What is Free Will?

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xris
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 07:06 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;120772 wrote:
Would you ever hear a believer in hell say, "I am choosing to go to hell." It never happens because it is a system of imposing choice. Only the non believers or the non repentant end up there. Some will even ignore the death of family or friends who were either non believers or non repentant and imply they went to heaven. It is only those mean strangers whom I have never met who end up in hell, only the people I care about get into heaven.

Alright going a little off the topic but, my point is, you really don't have any ability to chose when one is hanging damnation over your head for making the "wrong" choice. Because really the only time free will gets talked about is when it's in religious context. We all know that all the rest of the choices you make are not free in any sense of the word, free.

This is the only argument that supporters of the faith will use, but they just can not seem to realize that the free will argument is horribly flawed.
Im not religious but i can talk about free will as an almost certainty. I also believe the future is written, written by us. You dont have to believe in god to believe such things.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 07:45 am
@xris,
xris;120775 wrote:
Im not religious but i can talk about free will as an almost certainty.


Almost certainty?

Almost certainty is not certainty. So where is this argument that supports free will as an almost certainty?
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 08:32 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;120784 wrote:
Almost certainty?

Almost certainty is not certainty. So where is this argument that supports free will as an almost certainty?
So are you certain it does not exist?
 
ChaosampComplexity
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 10:23 am
@xris,
In my point of view, if we are using free will to signify a part of our experience, free will may refer to that part of our experience which we have some form of control like taking a glass, filling it with water and drinking from it. This form of free will will not be without constraints - it presupposes constraints, that is, because of the constraints one gained the ability and choice to pick that glass, for example, and do something with it.Smile

To be influenced by constraints do not mean immediately loss of free will however, but in some cases an emergence of it - so there would be free will (a pattern in our experience we named so) and there would be influences to which free will will be connected.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 10:27 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;120784 wrote:
Almost certainty?

Almost certainty is not certainty. So where is this argument that supports free will as an almost certainty?


Have you bothered to read the thread?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 11:22 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;120772 wrote:

This is the only argument that supporters of the faith will use, but they just can not seem to realize that the free will argument is horribly flawed.


Some religious people believe in free will (Catholics for instance) and some do not, e.g. Calvinists. (Read The Scarlet Letter). So, religions are divided about whether there is free will too.

---------- Post added 01-18-2010 at 12:23 PM ----------

xris;120792 wrote:
So are you certain it does not exist?


What has certainty to do with whether or not it is true that there is free will?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 11:28 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;120803 wrote:
Have you bothered to read the thread?


What thread? I don't know how to read. I am only here to randomly place letters. Is the "whole thread" suppose to point out the almost certainty that free will exists? I don't see any argument here that supports free will and that is why I asked. But I didn't get a response or an answer to my question but instead just asked to disprove it. Which is laughable and is the same argument time and time again. I believe the pink elephant exists, and if you don't, then prove the pink elephant doesn't exist. Absurd reasoning.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 11:41 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;120820 wrote:
What thread? I don't know how to read. I am only here to randomly place letters. Is the "whole thread" suppose to point out the almost certainty that free will exists? I don't see any argument here that supports free will and that is why I asked. But I didn't get a response or an answer to my question but instead just asked to disprove it. Which is laughable and is the same argument time and time again. I believe the pink elephant exists, and if you don't, then prove the pink elephant doesn't exist. Absurd reasoning.


I don't know what any of this has to do with what I just wrote, but if you have questions about free will, I think they may be answered within the thread. We've discussed free will in great detail.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 01:56 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;120820 wrote:
What thread? I don't know how to read. I am only here to randomly place letters. Is the "whole thread" suppose to point out the almost certainty that free will exists? I don't see any argument here that supports free will and that is why I asked. But I didn't get a response or an answer to my question but instead just asked to disprove it. Which is laughable and is the same argument time and time again. I believe the pink elephant exists, and if you don't, then prove the pink elephant doesn't exist. Absurd reasoning.



Unless you deny that all of us are able to do things because we want to, and not because we are forced to do them, and that we could have done something else if we had chosen to, what other proof would you require that we have free will?
 
Greg phil
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 02:55 pm
@scian,
áscian;111604 wrote:
There is no free will. What is and what will be is inevitable, based on what is now and what was.

Of course I personally don't believe this, I can't. However, determinism is clearly the logical and scientific absolute given our current knowledge base-excluding, of course, what we feel.

Assuming that free will does exist then I propose that the definition of free will be: a result that is contradictory to what was to be the inevitable result.

I wanted to pick out this post as in fascinated me Smile

Your definition of free will meets the desired meaning of 'free' but not of 'will'. I say this because when people claim to have freewill (in a philosophical or theological sense; viz, moral freedom) they mean that they can direct their own will (intentions, beliefs etc). So a definition of freewill should have some notion of active agent-centred causality.
Your definition also has the annoying weakness that freewill can be ruled out by definition. Let's at least find a definition that is worth investigating.

I'm going for a stab (which I'm not confident of...): A thing has freewill when:
1) it is a subject with a mind rather than an object without
2) it can form beliefs and judgements (e.g about how to behave)
3) and such formations depend on it's active desires (will) rather than by passive impulsion (freedom) by laws of the thing's environment or coersion from other subject's will.


This definition of freewill which I have sketched allows for the key criteria that people generally think they refer to by 'freewill', it is not ruled out by definition (i.e. it can be empirically investigated) and it is also consistent with a physicalist worldview (e.g determinism). {So I guess this is a good definition of freewill for a compatibilist}
I can argue for such consistency by examining point (3) - a judgement or belief-formation could be physically determined and also by the subject's will if x causes A to will y and then y causes A to z. E.g I may will that abortion be made illegal becuase I found out that my mum considered aborting me, and then make 'free' judgements in respect to that will.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120855 wrote:
Unless you deny that all of us are able to do things because we want to, and not because we are forced to do them, and that we could have done something else if we had chosen to, what other proof would you require that we have free will?


