8
   

Can we do anything of our own free will?

 
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2010 02:55 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

You did n´t...it was my remark. To be aware in the case of freedom of choice, implies to be totally aware...


Freewill doesn't need be omnipotent to exist. The ability to resist any compulsion of which I am aware makes a pretty solid case for freewill.
If you don't believe me, I challenge you to name a compulsion which I cannot resist. Please be aware that my resistance being overpowered has no bearing on the matter. Freewill is about intent, not omnipotence.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2010 03:07 pm
@wayne,
wayne wrote:
The ability to resist any compulsion of which I am aware makes a pretty solid case for freewill.

No, it makes a pretty lousy case for free will. How do you know that your "resistance" isn't determined?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2010 08:18 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

wayne wrote:
The ability to resist any compulsion of which I am aware makes a pretty solid case for freewill.

No, it makes a pretty lousy case for free will. How do you know that your "resistance" isn't determined?


Why should that make any difference? Suppose that when someone threatens me that if I do something or other that he will inform my employer who will fire me. Suppose I decide to defy the extorter and do it anyway, and my decision to do so it caused by my belief that the extorter will not carry out his threat. Why have I not resisted the compulsion of my own free will? What makes you think that because something caused me to resist that I was compelled to resist? How does causation equate with compulsion?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2010 09:00 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

wayne wrote:
The ability to resist any compulsion of which I am aware makes a pretty solid case for freewill.

No, it makes a pretty lousy case for free will. How do you know that your "resistance" isn't determined?


If you can show me anything compelling me to resist then I will simply refuse to resist. Thus shall I resist resisting.
The point is that I will resist any force you claim to support determinism.
If determinism is true then show me the force which determines.
You can claim the boogeyman but I'll believe it when I see it.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 01:56 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Why should that make any difference? Suppose that when someone threatens me that if I do something or other that he will inform my employer who will fire me. Suppose I decide to defy the extorter and do it anyway, and my decision to do so it caused by my belief that the extorter will not carry out his threat. Why have I not resisted the compulsion of my own free will? What makes you think that because something caused me to resist that I was compelled to resist? How does causation equate with compulsion?

Well, first of all, you're confusing "compulsion" with "determination." When someone threatens you, that's "compulsion." That's not the same thing as "determination," which is when your actions are caused by some exterior force. You can resist "compulsion," but that doesn't mean your resistance wasn't "determined."

Secondly, your argument that you have free will still rests on an assumption that you have free will. According to you, you resist compulsion of your own free will, and that proves that you have free will. But that's just bootstrapping. You could just as easily argue that you resist compulsion because your actions are determined, and that proves that you don't have free will.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 01:59 am
@wayne,
wayne wrote:
If you can show me anything compelling me to resist then I will simply refuse to resist. Thus shall I resist resisting.
The point is that I will resist any force you claim to support determinism.

How do you know your "resistance" isn't determined?
wayne wrote:
If determinism is true then show me the force which determines.

Show me the force that is "free will."
wayne wrote:
You can claim the boogeyman but I'll believe it when I see it.

You believe in free will but you can't see that either. Why do you hold determinism to a higher standard of proof?
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 03:08 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
wayne wrote:
If determinism is true then show me the force which determines.

Show me the force that is "free will."


I tend not to contribute to these Free Will v. Determinism threads anymore, since i tend to view both perspectives as receptacles of a moot point. However, i feel compelled to express a small reservation to the above objection:

"Show me a force in which the indicators for "free will" and "determination" are distinguishable.?"

All due respect, Joe, but i may not choose to take part in further debate (out of boredom and laziness, morally inexcusable reasons, i'm sure.) But it seems to be that traditional debates about "free will v determinism" are undermined by taking account of modern patterns of thought about reality. Such accounts do not only undermine the idea of "free will", but also the simplistic version of determinism argued for by many modern "determinists". Isn't the idea of historical agency a bit more complicated than either classical idea?

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 06:43 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:
wayne wrote:
If determinism is true then show me the force which determines.

Show me the force that is "free will."


I tend not to contribute to these Free Will v. Determinism threads anymore, since i tend to view both perspectives as receptacles of a moot point. However, i feel compelled to express a small reservation to the above objection:

"Show me a force in which the indicators for "free will" and "determination" are distinguishable.?"

All due respect, Joe, but i may not choose to take part in further debate (out of boredom and laziness, morally inexcusable reasons, i'm sure.) But it seems to be that traditional debates about "free will v determinism" are undermined by taking account of modern patterns of thought about reality. Such accounts do not only undermine the idea of "free will", but also the simplistic version of determinism argued for by many modern "determinists". Isn't the idea of historical agency a bit more complicated than either classical idea?




