The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Free will does not exist (Beware)

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
Post Reply
Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Eduk » October 30th, 2018, 6:40 am

No what I am saying is that when I get in a car 'I' agree to be responsible. I was giving a practical example. Philosophically I think it's legitimate to not accept responsibility but if that is the case then you shouldn't be surprised if I ask for your driving licence. Do you see the difference between what we actually do in the real world and paper philosophy? All the people saying there is no free will would be super annoyed if I started punching them for no reason.
I agree consciousness/free will is a black box. I personally don't know what a choice is when it comes down to it. But I still nonetheless agree to be responsible for my actions because I do enjoy the utility of driving. There is no belief, either way, required.
Unknown means unknown.

Karpel Tunnel
Posts: 743
Joined: February 16th, 2018, 11:28 am

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 30th, 2018, 6:48 am

Eduk wrote:
October 30th, 2018, 6:40 am
No what I am saying is that when I get in a car 'I' agree to be responsible. I was giving a practical example. Philosophically I think it's legitimate to not accept responsibility but if that is the case then you shouldn't be surprised if I ask for your driving licence. Do you see the difference between what we actually do in the real world and paper philosophy? All the people saying there is no free will would be super annoyed if I started punching them for no reason.
I agree consciousness/free will is a black box. I personally don't know what a choice is when it comes down to it. But I still nonetheless agree to be responsible for my actions because I do enjoy the utility of driving. There is no belief, either way, required.
Fine, and I agreed that I also consider myself responsible, Even with a determined self, I am that broken machine that runs over people, if I did drive like that, and could expect to be scrapped. However your response to his post is extremely simple, I don't think it really deals with the complexity of the issue. So when you respond with more or less a quip, it seems to me you aren't getting in there and demonstrating.

And getting annoyed at you punching them for no reason does not make their position false. They can simply say that your punching causes their anger.

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Eduk » October 30th, 2018, 7:05 am

They can simply say that your punching causes their anger.
Why be angry if you don't 'want' anything? I mean it's a bit of a pickle.

I already responded in depth to Tosun's OP. I said proof of not knowing means you have proof you don't know. It may or may not be possible to draw some conclusions from this, but often it really isn't (especially rarely to be an either or choice with only two options - although almost always presented this way).

And to further back up my point I tried to point out that whether or not you rationally believe in free will you certainly act exactly like you do have free will. So where is the distinction? For example we can all agree some choices are unconscious. We can all agree that some choices are not unconscious. So when people do things we realise that they are partly responsible, but so to are other people, the environment, the chemicals in their brains, their lack of sleep, stress, etc etc. How all those factors are weighed is beyond our powers of precision so we are forced to draw a line in the sand and guess. All you are doing by saying there is no 'free will' is adding a third useless category that changes nothing. For example let us say I 100% agree that we don't have free will, now what? Nothing has changed? I still need a licences to drive my car.
Unknown means unknown.

Tosen
Posts: 23
Joined: March 25th, 2018, 12:06 pm

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Tosen » October 31st, 2018, 1:11 am

Burning Ghost -
You simply cannot “prove” that free will does not exist without setting out a rational claim with precise definitions. What ‘ve done is express, vaguely, your opinion.
Sex is a pleasurable activity. How can I rationally prove this? You don't, you experience it. You have a very deep rooted assumption that proving the existence of something requires a rational claim. Same as, how can I prove emotions exist? Without the experiencing of that thing you cannot know it or prove it otherwise. You are stuck on your radical rationalist mind. Please ask me again all the words that you did not understand so I can clear it out precisely as you want to. Unless this will turn into a nonsensical semantical battle when this is not even about argumentation. And no, this is not my "opinion". An opinion is a relativistic, arbitrary thing. This is something you can become aware of. And my good friend, let me be clear that I am not the only one that has discovered this free will problem. Please search SAM HARRIS and how he explains it. Please do or else this conversation may not be productive.


