Staredit Network > Forums > Serious Discussion > Topic: Free Will
Free Will
Mar 3 2009, 2:00 pm
By: BeDazed
Pages: 1 2 3 >
 

Mar 3 2009, 2:00 pm BeDazed Post #1



What exactly is free will?
Are you really free? Free from what? Free from religion? Free from the government? Or are you not free at all- just perceived to be free.
Why do we encourage free will? Why do we want it so much? Why do we want to believe that each individual has free will?

If you think about it, you are controlled by your mind. By your hormones, your animalistic needs, and your self-centered world. This brings to a question: Does free will even exist? Is it only a perception of a grand design? Are we delinquant? Are our minds playing tricks on us?
...Can free will be proven scientifically?

So what is free will? Why do we want free will so much?
I want to emphasize on the question: Why do we want freedom so much?
I didn't say I was on the side of no free will.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Mar 5 2009, 7:42 am by BeDazed.



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Mar 3 2009, 7:47 pm Vrael Post #2



Please provide your stance on the issue, or some argument for discussion.
Quote from name:SD Rules
7. Present Arguments. (for new topics) When opening a new thead, please state your point of view or argument. News updates, "Ask me anything about X", etc., do not present a stance on an issue that is for debate.
I realize you're probably branching off from the discussion in Bible Study, but it's still a new topic (and a good one I think) so the rules still apply.

Perhaps we should continue our free will discussion from bible study here instead, while it was relevant to the topic (at least for a while) it seems to me at least it would be better suited to continue here.

And to answer some of your questions:
Free Will is the ability to make decisions and act irrespective of all other forces, to act, believe, decide, do something, based on your own conclusions, and not because some other person, force, thing, object, God, made you do something (unless of course, you decided that other thing was worthy of your conclusion).

"Can free will be proven scientifically?"
That would be a very difficult endeavor. We would need somehow to prove the premise that we can't predict everything perfectly, since it follows that if we can, then we can predict perfectly our decisions, and our decisions then are really nothing more than thousands of dominos collapsing upon the next.

As to why we want freedom so much, well, we generally correlate it with happiness, and with a higher moral standard. Perhaps happiness is possible within the construct of a brutally oppressive regime, but then we assume the burdens of ruling one another: the power to say what is best for a man is taken away from that man and given to another. To an extent, this is not necessarily a bad thing, for some folks are better educated and better capable of making certain decisions, but if freedom is lost too far, atrocities like the Holocaust can occur.



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Mar 3 2009, 9:01 pm JaFF Post #3



According to psychology, free will exists only in small, unimportant deeds, while in the long run, does not. Most people (over 99%) are controlled by their life 'scenario', which is 'programmed' during the first years of our lives. The scenario may change in some cases after some events that do not really depend on the person, like a car crash that leaves one without a limb/sense, but in most cases it stays the same for our entire life.

I firmly believe that. I also believe that one can break free of their 'fate', because such cases were recorded, just like cases of people not having scenarios at all, wich is the ultimate form of free will.

Quote
Why do we want free will so much?
Having free will implies having power (in this case, power over your destiny). Most people like power.



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Mar 4 2009, 1:53 am Fierce Post #4



Quote from JaFF
Quote
Why do we want free will so much?
Having free will implies having power (in this case, power over your destiny). Most people like power.

A bum knows what free will is because he lives it every day; he has the power. That being said, no one wants to be a bum.



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Mar 4 2009, 2:21 am Moose Post #5



Who are you to say that the bum wants to be a bum?
Who are you to say that no one wants to be a bum?




Mar 4 2009, 3:01 am Norm Post #6



Although bums cannot enjoy some of the everyday luxuries of the (American) middle class, I would have to imagine that it'd be enjoyable to have as much freedom as they have. From the day we are born, we are brainwashed by outside influences of religion, societal norms, customs, and our fellow human beings into becoming something that we have no choice over.

Sadly, a vast majority of people are absolutely denied free will in terms of what they want to think, what they want to believe because the influence from outside sources is so great that their minds cannot overcome it. For example, ask yourself why you think or believe in a certain way, be in your religion, your morals... Chances are, the answer doesn't come from yourself, it will come from others who have influenced you. Everything down to how we act is almost completely controlled by our surroundings.

Therefore, i would have to agree with JaFF on the point that free will only exists for small or unimportant deeds.



None.

Mar 4 2009, 6:41 am BeDazed Post #7



Free Will, is quite philosophical in nature. I think we didn't 'will' ourself to be born, or 'will' ourself to be influenced. It isn't really based on whether you want or not to be influenced or not. With this being said, can free will exist? You are being made to 'will' what others want. You are being made to 'will' what others expect. Is this really free will?

Quote
According to psychology, free will exists only in small, unimportant deeds, while in the long run, does not. Most people (over 99%) are controlled by their life 'scenario', which is 'programmed' during the first years of our lives. The scenario may change in some cases after some events that do not really depend on the person, like a car crash that leaves one without a limb/sense, but in most cases it stays the same for our entire life.
Happens that most of these 'events' you're talking about only worsens the outcome.

