Free Will

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Metaphysics
  3. » Free Will

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2007 05:54 pm
Let me start by saying that I take a Spinozan view of reality; everything exists as a totality, with all actors inside this totality being entirely contingent upon the totality, and the totality being entirely contingent upon the individuals actors. In short all things are interrelated and necessary. As actors within the totality, we are necessary and at all times our being is a must the serves the means to all other actors at all other times.

Now, I took these beliefs into this conversation of free will that occurred on another forum. Obviously I am an incompatibilist determinist, in my view of reality, there simply is no room for libertarian free will.

AnarchyeL is a poster who is particularly disciplined in philosophy, and I enjoy our discussions greatly because of it. This is not the first time he has helped me to organize my disjointed thoughts into clarity. He originally opposed my position, stating that determinism is an impossibility from the position of the actor: If the actor became aware of the causes of his actions, he would no longer be limited by them. He then began arguing determinism against another poster: From the objective perspective, all events and actions have a cause, and since all of these causes can be linked in a chain to forces outside the actor, he is not acting freely of his own will. He later explained that he saw a dialetical progression through the opposing forces of the subjective impossibility of determinism and the objective impossibility of free will. This prompted this line of discussion:

Vittos: AnarchyeL, if we are to follow this chain of subjective self-awareness and revision of action, shouldn't we find a stopping point where the person finds the most apt assertion of his preferences, the greatest application of his will?

Is there a point where subjective and objective meet?

AnarchyeL: Yes, in a moral law knowable a priori.

This is, in fact, the only kind of "stopping point" we can have, since natural causation goes back ad infinitum to the beginning of time.

[In response to my question "Is there a point where subjective and objective meet?"] I didn't pursue this line of reasoning too far, because it seemed to be muddying the larger points, but Kant argues that certain "feelings" can be derived directly from reason--or at least they represent the result of a creature such as ourselves engaging with reason.

One of these is the sense of shame, which arises due to a rational comparison between our actual and ideal selves. Another is "respect," another is "dignity"... and I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them right now.

In this sense, then, there is an interaction or a "meeting" between subjective and objective perspectives.

In another sense, it is important to note that in the language of modal logic, the position of incompatiblism that I espouse does NOT maintain that

N~(F and D) -- that is, that there is no possible world in which people could be both free and determined.

As I have suggested already, if natural causes led us to behave rightly, then in an important sense we could not distinguish between our free subjectivity and our objective nature--they would be, in this sense, "compatible."

Obviously, ours is not such a world--people behave wrongly all the time.

Yet the argument from the Left (broadly speaking) that at least some of the ways in which we feel compelled to hurt each other are bound up in the political and economic contradictions of our world is at least somewhat compelling: in a redeemed world, people might be less inclined to be assholes.

To the extent, then, that we can rearrange our social life to reduce the conflict between the ethical and the natural, we can approach some correspondence between the two. Will that correspondence ever be perfect? Unlikely, I think.

Still, this recalls again Adorno's thesis that dialectics is the ontology of the false condition. If we can heal ourselves as a society, the freedom/determinism problem may, to a certain extent, dissolve along with all our other contradictions.

Vittos: [In response to his statement about a priori stopping points] I am not referring to moral a priori, but since you bring it up, I do believe it can have naturalistic roots, so even it wouldn't provide a stopping point.

The question I have relates to what I understood as your refutation of objective causation through subjective perception. I may be wrong, but it seems that you want to say that we, through our self-awareness, can never have true objective knowledge of our motivations and their resulting actions as it immediately causes a shift in the subjective which negates the objective knowledge. We can observe the causal chain of our own motivations objectively in retrospect, but the simple observation of the self changes the self and therefore makes the future unknown.

I am asking you this (these): Is there some central core, some base property or value of the person will never be willing to change? It could feasibly be considered the one thing that makes the person itself, the defining quality?

If the person grows in his self-awareness and reaches this understanding of his core quality or qualities, would the possibility of revision stop? In this, does the subjective understanding cease to find differences to distinguish itself from the objective, and therefore find itself powerless to resist causal determination?

[In response to his exposition]

I don't feel I need to add much more to my post, but yes, I think you touched on it well here.

As I said, it seems most reasonable to say that our moral codes, if they are in anyway derived from within, are naturalistic in quality, and thereby determined. I would therefore posit that, if your estimation of self-revision (if I have managed to interpret it correctly) is true, then we can extend this revision until the person reaches his true nature which he finds himself unwilling to change. At this point he is satisfied with his objective nature and there is no conflict between objective and subjective. More importantly, he finds no discomfort in causal determination.

I guess felt the need to restate it, even if I didn't add to it.


Here is the thread.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, from this I would draw that all things are in constant struggle against their own role. There is at all times a tugging between different futures that we percieve (from the subjective) in the totality, with our will (and the will of all other beings) being the method for which the totality brings about the only objectively possible "future". It is our will in that it is exerted through us and only us, but it is not free will in that it is given to us, not created by us. Free will is then an illusion that we percieve through the disconnect between ourselves and the totality. Because we percieve so many possible futures and outcomes, we cast ourselves as being independent actors who choose the future. By its very nature, free will becomes the source of discontent, in that we are beset by a cloud of preferences, values, and desires, and we are forced to not only choose for, but choose against all else. This method of choosing against all else can be blamed for regret, anxiety, fear, and frustration.

So it can be said that, once a man overcomes free will, and truly discovers and accepts his role in the totality, he finds ultimate satisfaction. In almost all ideals, free will is thought to be a virtue, even the redeemer of man. We are saved because we can be judged by the virtue of our actions. This is probably the most fundamentally dangerous position I have ever held, but it is also likely the most thought out position on nihilistic ethics and metaphysics I have ever held, despite the rambling nature of this post.

