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Free Will

User Thread
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Praetor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Free Will
An interesting subject, which many have discussed, discussions which have led to nothing but more arguments. Here's a thought

Every living sentinent being must have some form of free will. If there was not, we would still have to treat each other as if there were in order to live together in society. Otherwise, everytime someone did something terrible, you couldn't punish them, because they can't help it. His genes or his environment or even his God made him do it. And every time someone did something good, you couldnt honor them, because they were a puppet too. If you think that everyone around you is a puppet, why bother communicating with them? Why try to plan or create anything, because everything you plan or create or dream or desire is just acting out the script that your puppeteer built into you.
So we conceive of ourselves and everyone around us as volitional beings. We treat everyone as if they did things with a purpose in mind, instead of because they're being pushed from behind. We punish criminals, we reward altruists.

On the opposite end of the spectrum,

There is something we have as humans, something we are, that wasn't caused by anything else. Not our soul, if that's what you were thinking. The preists and ministers say that God created our souls, and that puts us under the control of a puppeteer. If God created our souls, then He's responsible for every choice we make. God, our genes, our environment, or some stupid programmer keying in code at an ancient terminal- there's no way free will can exist if we as individuals are the result of some external cause. Thus, the common philisophical answer, free will doesnt exist. Only the isslusion of free will, because the causes of our behavior are so complex that we cant trace them back. If you have one line of dominos, knocking each other down one by one, you can say. "This domino fell because that one pushed it." But if you were to have an infinite number of dominos, traceable back in an infinite number of directions you would say, "This domino fell because it wanted too."


So what do you think?

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"What's the point in not conforming, if it changes you?"
 31yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Disenchanted is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Eeeenteresting.

quote:
If God created our souls, then He's responsible for every choice we make. God, our genes, our environment, or some stupid programmer keying in code at an ancient terminal- there's no way free will can exist if we as individuals are the result of some external cause. Thus, the common philisophical answer, free will doesnt exist. Only the illusion of free will, because the causes of our behavior are so complex that we cant trace them back. If you have one line of dominos, knocking each other down one by one, you can say. "This domino fell because that one pushed it." But if you were to have an infinite number of dominos, traceable back in an infinite number of directions you would say, "This domino fell because it wanted too."


So this assumes that there is a starting point resulting in an infinite number of outward never-ending possibilities. In the case of the dominos however, never-ending inevitabilities. But if the effect can be traced back in infinite directions for infinity, that would mean there is no starting point. Also, infinity cannot be measured or comprehended (thus predicted or programmed) by even God, because it is by definition incomprehensible.

This reminds me of a quote by Descartes, 'No limits to my freedom can be found except freedom itself.'

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 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Praetor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Simply because something is tracable in an infinite number of directions, does not infact mean that it is infinite. It is just percieved as infinite because no end has been found and/or it is belived no end will ever be found.

quote:
Also, infinity cannot be measured or comprehended (thus predicted or programmed) by even God, because it is by definition incomprehensible.


Exactly. If you have been tracing something and cannot find or even begin to perceive of an ending/starting point, would that not be incomprehensible? There for we beleive it to be infinite.

Heres another thing I just thought of. Couldn't our will just be some sort of a random genetical decision making process, choosing from an infinite number of paths? Not just the major ones, but the unconcious minut ones we dont even think about, whether to step here or there.

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"What's the point in not conforming, if it changes you?"
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Restless Mind is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
There is also the truth that although we are all, in essence, the result of out environment and genetics and the moon and various other factors...


I diagree on that point. I feel we are a product of our decsions and we came to such decsions based on out enviroment and surrondings.

I have no compassion what so ever towards junkies/hookers/crybabies etc that feel they are caught in a trap that they cant get out of. Bull shit, the mind is more powerfull that any other tool in life. I am 100% that if someone was unhappy with their situation whatever it is, they would be able to overcome whatever it is keeping them in their trap (i.e surrondings/genectics) with only there mind..

Everything I do in life I think about, contemplate the steps and the outcome of any such decsision. No way am I product of my surrondings or genetics. You know that about me Decius. You have seen my family and how they live and done with their life......nothing.

Now you might say I am accomplishing so much so early in my life because I dont want to end up like my parents thus being a product of my childhood enviroment. BUT I decided to do so much becasue I do not want to be sorry for myself and "my situation".

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I think the word "free" is sort of important here. Having an unique will is one thing, but "free will" is an abstract way of saying volition. If our choices are essentially circumscribed by circumstance and subordinate to (or even within) a causal system predicated by organisms and their environment, then no, there is no such thing as free will. That's why Dawkin's "selfish gene" is so darned depressing. We are distinct composites of a determinate system. In this way, the possibility of a "free will" is eliminated just as it is when we conceive of the universe as created by God. Everything is - in a sense - predetermined. In Decius' analysis, our "wills" can only render us more significant variables in the causal matrix - without ever making us "free". That, I think, is what he meant to say.

