Is Fatalism Incompatible With Free Will?

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hue-man
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 01:25 pm
Fate is usually defined as inevitability or a future of which an agent's prior actions do not determine. Now I think we can all agree that an agent's actions do matter when it comes to the proceeding events that such actions effect. However, if we simply define fate as the thesis that future events are inevitable because of an agent's actions or because of the necessary causes of an agent's actions is fatalism still incompatible with free will? In other words, can we conceive of a fatalism that is compatible with free will?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 02:14 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;150988 wrote:
Fate is usually defined as inevitability or a future of which an agent's prior actions do not determine. Now I think we can all agree that an agent's actions do matter when it comes to the proceeding events that such actions effect. However, if we simply define fate as the thesis that future events are inevitable because of an agent's actions or because of the necessary causes of an agent's actions is fatalism still incompatible with free will? In other words, can we conceive of a fatalism that is compatible with free will?


I don't quite understand how you are defining "fatalism". It seems to me that you are just identifying fatalism with determinism. I don't see what is the point of doing that, but if you are asking whether determinism is compatible with free will, I think the answer is yes. Why would you want to erase the distinction between determinism and fatalism, though? Anyway, determinism does not say that future events are inevitable. That means that future events cannot be avoided whatever you do. But haven't you already said that is false? What you are asking is, if determinism is identified as fatalism, is there free will, and the answer is, of course not, since fatalism is incompatible with free will. But that does not mean that determinism is incompatible with free will.
 
manored
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 02:56 pm
@hue-man,
I think whenever we judge other beings to have free will or not depends of how well we can predict their actions. For a child, one of those modern robots that greet you and other things may seem to have free will, but that is not the case for its programmer, who knows that it is only following a complex set of logical instructions. In a similar way, I think if we were given the power to know what others will do before they do, it wouldnt seem like they have free will anymore, but that their destiny is written.

I think "free will" is a rather vague concept. It means you are free to think whatever you want, or that you are free to do whatever you want? And there are a lot of questions such as those I could ask, but I think you get the idea =)
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 02:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151015 wrote:
I don't quite understand how you are defining "fatalism". It seems to me that you are just identifying fatalism with determinism. I don't see what is the point of doing that, but if you are asking whether determinism is compatible with free will, I think the answer is yes. Why would you want to erase the distinction between determinism and fatalism, though? Anyway, determinism does not say that future events are inevitable. That means that future events cannot be avoided whatever you do. But haven't you already said that is false? What you are asking is, if determinism is identified as fatalism, is there free will, and the answer is, of course not, since fatalism is incompatible with free will. But that does not mean that determinism is incompatible with free will.


This issue was brought back to my attention by my Christian cousin. She stated that "what you do doesn't matter anyway because everything is pre-determined by God". This, of course, is fatalism. It reminded me of something that another poster said in a past post of mines. The poster stated that, regardless of whether or not a god programmed humans to behave in the exact way that they do so that all of our actions and futures were pre-destined, we would still have free will. What do you think about that?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 03:04 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;151041 wrote:
This issue was brought back to my attention by my Christian cousin. She stated that "what you do doesn't matter anyway because everything is pre-determined by God". This, of course, is fatalism. It reminded me of something that another poster said in a past post of mines. The poster stated that, regardless of whether or not a god programmed humans to behave in the exact way that they do so that all of our actions and futures were pre-destined, we would still have free will. What do you think about that?


Does the "pre-programming" include making decisions and choices as to what you are going to do? And will those choices and decisions affect your actions? If so, then we have free will.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 03:14 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151047 wrote:
Does the "pre-programming" include making decisions and choices as to what you are going to do? And will those choices and decisions affect your actions? If so, then we have free will.


So we can still have free will in a universe where everything has been fated by a god? For example, if I program a robot to rob a store by this Friday at exactly 10:00 PM does the robot have free will?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:16 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;151059 wrote:
So we can still have free will in a universe where everything has been fated by a god? For example, if I program a robot to rob a store by this Friday at exactly 10:00 PM does the robot have free will?


