• Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Premise P1: Everything that is physical is determined, as per the laws of physics.

    Premise P2: Free Will enables some of our acts to be freely chosen, and therefore not fully determined.
    • An act is called freely chosen when it is voluntary, intended, willed, as opposed to being accidental, fully caused by external forces outside our control.
    • Note: for this discussion, we are assuming this premise to be true. Hey, it’s a simple argument.

    Conclusion C: The part of us that possesses free will is not physical.
    • This non-physical part is what is typically referred to as the Soul.

    What do you think?
  • Greylorn Ell
    45
    Conclusion C: The part of us that possesses free will is not physical.
    • This non-physical part is what is typically referred to as the Soul.

    What do you think?
    Samuel Lacrampe

    I think that you need a definition of "soul."
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Premise P1: Everything that is physical is determined, as per the laws of physics.Samuel Lacrampe

    Well, that's wrong, for starters.
  • A Seagull
    621
    What do you think?Samuel Lacrampe

    P1 is false
    P2 is meaningless
    C is nonsense.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    freely chosen, and therefore not fully determined.Samuel Lacrampe

    False premise. Freely chosen does not entail undetermined. Free choice is a deterministic process; random (undetermined) choice is unfree.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    • An act is called freely chosen when it is voluntary, intended, willed, as opposed to being accidental, fully caused by external forces outside our control.Samuel Lacrampe

    This is correct, but being voluntary, intended, willed, is a deterministic matter (of whether your judgement of the merits of alternative courses of action determines your actions), and being accidental is more or less the same as being random, undetermined.
  • Chester
    377
    One thing that separates humanity from other beings is that we have imagination. Having imagination means that we are able to have thoughts that are not caused ( directly at least) by reality...we can act on those thoughts. Those actions are not caused by reality. That shows that not all our actions are necessarily caused in the sense that materialists believe.

    The soul is what attempts to guide our imagination, it's the part of us that seeks particular outcomes.Just my opinion .
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    Everything that is physical is determined, as per the laws of physics.Samuel Lacrampe

    Uncertainty principle, also called Heisenberg uncertainty principle or indeterminacy principle, statement, articulated (1927) by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, that the position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory.
    https://www.britannica.com › science
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.
    In a way, we can end at the conclusion that we have a non-physical part, and that's already a decent find. But otherwise, by soul I mean the same as what religious groups mean when they say the soul outlasts the body. More technically defined, it is that which gives a human being a personal identity, a particular person rather than merely a member of a species. E.g. Due to my body, I am a human being, but due to my soul and its power of free will, I am more specifically Samuel.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.
    Can you elaborate on why P1 is false? Are you saying that some physical things do not obey some laws of physics, or in other words that equal causes may give unequal effects?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.

    This is correct, but being voluntary, intended, willed, is a deterministic matter (of whether your judgement of the merits of alternative courses of action determines your actions)Pfhorrest
    I think I get what you are saying, namely that although our acts are freely chosen, those choices are based on what we judge to have the most beneficial outcome, and thus this judgement determines our choices.

    I accept that, but I believe these judgements are based on our values we choose, and this choice is indeterministic (though I don't mean by that that ethics is subjective). E.g. most rational persons understand that cheating on their spouse is morally wrong, but some are tempted to do it because it gives pleasure. Free will kicks in when they choose between moral value and pleasure. At that point, indeed, the act is determined by that judgement of the best outcome, based on the values they chose.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.
    Does this uncertainty principle entail that equal causes may give unequal effects, or does it merely say that we cannot predict with precision what these effects may be? If the latter, then I don't think this invalidates the argument in the OP.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.
    I mostly agree with that you said. I would just replace the term "imagination" with "free will". I think some animals have imagination, e.g., dogs can have dreams, but not free choices.
  • A Seagull
    621
    ↪Banno ↪A Seagull Hello.
    Can you elaborate on why P1 is false? Are you saying that some physical things do not obey some laws of physics, or in other words that equal causes may give unequal effects?
    Samuel Lacrampe



    It is a fallacy to think that things 'obey the laws of physics'. The laws of physics are merely a description of how matter behaves.. and a rather approximate one at that.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Can you elaborate on why P1 is false?Samuel Lacrampe

    ...and it's not just virtual particles. It's double slit experiments - nothing causes the photon to go left instead of right. It's atomic decay - nothing causes this uranium atom to decay now, but not that one. The list goes on.

