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Freedom is an Illusion watch

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    (Original post by az1992)
    Although others such as phugoid who have made some good points despite being the opposite of my views, I have to say that you come closest to actually matching mine.

    I too would most likely be labeled a determinist. However, you cannot try and persuade people though to reach this level of thinking as for someone who has led their whole life to believe that they are free and have free will to do what they want, will find it hard to come round to the way of thinking immediatly. It will take a large "though journey" through abstract thinking to begin to understand our views.

    I think the biggest obstacle people have with determinism is that they see it as all their actions are pre-written or they are not in control in the conventional sense. After a while of really deep thinking on the matter, you come to a point where you realise, everything is as a result of something else. To elaborate:

    A teacher attempts to describe to his class the concept of determinism. He is met with protests on the contary. One girl stands up and says, "See if I hadn't freewill, then how come I am standing up now and saying this? No-one told me to, I am doing it out of free will"

    She has a point from one level of thinking as she could have just as easily stayed quiet and said nothing. However, The fact remained, had the teacher decided to introduce the concept of something different, say, Good and Bad, the student would not have stood up and said what she did say. Therefore her actions/choices were dictated as a result of events leading upto that point.

    "What about the freewill in making the choice to say something." one might say. However, many other external influences will have also led to the girl speaking out. She may have grown up a confident child due to acting classes or encouragement from those around her, she may have also encountered the concept of determinism before which set her in a tangent believing it was not true. this inturn could have led her to feel passionately to the point she was willing to stand up and say what she said.

    Therefore, I agree with this poster in so far as freedom in the context of personal choice doesn't exist as it is a result of preceeding events.

    I apologise for what may be a confusing post, but I am new to this abstract thinking and am unable to structure my thoughts at this time into a consice account.
    omg I bloody love you, you say exactly what I think in a clearer way! I'm also new to this idea lol having only come to the conclusion that we may not be as free as we appear... -scary music-

    I think it's the control they would lose if free will didn't exist that makes people reject the idea of hard determinism. I have no intention of converting people, I'll just let them get on with it!
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    (Original post by Hy~)
    You're using your free will to deny that you have free will.
    The question is how free will is defined. free will is not absolute.

    Take this website. It exists since somebody decided to start it, using knowledge of web-page design, HTML, etc. This website couldn't exist if the Web did not exist, which in turn could not exist if there was no information technology, which in turn could not exist if there was no electronics, etc.

    We have choice, but since all actions affect all other actions, in some way, then we cannot really have total choice. I believe we do have choice/free will, but it is severely limited, since past actions affect future actions.
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    (Original post by rajandkwameali)
    The question is how free will is defined. free will is not absolute.

    Take this website. It exists since somebody decided to start it, using knowledge of web-page design, HTML, etc. This website couldn't exist if the Web did not exist, which in turn could not exist if there was no information technology, which in turn could not exist if there was no electronics, etc.

    We have choice, but since all actions affect all other actions, in some way, then we cannot really have total choice. I believe we do have choice/free will, but it is severely limited, since past actions affect future actions.
    You're confused about how free will is defined (I don't think there is general confusion or disagreement on the definition of free will). It is not to do with outcomes of choices. If I were a poor kid in Africa (awful example, I admit, but it works) and I could never work my way out of poverty - no matter how hard I tried - that doesn't mean I don't have free will. It simply means my free will hasn't got the effect I want it to. I still make the conscious choice to try to make my life better.

    I guess you could say that free will is not to do with what choices (or lack thereof) we are presented with. It is to do with how we make those choices with which we are presented.

    Hard determinism (which is, of course, inherently unprovable) says that we don't really have a choice; we are simply automata responding predictably to outside stimulus and, thus, any "choice" we make is pre-decided based upon previous conditions. This of course leads to infinite regress, which is impossible as it is self-contradictory.

    I believe humans have the capacity to do random things - act in unpredictable ways, if you will - when presented with choices. You could say, I guess, that it wouldn't be random, and that I'd make the same choice every time if I were given it over and over again. But we'd just be at this all night.

    Anyway, I think with this, this thread got kind of off topic. I dislike philosophical debate, partly because I suck at it and partly because it usually accomplishes nothing. I highly doubt I'll respond to this anymore so weigh that up when you're deciding (or not?) whether or not to post again :p:
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    (Original post by az1992)
    How far do you agree?

    I was just thinking, we always hear about the freedom but we enjoy and that has been protected against the Nazi's and Communists but surely they enticed their populations with the same promise of "freedom?". What makes our freedom any more enjoyable then theres.

    I understand, especially in Nazi Germany and alot of communist regimes that people were spyed on so it makes my point seem silly at first. But the again America also spies on its population, it just doesnt dispense of them in the way that other communist regimes have done of dissidents.

    But anyway, my understanding of freedom is this.

    There is no inbetween as the definition of freedom is complete freedom. You either are not free or you are.

    In this country, we are not free. If i wanted to run down my street naked shouting death to christians (by the way this is an example and not a manifestation of my beliefs), I would probably be reprimanded.