So what do you make of my thoughts and the concept of free will in general?
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2007 10:04 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
C'mon, anybody?
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2007 02:05 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
Hi, Mr. FTP,

I just want to say that I thought your post was interesting and worth the read. It showed some real drama and depth. It appears that you have a real good grasp of the issues involved in the problem of free will. I would encourage you to keep going forward in the same direction.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 07:57 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
I will give this thread more attention tomorrow when I find the time, but for now I would like to point out a couple of things.

First, there is the most basic question: 'Does man have free will' but what value is this question? Even if man has a will, the heart of the issue is not the freedom of man's will, but rather, the freedom of the man himself. If we have a will, the question then becomes, 'can man freely apply his will'?

Second, if we are to say that "Free will is then an illusion that we percieve through the disconnect between ourselves and the totality" how do you reconclie this with the fact that we are part of that totality?
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 08:49 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Smile I shall get into it a little later too, Mr Fight The Power, I know your well verse in the topic, it should prove interesting!!
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2007 02:17 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
The egoic fantasy of 'choice and free-will' is just that, egoic fantasy. Benjamin Libet's famous experiment certainly supports, evidentially, that the mind initiates 'action' prior to the individual making the 'choice' to act.
Second, motion in itself is an illusion, and without 'motion' there can be no 'choice or free-will'. All moments of existence are already a done deal, one end to another, a great synchrony. It is all Here/Now. There can be no 'change', no 'evolution' but by appearances only, from a perspective. 'Free-will and choice' are no more than egoic constructs in our need for 'stability and security' in this apparently unstable and insecure worlds; translated as 'control' of self and others.
It is a tasty illusion, necessary in its existence, but an illusion nontheless, unsupportable by science.
 
Ecstasy
 
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2007 02:26 pm
@nameless,
I think this story goes with the topic and has a deep meaning to it. Smile


Trust God But Tie Your Camel


There was once a man who was on his way back home from market with his camel and, as he'd had a good day, he decided to stop at a mosque along the road and offer his thanks to God.
He left his camel outside and went in with his prayer mat and spent several hours offering thanks to Allah, praying and promising that he'd be a good Muslim in the future, help the poor and be an upstanding pillar of his community.
When he emerged it was already dark and lo and behold - his camel was gone!
He immediately flew into a violent temper and shook his fist at the sky, yelling:
"You traitor, God! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and then you go and stab me in the back like this!"
A passing sufi dervish heard the man yelling and chuckled to himself.
"Listen," he said, "Trust God but, you know, tie up your camel." This is the classic answer for those who believe that their faith alone will carry them through life. Innocence can indeed be a valuable shield but there are basic measures that have to be taken just as a matter of common sense. If you leave the jar of honey open by morning it may be full of ants. No amount of belief is going to change the basic facts of living in this world.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2007 02:59 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
The egoic fantasy of 'choice and free-will' is just that, egoic fantasy. Benjamin Libet's famous experiment certainly supports, evidentially, that the mind initiates 'action' prior to the individual making the 'choice' to act.
Second, motion in itself is an illusion, and without 'motion' there can be no 'choice or free-will'. All moments of existence are already a done deal, one end to another, a great synchrony. It is all Here/Now. There can be no 'change', no 'evolution' but by appearances only, from a perspective. 'Free-will and choice' are no more than egoic constructs in our need for 'stability and security' in this apparently unstable and insecure worlds; translated as 'control' of self and others.
It is a tasty illusion, necessary in its existence, but an illusion nontheless, unsupportable by science.


Nameless,Smile

Smile I find your premises intrigueing but I believe Mr Fight The Power is interested in the nature of free will in the context of society and its apparent reality. Perhaps I presume to much however, do you wish to get into the metaphysical on this Mr Fight The Power? I think too you are useing the term ego in a new sense, it certainly is not the meaning in the Freudian tradition, you make it sound as if man's perception is willed as such, indeed to me there does not seem to be freewill as choice involved.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 30 Nov, 2007 12:08 am
@boagie,
Quote:
The egoic fantasy of 'choice and free-will' is just that, egoic fantasy. Benjamin Libet's famous experiment certainly supports, evidentially, that the mind initiates 'action' prior to the individual making the 'choice' to act.


Even Libet found room for man's freedom in his experiaments in what he called "the power of veto" because we must still, conciously, allow the unconcious build-up of readiness potential to become movement. The mind does not initiate action, but instead creates readiness potentail - the aquiescence of the conciousness is still required. Not everything man does must be free in order for man to be free.
 
nameless
 
Reply Tue 4 Dec, 2007 02:48 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
The mind does not initiate action, but instead creates readiness potentail - the aquiescence of the conciousness is still required. Not everything man does must be free in order for man to be free.

The brain initiated (apparent) action before the so-called 'conscious will' to action, in every case.
Besides, action/motion itself is an 'appearance' of the perceptions/memory. There is no 'motion' other than as an affect of 'memory'.
Without 'motion' (all Planck moments are quantumly discrete), all the above 'concepts' become moot automatically! It is all relational to 'doing'; 'freedom' to 'do', 'choice' to 'do'... 'doing' is illusion...
Prideful ego certainly loves these 'empowering' illusions, though, and they are necessary beliefs in the compositional nature of most people.
Those who 'believe' in 'personal freedom', 'choice', 'free-will', etc.. have no choice but to be as their nature dictates, same as do those who do not 'believe' in the primary 'evidence' of (perception) naive realism.
Either way, what is 'real', is 'real' for the individual. There is no 'right and wrong' in the matter.
Incidentally, though, there appears to be quite a history of horror and violence related to the survival and propagation of these various 'beliefs' (the belief virus). But, it can be no other way...
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 4 Dec, 2007 11:02 pm
@nameless,
Quote:
The brain initiated (apparent) action before the so-called 'conscious will' to action, in every case.


So what? The research indicated that, despite this, man does still have a decision to make - to act or not.

Quote:
Besides, action/motion itself is an 'appearance' of the perceptions/memory. There is no 'motion' other than as an affect of 'memory'.


