Freewill as a retrospect

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Alkis
Posts: 17
Joined: June 21st, 2021, 5:47 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Alkis »

CIN wrote: June 27th, 2021, 7:07 pm You seem to have been confused by the structure of my post. In quoting my post back to me, you omit the four paragraphs which contain my argument, so it's hardly surprising if what remains makes no sense.
What do you mean by "the structure of your post"? Never heard of that in a forum, Q&A, discussion, etc. It is mainly used to describe a "blog post", a "guest post", etc.

Then, it is wrong to assume that, because I isolated some parts of your post and referred to them separately, I didn't read the whole post. I did that so that it is clear where I am referring to. Because if I use quote within quote within quote ... as it is usually done in here, it will then be a confusion. My statements-arguments were very clear and you avoid replying to them by using a generalization that "I seem to be confused"! Well, this is certainly not how a discussion, not only a philosophical one, but any discussion, works. And if you can't handle the other person's argument, you must just say so. It's not a shame. But it is very wrong and bad in a discussion, esp. a philosophical one, to avoid responding to a statement or argument of the other person.
User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 1012
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Whitedragon »

Alkis wrote: June 28th, 2021, 7:44 am
Whitedragon wrote: June 28th, 2021, 2:49 am
I'm confused about something. It seems by this argument we have no internal influences and that's why we don't have freewill?
@Whitedragon, your quote within quote within quote ... contains 1300 words. How can I know where do you refer to by "this argument"? If you want an answer, you must isolate "this argument" and use only that as a quote. As I did. Makes sense?

In fact, I am not even sure if you are addressed to me or to @CIN! So, in such cases it's also good to add the name of the member to whom you are addressed to. As I also did.
Apologies, the post was directed at you, Alkis,
Did you in the post I quoted say that an organism has no internal influences and that's why we don't have free will?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
Alkis
Posts: 17
Joined: June 21st, 2021, 5:47 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Alkis »

Whitedragon wrote: June 28th, 2021, 9:10 am Apologies, the post was directed at you, Alkis,
Did you in the post I quoted say that an organism has no internal influences and that's why we don't have free will?
No problem @Whitedragon. And no, I don't remember having said such a thing. It's not your fault. This is why I have mentioned in two more occasions that this system of quote within quote within quote ... the only thing it does is create confusion. And bad quality of communication, of course. I really don't undestand the system of onlinephilosophyclub.com. Philosophical discussions, as any kind of discussion, are based in communication ... and communication sucks in here. Even FAQs suck. They suggest things that are not applicable! I will soon get out of here. I will stay a little more in case someone replies to me ...
User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 1012
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Whitedragon »

Alkis wrote: June 28th, 2021, 11:57 am
Whitedragon wrote: June 28th, 2021, 9:10 am Apologies, the post was directed at you, Alkis,
Did you in the post I quoted say that an organism has no internal influences and that's why we don't have free will?
No problem @Whitedragon. And no, I don't remember having said such a thing. It's not your fault. This is why I have mentioned in two more occasions that this system of quote within quote within quote ... the only thing it does is create confusion. And bad quality of communication, of course. I really don't undestand the system of onlinephilosophyclub.com. Philosophical discussions, as any kind of discussion, are based in communication ... and communication sucks in here. Even FAQs suck. They suggest things that are not applicable! I will soon get out of here. I will stay a little more in case someone replies to me

Thank you,

I admit it's especially hard for me as well, having the limited functions of typing from a mobile, making selections of body of specific texts hard or giving no option to do so.

In short I'm for determinism, wanting to explore if retrospect or memory doesn't make it more complicated. I posted earlier within respect of determinism, why is a child of three years old different from an adult. Does it have to do with experience, memory / retrospect.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
Alkis
Posts: 17
Joined: June 21st, 2021, 5:47 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Alkis »

Whitedragon wrote: June 28th, 2021, 2:05 pm I admit it's especially hard for me as well, having the limited functions of typing from a mobile, making selections of body of specific texts hard or giving no option to do so.

