything or can be interpreted to simply be describing trivial events. If you could explain to me what it is, I would be most appreciative. However, from experience, I have deduced that free will is simply a feeling, as I have described over the course of my previous posts in this thread.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 02:06:11 PM by RNS »
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