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Revenant
04-12-05, 18:52
In short, I believe that Free Will, if it exists, is very limited, simply cause there is a lot of cause and effect even within the realm of the emotions. I'll elaborate more as the thread goes on, as a decent explanation of my theory eludes me now (it is there of course, just having trouble with articulation).

Mars Man
05-12-05, 02:56
Yes, it could be said that there is much more than meets the eye in this matter. It is a very broad subject perhaps, but nonetheless an interesting one, and a very important one, in many ways.

I hope to drop by from time to time (I'll do my best to do so) and see what's going down. I just read on report the other day which proposed some brain studies recently done, do show some degree of motor ingaugement towards physical motion before the cortex areas for processing information (as in that needed to make a decision to act) were firing, implying that maybe some degree of action or brain process comes without processed (conscious, if you will) commands. Of course those timings are very, very small !!

I'll drop back by. :wave:

Tsuyoiko
05-12-05, 13:58
This sounds like a cliche, but I think free will is an illusion. There are so many constraints acting on us from conception that we are kidding ourselves to think we have free will. But I don't believe in complete determinism either. I think we have choices, but we choose one from a (very) limited number. I read somewhere that we can only attain freedom if we recognise that we don't really have free will.

What constrains our free will (some of these overlap)? Genes, upbringing, brain chemistry, intelligence, knowledge, character or personality, illness (physical or mental), responsibilities, finances, family and friends, geography ... ad infinitum.

Revenant
05-12-05, 14:59
I read somewhere that we can only attain freedom if we recognise that we don't really have free will.I would completely agree. One cannot learn how to build muscle if one doesn't know the how the cause and effect of nutrition, muscle overload, and rest work. So can one not know how to control their decisions if one doesn't realize the cause and effect of the attachments, desires, pleasure-pain ratio based decisions, etc, etc.

Void
05-12-05, 17:52
What is Free Will? Just a Freedom of choice or freedom of conscious choice?
I`d agree that no one asked us to choose to be born and to be born with
particular set of genes and social environment (unless there exist some life
before life :D)
What means free? free from what? First of all how many of us free from
ourselves (in any meaning of this phrase)? From our own stupidity, laziness,
uncertainity, arrogance, excessive rationality and such?

What is to make a choice ? Isn`t it to realize one particular act among various possibilities ? Which one you bring to realization? the one which is given by fate? The one which will be generously spared to you by whatever constraint? Or is it the one brought to reality by your hard work?

You are free as long as you are able to
- put up with initial conditions,
- accept the history of your own mistakes without justifying them by various
constraints life might impose (they usually make much lesser part than effect
of one`s own efforts or lack ot them)
- be ready to face the responsibility brought by chosen action
- and be able to change your own attitude when you can`t change the situation
:D

Tsuyoiko
05-12-05, 18:20
and be able to change your own attitude when you can`t change the situationI think anyone who can do that is truly free. I can't do it yet. Although I'm not into the god bit, this makes sense:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Void
05-12-05, 19:02
i`ve read that this:


God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
was said by some of ancient greeks, probably Aristotle :? but it doesn`t really matter - you don`t have to be divine being to understand this and act accordingly

No-name
05-12-05, 19:14
On paper and intellectually, I am a Calvanist- completely believing in predestination/predetermination. But I function in my life as an Armenianist- total free will. I haven't found predestination all that functional- it seems to encourage fatalism, inaction or apathy. I continue to act as if I believe I have choices and that these choices matter.

Revenant
06-12-05, 07:58
Calvinism does have some messy implications, but I'm sure you know that.

Anyhow, determinism (out of the context of religion) doesn't mean one lacks choices, but that one is more aware of the forces at work within one's decision-making process. If one becomes more aware of these, then it is possible, with time, and intensely asked questions, to change the emotional charges attached to certain actions. It's not exactly an easy process though, and I have yet to intentionally succeed at it.

I have tried with quitting smoking, and it becomes easier each time I try to quit again. I'm still figuring out just what some of the triggers are though, what exactly makes me want to smoke.

Tsuyoiko
06-12-05, 13:19
On paper and intellectually, I am a Calvanist- completely believing in predestination/predetermination. But I function in my life as an Armenianist- total free will. I haven't found predestination all that functional- it seems to encourage fatalism, inaction or apathy. I continue to act as if I believe I have choices and that these choices matter.This reminds me of something. Logically, there is no way to prove that anything exists outside of your own mind. For all you know you might be the only being that exists. But to function we have to assume that other people exist, even though we can't prove it.

