Announcements: Initiative: Promoting Forum Roleplay » Universe of the Month! » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newbies » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: Platonic numbers » No complaints (a little bit of rappin) » Any multi-player roleplay videogamers here? » Needing a woman's perspective on a concept » Gluts and Gaps » Universal Basic Income » Impending Pursuit Q&A » Eudaimonia » Loot! » Natural Kinds » I have a funny idea » Life in the 21st century. » Song of the Runes » Plato’s Beard » Clues » Nihilism » Strange Tales From Hadean » Art Gulag [ Come get this Commish! ] » Visibility of Private Universes & Profile Customisation » Presuppositionalism »

Players Wanted: Players wanted for a science fiction adventure. » Players needed for Fantasy Romance reboot » One(1) male & Two(2) Female Roles OPEN <3 » Talmora: Kingdom of magic » Looking For A New Partner » Hellboy characters » 18+ Writing Partner [Fantasy, Romance, Etc.] » 18+, Multi-Para to Novella Writers please! » Looking for roleplayers » Fun tale full of angels, demons, and humans » Looking for roleplayers » A Fairytale World in Need of Heroes & Villains! » Are You a Crime Addict? » Wuxia RP » Looking for roleplayers » New Realistic Roleplay - Small World Life ٩( ´・ш・)و » Mentors Wanted » MV Recruiting Drive: sci-fi players wanted! » Veilbrand: The Revolution » Gonna do this anyway. »

Do We Have Free Will?

a topic in Discussion & Debate, a part of the RPG forum.

Moderators: dealing with it, Ambassadors

Talk about philosophy, politics, news & current events, or any other subject you're interested in!

Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hyuuu on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:02 pm

Hello my fellow friends of role-play gateway. I am currently taking philosophy and we have been discussing the topic of free will for a couple of weeks now. I wanted to get your thoughts on this as well and make a discussion about it here. Here are some questions posed, and a little snippet of John Locke's thought experiment to get us started:

"Suppose a man be carried, whilst fast asleep, into a room where is a person he longs to see and speak with; and be there locked fast in, beyond his power to get out; he awakes, and is glad to find himself in so desirable company, which he stays willingly in, i.e. prefers his stay to goign away. I ask, is not this stay voluntary?" -John Locke'v Voluntary Prisoner

Here are some interesting questions posed by Peg Tittle:

Which should bear on moral responsibility-the voluntariness of the freedom? IS it that a person is morally responsible for doing X as long as she does X because she chooses to do X--whether or not she could have done otherwise? Or is it that a person is morally responsible for doing X only if he could have done otherwise (in which case determinism is incompatible with moral responsibility--in a determined world, we can't do other than what we do, so we can't be held morally responsible for our actions)?

Determinism = past determines the future.

Here are my thoughts on the subjects:

I believe the man perceives that the choice is voluntary. He may have wanted to stay, but the fact is he can not leave if he wanted to. He does not have multiple choice to pick from. He only has one choice which is to stay.

There are a lot of things in this life that influences our decisions such as rules and laws set by the government, moral code, and expectations. To answer the questions posted by Title, I think that we do have the freedom to pick what we want to do if we did not follow the laws and disregarded moral obligations. We can always decide whether or not do something but we are influenced to do things based on the restrictions posed by our society. So yes we are morally responsible for the choices we make because we can always pick whether or not we do something unless forced to do something like in the case of the man that is locked in the room in Locke's thought experiment. Our past is an influence, not a chain. It is up to us to let the influences rule our lives.

The problem is we view the influences as restrictions and rules against acts because of the need to be part of a society so many of our decisions are limited. Morality is something most humans live by and they consider it a rule. This rule would act like a prison on the person because it prevents a person from doing something that they would consider a moral evil so maybe we aren't really as free as we think we are. Maybe freedom of will is more of a perception on most people. The more I think about this, the more confused I get about what it is that I believe. I used to think that humans had free will and I sort of agreed with compatabilism. I still do, but at the same time, thinking about the self imposed limitations makes it feel like the only people who are really free are psychopaths.
Last edited by ViceVersus on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Hyuuu
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Mr_Doomed on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:47 pm

I suggest that you read the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. The entire novella looks at this idea, suggesting that we do have decisions in our life, but no matter what decision we make, we are still bound by social graces that pertain to that decision. Therefore, it suggests that there is no such thing as free will. At least, that's what I got out of that novella.

