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Old 10th-June-2008, 01:49 PM   #51
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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Originally Posted by murkrow View Post
When I say spiritual I mean that there is a way to look at determinism which replaces the "god is looking out for me" mentality. Determinism might be the idea that gives people the confidence to stop having so many silly social programs and other things like that.
That would be nice, but maybe the "god is looking out for me" would be replaced with "it was meant to be" or "its destiny", which is not so good either. I dont think determinism gives you confidence, but a sense of helplessness, i would feel more confident knowing that despite everything else im still free to choose my path in life, that i can overcome my upbringing, that everything depends only on my mind.

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Isn't this a contradiction? If there is no free will and spirituality, why would parenting become more important? I mean... the values you put in your childs mind... that action, that you think you decided to do... was inevitable, destined. So...
Theorically yes, but in practice knowing that it is more important will make you pay more attention to it as a matter of cause and effect. Even if the decision is conditioned, having that information would make people behave diferently compared with not having it, thats what i meant.
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Old 10th-June-2008, 01:53 PM   #52
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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I agree that the concept of no free will can make people reconsider their morality, and laws, taking a more deeper look into society.

But the thing is... that only matters if there IS free will.

If there is none, there is no decision making since there is no choice. Everything is scripted. So there is no "realization" or "developing" of anything. No morality can exist when there is no choice. There will always be the appearance of it... but that's just how the world is "destined" to unfold.

Guess we'll never know...
Regardless of the fact that we do not have total impossible and illogical control over our actions, we still effect each other and ourselves with our actions (even they are out of our "control"). When I make an argument I am a determinism force against your held conceptions, the reast of your life will be effected in relation to the clarity and merit of my points.
Unfortunately we haven't developed a (possibly unnecessary) way of talking which fits deterministic principles perfectly, so it is necessary to consider what reaization is conceptually in a deterministic landscape. The recognition of new data by your brain is realization.


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Isn't this a contradiction? If there is no free will and spirituality, why would parenting become more important? I mean... the values you put in your childs mind... that action, that you think you decided to do... was inevitable, destined. So...
In spirituality, as I have said, I mean the feeling of constant assurance that the religious enjoy.
The values that people will put in their child's mind is the direct result of the values that have been put in the minds of them by others (and so on). Therefore it is still important to push for the general education of people's ideals and understandings and always important to maintain the debate on all topics.

No, I am not chosing to say these things, they are the result of a personality forged by strained relationships during my youth, genetics and chance reacting with new information. Regardless, You will be convinced by my arguments that the preserverence of the human race will be forwarded by the entry of deterministic ideas into the global understandings of human beings.

What everyone does will be in reaction to what everyone else does, and the megalomaniacal impulses that have been fostered within me since the age of 6 push my reasonings to utilise this new understanding and reshape the world in the image of reason, no fool god stands in my way (not that that had ever stopped me).
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Old 10th-June-2008, 01:55 PM   #53
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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That would be nice, but maybe the "god is looking out for me" would be replaced with "it was meant to be" or "its destiny", which is not so good either. I dont think determinism gives you confidence, but a sense of helplessness, i would feel more confident knowing that despite everything else im still free to choose my path in life, that i can overcome my upbringing, that everything depends only on my mind.
Everything still depends on your mind.

Genetics and possibly the luck of having become smart early have a huge effect on how your ideas will be developed.

Have faith in the certainty of your thoughts, they are the diamonds pressed out of five billion years.
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Old 10th-June-2008, 02:22 PM   #54
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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Everything still depends on your mind.
Genetics and possibly the luck of having become smart early have a huge effect on how your ideas will be developed.
Have faith in the certainty of your thoughts, they are the diamonds pressed out of five billion years.
And yet some diamonds have only produced mud.

It does depend on my mind but my mind doesnt depend on itself, so in the end it doesnt depend on my mind at all, although i will still act just the same.

Is it just me or that sounds like a ryme?
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Old 10th-June-2008, 02:31 PM   #55
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

I've never connected my mind to my "soul" anyway.

I don't see how it doesn't depend on your mind.

