Free will

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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:36 am

For an apple to be "free", you would be getting something for nothing. We are told that this is in total breach of the underlying "laws" of a monistic universe, so if we live in a monistic universe, free apples don't exist. Using non-sequitur logic, you could then go on to "prove" that apples themselves don't really exist, but I will leave that as a homework exercise for you to complete in your own time.

(One clue that we might actually live in a monistic universe is the widely accepted notion that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you have ever had an apple for your lunch, you will instantly realize that it could not possibly have been free, regardless of which delusion you were smitten with at the time.)
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Re: Free will

Postby AB517 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:37 am

2142 Posta diners later. we are in the exact same spot. monism as a religion falls as short as any other. But as a model of reality used in conjunction with other models monism is good. "pluralism", by definition, uses everything at our disposal to analyze events. So I would lean towards it.
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:14 pm

Here's a nice quote from Galen Strawson that seems to address your point AB:

The facts are clear, and they have been known for a long time. When it comes to the metaphysics of free will, Andre Gide’s remark is apt: "Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." It seems the only freedom that we can have is Compatibilist freedom. If - since - that is not enough for ultimate responsibility, we cannot have ultimate responsibility.

The debate continues, and some have thought that philosophy ought to move on. There is little reason to expect that it will, as new minds are seduced by the problem. And yet the facts are clear. One cannot be ultimately responsible for one's character or mental nature in any way at all. Heracleitus, Novalis, George Eliot, Nietzsche, Henry James and others are not quite right in so far as they say (in their various ways) that character is destiny; for external circumstances are also part of destiny. But the point seems good, and final, when it comes to the question of ultimate moral responsibility.
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:32 pm

gilnv wrote: But, lets say that someone offers a free apple. That is free. Even though we have to take it in our hands, or burn a calorie wondering if we want it, it is still free. But if we have to buy two apples to get a free third apple, then it isn't really free.!!

Obviously there are many aspects of being free.
1) without monetary cost
2) without physical restraint, eg handcuffs and jail
3) being available ... I am available (free) for lunch
4) without ie free of debris
5) without emotional constraint he is a free man until he gets married
these are few of everyday uses of the word free.

and then there is the more philosophical meaning of the word free ... independent of cause. ie free will that is independent of cause. Now there may be an immediate rejoinder that there are other definitions of free will. But I would argue regardless of what we call this will that is independent of cause; its reality or its absence has immediate implications of how we view ourselves and this world.

Take a look at the apple freely given ... there is a whole causal mesh that led to the apple being given apparently freely. There is a cost in that act of giving. Some costs might include somebody else does not get the apple, the local wasps would have liked it if it lay on the earth rotting. A passing bear might have liked it and now a seedling is less likely to sprout.

You might like this parable.
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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:33 am

So - there are lots of definitions of "free" but those who argue that free will is a delusion hone in on the one that creates an oxymoron and use that semantic trick to show that it cannot exist.

And yet we are constantly chided for pointing out that the no-free will position is nothing other than shoring up a case that when you have created an oxymoron you have created something that cannot exist.

Some decisions are made subconsciously and emerge in our thought processes up to 10 seconds later. That is when chemical reactions really are the source of what we chose to do. However, not one experiment has confirmed that a change of mind - the pulling back before the act is carried out - is also done at the subconscious level.

Given all the constraints of education,genetics, the current physical environment etc, etc to restrict which possible choices are available to us, the question then becomes when we make any one choice, was it possible - rewinding back to the same moment in space and time - for us to have made a different one? Is the choice you are going to make tomorrow one that has not changed in any degree since the day you were born? The answer "yes" brings into focus the biggest problem I have with a total absence of free will: its absence turns us into puppets without even having a puppet-master. All decisions would be arbitrary and no weight is ever given to their consequences. No wonder in order to shore up the "there is no free will" you have to also show that morality also does not exist: for morality hinges on the delusion that people can do evil acts. If your choices are already set in stone, then you cannot be responsible for what you do.

I am drawn towards the view that if humans have no ability to decide what to do next, then they are little more than talking crocodiles. But if "free will" is the ability to pick from the choices available to us, then we can let crocodiles remain blissfully ignorant of their lack of free will while we accept that we are indeed responsible for our actions.

If free will does not exist (and we have no reason as yet to accept that it definitely does not), then I think we need to quickly invent something else to replace it, which looks so similar to the original model that the change will not be noticeable. .
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:55 am

Bill wrote: So - there are lots of definitions of "free" but those who argue that free will is a delusion hone in on the one that creates an oxymoron and use that semantic trick to show that it cannot exist.

I had this premonition that this response would come. And yet in the very paragraph I mention a definition, I explain the problem which seems to by pass you completely. See below:
rom wrote:and then their is the more philosophical meaning of the word free ... independent of cause. ie free will that is independent of cause. Now there may be an immediate rejoinder that there are other definitions of free will. But I would argue regardless of what we call this will that is independent of cause; its reality or its absence has immediate implications of how we view ourselves and this world.


