The concept of Intangible freedom and the principle of universal causality

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Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 12:25 pm
First, we must have some definition of freedom. To some freedom is defined as having options. As in the freedom to move left or right. To others freedom is defined as action without consequence. These seem to be the two more popular (and therefore not philosophical answers). For the sake of briefness, I'll define freedom as true authentic decisions.

In following the principle of universal causality we must accept that all actions are simply reactions to previous actions.

Here then concept of true authentic decisions comes into jeopardy. For a decision to be truly authentic, it would be unprovoked and devoid of persuasion. However, if all actions are only reactions the decisions we make are no longer authentic but involuntary reflexes. It could be argued that the reaction could be a true authentic decision if the presence of options are available. One could dodge a ball to the left or right for example. The decision to move left or right would be a true authentic decision on the part of the dodging agent. Though it must be taken into account that the very choice to dodge or not is only because the action of another agent. The dodging agent is then forced into reaction. It is imposed on the dodging agent the choice to dodge and how, making his decision ultimately provoked.

If one should argue that the decision to not act could be a way of making a true authentic decision to no let any action provoke their own actions. But I find this also fails. The decision to ignore an action is still a reaction in the sense that the decision is made under the condition of should a reaction be made or not. This decision to not react is not a true authentic decision because it is persuaded by the consequence of disregard. A reasonable person would not continue to stand on a train's tracks for the sake not having their actions persuaded by the on coming train. I know this illustration could seem extreme in the grand scheme of all reactions in one's typical routine. Even if less a extreme situation is used, the decision to ignore an action, one must still take into account the consequence of inaction. Save a few whose only true authentic reaction was (probably) their last.

I feel I must resolve that freedom is an intangible concept.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:00 pm
@Lost2ize,
Lost2ize;93365 wrote:

I feel I must resolve that freedom is an intangible concept.


I feel resolved in the other way. I first thought I would answer your post in one way, and then changed my mind to respond in another way. And then I began to write, this post, and it is coming out in a totally different way. That is my free will in action. It is my creative mind just doing its own thing.

Rich
 
Lost2ize
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:18 pm
@Lost2ize,
HAHA! I must say when I saw that you had replied I thought it was in refute, but I was not expecting that.
Bravo. :-)

I am not convinced though. In however many times your resolve or reaction was changed. It was all influenced to occur and conclude only in reaction to my previous action.

Or if I am missing the point. Are you suggesting that the freedom to think is not subject to universal causality?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:25 pm
@Lost2ize,
In order to have a non-causal free will, will must be exempt from universal material rules. If there is a set of universal rules by which all matter abides then in the beginning, whatever that was like all matter and rules were set in motion. When one piece of matter interacts with another then it must react a certain way. So we must causally act in accordance to those rules. That is unless we have a will that is somehow exempt from material rules.
 
ahmedjbh
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:14 pm
@Lost2ize,
Im just thinking out loud.

Its a very interesting post, and I have come across this line of thought before, but can not remember the details.

Essentially you are saying that at any point in time, when we make a decision, the factors that influence our decisions are based upon issues from the past, and if we obviously trace that back, then at the first event, all things were then influenced in a certain way, and decisions will be biased a certain way.

There is no doubt for me this is the case. I do not believe in absolute free will.

However these past events , how exactly do they influence us? For example, lets imagine I want to play football, and every time i have done so up to that point, some completely unrelated harmful event happens to me. I will now be faced with the option of playing football, but maybe having something harmful happen, or not playing.

On balance, it is human nature to then not play, however I have still freely made that choice. So it maybe a matter of self preservation, wisdom, experience etc rather than saying my free will is impaired, and that I was destined to make that decision.

Just a few thoughts.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 07:56 pm
@Lost2ize,
Lost2ize;93381 wrote:
Or if I am missing the point. Are you suggesting that the freedom to think is not subject to universal causality?


Yes. The human mind (call it the Yi in Chinese metaphysics which is the thinker/creator aspect), is the creator. Causality loses its meaning at the lowest level of nature, since at that level it becomes probabilities. So what turns a probability into something substantial. Intention. The human mind creates the intention to create. I posted that message as it came to me, without pause, hesitation or thought.

