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Old 03-09-2011, 10:47 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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"One thing I think we can agree on is that we are ultimately driven by our desires. We will always, no matter what make choices according to our strongest desires, but our choices will not always reflect our intentions. This does not suggest that we have freewill, it merely suggests that we are imperfect creatures and prone to make mistakes. A mistake is not a freewill choice. A mistake is simply a desired and intended choice gone wrong"
Is desire involved in our reflexively pulling our hand away from something hot we intended to grab?

I would say this action is not driven by desire.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:30 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by seattlegal View Post
Is desire involved in our reflexively pulling our hand away from something hot we intended to grab?

I would say this action is not driven by desire.
This is an instinctual and reflexive action, but the underlying desire could very well be to avoid getting burned. Our thoughts process could possibly move quicker than we can consciously keep up, so even if you fail to recognize your desire initially, the desire to avoid getting burned could very well be the underlying factor for the reflexive removal of your hand. This would of course become more evident the longer that hot something remained in your grasp.

Even if this is not the case, our reflexive actions are not necessarily a product of choice, but of instinctual necessity, so in reality this scenario has nothing to do with the freedom to choose. You admittedly suggested that no conscious choice is made in such a scenario, so this example is pretty much moot when it comes to the issue of freewill.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:39 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

OK, now we come to the point where we have to distinguish between "desire" and "intention." Desire means "want, craving." Intention means "An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result."

Case in point: the monkey trap. Put a bottle with a piece of fruit that will barely fit within the bottle in an area where monkeys frequent. When a monkey sees the fruit in the bottle, he will desire the fruit, and put his hand inside the bottle to grab the fruit. However, the monkey will not be able to pull his hand out of the bottle while it is grasping the fruit. However, the monkey can be free by letting go of the fruit. If the monkey does not have the capacity to mentally determine this, he cannot be free. The monkey is trapped by his desire.

Being able to let go of unfruitful desires takes will-power.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:46 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by seattlegal View Post
OK, now we come to the point where we have to distinguish between "desire" and "intention." Desire means "want, craving." Intention means "An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result."

Case in point: the monkey trap. Put a bottle with a piece of fruit that will barely fit within the bottle in an area where monkeys frequent. When a monkey sees the fruit in the bottle, he will desire the fruit, and put his hand inside the bottle to grab the fruit. However, the monkey will not be able to pull his hand out of the bottle while it is grasping the fruit. However, the monkey can be free by letting go of the fruit. If the monkey does not have the capacity to mentally determine this, he cannot be free. The monkey is trapped by his desire.

Being able to let go of unfruitful desires takes will-power.
Actually, it takes coming to an understanding of what needs to be done, and then having a desire to do it, which is why missing the mark and mistakes are so darned valuable (We eventually learn from experience).
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by Gatekeeper View Post
Here's the catch, no outside sources are to be utilized for making your case.
I know what you’re saying GK, but I do not think it is possible to not utilise outside sources as you put it. We are each a part of this universe, always have been and always will. So how do I separate my “self” (not utilising “outside” sources) from every moment of my life’s experience so far as part of this universe? More simply, how do I remove my past influences and gained “knowledge” from my thinking (and hence, speech)?

Quote:

“Freewill is essentially defined as being able to make choices not determined by prior causes, or is the ability to make a choice free of external and/or other physical forces.”
On this definition, I would say that free will does not exist. But this is a very hard determinist definition…


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Old 03-09-2011, 12:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

PS

Sorry if I'm not playing by the rules,

think of it as an example of free will at work!!!

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:03 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

OK, I think it is safe to say that we have determined:
  • We are not always ultimately driven by our desires.
  • The strongest desire does not always win out.
  • We are free to make mistakes and learn from them, but have mechanizisms built in to help us to keep from harming ourselves too much by certain actions
  • We can use what we have learned to help us overcome harmful desires or embrace helpful desires, or become indifferent to either
  • Through our mental processes, we can choose which desires to embrace and which to resist, regardless of the relative strength of said desires. However, we have no guarantee of success
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:07 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by OAT View Post
Assumption: Freewill exists because one can make random choices.

Imagine that you are asked to choose between a red paper and a green paper. Assume that as far as you are aware, you have no preference whatsoever between a red paper and a green paper. The choice that you make as far as you are concerned is random. Therefore you have made a choice free of any forces. Therefore you have freewill.