While we understand these things, action and motion, through our memory, this does not mean that these things are nothing but "an affect of 'memory'".
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2007 07:43 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
So what? The research indicated that, despite this, man does still have a decision to make - to act or not.

Not so. The research indicates that there is no 'decision' other than as egoic illusion.
Perhaps I missed something; possibly you can link me to some data in support of your contention? I saw none to support 'choices', at all.
It is certainly 'real' to the 'believers', though... need there be other 'evidence' than that, for the 'believer'?

Quote:
While we understand these things, action and motion, through our memory, this does not mean that these things are nothing but "an affect of 'memory'".

All 'understanding' is memory, all perception, all knowledge. There is no evidence to support that 'motion' is other than an affect of memory, or anything else, for that matter.
 
Kalki
 
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2007 07:22 am
@nameless,
I did a brief essay on this subject a little while back, any feedback would be good!




Many things are outside an individual's control. Factors such as events before an individual's birth, the current state of the universe, the fact that we are human and that death is inevitable are among a few. There are even things about an individual's own self that are also outside their control such as the colour of their eyes, country of birth, and gender. Even desires and the individual's current mind state on how that particular person is viewing things at a current moment in time is all beyond controlling. However, there are factors that can be controlled such as our present and future actions, reason being that they are based on one's own deliberate actions; the statement of 'to or not to' applies to the majority of mentally healthy adults. The idea of being in control of how we act is generally known as 'The free will problem'. Several factors and ideas will be analysed to show how we are supposedly not in control, and on the contrary, how we are in control. I will be arguing to show how as human beings, we have free will, thus proving that although the future may be fixed, our actions are not futile.


It is agreed that it is directly up to us on how we act given a set of choices; this is an obvious statement to most people. Going a step further, it can be said that we are not directly in control of what feelings we have or what desires have come over us at a given time. From this it can be said that we have 'action control' but no 'desire control'. An extreme example would be a pyromaniac. There exists a 'desire' to 'not want' to not set things on fire. After an object has been destroyed through the pyromaniac's actions, this individual would most likely have regretted what they have done and didn't mean it to happen. This is providing there was no univocal desire to, which was free of conflict and ambivalence. Using this example it could be said that 'desire' condemns free will, however this can be further analysed.

Harry Frankfurt explains how as humans, we have 1st order desires, and 2nd order desires. Suppose there is a person who smokes cigarettes but has a genuine 'wanting' to quit. This individual has a 1st order desire 'to want' a cigarette. However, he 'wants' to quit and so he has a 2nd order desire of 'not wanting to want' a cigarette. This shows that we are capable of wanting to be different and not having certain motives or desires; Reflective self evaluation. i.e. 2nd order desires being where you 'want to have' or 'not to have' a certain desire of the 1st order. Technically speaking, an individual may not be able to distinguish from a 1st order and 2nd order desire, as one may be strong enough to overcome the other. Let it be that there is a set intention of the 2nd order to do 'x', however you may do something else because another 2nd order desire is stronger than doing ' x'. This has shown that through 1st and 2nd order desires, an individual is free to self-reflect upon a desire before making an action, but what if it was already determined for an individual to have that desire to start with?

If from the point of creation of the universe, however that may be, it has been determined that every future event from that point forward is set to happen, then at no stage in time of how an individual acts is truly up to them . This is called Causal Determinism; everything that happens is a result from earlier causes. Theoretically, this leaves no chance for things to happen otherwise i.e. the future is fixed by the past. Any individual that is aware of Causal Determinism and retains the view that free will is impossible under this condition, is said to be naturally Incompatible i.e. Falling under the concept of Incompatibilism - an assumption that in a world with fixed universe constants, and factors outside an individual's control, it is impossible for free will to exist. This concept is generally seen as a threat to free will, as every event in the universe is determined to occur by prior causes. This problem became a greater threat from the 19th century, as Newtonian physics showed how the universe seemed to obey and explain motion of every physical object i.e. causal relation. Modern quantum physics however, shows how fundamental particles to be random. This though, is on a microscopic level; Macroscopically Causal determinism can still be seen as a threat. Despite this, if actions were to be random in the way quantum physics explains, then this can be seen as a threat to free will as much as Causal Determinism, reason being that 'Randomness' excludes the factor of control. Free will and chance are mutually incompatible.

1: This action was performed freely and intentionally by an individual.
2: This action came about by pure chance.

These are contradictory statements.

It could be said that there is a gap between the two extremes of Randomness and Determinism. When Randomness is talked about, it is vital to note that this cannot be related to examples of dice and coins, the reason being that these outcomes could be causally determined. If a die were to be rolled, the outcome would depend on a variety of physical factors e.g. the precise way the die was tossed, the air currents it encountered, which in turn affects velocity, and the elasticity of the surface it lands on. These factors can be causally related to state of the universe at the point of creation. From the example, this type of luck and chance is consistent with Determinism. Randomness on the quantum level however, such as radioactive decay or individual photons passing through a polarisation analyser have a common element of having a single set of initial conditions and having more than one physical outcome which happens to occur for no causal reason. At this point Randomness could be put down to a lack of scientific knowledge in the field of quantum physics; there may be a future physical explanation for the reasons of action. From this it follows that a macroscopic action which results in a decision will be a 'chance' event in the sense that it was undetermined, but simultaneously unlike a 'Randomness' event in having an explanation as to why this event has occurred.


