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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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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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.
I am a bit confused. How can determinism be equal to free will? As far as I know determinism talks about pre-determined thoughts and actions while free will talks about freedom to think and act. I don't see how these two can be related when we consider either reality or self.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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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.
Seemingly there are scientific evidence to show that free will is just an illusive idea. So I think this concept is still worth discussing. And also science cannot prove or disprove each and everything.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 2:00 pm
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.
Yes, it only appears to us that we are having free will. But when we try to do something we see all the barriers and hindrances that we have to overcome, hence questioning the possession of free will.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Good_Egg wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 3:53 pm 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
Doctors say smoking is hazardous to health. Yet people can choose either to smoke or not to. Even some who got addicted to smoking stop it simply with will power. So if we have enough will power we can take decisions favourable to ourselves. But all these decisions are feasible when only ouourselves are involved. Imagine when your wife does not like you smoking. Then you get a reason to overpower your irrational desire, rather than your own rational thinking.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 5:51 am
If we realize will as necessity, do we always will what is necessary for us? How many unnecessary things do we buy and do due to various reasons? If we could will only what is necessary how such a thing is possible?

Yes, people can give various excuses to get away from responsibility. But there are occasions that actually the responsibility lies on reasons beyond one's self.

Who is a free agent? Are you a free agent?
Often Will and Necessity are related like the ox and the wagon. justify the ox on the wagon; the wagon on the ox. "If we realize . . ." Read 'realize' with 'justify'.

"How many unnecessary things do we buy." Almost none, at the time of purchase, but we may regret it afterwards. " How is it possible (to regret)? Because will has been wrongly identified strictly as necessity, or because necessity has changed context.

"There are occasions . . ." Indeed there are. Given the same conditions, there must be many occasions with no regret, long afterwards, but what is you point? Please explain. i can expect that from you as a serious debater.

"What is a free agent?" It is in the dictionary. For your reference: a person whose actions are not constrained by others.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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detail wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 9:12 pm 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.
If one let him/herself to be influenced too much by social media and likewise influences, then there is no use in talking about influences. Influences are always there, and always will be as well. But having the ability to decide for ourselves despite the influences is THE free will.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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JackDaydream wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 11:21 pm @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.
Gaining full control over one's self is quite difficult, yet not an impossible thing. If one can achieve that level he/she can have a certain level of free will compared to all others who are easily bent by social influences. Yet there are rules and regulations that no one can violate without facing consequences, and that is a hindrance when you try to fully exert free will.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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ernestm wrote: February 5th, 2022, 5:47 am 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.
I agree that scientific evidence can add only a bit or sometimes no value to philosophical discussions, when it comes to epistemology. But what about the practically applicable scientific evidence? Are they too have no value in absolute terms?
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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gad-fly wrote: February 25th, 2022, 1:04 pm
Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 5:51 am
If we realize will as necessity, do we always will what is necessary for us? How many unnecessary things do we buy and do due to various reasons? If we could will only what is necessary how such a thing is possible?

Yes, people can give various excuses to get away from responsibility. But there are occasions that actually the responsibility lies on reasons beyond one's self.

Who is a free agent? Are you a free agent?
Often Will and Necessity are related like the ox and the wagon. justify the ox on the wagon; the wagon on the ox. "If we realize . . ." Read 'realize' with 'justify'.

"How many unnecessary things do we buy." Almost none, at the time of purchase, but we may regret it afterwards. " How is it possible (to regret)? Because will has been wrongly identified strictly as necessity, or because necessity has changed context.

"There are occasions . . ." Indeed there are. Given the same conditions, there must be many occasions with no regret, long afterwards, but what is you point? Please explain. i can expect that from you as a serious debater.

"What is a free agent?" It is in the dictionary. For your reference: a person whose actions are not constrained by others.
All our actions have consequences and impact on other people and authorities. So definitely we are constrained by various such bonds. Then ultimately we are not free agents, as per the dictionary definition.