Thanks for reminding me that I have the ability to fly without needing to use a helicopter or airplane. By my power alone without the need of anything else, I can fly. Completely forgot about it, maybe it was because people keep telling me I can't.

Oh... what's that? I have to obey the laws of physics, and that doesn't mean it is in violation with the will? Oh, so in other words as long as it is something that can be applied, it only counts as an act of will? Well hell that makes so much more sense.

So if I wanted to eat tin foil as my diet, I don't really have that option if I want to continue living, but I have the freedom to give it a shot? I also have the freedom to not pay my taxes but only if I choose to go to jail. I also have the freedom to pick what ever mate that I want, their input doesn't matter.

Can I be done with this yet, or do I not have the option to finish this because it seems like the mountain of an obstacle is still unmoving. Maybe it is my ignorance that is unmovable and the mountain can simply slide over if I want it to.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:11 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple, all you are doing is listing things that we aren't able to do just because we want to. You are trying to prove by example, but all that is needed is one counterexample.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:15 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;120863 wrote:
Krumple, all you are doing is listing things that we aren't able to do just because we want to. You are trying to prove by example, but all that is needed is one counterexample.


Actually I'm attacking the use of the word free. There is no free in it. A cost for every action, and that cost effects choice. If I wanted to stop eating and never eat again, I could make that decision, but however; I couldn't expect to continue living if I were to execute that choice. Just like I don't have the ability to pretend to be smart or brilliant.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:19 pm
@fast,
Krumple wrote:
If I wanted to stop eating and never eat again, I could make that decision, but however...


Indeed, and what do you think you're exercising here? The ability to make choice.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:26 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;120864 wrote:
Actually I'm attacking the use of the word free. There is no free in it. A cost for every action, and that cost effects choice. If I wanted to stop eating and never eat again, I could make that decision, but however; I couldn't expect to continue living if I were to execute that choice. Just like I don't have the ability to pretend to be smart or brilliant.


People have committed suicide by not eating. Some monks in Japan used to practice self mummification I think.

In a way it's the ultimate proof of free will.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:35 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;120867 wrote:
People have committed suicide by not eating.


Yeah... but were all the cases, to have suicide be their goal? Or was it an indirect causality to them not wanting to eat? To me it seems like a pretty slow way to commit suicide, so either they had other motivations, such as protest or rebellion or they wanted to appeal to their self perception but failed because they died.

Jebediah;120867 wrote:

Some monks in Japan used to practice self mummification I think.

In a way it's the ultimate proof of free will.


I don't think dying was their motivation, but instead they wanted to transcend the confines of their body and mind. Dying might not have been their direct motivation at all but instead sought enlightenment at the cost of their lives.

I am not disputing that you can't make choices, but what I am saying is that you are subjected to the boundaries of those choices. You really don't have the option to have what you want, but instead you can make a choice with defined result. That by very definition is NOT free.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:48 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;120862 wrote:
Thanks for reminding me that I have the ability to fly without needing to use a helicopter or airplane. By my power alone without the need of anything else, I can fly. Completely forgot about it, maybe it was because people keep telling me I can't.

Oh... what's that? I have to obey the laws of physics, and that doesn't mean it is in violation with the will? Oh, so in other words as long as it is something that can be applied, it only counts as an act of will? Well hell that makes so much more sense.

So if I wanted to eat tin foil as my diet, I don't really have that option if I want to continue living, but I have the freedom to give it a shot? I also have the freedom to not pay my taxes but only if I choose to go to jail. I also have the freedom to pick what ever mate that I want, their input doesn't matter.

Can I be done with this yet, or do I not have the option to finish this because it seems like the mountain of an obstacle is still unmoving. Maybe it is my ignorance that is unmovable and the mountain can simply slide over if I want it to.


I don't recall wanting to fly, but if I did, and I was restrained by the laws of physics, I would not be free to fly. I don't happen to want to eat tin foil, but if I did, I would not be restrained from doing it. The consequences are irrelevant.

I am forced to pay my taxes, although I would rather not do so. Therefore, I did not pay my taxes of my own free will. If I do something under compulsion, then I do not do it of my own free will. So, what is your point?
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 05:09 pm
@fast,
I had to Google "Self Mummifying Monks."
I had no choice.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 05:29 pm
@fast,
Krumple wrote:
I am not disputing that you can't make choices, but what I am saying is that you are subjected to the boundaries of those choices. You really don't have the option to have what you want, but instead you can make a choice with defined result. That by very definition is NOT free.


But this is demonstrably false - We can choose what we want. This doesn't mean we can choose anything, but who ever stated that? The fact that we can only make choices within reasonable measure does not mean we don't have free will. It just means we don't have unlimited options. We can still have free choice within those limited options, though. Can't we?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 05:30 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120874 wrote:
I don't recall wanting to fly, but if I did, and I was restrained by the laws of physics, I would not be free to fly. I don't happen to want to eat tin foil, but if I did, I would not be restrained from doing it. The consequences are irrelevant.


Well once again the topic of free will most often comes up because of religious motivation, so in this sense consequences are relevant. Why? Because it is by the very mentioning of free will that is to give credit to the whole process of choose or lose.

If consequences were irrelevant than we would always be confused why things happened after making choices. We don't behave that way, well most of us don't, some do I suppose. But anyways, a majority of us actually determine the result prior to making the choice and thus that effects the decision. Or maybe I am the only one who does that.
 
 

 
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