Free will, Do we have it?

Use this forum to discuss the February 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Free Will, Do You Have It? by Albertus Kral
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Sushan
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Free will, Do we have it?

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the February 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month,
Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral


When people make choices and we ask why, it strongly suggests that we believe there must be a reason for the choice made. It also suggests that we do not easily believe that the choice was simply made because the person wanted to make that specific choice without any reason at all. When we ask another person why, it opens a controversy because we believe we can make any choice we want. Most of us believe we have free will to do so. We should simply accept that the other person made the choice because they wanted it. That should be the end of the conversation; however, it seldom is. Why do we need a reason? Can’t we just accept that people make choices for no reason at all? After all, is that not the essence of free will? Free will does not require an explanation nor a reason, it means that the choices we make are free from any influences and are made without any reason. Yet we have a difficult time accepting that something is done for no reason at all.
(Location 131 of Kindle version)


Seemingly this is not an idea the author created all alone. Even Schopenhauer and Einstein had similar kind of thoughts.

Man does at all times only what he wills, and yet he does this necessarily. But this is because he already is what he wills.
                Schopenhauer - Chapter 5 of On the                  Freedom of the Will

A man can do as he will, but not will as he will.
             Albert Einstein - My View of the World               (1931)


What do all these sayings imply? Do we have free will, or not? Is it merely our inability to express the reason behind our actions in words, or do we just behave in a pre-planned, pre-determined manner, which is a result of our brain processes due to various reasons which are out of our control? Are we unable to will what we will, for real?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
gad-fly
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by gad-fly »

Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm
When people make choices and we ask why, it strongly suggests that we believe there must be a reason for the choice made. It also suggests that we do not easily believe that the choice was simply made because the person wanted to make that specific choice without any reason at all. When we ask another person why, it opens a controversy because we believe we can make any choice we want. Most of us believe we have free will to do so. We should simply accept that the other person made the choice because they wanted it. That should be the end of the conversation; however, it seldom is. Why do we need a reason? Can’t we just accept that people make choices for no reason at all? After all, is that not the essence of free will? Free will does not require an explanation nor a reason, it means that the choices we make are free from any influences and are made without any reason. Yet we have a difficult time accepting that something is done for no reason at all.
(Location 131 of Kindle version)


Seemingly this is not an idea the author created all alone. Even Schopenhauer and Einstein had similar kind of thoughts.

Man does at all times only what he wills, and yet he does this necessarily. But this is because he already is what he wills.
                Schopenhauer - Chapter 5 of On the                  Freedom of the Will

A man can do as he will, but not will as he will.
             Albert Einstein - My View of the World               (1931)


What do all these sayings imply? Do we have free will, or not? Is it merely our inability to express the reason behind our actions in words, or do we just behave in a pre-planned, pre-determined manner, which is a result of our brain processes due to various reasons which are out of our control? Are we unable to will what we will, for real?
"Man does at all times only what he wills, and yet he does this necessarily."
Will realized as necessity, followed up by action.

"Do we have free will, or not?"
You have free will if you are a free agent. Period.

One can find excuse to shirk away from responsibility. blame it on one's brain, blame it on one's mom, blame it on politicians, blame it on God, and so on. Can one get away? Time will tell.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by GrayArea »

To me, free will is sort of akin to determinism.

Actually, to me, free will might as well BE a form of determinism—where the source of determinism lies in the self, instead of reality.

So now we have to ask the question: How can we tell if we are the source of our actions, or if reality is the source of our actions?

And to answer this question we must ask another: How can we even distinguish between the self and the reality? I mean—doesn't reality also contain the self?

My personal answer is that we are ourselves because we exist as a part of reality (= Existence), and in a similar manner—we are a part of reality because we exist as ourselves, as to exist is to be a part of reality, the real-ness of things.

