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  1. #11
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Kant addressed this question from all angles without the evidence and concluded that while we're likely to be automatons it was a categorical imperative to believe in free will and act as though self-determinism existed. Perhaps in order to make it a reality one day. I know a lot of enlightenment philosophy worked out like that.

    Anyway, I do believe in soft determinism, or partial determinist, all those things are significant and influence things but they are not completely deterministic. To use a social constructionist analogy if you build a house our of concrete it will still be concrete, and a house presumably, but you can decide what shape to make it, how many rooms etc.

    I would also say that some people are more subjects of their brain chemistry, environment, conditioning than others, either those things have had such an impact as to void or seriously impinge upon their individual sovereignty, like sociopaths or psychopaths or someone with a brain injury, or they simply havent ever developed many of their critical or analytical faculties at all.

    To be honest the hard determinism, humans are automatons or pin balls, argument is not that different from the extremes of constructionism which suppose that no self or individual identity exists outside or besides what are constructed as stories by others or between others about an individual. If you take anything too far it seems to become absurd.
    It is possible to demonstrate "partial determinism" through social experiment and sociology. I don't know that hard determinism could be proven definitively, and free-will cannot be proven. In either case free-will seems to be a useful illusion at worst - when assumed in moderation. The idea itself might contribute to outcomes even if we are just the result of the impressions we have encountered. Unbridled free-will is a dangerous concept and can nullify compassion because by instilling people with imagined power they do not posses, it is possible to actually make them more powerless. Responsibility without the actual power act is destructive and even cruel.

    From a personal point of view I don't know if free-will exists, but for some reason it does not seem to effect my desire to make constructive choices. I would act and "choose" the same whether it could be proven there is free-will or proven there is none (or most clearly it is constrained). Typically, though, I can trace back a source for my constructive or destructive impulses and observe how they interact to produce outcomes. It can certainly "feel" like there is free choice, but the experience of that feeling is stronger the less data one can keep track of for the cause and effect of personal behavior.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  2. #12
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Free will is a weird concept. I kinda think the term itself should be judged by its conversational usefulness -- sometimes it makes sense to say it doesn't exist (when using some sort of deterministic framework), but other times you have to use it (like when talking about responsibility). Seems pretty all or nothing, though. I can't think of a particularly useful narrative in which you only have free will based on certain circumstances.

    The problem with saying fear "takes away" free will is that you can always give an explanation of a behavior based on emotions/situations/dispositions.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I know that sociologists or others will suggest its just a social construct/idea that's been useful enough to society for it to survive but I reckon that the immediate data of consciousness and choices derivative of this are real, so I think it objectively exists, the meaning and thinking and formulating of theories comes afterward.

    Fear probably isnt the only constraining factor, it's probably one of the greatest though.

  4. #14
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    I've never heard Free-Will attacked from a non-materialistic perspective before.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    It is possible to demonstrate "partial determinism" through social experiment and sociology. I don't know that hard determinism could be proven definitively, and free-will cannot be proven. In either case free-will seems to be a useful illusion at worst - when assumed in moderation. The idea itself might contribute to outcomes even if we are just the result of the impressions we have encountered. Unbridled free-will is a dangerous concept and can nullify compassion because by instilling people with imagined power they do not posses, it is possible to actually make them more powerless. Responsibility without the actual power act is destructive and even cruel.

    From a personal point of view I don't know if free-will exists, but for some reason it does not seem to effect my desire to make constructive choices. I would act and "choose" the same whether it could be proven there is free-will or proven there is none (or most clearly it is constrained). Typically, though, I can trace back a source for my constructive or destructive impulses and observe how they interact to produce outcomes. It can certainly "feel" like there is free choice, but the experience of that feeling is stronger the less data one can keep track of for the cause and effect of personal behavior.
    I think that the world couldnt handle the concrete evidence of even partical determinism, on the right wing people are in love with the idea that anyone can get rich if they work hard, obey their superiors and set up a small business selling lemonade, on the left wing people are in love with the idea that everyone is clever, interested and voluntaristic enough to really make popular soveriegnty work if the people or institutions they alledge are obstructing things would only disappear. The extent to which both ideas are useful illusions of the same thing, ie free will as an objective reality over riding any deterministic factor, I think is underestimated a lot of the time.

    Especially in debates online with anyone whose still dependent on their parents income.

  6. #16
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Free will exists.
    I know too many people who have turned their lives around to think that determinism is anything but a convenient escape clause by people unwilling to admit to their own freedom, for whatever reason. Usually the same people who believe in determinism like to say things like it's all been done and there are no new ideas. Both of which are complete nonsense.

  7. #17
    Member dadapolka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    Free will exists.
    I know too many people who have turned their lives around to think that determinism is anything but a convenient escape clause by people unwilling to admit to their own freedom, for whatever reason. Usually the same people who believe in determinism like to say things like it's all been done and there are no new ideas. Both of which are complete nonsense.
    When I first came across determinism, I didn't like it. I was deeply unsettled by it. I would prefer to have my own freedom, but i'm not going to choose to believe in something because it seems like the nicest option. If it was universally accepted, it would mean that criminals are not responsible for their actions and the concept of punishment would have to be rethought. This would be difficult, obviously.

