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Free will?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Opethian666, Jul 22, 2006.

?

Do you believe in free will?

  1. Yes, I believe in free will, and in the supernatural

    18.2%
  2. Yes, I believe in free will, but not in the supernatural

    22.7%
  3. No, I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in the supernatural

    4.5%
  4. No, I don't believe in free will, and I don't believe in the supernatural

    36.4%
  5. Other

    18.2%
  1. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    Free Will doesn't pertain to ones disposition or feeling so you're not really dealing with Free will. Free will is the innate power or capacity to be able to cause ones own actions, and be able to do otherwise. Just ilike you're able to type a reply back, is an example of you excesizing your free will.


    Insanity may be influenced by things external to the mind, it is a condition or state of the mind, not necessarily of the brain. The brain isnt the mind.
     
  2. judas69

    judas69 god is in the radio

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    Will varies from person to person and thus, is a disposition. To say otherwise is to claim we are not unique.
    Anything based on a disposition is by definition, determined (and not free).
    Thus Free Will is a contradiction of terms.

    The mind is the functioning brain. By physically changing the brain, you consequently change the mind. No one will disagree with this especially not "The Uppance Has Come", who is currently experiencing trouble as a result.
     
  3. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    So because each persons brain, heart, and other organs are so similar to another person to allow for scientifically coherent observations to be made, that means that they are identical thus not unique? On what basis do you judge to know that a will is a disposition? I can see how all people have sinilar faculties of the mind/soul as to participate with reason, logic, morals, and communication, but why do you think that ones will is a disposition..what one does with it is unique to each person in some sense because its THEM using their own will..but all acts are done on thebasis of reasons, not dispositions. Dispositions may influence a person to make certain choices, but their wills arent dispositions. All you said was you assume will is a disposition and dispositions are determined...You stated it dogmatically with no defensible argument to back up why you believe that. Why do you believe that?


    If the mind is identical to the brain and thoughts are real, yet not physical, how is it one can expeirence a real mental image, in the mind, and it not have any physical properties? While you can trace the processes the mind uses in the brain to get the mental image, where are the physical properties of a mental image? Also all one can say from messing with ones brain is that it limits what the immaterial mind can do in the physical world, it doesnt follow necessarily that becauase one can effect the mind via the brain means that the mind is identical or dependant on the brain ontologicall or in every sense..it is not. The mental image or thought you needed to produce to be able to say what you do, is an immaterial thought saying all is only matter.
     
  4. judas69

    judas69 god is in the radio

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    Without some reason or convension (a disposition) no choice could be made as you would ultimately be caught in a state of indecision.

    The mind is very much like a computer screen; it creates an image, but that image is merely an array of individual pixels.
     
  5. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    I dont dispute that ones mind needs reason, which is consistent, objective, and that with which one can measure reality in a correct way on which to make rational decisions, as one directs and controls ones will towards whichever intelligent or moral choice. My point is that no matter what ones disposition, one can act contrary to ones disposition or inaccord with it. Pleasse define disposition and show why you think that directs a human will? I think its clear how it makes sense to say a person, consciously chooses what they decide to do, where their mind acts on their will and or body towards one way or another, either inaccord or disaccord with what they want to do..I dont want to wash my clothes, or clean my room..my disposition is against doing that..yet I do it nevertheless. I can do what I like, or what I dont like, what Im predisposed to do, or not. While something can influence ones will, how does influence account for a determining cause?

    I gave a defensible argumentation to back up my claims that free will is both self evident and undeniable. Please show how theyre not so, and how all can know what youre saying in contrast to it is true.



    Youre using an example of something with physical properties..please do show me what color, size, height, width, or weight a mental image has. You can point to physical properties like pixels with a computer, but how can you do so with an end resulting mental image?
     
  6. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    What makes you ask that?
     
  7. Nile577

    Nile577 Member

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    There's a very interesting program on Google Video which covers a conversation between Daniel Dennett and Robert Wright. I agree with almost nothing Dennett says about freewill & consciousness, though I have been influenced by his idea that determinism (assuming it is a meaningful term) is confused about the definition of 'inevitable' and the extent to which someone might 'avoid' it. He also, basically, advocates that one worship nature :).

