[INFJ] - Hypothetical Concerning Free Will or Slave | INFJ Forum

[INFJ] Hypothetical Concerning Free Will or Slave

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Trent, Nov 18, 2015.

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  1. Trent

    Trent Community Member

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    If I am unable to stop doing something that I do not want to do, but keep doing then do I have free will? Or am I a slave to it? Last I checked slaves do not have free will. Enlighten me.

    Some definitions of slave:

    1. a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant.
    2. a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person: a slave to a drug.
    3. a drudge: a housekeeping slave.
    4. a slave ant.
    5. Photography. a subsidiary flash lamp actuated through its photoelectric cell when the principal flash lamp is discharged.
    6. Machinery. a mechanism under control of and repeating the actions of a similar mechanism.
     
  2. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Free will rather exclusively refers to mental or cognitive freedom, not physical freedom.

    For example, a slave could choose to disobey their master. The mental capacity to make that choice could be considered free will even if physically they are punished for it.

    And as for not being able to stop something - are you sure you've tried hard enough?
     
  3. OP
    Trent

    Trent Community Member

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    We are floating to the same vertex somewhat. Although I do not think OCD is an example of free will. Or do you think that is different as well. For example, scrupulosity. The slave perhaps is a slave to what is fearful to the recipient.
     
  4. dogman6126

    dogman6126 Community Member

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    This is a tricky question because of the qualifier you used (which I bolded). This phrase is often used as short hand in normal speech, but philosophic free will needs to be strict.
    Consider this example. It is necessary that I breathe. I continue breathing. To an extent, my breathing is an unconscious activity, and by definition is uncontrolled. Now, suppose I don't like breathing. I find it disgusting. It seems correct now to say that "I am unable to stop doing something that I do not want to do, and I keep doing it". But let me ask you this. If I were to take a gun and shoot myself in the head, would I not stop breathing? Clearly yes. So really, when I said "I am unable to stop doing something that I do not want to do" I really mean "If I am to continue in X state, then I am unable to stop doing something that I do not want to do". I want to continue living, but I don't like breathing. I want to continue living more than I don't like breathing, so I am unable to stop breathing. See how the statement is a short hand? This is only one example also. It can be short hand for other meanings.

    The second part of your question, the part about do you have free will, is a separate question from the first point. Whether or not you can or can't do some specific action does not qualify or disqualify you as having free will.

    To explain, I will nit pick in some philosophy of language, so if I am unclear please say so. I can rephrase if you want :).

    This is the definition of free will from the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/):
    Now, this is tricky, but one should recognize the pieces of free will in this definition. It is a capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. The debate in philosophy is what is meant by alternatives. Need they be real alternatives or simply theoretical? This is to say that even though I couldn't actually have done differently, it is enough that, had things been different, I could have chosen differently. The incompatibilists (referencing the determinism/free will debate) say that the alternatives must be actual while the compatibilists say they may simply be theoretical.

    So back to your question, it depends on your definition of free will. Are you a compatibilist or an incompatibilist? The compatibilist certainly would say free will exists in your example IF you would say something like, it is at least theoretically possible for you to do differently. The incompatibilist would even be willing to grant the existence of free will IF you were to find free will elsewhere in the world. So perhaps it isn't apparent in this example, but it might be apparent in some other example. So long as free will is demonstrated somewhere, then the incompatibilist will accept that free will exists. It just might not be the kind of free will we are looking for.



    Sorry, that was a long post. If I need to clarify anything, feel free to ask! I love the topic of free will :)
     
  5. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Some people don't have free will I suppose.

    However personally I do have OCD and I can resist it. It isn't easy but it is often necessary to resist it because I can't very well go around adjusting another person's property no matter how much it bothers me.
     
  6. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    I think the dichotomy is rather dangerous. :|

    There's a lot to impulse and freewill other than mental willpower. One can very well have all the willpower they have and still found it hard to deny their body's impulses.
    Also do remember that there are billions of facets of our own life.

    So regarding your question:

    Yes. It's just not enough to stop you from doing that.

    Even a slave obeys out of necessity, arguably a strategic choice, not a physical / mental inability.
     
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  7. HoneyBeeStings

    HoneyBeeStings Regular Poster

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    Yes, you are a slave to something which you have no power over. That doesnt mean that you are not capable of free will. A slave can choose whether he likes to eat his bread slowly or quickly...
    We are all somewhat slaves to our emotions, thoughts and needs. If you werent than I dont think you would survive earth for even 1 day. I am a slave to my need to eliminate and sleep. A slave to my desire to feel good. A slave to the cognitive processes going on in my mind. Cant help it. And the annoying part of it is that i cant help it, Im trapped in my body.
     
  8. Kaotiklysm

    Kaotiklysm Regular Poster

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    Uhh free will doesn't imply 100% free will, to achieve that you'd have to be the only being in the universe.

    (edit: a cool little thought I just had: if free will is limited because of the world around us that we are embedded in, but that world has its own free will, could it be that we have 100% free will anyway, but that it is "held" in our bonds to the world around us? Thinking of it mathematically here)
     
    #8 Kaotiklysm, Apr 7, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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