What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
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27-09-2013, 08:00 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(26-09-2013 11:20 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(26-09-2013 09:48 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Because we have no proof that free will does not exist, there is no reason to drastically change our way of life because of the possibility that it does not exist.
If science proves that there is no free will, I would accept it.


Yes we do, and I've been over it before. Neurology makes it quite clear, even now, that our subconscious and decision making faculties can be subtly influenced in statistically significant ways. fMRI has also allowed us to monitor a subject's brain and be able to tell what choice they are going to make, sometimes seconds before the subject is consciously aware of their choice. This is all evidence that destroys our traditional concept of absolute freewill.
I am not sure what you mean by "traditional concept of absolute free will" but
it is probably not what I understand under free will. I do not claim that we are conscious of a decision before or even while we make it. But they are still our decisions. Ever since Freud we know that the subconsciousness is involved in decision making. But the subconsciousness is part of us, and is also shaped by our consciousness and our decisions in the past.

I have free will, because no-one can manipulate me to an extent that they
completely control all my decisions. If you can manipulate all my decisions,
you could rightfully say that I do not have free will. But unfortunately for you,
you cannot.

(I have to go now, so I'll respond to the other stuff later)
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27-09-2013, 09:06 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 08:00 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I have free will, because no-one can manipulate me to an extent that they
completely control all my decisions. If you can manipulate all my decisions,
you could rightfully say that I do not have free will. But unfortunately for you,
you cannot.

If I understand EK's argument, the exact opposite is true. You may view free will as someone walking up to you and saying "Lift your right arm," and you saying "no." In that case, yes, you can exercise a certain amount of free will. But your decisions can absolutely be manipulated, and your subconscious determines what you see as your 'choices' in a certain situation. This can be done through force, subconscious influence (think advertising), emotional influence, etc.

What if that person actually wanted you to not lift your right arm, and knew you'd refuse if they told you to?
What if that person wanted you to think about lifting your arm?
What if that person started cutting off a toe every time you refused to lift your arm? Do you have the 'free will' to overcome your survival instinct and desire to avoid pain?
What if that person threatened to harm a loved one if you refused to lift your arm? Do you have the 'free will' to overcome the desire to protect the people important to you?

Your instincts will take over and make the decision for you.

Furthermore, think about your next 'A or B' decision. When you go to buy a shirt, did you find yourself going to a certain store? Picking a certain color? Choosing between two colors? Three colors? Do you really even need a new shirt? Why did you pick that particular store? Do you see it every day on your way home? Why is it we develop preferences for seemingly arbitrary things?

At least for me personally, when I drill down to the root of a decision, I eventually hit a wall where I simply admit 'because that's what I want.' I think, personally, that that is the point where the subconscious influence takes over. If I'm in a room and have the choice between two doors, do I really have free will? I didn't get to pick how many doors there are in the room. I don't get to pick a new way out of the room. I was given two options, for reasons unknown, and am allowed the simple choice of these two options and nothing more. Real free will would be me simply walking through the wall, or wishing the room away. I think it works the same for use when we make decisions. Our brain gives us a couple of doors and we pick; we have no clue why the doors are there.

Interesting stuff to think about!

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27-09-2013, 09:32 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 09:06 AM)guitar_nut Wrote:  
(27-09-2013 08:00 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I have free will, because no-one can manipulate me to an extent that they
completely control all my decisions. If you can manipulate all my decisions,
you could rightfully say that I do not have free will. But unfortunately for you,
you cannot.

If I understand EK's argument, the exact opposite is true. You may view free will as someone walking up to you and saying "Lift your right arm," and you saying "no." In that case, yes, you can exercise a certain amount of free will. But your decisions can absolutely be manipulated, and your subconscious determines what you see as your 'choices' in a certain situation. This can be done through force, subconscious influence (think advertising), emotional influence, etc.