    I think it's an excellent video and, if nothing else, a great model for productive philosophical debate. Watch it here.
     
  8. judas69

    judas69 god is in the radio

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    The functioning brain (which is electrochemical) produces measurable electromagnetic brain waves. It is definitely a physical phenomena.
     
  9. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    All youre saying as that there is concurrent brain activity with mental/mind activity...or that the mind is dependant on the brain to access the physical world..but how do you prove that the structure of the image you see is identical to and composed of those brain waves?
     
  10. judas69

    judas69 god is in the radio

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    The onus really is on you, as the logical and scientific conclusion falls in line with every other organ in the body. To assume otherwise, is the result of your desire to believe there's something more, which doesn't appear to be the case.
     
  11. Francis Xavier

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    There is always a principle innner cause in the nature of man which the will is dependent upon.
    People have free will according to their nature.
     
  12. Έρεβος

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    Frankly, it doesn't matter. It is something that can not in any way be proven or backed for either argument. It really shouldn't matter if we believe in it or not, because letting it effect us in any way makes no sense at all, and accomplishes nothing :err: . There are of course quantum physics theories to explain it, and all are perfectly "possible", but there is no way for us to ever show evidence for them, or against them. Sentience [and therefore free will] is a paradox beyond finite explanation, and therefore also beyond our ability to comprehend it [at least in our current state]. Its something of mute point to contemplate, it will only lead to one of the many "possible" explanations for it, but no evidence for any of them.
     
  13. judas69

    judas69 god is in the radio

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    Well, you're indirectly questioning the purpose of doing anything. I think it's in the nature of the monkey to reach out towards the truth, regardless of the likelihood of actually touching it.

    Besides, it sure beats watching american idol ..but not by much.
     
  14. derbeder

    derbeder in a vicious circle

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    Some basic contemporary readings on the free will issue include the following:

    Gary Watson (ed.) - Free Will (an essential anthology. includes some of the most important papers on the topic from the last 50 years.)

    Timothy O'Connor (ed.) - Agents, Causes, & Events: Essays on Indeterminism and Free Will (a nice anthology, complements the Watson anthology well by focusing more on indeterminism and its problems)

    Robert Kane (ed.) The Oxford Anthology of Free Will (a more recent anthology with articles written specifically for the volume)

    Peter van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will (a forceful defense of libertarianism. maybe the best introduction to the topic still. best read before the anthologies)

    Daniel Dennett - Elbow Room (a defense of compatibilism)

    I can't really recommend Robert Kane's The Significance of Free Will for a first reading partly because of its very suspect use of quantum mechanics in his libertarian account. But those who want to see such a view developed at some length may consider looking here. Timothy O'Connor's version of libertarianism, agent-causalism, is given in detail in his Persons and Causes. The basics of O'Connor's and Kane's theories may be found in their papers anthologized in the above volumes.

    I haven't had a chance to read Dennett's more recent book on free will, Freedom Evolves. If anyone here has read it: is his position different here than the one on Elbow Room?
     
  15. Opethian666

    Opethian666 Booze influenced

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    Do you believe in free will, defined as:

    Free will: the belief that 2 persons, with the exact same body structure (everything, thus the same genes, the same injuries, the same memory, etc...), and receiving the exact same environmental stimuli (thus being in the exact same place and receiving the exact same sensory input) can perform 2 different actions. Thus that they have a real "choice".
    Then, if you want to assert that free will as defined here exists, and can be explained by natural phenomena, you have to be able to point out a phenomenon which is only applicable to humans, and other animals/organisms which you think are capable of "free will actions". This to prevent us from debating about a "free will" which is also applicable to rocks and rivers. For example if you tried to use the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to explain free will, It wouldn't be will, since will is only a meaningful concept when applied to living organisms, and it wouldn't be free, it would be random.