I say that I have to agree with Joseph Conrad here. We can choose to follow every law and rule in high society, but as that high societal person, one is forced into acting a certain way. The same thing goes for the opposite end of the spectrum. A savage man is forced into acting on their own societal laws and whatnot. Conrand says it better than I do.
“I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.”
― Joseph Conrad

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Mr_Doomed
Member for 11 years
Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Novelist Completionist Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hyuuu on Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:49 am

I have read that book. To me it was talking more about the morality of human beings and how much we try to be a social creatures that we would conform to something even if we do not want to. Conrad was the only person there that really saw those people as people. To me it was a book of cruelty and how people view others differently when they do not look or act the way we do. I actually find it interesting that you took on a free will argument from the novella. It is a view I hadn't noticed before. However, I digress. Analyzing the books is not the topic of this discussion.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Hyuuu
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selene Durlan on Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:23 pm

Oh, my goodness. I am taking philosophy also!

So you are asking if we think there is free will? The man thinks he wants to be in the room and he also thinks that the choice to leave is his to use. However the door cannot be opened even if he wanted to leave, which in fact he doesn't.

Yes the man may be locked inside the room, so he was forced to be in that situation. But he does have the choice in whether to participate in the event. The man could mentally leave the room. Therefore exercising his free will to "not" be in the room. His body may be stuck, but his mind doesn't have to be trapped. :)

Am I making sense? =)

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Selene Durlan
Member for 10 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lukisod on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:54 pm

I'm a determinism guy. I believe given enough knowledge about everything in the universe, you could eventually work out where everything is now and project how everything will be in the future. This includes the human brain which itself is a computer based on rules of chemistry and physics. If we knew the exact state of the brain, all the stimulus put into it, we could determine the output.

Morality is still relevant because it's part of the human thought process when you add input. So although the output is determined, morality is already factored into the output. As morality is a human construct, it only applies in the context of human thought anyway.

And for God lovers: God is omniscient, so everything is already determined and your free will is moot. I was predestined to burn in hell for eternity because of His will.
"Perhaps we should perform a study on the effectiveness of studies?"

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Lukisod
Contributor
Contributor
Member for 12 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Barboros on Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:07 pm

In response to this, I really do have to say "Yes, we do in fact have full blown free-will."

I say this in one-hundred percent complete and udder belief. We can do what we want, when we want, no matter what anybody says about it. The thing is, people say we don't have free will because they always think about the people that tell them they can't do things. But even though people tell you that you can't do things, you can still do it. You just have to face the proper consequences to those actions.

You can do anything and everything you want, it's just people are complaining about the "restrictions." Yes, those are there, but that doesn't mean it has to stop you from doing something. But if you do something, you have to handle the consequences that today's society has set up for certain action.s

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Barboros
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Author Friendly Beginnings Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:27 pm

Does anyone else notice the difference between what Lukisod is talking about, versus Yoru-Senpai? They really don't seem to be talking about the same thing. You can believe that there is no free will, as Lukisod uses the term, and also believe that there is free will, as Yoru-Senpai uses it, and not contradict yourself.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
dealing with it
Groundskeeper
Groundskeeper
Member for 10 years
Contributor Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Donated! Greeter Beta Tester Tipworthy Concierge Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lukisod on Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:23 pm

Yoru-Senpai wrote:In response to this, I really do have to say "Yes, we do in fact have full blown free-will."

I say this in one-hundred percent complete and udder belief. We can do what we want, when we want, no matter what anybody says about it. The thing is, people say we don't have free will because they always think about the people that tell them they can't do things. But even though people tell you that you can't do things, you can still do it. You just have to face the proper consequences to those actions.