So, my conclusion is that free will and determinism are indistinguishable, given that the self and the self that is a part of reality(which makes reality its source of actions) are indistinguishable.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by stevie »

Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
I can't believe that this topic is still brought up :lol: There is scientific evidence that we have relatively free will but not absolutely free will.
mankind ... must act and reason and believe; though they are not able, by their most diligent enquiry, to satisfy themselves concerning the foundation of these operations, or to remove the objections, which may be raised against them [Hume]
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
It appears to us that we have free will. Beyond that, I can't see any definite conclusions that we might draw.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by Good_Egg »

Is this one of those topics where there's a pragmatic answer ? If we don't have free will then there's no point bothering to post about it because it won't change anything ?

Seems to me that the real distinction is between the rational will that makes choices for a reason (like choosing not to drink coffee because my doctor says it aggravates some medical condition) and the willed choices we make on the basis of innate preference (like not drinking coffee because you don't like the stuff).

Sometimes we find that our rational will isn't in control. (E.g.that we keep on drinking coffee despite wanting not to because of what the doctor says). But sometimes we experience the opposite - that we have the willpower to exert our rational will over our irrational desires.

But both our rationality and our impulsive desires are part of who we are
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by detail »

The problem is , which effects can we deduce from free will. Other simply interpretate their own will as yours , if they are societal influential, this leads to the problem that your free will has no effect on your own reality. Just think about what's app , and the brain waves and sounds group.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by JackDaydream »

@Sushan

Often the issue of free will is thought of as a fixed aspect of life, as in do human beings have it or not? It may be that it is something which is developed by the way in which people can begin to make autonomous decisions about their lives, rather than be driven by blind forces of instincts and learned responses from socialisation. In this way, it can be a matter of mastery of the self, which is not an easy task as choices of behaviour are often habits and freedom of will is about making distinct choices and decisions about one's own pathway in life.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by ernestm »

GrayArea wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 12:56 am To me, free will is sort of akin to determinism.

Actually, to me, free will might as well BE a form of determinism—where the source of determinism lies in the self, instead of reality.

So now we have to ask the question: How can we tell if we are the source of our actions, or if reality is the source of our actions?

And to answer this question we must ask another: How can we even distinguish between the self and the reality? I mean—doesn't reality also contain the self?

My personal answer is that we are ourselves because we exist as a part of reality (= Existence), and in a similar manner—we are a part of reality because we exist as ourselves, as to exist is to be a part of reality, the real-ness of things.

So, my conclusion is that free will and determinism are indistinguishable, given that the self and the self that is a part of reality(which makes reality its source of actions) are indistinguishable.
That's an impressive chain of thought ) I'll think about that for a while, thank you.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by ernestm »

stevie wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 3:18 am
Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
I can't believe that this topic is still brought up :lol: There is scientific evidence that we have relatively free will but not absolutely free will.
Actually I just addressed that 'evidence' in another thread lol. If you excuse me for the expediency, I will quote the current popular argument for 'scientific evidence' of free will.
ernestm wrote: February 5th, 2022, 3:41 am Well I would say, Richard Dawkins has made quite a lot of money on that idea, but to consider Dawkins one might also remember Nietaxsche saying all philosophy is no more than an autobiography.

That is because Dawkins greatest achievement was to advocate that altruism is a social gene. At first his idea was mocked by the naive science community for decades, but eventually computer models were developed that demonstrate his version of the 'hawks versus doves' concept is true. Putting the specifics of that aside, what next happened to Dawkins was that atheists realized they could use his idea to advocate 'socail Darwinism' as a complete explanation of all human behavior. They stole his idea, restarted it, and made it an anti-religious argument to remove discussion of Creationism from the US Public School system.

When Professor Dawkins retired, he had an amazing idea that would only come from someone with two PhDs who ran All Souls College for years. He decided to make a book saying the atheists were right, called the 'God Delusion.' It purports to provide 'evidence' that God does not exist via determinism. As a scientist Dawkins himself knows it is impossible to model the 100 trillion neurons in the human brian with sufficient accuracy to verify the hypothesis, but the 'evidence' he provided has been interpreted as 'proof' by atheists, who are also emotionally enamored with his criticisms of religious institutions. The irony is that Dawkins is now making a **** of money from the people who previously scorned him and then stole his ideas, that is, he found a way to exploit the hawks. Pretty much entirely by himself. An amazing accomplishment.

