Staredit Network > Forums > Lite Discussion > Topic: Free Will
Free Will
Nov 9 2010, 2:59 am
By: rayNimagi  

Nov 9 2010, 2:59 am rayNimagi Post #1



The question I have to pose to SEN is: Do we have free will? Are our actions determined by a higher power, and if so, to what extent? Basically, I see two general schools of thought, both of which can be divided further:

I. We are in complete control of our own destiny. We choose what we do, and no other/higher power changes our actions...
A. Because humans can control everything they do-- we rely on thought and reason.
B. Humans can, but Animals... (I will not dive into this area).


II. We do not have complete control over our destiny...

A. Because God exists...
1. and He generally guides us and interferes with the world, giving us the same result through different specific actions.
2. and He directs our every action.

B. Because the universe depends on only two things:
1. The current state of the universe.
2. The natural laws that govern the universe.



Win by luck, lose by skill.

Nov 9 2010, 1:24 pm NudeRaider Post #2

We can't explain the universe, just describe it; and we don't know whether our theories are true, we just know they're not wrong. >Harald Lesch

We have full control over what we do. Everyone who thinks otherwise is a Falkoner. :P

II - B is an outdated view. Ever since we discovered quantum theory it's clear that this is not the case.




Nov 9 2010, 2:35 pm NicholasBeige Post #3



All of our actions are our own. However, our actions are subject to our moral judgement and this judgement is affected by hundreds of characteristics of society. Your education, your upbringing, the social community you are born into, your religious upbringing and, to a certain extent, your genetics all control your judgement.

Whether or not 'God' exists, or whether or not there is a 'higher power', I believe it is counter-productive to intelligence to believe that this entity has a direct control in your life, the actions you make and the choices you choose.

Religion is a tool which has been rendered obsolete by modern scientific practice and thought, yet it is not entirely redundant because it plays a crucial role in the social characteristics of all communities - and as such, plays an indirect role in the actions you take (see first paragraph on moral judgement).

The idea of 'free will' operates on two levels, that of the community and that of the individual. Being an individual, we all have complete 'free will' over our actions, yet, together we make a community. And the community has a collective legislation and guide on morality issues and in turn conflicts with individual choice.

For a primitive example: I can go take my kitchen knife right now and plunge it into the heart of the next pedestrian I see. But, thankfully because of society and modern law and my own moral compass - I know that my actions will have repercussions on hundreds of level within the community (social, family, friends, community, legal, justice, jail, permanent criminal record etc).

This final point makes you wonder what 'life' for the 'individual' was like hundreds, if not thousands of years ago without such a well developed social-morality-justice complex.
  • Example 1: Stone-age, iron-age, bronze-age, neolithic, 'primitive' example:
    • Ugg the Barbarian steals Morna the Vikings' fish.
    • Morna proceeds to burn, pillage and rape Uggs cave-village.
  • Example 2: 21st Century, modern, complex example:
    • My flatmate drinks the last bit of milk we had in our fridge.
    • I do not burn, rape and pillage my flatmates bedroom.


Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Nov 9 2010, 2:40 pm by Cardinal.



None.

Nov 9 2010, 3:14 pm Centreri Post #4

Relatively ancient and inactive

Don't be so sure, Nude. I have no control over myself when I burn, rape and pillage my flatmates.

But, yeah, there existing an inherent randomness in subatomic particles pretty much rules out the "The current state of the universe defines all states" theory.



None.

Nov 9 2010, 3:30 pm Ahli Post #5

I do stuff and thingies... Try widening and reducing the number of small nooks and crannies to correct the problem.

Theoretically we have full control about everything we do.

But believes, education, society and instincts take part inside our decision making.
So in most cases a starving man will eat food in front of him. But other aspects can become stronger than that, so the man could starve to death, if the "food" is another person (cannibalize) or if his will (believe) is stronger than his instinct.

But in general, every human takes the decision with the most advantage to him.

So basically you could determine what decisions will be done because we are all like machines. But in reality, we are unbelievable complex, so it's impossible to determine another person's decision by 100% chance. So you can't say that the starving man will eat.




Nov 9 2010, 5:27 pm poison_us Post #6

Back* from the grave

We have free choice, but those choices always have their consequences.




Nov 9 2010, 8:53 pm Vrael Post #7



http://www.staredit.net/topic/6569/
You copycat.


Quote from NudeRaider
II - B is an outdated view. Ever since we discovered quantum theory it's clear that this is not the case.
No No No. At the end of the 19th century physicists thought they knew everything there was to know about anything between newtonian mechanics and maxwell's equations. So what happens? Einstein comes along and turns everything on its head. The view is not outdated because we do not know everything for sure. Theres nothing wrong with saying "here are my experiments and observations, and they suggest this outcome and explanation", but as soon the explanation is accepted as the "new truth" it stops being science and starts being what we believe to be true. I think it would be fine to say "the discovery of quantum theory suggests that this is not the case", but until we understand subatomic particles as well as we understand that apples fall from trees under gravity we should be clear about the distinction between scientific theory and the assertion that the theory reflects the truth of the independant reality.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Nov 9 2010, 9:49 pm by Vrael.



