What is 'Free will'?

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: What is 'Free will'?

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stevie wrote: February 20th, 2022, 4:55 am
Sushan wrote: February 18th, 2022, 10:22 pm
stevie wrote: February 14th, 2022, 3:05 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:07 am

The given definition maybe insane. But the idea of free will should be such a one. Earlier this concept was used in a religious background, to say that God does not interfere in human actions since He has granted them with free will. So, if such free will has become a relative concept now, can we consider of us as beings with a free will?
I don't take inappropriate definitions as reference when talking about the definiendum.
In that case could you please mention an appropriate definition. By the way, what is the demarcation of a definition being appropriate vs inappropriate? If it is the source of reference, then I think Encyclopedia Britannica is a reliable one.
An appropriate definition is one that takes into consideration current scientific knowledge. An appropriate definition should refer to absolutely and relatively free will.
Are all definitions which are accepted today scientifically supported? Do they become inappropriate if they are scientifically not supported? Could you please mention such an appropriate definition for the discussion, including the references. Thank you
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
ernestm
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by ernestm »

Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by stevie »

Sushan wrote: February 23rd, 2022, 12:57 pm
stevie wrote: February 20th, 2022, 4:55 am
Sushan wrote: February 18th, 2022, 10:22 pm
stevie wrote: February 14th, 2022, 3:05 am

I don't take inappropriate definitions as reference when talking about the definiendum.
In that case could you please mention an appropriate definition. By the way, what is the demarcation of a definition being appropriate vs inappropriate? If it is the source of reference, then I think Encyclopedia Britannica is a reliable one.
An appropriate definition is one that takes into consideration current scientific knowledge. An appropriate definition should refer to absolutely and relatively free will.
Are all definitions which are accepted today scientifically supported?
Don't know but if not that's their deficiency.
Sushan wrote: February 23rd, 2022, 12:57 pm Do they become inappropriate if they are scientifically not supported?
Yes.
Sushan wrote: February 23rd, 2022, 12:57 pm Could you please mention such an appropriate definition for the discussion, including the references. Thank you
What? I don't understand your verbal expression.
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: What is 'Free will'?

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ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by ernestm »

LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
that puts wishful thinking in the category of freedom of will, I guess )
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Sushan
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
Choices and abilities are two different things. Human cannot fly, and that is a limitation of ability. And it is not a skill that one can learn. Thinking that we should have been able to have any ability to exercise free will is quite absurd. I think it should be the ability to exert whatever the choice that we make which lies within our scope of abilities.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
I agree. There are many ways to achieve a single goal. You can either make pancakes or buy them from outside. And you can choose to buy ingredients if your cupboard is empty when you decide to have pancakes.

Maybe free will is totally about the ability to make decisions. But the consequences (the knowledge about them) always make us hesitant to go straight away to a decision.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 7:01 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
that puts wishful thinking in the category of freedom of will, I guess )
Wishful thinking - an attitude or belief that something you want to happen will happen even though it is not likely or possible.
Encyclopedia Britannica

According to this definition wishful thinking is just a feeling of something happening as per our wish, although the possibilities are quite low. As per my understanding it is different from freedom of will.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 7:01 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
that puts wishful thinking in the category of freedom of will, I guess )
Exactly, a deaf person can make a decision on which station the radio should be set.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: February 24th, 2022, 11:50 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am
Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 5:01 am I think Strawson diverted questions to more 'discussable' ways rather than clarifying them. He told that we cannot just discuss about a thing, but can discuss the uses of that thing. I think that is applicable to Free will as well.
Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
I agree. There are many ways to achieve a single goal. You can either make pancakes or buy them from outside. And you can choose to buy ingredients if your cupboard is empty when you decide to have pancakes.

