Are Humans Free?

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richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 10:18 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;69125 wrote:
... "Freedom" is a concept used to describe a relative state; lacking boundaries, encumbrances or bonds.


For me, I think of Freedom differently. Not as as you describe. There is no reason to go to this extreme.

We can acknowledge influences, but at the same time we can observe that despite all of these influences we can choose which direction to go. I, for example, may choose a low risk direction, while a poker player may want to play high risks. It is a choice we make based upon the Awareness that we have of where we are at, and where we would like to go. Of course, we are likely to keep changing directions all the time. If you watch a sailor, you will understand what I mean. I think that who we are, can be always observed in Nature.

Rich
 
xcvcx
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 11:23 am
@xcvcx,
Thanks guys for all your help but how would I use Satre or Hobbes to back these points? What have they said related to these? I know the basics about Satre and his view on humans and how they are not confined by personal motives and their stage is never set unalterbly.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 11:41 am
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;69149 wrote:
Thanks guys for all your help but how would I use Satre or Hobbes to back these points? What have they said related to these? I know the basics about Satre and his view on humans and how they are not confined by personal motives and their stage is never set unalterbly.


For Sartre (not one of my personal favorites), I would focus on the concept of consciousness' ability to negate based upon what it (consciousness) observes. This would hone in on the Free Will aspect of Sartre's works.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 11:46 am
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;69149 wrote:
Thanks guys for all your help but how would I use Satre or Hobbes to back these points? What have they said related to these? I know the basics about Satre and his view on humans and how they are not confined by personal motives and their stage is never set unalterbly.

Sartre (note the spelling) tells us that "man makes himself" and that we are the product of what we choose to be. It is not that we are just programmed, and what we do is the result of that program unwinding. We continue to program ourselves as we continue to make choices. In fact, says Sartre, "Man is condemned to be free". He has no choice other than to make choices. And if he sometimes deceives himself, and tells himself that his biology, or his environment, or some combination of the two force him to do as he does, but that he, himself has nothing to do with it, he is in, what Sartre calls, "bad faith". It is just an illegitimate excuse for refusing to take responsibility for what he does.

Hobbes is a materialist, though and through. He thinks that free will is an illusion we all share because we are unaware of the various causes and forces that drive our behavior. In fact, he thinks that making choices, or making decisions is a part of this illusion. That our brains first make "decisions" and "choices" of which we are completely unaware, but then, we, a few moment later, become conscious of these decisions, and believe that we made them at the very time we become conscious of them. But that is not true. When we become conscious of them, they have been already made. (This view, by the way, has been lately confirmed by the experiments of Libet, and others, which you can find on the Web).
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 11:56 am
@richrf,
richrf;69135 wrote:
For me, I think of Freedom differently. Not as as you describe. There is no reason to go to this extreme.

We can acknowledge influences, but at the same time we can observe that despite all of these influences we can choose which direction to go. I, for example, may choose a low risk direction, while a poker player may want to play high risks. It is a choice we make based upon the Awareness that we have of where we are at, and where we would like to go. Of course, we are likely to keep changing directions all the time. If you watch a sailor, you will understand what I mean. I think that who we are, can be always observed in Nature.


Certainly, and I'd agree with you on this level. This being a practical, everyday decision-making context. You bet. So, in this case and assuming I understood you rightly, you'd contextualize "freedom" to constitute our ability to choose, yes?

Thanks
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:04 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;69160 wrote:
Certainly, and I'd agree with you on this level. This being a practical, everyday decision-making context. You bet. So, in this case and assuming I understood you rightly, you'd contextualize "freedom" to constitute our ability to choose, yes?

Thanks


Shouldn't we amend it to, "our ability to choose freely"? Which is to say, without our choice being under compulsion? If a mugger has a gun pointed at me, and demands my wallet, my choice to hand over my wallet, is not a free choice, is it?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:29 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;69163 wrote:
Shouldn't we amend it to, "our ability to choose freely"? Which is to say, without our choice being under compulsion? If a mugger has a gun pointed at me, and demands my wallet, my choice to hand over my wallet, is not a free choice, is it?


Sure, I'd think so. You can hand it over or get shot - yes, I'd say there's a choice in there.