    The conception of new ideas is totally compatible with determinism. The brain is supposed to have more neural connections than atoms in the universe (apparently - whatever the number is it's bound to be a lot!). If this is the case, then the effects that our senses, psychology and environment have on us are so varied and vast that originality and individuality is not really in question.

    Also - if you really think about it- how is it possible to have a conscious thought completely separate and removed from your own existence? Even your vocabulary and language alters the way you perceive the world and your thought processes.

    I'm not saying that free will does not exist - it is just perhaps less likely as it is definitely more intangible than determinism. Anything based on empiricism and the scientific theory such as determinism takes some leap of faith though I suppose.

  8. #18
    morose bourgeoisie
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    [QUOTE=dadapolka;1784398]When I first came across determinism, I didn't like it. I was deeply unsettled by it. I would prefer to have my own freedom, but i'm not going to choose to believe in something because it seems like the nicest option. If it was universally accepted, it would mean that criminals are not responsible for their actions and the concept of punishment would have to be rethought. This would be difficult, obviously.

    The conception of new ideas is totally compatible with determinism. The brain is supposed to have more neural connections than atoms in the universe (apparently - whatever the number is it's bound to be a lot!). If this is the case, then the effects that our senses, psychology and environment have on us are so varied and vast that originality and individuality is not really in question.
    It’s not possible for the brain to have more connections than atoms in the universe, or even more than in the human body.
    Also - if you really think about it- how is it possible to have a conscious thought completely separate and removed from your own existence? Even your vocabulary and language alters the way you perceive the world and your thought processes.
    Of course it’s not possible to have a thought that is not connected to existence. If the definition of free will requires that this separation exist, then the concept of determinism as its antithesis makes no sense because it mandates surreality.
    I'm not saying that free will does not exist - it is just perhaps less likely as it is definitely more intangible than determinism. Anything based on empiricism and the scientific theory such as determinism takes some leap of faith though I suppose.[Relativity is highly intangible and complex, yet it has been proven to be accurate. Intangibility does not obviate truth./QUOTE]

  9. #19
    Member dadapolka's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=nebbykoo;1784404]
    Quote Originally Posted by dadapolka View Post
    When I first came across determinism, I didn't like it. I was deeply unsettled by it. I would prefer to have my own freedom, but i'm not going to choose to believe in something because it seems like the nicest option. If it was universally accepted, it would mean that criminals are not responsible for their actions and the concept of punishment would have to be rethought. This would be difficult, obviously.

    The conception of new ideas is totally compatible with determinism. The brain is supposed to have more neural connections than atoms in the universe (apparently - whatever the number is it's bound to be a lot!). If this is the case, then the effects that our senses, psychology and environment have on us are so varied and vast that originality and individuality is not really in question.
    It’s not possible for the brain to have more connections than atoms in the universe, or even more than in the human body.
    Also - if you really think about it- how is it possible to have a conscious thought completely separate and removed from your own existence? Even your vocabulary and language alters the way you perceive the world and your thought processes.
    Of course it’s not possible to have a thought that is not connected to existence. If the definition of free will requires that this separation exist, then the concept of determinism as its antithesis makes no sense because it mandates surreality.
    I'm not saying that free will does not exist - it is just perhaps less likely as it is definitely more intangible than determinism. Anything based on empiricism and the scientific theory such as determinism takes some leap of faith though I suppose.[Relativity is highly intangible and complex, yet it has been proven to be accurate. Intangibility does not obviate truth./QUOTE]
    -I did say 'apparently'. I was only suggesting that there would be many ways in which personality and originality could manifest itself within a determinist universe, as everyone is going to be influenced differently.

    -Well, yes it does - if free will is the ability to make a choice without any other influence. There is no way that you can make a 'decision' that is without some form of outside or biological influence. Any decision you make is entirely outside of your control, as it is always going to be influenced by things outside of your control.
    Also - just throwing this out there, could classical conditioning exist alongside free-will? The fact that it exists at all suggests we are highly influenced by things we are not immediately aware of - stimulus response is a subconscious process for example.
    What is your definition of free-will, out of interest?

    -You're totally right about the relativity and intangibility thing. Though I was kind of thinking of Occam's Razor - where the explanation that is most simple is more likely (but not necessarily) true. I don't really know enough about it though.

  10. #20
    morose bourgeoisie
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    From wolframAlpha:

    Number of neurons in human brain:
    100 billion
    Assuming all are interconnected to all others:
    10 thousand billion billion(10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)
    (of course not every neuron is connected to every other, so the actual number is less)
    Number of atoms in human body:
    7x10 to the 27th power (7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)
    Number of atoms in universe:
    1x10 to the 80th power (big)

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