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View Poll Results: Free Will or Determinism?

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  • Free Will

    10 31.25%
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    16 50.00%
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  1. #1
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Default Free Will vs. Determinism.

    I find the existence of free will implausible. My reasons are as follows:

    Mind-body dualism, that is, the belief that mind is something separate from the body, seems implausible in the light of this. The man had a brain injury, and his entire personality changed.

    Given this, what mechanism could one expect to find in nature that would explain free will? I suppose at this point people like to invoke quantum mechanics, but I don't understand quantum mechanics and I don't know if the people doing that do, either.

    Free-will is every bit as unfalsifiable as a belief in God. Nobody can prove free will doesn't exist through empirical means that can be replicated, so it should go out the window, if God goes out the window because of such a standard.

    Moreover, personal experience and analysis, while not perhaps verifiable, suggests that people always make their choices based on past inputs, whether they are aware of it or not. There is no randomness to it. There is a certain level of predictability, although I should qualify this by saying that much of the time, when we interact with each other, we are interacting on the basis of incomplete information. Because the information is incomplete, the choices appear more nebulous and somewhat "random."
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


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  2. #2
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I predicted that I would predict that you would post this thread.

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Can I say that I don't think free will exists but that I think the cosmos may fundamentally be probabilistic rather than deterministic?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #4
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Can I say that I don't think free will exists but that I think the cosmos may fundamentally be probabilistic rather than deterministic?
    Yes, but I'd like a lot more background on that.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Given this, what mechanism could one expect to find in nature that would explain free will? I suppose at this point people like to invoke quantum mechanics, but I don't understand quantum mechanics and I don't know if the people doing that do, either.
    As I understand the 'God does indeed play dice with the universe' argument, which admittedly isn't an exhaustive understanding, I don't think it actually holds. Like many other aspects of the universe, we simply don't have the means of predicting exactly where a given particle will be at a given time. Much like you don't know the outcome of a flipped coin until it lands, even though theoretically you could predict the outcome if you knew the exact coin mass and balance, the thumb-force, the trajectory, the distance to surface, the bounce coefficient, etc..

    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Free-will is every bit as unfalsifiable as a belief in God. Nobody can prove free will doesn't exist through empirical means that can be replicated, so it should go out the window, if God goes out the window because of such a standard.
    Ironically, I think it's easier to argue determinism from a religious perspective. Well, at least a religious perspective involving omnipotent and omniscient deities.

  6. #6
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    Ironically, I think it's easier to argue determinism from a religious perspective. Well, at least a religious perspective involving omnipotent and omniscient deities.

    Moreover, some religions believe in predestination, and some believe in free will, so it really has nothing to do with religion vs. atheism. The important question is which is a more plausible description of reality.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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  7. #7
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Yes, but I'd like a lot more background on that.
    As you pointed out a little bit already, there are problems with free will at a rather high order. There are biological and environmental problems. There is no reason to believe, and an abundance of evidence to not believe, that the mind is based on some kind of force separate from physical form. We may not fully understand how, but we can guess that every single thing about your mind has something to do with a physical configuration in your nervous system. Even acquired information, like culture, probably works that way. An other person generates stimulus, you perceive stimulus, you rearrange something in your nervous system in response to that perception. That is the process of you learning something from somebody else. Now, if we consider that this happens from the day you are born, then external factors are rearranging your brain before its even fully developed. This creates an interesting situation where you are not in control of how you develop. You don't necessarily control your beliefs or your desires. So even if we accepted the premise that you had the power to choose whatever you want to do (itself problematic), there's still the problem that you do not choose what you wanted. What you wanted was externally given to you. With that being the case, can we say that freedom of choice really means anything?

    But, like I said, that relates to biology and such. All of this is reducible to fundamental processes of the universe (really low order stuff). Are those actually deterministic? I don't know. Determinism is the intuitive answer, but the cosmos may be fundamentally probabilistic. I've thought a lot about this, and I don't feel like I can come up with an answer. The thing is, for human purposes, any situation in which there is imperfect information has to be treated as probabilistic. For us, all real phenomena is understood through imperfect information, so pragmatically speaking it's all probabilistic. But is the cosmos actually, ontologically deterministic? We can't tell for that reason. If it is, it will still all look probabilistic anyhow, while the fact that we know it will look probabilistic regardless does not rule out the fact that it might really be probabilistic.

    Either way, when it gets to the level where we are talking about free will, we will have layered on so many constraints that are more foundational than us, that free will seems implausible.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #8
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    No option for compatibilists?
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Can I say that I don't think free will exists but that I think the cosmos may fundamentally be probabilistic rather than deterministic?
    I believe the cosmos is totally deterministic but that human kind are in a special position of being capable of comprehending it.

    Anyone who would suggest the universe is anything other than deterministic will have problem with cause and effect.

  10. #10
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I believe the cosmos is totally deterministic but that human kind are in a special position of being capable of comprehending it.
    We only comprehend it so much. Probably very little all things considered. And as I said, while it is intuitive to think of it as deterministic, are information does not allow us to actually have a deterministic understanding of the universe even if it is deterministic.

    And I'm not sure how special our position is. I'm guessing there are many, many things in this universe that can do what we do. And what that is may only be tangential to what we could actually call reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Anyone who would suggest the universe is anything other than deterministic will have problem with cause and effect.
    Probabilism doesn't have a problem with saying something will probably cause something else.

    Of course, the other trick about cause and effect, is how much of it is a matter of perception.

    At any rate, it's untestable and there's nothing we can do about any of it either way. So that's why I think the agnostic position is the correct one.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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