How would you argue against this?
I, like most people I believe, am only aware of one universe. I can make no comparisons.

Whatever I do (choose the red, choose the green, choose neither, choose both, eat one and set fire to the other, jump up and run off screaming...) it does not prove free will, nor prove the absence of free will (proving a negative???)...

It only shows, after the event, what I did (eg chose the red). It is no proof in respect of "free will", one way or another. Of course if there were other, identical universes to access perceptually to see if the same choices are made there and what happens afterwards...we could be onto something.

But so far that sort of fiddling only happens in films...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/

(a good film too!)



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Old 03-09-2011, 12:17 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by Snoopy View Post
I know what you’re saying GK, but I do not think it is possible to not utilise outside sources as you put it. We are each a part of this universe, always have been and always will. So how do I separate my “self” (not utilising “outside” sources) from every moment of my life’s experience so far as part of this universe? More simply, how do I remove my past influences and gained “knowledge” from my thinking (and hence, speech)?
What I mean by outside sources is using other peoples minds and arguments to defend your personal convictions. I want your personal thoughts, your personal convictions, and your personal reasons for your particular stance (Pro or Con). This is not only meant to help me think critically for myself, but also everyone else participating in this "assignment".

If we continually stand only on the shoulders of the great thinkers of times past, and never venture out on our own, then will we ever move beyond their influence? Will we ever grow past what they themselves discovered - about themselves or about life itself? If you have already been influenced by an outside source, then please utilize that part of 'you' in this discussion. I simply want to hear your convictions in your words, through your unique lens, ya know?

GK
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by Snoopy View Post
PS

Sorry if I'm not playing by the rules,

think of it as an example of free will at work!!!

s.
Free will at work, or personal desire at work?
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:34 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by Gatekeeper View Post

“Freewill is essentially defined as being able to make choices not determined by prior causes, or is the ability to make a choice free of external and/or other physical forces.”
OK then.

So first off there needs to be an agreed definition of the topic, or as the starter of the discussion you can determine the definition.

Is this the definition then?

If it is, as I intimated, based on such a hard determinist outlook free will is an illusion IMO. On this definition the answer is contained in the definition, it precludes the possibility of free will.

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:50 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by seattlegal View Post
OK, I think it is safe to say that we have determined:
  • We are not always ultimately driven by our desires.
  • The strongest desire does not always win out.
  • We are free to make mistakes and learn from them, but have mechanizisms built in to help us to keep from harming ourselves too much by certain actions
  • We can use what we have learned to help us overcome harmful desires or embrace helpful desires, or become indifferent to either
  • Through our mental processes, we can choose which desires to embrace and which to resist, regardless of the relative strength of said desires. However, we have no guarantee of success
  1. If we are not driven by our desires, then what drives our decisions as it relates to freewill choice? Also, can you make a case against our mental process and reflexive reaction being quicker than our conscious thought?
  2. Our strongest desire will always win out when we are able to effectively utilize intended choice. Otherwise it would be considered a mistake which has nothing to do with freewill.
  3. We are able to learn from our mistakes and those mechanisms, such as our ability to feel pain play on our desires; they help us learn from our misguided actions.
  4. We have no willful control over our desires, but our life circumstances do determine what we desire most in any given situation.
  5. Our mental processes are simply one factor when it comes to our desires; we have no control over these processes. They are determined by our circumstances.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:54 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Free will
or Free Won't ?

Who's in Charge? » American Scientist

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:55 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Originally Posted by Snoopy View Post
OK then.

So first off there needs to be an agreed definition of the topic, or as the starter of the discussion you can determine the definition.

Is this the definition then?

If it is, as I intimated, based on such a hard determinist outlook free will is an illusion IMO. On this definition the answer is contained in the definition, it precludes the possibility of free will.

s.
We could use a more simplistic definition if you like, such as one's ability to make voluntary choices, or done of one's own accord; voluntary.

Is this agreeable?
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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We could use a more simplistic definition if you like, such as one's ability to make voluntary choices, or done of one's own accord; voluntary.

Is this agreeable?
Oh well now you've outed me as a Pro.

But "proof"?

I'm an agnostic.

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