What does that mean? Where is this “consciousness” you speak of? If it has no “where” to it then how can you claim something “appears” to it or “how” something appears to it?
First of all, I said that that claim is a conceptual way to understand this, but essentially it is not understood this way, it is by DIRECTLY HAVING AN EXPERIENCE OF IT. I don't think you get that this is an experiential truth
My friend, where is this consciousness? This very precise moment, your existence itself is grounded on consciousnesses. You only know you exist because you are aware of it. You are reading this at this moment. You are not a mind-zombie, you are aware. Why think of "where" is this consciousness when you are consciousness itself? You are just conscious, that is it. When I say that something "appears" in consciousness is that whatever thing that you see, perceive, feel, or think appears in your own awareness . If it wasn't so, you wouldn't be able to have a conscious experience or 'something". In other words, you wouldn't know you exist because there is no "experiencing" of something.
These are things that are there but we are not aware until we direct our awareness to it
But if “we” don’t direct “our” awareness then “who” does?
This is a very problematic thing to explain because it requires the highest level of consciousness to perceive. And essentially it is conceptually paradoxical. You will not understand it at all right now but I will say it anyways. All phenomena of thinking,choosing, deciding is illusory, and a very good illusion at that. You are not actually doing it, although it FEELS like it. You will never do this unless you raise your own awareness, starting with those simple exercises that I mentioned that you probably totally ignored.
This is a little like saying I didn’t kill them, it was the drugs I took that comprimised my decision making.
Drugs can create altered states of consciousness and make you more unconscious of anything that you do. This is one way to understand how awareness itself works.
If I was to torture you and manipulate your biochemistry into reacting to certain cues then you are not really to be held to account for your actions.
This is definitely a moral dilemma when we talk about absence of free will. When you grasp the nature of your consciousness, you realize that all thought is not conjured by you. BUT LISTEN CAREFULLY. By become aware that YOU ARE NOT THE ONE THAT THINKS, YOU KNOW THAT WHATEVER THOUGHT APPEARS IN YOUR MIND IS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL. So therefore you can "choose", still being illusory, what do to with that thought. Let me give an analogy: What if in a certain moment you feel a high sexual temptation to have sexual intercourse with a woman. The erotic feeling is so intense that it makes you want to go to the extent of raping her. What is happening here? First, this intense sexual excitation at first is something that "popped up" in your body. Meaning, the emotion just appeared in your body by just looking at her. This is initially an uncontrollable phenomena. Later, you get to decide WHAT TO DO with that emotion. Do you ignore it? Or indulge on the carnal pleasures? This is a battle of self vs mind. The mind is producing the feeling in your body, but the self or "I", which is conscious of that phenomenon which was not caused by me, decided what moral action to take. So, the self fought with the mind. This is a simple instance where the duality of self vs mind manifests.

Note: I am quite happy to accept that I have no “free will” in some circumstances when the term is contextually framed in a certain light. The issue I have is anyone suggesting that all given human contexts “free will” is completely delusional.
Well my friend I have trouble accepting this as well on all human contexts but this is a hard experiential truth that can be even corroborated empirically with neuroscience. Our job as philosophers is to seek the truth for what it is, if we by chance dislike that truth, that is but a personal, emotional affair. This revelation also explains why we may suffer so much in life, why we have neurotic tendencies. But that is another treatise in itself.
A common example of expressing the manner in which we use the term “choice” is this ... You are give two doors to go through, you pick one. You arbitrarily pick the door (your choice.) It turns out that one of the doors is nothing other than a painting on a wall so when you approach you realise apparent choice was no choice at all. So even though you chose one door initially as you begin to approach them you see that our choice was not a choice at all. In this situation we can easily see that depending on how we “choose” to interpret the situation you made a choice and you didn’t make a choice.
Only when you become conscious of it will you get it. All thought and choice is 'illusory'. But it is paradoxically a conscious choice you can make. This is hard to digest because you will never fathom this conceptually, but phenomenologically. So how we experience "free choice" in any given moment, like the one you explained, how it manifests in our phenomenology doesn't change; even it it is illusory. What changes is the realization that all thoughts "comes and goes" from the mind.