What if that person actually wanted you to not lift your right arm, and knew you'd refuse if they told you to?
What if I knew that that person actually wanted me to not lift my arm? I would just lift my arm to spite him.
Quote:What if that person wanted you to think about lifting your arm?
What if that person started cutting off a toe every time you refused to lift your arm?
I would buy a gun and shoot the person.
Quote: Do you have the 'free will' to overcome your survival instinct and desire to avoid pain?
No I cannot go against logic. I cannot want, what I don't want. I cannot desire what I don't desire. This, however, does not look like a severe limitation.
I am not saying that I can manipulate myself in to wanting something I do not want. That would be a logical fallacy. But YOU cannot completely manipulate me.
I see that you are trying to manipulate me to go against my survival instinct, but you are unsuccessful.
Quote:What if that person threatened to harm a loved one if you refused to lift your arm? Do you have the 'free will' to overcome the desire to protect the people important to you?

Your instincts will take over and make the decision for you.
My instincts IS me.
Quote:Furthermore, think about your next 'A or B' decision. When you go to buy a shirt, did you find yourself going to a certain store? Picking a certain color? Choosing between two colors? Three colors? Do you really even need a new shirt? Why did you pick that particular store? Do you see it every day on your way home? Why is it we develop preferences for seemingly arbitrary things?
Making free decisions, is different from reflecting on those decisions. Our preferences are shaped in part by decisions in our past. Even if the environment influences us, to some extend we choose the environment that we are in.
Quote:At least for me personally, when I drill down to the root of a decision, I eventually hit a wall where I simply admit 'because that's what I want.'
And that's OK. It is still your decision.
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27-09-2013, 09:32 AM (This post was last modified: 27-09-2013 09:39 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 08:00 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I am not sure what you mean by "traditional concept of absolute free will" but
it is probably not what I understand under free will. I do not claim that we are conscious of a decision before or even while we make it. But they are still our decisions. Ever since Freud we know that the subconsciousness is involved in decision making. But the subconsciousness is part of us, and is also shaped by our consciousness and our decisions in the past.

I have free will, because no-one can manipulate me to an extent that they
completely control all my decisions. If you can manipulate all my decisions,
you could rightfully say that I do not have free will. But unfortunately for you,
you cannot.

(I have to go now, so I'll respond to the other stuff later)


I've already addressed this, so please allow me to quote myself for the sake of brevity.

(23-09-2013 08:41 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Then we have different ideas of what constitutes freewill. I make the assertion that since you apparently do not control the things that influence your decisions and choices (your genes, environmental influences, chemical reactions, brain structure), you lack the true freedom of will or choice. You seem to just want to label as 'freewill' your illusion of self containment and self control; it is an arbitrary demarcation in the line of causality in a deterministic universe. You are influenced by things beyond your control, and these influence your brain and your decisions and everything else you perceive as your 'freewill'; but at base you don't control those influences.

By 'traditional freewill' I mean the traditionally accepted version of freewill (that I have alternative referred to as 'absolute freewill' to further clarify my point at times), whereby the faithful attempt to use freewill to solve the Problem of Evil and justify Hell.

What you continue to argue for, without evidence or sufficient reasoning, is at most 'limited will'. It's not freewill as it's been traditionally accepted and used by theists to justify Hell or Evil. So it appears to me that you've simply redefined 'freewill' (inadvertently or not) in an effort to save the concept, unknowingly altering it beyond it's original meaning and usage.


(27-09-2013 08:00 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I do not claim that we are conscious of a decision before or even while we make it.

That right there throws huge doubt onto the freewill justification of of both Evil and Hell.

(27-09-2013 08:00 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  But the subconsciousness is part of us, and is also shaped by our consciousness and our decisions in the past.

With your earlier admission, this is simply circular reasoning. Our consciousness shapes our unconsciousness, which we are not in control of but influences our consciousness, which we use to make conscious decisions that shape our unconscious, that we don't control and influences our consciousness, which... on and on ad nausea. Once you accept that you don't have control over your subconscious and the things it does, then traditional/absolute freewill becomes untenable.

