Welcome to Atheist Discussion, a new community created by former members of The Thinking Atheist forum.

Poll: Do you have free will?
You do not have permission to vote in this poll.
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.
55.56%
15 55.56%
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.
44.44%
12 44.44%
Total 27 vote(s) 100%
* You voted for this item. [Show Results]

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Does free will exist?

Does free will exist?
(10-13-2019, 09:43 AM)Alan V Wrote:
(10-13-2019, 07:09 AM)pocaracas Wrote:
(10-12-2019, 12:17 PM)Alan V Wrote: Determinists argue that such observations are illusions, but they haven't proven it yet.  The science has a long way to go, which is why consciousness studies are still such an active area of research.

Yes, that's why I keep saying that I can't prove my point of view to be the one truth. But it is the one that makes the most sense to me.

I wish everyone arguing in this discussion would understand that.  Different points of view when the science is not conclusive are to be expected and even encouraged.

It doesn't matter what the science says when what you believe is logically impossible. Science can't give you a square circle. It can give you a similiar equivocation ... but not an actual square circle.
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.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-13-2019, 07:09 AM)pocaracas Wrote: Yeah, legality and morality rely on the appearance of free will that we experience.

Or the belief in it.

But whether it's the belief in free will or the appearance of free will that morality and legality rely on ... in either case that doesn't get you the existence of free will.

But even then, that's assuming that holding people responsible even when you know they're not just because it's useful legally and morally counts as a form of 'free will'. Personally I don't think we have to pretend that people are responsible to have legality and morality ... we just have to treat them as if they're responsible. It may be a subtle distinction, but it's still a distinction. We don't have to pretend that it's real ... just that it's useful.
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.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-12-2019, 12:32 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(10-12-2019, 08:12 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(08-08-2019, 02:10 PM)Alan V Wrote: I agree that libertarian free will isn't correct. 

Then you should have voted "no" in this poll.

Quote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertaria...taphysics)

Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe and that agents have free will, and that, therefore, determinism is false.

Compatibilism is impossible only for reductionists. I am not a reductionist.

I never said compatibilism is impossible I said that Libertarianism is impossible and compatibilism is vacuous and analogous to naturalistic pantheism. You may be able to quote the difference but you clearly don't understand the distinction.

I'm not a reductionist either on matters of consciousness ... but it's irrelevant!
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.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-12-2019, 03:02 PM)DLJ Wrote:
(10-12-2019, 08:14 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(08-08-2019, 03:17 PM)DLJ Wrote: Then, I suppose, that must be the right answer.  

Winking

Then you're on the wrong thread because as outlined repeatedly ... this thread is about Libertarian Free Will and not compatibilist free will (which is so weaksauce that it's just analogous to labeling the universe as "God") ... re-read the OP!

When compatibilists can tell a hard incompatibilist that they're "compatibilist in all but name!" it isn't a point in favor of the compatibilist ... all it does is show how completely vacuous compatibilism is. It's akin to a pantheist saying to an atheist "You're a pantheist in all but name!". 'Failing' to call ordinary human willpower "free will" is no more of a failure than an atheist 'failing' to call the universe "God".

The real question has always been whether we have Libertarian Free Will or not ... and when logic always leads us to "no" it's not a solution to merely call the willpower we have "free" in a completely different sense. It's an equivocation at worst and completely vacuous and trivial at best. Exactly as it is when theists don't believe in a clear personal creator but they still want to go on using the word "God" anyway even though when you peel their beliefs apart their beliefs don't differ from atheists. They don't believe in God they just believe in belief because they have no clear belief in any sort of God at all.

