• Arne
    416
    this is a good post.
  • Arne
    416
    There are others in this discussion who seem to think that ‘free will’ must be defined as a concept, but I disagree with this, and regret not making this clearer at the outset. I think you need to define ‘will’ and ‘free’ separately first and foremost, and then discuss whether or not the will IS free.Possibility

    This is a good post and I agree with you. though I am still skeptical that this is an issue amenable to philosophical resolution. Still, it does force partcicipants to "think" and that is always good. Keep the faith and keep up the good work.
  • Andreas Greifenberger
    9
    There are often people registering here and posting that ‘free will is an illusion’. When I can be bothered, I ask if if they did so voluntarily. If they claim they didn’t, then I say discussion is pointless as they cannot be persuaded to change their minds. If they say they did, then they don’t have a case.Wayfarer

    Well, I think this topic needs to be addressed in a very differentiated way.

    I am not saying that free will is an illusion, but I do believe that our will is not entirely free. The emphasis in this sentence should be on the word "entirely".

    So what does "free" mean here? Free, to me, means free from any influence whatsoever except for one's own will. And what does "will" mean? To me, it is the conscious or unconscious resolution to think, do or achieve something that is based on the concerned person's inner self.

    We are, in my view, not entirely free, because there is an environment to consider. The environment consists, to name a few examples, of social, economic and political, possibly also religious factors.
  • Wayfarer
    9k
    I do believe that our will is not entirely freeAndreas Greifenberger

    As do I. I don't think it is meaningful to speak in terms of absolutes, but many of those who deny the possibility of free will, seem to me to deny free will simply because it's not absolute. Sure, the will is not *absolutely* free, but the degree of freedom we have is still very meaningful.
  • Andreas Greifenberger
    9
    I don't think it is meaningful to speak in terms of absolutesWayfarer

    Agreed.

    many of those who deny the possibility of free will, seem to me to deny free will simply because it's not absoluteWayfarer

    Okay, but I do believe that it is useful at times to recall in what ways we are not free, and don't have an entirely free will. It is, I am inclined to believe, similar to the question whether or not we are objective in our judgements.

    It may, it seems to me, be a huge step towards more freedom, if we were conscious of all the restrictions of our free will, and it may be a step towards more objectivity, if we realize in what ways our thinking and believing is indeed subjective.

    Sure, the will is not *absolutely* free, but the degree of freedom we have is still very meaningful.Wayfarer

    I do agree here as well, at the end. Even if our free will has limits (and it has, as said before), then the whole concept of personality and humanity would seem meaningless, if we totally denied free will.

    A simple example of free will is this discussion. People, including you and I, are free to contribute to this discussion or not to do so. The decision is entirely theirs.

    Another simple example of free will is the question, whether I get myself some coffee or tea now. My free will may be reduced by the fact that I am thirsty now, and so I have no choice but to get something to drink. But I have a free choice as to what I will drink.
  • Possibility
    831
    I don't think it is meaningful to speak in terms of absolutes
    — Wayfarer

    Agreed.

    many of those who deny the possibility of free will, seem to me to deny free will simply because it's not absolute
    — Wayfarer

    Okay, but I do believe that it is useful at times to recall in what ways we are not free, and don't have an entirely free will. It is, I am inclined to believe, similar to the question whether or not we are objective in our judgements.
    Andreas Greifenberger

    As discussed earlier in this thread, the question is not so much ‘What is the degree of freedom in free will?’ - it’s more along the lines of ‘what is the will, and how is it free?’ To say that ‘our will is not entirely free’ to me defeats the purpose of calling it ‘free will’. You might as well just call it ‘will’.

    The way I see it, the problem lies with how we define ‘will’. Some people see the will as our general capacity for decision-making, or the whole notion of choice. Others define it as what we consciously want to do. Still others take ‘free will’ as an indivisible concept, and define it as a variable quantity or degree of freedom one has in choosing.

    As far as I can see, we’ve gone round and round for centuries on a questionable understanding of exactly what the will is, that invariably leads to people talking past each other.