In short I'm for determinism, wanting to explore if retrospect or memory doesn't make it more complicated. I posted earlier within respect of determinism, why is a child of three years old different from an adult. Does it have to do with experience, memory / retrospect.
I understand you. I wish you a pleasant remaining stay in this forum!
User avatar
Leontiskos
Posts: 20
Joined: July 20th, 2021, 11:27 pm

Re: Freewill as a retrospect

Post by Leontiskos »

CIN wrote: June 25th, 2021, 12:25 pm No, there isn't. Free will cannot exist, because it requires two contradictory things to be true at the same time.

Suppose you are driving your car, and you come to a junction where you can (apparently) turn either left or right. Suppose you turn left. Was this an exercise of free will?

The answer is 'yes', provided two things are true:
(A) you could have turned right instead
(B) turning left was your choice, not something imposed on you or something that just happened to you by chance.

Unfortunately, these conditions are mutually exclusive, and cannot both exist in the same part of a choice or action at the same time.
I agree with Alkis - these are not contradictory propositions.

In order for two propositions to be contradictory the truth of one must entail the falsity of the other. Your case-based analysis is not a valid way to demonstrate contradiction. All you have done is set prior conditions which determine the truth or falsity of (A) and (B). You have not demonstrated a strict relation between (A) and (B). If two propositions truly contradict one another, then they will do so necessarily, by way of their very nature.

You have given two or three conditions on which (A) and (B) cannot both be true, and you have claimed that the conditions form an exhaustive dichotomy, but you haven't argued from a logical-causal relation between (A) and (B) themselves. To say that, "X and Y are mutually exclusive if..." is different from saying that X contradicts Y full stop. Two mutually exclusive propositions can both be false; two contradictory propositions cannot both be false.

In this case it is especially easy to see this due to the fact that it would be easy to argue that determinism precludes both (A) and (B). If such an outcome is plausible then obviously they are not contradictories, for two contradictories cannot both be false. We know it is a plausible outcome because very many philosophers do argue that determinism implies the falsity of B. We call them incompatibilists.
Suppose, first, that the universe is 100% deterministic. In that case, your turning left was caused by prior events over which you have no control. (B) can be true, because those prior events did not occur by chance and may have occurred within you, rather than being imposed on you (e.g. by someone else turning the wheel); but (A) can't be true, because your choice was determined by a series of causes going all the way back to the beginning of the universe.

Suppose now that the universe is 100% non-deterministic: all events are random, and are not determined by prior causes. In that case you could have turned right - it just randomly happened that you turned left - so (A) could be true. However, (B) can't be true, because if the choice was just a random event, then it wasn't your choice, it was something that just happened to you by chance; for a choice to be your choice, it has to be caused by something in you, and not be merely a random uncaused event.

If the universe is in the middle - party deterministic and partly non-deterministic - then any part that is deterministic may assist in (B) but will also assist in preventing (A), while any part that is non-deterministic may assist in (A), but will also assist in preventing (B). (A) and (B) necessarily exclude each other wherever they occur.

Could your action of turning the car be partly determined and partly undetermined? It could, but that wouldn't allow your action to be an exercise of free will, because the parts of the action that were determined would be parts that you couldn't have done any differently, and the parts that were undetermined weren't parts that were caused by you, they were parts that just happened to you by chance.

Conclusion: free will is impossible in any universe, whether deterministic or not.
I think this is a helpful argument because it is very clear and it very clearly shows forth a common misrepresentation of the free will position. What you give is a false dichotomy. The person who holds to free will surely claims that there are certain events which are neither deterministic nor random*, and that these events are exercises of free will. As I type this post I do so freely. I could stop right now and decide not to submit it. I could go back and edit it. The relevant claim is that these sorts of actions flow from me as an agent. They are instances of agent causality, and the intelligibility of such acts requires reference to the agent's will and freedom.

According to this very commonsensical and commonly held view of the world, (A) and (B) are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, if we accept agent causality then (B) would imply (A).


*You do try to draw the dichotomy between deterministic events and non-deterministic events, but you assume that all non-deterministic events are random. Thus it is cleaner to simply characterize your disjuncts as "determined" and "random." Either way the proponent of free will accepts a category which you have disallowed from the get-go.
Post Reply

Return to “Philosophy of Science”

Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021