    In the same way capitalist countries, although we constantly hear about capitalism and democracy meaning freedom, restrict the freedom of the poor to such a severe degree. I understand that some poor people have managed to make it out and become wealthy but, on the whole surely the point of a capitalist country is that for someone to be at the wealthy side of the spectrum, there needs to be a fair few people on the poor side of it.

    Anyway, i was just wondering what are your opinions, Is freedom expirienced by us or is it just an illusion, peddled by government after government (whatever the political ideology they follow), to keep the population undeer control?

    DISCLAIMER: I was merely musing on this thought so before some cocky little muppet who ahs just learn the word communist in the negative connotations that it is seen today and is eager to berate someone and use it, please kindly **** off. This thread is designed to encourage debate and not an invitation for people to just let fly at other peoples thoughts.
    Freedom does exist. However it effectively exists in levels. We are arguably at the highest level of freedom that has existed thus far (I mean in terms of liberal democracy, not this point in liberal democracy). I say arguable, because I'd believe that arguably the Spanish libertarian socialist revolution in 1936 (which was then crushed by Franco, with tacit if not open support from Western democracies) was more free than we are now, while it existed.

    In fact both the Communists and the Fascist forces combined to destroy that movement, not together but in mutual opposition of it.
    In that sense there are alot of similarities between Leninist/Communist doctrine and liberal democracy--both are ruled by elites, with a rather illusory choice between 'guy who knows whats best A and guy who knows whats best B' in the liberal democratic version.

    Neither movement gives real control to the people, both claimed to.
    Some would claim that having an elite govern for us is right, I would claim it's wrong, harmful, and limits the potential of people to reach their maximum potential.
    As Kant said, if people were given the freedom to govern themselves, there might be problems at first, but they will learn--to quote from a very good book on the subject by Noam Chomsky [really a collection of essays called Chomsky on Anarchism]:

    "He cannot" [Kant says], accept the proposition that certain people "are not ripe for freedom", for example, the serfs of some landlord.

    "If one accepts this assumption, freedom will never be achieved; for one can not arrive at the maturity for freedom without having already aquired it; one must be free to learn how to take use of one's powers freely and usefully. The first attempts will surely be brutal and will lead to a state of affairs more painful and dangerous than the former condition under the dominance but also protection of an external authority. However, one can achieve reason only through one's own experiences and one must be free to be able to undertake them...To accept the principle that freedom is worthless for those under one's control and that one has the right to refuse it to them forever, is an infringement on the rights of God himself, who has created man to be free."

    I think this can be applied just as well to the modern liberal democracy of, say, Tony Blairs doing what they think is right, in the name of the people, than to the autocratic regimes of the past.

    I'd say libertarianism and especially left libertarianism (aren't corporations just as much centres of non-democratic power now as any state?) is the inheritor of real Enlightenment values and real ideas of freedom. To say we've got all the freedom we need is to acknowledge that we don't have the potential to be greater than we are and to use a greater amount of freedom responsibly. That, to me, would be a crime against ourselves.
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    (Original post by az1992)
    Although others such as phugoid who have made some good points despite being the opposite of my views, I have to say that you come closest to actually matching mine.

    I too would most likely be labeled a determinist. However, you cannot try and persuade people though to reach this level of thinking as for someone who has led their whole life to believe that they are free and have free will to do what they want, will find it hard to come round to the way of thinking immediatly. It will take a large "though journey" through abstract thinking to begin to understand our views.

    I think the biggest obstacle people have with determinism is that they see it as all their actions are pre-written or they are not in control in the conventional sense. After a while of really deep thinking on the matter, you come to a point where you realise, everything is as a result of something else.
    Then you come to realise that was obvious all along, you just didn't particularly care as it didn't make the slightest possible difference to your life.
    You have 'free will' by the definition that you actually care about, past that, abstract thinking, while amusing, leads to no actual results of any usefulness in this field.
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    (Original post by Philosopher-of-sorts)
    Then you come to realise that was obvious all along, you just didn't particularly care as it didn't make the slightest possible difference to your life.
    You have 'free will' by the definition that you actually care about, past that, abstract thinking, while amusing, leads to no actual results of any usefulness in this field.
    had someone not prompted me with the subject though, I would never have considered thinking about freewill?
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    (Original post by az1992)
    had someone not prompted me with the subject though, I would never have considered thinking about freewill?
    OK maybe I was just the strange teenage philosopher.
    But seriously. Beyond considering it for awhile I've never found any use for it.

    The only thing that conclusion made me think in terms of real world examples is that in say, around 200+ years, game theorists (with computer models beyond anything we could ever possibly hope to create in this generation) might well be able to plot to a very good degree of accuracy people's entire lives, and use slight actions to vary them to a designed course.

    Now then, I really would agree we didn't have free will.
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    (Original post by Philosopher-of-sorts)
    OK maybe I was just the strange teenage philosopher.
    But seriously. Beyond considering it for awhile I've never found any use for it.

    The only thing that conclusion made me think in terms of real world examples is that in say, around 200+ years, game theorists (with computer models beyond anything we could ever possibly hope to create in this generation) might well be able to plot to a very good degree of accuracy people's entire lives, and use slight actions to vary them to a designed course.