And this is precisely the same problem ... if a compatibilist's claim to "belief" in "free will" is so empty that they believe the same things as a hard incompatibilist who denies free will altogether ... then the problem is with the compatibilist. And NOBODY SANE has ever denied compatibilist "free will" anyway! Almost nobody is a total fatalist. The problem is that there's no case for why compatibilism is worthy of the term "free will" any more than pantheists are worthy of the term "God." The question is not whether our fate is determined in spite of our actions, obviously, because the point is that our actions are also determined as well and part of our fate if determinism is true. Compatibilists 'respond' to the problem like theologians ... and I put the word 'respond' in scare quotes because they don't actually address the problem at all ... they side-step it altogether by merely redefining the terms so that according to them even the biggest free will skeptic in the world still "believes" in free will.

It's irritating that so many people are too dumb to recognize the simplest of logical errors but I'm dumb in other ways like social stuff. On the whole I may be smarter than the pure idiots but there are plenty of people who are smarter than me about other things but when it comes to pure logical reasoning it's still hard to not be irritated by their mistakes, lol, because they suck at that at least as much as I suck at the social stuff.

Yeah, sure, in the compatibilist sense of "free will" I'm a believer in free will because I believe that I have an ordinary human will power that is perfectly compatible with determinism ... but that's no different to the fact that in the naturalistic pantheist's sense of "God" 100% of atheists "aren't atheists" because they believe in the universe. Both responses are equally trivial and stupid. So you gotta be consistent. Either you go around insisting that atheism doesn't exist because everybody believes in the universe and "God" means "the universe" and you go around insisting that everybody believes in free will because everybody has some sort of will and "free will" just refers to that ...or you recognize that defining everybody's will as "free will" and defining the universe is "God" are both equally vacuous and pointless claims and it makes much more sense to claim that "There's no reason to refer to the universe as "God" until somebody has provided a sound argument that this so-called "God" refers to the existence of something over and above the mere fact that the universe exists." and "There's no reason to refer to the will as "free will" until somebody has provided a sound argument that this so-called "free will" refers to the existence of something over and above the mere fact that the will exists." That makes a lot more sense.

William James was right about compatibilism when he said that it's a "quagmire of evasion"... Immanuel Kant was also right about compatibilism when he said that it was "word jugglery" and "a wretched subterfuge."

And, don't forget that if no agent has control over the facts of the past then no agent has control over the consequences of those facts ... and that, therefore, any sense of "free will" that we have that is compatible with determinism is, indeed, utterly vacuous and trivial. It's not even worth mentioning unless you'd rather confuse than explain.

Why does this matter to you?

It seems (from the above) that the rightness or wrongness of a position/belief matters more than understanding what is really going on with this notion of free will.


This response was, honestly, like you didn't even read my post.
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.
Reply

Does free will exist?
The science is not "inconclusive". Saying the science is "inconclusive" when it is not is a lame attempt to invalidate it.
No current SPECIFIC science has ever been presented in this thread that supports free will. None.
Reply

Does free will exist?
Libertarian Free Will isn't just unsupported by science it's unsupportable. Compatibilism is only supportable because it doesn't make any claim other than that we're conscious thinking agents with intentions. Compatibilism just labels our will as free by saying that the freedoms that we do have are free will. But ultimately our will isn't free and the fact we can do stuff is irrelevant if our 'doing stuff' is compatible with us having zero options to do anything other than what we were predetermined do since the big bang. You can call that us having 'choices' until your face is blue ... it doesn't get any less silly.
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.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-13-2019, 02:01 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(10-12-2019, 03:02 PM)DLJ Wrote:
(10-12-2019, 08:14 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: Then you're on the wrong thread because as outlined repeatedly ... this thread is about Libertarian Free Will and not compatibilist free will (which is so weaksauce that it's just analogous to labeling the universe as "God") ... re-read the OP!

When compatibilists can tell a hard incompatibilist that they're "compatibilist in all but name!" it isn't a point in favor of the compatibilist ... all it does is show how completely vacuous compatibilism is. It's akin to a pantheist saying to an atheist "You're a pantheist in all but name!". 'Failing' to call ordinary human willpower "free will" is no more of a failure than an atheist 'failing' to call the universe "God".

