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Free Will?


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#1 Moronium

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 05:08 PM

I have been told many times that there is no such thing as free will, and that any notion to the contrary is the product of self-deluding illusion.

 

The primary assumptions underlying this claim seem to emanate from the presumption of a mechanical materialistic reductionism that controls nature, where everything that happens has been preordained by fate.

 

The concept of cause and effect seems to prevail here.  Everything that happens is simply a necessary effect of an antecedent cause, ad infinitum (both forwards and backwards).

 

Every word a person says, every thought he thinks, every action he takes, every (illusory) decision he makes is the product of an antecedent cause over which he had no control.  And this chain of causation goes back to the beginning of time--call it the big bang, if you want.

 

The upshot is that we're all just automatons reading from a pre-written script that cannot be altered. We can't make real "choices" any more than a cannonball can "choose" not to leave the barrel of a cannon once it has been detonated.

 

These people will advance any number of arguments which are to designed to persuade you that their view is correct.

 

But I can't see why.  If they are correct, then they're just reciting things they have been forced by all-pervading causation to say.  They are not capable of logical reasoning.  They have no control over their thoughts.  Such a person has no free will to say anything other than "I (and you) have no free will."  That's the way they've been programmed.  They were predestined to say that eons ago.  Under those circumstances, how could their claims possibly be persuasive?

 

So I just tell them:  "Come back and tell me that when you're no longer a robotic machine and are able to control, and discriminate in, your own utterances, eh?"

 

All you've done is persuade me that, even assuming you're right, you have no reason for claiming you're right.  So quit bullshitting about having "reasons" for your claims.  I might as well listen to a parrot.

 

Is there some other explanation for the claim that people have no free will?  Something other than the irresistible force of cause and effect, I mean?


Edited by Moronium, 02 February 2019 - 02:51 PM.


#2 Orion

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 05:49 PM

Free-will is possible until you affect anothers.

That is why we have Laws.



#3 Moronium

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 06:04 PM

Well, yeah, Orion.  The imposition of criminal punishment presupposes that people have a choice, and that their choices are not simply a product of immutable fate.

 

Anyone who believes individuals have no free will should strenuously object, on moral grounds, to ever punishing anyone for their actions.  They are not responsible for their actions; fate is.  They have no choice and are therefore completely innocent. It would be like blaming someone for falling down when they get run over by a car, ya know?

 

“RESPONSIBILITY, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.”   (Ambrose Bierce)

 


Edited by Moronium, 01 February 2019 - 06:55 PM.


#4 Moronium

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 08:29 PM

Cool.  I love comic book "science."



#5 VictorMedvil

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 02:42 AM

There is no such thing as "free will" only my Will!  :protest:


Edited by VictorMedvil, 02 February 2019 - 06:48 AM.


#6 Moronium

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 07:59 AM

Cool.  I love comic book "science."

 

This comment was made in response to a series of posts made by Poly, which he has since apparently deleted.  I should have copied and pasted them.  He claimed to have a formula, one suggested by comic books, that explained every event in the universe and which gave him the ability to control all people's thoughts.



#7 Moronium

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 03:03 PM

The key to Nirvana is in my third paper, which is completely handwritten... There is a third paper, that's hand written, it has made mathematical regimes capable of calculating anything that was, is, and even that which has not yet come to pass
 

 

 

Handwritten!?  Why didn't you reveal that in the first place?  If it's handwritten then it HAS to be true.  The "key to Nirvana," which also predicts the entire future and explains the entire past, could never be typewritten, that's obvious.

 

For those who missed the original posts on this theory, it's called ALE (short for "anti-life equation").  Look for it in a theatre featuring comic book characters which will certainly be coming soon.


Edited by Moronium, 02 February 2019 - 03:11 PM.


#8 montgomery

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 12:41 PM

I have been told many times that there is no such thing as free will, and that any notion to the contrary is the product of self-deluding illusion.

 

The primary assumptions underlying this claim seem to emanate from the presumption of a mechanical materialistic reductionism that controls nature, where everything that happens has been preordained by fate.

 

The concept of cause and effect seems to prevail here.  Everything that happens is simply a necessary effect of an antecedent cause, ad infinitum (both forwards and backwards).

 

Every word a person says, every thought he thinks, every action he takes, every (illusory) decision he makes is the product of an antecedent cause over which he had no control.  And this chain of causation goes back to the beginning of time--call it the big bang, if you want.

 

The upshot is that we're all just automatons reading from a pre-written script that cannot be altered. We can't make real "choices" any more than a cannonball can "choose" not to leave the barrel of a cannon once it has been detonated.

