Free will

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Hereandnow
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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 1st, 2018, 12:04 am

tommarcus
This dimension is existence itself which is free from time, cause and effect and other limitations. Everything that exists has this dimension. This dimension is an "intimate" part of our existence.

We perceive this dimension of our being, which is our existence, using our ability of self-awareness. Our ability to be self-aware and "sense" our existence is like our eye which sees the physical world. Our eye is part of the physical world but it does not create it. So too, our existence is another dimension of our being which allows us to make thoughts and decisions which are influenced by the physical world but not completely controlled by it.
I am actually on your side in this, but I have other ways of putting it. I am currently in the middle of a Kierkegaard binge, and I just finished Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Death, and Concept of Anxiety. Now, Kierkegaard is the father of existentialism, and Sartre, Heidegger, Husserl, Levinas, Wittgenstein (not a part of this group) and really, everyone who ever wrote seriously about existential issues derive many of their essential ideas directly from Kierkegaard. You can see it as you read. I mention this because if you think we have a dimension of our existence that is timeless, and Kierkegaard has some extraordinary arguments on this: he holds that god (you have to forgive his Christian references. Elsewhere he reveals that as a concept, god is pure ineffability) lies within the eternal present,which is actuality itself.

You might want to read his concept of Anxiety, just don't get put off by his use of biblical references. His thinking is brilliant. Just ask Wittgenstein who thought Kierkegaard was the most important philosopher he ever read. There is a lot in what you say that agrees with him.

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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 1st, 2018, 8:16 am

Hereandnow wrote:
September 1st, 2018, 12:04 am
tommarcus
This dimension is existence itself which is free from time, cause and effect and other limitations. Everything that exists has this dimension. This dimension is an "intimate" part of our existence.

We perceive this dimension of our being, which is our existence, using our ability of self-awareness. Our ability to be self-aware and "sense" our existence is like our eye which sees the physical world. Our eye is part of the physical world but it does not create it. So too, our existence is another dimension of our being which allows us to make thoughts and decisions which are influenced by the physical world but not completely controlled by it.
I am actually on your side in this, but I have other ways of putting it. I am currently in the middle of a Kierkegaard binge, and I just finished Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Death, and Concept of Anxiety. Now, Kierkegaard is the father of existentialism, and Sartre, Heidegger, Husserl, Levinas, Wittgenstein (not a part of this group) and really, everyone who ever wrote seriously about existential issues derive many of their essential ideas directly from Kierkegaard. You can see it as you read. I mention this because if you think we have a dimension of our existence that is timeless, and Kierkegaard has some extraordinary arguments on this: he holds that god (you have to forgive his Christian references. Elsewhere he reveals that as a concept, god is pure ineffability) lies within the eternal present,which is actuality itself.

You might want to read his concept of Anxiety, just don't get put off by his use of biblical references. His thinking is brilliant. Just ask Wittgenstein who thought Kierkegaard was the most important philosopher he ever read. There is a lot in what you say that agrees with him.
A great proto-atheist. There is a fair amount of geological determinism in K's character and thinking.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 1st, 2018, 8:55 am

Pray, elaborate Thomas.

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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 1st, 2018, 9:00 am

Hereandnow wrote:
September 1st, 2018, 8:55 am
Pray, elaborate Thomas.
Those poor Scandinavians don't see much of the sun and tend towards a negative outlook that is unknown in those from sunny countries.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 1st, 2018, 9:08 am

Well then...

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Re: Free will

Post by Fooloso4 » September 1st, 2018, 11:52 am

H&N:
I am currently in the middle of a Kierkegaard binge, and I just finished Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Death, and Concept of Anxiety.
Once I started reading Kierkegaard, I think it might have been Fear and Trembling, but was put off. I just picked it up to see what it was that put me off it. Having read just a couple of pages I see what a sly writer he was. He does not, as he says, write in such a way that readers can skim the book during the after-dinner nap. An interpretative challenge. I’m interested.

