• TiredThinker
    430
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HYWiIWpcCIM

    Are there any strong arguments for free will?

    Are the only arguments for determinism assuming the universe is a clock?
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    Stoic compatibilism.
    You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want. — Schopenhauer
    :fire:
  • Real Gone Cat
    220
    The universe is stochastic. Determinism is a probability of 0 or 100. Every other probability allows for free will.

    How does that grab ya?
  • PoeticUniverse
    1.3k
    Are there any strong arguments for free will?TiredThinker

    Lee Smolin thinks that what is novel/unique requires consciousness to resolve it (somehow free will?), whereas what has happened before goes on auto pilot, or something like that. I can't find his write-up.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    If evolution is true, certain ways of thinking e.g. mild paranoia given how nature is red in tooth and claw will be selected for and these will amplified and reinforced through generations that follow.

    On the flip side, fixed thinking patterns like suggested above maybe a drawback, evolution preferring flexibility (read free will) in order to tackle the inherent uncertainty in nature; however this doesn't necessarily mean we possess free will.
  • punos
    128
    The universe is either deterministic or non-deterministic, order or chaos respectively. In either case or in combination i can't see how freewill can exist. In one case all is predetermined in the other nothing can be determined. How would freewill work in any case?
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    The universe is either deterministic or non-deterministic, order or chaos respectively.punos

    Is it that black and white? After all if absolutely everything was chaos, then nothing could exist, as existence requires order. But if everything was determined, then nothing new could occur. So it’s not a one or the other situation, there is both chaos and order.

    Are there any strong arguments for free will?TiredThinker

    Only that if there’s no free will, there’s nothing to discuss, because the outcome of any discussion is already predetermined, so it’s not worth having.
  • punos
    128
    Is it that black and white? After all if absolutely everything was chaos, then nothing could exist, as existence requires order. But if everything was determined, then nothing new could occur. So it’s not a one or the other situation, there is both chaos and order.Wayfarer

    It kind of is at a fundamental level, but i agree with you and that's why i said "in either case or in combination", but i still don't see how "freewill" can reasonably work in those conditions even in combination. I'm willing to change my mind on the matter, it just needs to make sense.

    Only that if there’s no free will, there’s nothing to discuss, because the outcome of any discussion is already predetermined, so it’s not worth having.Wayfarer

    I agree as well, except that it's no more or less worthwhile than discussing anything else. It's all simply the universe processing information, and there is always a reason why anything occurs including apparently pointless discussions. We have no choice in discussing freewill.
  • Tim3003
    328
    Are there any strong arguments for free will?TiredThinker

    Suicide.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Only that if there’s no free will, there’s nothing to discuss, because the outcome of any discussion is already predetermined, so it’s not worth having.Wayfarer

    Yes. I never really understood the arguments around free will.
  • god must be atheist
    4.4k
    Are the only arguments for determinism assuming the universe is a clock?TiredThinker

    Bad assumption. The universe is not like a clock. It is more like a rugby game, or a well-planned vacation in Europe.
  • god must be atheist
    4.4k
    if there’s no free will, there’s nothing to discuss, because the outcome of any discussion is already predetermined, so it’s not worth having.Wayfarer

    Except the discussers don't know the outcome until they reach the end of the discussion.

    Also, if there is no discussion, then the ACTIONABLES arising from that discussion are not going to happen.

    Therefore discussions must happen, despite the fact that they will predictably end in one resolution (if they do). The reason is that no human mind can predict the end result of the discussion therefore we must carry it out in order to find the resolution.
  • TiredThinker
    430
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jint5kjoy6I

    Does this simple quantum example defend the idea of free will? That things aren't certain even in the short run?

    Also is the free will question based entirely on objective outcomes? Clearly I can throw a baseball and wish it to hit a target, but I don't control the wind and its end could be slightly off. In science we like things to be predictable, but do we need them to be perfectly predictable? And would there need to be a good reason for everything to be predetermined before they could be?
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    I suppose that is a form of compatibillism?
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    Wouldn't/shouldn't Buddhists take the middle path?

    Is there free will?