    But regardless of how we currently define ‘will’, perhaps we can agree on a few statements before we continue (and please feel free to suggest edits here):

    1. We are at least capable of CHOICE: an ACT of choosing a particular OPTION from a VARIETY or range.

    2. Limitations and/or constraints on choice appear to occur at any or all of the above three points.

    3. Some of these limitations/constraints on choice are considered to be SELF-IMPOSED at various levels of consciousness.

    4. Other limitations/constraints are the result of EXTERNAL power, influence or control.

    5. The current question of FREE WILL cannot be taken as an absolute yes or no, because of the four statements above.
  • Possibility
    831
    Another simple example of free will is the question, whether I get myself some coffee or tea now. My free will may be reduced by the fact that I am thirsty now, and so I have no choice but to get something to drink. But I have a free choice as to what I will drink.Andreas Greifenberger

    But you do still have a choice to NOT get something to drink, even though you’re thirsty now. Your body may protest in a number of ways, and you may believe that it’s important to listen to your body - but you can still CHOOSE not to drink.

    Nevertheless, I must point out that a reduced free will is not free. Also, ‘choice’ and ‘will’ are not interchangeable terms.

    I’m not trying to be difficult here - we all seem to be roughly of the same opinion in relation to the existence of free will. But those denying the possibility of free will also have valid arguments that our current descriptions of ‘a will that is free’ fail to measure up against, to be honest.
  • Andreas Greifenberger
    9
    But regardless of how we currently define ‘will’, perhaps we can agree on a few statements before we continue (and please feel free to suggest edits here):

    1. We are at least capable of CHOICE: an ACT of choosing a particular OPTION from a VARIETY or range.

    2. Limitations and/or constraints on choice appear to occur at any or all of the above three points.

    3. Some of these limitations/constraints on choice are considered to be SELF-IMPOSED at various levels of consciousness.

    4. Other limitations/constraints are the result of EXTERNAL power, influence or control.

    5. The current question of FREE WILL cannot be taken as an absolute yes or no, because of the four statements above.
    Possibility

    At least at first sight I see nothing here to disagree with.

    Another aspect, however, may be the fact that our free will is reduced by genetics.
    I don't know, if that point has already been discussed in this thread, but I believe it to be of some importance.
    We are born with a certain DNA, which also determines our character, and so we may think we act freely, while in fact we are determined by our genes.
  • Mww
    1.2k
    Let it be granted that the will is to feelings as the intellect is to cognition.
    Let it be granted that the will controls some feelings and is controlled by some feelings.
    If the will exercises control, it is a legislative authority.
    In such cases as the will exercises its authority, it is the causality for that which it authorizes.
    If all causality is conditioned, and the will is an dedicated causality, it must itself be conditioned.
    If the will is its own authority, it must be autonomous.
    Autonomy is justified as the conditional for the will’s causality.

    All conditionals adhere to the principle of cause and effect, but autonomy requires the unconditioned.
    No natural unconditional is intelligible to a human, which makes explicit the unconditional for the justification of autonomy can only be thought.

    To think “freedom” as the unconditional justification for autonomy, which then justifies the conditioned causality of the will, then the legislative authority of the will with respect to controlling some feelings, stands as justified without any intrinsic contradictions.

    The will is an autonomous causality, which carries no implication whatsoever, that it is completely unencumbered, that is a “free will”. In fact, the will may even encumber itself, insofar as its authority controls some feelings by obligating itself to adhere to its legislations at the expense of its own interests, from which, of course, is derived our moral disposition. Feelings, not cognition, is in play here.

    And to say free will is a valid conception in itself, disregards all the conditions which make the will a functional faculty whose job it is to legislate, which makes explicit the will absolutely must have the capacity to formulate laws. It isn’t free to make laws, it is required to make laws; it is free to chose which laws to make, but that is merely the fundamental aspect of willing.

    Is the concept of freedom a valid justification? If one agrees in principle, sure. If he doesn’t, he must come up with something else, and justify that instead.
  • Andreas Greifenberger
    9
    Nevertheless, I must point out that a reduced free will is not free. Also, ‘choice’ and ‘will’ are not interchangeable terms.

    I’m not trying to be difficult here
    Possibility

    No, I think you are quite right here to point out that there is a difference.
    To me, will also incorporates the unconscious element. Will is what is wanted or desired, even if it is not formulated in clear language.
    A choice is always something that I consciously face or the deliberate act of choosing something.