Some of the themes from the preface and exordium:

God the tempter (cf. the serpent in the Garden)
Doubt and going beyond faith
It takes a lifetime to become proficient at doubting
Author not a philosopher - rejects systematic thought
Doubt that faith is understood
Not a philosopher - poetic and refined clerk
Not a thinker - does not go beyond faith
Or exegetical scholar but knowing Hebrew perhaps he would have easily understood the story and Abraham (?)
Various versions of the story of Abraham
God the Father, Father Abraham (“father of faith”, “second father of man”)
The hero is the poet’s better nature - the poet is the hero’s better nature.
Faith and separation/weaning and sorrow
“Great to lay hold of the eternal, but greater to hold fast to the temporal after having given it up”
Faith and not doubting
Abraham lived one hundred years and got no further than faith

This is as far as I got, but I think this introductory material serves as a model for how Kierkegaard thinks and is to be read. He is not systematic, that is to say, there is no presumption of moving beyond doubt to knowledge or science of the whole. There is no single version of faith. And so, I will not rush to judgment as to what he means by faith is or what should and should not be doubted.

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Re: Free will

Post by Fooloso4 » September 1st, 2018, 6:25 pm

I’ve been reading Fear and Trembling and just noticed the subtitle - Dialectic lyric

I’m thinking i might start a topic on things I found in my first reading.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 2nd, 2018, 9:20 am

fooloso4
He does not, as he says, write in such a way that readers can skim the book during the after-dinner nap. An interpretative challenge. I’m interested
Really? No, he is not easy at all. He is idiosyncratic and self absorbed to the point incoherence and neurosis. He does this intentionally, I mean, he is aggressively anti establishment and celebrates independence with complex attacks on orthodoxy. I think it is best to read K as if he were not a Christian at all, because all of his arguments are outside the "system". They're existential, not, as he says, exegetical. I can't say I understand everything he says, in fact it is best, I have found, to leave the inscrutable parts (to me, that is) for later, and move on expecting clarification to rise out of later reading.What I really like about him is both his intense analysis, and he gets very dialectical (no doubt mimicking Hegel and yet adopting Hegel's dialectical method both at once. Hubert Dreyfus takes him seriously because he knows K presents the same analyses consistently elsewhere,though Dreyfus, like, it seems, most philosophers, makes almost no reference to the religious conclusions K draws), and his passion which he is emphatic about. This passion is a repudiation of rationalism, and a great deal of his writing is all about this assumption that the rationalists of his day, as well as the historical theologians, make about the power of reason and history in determining faith. For K, reason is simply an abstraction trying to subsume eternity. Levinas is like this and for me, this is exactly right, though like K, I refuse to simply romanticize about it. K's arguments are objective, that is rationally accessible, about radical subjectivity.
God the tempter.
I don't know. Across the K literature, temptation seems to be our being here living and breathing and therefore estranged from god. K would have made a good Buddhist.
Doubt and going beyond faith.
K comes down very hard on those "of his day" and mocks them openly and with hostility, for they miss the the point entirely about what being a Christian is, yet they have the so much to say. reminds me of Meursault in Canus' Stranger at the end where he screams at the priest for his presumption of knowing. Camus wrote about K in his Absurd essays for they have kindred but divergent beliefs.
lifetime to be proficient at doubting
. As well as for having faith. They are two sides of the same coin and I think to doubt is a kind of apophatic technique, like inquiry itself, to undermine our assumptions about the world and realize our "falleness".
Doubt that faith is understood
Comprehending faith is like, like passing a camel through the eye of a needle, and it is, as K says elsewhere in Fragments and Anxiety, trying to take one thing, reason, to be explicatively commensurate with something, the world/eternity, that is qualitatively different.
exegetical scholar but knowing Hebrew perhaps he would have easily understood the story and Abraham
I think he is surely being ironic.
Various versions of the story of Abraham
As with the Concept of Anxiety, K uses biblical stories to make an existential point. An examination of this story lets him consider reason and ethical law (an kind or criticism of Kant and business of rationalizing ethics. K is basically saying: you think, you philosophers and theologians, think you understand ethics? Understand This!
out of time now. One of the most rewarding things about reading K is discovering Heidegger, Sartre, and the other in their original inspiration. They all read K, and they all were his intellectual/existential progeny.

