Is there free will? | INFJ Forum

Is there free will?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Satya, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Your thoughts?

    I'm inclined to believe there is no free will.
     
  2. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    There is free will.
     
  3. slant

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    Not if time has already happened; future, present, and past.
     
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  4. Julia

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    Genetics and environment at the very least places the outer boundaries on what we can become or choose to be. Whether or not we can actually self-determine within some range of options is something that would be difficult to prove. I think it might just appear that way because the human mind is complex to the point that we can't account for every cause and effect relationship that produces behavior.

    The mindset that humans are separate from animals is an assumption that supports the idea of freewill, but that assumption seems a bit unfounded. My leaning is to see humans and animals as deterministic systems with levels of complexity that make some choices either appear random or willed by self.

    If this is the case, it can imply greater hope for people because it implies that the problems of violence have a solution. If "evil" is not supernatural, or solely in the control of individual free-will, then that means that if the input is corrected, the output will be corrected. Correct poverty and desperation, understand mental illness and genetics, and there is a way to correct excessively destructive behaviors that increase suffering for all.
     
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    Satya

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    How do you figure?

    Ah, but how do you know that it has? And if it hasn't as of yet, how do you know that we have the free will to set the tone for when it does repeat? And if it has, does that mean at one point we did have free will?

    It would seem that the human mind inherently negates free will. Free will cannot exist in a world where every effect has an external cause, and yet the human mind can conceive external causes for its choices even where there may be none in reality outside of human consciousness. So it would seem if there is free will, we would be entirely unaware of it since our minds would inherently try to negate its existence the moment it came into contemplation.

    What a violent blow it is to the ego to understand that our very humanity is the greatest inhibitor to our freedom.
     
  6. sassafras

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    Hmm. No, I don't think so. Our very existence is constrained by factors that were not the direct outcome of individual choice--such as biology or socio-economic background-- that in turn constrain and influence our future development and resulting decisions. I think we do have some choices, but these are limited to some pre-existing sociological framework, and I would be very hesitant to call that "free will."
     
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  7. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    Some interpretations of quantum physics suggest that time has several dimensions of its own, and we only experience it in one dimension (constantly moving forward in a strait line). By this interpretation, higher dimensions of time would suggest we can move backwards and forwards through it...that time as a dimension is already there. Simply: everything that requires time has "already" happened (although that's an odd misnomer :p).


    External causes don't negate the existence of choice though. The argument would go: exteral causes set the context, the agent with free will chooses to react to that context.

    Further, because the human mind itself has free will but rejects using it...still means it would have free will (and would just have to learn how to not reject it). The argument seems self-defeating.
     
    #7 Duty, Sep 10, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  8. Orion

    Orion Strength through understanding
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    I haven't heard a decent argument against determinism, so I would have to say, no, free will does not exist.
     
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    Satya

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    The question is not whether or not there is choice, but whether or not their is choice free of external causes. The definition of freewill is "the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies." So external causes do negate the existence of free choice, and thus negate the existance of free will.
     
  10. Duty

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    To answer the question I need more precision for what "free of external causes" means as well as "unconstrained by external agencies." They seem to be trying to say the same thing but in my mind will lead to two very different answers.

    Can we make choices free of external causes? Of course not, we live out our whole lives in different contexts...choices can only be made inside contexts so there are always external causes.


    Are we "unconstrained by external agencies?" By one interpretation of that, sure, we are not bound to follow a pattern and can go against the "statistically common" occurance. We're unbound unlike, say, a golf ball, which is bound by physical laws to do what it does.

    This is still sketchy though, as we can interpret "unconstrained" more rigidly. We have physical limitations, many would argue psychological limitations (which I think is the more interesting debate...do we have psychological limitations?), etc. By this interpretation of the word, there would be no free will.
     
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  11. Puck

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  12. Sithious

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    No.

    The future will be. Wether you choose the blue or the yellow dress, you will still make a choice and the future will tell what kind of choice you made.

    You can say you had free will to choose the dress you wanted, but ultimately only one choice was made, as millions of choices are made each day, and all those choices will lead to one destination, the present
     
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  13. Faye

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    There is will, but its not free. Every decision has a cost.
     
  14. BenW

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    I believe that "free will" exists; but, it's just as predictable as anything else.
    I believe the universe is deterministic through-and-through.
     
  15. Duty

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    That doesn't make sense.
     
  16. BenW

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    "Free will" is the decision making capacity of the human brain.
    We take input, process it, and produce output.
    There is nothing about it that isn't deterministic...
     
  17. transcendentalethos

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    I read this thread and immediately the scene from the Matrix of Neo consulting the Oracle comes to mind. Where she says "You didn't come here to make the choice; you've already made it. You're here to understand why you made it."
     
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  18. IndigoSensor

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    I can see this turning into a train wreck thread. Nevertheless, I will chime in once:

    Yes I believe in free will, within limits. I believe that everyone has many paths to choose from. However, all of these paths ultimately lead to the same thing (or several things).
     
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  19. transcendentalethos

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    I agree.
     
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  20. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    I agree with the cause and event to a certain extent, but we have to remember if we dive into the world of quantum mechanics, it is truly stochastic. Or at least you cannot predict anything with certainty
     
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