We only call how much divided the balance of power is 'freedom'- politically. It is not our 'freedom' in our individual sense. We only wanted to believe that we really had 'freedom', its just that groups of ruling power only learned how to control without using militaristic means.



None.

Mar 4 2009, 8:29 am Rantent Post #8



The argument against free will says that "every action is a consequence of a prior action."
Therefor the argument for free will means that there exists some action that is not influenced by a prior action.
If the universe were to have a beginning, than before this there would have been no actions. (Note: Actions must act on something.)
Thus one action would have been caused by no action.
So the question is...
Does the universe have a beginning?

Big bang theory says we have free will.



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Mar 4 2009, 8:33 am BeDazed Post #9



The Universe didn't just come out of nothing without no cause or no action. The big bang theory never explains 'what' caused the big bang. It is the most 'popular' explanation for the current (and quite limited) data we currently have.



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Mar 4 2009, 9:00 am Vrael Post #10



Quote from Rantent
The argument against free will says that "every action is a consequence of a prior action." Therefor the argument for free will means that there exists some action that is not influenced by a prior action. If the universe were to have a beginning, than before this there would have been no actions. (Note: Actions must act on something.) Thus one action would have been caused by no action. So the question is... Does the universe have a beginning? Big bang theory says we have free will.
If the big bang was indeed the consequence of no prior action, then perhaps the big bang was an act of free will, but actions post-big-bang are influenced by the big bang, according to your logic, and are therefore not excersizes of free will.


Quote from BeDazed
The Universe didn't just come out of nothing without no cause or no action. The big bang theory never explains 'what' caused the big bang. It is the most 'popular' explanation for the current (and quite limited) data we currently have.
The assertion that the universe didn't just come out of nothing is even less supported than the data we have for the big bang. Be careful with your assumptions/assertions. At least the big bang theory has some evidence correlated with it, like the motion of galaxies.



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Mar 4 2009, 12:15 pm Dapperdan Post #11



Quote from Rantent
The argument against free will says that "every action is a consequence of a prior action."
Therefor the argument for free will means that there exists some action that is not influenced by a prior action.
If the universe were to have a beginning, than before this there would have been no actions. (Note: Actions must act on something.)
Thus one action would have been caused by no action.
So the question is...
Does the universe have a beginning?

Big bang theory says we have free will.

I like your thought process here, but the Big Bang isn't necessarily a beginning of the universe. There was still a ball of mass/energy/whatever beforehand. Unless you're just saying that the Big Bang wasn't specfically triggered by anything. Which seems unlikely . . .



None.

Mar 4 2009, 12:53 pm BeDazed Post #12



Quote
The assertion that the universe didn't just come out of nothing is even less supported than the data we have for the big bang. Be careful with your assumptions/assertions. At least the big bang theory has some evidence correlated with it, like the motion of galaxies.
If it came out of nothing, then it obviously contradicts what we believe today? The Law of Conservation anyone? Mass and energy cannot be created nor be destroyed. That asserts that the Universe did indeed come out of something.



None.

Mar 4 2009, 7:43 pm JaFF Post #13



Quote
A bum knows what free will is because he lives it every day; he has the power. That being said, no one wants to be a bum.
An experiment was held in Germany where 100 (I think it was a 100) bums were selected and provided with flats, simple jobs, ensurance, etc. I don't remember the exact results but I clearly recall that most of them blew that chance. So do not claim that noone 'wants' to be a bum. This, of course, implies that this person has a shitty scenario, so it's hard to say whether the person 'wants' to be a bum (therefore the scenario controlls him/her through such needs) or does not want to be a bum but his scenario always wins in the end, leaving him/her 'defeated' each time they try to change something.

Quote from Rantent
The argument against free will says that "every action is a consequence of a prior action."
Therefor the argument for free will means that there exists some action that is not influenced by a prior action.
If the universe were to have a beginning, than before this there would have been no actions. (Note: Actions must act on something.)
Thus one action would have been caused by no action.
So the question is...
Does the universe have a beginning?

Big bang theory says we have free will.
As BeDazed already said, the big bang is not the 'beginning' in the sense that you use - it's just a radical change of energy configration and form. Something existed before the big bang, we just don't know what.
You did not mention the fact that quantum mechanics says that on the deepest of levels (as far as we know or assume we know) things are truly random and chaotic. Thus, if I were to build an argument supporting free will, I'd base it on the assumption that some random set of conditions may lead to electric impulses between the neurons of our brain.



None.

Mar 4 2009, 8:15 pm Dapperdan Post #14



Dazed, edit your first post to include whatever side of the argument you are on. Last warning.



None.

Mar 6 2009, 6:47 am Rantent Post #15



Quote
You did not mention the fact that quantum mechanics says that on the deepest of levels (as far as we know or assume we know) things are truly random and chaotic.
Not entirely true. We simply cannot know everything about a system, and cannot therefor predict what will happen in such a system. The observed system still has rules which it follows; if it didn't follow rules we couldn't know anything about it. However, whenever we try to ascertain any characteristic of a quantum system, we cannot help but influence the system, changing it so that most further measurements cannot be correlated with the original system. (I say most because some measurements do not affect other measurements; for instance, total energy and angular momentum along the z axis in a spherical model can be known at the same time.)
The fact that we cannot be sure what is happening in a system does not mean that it behaves randomly.