Your mind is a part of the huge everything that everything depends on in a big eternal circle jerk.
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Old 10th-June-2008, 02:34 PM   #56
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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Can you, indeed? Name a single decision you've ever made that wasn't influenced by external factors that are outwith your control.
Did you miss the part after that? about society and the like?
Or are you cheery picking from my bontiful knowledge?
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Old 10th-June-2008, 06:34 PM   #57
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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Did you miss the part after that? about society and the like?
Or are you cheery picking from my bontiful knowledge?
I appear to have skimmed over that a little. Of course, it's physically feasible that you could do "anything" within the constraints of possibility; but I'm not talking about things like murder. I'm talking about things like choosing to postpone going to the toilet, enjoying gardening, or deciding to prepare a sandwich. You feat being called "Late Toilet-goer", "Gardener" or "Sandwich-lover"? These minor decisions all have factors that influence them, also. There are no spontaneous decisions. If you need to go to the toilet, you do so because of your genetics, because that need exists in homo sapiens. If you choose to postpone it, you do so perhaps because you understand that you can hold it in, and you evaluate that the thing you're currently doing is more valuable. Of course, how do you make that evaluation? It occurs almost instantaneously in the brain, and all the factors you weigh up are the things that instinctively or culturally you have come to value. Do you have control over your instincts or over the culture you're a part of? No, meaning that you have no control over the factors you use to evaluate things, meaning that you're only a vessel for those evaluations, rather than the one making them. Your brain is just processing data as it's been programmed to. The same goes for gardening and sandwiches. All of it an interaction between genetics, instinct, memory and environment.
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Old 10th-June-2008, 10:49 PM   #58
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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I've never connected my mind to my "soul" anyway.

I don't see how it doesn't depend on your mind.

Your mind is a part of the huge everything that everything depends on in a big eternal circle jerk.
I dont get what you mean with the soul thing.
How it doesnt depend on my mind? Well, of course it does, but not in the sense i would like it to. It depends on it in the way a ball plays a part in a billar chain of collisions, if one of the balls wasnt there or had diferent properties the outcome would be totally different, it matters, but not because that ball "wanted" for the outcome to be in a particular way, it doesnt have a choice, it is what it is and its there like a "passive" agent (recives certain causes and delivers certain efects) in the big eternal circle jerk
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Old 10th-June-2008, 11:36 PM   #59
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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Originally Posted by Dissident View Post
Even if the decision is conditioned, having that information would make people behave diferently compared with not having it, thats what i meant.
Oh, I see. I was confused by the wording. It appears that we agree then.

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When I make an argument I am a determinism force against your held conceptions, the reast of your life will be effected in relation to the clarity and merit of my points.
Sort of. The thing is, you making that argument was meant to be. Everything is a "determinsm force". My life was destined to be affected by you.

You'd have to go back all the way to the beginning of the universe if you'd like to change something; to the beginning of the deterministic cause and effect chain.

...Or believe in a supernatural force, foreign to the universe's closed system. But that again reintroduces free will, and we are arguing about a strictly deterministic world view.
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Old 11th-June-2008, 04:32 AM   #60
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

In case people haven't read this article before, its worth a read.
"Viennese physicist Anton Zeilinger talks about teleportation, the information stored in a human being and freedom in physics"
http://www.signandsight.com/features/614.html
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Old 16th-June-2008, 08:39 AM   #61
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

determinism = no freewill
indeterminism = no freewill
determinism is incompatible with freewill because it means everything is predetermined and that we have no responsibility over our actions. indeterminism is incompatible because it would mean that all the matter/energy in the universe can to a certain degree, behave randomly and since we are all made of matter/energy we must also behave randomly to a certain degree, note, random behavior is not freewill.
im not going in to the nature vs nurture argument because its just to long.
and for the theists,
all knowing god = fate/predetermined.
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Old 16th-June-2008, 11:09 AM   #62
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

Plus the fact that theists believe in cosmic and religious laws.


Everything you are is a by-product of something that has been. You can't make something out of nothing, and when it comes to humans, we are very susceptible to the behavior of that which is bigger than us, and how the world reacts to it.



No, we have no free will.
No free will.
No free will.
No free will.
Free will? No!
Will No free?
No will free!
Free will know.




It will know all.
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Old 16th-June-2008, 11:17 AM   #63
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

We do have free will Cabbo.

We just choose not to use it.