    And again, what is salient is that intelligent, practical folk accept these uncaused events as part of the mechanism that allows all our electronic devices to function.
    Banno

    And that's without talking about butterflies.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    Does this uncertainty principle entail that equal causes may give unequal effects, or does it merely say that we cannot predict with precision what these effects may be? If the latter, then I don't think this invalidates the argument in the OP.Samuel Lacrampe

    No, Heisenberg's 'uncertainty principle' is much more radical than that. It's not that we can't know both the position and momentum of the object that is being observed, it's that these cannot both be known (or determined) with certainty at all.

    It undercuts the first premise in your argument, i.e. that everything physical is determined by the 'laws of physics'. This is why Einstein used to grouch that he can't believe God plays dice.

    In the mid-twentieth century, there was quite a bit of philosophical literature devoted to the philosophical implications of the uncertainty principle, much of which is pretty murky. But it does undermine the principle of LaPlace's daemon:

    We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.

    That is a canonical statement of physical determinism, but it is undermined by uncertainty even for such an 'intellect'.

    There's a primer on the subject here and also here.

    Conclusion C: The part of us that possesses free will is not physical.
    • This non-physical part is what is typically referred to as the Soul.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    So, this is a simplistic way of thinking about it. There is no non-physical 'part' because 'parts' generally characterise physical things; in other words, physical things are composed of parts, and it is not as if 'the soul' is one part amongst others.

    The way I prefer to think of the soul is that it represents the totality of the being - all of the talents, inclinations, dispositions, past, and future of that being. And that is out of scope for the physical sciences for reasons which ought to be obvious with a little reflection.

    There's also an interesting fact that has been validated by the natural sciences, which is that science can't account for the 'subjective unity of individual perception'. There is no neurobiological account of whatever system it is that generates the unified whole that experience comprises (see this reference for details.) This problem is (as the author of the linked article states) related to the hard problem of consciousness.
  • InPitzotl
    314
    An act is called freely chosen when it is voluntary, intended, willed, as opposed to being accidental, fully caused by external forces outside our control.Samuel Lacrampe
    I think this is a confusion about the dilemma of free will. Volition is just an action with a goal. An intention is simply a goal that a voluntary action is directed towards. "Ordinary" will is simply about initiating a voluntary action.

    Free will is supposed to involve choice, which is none of the above things. I voluntarily reach towards the chocolate ice cream after I deliberate about whether to get chocolate or vanilla.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    E.g. most rational persons understand that cheating on their spouse is morally wrong, but are tempted to do it because it gives pleasure. Free will kicks in when they choose between moral value and pleasure. At that point, indeed, the act is determined by that judgement of the best outcome, based on the values they chose.Samuel Lacrampe

    I would say that if someone did something that they themselves though was the wrong thing to do, then they did not do it freely, but rather had a lapse of will and did something they meant not to do. And that deciding that something is the right course of action is identical to deciding that it is moral. Someone who cheats on their spouse thus either honestly thought that the pleasure it brought them was more important than the other consequences of it, and acted according to that judgement, in what they felt was a justified, and therefore moral, way; or else they thought that they should act out of more consideration for those other consequences than for their own pleasure, and yet did not act that way, doing something they thought was wrong ought of weakness of will.

    In either case, no indeterminism need be involved, and if it were involved at most it would be on disrupting the causal chain between intention and action, creating that very weakness of will.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889

    To say that all physical things "obey the laws of physics" is merely an expression. It refers to the Uniformity of Nature, which is the principle that the course of nature continues uniformly the same. For a given cause A, we always expect to see effect B.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    nothing causes [...]Banno
    I would accept the claim "we don't know what causes [...]", but "nothing causes [...]" is a logical fallacy.
    It goes against the Principle of Sufficient Reason; which is one of the four Laws of Thoughts.

    Also, curious about the butterflies...
  • Banno
    9.3k
    The important bit...
    And again, what is salient is that intelligent, practical folk accept these uncaused events as part of the mechanism that allows all our electronic devices to function.Banno
    ...four...Samuel Lacrampe

    There's your problem.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    it's that these cannot both be known (or determined) with certainty at all.Wayfarer
    That's okay. What I meant by "determined" is not that we can know it with certainty, but that the cause-effect is consistent or uniform, even if we don't know it. So identical causes yield identical effects.

