11
   

On freewill and choice.

 
 
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:31 pm
@kennethamy,
But consider the other world, Kennethamy, would you be marrying that girl in every instance of an identical world? If that is the case, then your decisions are merely a reaction to biological and physical processes. While it might be true that you have a 'choice' in the matter, you are still in essence compelled to make a certain decision.

I'm ultimately a soft determinist. I think there is a realm of choice, but our decisions are a product of our experiences, and knowledge of relevant information.

EDIT: I take issue with the idea of a 'natural flow of events'. Natural is a bullshit word that everyone from astrobiologists to zoologists take advantage of. If I stop to pick up that piece of paper that you mentioned earlier, it would be out of my respect for the environment, or fear of being charged with littering, both the fear and respect are naturally occurring things.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:36 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;163657 wrote:
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.

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.


What insult, backhand or fronthand was that?

It is my story about my marriage. So why should I discuss your revision? Suppose it happened exactly as I described it. All right? Now according to you , I would not be marrying of my own free will. Your reason is that. "free will, to me, only comes into play when we consciously decide to resist the natural flow of events". Now, still sticking to my story, and not your revision of it, is that what you would say? That I had not married of my own free will?

I ask you whether you believe p implies q, and you reply that it does not because p is false? That is simply a non-sequitur. I ask you whether given the way my marriage unfolded, I married of my own free will, and your reply is that my marriage did not (or could not) have unfolded that way.

A little logic really does go a long way. But it had to be tried.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:36 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Allow me to mention "What is Man?" by Mark Twain. I think the deterministic here will love this little book. I was definitely moved by its directness. This is some of it. The whole is available for download elsewhere.
What Is Man? - Google Books
0 Replies
 
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163660 wrote:
What insult, backhand or fronthand was that?

It is my story about my marriage. So why should I discuss your revision? Suppose it happened exactly as I described it. All right? Now according to you , I would not be marrying of my own free will. Your reason is that. "free will, to me, only comes into play when we consciously decide to resist the natural flow of events". Now, still sticking to my story, and not your revision of it, is that what you would say? That I had not married of my own free will?

I ask you whether you believe p implies q, and you reply that it does not because p is false? That is simply a non-sequitur. I ask you whether given the way my marriage unfolded, I married of my own free will, and your reply is that my marriage did not (or could not) have unfolded that way.

A little logic really does go a long way. But it had to be tried.
where you insinuated that my opinion was absurd. That insult.

Well I can't rightly answer your story without having more details.

You can understand this right? I have seen you, in many threads, require as much

---------- Post added 05-12-2010 at 08:45 PM ----------

did you ever, in your courtship, do something which could be constituted as having NOT taken the path of least resistance?

If yes, then I would say you demonstrated your free will.

If no, then I would say you have not.

Of course this does not rule out the possibility that you may have wanted to go with the natural flow of events. But if so, you have not really exemplified your free will as much as you have chosen not to resist.

Think of it this way:

If, let's say a cord, is pulling(forcing) you down and you don't resist and it pulls you down, would you say that you went down of your own free will or that you were forced down? I would say you were forced down. This doesn't mean you don't have free will just that in that instance you did not resist the natural flow of events and therefore did not "use" your free will.

Now assume you do resist and you break free of the cord.....I would say you have gone against the natural flow of events and not taken the path of least resistance, but have exuded your free will.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:49 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;163663 wrote:
where you insinuated that my opinion was absurd. That insult.

Well I can't rightly answer your story without having more details.

You can understand this right? I have seen you in many threads require as much


I am sorry you thought I only insinuated it. In fact, I think it is absurd. But I don't consider telling someone his opinion is absurd is an insult. I think a number of philosophical opinions are absurd, and I don't think it is an insult to tell someone that. What should I tell them?

Take my story exactly as I tell it. There are no more details. My marriage went exceedingly smoothly. It was, so far as I can understand that phrase, "the natural flow of events" (I wish you would take my word for it!). Now, I think it is absurd to argue that just because everything went smoothly, and neither she nor I decided to resist anything (why should we have?) that for that very reason, we did not marry each other of our own free will. Now, really, isn't that absurd? Honestly now.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163670 wrote:
I am sorry you thought I only insinuated it. In fact, I think it is absurd. But I don't consider telling someone his opinion is absurd is an insult. I think a number of philosophical opinions are absurd, and I don't think it is an insult to tell someone that. What should I tell them?

