Are Humans Free?

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xcvcx
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 07:04 pm
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? We need to use 3 of these units in the essay along with a few philosophers. (Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and social/political philosophy) to support our arguments. I'm thinking of going for "humans are free" but there is so much information I have no idea where to start. I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use. We can't use our own opinions unless we have a philosopher to back us up or we have some information from the units.

Would anyone be able to direct me towards some information related to say ethics and free will? Maybe 3 arguments that could be used because I am at a complete loss here.


Thanks in advance

John
 
William
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 07:11 pm
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;68921 wrote:
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? We need to use 3 of these units in the essay along with a few philosophers. (Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and social/political philosophy) to support our arguments. I'm thinking of going for "humans are free" but there is so much information I have no idea where to start. I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use. We can't use our own opinions unless we have a philosopher to back us up or we have some information from the units.

Would anyone be able to direct me towards some information related to say ethics and free will? Maybe 3 arguments that could be used because I am at a complete loss here.


Thanks in advance

John


Hello John and welcome. IMO, no human will be free as long as he has to reach in his pocket to pay for that freedom.

William

PS: Give that some thought, that should give you a little to think about.
 
xcvcx
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 07:13 pm
@xcvcx,
I read a few posts and noticed some don't help if its related to homework.... I'm not asking for answers but for a direction towards some information and a few arguments that I could research and expand on. Thanks for the response haha
 
William
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 07:32 pm
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;68923 wrote:
I read a few posts and noticed some don't help if its related to homework.... I'm not asking for answers but for a direction towards some information and a few arguments that I could research and expand on. Thanks for the response haha


If someone has to pay for the right to exist on this planet, they are not free, they are slaves, especially if he has to borrow that money to survive. You have the world at you finger tips. Type in "Are Humans Free". That should give you all the arguments you need. Many have different interpretations as to what freedom really means. Now those who have no problem paying for life may have a different opinion than those who are selling their kidneys to eat and their children.

William
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 08:04 pm
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;68921 wrote:
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? . . . I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use.


Hello, and welcome, to the forums. I cannot tell how much research you have done outside of class, and I cannot tell at what educational level you are concerned with, so there is not sure footing on which to start giving advice.

That said, I'd offer the opinion that you'd first have to decided from what field of inquiry you'd like to present your argument. If could be done, for example, from the field of biology or genetics. It could be done from the field of psychology, evolutionary psychology, or neurology. It could be done from the field of physics. Or it could be done from philosophical treatsies on any one of these, I'd guess. At any rate, you'll have to decide from what angle you'd like to come, then do research in that regards.

It also seems that you are using a text, but surely you'll want to use more. I would very strongly suggest going to your friendly neighborhood library and spending a couple of days or so worth of reading and note taking--if you have one nearby enough to do so.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 08:36 pm
@xcvcx,
The question deconstructs to :

To what extent are humans free?

Often people like to belive they are free, but may be slave to subconscious impulses.
However if this were absolute nobody could be aware of the existence of the subconscious mind.

So we must, at least, be free to explore the subconscious, or else we would be its slave, and not know that it even exists.
 
xcvcx
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 09:58 pm
@Poseidon,
I've decided to use these three units (Metaphysics, Epistamology, Social & Political Phylosophy) with these three philosophers as my refrenses ( Sartre, Plato, Hobbes) I am pretty sure they are all for Free will and I've gotten some information after reading this past hour and a bit do you have any information on how they would be related?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 11:16 pm
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;68921 wrote:
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? We need to use 3 of these units in the essay along with a few philosophers. (Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and social/political philosophy) to support our arguments. I'm thinking of going for "humans are free" but there is so much information I have no idea where to start. I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use. We can't use our own opinions unless we have a philosopher to back us up or we have some information from the units.

Would anyone be able to direct me towards some information related to say ethics and free will? Maybe 3 arguments that could be used because I am at a complete loss here.


Thanks in advance

John


You might start by thinking about the question, free from what? Why don't you go to Wikipedia and look at the article on freedom of the will? Or free will? Or just Google free will.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 11:35 pm
@kennethamy,
I think humans are like lobsters at a seafood joint, they go for market price.
 
sarathustrah
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 11:45 pm
@xcvcx,
free is an abstract thought. it doesnt exist

like the word "nothing"
there is no such thing as nothing because if it exists it is something. making it unable to be a nothing... yknow?

nothing is ever free. there are rules. there are limits. there are expectations. there are duties and necessities and responsibilities and obligations.

if anything the only thing that might be free is the imagination. or is it a slave of the subconscious after all?... only aimable and not capable of freedom?

i have alot of directions i could go with this but i wont bother...
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 11:48 pm
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;68995 wrote:
free is an abstract thought. it doesnt exist

like the word "nothing"
there is no such thing as nothing because if it exists it is something. making it unable to be a nothing... yknow?

nothing is ever free. there are rules. there are limits. there are expectations. there are duties and necessities and responsibilities and obligations.

if anything the only thing that might be free is the imagination. or is it a slave of the subconscious after all?... only aimable and not capable of freedom?

i have alot of directions i could go with this but i wont bother...


