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Do we have free will? Watch

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    Pretty standard question. Thoughts TSr?This link is worth a read, pretty decent summary of les arguments:
    http://ardentones.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/do-we-have-free-will/
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    Yes but we're limited by reality.
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    Freedom is an illusion of the human mind. Our will is essentially an ongoing set of falling dominoes where one thing determines the next. All previous experiences and ideas shape future experiences and ideas. To have free will, we would have to say that nothing is affecting our judgment - but that is impossible. There is always something affecting our judgment; it's just a matter of universal causation.
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    I'm determined to believe we do.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    Freedom is an illusion of the human mind. Our will is essentially an ongoing set of falling dominoes where one thing determines the next. All previous experiences and ideas shape future experiences and ideas. To have free will, we would have to say that nothing is affecting our judgment - but that is impossible. There is always something affecting our judgment; it's just a matter of universal causation.
    I'm tending towards this argument. The fact that there are so many variables, so many previous influences and THEIR variables and so on, means that we cannot deconstruct the effect. It's simply too complicated to trace back. Everything must be tied together given its origin, so you could be going back a very long way before finding the "start".

    Anyway, it doesn't matter if we do or don't. We have to assume free will does exist (or at least act as if it does) for the sake of society.
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    We do, to an extent. But rules and laws and morals stop us from having complete free will.
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    No, because everything we do is in influenced by other actions in a way, so you can't really say everything is 100% down to you.

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    Nope. The physiology of your brain and all the information it holds determines what you "choose" to do. The nature of the interactions in your brain are so complex that they give the illusion of free will, however ultimately they are all governed by the fundamental laws of nature and so you cannot be said to truly have any free will.

    There was a thread on this a while ago, and someone very eloquently quoted Sam Harris. The idea went along the lines of "If you have free will, you are free to choose to attempt anything. However, are you, the reader, free to choose to do something which has not occurred to you?" The answer to this question is obviously no - you are unable to do something you haven't thought of. This limits your "choice" to the spectrum of things which you have thought about. It is my belief that this spectrum, as I have said, is determined by your brain chemistry and the way your mind operates on a fundamental level. You have no choice in this process.

    To quote an inspirational but sadly deceased fellow, his very apt answer when asked if he believed in free will was;

    "I have no choice."
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    No, next question.


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    (Original post by JohnPaul_)
    No, next question.]
    That doesn't applies to some people at least. Had Mahatma Ghandi not a free will when he has finished the Biritsh colonial power in India by a hunger strike, even if his supporters didn't have?
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    Whenever anyone exercises free will in a particularly notable way in Britain, people tend to go 'Oh they're crazy'. This is supposed to be an island of eccentrics. But the eccentric is often regarded in suburbia at least as a bit odd, someone a bit too decadent for these supposedly austere times.

    How awful to think that, because of the nature of Britain where unexpected acts are so often mistaken for drunkeness / drug induced / impolite behaviour, it is possible for so many people to go through so many years doing so very little different to what they ever did before. Which is OK if what they did before was great. But on the whole they are ground down right from the start. Britain, having an older than average population who cling on to wealth and a 'pull the drawbridge up' mentality hate the young. Ever since the permissive 60s/70s this has further contorted this nature in to now often intractable shapes. It is literally impossible to please older people. To the Abba generation, you're either being too 'beyond the pale' or too 'square'. The Abba generation have very strange, hypocritical tastes which are both tackier than The Beatles generation and less precise than the New Order generation.

    So society -the culture it supports, the psychological landscape that a small island allows in and around itself - is a huge burden on free will. It's a prison really dressed up in pretty chocolate box villages and the compromised, silent, landscape of suburbia, its only 'entertainments' being a police tent housing another murder.

    I suggest that thinking people move to America and the question of free will , whilst still at the back of the mind, will be less of an immediate concern to thinking people.
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    (Original post by jkenran)
    Pretty standard question. Thoughts TSr?This link is worth a read, pretty decent summary of les arguments:
    http://ardentones.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/do-we-have-free-will/
    We have free will within a restricted environment and a state which controls the way we think and what we want. Our actions of freewill are influenced by this state and the media. Also, how do we really have free will if we live by laws that punish us if we exercise our free will badly going against these laws by doing things such acts like murder? You could say we don't have free will at all because of how mankind has oppressed itself
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    Yeah we do.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    Yeah we do.
    We don't.