But there are many levels of freedom; in your example above one might justifiably say that the options presented are tantamount to losing one's freedom. Further, another might say that this is no way represents 'freedom' owing to their concept that we should all be free from such assaults. Yet another might go in a completely different direct; that freedom isn't attainable due to socialization, value-imprinting, media, religion or my next door neighbor's dog barking (e.g., that there is no freedom). Heck, we had a thread not too long ago that effectively fleshed out a very disturbing philosophical theme: That everything we do - everything we think and everything we are - are products of reaction; that all thought is simply a series of reactions to various situations and stimuli processed through a cerebral matrix that is, itself, built up from a long history of reacting to its environment. Thought of in this way, one might even say there's no freedom at all - that it's just a myth.

So yep - I'm with ya; my only point here being that its important we define precisely what aspect of which were speaking - thus my agreement with Sara that on its own, absent of any further clarification, 'freedom' has no meaning other than a description of relation of conditions. For one to discuss it without our usual 231-Pages of Clarification Bantering; it's nice to have it clarified up front: Just what kind of freedom are we talking about?

Yours - or at least how it struck you - has to do with choice. I think that's a fine way to look at it (and actually, one of the more productive contexts I can come up with for a philosophical discussion).

Thanks
 
xcvcx
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 01:02 pm
@xcvcx,
Thanks guys once again, I have some ideas on an introduction do you have any ideas as to what I should place in the beggining? I think I can use some of the points given in this topic but I'm not sure how I would begin if I were to go for "free will"
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 02:05 pm
@xcvcx,
xcvcx;69177 wrote:
Thanks guys once again, I have some ideas on an introduction do you have any ideas as to what I should place in the beggining? I think I can use some of the points given in this topic but I'm not sure how I would begin if I were to go for "free will"


When in doubt whenever you have a topic to discuss, always first explore the topic in general. If you are talking about free will, try to narrow the scope of what "free will" means so that it becomes some what pliable to however you wish to approach you paper. Using my example from the other post.

I. Intro - thesis - Free will is compatible with determinism. [Using the substantial philosophies of Gotfried Leibniz, free will is compatible with determinism in respect to metaphysical, logical, and epistemological issues.]

II. What is free will?
a. various conceptions of free will
b. free will and determinism
c. my(your) account of free will and determinism

III. Leibniz and determinism
a. the philosophy of Leibniz and determinism

IV. Leibniz and the logic of free will
a. principle of sufficient reason

V. Conflicting views of free will and determinism
a. compatibilists
b. non-compatibilists
c. the inconsistencies in non-compatibility
d. re-induction of compatibilism

VI. Conclusion.
a. Using the substantial philosophies of Gotfried Leibniz, free will is compatible with determinism in respect to metaphysical, logical, and epistemological issues.

Note: You can use anyone you want, I just use Leibniz because I am very familiar with his philosophy. But the one thing I would suggest is that you have a sacrificial lamb, or more specifically, a philosopher in order to base your arguments off of and either affirm or refute those thoughts. I'm sure you aware of the fact that writing a philosophy paper based off of pure definition and axiomatic statements never turns out well.
 
xcvcx
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 04:03 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I did poorly on one of my previous essays for giving my opinion but not relating to any philosopher. I'll do some research on your philosopher and see where I get.

Thanks!
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 04:48 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;69160 wrote:
Certainly, and I'd agree with you on this level. This being a practical, everyday decision-making context. You bet. So, in this case and assuming I understood you rightly, you'd contextualize "freedom" to constitute our ability to choose, yes?

Thanks


Yes. This is a good way to put it. Choose direction, but not outcome. Outcome (unintended consequences Smile), are the confluence of all the forces (e.g. Free Wills) that surround us. We reach a compromise.

Most of what we call knowledge, I believe is the result of consensus building. For example, how the heck to I really know what Plato thought or said. We just all agree to agree, and then someone writes a book. And, someone else contradicts and gets his/her own followers based upon consensus. All of life, I believe, is an interaction between ourselves (our own Individual Consciousness), and all that surrounds us, and then there is POOOF!, a result. Sort of like if you throw two pebbles in a pond, and the waves intersect to form new waves. We can decide where the pebble fall, but the resultant waves are the result of where the other pebbles (Free Wills) fall.