Or at least those of us who use it fully are happily sitting in a padded room for their own safety.
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Old 17th-June-2008, 02:05 PM   #64
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

Nope.


Well, that's an NT argument fer seur.
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Old 10th-July-2008, 06:27 PM   #65
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

I just found out about this, its very interesting. According to some experiments it seems that in the decision making process we become consciusly aware of the choice after it was already made unconciously, so there cannot be a causal relation between consciousness and choice.
Here:
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/231

Epiphenomenalism ?
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Old 14th-July-2008, 12:54 PM   #66
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

At the last post: I heard about that too, but i don't think it is of real importance to this discussion here. I mean, i can base my action upon a external event. I can say: "If the dice is showing an even number, i will slap my right hand on the table, is it showing an odd number i will use my left." Then i roll the dice. So here i make my choice previously and consciously.

To the general discussion:
I know there are arguments for both sides, some derived with logic, some biological or physical, law-based. Some quantummaechanical. For now i don't want to dive into them, but to just show some thoughts. What is my most fundamental experience? IMO, it is "I". The 'fact' (?) that i can experience and have a consciousness. I can feel "me". And part of that experience is that i can make choices. So every theory about that matter does have to compare with that fundamental experience.
Now biology and such comes in and tell me, i am always subject to other factors than just my will. In fact that my will mostly consosts of them. Brain chemistry, nerve stimuli/sensory input (advertising...; although i tend to see advertising not that powerful. I for myself am pretty certain, that advertising doesn't direct my actions. I 'consume' much less than the average person. I don't buy because some advertisment told me to, i buy because the product satisfies my need. But i think that is a bit offtopic), environmental impact (society also falls in here) and others. Now i agree with all of this. I agree that they influence decisions and choices. I don't agree that they actually determine everything. Or at least i doesn't make us just some algorithm in the 'big chainreaction/program which is the universe'.

I found the link posted above (the interview with the austrian physicist) quite interesting. He stated that, on a quantum level, reality is not independent from observation. One example he told was, that when two particles collide, their "information get smeared all over them" (no literal quote, but he said that with other phrasing). So after it, the information is not sufficient to describe both particles. Only in the moment, where an outside observer 'looks' at them, the first particle can be located and thus gets information. In that case you can derive the information of the second particle. But before the observation both particles have no concrete location and impulse, only together!
So that interview taught me, that it isn't that simple with physical reality, and just assume that the universe is just some giant algorithm with a predetermined pathway.

Apart from that: Sure i have problems with accepting everything were that way (predetermined). I contradicts my everysecond most fundamental experience. How could there be some "I" if that "I" gets no authority on decisions? Hell, there even were no decisions. It wouldn't matter how parents educated their children, there wouldn't be education, and it wouldn't matter that it wouldn't matter, because there were no humans (in the philosophical sense) to whom it could have meaning. It would mean, that we're just illusioning that were are...?

Ogion
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Old 14th-July-2008, 02:58 PM   #67
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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At the last post: I heard about that too, but i don't think it is of real importance to this discussion here. I mean, i can base my action upon a external event. I can say: "If the dice is showing an even number, i will slap my right hand on the table, is it showing an odd number i will use my left." Then i roll the dice. So here i make my choice previously and consciously.
The implication of that experiment is supposed to be that there are two levels on the mind, one is kind of a mechanical device that recieves certain input, processes it and emits certain output, this is the level that really makes the decisions; the other level is the conciousness which all it does is being aware of things (the input, the output, etc.) but is not the cause nor can influence the other level. Conciousness is under the illusion that it is the cause of the decision, its job is to combine all the processes in the machinery level into a unity perceived by itself as a whole, as the "I". In your example the decision to use one hand or the other depending on the dice, etc., would be made by the machinery after analyzing the possibilities and deciding that it was the best choice, then right after it was decided in the unconcious depths it came to the "surface" in the form of words and you became aware of it and said "Ive decided to do this".