    Niether yes nor no! In other words, Gautama's followers would be agnostics regarding free will.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    Wouldn't/shouldn't Buddhists take the middle path?Agent Smith

    Doesn't the whole idea of karma presuppose free will? Here's an article on it https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/karma.html


    Does this simple quantum example defend the idea of free will? That things aren't certain even in the short run?TiredThinker

    I think so! I've always believed that Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle slayed LaPlace's Daemon.
  • punos
    128
    Does this simple quantum example defend the idea of free will? That things aren't certain even in the short run?TiredThinker

    Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle simply states that YOU can not know where the electron is. It's Heisenberg who is uncertain not the universe. If you measure the position then you're precluded from knowing it's momentum, and if you measure the momentum then you're precluded from knowing its position. In either case the universe knows both, but we are limited as conscious observers as to what we can know at any one time. It says nothing about freewill.

    I think the whole freewill dilemma is actually quite easy to settle, but our feelings confuse us. We don't want to admit the unflattering truth that we can't choose, so we keep on going in circles trying to prove something that can't be proven because it's just not true.

    Think about it... there are only two options; determinism and indeterminism. We already know that determinism means no freewill, that's easy enough. We get confused when it comes to indeterminism as if the order of the universe can be upended because someone just felt like having it their way. To believe in freewill is to literally believe in magic and in a chaotic universe where things happen not by laws of nature but by the whim of people or simply a person. We can't tell the universe what to do, the universe tells us what to do, and it gets us to do what it wants by making us think it is our "freewill". What we call "freewill" is really the will of the universe itself, and even the universe itself doesn't have freewill it's just "will".
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    Doesn't the whole idea of karma presuppose free will? Here's an article on it https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/karma.html — Wayfarer

    Not, not so in Mahayana :snicker: Buddhism. In the Great Vehicle tradition, karma isn't an open and shut case - doubts remain as to its factuality, but the catch is the uncertainty extends to/includes its falsehood. Aporia is what is being suggested and then onto ataraxia.
  • NOS4A2
    5.9k
    Where an action begins, that’s where it was determined, chosen, decided upon. If nothing else can be shown to begin an action, nothing else can be shown to determine it.
  • Yohan
    424
    Are there any strong arguments for free will?TiredThinker
    Isn't it impossible to prove a negative? Not only that, isn't it impossible to define a negative? (Other than to say what it is not?)
    Is not "freedom' a negative?
    When I say I am free, what am I free of? It seems that 'free' means an absence of something...eg, 'sugar free.'
    So, a 'free will' is a will without something?
    What exactly is it free of? External force? External compulsion?

    It at least seems that everything must be free of something in order to be distinct from everything else.
    For my will to be different than other wills, it must be seperate, or free, from other wills. Other wills don't seem to be capable of entirely forcing my will to will things. So at the very least my will is partly free from some external forces.

    But maybe I am using 'free' differently than it's normally used in the term 'free will'.
  • Gnomon
    2.4k
    Are there any strong arguments for free will?

    Are the only arguments for determinism assuming the universe is a clock?
    TiredThinker
    My personal argument in favor of Limited Free Will is based on Evolution. Like a linear clock, it continues to click in a single direction (arrow of time), toward the not-yet-real future. Darwinian theory is based on directionless Randomness, guided by directional Selection. But who established the fitness formula (rules) for cosmic natural selection? Who knows?

    Metaphorically, in between each tick of the evolutionary clock, there is a moment of decision, fit or not fit. But fit for what? Fitness implies Purpose (future goals). So, I assume that purposeful agents -- who can imagine a desirable future -- have some degree of freedom to decide their own short-term goals. And all those independent choices add-up, and cancel-out, to a single arrow of time, "toward infinity and beyond", as Buzz Lightyear so eloquently expressed it.

    Therefore, unlike a cyclical clock, the space-time mechanism doesn't go around in circles. It progresses toward an ultimate goal ("optimal design solution"), that is not decided in advance, but chosen by every particular Fitness Function (algorithm) in the world*1. Apparently, piloted by reason, humans have a bit more fitness-choice freedom than a bacterium --- but within a deterministic context that is not concerned with my personal fitness goals. So, each of us has a limited degree of control over personal (one in a million?) and universal (one in a gazillion?) evolution toward a contingent future Omega Point. :cool:

    *1. Those who fail the fitness function test fall into the slippery-slope of Entropy. Those who pass, get to play the next round of the Natural Selection game.