You appear to be choosing to interpret the words a certain way so that choice makes it appear to you that you never made a choice at all. The the arbitrary appearance after the matter of the fact means you’re completely rudderless.
This is not a semantical game on my part, neither a conceptual one(Well it kinda is a conceptual one noting how I am trying to describe it). It will appear like a vague display of odd explanations with weird language because precisely this is not known through a rational analysis of definitions of words. That's just being analytical of language itself. I am using this instrument called language, knowing the unprecise nature of it, to explain an experiential phenomena .
I would say that many of thr decisions we make in life often suffer from lack of conscious examination. In those cases people repeat the same mistakes blaming the arbitrary nature of nature rather than contending with the burdensome idea that what they think and do may actually have a serious causal effect (that said I understand you’re sidestepping the morality of the situation, which then begs the question what the use is of trying to make subjective claims appear to be objective claims - the original endeavor of the phenomenological investigation was to feel out a possible science of subjectivity.)
This very dilemma that you present is of utmost importance. This lack of conscious examination in "certain situations" is one of the phenomenological problems caused by the duality of Self vs Mind that I briefly mentioned. Which is why I say that this is a very profound topic to consider carefully.

Regarding this battle of objectivity vs subjectivity, the truest thing you will ever know about reality is through experience. Why? Because you experienced that "something" from reality not "thought" about it. Because everything is happening in experience! Consciousness is self-awareness of an experience. So, in reality, phenomenology is the most "objective" endeavor to pursue! As it is our own nature, consciousness. One problem is that language, concepts, abstractions could have problems describing it. It is an experience after all! The limits of language is the limits of describing our reality. Why do some people have difficulty verbalizing(conceptualizing) their love for someone or any other grandeur emotion that they may feel on
a particular circumstance? Or even describing a pain in their body? Precisely because encapsulating that experiential instance with concepts, analogies or abstractions with a finite language is hard! Therefore reality is an anecdotal thing, a personal experience. You only know your perspective of the "experiencing" of reality but never of others. But since humans are so similar we can be empathetic and understand each other regardless, even though we never directly access the experiential reality of another person. Digest this however you will.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Burning ghost » October 31st, 2018, 1:56 am

Tosen -

I’ve made an error here I think. You’ve no idea how much I appreciate your line of inquiry. I’ve probably gone a little bit on the offensive here too much because it appears you’ve gone on the defensive.

I’ve already stated the terms I have problems with. A common selection of terms that cause confusion are “consciousness” (because this term can be applied to various “states of consciousness,” and in respect to the “unconscious” rather than “unconsciousness” is another common problem I’ve come across over the years), “choice”/“choose”/“choosing”/“chose” (because of the reasons I’ve already stated and because of the nuanced diffrence in terms of time in regard to verbs - not to mention the self-evident occurance of this concept in every human language I know of), and finally “free will”, which can be used in so many ways it is hardly telling much to say don’t believe “free will” exists if you fail to be precise enough to distinguish between what kind of thing it is you’re talking about when you say “free will” and in what ways the term “free will: can be said to exist for humans.

If something Sam Harris has said will help the discussion then post a link. If not then go and research Husserl, Heidegger and cognitive neuroscience if you see my questions are pointless (I’m not the best at setting out my thoughts in words, but I do my best.)
AKA badgerjelly

Tosen
Posts: 23
Joined: March 25th, 2018, 12:06 pm

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Tosen » November 1st, 2018, 11:43 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
October 31st, 2018, 1:56 am
Tosen -

I’ve made an error here I think. You’ve no idea how much I appreciate your line of inquiry. I’ve probably gone a little bit on the offensive here too much because it appears you’ve gone on the defensive.

I’ve already stated the terms I have problems with. A common selection of terms that cause confusion are “consciousness” (because this term can be applied to various “states of consciousness,” and in respect to the “unconscious” rather than “unconsciousness” is another common problem I’ve come across over the years), “choice”/“choose”/“choosing”/“chose” (because of the reasons I’ve already stated and because of the nuanced diffrence in terms of time in regard to verbs - not to mention the self-evident occurance of this concept in every human language I know of), and finally “free will”, which can be used in so many ways it is hardly telling much to say don’t believe “free will” exists if you fail to be precise enough to distinguish between what kind of thing it is you’re talking about when you say “free will” and in what ways the term “free will: can be said to exist for humans.

