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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    No. I wouldn't be aware of those without some basic knowledge of biology.
    So would you choose to learn biology? or would they just choose it for you?

    or would these complex series of chemical reactions ask me that I ask you to do that?

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  2. #72
    =.= asynartetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isk Stark View Post
    Depends on your beliefs.

    The Way teaches us to rely on Him for all things, in turn freeing us from these questions. For instance, you have the free-will to choose tranquility or remain turbulent.

    Your second question is just scientism, which is inherently turbulent (as science by nature, is).

    But suppose a hypothetical scenario where I am posed with the choice between tranquility and turbulence... once the choice was made, how can I be sure I was really acting on my free will? What if my choice was merely the byproduct of a lot of circumstances that just happened to line the odds up in favor of one choice?

    I could even try to "game the system" by making the choice I didn't want to make, just as a fuck you to the universe, a way of proving I am an agent of free will. But really, how would I be certain that this choice was the result of free will? What if it was still just as I said above, a byproduct or result of particular circumstances?
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  3. #73
    ☦️ Senior Member ☦️ Isk Stark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    But suppose a hypothetical scenario where I am posed with the choice between tranquility and turbulence... once the choice was made, how can I be sure I was really acting on my free will? What if my choice was merely the byproduct of a lot of circumstances that just happened to line the odds up in favor of one choice?

    I could even try to "game the system" by making the choice I didn't want to make, just as a fuck you to the universe, a way of proving I am an agent of free will. But really, how would I be certain that this choice was the result of free will? What if it was still just as I said above, a byproduct or result of particular circumstances?
    Having faith (not necessarily in God, but in your Self's/Satan's capacity to make the right call for You) would certainly help.

    When that fails, you surrender (your Ego/Pride) to God.



    *Don't be so quick to dismiss this one because it may answer some of your questions.
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  4. #74
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    What is the nature of self? Is self an illusion?

    Assuming we are self-aware creatures, does that mean we have free will, or is our free will an illusion? If it is an illusion but we are self aware, do you think it's slightly depressing (or otherwise) to be doomed to self-awareness without true free will? Are we little better off than that poor dude who was totally paralyzed in that episode of Hitchcock Presents? He was aware of his situation yet powerless to change his situation.
    Why would we be powerless to change our situation? I don't think the fact we don't fully understand how the brain works in day to day life means we don't have free will. Our consciousness may be caused by our brains it doesn't mean free will is an illusion, perhaps people who say free will is an illusion confuse free will with omnipotence.
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  5. #75
    Senior Member Gunboat Diplomat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Why would we be powerless to change our situation? I don't think the fact we don't fully understand how the brain works in day to day life means we don't have free will. Our consciousness may be caused by our brains it doesn't mean free will is an illusion, perhaps people who say free will is an illusion confuse free will with omnipotence.
    I am curious, how would you define free will?

    I hope you would agree that your actions are determined, at least to some degree, by your biology, environment and past experiences. The common characteristic of these is that they are "caused", outside of your control. Let's assume that in addition to those factors, there is also the mythical free will. In order to be non-illusory, it would have to be in your control. Non-caused by anything. The Prime Mover Unmoved. Not affected by the firing of your brain neurons. Not affected by your motivations (as these are governed by your biology, environment and experiences). Not affected by your moral code (as this is also based on your biology, environment and experiences). What are your decisions based on, that cannot be traced (in principle) to something outside of your control?

    How does it work?

  6. #76
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunboat Diplomat View Post
    I am curious, how would you define free will?

    I hope you would agree that your actions are determined, at least to some degree, by your biology, environment and past experiences. The common characteristic of these is that they are "caused", outside of your control. Let's assume that in addition to those factors, there is also the mythical free will. In order to be non-illusory, it would have to be in your control. Non-caused by anything. The Prime Mover Unmoved. Not affected by the firing of your brain neurons. Not affected by your motivations (as these are governed by your biology, environment and experiences). Not affected by your moral code (as this is also based on your biology, environment and experiences). What are your decisions based on, that cannot be traced (in principle) to something outside of your control?

    How does it work?
    You're assuming that it cannot be looked at from another perspective than that of biology (you and so many others who argue that we are determined by biology).

    In the end, yes, our actions may be in part determined by our genes, our environment, and our past experiences. Like I said, people who argue against free will confuse it with omipotence, and you seem to be doing that.

    There is a difference between the map and the territory. Biology can create an accurate map of the territory, but the map can be discarded when it is no longer useful. So the fact we are in part determined doesn't mean we have no ability to choose, between existing possibilities (because choosing between non-existant options is not conceivable).

    I get that you're arguing our choices are determined even in those cases where we have limited options, but what I'm saying is that this capacity to choose is better understood from a non-biological standpoint. Discard the map of biology and stop this whiny nihilism that says "I can't change my life", because it isn't helping. Biology is useful for alot of things and I'm not disinterested in learning what makes people act the way they do from a biological standpoint, if it can be useful, but I find most of the time people use it to rationalise themselves into not changing their lives.

    It is well-documented that people who believe in free will tend to act as if they had it, whereas those who believe they are determined tend to do nothing to change their lives. I think William James was the first to notice this, though not the last. We can't fully explain why this is, at least not with our current knowledge, which doesn't mean it is mystical, just that we don't yet understand how it works.