    There is no non-physical 'part' because 'parts' generally characterise physical things; in other words, physical things are composed of parts, and it is not as if 'the soul' is one part amongst others.Wayfarer
    Indeed, "parts" don't apply to non-physical things. But if we define a human being as the whole system of body and soul, then the soul is a part of that system.

    science can't account for the 'subjective unity of individual perception'.Wayfarer
    Thomas Aquinas was already talking about this back then (but I cannot find the source of this anymore).
  • A Seagull
    621
    To say that all physical things "obey the laws of physics" is merely an expression. It refers to the Uniformity of Nature, which is the principle that the course of nature continues uniformly the same. For a given cause A, we always expect to see effect B.Samuel Lacrampe

    But you have used that claim to further claim that the world is determined. If the 'laws of physics' are merely a description, which they are, then any claim of determinism is unjustified.

    As for the uniformity of nature, as being some sort of fundamental principle, it is naïve. Nature is not uniform, there is no claim for that in physics, and any claim to uniformity is at best, very very approximate and even then only in some circumstances.
  • Daniel
    210
    dogs can have dreams, but not free choices.Samuel Lacrampe

    We are also animals.
  • InPitzotl
    314
    I would accept the claim "we don't know what causes [...]", but "nothing causes [...]" is a logical fallacy.
    It goes against the Principle of Sufficient Reason
    Samuel Lacrampe
    Free Will enables some of our acts to be freely chosen, and therefore not fully determined.Samuel Lacrampe
    Alright, I'll ask it. Does Free Will violate the Principle of Sufficient Reason?
  • Chester
    377
    Free will is the idea that we can control our wants. We can do this through educating ourselves at to what we should want and then applying self control to achieve those new wants. So free will requires the acquisition of knowledge followed by the will to act in the right way regarding that knowledge. Dogs can show free will when they are trained not to take a treat until its owner says so...free will is really self control applied to knowledge, it's as simple as that.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    The important bit...
    And again, what is salient is that intelligent, practical folk accept these uncaused events as part of the mechanism that allows all our electronic devices to function.
    — Banno
    Banno
    Meh. People have developed technology in the past before fully understanding the theory behind it; like boats before fully understanding buoyancy. Also I'm wondering if order can result out of chaos, which sounds like what something-out-of-nothing would be.


    ...four...
    — Samuel Lacrampe

    There's your problem.
    Banno
    Oh ok. I didn't know this was disputed as a Law of Thought. The Principle of Sufficient Reason is self-evidently true, because any attempt to give a sufficient reason for or against it would presuppose it. This is why it fits as part of the basic laws of thoughts or logic.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    But you have used that claim to further claim that the world is determined. If the 'laws of physics' are merely a description, which they are, then any claim of determinism is unjustified.A Seagull
    I don't understand this statement. If nature is uniform, consistent in its effects resulting from a given cause, then it is indeed determined; where the opposite of "determine" is "randomness", when free will is not involved.

    Nature is not uniform, there is no claim for that in physics, and any claim to uniformity is at best, very very approximate and even then only in some circumstances.A Seagull
    So is the alternative randomness? This seems to fail the Principle of Sufficient Reason. In addition, how do you explain technology without the Uniformity of Nature? E.g. planes consistently fly.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Hello.
    We are also animals.Daniel
    Sure. But what's your point with regards to this discussion?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Free will is supposed to involve choice, which is none of the above things. I voluntarily reach towards the chocolate ice cream after I deliberate about whether to get chocolate or vanilla.InPitzotl
    Hmmm... I don't think a choice in outcome is necessary for free will. You can tie me up so as to remove my choice in outcome of moving vs not moving, but this would not take away my free will, because I can still choose to intend to move.

    Does Free Will violate the Principle of Sufficient Reason?InPitzotl
    I don't believe so.
    E.g. What caused this person to act in such a way, if it did not follow the cause-to-effect we observe in other physical things? Answer: His free will.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889

    I think what you refer to is "will power" or "self-control", which is indeed related to free will but different still. You say we obtain free will through educating ourselves; but then what causes us to educate ourselves if not free will? Something cannot cause itself into existence.

    I think dogs only have instinct; and can walk away from a treat once we have modified their instinct through training.
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