Do you believe in free will?

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View Poll Results: Does free will exist
Yes 20 80.00%
No 5 20.00%
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Do you believe in free will?

This question is one that perplexes me continuously to no avail. Do you think free will exists?
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No, I'm certain that it doesn't.

Our behavior is determined by two things: a) how we feel (which isn't a choice), and how we do logic (which isn't a choice).

I'm attracted to a certain type of woman, I like certain types of food, I get tired, I'm energetic, I was born, I will die, I suffer, I do logic - - none of that is a choice!
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Choice is the only thing that makes our awareness useful. All kinds of shit effects my behavior. But I'm aware of that. I choose to take advantage of that awareness or not. I can't just pretend to not be conscious of my own ability to define myself, even if it is too complicated to explain or to ultimately know just what I'm defining myself within.

I figure I'm part of the universe, and the universe pretty much owns my ass; but I also have the human gift of being able define that universe in some small part while I try to define myself and gain further understanding. And that all comes down to choice. Not always in cut and dry measures, actually more often in a poetic sense that embraces and struggles against all the forces that might be acting upon me. Once you try to do away with complexity, and deny choices, then you're fucked.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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YEs.

Everything I do is a choice.

Responding to this thread isnt something I had to do but something I chose to.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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nope.
rules, laws, feelings all come into play. we cant do anything we want. free will is crushed by common sense.
if i was free and could do whatever the hell i wanted, i'd tell my boss to kiss my ass, walk over to that hot barista at star bucks and grab her boobs, then punch that dude whos talking too loud on his cell phone.
but i dont.
why? becuase i have common sense. i know i cannot do these things.
we have no free will. will are governed by strict rules and guidelines. anyone who breaks these rules/guidelines is considered psychotic and is hospitalized.
if we could do whatever we wanted, we wouldnt be doing any of "this" right now. we'd be having an orgy and lying on the beach with no responsibilities.
well, i would be.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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those are all choices insider. you could break them and face the consequences if you wanted to. but if you didn't have free will your whole life would be predetermined.

but... free will can exist in part. by this i mean that there are all sorts of things that are beyond our control. the world could end from a solar flare or a giant blackhole opening up in space. we could get wiped out by a tornado or contract lupus. all of these things would happen beyond our control. but this doesn't mean we don't have free will. any doctrine of free will that has a basis in the real world will acknowledge that there are some things beyond our means, but would insist (and i think quite rightly so) that the decisions we make over the areas of our life that we can impact are free of any predetermination.

i choose my wife, my career, my tv shows, my computer games, whether or not to drink booze and smoke, or pray, jump up and down, eat meat, be a conservative, etc.

i don't choose whether or not to have cancer, to breathe, to sleep when i am tired. some things are biologically ordained, and some things are just too big for us to exert any control over. but be that as it may, there are plenty of things that i decide for myself. if i thought that some creator had set it all up for me and i was just running lines i'd end it all right away.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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While there are a huge number of things that are not a choice, I don't deny choice per se. I believe we have choices, but I don't believe in free will.

For instance:

On any given Saturday, I am drinking my morning coffee sitting down in a chair, and I can think of many different ways to start my day. Maybe I'll mow the lawn, maybe I'll walk the dog, maybe I'll go weed the garden, maybe I'll play video games, maybe I'll go on the internet.

So I'm not denying that we have a wide variety of choice, however, this is by no means proof of free will, in fact, all it demonstrates is that we are computers processing information. The wide variety of choice I am faced with is just a bunch of data that I have no choice but to process, and the way I process it involves "feelings" and "logic", and like I said earlier, the way we feel, and the way we do logic is not a choice. Ultimately, what I end up choosing, is the thing that pleases me the most, or it's the thing that makes the most sense......and these aren't choices.

Last edited by Cory; 09-14-2009 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Geddy FTW!
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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cory - so your point is that every choice is just a rational/emotional computation and thus not a choice at all.

that's complete nonsense. here are a couple of reasons why:

1. humans make irrational choices all the time. not only is logic not consistently applied, but sometimes it's disregarded entirely. you can also have multiple logical answers to a question or multiple illogical answers to a question, and people pick and choose from those possibilities all the time. simply stating that it is logic that guides us doesn't mean there is only one answer, and it doesn't mean that humans actually apply it in the first place.
2. some choices are beyond logic. how does one rationlaize sophie's choice, for instance? human's rely more on emotion than logic, and emotion can give all kinds of responses. further, emotional responses are not predetermined. i may change my mind, i may be unsure of something when i proceed, and i may have conflicting emotions that don't necessarily work in a coherent world view. you can't compute that as there is no balancing factor. with emotions, we keep things separate in our minds and don't rationalize them. in the end, i may choose to act emotionally or logically or irrationally as might suit my whim. people do this all the time. these are all choices.

we compute, but it doesn't always give clear answers, and in every computation comes a whole bunch of initial choices about what sorts of things we wish to include in that computation in the first place. to write that off as a lack of free will is to completely misunderstand both what choice and logic actually are.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Geddy seems to think just because we make choices, it means they are free.

Boy is he wrong!


edit: just seen your post now, 'Trane. Give me a few minutues...
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes.
If the free will wasn't there, the world wouldn't make much sense. It doesn't seem as it makes much sense anyways, but it has it's moments.