If something Sam Harris has said will help the discussion then post a link. If not then go and research Husserl, Heidegger and cognitive neuroscience if you see my questions are pointless (I’m not the best at setting out my thoughts in words, but I do my best.)
Thank you for acknowledging this out so we can proceed. Please ask way with anything as this matter is a troublesome one to understand at first. Also, i'm not going on the "defensive", sorry if it appeared that way to you. I am genuinely trying to make this as comprehensible as possible knowing the intricate and complex nature of it. No worries there.


What we have is a problem with definitions. I will clear all of your doubts as precise as I can. I can see that you get confused because these words are used contextually in different ways, that is okay.

Consciousness- When I used this word I mean your and my conscious experience of reality. I mean, we know we exist because we are conscious right? We are aware that we are here, right now. To add further, when you sleep, you are in a sense, not existing because you are not conscious of anything. Your body just went to rejuvenate itself and then you "come back" to conscious experience and follow your day to day life. Consciousness is what you and me are experiencing right now, reality and ourselves. This is the same as using the word phenomenology. A lot of philosophers maybe don't like this word knowing how ridiculously obscure and ambiguous Heidegger's language was when he wrote about it.

Unconsciousness/ unconscious- I used these words interchangeably. I use this to refer to any phenomena that occurs without our awareness of it. An unconscious instance could be an instant body-reflex your body did when you suddenly got scared. In this case it was an instinctive biological reaction and you did it unconsciously, meaning, you did not choose to jump or scream at the moment. I'm just giving this obvious example for corporal phenomena(Bodily-instinctive reactions) but this can extend to mind phenomena at a deeper level. Meaning that there are things we do unconsciously in our day to day life that we do not realize because we are not paying attention to it. Another easy example is this, you are not conscious of all of the neurological processes that happen in the brain, none of it. This implies that our brains may process some things without our voluntary decision to do so. Therefore, it is something happening "behind us". It's like trying to directly face your shadow. This is unconscious phenomena. This is just a small step to understand no free will.

Choice/choose/choosing/chose/free will- I used all of these words interchangeably as well, so they all refer to "free will". When I use free will I mean any instance in which we decide to do something, anything, absolutely anything. To choosing what to eat today, to what moral decision to make in any situation, to choose what convictions to have towards something, to choose to even move your body. This extends on to thinking itself and on a radical sense, to your existence itself. Nothing you are doing right now is done/decided by you. This is the illusion of free will that we have. It is an illusion because it's not a real experience, but the illusion is mind-bending that it still feels real . This is a hard one to digest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-Xp7mvOcVM This is a video about Sam Harris and his discussion of free will. Try to watch that video and maybe re-read my writing. Perhaps you will understand a bit more. He is great because not only did he subjectively experienced how free will is an illusion(like I did), he actually found correlation to his subjective experience with objective, empirical brain scans. So for those radical empiricists out there he proved it empirically.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Burning ghost » November 2nd, 2018, 1:40 am

I know this may be hard for you to hear. You need to re-write more than I need to re-read. I cannot even offr you much critique because I don’t know what you’re saying.

As an example, if you’re using the term “phemonenology” you should perhaps try to learn more about what it means. When you say “phenomena occurs without our awareness of it” you’ve made a fatal error and conflated two different contexts here. In a phenomenological sense it is contrary to talk of phenomena outside of awareness - you’re conflating a physicalist view of reality with a phenomenological view (not that the general positioning of phenomenology refutes physicality it just isn’t particularly concerned with it hence the regard toward “phenomenonal experience” not “physical experience” - don’t conflate the two.)

It is not “okay” for me to be confused between the contexts of your choice of words. You can either make distinct demarcations between the terms you use, find terms that exist already, or turn the reader off.

What is more, and I’d be shocked if Harris doesn’t mention this in some other vid/book, the term “unconscious” (as in “unconscious neurological processes”) can easily be refered to as “conscious activity.” Now you may think I am conflating terms. I promise you I am not because I’ve actually read textbook on cognitive neuroscience where the certain patterns of “unconscious” activity observable in the brain can be only be present when someone is consciously aware - these would be things like automated responses to certain environmental cues, or learnt (explicitly learnt) patterns of behavior.

You’d probably find it incredibly interesting to study much more about how memory functions, how we learn, and items of psychology and neurology that look at “priming” and such. It’s a very fascinating area to say the least.