    A fitness function is a particular type of objective function that is used to summarize, as a single figure of merit, how close a given design solution is to achieving the set aims. Fitness functions are used in genetic programming and genetic algorithms to guide simulations towards optimal design solutions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitness_function

    Freewill Within Determinism :
    http://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page67.html

    THE ARROW OF ENTROPY
    11-2-Cosmic-Evolution-GSFC-1200x635.jpg?format=jpg&width=960
  • PoeticUniverse
    1.3k
    I found the link:

    http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/19364/1/Physics-Time%20and%20Qualia%20-%20Smolin-Verde-7-24-2021-FINAL.pdf

    excerpts:

    We must then make a distinction between events which generate a constant statistical distribution of outcomes, whose causal future is at least on a statistical level, a consequence of their causal past, and those which are not governed by any evolution law, deterministic or stochastic. We will call the first kind, precedented or habitual events; the latter unprecedented or “free” events.

    How does the universe choose the outcomes of preparations which have no or few precedents? We propose that the novel states or events are the physical correlates of conscious events. At these moments, the universe has perhaps some degree of freedom to choose what happens next. It is these moments of freedom which make up conscious experience.

    Those unprecedented moments are presumably common near the universe's origin, and spread throughout the universe. As the universe ages, it takes a higher degree of complexity for a state to be unprecedented. But we can wonder whether complex biomolecules might serve as a reservoir of novel states. Might the biosphere and the brain have evolved, to make use of the special properties of novel states, including the freedom present at those moments to choose a small part of the future. It is not difficult to see that this access to novel states might give an animal a selective advantage.

    Consciousness is connected with - in fact, created by - the resolution of indefinite states. This ties qualia tightly to quantum theory – especially when that is looked at with the perspective of a world created by an active time. This implies a heightened sensitivity to novelties. The ability to detect novelty is not a peripheral or optional feature of the mind/brain-it is its main function. Qualia, we conjecture are signals of the recognition of novel situations. We and other creatures have evolved the ability to do so through evolution - as a creature that can resolve ambiguities quickly will, all things being equal, survive better.
  • PoeticUniverse
    1.3k
    We can't tell the universe what to do, the universe tells us what to do, and it gets us to do what it wants by making us think it is our "freewill". What we call "freewill" is really the will of the universe itself, and even the universe itself doesn't have freewill it's just "will".punos

    Good post.

    Since outputs always have inputs, so true,
    Then what, we wonder, should we try to do?
    It’s the other way around, oh, brain stew,
    For cause, time, and the universe do you!
  • hypericin
    513
    The problem with the philosophical notion of free will is that it begins with a false opposition: determinism vs. freedom. When the true opposition is determinism vs. randomness. Free will is orthogonal to both.

    Freedom means freedom from constraint. This is only ever partial, the is no such thing as absolute freedom of constraint: one must obey the laws of physics.

    "Free Will" properly refers to freedom from oneself: From the emotions and desires that one rejects. For instance, if one can master one's undesired desire for cake, or video games, or drugs, one is free from these desires, for the nonce. True freedom entails identifying all such habits and emotions desires, and conquering them all, and thus always acting in accordance with (what you identify as) you true will. No small feat, but free will, defined this way, may certainly be achieved. Whether this true will is determined, random, or some mix of the two, is irrelevant.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    I think the issue is here is that the topic is made to be more complex than it is, often with good reasons. When it comes to matters of will in general, and especially free will, we are utterly in the dark so far as science is concerned - though this has been and will continue to be, fiercely disputed..

    I think the difference is simply this: there is an immediate, recognizable difference between, say, raising your arm now (go ahead and do this) and having someone else lift it up for you. Likewise with moving your leg and having a doctor hit it with a device that causes a muscle reaction that results in movement.

    We can then set up elaborate exercises in which we consider a person being in prison vs. being free in a city, etc., etc.