 

These people will advance any number of arguments which are to designed to persuade you that their view is correct.

 

But I can't see why.  If they are correct, then they're just reciting things they have been forced by all-pervading causation to say.  They are not capable of logical reasoning.  They have no control over their thoughts.  Such a person has no free will to say anything other than "I (and you) have no free will."  That's the way they've been programmed.  They were predestined to say that eons ago.  Under those circumstances, how could their claims possibly be persuasive?

 

So I just tell them:  "Come back and tell me that when you're no longer a robotic machine and are able to control, and discriminate in, your own utterances, eh?"

 

All you've done is persuade me that, even assuming you're right, you have no reason for claiming you're right.  So quit bullshitting about having "reasons" for your claims.  I might as well listen to a parrot.

 

Is there some other explanation for the claim that people have no free will?  Something other than the irresistible force of cause and effect, I mean?

The laws on what constitutes a crime are basically the same but the crime rate varies from country to country. For one example, the crime of rape is much higher than all or nearly all other first world countries. 

 

This seems to suggest that there's more to it than just being predetermined. Government and society have to be playing a big part in the question.



#9 SaxonViolence

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 01:52 AM

EE...

 

Free Will presents a thorny Philosophical Problem.

 

Let us take a simplified determinism first:

 

In the beginning—well as soon as atoms condensed—each atom was given a certain impetus and a direction of travel as well as a number of rules that it must obey: 

 

Momentum, Gravitational Attraction, Electrical Attraction, Conservation of Angular Momentum—and such like and so on.

 

The possible permutations defy even the possibility of calculation even in principle.

 

However, every atom—or sub-atomic particle—today, arrived precisely where it is today, in precisely the state it is in today—purely as an inevitable consequence of the initial impetus that it was given at "The Big Bang." This includes every atom in your brain.

 

Where is there the slightest possibility to improvise or deviate from that predestined script?

 

"But Wait!!!" you cry.

 

Quantum Mechanics introduces random number generators into the underlying fabric of reality. Even though the influence of a single random Quantum event is minuscule, Chaos Theory provides us a way to bootstrap the results of even the most minuscule randomness into the macroscopic world.

 

EE...

 

This makes things sloppier, but it doesn't create "Free Will."

 

Have you ever played one of those paperback novels where you select different storylines at crucial junctures by rolling dice? That doesn't mean that the characters in the novel have "Free Will" just because their fate is subject to truly random occurrences.

 

So, what do we need to have true "Free Will"?

 

I'd say that you must be capable of weighing past experiences—but not to be bound by them. Rolling dice isn't "Free Will," So you need something that can reach outside of space and time and let you make a fully independent decision.

 

So where is this "Decision Maker"? How can it contravene the laws of space and time, that should make you a helpless puppet dancing to the beck and call of the physical nature of your physical being?

 

Yes! Free Will presents a Logical Contradiction and It requires both Faith and Mysticism to believe in it—so what?

 

I believe in it.

 

Now, is it immoral to punish deterministic creatures for actions they have no control over?

 

Well, presumably, the folks who make the rules, prescribe penalties and then enforce them are just as much puppets in thrall to the laws of motion as anyone else. They are not privileged by the system.

 

There can be no morality in a purely Deterministic universe. What have you ever done that you could have done differently? Apparent choice is only an illusion.

 

But consider, if certain punishments and consequences are part and parcel of the system, then these are some of the factors that form the bars of our Deterministic prison.

 

Less puppets will murder other puppets if there are strong prohibitions on killing. The "Rules" also affect the makeup of each and every puppet.

 

If we are all just robots though, what difference does it really make whether we are tortured and slaughtered or not? We may THINK that we feel pain, agony and despair—but this is an illusion—a byproduct of atoms colliding in a very controlled and predestined order.

 

Joseph Chilton Pearce once said:

 

"Life becomes Daemonic when confined to such a tiny sphere."

 

Indeed, contemplating Determinism or Determinism+Random Number Generation will drive one to the depths of depression. You're lucky to be predestined to feel despair. Some puppets are so constructed, that even when they perceive their true nature, they don't particularly care.

 

 

…..Saxon Violence


Edited by SaxonViolence, 31 May 2019 - 01:56 AM.


#10 Amplituhedron

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 10:57 AM

 

In the beginning—well as soon as atoms condensed—each atom was given a certain impetus and a direction of travel as well as a number of rules that it must obey: 

 

Momentum, Gravitational Attraction, Electrical Attraction, Conservation of Angular Momentum—and such like and so on.

  

The idea that determinism precludes free will rests on an assumption. Roughly, the formulation is this:

 

The laws of physics, which govern the universe, in conjunction with antecedent events, entail all future events, including human actions.

