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Free Will Is An Illusion

Free Will Is An Illusion
August 01, 2012, 04:05:47 AM
Free Will Is An Illusion by Victor Stenger. Follow the link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/free-will-is-an-illusion_b_1562533.html

Quote from the article:

"Philosophers identify several different positions on the question of free will. Incompatibilists hold that free will is incompatible with determinism, the idea that our behavior is fully determined by antecedent causes such as fate, acts of God, or laws of nature. These split into two camps. Libertarians hold that we have free will since humans transcend cause and effect in ways that make us ultimately responsible. Determinists hold that we don't have free will because either determinism is true or indeterminism (randomness) doesn't give us control or responsibility. Both these groups are opposed by compatibilists, who argue that free will is compatible with determinism, or indeterminism for that matter."

Share me your input...Salutations...

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 01, 2012, 10:32:59 AM
Physicalism is stupid.  I can't be bothered to go into it in any depth again on this site; suffice it to say, the experiments to which this person refers do not in any way prove what he suggests they prove, and the notion of "free will" is still very much on the cards.

That said, it doesn't really exist, of course (at least, not any more than the vessel which is apparently "free").

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 01, 2012, 11:32:25 AM
It's like saying humanity is evil or humanity is good: There is no black and white answer.


Phoenix

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 01, 2012, 01:29:50 PM
I prefer to look at it in the sense that the concept of free will is bogus, so as a practical thing it neither exists nor doesn't exist because the concept is self-contradictory in the first place. For example, when we speak of lack of free will, do we mean that someone *else* is controlling our every thought and action? I prefer to use the term 'liberation'.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 01, 2012, 09:38:41 PM
I don't believe there is anything such as "free will" as I've seen commonly expressed. There may be a kernel of will deep inside somewhere; we choose our direction more than anything else. The rest is just realizing how little will we have.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 02, 2012, 09:54:42 AM
I'll return once more to say this: there is, though, certainly at least one Free Will - a singular entity, whose consciousness continues to shape and maintain the world.

In essence, it has no personality - it is pure creation, the uncaused first cause, "nothing more" than the concept-machine.  Still, it has a Will to Create, and that is the same Will which permeates all things, pushing the borders of space outwards, setting and maintaining the orbits of the planets, informing humans as to their activities, and so on.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 09, 2012, 04:35:22 AM
I'll return once more to say this: there is, though, certainly at least one Free Will - a singular entity, whose consciousness continues to shape and maintain the world.

In essence, it has no personality - it is pure creation, the uncaused first cause, "nothing more" than the concept-machine.  Still, it has a Will to Create, and that is the same Will which permeates all things, pushing the borders of space outwards, setting and maintaining the orbits of the planets, informing humans as to their activities, and so on.

It sounds very much akin to that of some of Schopenhauer, like in the World as Will and Representation, I would say. I concur...

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 10, 2012, 02:33:04 AM
Does it matter?
It is. Life is. I am. You are.
All of it is an unlikely adventure, and all of it is real.
The only unreal thing is peoples' delusions of grandeur amid actual grandeur.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 10, 2012, 03:32:15 AM
Does it matter?
It is. Life is. I am. You are.
All of it is an unlikely adventure, and all of it is real.
The only unreal thing is peoples' delusions of grandeur amid actual grandeur.

Does it matter? No, but then it doesn't matter that some people think it matters, does it.

Your 'way of the Tao' is fine, and I take much from this general Eastern standpoint that is in Buddhism as well. 'Life just is'. But you can't it both ways, you can't hold that it all is at it should be, but that people who want to investigate *why* it all is should forget about it. For in doing so, they are part of the world that is and is as it should be. The unlikely adventure!

For that matter you can't use this theory as the basis for any instruction, for the same reason. It's viciously circular. (and, excuse the forwardness of my anticipation, but please don't tell me that my logic is 'profane intellectualism'. It's the same logic that you employ, that everyone who wants to have a conversation in grammatically structured language must employ).

