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Are we free?

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Well, I think it's yes and no. At one point we freely made our choices in life, but I have a vague belief that we're in a constant state of reliving our lives immediately before death. Like how some people say that before you die, you entire life flashes before you eyes, and that's what I imagine what we're experiencing. We'd only make free choices the first experience through life, and then every other time is just a recorded event.

 

...You know, I could make a pretty cool movie or book out of this.


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It doesn't require a study. Look at the world around you.

 

Say you are in a full bus/train, and there are seats for elderly, which are occupied. An elderly person walks onto the bus/train. If no one chooses to get up, it shows that their personality is selfish, they don't care about others. They made the decision to remain seated in the reserved seats for elderly, fully aware that they were for them and they should really offer their set to them.

It's that simple.

 

Not at all - people don't notice, people's personalities make them afraid to do something noticeable, people reason that the person doesn't really need a seat...far more complex than just saying selfish or otherwise.

 

You got me there on the simple part, was slightly ignorant of me to say that. You're right, though. I was more just giving an example of an extreme case, basic scenario.


My relaxation method involves a bottle of lotion, beautiful women, and partial nudity. Yes I get massages.

 

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What I'll say was probably said in one way or another, but I wanted to give a little input as well.

 

Basically my thought is that we have the ability to use free will, but no one does use it. Almost every second of your life is a choice to do things, and a lot of them are things you wouldn't choose if you could somehow keep going normally. For example: Do I want to get up and make myself food? No, but do I need to get up and make myself food? Yes. It's easy enough to have free will, but it's next to impossible to be able to live with it. As said before, if everyone did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it would be anarchy.

 

The way we live is all just a series of compromises for what will benefit us best in the long run. I believe that in general people do things for themselves (not always true of course), so if given a choice between giving and receiving $10 they would rather receive. Where I'm going with that is why we have government and social order, it may leave some people unsatisfied, but it gives most people enough for them to be willing to continue contributing to it. My point here is not that, though, it's that we can never make a truly free decision because there's other things to take into consideration because stealing $1,000,000 is only so good until you're arrested.

 

Sorry if I wasn't very clear, I tend to ramble a lot when thinking about things like this. TL;DR would be that there's no way to truly use free will, I think.


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Determinism is unfalsifiable (which is not to say it is true; both God's inexistence and existence are unfalsifiable for example) because of the argument the OP presented. There are two practical questions which arise from this problem as I see it:

a) Does it make sense to make a choice if our actions are determined?

b) Does it make sense judge actions if they are determined?

 

Time is the important variable here: a) questions the notion of choice (before the act) whereas b) questions the notion of responsibility (after the act).

 

I think there issuch a thing as subjective freedom (freedom before the act), but objectively (i.e. notwithstanding the notion of time) there is little difference between toppling dominoes and humans, or at least it's a very reasonable hypothesis: since we can't prove indeterminism, we can't judge an action a posteriori (couldn't have happened any other way, might as well judge an earthquake or a storm...). he The existence of subjective indeterminism, however, means it's perfectly reasonable to choose a priori--in the same way an eye can't be in its own field of vision, a machine/brain can't take its own functioning into account when calculating its next step.

Fatalism is the opposite of determinism. Determinism states "if x, then y and if not-x, then not-y"; fatalism states that "y no matter x", where x and y are events. If a brick is falling from a balcony, determinism states that stepping away will avoid injury whereas fatalism states that the brick falls on you no matter where you are.

@ those saying free will results in anarchy: free will is the ability to determine oneself to do something. Total absence of constraints is what would result in anarchy (or rather anomy). Free will is the premise to law, responsibility and morality. Freedom is not the antithesis of laws, either.


Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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Determinism is unfalsifiable (which is not to say it is true; both God's inexistence and existence are unfalsifiable for example) because of the argument the OP presented. There are two practical questions which arise from this problem as I see it:

a) Does it make sense to make a choice if our actions are determined?

b) Does it make sense judge actions if they are determined?

 

Time is the important variable here: a) questions the notion of choice (before the act) whereas b) questions the notion of responsibility (after the act).