Anyhow, determinism (out of the context of religion) doesn't mean one lacks choices, but that one is more aware of the forces at work within one's decision-making process. If one becomes more aware of these, then it is possible, with time, and intensely asked questions, to change the emotional charges attached to certain actions. It's not exactly an easy process though, and I have yet to intentionally succeed at it.It's a very hard process - but it does work, IMO. I have had some very, very limited success - and I think finding the right questions to ask is key. I suffer from panic attacks, but I have pretty much got them under control with this process - and the key question is 'what's the worst that can happen?'. Now I have to find another question to ask when the answer to that one is something bad! But I've had a lot more success than I got from medication, without the side effects (i.e. turning into a zombie).

Void
06-12-05, 18:45
actually, daterminism and freedom of choice are not separable. It is better to use dialectic approach, to comply with those two. Like science uses concept of wave-corpuscle dualism, for example

Revenant
09-12-05, 18:46
Void, you have lost me.

After thinking on a Christian's theory of free will, I feel that the perception that everyone has free will isn't actually fair. I do believe that everyone is searching for happiness, and that those who cause suffering, have unintentionally attached positive and negative emotions to the the incorrect actions.

As an easy example, my son is six, and not long ago, he thought that bylying, would he get out of pain. What he doesn't realize, and probably can't at the moment, is that he would cause himself, and others pain, in that others cannot trust him, and therefore, he cannot easily make close intimate relationships with others.

I see other people as the same. They have simply made incorrect connections between actions and happiness. I would absolutely say, that for the safety of others, that some need to have their freedoms taken away, but this is a reason why I do not find punishments out of anger, revenge, or even 'an eye for an eye' as fair or just.

I just think the perception of everyone having 'free will' can cause people to see others incompassionately, and makes it easier to demonize others for the reason that 'they could've chosen otherwise'.

Void
09-12-05, 18:56
not much to lose :D

you are talking about immature child, but adults pretty often aware of the cause-effect relations, they are just too lazy to give them a thought and trace them, or simply don`t care (even don`t care about others hoping that they will easily get away with what they are doing). It is oftena matter of respect, toward oneself, toward others, and even toward events (life, if you want to). And very often determinism is like an excuse to own weakness, rudeness and lack of care - like "oh, but how could i know!"

Void
09-12-05, 19:02
I just think the perception of everyone having 'free will' can cause people to see others incompassionately, and makes it easier to demonize others for the reason that 'they could've chosen otherwise'.

not neccessarily. The current condition of self-organized system (people are such) is very much dependant on the history of the system, and history is made out of choices ones made (see the pic i`ve posted in my first reply)
more likely free will means conscious choice, that`s why it is "free" and "will".
One must admit that (s)he also got one, and thus - makes mistakes as well... Demonize the other usually those who have lack of self-reflection

Revenant
09-12-05, 19:17
After I posted that, I realized that the objection you just made would probably be made (about my son being immature). Still, I disagree. People need emotional reasons to respect themselves, respect others, and respect events. I don't think anyone would deny themselves self-respect were they to actually feel that. This leads me to think that those who don't respect themselves have a wrong perception.

It is after all 'free will' that things like the death penalty are argued upon.

Where does motivation come from, the motivation that moves people to action? Is it not on positive and negative associations with actions. For example, I understand on one level that smoking isn't good, and yet I continue. But were I actually to connect real pain to smoking, I think it would be much easier to quit.

Void
09-12-05, 19:34
very well then, even getting connection between smoking and pain you won`t quit it if emotional reason would be stronger (like "i feel sooo gooood smoking") Respect is based more on rational reason that`s why those who can do nothing creative (don`t bring it to all material level though) are rarely respected

You can say "i respect one for this and that", but hardly "i love one for this and that", `cause love is more emotional

Revenant
09-12-05, 19:43
very well then, even getting connection between smoking and pain you won`t quit it if emotional reason would be stronger (like "i feel sooo gooood smoking")I would complete agree. I believe we measure the percieved pain-pleasure ratio of each option, and choose the one that looks like it will bring the most happiness. I would need to have the pain outweigh the pleaure of smoking to be able to stay quit (I can quit for short periods of time).
Respect is based more on rational reason that`s why those who can do nothing creative (don`t bring it to all material level though) are rarely respected

You can say "i respect on for this and that", but hardly "i love one for this and that", `cause love is more emotionalLet me think on that while, just cause I've never thought even to make this distinction.