But correct me if I'm wrong, Dessy.


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 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Praetor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I define free will as the ability of a sentinent being to think for itself. Even if everything is predetermined, as Witt has pointed out, we would still be able to think for ourselves, whether or not that would change the outcome of the event. Here's something I've had in my head for awhile.

We never create our own stories. We only mimick or modify existing ones. We get the seed of them from things we read, things we hear people say, and combine those with things we've thought of until it becomes sesible to us. We have no clear view of the world, we have trouble finding our way through our own minds. Everything not orderly or sensible, or at ease. What's in our minds? Madness. Thousands of competing contradictory impossible visions that make no sense at all because they cant fit together. But they do fit together because as we make them, this way today, that way tomorrow, as they're needed. As if we can make a new idea-machine inside our heads for every new problem we face. As if we conceive of a new universe to live in, every hour a new one, often hopelessly wrong, which is when we end up making mistakes and bad judgements. But sometimes, so perfectly right that it opens things up like a miracle and the world is seen in a new light and it changes everything. Madness, then illumination. And then deeds. We make up deeds. We change what our nonsense to illumination stories mean. We transform things so that the same memory can mean a thousand different things. Even in our dreams, sometimes we make up, out of randomness, something that illuminates everything..

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"What's the point in not conforming, if it changes you?"
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The concept of freewill vs determinism; compatibilism vs incompatibilism requires much more than a singular definition. It would be misleading to specify a singular definition of 'free will' since in reality there is no single concept of it. Consider this:

1. Some person (agent), at some time, could have acted otherwise than she did.
2. Actions are events.
3. Every event has a cause.
4. If an event is caused, then it is causally determined.
5. If an event is an act that is causally determined, then the agent of the act could not have acted otherwise than in the way that she did.

See any inconsistencies in this proposition? Yet it is actually found in our contemporary perception of the world.

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Praetor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
It would be misleading to specify a singular definition of 'free will' since in reality there is no single concept of it.
If indeed free will is a reality. Which is more what I'm trying to get at here. Not a single definition, but whether or not free will even exists.

Not to put an end to the discussion, but to make a statement, whether or not there is such thing as free will, our genes require us to beleive there is in order to enhance those genes to pass on to future generations.

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"What's the point in not conforming, if it changes you?"
 42yrs • M •
dapharoah69 is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
I agree with summit.

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"In search f greatness"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that heyjme1 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I don't suppose I or any other wioll be able to say if we have free will. At any event, the categorisation of I in relation to another is finite and therefore, as such, limited to knowing the influences of external influence upon what is thought to be internal action.

Ultimately, there is probably no free will in the individualistic sense of matter and mind, I believe, but there is will in the sense that there are processes occuring; its up to you whether this is viewed as free or closed; its the glass is half empty or half full problem.

However, I do believe it is necessery that we believe in free will for two reasons:

1. Anyone could use the excuse that it was not them doing something, which is troublesome for law and order

and

2. If one belives there is no free will where is hope? What is anyone without hope for the future?

Also, I believe that if you think positively; positive results are what you get in return. This of itself gives me some reason, actually, to believe in free will...even if logic says otherwise....


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""No words""
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Restless Mind is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
<< You should describe that more because that statement sort of supports what I'm saying...


Well I have read and re-read your post. I can see how you think I am supporting what you said in your first post.

In your first statement you said
quote:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
---------
There is also the truth that although we are all, in essence, the result of out environment and genetics and the moon and various other factors...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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I am referring that I am a result of my decisions based on the environment and not the environment itself. My ability to think came from all of me thoughts/decisions I have made over my lifetime thus in a way being indirectly environmentally influenced.

None the less the reason I dis-agreed with what you said is that I feel I am not directly a product of my environment, I am a product of my decisions based on my environment.

Does that make any sense?

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Indirect causality? Bit of a contradiction isn't it?

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 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The best puppeteers make it look as if no strings are attached at all. And if we were puppets to some greater entity wouldn't we just be that greater entity projected into a puppet, the puppet being us? The puppet is the puppeteer. They are one in the same. Therefore fate and morals are just what the greater entity wants. The greater entity must be us.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
[  Edited by ChrisD at   ]
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
How? I man gets shot from a stray bullet in a downtown gun fight between the cops and the robbers. He dies. His family suffers and his son gets hateful and commits crimes of his own. The indirect casulties are the people the son is hurting. And they are casulties of his fathers death, indirectly ofcourse.

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Either one thing causes another or it doesn't. You're being too general in your thinking. One event might set a state of affairs in motion, but we do not say that it "indirectly" caused this state of affairs - we say that it was an earlier point in the causal chain. It may be the case that this state of affairs doesn't come into existence at all, but that it is merely down to our miscalculation.
Of course, you're quite right in poitning out that some points in the chain are more important than others - a fact for which causality cannot account, and the antinomy which reveals its limits.

That said, I think "causation" is the word that best applies to this thread.

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Free Will
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