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Poll: Do you have free will?
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YES, I DO have free will, in the sense that it is ultimately up to me, or ultimately my choice, which actions I take and when.
53.85%
14 53.85%
NO, I do NOT have free will, in the sense that it is NOT ultimately up to me, and NOT ultimately my choice, which actions I take and when.
46.15%
12 46.15%
Total 26 vote(s) 100%
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Does free will exist?
#26

Does free will exist?
(11-03-2018, 04:20 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-03-2018, 03:08 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(11-03-2018, 12:08 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: We desire all sorts of contradictory and mutually exclusive things, in large part because we only have so much time and energy.  (For instance, if I marry Janice I can't marry Cindy too.)  Since we can't have everything we want, free will is about choosing between them so we get something we want.

I think the question is best articulated like this: If it turns out that you choose Cindy, can we say that you could have chosen otherwise?

The determinists/incompatibilists say "no." Their reasoning is that everything in the universe operates according to the laws of cause and effect. If there is an exception to this rule, we haven't discovered it yet.

With this in mind, the determinist asks, by what mechanism is one allowed to choose Cindy over Janice (or vice versa)? There seems to be no allowance in the laws of nature for such "free choosing" to transpire.

Determinists think the brain works by a summation of causes, so that one cause comes out on top by being stronger than the others.  They consider this an automatic process which consciousness is not involved with.

But that's not how the brain works at all.  The brain works by self-motivated selection between possible causes.  Consciousness focuses on some things in preference to others.  We don't experience what we don't pay attention to, so such things don't influence our decisions.

But our consciousness is not separate from causality, regardless of if we believe or even perceive otherwise. Of course it's how the brain works... as the brain is part of the universe... and so if everything else in the universe works by causality... then so does the brain... otherwise you are just special-pleading in order to pretend that free will is a coherent concept when it simply isn't.

Quote:That's how free will works in contrast to simple cause and effect with awareness playing no role.

Awareness is no more separate from simple cause and effect than anything else in the universe. Again, are you saying our minds are magic?
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#27

Does free will exist?
(11-03-2018, 11:24 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: Nope.  I don't have the burden of proof because everything I have asserted is in accordance with both appearances and the common usage definition of "free will."

If a bunch of primitive people believe that spirits appear to them in the night... the burden of proof is still on them to prove that they are not simply confused about what appears to them, or that they are not simply hallucinating. You need to provide evidence that this "free will" really appears to you, that this free will is even a coherent concept.... and if you have provided evidence that it appears to you and it's a coherent concept... you still have to provide evidence that that concept resides in reality, and that the appearance of free will that you experience actually represents reality, and isn't simply an illusion.

And when people have already provided arguments that prove that free will is an incoherent concept and provably impossible, then the burden of proof is DEFINITELY on you to defend free will, even if it weren't before.

 
Quote:Determinists, who say appearances are an illusion, have the burden of proof.

Again, that's not how it works... as you need evidence that your appearance represents reality... and not only that... you need evidence of the appearance... you haven't even provided evidence that the illusory experience of free will even appears to you... and if you did... that would be evidence of an illusion at best. And you're also yet to debunk the argument that free will as defined in free will is an incoherent concept that is provably impossible. I think you are simply confused as I see no evidence that free will even seems to appear to you. How exactly do you really experience your consciousness as being the ultimate cause of your actions? And how even CAN you experience that when you can't be aware of any causes beyond your consciousness as what's beyond your consciousness is beyond your awareness? And I doubt you really believe that there aren't any causes beyond your consciousness.... do you really believe that the buck stops at your consciousness and no causes are prior to it? And how exactly is consciousness magical and special like that just because we must be ignorant of what is beyond our awareness? It's both special pleading and an argument from ignorance.

Quote:I disagree with the second assertion in your Consequence Argument.  Because evolution works by chance events, it can select for whatever works regardless of what is strictly determined.

Determinism is irrelevant to hard incompatabilism.