    And I may indeed choose something I don't really want.
    For example, when I am in a restaurant, and hungry. So I know I want to eat, but there are no dishes available that I really like.
    I may have a choice not to eat at all, but as I am hungry I may prefer having something that I don't really like, as that evil may be lesser than the evil of staying hungry.
    Or, another example, I am tired, but have work to do. I may want to go to bed, but if I do so and not finish the work I have to do, I may face consequences that I don't want. So I stay up and do the work.
  • Possibility
    831
    At least at first sight I see nothing here to disagree with.Andreas Greifenberger

    Ok. So if we go back to the definition of WILL (from earlier in this thread) - the faculty by which one decides on and initiates action - then it seems to me that deciding on and initiating an action is not the same as the act of choosing.

    I’m getting the impression that it’s problematic to use the term ‘choice’ in a discussion about will. Because at the moment you choose, the act of choosing has already been decided on and initiated. Therefore the will must be an underlying faculty that initiates the act of choosing.

    But then it seems we reach the dilemma of an ‘uncaused cause’. Something decides on and initiates an action in time from a position beyond time. In my view that’s not ‘God’ - it’s human consciousness. But as an evolving capacity, not as some special ‘gift’ that sets us apart.

    If I go back to my original post, perhaps it should read:

    I can initiate the awareness, connection and collaboration that decides on an action.

    In my view, this is the WILL: before we choose, before we think, before we act, there is a point (outside time) at which the human mind is at least potentially capable of freely structuring (ie. initiating and deciding on) the causal conditions of any action.

    Yes, it’s difficult to test this. Ideally I’d like to get to that point, but not at the expense of the theory itself. We’re delving into fifth dimension interactions here, so it can get confusing, and we can lose our grounding in physical reality at times. I find great value in continually relating the theory back to subjective experiences - both mine and others. Testing fifth dimension aspects of reality is like determining the position of a photon - all you have to work with is a complex formula of relations to 4D variables.

    You may have also noticed by now that I keep re-wording this theory as I go. Many of the contributions here have been extremely helpful in helping me to articulate how it all already fits together in my mind.
  • Andreas Greifenberger
    9
    Ok. So if we go back to the definition of WILL (from earlier in this thread) - the faculty by which one decides on and initiates action - then it seems to me that deciding on and initiating an action is not the same as the act of choosing.

    I’m getting the impression that it’s problematic to use the term ‘choice’ in a discussion about will. Because at the moment you choose, the act of choosing has already been decided on and initiated. Therefore the will must be an underlying faculty that initiates the act of choosing.
    Possibility

    Okay, this far I can go along with you. The will as the faculty that initiates the act of choosing. That is fine with me, although I see the difference more in the act of choosing versus expressing that choice, so when you express your choice, you have accomplished the act of choosing before. In my view, the act of choosing is accomplished at the time your consciousness realizes that you have chosen.
    Now distinguishing between the act of initiating a choice, which would then be unconsciuous, and the conscious realization of the choice may perhaps by some people be seen as splitting hairs, but I can say, that I do find it useful, especially is the one, as I see it, is unconscious whereas the other is conscious.

    But then it seems we reach the dilemma of an ‘uncaused cause’. Something decides on and initiates an action in time from a position beyond time. In my view that’s not ‘God’ - it’s human consciousness. But as an evolving capacity, not as some special ‘gift’ that sets us apart.Possibility

    Here I find it problematic when you say that the action is initiated from a position beyond time. Why is this?

    In my view, this is the WILL: before we choose, before we think, before we act, there is a point (outside time) at which the human mind is at least potentially capable of freely structuring (ie. initiating and deciding on) the causal conditions of any action.Possibility

    At this moment, I am more inclined to believe that it is not outside time, but outside consciousness.
    There may be more dimensions than the three spatial plus the temporal dimension (although I am not very acquainted with the theories here), but I do still think that whatever choice is initiated and finally made, that takes place in the human brain, and for this action of the brain, a fifth dimension does not seem to be needed.