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Re: Free will

Post by Fooloso4 » September 3rd, 2018, 4:49 pm

H&N:
They're existential, not, as he says, exegetical … I think he is surely being ironic [about knowing Hebrew and easily understanding the story]
Yes, that sounds right and hangs together with what he says about not finding an understanding of faith in the story. It may also be my undoing trying to understand K. since I tend to read interpretively, looking to put the pieces together.

My plan was to read the book first without consulting the secondary literature but I just noticed the epigraph and searching for information on Tarquinius came across mention of H’s fiancee Regine Olson and how the book is on one level biographical. This sheds light on the long discussion of the knight of faith and his faith that the woman he loves will return even though he knows it is impossible. It also ties into the theme of separation in his reflections on the story of Abraham in the Exordium.
They [faith and doubt] are two sides of the same coin and I think to doubt is a kind of apophatic technique, like inquiry itself, to undermine our assumptions about the world and realize our "falleness".
I think this is on the right track but flipping the coin is something only a few, like Abraham, are able to do. What most call faith is not what he considers faith. It is something he has not been able to accomplish so far - I’ve read about half the book. I take it that by doubt he means something like Greek aporia, and that attempt to traverse the impasse via reason or science is a kind of trespass. Not in the sense of going where one is forbidden to go, but where it is not possible to go.

I don’t want to hijack this thread so I will leave it here. As I said, I am thinking about starting a new topic but will wait until I finish the book.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 3rd, 2018, 5:22 pm

Careful, he'll make a convert out of you.

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Re: Free will

Post by Fooloso4 » September 6th, 2018, 7:16 pm

HN:
Careful, he'll make a convert out of you.
I just finished Fear and Trembling and I do not think I will be a convert. He is too other worldly for my taste. I have no desire for the infinite and eternal. I do not know what they are or if they can be experienced or if they even exist. I do not find talk of paradox and the absurd in response to the problem of action persuasive or inspiring. Perhaps I am just one of those Kierkegaard criticizes.

I am open to the possibility that I do not see what is going and so if you decide to start a new topic I would be interested in hearing what you have to say, but I do not think my negative reaction is good reason for me to start the topic I thought I might have when I first started reading.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » September 6th, 2018, 8:28 pm

ThomasHobbes,

Thank you for your reference to Kierkegaard. It has been a long time since I studied his works. Fortunately I kept them. Your comments have encouraged me to reread them.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 7th, 2018, 12:10 pm

Fooloso4:
I do not find talk of paradox and the absurd in response to the problem of action persuasive or inspiring.
Everyone is different. And this makes "spooky" existenialists like K hard to get a consensus on. You might, just for the shear entertainment of it, look at The Concept of Anxiety. As usual, he leaves behind the Christian myth (calling it a myth outright) and moves into existential analysis that is like an eerie deja vu: There is Heidegger, and there, Sartre, and Jaspers; and so on. Are all existentialists a footnote to Kierkegaard? Not quite, but unmistakable commonalities. Kind of nostalgic, really.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » September 7th, 2018, 12:11 pm

That would be "sheer".

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Re: Free will

Post by Haicoway » September 20th, 2018, 7:53 am

Scientists discount free will because anything we think originates in the unconscious mind before we are conscious of it, and therefore we can’t direct anything consciously.

The closest we can come to a free will act is accomplished thus: You take something you are debating doing and list all the pros and cons you can think of. Each pro or con would be a reason for doing the thing or not. Then you put the T-diagram away and put all of the factors out of your mind. Then you decide, you choose, not from some reason, but from an unconscious gestalt of all of the reasons you were aware of plus others you were not consciously aware of. And you commit to sticking with your decision, your choice, forever, regardless of any reasons against it that pop up later. You take a stand and never waver. That process is the closest thing to free will that exists.

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