It has been shown that Randomness and Determinism are incompatible with each other, and so many individuals are inclined to Compatabalism. This concept shows that the 'up to us-ness', or our freedom to act otherwise is entirely compatable with actions being pre-determined by factors outside of control .i.e. Freedom and causal determanism are consistent. Ironically, Compatabalism shows that freedom requires our actions to be predetermined to avoid being random. Our actions have to be guided and determined by an individual's past desires. Eastern philosophy bases many of its foundations firmly on this believe by explaining 'skill'. For an individual to develop, a combination of causality and free-will are required. If things were totally caused there would be no way an individual could develop a skill - actions would be totally predetermined. If there was no causality at all skills would be useless because things would be constantly changing without any kind of rhyme or reason to them (Randomness). It takes an element of free will alongside the element of causality for an individual to develop skills in life. The Compatabalism concept also states that despite there being a causally determined set of events up to a given moment, an individual can choose to act otherwise. A way this can be shown is by using an example of a game of chess. An individual named 'Kev' is in a mid-game of chess. It is Kev's turn to move, and he has many options. The defining fact here is that although many options are present, particular options are more logical than others. It could be said there are options 'X', 'Y', and 'Z'. Option 'X' would result in putting the opposing player in check mate and so this is the probable choice. Let it be said that Kev does in fact choose option 'X'. This was done not because of chance or a macroscopic Randomness, but because it was the best move for him to make. All events up to the point in which the two individuals engage in a game of chess could be causally determined, but from the moment the game of chess commences there is a point of 'spontaneous origin'; that is to say every move that has been made in this game of chess is causally related to point in time 'T1', the moment of commencing the game of chess, and no other point in time before that. Let it be that there is a time 'T0' which is precisely one hour before the chess game. An event 'P' occurs. The action 'X' is in no way causally related to event 'P', as this occurred at time 'T0'; A point in time before the point of spontaneous origin.
It is also worth noting that the game of chess is purely based on actions which have derived from 2nd order desires .i.e. each move has been reflected upon regardless of the causal state of consciousness.

Following, it has been shown how if Causal Determinism is true and the future is indeed fixed, it is not a threat to free will, on the contrary, Compatabalism shows how it is needed to progress for us as human beings. The world cannot function in the way it does with absolute free will; Absolute free will being the ability to carry out an action which is not causally related to a previous event. 1st and 2nd order desires have shown how although a 1st order desire is causally determined by factors outside an individual's control, the ability to self-reflect shows how one can 'To, or not to', thus being able to release from the causal relation of previous events and proving that our actions are not futile.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 13 Dec, 2007 05:36 pm
@Kalki,
Quote:
Not so. The research indicates that there is no 'decision' other than as egoic illusion.
Perhaps I missed something; possibly you can link me to some data in support of your contention? I saw none to support 'choices', at all.
It is certainly 'real' to the 'believers', though... need there be other 'evidence' than that, for the 'believer'?


You could lookup the research done by Libet. Google is a great place to start. Libet talks about "the power of veto", and does not chalk it up to egotistical illusion. The initiation of action by the mind, outside of the individual's control can be restrained by "the power of veto" in that man has the choice to carry out or snuff out the action being initiated by his desire.

Quote:
All 'understanding' is memory, all perception, all knowledge. There is no evidence to support that 'motion' is other than an affect of memory, or anything else, for that matter.


Except that motion is not unique to some memory. We have as much reason to accept motion as we do that the sun will rise tomorrow. Can we say, with absolute certainty the sun will rise tomorrow? No, this can be doubted. Similarly we can doubt motion; however, just as we have no difficulty accepting that the sun will rise tomorrow, we should have just as little difficulty with the concept of motion.

This difficulty is one that should arise. It is inherent to what seems to be physical reality. We might say that physical reality is illusion, and here I could agree, but motion is no more illusory, with respect to physical reality, as any other property of physical reality.
 
nameless
 
Reply Sat 15 Dec, 2007 05:55 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
You could lookup the research done by Libet. Google is a great place to start. Libet talks about "the power of veto", and does not chalk it up to egotistical illusion.

The results of his experiments speak for themselves. His interpretation is merely that. He is in no better position to interpret the results than anyone else. He still has egbo, emotion, pride, and all the other happy human characteristics. The evidence of the experiment supports this perspective, in harmony and conjunction with other disciplines that support what I am offering. There is plenty of support, but are people ready to deal with this 'knowledge' on that deep a level as to alter their whole world-view? With their emotional and egoic attachments? Not for a couple hundred years will what we now 'know' be accepted as a (relatively) common world-view.

Quote:
The initiation of action by the mind, outside of the individual's control can be restrained by "the power of veto" in that man has the choice to carry out or snuff out the action being initiated by his desire.

If one 'believes' something, needs that 'belief' to support egoic and emotional attachments, one will 'find' (manufacture, distort, deny...) 'validating evidence' (usually from whole cloth).
"Power of veto"... ridiculous and unsupportable, from 'this' perspective. Desperation! Just like the mathematicians pathetic theory of 'convergence' (eliminating or redefining 'tangents' to make this wild ridiculous emotional validation. Emotions and pride come before 'data'!

Quote:
Except that motion is not unique to some memory. We have as much reason to accept motion as we do that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Exactly!!! By the way, the sun does not 'rise' but in illusory appearance! *__-
And the only 'place' that you 'experience motion' is in memory, in Mind.

Quote:
Can we say, with absolute certainty the sun will rise tomorrowNo, this can be doubted. Similarly we can doubt motion; however, just as we have no difficulty accepting that the sun will rise tomorrow, we should have just as little difficulty with the concept of motion.

Accept one illusion as 'Reality' and it is easier to accept any illusion. The sun only APPEARS to 'rise' just as the sun's apparent 'motion' is also just that.

Quote:
physical reality.

Oxymoronic!! unless the concept of 'reality' is no more than a 'materialists dream', the basest of concepts. There is no evidence of what is commonly called 'physical/material' 'reality'. Quantum theory has indicated that what you call 'physical', when examined, resembles nothing as much as 'thought'! 'Hologramic'! Perhaps you'd like to read a bit of physics? Modern..

Quote:
We might say that physical reality is illusion, and here I could agree, but motion is no more illusory, with respect to physical reality, as any other property of physical reality.