The problem is that some think that "free will" is the name of some entity that people who act of their own free will either have or do not have. But not only is there no reason to think that there is such an entity, but it is clear that when people assert that they did something of their own free will they are not even asserting that there is such an entity that motivates what they do. For, when anyone asserts that he did something of his own free will, he is just denying that he was compelled to do what he did, and that he could have done otherwise had he chosen to do otherwise. So the very assumption that when we say of someone that he acted of his own free will, that we are talking of some mysterious entity that either he has or does not have, is just false. As John Locke said, "It is not the will that is free, it is persons who are free". I don't know about "modern patterns of thought about reality" (whatever those might be) but I do think that we should examine how we talk when we say that we did this or that of our own free will, and if we do, we'll see that we are not talking about Wills (free or not) whatever those may be.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 06:50 am
@Razzleg,
I think he wants a distinguishable mechanic explanation in spite of the complexity´s your bringing up regarding the agency on causation...he has a point. The one we have can fill both roles...to many is a problem of meaning and semantics.

My dialectic reasoning on the matter is Holistic and takes into account the non linear relations regarding the system of variables working together. Precisely why I am a Deterministic believer...there are those who tend to separate the variables from the all together system, thus eliminating final cause and goal from the equation. A constructivist convenience ! (to use a psychology term)... They are on the free will side perspective on a biased account specially because of the risk of having to admit a God like idea. Even a naturalistic Scientific one, scares the hell out of them...I don´t blame them, considering the middle ages baptist plague in the US...nevertheless my grounding argument is to not eliminate the "à priori" potential in the thing before it becomes together with something else...property´s don´t simply emerge out of nothingness. They reveal themselves ! ...and this goes a bit like Lego constructions...if it fits with something further in time added, then it was always there to be fitted with in the first place...I of course can well see what Intelligent Design will do with such idea...but the fact is that Evolution may well be a very clever simulation...

My argument can resume with a dialectical principle of Identity:

BEING is done ! Its not becoming...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:08 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Now, the problem with Intelligent Design is that ID don´t explains the Designer itself...so the Theory has the same problem in hands as Evolution has...it is an open ended system !

My perspective is more like a circle, a closed pattern, bringing together Creator and creation in BEING...it includes motion in it but it excludes emerging NATURE quality´s...concluding and accepting that final LAW´s are eternal !

My understanding of LAW rests in Dogma precisely considering the principle of Identity. (What it is cannot but be exactly what it is...time is irrelevant for the matter.)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 06:17 pm
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:
I tend not to contribute to these Free Will v. Determinism threads anymore, since i tend to view both perspectives as receptacles of a moot point.

It's not moot, it's just pointless.

Razzleg wrote:
However, i feel compelled to express a small reservation to the above objection:

"Show me a force in which the indicators for "free will" and "determination" are distinguishable.?"

All due respect, Joe, but i may not choose to take part in further debate (out of boredom and laziness, morally inexcusable reasons, i'm sure.) But it seems to be that traditional debates about "free will v determinism" are undermined by taking account of modern patterns of thought about reality.

Really? Are you suggesting that the question of free will can be resolved as an epistemological problem? I'd like to see that.

Razzleg wrote:
Such accounts do not only undermine the idea of "free will", but also the simplistic version of determinism argued for by many modern "determinists". Isn't the idea of historical agency a bit more complicated than either classical idea?

Well, I don't really care. I haven't seen any sophisticated arguments in favor of free will in this thread, so I think we should to address this at the beginner's level first.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:17 pm
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:

"Show me a force in which the indicators for "free will" and "determination" are distinguishable.?"


That really is the question isn't it, the force which determines my actions either originates in myself (freewill) or it originates somewhere else.
If determinism thinks it originates someplace else, why can't they offer some idea of where that might be?
I can offer a photo of myself, at least. Even a biological description.
The force is, of course, indistinguishable, it's the origin that is in question.

Now there's a defense argument, but your honor the bullet didn't originate in my gun, it came from a mine in colorado.




north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:49 pm

so is free-will psychological ?
0 Replies
 
Alrenous
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:51 pm
Either free will is functionally different from determinism, in which case there is some experiment which can distinguish the two, or else it's functionally identical, in which case debating the difference cannot be directly productive.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 07:57 pm
@Alrenous,
Alrenous wrote:

Either free will is functionally different from determinism, in which case there is some experiment which can distinguish the two, or else it's functionally identical, in which case debating the difference cannot be directly productive.


(1) I can be determined (i.e. caused) to do something, but not compelled to do that thing.(2) But, if I am not compelled to do that thing, then I do that thing of my own free will. Therefore, 3. I can be determined to do something, yet do that thing of my own free will.

Suppose that I am caused to go to a certain restaurant because my friend suggested that I go. But I am not compelled to go to the restaurant, for I could have chosen not to go to the restaurant. Therefore, although I was caused to go to the restaurant, I went there of my own free will.
0 Replies
 
tomr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 08:24 pm
@wayne,
Quote:
That really is the question isn't it, the force which determines my actions either originates in myself (freewill) or it originates somewhere else.
If determinism thinks it originates someplace else, why can't they offer some idea of where that might be?


The force can originate in a great number of ways outside oneself. One example, light enters the eyes and moving pictures are seen and with those pictures comes a sense of sound and/or other sensations. These sense experiences come together and the general experience can be compared with memories already stored and this analysis may produce a variety of emotions within oneself. This process can take place consciously or unconsciously.

