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Can we do anything of our own free will?

 
 
Reply Sun 5 Sep, 2010 06:10 pm
The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?
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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 9,038 • Replies: 145
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HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Sep, 2010 08:30 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?
No, we'r still controlled by group think, flok instinct ..etc, many have had the urge to kill an enemy, but never did so because of strong moral, some cave in and does it, few does it without any qualms.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Sep, 2010 10:03 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?
No, we'r still controlled by group think, flok instinct ..etc, many have had the urge to kill an enemy, but never did so because of strong moral, some cave in and does it, few does it without any qualms.


So, just to be clear, although you agree that the conclusion follows from the premises, you object to which one of the premises? Is it premise 2? Do you think that whatever we do, we do because we are compelled to do it? Is that it. Why do you believe that? (If my understanding of your objection is right).
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 08:59 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?


Yes. Step two begs the question. If "free will is to act without compulsion," then the statement "we sometimes do things we are not compelled to do" basically says "we have free will." Thus, you prove free will by assuming free will.
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 09:02 am
Doesn't the argument hinge on the definition of "compel"?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 09:31 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?


Yes. Step two begs the question. If "free will is to act without compulsion," then the statement "we sometimes do things we are not compelled to do" basically says "we have free will." Thus, you prove free will by assuming free will.


I don't think it begs the question. But it might be that someone would object to premise 2. and hold that whenever we do something, we are compelled to do that thing. The question that is then raised is, why would anyone believe that whenever we do anything we are compelled to do it. Prima facie that is false. For instance, I was not compelled to write this post, although I did write this post. To say that prima facie a proposition is false is only to say that it is presumptively false, and that the burden of proof is on the person who claims it is true. So, the question now becomes why you believe that I was compelled to write this post, although I can tell you that I was not, and I know of no reason to believe that I was.

Your turn.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 09:41 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:

Doesn't the argument hinge on the definition of "compel"?



But the correctness of every argument, and every statement (and arguments consist of statements) always hinges (at least partly) on the meanings of the terms involved. So the answer is, of course (at least partly). But why should we think that in any sense of the word, that whenever we do anything we are compelled to do it, is what is at issue. On what meaning of the word, "compel", if any, would it be true that all actions are compelled? Ordinarily, to say that someone is compelled to do something is to imply that the person did not want to do that that thing. But, it is not true that I did not want to write this post. I wanted to write this post. So how could I have been compelled to write this post? (And, of course, have you any reason to suppose that you were compelled to write your post? If (outside this context) someone suggested that you did not want to write your post, would you have assented to that suggestion?).

Your turn.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 09:54 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
The question that is then raised is, why would anyone believe that whenever we do anything we are compelled to do it.

Because (they would argue) there's no such thing as free will. Really, the way that you beg the question can be seen just by turning your argument into a defense of determinism:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes never do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime never do things of our own free will.

Just as valid, and just as convincing.

kennethamy wrote:
Prima facie that is false.

No it isn't.

kennethamy wrote:
For instance, I was not compelled to write this post, although I did write this post.

That's what you say.

kennethamy wrote:
To say that prima facie a proposition is false is only to say that it is presumptively false, and that the burden of proof is on the person who claims it is true.

Well, no, that's not what it means. But you can't win an argument simply by shifting the responsibility onto others to prove you wrong. It's your argument, it's your job to convince me that you're right.

kennethamy wrote:
So, the question now becomes why you believe that I was compelled to write this post, although I can tell you that I was not, and I know of no reason to believe that I was.

You demonstrate the existence of free will by claiming that you have free will? Really, that's the best you can do?
Sentience
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 10:05 am
@kennethamy,
Two is an assumption that requires us to have free will. I could just as easily say:
1. To have no free will, everyone must be compelled to perform their actions.
2. We are compelled, in whatever form, to do all of our actions.
Therefore 3. We do not have free will.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 10:30 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
The question that is then raised is, why would anyone believe that whenever we do anything we are compelled to do it.

Because (they would argue) there's no such thing as free will. Really, the way that you beg the question can be seen just by turning your argument into a defense of determinism:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes never do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime never do things of our own free will.

Just as valid, and just as convincing.

kennethamy wrote:
Prima facie that is false.

No it isn't.

kennethamy wrote:
For instance, I was not compelled to write this post, although I did write this post.

That's what you say.

kennethamy wrote:
To say that prima facie a proposition is false is only to say that it is presumptively false, and that the burden of proof is on the person who claims it is true.

Well, no, that's not what it means. But you can't win an argument simply by shifting the responsibility onto others to prove you wrong. It's your argument, it's your job to convince me that you're right.

kennethamy wrote:
So, the question now becomes why you believe that I was compelled to write this post, although I can tell you that I was not, and I know of no reason to believe that I was.

You demonstrate the existence of free will by claiming that you have free will? Really, that's the best you can do?


Could you explain why you think we never do anything that we are not compelled to do?
I am not demonstrating the existence of free will by claiming I have free will. Why would you suppose I am doing that? My original argument did not do that. If you think it did, why don't you reread my original argument and explain to me how you think that I have demonstrated etc. ?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 11:28 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Could you explain why you think we never do anything that we are not compelled to do?

No.

kennethamy wrote:
I am not demonstrating the existence of free will by claiming I have free will. Why would you suppose I am doing that?

Because that's exactly what you tried to do.

Previously, kennethamy wrote:
For instance, I was not compelled to write this post, although I did write this post....

...So, the question now becomes why you believe that I was compelled to write this post, although I can tell you that I was not, and I know of no reason to believe that I was.

QED.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 11:42 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
Could you explain why you think we never do anything that we are not compelled to do?

