8
   

On freewill and choice.

 
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 01:44 am
I would like for anyone willing to give an example of freewill or a case were freewill is involved to do so here. i believe i can point out the lack of free will in any circumstance. can anyone say that even their own personality and thoughts has in any way displayed freewill.
 
attano
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:12 am
@Doubt doubt,
I am not here to volunteer that example, as I do not believe in freewill either.

I get my disbelief about freewill mostly from Nietzsche - and, although it would take some time, if you are interested, I may provide tou some references.
What about yours? What's your definition of freewill?
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:45 am
@attano,
attano;161148 wrote:
I am not here to volunteer that example, as I do not believe in freewill either.

I get my disbelief about freewill mostly from Nietzsche - and, although it would take some time, if you are interested, I may provide tou some references.
What about yours? What's your definition of freewill?


my disbelief comes from never seeing or hearing about a single instance of free will in my lifetime.

my definition of freewill is the ability to make a choice for no reason. i have yet to see a living thing do anything without a reason.
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:46 am
@Doubt doubt,
Are you looking for a simple example?

"Someone asked me if I'd like a red Jelly Belly or a Blue Jelly Belly. I chose red."

Or are you looking for something more complex?

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 01:52 AM ----------

Doubt doubt;161153 wrote:
my disbelief comes from never seeing or hearing about a single instance of free will in my lifetime.

my definition of freewill is the ability to make a choice for no reason. i have yet to see a living thing do anything without a reason.


Something will always make a choice for at least one reason, that reason being that there is a choice to be made. I don't think this is what you meant though. Do you mean "the ability to choose A over B for no reason?"
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:53 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;161154 wrote:
Are you looking for a simple example?

"Someone asked me if I'd like a red Jelly Belly or a Blue Jelly Belly. I chose red."

Or are you looking for something more complex?


that works. why did you chose red?

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 04:55 AM ----------

Gorilla Nipples;161154 wrote:
Are you looking for a simple example?

"Someone asked me if I'd like a red Jelly Belly or a Blue Jelly Belly. I chose red."

Or are you looking for something more complex?

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 01:52 AM ----------



Something will always make a choice for at least one reason, that reason being that there is a choice to be made. I don't think this is what you meant though. Do you mean "the ability to choose A over B for no reason?"


yes. freewill would only apply in a case in which you are indifferent. i believe even in those cases you would still have a reason. ill explain as we go.
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:00 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161156 wrote:
that works. why did you chose red?

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 04:55 AM ----------



yes. freewill would only apply in a case in which you are indifferent. i believe even in those cases you would still have a reason. ill explain as we go.


Because I prefer red to blue and the nature of my will is to go with my preference if nothing else weighs on the choice.
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:04 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;161159 wrote:
Because I prefer red to blue and the nature of my will is to go with my preference if nothing else weighs on the choice.


so given that you like red do you think blue was an option? do you think you were free to like blue or do you think that the way your life unfolded that red was the only option? Or why do you like red?
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:09 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161161 wrote:
so given that you like red do you think blue was an option? do you think you were free to like blue or do you think that the way your life unfolded that red was the only option? Or why do you like red?


Yes, I think blue was an option. I prefer red to blue, and at the time I preferred red to blue, but my preferences are not set in stone. If I just decide I like blue I can choose the blue. Red would have been the only option if my preferences could not change, but since at the moment of choice my preference could have gone either way, my choice could have gone either way.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:21 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161144 wrote:
I would like for anyone willing to give an example of freewill or a case were freewill is involved to do so here.
An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives.
I can type A and I can type B, thus I have established realisable alternatives.
I'm presently conscious.
I choose and type A.
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:23 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;161162 wrote:
Yes, I think blue was an option. I prefer red to blue, and at the time I preferred red to blue, but my preferences are not set in stone. If I just decide I like blue I can choose the blue. Red would have been the only option if my preferences could not change, but since at the moment of choice my preference could have gone either way, my choice could have gone either way.


at the moment of choice you liked red so blue was not an option. if at the moment of choice you liked blue then red would not be an option. the choice only existed at one time. I don't believe this would constitute freewill. i believe this shows that the will decided and at the moment of decision the only option was the choice made.

i see it like this. a choice is presented. you chose what you like at the time. everything in your life is taken into account into what you liked and your brain reacts. if you chose what you dont like to try to be free your everything in your life lead to that choice the same as the other. music is a good example as its not as hard to trace back why you like a certain song or type of music. it almost always goes back to someone else liking something and you liking them. so you listen to what they listen too and the complex association machine called a brain does the rest. to me chosing what you like is not free or even a choice at all. closer would be asking something like if you had to eat poop or puke what would you choose. but it would still be picking for a reason and at the time of the choice there would be your choice and the others would not be options.

any other examples or reply's to further the discussion would be great.

also preferences changing is fine but only one can be held at a time so whatever you prefer at the time the decision is made is all that matters. do you think you randomly like red or blue or is it rationalized in your mind?
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:35 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;161165 wrote:
An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives.
I can type A and I can type B, thus I have established realisable alternatives.
I'm presently conscious.
I choose and type A.