Bill wrote: And yet we are constantly chided for pointing out that the no-free will position is nothing other than shoring up a case that when you have created an oxymoron you have created something that cannot exist.


Good ... we are in agreement ... this definition of free will is an oxymoron or a logical impossibility. Are we in agreement that our wills (and hence all the actions we carry out) are the aggregate of all the quantum phenomena that are going on around and within us?
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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:28 am

You seem to be too emotionally attached to the version of the term "free will" that you insist on using - hence some of your more mealy mouthed postings which seem to have been written solely with the intent to cut and slash. Incidentally, if it should happen that you are correct in claiming that I have no choice in all that I do - why do you get so angry in your responses to me? If I have no choice in what I write. your emotion seems to be merely self serving.

Your position that all our acts are an aggregate of all the phenomenon is ... - well, it leads deftly back to their being no choices, just the results of chemical (and quantum) effects that make all our decisions inevitable. You seem to be driven to show we have no choice. Where did that drive come from? (Don't tell me, let me guess: you have no choice in the matter).

But let me ask you one more time - if you were able to wind the clock back again to the very moment that you made any one decision, and all the other environmental states returned to their identical settings - could you have possibly made a different decision?

And while we are at it - do you have any rational on what exactly it is, that causes a change in our minds just a split second later - considering that the stimuli cannot have changed a whole lot in just a split second?
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Re: Free will

Postby whateverist » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:08 pm

I seriously doubt that there is anything I can figure out which will result 'in sawing the limb out from under me', as so often happens in cartoons. The free will/ determinism discussion lacks the power to nullify the me involved in the discussion. No consideration of the logical implications of a description of events can ever dissolve the agency of the experiencer of those events. Important to take such a thing with a grain of salt, or maybe a truck load.
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Re: Free will

Postby romansh » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:51 am

Bill wrote: You seem to be too emotionally attached to the version of the term "free will" that you insist on using - hence some of your more mealy mouthed postings which seem to have been written solely with the intent to cut and slash.

Actually I am not emotionally attached to the term. But I do think ultimately it is the bottom line to how people see themselves and their supposed free will. I have tried giving it [this concept] a made up name but you did not bite.
If I do seem mealy mouthed - my apologies, but in my defence you do continually mischaracterize what I am trying to say.

Bill wrote: Incidentally, if it should happen that you are correct in claiming that I have no choice in all that I do - why do you get so angry in your responses to me? If I have no choice in what I write. your emotion seems to be merely self serving.

I am not claiming we don't have choices. Only that these choices are not what they seem and they certainly are not free. At least in the sense of without cause.
How many times do I have to repeat this.
It is my frustration that is showing Bill. But then you are not as pure as the driven snow either.

Bill wrote: Your position that all our acts are an aggregate of all the phenomenon is ... - well, it leads deftly back to their being no choices, just the results of chemical (and quantum) effects that make all our decisions inevitable. You seem to be driven to show we have no choice. Where did that drive come from? (Don't tell me, let me guess: you have no choice in the matter).

Inevitable? Just a result of cause and effect perhaps.
My drive? The chemical reactions that are going in me and how the universe is unfolding.
In a physical sense rather than a psychological sense where do your thoughts come from Bill?
Bill wrote: And while we are at it - do you have any rational on what exactly it is, that causes a change in our minds just a split second later - considering that the stimuli cannot have changed a whole lot in just a split second?

By these split second decisions where we seem to change our minds, that seem to come from nowhere and are almost reflexive ... is this what you mean by free will? Or do you mean the deep contemplative decisions. I would argue both come from an incredibly complex suite of chemical reactions. Where do you think they come from?

So you did not answer my question do you agree that our wills and consequently actions are a result of the aggregate of all the quantum phenomena going on around us? It appears not; though it is not clear. So if our 'choices' are not the result of our environmental aggregate quantum phenomena, then what might they be a result of?
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Re: Free will

Postby Bill » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:32 am

You have made the claim that free will does not exist. Those of us who ask you to support your position do not have to show that free will does exist.

You keep asking (sometimes demanding) that I produce evidence, logic, rational that it does exist. That is not my job.

You say we have the ability to make choices, but keep avoid stating whether, at the time of making one, we could have made a different one. If we really could have made a different choice, then whatever you want to call the mechanism, it is one that gives the result of freedom of choice. On the other hand, If we really could not have made a different one, then that does make a very tight case that humans really are crocodiles stalking about on two legs.

Your skepticism of all mental processes seems to have led you the position that humans don't really have any of the traits that make them human. Which - if a true reflection of the depth of your skepticism - has led to an equally silly non-sequitur conclusion that that reached by using thermodynamics to show that free will is a logical impossibility. The conclusions you have reached may be a reflection of reality: it is the route taken that leaves us nonplussed.
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