You can do anything and everything you want, it's just people are complaining about the "restrictions." Yes, those are there, but that doesn't mean it has to stop you from doing something. But if you do something, you have to handle the consequences that today's society has set up for certain action.s


In theory yes, all possible actions that could be taken by you can be performed at any time. However, your actions are more funnelled than you think. Just consider the nice bit of writing you put down there. You could have written anything you wanted, you could have hit any of those keys on your keyboard but you didn't. You read the above posts and that stimulus formed a response which became your goal. That goal compelled you to do certain things. For instance, you chose certain words because you had to use them or else whatever you wrote would be gibberish and you would have failed your goal of communication. Similarly you hit a particular series of keys in order to produce those words. You couldn't have hit any other keys and still accomplished those goals.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Lukisod
Contributor
Contributor
Member for 12 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Tea on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:40 am

Lukisod wrote:God is omniscient, so everything is already determined and your free will is moot. I was predestined to burn in hell for eternity because of His will.


I very much hope that I do not regret doing this. I would rather agree and avoid conflict than to spark conflict itself...

But this statement presupposes that the deity mentioned would force a person to go to Hell in order to satisfy...some quality or item which is not in Humanity's power to give. Omniscience is the knowledge of all things, not omnipotence, which is the power to do things. It appears to me that the quote above is inherently pessimistic that such a deity would want human beings to be moved into Hell rather than saying, "An omniscient deity would know where my soul is going."

To be more precise, if an omniscient deity knew that a human being were going to go to a certain place, it would be because the deity was all-knowing, not because that deity forced the human to go there. Predestination, as referenced in the post above, presumes that there is a deity who is cruel enough to force humans to enter Hell without any chance at all to alter their fate.


...all of this text is composed of hypothetical jargon, of course. I do not mean any offense.


As for free will? The point of John Locke's thought experiment is that the sleeping prisoner is exercising his free will. If the prisoner discovered that he was trapped, he would yet still exercise his free will, either to remain and have fun or to be outraged that the door was locked. Free will, in this sense, is not physical confinement or circumstantial environment. The point of free will is that it is the eternally burning intent inside the spirit of each person. Prisons were invented, conceptually, because the free will of two individuals conflicted and the one had the power to physically restrain the other.

Put another way, "Free will is the power to forgive someone when all of their actions demand that you seek revenge."

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Tea
Member for 11 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lukisod on Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:39 pm

Tea wrote:But this statement presupposes that the deity mentioned would force a person to go to Hell in order to satisfy...some quality or item which is not in Humanity's power to give. Omniscience is the knowledge of all things, not omnipotence, which is the power to do things. It appears to me that the quote above is inherently pessimistic that such a deity would want human beings to be moved into Hell rather than saying, "An omniscient deity would know where my soul is going."

To be more precise, if an omniscient deity knew that a human being were going to go to a certain place, it would be because the deity was all-knowing, not because that deity forced the human to go there. Predestination, as referenced in the post above, presumes that there is a deity who is cruel enough to force humans to enter Hell without any chance at all to alter their fate.


I don't wish to imply malicious intent on Gods part, rather it was a point of contention about the notion of free will and having an omniscient deity in your belief system. You cannot have both. God can't give you free will and then know everything you're going to do because by definition now, your actions are determined to play out a certain and knowable way. So how did you have any choice to change what you would do?

My choices are affected by everything that happens in the chain of causality to make me do certain things. Thus, as soon as this chain was set in motion (presumably by this God) then my destiny was hell and I had no choice in that matter.

I don't see where you insert this notion that I control anything, especially if you create a being with the perfect knowledge of everything going on. I am simply a computer with enough wiring to contemplate that I might be a computer. Of course I act as though I have free will. However philosophically I believe I do not. Always open to being proven wrong though.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Lukisod
Contributor
Contributor
Member for 12 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby viper45 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:59 pm

Lukisod wrote:I don't wish to imply malicious intent on Gods part, rather it was a point of contention about the notion of free will and having an omniscient deity in your belief system. You cannot have both. God can't give you free will and then know everything you're going to do because by definition now, your actions are determined to play out a certain and knowable way. So how did you have any choice to change what you would do?

My choices are affected by everything that happens in the chain of causality to make me do certain things. Thus, as soon as this chain was set in motion (presumably by this God) then my destiny was hell and I had no choice in that matter.


Saying 'I was going to end up in hell because that was my predestined path' is a poor excuse and a cop-out. You always have a choice to change and the free will to make that choice. You can take action in your life to actively change your future and prevent yourself from going to hell. Not taking that action doesn't mean you were on a predestined path, it means you made a choice not to change.