Void
09-12-05, 19:55
I would complete agree. I believe we measure the percieved pain-pleasure ratio of each option, and choose the one that looks like it will bring the most happiness. I would need to have the pain outweigh the pleaure of smoking to be able to stay quit (I can quit for short periods of time).
that`s what free will about - you are aware of the connection, but don`t want to believe (accept), and choose the other way (to keep smoking till the pain kicks your ass real hard) That`s weakness and lack of respect toward your own body (it is also you, why should it be neglected?)

PRIZMATIC
10-12-05, 00:57
" Have somehow asked the old master of the Zen about "Freedom of a Choice" and have heard in the answer: Any person is initially Free...,but only he() from parts "ligth" and parts of the "dark" world...,during the period limited for lives from a birth is created and to death it is necessary to live to him() and only it can choose from this..."

danfaz
30-12-05, 19:26
After thinking on a Christian's theory of free will, I feel that the perception that everyone has free will isn't actually fair.

I find myself questioning the notion of free will in Christianity, as well. The question is, if "God" is omniscient, and knows everything we will do throughout our lives, do we really have a choice in the matter? Aren't we just acting out the play?

Yes, you can choose to go left or right, BUT if someone or something already knows which way you will go, are you really making that decision?

Duo
30-12-05, 19:50
I dont beleive in determinism.... i beleive that even the smallest action can have the biggest effect... for example you watching a cop movie at 5 may instill the idea of you wantin to be a cop in your life and later on you do ;)

No-name
30-12-05, 19:52
If you are just an actor in a play- play your part well- it is the only role you will ever have. If free will is an illusion, enjoy it as much as you can.

Revenant
30-12-05, 21:27
Sounds very stoic, and I completely agree. In some ways, holding the perception that there is mostly determinism causes me to feel compassion for those that most wouldn't.

Rancid__
03-01-06, 16:09
There is free will, we are not slaves of any kind of determination. We can choose whether to change our sex, or to change the way we look. If there is determination then it would exist in a small domain. We can choose whether to go left or right, the only determination is that we will have to choose, and our choises will lead to another choice, and so on..

Tsuyoiko
04-01-06, 11:41
There is free will, we are not slaves of any kind of determination. We can choose whether to change our sex, or to change the way we look. The point is, just how free are those choices really? It is not possible everywhere to change one's sex, for example, and even where it is possible, it is not easy - there are many constraints that make that choice anything but free. And even the decision to want to change one's sex is unlikely to be a free choice, but rather is influenced by a person's physical and mental states, partly determined as early as conception. How are we free to change our look? I would like thinner legs, a smaller nose and nicer skin, but I have no realistic way of changing those things at all.
If there is determination then it would exist in a small domain.I would argue the opposite - that almost everything is determined, and it is the choices that exist only in a small domain
We can choose whether to go left or right, the only determination is that we will have to choose, and our choises will lead to another choice, and so onI think that's a good example of just how limited our choices are - they're down to tiny things like 'left' or 'right', although of course those tiny choices can lead to huge consequences.

Rancid__
04-01-06, 19:11
Actully, you can pay a surgeount to do it. All skin problems, and thin legs, and whatever you want if you can afford it, you got it.

But we can choose, from small things to big. Becouse if we wouldn't have a choice what would be the reason for all the wars, deaths, and sufferings in the world. Man is a master of his own fate.

No-name
04-01-06, 21:27
If I choose to believe in predeterminism, then was it chosen for me? And If I am predestined to be a sinner, why is it my fault? Did I really want to write this or was it my destiny?.....must....turn....logic circuit...OFF-- will only...cause...PAIN.

