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what is free will? - Page 2

User Thread
 29yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that andrula is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
We all have free will though with consequences and limitations. We can choose to do what we want with our lives, what career we take, who we love, what we do on a daily basis, but all with limitations of course like if you wish to run that red traffic light today you will be fined for dis-obeying the government laws and risk hurting yourself or someone else. We all are ruled, and governed in some way.

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 27yrs • M
weituloh 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.
On second thought, I think we have tremendous amount of free will. Living the way we do - in developed complex societies - we are not conscious of that willfulness of our way of life. Let me explain.

Technology has enabled us to live in any way we will. I was on a sail boat once. When the wind died down, we drifted to a stop in the dead calm waters. If we lived in accordance with nature - as we are meant to do - we would have to wait for the wind the way farmers wait for the harvest in accordance with the way plants grow as the seasons go. In exercising free will, we fired up the diesel engine and powered the boat on without the wind. We build cities in the desert by diverting water supplies, fly in the skies without wings and go underwater in submarines and float along in outer space. And that's free will for you.

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 27yrs • M •
Sopu 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.
Simply being able to weigh options and come to a decision does not mean you have free will, so saying that you chose not to run a red light because you'd possibly get in trouble, or chose to take the time, effort and resources to do a certain action doesn't exactly provide a compelling argument for the existence of free will.

You and I perceive that we have free will, but that doesn't necessarily make it so.

We sometimes see, in situations, hundreds of different ways in which we could act. Does it not seem more plausible, as Theory explained at the original posting of this thread, that the action you ultimately chose was simply an outcome, a decision made subconsciously?

An outcome of the mood you were in, the personality you possess, how fast you process internal and external information, your subconscious urges and fears, and all of the millions of variables surrounding you at the time of the decision.

I feel like we're slaves to all of this, and cannot help but act the way we do. Why don't I go outside and shoot a man in the head? Perhaps Andrula would say that I wouldn't, because of the fear of being arrested and sentenced to life in prison or capital punishment.

But there's much more surrounding a decision like this. There's genetics, and instincts, and subconscious mechanisms that prevent me from killing another human being for no reason at all. After all, life's number one goal is to keep survive, and killing an innocent bystander for absolutely no reason runs against this. I don't constantly go about, consciously deciding not to kill every person I come into contact with.

Similarly, I feel that most of the decisions we make are much the same. They're deeply intertwined with the subconscious, and are made before we're even conscious of them. Our brains make decisions that best balance our urges, desires, and goals with our safety and continuing survival.

We have very little say in the matter, if any at all.

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[  Edited by Sopu at   ]
 18yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that ravenclaw is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I'm just sharing my opinion here- I've read a few articles and books that discuss free will and my opinion is that there is probabilistic determinism (ie quantum physics, random with strict probabilities and laws) and no free will, because, well, I don't think there's really a proper definition of free will, you'd have to introduce souls or something to create "free will". The possibility of having done something else doesn't count, a quantum random number generator could have also done something else and produced a different random number- it doesn't have free will. People usually define free will with "power" or some kind of concept like that, but we can't define power if we don't have free will so it seems kind of circular.
It seems to me like free will is more of a feeling we have, to give ourselves confidence. A bit like God in that sense.

There was an experiment where they sent an impulse through a person's brain in a particular place, and it would make their arm move. The person would insist, however, that they had "chosen" to move their arm, when it was in fact just the impulse.
Like Sopu says, "you" would have to have "control" over your neurotransmitters, but the thing is, it is your neurotransmitters doing what they are doing that is resulting in your experience of thinking about controlling your neurotransmitters!

People talk about consciousness, but really, your consciousness is an experience created by your brain, and if it isn't found in any other animals besides us, it is probably created mostly by that very large front part of your brain, which takes information from everywhere else and puts it in one big "room". And it has been detected that when you become "conscious" of something, it basically means it has reached other parts of your brain by going through that very large front part of your brain. I like to think of it as a "sky lobby" for the elevators in a very tall building. Eventually buildings are built so tall that it is impractical to have elevators in the ordinary system, and you must have a sky lobby to change elevators and help people get where they are going more efficiently. Brains have evolved the same way - eventually they got so big that the ordinary system was inefficient, and there had to be an entire piece of brain tissue just for the purpose of re-routing the impulses sent by the other pieces of brain tissue in a more efficient way.

It will be very interesting, however, to see what would happen if a Linux computer achieved sentience one day. I shall wait for this day.

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 37yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that BHU is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I can you tell what free will is not.

Free will is not chasing your desires or goals.

Free will is simply being.

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what is free will? - Page 2
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