Free will

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Re: Free will

Postby Ayn Marx » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:36 am

romansh wrote:For example, we see someone do something that we sense is morally reprehensible. Do we see this as a result of cause and effect, or perhaps more dualistically a victim of a determined universe, or completely dualistic that this person is worthy of retribution because this person has chosen a particular path? Of course there are a whole bunch of shades within and beyond the limits of the spectrum I have described.

Here's a puzzle at the heart of questions of retribution for involuntary acts of evil. Let's suppose free will is only an illusion but popular 'wisdom' pretends our choices are open therefore if damaging to others punishable by law. Anyone planning an act of a criminal nature may take into account the justice system will deem them guilty of making the wrong choice, even if they believe they have no choice. Which way to the go? What do they really believe?
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Re: Free will

Postby AB517 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:23 am

Having free will or not having free will should be discussed independent of punishment at first. Because we think we need a certain punishment for a certain crime should not determine if there is free will. Personal agenda's need to be closely monitored when looking for the truth. :|
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Re: Free will

Postby Ayn Marx » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:20 pm

AB517 wrote:Having free will or not having free will should be discussed independent of punishment at first. Because we think we need a certain punishment for a certain crime should not determine if there is free will. Personal agenda's need to be closely monitored when looking for the truth. :|

And if our species universal propensity to punish is inextricably entangled with a belief in free will?
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:51 am

Ayn Marx wrote:
romansh wrote:Here's a puzzle at the heart of questions of retribution for involuntary acts of evil. Let's suppose free will is only an illusion but popular 'wisdom' pretends our choices are open therefore if damaging to others punishable by law. Anyone planning an act of a criminal nature may take into account the justice system will deem them guilty of making the wrong choice, even if they believe they have no choice. Which way to the go? What do they really believe?

Our popular belief in free will comes from the examination of our thoughts. So if we look at nothing else it is easy to have the belief we have free will. But if we believe our thought is a result of brain activity (and thought is synonymous with brain activity) then it is a little harder to see freedom in this.
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Re: Free will

Postby Ayn Marx » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:36 pm

romansh wrote:
Ayn Marx wrote:
romansh wrote:Here's a puzzle at the heart of questions of retribution for involuntary acts of evil. Let's suppose free will is only an illusion but popular 'wisdom' pretends our choices are open therefore if damaging to others punishable by law. Anyone planning an act of a criminal nature may take into account the justice system will deem them guilty of making the wrong choice, even if they believe they have no choice. Which way to the go? What do they really believe?

Our popular belief in free will comes from the examination of our thoughts. So if we look at nothing else it is easy to have the belief we have free will. But if we believe our thought is a result of brain activity (and thought is synonymous with brain activity) then it is a little harder to see freedom in this.

Brain activity covers a multitude of sins, not all of them fully understood. Is it not possible that holding a belief in free-will could actually operate as a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Also, believing punishment will accrue from any action considered immoral by others can alter how we plan, implement or not implement those actions. It's all very chicken and egg.
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:42 am

Ayn Marx wrote:Brain activity covers a multitude of sins, not all of them fully understood. Is it not possible that holding a belief in free-will could actually operate as a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I must admit I don't think so.
Ayn Marx wrote:Also, believing punishment will accrue from any action considered immoral by others can alter how we plan, implement or not implement those actions. It's all very chicken and egg.

I am sure it does ... but this is not freedom.

If someone puts a gun to my head forces me to do something I don't want to do. Most people would argue I was not free. If there was no imminent threat then they would say I was free. This not what the discussion is about.

That you think make choices is not the issue here. The issue is what lies underneath those choices. We are stuck at a very superficial psychological level. But our psychology responds to cause and effect as well. Both at a biochemical and environmental level.



Carol asked what do the "isms" have to do with free will?

Speaking personally with the loss of my positive belief in free will, I considered the nature of reality. I never believed in duality and was a materialist. But I never thought about the consequences of materialism. So if we believe in cause and effect then the concept of free will becomes a nonsense ... unless we believe in a dualistic self that can make choices that are independent of history and current events.

Some might quite correctly argue we can choose among perceived future histories. But then these perceptions and choices are a result of past history and current events.

Monism for me best described the world I perceive.
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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:54 am

romansh wrote:
Monism for me best described the world I perceive.


But what sometimes gets lost in defending a personal world view is that this, being a forum for people of all persuasions, that others are perfectly entitled to hold a different world view.

It is a sort of unwritten forum policy that we are never to demand of others their "valid" reasons for them having a world view at variance with our own.
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:04 pm

Bill wrote:
romansh wrote:
Monism for me best described the world I perceive.


But what sometimes gets lost in defending a personal world view is that this, being a forum for people of all persuasions, that others are perfectly entitled to hold a different world view.

It is a sort of unwritten forum policy that we are never to demand of others their "valid" reasons for them having a world view at variance with our own.

Are there any smiley faces here Bill?

This in case you have not noticed is a forum. A place of discussion. Am I not allowed to ask their reasons for their world views, and discuss the validity of the reason.

For you what is a demand is a question for me.
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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:22 pm

If someone wants me to change my world view to theirs, I am entitled to be given a reason that is valid to me for making such a change. Until such a wish is voiced, no, I have no right to pick on someone else and ask them to give me a valid reason why they have a world view that is different from mine.

If I should ever forget that, there will be more than one fellow member who will quickly remind that I possess no such right.

On this forum, we can engage in the entertaining task of trying to answer questions raised by anyone at all. With the possible exception of not asking questions specifically designed to make others join us in a debate where those we are questioning are tasked with defending their viewpoints.
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Re: Free will

Postby Carol » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:28 am

I've always seemed to have the task of defending my viewpoint on this forum or at least to give a reasonable explanation for where I might have come up with such a viewpoint. And not be like Abel to offer such lame excuses for my beliefs. Anyway.....

Free will: could it be possible that we only "think" we have free will yet are somehow governed by innate elements to make somewhat calculated decisions? Is there some truth about a full moon and the pull of the tides responsible for part of our decision making process?

I know...I keep asking the same questions knowing there is no exact answers. Another head scratcher and "I don't know" comment. Will we ever understand our actions and the human expression of life? :?
"These people believe there is no truth to seek in nature, but only in the comparison of texts." Galileo
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