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Free will, we either have it or we don't

 
 
Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2012 04:58 pm
Sam Harris makes a convincing argument against it FW---

“Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”

“Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.”

“We do not know what we intend to do until the intention itself arises. To understand this is to realize that we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way that people generally suppose.”

http://samsnyder.com/2012/03/15/free-will-by-sam-harris/
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What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is WHAT WE DO.
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
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ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 10:06 pm
@Rickoshay75,
Rickoshay75 wrote:
“Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”

“Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.”

“We do not know what we intend to do until the intention itself arises. To understand this is to realize that we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way that people generally suppose.”
None of these arguments is worth ****.
1) Free will requires that there be a finite set of at least two realisable options, an agent to select from the set and an evaluation system by means of which the agent can make a selection. Obviously the agent doesn't need to choose what options are in the set, what agent they are or what evaluation system they have. So, this kind of stuff over which we have no control, conscious or otherwise, is not a threat to free will.
2) In a non-determined world, there is mathematical randomness, but mathematical randomness isn't a threat to free will. The randomness which is a threat to free will is that of chance and this isn't implied by non-determinism. So the dilemma as posed is false.
3) We can demonstrate free will, whereas we cannot demonstrate determinism. We can show that all decisions being completed pre-consciously by a mechanical algorithm, is not possible. In short, there really is no free will issue, and religious neurotics like Harris fail to create one.
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Cyracuz
 
  0  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 03:12 am
@Rickoshay75,
This again?
"Free will vs determinism" is as useless to explain the human experience as evil is to describe a forest fire. The fire certainly seems evil to primitive people who have their homes burned. But it is naive and even foolish to think of the fire as evil.
Just get over the whole thing. "Free will" is a religious term, made to account for how humans can disobey God's will. Without the idea of free will, the notion of God's will being absolute would not go over well with the notion that God is perfect. So the story is that God is all good, but that humans have free will, and that is why the world isn't perfect. It's all a load of crap.
Rickoshay75
 
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Reply Sat 1 Sep, 2012 12:34 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

This again?
"Free will vs determinism" is as useless to explain the human experience as evil is to describe a forest fire. The fire certainly seems evil to primitive people who have their homes burned. But it is naive and even foolish to think of the fire as evil.
Just get over the whole thing. "Free will" is a religious term, made to account for how humans can disobey God's will. Without the idea of free will, the notion of God's will being absolute would not go over well with the notion that God is perfect. So the story is that God is all good, but that humans have free will, and that is why the world isn't perfect. It's all a load of crap.


You either live it with the realization that you are a reactor, not a creator. or you don't.

Here's word pictures of how helpless we are.

We are idling moors waiting for someone or something to put us in gear

We are shuttlecocks in a continous badminton game with "fate" on one side of the net and "cause" on the other side.

We are puppets on a stage with fate pulling our strings.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Sep, 2012 12:52 pm
@Rickoshay75,
A very poetic post. Pretty, but not very persuasive.

Quote:
You either live it with the realization that you are a reactor, not a creator. or you don't.


True. And you either live with the realization that you are a figment of your own imagination, or you don't.
You either live with a stone in your shoe, or you don't.
My point is merely that you can say that about anything. The two options you give are not the only two.
Try to think of yourself as part of nature. Doesn't it seem logical then that your power, your ability to affect the world around you, is part of nature just as much as you are? "Free-will" is the experience of "determinism", not the absence of it. It is how we perceive the control we exert through nature, or nature through us.
The solutions to the paradoxes surrounding "free will" can all be found by examining the nature of "self".
Rickoshay75
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Sep, 2012 06:27 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

A very poetic post. Pretty, but not very persuasive.

Quote:
You either live it with the realization that you are a reactor, not a creator. or you don't.



Try to think of yourself as part of nature. Doesn't it seem logical then that your power, your ability to affect the world around you, is part of nature just as much as you are? "Free-will" is the experience of "determinism", not the absence of it. It is how we perceive the control we exert through nature, or nature through us.



I'm natural, have no power or control over anything, can't affect people or the world, only see determinism as cause and effect, believe in nothing, have no mentors, and I'm stuck with my perceptions. Other than that, I'm just as normal as the rest of the world.

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What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is WHAT WE DO.
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
ughaibu
 
  0  
Reply Sun 2 Sep, 2012 07:40 pm
@Rickoshay75,
Rickoshay75 wrote:
. . . determinism as cause and effect. . .
Determinism is nothing to do with cause and effect. You're confusing independent notions.
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