What is Free Will?

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prothero
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 08:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;133733 wrote:
If they believe that you were under duress, they will conclude that you did not act freely. Otherwise, a bank teller who gave the bank robber money would have to be said to be insane. Compulsion is also a defense. Not only insanity.
Making a decision under threat or coercion does not negate philosophical "free will" just moral accountability or legal responsibility.

kennethamy;133733 wrote:
Those determinists who deny free will on account of determinism are classified as hard determinists. As contrasted with soft determinists who hold that determinism is compatible with free will.
We have been down this road before. I do not want the "free will" of soft determinists, I want the "free will" of liberatarians.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 08:43 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;133733 wrote:
If they believe that you were under duress, they will conclude that you did not act freely. Otherwise, a bank teller who gave the bank robber money would have to be said to be insane. Compulsion is also a defense. Not only insanity.

Those determinists who deny free will on account of determinism are classified as hard determinists. As contrasted with soft determinists who hold that determinism is compatible with free will.
On the other board I recently held a poll, five of the twenty five voters, so far, deny that there is an occasion on which an agent chooses and acts on a choice in accordance with their aims, without undue force or coercion. As this is a legal notion of free will, I think that there is a case to be made that these posters can not distinguish right from wrong, and the legal term for this is insanity.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 08:44 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133735 wrote:
Incompatibilists. I'm an incompatibilist, but I think that determinism is false, so I have no reason to doubt the reality of free will.


Yes, you are then a libertarian.

1. determinism and free will are incompatible
2. determinism is false.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 08:48 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;133742 wrote:
Yes, you are then a libertarian.

1. determinism and free will are incompatible
2. determinism is false.


I really don't like starting off a post laughing. But why does everyone insist on making the world black and white when it's not?

Why can't determinism and free will be both in effect? Although you do have to abandon their firm definitions before you can understand what I mean. There is no absolute free will and there is no absolute determinism at work. It is a combination of them both at the same time.

The reason there is both, is because evidence for both can be found. Since people only want to see the evidence for their belief that is all they will bother to acknowledge. They will close their minds, stop listening when there is evidence for the other. That is why they fail to notice that there is no absolute.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:01 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;133747 wrote:
Why can't determinism and free will be both in effect?
Because free will requires realisable alternative futures and all future states of a determined world are facts now.
Krumple;133747 wrote:
The reason there is both, is because evidence for both can be found.
What evidence is there for determinism?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:06 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;133747 wrote:
I really don't like starting off a post laughing. But why does everyone insist on making the world black and white when it's not?

Why can't determinism and free will be both in effect? Although you do have to abandon their firm definitions before you can understand what I mean. There is no absolute free will and there is no absolute determinism at work. It is a combination of them both at the same time.

The reason there is both, is because evidence for both can be found. Since people only want to see the evidence for their belief that is all they will bother to acknowledge. They will close their minds, stop listening when there is evidence for the other. That is why they fail to notice that there is no absolute.


Determinism and free will can be (and in my view are) compatible. I am a compatibilist, or a soft determinist. The various different positions were being explained, not espoused.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:21 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133752 wrote:
What evidence is there for determinism?


Seriously? Well I see pretty much everything as determinism, and have a hard time deciphering what is free will. When you have a chemical stimulate in abundance within the brain the chances of a particular choice can actually be predicted behavior. If this was not the case, we would never be able to develop drugs to counteract imbalances in the brain. We know that brain chemistry alters behavior and also choice making. Look at the effects of alcohol, there is no refuting that a drunk person will more than likely do things that they might not otherwise do if they were sober.

This might not be the best examples, but if you start talking about the make up of reality is just an internal dialog then by all means reality would be determined by the very same chemical make up.

It's why I make the claim that pretty much all choices we make are ninety nine percent determined by this brain-mind chemistry. I could go on for hours talking about the physics behind it. How every molecule is pretty much predictable in the sense that it has a finite amount of possibilities. Once they are all understood, you can actually determine the actual functioning of the universe in a simulation down to the last molecule.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:22 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133735 wrote:
Incompatibilists. I'm an incompatibilist, but I think that determinism is false, so I have no reason to doubt the reality of free will.