The real question has always been whether we have Libertarian Free Will or not ... and when logic always leads us to "no" it's not a solution to merely call the willpower we have "free" in a completely different sense. It's an equivocation at worst and completely vacuous and trivial at best. Exactly as it is when theists don't believe in a clear personal creator but they still want to go on using the word "God" anyway even though when you peel their beliefs apart their beliefs don't differ from atheists. They don't believe in God they just believe in belief because they have no clear belief in any sort of God at all.

And this is precisely the same problem ... if a compatibilist's claim to "belief" in "free will" is so empty that they believe the same things as a hard incompatibilist who denies free will altogether ... then the problem is with the compatibilist. And NOBODY SANE has ever denied compatibilist "free will" anyway! Almost nobody is a total fatalist. The problem is that there's no case for why compatibilism is worthy of the term "free will" any more than pantheists are worthy of the term "God." The question is not whether our fate is determined in spite of our actions, obviously, because the point is that our actions are also determined as well and part of our fate if determinism is true. Compatibilists 'respond' to the problem like theologians ... and I put the word 'respond' in scare quotes because they don't actually address the problem at all ... they side-step it altogether by merely redefining the terms so that according to them even the biggest free will skeptic in the world still "believes" in free will.

It's irritating that so many people are too dumb to recognize the simplest of logical errors but I'm dumb in other ways like social stuff. On the whole I may be smarter than the pure idiots but there are plenty of people who are smarter than me about other things but when it comes to pure logical reasoning it's still hard to not be irritated by their mistakes, lol, because they suck at that at least as much as I suck at the social stuff.

Yeah, sure, in the compatibilist sense of "free will" I'm a believer in free will because I believe that I have an ordinary human will power that is perfectly compatible with determinism ... but that's no different to the fact that in the naturalistic pantheist's sense of "God" 100% of atheists "aren't atheists" because they believe in the universe. Both responses are equally trivial and stupid. So you gotta be consistent. Either you go around insisting that atheism doesn't exist because everybody believes in the universe and "God" means "the universe" and you go around insisting that everybody believes in free will because everybody has some sort of will and "free will" just refers to that ...or you recognize that defining everybody's will as "free will" and defining the universe is "God" are both equally vacuous and pointless claims and it makes much more sense to claim that "There's no reason to refer to the universe as "God" until somebody has provided a sound argument that this so-called "God" refers to the existence of something over and above the mere fact that the universe exists." and "There's no reason to refer to the will as "free will" until somebody has provided a sound argument that this so-called "free will" refers to the existence of something over and above the mere fact that the will exists." That makes a lot more sense.

William James was right about compatibilism when he said that it's a "quagmire of evasion"... Immanuel Kant was also right about compatibilism when he said that it was "word jugglery" and "a wretched subterfuge."

And, don't forget that if no agent has control over the facts of the past then no agent has control over the consequences of those facts ... and that, therefore, any sense of "free will" that we have that is compatible with determinism is, indeed, utterly vacuous and trivial. It's not even worth mentioning unless you'd rather confuse than explain.

Why does this matter to you?

It seems (from the above) that the rightness or wrongness of a position/belief matters more than understanding what is really going on with this notion of free will.


This response was, honestly, like you didn't even read my post.

You are right.  I scanned it but it seemed like you were writing it for someone else as it didn't really apply to me.  

I figured it was part catharsis to let out your "disgust" and/or irritation with "so many people" who "are too dumb".

... which made me wonder why it mattered to you.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-13-2019, 01:16 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: "The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate" isn't compatibilism and "the ability to act at one's own discretion" is unclear. In what sense? In a sense that is compatible with determinism or in a sense that isn't? 

As for "free will means making consciously reasoned decisions without undue forces determining those decisions." we once again get vagueness with "undue forces".