No, since robot cannot make decisions, nor choices. So robots, unlike men who can do things because they decide or choose to do them, cannot have free will.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:44 pm
@kennethamy,
Fatalism can be compatible with free will because if God knows the outcome of all our choices, then to get us to do what He wants all He has to do is put us in the right situations.

For example, say God wants me to choose A, well if any set of circumstances exist such that I will freely choose A, all God has to do is make that world the actual world. However, it may be the case that under NO set of circumstances will I ever freely choose A, in which case God cannot actualize this world.

So maybe you could call that partial fatalism or something
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:53 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151136 wrote:
Fatalism can be compatible with free will because if God knows the outcome of all our choices, then to get us to do what He wants all He has to do is put us in the right situations.

For example, say God wants me to choose A, well if any set of circumstances exist such that I will freely choose A, all God has to do is make that world the actual world. However, it may be the case that under NO set of circumstances will I ever freely choose A, in which case God cannot actualize this world.

So maybe you could call that partial fatalism or something


It is difficult to know what you mean by "fatalism". I think that "fatalism" means that whatever you do, your actions will not be able to change the outcome. For example, a fatalistic soldier would say that if a bullet "has his name on it", it does not matter what precautions he takes. That bullet will find him. Fatalism seems to me incompatible with free will because having free will implies that I am able to do something about what will happen. Fatalism denies this. Fatalism says that all human actions are ineffective.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151141 wrote:
It is difficult to know what you mean by "fatalism". I think that "fatalism" means that whatever you do, your actions will not be able to change the outcome. For example, a fatalistic soldier would say that if a bullet "has his name on it", it does not matter what precautions he takes. That bullet will find him. Fatalism seems to me incompatible with free will because having free will implies that I am able to do something about what will happen. Fatalism denies this. Fatalism says that all human actions are ineffective.
Fatalism seems to argue in the exact same method as what Aristotle described in the other thread and that is:

Quote:
If two armies battle, Army A and Army B,

then due to the 'laws' of the excluded middle (every statement is either true or false) and of noncontradiction (no statement is both true and false), require that one of the statements, 'A wins' and 'B wins', is true and the other is false.

Suppose 'A wins' is (today) true. Then whatever A does (or fails to do) today will make no difference; similarly, whatever B does (or fails to do) today will make no difference: the outcome is already settled. Or again, suppose 'A wins' is (today) false. Then no matter what A does today (or fails to do), it will make no difference; similarly, no matter what B does (or fails to do), it will make no difference: the outcome is already settled.The future will be what it will be, irrespective of our planning, intentions, etc. Thus, if every statement is either true or false (and not both), then planning, or as Aristotle put it 'taking care', is illusory in its efficacy.
so now given that, I would say what is being overlooked is that A will either always win due to free will or A will always lose by free will.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:05 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151143 wrote:
Fatalism seems to argue in the exact same method as what Aristotle described in the other thread and that is:

so now given that, I would say what is being overlooked is that A will either always win due to free will or A will always lose by free will.


Yes, sometimes Aristotle's view has been called, "logical fatalism". But I don't think I understand what you mean by, A will either always win due to free will or A will always lose by free. What does, "due to free will" mean? Perhaps you mean that which of the opposing captains wins depend (or partly depends) on what kind of choices he makes during the sea battle.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:13 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151146 wrote:
Yes, sometimes Aristotle's view has been called, "logical fatalism". But I don't think I understand what you mean by, A will either always win due to free will or A will always lose by free. What does, "due to free will" mean? Perhaps you mean that which of the opposing captains wins depend (or partly depends) on what kind of choices he makes during the sea battle.
I basically mean that even though it's set in stone that A will win this does not preclude the fact that A will do so of A's own free will
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:17 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151153 wrote:
I basically mean that even though it's set in stone that A will win this does not preclude the fact that A will do so of A's own free will


that A will do so of A's own free will.

But that is the phrase that puzzles me. What does it mean that the captain will win the battle of his own free will. Suppose I play Monopoly and win. What would it mean to say that I won it "of my own free will"? That I was not forced to win it? What would that mean?
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151156 wrote:
that A will do so of A's own free will.

