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Free will
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Posted 3/26/12
Also something very interesting is the fact that your brain has already made a choice a few miliseconds before you are conscious of the choice "you" made. In this way you could say you are not the one in control of your choices and therefore there would be no such thing as a real free will.
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Posted 3/26/12 , edited 3/26/12

tuhoang wrote:

Also something very interesting is the fact that your brain has already made a choice a few miliseconds before you are conscious of the choice "you" made. In this way you could say you are not the one in control of your choices and therefore there would be no such thing as a real free will.


Our brain is our mind. We think, are conscious, and have personalities because of our brain, so actually, we're still the ones in control of our choices, and yes, there is such thing as real free will.
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Posted 3/26/12
Our brain is us how is it not? Its what basically drives us makes us ect.
Even so if "our" brain makes a choice miliseconds before hand.....our brain which makes up us.....then that is choosing a decisin..free will
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Posted 3/27/12
How is your brain us? Where in the brain can we find "us"? It could also be that this free will, that we think is there, is just an extra product made by our brain, but has no real influence itself. So even though we might experience something we think is a free will might not be free at all, but just a will created from chemical reactions within our brain.
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Posted 3/27/12

IkkiTheFang wrote:

Our brain is us how is it not? Its what basically drives us makes us ect.
Even so if "our" brain makes a choice miliseconds before hand.....our brain which makes up us.....then that is choosing a decisin..free will


free will requires no conscious volitional choice making? Also, characterizing your brain as "making a choice" seems a bit...uncertain? Your brain might well be sending signals in accordance with the rules that govern neural activation in response to stimuli, and all of that is pretty much either entirely deterministic (no choice involved), or pseudorandom (which again... "the result of a pseudorandom roll" doesn't sound a whole lot like choice to me).

Not to say there isn't any free will, necessarily. Just that if consciousness really does get involved in moderating action, it probably happens a lot later than most people think
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Posted 3/27/12
Well ya saying my brain does make a decision has a lot of uncertainty to it as of right now to me. What do you have to say about certain people that have pain when their eyes see sunlight compared to people who don't? Doesnt the brain or person decide that wow, that hurts my eyes and others its not problem? To me the brain reacted, decided to send certain signals telling the person to squint or for the other person to just keep doing what their doing.
Are you a soft determinist?
Regardless though your brain (which i think its safe to say makes you who you are) makes a choice whether or not to respond to certain stimuli.
The brain is part of you as a whole I am getting the feeling that youre seperating the brain from the person?

But even if, metaphorically speaking, say peoples life are a domino effect of biological and surrounding forces already there, there has to be a beginning for someone to make the domino effect start ( a decision of free will).
Or do you agree more with everyone and everything are connected in a way of cause and effect?


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Posted 3/27/12
Freewill is too expensive.
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Posted 3/27/12

IkkiTheFang wrote:

Well ya saying my brain does make a decision has a lot of uncertainty to it as of right now to me. What do you have to say about certain people that have pain when their eyes see sunlight compared to people who don't? Doesnt the brain or person decide that wow, that hurts my eyes and others its not problem? To me the brain reacted, decided to send certain signals telling the person to squint or for the other person to just keep doing what their doing.
Are you a soft determinist?
Regardless though your brain (which i think its safe to say makes you who you are) makes a choice whether or not to respond to certain stimuli.
The brain is part of you as a whole I am getting the feeling that youre seperating the brain from the person?

But even if, metaphorically speaking, say peoples life are a domino effect of biological and surrounding forces already there, there has to be a beginning for someone to make the domino effect start ( a decision of free will).
Or do you agree more with everyone and everything are connected in a way of cause and effect?




I don't think that reaction == decision, personally; I'd draw a distinction between unconscious reaction to stimuli and conscious, volitional choice. I think in general when people talk about free will, they're talking about the latter, rather than involving the former. I think that basically what I'm saying is that most people would argue that consciousness is necessary for making decisions, and that individual neurons (such as which might react in the sunlight example) cannot be said to have consciousness. I think the question is whether mental phenomena can affect the physical world by, for instance, effecting a change in brain state, or whether the subjective experience of decision-making merely gives us that illusion.

I tend towards a position of soft determinism or weak epiphenomenalism, but honestly, I'm not a philosopher, and I haven't seen any strong evidence one way or the other. I also haven't heard any arguments that convincingly ruled out either possibility (but again, maybe I just haven't read those arguments).

I mean, I'm certainly asserting that brain activity != consciousness, even if consciousness == (the subjective experience of) brain activity.

I guess I don't see why all the dominoes can't be naturalistic processes -- from the big bang to the genesis of life to the evolution of humans to the interactions between said humans. why does free will have to be involved at all?
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Posted 3/27/12

pretendz0r wrote:


IkkiTheFang wrote:

Well ya saying my brain does make a decision has a lot of uncertainty to it as of right now to me. What do you have to say about certain people that have pain when their eyes see sunlight compared to people who don't? Doesnt the brain or person decide that wow, that hurts my eyes and others its not problem? To me the brain reacted, decided to send certain signals telling the person to squint or for the other person to just keep doing what their doing.
Are you a soft determinist?
Regardless though your brain (which i think its safe to say makes you who you are) makes a choice whether or not to respond to certain stimuli.
The brain is part of you as a whole I am getting the feeling that youre seperating the brain from the person?