Yes, at the time of purchase we may not see them as unnecessary. But why is that? Maybe because our will was influenced by various environmental factors. We find ourselves thinking 'I shouldn't have done that'. But we never get that thought at the very moment when we make the decision. Maybe our brains think before we consciously do so, and we only realize that later when we leisurely think about our actions.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 7:12 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.
Seemingly there are scientific evidence to show that free will is just an illusive idea. So I think this concept is still worth discussing.
There is scientific evidence that there is relatively free will. And this evidence closes the topic "free will". So "free will" today is only a topic for those who prefer to ignore scientific evidence and abide in the 'realm of abstract thought' about absolutely free will which of course is pure fiction as shown by scientific evidence.
Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 7:12 am And also science cannot prove or disprove each and everything.
"Prove or disprove" again is a concept of the 'realm of abstract thought' aiming at a fiction of ultimate validity and ignoring scientific evidence. If there is scientific evidence then there is no need for proof and if there is lack of scientific evidence there is no need for disproof.
So science does neither prove nor disprove anything but science may provide evidence or not.
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?

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Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
Pattern-chaser wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 2:00 pm It appears to us that we have free will. Beyond that, I can't see any definite conclusions that we might draw.
Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 7:16 am Yes, it only appears to us that we are having free will. But when we try to do something we see all the barriers and hindrances that we have to overcome, hence questioning the possession of free will.
You seem to think that we can - i.e. we are able to - overcome the difficulties of finding out whether we have free will or not? And, having overcome these difficulties, you seem to be assuming that we should? It seems to me that the difficulties might be insuperable, and maybe also that there is no good reason to enquire further even if we can. We are too intimately involved in this question to carry out investigations with sufficient rigour and clarity?
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: February 26th, 2022, 11:46 am
Sushan wrote: February 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm Do we have free will, or not?
Pattern-chaser wrote: February 3rd, 2022, 2:00 pm It appears to us that we have free will. Beyond that, I can't see any definite conclusions that we might draw.
Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 7:16 am Yes, it only appears to us that we are having free will. But when we try to do something we see all the barriers and hindrances that we have to overcome, hence questioning the possession of free will.
You seem to think that we can - i.e. we are able to - overcome the difficulties of finding out whether we have free will or not? And, having overcome these difficulties, you seem to be assuming that we should? It seems to me that the difficulties might be insuperable, and maybe also that there is no good reason to enquire further even if we can. We are too intimately involved in this question to carry out investigations with sufficient rigour and clarity?
Here's what we know about the the concept of Free Will:

1) All objective evidence is consistent with the presence of Free Will.

2) Yet Free Will is unproven.

3) Free Will likely cannot be proven.

4) Free Will can be disproven, but has not yet been.

5) Logical alternatives to Free Will can and have been made. Some of them can be proven, but none of them have been.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

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Sushan wrote: February 25th, 2022, 10:09 pm
Then ultimately we are not free agents, as per the dictionary definition.

Yes, at the time of purchase we may not see them as unnecessary. But why is that? Maybe because our will was influenced by various environmental factors. We find ourselves thinking 'I shouldn't have done that'. But we never get that thought at the very moment when we make the decision. Maybe our brains think before we consciously do so, and we only realize that later when we leisurely think about our actions.
Agreed. Ultimately we are not free. Not 100%, anyway.

I look at life from both sides now. Free is relative, as someone has said here. 90% is more than enough. It is, indeed, exquisite. Guess I am lucky. To answer your earlier question which I have skipped. Yes, I am a free agent. No doubt about that. Wish you are too, but you may take a different context.

More often than not, whether consciously or subconsciously, Will is vested in Necessity. The latter will take the blame, and the former would claim: The fault is his, not mine. It is a soothing thought, though futile.

Before I go, let me share Billy Joel's lyric: She is always a woman. You can find more on the internet. It goes somewhat like this:
Blame it all on yourself 'cause she is always a woman to me.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by Luzephyr »

I have it. I doubt that most people have it. Anyone who questions his own will does not have a dominant will, i.e. free will.

We have multiple wills. Whatever will is supreme over the others is the 'free' one, since 'freedom' is simply the state of not being subject to a higher will.
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Re: Free will, Do we have it?

Post by Invisibilis »

The only power we have is choice. Often free will or not are simply the results from our choices.
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