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Apart from that: Sure i have problems with accepting everything were that way (predetermined). I contradicts my everysecond most fundamental experience. How could there be some "I" if that "I" gets no authority on decisions? Hell, there even were no decisions. It wouldn't matter how parents educated their children, there wouldn't be education, and it wouldn't matter that it wouldn't matter, because there were no humans (in the philosophical sense) to whom it could have meaning. It would mean, that we're just illusioning that were are...?
Ogion
There would be decisions, education would still be importat (maybe even more so) and there certainly would still be humans, but that is not the point, we cant reach truth by wishful thinking.
The other possibility cant be hold, the conciousness is obviously constrained within its material/biological circumstancial situation, you cant make a decision about something that you dont know about, nor based on information that you dont have, nor ones that require complex processing beyond your mental capacity, etc. The "thing" in which the decision is made and the process by which the decision is made exist in the material world so they are subjected to the causal laws of the material world, there is no way around it. For the mind to escape causality it would have to exist outside the material world and not be affected by it, then we would be talking about mysticism instead of science and we would have to explain how something immaterial can affect something material.
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Old 14th-July-2008, 03:08 PM   #68
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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We do have free will Cabbo.

We just choose not to use it.



Or at least those of us who use it fully are happily sitting in a padded room for their own safety.
Explain to me how free will is possible. What grants us free will? From whence comes the ability to act without cause? If you kick a ball a thousand times under the same circumstances, will its trajectory not always be the same? What's a man but a ball with more parts - do we not also respond to stimuli? When you put data into a computer, it performs the task it's programmed to do. When you put data into a human, he performs the task he's evolved to do.
Think about any decision you've ever made. Can you tell me that any single one of them was spontaneous? Give an example.
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Old 14th-July-2008, 08:55 PM   #69
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

After some thinking about it (and reading and watching) i have to withdraw myself from this discussion, i have to say that i don't have an opinion to it, for which i could argue (and so there is no worthy opinion).

Ogion

P.S.: I just watched this video, from Richard Dawkins about the "Queeriness of the Universe". Maybe it is relevant for this discussion, it certainly is interesting, so i link it:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/r..._universe.html
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Old 15th-July-2008, 05:43 AM   #70
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

Whether we decide to voice our thoughts or keep it to ourselves, isn't that an example of free will? Free will is possible even though it is not found in many of our actions or thoughts. It often hides itself because it is weak. Hiding is its way of protecting itself from being tarnished and killed.
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Old 15th-July-2008, 05:36 PM   #71
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Whether we decide to voice our thoughts or keep it to ourselves, isn't that an example of free will? Free will is possible even though it is not found in many of our actions or thoughts. It often hides itself because it is weak. Hiding is its way of protecting itself from being tarnished and killed.

Voicing thoughts vs. hiding them is determined by a number of factors. Every decision we make can be attributed to our environment in the past, since we never truly observe the present (there's a slight delay between an event occuring and us sensing it). If you have been, throughout your childhood, told not to voice your thoughts, or scolded for voicing your thoughts, you're less likely to do so; and if you've been commended and encouraged to voice your thoughts, then you'll be more likely to. These are the actions of your parents, stimuli over which you have no control. The stimuli are received via your senses, and the brain processes them - you have no control over this process, or are you telling me you can decide what you want to hear and how you react (inside, not what emotion you display) to it? The manner in which the brain processes them is determined by the brain's form - its structure, shape and composition - which are determined genetically, a process over which you had no control. Since this brain, the inner workings of which you can't control, is the place where every thought and feeling you have occurs, since you don't control which stimuli it receives and processes, and since all of your nerve signals originate here - that is, your every movement, including vibrating your vocal chords to produce the sounds that are "voicing your thoughts" - how can you say you have any control over them? What we call "control" is just our awareness of our own actions coupled with our post-rationalisation of them; an illusion created by the mind.
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Old 15th-July-2008, 06:53 PM   #72
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

We may not be able to control these stimulis and how it affects our thoughts, but in the end, the final decision thought or whatever is made by us.
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Old 15th-July-2008, 08:26 PM   #73
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

When is it made by us? At what stage do we choose an action? We can't control how the stimulus affects our thoughts, you said - that means we can't control how the stimulus affects our decisions. The thought comes unbidden, or many thoughts do; one of them is stronger, and that one wins.