But that is the phrase that puzzles me. What does it mean that the captain will win the battle of his own free will. Suppose I play Monopoly and win. What would it mean to say that I won it "of my own free will"? That I was not forced to win it? What would that mean?
it means that there was not some deterministic force of causality which made it so that you won necessarily.

The options for "A will win" being a true statement as far as I can see it is this: Either A will win due to deterministic necessity or A will win and always win due to free will.

The real point being that in either scenario what happens does and would always happen. It can't not happen
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:34 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151163 wrote:
it means that there was not some deterministic force of causality which made it so that you won necessarily.

The options for "A will win" being a true statement as far as I can see it is this: Either A will win due to deterministic necessity or A will win and always win due to free will.

The real point being that in either scenario what happens does and would always happen. It can't not happen


But, although there were causes of my winning the game (I was lucky, I cheated) they did not force me to win. I wanted to win. I was not forced to win. It doesn't make sense to me to say that I either won by free will, or I lost by free will. I think only a philosopher would talk that way. It does make sense to me (as I said) that I won because of the choices I made. But you say that is not what you mean.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151168 wrote:
But, although there were causes of my winning the game (I was lucky, I cheated) they did not force me to win. I wanted to win. I was not forced to win. It doesn't make sense to me to say that I either won by free will, or I lost by free will. I think only a philosopher would talk that way. It does make sense to me (as I said) that I won because of the choices I made. But you say that is not what you mean.
yes you won because of the choices you made......but if the statement was true before the fact you would have ALWAYS won due to the choices you made. You would never have freely chosen something which led you to lose. Even if such an option was available you would never have freely chosen it.....even if I offered you money and to defy what was written in stone just to see if it was possible.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:46 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151170 wrote:
yes you won because of the choices you made......but if the statement was true before the fact you would have ALWAYS won due to the choices you made. You would never have freely chosen something which led you to lose. Even if such an option was available you would never have freely chosen it.....even if I offered you money and to defy what was written in stone just to see if it was possible.


You would never have freely chosen something which led you to lose. Even if such an option was available you would never have freely chosen it.....even if I offered you money and to defy what was written in stone just to see if it was possible.

Why would you believe such a thing? Why don't you think I could have chosen to sell Park Place and Boardwalk (and lost) instead of keeping them, and winning?
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:47 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151174 wrote:
You would never have freely chosen something which led you to lose. Even if such an option was available you would never have freely chosen it.....even if I offered you money and to defy what was written in stone just to see if it was possible.

Why would you believe such a thing? Why don't you think I could have chosen to sell Park Place and Boardwalk (and lost) instead of keeping them, and winning?
Because if the proposition "You will win" is true this is not possible
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:00 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;151176 wrote:
Because if the proposition "You will win" is true this is not possible


Why do you say that? Why wasn't it possible, but I simply did not do it? It would not have been possible for me to sell those properties if I had not owned them, but I did own them. Here are two actions I did not take: I did not sell Connecticut avenue, and Vermont avenue, on the one hand, and I did not sell Park Place and Boardwalk, on the other hand. But I could not have sold Connecticut avenue and Vermont avenue because I did not own them. But I could have sold Park Place and Boardwalk, because I did have them. Are you saying that my situation was the same with both sets of properties? In fact, I did neither, but I could have done the one, and I could not have done the other.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:04 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;151181 wrote:
Why do you say that? Why wasn't it possible, but I simply did not do it? It would not have been possible for me to sell those properties if I had not owned them, but I did own them. Here are two actions I did not take: I did not sell Connecticut avenue, and Vermont avenue, on the one hand, and I did not sell Park Place and Boardwalk, on the other hand. But I could not have sold Connecticut avenue and Vermont avenue because I did not own them. But I could have sold Park Place and Boardwalk, because I did have them. Are you saying that my situation was the same with both sets of properties? In fact, I did neither, but I could have done the one, and I could not have done the other.
what I'm saying is that if the proposition "you will win" is true....before the fact,

then your free willed course of action will and always will lead you to victory.(call it 'your day' if you want)

There are a lot of things you could do but you won't....the choices you will inevitably make will be the choices that lead to victory.

---------- Post added 04-12-2010 at 09:05 PM ----------

I think it's funny that you and I are having basically the same debate in 2 threads
 
 

 
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