    You may have also noticed by now that I keep re-wording this theory as I go. Many of the contributions here have been extremely helpful in helping me to articulate how it all already fits together in my mind.Possibility

    Yes, this is how philosophical enquiries go. Philosophy, to me as well, is not about knowing, but first about not knowing and wondering, and then later about gaining a better understanding. So I agree again here.
  • Possibility
    831
    Now distinguishing between the act of initiating a choice, which would then be unconsciuous, and the conscious realization of the choice may perhaps by some people be seen as splitting hairs, but I can say, that I do find it useful, especially is the one, as I see it, is unconscious whereas the other is conscious.Andreas Greifenberger

    And yet research has been brought up here that points to this very distinction, so for many people it isn’t splitting hairs at all, but has some significance. My argument is that this being deemed ‘outside consciousness’ is a result of it being untraceable in the four dimensions we believe to constitute the limits of our consciousness. Yes, in many situations we are unaware of how this happens - but I believe that’s only because we fail to recognise our capacity to be aware of the fifth dimension and how it operates in the human brain. I’ll try to keep this as clear and brief as I can...

    Let’s take a step backwards, first. In order to be aware of a fourth dimension (time), we need to first recognise that it relates to our universe. We need to recognise that the distinction between two elements of sensory data relate to something other than their relative positions in 3D space. We are aware that ‘something’ changes in our experience even when nothing appears to change. That something we have named ‘time’.

    So to confirm and better understand the existence of time, we attempt to map it in relation to 3D space. And we realise that our ability to confirm and understand 3D space in the first place is because we have always been vaguely aware of and able to interact with four dimensions - we operate in time. We also begin to realise that everything in our world is better understood in relation to four dimensions: as events operating in time.

    In mapping this 4D universe in the brain, we also realise two key things: that time exists well beyond our own 3D physical existence, and that we have a vague awareness of interaction with something not just beyond our physical existence, but also beyond time. It is this vague awareness that helps us to map the four dimensional universe - to conceive ancient history and possible futures, as well as the cosmos, the Big Bang, eternity, God, potential energy, etc. We attempt to give it substance within the four dimensional universe we are mapping, even as we are aware that it exists beyond. This is where most of us get stuck, because we’re looking for 4D empirical proof.

    If the fourth dimension is a relation of time, then what is a fifth dimension a relation of? What are we aware of that distinguishes our relation to elements of the world regardless of time, shape, distance, etc? What is it that exists for us beyond time and space that helps us to map our relation to time and space? In my view, it’s value, significance: numbers, words, family, tribe, property, hierarchy, species, etc. None of these have substance except that they enable us to map our relation to the 4D world from a point beyond time and space. This is the fifth dimension.

    Just like time, value is not something we’ve made up. We’ve always interacted with the world in relation to significance or value, and everything in our world is more completely understood as experiences of significance rather than simply events in time. We just haven’t yet learned how we interact with the significance of an experience beyond time to effect change in the world - even though we do it all the time, mostly unconsciously. Just as all animals unconsciously interact with time to recognise 3D objects from visual cues.
  • PoeticUniverse
    789
    If the fourth dimension is a relation of time, then what is a fifth dimension a relation of?Possibility

    In short, here are all the projected dimensions:

    What’s Everything, detailed? Length, width, depth, 4D—
    Your world-line; 5th, all your probable futures;
    6th, jump to any; 7th, all Big Bang starts to ends;
    8th, all universes’ lines; 9th, jump to any;
    10th, the ‘IS’ of all possible realities.

    So, we see that the 5th dimension is all of your possible futures—in a kind of a superposition, I suppose.
  • Possibility
    831
    So, we see that the 5th dimension is all of your possible futures—in a kind of a superposition, I suppose.PoeticUniverse

    Not just all possible futures, but yes - I believe it is a kind of superposition. More like all possible events across time: past, present and future understood as a ‘block universe’, arranged in relation to significance rather than time.

    1D: length only, awareness of more; a relation drawn between two points.
    2D: lines; two points in relation to a third.
    3D: space, triangulation; shapes across all distance.
    4D: time; 3D objects across space.
    5D: value, significance; events across time.
    6D: meaning, matter; experiences of significance.
  • PoeticUniverse
    789
    5D: value, significance; events across time.Possibility

    It's more like across all one's life alternatives, as across all one's possible world-lines, which are a heck of a lot if they diverge at every decision point. In some, you live longer; in others you are happier, etc. If this information were available, I don't know what kind of desired paths would go toward making not only better decisions but somehow 'free' decisions.

    I think that just about any narrative will do in life, but in the 6th dimension one could try them all in turn.
  • ZhouBoTong
    611
    The way I see it, it boils down to one assertion: I have and can make a choice.Terrapin Station

    Does this mean you have 'free will' or just 'will'?

