What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
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21-11-2014, 08:09 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(21-11-2014 08:03 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(21-11-2014 08:00 AM)Chas Wrote:  Yabut, the evidence shows that there may - in some circumstances - be action prior to cognition. It doesn't show more than that.

There are no examples where there is "action" (in the brain) prior to cognition.
The entire concept of "Free Will" is predicated on the (false) notion that one can be, and is "fully aware" of all the elements that go into a decision AT THE TIME is its made. That has been debunked.

I think that is either too broad a claim or too facile. How can one ever be "fully aware" of all the factors?

And it seems to rely on a definition of 'free will' that no one actually holds.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-11-2014, 08:17 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(21-11-2014 08:09 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(21-11-2014 08:03 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  There are no examples where there is "action" (in the brain) prior to cognition.
The entire concept of "Free Will" is predicated on the (false) notion that one can be, and is "fully aware" of all the elements that go into a decision AT THE TIME is its made. That has been debunked.

I think that is either too broad a claim or too facile. How can one ever be "fully aware" of all the factors?

Exactly.
Then how could one ever claim to be "free to decide" if one is NOT "fully aware" of all the factors ? The decision is being made on the basis of things one is not aware, fully. That's hardly "free to decide", if the decision is being influenced by factors which one is not fully cognizant of.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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21-11-2014, 08:25 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(21-11-2014 08:17 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(21-11-2014 08:09 AM)Chas Wrote:  I think that is either too broad a claim or too facile. How can one ever be "fully aware" of all the factors?

Exactly.
Then how could one ever claim to be "free to decide" if one is NOT "fully aware" of all the factors ? The decision is being made on the basis of things one is not aware, fully. That's hardly "free to decide", if the decision is being influenced by factors which one is not fully cognizant of.

And that is where I find that definition of 'free will' to be less than useful.

The more interesting question is about the nature of choice, which is what most people mean when they talk about free will.
How is it that we experience the appearance of conscious choice? How much of it is conscious? Is it an illusion or does thinking feed back to alter the content of the mind? And how does it do that?

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-11-2014, 02:09 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2014 02:15 PM by Ace.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
IMO this sums up the religious excuse nicely
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heaven and hell are nothing more than a glorified carrot and stick, how else is the "ultimate being" supposed to make us do anything without artificially skewing the outcomes of our actions
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21-11-2014, 02:14 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by certain prevailing factors. Such prevailing factors that have been studied in the past have included metaphysical constraints (such as logical, nomological, or theological determinism),[1] physical constraints (such as chains or imprisonment), social constraints (such as threat of punishment or censure), and mental constraints (such as compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions).

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will
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21-11-2014, 02:31 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2014 02:35 PM by Michael_Tadlock.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
Free will generally means the ability for a normal person to make decisions uncoerced or unmolested; either by other individuals or the environment. If a person is being held up at gun point and told to do things we understand they are not exercising free will, if a person is trapped under a boulder we generally understand that they are not exercising free will.

From a philosophical positions, free will doesn't exist. Our decisions are always constrained either by our lack of insight, or by some factors in our environment. If you believe that the world is governed by strict natural laws, as I do, then human beings are nothing more than complex biological machines. Our inability to adequately understand or appreciate why we make decisions does not constitute a truly random agent; that is if it is possible to predict what a person will do before they do it, then that person's actions are governed by deterministic events and they are acting then both predicatively and re actively, not "freely".
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21-11-2014, 06:23 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
May be an ancillary issue, but if god punishes you for rejecting him and rewards you for believing, how can true faith really exist? You've made a decision based on fear and/or reward, does it even matter if the perceived threat/benefit is the true motivator behind your (faith), is that not the exact same thing as being forced?

How does real faith even exist with this threat/reward paradigm? Is god just being mysterious again or just too stupid to understand how rigged his system is?
Or the myth makers; once again, come short in thinking through the ramifications of such a tainted and corrupted system?

Another issue, I'm not so sure this research is saying anything about long-term decisions, what about something you've considered for years? You've had plenty of time to consider many aspects of a decision or belief, this spontaneous decision process would be of a markedly different nature as opposed to a long-term decision wouldn't it?

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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27-11-2014, 12:20 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
A really dumb movie about an orca?
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27-11-2014, 09:07 AM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
What most people think of as free will does not actually exist. There is nothing going on inside our brains at the subatomic level that could provide for this without resorting to magic. In the end, your brain is a biological computer. That is rather unpalatable to many people but true nonetheless.
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27-11-2014, 01:55 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(21-11-2014 08:25 AM)Chas Wrote:  The more interesting question is about the nature of choice, which is what most people mean when they talk about free will.
How is it that we experience the appearance of conscious choice? How much of it is conscious? Is it an illusion or does thinking feed back to alter the content of the mind? And how does it do that?

Aye, there's the rub. The first question is how would we ever go about determining the answers to those questions?

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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