The problem with describing free will is that it's very tough to do without bringing in choice. Making a choice is essentially the ability to use (or act upon) free will, so arguably your first sentence could read:

"An agent has free will on occasions when they use free will to act out one or more realisable alternatives."

Using the term "choice" when describing free will often leads to a tautology. One ends up giving the following account of free will:

"A person has free will when they have free will."

Another problem is that "realisable alternatives" is another concept that relies on the existence of free will (or at least randomness). Without free will there would only be one possible action to take, so assuming that there are multiple realisable alternatives basically assumes that free will exists. Thus is seems your statement can be broken down even further to:

"A person has free will when they use free will, because free will exists."
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 04:01 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;161165 wrote:
An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives.
I can type A and I can type B, thus I have established realisable alternatives.
I'm presently conscious.
I choose and type A.


so free will exists because free will exists? exactly how do you know you could have typed B? just because you can pick A one minute and B the next does not mean you have free will. I believe that if someone had a time machine and kept going back in time to watch you choose to type A no matter how many times they did it you would never choose B. At a different time you may chose be but in that case you could never choose A.

in other word its something like this

1: a choice is presented
2: your brain does its thing and a choice is made
3: the choice is acted upon.

for a different choice to be made you would need to have different information for the brain to work with. So in conclusion a new word needs to be made to replace choice as there really is none.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 05:00 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161174 wrote:
1: a choice is presented
2: your brain does its thing and a choice is made
3: the choice is acted upon.
Which is free will.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 06:01 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Generally known as the ability to do otherwise. Not as action without reasons or causes. The efficacy of deliberation and reason. The choice among available and possible alternatives and the reasonable predictablity of consequences.
0 Replies
 
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 06:12 pm
@Gorilla Nipples,
Leibniz believed that free choice in humans is brought about through the activity of the human intellect and the human will working in concert with one another. The intellect deliberates about alternatives and selects the one that it perceives to be the best of all things considered. The intellect then represents this alternative to the will as the one that is best to pursue. The will, which for Leibniz is a faculty characterized by "appetite for the good," then chooses that alternative which is represented to it as containing the most good.

Leibniz then believed there were two ways which one might exercise "control" over ones acts of will. First, one might be able to control what appears to ones self to be the best of all things considered. That is, one might control the process of deliberation. Second, one might be able to control the will's choosing that alternative which is presented to it by the intellect as representing the greatest good at that time.

Source: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)



I personally think it is somewhat difficult to maintain a vision of free will without some sort of espousal of either a soul or dualism or some transcendent self which is not subject to causal determinism.
Having said that, I think Leibniz had the right idea and I tend to agree with his latter alternative. I would say that the will is presented with choices by the intellect and yet maintains the ability to veto the intellect.
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 06:44 pm
@Amperage,
Quote:
I personally think it is somewhat difficult to maintain a vision of free will without some sort of espousal of either a soul or dualism or some transcendent self which is not subject to causal determinism.


This is an interesting and excellent point. It reminds me of a hypothetical we discussed in my Minds and Machines class:

If a world were created as a complete mirror of our current world, that is to say, the physics are identical, and the version of yourself on that planet is in every every way similar to yourself (upbringing and so forth too), would that person be in the exact same position as your original self in 50 years?

It becomes difficult to articulate why there would be a difference, which would be at ends with the idea of free will that we all cherish. It seems to me that we are slaves (at least currently) to our biology and the physics that make up our world. It becomes odd to me when I'm in a situation and feel about 75% sure that I'm making the right decision. This doesn't mean that 3/4 times I would make that decision, but rather that 100% of the time I will favor one choice over another.

Consciousness is crazy my friends.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 06:59 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161174 wrote:
so free will exists because free will exists? exactly how do you know you could have typed B? just because you can pick A one minute and B the next does not mean you have free will. I believe that if someone had a time machine and kept going back in time to watch you choose to type A no matter how many times they did it you would never choose B. At a different time you may chose be but in that case you could never choose A.

in other word its something like this

1: a choice is presented
2: your brain does its thing and a choice is made
3: the choice is acted upon.

for a different choice to be made you would need to have different information for the brain to work with. So in conclusion a new word needs to be made to replace choice as there really is none.




Jake to Sam: "I heard you married Esmeralda because her father and brothers threatened to shoot you if you didn't,, is that so, Sam?"

Sam to Jake. "Not at all, Jake. In fact I married Esmeralda because I loved her. No one forced me to marry her. I married her of my own free will".

Jake. "You married her because you loved her? and you wanted to marry her. That shows you did not marry her of your own free will".