You suggest that "necessity or fate would be considered undue forces" but once again many people see a 100% predetermined future as synonymous with necessity and fate ... and you seem to see it as synonymous as well (hence why you talk of "the determinist" as if they're necessarily opposed to free will).

If it's synonymous then that, once again, isn't compatibilism. The ONLY "free will" that is reasonable is the kind that is perfectly compatible with a 100% predetermined future where at any exact moment when we act we could have done nothing else other than what we in fact did. The '"free will" that is compatible with that is the kind where you merely outline the difference between an intentional act and an unintentional act and a constrained act (a gun to your head when made to do something, for example) and an unconstrained act (when you're 'free to do what you want' (even when what you want to do is 100% predetermined and therefore ultimately 100% beyond your control)).

So, once again, you give mixed answers. If you think determinism is a problem, then the free will you believe in is absurd. If you think determinism isn't a problem, then the free will you believe in is perfectly compatible with you being unable to do anything other than whatever you, in fact, do even when whatever you in fact 'do' is 100% predetermined from before you were even born.

Compatibilism merely labels the illusion of choice as real choice and Libertarianism claims that our freedom is something utterly impossible. You aren't clear about which position you hold and you appear to switch between the two.

It's something else that's annoying about compatibilists ... as many of them appear to equivocate without realizing it. One minute they suggest that their version of free will is 100% compatible with determinism and the next minute they make claims to freedom that seem to go far beyond anything compatibilism is actually capable of. They do a similar annoying thing when they respond to a non-believer in free will as if they're denying even the compatibilist version of free will when they don't deny the substance they just reject the terminology because of how misleading and vacuous it is. It's as silly as if a pantheist tells an atheist that they don't believe the universe exists because they don't believe in God and they define God as the universe.

Here is the beginning of the Wikipedia entry.  I hope this clears up these distinctions for you.

Quote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.

Free will is closely linked to the concepts of moral responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgments which apply only to actions that are freely chosen. It is also connected with the concepts of advice, persuasion, deliberation, and prohibition. Traditionally, only actions that are freely willed are seen as deserving credit or blame. There are numerous different concerns about threats to the possibility of free will, varying by how exactly it is conceived, which is a matter of some debate.

Some conceive free will to be the capacity to make choices in which the outcome has not been determined by past events. Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible, which is inconsistent with the existence of free will thus conceived. Ancient Greek philosophy identified this issue, which remains a major focus of philosophical debate. The view that conceives free will as incompatible with determinism is called incompatibilism and encompasses both metaphysical libertarianism (the claim that determinism is false and thus free will is at least possible) and hard determinism (the claim that determinism is true and thus free will is not possible). Incompatibilism also encompasses hard incompatibilism, which holds not only determinism but also its negation to be incompatible with free will and thus free will to be impossible whatever the case may be regarding determinism.

In contrast, compatibilists hold that free will is compatible with determinism. Some compatibilists even hold that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, requiring a sense of how choices will turn out. Compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarians and hard determinists over free will vs determinism a false dilemma. Different compatibilists offer very different definitions of what "free will" even means and consequently find different types of constraints to be relevant to the issue. Classical compatibilists considered free will nothing more than freedom of action, considering one free of will simply if, had one counterfactually wanted to do otherwise, one could have done otherwise without physical impediment. Contemporary compatibilists instead identify free will as a psychological capacity, such as to direct one's behavior in a way responsive to reason, and there are still further different conceptions of free will, each with their own concerns, sharing only the common feature of not finding the possibility of determinism a threat to the possibility of free will.
Reply

Does free will exist?
Something I considered a while ago that kind of fucked my brain was some of the experiments that have been done on the subject of "free will" vs how the brain tends to do things.

There was an experiment done where people were told to check out a clock and press a button and then enter in when they had the urge to make a decision. What they found was that even though the person would put down "this is when i had the urge to make decision xyz", they found the brain had already began to prepare seconds before something actually happened.

