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Free Will


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The rub with this is usually experiential. Most of us don't really believe that our ... think/believe that love is real ...
Isn't belief the significant word here?
If you are a determinist, [you believe that] these are all just biochemical interactions that advantage us in our environment.
So I inserted the appropriate phrase.
You can feel free to run over children and burn down you neighbors house. There is no moral load or personal responsibility.
No, you are explicitly wrong here! If you are a determinist, you are not in control of your feelings at all! :)


You're not FREE to believe anything; it's all a consequence of what went before! Please, get these ideas straight! :D


I have always wondered when these "free" decisions took place anyway. :hihi:


Certainly not in the future as that hasn't happened yet! :D


And certainly not in the present because there just isn't enough time! :D


So the decision must have taken place in the past and, gee guys, that sounds a lot like "determinism" so it can't possibly be right??? :cup:


I just can't believe anyone has this one right! :lol: :lol: :) :D


Have fun -- Dick


The only thing I know for sure is that I know nothing for sure!

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Free will is the ability to freely chose between similar alternatives. If there was and apple and orange on the table, free will would allow one to chose either alternative. If one prefers the apple or orange one still has will or choice but not free will, because some unconscious robotic type bias is controlling part of the will.


The concepts of will and free will allows human to depart from the robotic nature of animal instinct. I can force my body to eat or drink too much or I can starve myself. The future is not defined by the wiring of the brain, at least in the short term. In both example, the body and brain will eventually try to restore balance. Maybe this part of the robot is good.

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Well from how the bran is designed, I would say we have free choice. We have a thinking, decision making, and problem solving brain that is wrapped around an automaton, anamalistic, instinctive part of the brain. This instinctive part of the brain is a function of itself. It gets mad, scared, hungry, happy, sad and so on, it sends these messages to your thinking self, your thinking will. You now have a choice to make from this one of these stimula. You can choose to reaction nearly automatically, like if you were very badly scared, a very strong signal would flood your thinking brain and take over cause you to flinch, jump, or maybe run a few steps. But in some cases you can decide to react differently, you might say Im scared I am going to grab a rock and kill this scary thing, or I am going to be brave and walk away calmly and ignore my fear. Or you might choose to do nothing at all and stand there and maybe be attacked by some scary person, but that was still a choice of your will.


That which makes up who you are is not the final in who you can be. There are so many options you can take on any given basic signal from the primitive messaging brain. Your will can be practiced to change your personality trait reactions. I tend not to beleive someone is the way they are because thats the way they are. If you dont stop to think about if often enough then you may remain very much the same throughout your life since you will be acting on your basic make up of genetics and enviroment molding. However if you are not content with or more ambitious than your current self exists as you can change it and will yourself to become something other than what you are typically known as. (if your drunk for example you can become someone your not by free will that is obviously impaired).


But likewise you can use your thinking part of the brain to make the decisions on how you feel. For example; if you are depressed and sad you can stop and ask yourself what am I thinking about when I feel like this? Well obviously whatever it is in your brain that has a nuron relationship with these thoughts to induce the negetive emotional chemical reactions. So if you want to change that, you can practice thinking about times that made you happy. Maybe a birthday from the past where everyone was singing to you and you will notice, "Hey suddenly I had a rush of better feeling emotions (that came from my instinctive center of my brain) just from inducing the nurons in my brain that had relationships tied in with good memories that were tied in with good emotions. You can then focus on that feeling and be happy about the fact that you are happy and induce even fresher newer emotional chemicals. Because when it comes down to it, the difference in you when your sad and happy come down to what your mind is thinking about.


But where does startdust and original thought come together, along with the individual invisible witness that lies behind each persons first layer of skin. I do not believe in someting devine as a part of ourselves but I know it because of the fact the universe is here. It is structured by complexities that seem out of reach. But because it is HERE, and I dont mean that on a stating the obvious kind of way, I mean it in the way that existence exists. I know for a fact that not many will take in this understanding correctly as I never would of been able to just years ago with the general kind of consiousness, but it holds alot of meaning.


In our free will we can with the ability of the structure of our mind consciously create in the existence that exists in only the time of now, which is relavent to each individual persons frame of reference, and hindered by the laws that form this particular realm before us and what makes up all that we can concieve because that what is concieved is by that was makes it.

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Ahh, you see, but I didn't. I purposely left free will out of that equation... as I was simply presenting the argument for someone who may not believe in freewill.


yeah, i figured as much. just making sure.:)


Free will doesn't just suggest that there an infinite number of outcomes.... it also suggests that we have a free choice in those infinite number of outcomes...


yeah i left that out becuase i simply didnt see the need to state it. i firgure it would be an assumption by any reader. thank you for clarifying.