If you wish to redefine your 'freewill' as someone not being able to 100% predict or manipulate you, then you have to realize that what you are arguing for is not 'freewill' as it is traditionally understood, nor can your position be falsified. Thus it's put on the same footing as the existence of gods and the supernatural, and unless you have positive evidence that refutes all of collected psychology and neuroscience, then you are left with an incredible impotent position to argue from; and no one else need take your argument seriously.

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27-09-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  What if I knew that that person actually wanted me to not lift my arm? I would just lift my arm to spite him.

Why do you want to spite him? Do you control that feeling of spite, or do you simply react to it?

(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  
Quote:What if that person wanted you to think about lifting your arm?
What if that person started cutting off a toe every time you refused to lift your arm?
I would buy a gun and shoot the person.

Easy there, psycho. Tongue

Kidding, I know which one you're referring to. Let's assume you've been taken prisoner (which happens) and are being tortured (which happens). You have limited free will. Your real desire is to not be tied to a chair while some nut-job cuts off your toes. But alas, your desires go unrequited.

(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  No I cannot go against logic. I cannot want, what I don't want. I cannot desire what I don't desire. This, however, does not look like a severe limitation.
I am not saying that I can manipulate myself in to wanting something I do not want. That would be a logical fallacy. But YOU cannot completely manipulate me.
I see that you are trying to manipulate me to go against my survival instinct, but you are unsuccessful.

I think that's the point people are trying to make. You don't control your wants. You react to them. A killer wants to harm someone. Theists believe that you'll be punished eternally for murder. But the killer doesn't chose to have that deviant desire. From a theist point of view, that doesn't work. Real free will would allow the killer to chose to not have that desire. I don't want to kill, or rape, or harm others. But I also don't have those urges. How is it fair that I don't have those urges, a killer does, and we both are judged by the same standard? Again, I'm talking from a theist viewpoint.

(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  My instincts IS me.

Agreed. But you have no control over them. You are a slave to them. There is no free will. Often, the instinct to live will overcome reason and 'force' us to make bad decisions.

(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  ]
Making free decisions, is different from reflecting on those decisions. Our preferences are shaped in part by decisions in our past. Even if the environment influences us, to some extend we choose the environment that we are in.

You chose your environment based on your available means. A child, for example, has almost no control over their environment. Yet development during childhood has a tremendous influence on your subconscious, and your subconscious has a tremendous amount of influence on your decision making.

(27-09-2013 09:32 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  And that's OK. It is still your decision.

My decision... or my reaction? Big Grin

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27-09-2013, 09:50 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 09:46 AM)guitar_nut Wrote:  I think that's the point people are trying to make. You don't control your wants. You react to them. A killer wants to harm someone. Theists believe that you'll be punished eternally for murder. But the killer doesn't chose to have that deviant desire. From a theist point of view, that doesn't work. Real free will would allow the killer to chose to not have that desire. I don't want to kill, or rape, or harm others. But I also don't have those urges. How is it fair that I don't have those urges, a killer does, and we both are judged by the same standard? Again, I'm talking from a theist viewpoint.

That right there is one of the core of the issue I've been trying to get at, presented very succinctly. Thumbsup

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27-09-2013, 09:58 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
Free will? A faulty measurement of decision space. Thumbsup

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27-09-2013, 10:08 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(26-09-2013 11:20 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(26-09-2013 09:48 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  There is no proof that the universe is completely deterministic. If we could completely predict everything then that would be a proof. I also do not see how
you could prove that the universe is deterministic otherwise. So again, most of our daily lives presumes that there the world is not deterministic. It presumes
that there are different possibilities for the future. So there is no reason to change
our lives because of the possibility that the universe is deterministic.