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 10, 2012, 03:45:14 AM
I'll return once more to say this: there is, though, certainly at least one Free Will - a singular entity, whose consciousness continues to shape and maintain the world.

In essence, it has no personality - it is pure creation, the uncaused first cause, "nothing more" than the concept-machine.  Still, it has a Will to Create, and that is the same Will which permeates all things, pushing the borders of space outwards, setting and maintaining the orbits of the planets, informing humans as to their activities, and so on.

Do you think that an uncasued first cause should be understood as a product of will? If so, why?

It's not an analytic statement. I.e. "an uncaused first cause is a product of will" is not true by virtue of logic or conceptual analysis (i don't think?). So then it must be a statement that is true in virtue of experience. But this is problematic because for something to be true in virtue of experience we must have a class of related observed instances to infer from. But we have no other instances of uncaused first causes, so we have no basis upon which to infer that an uncaused first cause must be a product of will.

But we know that all *caused* causes are not a product of will (or at least we are pretty sure of this from every-day experiences such as hitting billiard balls, throwing things, and all the rest). Maybe we can logically derive the statement 'if something is an uncaused cause, it is a product of will' from the statement 'if something is a caused cause, it is not a product of will'?

We can put 'if something is a caused cause, it is not a product of will' into logical form:

(1) If a then -b (a = something being a caused cause, b = something being a product of will)

So if something is an uncaused cause it will be -a. But from a false antecedent you don't get a false consequent. I.e. it is a formal fallacy to say (if a then b, not a therefore not b). So if we have -a, we don't get --b (ie that it isn't not caused by will - meaning it is caused by will)

Non-wanker sumamry:

1. we cannot infer from experience that an uncaused first cause will be a product of will (for we have no other instances of uncaused first causes to infer from)
2. we can infer from experience than a *caused* forst cause is not the product of will, but from this we cannot derive that an uncaused first cause will be a product of will (this would be to 'deny the antecdent': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denying_the_antecedent)

This just leaves the following possibility:

The statment "an uncaused first cause will be a product of will" is analytic, or true in virtue of the terms used. If this is not true, then an uncaused first cause (if it exists at all! - another debate) could be blind.

I had fun writing this post

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 11, 2012, 12:07:42 PM
It has been experienced, has been written about by multiple cultures, and is still experienced by people today.

Want to experience it yourself?  Take a gram of acid.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 12, 2012, 08:25:14 AM
It has been experienced, has been written about by multiple cultures, and is still experienced by people today.

Want to experience it yourself?  Take a gram of acid.

Very funny!

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 13, 2012, 10:12:18 AM
I aim to please ; )

Right, I'm off again.  See you guys the next time something interesting pops up here.

Re: Free Will Is An Illusion
August 14, 2012, 12:14:09 AM
A main concern here is whether a belief in the causal structure of decision making processes permits or denies personal responsibility, which is critical for our [most, all?] societies to function. The problems only occur when we nitpick away our intuitions.

We assume that person A commits an act in discord with the laws and should be responsible. If we delve deeply into the matter and decide that indeed it was his mental processes responsible, and those were environmentally derived, thus it is the actor who is carried along by impulse and a victim instead of the offender.

If responsibility requires personhood, we understand that in some way person A has this quality. This quality as well is subject to the same causal analysis that we used above. Thus responsibility can be preserved by assuming personhood and its nested quality of responsibility to exist on the same level of abstraction, while still recognizing that there is controversy in different areas.

If we can sidestep this eddy, we can debate the deeper issues: What is the nature of choice, and Should law either balance or favor demonstrative punishment or behavior correction?




Now on another note. I have read Schopenhauer's Fourfold Root and his Paralipomena. A younger self found much harmony is his writings, but I have grown away more recently. I, however, have not read his World as Illusion and Will. I tend to agree with the first assumption in many ways, but it was the second that turned me off. Why make metaphysical assumptions like that?

Should I pick it up and give it a whirl? I fully expect it to be a grinding mental slog like the Fourfold Root, but with a disappointing payout.