So, you think it's inevitable but undecided before hand.... but it can only be inevitable after the decision is made? Aren't you contradicting yourself, tart? maybe I just don't understand your train of thought.... maybe you can explain a little more?


i would love to.


during the making of any decision, all outcomes are equilly plausable, but only in the beginning. after you take the time to factor in genetics (which are always there and never change) and then outside influence, the outcomes slowly get narrowed down. eventually, at least in most cases, the final outcome comes down to a choice between a few specific things. THE OUTCOME STILL ISNT INEVITABLE BECUASE THE DECISION HAS YET TO BE MADE, SO HOW CAN ONE KNOW WHAT IT WILL BE? then, eventually the final choice is made and tehre is only one outcome, which is now inevitable becuase there is only one remaining possible/plausable outcome. if someone were to go back in time who witnesed that outcome, they would know that there was only one possible outcome.


i hope that clarifies my stance.

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  • 2 months later...

Free will, I believe, is intrinsically linked with sense of "self". Over the course of our lives we change radically - we grow, we learn, we age, and finally die. But a person of age 70 is considered the same person as when they were 10, both by themselves (however fleeting and innaccurate their memories of that time) and by others. This sense of "self" arises because though we learn and our brains change, certain fundamental rules and connections remain the same. All this means that even when our body changes, we maintain an internal sense of consistency that allows us to conclude both that we are a person, and that we are the same person. This theory would predict that a change in the brain would be considered a more fundamental change to ones self than a change in the body. I believe this is by and large supported; you’d probably think damage in the visual cortex changes who “you” are more than losing your eyes, as it affects not just what senses you have, but your perceptions and imagination as well. Some people believe others are in control of their actions, or have split personalities – this seems to suggest self-perception does in fact reside in the brain and can go wrong.


Despite this, we usually think of ourselves as looking upon our brains; as distinct from them. Everyone thinks this at times, just because it’s more natural and more simple. Although I haven't noticed it in this thread, I've often thought that those who don't believe in free will (who I will call materialists) are misrepresented by those who do, because they describe materialists as believing that "your brain tells “you” what to do". “You” in this instance means your consciousness or your internal sense of self-consistency. But it is also saying “you” are separate from your brain – as I explained, materialists do not believe this is the case/ Free will is the ability for “you” to act on the rest of the world, not vice versa. When you think of it this way, then free will does exist, as “you” (the parts of your brain from which consciousness arises) are separate from “everything else” by definition. However, “You” are made of the same stuff, bound by the same laws, and the interaction between “you” and the world is also governed by these laws. I think free will exists, because I see a distinction between what is “us” and what is our environment, our bodies, and perhaps some parts of our brain. “We” are just a specific part of our brain. This description of course leads us to the conclusion that if we have free will, so does any clump of matter that is somewhat separate from the rest of the world (i.e. protects self-consistency) but can at the same time transform incoming information of some kind into external action – which would seem to suggest everything living has free will, and perhaps some non-living entities, though not as much free-will as a normal human.


Anyway, maybe not everyone will get this or agree with my definition of free-will, but I quite like my concept of it – it’s materialistic for sure but ends up with a kind of spiritual logic at the same time. Fun.

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My take on Free will, Mechanicly:

Free will is a function of Quantum will. That my descisions are based in an adhoc network of entaglements and Chemical reactions resulting in a number of different intercombined indeterministic interactions. According to my current state Physically, Mentally, Socially and Emotionally.


My take on Free Will, Theologically and Logically:

The universe has free will, I am a product of the universe and therefore I have free will. [math]A_B = A - B[/math]


To elaborate on my conclusion that the universe has free will. Particles have free will. Proof? The double slit experiement. In quantum mechanics a particle only has a probability of being in a given state, it "choses" to exist one way or another as "needed" or "desired". A particular event may have high probability of happening, but that doesn't mean it's the event that is observed.

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Will, like intelligence itself, is an emergent property of the complexity of our brains. You cannot point to a part of the brain and say, "This is where the Will originates". I also disagree that Will and the self are related, as a person with no self I nonetheless maintain that I have autonomy, and therefore Will. I would direct anyone interested in this subject to Douglas R. Hofstadter's excellent, tho wordy, book 'Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid'. Tis the most complete analysis of intelligence and will I have yet read, being clearer than Penrose's 'The Emperors New Mind' (which I would also reccomend) and more readable than any of the myriad technical volumes on the subject.

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On the matter of strict determinism, it is as well to recall that the brain at its most fundamental level is governend by quantum mechanics, and is therefore inherntly unpredictable and even random. What QM did to LaPlace's thinking machine, it does as well to determinism of all kinds.

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She means, a sociopath, true and cold. However as I understand it, a Sociopath still has all the components of a normal, just that part of their conscience is submerged.


She is not without a self, but without a Conscience self. Ego and id, without a "visible" Super ego. Or something like that, I may have my terms mixed up but the core concept is right, I am sure.

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I'm not an expert and I can't claim to know what it's like to be a sociopath, but while they may lack "self" by some definitions, the definition I gave, where self is an internal sense of consistency of thought and emotion, still holds true even if some aspects of normal thought or emotion are lacking. The very fact Panjandrum uses the words "I" indicate she has a sense of self, and therefore a concept of "will" being that which the self does (ouptut from the self) as opposed to that which happens to the self (input to the self).

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