However an omniscient God is, by definition, outside of anything we humans can comprehend, so why couldn't this God know everything that was going to happen? It's possible that God knows how everything will happen according to the path that you're currently on, but when you make a decision that changes your path, then God knows everything that will happen on this new path. Does that make sense? This is all philosophy of course, I'm just trying to make a point.

Now for free will. From what I've read and understood, free will is the ability to make decisions about your future.

Hyuuu wrote:Here are my thoughts on the subjects:

I believe the man perceives that the choice is voluntary. He may have wanted to stay, but the fact is he can not leave if he wanted to. He does not have multiple choice to pick from. He only has one choice which is to stay.


Does the ability to leave mean he has free will? What if the room were fifty stories up and there was also a large window, but the door was still locked. Now the man technically has two choices, 1. stay in the room, and 2. jump out the window, but if he wants to stay alive then he really only has one choice.

I believe that 'free will' can also mean 'your will'. As long as you can make your own decisions and think your own thoughts, no matter how small they are, then you have free will. Now, you can argue how much your decisions are actually your decisions. Nowadays people are conditioned to think and behave a certain way by corporations and politicians and various other people.

I would say that once you lose control of yourself and your consciousness, then you no longer have free will. One of my favorite movies is 'The Manchurian Candidate' in which soldiers are brainwashed to do certain things once a trigger is given. The character, Marco, has free will up until the point where the villain says the trigger words and takes over his consciousness and his will, replacing it with hers.
"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish" - Euripides

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
viper45
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lukisod on Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:12 pm

viper45 wrote:Saying 'I was going to end up in hell because that was my predestined path' is a poor excuse and a cop-out. You always have a choice to change and the free will to make that choice. You can take action in your life to actively change your future and prevent yourself from going to hell. Not taking that action doesn't mean you were on a predestined path, it means you made a choice not to change.


However an omniscient God is, by definition, outside of anything we humans can comprehend, so why couldn't this God know everything that was going to happen? It's possible that God knows how everything will happen according to the path that you're currently on, but when you make a decision that changes your path, then God knows everything that will happen on this new path. Does that make sense? This is all philosophy of course, I'm just trying to make a point.

Now for free will. From what I've read and understood, free will is the ability to make decisions about your future. [/quote]

I'm not coping out. It's a statement of fact in the light of a deity ^_^

God created the initial conditions. Those initial conditions start the chain of causality. Every action affects everything down the line in a predictable manner, including the way I was born, brought up and the stimuli I receive when someone asks me "Is there a God?". I can only make a decision based on that stimuli which passes through my brain through the various neurons in sequence and forms a response which we all perceive as a choice, though it is merely a reaction to another external action, just like everything else. Thus my choice is entirely based on the initial conditions God created and so, my choices are not my own, but His, and he knew everything that was to occur, including my rejection of His existence yet according to the book, I'm to go to hell for that.

By saying God knows everything that will happen according to a path implies that causation occurs else God would have no predictive powers. If God knows everything that happened before and can predict into the future, he knows everything that will influence your decision to a specific choice and if you carry this on you can predict everything you will do because causation forced you into that path, your action was already determined and predestined.

Show me where a choice can potentially enter into that chain and I'll be tempted to give up the notion.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Lukisod
Contributor
Contributor
Member for 12 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby viper45 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:04 pm

Sorry for kinda getting off the original topic, I couldn't resist responding.

Lukisod wrote:I'm not coping out. It's a statement of fact in the light of a deity ^_^

God created the initial conditions. Those initial conditions start the chain of causality. Every action affects everything down the line in a predictable manner, including the way I was born, brought up and the stimuli I receive when someone asks me "Is there a God?". I can only make a decision based on that stimuli which passes through my brain through the various neurons in sequence and forms a response which we all perceive as a choice, though it is merely a reaction to another external action, just like everything else. Thus my choice is entirely based on the initial conditions God created and so, my choices are not my own, but His, and he knew everything that was to occur, including my rejection of His existence yet according to the book, I'm to go to hell for that.

