Yet another post on "Free Will"
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05-12-2015, 09:06 AM
Yet another post on "Free Will"
Set two glasses full of liquid in front of a person. One contains pure water and the other contains poison. Tell the person to choose which one to drink.

Obviously, the person is free to choose either one. He or she is not forced to choose one over the other. The choice that the person makes, however, will be determined by what they have been conditioned to want. If they have a wish to die, they will choose the poison.

There are only superficial differences between this scenario and a scenario where a person makes a choice between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. Perhaps the person has been conditioned to prefer chocolate over vanilla, in which case the person would choose the chocolate. Or maybe the same person has been conditioned to want to "try new things", in which case he or she would choose the vanilla.

If we knew all the factors which had conditioned the person (had determined what the person wants--in every situation), we could predict with 100% accuracy, how that person would behave in any given situation. However, it is impossible to know every single factor that goes into making a someone the person he or she is.

It is possible, however, to see that a person's choices are not based on free will.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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05-12-2015, 09:22 AM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 09:06 AM)666wannabe Wrote:  Set two glasses full of liquid in front of a person. One contains pure water and the other contains poison. Tell the person to choose which one to drink.

Obviously, the person is free to choose either one. He or she is not forced to choose one over the other. The choice that the person makes, however, will be determined by what they have been conditioned to want. If they have a wish to die, they will choose the poison.

There are only superficial differences between this scenario and a scenario where a person makes a choice between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. Perhaps the person has been conditioned to prefer chocolate over vanilla, in which case the person would choose the chocolate. Or maybe the same person has been conditioned to want to "try new things", in which case he or she would choose the vanilla.

If we knew all the factors which had conditioned the person (had determined what the person wants--in every situation), we could predict with 100% accuracy, how that person would behave in any given situation. However, it is impossible to know every single factor that goes into making a someone the person he or she is.

It is possible, however, to see that a person's choices are not based on free will.

Maybe, but you haven't defined what you mean by 'free will'. Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-12-2015, 09:23 AM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 09:06 AM)666wannabe Wrote:  Set two glasses full of liquid in front of a person. One contains pure water and the other contains poison. Tell the person to choose which one to drink.

Obviously, the person is free to choose either one. He or she is not forced to choose one over the other. The choice that the person makes, however, will be determined by what they have been conditioned to want. If they have a wish to die, they will choose the poison.

There are only superficial differences between this scenario and a scenario where a person makes a choice between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. Perhaps the person has been conditioned to prefer chocolate over vanilla, in which case the person would choose the chocolate. Or maybe the same person has been conditioned to want to "try new things", in which case he or she would choose the vanilla.

If we knew all the factors which had conditioned the person (had determined what the person wants--in every situation), we could predict with 100% accuracy, how that person would behave in any given situation. However, it is impossible to know every single factor that goes into making a someone the person he or she is.

It is possible, however, to see that a person's choices are not based on free will.

I disagree. Just because our actions are caused does not mean that they are not free. A conscious choice is a type of cause. The locus of free will on my view is the conceptual faculty, which does not work automatically. The perceptual faculty does work automatically. Our brains automatically integrate our sense data into percepts, so that we don't see a blob of colors but an entity. After that though, the process of identifying what that entity is and integrating it into our knowledge is very much a volitional process. The process involved must be undertaken by choice. The connections of logic are not made automatically. It has to be learned, it has to be practiced and honed just like any skill. This has to be done by choice. Just witness all the irrational people who visit here and you'll have ample examples of this fact. These people use their emotions and never engage the reasoning part of their brains.

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05-12-2015, 09:27 AM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
Free will isn't choosing which glass to drink from...

It's telling the guy to go fuck himself and drinking whatever the hell YOU feel like drinking....

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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05-12-2015, 12:31 PM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 09:22 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(05-12-2015 09:06 AM)666wannabe Wrote:  Set two glasses full of liquid in front of a person. One contains pure water and the other contains poison. Tell the person to choose which one to drink.