Take my story exactly as I tell it. There are no more details. My marriage went exceedingly smoothly. It was, so far as I can understand that phrase, "the natural flow of events" (I wish you would take my word for it!). Now, I think it is absurd to argue that just because everything went smoothly, and neither she nor I decided to resist anything (why should we have?) that for that very reason, we did not marry each other of our own free will. Now, really, isn't that absurd? Honestly now.
you should tell them you disagree. Unless you think you have some monopoly on methaphysical truth.

And while we're on the subject, maybe it's just me, but overall I think your approach to certain posts is quite condescending, dismissive, and overall insulting. Though hidden behind a certain guise of formality.

I come here to share my thoughts and receive feedback. I'm not formally trained in philosophy and I'm just living life and expressing my thoughts as a human being. After all, if I never put my thoughts and questions out in the open not only can I not learn but potentially neither can anyone else. Put downs do not serve well in a place which is supposed to be for free thought and only serve to silence people. Heaven forbid someone try and have an original thought which does not conform with accepted notions. Not only that, but rarely do I post in a thread dealing with topics which have been "settled" with absolute certainty. So it would seem to me that professing something as absurd is just ignorant.

Overall I don't particular enjoy your approach to threads which are started but I do think you serve a purpose but I would request that maybe it be something you work on. I do think I gain insight from reading what you write at times but , from my view, you come off as aggravated a lot. And, to me, your responses typically reflect as much. None of this is meant as an insult, but merely my assessment of you as a poster on this forum....and for all I know you are not aware of how you come off, to me(not necessarily towards me though but, at times, yes towards me), at times, and therefore see no reason to change(or work on) anything.

In regards to your questions concerning on topic matters, see my previous post for the answers. I think I hit most of those points. Actually I think I'll just quote it:

Quote:
did you ever, in your courtship, do something which could be constituted as having NOT taken the path of least resistance?

If yes, then I would say you demonstrated your free will.

If no, then I would say you have not.

Of course this does not rule out the possibility that you may have wanted to go with the natural flow of events. But if so, you have not really exemplified your free will as much as you have chosen not to resist.

Think of it this way:

If, let's say a cord, is pulling(forcing) you down and you don't resist and it pulls you down, would you say that you went down of your own free will or that you were forced down? I would say you were forced down. This doesn't mean you don't have free will just that in that instance you did not resist the natural flow of events and therefore did not "use" your free will.

Now assume you do resist and you break free of the cord.....I would say you have gone against the natural flow of events and not taken the path of least resistance, but have exuded your free will.
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:05 pm
@Amperage,
I just think you need to detach yourself from this idea of a 'natural flow of events'. It's weak, philosophically speaking, and there are much better arguments for determinism present.

Your marriage was a result of all of the events leading up to the actual decision. On an identical world with identical circumstances, would you make the same decision every time? Or would you occasionally say no to the marriage?

If you say yes every time, then it isn't a choice, it is an unavoidable reaction to biology, physics, experience, and knowledge.

The question boils down to 'are we compelled to make every single choice we make'?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:09 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;163673 wrote:
you should tell them you disagree. Unless you think you have some monopoly on methaphysical truth.

And while we're on the subject, maybe it's just me, but overall I think your approach to certain posts is quite condescending, dismissive, and overall insulting. Though hidden behind a certain guise of formality.

I come here to share my thoughts and receive feedback. I'm not formally trained in philosophy and I'm just living life and expressing my thoughts as a human being. After all, if I never put my thoughts out in the open not only can I not learn but potentially neither can anyone else. Put downs do not serve well in a place which is supposed to be for free thought and only serve to silence people. Heaven forbid someone try and have an original thought which does not conform with accepted notions. Not only that, but rarely do I post in a thread dealing with topics which have been "settled" with absolute certainty. So it would seem to me that professing something as absurd is just ignorant.

Overall I don't particular enjoy your approach to threads which are started but I do think you serve a purpose but I would request that maybe it be something you work on.

In regards to your questions concerning on topic matters, see my previous post for the answers. I think I hit most of those points.


When I tell them that I think what they argued (or said) was absurd, I did tell them I disagreed, and also why I disagreed. I think, that is in this instance, your argument that not only when everything does smoothly, there is no free will, but that precisely because everything goes smoothly there is no free will, is simply absurd. There really is no other word for it. People do say absurd things, and they do it especially when they philosophize, as Cicero noted. But, as Cicero noted, you are not alone in spouting absurdities while philosophizing. It is a common thing. And there are good explanations for it too.