By saying God knows everything that will happen according to a path implies that causation occurs else God would have no predictive powers. If God knows everything that happened before and can predict into the future, he knows everything that will influence your decision to a specific choice and if you carry this on you can predict everything you will do because causation forced you into that path, your action was already determined and predestined.

Show me where a choice can potentially enter into that chain and I'll be tempted to give up the notion.


If your reasoning is correct, then our entire judicial system breaks down, and so does every aspect of our lives. We have jails to lock up criminals on the premise that, yes, they did indeed have a choice whether to hurt others or not. It was not predestined for them to murder or rape, and any competent judge would throw that argument out the window because it's clearly preposterous. Blaming God for making you reject his existence doesn't make any sense, especially if this God wants you to believe in him. Alternatively, 'the Devil made me do it' (which I've also heard many times) doesn't hold up for the same reasons.

We make choices every day that affect our future. Maybe we don't realize it at the time, but that doesn't change the fact that we, of our own free will, have changed the course of our future. I could have continued sitting on a couch (metaphorically, not literally) for the rest of my life, but I made a conscious decision to get up and go to college and make a future for myself.

And you're not understanding what I'm saying about a God, specifically a Judeo-Christian God. An omniscient, omnipotent God powerful enough to create the 'initial conditions' cannot possibly be comprehended by mortal humans. Therefore it's possible that God knows your future (not predicts it), but to you the future is not written and you can change it.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
viper45
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:51 pm

Yes, we all have free will. Even slaves. Going to jail may prevent a would-be criminal from robbing an old lady but it is merely an influence and does not force a person's decision. Severe punishment or even death may prevent a slave from rebelling against his "master" but it is still his decision.

I know, it seems like I am offering a simple answer for what seems like a very complex question but I actually feel that both the question and the answer are simplistic. As much as I enjoy philosophy I feel that it does often make certain things far more complicated than they have to be.

The fact that the idea of jail or prison does not deter everybody from crime nor does the idea of punishment deter all slaves from rebellion shows that despite the influence of social consequences, each person still makes his or her own choice.

If the possible consequences of robbing an old lady is the only thing that deters a would-be criminal from doing it, then he still has free will and is still making the choice not to rob the old lady. What I am suggesting is that humans have free will regardless of just how influential outside sources are concerning their moral choices in life.

As for someone being captured and physically restrained, I do not believe that this should really count as saying that humans do not have free will. All people possess free will but that does not mean that it cannot be taken away. John Locke's example shows this very well.

To sum it up, I believe we all have free will but it is possible that it can be taken away under certain circumstances.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

RogueMinstrel
Member for 10 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Completionist Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:44 pm

viper45 wrote:If your reasoning is correct, then our entire judicial system breaks down, and so does every aspect of our lives. We have jails to lock up criminals on the premise that, yes, they did indeed have a choice whether to hurt others or not.
Can't you think of a single reason to lock up a violent person in a world without free will? What do you predict a violent person will do if he or she remains at large?
Therefore it's possible that God knows your future (not predicts it), but to you the future is not written and you can change it.
What is your knowledge apart from the predictions you can make with it? I know that 2 and 3 added together equals 7, but every time I add 2 and 3 together, the predicted result is false. False predictions are the surest sign of faulty knowledge.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
dealing with it
Groundskeeper
Groundskeeper
Member for 10 years
Contributor Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Donated! Greeter Beta Tester Tipworthy Concierge Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby viper45 on Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:15 am

dealing with it wrote:
viper45 wrote:If your reasoning is correct, then our entire judicial system breaks down, and so does every aspect of our lives. We have jails to lock up criminals on the premise that, yes, they did indeed have a choice whether to hurt others or not.
Can't you think of a single reason to lock up a violent person in a world without free will? What do you predict a violent person will do if he or she remains at large?
Therefore it's possible that God knows your future (not predicts it), but to you the future is not written and you can change it.
What is your knowledge apart from the predictions you can make with it? I know that 2 and 3 added together equals 7, but every time I add 2 and 3 together, the predicted result is false. False predictions are the surest sign of faulty knowledge.


Where are you going with this? I was illustrating a point by using an example to counter Lukisod's argument that everything he does (and by extension everything that everybody else does) is predestined. I was simply pointing out that if everything was predestined, there would be no point to punish criminals because they were victims of destiny.