Who is right? Sam or Jake?

Do you think that since Sam married Esmeralda because he wanted to marry her, and he wanted to marry her because he loved her, that he did not marry her of his own free will? Why, for heaven's sakes? That would be to argue that Sam did not marry Esmeralda of his own free will for exactly why Sam would be said to marry Esmeralda of his own free will!
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:04 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;163637 wrote:
This is an interesting and excellent point. It reminds me of a hypothetical we discussed in my Minds and Machines class:

If a world were created as a complete mirror of our current world, that is to say, the physics are identical, and the version of yourself on that planet is in every every way similar to yourself (upbringing and so forth too), would that person be in the exact same position as your original self in 50 years?

It becomes difficult to articulate why there would be a difference, which would be at ends with the idea of free will that we all cherish. It seems to me that we are slaves (at least currently) to our biology and the physics that make up our world. It becomes odd to me when I'm in a situation and feel about 75% sure that I'm making the right decision. This doesn't mean that 3/4 times I would make that decision, but rather that 100% of the time I will favor one choice over another.

Consciousness is crazy my friends.
I have brought this up before but, at times, free will, to me, only comes into play when we consciously decide to resist the natural flow of events.

In nature, I would say, typically most things, including animals, take the path of least resistance. There are times when we as humans know what we ought to be doing(or are at least deliberating a choice between something which would be easy and something that would be more effort consuming) but doing so would require an act against the natural flow of events at the time.

For example, say someone is walking along at a somewhat brisk pace(maybe their late for something) and they accidentally drop a small piece of unimportant paper but notice themselves do so. I would say most would heavily consider continuing on. This, to me, would be going with the natural flow of events. In this situation, I think one has the opportunity to employ their free will by resisting this flow and stopping and going back to pick it up and dispose of it properly.

Now this is quite an arbitrary analogy but I think it at least exemplify what I mean when I say resist the natural flow of events.

Having said that, I will note that going with the natural flow of events is not a bad things in and of itself. But in each moment we must attempt to be conscious of both the natural flow of events and what is important to us so that we can make sure we are flowing in the direction we ought to be.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:19 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;163648 wrote:
I have brought this up before but, at times, free will, to me, only comes into play when we consciously decide to resist the natural flow of events.

In nature, I would say, typically most things, including animals, take the path of least resistance. There are times when we as humans know what we ought to be doing(or are at least deliberating a choice between something which would be easy and something that would be more effort consuming) but doing so would require an act against the natural flow of events at the time.

For example, say someone is walking along at a somewhat brisk pace(maybe their late for something) and they accidentally drop a small piece of unimportant paper but notice themselves do so. I would say most would heavily consider continuing on. This, to me, would be going with the natural flow of events. In this situation, I think one has the opportunity to employ their free will by resisting this flow and stopping and going back to pick it up and dispose of it properly.

Now this is quite an arbitrary analogy but I think it at least exemplify what I mean when I say resist the natural flow of events.

Having said that, I will note that going with the natural flow of events is not a bad things in and of itself. But in each moment we must attempt to be conscious of both the natural flow of events and what is important to us so that we can make sure we are flowing in the direction we ought to be.


I have but a vague notion of what you mean by "the natural flow of events", so I can make only a very vague comment about what you have just posted. However, suppose I meet a girl, I fall in love with her, and I marry her. I would say that is an example of the natural flow of events. But, according to you, because I did not consciously resist this natural flow of events, I did not marry the girl I married of my own free will. Is that what you are arguing? If it is, I find that rather disconcerting, since you are denying I married of my own free will for precisely the reason that I, and most who speak English, would say that I did marry of my own free will! I wonder whether it was because of episodes like this that Cicero remarked that there is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not said it.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163655 wrote:
I have but a vague notion of what you mean by "the natural flow of events", so I can make only a very vague comment about what you have just posted. However, suppose I meet a girl, I fall in love with her, and I marry her. I would say that is an example of the natural flow of events. But, according to you, because I did not consciously resist this natural flow of events, I did not marry the girl I married of my own free will. Is that what you are arguing? If it is, I find that rather disconcerting, since you are denying I married of my own free will for precisely the reason that I, and most who speak English, would say that I did marry of my own free will! I wonder whether it was because of episodes like this that Cicero remarked that there is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not said it.
your backhanded insult aside, I think one can make a case that, unless somewhere along the line, you resisted the natural flow of events, then no, you have done nothing more than any animal would have done.

Now, I highly doubt that someone can meet someone and get all the way to the point of marriage without having to make so sort of decision that can be constituted as having not gone against the natural flow of events(or constituted as having not taken the path of least resistance).

For example, perhaps you met once and then you were required to put in some sort of effort to gain the fair ladies hand. Or maybe you rejected a different females attempt to come onto you.
 

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