Perhaps you would like to explain why you think that just because things go smoothly, there is no free will. Can't easy decisions be made as well as difficult decisions? (It that is what lies behind your view). We have seen the position is absurd. But, as Cicero points out, that never seems to deter philosophers. And, in fact, I have always maintained that it is from the greatest philosophers that we have most to learn just because they make the greatest mistakes (some of which are absurdities) and we learn so much from pinning down the absurdity, and trying to find out why it was that such intelligent, and often talented people found themselves uttering blatant absurdities.

It was a Church father who is the most notorious and most candid case of all this:

Tertullian wrote that he not only believed in the Incarnation and understood that the doctrine of the Incarnation was absurd, but furthermore, he, Tertullian believed in the Incarnations just because it was absurd. "Credo quia absurdum est!", Tertullian wrote.

Tertullian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:10 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;163682 wrote:
I just think you need to detach yourself from this idea of a 'natural flow of events'. It's weak, philosophically speaking, and there are much better arguments for determinism present.

Your marriage was a result of all of the events leading up to the actual decision. On an identical world with identical circumstances, would you make the same decision every time? Or would you occasionally say no to the marriage?

If you say yes every time, then it isn't a choice, it is an unavoidable reaction to biology, physics, experience, and knowledge.

The question boils down to 'are we compelled to make every single choice we make'?
I am not a proponent of determinism....at least not hard-determinism. I would say, in an identical world I may very well make the same decision but that doesn't mean I didn't do so of my own free will.

The whole natural flow of events thing was just to show that I think it is easy to always take the path of least resistance and doing so to me makes us no different from any other create or object whom we might would say does not possess free will

---------- Post added 05-12-2010 at 09:17 PM ----------

kennethamy;163684 wrote:
When I tell them that I think what they argued (or said) was absurd, I did tell them I disagreed, and also why I disagreed. I think, that is in this instance, your argument that not only when everything does smoothly, there is no free will, but that precisely because everything goes smoothly there is no free will, is simply absurd. There really is no other word for it. People do say absurd things, and they do it especially when they philosophize, as Cicero noted. But, as Cicero noted, you are not alone in spouting absurdities while philosophizing. It is a common thing. And there are good explanations for it too.

Perhaps you would like to explain why you think that just because things go smoothly, there is no free will. Can't easy decisions be made as well as difficult decisions? (It that is what lies behind your view). We have seen the position is absurd. But, as Cicero points out, that never seems to deter philosophers. And, in fact, I have always maintained that it is from the greatest philosophers that we have most to learn just because they make the greatest mistakes (some of which are absurdities) and we learn so much from pinning down the absurdity, and trying to find out why it was that such intelligent, and often talented people found themselves uttering blatant absurdities.
smooth doesn't matter. I can "smoothly" resist the advances of a woman whom I am not married to(assuming I was married, I'm not married by the way but just for example) even when the natural flow of events has dictated the ease of the situation.

In situations where we do not resist the path of least resistance we are essentially not using our free will in an active sense. We may assess that, yes, this is which way I want to go or this is what I want to do, but at that point we aren't really using our free will as much as we are suspending it. Much like my example of not resisting a cord which is pulling us downward.
BrianH phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 11:49 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161166 wrote:
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?


This sounds like fin. I would like to include a scenario for you to find lack of free will to. You don't need to know this but i beleive in free will, however, i do believe that humanity has relinquished free will and substiuted it for control and supremacy from an independent variable separate from theirs.

My decision to formulate that a god does not exist and my constant refusal to give ascendency to an independent subject over my rationality, that is, having absolute control over my perceptions of life. It stems from my mentality. It is my rationality. Aslo, through this mentality, i have formulated that if i don't beleive in an independent variable to mine that could control me, then i would not allow myself to beleive that there are any human beings that my sense-data percieves. This, therefore, allows me to view everyone as nonexistent and incapable of taking control over my mentality and manner of viewing life.

I don't know if that's what you wanted but if it's not, can you tell me if there is any surrendur of free will in there at all when it comes to the ideology itself or of it was formulated simply through a single beings mentality. (this is provided that my reference to Bertrand Russell isn't there in calling perceptions sense-data. (It's just another word for senses after all))
0 Replies
 
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 01:02 am
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;161166 wrote:
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?


I think that just about kills that line of thought. I had an idea for a response, but it would require an off interpretation of free will. I was trying to set up some kind of free will independent of desire, but all of the responses take me back to desire.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 12:45 AM ----------

Amperage;161436 wrote:
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.


An interesting account of how the intellect and will interact, I had never read about this.