  7. #77
    Senior Member Gunboat Diplomat's Avatar
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    You have misunderstood my post in several aspects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    You're assuming that it cannot be looked at from another perspective than that of biology (you and so many others who argue that we are determined by biology).
    No, I am not assuming that. My question is not predicated on reducing everything to biology. I am assuming that biology is a factor (but my point works even without that assumption). And I am assuming that you agree with that, but even if you don't, you still have pretty much the same problem. Even if your decision making is completely independent of biology, environment and your personal history (which would be a rather absurd position), you still haven't got any closer to showing that you have free will. Let's assume that your consciousness exists on some other plane, completely separate from our physical reality. Let's call it a spiritual plane. Even if your choices are taking place on that spiritual plane, it doesn't mean that they are free of causality. There is no reason to think that your consciousness is the prime mover isolated from all external factors causing your choices, be it God, rules and laws governing that spiritual plane, randomness of the universe and so on. Your choices must be based on SOMETHING. Or you are just mentally tossing a coin. Unless you are a solipsist (or a god), your free will has no leg to stand on.

    You may claim that causality does not exist on that spiritual plane, but:
    A) this would be a completely arbitrary claim
    B) you would be pretty much left with randomness of your choices OR
    C) there is some unknown mechanism of making choices on that plane - however you have no clue what that mechanism is and therefore you cannot claim that it is free will
    D) conscious thought processes without causality would be most likely incoherent - preventing you from making any choices


    In the end, yes, our actions may be in part determined by our genes, our environment, and our past experiences. Like I said, people who argue against free will confuse it with omipotence, and you seem to be doing that.
    No, I am not doing that.


    There is a difference between the map and the territory. Biology can create an accurate map of the territory, but the map can be discarded when it is no longer useful. So the fact we are in part determined doesn't mean we have no ability to choose, between existing possibilities (because choosing between non-existant options is not conceivable).
    Yes, agreed, but you still haven't defined what that ability to choose means and how it works.



    I get that you're arguing our choices are determined even in those cases where we have limited options, but what I'm saying is that this capacity to choose is better understood from a non-biological standpoint. Discard the map of biology and stop this whiny nihilism that says "I can't change my life", because it isn't helping. Biology is useful for alot of things and I'm not disinterested in learning what makes people act the way they do from a biological standpoint, if it can be useful, but I find most of the time people use it to rationalise themselves into not changing their lives.

    It is well-documented that people who believe in free will tend to act as if they had it, whereas those who believe they are determined tend to do nothing to change their lives. I think William James was the first to notice this, though not the last.
    Well, this seems to be some sort of a pragmatic argument: the concept of free will is useful so it is true. I am not completely unsympathetic to this reasoning, but still - utility and truth are not the same thing.


    We can't fully explain why this is, at least not with our current knowledge, which doesn't mean it is mystical, just that we don't yet understand how it works.
    I am not sure whether this relates to the previous couple sentences or free will. If the latter, you still haven't really explained how it works, even partially. So at this point it is still mystical. Basically, you seem to be saying that you believe in free will because it is convenient. Correct me if I am wrong.

  8. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunboat Diplomat View Post
    I am curious, how would you define free will?

    I hope you would agree that your actions are determined, at least to some degree, by your biology, environment and past experiences. The common characteristic of these is that they are "caused", outside of your control. Let's assume that in addition to those factors, there is also the mythical free will. In order to be non-illusory, it would have to be in your control. Non-caused by anything. The Prime Mover Unmoved. Not affected by the firing of your brain neurons. Not affected by your motivations (as these are governed by your biology, environment and experiences). Not affected by your moral code (as this is also based on your biology, environment and experiences). What are your decisions based on, that cannot be traced (in principle) to something outside of your control?

    How does it work?
    I would offer two critiques of this position. The first being that the factors you mention can be correlated with without being causative of "will" and the second that we could theoretically be influenced by some "prime mover" via a hidden variable theory that obfuscates that agent's intent. Sometimes I wonder if a sort of panentheism/pansychism in which the universe which is us manifest as that self-reflective interstice of being is that "prime mover." A quantum bayesianist sort of "internal" view of the world
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  9. #79
    Junior Member nor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    What is the nature of self? Is self an illusion?
    If the self is an illusion, then what are the properties of that illusion? From where and how do they arise? To know of an illusion is to experience it; who or what experiences the illusion of the self, then? It seems to me that to define a who or what, here, is to give credence to the concept of an existent, actual centralized self, thus jettisoning the idea of the illusory self, anyway.

    The illusory self is a contradiction. What do you think?

  10. #80
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    @Gunboat Diplomat

    I don't think that the hypothetical disemobied entity you descrie would be able to make any decisions, nor would they have consciousness since all consciousness is consciousness of something. There is no consciousness in a vacuum. A consciousness in the situation you describe would be snuffed out and cease to exist.

    I think I understand what you're asking here, how do I argue for the existence of free will rather than simply against biological determinism? But what are you asking, the philosophical standpoint or the psychological one? You're asking "how" it works which makes me think you're asking for a psychological explanation, but I can't be sure of it.

    Tbh honest though, while I could research this further and it does interest me to do so, I'm afraid I don't have the time to get very deep into this discussion. I am busy with my bachelor's (not in philosphy/psychology), my internship, and looking for work. Since what you're asking would require research, probably enitre books written on it to justify one pov or another, I have to digress.

    I was simply responding to Anax/asynartetic by trying to show there are other ways of looking at free will from the standpoint of biology. Unfortunetely, I don't have time to do this in depth. It's not personal, I just don't have much time to "forum" as much as I'd like. Perhaps I'll get back to this topic later, but I don't see exactly when that will be possible in the near future.
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