 

I think there issuch a thing as subjective freedom (freedom before the act), but objectively (i.e. notwithstanding the notion of time) there is little difference between toppling dominoes and humans, or at least it's a very reasonable hypothesis: since we can't prove indeterminism, we can't judge an action a posteriori (couldn't have happened any other way, might as well judge an earthquake or a storm...). he The existence of subjective indeterminism, however, means it's perfectly reasonable to choose a priori--in the same way an eye can't be in its own field of vision, a machine/brain can't take it's own functioning into account when calculating its next step.

Fatalism is the opposite of determinism. Determinism states "if x, then y and if not-x, then not-y"; fatalism states that "y no matter x", where x and y are events. If a brick is falling from a balcony, determinism states that stepping away will avoid injury whereas fatalism states that the brick falls on you no matter where you are.

@ those saying free will results in anarchy: free will is the ability to determine oneself to do something. Total absence of constraints is what would result in anarchy (or rather anomy). Free will is the premise to law, responsibility and morality. Freedom is not the antithesis of laws, either.

 

Regarding a) I would say so, because if you say "why even bother, I'm determined anyway" is to let the thought of determinism determine you. It will make you apathetic. In any way, I think that for yourself, you have to act as if you have free choice regardless of determinism being true or not. If you don't do that, your life would most likely get pretty miserable.

 

 

Regarding b) it's one of the reasons I am against a vengeance-based justice system. I believe in punishment to send a message and to uphold the law, not to punish the individual who did something wrong.

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uh one way humanity is not free is that we're kinda stuck to earth .. by gravity .. and it's proved to be really, really hard for us to get off this planet.

 

i guess it might not seem like such a bad thing to be trapped here if this was a friendly place and everywhere else was unfriendly, dark and cold, but modern thinking says that's not how it is everywhere else and that some places away from earth would probably be pretty cool.

 

==

 

also, personally i'm not free in the sense that i have to work some job for years and years to get money to buy me food and shelter. at the very least that is where the very fast current of the river certainly takes me if i don't resists.

 

society would be freer if food/shelter/internet were essentially guaranteed (though maybe you'd have to a work for a week or two through a government program to help build a house - but that's not so bad).

 

sorry i didn't read this whole thread.

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Determinism is unfalsifiable (which is not to say it is true; both God's inexistence and existence are unfalsifiable for example) because of the argument the OP presented. There are two practical questions which arise from this problem as I see it:

a) Does it make sense to make a choice if our actions are determined?

b) Does it make sense judge actions if they are determined?

 

Time is the important variable here: a) questions the notion of choice (before the act) whereas b) questions the notion of responsibility (after the act).

 

I think there issuch a thing as subjective freedom (freedom before the act), but objectively (i.e. notwithstanding the notion of time) there is little difference between toppling dominoes and humans, or at least it's a very reasonable hypothesis: since we can't prove indeterminism, we can't judge an action a posteriori (couldn't have happened any other way, might as well judge an earthquake or a storm...). he The existence of subjective indeterminism, however, means it's perfectly reasonable to choose a priori--in the same way an eye can't be in its own field of vision, a machine/brain can't take it's own functioning into account when calculating its next step.

Fatalism is the opposite of determinism. Determinism states "if x, then y and if not-x, then not-y"; fatalism states that "y no matter x", where x and y are events. If a brick is falling from a balcony, determinism states that stepping away will avoid injury whereas fatalism states that the brick falls on you no matter where you are.

@ those saying free will results in anarchy: free will is the ability to determine oneself to do something. Total absence of constraints is what would result in anarchy (or rather anomy). Free will is the premise to law, responsibility and morality. Freedom is not the antithesis of laws, either.

 

Regarding a) I would say so, because if you say "why even bother, I'm determined anyway" is to let the thought of determinism determine you. It will make you apathetic. In any way, I think that for yourself, you have to act as if you have free choice regardless of determinism being true or not. If you don't do that, your life would most likely get pretty miserable.

 

 

Regarding b) it's one of the reasons I am against a vengeance-based justice system. I believe in punishment to send a message and to uphold the law, not to punish the individual who did something wrong.

I don't understand what you mean by a vengeance-based justice system? Isn't the job of the law to punish those who have done wrong in an attempt to prevent not only them doing it again, but to deter others from doing the same thing?

