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Old 03-09-2011, 02:47 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

sorry for creating the confusion then...

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Old 03-09-2011, 02:53 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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sorry for creating the confusion then...

s.
There's nothing to be sorry for, Snoopy. It was my misunderstanding and that falls directly on my lap. I should have payed better attention to your posts is all.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:36 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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I might argue that simply viewing the colored paper caused a mental reaction, which ultimately determined which colored paper was desired.
Hypothetically, what if the mental reaction does not produce any desire whatsoever for either paper, but a choice was made because of a request to make a choice?
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Also, the very fact that you chose one over the other proves that you desired to choose the one you chose,
I don't think that the effect implies only one possible cause, ie. desire. The effect could very well reflect a "non-desire" for want of a better word if the choice is made randomly.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:16 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Hypothetically, what if the mental reaction does not produce any desire whatsoever for either paper, but a choice was made because of a request to make a choice?
Then the external request influenced the person to act. Conscious of a preference or not, action was taken and one color was chosen over the other. Without desire the individual would have chose nothing, and the fact that one colored piece of paper was chosen over the other suggests (At least to me) that a desire was present prior to the decision.

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I don't think that the effect implies only one possible cause, ie. desire. The effect could very well reflect a "non-desire" for want of a better word if the choice is made randomly.
I don't think I follow your logic, it may not have been a conscious desire, like having a desire to eat pizza for instance, but the very fact that a choice was made proves the desire to make a choice was present. Otherwise, no action would have been taken at all.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of variables that play on our thinking process, if not millions or even billions. It is impossible to know why, assuming there was no conscious preference, that one colored paper was chosen over the other.

Without the desire to act, no action would have been taken all, so whether the choice was truly random or calculated, desire still drove the choice in the end.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:53 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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“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.”
Even inanimate objects have that much freedom.
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One thing I think we can agree on is that we are ultimately driven by our desires.
Obviously the freewill side does not agree on the word "driven" here.
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I submit that we will always, no matter what, choose that which we desire most.
I submit that this is nothing but a tautology. AFTER a choice is made, then one can say that "it was chosen" or "it was desired most" or however else you wish to phrase. BEFORE the choice is made, there is no numerical scale on which one could count which option had more "desire points" (the only objectively determinable numeric measures involved, the relative strengths of electric fields and currents in this or that section of the neural net, are known not to be outcome-determinative).
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Before we are able to choose, we must first have a desire for something.
We have several desires, for incompatible somethings. That is what makes for a "choice". We desire different things in different ways, not just with different intensities on a single scale. It is not even meaningful to say which we desire "more" until after the choice is made.
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Imagine that you are on a ship and that you are the Captain of that ship. Life itself is the force moving the ship forward. It pushes the ship, giving it momentum, but you are guiding the ship yourself. You are at the helm navigating your way around the ocean, but many things play a part in your decision making.


Just like a change of wind direction would motivate you to re-arrange the sails, or the light of a lighthouse would motivate you to change direction to prevent you from hitting the rock strewn shore.


You navigate the ship the best you know how, only you do so in accordance to your circumstances, in accordance to each obstacle you face as you move forward. You ultimately guide the ship, but it is life circumstance that causes you to make the changes in navigation.”
You are completely forgetting the most likely cause of a change in navigation: a change in the destination.
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Life circumstance determines what we desire most
To the extent that this sentence even means anything, I consider it false. We make choices first and come up with the rationalizations later.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:40 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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I don't think I follow your logic, it may not have been a conscious desire, like having a desire to eat pizza for instance, but the very fact that a choice was made proves the desire to make a choice was present. Otherwise, no action would have been taken at all.
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There are literally thousands upon thousands of variables that play on our thinking process, if not millions or even billions. It is impossible to know why, assuming there was no conscious preference, that one colored paper was chosen over the other.

Without the desire to act, no action would have been taken all, so whether the choice was truly random or calculated, desire still drove the choice in the end.
I was allowing for the possibility of a random event or occurrence. There are random events in nature, like radioactive decay, virtual particles popping in and out of existence, etc.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:48 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Even inanimate objects have that much freedom.

Obviously the freewill side does not agree on the word "driven" here.

I submit that this is nothing but a tautology. AFTER a choice is made, then one can say that "it was chosen" or "it was desired most" or however else you wish to phrase. BEFORE the choice is made, there is no numerical scale on which one could count which option had more "desire points" (the only objectively determinable numeric measures involved, the relative strengths of electric fields and currents in this or that section of the neural net, are known not to be outcome-determinative).