None.

Nov 9 2010, 9:31 pm Norm Post #8



Trying this again...

Quote from Ahli
Theoretically we have full control about everything we do.

But believes, education, society and instincts take part inside our decision making.
So in most cases a starving man will eat food in front of him. But other aspects can become stronger than that, so the man could starve to death, if the "food" is another person (cannibalize) or if his will (believe) is stronger than his instinct.

But in general, every human takes the decision with the most advantage to him.

So basically you could determine what decisions will be done because we are all like machines. But in reality, we are unbelievable complex, so it's impossible to determine another person's decision by 100% chance. So you can't say that the starving man will eat.

This is correct in every sense of the word.



None.

Nov 9 2010, 11:48 pm dumbducky Post #9



Quote from Centreri
Don't be so sure, Nude. I have no control over myself when I burn, rape and pillage my flatmates.

But, yeah, there existing an inherent randomness in subatomic particles pretty much rules out the "The current state of the universe defines all states" theory.
Vrael pretty much refuted this point, but I'd like to say it in my own way. What if there are laws that actually govern the apparent randomness of these subatomic particles? Just because we don't know them doesn't mean they don't exist. The universe could be purely mechanistic, we just don't know it (if it was, then we wouldn't really "know" anything, but that's an unrelated tangent).

The arguments for free will basically boil down this way:
For: We have a soul, or something else immaterial, that enables us to act independently.
Against: As Cardinal more or less said, we are nothing more than the result of all actions before. It is almost contradictory. It assumes that we have free will, but that we ultimately make decisions as a result of what we have seen before and therefore our decisions are ultimately the result of what has happened in the past. Therefore, free will is really just an illusion.
Against: Mechanistic worldview mentioned above that Centreri disagrees with.

Free will is a purely philosophical question. It is not a testable hypothesis that science can test.



tits

Nov 10 2010, 3:49 am Centreri Post #10

Relatively ancient and inactive

When I'm going to debate about something involving high-level physics, I'm going to assume that what's commonly accepted to be true is true, even if we're not 100% sure, and I generally expect others to do the same.

Because otherwise, you're going to get shit like "Don't say that 1 != 2; we just haven't progressed enough mathematically to prove it".



None.

Nov 10 2010, 4:16 am dumbducky Post #11



The point is not that quantum theory is wrong. The point is that free will is not a scientific question. We aren't debating high-level physics, we are debating philosophy. If you deny any sort of higher being, then you must subscribe to the mechanistic worldview. Otherwise there is nothing to explain free will.



tits

Nov 10 2010, 5:02 am Vrael Post #12



Quote from Centreri
Because otherwise, you're going to get shit like "Don't say that 1 != 2; we just haven't progressed enough mathematically to prove it".
There's a big difference between "1 != 2" and quantum field theory, and you know it.



None.

Nov 10 2010, 8:16 am BeDazed Post #13



No, we're freeing Will from Free Will so we'll be free from Will's Free Willy.

I think, there can be and there cannot be Free Will at the same time. While this may sound contradictory, this is entirely plausible. We live in a society of interactions, we are unable to live without the communication, resource, and energy it provides to continue our existence. We have will, that is undoubtedly true. While our will uses our reason to provide ourselves with positive gain for ourselves, it crosses 'will's with other people's wills. It is because the 'profit' we require are limited within the area we are using, and unfortunately- we do what we have to do. In this process, we are unfortunately 'not free'. We have to do what our will tells us to do, and we will never be free until we have no other wills to cross with. But since society is much larger, 'constituted organism of wills' it enforces individual wills to follow a certain code in order for this 'constituted organism of wills' to sustain itself. And thus far, we can pretty much say we have no free will. We are bound by our own laws, others, and this world.
This is pretty much what Goethe said. So in order to be free, he said something along in the lines of Buddhist world view of things. 'In order to be free, and thus free from pain- we must let go of materialistic world view and concentrate on enriching our mental world.'

Of course, we do have choice. Like how I like Spaghetti, or like how some likes Heineken while some like other beer or something like that. But does having a choice mean you have free will? If I say, every result of your choice is the result of influence from the outside world- would having a choice have any meaning? It would be quite ridiculous to eat something disgusting over something tasty- just because you will think 'because reason will obviously make me eat something tasty, I will eat something disgusting in order to prove I have free will!'. Although, it would be quite hilarious if someone actually did this because someone said something along the line of this. But then, it wouldn't be free will by then- because the thought was provided by something of 'outside world'.

Then what is entirely of our will? I don't know. But I'll probably want to believe there is something of our own free will. This is what I mean by, having both free will and not having it at the same time. Although, it seems likely that there would be no free will at all.



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