You FEEL as though you've had the final say in it because you can come up with a reason for why you did it. You become aware of the impact your actions have, and you say to yourself "Oh, look, I'm doing x. I wonder why? It must be because y." and this leads you to think "I have decided to do x because y." If you don't act on a stimulus, this is not your choice - your sense of urgency, or call it what you will, has been produced by upbringing (over which you have no control) and evolution (over which you have no control). If you do act on it, same thing - the sense of urgency you've been given by upbringing and evolution categorises it as requiring action, so you act. You're aware of the process of some of these decisions being made (the vast majority escape your notice), and this gives you the feeling that you control it.
Think about any decision you've ever made, and give me one example of one that wasn't a response to stimuli. Even if, as you say, the final choice is ours, every decision is a response to stimuli outside our control, and so if you had never received those stimuli, your final decision would be different - you had no choice in reality; if you received the same stimuli under the same conditions again, you would make the same decision. The difference between us and a computer is that we are aware of our decisions, while a computer is not, and we learn from the consequences of our actions, while a computer does not.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 01:20 AM   #74
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

A stimuli is a factor or an opinion that we absorb, a detail that can either hold or not hold significance. It can support our final choice or oppose it. It is part of our thought process. It does not make the final decision at the end of the trial of thoughts.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 01:26 AM   #75
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

I think that our decisions are influenced by our environment, but there is still a choice.


"It is our choices, Harry..." apwbd
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Old 16th-July-2008, 02:30 AM   #76
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

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You FEEL as though you've had the final say in it because you can come up with a reason for why you did it. You become aware of the impact your actions have, and you say to yourself "Oh, look, I'm doing x. I wonder why? It must be because y." and this leads you to think "I have decided to do x because y."
Yes, that seems to be the case, our mind naturally makes up causes for our actions. For example: You hipnotize a person to do something at some point in the future, then when they do it you ask them why did they, they will come up with some reason (any reason that makes sense to them), not just so they dont look stupid, but they actually believe that that its the true reason. Here:
http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~wegner/conscwil.htm

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if you received the same stimuli under the same conditions again, you would make the same decision.
Well, that is not so certain, determinism is not completely confirmed, although randomness cant be called free will either.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 03:37 AM   #77
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

Under the exact same cirumstances. Basically, if two moments in time are universally identical, the next moment in time will be the same in each case.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 03:38 AM   #78
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

The last post is interesting as I suffered a hypnotic attack when I think the hypnotists tried to plant a suggestion in my head.

I don't think it actually worked. Or of it did, my rational mind chose to ignore it. Alternatively, it is there and I don't know it consciously ???
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Old 16th-July-2008, 03:58 AM   #79
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Under the exact same cirumstances. Basically, if two moments in time are universally identical, the next moment in time will be the same in each case.
Again, only IF absolute determinism turns out to be true.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 04:02 AM   #80
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

No, if the laws of physics are true. If they apply universally, then the same set of causes will lead to the same set of effects under the same conditions.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 04:31 AM   #81
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

That is exactly the problem, we do not know if they apply universally, we certainly have not yet a complete understanding of everything, particularily at quatum level. Certain events could be random, chaotic, so with exactly the same causes you could end up with different effects, we still do not know for sure.

(If I had to make a bet Id go with determinism, believe me)
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Old 16th-July-2008, 09:26 AM   #82
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

Where's the will in chaos?
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Old 16th-July-2008, 02:01 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Jordan
Under the exact same cirumstances. Basically, if two moments in time are universally identical, the next moment in time will be the same in each case.
Well, that is not so certain, determinism is not completely confirmed, although randomness cant be called free will either.
Never said there is.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 05:14 PM   #84
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That is exactly the problem, we do not know if they apply universally, we certainly have not yet a complete understanding of everything, particularily at quatum level. Certain events could be random, chaotic, so with exactly the same causes you could end up with different effects, we still do not know for sure.

(If I had to make a bet Id go with determinism, believe me)
At quantum level, we're fairly sure different rules apply, are we not? Anything that might possess a will is macroscopic, though, unless I missed the self-aware quarks.
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Old 16th-July-2008, 06:28 PM   #85
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unless I missed the self-aware quarks.
(That wasnt really necessary)

We certainly dont need to apply quantum mechanics to explain a bouncing football, but when we are dealing with consciousness (which we dont know how is produced) it could play an important role.