There's been a few other experiments of this nature that were similar, where they had a way to say, "make a decision about x, and make sure we record y." And every time, they found that the brain has began preparation for something before we actually make the decision, sometimes anywhere from 2-10 seconds prior, which is crazy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4887467/

There's some information that seems to conflict between varying results with different experiments, but it certainly makes me think, "Just how much choice do I have in something where I think I have a choice in something? If I feel like I've made a choice, but my brain has already prepared my neurons ahead of time for that decision, am I really just more likely to do one thing than another? And then think I made it consciously?"

The following 1 user Likes Logisch's post:
  • Dom
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-30-2019, 06:52 AM)Logisch Wrote: Something I considered a while ago that kind of fucked my brain was some of the experiments that have been done on the subject of "free will" vs how the brain tends to do things.  

There was an experiment done where people were told to check out a clock and press a button and then enter in when they had the urge to make a decision.  What they found was that even though the person would put down "this is when i had the urge to make decision xyz", they found the brain had already began to prepare seconds before something actually happened.

See my post #347 on page 14 for a review of a book by philosopher Alfred Mele addressing free will.  Here is the relevant part:

The neuroscientific studies most often cited to support the idea that all decisions are unconscious are the experiments of Benjamin Libet, Chun Siong Soon, and other similar work.  In such experiments, scientists recorded the readiness potential for certain decisions as happening a split second or sometimes several seconds before the subjects’ conscious awareness that any decision had been made, and could predict with 60% to 80% accuracy, depending on the study, what the decision would be just on the basis of the potential.  (However, Libet did believe that once we become aware, we have a split second to veto our decision.  As someone put it, “Libet believed that although we don’t have free will, we do have free won’t.”)

Do these studies prove free will doesn’t exist?  No they don’t, for several reasons:
1) Why should we think that a decision was made when the EEG rise began rather than a short time later, especially if no decision has yet been physically made?  This rise may show a bias toward making a certain decision rather than a final decision, and biases don’t rule out free will.  Acting on urges is separate from the urges themselves because we don’t act on all our urges.  In other words, the real decision could have been exactly when reported.
2) Libet and others have suggested we can generalize such findings to all varieties of decision-making, but it’s a huge leap to such a generalized conclusion.  The experiments cited specifically gave directions to flex a wrist or push a button without consciously thinking about when to do it, to be spontaneous. This can’t by design tell you that all your decisions are made unconsciously.   “If we want to know whether conscious reasoning ever plays a role in producing decisions, we shouldn’t restrict our attention to situations in which people are instructed not to think about what to do.”  There’s no reason for conscious reasoning about which moment to pick, since there’s no particular reason to pick one over another.  When we do reason consciously, it’s a lot less arbitrary.  So the experimental conditions were not similar to situations in which consciousness is involved.
3) More philosophically, there’s a question of what is consciousness.  Consciousness and self-consciousness about consciousness may be two separate things.  We can’t clearly say that the EEG rise was unconscious.  Self-consciousness may simply be slower.
The following 1 user Likes Alan V's post:
  • mordant
Reply

Does free will exist?
I need to go read this. Good discussion.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(11-03-2018, 10:33 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: By free will I mean the ability to be the ultimate cause of our actions.

So, are you the ultimate cause of your actions?

I don't mean the ability to do what we want to do. We all do what we want to do. The question is though, if what we desire determines our actions... do we, ultimately, determine our desires? Or are they ultimately determined by something else? Or are they not determined by anything?


This is a discussion on whether free will of the ultimate kind exists... for a discussion of the experience of free will please go here: http://atheistdiscussion.org/forums/show...p?tid=1761

Evie--While I did not read every one of your posts, your argument in your footer as well as Galen Strawson's longer argument you posted seems to be question-begging.

You have assumed your conclusion by defining what is making a decision as "your nature". You have defined "your nature" as the sum of your experiences coupled with your wiring. Therefore you have an assumed premise:

1' Mind/Body Dualism is not true.

If mind/body dualism is not true, then I would agree with your conclusion.

However, I don't think you can show that Mind/Body Dualism is false. At best you have an IF...THEN argument. You definitely don't have a basis for saying Libertarian Free will is "unsupportable".
The following 1 user Likes SteveII's post:
  • Mark
Reply

Does free will exist?
(10-30-2019, 10:42 AM)Alan V Wrote: The neuroscientific studies most often cited to support the idea that all decisions are unconscious are the experiments of Benjamin Libet, Chun Siong Soon, and other similar work. 

Not any longer.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-20-2019, 04:57 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(10-30-2019, 10:42 AM)Alan V Wrote: The neuroscientific studies most often cited to support the idea that all decisions are unconscious are the experiments of Benjamin Libet, Chun Siong Soon, and other similar work. 

Not any longer.

Would you care to elaborate?
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-20-2019, 05:13 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-20-2019, 04:57 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(10-30-2019, 10:42 AM)Alan V Wrote: The neuroscientific studies most often cited to support the idea that all decisions are unconscious are the experiments of Benjamin Libet, Chun Siong Soon, and other similar work. 

Not any longer.

Would you care to elaborate?

No I wouldn't waste my time. IN THIS THREAD I have multiple times and multiple places provided all kinds of CURRENT links to far more recent studies and journal articles which prove that what you are saying is false. I have no intention of wasting my time doing it again.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-20-2019, 05:23 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(12-20-2019, 05:13 PM)Alan V Wrote: Would you care to elaborate?

No I wouldn't waste my time. IN THIS THREAD I have multiple times and multiple places provided all kinds of CURRENT links to far more recent studies and journal articles which prove that what you are saying is false. I have no intention of wasting my time doing it again.

I believe the quote you mined was from a summary of someone else's thoughts, and was factually correct as a report.  Plus I added "and other similar work," which is general enough to include whatever you referenced.  Nor is my disagreement with your preferred conclusions necessarily a sign that I am not well-informed.  There are all sorts of expert opinions in this area of thought, even if you only prefer some of them. I may have read important works which you have not, since it is impossible for everyone to read everything.

So you are just looking for gotchas.
Reply

Does free will exist?
All the decisions we make will always be selfish. It is impossible for any of us to perform an unselfish act with every action we take. In that sense, it would appear that we have no choice but to act in our own best interests, thereby the appearance of no free will.

But we can always choose what action we will take. We can choose whether or not we want to increase our pleasure or reduce our pain. For example, if you have $50 and you want a steak dinner, but your daughter needs diapers, you sacrifice your pleasure of having a steak dinner so that your wife doesn't beat the shit out of you for not getting diapers.

We can choose between pleasure and pain. The ability to make that choice is the apex of free will.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 03:20 AM)Free Wrote: All the decisions we make will always be selfish. It is impossible for any of us to perform an unselfish act with every action we take. In that sense, it would appear that we have no choice but to act in our own best interests, thereby the appearance of no free will.

But we can always choose what action we will take. We can choose whether or not we want to increase our pleasure or reduce our pain. For example, if you have $50 and you want a steak dinner, but your daughter needs diapers, you sacrifice your pleasure of having a steak dinner so that your wife doesn't beat the shit out of you for not getting diapers.

We can choose between pleasure and pain. The ability to make that choice is the apex of free will.

First of all, how do you define this self which is supposed to be selfish?  If we behave by our genes, are they our self?  Or if we sacrifice ourselves to our genes, are we then determined by what is outside of our self-control regardless of the pleasures or pains involved?

Second, what if all of our choices are likely to yield similar pleasures or pains in our cost-benefit analysis?  We don't just stand there, unable to make choices.  We might even flip a coin.

Third, what about the unknowns, which we fill in with our imaginings or best estimates?  Those are highly variable and subject to doubts.  People observably choose painful or unpleasant situations all the time because of unknowns.