No.

kennethamy wrote:
I am not demonstrating the existence of free will by claiming I have free will. Why would you suppose I am doing that?

Because that's exactly what you tried to do.

Previously, kennethamy wrote:
For instance, I was not compelled to write this post, although I did write this post....

...So, the question now becomes why you believe that I was compelled to write this post, although I can tell you that I was not, and I know of no reason to believe that I was.

QED.


Oh, you misunderstand. I was simply repeating what I have already said: That prima-facie or presumptively, I was not compelled to write the post, and my argument for that was that I wanted to write the post, and I am not compelled to do what I want to do. Now, have you an objection to that argument. If you do, why not state it, and stop bothering about what is irrelevant or unimportant like how I happen to frame what I said? The issue is this: you agree that unless I am compelled to do something, I do it of my own free will. But you claim that I am always compelled to do whatever I do. So, why to you claim that is true, since there are many things I do just because I want do them, and I cannot be compelled to do what I already want to do? That is the issue, so why not address it?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 12:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I was simply repeating what I have already said: That prima-facie or presumptively, I was not compelled to write the post, and my argument for that was that I wanted to write the post, and I am not compelled to do what I want to do.

That's not a prima facie case for free will, that's an ipse dixit.

kennethamy wrote:
Now, have you an objection to that argument. If you do, why not state it, and stop bothering about what is irrelevant or unimportant like how I happen to frame what I said?

You think that how you frame your argument is irrelevant or unimportant?

kennethamy wrote:
The issue is this: you agree that unless I am compelled to do something, I do it of my own free will.

I agree with that as a general matter, although I'd phrase it differently and I prefer the term "determined" to "compelled."

kennethamy wrote:
But you claim that I am always compelled to do whatever I do.

I have claimed no such thing.

kennethamy wrote:
So, why to you claim that is true, since there are many things I do just because I want do them, and I cannot be compelled to do what I already want to do? That is the issue, so why not address it?

Your case for free will rests on your own say-so, together with a surprisingly profound misunderstanding of the entire subject. When Dr. Johnson, taking issue with Berkeley's idealism, kicked a stone and exclaimed "I refute it thus!" he did nothing of the kind -- his "refutation" merely demonstrated that he didn't understand Berkeley's position at all. Similarly, when you, taking issue with the notion of determinism, write a post without any apparent compulsion and exclaim "I refute it thus," you likewise demonstrate that you have no understanding of determinism.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 12:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So, just to be clear, although you agree that the conclusion follows from the premises, you object to which one of the premises? Is it premise 2? Do you think that whatever we do, we do because we are compelled to do it? Is that it. Why do you believe that? (If my understanding of your objection is right).
None of your premesis, which I can't agree with. Imo the 2 definitions should be changed.

It's only when one is free of group think and doesn't care about consequenses in any conciveable way, that one truly has a free will ..just that it's usually psycotic and skitzo people who has a truly free will.
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 06:37 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
kennethamy wrote:
The answer is yes, and the argument is:
1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
Step two begs the question. If "free will is to act without compulsion," then the statement "we sometimes do things we are not compelled to do" basically says "we have free will." Thus, you prove free will by assuming free will.
Kennethamy defends the legalese notion of free will, not any metaphysical notion. Such free will is a matter of definition by law makers, so, the charge of circularity doesn't have much bite. On the other hand, that there is behaviour which satisfies the law as exemplifying free will, seems to me to be a matter of no interest to man or dog.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 11:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?

What you state here, is being in a neutral state having options to choose from, either do it or don't, without and consequenses in the equation, if you had dire/fatal consequenses in the equation, then the scenario would look different.

But yes, yoru 3 premesis is per se right, just that I don't think they cover much.
0 Replies
 
Alrenous
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 04:41 am
@kennethamy,
Joe is correct.

Your argument is of the form:

1. Free will is X.
2. X is true.

3. Therefore free will is true.

Or, FW == X & X == 1 - > FW = 1.

You can put anything you like in for X and it will come out true, hence the fallaciousness of circular reasoning.


This from a committed anti-determinist. My X is 'we sometimes do things which are unpredictable even in principle.' However, both Xs are not logical points, but empirical points. Assuming 'compel' can be nailed down precisely enough, they're things you must test, not simply assert.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 05:53 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:
Kennethamy defends the legalese notion of free will, not any metaphysical notion. Such free will is a matter of definition by law makers, so, the charge of circularity doesn't have much bite. On the other hand, that there is behaviour which satisfies the law as exemplifying free will, seems to me to be a matter of no interest to man or dog.

I don't know if it's legalistic or metaphysical or whatever, but I agree that the question of free will is of little interest outside the context of ethics.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 06:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?



My objection is that #2 is not entirely true.
It assumes that what we believe to be true is knowledge.

The knowledge we have, however, tells us that we sometimes do things which we believe we are not compelled to do.

I see no evidence whatsover, provided by your argument, to tell me that belief is either true or false.

Can you show me that #2 is anything other than opinion, or belief?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 08:54 am
@wayne,
wayne wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

The answer is yes, and the argument is:

1. To do something of one's own free will is to do it without being compelled to do it.
2. We sometimes do things, we are not compelled to do.

Therefore, 3. we sometime do things of our own free will.

Is there some objection to this argument?



I can give you examples. I was not compelled to write this post, but I did it. So writing this post is something I did without being compelled to do it.
My objection is that #2 is not entirely true.
It assumes that what we believe to be true is knowledge.

The knowledge we have, however, tells us that we sometimes do things which we believe we are not compelled to do.

I see no evidence whatsover, provided by your argument, to tell me that belief is either true or false.

Can you show me that #2 is anything other than opinion, or belief?

 

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