Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 12:55 pm
Whether you believe in God or not, the subject of free will is an interesting issue.

Are all things determined by natural law, or are we able to make certain life decisions on our own? (and accept the consequences)

If God exists, does he, of necessity, foreknow, foreordain or otherwise control our destiny?

You may consider including some speculation as to how your answer might affect standards of criminal justice.

BTW, most of us understand that our activities have biological limitations.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:06 pm
Just checking in to make it easier for me to keep up with developments in this topic (which, if any care, essentially springs from a digression more or less initiated then headed off through a string of posts starting about HERE
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:09 pm
I know this is just beginning, but so far the upside down cakes are ahead by a coffee cup. :wink:
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Ray
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:24 pm
Isn't this more of a philosophical issue?
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:31 pm
Ray wrote:
Isn't this more of a philosophical issue?
Perhaps. But it's roots go to the heart of religious arguments as well.

If we as sentient creatures have free will, what might be our ultimate evolutionary progression/destination?
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:45 pm
I really like this topic. I have lots of ideas on this, but also have some trouble expressing them. This is a post from a thread in "philosophy and debate" (It's the best I can do for now):

Quote:
The state of things, I believe, is certain. Only one "outcome" is possible. What is uncertain (incomplete) is our knowledge. We affect what we observe (and vice versa). The cosmos is deterministic, but we cannot see the complete picture because every part of what we are is part of that picture. Maybe that has something to do with our experience of free will. I don't know.
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 02:01 pm
echi, that's a good post.

Because we are part of the system, we are inevitebly choosing what we do.

Maybe it has to do with the definition of free will. If free will means a choice that has no prior causes, then it must be asked who is choosing and we have to define what choice and influence means.

A person possesses two innate capabilities: the ability to sense, and the ability of reason. We experience the world around us, and we thus gain sensory information. When we do gain these informations, we may store them in our memory, or we may subconsciously habituate our actions because of it. We also however, have the capability to analyze these memories and analyze our actions. We can theoretically dehabituate ourselves and form new habits. Thus our choices are often formed by our analysis of certain information.

A choice then, is formed by our analysis of informations that is gathered from the outside world. We are then the ones making the choice. It can be argued that our brain itself is an effect of multiple causes, but are we not ultimately the mind that arises from this effect? Thus, it is true that we are making the choice and no one else.
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 02:26 pm
Ray wrote:
It can be argued that our brain itself is an effect of multiple causes, but are we not ultimately the mind that arises from this effect? Thus, it is true that we are making the choice and no one else.



Whatever is our true identity (maybe not worded correctly) is not the product of any effect. I don't argue our sense abilities (which IMO may include the recognition of reason or rationality), but I don't accept that we have the ability to make choices.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 02:27 pm
Are you in favor of the death penalty?

No, I don't wish to go off topic.
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 02:30 pm
No.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:18 pm
I'm not either.

So, back to the topic:

Are you satisfied with the idea that you may not have control over your actions?
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:23 pm
I'm sensing a trap, but...Yes, I think that sounds about right.
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neologist
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:38 pm
Gotcha! Laughing

Naw. I really am trying to find out what folks are thinking.
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echi
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:51 pm
That scared me a little.

I know that it seems like I have at least some control over my actions, but that is not enough to convince, esp. considering the contradictions it would imply (determinism, and all).
I am more interested in finding a way to explain (apparent) free will within a deterministic framework. If we could better understand what free will really is, maybe we could see how determinism and free will coexist.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 04:23 pm
This is a false problem based on a false subject (self) and a false dichotomy (freedom and determinism). Strictly speaking there is no "SELF" to be either "determined" or "free". We are aspects of what we might tentatively call Reality; we are that through which reality expresses itself. All things are conditioned and interdependent (determinism?) and ultimately all is spontaneous (free will?). As I see it, "my" freedom is not mine; it is that of my true nature which is reality (whatever that is).
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Implicator
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 06:28 pm
echi wrote:
That scared me a little.

I know that it seems like I have at least some control over my actions, but that is not enough to convince, esp. considering the contradictions it would imply (determinism, and all).
I am more interested in finding a way to explain (apparent) free will within a deterministic framework. If we could better understand what free will really is, maybe we could see how determinism and free will coexist.


From a religious standpoint, reformed theology (aka Calvinism) provides one explanation of how determinism and free will can coexist (there may be other explanations out there as well), but it depends (no surprise) on a very specific definition for "free will".

The concept of "compatibilism" describes the notion that determinism may co-exist (be compatible with) a free will, if "free will" is defined to be the power to choose what we want to do. IOW, if we always choose what our greatest desire is (at the time, and considering he circumstances), then our will is free (i.e. we were not forced to choose something other than we wanted.) A will is free, then, just as long as it chooses what it desires.

The main argument against this comes from those who claim that a free will is only free if it always has the power to chose contrary to what someone else has determined, regardless of circumstances or desires. This type of free will would lead to the concept of "incompatibilism", as it could not exist simultaneously with a deterministic view.

One common complaint against compatibilism is that a person isn't really making a choice, if it has been determined for them. Said differently, their will isn't really free. However, this argument simply assumes that a will is only free if one has the power to chose contrary to any other determining force. IOW, the complaint begs the question of what it means to have a free will.

I suspect there are other solutions out there, which would most likely tweak the definition of "free will" or "determinism" or both.

I
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 06:54 pm
Implicator wrote:
From a religious standpoint, reformed theology (aka Calvinism) provides one explanation of how determinism and free will can coexist (there may be other explanations out there as well), but it depends (no surprise) on a very specific definition for "free will" ...

... I suspect there are other solutions out there, which would most likely tweak the definition of "free will" or "determinism" or both.


Which brings straight back arround to equivocation and rationalization Mr. Green
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 07:08 pm
JLNobody wrote:
This is a false problem based on a false subject (self) and a false dichotomy (freedom and determinism). Strictly speaking there is no "SELF" to be either "determined" or "free". We are aspects of what we might tentatively call Reality; we are that through which reality expresses itself. All things are conditioned and interdependent (determinism?) and ultimately all is spontaneous (free will?). As I see it, "my" freedom is not mine; it is that of my true nature which is reality (whatever that is).



What the...? How the heck do you know all this stuff?
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Implicator
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 07:15 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Implicator wrote:
From a religious standpoint, reformed theology (aka Calvinism) provides one explanation of how determinism and free will can coexist (there may be other explanations out there as well), but it depends (no surprise) on a very specific definition for "free will" ...

... I suspect there are other solutions out there, which would most likely tweak the definition of "free will" or "determinism" or both.


Which brings straight back arround to equivocation and rationalization Mr. Green


Come on now, Timber ... don't forget that it is we humans who come up definitions in the first place ... definitions which tend to change over time Smile

I
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Implicator
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 07:15 pm
echi wrote:
JLNobody wrote:
This is a false problem based on a false subject (self) and a false dichotomy (freedom and determinism). Strictly speaking there is no "SELF" to be either "determined" or "free". We are aspects of what we might tentatively call Reality; we are that through which reality expresses itself. All things are conditioned and interdependent (determinism?) and ultimately all is spontaneous (free will?). As I see it, "my" freedom is not mine; it is that of my true nature which is reality (whatever that is).



What the...? How the heck do you know all this stuff?


I like to read.

Cool
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