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# Proof of nonexistence of free will

litewave

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 02:30 pm
Ok, here is a different formulation of the same argument against free will:

1. In order for X to be my free choice, it must be determined by my desire (intention) Y.
2. If I don't choose my desire Y freely, then my choice X is determined by something I didn't choose freely and hence X is not my free choice.
3. If I choose my desire Y freely, then it must be determined by my desire Y2 (according to point no. 1).
4. If I don't choose my desire Y2 freely, then my choice Y and consequently X is determined by something I didn't choose freely and hence X is not my free choice.
5. If I choose my desire Y2 freely, then it must be determined by my desire Y3 (according to point no. 1). And so on. It's an infinite regress or there is a first desire that is not determined by another desire and is therefore not freely chosen. Hence, my choice X is never free.
joefromchicago

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 03:13 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

Ok, here is a different formulation of the same argument against free will:

1. In order for X to be my free choice, it must be determined by my desire (intention) Y.

You attempt to disprove free will by assuming determinism. That's begging the question.
litewave

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 03:53 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
You attempt to disprove free will by assuming determinism. That's begging the question.

Well, if my choice is not determined by my desire then the choice happens without my desire and is unintentional. Is that what you regard as free choice?
joefromchicago

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 04:06 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

Quote:
You attempt to disprove free will by assuming determinism. That's begging the question.

Well, if my choice is not determined by my desire then the choice happens without my desire and is unintentional. Is that what you regard as free choice?

If there is the possibility that your choice is not determined, then it is undetermined. That, by itself, is sufficient to disprove your argument. I'm not sure why you'd be willing to concede something that is fatal to your argument, but there you have it. If it is undetermined and unintentional, it matters but little. If the only alternative to free will is determinism, and you reject determinism (at least in some cases), then you must accept free will. QED.
vikorr

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 05:23 pm
@litewave,
It strikes me that litwaves argument is based mostly on a definition of what constitutes 'freedom'. And others probably dont' agree with Litewaves definition - for example : in jail a person still has plenty of freedoms, but the degree and type of freedom is different to those outside of jail....but there's plenty that would argue that you are just not free in a jail.

Fresco's argument (if I remember Fresco's philosophy correctly, having not read all of this thread) is that everything is inter-related, but within that inter-related one can exercise a degree of freedom.

The point of me asking what are the consequences of free will, is that if you know the consequences, you can see if humans exhibit behaviours that mirror the consequences.

This topic also reminds me of consciousness. Consciousness in and of itself enables a break/growth away from instincts.

It also reminds me of creativity, which undebatably humans possess, for we can dream of/visualise things never before experienced.
litewave

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:08 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
If there is the possibility that your choice is not determined, then it is undetermined. That, by itself, is sufficient to disprove your argument. I'm not sure why you'd be willing to concede something that is fatal to your argument, but there you have it. If it is undetermined and unintentional, it matters but little. If the only alternative to free will is determinism, and you reject determinism (at least in some cases), then you must accept free will. QED.

However, the alternative to determinism is not free will, just indeterminism. Under indeterminism your choices are not determined by your intentions, they are unintentional. That means you don't have control over your choices. I doubt anybody would regard such choices as produced by free will.
litewave

1
Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:21 pm
@vikorr,
Quote:
It strikes me that litwaves argument is based mostly on a definition of what constitutes 'freedom'. And others probably dont' agree with Litewaves definition - for example : in jail a person still has plenty of freedoms, but the degree and type of freedom is different to those outside of jail....but there's plenty that would argue that you are just not free in a jail.

I talk about freedom of choice in the ultimate sense. Ultimately you cannot freely choose anything, because you are compelled to your choice by conditions that are outside your control and so ultimately all you choices are outside your control.

Surely, we can define freedom/control in a more restricted way, like: I have freedom/control of my choice if I can act to fulfill my intention. But you are still just following the programming of your intention.

Quote:
The point of me asking what are the consequences of free will, is that if you know the consequences, you can see if humans exhibit behaviours that mirror the consequences.

