Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Use this forum to discuss the September 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But's by Mark L. Wdowiak
Belindi
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Belindi »

Formless777 wrote: October 22nd, 2021, 4:54 am Nobody can prove that free will exists. It is a presumption, but the evidence is quite equivocal.

Within a religious context however, free will is framed as a curse, as it deliberately keeps us from God and is the source of all evil.

And when you frame free will in such a fashion, you can justify any level of brainwashing, torture, and tyranny.
Nothing that is an "it" deliberates about anything . Do you want to reword your proposition?

Who "framed" free will as a curse? Your use of passive voice is unhelpful.
If free will is limited to human beings it is not the source of natural disasters such as Earthquakes, death by crocodile bites, or an asteroid strike.

"The evidence is quite equivocal " for what exactly? For the existence of free will? For effects of free will?

How is free will "the source of all evil"? How might your framing of free will justify moral evil?
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Formless777
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Formless777 »

Firstly. Presumption =/= deliberation.

Next. Surely you know I am referring to the Christians, given that few if any non-Christians pay any attention to free will within philosophy? While the Greeks, specifically Aristotle I believe, were its originators, it was far less central to their overall program than it became to the Christians. Why? Because the Christians needed a source for evil that was not their god, despite the fact that their god himself confesses to being the creator of evil (Isaiah 45:7), and this is logically true, as it is unequivocal that god created both free will and Satan within the Christian mythological cosmology.

Next. Why class natural disasters as evil? Evil requires intent. If you indeed class natural disasters as evil then as the intent must come from some supernatural entity, and they logically and unavoidably must be considered evil. The events themselves are misfortunes, but there is no reason to presume a malicious intent behind them as we are no longer superstitious medieval peasants, one would hope.

As to the passive voice, I will use it when I please, as freedom of expression is an important human right, and I will thank you not to try to violate mine.

Next, I am referring to the evidence for free will as being equivocal. To clarify, unconscious mental processes that take place before thought formulation or action show that free will, like consciousness, is likely an illusion, hence the comment that it is a presumption, as most people, and indeed the law presumes we have free will. It is more likely, based on neuroscientific evidence, that in fact we do not have free will, but believe we do due to our lived experience, which doesn't allow us to properly apprehend our true condition due to unconscious processes being unconscious. While we can deduce unconscious processes when we see a person's consciousness break down during, for example, an episode of madness driven by chemical imbalance, during such an episode it is vanishingly rare for the subject to be properly aware of what it taking place to them, let alone within them, yet it is apparent to others.

Free will is the source of evil within a Christian world view. As to your question of how my framing of free will might justify moral evil, that is just a sidestep that I won't deign to answer. The historical facts as I see them, and I strongly believe I am not alone in this, are that the invention of free will as an explanation of the origins of evil within Christian Philosophy were driven by political motives to obtain more power over the public. If people believe that free will causes evil then they will rush to surrender it in any way they can (assuming that they accept the validity of the argument). This would be considered cult behavior if a small religious organization tried it. Certainly questioning Church dogma on the matter could get one tortured, whether by the Roman Catholics who were pro-free will, or by the Calvinists who were anti-free will. The sum of such behavior is tyranny, which is the abuse of power.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Formless777 wrote: October 22nd, 2021, 9:38 am Firstly.
Good post. No one can ever say what the 'free will' is free of but for the trivial observation that the will is free to operate with coercion. Religious free will is a sham also because it has to match God's will, thus it is not without consequences. The fixed will does as it must at any given moment throughout its many successions of larger ranging fixed wills via learning and experiences.

Not only is 'God' undone by the fixed will but many other philosophies diminish from this finding too.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by AmosMorrison »

In humans, free will refers to the ability to select among options or to behave in specific situations without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations. God has endowed mankind with the power to exercise free will. It is up to man to choose whether to be good or evil. Unfortunately, mankind has frequently chosen evil since the beginning of time. Many people believe that humanity is inherently nice. God's plan for humanity is for those who sincerely love him to experience eternal communion with him. True love would not be possible without free will, without the possibility of the opposite character, evil. Freewill comes with a lot of responsibility and in my opinion, a human is not ready for it.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Belindi »

AmosMorrison wrote: December 28th, 2021, 7:49 am In humans, free will refers to the ability to select among options or to behave in specific situations without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations. God has endowed mankind with the power to exercise free will. It is up to man to choose whether to be good or evil. Unfortunately, mankind has frequently chosen evil since the beginning of time. Many people believe that humanity is inherently nice. God's plan for humanity is for those who sincerely love him to experience eternal communion with him. True love would not be possible without free will, without the possibility of the opposite character, evil. Freewill comes with a lot of responsibility and in my opinion, a human is not ready for it.
without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations.


in that case, how does free will differ from randomness?