 

It should be pointed out that this formulation already runs afoul of logic: it commits a modal scope fallacy, assuming that all contingent events are actually necessary ones; i.e., modal collapse.

 

But it’s worse than that. The formulation rests on the idea that the laws of physics govern the universe. 

 

What if they don’t?

 

As Norman Swartz, philosophy professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University, has persuasively argued, the so-called laws of physics do not govern the universe, but rather describe the universe.

 

Once this is understood, as Swartz has pointed out, the supposed incompatibility of determinism and free will simply collapses; the so-called problem cannot even be coherently stated.

 

All of Swartz’s work on this and other matters, including his three books, can be found online. Google time!


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#11 SaxonViolence

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 01:41 PM

The idea that determinism precludes free will rests on an assumption. Roughly, the formulation is this:

 

The laws of physics, which govern the universe, in conjunction with antecedent events, entail all future events, including human actions.

 

It should be pointed out that this formulation already runs afoul of logic: it commits a modal scope fallacy, assuming that all contingent events are actually necessary ones; i.e., modal collapse.

 

But it’s worse than that. The formulation rests on the idea that the laws of physics govern the universe. 

 

What if they don’t?

 

As Norman Swartz, philosophy professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University, has persuasively argued, the so-called laws of physics do not govern the universe, but rather describe the universe.

 

Once this is understood, as Swartz has pointed out, the supposed incompatibility of determinism and free will simply collapses; the so-called problem cannot even be coherently stated.

 

All of Swartz’s work on this and other matters, including his three books, can be found online. Google time!

 

 

My attention span isn't what it used to be.

 

I went and watched a 20-minute video on the Modal Scope Fallacy. I will try to run Swartz down later.

 

Interesting. I encountered a new term "Necessitism."

 

At present, I see no physical or material alternative to Necessitism. 

 

Perhaps Swartz may change my mind.

 

Anyway, thanks for taking the time read my arguments, responding and giving me some leads to pursue.

 

 

…..Saxon Violence 



#12 Amplituhedron

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 11:03 AM

My attention span isn't what it used to be.

 

I went and watched a 20-minute video on the Modal Scope Fallacy. I will try to run Swartz down later.

 

Interesting. I encountered a new term "Necessitism."

 

At present, I see no physical or material alternative to Necessitism. 

 

Perhaps Swartz may change my mind.

 

Anyway, thanks for taking the time read my arguments, responding and giving me some leads to pursue.

 

 

…..Saxon Violence 

 

Suppose I say that God exists, and is omnipotent. He knows what I will do tomorrow, even before I do it.

 

Today, God knows that tomorrow, I will kill Tim. Therefore, I must kill Tim.

 

This is an argument frequently deployed by atheists to argue that we are not morally responsible for our acts: Since God already knows what we will do, we have no choice but to do that thing; if we have no choice, we are not responsible for the act. Therefore, God cannot hold us morally responsible for what we do, defeating the whole premise of Christian thesism.

 

The argument commits the modal scope fallacy. It illicitly assigns necessity to the consequent of the antecedent, rather than to where it belongs: Jointly to the antecedent and consequent.

 

Wrong: Today, God knows that tomorrow, I will kill Tim. Therefore, I MUST kill Tim.

 

Right: Necessarily (if today God knows that tomorrow I will kill Tim, then I will [not MUST!] kill Tim).

 

What if I DON’T kill Tim? Then a DIFFERENT proposition would be true: God would necessarily foreknow that I DO NOT kill Tim; i.e., I can (freely) either kill Tim or not; what I cannot do is escape God’s foreknowledge.

 

Suppose I dispense with God and say that future contingent propositions are true even before the events that they describe happen. This was Aristotle’s sea battle worry.

 

The idea is that if what happens tomorrow is true even today, then the event MUST happen.

 

Same modal fallacy. If tomorrow there is a sea battle, then today it is true that tomorrow there will be a sea battle. If, on the other hand, no sea battle occurs tomorrow, then today it will be true that tomorrow, there will be no sea battle. 

 

Causal determinism: Today it’s true that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, because past antecedent events, like a row of falling dominoes, make it necessary that I have breakfast.

 

The modal fallacy yet again. I am free to have eggs or anything else for breakfast; if I have, say, pancakes, then a different set of antecedent events would have preceded my decision.

 

That is, given a certain set of antecedent events, it does not follow that I MUST choose eggs for breakfast, only that I WILL. To argue otherwise is to fall into the logical fallacy of necessitism.

 

All arguments that determinism precludes free will are therefore false.


Edited by Amplituhedron, 05 June 2019 - 12:15 PM.