To answer your questions: there would be no reason to lock up a violent person in a world without free will, because they would be destined to kill or rape, and their victims would be destined to have this happen. And if a violent person remains at large, they will keep being violent until they are stopped, either by being arrested or making a choice to stop (although this seldom happens, they do still have that choice).

As for the second part, I was simply saying that an omniscient, omnipotent God is unknowable and un-comprehendable. Saying that your future is destined because God knows what you will do is a false assumption; your future is only destined if you know what you will do. But then, knowing what you will do automatically gives you the choice to do something different, and therefore changes the future.

Again, sorry for diverging from the topic.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
viper45
Member for 10 years
Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

viper45 wrote:there would be no reason to lock up a violent person in a world without free will, because they would be destined to kill or rape, and their victims would be destined to have this happen.
True, people who believe in destiny have no reason to fight fate. For example, some higher power has ordained the date of every human's death, and no matter what life we lead, it's magically unavoidable. Destiny is the hook of the Final Destination movies. To some degree, it is possible to believe in free will while believing in destiny: destiny chains us to a wall, preventing us from using the free will we otherwise supernaturally possess.

Not so with (pre)determinism. A determinist simply takes cause and effect to the logical conclusion: we should act like humans are part of causality. For instance, we might know that diet affects longevity, since people who have eaten well their entire lives have lived longer. Just as their diet helped cause their long lives, we might be caused, by applying ourself to this knowledge, to eat well. Or, we might be caused to ignore this knowledge, in which case we are caused to eat poorly.

Anyway, since we can predict that a criminally violent person is likely to reoffend, and most people don't want to be victims of violence (for reasons that they are caused to believe in), we can lock the dangerous person up until their threat to society is reduced.

I really hope I got rid of this strawman, since I don't believe in destiny at all, despite believing free will a fiction.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
dealing with it
Groundskeeper
Groundskeeper
Member for 10 years
Contributor Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Donated! Greeter Beta Tester Tipworthy Concierge Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Tea on Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:37 am

Lukisod wrote:Show me where a choice can potentially enter into that chain and I'll be tempted to give up the notion.


The flaw is in this line here:

Lukisod wrote:Every action affects everything down the line in a predictable manner[...]


...and here:

Lukisod wrote:By saying God knows everything that will happen according to a path implies that causation occurs else God would have no predictive powers.



Quote One:
If you were a robot, programmed or required to respond to a certain stimulus in exactly the same way each time you were exposed to it, then you and all of Humanity would need not be responsible for your actions. A convenient philosophy, perhaps, if a person wishes to never be wrong. However, sociological experimentation has provided evidence that humans can react unpredictably when including even the most minute stimuli in addition to the Control Stimuli. I will not attempt to pronounce that Humanity is not predictable. That would be insane. Instead, I present that time and perhaps wisdom can alter the reaction of a human being. This does not include, of course, their ability to consciously choose what action to take if any at all.

And this...is the subject that we are dancing around. Dwit astutely noted it earlier. "What is free will?" If free will is defined by your environment then you have no free will. Personal freedom and liberty can be taken away by prisons and such as noted above. To paraphrase a well-known film, "What is Real? How do you define: Real? If you define it as what you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, then Real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain." If, however, free will is something internal. If free will is something which can not be shaped by outside circumstances then all humanity has the power to choose. Thus, they are responsible for their actions.

Put another way, "Free will means that an omniscient deity makes no error in evaluating a human soul."


Quote Two:
The presumption that an omniscient deity knows what path a human being will take does not automatically require that human to take only one path. Or more accurately, the presumption that Cause & Effect are the requisite tools for a deity's omniscience implies that the deity is not omniscient. Viper touched lightly on this theme above. For a deity to possess true super-natural omniscience that omniscience must exist in a fashion which can not be explained by the finite functions of logic. Furthermore, an example. Imagine some person who has become lost. The reason that they were lost was because there were too many roads. More than one road led to their destination, but not all of the roads led to the destination that they intended. Even assuming that the person becomes lost, that does not require them to have a sour attitude about their journey.

Put another way, "Free will means that only one person is responsible for your attitude."


