• A Ree Zen
    8
    This is a great question because I think most people early in their life say: "Of course I have free will: I make choices! Why is this even a question?" But as we think about it longer, it becomes more clear that we decide less. But for me it doesn't have to be an all or nothing, as I believe that compatibilism is possible.

    Can free will and determinism be mutually compatible and be logically consistent? In this discussion, Free Will can be as loosely defined as: The ability to imagine or do many different things, and uniquely being able to want or reject any variety of them of your own volition. In the compatibilism sense, you can want whatever you want, but you may not get everything you want.

    If compatibilism is worthy of debate, how much of a person's action (which includes purely mental thoughts as well as physical action) is subject to personal free will, and how much is subject to determinism. At this point, I'm going to score free will at less than 1% and the rest are the cogs of a machine turning right on time.

    What might this <1% of free will look like? Let's look at this theoretical situation: you're faced with deciding between two choices. All of the forces that would make you want either choice are absolutely equal. Would you be unable to choose? If you were able to choose, would that be the sliver of free will or would that just be randomness? Is randomness even possible?

    If you have a different opinion on this subject, that was not your choice. Your opinion on this subject is based on the evidence that you've had access to and the way your mind organizes that evidence. For some people, choosing to post here could be a bona fide choice! What's your choice, or should I say, what are you compelled to do?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    631
    What might this <1% of free will look like? Let's look at this theoretical situation: you're faced with deciding between two choices. All of the forces that would make you want either choice are absolutely equal. Would you be unable to choose? If you were able to choose, would that be the sliver of free will or would that just be randomness? Is randomness even possible?A Ree Zen

    No it would be "(another part of)will" deciding to chose, because you don't like indecision for instance.

    We decide, "we" are "our will"... but we do not decide what our will is.

    If it's will it's not free, if it's free it's not will. The concept doesn't make sense.
  • A Ree Zen
    8
    I agree that we are our will. However i can't agree that free will by definition is not possible. When Descartes postulated "I think, therefore I am," he proved that he himself must exist, but the existence of everything else can be doubted. If in fact you are the only thing that exists, then you must have free will, because nothing else is responsible for your behavior and thoughts other than yourself (because nothing else exists).

    This leads to an interesting philosophical argument to the bigger issue of whether the reliable evidence we can consider indicates whether we should believe in free will or not. If our choices regarding what to attribute our behavior and thoughts are either they are controlled by you or something else, and only you are certain to exist, then strict logic would tell us that the thing which is certain to exist should take precedence over things which may not exist. In this sense, we would be compelled to beleive in free will, which is of course a paradox in and of itself.
  • batsushi7
    42
    I think only omnipotent being, like God can only achieve conception of "free will", omnipotence, is only truly free will, that can do literally anything, but not saying anything if one exist or not. Human do have limited mind, and perhaps our mind is constructed off brain-cells, and their functions.

    But for human beings, free will is truly impossible to achieve. We do not have the whole control of our actions, mainly because our acts are related to our brain capacity, and how the brain function. If you got brain damage, your mind will change. But in general any brain dis-functions.

    I don't have free will, cant fix my back-pain, or addictions with it anyways.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    631


    I don't think anybody really believes that they are the only thing that exists, even if logic would show that is the only thing we can be certain of.

    But even assuming for a moment that you are the only thing that exist, how would that you be free, in the sense that you can decide who you are? What is it that is deciding who you are, if there is no pre-existing you that has already has some content, that is already defined to some extend?
  • Gus Lamarch
    348
    I don't think anybody really believes that they are the only thing that exists, even if logic would show that is the only thing we can be certain of.ChatteringMonkey

    Going through this discussion, this statement made me uneasy. You may not be the only thing that exists, however, the entire outer Universe is egocentrically attached to your perception of existence.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    631


    Right now I'm watching at my screen and there doesn't seem to be an entire universe attached to it... so
    I'm not sure what to make of that statement. Maybe if you explain it, it might make some sense, or maybe not, I don't know.
  • Gus Lamarch
    348
    Right now I'm watching at my screen and there doesn't seem to be an entire universe attached to it... so
    I'm not sure what to make of that statement. Maybe if you explain it, it might make some sense, or maybe not, I don't know.
    ChatteringMonkey

    The world is egocentric, that is, it revolves around your perception of existence. As an individual, I have no other possibility of perceiving the world besides my own, as you can only perceive the world through your Being.

    I'm watching at my screenChatteringMonkey

    This use of "I" that makes my proposition correct.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    631
    The world is egocentric, that is, it revolves around your perception of existence. As an individual, I have no other possibility of perceiving the world besides my own, as you can only perceive the world through your Being.Gus Lamarch

    Yes, I think I could agree with that. I don't think anything I said is at odds with that. Is there some point I'm missing?
  • Gus Lamarch
    348
    Yes, I think I could agree with that. I don't think anything I said is at odds with that. Is there some point I'm missing?ChatteringMonkey

    I just wanted to comment because of the whole discussion, that statement of yours was the one that interested me the most.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    631
    Ok fair enough, we need not always be disagreeing.
  • Gus Lamarch
    348
    we need not always be disagreeing.ChatteringMonkey

    Sure.
  • Kenosha Kid
    747
    No it would be "(another part of)will" deciding to chose, because you don't like indecision for instance.ChatteringMonkey

    Probably rarely will, at least directly. One might will to flip a coin in the case of two equally good or neutral options, but the actual choice at hand is left to chance. Or, in the case of two equally bad options, one might lose one's temper and lash out, altering the choice through unintended violence against one's environment: an entirely unwilled action.
  • Eremit
    18
    omnipotence, is only truly free will, that can do literally anythingbatsushi7

    Sorry, but that is just not right. Free will is about being able to choose willingly from options that are possible to the subject of free will. It's about making a choice. So the question here is: did I chose to post this (rather than not) without any impetus different from my will?

    No, I did not. There is a lot of things that pushed me to do this. But in the end, it was still I who accepted that push by not going against it.
  • A Ree Zen
    8
    That is an interesting way of looking at it. Could life be varying degrees of having free will to choose, but only amongst predetermined options? For example, I can choose what food I want to eat, but I must first consider what is available in my area, what will give me nutrients and what will not make me sick. Then there is a host of other things that will effect my "choice," like the foods I've been introduced to and that I like through my cultural background, what foods I have been consuming recently, and how often I have been eating. Finally somewhere in there, once in a while, there may be a free will choice, amongst predetermined options.
  • Eremit
    18
    The more we are aware of our surroundings and ourselves, the things that influence us, the stronger our will gets. If I know what is making me do this and why, I will be able to fight it. We are determined until we become conscious.
  • Outlander
    573


    Circumstance of an overpopulated world and the society it spawned has no reflection of an absolute definition of free will. Yes, there are billions of people here and the law and society is adjusted to safely accommodate for it. Therefore, I circumstantially, have less freedom in a world or society with .. billions and billions of people as opposed to if it were just me or a few hundred or shoot even a few million.

    It'd be like saying if I'm chained to a tree in a flatland prairie there's no such thing as a mountain.
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