If determinism is true then ultimately you do not determine your actions because ultimately everything is determined by prior causes that stretch back to the beginning of the universe... something which you cannot be responsible for.

If indeterminism is true then you can't ULTIMATELY self-determine your actions because that would yet again be another example of special pleading. In a universe that is indeterminisc and works by probability or chance... howcome you suddenly get to determine your actions?

Either everything works by probability or chance, including you... or nothing does and everything is ultimately determined by prior causes... including you. Or there's a combination of both.... in which case the deterministic aspect doesn't help for reasons given... and the indeterministic aspect doesn't help for reasons given.

It's special pleading on your part because you are basically saying "Nothing is determined, the universe is indeterministic, and evolution works by chance..... except me... I can determine myself, I am separate from this indeterminism and chance... and I can be the ultimate cause of my actions... simply because I am ignorant of anything beyond what appears to me (or what I think appears to me*).

*Thoughts popping into your head and your self (words separated intentionally, as we're talking of you as a mental someone, here) thinking "I made myself do this. I brought this about. I caused this." doesn't mean you actually caused it or brought it about. It's an argument from ignorance... you have no awareness of causes of your actions beyond your awareness... and you therefore conclude that such causes don't exist... even though with anything else in the universe you would say that there were causes beyond everything.

Or if you think it's all down to probabilistic laws.... you are quite happy saying that ultimately everything is down to probabilistic laws that aren't determined by conscious beings... oh... except what the conscious beings are themselves aware of... simply because they're ignorant of what's beyond them. It's an argument from ignorance.



Spinoza and Einstein both point out your mistake, the argument from ignorance, that you are making:

[Image: tok-presentation-free-will-2-638.jpg?cb=1357697373]

[Image: temporally-informed-transition-design-2-...1457110787]

 

Quote:Self-organization organizes selves.  Human brains generate their own information and interpretations,
This is just begging the question.

Quote: which are every bit as casually effective as any real information from the external world.
And which have causes beyond themselves just like everything else does... or you are special pleading.

Quote:  We are creative creatures.  Just look around you.

Irrelevant. Creativity is perfectly compatible with determinism or non-self-determinability. Creativity is perfectly compatible with compatabilism, or a lack of libertarian free will as defined in the OP.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#28

Does free will exist?
(11-04-2018, 05:14 AM)GirlyMan Wrote: No. But "free won't" might.

That's really just describing a different sort of willpower... it doesn't mean that that sort of willpower can somehow be of some sort of ultimate kind.

I guess what I'm saying is... if free won't exists... it's not a type of free will. Or at least not a type of free will at all like the kind in the OP. If free will of the compatabilistic kind is merely the ability to be free to do what we feel like doing.... and if free won't is merely the ability to veto one of our actions.... then that no more means that that vetoing is of the ultimate kind any more than the ability to do what we feel like doing means that we can have some sort of ultimate self-causation. There may be deliberation, but there isn't any deliberation of the ultimate kind. There may be vetoing, but there isn't any vetoing of the ultimate kind.

Free won't just sounds like the other side of the compatabilistic coin. Free won't exists in the same way as free will, of the compatabilistic kind, does. The kind of trivially true and obvious pointless kind. Ultimately, we're talking of will here, not free will. No one is denying that human willpower exists.... or at least seems to exist. Ultimately our willpower is determined by something else, or if it isn't, ultimately we don't determine it, we are not ultimately self-willing, self-determining or self-causing..... some people are just better at resisting temptations than others... and some people are just better at deliberating and coming to a better 'decision' than others.


"But you had taken on a greater, and more harmful, illusion. The illusion of control. That A could do B. But that was false. Completely. No one can do. Things only happen." … (Spoken by a character in Thomas Pynchon’s novel, Gravity’s Rainbow, 1973, p. 34)
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#29

Does free will exist?
(11-04-2018, 10:49 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(11-04-2018, 09:52 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-04-2018, 06:27 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: Every phenomenon that we observe in the universe has a cause. To date, we have found no exception to this rule. To state that we have free will implies that our choices somehow happen spontaneously and are not the result of a prior cause.

I have seen this argument before.  Essentially it conflates direct physical causes with symbolically processed "causes" or reasons, where the reasons are actually understood and acted upon.


I'm not conflating anything. I'm making the argument that we live in a universe of "direct physical causes" and nothing else. We as humans have a very sentimental view of the human brain, but from a scientific standpoint, it is just a slushy of chemicals, carbon compounds, and electricity. As such, every atom in the brain behaves according the the laws of physics and chemistry. To say that we are affecting this chemical slushy with our conscious choices is to say that consciousness has some sort of power to affect the motions of material matter.

How does that happen?

Dunno, but it obviously does. Wave function collapse I think. Smile

Wheeler's Participatory Universe. Smile

"Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself.” 
Amor fati.
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#30

Does free will exist?
I have concluded that the people arguing in favor of determinism are not arguing in good faith. You can't assume what you have to prove as a part of your proving it. Nor can you simply deny valid objections. Nor can you just stipulate definitions and so define yourselves as correct. Nor can you indulge in unwarranted, overarching extrapolations. Nor can you call observations irrelevant. Nor can you ignore that you have the burden of proof for saying appearances are illusory.

So I will leave it at that.
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#31

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 03:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote: I have concluded that the people arguing in favor of determinism are not arguing in good faith.  You can't assume what you have to prove as a part of your proving it.  Nor can you simply deny valid objections.  Nor can you just stipulate definitions and so define yourselves as correct.  Nor can you indulge in unwarranted, overarching extrapolations.  Nor can you call observations irrelevant.  Nor can you ignore that you have the burden of proof for saying appearances are illusory.

So I will leave it at that.

The deterministic argument against free will seems moot to me in light of the empirical neurological evidence coupled with the Copenhagen Interpretation. .
Amor fati.
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#32

Does free will exist?






These may help get us all on the same page.
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#33

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 06:53 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote:





These may help get us all on the same page.

Moot.
Amor fati.
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#34

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 04:10 AM)GirlyMan Wrote: The deterministic argument against free will seems moot to me in light of the empirical neurological evidence coupled with the Copenhagen Interpretation. .

Not moot. Tongue

The idea that wave functions have a direct relation to consciousness has fallen out of favor in contemporary physics. 

The Copenhagen interpretation is interesting to be sure... but it is not the only interpretive mode around. It seems that you are resorting to something akin to god of the gaps reasoning here. Physicists working on quantum mechanics are largely puzzled about wave collapse. They know such a phenomenon must occur because it is evident that quantum particles exist in a state of superposition--- and it is also evident that this wave function collapses at some point to produce observable results. What happens in between the two states is quite the mystery. And no experimental evidence proves that consciousness has anything to do with it; the involvement of consciousness is but one possible inference we can make to explain wave collapse.
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#35

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 03:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote: You can't assume what you have to prove as a part of your proving it. 

It occurs to me that something may have been unclear about the consequence argument. (Namely the second premise, but maybe the first as well).

Quote:1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.
2. The events of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true)
3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

Another way of wording this would be:

1. Nobody can change the past. Nobody can change the laws of nature.
2. All of our scientific observations suggest that events of the past (and nothing else) cause the events of the future. This always happens in accordance with the laws of nature. (i.e., determinism is true)
3. Therefore, no one has power to affect the future.

In premise 2, the parenthetical "determinism is true" refers to the universe, not human free will. The only part of the argument that refers to free will is item #3, the conclusion. Does that address your concern of circularity in the argument? If not, state how my revised argument is circular and we'll go from there.

I think it would be most productive for us to isolate which premise (1 or 2) that you don't accept. Or perhaps you think the conclusion doesn't follow from 1 and 2 (fallacious reasoning). We can look at that as well if that's the case. I find the argument pretty convincing. You might not... but if you don't, I'm curious to see precisely where we disagree.
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#36

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 09:30 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(11-05-2018, 03:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote: You can't assume what you have to prove as a part of your proving it. 

It occurs to me that something may have been unclear about the consequence argument. (Namely the second premise, but maybe the first as well).

Quote:1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.
2. The events of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true)
3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

Another way of wording this would be:

1. Nobody can change the past. Nobody can change the laws of nature.
2. All of our scientific observations suggest that events of the past (and nothing else) cause the events of the future. This always happens in accordance with the laws of nature. (i.e., determinism is true)
3. Therefore, no one has power to affect the future.

In premise 2, the parenthetical "determinism is true" refers to the universe, not human free will. The only part of the argument that refers to free will is item #3, the conclusion. Does that address your concern of circularity in the argument? If not, state how my revised argument is circular and we'll go from there.

I think it would be most productive for us to isolate which premise (1 or 2) that you don't accept. Or perhaps you think the conclusion doesn't follow from 1 and 2 (fallacious reasoning). We can look at that as well if that's the case. I find the argument pretty convincing. You might not... but if you don't, I'm curious to see precisely where we disagree.

I see determinism versus free will as being unequal.  Those supporting free will only have to point to appearances, which are after all observations, and offer potential interpretations for why they are realities.  Those supporting determinism have the burden of actually proving how and why appearances are incorrect.

Of course we all want to know the realities behind these disputes in detail, and perhaps the science really will support determinism someday.  But we are not even close to that happening yet, at least from what I have read.  I wish another book report of mine had not been deleted with the previous forum, since I would copy it here.  Basically, it ran down point-by-point why the present science is insufficient to support the radical reductionism of determinists.

So with that as a preface, let me address your point.  You say nature is completely determined (point 2).  I disagreed and even offered you an alternative explanation, evolution working on chance (rather than determined) events.  This mechanism can build up selves over time, selves which are not completely determined.  If I remember correctly, you dismissed this possibility out-of-hand.  But since you have the burden of proof, not me, I don't think you are in the position to do that.

I really wonder whether radical reductionists like determinists even understand what emergent materialism is.  They keep trying to dismiss it as "magic" or some such.  But all that emergentism says is that new combinations of materials create new properties, like life and consciousness, which have new potentials.  If determinism is merely a property itself, it may simply not apply to other, emergent properties.

So no, I still do not agree with point 2, even with its rephrasing.
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#37

Does free will exist?
(11-04-2018, 06:27 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: ... Every phenomenon that we observe in the universe has a cause. To date, we have found no exception to this rule....

I agree with the first claim, but of the second:  what causes gravity?     Deadpan Coffee Drinker
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#38

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 06:10 PM)SYZ Wrote:
(11-04-2018, 06:27 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: ... Every phenomenon that we observe in the universe has a cause. To date, we have found no exception to this rule....

I agree with the first claim, but of the second:  what causes gravity?     Deadpan Coffee Drinker

The curvature of spacetime  Cool
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#39

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 07:05 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(11-05-2018, 06:10 PM)SYZ Wrote: I agree with the first claim, but of the second:  what causes gravity? 

The curvature of spacetime  Cool

But... Spacetime itself has yet to be precisely defined.

As physicist Stephen Wolfram says of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, "There are
plenty of theoretical indications, though, that General Relativity isn’t the end of the story
of spacetime.  And in fact, much as I like General Relativity as an abstract theory, I’ve
come to suspect it may actually have led us on a century-long detour in understanding
the true nature of space and time."

We can't use an as yet unproven, abstract theory to properly define any physical phenomenon.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#40

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 07:41 PM)SYZ Wrote: But... Spacetime itself has yet to be precisely defined.

As physicist Stephen Wolfram says of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, "There are
plenty of theoretical indications, though, that General Relativity isn’t the end of the story
of spacetime.  And in fact, much as I like General Relativity as an abstract theory, I’ve
come to suspect it may actually have led us on a century-long detour in understanding
the true nature of space and time."

We can't use an as yet unproven, abstract theory to properly define any physical phenomenon.

Sure, but the issue is a red herring as far as this argument is concerned. Premise 2 of the consequence argument merely states that all physical bodies in the universe (which necessarily includes all biological entities) behave according to the laws of nature, and all the motions of physical matter can be explained by prior causes. This is nothing controversial; every scientist on the planet assumes this when interpreting data.

There are two strategies that proponents of free will employ to deal with the consequence argument:
1) There is a mechanism (which we don't yet understand) that allows choice to happen in the universe (ie. the universe is not deterministic). These folks (libertarian free willists) take issue with premise 2.
2) Compatibilists argue that the conclusion of the consequence argument doesn't follow from the premises. That the reasoning is fallacious; ie. free will is compatible with determinism.

As I said before, the matter is far from settled (and possibly never will be settled). I am just giving you the state of the argument. I find the consequence argument compelling. Others do not.
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#41

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 08:27 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: Premise 2 of the consequence argument merely states that all physical bodies in the universe (which necessarily includes all biological entities) behave according to the laws of nature....

Please let me know what specific laws of nature (besides its assumed determinism) which any free will choice is violating.  As far as I can tell, none whatsoever.  

This may mean that while everything must always follow the laws of nature, determinism is not one of those laws.
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#42

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 11:55 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote: I really wonder whether radical reductionists like determinists even understand what emergent materialism is.  They keep trying to dismiss it as "magic" or some such.  But all that emergentism says is that new combinations of materials create new properties, like life and consciousness, which have new potentials.  If determinism is merely a property itself, it may simply not apply to other, emergent properties.

So no, I still do not agree with point 2, even with its rephrasing.

I think it's hard to say where the burden of proof is situated in this particular debate. I have considered what scientific observations demonstrate that our sense of free will is illusory. I think the BF Skinner video above makes the case pretty well. (I posted that video specifically to address what evidence there is that our sense of free will is an illusion. As an argument for incompatibilism as a whole, Skinner's observations don't quite get us there.) The video should (at the very least) demonstrate it is plausible that our free will is illusory.
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#43

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 08:36 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-05-2018, 08:27 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: Premise 2 of the consequence argument merely states that all physical bodies in the universe (which necessarily includes all biological entities) behave according to the laws of nature....

Please let me know what specific laws of nature (besides its assumed determinism) which any free will choice is violating.  As far as I can tell, none whatsoever.  

This may mean that while everything must always follow the laws of nature, determinism is not one of those laws.

Determinism isn't a property or a law of nature. It is an assumption about the universe... that everything follows the laws of cause and effect. And it is a pretty well-founded assumption if I may say.
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#44

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 08:41 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: Determinism isn't a property or a law of nature. It is an assumption about the universe... that everything follows the laws of cause and effect. And it is a pretty well-founded assumption if I may say.

Sorry, but that obviously doesn't follow if free will exists in a materialistic universe.  Appearances say free will does exist, and extrapolations from science are presently insufficient to say appearances aren't realities.  (I guess I'm going to have to read and summarize that second book again.)
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#45

Does free will exist?
I think that we tend to conflate the appearance of free will with being uncomfortable with the idea of not having free will. I know that not everyone's experience has been the same as mine. However, I also know that as my discomfort with the idea of not having free will faded, the appearance of free will became less convincing. I became a lot more aware of the factors behind my choices. The more I became aware of the factors behind my choices, the less my choices appeared to be the product of free will. The appearance of free will will literally fade if looked at in a very critical way.
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#46

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 09:11 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote: And no experimental evidence proves that consciousness has anything to do with it; the involvement of consciousness is but one possible inference we can make to explain wave collapse.