I believe that if exceptions were to be made then it'd almost encourage people to commit a crime because there's the chance that they wouldn't be punished if they could justify how hard their lives are. I don't really think the origin of why someone chose to do something is important, unless it's something like, I punched my neighbor because he killed my cat, like the person is trying to introduce their own type of revenge based justice. But if someone was beaten by their parents and they decide to let lose on a primary school when they're 59 I don't really think their childhood should affect how they're sentenced. Sure it may be responsible but his parents are probably dead and the criminal should be used as an example to stop both him and others from beating little children to death.


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Psychology has some interesting research relating to the topic. One thing that is very interesting is that certain parts of your brain make up stories to fit with your actions, even if that story is not the actual reason for your action. This might be hard to understand, but let me explain in terms of an experiment. This study looked at split brain patients, that is, people whose corpus callosum (the part of the brain connecting the two halves) has been severed. This makes it so that the two halves of the brain can not easily communicate with each other. It sets up a situation where, quite literally, the right hand cannot know what the left hand is doing. So, if you show the right eye a picture of a house with leaves on the ground and the left eye a picture of a snow-covered driveway and ask the left hand to pick out a tool to help for the situation it sees from a rake, a shovel, or a pair of shears, the left hand will pick the shovel. But, if you ask the person why they picked the shovel, they will say it is for shoveling up all the leaves, because the right brain (the side that controls the left side of the body) is unable to communicate to the left brain (which houses the majority of the speech centers, as well as the "interpreter" (The section of the brain that makes the story)) that it picked the shovel for shoveling snow, not leaves. But the brain makes sense of it.

 

The point is, our brain is able to make a story to explain why we do things, even if that is not the real reason. This would seem to undermine conceptions of free will due to our inability to trust the conclusion that we did something of our own free will.

 

...I hope that makes sense. If you want to know more about this sort of psychology research, I suggest looking into the works of Michael Gazzaniga.

 

Also, another thing that psychology has found is that it may be unlikely that we have free will, but it is possible we have "free won't," a last second executive function that can overrule an action planned by our bodies.

 

But, if you get right down to the heart of it, I think free will can only exist if you believe in some form of dualism, because otherwise science and chance (and even chance is not random, just nearly infinite possibilities, one of which was always going to occur because of the position of atoms at that moment) explain it all.


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Determinism is unfalsifiable (which is not to say it is true; both God's inexistence and existence are unfalsifiable for example) because of the argument the OP presented. There are two practical questions which arise from this problem as I see it:

a) Does it make sense to make a choice if our actions are determined?

b) Does it make sense judge actions if they are determined?

 

Time is the important variable here: a) questions the notion of choice (before the act) whereas b) questions the notion of responsibility (after the act).

 

I think there issuch a thing as subjective freedom (freedom before the act), but objectively (i.e. notwithstanding the notion of time) there is little difference between toppling dominoes and humans, or at least it's a very reasonable hypothesis: since we can't prove indeterminism, we can't judge an action a posteriori (couldn't have happened any other way, might as well judge an earthquake or a storm...). he The existence of subjective indeterminism, however, means it's perfectly reasonable to choose a priori--in the same way an eye can't be in its own field of vision, a machine/brain can't take it's own functioning into account when calculating its next step.

Fatalism is the opposite of determinism. Determinism states "if x, then y and if not-x, then not-y"; fatalism states that "y no matter x", where x and y are events. If a brick is falling from a balcony, determinism states that stepping away will avoid injury whereas fatalism states that the brick falls on you no matter where you are.

@ those saying free will results in anarchy: free will is the ability to determine oneself to do something. Total absence of constraints is what would result in anarchy (or rather anomy). Free will is the premise to law, responsibility and morality. Freedom is not the antithesis of laws, either.

 

Regarding a) I would say so, because if you say "why even bother, I'm determined anyway" is to let the thought of determinism determine you. It will make you apathetic. In any way, I think that for yourself, you have to act as if you have free choice regardless of determinism being true or not. If you don't do that, your life would most likely get pretty miserable.

 

 

Regarding b) it's one of the reasons I am against a vengeance-based justice system. I believe in punishment to send a message and to uphold the law, not to punish the individual who did something wrong.

I don't understand what you mean by a vengeance-based justice system? Isn't the job of the law to punish those who have done wrong in an attempt to prevent not only them doing it again, but to deter others from doing the same thing?