But even if, metaphorically speaking, say peoples life are a domino effect of biological and surrounding forces already there, there has to be a beginning for someone to make the domino effect start ( a decision of free will).
Or do you agree more with everyone and everything are connected in a way of cause and effect?




I don't think that reaction == decision, personally; I'd draw a distinction between unconscious reaction to stimuli and conscious, volitional choice. I think in general when people talk about free will, they're talking about the latter, rather than involving the former. I think that basically what I'm saying is that most people would argue that consciousness is necessary for making decisions, and that individual neurons (such as which might react in the sunlight example) cannot be said to have consciousness. I think the question is whether mental phenomena can affect the physical world by, for instance, effecting a change in brain state, or whether the subjective experience of decision-making merely gives us that illusion.

I tend towards a position of soft determinism or weak epiphenomenalism, but honestly, I'm not a philosopher, and I haven't seen any strong evidence one way or the other. I also haven't heard any arguments that convincingly ruled out either possibility (but again, maybe I just haven't read those arguments).

I mean, I'm certainly asserting that brain activity != consciousness, even if consciousness == (the subjective experience of) brain activity.

I guess I don't see why all the dominoes can't be naturalistic processes -- from the big bang to the genesis of life to the evolution of humans to the interactions between said humans. why does free will have to be involved at all?


Understandable and I am the same way I just lean more towards the latter conscious free will of being real then the stimuli of the brain form. I still have yet to also find substantial evidence of either or but because there is the conscious form of free will and the neuron side form of it (as in no free will) there wont be a final decision anytime soon lol
I just like to think I control my life or actions I do instead of having some other form doing it for me
It seems the deeper you delve into this matter the more it gets complex like how you pointed that you think reaction doesnt equal decision. To me that makes sense as of now.

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Posted 3/27/12

tuhoang wrote:

How is your brain us? Where in the brain can we find "us"? It could also be that this free will, that we think is there, is just an extra product made by our brain, but has no real influence itself. So even though we might experience something we think is a free will might not be free at all, but just a will created from chemical reactions within our brain.


Your brain gives you personality, emotions ect.
if you didnt have a brain would you be yourself or does it make you who you are?
Posted 3/27/12 , edited 3/27/12

IkkiTheFang wrote:



Understandable and I am the same way I just lean more towards the latter conscious free will of being real then the stimuli of the brain form. I still have yet to also find substantial evidence of either or but because there is the conscious form of free will and the neuron side form of it (as in no free will) there wont be a final decision anytime soon lol
I just like to think I control my life or actions I do instead of having some other form doing it for me
It seems the deeper you delve into this matter the more it gets complex like how you pointed that you think reaction doesnt equal decision. To me that makes sense as of now.

IkkiTheFang wrote:



Your brain gives you personality
, emotions ect.
if you didnt have a brain would you be yourself or does it make you who you are?
There's only so much you can control, and that depends if you're consciously made aware of your decision-making process. However here's the problem; our decision-making process is largely automatic/subconscious.

Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our decisions?
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions.

Now think about what this means. We wake up in the morning and we feel we make decisions. We wake up in the morning and we open the closet and we feel that we decide what to wear. And we open the refrigerator and we feel that we decide what to eat. What this is actually saying is that much of these decisions are not residing within us. They are residing in the person who is designing that form. When you walk into the DMV, the person who designed the form will have a huge influence on what you'll end up doing. Now it's also very hard to intuit these results. Think about it for yourself. How many of you believe that if you went to renew your license tomorrow, and you went to the DMV, and you would encounter one of these forms, that it would actually change your own behavior? Very, very hard to think that you will influence us. We can say, "Oh, these funny Europeans, of course it would influence them." But when it comes to us, we have such a feeling that we are at the driver's seat, we have such a feeling that we are in control, and we are making the decision, that it's very hard to even accept the idea that we actually have an illusion of making a decision, rather than an actual decision.
And what Dan Ariely said had been around controlling our social, political, and even financial decisions for a long time. Marketing and advertising knew about this a long time ago, and they're only getting better at it as public relation/PR. I know at least three tools that they use to manipulate our subconscious even now: memory priming, choice architecture, and perception management.

Derren Brown applies the psychology of memory Derren Brown uses unconscious priming techniques to perform a neat trick on two unsuspecting advertising agency creative designers.

Decisions, decisions... and how to frame them by Dr Pete Lunn.
Designers are choice architects: they create the environments within which our decisions are made. The growing fields of behavioural economics and decision science provide empirical foundations on which to build better choice architecture. The findings show that our decisions are systematically influenced by how they are framed. We change our decisions according to default options, levels of risk and uncertainty, relative comparisons, the potential for losses, cognitive costs, timing of rewards and social norms. By understanding these core principles of human decision-making, designers can create choice architecture that improves our decisions and, consequently, our wellbeing.