Honestly, Lukisod, I am glad that you made your post. It brought me to think. Cheers.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Tea
Member for 11 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Lifegiver

Re: The age old question of free will: Do we have free will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lukisod on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:40 am

While you cite that people make decisions, you have not satisfied my need to understand the mechanism behind the decision. You haven't shown me where decisions come from. With your quote citations I could imply you don't believe causation occurs at all? If it is the case then my argument is moot and I have to concede the whole debate and accept free will.

You have proven me wrong about God and free will. If you are right about the unknowable, then it works. However I fail to see where you could prove any of this to be the case. You admit it is not grounded in a reality we can comprehend. As such I must stick to the explanation I can (in theory) comprehend and which manifests itself within the material universe.

I don't make this case because I want to be right all the time or escape responsibility for my actions. I honestly don't. I live and operate in a world where I am wrong and I am responsible for my actions. That is how society operates. What I am saying is that I believe the notion of free will to be fundamentally wrong when you get down to the nitty gritty. Morality is a human made and held concept and as such, any such output we make from our computer brains is already running those impulses through our moral circuitry and integrating them into the output. The input of potential punishment affects the output towards a desirable output as well as the reasons stated by Dealing With It (which I had not considered before, thanks ^^)

We have no free will, but we must continue to act under the assumption we do or as you say, bad things will happen to us.

Real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain


Is this such a scary notion that you reject it out of hand? Complicated interactions between massive collections of fundamental parts which when in certain configurations create the experience we call consciousness, allowing us as bits of stuff, to examine, identify, ask questions of and in some cases understand those same bits of stuff from which we are made. Whats more, two of those collections of stuff can create streams of information which they pass through objects, created of the very same stuff using models of the force interactions again, derived from examination from our 5 senses, and the two consciousnesses can have a discourse on the notion of that stuff and how it works. I think that is an incredible notion! Why does there need to be more than this incredibly complicated and intricate explanation to the world around us?

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Lukisod
Contributor
Contributor
Member for 12 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Conversationalist Lifegiver

Re: The Age Old Question of Free Will: Do We Have Free Will?

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Tea on Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:53 pm

Foreword:

What a bracing discussion! I will press on then with no intent to wound or offend if what I might further say is so solicited and requested. However, for anyone who might not welcome such text please ignore this post completely.


Body:

First...
...let us address the free will issue once again because I feel that there is a disconnection between the word itself and the varying definitions between what I and Lukisod are using. There is a difference between free will and free will having any meaning. Returning to some familiar territory, I will posit, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one can hear it, does it make a sound?" For the scientific mind, obviously the tree makes a sound. The tearing of the trunk, and the snapping and swishing of the branches will make a racket. But if no ears are present to hear the racket, the sound of the fall has no meaning. If some huntsman stops by the fallen tree and notices it, the tree and the local landscape once again have meaning, but the sound of the fall itself has been missed. A better word might be: lost.

This is my contention about free will. If free will exists, and is not recognized, then it has no meaning. I feel that there are many persons who have already decided for themselves that life has no meaning and so are jaded by this very postulate.


Second: The request to demonstrate Free Will.
More accurately, a request to demonstrate that human beings can make decisions outside of a standard Action & Reaction model. Some thing that requires...more than blood, tissue, and cartilage. And as my fortune happens to be, I am not courageous enough to present that information and my personal feelings about the experience into a thread viewable by the entire public of the Internet. However, I will address the issue to the ability that I can.

Lukisod wrote:With your quote citations I could imply you don't believe causation occurs at all? If it is the case then my argument is moot and I have to concede the whole debate and accept free will.


I believe that Cause & Effect is an incomplete understanding of omnipotence and omniscience in comparison to a deity who supposedly possesses one, or both, of those traits. To address predestination specifically, I contend that if there is a mechanism of predestination which an omniscient deity knows everything about then the mechanism of that predestination does not function as described by:

Lukisod wrote:I was predestined to burn in hell for eternity because of His will.


As an associated note, it is worth mentioning that one of the yet-to-be-refuted laws of Cause & Effect is that no effect may be greater in power than its cause.