Any 'property/quality' of illusion remains... illusion! Illusion studied and quantified, again, remains illusion.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 15 Dec, 2007 06:41 pm
@nameless,
Quote:
The results of his experiments speak for themselves.


You're right, they do. The commentary I referenced is not merely an interpretation, though it is one. It also relfects something clear about the tests - that they leave plenty of room for concious influence over actions, they leave room for freewill. Some other tests would have to rule out freewill.

Quote:
The evidence of the experiment supports this perspective, in harmony and conjunction with other disciplines that support what I am offering.


Here you are speaking so much of ego. If you were willing to take an honest look at those experiments you would see that they do not support nor do they refute your perspective.

Quote:
There is plenty of support, but are people ready to deal with this 'knowledge' on that deep a level as to alter their whole world-view? With their emotional and egoic attachments? Not for a couple hundred years will what we now 'know' be accepted as a (relatively) common world-view.


Freewill has been denied, in a variety of ways, for thousands of years. The notion that we have no freewill is already a relatively common world view.

Quote:
If one 'believes' something, needs that 'belief' to support egoic and emotional attachments, one will 'find' (manufacture, distort, deny...) 'validating evidence' (usually from whole cloth).
"Power of veto"... ridiculous and unsupportable, from 'this' perspective. Desperation! Just like the mathematicians pathetic theory of 'convergence' (eliminating or redefining 'tangents' to make this wild ridiculous emotional validation. Emotions and pride come before 'data'!


But the "power of veto" was observed in the experiments.

Declaring that people who disagree with you do so because of egoism and emotional attachments is entirely worthless. First, because you could never prove such a thing. Second, because such claims are equally as valid when levelled against you.

Quote:
Exactly!!! By the way, the sun does not 'rise' but in illusory appearance!


The sun rising is a famous example given by Hume. The point is not that the sun literally rises above the Earth, the point is that something has happened consistently, with almost no variation, within human history.

Quote:
And the only 'place' that you 'experience motion' is in memory, in Mind.


No, you experience motion with the senses. You know that you have experienced motion because you have a memory, which reminds you of the previous state of affairs.

Quote:
Accept one illusion as 'Reality' and it is easier to accept any illusion. The sun only APPEARS to 'rise' just as the sun's apparent 'motion' is also just that.


You have asserted over and over that these are illusions. The sun does only appear to rise, but the Earth does not merely appear rotate on it's axis. The Earth does rotate on an axis.

Quote:
Oxymoronic!! unless the concept of 'reality' is no more than a 'materialists dream', the basest of concepts. There is no evidence of what is commonly called 'physical/material' 'reality'. Quantum theory has indicated that what you call 'physical', when examined, resembles nothing as much as 'thought'! 'Hologramic'! Perhaps you'd like to read a bit of physics? Modern..


Resembles thought? What does thought look like?
Most people mistake apparently solid objects for being solid, a mistake. None the less, quantum theory is concerned with what physicists would call physical reality.

Quote:
Any 'property/quality' of illusion remains... illusion! Illusion studied and quantified, again, remains illusion.


Yes, but I would suggest that change does exist in reality, and that change is the root of what seems to be motion in what we call physical reality. So, motion is not illusory, only the aparent motion of physical reality. The motion is real, what we see as motion is change in reality, parts of which we mistake for physical reality.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2007 02:39 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:


Quote:
Quote: nameless; The results of his experiments speak for themselves.


You're right, they do. The commentary I referenced is not merely an interpretation, though it is one. It also relfects something clear about the tests - that they leave plenty of room for concious influence over actions, they leave room for freewill. Some other tests would have to rule out freewill.

Yes, it IS 'merely' an interpretation, merely a perspective of the data. You are certainly entitled to your perspective.

Quote:
Quote:The evidence of the experiment supports this perspective, in harmony and conjunction with other disciplines that support what I am offering.

Here you are speaking so much of ego. If you were willing to take an honest look at those experiments you would see that they do not support nor do they refute your perspective.

In YOUR opinion, from YOUR perspective. Do you 'have' to be 'right'? My perspective is supportable logically, and, I imagine, that you can support your perspective, logically. You interpret evidence from your perspective as do we all. The problems come when someone, egoically, must 'know and show' what is 'right' for everyone else. You got cojones telling me to "take an honest look" at the evidence since my interpretation doesn't coincide with yours. Whatever, I cannot converse at this level.

Quote:
Quote:There is plenty of support, but are people ready to deal with this 'knowledge' on that deep a level as to alter their whole world-view? With their emotional and egoic attachments? Not for a couple hundred years will what we now 'know' be accepted as a (relatively) common world-view.

Freewill has been denied, in a variety of ways, for thousands of years. The notion that we have no freewill is already a relatively common world view.

No, you are not telling the truth. It is far from a "common world view" nor can you support such a nonsensical assertion! That sort of thing ordinarilly detracts from one's credibility...
Furthermore, not knowing the intent of this erroneous pronouncement, I will add that Aristotle and Buddha did not have the support and benefits of modern science. Buddha would never have conceived of 'karma' if he was at all conversant with quantum theory. Not rocket science, but certainly in the same neighborhood, and not easy stuff, nor for everyone, obviously.
Are you somehow attempting to somehow discredit me by hollering 'nothing new'? That would certainly be an error. Are we trying to 'understand' or joust ego? I am just offering what I 'see', whats to argue? What is threatening? The evidence here seems to indicate that 'free-will' is a 'belief virus' and exhibits all the relevent symptoms of egoic attachments and identification with the 'belief'. A 'belief' is an important 'program/memory' and must be defended at all costs (history shows us the results of this, the violence in fighting for 'god', 'freedom', 'choice', etc... all 'beliefs'. Beliefs, unfortunately, are non-rational, and unsuitable for 'rational' examination and evaluation. It is an essential program/memory of the moment. I don't 'believe' so I can discuss it and easily change 'world-views' with the revelation of relevent data (memory). Believers will have their own validations and evidences, just non-rational. One main 'errors' of 'believers' is to be seduced into thinking that there is some need to attempt to defend their 'beliefs' in rational discussion. It is fruitless. No one changes another's mind like that, with argument. A battle of prideful ego at best.