See my post. I edited it way before you posted. My fault. I initially misunderstood his question.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:22 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;133772 wrote:
Seriously? Well I see pretty much everything as determinism, and have a hard time deciphering what is free will. When you have a chemical stimulate in abundance within the brain the chances of a particular choice can actually be predicted behavior. If this was not the case, we would never be able to develop drugs to counteract imbalances in the brain. We know that brain chemistry alters behavior and also choice making. Look at the effects of alcohol, there is no refuting that a drunk person will more than likely do things that they might not otherwise do if they were sober.

This might not be the best examples, but if you start talking about the make up of reality is just an internal dialog then by all means reality would be determined by the very same chemical make up.

It's why I make the claim that pretty much all choices we make are ninety nine percent determined by this brain-mind chemistry.
You seem to be talking about cause and effect, and this is nothing to do with determinism.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:24 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133741 wrote:
On the other board I recently held a poll, five of the twenty five voters, so far, deny that there is an occasion on which an agent chooses and acts on a choice in accordance with their aims, without undue force or coercion. As this is a legal notion of free will, I think that there is a case to be made that these posters can not distinguish right from wrong, and the legal term for this is insanity.


What has their not believing free will exists have to do with them distinguishing right from wrong?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:25 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133775 wrote:
You seem to be talking about cause and effect, and this is nothing to do with determinism.


Uhg. no... I don't know I even bother sometimes.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:29 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;133776 wrote:
What has their not believing free will exists have to do with them distinguishing right from wrong?
It's the specific definition, (one of several), of free will which they deny. That is the legal usage of the term, and the law is based on the ability of citizens to distinguish right from wrong.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:30 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;133776 wrote:
What has their not believing free will exists have to do with them distinguishing right from wrong?


And they believe that when anyone acts, he acts under compulsion? Why would they believe so obviously false a proposition? It has to be because they were philosophizing. People will say any absurd thing when they are philosophizing. They think they have a free pass not to make sense. No one would believe or say that under any ordinary circumstances.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 09:35 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;133777 wrote:
Uhg. no... I don't know I even bother sometimes.
Well, if you're talking about determinism, not about cause and effect, how should I understand these:
Krumple;133772 wrote:
When you have a chemical stimulate in abundance within the brain the chances of a particular choice can actually be predicted behavior.

Krumple;133772 wrote:
Look at the effects of alcohol, there is no refuting that a drunk person will more than likely do things that they might not otherwise do if they were sober.
Krumple;133772 wrote:
It's why I make the claim that pretty much all choices we make are ninety nine percent determined by this brain-mind chemistry.
Krumple;133772 wrote:
How every molecule is pretty much predictable in the sense that it has a finite amount of possibilities.
And this claim
Krumple;133772 wrote:
Once they are all understood, you can actually determine the actual functioning of the universe in a simulation down to the last molecule.
is false.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 01:59 am
@fast,
Is causality transcendentally imposed? Sure, the world seems to align itself w/ causality even it our experience of it is intuitional as well as inductive, but what if the macro-scale that we live it is just a statistical average of almost-infinitesimal particles which are not predictable, except as probabilities? Did the transcendental intuition of causality, if it exists, evolve in relation to this macro-world?
Quote:

Kant suggested that metaphysics can be reformed through epistemology.[2] He suggested that by understanding the sources and limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions. He asked if an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object. He concluded that all objects about which the mind can think must conform to its manner of thought. Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality - which he concluded that it does - then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it is possible that there are objects of such nature which the mind cannot think, and so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside of experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. And so the grand questions of speculative metaphysics cannot be answered by the human mind, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind.[3]
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 06:22 pm
@prothero,
Just happened upon this thread so please accept my apology if this post duplicates someone elses. I scanned briefly the first few pages (where it 'should' have been and didn't see it.