Wheeler's participatory universe does not require consciousness, it just requires a recording device to collapse the wave function, a rock will do. Smile

"Does this mean humans are necessary to the existence of the universe? While conscious observers certainly partake in the creation of the participatory universe envisioned by Wheeler, they are not the only, or even primary, way by which quantum potentials become real. Ordinary matter and radiation play the dominant roles. Wheeler likes to use the example of a high-energy particle released by a radioactive element like radium in Earth's crust. The particle, as with the photons in the two-slit experiment, exists in many possible states at once, traveling in every possible direction, not quite real and solid until it interacts with something, say a piece of mica in Earth's crust. When that happens, one of those many different probable outcomes becomes real. In this case the mica, not a conscious being, is the object that transforms what might happen into what does happen. The trail of disrupted atoms left in the mica by the high-energy particle becomes part of the real world."
Amor fati.
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#47

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 10:58 PM)Yonadav Wrote: I think that we tend to conflate the appearance of free will with being uncomfortable with the idea of not having free will. I know that not everyone's experience has been the same as mine. However, I also know that as my discomfort with the idea of not having free will faded, the appearance of free will became less convincing. I became a lot more aware of the factors behind my choices. The more I became aware of the factors behind my choices, the less my choices appeared to be the product of free will.  The appearance of free will will literally fade if looked at in a very critical way.

My favorite bit is that even once we collectively realize that we are ultimately not responsible for our own actions, we must nonetheless assume responsibility for the sake of the rest of us. Smile ... There's a book I read when I was a kid. ... gimme a sec .... there it is ... Erewhon!
Amor fati.
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#48

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 10:58 PM)Yonadav Wrote: I think that we tend to conflate the appearance of free will with being uncomfortable with the idea of not having free will...

Definitely not true in my case—as a firm believer in free will.  To me, any notion of one being "uncomfortable" with
the idea of not having free will would be similar to theists being uncomfortable with the idea of there being no gods.
No substantive support for either state of mind in reality.

Quote:I know that not everyone's experience has been the same as mine. However, I also know that as my discomfort with the idea of not having free will faded, the appearance of free will became less convincing. I became a lot more aware of the factors behind my choices. The more I became aware of the factors behind my choices, the less my choices appeared to be the product of free will.  The appearance of free will will literally fade if looked at in a very critical way.

I guess one of the earliest self-proofs for my free will occurred at exactly the same time I became a confirmed atheist.
I think you'd agree that to reject the notion of an omniscient, all powerful god takes free will, otherwise atheism simply
wouldn't exist.  God most definitely would not allow disbelief in his existence.

What typical life choices have you made (or avoided making) that support the idea of free will simply being an illusory
device to offset the alleged "fear" of not having one's own free will?
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#49

Does free will exist?
(11-06-2018, 05:51 PM)SYZ Wrote: I guess one of the earliest self-proofs for my free will occurred at exactly the same time I became a confirmed atheist.
I think you'd agree that to reject the notion of an omniscient, all powerful god takes free will, otherwise atheism simply
wouldn't exist.  God most definitely would not allow disbelief in his existence.

If people really believe free will is an illusion, they must think people are naturally delusional.  So of course some will also assume that anyone who can't see free will is an illusion must have psychological defenses against realizing it. 

Of course that makes me wonder how they can be confident they are not still delusional by thinking free will is an illusion.  

If people can be convinced of anything by evidence and reason, and not just conditional factors, that's a good argument that they really do have free will.  Reasons are not the same thing as physical causes, and the concept of free will discriminates between these two types of motivations.
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#50

Does free will exist?
(11-05-2018, 10:58 PM)Yonadav Wrote: I think that we tend to conflate the appearance of free will with being uncomfortable with the idea of not having free will. I know that not everyone's experience has been the same as mine. However, I also know that as my discomfort with the idea of not having free will faded, the appearance of free will became less convincing. I became a lot more aware of the factors behind my choices. The more I became aware of the factors behind my choices, the less my choices appeared to be the product of free will.  The appearance of free will will literally fade if looked at in a very critical way.

The above is a statement about appearances.  It is not a statement about whether free will exists or not.
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