I believe that if exceptions were to be made then it'd almost encourage people to commit a crime because there's the chance that they wouldn't be punished if they could justify how hard their lives are. I don't really think the origin of why someone chose to do something is important, unless it's something like, I punched my neighbor because he killed my cat, like the person is trying to introduce their own type of revenge based justice. But if someone was beaten by their parents and they decide to let lose on a primary school when they're 59 I don't really think their childhood should affect how they're sentenced. Sure it may be responsible but his parents are probably dead and the criminal should be used as an example to stop both him and others from beating little children to death.

 

There are two concepts of why to punish a criminal:

 

The first is as deterrent, both for the criminal himself and for the general public. If you get punished for certain actions, less people will do it.

 

The other concept is vengeance, aka punishing the criminal for what he's done. You can usually see extreme cases of this when you go to the comment section of an article about someone molesting a child or murdering someone. Usually there will be loads of people who clamor for making the criminal's life as miserable as possible (Or to execute him right away). That's something I don't believe in.

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Psychology has some interesting research relating to the topic. One thing that is very interesting is that certain parts of your brain make up stories to fit with your actions, even if that story is not the actual reason for your action. This might be hard to understand, but let me explain in terms of an experiment. This study looked at split brain patients, that is, people whose corpus callosum (the part of the brain connecting the two halves) has been severed. This makes it so that the two halves of the brain can not easily communicate with each other. It sets up a situation where, quite literally, the right hand cannot know what the left hand is doing. So, if you show the right eye a picture of a house with leaves on the ground and the left eye a picture of a snow-covered driveway and ask the left hand to pick out a tool to help for the situation it sees from a rake, a shovel, or a pair of shears, the left hand will pick the shovel. But, if you ask the person why they picked the shovel, they will say it is for shoveling up all the leaves, because the right brain (the side that controls the left side of the body) is unable to communicate to the left brain (which houses the majority of the speech centers, as well as the "interpreter" (The section of the brain that makes the story)) that it picked the shovel for shoveling snow, not leaves. But the brain makes sense of it.

 

The point is, our brain is able to make a story to explain why we do things, even if that is not the real reason. This would seem to undermine conceptions of free will due to our inability to trust the conclusion that we did something of our own free will.

 

...I hope that makes sense. If you want to know more about this sort of psychology research, I suggest looking into the works of Michael Gazzaniga.

Is this the same idea as rationalization?


Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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Psychology has some interesting research relating to the topic. One thing that is very interesting is that certain parts of your brain make up stories to fit with your actions, even if that story is not the actual reason for your action. This might be hard to understand, but let me explain in terms of an experiment. This study looked at split brain patients, that is, people whose corpus callosum (the part of the brain connecting the two halves) has been severed. This makes it so that the two halves of the brain can not easily communicate with each other. It sets up a situation where, quite literally, the right hand cannot know what the left hand is doing. So, if you show the right eye a picture of a house with leaves on the ground and the left eye a picture of a snow-covered driveway and ask the left hand to pick out a tool to help for the situation it sees from a rake, a shovel, or a pair of shears, the left hand will pick the shovel. But, if you ask the person why they picked the shovel, they will say it is for shoveling up all the leaves, because the right brain (the side that controls the left side of the body) is unable to communicate to the left brain (which houses the majority of the speech centers, as well as the "interpreter" (The section of the brain that makes the story)) that it picked the shovel for shoveling snow, not leaves. But the brain makes sense of it.

 

The point is, our brain is able to make a story to explain why we do things, even if that is not the real reason. This would seem to undermine conceptions of free will due to our inability to trust the conclusion that we did something of our own free will.

 

...I hope that makes sense. If you want to know more about this sort of psychology research, I suggest looking into the works of Michael Gazzaniga.

Is this the same idea as rationalization?

From my very basic understanding of rationalization, it is, only for everything rather than behaviors that could be seen as contrary to our sense of self. Essentially, every person has a "story teller" inside their head that takes the body's actions and comes up with a story/reason that fits all of them together in a logical manner.

 

Also, its not exactly rationalization. What I'm talking about comes from a neuroscience perspective. Rationalization comes from psychoanalysis.


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