Also this process of experience and comparison can access thoughts by functions of the brain circuitry that had been previously constructed. The circuitry does change and can even change by repetition of action but it is over much time that it changes. Even consciousness is produced by this circuitry, though in a manner completely unknown and unrelated to any known observation.

So when light enters the eye or when waves in the air hit our ears, or even when thoughts are connected to other thoughts via the brain circuitry there is a fixed structure passing information from one sensor or circuitry to another. If you take it to be true that the thinking part of yourself is an output of the brain circuitry it is easy to make the case that you are determined by a combination of the elastic circuitry that makes up your brain and the exterior environment (light,sound, etc.).
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 08:32 pm
@tomr,
tomr wrote:

Quote:
That really is the question isn't it, the force which determines my actions either originates in myself (freewill) or it originates somewhere else.
If determinism thinks it originates someplace else, why can't they offer some idea of where that might be?


The force can originate in a great number of ways outside oneself. One example, light enters the eyes and moving pictures are seen and with those pictures comes a sense of sound and/or other sensations. These sense experiences come together and the general experience can be compared with memories already stored and this analysis may produce a variety of emotions within oneself. This process can take place consciously or unconsciously.

Also this process of experience and comparison can access thoughts by functions of the brain circuitry that had been previously constructed. The circuitry does change and can even change by repetition of action but it is over much time that it changes. Even consciousness is produced by this circuitry, though in a manner completely unknown and unrelated to any known observation.

So when light enters the eye or when waves in the air hit our ears, or even when thoughts are connected to other thoughts via the brain circuitry there is a fixed structure passing information from one sensor or circuitry to another. If you take it to be true that the thinking part of yourself is a output of the brain circuitry it is easy to make the case that you are determined by a combination of the elastic circuitry that makes up your brain and the exterior environment (light,sound, etc.).


then how did the Human Being brain evolve beyond the primative brain ?
tomr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 09:07 pm
@north,
Quote:
then how did the Human Being brain evolve beyond the primative brain ?


What makes the primative brain less than the Human Brain? What is the primative brain? I will take the case of a dog. How did a Human Brain evolve beyond the capacities of a dog brain? I do not know specifically but in general, the same way that every thing evolves beyond everything else. By mutation of an unimaginable amount of genetic material over an unimaginable amount of time.

The main point is with the complex nature of the Human Brain so here is a different way to look at this. Though not until we know what mechanism creates the realness of sensation and experience in human beings as well as possibly other animals can we completely mimick them through computer software and hardware, we could still write a program that could act on input independently and with the complexity of a human being. Why could we not make a machine that could sense light and not "like" it when pressure is applied to its skeleton fixed with sensors and then retain that memory and through means unknown to it (actual circuitry or programming) recall that information in similar situations or others. Give it "feelings" which occur at certain times and with particular thoughts. Give it the ability to associate words with images and sounds and compile complex sentences and relationships. With enough effort we could make its programming rewrite itself over time to perform certain things differently. We could with enough effort utterly make its "mind" human. The only thing that is missing is that realness of sensation that differentiates us from the machine. But that consciousness must surely be a product of the brain circuitry as well.
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 09:14 pm
@tomr,
tomr wrote:

Quote:
then how did the Human Being brain evolve beyond the primative brain ?


What makes the primative brain less than the Human Brain? What is the primative brain? I will take the case of a dog. How did a Human Brain evolve beyond the capacities of a dog brain? I do not know specifically but in general, the same way that every thing evolves beyond everything else. By mutation of an unimaginable amount of genetic material over an unimaginable amount of time.

The main point is with the complex nature of the Human Brain so here is a different way to look at this. Though not until we know what mechanism creates the realness of sensation and experience in human beings as well as possibly other animals can we completely mimick them through computer software and hardware, we could still write a program that could act on input independently and with the complexity of a human being. Why could we not make a machine that could sense light and not "like" it when pressure is applied to its skeleton fixed with sensors and then retain that memory and through means unknown to it (actual circuitry or programming) recall that information in similar situations or others. Give it "feelings" which occur at certain times and with particular thoughts. Give it the ability to associate words with images and sounds and compile complex sentences and relationships. With enough effort we could make its programming rewrite itself over time to perform certain things differently. We could with enough effort utterly make its "mind" human. The only thing that is missing is that realness of sensation that differentiates us from the machine. But that consciousness must surely be a product of the brain circuitry as well.


you are way off course
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 10:36 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
I haven't seen any sophisticated arguments in favor of free will in this thread
One doesn't need arguments in favour of free will, because free will can be demonstrated. For any argument in favour of denial of free will to succeed, commitment to the view that arguments take precedence over observation is required. In short, arguments for denial of free will are either of no interest or a relationship with reality based on what can be observed and verified, in common, by healthy human adults is of secondary importance. What amazes me, is the number of self proclaimed atheists who implicitly support the latter position.
 

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