Doesn't "exercising control" imply some kind of conscious choice being made though? If it does then you just end up describing the choice to "exercise control" in terms of simple intellect/will interaction again. Doubt doubt's argument remains essentially the same and succeeds just as well. Instead of reducing choice to desire or outside influences, Doubt doubt would simply have to reduce "exercising control" to the basic intellect/will interaction. "Exercising control" is a result of the will/intellect interaction, so it doesn't seem like you'd be able to say it precedes it.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 12:51 AM ----------

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.


This hypothetical is great! I think it helps bring out the randomness/determinism dichotomy that leaves no logical room for free will. If you say the choice remains the same no matter how many of these worlds you make, you lean towards determinism. If you say the choice varies and you can't point to a reason, then it looks like you have randomness on your hands. It doesn't seem possible to come up with any scenario that doesn't lean toward randomness, determinism, or some combination of the two - all three options leaving no room for an account of free will.
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:20 am
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;163682 wrote:
Your marriage was a result of all of the events leading up to the actual decision. On an identical world with identical circumstances, would you make the same decision every time? Or would you occasionally say no to the marriage?


If I flip a coin 10 times and each time I get 5 heads and then 5 tails, is there any reason why this couldn't happen randomly? The fact that the same thing happens over and over again doesn't mean that it has to happen and couldn't have not happened.
0 Replies
 
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:26 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163684 wrote:
When I tell them that I think what they argued (or said) was absurd, I did tell them I disagreed, and also why I disagreed.


If you say something is absurd, you are saying that it is wrong. If you say you disagree with something, you are saying that you think it is wrong. So you've basically said that you think what he said is wrong (you disagree) because what he said is wrong (it's absurd).


kennethamy;163684 wrote:

Perhaps you would like to explain why you think that just because things go smoothly, there is no free will. Can't easy decisions be made as well as difficult decisions? (It that is what lies behind your view). We have seen the position is absurd.


When have we seen that the position is absurd? You rephrased his analysis of your situation and then stated that it is absurd. At no point did you say why you think it's so. And I don't see how explaining why he holds a given position will do anything to help the discussion progress.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:27 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;163792 wrote:
If you say something is absurd, you are saying that it is wrong. If you say you disagree with something, you are saying that you think it is wrong. So you've basically said that you think what he said is wrong (you disagree) because what he said is wrong (it's absurd).


Your argument is invalid. Dogs and cats are both mammals but calling a cat "a mammal" is not the same as calling a cat "a dog".

Here's a counterexample. Newton's Laws are wrong but they are not absurd.
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:44 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163645 wrote:
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!


Jake is wrong because he implies that choice and desire are mutually exclusive causes for an action. Of course Jake jumping to this conclusion doesn't make Sam right that he married of his own free will.

I think the position would be that Sam married Es based solely on desire, which is not equivalent to free will. The argument might possibly be as follows:

Jake: Why did you marry Es?
Sam: Because I chose to.
Jake: Why did you choose to?
Sam: Because I love her.
Jake: Did you choose to love her?
Sam: No, I just do
Jake: So then your choice to marry Es was based on love, which is out of your control?
Sam: Yes
Jake: If your choice to marry Es was based on something out of your control, how was your "choice" under your control?
Sam: erm...
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:51 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;163795 wrote:

Jake: Why did you marry Es?
Sam: Because I chose to.
Jake: Why did you choose to?
Sam: Because I love her.
Jake: Did you choose to love her?
Sam: No, I just do
Jake: So then your choice to marry Es was based on love, which is out of your control?
Sam: Yes
Jake: If your choice to marry Es was based on something out of your control, how was your "choice" under your control?
Sam: erm...


You make it sound as if love was a sufficient condition for his marriage but love did not guarantee his marriage. He could have just kept dating her if he chose to.
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:53 am
@Doubt doubt,
Gorilla Nipples;161171 wrote:
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."


I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with a lot of the above. Simply because terms are related, that does not mean that they are reducible to one another. You chose (sorry for using the term, but bear with me) to translate this phrase, "An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives," in this manner: " A person has free will when they use free will, because free will exists." What if I preferred to paraphrase ughaibu's phrase thusly, "An individual may exercise free choice when physical possibilities provide an opportunity." Who's version stays truer to both the form and intent of the original? I'm not at all sure how "realisable alternatives" can be reduced to an assumption of free will, it would seem rather that the former is a condition for the possibility of the latter. Also, you disregarded qualifying terms like "occasions", and their nuance, to reduce "choice" to "free will." I don't think the two are reducible. In fact, it might be possible to generate a theory of free will with minimal reference to "choice".