Now, it is true that the impetus was your post. Your intention. So your intention influenced me. It didn't determine whether I responded or what I would respond, but it influenced me, and thus our two minds entangled, or in quantum physics terms, our wave functions superimposed. Smile

And now, we are influencing each other. So the question is, will you post back? What will you compose if you decide to post back? It is your Choice. I can only suggest things in my post that will influence you in some way.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-24-2009 at 08:57 PM ----------

GoshisDead;93382 wrote:
That is unless we have a will that is somehow exempt from material rules.


Yes. And that is the point. Our Will (Chinese metaphysical Zhi), decided what matter will do, not vice-versa. To demonstrate, use your will to type on the keypad. It does your Will's bidding.

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 12:42 am
@Lost2ize,
Lost2ize;93365 wrote:
In following the principle of universal causality we must accept that all actions are simply reactions to previous actions.


This 'principle' is not proven by anything in that you have written. Do you have a reference or link which explains how 'universal causality' can be understood?

One point that might be considered: if everything occurs due to preceeding causes, how does anything new ever occur? If all results are determined by a cause, and all causes precede results, then how could anything ever evolve or change?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 07:48 am
@Lost2ize,
Lost2ize;93365 wrote:


In following the principle of universal causality we must accept that all actions are simply reactions to previous actions.

.



Well, not all actions. Some actions are in response to something that occurs that is not an action. For example, when I scratch myself because I want to get rid of an itch, the itch is not an action, and, so, my response is not a response to an action.

But, more importantly, when, for instance I choose a vanilla ice-cream rather than chocolate ice-cream, that is in response to the array of flavors displayed before me at Baskin-Robbins and, of course, to my wanting to have some ice-cream. But, so what? I was not forced to choose vanilla. I could have chosen chocolate if I had wanted chocolate. It was up to me what I would choose. So, although we can say I was caused, by my preferences to choose vanilla, why does that mean I did not choose vanilla of my own free will? Is that what free will is all about? Choosing what you want? I would have thought so.

By the way, all concepts are intangible, so the concept of free will is not alone in being intangible.
 
Shlomo
 
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 12:59 am
@Lost2ize,
The subject seems to be more accessible if we start from the root of it.
There are two modes of existence: spirit and matter.
Spirit is freedom and spontaneity, matter is laws and causality.

We are combination of both. As spiritual beings, we have free will; as material ones, we do not have freedom of action.. Confusing these two aspects of freedom feeds philosophical discourse for centuries. Every prisoner has free will (s/he can generate spontaneous intentions), nobody has full freedom of action, as long as material world is implied.

Limitation of freedom is prerequisite of any action in material world. For example, wheel should be allowed to revolve only around its axis. And that is how you get your freedom of movement :sarcastic:.

The best evidence of free will is our ability to make mistakes.
 
Lost2ize
 
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 02:07 am
@Lost2ize,
Kennethamy:

In reply to the first part of your refute, I would say that the itch may not have been an action in the sense of one agent doing something to cause the itch, but nevertheless I would argue that not all reactions are reactions that occur in this way. The PUC also states phenomenon or event is in sequel to, or the result of a previous event or phenomenon

Having the diversity of option is not exempt in this case either. Sure you could have select Chocolate, Rocky Road, Vanilla but the choice that you make on preference in as a result of past experiences of causal interaction with these options. I have at times selected one option over my favorite option for variety sake, but this too is also caused. For any action to be caused and therefore the reaction involuntary any event in sequel or a result of the previous event is not a true authentic decision.
I am sorry for assuming that we all knew what the Principle of universal causation was, here is a reference http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Law+of+universal+causation[/COLOR]

jeeprs:

On the issue of new causes. This is typically a naturalism vs. theism debate. The typical naturalist response I know of is, the universe is infinite and therefore all causes are infinite as well. And of course most theist say that God was the first cause.

On the issue of changing or evolving, not every reaction is the same.

Richrf:

If you plan to superimpose your waves on me, you could at least take me to dinner first.

If all our intentions are in constant jeopardy of change do to causal influence then haven't I made the point? Suppose I dropped the subject completely and said, "All agents are subject only to themselves and their own intentions." This would be in vain as it would only prove my previous thought that this conclusion was not a authentic decision but only a reaction you influenced me to have.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 05:12 am
@Lost2ize,
Hey that last line is one great aphorism Shlomo. I will remember that one.
 
 

 
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