But free will is not something you just say. It also isn't absolute. It needs to be understood to be practiced.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Don't hate on Geddy because he chooses freewill.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
cory - so your point is that every choice is just a rational/emotional computation and thus not a choice at all.

that's complete nonsense. here are a couple of reasons why:

1. humans make irrational choices all the time. not only is logic not consistently applied, but sometimes it's disregarded entirely.
I never said logic had to be consistently applied. What I was trying to convey is that what we choose to do is either the result of emotion/feeling, or it's the result of pure logic, or maybe it's a little bit of both. Also, I forgot to mention random action - when we make a choice arbitrarily without reason or emotion.

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you can also have multiple logical answers to a question or multiple illogical answers to a question, and people pick and choose from those possibilities all the time.
Well, if your faced with the dilemma of many choices, and none appear any more logical or appealing than the other, then it's just the toss of a coin. It's just random.

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simply stating that it is logic that guides us doesn't mean there is only one answer, and it doesn't mean that humans actually apply it in the first place.
I never said they did! Most of the time it's emotion and feelings which guide us. We do what feels good.

Quote:
2. some choices are beyond logic. how does one rationlaize sophie's choice, for instance? human's rely more on emotion than logic, and emotion can give all kinds of responses.
When it comes to emotions/feelings, it's actually pretty basic - "negative and positive" Meaning, we are either involuntarily attracted or repelled.

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further, emotional responses are not predetermined. i may change my mind, i may be unsure of something when i proceed,
This is because of your logic, your reasoning. You are thinking about consequences, hidden implications, etc.

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and i may have conflicting emotions that don't necessarily work in a coherent world view.
Conflicting emotions are the result of your logic/reasoning getting in the way of the pleasurable immediacy that you are tempted by.

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you can't compute that as there is no balancing factor.
I think you are straw-manning me.

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with emotions, we keep things separate in our minds and don't rationalize them. in the end, i may choose to act emotionally or logically or irrationally as might suit my whim.
Bullshit, pal. It's all about securing your own happiness, don't deceive yourself.

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people do this all the time. these are all choices
people are trying to find security and happiness.

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we compute, but it doesn't always give clear answers,
Again, never said it did. But it does give us a reason to act. But it's true, a lot of time humans don't need reasons to act, like children and animals, they just do what feels good, without regard for consequences.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Cory, it seems that your ideology (if I can call it that) are that humans are naturally selfish.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Cory, it seems that your ideology (if I can call it that) are that humans are naturally selfish.
Yes. Although, the selfishness can manifest in a way where the individual isn't happy unless he makes others happy. Like, you have the father who not only helps his kids a lot, but does a lot of unpaid work for neighbors, or does community work, or hell, he might even go overseas to do some kind of charity work.

There is altruism, but people do it because it makes them feel good. So it's a selfish altruism.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Therefore there is no debating with you, or no real point as your world view is diametrically opposed to mine and I don't have the time nor patience to debate with you.

However, I do believe your confusing emotion with feeling as they are too seperate entities, while dependant upon one another are also independent as well.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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this line by line thing takes the whole paragraph out of context. i wrote paragraphs because those sentences are meant to be taken together, not abstracted and dissected one by one.

that said...

the randomness that you allude to is precisely choice. when faced with a number of competing possibilities we don't flip a coin, we choose. you've pretty much proved that, so no real need to continue with this. but i will anyways...

this:

Quote:
Also, I forgot to mention random action - when we make a choice arbitrarily without reason or emotion.
is free will. and when we make a choice after carefully considering the available options, that's free will too. it may be logical, it may not, it may be guided by emotion, it may not. but we choose how to proceed. we may do what feels good, but we often do what doesn't feel good. we have moments of super-erogation. we have moments of martyrdom, we have moments of sacrifice and of suffering by choice. we may do none of these things because they are logical and because they are emotional and make us feel good, even in the abstract. i don't sacrifice myself for the betterment of others because i derive happiness from being the kind of guy that does that. i'm not saying it's impossible - there certainly are people that do it for that reason - but there are also others that do it because they choose to. not for the way people are looking at them in society but because out of a number of competing possibilities they thought it was the right thing to do. it won't appear the same way to everyone, and that individual won't make the same decisions every time. it must be choice. what could possibly be predetermined about this?

in all of your responses to me, you somehow missed the most crucial piece. in any computation there is the moment of choice that pre-exists it. the moment that you choose which factors to include in that computation. if you want to boil it down to an emotional/logical computation (which i also disagree with for reasons stated above) how do you factor in the way in which the boundaries of that calculation are determined? is any human capable of understanding the totality of complex situations? we choose what to include and what not to inlcude in the calculation. and then, as i have argued, we choose again when we inevitably come up against competing possibilities and outcomes in which we may or may not act rationally/irrationally/towards our happiness/towards someone else's happiness.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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i see you've already addressed the altruism issue, but you are stuck on a logical falsehood. you're saying that because any act of altruism or any super-erogatory act may be for selfish reasons, all are necessarily for selfish reasons (ie wanting to be (or to be seen as) the kind of guy that does a charitable act). this cannot possibly be said to be true. it is a generalization that is wholly unprovable.

and at the end of the day, even if it is, it's still choice for many of the reasons i've listed above. it's not just a simple computation with clear answers. it's a complex computation with decisions made on the initial inputs and decisions made on the various outputs. no human being is a completely rational actor that can break any decision down to a surefire answer every time. as soon as one person has to make a decision based on inputs or equal outcomes you have free will. i don't see how you can deny that.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I appreciate your replies.

I gotta get back to work, though. I'll try to pick this up again tonight or tomorrow.
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