We cannot develop a definition of "free will" without first defining.........

"Free"
and
"Will"

(maybe this is where the OP wanted to go)

GS
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 07:05 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;133788 wrote:
Well, if you're talking about determinism, not about cause and effect, how should I understand these:

And this claimis false.


Once again you didn't even bother to understand what I was saying. It is a waste of time to try and help you to understand the simple point I was making.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 07:19 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;134257 wrote:
Once again you didn't even bother to understand what I was saying.
If I could understand it, I wouldn't have asked you to explain!
Krumple;134257 wrote:
It is a waste of time to try and help you to understand the simple point I was making.
I asked for evidence for the truth of determinism, as far as I can tell, you haven't offered any.

---------- Post added 03-02-2010 at 10:24 AM ----------

groundedspirit;134239 wrote:
We cannot develop a definition of "free will" without first defining.........

"Free"
and
"Will"
These words have definitions. Freely willed behaviour is free if it is in the agents control i.e. free from some external control, and is willed if it is intended.
 
Diogenes phil
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 07:18 pm
@fast,
It's like saying your body controls your actions, while your mind controls your body. The mind exerts free will, we can think of anything we want, but in the end, can we achieve anything we want?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 07:59 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;123494 wrote:
Let me rephrase.

You're absolutely right that we can be compelled to do things and not know it. But we must make sure we do not overstate this. We must not, for instance, assume that all chemical processes occuring in our brain, or anywhere else in our body, are compelled. This is why I want to clarify. If we say an involuntary action, like a heart beating, is compulsion, it seems to me it's different than the being compelled we're speaking of here*. The being compelled I imagined we were speaking of here, must be within the confines of something we would say X person would do, or is capable of doing. For instance, we wouldn't say, "Jim is beating his heart", would we? His heart beating is not something we would consider as his doing. We would instead say, "His heart is beating", as if the heart were an independent entity. Here we begin to seperate Jim from his bodily function. Once we draw this seperation, I feel, we should stop applying compulsion and free will. It is no longer a consciousness we're speaking of; free will and compulsion are no longer terms which apply.

Now, how this relates:

It's been explored many times within this thread: Well, what if our actions boil down to biological/chemical processes, do we really then have free choice?

I believe this question confuses matters.

I think people are attempting to mix things which are considered capable of being done and experienced, with things which are not considered capable of being done or experienced. I think that each should be evaluated differently (although not always seperately), and the latter should not have the terms (or any variation of) 'compelled' or 'free' applied. We must evaluate what humans are capable of doing as being compelled or freely done only. When we begin to doubt that we can freely choose or be compelled simply because there are biological/chemical causes, we are confusing matters. In other words, the compulsion and free will come after the fact, and are usuaully experiential matters (except those times where we do not know we're being compelled - clarified above). They are part of an epiphenomenon related to consciousness. In the same way that we would say that something makes us happy, despite there being being chemical causes for why we are happy. But our being happy is still us being happy, no matter the cause. We must distinguish between the experience of us being happy and the causes which biologically led to our happiness. Or, at least I think we ought to. And actually, for a more stretched analogy, I think it's like questioning if we're conscious at all, simply because there are millions of neurological processes which are the cause of our consciousness. We don't question our consciousness or any other experience simply because there are causes, do we? So why free will?

And once again, just as a keepsake: Not all causes compel.

* I understand it's hard to know where to draw the line, though. Because, as noted, some involuntary actions we should apply "compelled" to. It's really tough to say sometimes.


I think this is an ingenious way of looking at it...I think I was pushing this general conclusion earlier but I was never quite comfortable explaining why. People don't really feel that the fact that we jerk our hand away from something hot is an indication that we don't have free will. That's a very direct and obvious causal chain. So why do we feel differently when we see that our other actions are longer, more obscure causal chains?

The comparison to consciousness hits it exactly.
 
 

 
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