    Now then, I really would agree we didn't have free will.
    A marxist would cross out game theorists and put in ruling class.
    A feminist would cross out game theorists and put in man
    A theologian would cross out game theorists and put in God.

    So yes, even if you don't believe in God or that men are controlling women or that the upper classes are exploiting the working classes (which, of course, is determined by other factors), they are some real life examples that you could use in today's society.

    Just think about all the things you wanted to do but you haven't been able to. e.g. sleep in on a school day to 1pm. Obviously, that doesn't mean everyone goes to school and follows like sheep, the other factors may become more dominant but the main factor for most people is 'schoolday = can't sleep in'
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    (Original post by Inseriousity.)
    A marxist would cross out game theorists and put in ruling class.
    A feminist would cross out game theorists and put in man
    A theologian would cross out game theorists and put in God.

    So yes, even if you don't believe in God or that men are controlling women or that the upper classes are exploiting the working classes (which, of course, is determined by other factors), they are some real life examples that you could use in today's society.

    Just think about all the things you wanted to do but you haven't been able to. e.g. sleep in on a school day to 1pm. Obviously, that doesn't mean everyone goes to school and follows like sheep, the other factors may become more dominant but the main factor for most people is 'schoolday = can't sleep in'
    Good point. I've even been reading Chomsky and I didn't think of it like that. Although of course its to a lesser extent.
    But I guess one could argue that nobody doesn't use their knowledge of others to manipulate them to some extent, it seems like an inherent aspect of human relations, just exploited to a greater extent by those in power, e.g. manufacturing consent.
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    There's probably no absolute free will, but perhaps a degree of free will, something like the Sartrean approach.
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    (Original post by roots)
    What freedom, people are bound by thousands of laws, most taking advantage of them or being a pointless inconvenience.
    So would you like a society that has no laws? Then you would be completely free? I don't know about you, but I am prepared to sacrifice or exchange some of my 'freedom' for the protection of laws. If i had to decide between being able to do absolutely anything I wanted while at the same time being at risk of being killed for what I own and being restricted but living with more peace and less risk of being killed for what I own, I know which one I would pick.

    Would you give up more of you freedom if you were guaranteed 100% security? If you were guaranteed not to be mugged killed or raped

    (Original post by roots)
    Freedom? You never have the means to be free. As soon as you get paid you have taxes, bills, mortgages. You get lured by advertisers. You never have enough money to get anywhere, back to work you go.

    Whatever money you do have you give up on alcohol, and have no doubt without alcohol there would be no control. Society presents you with the illusion that you are free to do what you like, that you have freedom, to people this refers to the consumption of alcohol, so it allows you to get drunk. You come back to work happy, not thinking about the situation you're in. After a while the constant pleasure seeking makes you useless. People who are useless, go to work, come home, get pleasured and keep going. By then they are tied to the system, they are making it go round, even if they don't want to.
    agreed. we are told we are free, but we need to work to live. by us going to work, some fat cat is taking advantage of us and making profit from our labour and we get a measly wage in return.

    True freedom may only be acquired through sacrificing your quality of life. and thats no fun.
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    (Original post by sbarrie2)
    So would you like a society that has no laws? Then you would be completely free?
    The absence of laws doesn't make most people free. Alot of people would be enslaved by their own desires, appetites and addictions.

    Like i think you're saying, the absence of laws puts your freedom, in the sense of personal security at risk.

    For me freedom is not being taken advantage of and not being enslaved by myself or by others.

    A society with a government that has as few laws as possible. Where individuals police themselves. Where there is no police and where trade is left to the people.

    I don't know about you, but I am prepared to sacrifice or exchange some of my 'freedom' for the protection of laws. If i had to decide between being able to do absolutely anything I wanted while at the same time being at risk of being killed for what I own and being restricted but living with more peace and less risk of being killed for what I own, I know which one I would pick.
    You need these laws because of criminals. If you reduce the amount of laws and retain a strict punishment system, you can retain your freedom.

    Would you give up more of you freedom if you were guaranteed 100% security? If you were guaranteed not to be mugged killed or raped
    There are no guarantees. People give up alot now and bind themselves to thousands of laws and the criminals still act.

    I don't think this would work in a place like Britain, you'd have to go elsewhere. If you want thsi kind of freedom, you need to be around other like minded people.

    agreed. we are told we are free, but we need to work to live. by us going to work, some fat cat is taking advantage of us and making profit from our labour and we get a measly wage in return.

    True freedom may only be acquired through sacrificing your quality of life. and thats no fun.
    Don't be so negative. :p:

    We decide if something means something to us. Plus we think we can't adapt to change. It's like comfort kills our spirit and toughness. We become fat and then you find you can't cope if the temperature is a few degrees lower than usual or if you had 3 meals instead of 4.

    T.V, 4 meals, washing machine. This is normal to you. Thsi is your quality of life and you're happy with it. There's no reason you can't be happy with no T.V, 1 meal and washing your clothes the old fashioned way.
 
 
 
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