When I chose chocolate ice-cream, the other day, I was free to choose butterscotch, and a number of other flavors. I just did not. But I could have. Nothing compelled me to choose chocolate.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:16 am
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;68921 wrote:
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? We need to use 3 of these units in the essay along with a few philosophers. (Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and social/political philosophy) to support our arguments. I'm thinking of going for "humans are free" but there is so much information I have no idea where to start. I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use. We can't use our own opinions unless we have a philosopher to back us up or we have some information from the units.

Would anyone be able to direct me towards some information related to say ethics and free will? Maybe 3 arguments that could be used because I am at a complete loss here.
Thanks in advance

John

I would suppose that based on the parameters of what you can use for your paper, you have to write about a general overview of determinism and the implications of it in relation to other issues. I take the topic you have to be general, that is that the question "are humans free or are our lives determined for us" is a direct query to determinism in general.

To me at least, determinism is essentially that all of our cognitive states and actions which follow from them (like our choices, etc.) follow necessarily and sufficiently from a preceding cause. With any philosophy paper, it is always important that you first (before anything else) establish your definitions and theories and back them up before moving on. Teachers tend to have a much more sympathetic eye for this type of synthetic philosophy.

But If I were writing my paper on the subject you had posited, I would start off with this ground definition, because this incorporates the epistemological variable, as well as a heavy dose of logic and metaphysics. Make sure that you back up you claim for this definition if you choose to use it. I would recommend Leibniz here as a possible prime candidate for your paper, because he draws some very good parallels between metaphysics and logic in an epistemological context. A good reference would be "Leibniz: Logic and Metaphysics" by Gottfried Martin (1964)

Next, as the first part of your three arguments, compare and contrast Leibniz's account of determinism (i.e. with selections from Monodology (original text)"A History of Philosophy: Volume IV: From Descartes to Leibniz" by Frederick Copleston as a companion reader for Leibniz. Long story short, Leibniz will say about determinism that determinism and free will are compatible, etc.

This in turn leads to the second part, which is Leibniz, logic, and determinism. First, I would suggest a good analysis of necessary and sufficient conditions. You will find references in Martin's book, but if you are unsure, pick up a good propositional logic book, like Paul Herrick's Many worlds of Logic
 
sarathustrah
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:19 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;68998 wrote:
When I chose chocolate ice-cream, the other day, I was free to choose butterscotch, and a number of other flavors. I just did not. But I could have. Nothing compelled me to choose chocolate.


well i suppose technically in this language we call choices freedoms.

free to make the choice... what if you had no money? youd have no choice... unless someone was generous and said hey you want some free ice cream.

you just think youre being clever Razz
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:28 am
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;69019 wrote:
well i suppose technically in this language we call choices freedoms.

free to make the choice... what if you had no money? youd have no choice... unless someone was generous and said hey you want some free ice cream.

you just think youre being clever Razz


But I did have the money. So, why was I not free?
 
sarathustrah
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:59 am
@xcvcx,
well that also means you had enough money to spend on a treat... which means your not worried about being able to pay the next bill or not... which means your situation ALLOWED for the conditions

doesnt really sound like freedom when you give it complete thought

what if your town didnt own an ice cream shop... and you had to go to the store for your ice cream instead and scoop it yourself... would you make that much effort or was the available conveniance what made you decide that icecream was your treat

what if you were watching your weight?

i mean to say that your decision was the sum of all factors

---------- Post added at 03:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:59 AM ----------

and let me add... that not only did everything leading up to the getting the ice cream need to be as it was... but your selection of the very flavor is based on the following

- most likely some were eliminated based on knowing you dont enjoy those flavors
- a few maybe you had recently already
- maybe your in the mood for something new youve never tried
- maybe you want something familiar that youll know youll be content with
etc

your actual decision is based on a countless number of conscious and subconscious processes that happened quicker than you can realize. it was a sum of your thought... of course it has to look like a choice... but the choice is determined. do you really think you deserve the entire credit for the ending result?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 01:34 am
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;69033 wrote:
well that also means you had enough money to spend on a treat... which means your not worried about being able to pay the next bill or not... which means your situation ALLOWED for the conditions

doesnt really sound like freedom when you give it complete thought

what if your town didnt own an ice cream shop... and you had to go to the store for your ice cream instead and scoop it yourself... would you make that much effort or was the available conveniance what made you decide that icecream was your treat

what if you were watching your weight?

i mean to say that your decision was the sum of all factors

---------- Post added at 03:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:59 AM ----------

and let me add... that not only did everything leading up to the getting the ice cream need to be as it was... but your selection of the very flavor is based on the following

- most likely some were eliminated based on knowing you dont enjoy those flavors
- a few maybe you had recently already
- maybe your in the mood for something new youve never tried
- maybe you want something familiar that youll know youll be content with
etc

your actual decision is based on a countless number of conscious and subconscious processes that happened quicker than you can realize. it was a sum of your thought... of course it has to look like a choice... but the choice is determined. do you really think you deserve the entire credit for the ending result?