Third: Mechanism.
Lukisod is asking for function and mechanism. Is this deity that we are hypothetically discussing some kind of vending machine? If we scribbled out prayers in blood and burned them would we receive exactly what we asked for? Would the items or requests arrive in the mail? Would they fall out of the sky every single time that we provided the correct stimulus? Is this deity that we presume to identify with our hypothetical construct so lacking in free will ( Huh, there it is again... ) that the deity is forced to do what we command when we command so in the correct fashion?

Boiling the matter down to base elements: If a human being is a biological robot which is only limited to reacting based on various stimuli then the creator of that robot must be a robot also which will predictably respond to each instance of stimulus with a precise and un-alterable action each time that stimulus is applied.

Now granted, I realize that the logic above is square. A human body being a computer and limited does not require the presumed deity, or creator, of that human body to be a computer also. However, this is the exact logic to which Lukisod has presented me. To wit:

Lukisod wrote:[...]you have not satisfied my need to understand the mechanism behind the decision. You haven't shown me where decisions come from.


In this postulate, the source of decisions is the hypothetical deity which has been mentioned...numerous times. ...I hope that no readers are sick of it yet. If human beings are created constructs with the power to choose, then the source of the power to choose is the one that created them. To demonstrate this supposed spiritual mechanism would be as easy as demonstrating that human beings have souls. While I have one medical reference which might fit into this category, most persons of scientific tac will say, "You can't prove a soul exists."

And on the whole, they may be correct. However, I am supremely certain that I made a decision to respond to Lukisod's concerns in a friendly way. I was not forced or required to do so.


Fourth: Biological machine.

I will quote all of it because it is worth quoting and reading again:

Lukisod wrote:
Real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain


Is this such a scary notion that you reject it out of hand? Complicated interactions between massive collections of fundamental parts which when in certain configurations create the experience we call consciousness, allowing us as bits of stuff, to examine, identify, ask questions of and in some cases understand those same bits of stuff from which we are made. Whats more, two of those collections of stuff can create streams of information which they pass through objects, created of the very same stuff using models of the force interactions again, derived from examination from our 5 senses, and the two consciousnesses can have a discourse on the notion of that stuff and how it works. I think that is an incredible notion! Why does there need to be more than this incredibly complicated and intricate explanation to the world around us?


It is amazing! Such a complicated system of life and conversation could never be created by human be... Oh.

For the record, I believe that science, medicine, and physics are real. In this friendly discussion / debate which Lukisod has identified I will say that I believe the view that the physical world is the fullest expression of reality is incomplete.

For fun then let us return to the instance of the tree, the forest, and the sound. Remember? It was determined that the sound had no, or lesser, meaning if no ear were present to hear it.

Now think of your body. ( Please note that in this tense, as I used it in my last post, the pronoun of you is used in a collective general sense; one which encompasses Humanity broadly. ) Will your body continue on forever? Is it immortal? Can you ensure that every person that is born after you will see and appreciate your body?

Hm. What if the human body is a Relative Value? What if your body can end? If the human body is a relative value with a finite span then all of the actions and choices made in a human body have no meaning. In other words, "If there is not some kind of non-physical and immortal component which can record and remember all of the events which I experienced in my body then those events, and my personal free will, have no meaning."


Afterword:

Much to think about. I said too much, perhaps. It is not my intention to make any person feel uncomfortable. Neither is it my intention to prove that my view is right. Lukisod requested that I provide further text in order to lengthen the thread and add to an interesting thought construct. I hope that at least the depth of what I have presented will be of interest to Lukisod and any other readers who might skim over this thread. As a matter of course, some of my phraseology in my last post may have appeared to point out Lukisod specifically, and that was an accidental incident. I did not mean to accuse Lukisod of deviant or impolite behavior. What I meant to do was address the implications of a choice of thought or choice of philosophy. I have very much enjoyed the discussion and the unstated request of the discussion to think deeply in order to present an interesting response to the topics addressed.

And for those who may ask, "Did you really have to break it up and itemize it?" The answer is yes. Yes I did. It is more easy to read that way. Cheers!

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Tea
Member for 11 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist Friendly Beginnings Lifegiver

Next

Post a reply

Make a Donation

$

Become a Patron!

RPG relies exclusively on user donations to support the platform.

Donors earn the "Contributor" achievement and are permanently recognized in the credits. Consider donating today!

 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest