• You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to additional post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), view blogs, respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free, so please join our community today! Just click here to register. You should turn your Ad Blocker off for this site or certain features may not work properly. If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us by clicking here.

Free Will, Determinism, Compatibilism

redacted

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
4,223
Free Will:
1. The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.
2. The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.

Determinism:
The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

Compatibilism:
the above two definitions do not contradict eachother, and are both true.

which stance do you take?
 

nightning

ish red no longer *sad*
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
3,741
MBTI Type
INfj
Assuming the laws of the universe does not fall under determinism... then some methods of doing things will naturally be better than others. So while there's free will... a choice to do whatever you want. Some choices are clearly better than others. Thus people generally tend towards a seemingly predictable path.

So I believe in free will under that assumption. But since that assumption cannot be proven I fall under compatibilism.
 

redacted

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
4,223
determinism states that each state of the universe is a function of the previous state. so, from a deterministic standpoint, there is no such thing as choice.
 

Grayscale

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
1,965
MBTI Type
ISTP
if nothing can happen without a reason then free will is an illusion created by the inability to understand the aforementioned due its complexity

when a ball is held in the hand and then dropped, we do not think the ball fell to the ground on its own free will because we understand gravity. something as complicated as to why a person would choose one thing or another ultimately equates to some reason, just an incredibly complex one.

the concept of free will is a copout, more or less. the closest thing would be a truly random outcome, and "will" just doesn't seem like a good word to apply there. even a random (and very few things are actually random) is provoked by a reason, and still falls within a finite set of options.
 

ThatsWhatHeSaid

New member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,251
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
Determinism ftw.

In fact, I'm working on a proof against free will. The basic idea (which I still have a hard time expressing) is that free will depends on some "agent" that exists apart from the rest of the predetermined universe to make a decision and affect outcome. If there is no independent self, there can be no free will. Since I am starting to see the self in term of an intersection of streams, rather than something independent, the self vanishes, along with any chance of free will.
 

redacted

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
4,223
i believe in both determinism and free will.

determinism, because it makes the most Ti sense.

and free will...well, because, humans define the word "choice" right? well, "choice" in my view is just a category for a specific kind of deterministic action in humans. we all believe we have free will, because, well, that's just how our machinery works. and we have to be able to blame people for their actions, or else society would fall apart.

see, from the deterministic view, none of the paragraph above makes any sense. that's why we have to have different frames when talking about different things. like, there's the physics frame, in which everything is deterministic. there's a chemistry frame that reduces down to the physics frame through some set of equations, but we use words in chemistry that have no meaning in physics. if you build up enough frames (that all reduce to each other), you can get up to the socially accepted human perception frame, in which "free will" is a basic term, completely integral to the whole point of view.

so "free will" is true in the socially accepted human perception frame, "determinism" is true in the physics frame, and they don't contradict each other. because everything in the first frame can be reduced to physics anyhow, even the term "free will".

and shit, if we were stuck in the determinism mindset all the time, that would suck ass. i've been there, believe me. here's the picture: tripping on hallucinogens 50+ times in a year, and smoking weed 7+ times a day. bad.
 

Eye-In-TiPi

New member
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
96
MBTI Type
INTP
can't...stop...typing... the universe is forcing me to make this post. Seriously, though, how is free will even debatable? Sure there are things beyond our control. Like the ball mentioned in a previous post, we cannot will ourselves not to fall. We can, though, choose whether or not to jump off a building. Once that decision is made, there really aren't many options. scream? flail arms? aim for something? Reality exerts many constraints on actions. Choices are always limited. I can't just decide to be home right now and be there. I'll have to get in my car and drive there. I have other options, but I'll choose the car. Maybe I'm missing something.
 

redacted

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
4,223
can't...stop...typing... the universe is forcing me to make this post. Seriously, though, how is free will even debatable? Sure there are things beyond our control. Like the ball mentioned in a previous post, we cannot will ourselves not to fall. We can, though, choose whether or not to jump off a building. Once that decision is made, there really aren't many options. scream? flail arms? aim for something? Reality exerts many constraints on actions. Choices are always limited. I can't just decide to be home right now and be there. I'll have to get in my car and drive there. I have other options, but I'll choose the car. Maybe I'm missing something.

well the laws of physics are always gonna apply to every atom in your body and your brain. if you "choose" to jump off a building, it's not like any atom in your body decided not to follow the laws of physics at any point in your thought process. determinism always holds. question is, can you reconcile that with free will?
 

Grayscale

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
1,965
MBTI Type
ISTP
i believe in both determinism and free will.

determinism, because it makes the most Ti sense.

and free will...well, because, humans define the word "choice" right? well, "choice" in my view is just a category for a specific kind of deterministic action in humans. we all believe we have free will, because, well, that's just how our machinery works. and we have to be able to blame people for their actions, or else society would fall apart.

i dont think free will is really true though, it's a beneficial illusion, but that doesnt make it true.

at the level of granularity where the truth of determinism comes out, nothing is really implicated anything against the "free will" most people see and use.

"free will" is an important component of progression. however, the concept is ironic in the sense that even it is a result of something.
 

Totenkindly

@.~*virinaĉo*~.@
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
46,864
MBTI Type
BELF
Enneagram
594
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
Determinism ftw. In fact, I'm working on a proof against free will.

You just can't help yourself, can you? ;)

The basic idea (which I still have a hard time expressing) is that free will depends on some "agent" that exists apart from the rest of the predetermined universe to make a decision and affect outcome. If there is no independent self, there can be no free will. Since I am starting to see the self in term of an intersection of streams, rather than something independent, the self vanishes, along with any chance of free will.

Or maybe "free will" could be redefined not as just the free-standing and uninfluenced choice on a completely independent agent? (Because obviously that sort of free will does not exist -- no one is completely independent, or we would not be aware of them and they would not be able to comprehend us.)
 

reason

New member
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
1,209
MBTI Type
ESFJ
The concept of a "universal law" is such that a universal law can never be broken. Why? Because if ever any occurence contradicted a law, then we would no longer consider that law to be universal. The definition of a "universal law" is a law without any exceptions, so any law with an exception is not a universal law. Simple enough. (Note: it is irrelevent whether a universal law is probabilistic). The definition of "free will", as is usually assumed in these discussions, is such that it is expected to defy universal laws. However, this clearly cannot happen, because a law which can be defied is not a universal law, by definition. Moreover, the process of making a "free choice" cannot be described, because such a description would have to propose regularities, patterns, laws, etc. Neither can the process be random.

[Edit: note, also, if the process is not random, then it follows patterns which can be described via regularities, rules, laws, etc. which again, would negate this rather strange nonconcept of "free will".]

This is, however, all quite irrelevent. There are two responses to this problem, you can (1) conclude that there is no free will, and infer from that whatever uncomfortable ethical conclusions follow, or you can (2) reconsider your concept of "a choice" and what constitutes a "free will". For example, ask yourself: what makes the physical process of decision-making different to other physical processes? They will, of course, be similar in many important ways, such as that they both are occur in accordance with universal laws, but it does not follow from this that they are the same in every way. When you realise that some standard or rule is impossible to satisfy, and yet there is still a problem which you want to solve, then plough on without it and look for new rules and standards.

Think about it.
 

ThatsWhatHeSaid

New member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,251
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
You just can't help yourself, can you? ;)

It beats writing motions...

Or maybe "free will" could be redefined not as just the free-standing and uninfluenced choice on a completely independent agent? (Because obviously that sort of free will does not exist -- no one is completely independent, or we would not be aware of them and they would not be able to comprehend us.)

But if there's nothing independent, free will collapses. If both the environment AS WELL AS THE DECISION-MAKER (and all their respective components) are dependent on prior states, where is there any room for free will? Free will has to assume that there's something independent to act on some available choice.

The only way I can imagine free will to exist is if all 3 elements below coexist:
[options] [ability to steer options] [thing that steers options is not predetermined itself]

Essentially, what I'm saying is that there is no thing.
 

Totenkindly

@.~*virinaĉo*~.@
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
46,864
MBTI Type
BELF
Enneagram
594
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
But if there's nothing independent, free will collapses. If both the environment AS WELL AS THE DECISION-MAKER (and all their respective components) are dependent on prior states, where is there any room for free will? Free will has to assume that there's something independent to act on some available choice.

The problem is: How do you KNOW that we are entirely dependent on everything around us in regards to making decisions?

It seems to me much like God: How on earth can one possibly prove that free will DOESN'T exist at all? Perhaps there is still a minute portion of our consciousness, that one "last private inch" of ourselves, that operates independently. We have no way to explore the truth of that, or articulate it. It might not exist.

But there's no way to prove it doesn't.

And if there is any smidgen of free will in a decision, then there is (to some degree) "free will."

I don't know, that is what comes to mind at the moment.

...you can (2) reconsider your concept of "a choice" and what constitutes a "free will". For example, ask yourself: what makes the physical process of decision-making different to other physical processes? They will, of course, be similar in many important ways, such as that they both are occur in accordance with universal laws, but it does not follow from this that they are the same in every way. When you realise that some standard or rule is impossible to satisfy, and yet there is still a problem which you want to solve, then plough on without it and look for new rules and standards.

Yes, this is what I was fuzzily hinting at when I talked about perhaps redefining "free will" -- but Nocturne said it so much better.
 

Grayscale

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
1,965
MBTI Type
ISTP
most people would say that all crows are black, but this is simply so because nobody has seen a white crow. there is the future possibility of a crow being white, but as of now we can only conclude that crows as we know it are black and will continue to be black.

as of now, the trend that scientific discovery has fallen into is that there is an explanation/reason for everything, and the only delimiter is our ability to discover it.

anyways, "you never know!" just isnt a good reason to strongly consider something, our focus is much better spent on expanding on what we do know.
 

nightning

ish red no longer *sad*
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
3,741
MBTI Type
INfj
The problem is: How do you KNOW that we are entirely dependent on everything around us in regards to making decisions?

It seems to me much like God: How on earth can one possibly prove that free will DOESN'T exist at all? Perhaps there is still a minute portion of our consciousness, that one "last private inch" of ourselves, that operates independently. We have no way to explore the truth of that, or articulate it. It might not exist.

But there's no way to prove it doesn't.

*nods* Cannot be proven either way... so why bother trying? A waste of time.

It's so much nicer though for my self-perception to say I have a choice than to say free will doesn't exists. So that's my belief. I rather have a central locus of control.
 

redacted

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
4,223
i dont think free will is really true though, it's a beneficial illusion, but that doesnt make it true.

at the level of granularity where the truth of determinism comes out, nothing is really implicated anything against the "free will" most people see and use.

"free will" is an important component of progression. however, the concept is ironic in the sense that even it is a result of something.

well, "free will" in the traditional sense isn't true. i agree. but i've redefined my conception of what "free will" is so that it doesn't contradict determinism.

since humans believe that they have free will, i just define it as that belief. it's an illusion, of course, but whatever. it's an illusion that can be reduced to physics given the right equations.

it is determined that we all assume we have free will :)

The definition of "free will", as is usually assumed in these discussions, is such that it is expected to defy universal laws. However, this clearly cannot happen, because a law which can be defied is not a universal law, by definition.

agreed.

This is, however, all quite irrelevent. There are two responses to this problem, you can (1) conclude that there is no free will, and infer from that whatever uncomfortable ethical conclusions follow, or you can (2) reconsider your concept of "a choice" and what constitutes a "free will". For example, ask yourself: what makes the physical process of decision-making different to other physical processes? They will, of course, be similar in many important ways, such as that they both are occur in accordance with universal laws, but it does not follow from this that they are the same in every way. When you realise that some standard or rule is impossible to satisfy, and yet there is still a problem which you want to solve, then plough on without it and look for new rules and standards.

well said.
 

The_Liquid_Laser

Glowy Goopy Goodness
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Messages
3,376
MBTI Type
ENTP
I'm in the free will camp myself.

One major problem with pure determinism is that one cannot logically believe in science and determinism. The philosophical foundations for science assume free will ("I think therefore I am", and all of it's corollaries.) Furthermore if a person concludes that there is no free will based on scientific findings then they have reached a horrible contradiction.
 

Athenian200

Protocol Droid
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
8,828
MBTI Type
INFJ
Enneagram
4w5
My belief is that some things are the inevitable result of the past, and there are some things that can be chosen at a particular level, within certain constraints.
 
Top