Here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind
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Old 19th-October-2008, 10:11 PM   #86
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Determinism is depressing because it leaves us trapped in our circumstances without any ability on our part to change things. It makes people feel helpless, it causes people to give up. Fortunately determinism is bullshit or I would have shot myself a long time ago.
You're doing it wrong. It does not leave us "trapped in our circumstances without any ability on our part to change things". We could easily be fated to try and succeed to change our current circumstances.

In other words, the existence or nonexistence of choice affects nothing! Determinism is meaningless!
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Old 19th-October-2008, 10:38 PM   #87
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Why exactly is determinism "bullshit"? Care to explain where free will comes from?
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Old 19th-October-2008, 10:58 PM   #88
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I think i agree with you, grey_matters. On the part of determinism, i just can't accept the fact that everything is just rolling of like a movie or a book. I deep down just feel this theoriy to be false, because it contradicts my everyday perception of life and existence. Call it stubborn, stupid, or irrational, i don't care.
On the part of love i am little experienced, but i think there are these layers.

@Jordan: I don't know, wouldn't it be much more sensible to ask you for your prove for determinism? Free will i experice every day (of course, you would certainly be able to explain why i would be deceived there...), but your theory contradicts this. So from my point of view, you are the one in debt of evidence, no?

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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:05 PM   #89
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No, it wouldn't, for reasons I've discussed before. Determinism is belief in a lack of something. I am not required to prove that there are no unicorns, or that there are no vampires, or that there are no married bachelors; so why should I be required to prove that there's no free will? A person may have the illusion of having seen a unicorn, but it's dismissed. The fact that a great many people have the illusion of free will - all people, in fact - makes it no more valid.

It's the equivalent of you saying that there's no such thing as a witch and me saying that I know tons of witches, and it's your job to prove they're not real. Surely you would insist that I proved they were witches, rather than allowing the assumption to be made that something for which there is no evidence, which contradicts the rest of our knowledge, exists?
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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:20 PM   #90
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No, it wouldn't, for reasons I've discussed before. Determinism is belief in a lack of something. I am not required to prove that there are no unicorns, or that there are no vampires, or that there are no married bachelors; so why should I be required to prove that there's no free will? A person may have the illusion of having seen a unicorn, but it's dismissed. The fact that a great many people have the illusion of free will - all people, in fact - makes it no more valid.

It's the equivalent of you saying that there's no such thing as a witch and me saying that I know tons of witches, and it's your job to prove they're not real. Surely you would insist that I proved they were witches, rather than allowing the assumption to be made that something for which there is no evidence, which contradicts the rest of our knowledge, exists?
I think that the you are the one in debt of evidence, because the 'primary' assumption, the previous one is the one coming from personal experince. You see, i actually would see myself in debt of explanation when you say you would have seen witches. Really. When i trust you (that you would not willingly want just to deceive me, but were serious about your observation of witches) i would see myself in the position to research this further to get to know if you were right or if for some reason they just seemed to have magical powers.
The state of knowledge previous to the research done is obviously the experince you gained. So for you there seems to be evidence that there would be witches, then it is of course my turn of researching the matter when i am of the stance "There are no witches".
Do you see that differently? (Serious question)

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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:24 PM   #91
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@greymatters: You have an illusion of making the choice to stand up tall in a room full of basketball players. There are reasons beyond your control for doing so. Maybe your mama told you to walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye when you were about knee high, and since your instinct is to accept the guidance of your parents - or to be easily coerced/encouraged into doing so - in your early formative years, it became habit. I'm not going to go through every possible reason that one might do such a thing, there are countless, but there can be no causeless effect. There are things happening with your brain chemistry, neurons you're not even aware of firing, when you make a decision; your brain is active and you have no idea how to control it - how could you, no one even knows how it works. It's not like the arm or the leg where you have some notion of what you're doing when you use it - you can't deliberately make certain parts of your brain become active, you have no sensation of controlling it. The only sensation that you have is that caused by the decision made inside your head: your behaviour. You're aware of the stimuli created by yourself as a result of the uncontrolled processes inside your brain, and they're post-rationalised - or perhaps pre-rationalised - so that you have the feeling that you chose to act as you did.