Quote:
But the "power of veto" was observed in the experiments.

I saw 100% results of brain initiating action PRIOR to conscious choice. If there is something in that evidence that I missed, please link me. I have no probnlem accepting a 'critical update', but I warn you that 'free-will' is negated from a convergence of so many 'independent' disciplines, that I have no problem with the interpretation of his experimental data.
Besides (he said, already bored of the conversation) even if there were some 'error' in his experiment, that in no way negates the plethora of other independent supportive 'evidence'. We all have different perspectives, though, eh?

Quote:
Declaring that people who disagree with you do so because of egoism and emotional attachments is entirely worthless.

Listen, we are all unique perspectives. No one's perceptions/concepts/memory exactly matches anyone else's. So, from that perspective, everyone disagrees with everyone else. I find that makes communication with people so interesting.
An 'argument' from egoic pride is non-rational and will bear no fruit but of the ego.
First, it is ego that is your sense of individual self; the 'personality' that you see in the mirror. So, egoism is the only reason that we have different perspectives in the first place, the only reason that we 'disagree'. The ego, the perspective that we are, IS our unique perspective. Ego IS perspective.
Discerning between a different perspective (and egoic emotional 'beliefs') and attempting to understand it (without being intimidated with the concept of understanding something that differs from our 'experience' (memory)) doesn't seem "worthless" to me.
It is the difference between a rational conversation and the nonsense of the 'belief vs logic' egoic emotional brawls we see all over the net.

Quote:
First, because you could never prove such a thing.

Oh, I think that it wouldn't be difficult at all. And I only 'might' say that some people who need to 'argue' do so from, when the symptoms are observed, prideful ego/'belief virus'.

Quote:
Second, because such claims are equally as valid when levelled against you.

As well they should be if I, too, were displaying similar appropriate symptoms. Call a spade a spade, eh? Honesty, yes?

Quote:
Quote:Exactly!!! By the way, the sun does not 'rise' but in illusory appearance!

The point is not that the sun literally rises above the Earth, the point is that something has happened consistently, with almost no variation, within human history.

Actually, as the sun does not literally rise, but only appears to 'rise', and the sun's appearance, spin, location, size, etc... is, actually, 'different' every moment of it's existence. Your 'consistency' is only a vague consensus of appearance. The 'lack of variation' is strictly a function of your 'memory'/awareness.

Quote:
Quote:And the only 'place' that you 'experience motion' is in memory, in Mind.

No, you experience motion with the senses.

Oh come on, you know better than this. Where are your 'senses' 'experienced'? Where is your feeling of hot when you burn your finger? In the flame? The apendage? IN YOUR MIND! That is where your perceptions and concepts finally make it to the monitor for it's hologramic display. Your entire 'world-view' is in your mind, in your brain as memory. If you are arguing for the accuracy of your sensory perceptions in the reflecting of the existence of some kind of 'out there', as in naive realism, well, that 'concept' has long since been refuted. Thouroughly.

Quote:
You know that you have experienced motion because you have a memory, which reminds you of the previous state of affairs.

What makes you think that a memory has anything to do with any moment but the present? You 'assume' a 'previous state of affairs' from what evidence? From the illusion of linearity, that makes sense, 'cause and effect' and all, but all scientifically obsolete already.
I can make a 'memory' for my computer that would look like all sorts of linear motion and historicity, but that 'memory' was simply created right Now with no ties to any other moments. The history and motion, in the 'program/memory' is just an illusion.. It is all simply coding of memory. All the attendent illusions of memory comprise what we laughingly call... 'life/existence'.

Quote:
Quote:Accept one illusion as 'Reality' and it is easier to accept any illusion. The sun only APPEARS to 'rise' just as the sun's apparent 'motion' is also just that.

You have asserted over and over that these are illusions. The sun does only appear to rise, but the Earth does not merely appear rotate on it's axis. The Earth does rotate on an axis.

The 'motion' is an illusion. Nothing moves. The 'moving earth' is in your 'memory' and no where else. It appears to move and hence appears to 'spin'. Read the following, how your memory of a spinning 'thought'...

Quote:
Quote:Oxymoronic!! unless the concept of 'reality' is no more than a 'materialists dream', the basest of concepts. There is no evidence of what is commonly called 'physical/material' 'reality'. Quantum theory has indicated that what you call 'physical', when examined, resembles nothing as much as 'thought'! 'Hologramic'! Perhaps you'd like to read a bit of physics? Modern..

Resembles thought? What does thought look like?

You have thoughts, look at one!
Again, perhaps a study of quantum theory, cognitive theory, neuroscience, mystical meditation, noetics, etc.. might be as fruitful for you as it has been for me. A weeks search and read of 'scroogle.org' (cookie free google) will provide at least a very basic foundation of modern thought on the subject. I'll be happy to help if I can, with my perspective on things.

Quote:
Most people mistake apparently solid objects for being solid, a mistake. None the less, quantum theory is concerned with what physicists would call physical reality.

No, the honest study of so called 'physical reality' by physics has quickly removed and 'reality' from the concept of 'physical'.

Quote:
Quote:Any 'property/quality' of illusion remains... illusion! Illusion studied and quantified, again, remains illusion.

Yes, but I would suggest that change does exist in reality,

Suggest away, but you will be hard pressed to scientifically support it. I am assuming, by your usage of the term, that by 'reality' you are referring to 'existence'? I already gave my best definition of 'Reality', and 'unchanging' was part of it.

Quote:
and that change is the root of what seems to be motion in what we call physical reality.

Speaking of 'roots' is something that I avoid as it stinks of the obsolete notion of 'cause and effect'. Now 'cause and effect' are understood to be MUTUALLY ARISING features of one event. The illusion of motion arises synchronously with the illusions of 'linearity', 'time', 'space', 'material' (what you refer to as) 'reality', all dualistic mnemonic existence of the moment.