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Mar 6 2009, 8:10 am ClansAreForGays Post #16



Quote from Rantent
(I say most because some measurements do not affect other measurements; for instance, total energy and angular momentum along the z axis in a spherical model can be known at the same time.)
The fact that we cannot be sure what is happening in a system does not mean that it behaves randomly.
I did not know that. Now I have something to say back to my philosophy teacher when he says that we can not know anything empirically because your measuring of things will always effect it.




Mar 17 2009, 1:27 am JamaL Post #17



The idea of Free Will is, seemingly, impossible to prove.

Nonetheless, it is assumed insofar as that we make our own decisions, consciously or subconsciously.



None.

Mar 19 2009, 2:39 am RoryFenrir Post #18



I definatly think we as humans possess free will, its what makes us human. Animals do not have free will, all they have to follow is instincts, and their destiny is to be part of the concervation and ballance of nature. Developing free will is what helped shape our mind and let us create and think the acheivements we can acomplish today. Free will is going agaisnt nature, nature being defined as a constant force striving for balance. Free will is what makes us able to change the world.

(I dont know about god in all of this, I guess its possible that he controls all our actions and set humanity on the path we are on, but if thats true, theres not much point to living, and he has a pretty twisted sence of humor.)



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Mar 19 2009, 4:54 am ClansAreForGays Post #19



I usually don't do this but you just sound so high in the sky. What is free will to you? I feel like you're saying it's the ability to choose right or wrong.
Quote from RoryFenrir
I definatly think we as humans possess free will, its what makes us human.
What makes us human is our ability to reason(or at least that's what separates us fro animals).
Quote
Animals do not have free will, all they have to follow is instincts,
How are you different from an animal? When something foreign comes barreling towards you do you move? Is that instinct or free will?
Quote
Developing free will is what helped shape our mind and let us create and think the acheivements we can acomplish today.
So free will is what makes us smart? So mentally retarded people you are less smart has some kind of damaged free-will-gland?
Quote
Free will is going against nature, nature being defined as a constant force striving for balance.
You should check out the second law of thermodynamics. Aside from that, you think nature has a destiny and a set path(like dominoes falling) and anything that messes with it is free will. So free will is nothing more than randomness and chaos.
Quote
Free will is what makes us able to change the world.
We would still be changing the world in whatever pre-ordained way we were meant to.




Mar 19 2009, 5:26 am Vrael Post #20



I don't usually do this, but you sound so self righteous knocking him off his high horse.

(Actually that was a lie, I do do this all the time, I just want to point out the irony of what you said. The difference between my knocking at your post and your knocking at his post however, is that I knock at everyones' posts, not just yours. Aso note that while I used self-righteous in a derogatory manner, if you are indeed right, then it really isn't. Sounds like some sort of weird social conditioning to me, but that's a discussion for another topic.)

Quote from ClansAreForGays
What is free will to you? I feel like you're saying it's the ability to choose right or wrong.
He clearly states:
Quote from RoryFenrir
"free will, its what makes us human"
"Free will is going agaisnt nature"
"Free will is what makes us able to change the world"

While he did clearly state what he thinks Free Will is, those things he stated are terribly ambiguous and unsupported, and in my opinion, wrong. For example, free will is not what makes us human, because it may be possible that animals have free will, and hence it is not a distinguishing characteristic of "human". Free will can't be "going against nature" if animals have free will, nor can it be if humans have free will, since humans are in fact, part of nature. The tendency to exclude humans from nature is simply that we produce many things which would typically not be found anywhere without us, but as we ourselves are a product of nature, our products are also of nature. If you say "oh I meant the group that includes all of nature except man and man-made things" it's still wrong, because animals may have free will, and they are part of nature. Free will is not what makes us able to change the world either, rather it would be the excersize of free will that would enable us to change the world. Free Will also may not be the only force that enables us to change the world.

Free Will is the ability to make a decision irrespective of all factors except for the desires of the mind making the decision. It is the ability to choose among any number of options, while not being forced into choosing any specific option. If I have some set of options, {1,2,3,...,n}, no matter what the conditions placed upon them I can pick any of them. That is how I would define free will. The consequences that arise from that definition are another matter, and the ability to go through with the decision is yet another. Just because I have the ability to pick quadruple majoring in mechanical, electrical, aerospace, and chemical engineering does not mean that I actually CAN quadruple major, or that the school will LET me quadruple major. Free Will is simply the ability to pick.

Quote from ClansAreForGays
What makes us human is our ability to reason(or at least that's what separates us fro animals).
Not necessarily. Animals may also have reason. For example, a cougar may reason that it is beneficial to its belly to be stealthy while stalking its dinner, and a dog may reason that to get the ball that's stuck underneath a bush it needs to use its paw or push something small under it to get the ball out. To be a smartass, what makes us human is our genetic combination :P

Quote from ClansAreForGays
We would still be changing the world in whatever pre-ordained way we were meant to.
What you quoted did not imply that anything was preordained, nor did you express how preordination is possible with free will.



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