You may also want to look into “sleep” because you’ve expressed an outdated assumption about he function of sleep - that being “rejuvenate” and then talked about coming back to “consciousness” when in a dream state is actually a “conscious state.” You can then look into the neurological view of differ states of consciousness from “coma” (generally considered a state in which conscoiusness is all but absent.) The function of memory and learning is also closely related to dream states.

Another issue is defining “conscious thought” because many people struggle to think in anyother way than verbally. I am not one of those people. I personally refer verbal thought, or any worded “expression” (be it internally “private” or externally “shared”) as the eulogy of phenomenological thought - right down at the base level (if there is such a thing?) I make no apology for not knowing what is going on, of my fuzzy worded expression of it, or any concrete knowledge fo such a thing other than by my problem with dealing with temporality as an external topic - for obvious reasons!

I agree with you on Heidegger in part. Some of his attempts to refine Husserl’s ideas were useful and helped some grasp them better. Imo he wetn too far though and stretched the concept of “dasein” out so much that it lacks any applicable definition outside his own little hermeneutical “game.”

All said and done though I understand what you’re saying well enough to say you’re expressing badly, you need to dig deeper, and I agree with you in one way that “free will” doesn’t relate to what you’re setting out, yet in other contexts it does exist quite clearly.

The strong deterministic view cannot be proven, but it is at least in some agreement with the notion of a binary view of “free will: as an all or nothing proposition. Given that I barely understand what conscoiusness is, what time is and a number of other things, I am not willing to throw my eggs into one basket - and if I cannot so what?

Also, from a moral perspective it is seems more damaging to me as an individual to believe that either everything is my problem or nothing is my problem. If what I think, and what I do as a consequence of my thoughts, is partially derived from some underlying “free choice” expressed in ways I cannot fathom then it would be immoral of me to live life as if my actions were somehow not my responsibility, or that everything was my responsibility. I live life as a being who has a limited scope and understanding of myself and the world and explore it willfully and with a mixture of caution and, I hope, bravery.

Another issue with listening/resding people’s views (such as Harris’) is that it is very easy to become, I’d say inevitable to some degree, closed off froopposing positions. No doubt you’ve come across Dennett too or Dawkins. They are quite willing to say “free will” exists in one sense and not in another and they’re more onside with Harris’ perspective. Sapolsky is another who’d help bolster your position more - give weight to your argument to some degree.

On a purely psychological level it is very apparent that we’re pretty delusional creatures and tend toward making up the best narrative we can to suit our world views. I like Sapolsky’s view of homosapiens as the “confused ape.”

As an analogy maybe it would help to view questions like this:

- Is weather composed of wind, sun and clouds, or air, heat and water?
- Does the Sun make weather happen or the atmosphere?

Is there any “decision” in the above teo scenarios? If not then when we talk about decision what it is that defines “decision” for animals yet not for the Sun or Clouds?
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1737
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Atreyu » November 6th, 2018, 7:56 pm

OP, I agree with you. In reality everything happens. We don't really do anything in the true sense of the word.

We don't think thoughts, they just happen. They just 'pop' into our awareness without any conscious intention on our part.

Nor do we choose our feelings, they also just happen. This is more obvious for most people.

Nor do we walk, talk, or choose to go anywhere or do anything. It all happens as well. All of our physical actions are merely responses/reactions to our feelings and sensations, neither of which we have any control over. You go to work because you need to eat, and you visit a friend because you feel like it (want to). Any you have no control over your hunger or your desires.

And of course, all of our instinctive functions (heartbeat, breathing, secretion of hormones, etc) also merely happen. But this is the only part of ourselves in which our mechanical nature is quite obvious.....

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 381
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by chewybrian » November 6th, 2018, 9:06 pm

Atreyu wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 7:56 pm
OP, I agree with you. In reality everything happens. We don't really do anything in the true sense of the word.

We don't think thoughts, they just happen. They just 'pop' into our awareness without any conscious intention on our part.

Nor do we choose our feelings, they also just happen. This is more obvious for most people.
I guess I'm not 'most people'. Reality just happens, yes, and I have no control (or very little) over how it comes out. But, what I am able to control is my reaction, my judgments and opinions about what is happening. This is the point of stoic philosophy.