Rich

Rich

---------- Post added at 05:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:48 PM ----------

kennethamy;69163 wrote:
Shouldn't we amend it to, "our ability to choose freely"? Which is to say, without our choice being under compulsion? If a mugger has a gun pointed at me, and demands my wallet, my choice to hand over my wallet, is not a free choice, is it?


We have many choices. We can run, we can hand it over, we can fight, we can call for help. What we choose to do, depends upon our own skills, our awareness, and all the factors that influence that event at that time. For example, if I am not aware of the gun, I might laugh and get killed. If there is a policeman nearby, I might try to yell - assuming I an aware of the policeman. If I have no money in my wallet, I may gladly hand it over.

I make a decision. It is influenced. However, the outcome is uncertain. Even if I hand over the wallet, I may still get shot.

Rich

---------- Post added at 05:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:48 PM ----------

xcvcx;69230 wrote:
I did poorly on one of my previous essays for giving my opinion but not relating to any philosopher. I'll do some research on your philosopher and see where I get.

Thanks!


Hi,

Good luck with your paper. I would suggest that you focus in on one key notion of the philosopher that you choose (typically philosophers are all over the place, and they even change their views over time), and research the heck out of it on the Internet using Google. I think you can build a highly tuned argument in this manner.

Hope you do very well,

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:26 pm
@richrf,
richrf;69135 wrote:
For me, I think of Freedom differently. Not as as you describe. There is no reason to go to this extreme.

We can acknowledge influences, but at the same time we can observe that despite all of these influences we can choose which direction to go. I, for example, may choose a low risk direction, while a poker player may want to play high risks. It is a choice we make based upon the Awareness that we have of where we are at, and where we would like to go. Of course, we are likely to keep changing directions all the time. If you watch a sailor, you will understand what I mean. I think that who we are, can be always observed in Nature.

Rich


I have always used the term, "free" as the opposite of "compelled" or "forced". And certainly, some influences compel. For example, if someone points a gun at me, and orders me to hand over my wallet, when I did so, I would think I had been compelled to do so, and that I was not acting of my own free will. But, on the other hand, if a friend recommended a restaurant to me, and I went as a result of his recommendation, then I would not think that influence had compelled me to go, and I would consider (if someone asked me about it) that I had gone to the restaurant of my own free will. So, it isn't merely being influenced that counts, but what kind of influence it is, that matters.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;69311 wrote:
. So, it isn't merely being influenced that counts, but what kind of influence it is, that matters.


Hi,

Yes, I agree. There are all kinds of factors and relationships in a single event. External, internal, and at that singular moment of the event, the mind makes its decision. BOINGGGG! It's amazing that so much can happen in a single moment. In a single moment, Pooof! The mind switches from four dimensional Awake to zero dimension sleep. Totally amazing!

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2009 05:32 am
@richrf,
richrf;69318 wrote:
Hi,

Yes, I agree. There are all kinds of factors and relationships in a single event. External, internal, and at that singular moment of the event, the mind makes its decision. BOINGGGG! It's amazing that so much can happen in a single moment. In a single moment, Pooof! The mind switches from four dimensional Awake to zero dimension sleep. Totally amazing!

Rich


Is there a connection between this and my post?
 
The Jester phil
 
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2009 08:01 am
@xcvcx,
Yes humans are free; we are not however absolutely free. That's the difference.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 07:16 pm
@Khethil,
My best advice would be to first ask yourself what it means to be free, and what is freedom. Then explain how it is that we have freedom, and make references to philosophers who support the theory of free will. I would also suggest that you look into Dan Dennett's take on free will for a more contemporary approach to the problem.
 
meditationyoga
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 06:44 pm
@xcvcx,
Sartre's "Being and Nothingness." Don't read the whole book, very difficult. Just find the free will chapter.

As well Whitehead in "Process and Reality." Talks about it. This is all I can think of.
 
Paggos
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:47 pm
@xcvcx,
Under religion we are not because we're controlled by the influence of a deity.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:38 pm
@Paggos,
Paggos;73177 wrote:
Under religion we are not because we're controlled by the influence of a deity.


According to most religions (certainly most Christian religions) we have free will.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:03 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[
 
 

 
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