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    (Original post by JohnPaul_)
    We don't.


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    I believe we do. Do you have proof we don't?
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I believe we do. Do you have proof we don't?
    1) You've just committed a logical fallacy. I cannot prove non-existence.

    2) You may 'believe' but the onus is on you to prove that we have. That's conventional logic.

    However I will give it a shot as to why I think determinism is true and everything else is false regarding our conscious 'choices'.

    1) Choices are made in the consciousness.

    2) Consciousness is a product of the brain/biology.

    3) You didn't choose your genes, your parents, where you were born and what culture you were brought up in.

    4) Everything that happens in the brain/mind something that a product of external influences outside the brain. Cause and effect = determinism.

    5) You cannot account for where your wants come from, you cannot account for why you chose A over B, you just did. Thoughts simply appear into consciousness.

    6) For your consciousness to be the author of your thoughts you would have to be able to think of a thought before you think of it. You cannot choose to choose what you do in fact choose.

    Quick test, think of any letter in alphabet. Why didn't you think of R or T? They didn't occur to you right away because there was a sequence of prior causes which your consciousness only witnessed the end results (the letters that did first appear). Are you free to do that which did not occur to you to do?

    If you can't control your next thought, and you don't know what it's going to be until it appears, where is your freedom of will?


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    (Original post by JohnPaul_)
    1) You've just committed a logical fallacy. I cannot prove non-existence.

    2) You may 'believe' but the onus is on you to prove that we have. That's conventional logic.

    However I will give it a shot as to why I think determinism is true and everything else is false regarding our conscious 'choices'.

    1) Choices are made in the consciousness.

    2) Consciousness is a product of the brain/biology.

    3) You didn't choose your genes, your parents, where you were born and what culture you were brought up in.

    4) Everything that happens in the brain/mind something that a product of external influences outside the brain. Cause and effect = determinism.

    5) You cannot account for where your wants come from, you cannot account for why you chose A over B, you just did. Thoughts simply appear into consciousness.

    6) For your consciousness to be the author of your thoughts you would have to be able to think of a thought before you think of it. You cannot choose to choose what you do in fact choose.

    Quick test, think of any letter in alphabet. Why didn't you think of R or T? They didn't occur to you right away because there was a sequence of prior causes which your consciousness only witnessed the end results (the letters that did first appear). Are you free to do that which did not occur to you to do?

    If you can't control your next thought, and you don't know what it's going to be until it appears, where is your freedom of will?


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    OK, I didn't come to this thread to put forward proofs or evidence, merely to state my opinion that we do have free will. If you disagree then fine.
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    I don't think we do, not in the sense that is meant in this discussion. I think determinism is true, because every decision we make we base it on something, and as we base it on that "something" that something is based on another "something" (an experience, an action, an influence), so while we have the illusion of decision, we have the illusion of free will. And this follows a chain of cause and effect. When we look at a pool table, when billiard balls, hit each other and bounce off at pre-measurable angles, one who looks might think that the way they spread is completely random, impossible to calculate, however it actually is possible to calculate, and quite accurately too, because we understand the causes of physics better than we understand the causes of human decision, it is wrong to conclude that because we dont understand the causes they dont exist.

    This creates an issue however, is it fair to punish someone for their actions, if they could not have done otherwise? In other words, would it be right to blame a fig tree, for not bearing fruits in winter? (This example is straight from Think by Simon Blackburn)

    One way to argue that it is fair, cold as it may be, is that while it is not one's fault, by punishing them you are altering the factors influencing them, deterring them from committing the crime a second time. This was something presented in the book as well, but to take it one step further, if determinism is true, then can you really blame the judge for punishing the criminal? Aren't his actions set as well? Can you really blame anyone? In fact the concept of good and evil becomes blurry when things are put this way, what are your opinions?
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    OK, I didn't come to this thread to put forward proofs or evidence, merely to state my opinion that we do have free will. If you disagree then fine.
    Of course but then your statements are meaningless. Don't you care about the truth? I just put forward some of the basic arguments against free will, it's not to take a belief away from you, it's to understand what is really true. Even though you say it's a belief, it's a factual claim about reality and you must be intellectually honest enough to either challenge those points or accept them and admit you was wrong.


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    Yes we do, we are only limited by society.
 
 
 
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