    A) Yes I believe in free will, because I believe in the supernatural, thus for example a "soul" allowing for free will, regardless of physical laws.

    B) Yes I believe in free will, but I do not believe in the supernatural. (please explain why, since so far no one has been able to explain this, according to me, fallacious position)

    C) No I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in the supernatural.

    D) No I don't believe in free will, and I don't believe in the supernatural.

    E) Other (explain).

    Please explain your position and reasons behind it.
    My position is D), which of course you could have guessed.
     
  16. Opethian666

    Opethian666 Booze influenced

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    So is there anyone here who would like to explain his/her non-supernatural reasons for believing in free will? To me, it seems nearly impossible to find any rational foundation for a natural free will, as I defined it here.
     
  17. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    how I focus my attention is beyond my comprehension. it seems so free, I can't comprehend how it would be determined every slight 'decision' of attention I make, to listen, to think instead of listening, to leave an itch rather than scratch it and take my mind back to writing, all the acts of attention redirection confuse me enough to wonder about free will, but I cannot affirm. The inconsistency of my behavior, the way it seems I have more strength to lift something when I feel like I can do it or need to do it rather than when I doubt myself, it's very strange how consciousness seems to impact my actions and imagine that atoms themselves have decided that is exactly what I would do. I scratched one itch on my head now but I leave another itching at me... I could scratch it, or not... it's weird to think that that decision of exactly when I will do whatever I do is decided already if only I could map my atoms down to their very quantum upspin because it seems like what I do depends on what I focus on, and how my focus is directed without me is just... beyond my comprehension. it's enough to give me interest in free will, if not enough to actually doubt determinism.
     
  18. Opethian666

    Opethian666 Booze influenced

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    It is indeed true that it is hard to fathom that we might be biochemical machines, since we make so many "decisions" each minute, even each second. By observing and analysing our own consciousness, it indeed seems as though we have free will, because our consciousness can only function by having the illusion of free will, to be able to perceive options and then, electrochemically "calculate" the optimal one, which from our perspective seems like "choosing". That is why for myself, the best approach to analysing the question on whether we have free will or not, lies not in analysing my own consciousness, which already relies on the concept of free will, but in analysing the science of the matter of which I am composed. If free will exists not only as an illusion, but as a natural phenomenon, there should be a natural phenomenon/mechanism that can explain it. This should be something connected to indeterminism, since free will as I defined it here cannot exist in a completely determined universe. The only possible natural principle I know of that could do this is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The problem is that free will, if it is to be meaningful, should apply ONLY to humans/other animals with a higher consciousness, or at least living organisms. The uncertainty principle can be applied to everything, which excludes it as a viable explanation, unless we were to say that rocks and rivers have free will like us. That is why I really cannot find a rational, natural explanation for free will, except if it is nothing but an illusion that is necessary for our form of consciousness.

    Ah, but there are so many variables that can affect you, most of which you will never consciously notice. Inconsistency is something to be expected for complex beings in a complex world. The fact that people can suddenly have outbursts of strength when they are confident they can do something or really need to do something may be explained by a possible mechanism in our body that can speed up energy generating processes if it is really necessary, but which is usually never turned on. If you doubt yourself, your consciousness is communicating to the rest of your body that you do not think the chances of you completing a certain task are good, so you may unconsciously decide not to waste too much energy on this task. Of course this is just speculation on my part, but they are possible explanations.

    It's not just the atoms, it's the incredible organisation of those atoms, which they gained through the course of evolution.

    It is a very interesting concept, but very confusing if you try to analyse it through the analysis of your own consciousness, which works based on the assumption that free will is real.
     
  19. Opethian666

    Opethian666 Booze influenced

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    Perhaps I should add what I mean by supernatural, since this may be confusing too, as the word has some different common meanings. I (and wikipedia) define it as entities, forces or phenomena which are not subject to natural laws.
     
  20. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    I think the biggest question one supposing free will is an illusion has to wonder is, what need a machine be made of to be conscious as we are, existing as a puppet watching itself do everything it is determined to do with no comprehension of how or why it is programmed to do it.
     

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