    For instance, if I bought a watch (one watch) and chose and bought a Berghammer watch and a Rolex watch, then there would be separate histories happening in time concurrently. That is not happening, so when you set out to buy one watch, your choice is always one watch of the kind that you choose.god must be atheist

    That is one way of looking at it. But why couldn't the universe just have infinite possibilities in any given moment, but only some actually occur?

    I would point out, I am against the idea of free will. But I don't view the fact that we only know of one reality, as a reason to eliminate choice as a possibility. We can't know for sure this was the only possible reality (in fact believers in free will would automatically assume today would be different if people made different choices).

    For me the only problem with 'free will' is the 'free' part. I don't spend much time questioning the existence of will (what purpose would it serve?)

    I think the reason it is important to question 'free will' is the elimination of retributive justice. Proponents of 'free will' are more likely to see purpose in punishment for the sake of punishment, whereas others find that logic ridiculous.
  • Echarmion
    992
    I think the reason it is important to question 'free will' is the elimination of retributive justice. Proponents of 'free will' are more likely to see purpose in punishment for the sake of punishment, whereas others find that logic ridiculous.ZhouBoTong

    I would like to point out that there are also arguments against purely rehabilitative justice, both theoretical, drawing a parallel between rehabilitation and re-education, and practical, pointing out that rehabilitative justice lacks the limiting factor of personal guilt.

    For me the only problem with 'free will' is the 'free' part. I don't spend much time questioning the existence of will (what purpose would it serve?)ZhouBoTong

    How could an unfree will even exist? That notion seems contradictory to me. Perhaps @Possibility might could also share some thoughts about how it would make sense to call something that's merely part of a causal chain a "will".
  • Possibility
    831
    How could an unfree will even exist? That notion seems contradictory to me. Perhaps Possibility might could also share some thoughts about how it would make sense to call something that's merely part of a causal chain a "will".Echarmion

    To do that, I need to go back to the definition of ‘will’: the faculty by which one decides on and initiates action - which precedes the act of choosing. Anytime the action in question is decided on (determined) and initiated without bringing awareness, connection and collaboration into a conscious act of choosing, then the will (the faculty by which this action is decided on and initiated) still operates as such, but does NOT do so freely.

    In my view, the will - the faculty by which action is determined and initiated - operates at a fundamental level in all interactions of the universe, but operates FREELY only in a self-conscious and creative human mind. One that can interact on a fifth dimensional level.

    But why couldn't the universe just have infinite possibilities in any given moment, but only some actually occur?

    I would point out, I am against the idea of free will. But I don't view the fact that we only know of one reality, as a reason to eliminate choice as a possibility. We can't know for sure this was the only possible reality (in fact believers in free will would automatically assume today would be different if people made different choices).
    ZhouBoTong

    The ‘infinite possibilities in any given moment’, for me refers to the fifth dimension. We can only verify the existence of one ‘actual’ moment because to do so it must be measured/observed in relation to the rest of the 4D structure of our experience. The photon, for example, is an event whose structure is ‘fuzzy’ until it’s observed, and its wave function collapses to a particle moving through spacetime.

    For most of the universe, the infinite possibilities in each moment are not only beyond awareness, but they’re also beyond any deliberate interaction. And yet they exist, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking the question, would you? How are you vaguely aware of them? Mathematically? Emotionally? Was there a possible moment that you would have preferred to have occurred, instead of what actually occurred? Can you experience this preferred moment occurring in your mind? Does that impact on physical events in your bodily systems, even though it didn’t actually happen in time and space? Perhaps the un-actual moment wasn’t so much ‘preferred’ or more valued as calculated to be more probable. Different value/significance system, same dimensional relation - interacting ‘outside’ spacetime, in the fifth dimension.

    How does this relate to free will?

    Well, what if instead of the regret of experiencing a preferred unactual moment, you had been aware of and been capable of interacting with what you could do differently prior to the moment you did it? It sounds like a big IF, but the fact that we can experience these preferred unactual moments outside of the time they could have occurred at all demonstrates our capacity to experience and interact with any unactual moments outside of time. Even ‘prior’ to the act of choosing, at the point that the faculty of ‘will’ operates.

    The thing is, we do this anyway - we just don’t realise how. We give this capacity over to our emotions, to logic and reason, to the various value systems we use to structure our 5D universe of subjective experience. It is the way we structure our world according to hierarchies of value/significance that tend to determine what information, events, people and objects we’re aware of, connecting and collaborating with at the moment that our will determines and initiates action.