The consequences of "free will in the ultimate sense" are the same as the consequences of "square circle", that means none.
vikorr

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 06:32 am
@litewave,
Quote:
I talk about freedom of choice in the ultimate sense. Ultimately you cannot freely choose anything, because you are compelled to your choice by conditions that are outside your control and so ultimately all you choices are outside your control.
It seems to me that you are trying to make 0.5 into either 0 or 1.

And it looks like I was correct that the main 'problem' from your perspective is the definition of 'freedom'.

Quote:
The consequences of "free will in the ultimate sense" are the same as the consequences of "square circle", that means none.

So free will is theoretically impossible from your perspective?

By the way, a square circle (whatever that would be) would exhibit no behaviour, there would be no consequences. Free will would exhibit behaviour, and have consequences.
litewave

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 10:33 am
@vikorr,
Quote:
And it looks like I was correct that the main 'problem' from your perspective is the definition of 'freedom'.

This is also the problem of the definition of freedom in libertarian sense.

Quote:
So free will is theoretically impossible from your perspective?

Yes, libertarian free will is impossible.

Then there is compatibilist definition of free will, which says that you have free will when you can achieve what you want. I don't regard the compatibilist definition as free will though because you just follow the program of your desires and you can't do otherwise. Most people don't seem to think this is free will either. They think you can do otherwise (if you have free will).

joefromchicago

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 12:52 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:
However, the alternative to determinism is not free will, just indeterminism.

I'm not sure where you came up with that, but it's certainly not the accepted viewpoint. Furthermore, it's a false dichotomy. "Indeterminism" doesn't really mean anything. If all of our actions were random, then I suppose you could argue that there was such a thing, but since our actions aren't entirely random, we're left with either determinism or free will to explain our purposive behavior.

Consequently, you're still left with a "proof" of determinism that assumes determinism. And that's still question-begging.
litewave

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 01:25 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
I'm not sure where you came up with that, but it's certainly not the accepted viewpoint. Furthermore, it's a false dichotomy. "Indeterminism" doesn't really mean anything. If all of our actions were random, then I suppose you could argue that there was such a thing, but since our actions aren't entirely random, we're left with either determinism or free will to explain our purposive behavior.

Actually, there is also the possibility of a combination of determinism and indeterminism. So, determinism, indeterminism or a combination of both - that exhausts all logical possibilities. Where do you see free will?
joefromchicago

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 05:14 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:
Actually, there is also the possibility of a combination of determinism and indeterminism. So, determinism, indeterminism or a combination of both - that exhausts all logical possibilities. Where do you see free will?

Determined indeterminism? This must be some kind of juvenile prank.
vikorr

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 05:38 pm
@litewave,
So you have no choice but to engage in this debate? And if you suddenly decide not to engage in this debate, that too wasn't a choice?

If you suddenly decide that for no other reason that you know you'd enjoy dreaming up a 'mystical creature' that you really don't have any choice in that either?

And scientists who make up new words, really don't have any choice in the word they choose for a new discovery.

And artists really don't have any choice in the painting they paint.

Singers really don't have any choice in the notes they compose.

I don't disagree that we run an awful lot of our lives on automatic programs...but that's why this 'free will' debate reminds me so much of the consciousness debate.

The issue I guess is that you see hormones, and genetic/trained conditioning as being in 100% control of our lives. You don't believe that they are just an influencing factor, but rather believe that they are the ONLY factor, and consciousness plays no part.
litewave

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 11:04 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
Determined indeterminism? This must be some kind of juvenile prank.

A combination of determinism and indeterminism just means that an event is partly affected by causes and partly uncaused. That's what happens during quantum measurements: the setup of the experiment affects the probability of results but the results are not fully determined.
litewave

1
Wed 2 Jun, 2010 11:09 pm
@vikorr,
Quote:
So you have no choice but to engage in this debate? And if you suddenly decide not to engage in this debate, that too wasn't a choice?