Theists at least argue that Free will is a direct miracle from God.
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LuckyR
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by LuckyR »

Belindi wrote: December 28th, 2021, 8:19 am
AmosMorrison wrote: December 28th, 2021, 7:49 am In humans, free will refers to the ability to select among options or to behave in specific situations without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations. God has endowed mankind with the power to exercise free will. It is up to man to choose whether to be good or evil. Unfortunately, mankind has frequently chosen evil since the beginning of time. Many people believe that humanity is inherently nice. God's plan for humanity is for those who sincerely love him to experience eternal communion with him. True love would not be possible without free will, without the possibility of the opposite character, evil. Freewill comes with a lot of responsibility and in my opinion, a human is not ready for it.
without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations.


in that case, how does free will differ from randomness?

Theists at least argue that Free will is a direct miracle from God.
Free Will differs from randomness due to perspective. Human decision making is not absolutely predictable, or to put it another way, it is partially predictable. Randomness is, of course completely unpredictable.

A better way of thinking about Free Will (than describing the unpredictability of decision making), is the fact that antecedent state A doesn't always lead to resultant state B.

The reason for this is that neurological systems don't behave like physical systems.
"As usual... it depends."
Belindi
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Belindi »

LuckyR wrote: December 28th, 2021, 3:58 pm
Belindi wrote: December 28th, 2021, 8:19 am
AmosMorrison wrote: December 28th, 2021, 7:49 am In humans, free will refers to the ability to select among options or to behave in specific situations without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations. God has endowed mankind with the power to exercise free will. It is up to man to choose whether to be good or evil. Unfortunately, mankind has frequently chosen evil since the beginning of time. Many people believe that humanity is inherently nice. God's plan for humanity is for those who sincerely love him to experience eternal communion with him. True love would not be possible without free will, without the possibility of the opposite character, evil. Freewill comes with a lot of responsibility and in my opinion, a human is not ready for it.
without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations.


in that case, how does free will differ from randomness?

Theists at least argue that Free will is a direct miracle from God.
Free Will differs from randomness due to perspective. Human decision making is not absolutely predictable, or to put it another way, it is partially predictable. Randomness is, of course completely unpredictable.

A better way of thinking about Free Will (than describing the unpredictability of decision making), is the fact that antecedent state A doesn't always lead to resultant state B.

The reason for this is that neurological systems don't behave like physical systems.
But Free Will is all or nothing. You can't have a small admixture of Free Will.

Neurological systems are reducible to biochemical systems just like any other physiological system.The difference between the chemistry of neurological systems and other physiological systems is that the former are mediated by electro-chemical reactions.
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LuckyR
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by LuckyR »

Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 8:30 am
LuckyR wrote: December 28th, 2021, 3:58 pm
Belindi wrote: December 28th, 2021, 8:19 am
AmosMorrison wrote: December 28th, 2021, 7:49 am In humans, free will refers to the ability to select among options or to behave in specific situations without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations. God has endowed mankind with the power to exercise free will. It is up to man to choose whether to be good or evil. Unfortunately, mankind has frequently chosen evil since the beginning of time. Many people believe that humanity is inherently nice. God's plan for humanity is for those who sincerely love him to experience eternal communion with him. True love would not be possible without free will, without the possibility of the opposite character, evil. Freewill comes with a lot of responsibility and in my opinion, a human is not ready for it.
without regard to natural, social, or divine limitations.


in that case, how does free will differ from randomness?

Theists at least argue that Free will is a direct miracle from God.
Free Will differs from randomness due to perspective. Human decision making is not absolutely predictable, or to put it another way, it is partially predictable. Randomness is, of course completely unpredictable.

A better way of thinking about Free Will (than describing the unpredictability of decision making), is the fact that antecedent state A doesn't always lead to resultant state B.

The reason for this is that neurological systems don't behave like physical systems.
But Free Will is all or nothing. You can't have a small admixture of Free Will.

Neurological systems are reducible to biochemical systems just like any other physiological system.The difference between the chemistry of neurological systems and other physiological systems is that the former are mediated by electro-chemical reactions.
They are... in your imagination, but complex neurological systems like thinking, absolutely don't behave like physical systems.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Belindi »

LuckyR wrote: December 29th, 2021, 1:47 pm
Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 8:30 am
LuckyR wrote: December 28th, 2021, 3:58 pm
Belindi wrote: December 28th, 2021, 8:19 am



in that case, how does free will differ from randomness?

Theists at least argue that Free will is a direct miracle from God.
Free Will differs from randomness due to perspective. Human decision making is not absolutely predictable, or to put it another way, it is partially predictable. Randomness is, of course completely unpredictable.

A better way of thinking about Free Will (than describing the unpredictability of decision making), is the fact that antecedent state A doesn't always lead to resultant state B.

