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Free will
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Posted 3/21/12
Looked it up in search bar both that i found were created in 2008 and the most recent reply in one of them was dated back to apr 2010....if that is good enough reason we can lock this thread.

Anyway very opionated topic but for me I have had 2 conclusions throughout my life with this:
1) my first was that there is no free will because all of your past actions influence the next upcoming one so there for you are not excercising free will and your future is pre-determined by your past. Then I heard what influences you to make your first decision? if you have no past to influence you then you execute free will from the beginning. After I heard that then I changed sides and decided that:
2) everyone has free will and consciously decides to do this or that and by making a decision your deciding freely what you want to do.
Both examples sound similar except the beginning of them decides the outcome so hopefully you dont get confused.
Upon having the multiple homosexual debate of choice vs not choice.....i find myself in the middle again
so I ask those who read this what you believe?
(PS - no homosexual debate on here please! )
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Posted 3/21/12
Anyone who want to jump in and debate should have the definition of free will established to avoid any confusion. Or have an agreed upon definition.


the ability to decide what to do independently of any outside influence
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/free-will?q=free+will

This is the most common definition everyday person uses when talking about free will. And this is the one that I'll be talking about.

A quick note: the idea of the first decision as you mention is silly, it'd silly to determine what your first decision would be. When you decided to move your arms, was that your first decision? When you decided to move your eyes when you were a baby, would that count as your first decision? Would your first voluntary action as a baby count as your first decision?

Are we really free to decide anything? Ok, here goes an example. I'm going to name an animal. Chicken. Did I decide to name a chicken instead of say cow, dog, bird etc? NO. Chicken is simply the first animal that popped up in my head. I bet you are raeding this sentence. Did you decide to read these scribbles and interpret it as the English language? Did you see the word "raeding" I wrote and know it's incorrect and that I probably meant "reading" instead? When did you decide to do any of that? This is my first argument against the notion of free will.

1. Our decisions to do something simply rises to our conscious mind. We have no (conscious) control of this.

And how do you reconcile with the fact that moments before we decide to do anything, our brain has already determined our choices. Libet's experiments are probably the most famous of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet


On average, approximately two hundred milliseconds elapsed between the first appearance of conscious will to press the button and the act of pressing it.


There are more points I wan to get into but I'll have to do it next time.
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Posted 3/21/12
Agree w/ the silliness of the first choice made.
So your going into the unconscious and saying that we automatically do things before we even realize them? In a sense we are always on auto pilot by our conscious due to our unconscious state of mind is what Im getting from this. Then the conscious train of thought we notice occurring is just a simpler way of our mind relaying what has already been done to our conscious self?
But then wouldn't outside forces such as society and current surroundings dictate the unconscious decisions we make then.
Already i am leaning towards my first decision.
But then random acts of people aren't random then or sporadic.
Unfortunately I dont know much of the unconscious to disregard and put up a fight on this for you
Its kind of insane to me to think that I dont have control over me because of me......awwww! lol
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Posted 3/21/12
Very shallow the knowledge i thought i knew before this it seems hmmmm
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Posted 3/22/12
But according to your analysis then a rapist and serial killer shouldnt be held accountable or prosecuted due to predetermining factors and had no choice in the actions they took.
If I raped someone then I shouldnt be held accountable for my actions because I didnt choose to do what i did? That is what Im getting out of your response am I misconstruing it?
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Posted 3/22/12
I think free will is is present in everyone, but the ability to exercise our free will is not always present because of mental or emotional blocks or lack of resources. There is always a choice, but our ability to choose one thing over the other may sometimes be compromised by our past experiences and our past choices. I think that there are set paths, but the path changes with every choice that is made.
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Posted 3/22/12

MilianViolet wrote:

I think free will is is present in everyone, but the ability to exercise our free will is not always present because of mental or emotional blocks or lack of resources. There is always a choice, but our ability to choose one thing over the other may sometimes be compromised by our past experiences and our past choices. I think that there are set paths, but the path changes with every choice that is made.


To a certain degree I agree with that. There is a path that is layed before everyone and within those boundaries of that path one may make decisions or choices to move about freely in that path....is that understandable?
If so then could you say that we are choosing freely what choices we make even though we are set on a path due to the possible blocks you just mentioned above?
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Posted 3/22/12


Let me clarify a bit.

Your whole life is a series of choices and different paths that you've taken, paths that you haven't taken, paths that you will take, and paths that you won't. Each choice you make, whether tiny or huge, alters the course of your life. Your free will is what allows you to choose the path that you will follow, even though you don't necessarily know what each path holds. You could make a decision that could kill you within the next second, but you have no way of knowing that.