If you suddenly decide that for no other reason that you know you'd enjoy dreaming up a 'mystical creature' that you really don't have any choice in that either?

And scientists who make up new words, really don't have any choice in the word they choose for a new discovery.

And artists really don't have any choice in the painting they paint.

Singers really don't have any choice in the notes they compose.

Ultimately, that's right.

I explained what I mean by freedom and why we can't have it. You didn't explain what you mean by freedom yet you still claim that we have it.
vikorr

1
Thu 3 Jun, 2010 06:27 am
@litewave,

vikorr wrote:
The issue I guess is that you see hormones, and genetic/trained conditioning as being in 100% control of our lives. You don't believe that they are just an influencing factor, but rather believe that they are the ONLY factor, and consciousness plays no part.

I presume you agree with this part as well then, that you left out?

I'm not sure what would be the point, at this stage, for me to define freedom? (btw, on another level, I don't agree with the idea of pure freedom) It is a word formed out of consciousness, and defined by consciousness. Every persons definition of it is slightly different. As you don't believe in consciousness, despite the fact that it is conscious that allows you to comprehend this conversation, how can there be any point of common discussion? (mostly you'll see that I was clarifying what you were saying, although I was also making fun of some things, and offering different perspectives of others) Certainly I don't see the point in a 'I'm right, you're wrong' argument here.

Let me put it this way - I've always found it nonsensical that people use their consciousness to come to the conclusion that consciousness doesn't exist....it may not exist to the degree that most people believe it does, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist at all.
litewave

1
Thu 3 Jun, 2010 08:53 am
@vikorr,
Quote:
I presume you agree with this part as well then, that you left out?

No, I don't really care about hormones or genes. I talk about desires/intentions - isn't that consciousness?
0 Replies

joefromchicago

1
Thu 3 Jun, 2010 09:14 am
@litewave,
litewave wrote:
A combination of determinism and indeterminism just means that an event is partly affected by causes and partly uncaused. That's what happens during quantum measurements: the setup of the experiment affects the probability of results but the results are not fully determined.

Are you suggesting that people's actions are determined at a quantum level?

Look, litewave, it's all pretty simple. Either people have free will or they don't. Whether they don't have free will and are determined or undetermined or determinedly undetermined is really beside the point. Under the law of the excluded middle, either it's free will or it isn't. You think that everyone's actions are determined, but you base your proof on the assumption that everyone's actions are determined, and that's begging the question.

Your task, then, is to construct a proof that doesn't rely on that assumption. You didn't do that before, and my guess is that you can't do it at all.
litewave

1
Thu 3 Jun, 2010 09:43 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
Are you suggesting that people's actions are determined at a quantum level?

I don't rule it out.

Quote:
You think that everyone's actions are determined, but you base your proof on the assumption that everyone's actions are determined, and that's begging the question.

No, I don't base my proof on the assumption that everyone's actions are determined. I base my proof on the assumption that a free choice must be determined by one's desire/intention, otherwise it's unintentional and thus cannot be a free choice.

joefromchicago

1
Thu 3 Jun, 2010 10:38 am
@litewave,
litewave wrote:
No, I don't base my proof on the assumption that everyone's actions are determined.

Really?

Earlier, litewave wrote:
1. In order for X to be my free choice, it must be determined by my desire (intention) Y.
2. If I don't choose my desire Y freely, then my choice X is determined by something I didn't choose freely and hence X is not my free choice.
3. If I choose my desire Y freely, then it must be determined by my desire Y2 (according to point no. 1).
4. If I don't choose my desire Y2 freely, then my choice Y and consequently X is determined by something I didn't choose freely and hence X is not my free choice.
5. If I choose my desire Y2 freely, then it must be determined by my desire Y3 (according to point no. 1). And so on. It's an infinite regress or there is a first desire that is not determined by another desire and is therefore not freely chosen. Hence, my choice X is never free.

Res ipsa loquitur.

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