THE CORPORATION [12/23] Perception Management
Some of our best creative minds are employed to create illusions that divert us from the real issues and manufacture our consent. Beyond their products, the corporation sells us the idea of a better way of life and produces propaganda that affirms their power as necessary for human progress.

Furthermore, the last tool is the most interesting insofar. Because when our very own perception of ourselves is being carefully managed by controlling our culture, we can manufacture individual personality by us culturally creating many collective identities. This is known in cultural psychology called cultural legacy, and the most well known example of just such manipulation is our gender identity perceived through our cultural norms.

Two-Spirits in American Indian Culture
Educational film with sociological focus on Two-Spirits in American Indian society both past and present.
It's ironic how a country claimed to be funded on the concepts of liberty and freedom, is in fact a totalitarian state even to the point of personality.
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Posted 3/27/12
That was a lot to take in haha but i think I understand it. Definitely I get the ironic foundation our country was founded on but back then it made better sense since the country was in a total different state then it is now. Our culture is definitely has become a "controlling" one at that. Knowledge is a powerful yet dangerous tool
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Posted 3/29/12
Free will.....
Is it merely a wishful construct of the mind?
As the world is still attempting to explore the maze of the mind,

-how the mind works,

-the process of thought,

-the role of emotions- experiences- the physical anomalies
( ADHD, bi-polar, PTSD, tumors / brian injury --causing neural / chemical changes & differences),

have to be a factor in how humankind makes choices or decisions.

If these factors always predetermine any choice we make or their outcomes, we might thus deduce the absence of free will.
Believing this makes me feel I've given up control of myself, (a most uncomfortable thought !! ), with all situations being the result of reactive responses, w/o any proactive opportunities.

If I must, I'd be more comfortable with partial predeterminism, such as free will within the confines of something -like a chess game, with decisions being made based on set goals for the game's outcome by:
1st -playing to the best of one's individual abilities,
2nd- playing within the rules of the game,
3rd- by changing strategies based on one's opponent's actions, etc.

Our choices are influenced by conscious awareness, collective experiences, emotional status, subconscious motivations (i.e. during the metaphorical chess game, calmly plotting, aggressively competing, fearfully defensively calculating... ) .

Even with structure, aren't we often acting individually & independently?
Wouldn't / couldn't / shouldn't that be considered free will??

Maybe I need to know (truthfully, factually) if there is a strict set up of rules for living, if actions & outcomes are already in place within our existence which deny me free will -- how, when, & "who" set them up? Are the rules deadlocked? --or are they ever changing? How, why, or can this change be allowed? Does the free will of one restrict the free will of another?



Please treat this entire post as a question, as I share this with great personal ignorance to the philosophical debate herein......
Posted 3/31/12
Libet's experiments really don't establish that there is or isn't free will.*


Your non-linguistic brain**, is still 'you.' It is not rational to assume that the part of your brain that talks all the time is somehow the end-all and be-all of 'you,' and any decision made outside of the boundaries of language is somehow 'not you.'


Anyone who has driven a car, or played a video game, has noticed that the talkative part of the brain is not smart enough to handle said tasks. By the time you can even forge the words, "turn left," it's often too late to actually turn left.


However, what sane person would say that just because a part of your brain that operates faster than language decided to move the car to avoid an object, that somehow it is not 'you' making the decision to swerve? It's not like it's someone else making the decision. And the manner in which you turn left is at least partially based on personal experience and learned behavior.


To me, what seems most apparent is that terms like, 'free will' and 'determinism' are extremely archaic, and so self-limiting that you almost have to adopt a pre-modern mindset to even have a discussion on the topic. To actually base a modern discussion on these terms is about as meaningful as us discussing which 'bodily humours' are influencing us today...or like discussing the Periodic Table of Elements in terms of the archaic notion of the elements, earth, air, fire, and water.


For that matter, to assume that the linguistic mind (whether or not it's based in the frontal lobe or any other one, small structure in the brain), is the 'self,' is also an archaic and borderline irrational viewpoint.


In brief, life, and human existence, is far too complex to start slapping on these kinds of binary distinctions and labels. We limit our very ability to discuss the topic when we lower ourselves to accept such terms as reality.





* -- not only do the experiments not establish the presence or absence of free will, to bring in the idea of free will inherently limits a thorough examination of the implications of the experiment. Simply put, the experiments establish that human decision making is much faster than some people had previously assumed, and involve more parts of the brain than just the frontal lobe (and other structures associated with linguistic thought). To bring free will into the discussion limits our understanding of what is being observed.

Again -- you aren't your Frontal lobe, your frontal lobe is simply one part of you.

And to be clear I'm using 'Frontal Lobe' to refer to all associated brain structures that are at present assumed to make up the conscious language-using part of the brain/mind. So it's as much as metaphor as a description of a neurological structure.

** -- Yes, I am intentionally avoiding the term 'unconscious mind/brain' because it is a term loaded with too many cultural and philosophical interpretations to be meaningful to a cosmopolitan audience.
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