The reason for this is that neurological systems don't behave like physical systems.
But Free Will is all or nothing. You can't have a small admixture of Free Will.

Neurological systems are reducible to biochemical systems just like any other physiological system.The difference between the chemistry of neurological systems and other physiological systems is that the former are mediated by electro-chemical reactions.
They are... in your imagination, but complex neurological systems like thinking, absolutely don't behave like physical systems.
How not? Is it complexity of degree or of kind? (Are you taking a substance dualist stance?)
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GrayArea
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by GrayArea »

How do we choose whether something is a good thing or a bad thing? If we cannot choose in the first place, would that necessarily be either good or bad to begin with?
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
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LuckyR
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by LuckyR »

Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 2:54 pm
LuckyR wrote: December 29th, 2021, 1:47 pm
Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 8:30 am
LuckyR wrote: December 28th, 2021, 3:58 pm

Free Will differs from randomness due to perspective. Human decision making is not absolutely predictable, or to put it another way, it is partially predictable. Randomness is, of course completely unpredictable.

A better way of thinking about Free Will (than describing the unpredictability of decision making), is the fact that antecedent state A doesn't always lead to resultant state B.

The reason for this is that neurological systems don't behave like physical systems.
But Free Will is all or nothing. You can't have a small admixture of Free Will.

Neurological systems are reducible to biochemical systems just like any other physiological system.The difference between the chemistry of neurological systems and other physiological systems is that the former are mediated by electro-chemical reactions.
They are... in your imagination, but complex neurological systems like thinking, absolutely don't behave like physical systems.
How not? Is it complexity of degree or of kind? (Are you taking a substance dualist stance?)
Well look at it this way: no one knows how human decision making happens at the molecular and ionic charge levels. Let's stipulate that and replace the process mechanism (whatever it is) with a Black Box. So we have antecedent state X followed by the Black Box process and then resultant state Y some of the time and Z other times (in the simplest case).

One way of approaching this state of affairs is to guess that what lies within the Black Box must be akin to simple physical systems such as the behavior of billiard balls when struck or planets in orbit and a set of equations will Determine what the resultant state will be.

Another way of evaluating the situation is to agree that what comprises the Black Box is definitely unknown currently and may in fact be unknowable and therefore concentrate on states X, Y and Z and the fact that they have certain measurable correlations but only partially, and despite all attempts have a certain amount of unpredictability such that their relationship is definitely not random, but behaves exactly as if Free Will was at work. I agree this does not prove Free Will. But this relationship does not resemble those of physical systems (where antecedent state X always leads to resultant state Y, never Z).

Now a substance dualist would stipulate that whatever is in the Black Box is NOT the brain, I however assume it is neurologic in origin generally, but am clueless as to the details of this neurological mechanism.
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Belindi
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Belindi »

LuckyR wrote: January 1st, 2022, 3:36 am
Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 2:54 pm
LuckyR wrote: December 29th, 2021, 1:47 pm
Belindi wrote: December 29th, 2021, 8:30 am

But Free Will is all or nothing. You can't have a small admixture of Free Will.

Neurological systems are reducible to biochemical systems just like any other physiological system.The difference between the chemistry of neurological systems and other physiological systems is that the former are mediated by electro-chemical reactions.
They are... in your imagination, but complex neurological systems like thinking, absolutely don't behave like physical systems.
How not? Is it complexity of degree or of kind? (Are you taking a substance dualist stance?)
Well look at it this way: no one knows how human decision making happens at the molecular and ionic charge levels. Let's stipulate that and replace the process mechanism (whatever it is) with a Black Box. So we have antecedent state X followed by the Black Box process and then resultant state Y some of the time and Z other times (in the simplest case).

One way of approaching this state of affairs is to guess that what lies within the Black Box must be akin to simple physical systems such as the behavior of billiard balls when struck or planets in orbit and a set of equations will Determine what the resultant state will be.

Another way of evaluating the situation is to agree that what comprises the Black Box is definitely unknown currently and may in fact be unknowable and therefore concentrate on states X, Y and Z and the fact that they have certain measurable correlations but only partially, and despite all attempts have a certain amount of unpredictability such that their relationship is definitely not random, but behaves exactly as if Free Will was at work. I agree this does not prove Free Will. But this relationship does not resemble those of physical systems (where antecedent state X always leads to resultant state Y, never Z).

Now a substance dualist would stipulate that whatever is in the Black Box is NOT the brain, I however assume it is neurologic in origin generally, but am clueless as to the details of this neurological mechanism.
Thanks. I understand you are not a substance dualist.

As to "clueless" it's clear that a psychiatrist and a neurologist can cooperate to 'cure' somebody who suffers from hallucinations. This successful fact shows that whatever is in the black box should be understood both physically and subjectively.
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