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    I have been finding the arguments for determinism very compelling (that we have no free will and all the results of our apparent choices are governed already by the factors which influence those choices, etc...). However, it leaves me in a very uncomfortable position if I think our actions are predetermined!

    I wonder what you all think? Are we free or not? Can you see any problems with determinism?
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    What do you find compelling about the arguments?
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    i think it depends. i like to think we have free will though...sorry i don't know much about it yet. Just started learning about it in Psychology on Friday.
    i will listen and learn
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    for the most part i'm a determinist, but i can't help liking the idea of free will even though it's wrong!
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    (Original post by hitchhiker_13)
    What do you find compelling about the arguments?
    Well every action has a cause...we are a product of our nature and our nurture and every choice we make is dependent on all those factors which means we can't do otherwise. I can't go and kill someone - I may think I can - but that's not who I am and my upbringing means I am not free in that sense, etc.

    If someone says "I could have eaten fruit instead of chocolate last week and then I wouldn't be so fat", is it really possible that they could have done otherwise in that situation? It obviously wasn't...maybe you HAD to take the chocolate...how do you know you didn't?

    I'm rambling now
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    But having rejected the Newtonian clockwork universe, and adopting quantum theory (where there is only a certain probability of anything happening) and chos theory (where things are not random but are unpredictable) do you think this gives the illusion of free will? Or true free will?
    I do believe in free will.
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    Is this really the case, we have seen how determinism is the case in scientific theorys - cause->effect (well...modern physics would disagree...) But anyway, the mind is something different it isn't the physical matter that is subject to cause and effect and has that element of freedom about it.

    Thats my view anyway...
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    Yup, probabilistically choice is an illusion and causalism (or determinism as you put it) is certainly a functional explanation. That would be the simplest solution for the universe through our perception. Any other solution such as free will would require an extremely complex multi-dimensional universe to even be feasible and even then it poses as many problems as it claims to solve.
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    (Original post by Adhsur)
    I have been finding the arguments for determinism very compelling (that we have no free will and all the results of our apparent choices are governed already by the factors which influence those choices, etc...). However, it leaves me in a very uncomfortable position if I think our actions are predetermined!

    I wonder what you all think? Are we free or not? Can you see any problems with determinism?
    If you believe in an omnipotent Deity then surely there is no choice but to accept determinism. If a God knows what we will do then it must be predestined.

    Assuming there isn't a God though and no-one knows what we will do can one believe in free-will? Our psychology is who we are. I believe our experiences determine what we will do/say/think etc. However, I don't think these experiences control us. There are points where I think humans can be very objective and minimise the control of the past over the future.

    I don't do philosophy so sorry if my argument is full of holes!

    Adam

    ps. In literature there is a school of thought (founded by a french guy called Roland Barthes) which suggests that the author of a piece is virtually irrelevant. He wrote as essay called "The Death of the Author." From what I have read and have been taught, he argues that because of the psychological influences on an author which affect his/her writing subconciously, we cannot make assumptions based on their life etc.

    Just a point of interest.
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    (Original post by rIcHrD)
    Yup, probabilistically choice is an illusion and causalism (or determinism as you put it) is certainly a functional explanation. That would be the simplest solution for the universe through our perception. Any other solution such as free will would require an extremely complex multi-dimensional universe to even be feasible and even then it poses as many problems as it claims to solve.
    But so does deteriminism, what becomes of morality in the determinist world? It is non existent.
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    (Original post by Gnostic)

    I don’t think we have yet invented the concepts subtle enough to explain the reality of the situation in question.
    By concepts, do you mean language?

    I think that language is very unhelpful in all these concepts to be honest. It puts a limit on thought.
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    (Original post by corey)
    But so does deteriminism, what becomes of morality in the determinist world? It is non existent.

    It's true. If we were to accept determinism, it would effectively mean the end of any kind of justice system, as one could not be held accountable for one's actions - it was not a choice.
    So maybe, even if free will is an illusion, it is a good one to maintain a (relatively) stable society?
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    (Original post by Tnacilppa)
    By concepts, do you mean language?

    I think that language is very unhelpful in all these concepts to be honest. It puts a limit on thought.
    Could we even have thought without language? I seem to doubt that because for me the majority (if not all) relies on language. So, it is not a limit it is what allows us thought.
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    (Original post by corey)
    Could we even have thought without language? I seem to doubt that because for me the majority (if not all) relies on language. So, it is not a limit it is what allows us thought.

    Don't you ever have abstract thoughts which you cannot put into words?
    Also, some science etc. is very elegant in mathematical form, but once you start trying to explain it through language, it becomes clumsy and awkward and cannot be fully realised.
    Language is not a good tool for new concepts as it is formed from past experiences and its usefulness relies on its ability to adapt.
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    Hmmmm, I think if chaos theory is true it could slightly distort the view of determinism. However, determinism does make sense if we think about how bits of star-stuff can start having minds of their own - we are only working in the bits of framework the universe has given us in the first place so maybe it's unreasonable to think we can CHANGE things.

    If there wasn't a certain cause for our thoughts (which means we have to think them) by what other basis would we choose one option as opposed to another?

    I think determinism is different to religious fate though...even though determinism would perhaps make God more likely, I think that it would cause a lot of problems for morality and heaven/hell. E.g. why punish a theif when he's probably a theif due to circumstances beyond his control? And why should people go to Hell if God made them do what they did wrong?

    *shrug!* I'm baffled.
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    (Original post by corey)
    Could we even have thought without language? I seem to doubt that because for me the majority (if not all) relies on language. So, it is not a limit it is what allows us thought.
    Yes but language pins things down. It narrows infinity. Some (admittedly more radical) feminist critics argue that language has so much bias/baggage that for women to be able to express themselves they need a new language.

    Whilst I don't agree with this, I think that language does narrow us. Of course we need it to some degree to express ourselves. However, language (in my opinion) is too unstable to be able to find answers to some of life's bigger questions.
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    (Original post by corey)
    Could we even have thought without language? I seem to doubt that because for me the majority (if not all) relies on language. So, it is not a limit it is what allows us thought.
    I don't think we could...

    But then some people claim they think in just pictures which I find impossible. I wonder if a blind man dreams pictures....
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    I believe in free will, but I don't really have a clue about what any of you are talking about

    And, is "probabilistically" is a word, I'll eat my keyboard!
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    (Original post by Tnacilppa)
    Yes but language pins things down. It narrows infinity. Some (admittedly more radical) feminist critics argue that language has so much bias/baggage that for women to be able to express themselves they need a new language.

    Whilst I don't agree with this, I think that language does narrow us. Of course we need it to some degree to express ourselves. However, language (in my opinion) is too unstable to be able to find answers to some of life's bigger questions.
    but if we require language for thought then without it we can't find answers to anything! Can you look insider yourself and imagine yourself having thoughts without any language attached to them? Because I cannot.
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    (Original post by corey)
    but if we require language for thought then without it we can't find answers to anything!
    Yes but we also need to accept its limitations!
 
 
 
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