Quote:
So, motion is not illusory, only the aparent motion of physical reality.

All 'motion' is 'apparent'. Because it 'appears' as such, don't make it necessarily so. All your senses lie to you if you think that they reflect an 'out there'. Life is a grand illusion, awesome, for everything, all existence ever timelessly 'existing' for one Planck moment! Truth is certainly stranger than fiction!
There are most who couldn't give a rats patoot about such concepts as 'Truth' or 'Reality' and just want their nachos and beer. God bless em. Others do ascribe a 'value' to those two concepts. I did.

Quote:
The motion is real, what we see as motion is change in reality, parts of which we mistake for physical reality.

I'm sorry, your confusion, here, is obvious. It is not like we have 'free-will' and 'choice' about what to think or say, anyway..
I see things as I must, as do you..

Incidentally, with the elimination of the notion of 'personal responsibility', nothing positive would be lost with much to gain. Yes, you will still have to pay for the fender-bender, as financial 'responsibility' is a 'compromise' to be able/allowed to live with others in a society. But, with no 'free-will', there will be no guilt, no punishment (perhaps more emphasis on 'healing'), no revenge, less reason to hate.. Off the cuff, I'd think the benefits would outweigh the present state of affairs. Just a bit of pragmatic cogitation, nothing more.
*__-
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2007 08:43 am
@nameless,
I'll decline to continue the debate regarding Libet's work. You and anyone else can look this stuff up. Why you accept half, and reject the other half of the work is beyond me.

As for the continued discussion of egoism - we can discuss the ego and it's affect on man, his perception, ect, if you like, but thus far, the issue has had absolutely no relation to the topic at hand - other than that you have tried to level ad hominem accusations in my direction. If you think I make my arguments here, or anywhere else, due to some egoist delusion, why on earth would you waste the time discussing the issues with me?
I try to avoid the silly back and forth. I make arguments, and more often than that, ask questions. I do not always accept the arguments I make personally - I'm nineteen, to think that I know enough about something such as this topic to make many claims with absolute certain would be silly. Instead, I try to elicit explainations from others on these topics, and do what I can to provide counterpoint. You can, perhaps, imagine why I lose interest in the conversation when it is made personal.

I trust you can do better than make assumptions about my personality and character. Remind yourself that you do not know me, save through a few posts on an online forum. I, generally, have enjoyed our discussions, but the assumptions you are willing to make about me, personally, are more than tiring.



Quote:
No, you are not telling the truth. It is far from a "common world view" nor can you support such a nonsensical assertion! That sort of thing ordinarilly detracts from one's credibility...


Except that people have argued that man does not have freewill for thousands of years. Some Christians make theological arguments as to why they have no freewill. Sorry, but the notion that we have no freewill is certainly not an uncommon world view.

Quote:
I will add that Aristotle and Buddha did not have the support and benefits of modern science. Buddha would never have conceived of 'karma' if he was at all conversant with quantum theory. Not rocket science, but certainly in the same neighborhood, and not easy stuff, nor for everyone, obviously.


You are right, they did not have modern science. But tell me - what is the problem with karma and modern science? Where is the contradiction? Why would the Buddha have rejected karma in light of modern science?

Quote:
I saw 100% results of brain initiating action PRIOR to conscious choice. If there is something in that evidence that I missed, please link me.


Obviously you did miss something. The brain initiates the action, but the human still has the capacity to not act. The concious choice comes after the unconcious initiation of action, but there is no reason to cast out concious choice as being non-existent. This was Libets own response to the notion that his experiaments do not leave room for freewill. They do. Future research may teach us more about what appears to be our "power of veto", but for the moment, this capability leaves ample room for freewill., or at least enough control over the will to act freely.

Quote:
Where are your 'senses' 'experienced'? Where is your feeling of hot when you burn your finger? In the flame? The apendage? IN YOUR MIND!


The sensation is in the appendage - these messages are sent to the brain, and the brain interprets these messages. Only the interpretation and memory of sensation is in the brain, the actual sensation would occur in the nerve endings.
 
nameless
 
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2007 01:58 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;6958 wrote:
I'll decline to continue the debate regarding Libet's work. You and anyone else can look this stuff up. Why you accept half, and reject the other half of the work is beyond me.

I did 'look it up'. How do you think I found out about it in the first place. I discern the evidence of the data from the experiment from the interpretations of the experimenter (opinions, etc..). I can interpret the data for myself, he has his 'perspective' and I, mine. Simple.

Quote:
If you think I make my arguments here, or anywhere else, due to some egoist delusion, why on earth would you waste the time discussing the issues with me?

Compassion?
And you are different from all other human beings? You alone can interpret 'data' and not have your personal history, experiences, emotional needs and yes, delusions (if you host 'beliefs') affect your thought processes? Your perceptions? Are you serious? Scientists do it all the time. Have you never heard the saying that "science progresses death by death"? Old scientists with too much 'invested' in their work, too much pride in their work to let it transform along with the new data. Better to trist the data to coincide with 'beliefs and attachments'. It happens all the time. Again I am uninterested in how Libet interprets his data. I can think for myself, indexing his results to the results of many other experiments from many other disciplines. Validate your beliefs as you must, but a different perspection is not 'evil' or 'bad' or 'wrong' but by prideful ego and ignorance/illusion.
I maintain discussion as I must. Once I determine communication to be impossible, like with a hard nosed materialist or a 'true believer' of any stripe, I end the discussion quickly as being fruitless. Logic and belief cannot both hold a 'logical' discussion.


Quote:
I try to avoid the silly back and forth. I make arguments, and more often than that, ask questions. I do not always accept the arguments I make personally - I'm nineteen, to think that I know enough about something such as this topic to make many claims with absolute certain would be silly.