Rancid__
04-01-06, 21:31
If I choose to believe in predeterminism, then was it chosen for me? And If I am predestined to be a sinner, why is it my fault? Did I really want to write this or was it my destiny?.....must....turn....logic circuit...OFF-- will only...cause...PAIN.
:giggle: :giggle: that's a good thing to do right now:haihai:

Tsuyoiko
05-01-06, 13:19
Actully, you can pay a surgeount to do it. All skin problems, and thin legs, and whatever you want if you can afford it, you got it.Exactly! If you can afford it. So it's not about choice, it is about all the determinism that put you into your current situation. I might decide to get a nose job. It would cost about GBP3,000, so straightaway I can't afford it - I am constrained by finances. I can't borrow the money because I have been raised not to take on debts - so I am constrained by my upbringing. Even if I did have the money, I probably wouldn't do it because even though I don't like my nose I am used to it, and I don't like change - I am constrained by my personality. My husband wouldn't want me to do it - I am constrained by relationships. I am afraid to go into hospital, just one of the many anxieties that I have inherited from various family members - I am constrained by my genes. So what choice do I have really? I could kid myself that I can choose to be reckless and not let those things constrain me, but I know from experience that it's not going to happen.

If you feel that in any given situation you can just do exactly what you want, can you go to the moon tomorrow? Of course not. The difference between that and any other situation is one of degree only, IMO.

Rancid__
05-01-06, 21:01
Exactly! If you can afford it. So it's not about choice, it is about all the determinism that put you into your current situation. I might decide to get a nose job. It would cost about GBP3,000, so straightaway I can't afford it - I am constrained by finances. I can't borrow the money because I have been raised not to take on debts - so I am constrained by my upbringing. Even if I did have the money, I probably wouldn't do it because even though I don't like my nose I am used to it, and I don't like change - I am constrained by my personality. My husband wouldn't want me to do it - I am constrained by relationships. I am afraid to go into hospital, just one of the many anxieties that I have inherited from various family members - I am constrained by my genes. So what choice do I have really? I could kid myself that I can choose to be reckless and not let those things constrain me, but I know from experience that it's not going to happen.

If you feel that in any given situation you can just do exactly what you want, can you go to the moon tomorrow? Of course not. The difference between that and any other situation is one of degree only, IMO.


but your parents decided to raise you like that, it was their choice. You can also decide tomorrow to take a debt and do the nose job. I'm affraid of hights, but that didn't stop me to climb on a mountian. It was my choice to do it, even when I was very affraid. Where's the determinism there?

Revenant
06-01-06, 05:41
Why would you want to take on a huge debt to get a nosejob? Why would you want to climb a mountain when you're afraid of heights? What motivates these actions, and does the same motivation work for every person?

Tsuyoiko
06-01-06, 11:50
but your parents decided to raise you like that, it was their choice. You can also decide tomorrow to take a debt and do the nose job. I'm affraid of hights, but that didn't stop me to climb on a mountian. It was my choice to do it, even when I was very affraid. Where's the determinism there?This could go on forever! My parents didn't choose to raise me that way, but were constrained to by everything that led to that point, and so on ad infinitum.

Rancid, can you choose to go to the moon tomorrow?

Rancid__
08-01-06, 01:42
Yeah, there's this on line page where you pay and buy your part of the moon. So I got my own part of the moon as a present. all I have to do is wait a technological progress and I'm gonna own my own house at the moon.:-)
Anyway, I climbed a mountain becouse I wanted to see the world from a biger height and it was great!!

exactly, you don't want to do a nose job, you just said it yourself, it's your desigion. Anyway you belive what you like, I respect your opinion very much and you gave some good arguments, but I don't feel like I need to discuss this anymore

bureto
17-01-06, 17:47
Has anyone applied this debate to the theory of evolution and natural selection? If the evolution is based on random genetic mutations, wouldn't that meant the mutations are uncaused? And if the mutations are uncaused, determinism would then be false.

Tsuyoiko
17-01-06, 18:52
Has anyone applied this debate to the theory of evolution and natural selection? If the evolution is based on random genetic mutations, wouldn't that meant the mutations are uncaused? And if the mutations are uncaused, determinism would then be false.It's interesting how the same idea brings me to the opposite conclusion! The randomness of natural selection implies to me absence of control, which in turn implies absence of choice.

bureto
17-01-06, 19:08
It's interesting how the same idea brings me to the opposite conclusion! The randomness of natural selection implies to me absence of control, which in turn implies absence of choice.

All that Determinism states is that everything is caused. So, going off of the definition of random - having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective; of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely - it looks as though the genetic mutations are uncaused. i.e. given the exact same set of prior circumstances, the genetic mutation has an equal chance of occuring or not occuring.