Yes, certainly my choice was caused by all kinds of things. But it was not compelled by anything. No one, and nothing forced me to choose chocolate. I chose it because I wanted to. And that is what is meant by saying that I chose it of my own free will. Isn't it?
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:09 am
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;69033 wrote:
your actual decision is based on a countless number of conscious and subconscious processes that happened quicker than you can realize. it was a sum of your thought... of course it has to look like a choice... but the choice is determined. do you really think you deserve the entire credit for the ending result?


Hi Sara,

I think that Free Will, can be described as "choice in direction". We are influenced, by all that surrounds us, but still we may have a choice in the direction we travel in life. For example:

A highly skilled sailor on the high seas is navigating and sees a storm brewing. He observes that all he/she is Aware of based upon his/her skills, and makes a decision on what direction to go. Now, which ever direction is chosen, new Awareness comes to play, and new directions are chosen. This, I believe, is the process of navigating through life. That is, direction influenced by factors all around us.

Another sailor with less skill, chooses a different direction. Maybe straight ahead into the storm. The ship capsizes drowning all aboard. This is another lesson to be learned from life. Smile Next time, there will be more Awareness and skill. Smile

So, for me, Life is about exploration and navigation. As one gains skills, they choose different directions to travel. My approach to understanding life answers many questions for me.

The problem with Determinism can be traced back to the Beginning:

1) Where did the impetus for everything to start come from?
2) Why is there uniqueness in the world if everything is determined from the start? In other words, where did the flux come from?

Rich

---------- Post added at 10:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:09 AM ----------

xcvcx;68921 wrote:
I have an essay that needs to be written on are humans free or are our lives determined for us? We need to use 3 of these units in the essay along with a few philosophers. (Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and social/political philosophy) to support our arguments. I'm thinking of going for "humans are free" but there is so much information I have no idea where to start. I spent an hour reading topics and posts but I don't know what to use. We can't use our own opinions unless we have a philosopher to back us up or we have some information from the units.

Would anyone be able to direct me towards some information related to say ethics and free will? Maybe 3 arguments that could be used because I am at a complete loss here.


Thanks in advance

John


Hi John,

The points I would make for Choice of Direction (as a way of describing Free Will), are:

1) If everything is strictly determined, what gave the initial impetus (force) to get things going? and ...

2) If everything was strictly determined, then everything would be the same. Yet, there is diversity and uniqueness throughout the universe.

There could be multiple starting points, but then how did each of these starting points come to being, and if so, how do you account for new starting points erupting and disturbing all that has been determined?

I think whichever way you choose to go with your essay, you should account for two things: 1) Influences that exist everywhere 2) the ability for an individual to do things autonomously, e.g. wake up from sleep in the morning.

Hope this gives you some ideas to work with.

Rich
 
William
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:56 am
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;68995 wrote:
free is an abstract thought. it doesnt exist

like the word "nothing"
there is no such thing as nothing because if it exists it is something. making it unable to be a nothing... yknow?

nothing is ever free. there are rules. there are limits. there are expectations. there are duties and necessities and responsibilities and obligations.

if anything the only thing that might be free is the imagination. or is it a slave of the subconscious after all?... only aimable and not capable of freedom?

i have alot of directions i could go with this but i wont bother...


Sara, who makes those rules? Who sets those limits, what are those expectations? Who assigns those duties? Who is responsible and for what are they responsible for? Who are we obligated to? :perplexed:
Thanks,
William
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 10:01 am
@William,
Hi,

I think a great way to demonstrate Free Will (or better, "influenced choice"), is not to give the answer a professor is looking for.

I once had a philosophy class, and I knew the answer that the professor was looking for, but I gave the one I wanted to give. My Will (that which gives me choice in direction), was fighting the tide (lots of rebellious youth in the 60s).

It cost me an A. The professor, in class, yelled out to me, "Rich you could have had an A! I responded, that this was a philosophy class, so I was exercising my choice. Smile Still, didn't get the A though.

Rich
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 10:03 am
@sarathustrah,
sarathustrah;68995 wrote:
free is an abstract thought. it doesnt exist


... I just wanted to applaud this; this is quite correct.

We play these word games and stand back marveling at our flaccid insight. "Freedom" is a concept used to describe a relative state; lacking boundaries, encumbrances or bonds. It, on its own, has no context - no substance without qualifiers or context.

I personally haven't engaged this question because it has no meaning for me. Ask me, "Are humans free?" and the only response I might muster would be, "... in what way?" What's more, I'd be willing to bet that any clarification would, after long and arduous debate, come down to "It depends"

Thanks
 
 

 
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