We have several desires, for incompatible somethings. That is what makes for a "choice". We desire different things in different ways, not just with different intensities on a single scale. It is not even meaningful to say which we desire "more" until after the choice is made.

You are completely forgetting the most likely cause of a change in navigation: a change in the destination.

To the extent that this sentence even means anything, I consider it false. We make choices first and come up with the rationalizations later.
Will you elaborate on your thoughts, or give examples that might validate them as being anything more than personal opinion? If we haven't the desire to do "something", do you really think anything would be done at all?

You suggest that we choose without determination or desire, which is odd to say the least. can you show an example, just one example where desire was not the motivation behind a choice?

You disagree with the term driven, so what about motivate? Our choices are motivated by our desires, for example. Life circumstance would be a collection of ones past experiences and our current situation, which is what motivates and/or determines our desires.

Will you give an example of this not being the case? Show me an example where we are truly able to choose apart from what we desire most.

Also, You mention inanimate objects and suggest that even they have freewill choice. Where exactly does this view point come from? You make a lot of very broad and vague statements. Some of which sound pretty good, but you ultimately offered nothing substantive to support your assertions.

For example:

You wrote, " BEFORE the choice is made, there is no numerical scale on which one could count which option had more "desire points" (the only objectively determinable numeric measures involved, the relative strengths of electric fields and currents in this or that section of the neural net, are known not to be outcome-determinative)."

What exactly does the above mean? Freewill choice by definition is a motivated choice ("Will" being the operative term). Also, what exactly is a "desire point"? Will you elaborate a bit?


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Old 03-10-2011, 02:53 AM   #53 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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I was allowing for the possibility of a random event or occurrence. There are random events in nature, like radioactive decay, virtual particles popping in and out of existence, etc.
Is there any way to prove that these occurrences are truly random? (Just asking out of curiosity) Besides, I don't think this is relevant to the issue of freewill choice when it comes to humanity.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:01 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

OK, I haven't finished reading the thread yet, but I'm definitely in the Pro camp. I would say that will comes before desire, so choices made from desire- even from programming are still free. To deny free will you would have to start from some point of predestination BEFORE the human experience begins. Just because we're carried along unthinkingly by our programming doesn't mean we're not choosing from a platform of free will. To be clear, I'm saying that even if choice is unconscious and completely coerced it's still an exercise of free will because there is an underlying possibility, however submerged, of autonomous will.

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Old 03-10-2011, 05:28 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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OK, I haven't finished reading the thread yet, but I'm definitely in the Pro camp. I would say that will comes before desire, so choices made from desire- even from programming are still free. To deny free will you would have to start from some point of predestination BEFORE the human experience begins. Just because we're carried along unthinkingly by our programming doesn't mean we're not choosing from a platform of free will. To be clear, I'm saying that even if choice is unconscious and completely coerced it's still an exercise of free will because there is an underlying possibility, however submerged, of autonomous will.

Chris
You suggest that will comes 'before' desire, but I think this is an impossibility. "Will" is defined as, "The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action". If will comes before desire, then what exactly determines the decided course of action? In other words, if a desire was not first present, then how could one possibly decide to choose any action at all?

I think your thoughts on predestination before the human experience began is a very good point, though. I personally view existence to be much like a machine, geared to work a certain way. We (Humanity) may very well be mechanisms within this enormous machine, having a determined role within the machine itself. Although there seems to be random occurrences taking place, what if these occurrences are simply part of the predetermined inner workings of other mechanisms that have a particular role? I often wonder and think about how everything in existence connects, and how if one thing in the past wasn't like it was, then another thing in the present would not be like it is.

I then take that thought and apply it on a worldwide scale from past, present, to future, and I think about how even the slightest action I take can effect our world (Good or bad) on a global scale, reaching far into the future. Then I think about the concept of freewill, and how we are quite possibly driven by our desires and how our desires are driven by life circumstance, and I wonder if we are all just tiny mechanisms connected to the whole and working according to our intended purpose.

Just knowing that my actions effect the lives of others, even those who will live long after I am gone drives me to desire to be a better person. It makes me desire to change my self. The wheels of our lives never quit spinning, and the turbulence from the spin cycle reaches the four corners of the earth and beyond x infinity. And I truly believe that although our desire driven lives are a bit mechanical, we are also capable of making mistakes, which suggests we are also free. I also believe that it is our mistakes that ultimately motivate our desire to strive for something better, something more perfect than what we currently experience.

It is our mistakes that will eventually help lead us to create a better world, and the thought that our actions are determined by our circumstances makes me feel far less guilt when I fall short, just as it makes me better able to forgive others who have harmed me, knowing that they had no choice but to do what they did at that particular moment. Further more, why 'should' I feel guilty about a mistake I had no control over? Had my mistake harmed another, then I believe compassion for that person would drive me to make amends, but I see no reason to be hard on myself for something out of my control. Some may view this as having no conscience, but it is more complex than that I think.

It boils down to understanding that we are all imperfect, that we all make mistakes, and that our mistakes should serve as an example to learn from, but they should not be a reason to beat ourselves up. Using guilt as such a utility is not the ideal way to learn from our mistakes. I think a better approach would be to examine where we fell short and then to take the necessary steps in order to avoid making the same mistake again. I find our imperfections and our ability to make mistakes to make life much more interesting. They force us to examine ourselves (At times) and they push us to strive for better, more perfect things. Without imperfections, we would have nothing to strive for and our daily lives would be a monotonous nightmare as far as I'm concerned.

Mistakes are what make us human .... They are essentially our only true freedom in life (Imo).

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from."

-- Al Franken, "Oh, the Things I Know", 2002


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Old 03-10-2011, 05:45 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

OK, you make a compelling case, but... what drives an infant to find mommy's boob? There is a will to survive before the desire to feed. I think that you are disconnecting the sub-conscious from the conscious and saying that only that which occurs in the conscious is will.

Chris
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:03 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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You suggest that we choose without determination or desire, which is odd to say the least. can you show an example, just one example where desire was not the motivation behind a choice?

You disagree with the term driven, so what about motivate? Our choices are motivated by our desires, for example. Life circumstance would be a collection of ones past experiences and our current situation, which is what motivates and/or determines our desires.

Will you give an example of this not being the case? Show me an example where we are truly able to choose apart from what we desire most.
Coercion. You are making the case that we are coerced by our desires.
“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”--Buddha
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:13 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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OK, you make a compelling case, but... what drives an infant to find mommy's boob? There is a will to survive before the desire to feed. I think that you are disconnecting the sub-conscious from the conscious and saying that only that which occurs in the conscious is will.

Chris
Instinct and a conscious desire to be fed? Is there really a will to survive before the desire to be fed? Does an infant know about death and survival at this point, or just hunger and the need to be nurtured? If there is will before the desire to feed than it certainly is not a free will, but rather a necessitated will, would you agree? We have certainly have a will, but the issue here and the question is, is our will free? Can we freely choose voluntarily without first having the desire to choose a course of action?

Life circumstance plays a vital role in what we desire, and then our desires play a vital role in what we end up doing with our lives. If we truly desired something, then we would take the steps necessary to attain it. Of course we will find mountains that need climbing (Or cut down) along the way, but if we so desire we can do darn near anything!

We can either chop away at the mountain until it becomes a mere hill, or we can take it step at a time and climb the mountain until we reach its plateau. At which point we can look back at all our hard work, and be proud of what WE accomplished. Although our actions are determined by our strongest desire, we actually are the ones putting in the work, making things happen according to our deepest desires.

Our desires make or break us, bro!
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:30 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

I don't agree that we are ultimately driven by our desires. I know you asked for no outside sources, but I'm gonna quote Plato and Aristotle's opinions here for more perspectives:
"Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge”--Plato
“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion and desire.”--Aristotle
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:32 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Re: Assignment: "Freewill" (Pro/Con)

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Coercion. You are making the case that we are coerced by our desires.
“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”--Buddha
Evil is subjective, and would be better defined as (Imo) anti social behavior. Good is subjective as well, and would better defined as (Imo) pro social behavior. There is nothing evil or good in reality, there is only our perceptions of what good and evil entails.

We like to call anti social behavior "evil" and pro social behavior "good". We are social creatures, so anti social behavior 'should' be shunned, just as we should encourage pro social behavior.

Also, we are coerced by life circumstance, not by our desires. How can we be coerced by a want? Life itself (Existence/reality) is what forces, manipulates, and/or shapes our desires. We simply choose our course of action after a desire has been established.
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