So, if these genetic mutations are truly random (uncaused), then by definition Determinism cannot be true.

Edit: Which is not to say that there is another driving force behind evolution and natural selection which has not been discovered yet.

Second Edit: I do believe that free will and determinism are compatible. Your choices and decisions act as the cause, and events prior to that shape your decisions and choices, etc.

Tsuyoiko
17-01-06, 19:20
All that Determinism states is that everything is caused. So, going off of the definition of random - having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective; of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely - it looks as though the genetic mutations are uncaused. i.e. given the exact same set of prior circumstances, the genetic mutation has an equal chance of occuring or not occuring.
So, if these genetic mutations are truly random (uncaused), then by definition Determinism cannot be true.
Edit: Which is not to say that there is another driving force behind evolution and natural selection which has not been discovered yet.OK, on a strict definition of Determinism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism) you're right. I'm not really applying it to every event. I'm concentrating just on human choice, which I think is at least partly, probably mostly, determined. See David Hume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume#Free_will_versus_determinism).

Edit: Just seen your second edit - that's what I'm talking about!

bureto
17-01-06, 19:33
OK, on a strict definition of Determinism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism) you're right. I'm not really applying it to every event. I'm concentrating just on human choice, which I think is at least partly, probably mostly, determined. See David Hume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume#Free_will_versus_determinism).
Edit: Just seen your second edit - that's what I'm talking about!

I absolutely agree with your statement and the Hume article. Determinism is necessary for free will. If our actions didn't have a cause or purpose, we'd all just be running around in chaos. Although I think it's pretty obvious there's no case for indeterminism (which I'm assuming means that nothing has a cause).

However, my original point was simply the implications the theory of evolution (if correct) would have on determinism. If genetic mutations are random, determinism would be false. But just because determinism is false, doesn't mean our decision and actions aren't caused. It just means that not everything has cause.

Maciamo
25-12-06, 15:35
Modern neurosciences supports determinism more than free will. Based on the principle that everything influences everything constantly (permanent momentum of the universe acting like an eternal "domino effect"), I am also one of those who think that free will is an illusion, a deception of our self-consciousness.

What we commonly assumed to be "free will" is a conditionment through learning and experiencing. People have to learn to behave like society wants them to, to be respectful of laws, rules or other people... These things are not innate, and neither is free will. People are endowed with reasoning skills but they are limited by their knowledge, experience, environment, mood, health and many other things. So our decisions are based on a very limited range of possibilities in each situation.

Some conditionments are so strong that it requires an incredible amount of energy to go against them. This is true of addictions and habits (e.g. smoking, sex, browsing the Internet...), of phobias, or social rules (how many people would walk naked in the street even for a lot of money ?), or even of politeness.

The will to stop an addiction is also determined by many possible factors : realisation that it hurts one's health (through experience and observation), realisation that one is addicted (which can only happen if the person has the knowledge that some things are addictive), being told by others to stop because it damages us or being challenged to be able to stop an addiction (external incentive), etc. This shows that every single of our "own" decisions are in fact the result of at least one external stimulus, whether we realise it or not.

Even once we have past all the conditionments, our behaviour and decision are greatly influenced by our environment (food, comfort level, feeling of danger, material needs...) and by our mood (also reliant on the environment, e.g. temperature, oxygen-level, air pressure, tiredness, health problems, annoying people, etc.). As we cannot control the world around us, our freedom is actually very limited, and our free will always dependent on the environment.

This article from The Econonist gives more extreme examples : Liberalism and neurology : Free to choose? (http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8453850)

As our decisions are always made based on our genetic neurological predisposition ("physical brain"), and our present knowledge, experience and mood ("biochemistry of the brain"), it can reasonably be said that our whole existence is purely determined. It isn't determined only by our environement, by by our physical body (brain included), and by the whole universe at a varying degree and intensity.

It is essential to understand that we are part of a whole. Our body isn't separated from our environment. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the heat that warms up our body, the light that act on our mood and skin, the people we interact with (willingly or not), the colours we see, the sounds we hear... everthing interacts with us constantly, influences our being, and eventually determines our decision making.


Not understanding the functioning of the human brain causes people to believe in things that do not exist like free will, the soul, heaven, or even god...