Think about this, as well: in the case of standing tall amidst giants, would you ever have done that if you hadn't been short? Or if you had lived in a society where shortness was valued? Or if your parents had taught you to slouch when you were very young? These are all factors outside your control that lead to a decision.

@Ogion: Yes, I see it quite differently. Let me elaborate on the example: I claim that my witches float through the air (when you're not looking), but they are always denser than air. You presumably know this to be impossible according to everything you already know - if it was possible, a great deal of your knowledge about the world would come tumbling down. A new model of physics would be required. I'd be asserting that the impossible was reality and insisting that you prove otherwise. Do you still think the burden of proof falls upon you?

It's the same for determinism. Macroscopic bodies do not act without being acted upon. Everything is movement, and movement is never spontaneous. Physics tells us this. Since the brain itself relies on movement to work - of electrons, chemicals, etc. - and it's the brain that makes all decisions; to suggest that we have free will would be to suggest that the brain is capable of generating spontaneous motion - nothing is reacting to anything else, an entirely new chain of cause and effect, totally different from that which has been running since the beginning of time, is started each time you make a decision. Do you not see the problem with that? It goes against everything we know, it assumes that there must be something special about the brain when we know of nothing special about it. To say that there might be something special we don't know of would be an appeal to ignorance, and logically fallacious.
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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:36 PM   #92
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I of course agree that there are many things influencing me. Very many. But i still think that in the end i make decisions (not all), that i choose.
And one thing: You write that no one really understands how the brain works. I think you should take that statement as an scknoleddgement that you don't know how we work ,how it is that 'we' are there. So perhaps you may accept that i may have a view of it different than yours and that there is room (the parts we don't understand yet) for my view to actually be correct...(or of course yours, or little Bob ones...)

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EDIT: You edited your post. I will answer to some new things. in the witch-example you are making too much premises. When you come to me to tell of your experience to have seen witches flying through the air, and i am inclined to think your explanation couldn't be right, i of course have the 'burden' (that sounds too negative) of proof. I want to use a different explanation than you who witnessed the phenomenon. I want to make my own theory and so i have to find evidence and own experience. It really doesn't matter that half of my building of physics would crumble. The point is, there is some phenomenon and i want to get an explanation of it.

Physics tell us a lot more.I am no real pro in this field, but aren't there for axample spontaneous creation of matter-antimatter-pairs in vacuum? (I knowthis is not macroscopic, but does that matter?). Doesn't quantum physics tell us that there are stranger things, like 'spooky' transportation of information (photons 'bound' together acting exactly the same at the same time over distance, i right now don't know the denomination, but you probyably know what i am talking of), or uncertainty (That if two particles collide, both of them won't have distinct information, no distinct staate to be in, until they get observed? I read something about that, but i may err.)
At one point you argue that the brain isn't fully understood, and then you argue that there is no 'special' thing in the brain which would allow non-determinism...that strikes me as contradistory
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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:41 PM   #93
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The view of libertarianism is possible, but incompatible with everything I know. It contradicts a very great deal of my experience - and yours, too, if you're living in the same universe as me and you've ever spent time in a Physics classroom. I don't know how the human brain works, no; but I know that it's made of matter and energy and I know how those work. There are certain axioms that are applied to them that are always true; if the brain is made of matter/energy then it follows these axioms, and there can be no free will as a result. If the axioms are wrong, well... It's possible, but the burden of proof falls on you.
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Old 19th-October-2008, 11:50 PM   #94
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I edited my post too, so you may read that.
My point is just that i see room and possibility for unexplained things yet to be uncovered, which would support my pov. There is the theory of dark matter, right? So there is a thing postulated which we couldn't observe till now. Now, why coulnd't there be another thing in our brains which we just couldn't discover till now?

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Old 20th-October-2008, 12:06 AM   #95
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There could well be, but to use that as a grounds to believe in free will would be to assert that because it's possible, it must be true - surely you can see the flawed reasoning there.