    Sean Carroll, who I believe is compatibilist, nevertheless makes a good point. Suppose you steal some money off a cash register or do something else which is wrong. If determinism is true, then, strictly speaking, the cause of you stealing the money is directly related the big bang and the laws of physics than then developed.

    Most people chuckle at this, and rightly so. But we could not have a functioning society without at least considering it real (even if, somehow, someone can prove it to be an illusion).
  • punos
    128
    I think the issue is here is that the topic is made to be more complex than it is, often with good reasons.Manuel

    I agree that the topic is being made more complex than necessary, but in my opinion for no good reason. We have the rules of logic and mathematics which are our only tools for approaching truth. There is no other (at least accessible to us), so it's all we have.

    though this has been and will continue to be, fiercely disputed.Manuel

    I mean what is there to continue disputing that can not be settled with simple logic and first principles. Of course those executing the logic must at least have some mastery of themselves before effectively wielding the power of it. If we do not know how to recognize our own bias, pride, and ignorance then even when faced with truth will we reject it at our own detriment, perpetually sinking into a maelstrom of bewilderment.

    “Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and God.” - Temple of Apollo at Delphi
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    We possess if not absolute, relative, free will. There's a difference between me giving to charity because I want to and me giving to charity because someone has a gun to my temple. This rather simple scenario demonstrates, quite effectively in my humble opinion, that it could be worse and hence it's better i.e. our cells are roomy. We gotta count our blessings mon ami, we gotta count our blessings.
  • punos
    128
    There's a difference between me giving to charity because I want to and me giving to charity because someone has a gun to my temple.Agent Smith

    What exactly is the fundamental difference? In either case you have a reason for giving to charity. If you have a reason for doing something, that reason has a reason, and that reason has a reason, etc.. If reasons were turtles it would be turtles all the way down.

    Everything we do is a manifestation of unconscious activity in the brain governed by the laws of biology in turn governed by chemistry, and ultimately the laws of physics. It all bubbles up into the conscious portion of our minds (Global Neuronal Workspace) and given a confabulated justification by specifically the left hemisphere of the brain (the "interpreter" or "storyteller" responsible for the feeling of freewill and the sense of self).

    This video clip having to do with split-brain patients illustrates what i am trying to point out:
    Split-brain and left hemisphere "interpreter"


    Another illustrative phenomena that can help us gain some insight into this question of freewill is called the "Alien Hand Syndrome", again with split-brain patients. These people have each side of their bodies and minds independent of the other, and sometimes they need to restrain their left hand (right hemisphere) because it occasionally decides to attack its owner. This and other available data contribute to a significant body of evidence showing that we are not in control of our decisions. Here is a short clip about that:


    I challenge anyone to provide me with a reasonable account or mechanism by which freewill can be achieved, even if just hypothetical. I've never heard one, perhaps someone can surprise me. I want to believe in freewill as much as the next guy but i must have reasons for doing so, if not then what are we really doing?.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    A very detailed account of your objection to my views on free will. Let's just say that the scenario I presented highlights a difference that needs to be taken into account in re free will.

    Merci beaucoup mon ami, I'll get back to you when I can; if I don't qui tacet consentire videtur.
  • punos
    128

    This is what i mean, are you committed to uncovering the truth or to just defend your views? and if you can't or won't defend your views then just ignore and move on? Because i addressed your claim about the difference between one scenario and the other in your example. Are you implying that my objection is invalid somehow? If so then let me know how.

    You see the reason i joined this forum is so that i can test the validity of my ideas, notions, conclusions, etc. with other quality critical thinkers. I would think that a sincere philosopher or scientist would be willing to do that. I personally want my ideas to be picked apart, criticized and tested in the hope that i may learn something new and advance to the next stage of understanding. I have no problem in changing my mind about something if reasonable arguments are supplied. Like i mentioned before, if we're not doing that then what are we doing? Why is it so difficult to provide just one reasonable account or mechanism by which freewill can be realized, even if just a hypothetical one? Anyone??
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Why is it so difficult to provide just one reasonable account or mechanism by which freewill can be realized, even if just a hypothetical one? Anyone??punos

    I have free will to respond. I did not have to. Otherwise, I do not know what you mean by free will.
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