If you align your desires with what is good for you, and your aversion to what is bad for you, and your expectations with reality, then you can alter your experience of the world even as the world around you remains the same. If you desire to eat right, and to walk a few miles a day, and to live simply, then your wishes can generally come true. If you let yourself desire a cigarette or be averse to exercise, your will suffer.

If you merge onto the highway with the expectation that someone will cut you off on your journey, then you don't need to feel angry when it happens. But, if you have the unrealistic idea that everyone will play by the rules, you will be angry at the perceived injustice when what tends to happen in fact happens. The problem is not that the world stuck it to you, it is that you went out the door with unrealistic expectations.

I can tell you from my own experience that it is possible to alter (in a good way) your perception of everyday events over time such that things begin to 'go your way' much more often. Your feelings will change over time through this process. Whether you have controlled your feelings directly or controlled your judgments so that different feelings come forth, I don't know. But, the end result is that decisions you make can result in altered feelings down the line.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
Present awareness
Posts: 1312
Joined: February 3rd, 2014, 7:02 pm

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Present awareness » November 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm

You are on to something Chewybrain, we all make decisions and decisions suggest free will. It is easy to say that everything that has happened was destined to happen, because it has already happened, but that is only pointing to the obvious. Predicting what “will” happen is a little more complex. Those who say we have no free will are only looking at what is, and of course there is no denying that what is, can not be changed. If you come to a fork in the road, you may go right or left. Only after you have made your “choice” can it be said you were destined to go that way!
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1737
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Atreyu » November 8th, 2018, 8:29 pm

Present awareness wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm
If you come to a fork in the road, you may go right or left. Only after you have made your “choice” can it be said you were destined to go that way!
No, an entity which knew all the variables involved in your "choice" could say with certainty beforehand what "choice" you were going to make, and therefore could say that you were "destined" to go left or right....

User avatar
Present awareness
Posts: 1312
Joined: February 3rd, 2014, 7:02 pm

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Present awareness » November 8th, 2018, 8:58 pm

Atreyu wrote:
November 8th, 2018, 8:29 pm
Present awareness wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm
If you come to a fork in the road, you may go right or left. Only after you have made your “choice” can it be said you were destined to go that way!
No, an entity which knew all the variables involved in your "choice" could say with certainty beforehand what "choice" you were going to make, and therefore could say that you were "destined" to go left or right....
There is only one such “entity” and it is call consciousness, however it does not know beforehand what the choice will be, but rather weighs in consideration all the sensory input processed by the mind “at that moment” and then decides on an appropriate course of action. There is no doubt that each individual has personal preferences and there choice may be highly predictable, but the option to change one’s mind is always there.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

User avatar
Present awareness
Posts: 1312
Joined: February 3rd, 2014, 7:02 pm

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Present awareness » November 8th, 2018, 9:05 pm

Once again, in my haste, I typed “there” instead of “their”. Oh well, most will know what I mean anyway.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 381
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by chewybrian » November 9th, 2018, 7:54 am

Atreyu wrote:
November 8th, 2018, 8:29 pm
No, an entity which knew all the variables involved in your "choice" could say with certainty beforehand what "choice" you were going to make, and therefore could say that you were "destined" to go left or right....
This is simply an opinion with no verifiable fact to back it up. The rules of cause and effect can be easily shown to apply to material things, but can not be shown to apply to our free will, which, perhaps not coincidentally, can not be shown to be material. You may assume that it must be material because other things turned out to be, yet it remains an assumption. You may assume that this theoretical perfectly informed being would know all your actions before you took them, yet you can not prove it.

The idea that we lack free will is contrary to our subjective experience. In the end, this is all we have and all we are. All existence is, for each of us, limited to our subjective experience and our judgments and opinions of our experiences. There is nothing irrational about holding the opposite opinion, and accepting your experience of free will just as it appears to you, unless and until convincing evidence comes along. You can convince me that a stick does not bend when I dip it in the water, because the illusion can be disproved by fact. But, there are no facts to which I must surrender in the case of free will possibly being an illusion. My perception of free will may be reality.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Free will does not exist (Beware)

Post by Eduk » November 9th, 2018, 9:06 am

Also free will isn't mutually exclusive with materialism.
Unknown means unknown.

Post Reply