It seems to me that enjoying pleasures or avoiding pains are like eating.  They are essential, but comprise only a portion of our time every day.  After that, we are free to do what we want.
The following 1 user Likes Alan V's post:
  • Mark
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 03:31 AM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-21-2019, 03:20 AM)Free Wrote: All the decisions we make will always be selfish. It is impossible for any of us to perform an unselfish act with every action we take. In that sense, it would appear that we have no choice but to act in our own best interests, thereby the appearance of no free will.

But we can always choose what action we will take. We can choose whether or not we want to increase our pleasure or reduce our pain. For example, if you have $50 and you want a steak dinner, but your daughter needs diapers, you sacrifice your pleasure of having a steak dinner so that your wife doesn't beat the shit out of you for not getting diapers.

We can choose between pleasure and pain. The ability to make that choice is the apex of free will.

First of all, how do you define this self which is supposed to be selfish?  If we behave by our genes, are they our self?  Or if we sacrifice ourselves to our genes, are we then determined by what is outside of our self-control regardless of the pleasures or pains involved?

Second, what if all of our choices are likely to yield similar pleasures or pains in our cost-benefit analysis?  We don't just stand there, unable to make choices.  We might even flip a coin.

Third, what about the unknowns, which we fill in with our imaginings or best estimates?  Those are highly variable and subject to doubts.  People observably choose painful or unpleasant situations all the time because of unknowns.

It seems to me that enjoying pleasures or avoiding pains are like eating.  They are essential, but comprise only a portion of our time every day.  After that, we are free to do what we want.

1. By "self," I refer to our entire physical being. Everything from our genetics to the hair on our heads influences our entire being to varying degrees, as well as the environment around us.

2. Even if we flip a coin we've made a choice to accept the outcome either way. If it's heads or tails, you are already predisposed to accept the outcome.

3. The unknowns, although possible, are merely speculative at this point as to precisely what they are or do. It's a safe assumption to acknowledge their existence, however, and it's precisely why Bucky's position is viewed as inconclusive.

4. If you try to name one thing we do that cannot be labeled with appeasing pleasure or pain you might find it a daunting task.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 05:26 AM)Free Wrote: 4. If you try to name one thing we do that cannot be labeled with appeasing pleasure or pain you might find it a daunting task.

I can't speak for everyone.  Perhaps most people are just as you say.  But for myself, I'm presently reading a book which is perhaps the most difficult I have read in my life.  It's not a pleasant experience, but I'm muscling through to try to better understand a certain contentious subject.  I don't expect any particular reward for doing so.  In fact, when I present my summary in discussion, I expect most people will either disagree or ignore what I wrote as too difficult.  And I couldn't blame them, since the subject is open to various interpretations.

Nevertheless I certain do lots of things strictly to enjoy pleasures or avoid pains.  These days, I love eating out at Miller's, listening to McCartney's Egypt Station, watching streaming shows with my wife in the evenings, and drinking egg nogs in small portions.  I also constantly shift my weight to stay comfortable, nap whenever I'm tired, drive safely, watch my diet, and so on.  

No one denies we do things guided by pleasures and pains.  It's just that we can find pleasures and avoid pains in many different kinds of activities, so they can't be our only or even our ultimate criteria.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 10:55 AM)Alan V Wrote: It's just that we can find pleasures and avoid pains in many different kinds of activities, so they can't be our only or even our ultimate criteria.

Perhaps not, but with what we currently know, they appear to be involved in every last thing we do.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
The following 1 user Likes Free's post:
  • Alan V
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 10:55 AM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-21-2019, 05:26 AM)Free Wrote: 4. If you try to name one thing we do that cannot be labeled with appeasing pleasure or pain you might find it a daunting task.