    If we can learn to be more aware of how and why certain actions are initiated, and more aware not only of the infinite possibilities in each moment at this point, but our capacity to interact there, then we can bring awareness, connection and collaboration that appear to be ‘gates’ of the will (discussed earlier in this thread) more to our conscious attention and into an act of choosing. Then we can develop the capacity to facilitate more freedom in the will and structure the causal conditions of an action ‘prior’ to the moment it occurs. Because the more we are aware, connected and collaborating, the more choices (acts of choosing, options to choose and range to choose from) we appear to have.
  • Echarmion
    992
    To do that, I need to go back to the definition of ‘will’: the faculty by which one decides on and initiates action - which precedes the act of choosing. Anytime the action in question is decided on (determined) and initiated without bringing awareness, connection and collaboration into a conscious act of choosing, then the will (the faculty by which this action is decided on and initiated) still operates as such, but does NOT do so freely.

    In my view, the will - the faculty by which action is determined and initiated - operates at a fundamental level in all interactions of the universe, but operates FREELY only in a self-conscious and creative human mind. One that can interact on a fifth dimensional level.
    Possibility

    If the will operates in all interactions of the universe, how does it differ from causality? You say that the will "decides", but deciding is a conscious action that actors make. In what sense, then, can that will be said to decide?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    Does this mean you have 'free will' or just 'will'?ZhouBoTong

    Free will. Because of the choice part.
  • Possibility
    831
    If the will operates in all interactions of the universe, how does it differ from causality?Echarmion

    It doesn’t, not really. As causality, we’re blind to our capacity to choose different actions when we look back on unbroken causal chains. As ‘free will’, we tend to be blind to how past experiences affect our actions looking forward. The way I see it, it’s only when we look at both concepts together as ‘the will’ that we get a clearer picture in either direction.

    You say that the will "decides", but deciding is a conscious action that actors make. In what sense, then, can that will be said to decide?Echarmion

    Your’re right, the language isn’t helpful. I should explain again that the original wording has come from a dictionary definition of ‘will’ that was close to where I thought we should start from in developing a more accurate understanding of this will, and of ‘free will’ as a concept.

    I agree that to decide implies a conscious, subjective choice - more related to ‘free will’ than to causality. Determine might be a more appropriate term, only because it doesn’t discount either.

    So let’s say that the WILL is the faculty by which one determines and initiates an action by structuring the causal conditions that bring it about. This occurs through the awareness, connection and collaboration of all elements involved - in a fifth dimensional relation of experiences hierarchically structured beyond time. Most elements contribute predetermined causal conditions: their past interactions have already determined whether or not they initiate or reject the awareness, connection or collaboration which determines the part they play in an event before any action takes place. A self-conscious and creative human mind, however, can (with conscious attention) develop the capacity to not only become aware of their own awareness, but also to freely initiate OR reject any awareness, connection or collaboration that determines the part they play before any action takes place.
  • Echarmion
    992
    It doesn’t, not really.Possibility

    In that case, it seems to me unnecessarily confusing to use two different terms with very different connotations for the same thing.

    As causality, we’re blind to our capacity to choose different actions when we look back on unbroken causal chains. As ‘free will’, we tend to be blind to how past experiences affect our actions looking forward. The way I see it, it’s only when we look at both concepts together as ‘the will’ that we get a clearer picture in either direction.Possibility

    This sounds a lot like how Kant approaches the antinomy of causality and freedom. But Kants conclusion is that free will and causalty are different sides of the same coin, and equally valid.

    So let’s say that the WILL is the faculty by which one determines and initiates an action by structuring the causal conditions that bring it about. This occurs through the awareness, connection and collaboration of all elements involved - in a fifth dimensional relation of experiences hierarchically structured beyond time. Most elements contribute predetermined causal conditions: their past interactions have already determined whether or not they initiate or reject the awareness, connection or collaboration which determines the part they play in an event before any action takes place. A self-conscious and creative human mind, however, can (with conscious attention) develop the capacity to not only become aware of their own awareness, but also to freely initiate OR reject any awareness, connection or collaboration that determines the part they play before any action takes place.Possibility

    This seems like a better formulation. The problem I have with this approach is that it leaves the "developing" part kinda up in the air. I am a compatibilist, so it seems odd to me to juxtapose pre-determined elements with a non-predetermined ability to develop. Because if it's not pre-determined, then what is it? In other word, what determines how the un-determined develops?
  • PoeticUniverse
    789
    In other word, what determines how the un-determined develops?Echarmion

    Undetermined will wouldn't work. It's bad enough that some 'randomness' might creep in to harm the will. Tapping in to all future consequences in a block universe to find the best decision would obviate the will's analysis, so, the will actually wills, based on what it has become up to then, the dynamic fixed will ever widening its range of choices via learning and experience.

