Poll

Well, do we?

No, its an entirely deterministic
6 (27.3%)
mostly deterministic
5 (22.7%)
Our actions are mostly the response we can have to a given stimulus
8 (36.4%)
Mostly free
1 (4.5%)
Yes, we actually have complete control over our actions
2 (9.1%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Do we have free will  (Read 27393 times)

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Offline Redamare

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #60 on: June 22, 2018, 09:18:53 PM »
People are conflating the magical "free" will with the mundane will. We do deliberate, we do communicate. We do have goals and desires.
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Offline david_s

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #61 on: June 22, 2018, 10:28:10 PM »
We can choose. We must choose. We choose even if the choice is determined. Notice I did not say PRE determined. You have to run the simulation at least once to know what the choice will be. The simulation has to be a perfect one as well. Should morality inform our choices? Yes! A good moral code will help us live in better harmony with our external universe and give us a guide on how to get the most out of life. Should we seek to evaluate different moral constructs and advocate for ones that can be demonstrated to promote well being? Yes again! Should we seek to understand why and how people adopt moral constructs that demonstrably do not promote well being? Yes. With science.

This is all true even if the free part of will is not as free as we thought.

I am curious about something. How do we approach people who are obviously evil? (That is a trick question. I don't believe in evil.) Do we approach it as a mental condition or do we write them off as moral degenerates who have made a choice to do horrible things? I have 'Mind Hunter' in mind. You could formulate a similar question about disciplining children.

I am just trying on some ideas to see if I like them.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #62 on: June 23, 2018, 12:13:38 AM »
"Choice" makes more sense to me if I think of it as the sum of thousands of probabilistic brain circuits rather than some single yes/no switch, which you will never find. When I move my arm, it is because it is the consensus "will" of a thousand probabilities mashed together. But then, sometimes I don't move my arm, because probability.
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Offline Awatsjr

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #63 on: June 23, 2018, 02:51:42 AM »
Yeah, even if it's physics at work, no matter how I try, I feel like I am choosing. That is my original point. I can't think of it any other way even if it's down to the TOE. It feels like choice.
I'd say it's indistinguishable from choice.

Agreed in that it's indistinguishable even if different.

Online The Latinist

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #64 on: June 24, 2018, 01:37:09 AM »
The law and morality are structured as though we do. There's not much point in assuming otherwise.

That our current flawed legal and moral systems are structured as though free will exists is, in my opinion, the very reason it is essential to reject the assumption that it is true. In my opinion, the belief in free will underlies some of our basest instincts: those toward vengeance, intolerance, and hatred. In my own experience, a lack of belief in free will has led me to a more humane and tolerant understanding of human behavior and a preference for a restorative system of justice free of vengeance.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Redamare

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #65 on: June 24, 2018, 09:06:18 AM »
Thank you!
"redamare has kicked this thread's ass" -champagnej

Certainty is the enemy of wisdom.

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Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #66 on: June 24, 2018, 10:03:37 AM »
The law and morality are structured as though we do. There's not much point in assuming otherwise.

That our current flawed legal and moral systems are structured as though free will exists is, in my opinion, the very reason it is essential to reject the assumption that it is true. In my opinion, the belief in free will underlies some of our basest instincts: those toward vengeance, intolerance, and hatred. In my own experience, a lack of belief in free will has led me to a more humane and tolerant understanding of human behavior and a preference for a restorative system of justice free of vengeance.

I am more of a compatibilist, but even that view has changed my perspective on justice. At least until that guy cuts me off on the freeway, at which time I still believe in the death penalty for just a moment.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #67 on: June 24, 2018, 08:58:15 PM »
The law and morality are structured as though we do. There's not much point in assuming otherwise.

That our current flawed legal and moral systems are structured as though free will exists is, in my opinion, the very reason it is essential to reject the assumption that it is true. In my opinion, the belief in free will underlies some of our basest instincts: those toward vengeance, intolerance, and hatred. In my own experience, a lack of belief in free will has led me to a more humane and tolerant understanding of human behavior and a preference for a restorative system of justice free of vengeance.
Okay, granted. What's the alternative?
Self-described nerd

Offline Redamare

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #68 on: June 25, 2018, 03:29:01 AM »
That's exactly the conversation that Compatibilism prevents us from having.
"redamare has kicked this thread's ass" -champagnej

Certainty is the enemy of wisdom.

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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #69 on: June 25, 2018, 11:32:12 AM »
Has this conversation reminded anyone else of BF Skinner's 'Walden Two'.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Online Billzbub

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #70 on: June 25, 2018, 12:37:41 PM »
The law and morality are structured as though we do. There's not much point in assuming otherwise.

That our current flawed legal and moral systems are structured as though free will exists is, in my opinion, the very reason it is essential to reject the assumption that it is true. In my opinion, the belief in free will underlies some of our basest instincts: those toward vengeance, intolerance, and hatred. In my own experience, a lack of belief in free will has led me to a more humane and tolerant understanding of human behavior and a preference for a restorative system of justice free of vengeance.

Ohhhh, I think this is what Redamare was trying to say that I didn't understand earlier.  Yes, I agree with this.  Similarly, my understanding of how fallible human beings are when it comes to believing things leads me to be more tolerant of people who believe things I think are so clearly not true, like homeopathy, religions, etc.  Humility leads to tolerance.
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Online Billzbub

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2018, 01:03:09 PM »
Does Steve read the forums?  He just wrote an article for Neurologica that seems like a direct response to this thread.

https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/free-will-and-morality/
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #72 on: July 02, 2018, 01:16:11 PM »
The argument seems to always to deteriorate to what appears to me to be Zeno's Paradox. When you look too closely for free will it does not exist. But when you look to closely at "distance" it also disappears into the infinitesimal. One Greek philosopher is said to have disproved Zeno's Paradox by taking a single step. Likewise, I think you can prove free will by punching Sam Harris in the nose.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #73 on: July 02, 2018, 04:19:52 PM »
Can we be considered sane if we think we don’t have free will?

Intelligent, apparently sane people fall on both sides of the free will debate. So, yes, a person can believe in free will and still be sane. Many here may feel that such a person is mistaken, but few would judge him insane just on the basis of that one belief.
Daniel
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Offline Redamare

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Re: Do we have free will
« Reply #74 on: July 02, 2018, 05:55:23 PM »
Likewise, I think you can prove free will by punching Sam Harris in the nose.

If you are serious in saying this,  then you don't understand the argument at all.
"redamare has kicked this thread's ass" -champagnej

Certainty is the enemy of wisdom.

--RED-uh-MAR-ay--