Obviously, the person is free to choose either one. He or she is not forced to choose one over the other. The choice that the person makes, however, will be determined by what they have been conditioned to want. If they have a wish to die, they will choose the poison.

There are only superficial differences between this scenario and a scenario where a person makes a choice between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. Perhaps the person has been conditioned to prefer chocolate over vanilla, in which case the person would choose the chocolate. Or maybe the same person has been conditioned to want to "try new things", in which case he or she would choose the vanilla.

If we knew all the factors which had conditioned the person (had determined what the person wants--in every situation), we could predict with 100% accuracy, how that person would behave in any given situation. However, it is impossible to know every single factor that goes into making a someone the person he or she is.

It is possible, however, to see that a person's choices are not based on free will.

Maybe, but you haven't defined what you mean by 'free will'. Consider

I think, in this context, "will" means the capacity to make a choice. If someone is forced to do something (by an external force), the question of "will" is not a factor, at all (as a motivating force). In such a case, there is no "capacity to make a choice". "Will" is a motivating force that arises totally from within a person.

Why are some people motivated to choose one thing while other people are motivated to choose something different? I contend that choices are determined by three factors: 1) physical (or genetic) make-up, 2) mental (or psychological) conditioning--through one's life experiences, and 3) current mind-state (a person who is inebriated will likely make different choices than a sober person or a person is in an agitated state will likely make different choices than a person who is calm.

The choices we make arise out of who we are and who we are is determined by these three factors--thus they are not free. A choice that is not the holistic result of these factors is "impulsive" and we may be conditioned, in some situations, to act on impulse (to "roll the dice"). To do so is still not "free", but is determined.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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05-12-2015, 01:29 PM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
We are matter that functions based on the laws of physics the same as everything else. Choice is really just our ignorance of what's going to happen.

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05-12-2015, 01:56 PM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 09:23 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(05-12-2015 09:06 AM)666wannabe Wrote:  Set two glasses full of liquid in front of a person. One contains pure water and the other contains poison. Tell the person to choose which one to drink.

Obviously, the person is free to choose either one. He or she is not forced to choose one over the other. The choice that the person makes, however, will be determined by what they have been conditioned to want. If they have a wish to die, they will choose the poison.

There are only superficial differences between this scenario and a scenario where a person makes a choice between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. Perhaps the person has been conditioned to prefer chocolate over vanilla, in which case the person would choose the chocolate. Or maybe the same person has been conditioned to want to "try new things", in which case he or she would choose the vanilla.

If we knew all the factors which had conditioned the person (had determined what the person wants--in every situation), we could predict with 100% accuracy, how that person would behave in any given situation. However, it is impossible to know every single factor that goes into making a someone the person he or she is.

It is possible, however, to see that a person's choices are not based on free will.

I disagree. Just because our actions are caused does not mean that they are not free. A conscious choice is a type of cause. The locus of free will on my view is the conceptual faculty, which does not work automatically. The perceptual faculty does work automatically. Our brains automatically integrate our sense data into percepts, so that we don't see a blob of colors but an entity. After that though, the process of identifying what that entity is and integrating it into our knowledge is very much a volitional process. The process involved must be undertaken by choice. The connections of logic are not made automatically. It has to be learned, it has to be practiced and honed just like any skill. This has to be done by choice. Just witness all the irrational people who visit here and you'll have ample examples of this fact. These people use their emotions and never engage the reasoning part of their brains.

By "free", in this context, I mean spontaneous--not caused by pre-existing factors.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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05-12-2015, 01:57 PM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 01:29 PM)wallym Wrote:  We are matter that functions based on the laws of physics the same as everything else. Choice is really just our ignorance of what's going to happen.

I agree.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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05-12-2015, 02:21 PM
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 09:23 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The process involved must be undertaken by choice.

If I asked you to believe in God, could you do it?

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05-12-2015, 02:32 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2015 02:37 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Yet another post on "Free Will"
(05-12-2015 02:21 PM)wallym Wrote:  
(05-12-2015 09:23 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  The process involved must be undertaken by choice.

If I asked you to believe in God, could you do it?

Sure. Not a problem. But why would I?

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