So what you will find is people who advocate that determinism disporves the existence of free will, etc. However the problem remains that it is likely humanity will NEVER be able to build a computational engine of sufficient complexity to prove it true, so it remains an unproven hypothesis. That's not what you will hear from them. But it is what Dawkins actually thinks, and he is their hero. lol.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by stevie »

ernestm wrote: February 5th, 2022, 4:15 am
stevie wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 3:18 am
Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
I can't believe that this topic is still brought up :lol: There is scientific evidence that we have relatively free will but not absolutely free will.
Actually I just addressed that 'evidence' in another thread lol. If you excuse me for the expediency, I will quote the current popular argument for 'scientific evidence' of free will.
What? There is no evidence of absolutely free will but evidence of relatively free will.
mankind ... must act and reason and believe; though they are not able, by their most diligent enquiry, to satisfy themselves concerning the foundation of these operations, or to remove the objections, which may be raised against them [Hume]
ernestm
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by ernestm »

stevie wrote: February 5th, 2022, 4:26 am What? There is no evidence of absolutely free will but evidence of relatively free will.
Well I have to repeat this for you. There is no 'evidence' that anything is absolutely true. Outside scientific evidence, evaluation of 'evidence' requires judgment, and all judgment is based on belief, and therefore the judgment is at most an opinion with supporting arguments. In science, the best that 'evidence; can produce is corroboration of a theory, and the theory must be passed on formal logic, which assumes that existence can be logically explained. It is also possible that existence ultimately is beyond logical explanation, which is a valid metaphysical position, but makes it pointless to discuss what exists at all in philosophy. And that's about as much as epistemology can say of 'evidence.' That is, evidence can substantiate various theories, but otherwise, evidence is worth virtually nothing in absolute terms
ernestm
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by ernestm »

ernestm wrote: February 5th, 2022, 5:16 am
stevie wrote: February 5th, 2022, 4:26 am What? There is no evidence of absolutely free will but evidence of relatively free will.
Well I have to repeat this for you. There is no 'evidence' that anything is absolutely true. Outside scientific evidence, evaluation of 'evidence' requires judgment, and all judgment is based on belief, and therefore the judgment is at most an opinion with supporting arguments. In science, the best that 'evidence; can produce is corroboration of a theory, and the theory must be passed on formal logic, which assumes that existence can be logically explained. It is also possible that existence ultimately is beyond logical explanation, which is a valid metaphysical position, but makes it pointless to discuss what exists at all in philosophy. And that's about as much as epistemology can say of 'evidence.' That is, evidence can substantiate various theories, but otherwise, evidence is worth virtually nothing in absolute terms
Except for tautologies. Sorry I keep forgetting to put that bit in. My fault.
stevie
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by stevie »

ernestm wrote: February 5th, 2022, 5:16 am
stevie wrote: February 5th, 2022, 4:26 am What? There is no evidence of absolutely free will but evidence of relatively free will.
Well I have to repeat this for you. There is no 'evidence' that anything is absolutely true. Outside scientific evidence, evaluation of 'evidence' requires judgment, ...
I am only referring to scientific evidence, not more and not less.
mankind ... must act and reason and believe; though they are not able, by their most diligent enquiry, to satisfy themselves concerning the foundation of these operations, or to remove the objections, which may be raised against them [Hume]
ernestm
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by ernestm »

Repeating myself a THIRD TIME, the bold bit is the piece you ignored.
Outside scientific evidence, evaluation of 'evidence' requires judgment, and all judgment is based on belief, and therefore the judgment is at most an opinion with supporting arguments. In science, except for tautological statements about 'evidence,' the best that 'evidence' can produce is corroboration of a theory, and the theory must be based on formal logic, which assumes that existence can be logically explained. It is also possible that existence ultimately is beyond logical explanation, which is a valid metaphysical position, but makes it pointless to discuss what exists at all in philosophy. And that's about as much as epistemology can say of 'evidence.' That is, evidence can substantiate various theories, but otherwise, evidence is worth virtually nothing in absolute terms.
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