And yes, macroscopic vs. microscopic does seem to matter. On the microscopic scale (the scale studied by quantum physics), things happen very differently to how they do on the macroscopic scale (where they've always followed certain rules - that we've seen, anyway).
"At one point you argue that the brain isn't fully understood, and then you argue that there is no 'special' thing in the brain which would allow non-determinism...that strikes me as contradistory"
In the first case, I'm saying that we don't know the specific workings of the brain. In the latter case, I mean that there's nothing special about the actual material of the brain - the matter it's made of. As a (somewhat simplified and perhaps flawed) analogy, say there's a man with no experience of operating machinery who claims to know how to make a machine levitate. You might say "How could you have made it do anything, no one knows how that machine works - and besides, it's made of steel, it can't levitate".
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Old 20th-October-2008, 01:27 AM   #96
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The view of libertarianism is possible, but incompatible with everything I know...I don't know how the human brain works, no; but I know that it's made of matter and energy and I know how those work. There are certain axioms that are applied to them that are always true; if the brain is made of matter/energy then it follows these axioms, and there can be no free will as a result. If the axioms are wrong, well... It's possible, but the burden of proof falls on you.

Yep. And true, both are technically possible. For this reason I stated that I "personally believe" in hard determinism. It is only a belief, at this point. The coin could fall on either side, but of course, one side seems like a more positive conclusion than the other, but one also seems more logical to me than the other.


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I think i agree with you, grey_matters. On the part of determinism, i just can't accept the fact that everything is just rolling of like a movie or a book. I deep down just feel this theoriy to be false, because it contradicts my everyday perception of life and existence. Call it stubborn, stupid, or irrational, i don't care.
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Determinism is depressing because it leaves us trapped in our circumstances without any ability on our part to change things. It makes people feel helpless, it causes people to give up. Fortunately determinism is bullshit or I would have shot myself a long time ago.
It is natural and human to be repelled to this idea of determinism. I actually have a sense of admiration for those who don't believe in determinism because it gives more meaning to their lives - and even if they were to be wrong in the end, their existence was more fulfilling. I, however, am a slave to reasoning - and cannot bring myself to believe what sounds better, but what seems more reasonable.

To believe in free-will, is to believe in "something" which makes choices without a logical explanation to them; for as soon as free-will is given a "logical explanation" it stops being free-will and becomes the mere product of logical process. To have free-will is to have something which has no logical explanation. I do not believe in free-will because I believe everything has an explanation.


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Old 20th-October-2008, 05:34 PM   #97
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

I don't think a life with a determinist perspective is any less fulfilling. The illusion of free will still exists, it's just acknowledged that it is an illusion. Unless you're thinking about it, it doesn't really have an impact on your day to day life.

I've more admiration for those who see through the veil created by their own minds, who sacrifice a little happiness for the sake of knowledge.
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Old 20th-October-2008, 07:30 PM   #98
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

today i had a choice: i wanted either to go to subway and get a spicy italian or to stay home and make a turkey sandwich. after mulling the idea around the head for a few seconds, i decided to go to subway. what causes could have made that affect? i can see the cause (hunger) making me eat (affect) but was there not a free will choice to either choose subway or a sandwich? or what if i passed my mcdonalds on the way to subway and suddenly decided that sounded better (not bloody likely)? i believe in soft determinism, and that there are certain things we do purely by choice. and i also believe in existence as a non-linear system. hard determinism seems too linear to me.
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Old 20th-October-2008, 08:19 PM   #99
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

A mixture of cultural conditioning and internal motives led you to decide that Subway was better than a homemade sandwich at that moment. I'm sure if you look deeply enough you'll be able to work out why. I imagine you have some good experiences with Subway and you were in the mood of one of those, and decided that the additional effort required to go there was worth the better sandwich, for some reason. And behind all that preference and judgement of the value of time and reward lie more primal principles of which you're not consciously aware, such as those things that affect what tastes you like. Since I don't know a great deal of detail about your life, I couldn't speculate why you would feel that going to Subway was worth the sandwich.
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Old 20th-October-2008, 08:27 PM   #100
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Default Re: Free Will? [Thread Split]

of course the decisions made are based on past experiences, but they're still conscious decisions. strong determinism makes it sound like i had no choice but to go to subway, that if i was able to replay the day over and over an infinite amount of times (without remembering the results of the past replays) that i would choose subway 100% of the time. and that makes strong determinism a safe theory because its not testable for falsifiable. i guess the weak anthropic principle could be applied to why i had gone to subway instead of staying home: if i hadn't gone to subway, we wouldn't be asking why i had gone to subway.
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