To be absolutely certain about anything describes one infected with non-rational 'belief'. Science is never absolutely certain about anything. 'Learning' is a process of examination, evaluation, and dumping old dearly held theories and world-views' in favor of a 'superior view' that comes from new, good data and understanding.

Quote:
Instead, I try to elicit explainations from others on these topics, and do what I can to provide counterpoint. You can, perhaps, imagine why I lose interest in the conversation when it is made personal.

You speak from your perspective/mind. Is that not 'personal'? I do not attack your 'person' which is, ultimately, 'self'. But if a 'belief infection' (for instance) is showing symptoms, I might offer that observation. 'Pride' would take that very personally, as one identifies with one's 'beliefs'. Exposure of a 'belief' (to the light of day) is a threat to expose 'you' in a 'negative' way, as to expose a belief is to threaten it, and by identification, threaten you. Do you understand? I have nothing personal against you, how can I? All is 'self'. I would have to be 'against' self! And I ain't.

Quote:
I trust you can do better than make assumptions about my personality and character. Remind yourself that you do not know me, save through a few posts on an online forum.

But I do 'know' you, as I know 'self', and 'you' are 'self'.

Quote:
I, generally, have enjoyed our discussions, but the assumptions you are willing to make about me, personally, are more than tiring.

More than tiring? What would be 'more'? Boring? Abysimally boring? Deadly boring? Coma producing? Getting too close to the 'raw' stuff?
I, too, have been enjoying, for the most part, conversations here. If we focusedly examine specific concepts, that would help keep the 'ego' out of it somewhat.
As I have been intently and methodically studying and evaluating this stuff for better than two of your lifetimes, perhaps you can 'question' with arguing. Feel free to refute anything that I might say, I love to learn, but you'll need to do it clearly, on topic, and provide support for your contentions (links). If I find 'value', I can easily dismiss a whole world-view in favor of a 'superior' (determined through critical thought (did they teach you how to do that in school?), experimentation, context, etc..) theory. I have done it many times. Lots of 'perspective'. Years give one that, ordinarily.
Again, I'd be happy to elucidate, for you, anything that I offer if requested respectfully and peacefully. I dislike argument, and find it relatively fruitless. Mostly ego games; "I won the argument! Nyaah, nyaah... Aint I special?"

Quote:
You are right, they did not have modern science. But tell me - what is the problem with karma and modern science? Where is the contradiction? Why would the Buddha have rejected karma in light of modern science?

Simple, the concept of 'karma' arises with the illusion of linearity and 'cause and effect'; obsolete 'concepts' in light of the 'synchronous' nature of 'moments' of existence/memory. Without linearity, there is no 'reincarnation'. The new science will 'gain' until there is a new 'world view' for everyone. About 245 years.

Quote:
The sensation is in the appendage - these messages are sent to the brain, and the brain interprets these messages. Only the interpretation and memory of sensation is in the brain, the actual sensation would occur in the nerve endings.

Sorry. Not so. The 'pain' that you feel in your 'finger' is in your mind, where, incidentally, resides also your 'finger'.
This isn't the place and time for a crash course in biology, noetics, psychology, metaphysics, etc..
You are, however, in a great position to question, rather than 'instruct'... thats how you learn, if thats what you want to do.
If something that I offer strikes you as BS, good! That means that at least you read it. Before arguing, though, you might try doing a search and read about 50 sites, both pro and con and ?. Now that you have some knowledge in the matter, if you still feel the need to question, you will be doing so from a position of 'knowledge', and will be better able to support your comments when necessary.
And at the end of the day, ten people can examine the same pile of 'evidence' and there will be ten different perspectives, ten different interpretations, ten different 'experiential filters', etc... of that 'evidence'. For anyone to claim to be 'right' (have the 'right' perspective) over and above all others is simply prideful ego and ignorance. The 'more' perspective, actually, the 'better' the understanding. You can understand what I offer, for what its worth, without having to 'accept' anything. I just offer some food for thought.
Peace
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2007 02:00 pm
@nameless,
You honestly try to argue that you understand Libet's work better than Libet? Okay.

Quote:
You speak from your perspective/mind. Is that not 'personal'? I do not attack your 'person' which is, ultimately, 'self'. But if a 'belief infection' (for instance) is showing symptoms, I might offer that observation. 'Pride' would take that very personally, as one identifies with one's 'beliefs'. Exposure of a 'belief' (to the light of day) is a threat to expose 'you' in a 'negative' way, as to expose a belief is to threaten it, and by identification, threaten you. Do you understand? I have nothing personal against you, how can I? All is 'self'. I would have to be 'against' self! And I ain't.


Do you want me to go through and show you the myriad of ad hominem's you use?

Quote:
But I do 'know' you, as I know 'self', and 'you' are 'self'.


Nice try with the semantic trickery. "Me" generally refers to what people perceive to be their 'self', which is different from the true 'self'. You do not know me. You do not know my name, my favorite book, my favorite song. You know nothing of my family, or any of my environment for that matter, other than that I am living in the US, perhaps. What you do know is that my true nature is a 'self' beyond my apparent 'self', you do not know me.

Quote:
I, too, have been enjoying, for the most part, conversations here. If we focusedly examine specific concepts, that would help keep the 'ego' out of it somewhat.


I'd like to, but you keep telling me I'm wrong because of my ego.

Quote:
Simple, the concept of 'karma' arises with the illusion of linearity and 'cause and effect'; obsolete 'concepts' in light of the 'synchronous' nature of 'moments' of existence/memory. Without linearity, there is no 'reincarnation'. The new science will 'gain' until there is a new 'world view' for everyone. About 245 years.


I'm not sure how karma relies upon cause and effect. As I understand, the principle of karma is supposed to work because everything is interrelated, that there is no fundamental difference between you, me, or any other sentient being. Could you elaborate?
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Metaphysics
  3. » Free Will
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 03/01/2021 at 04:06:52