Doubt doubt;161166 wrote:
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.


First off, are we assuming that free will is a faculty that we might only exercise in a rational way? What if it were otherwise? In the scenario above you say that a person, let's say me, has two alternatives: a red jelly bean and a blue one. Everything in my life has prepared me for this moment, epochs of cultural development rest their weight on my shoulders, millennia of biological evolution scream to me from out my amygdalae, i desire a red jelly bean. I use my rational mind to weigh the alternatives, the pros and cons, and consider the possible consequences. Finding the consequences relatively innocuous I fire up the old cerebellum to work out the pragmatics of reaching for the jelly bean, and accomplishing this, I finally consume and digest it. Thus fulfilling history's ultimate telos, and initiating Ragnarok.

Now at what point in all that did I react to anything outside myself, beyond the physical alternative presented to me: two jelly beans? And at what point did the "choice" take place? If the "everything in my life" (quoted from above) is put into motion in decision-making, in what way is this "everything" in fact distinct from "me"? Even if we loan this "everything" some external reality, isn't it's meaning subject to the dynamics of my brain's ability to process information? Am I not my brain, or at least, isn't my brain a part of me? If a desire is an an accurate expression of the one who desires, then in what way is it un-free?

I don't really want to reduce the question of free will to a biological or neurological process. I'm just trying to simplify for the sake of an example. My point is that so long as an individual gives some evidence of personal dynamism, a self-interfering pattern, doesn't that provide the grounds for the possiblity of free-will? If not as a rational process, per se, at least an individuating process that "rationality" helps to regulate?

:Cara_2:
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:54 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;163793 wrote:
Your argument is invalid. Dogs and cats are both mammals but calling a cat "a mammal" is not the same as calling a cat "a dog".

Here's a counterexample. Newton's Laws are wrong but they are not absurd.


Yeah, good point. I was ignoring the fact that "absurd" basically means "logical nonsense" as well as "incorrect" (through implication). Sorry about that.

His statement was still fairly uninformative though. Saying something is absurd doesn't communicate anything more than one's position on a matter, which is pretty useless by itself in a discussion.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:55 am
@Gorilla Nipples,
Gorilla Nipples;163800 wrote:
His statement was still fairly uninformative though. Saying something is absurd doesn't communicate anything more than one's position on a matter, which is pretty useless by itself in a discussion.


I agree but kennethamy is a very lazy philosopher until he chooses not to be. So you'll just have to deal with that.
0 Replies
 
Gorilla Nipples
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 May, 2010 02:57 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;163797 wrote:
You make it sound as if love was a sufficient condition for his marriage but love did not guarantee his marriage. He could have just kept dating her if he chose to.



Sorry, that wasn't really an argument. It was meant to be more a first reduction of Sam's choice to desires. I was trying to show the direction an argument might have gone, which was meant to serve as a counterexample to Jake simply stating his position on Sam's situation.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 02:07 AM ----------

Razzleg;163799 wrote:
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with a lot of the above. Simply because terms are related, that does not mean that they are reducible to one another. You chose (sorry for using the term, but bear with me) to translate this phrase, "An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives," in this manner: " A person has free will when they use free will, because free will exists." What if I preferred to paraphrase ughaibu's phrase thusly, "An individual may exercise free choice when physical possibilities provide an opportunity." Who's version stays truer to both the form and intent of the original? I'm not at all sure how "realisable alternatives" can be reduced to an assumption of free will, it would seem rather that the former is a condition for the possibility of the latter. Also, you disregarded qualifying terms like "occasions", and their nuance, to reduce "choice" to "free will." I don't think the two are reducible. In fact, it might be possible to generate a theory of free will with minimal reference to "choice".


It isn't so much that the terms are related, it's that concepts such as "choice" and "realisable alternatives" rely on the existence of free will. My post was pretty poorly worded and my rephrasing was worse, not to mention I wasn't articulating my thoughts very well. I shouldn't have reduced "choice" and "realisable alternatives" to "free will." The point was to show that since the assumption of free will was behind both choice and ralisable alternatives, the following account of free will:

"An agent has free will on occasions when they make and enact a conscious choice from amongst realisable alternatives."

wasn't really saying anything more than:

"A person has free will when they use free will, because free will exists."

Of course his original statement posited things beyond free will, but conceptually they didn't help define free will because both of them are (at least partially) defined by free will.

Thanks for correcting me (again, haha). this is why I love this discussion format. It's one of the best ways to figure out how to say what you mean. I'm still not sure I'm communicating my point quite the way I want to.
 

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