Maybe free will is totally about the ability to make decisions. But the consequences (the knowledge about them) always make us hesitant to go straight away to a decision.
Very true. A brain in a jar can make decisions in the absence of a body to perform any task.
"As usual... it depends."
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Sushan
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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LuckyR wrote: February 25th, 2022, 3:04 am
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 7:01 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am

Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
that puts wishful thinking in the category of freedom of will, I guess )
Exactly, a deaf person can make a decision on which station the radio should be set.
I am not certain whether wishful thinking speaks about a person wishing for things that he/she cannot achieve. But at the same time, yes, a deaf person can decide to set the radio channel. If he is living alone and there is no one to hinder his decision, then it is an absolute possibility. He can even choose to dance to the songs (imaginative songs). Free will and freedom to act can be fully exerted when you are alone, despite the usefulness of your wills and acts.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

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LuckyR wrote: February 25th, 2022, 3:07 am
Sushan wrote: February 24th, 2022, 11:50 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 24th, 2022, 5:52 pm
ernestm wrote: February 24th, 2022, 3:22 am

Well some people have some very naive views about how free will is usable. Obviously, for example, we cannot fly without getting in a vehicle. Choices are always limited. Limit of choice does not mean choice does not exist. As to whether it is deterministic, as one gets older, one discovers on the whole, it is. That doesn't mean people aren't exercising free will. It just means it is also predictable. That makes its absolute existence or not really a matter of opinion.
While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.

If I decide to have pancakes for breakfast, my exercising of my Will is not dependent on the contents of my cupboard.
I agree. There are many ways to achieve a single goal. You can either make pancakes or buy them from outside. And you can choose to buy ingredients if your cupboard is empty when you decide to have pancakes.

Maybe free will is totally about the ability to make decisions. But the consequences (the knowledge about them) always make us hesitant to go straight away to a decision.
Very true. A brain in a jar can make decisions in the absence of a body to perform any task.
Yes, we are free to think without any limitations. For an example you can imagine the most horrible things that you can do or can happen to your haters. But the moment you word your thoughts you might find yourself in a lunatic asylum, or if you choose to act upon them you will find yourself in a jail.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
ernestm
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by ernestm »

LuckyR wrote: February 25th, 2022, 3:07 am While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.
Well I did think about this. Many people believe the decisions they make regarding their own beliefs as necessarily true, for reasons of personal integrity. As a philosopher I refrain from decision making on many issues of belief, to maintain my own personal integrity.

One could certainly regard refraining from making a decision as making a decision, but it rather obliterates the MEANING of decision making. It appears to me free will exists as an antecedent to decision making, and it not defined by EITHER by making decisions, OR by "putting the decision into practice." I would tend to view 'free will' as a property possessed by consciousness, and decision making as a process that is available to consciousness, should it so choose, as a consequence of the property. I don't view people as 'possessing' free will at all time. It is not a permanent property of consciousness, but transitory property, depending on one's state.
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by LuckyR »

ernestm wrote: February 25th, 2022, 11:01 pm
LuckyR wrote: February 25th, 2022, 3:07 am While what we can do is limited, Free Will addresses decision making, not the ability to put the decision into practice.
Well I did think about this. Many people believe the decisions they make regarding their own beliefs as necessarily true, for reasons of personal integrity. As a philosopher I refrain from decision making on many issues of belief, to maintain my own personal integrity.

One could certainly regard refraining from making a decision as making a decision, but it rather obliterates the MEANING of decision making. It appears to me free will exists as an antecedent to decision making, and it not defined by EITHER by making decisions, OR by "putting the decision into practice." I would tend to view 'free will' as a property possessed by consciousness, and decision making as a process that is available to consciousness, should it so choose, as a consequence of the property. I don't view people as 'possessing' free will at all time. It is not a permanent property of consciousness, but transitory property, depending on one's state.
I don't disagree with you that Free Will is not the practice of decision making. Rather decision making is the most obvious (and as it happens, the best) example of Free Will in practice.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: What is 'Free will'?

Post by Elephant »

Sushan wrote: February 13th, 2022, 4:29 am So whether there is a free will or not, it does not care, because it is already enjoying it. But humans cannot simply do so, and that is why we are keen about the topic. So ultimately it should be free will = human will.
I mean human will is the psychological will we're born with. Desires are innate in us -- so this must be one of the driving force in the will. I have a desire to climb a mountain, so my attempts at doing so represent my will.
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