Wow, you're basically identical to a theist using the 'god of the gaps' to argue for the existence of their god. 'Science doesn't know 100% for sure, therefor I can cram my cherished belief in there'. Also what you are asking here is the same as every creationist that complains there are no 'transitional fossils', then when presented with one, claim that there are now only 2 more gaps to be accounted for. They want a continuous and unbroken line of fossils, or else it's not good enough for them; failing to realize that fossils are only one small piece of the evolutionary puzzle.
More or less by definition, science studies things that can be predicted. It relies on experiments that can be reproduced. It is therefore not surprising that many theories in physics are deterministic. But some of the models are non-deterministic,
such as statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, etc.
But there is also a lot of stuff that science cannot predict. Claiming that science can "in principle" predict everything is not a scientific claim, but a metaphysical one. Either you can predict stuff and you demonstrate it, or you cannot. The quantifier, "in principle", just means "in your imagination".

I reject metaphysical notions.
If your notion of determinism is not metaphysical, please explain your definition of determinism and how we can test this hypothesis. Otherwise I don't care.

If you claim that science can predict a lot of stuff, and even more so in the future, I agree. If you claim that science can predict everything at some point in the future, then there is no way of testing this hypothesis. At no point in the past have we been able to predict everything, so there is simply no precedence for such a claim.
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27-09-2013, 10:13 AM (This post was last modified: 27-09-2013 10:16 AM by absols.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
free will in what u mean, is to know that u can b totally objective, u can know what u desire and also why do u desire it, to realize it urself and that would give u much more satisfaction then those projections that are manipulating u by others above ur heads

then it is about the choice to b objective so free, what is objective is always the free realisator to the object absolutely clear

but it is also the choice to assume urself, u can also then realize objectively murder but u would assume it entirely

one of the things i hate in life, is what everyone is insisting to believe that a criminal has some urges and needs that explain his act

no, on the contrary criminals are way more objective then nice people looking

as it shows of u too, clearly u r shown how far u dont care about anything at all, it is a nature of being in depth shown by truth

all u have left to do is to start taking responsability of urself as u r alone, and assume being relative in absolute ways
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27-09-2013, 10:19 AM (This post was last modified: 27-09-2013 10:27 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(27-09-2013 10:08 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  
(26-09-2013 11:20 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Wow, you're basically identical to a theist using the 'god of the gaps' to argue for the existence of their god. 'Science doesn't know 100% for sure, therefor I can cram my cherished belief in there'. Also what you are asking here is the same as every creationist that complains there are no 'transitional fossils', then when presented with one, claim that there are now only 2 more gaps to be accounted for. They want a continuous and unbroken line of fossils, or else it's not good enough for them; failing to realize that fossils are only one small piece of the evolutionary puzzle.
More or less by definition, science studies things that can be predicted. It relies on experiments that can be reproduced. It is therefore not surprising that many theories in physics are deterministic. But some of the models are non-deterministic,
such as statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, etc.
But there is also a lot of stuff that science cannot predict. Claiming that science can "in principle" predict everything is not a scientific claim, but a metaphysical one. Either you can predict stuff and you demonstrate it, or you cannot. The quantifier, "in principle", just means "in your imagination".

I reject metaphysical notions.
If your notion of determinism is not metaphysical, please explain your definition of determinism and how we can test this hypothesis. Otherwise I don't care.

If you claim that science can predict a lot of stuff, and even more so in the future, I agree. If you claim that science can predict everything at some point in the future, then there is no way of testing this hypothesis. At no point in the past have we been able to predict everything, so there is simply no precedence for such a claim.


That's a missrepresentation.

How many birds were airborne in the sky over Washington DC at exactly 9AM EST this morning? There is an exact numerical value answer to this question, the answer exists in principle even if we may never have a satisfactorily accurate answer in practice.

We may never be able to develop the 100% accurate predictable scientific models, but in a deterministic universe, those answers still exist in principal even if they are never achieved in practice.

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