There are things that can prevent us from using our free will. I believe those things are lack of resources, lack of experience, underdeveloped or compromised skills/abilities, society, and mental/emotional blockades. Even in a situation where these things may get in the way of our free will. It is still there because we are still able to decide what it is that we want even if we can't make a choice on the action. These internal choices can also contribute to the changing of the course of our lives later on when we are able to act upon our free will.



In short, our lives are laid out to an extent, but our free will allows us to choose a different path. So yes, of course, we do have free will. Even if our free will is affected by all of our past experiences, it is us who exercises this free will to make decisions and choose our own paths.
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Posted 3/23/12
Anyone who want to jump in and debate should have the definition of free will established to avoid any confusion. Or have an agreed upon definition.
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Posted 3/23/12
Traino -


Determinism is a far-reaching term affecting many areas of concern, that most widely and radically states that all events in the world are the result of some previous event, or events. In this view, all of reality is already in a sense pre-determined or pre-existent and, therefore, nothing new can come into existence. This closed view of the universe and of our world holds all events to be simply the effects of other prior effects. This has radical and far-reaching implications for morality, science, and religion. If general, radical, determinism is correct, then all events in the future are unalterable, as are all events in the past. A major consequence of this is that human freedom is simply an illusion.

You live by this illusion or atleast agree with this aside from the unconscious aspect? Curious

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Posted 3/23/12
TL:DR: Read bold texts.

Sorry for not replying, I'm having a hell of a month + also reading up on the subject (but I do read the forum daily)

Crappy analogy: Conscious vs Unconscious mind.
1. Unconscious mind is like the main pilot. He does & is responsible for nearly everything. But he's shy, he rarely takes any credit for it.
2. Conscious mind is a co-pilot. He does & is responsible for very few things. But he's arrogant and believes he does and is responsible for (nearly) everything.

I'm going to try to address all above questions/statements.
1. Our choices are influenced by environmental AND biological(genetic, hormonal) factors. Nobody seems to address biological factors.
2. The current prison system is flawed. The goal should be first and foremost to help these guys. We do need to arrest & keep them in jail if there is a chance/seems that they will commit the crime again. They do not choose the kind of brains (biological factors) they are born with nor the environment they grow up in (environmental factors). So yeah, we're pretty much lucky we're not born with bad genes+environment. They may be presuppose to commit crime but it doesn't have to be the case. For example: if you were born with bad genes(aggressive behaviour/psychopathy) and grow up in a bad neighbourhood, then you are more likely to commit crime, but if you had good parents/teachers then you might have gotten out of the bad neighbourhood, get in a good school and get a nice job etc.

@MilianViolet: Can you address my argument? As far as I know my argument already slew your whole thing. And I'd also like for you to address biological factors which you seem to have ignored. I could imagine you bringing the compatibilist view into this to counter my argument but I already have a counter-counter argument prepared.

3. Determinism as far as human is concerned( our past actions/choices, biological and environmental factors) pretty much determine who we are as a person NOW. I agree with that. BUT determinism on a far deeper degree, physics, atoms, Big Bang etc. my position is simply: I DON't KNOW.
Determinism doesn't hold any water in the quantum level anyway, as far as I know. But my understanding of QM is practically zero so I'll refrain to comment further.

I disagree that everything is pre-determined/pre-existed though, we simply know too little about the universe to make such an extraordinary claim. I also an "I don't know" position here.

BTW: "I don't know" is a perfectly fine position. I'd rather be uncertain than wrong about things I barely know anything about. I wish more people would take this position.

If you wan to learn more about free will:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will - Always a good starting point. Don't forget to check references/further reading etc.
2. http://www.samharris.org/free-will - I learned so much about free will probably most from Sam Harris.
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Posted 3/25/12
Even from the determinism perspective our human limitations on foresight makes the future anything but solid. What's the point of thinking about fate when there's no way for you to know it? The self is an ever changing force that is exerting and being exerted onto, theres nothing depressing about that. the fundamental flaw of determinism - its failure to account for deliberation or personal choice. Another thing I was reading that similar was the theory of agency.
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Posted 3/25/12
Depends on how far you're willing to analyze free will. Shit your endowed with, nope. Decisions you make afterwards such as what I'm typing atm, yes. Free will.
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Posted 3/26/12
As far as being endowed with things it was the free will of someone else who endowed "you" with those things.

Determinism though - ..."not one single thing could ever be other than exactly what it is."
There are infinite possibilities but many less actualities.
Soft determinism I find myself leaning to the accaptable view on but not fully on it.
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Posted 3/26/12
Traino - as far biological what do you say to the fact that most twins (hereditary and genetically basically identical) are nearly opposite in personality and if we are in a world with no free will and are on a dertermined path set, how can twins lead to seperate lives if they are chemically the same?
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