I can't speak for everyone.  Perhaps most people are just as you say.  But for myself, I'm presently reading a book which is perhaps the most difficult I have read in my life.  It's not a pleasant experience, but I'm muscling through to try to better understand a certain contentious subject.


Oh gawd, I hope it isn't Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology.  As curious as I am to get your take on it, I haven't been reading the copy I sent away for anymore than I have the Wittgenstein book.  I'm afraid it was one of those which made an impression back when I was more impressionable but which no longer speaks to me.  The only non-fiction, philosophy/psychology book I'm reading now is McGilchrist's The Master and the Emissary.  But event that goes days between getting picked up again as I continue to glutton out on novels.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
The following 1 user Likes Mark's post:
  • Alan V
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-20-2019, 07:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(12-20-2019, 05:23 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(12-20-2019, 05:13 PM)Alan V Wrote: Would you care to elaborate?

No I wouldn't waste my time. IN THIS THREAD I have multiple times and multiple places provided all kinds of CURRENT links to far more recent studies and journal articles which prove that what you are saying is false. I have no intention of wasting my time doing it again.

I believe the quote you mined was from a summary of someone else's thoughts, and was factually correct as a report.  Plus I added "and other similar work," which is general enough to include whatever you referenced.  Nor is my disagreement with your preferred conclusions necessarily a sign that I am not well-informed.  There are all sorts of expert opinions in this area of thought, even if you only prefer some of them.  I may have read important works which you have not, since it is impossible for everyone to read everything.

So you are just looking for gotchas.

You have no clue what my motivations are, and by asserting (projecting) what YOU assume them to be is what is telling here. 
My position both here at at TTA was well established. I don't need gotchas. Your disrespectful attitude tells me more about you them anything else ... which is surprising, as in general you are one of the smartest and respected poster here. 

The consensus of ALL the most recent studies is that around 95 % of the decision making process is subconscious and unconscious .. therefore to apply the phrase "free will" to that process is meaningless and misleading. Originally the phrase was used in Ethics and Moral Theology. The assumptions in both were that ALL the major elements going into a decision were (or could be) fully in consciousness. That is known to be untrue today. The theology is debunked, modern Ethics has nothing to say about matter, and science knows it is false. The use of the phrase is meaningless and false. 

I am not going to re-post ALL the MANY studies I posted in this thread. Anyone who is actually seriously interested in the decision making process and what Neuroscience today knows about it, can find them here and all over Neuroscience sites.
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 05:36 PM)Mark Wrote:
(12-21-2019, 10:55 AM)Alan V Wrote: I can't speak for everyone.  Perhaps most people are just as you say.  But for myself, I'm presently reading a book which is perhaps the most difficult I have read in my life.  It's not a pleasant experience, but I'm muscling through to try to better understand a certain contentious subject.

Oh gawd, I hope it isn't Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology.  As curious as I am to get your take on it, I haven't been reading the copy I sent away for anymore than I have the Wittgenstein book.  I'm afraid it was one of those which made an impression back when I was more impressionable but which no longer speaks to me.  The only non-fiction, philosophy/psychology book I'm reading now is McGilchrist's The Master and the Emissary.  But event that goes days between getting picked up again as I continue to glutton out on novels.

No, the book I'm presently reading is Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy by Carl Gillett. It was most likely written for other philosophers, or at least for graduate-level students. It's so jargon-heavy and abstruse that I'm having to read certain sections over again to understand even a portion of the arguments. It's like reading another language. Thank goodness for the glossary, but it really should have been placed at the beginning of the work.

Anyway, I hope to have a summary of the points I actually understood from the book posted in the Consciousness discussion soon, perhaps by Sunday.

I believe the book you recommended became one of my Christmas gifts. hobo
The following 1 user Likes Alan V's post:
  • Mark
Reply

Does free will exist?
(12-21-2019, 05:38 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: You have no clue what my motivations are, and by asserting (projecting) what YOU assume them to be is what is telling here. 

I have no doubt at all you think you are correct.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)