    The whole block universe idea, although sensible from GR, has pre-determined events being traversed, this seeming to make the brain's analysis redundant.

    As for references to conscious decisions by @Possibility and other herein, what appears to be a decision made in/by consciousness has already been done, the brain analysis having about 300-500 milliseconds ago. We don't see those brain gears churning and turning, and perhaps neither does the brain, it thus having to produce a result in the qualia language that the brain can perceive in total and globally, with other brain areas then able to operate further upon the product.
  • NOS4A2
    1.8k
    Most of the problems of free will center around identity, whether we identify with the locus of thought—maybe the brain, the mind, conscious, or some homunculus—or the entirety of our being, ie. the body.

    Personally I identify with the body. That’s why I believe every action I commit, whether it is sitting down, breathing, even every single heart beat, is self-caused because it is performed by me and only me, and therefor not determined by anything else.
  • PoeticUniverse
    789
    That’s why I believe every action I commit, whether it is sitting down, breathing, even every single heart beat, is self-caused because it is performed by me and only me, and therefor not determined by anything else.NOS4A2

    Yes, but were we ever responsible for what our wills came to be? Or were our wills shaped by our genetics, environment, and experiences?
  • ZhouBoTong
    611
    Free will. Because of the choice part.Terrapin Station

    But your 'choice' is severely limited, right? "Free" means unrestrained.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    But your 'choice' is severely limited, right? "Free" means unrestrained.ZhouBoTong

    "Free" in this case means "not causally determined." If you can choose between two options you have a free--that is, not a causally determined--choice.
  • khaled
    1.2k
    "Free" in this case means "not causally determined." If you can choose between two options you have a free--that is, not a causally determined--choice.Terrapin Station

    I know this is a common one but: Does a robot that determines what it will do based on random nuclear decay have free will? (Nuclear decay doesn’t seem to be causally determined but purely random as far as we know)
  • Possibility
    831
    The problem I have with this approach is that it leaves the "developing" part kinda up in the air. I am a compatibilist, so it seems odd to me to juxtapose pre-determined elements with a non-predetermined ability to develop. Because if it's not pre-determined, then what is it? In other word, what determines how the un-determined develops?Echarmion

    For this to make sense perhaps requires a long-winded explanation that has to do with an evolution of consciousness from initial awareness, connection and collaboration. I will say that I think pre-determined elements are not so much juxtaposed as the basis upon which this capacity to structure causal conditions can be developed.

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think humans are simply the organism that statistically said ‘yes’ more often to awareness, connection and collaboration throughout evolution. We have not evolved to maximise survival, but to maximise the capacity to be aware, to connect and collaborate with the more pre-determined elements of the universe that have long since closed off this capacity (by saying ‘no’ to further awareness, connection and collaboration). We’re not better in this regard - it’s just that statistically a small proportion of the universe was always going to retain this capacity on a broad scale. When you think about it, it’s actually an enormous responsibility: we possess apparently what remains of the creative capacity in the universe.

    So I don’t think it’s a non-predetermined ability to develop. It’s still predetermined as an ability to interact with the undetermined. It is whether or not we initiate awareness, connection and collaboration with the infinite possibilities from the interaction of undetermined and predetermined events that can determine the causal conditions of a not-yet-determined event. Does that make sense? As humans we are potentially undetermined events - we can continue along predetermined trajectories, but we also retain the capacity to initiate awareness, connection and collaboration with other undetermined events (5D experiences beyond time) including ourselves, that enable us to design structures of causal conditions to bring about our preferred possibility as an actual 4D event. We can predict possibilities and then manipulate the environment in such a way as to be confident that the action we prefer WILL happen, even while it is still technically undetermined, uninitiated.
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