Free will is an oxymoron

radarmark

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"Free Will is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been: philosophers have debated this question for over two millennia, and just about every major philosopher has had something to say about it.) Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action. (Clearly, there will also be epistemic conditions on responsibility as well, such as being aware—or failing that, being culpably unaware—of relevant alternatives to one's action and of the alternatives' moral significance.) But the significance of free will is not exhausted by its connection to moral responsibility. Free will also appears to be a condition on desert for one's accomplishments (why sustained effort and creative work are praiseworthy); on the autonomy and dignity of persons; and on the value we accord to love and friendship. (See Kane 1996, 81ff. and Clarke 2003, Ch.1; but see also Pereboom 2001, Ch.7.)

Philosophers who distinguish freedom of action and freedom of will do so because our success in carrying out our ends depends in part on factors wholly beyond our control. Furthermore, there are always external constraints on the range of options we can meaningfully try to undertake. As the presence or absence of these conditions and constraints are not (usually) our responsibility, it is plausible that the central loci of our responsibility are our choices, or “willings.”

I have implied that free willings are but a subset of willings, at least as a conceptual matter. But not every philosopher accepts this. René Descartes, for example, identifies the faculty of will with freedom of choice, “the ability to do or not do something” (Meditation IV), and even goes so far as to declare that “the will is by its nature so free that it can never be constrained” (Passions of the Soul, I, art. 41). In taking this strong polar position on the nature of will, Descartes is reflecting a tradition running through certain late Scholastics (most prominently, Suarez) back to John Duns Scotus.

The majority view, however, is that we can readily conceive willings that are not free. Indeed, much of the debate about free will centers around whether we human beings have it, yet virtually no one doubts that we will to do this and that. The main perceived threats to our freedom of will are various alleged determinisms: physical/causal; psychological; biological; theological. For each variety of determinism, there are philosophers who (i) deny its reality, either because of the existence of free will or on independent grounds; (ii) accept its reality but argue for its compatibility with free will; or (iii) accept its reality and deny its compatibility with free will. (See the entries on compatibilism; causal determinism; fatalism; arguments for incompatibilism; and divine foreknowledge and free will.) There are also a few who say the truth of any variety of determinism is irrelevant because free will is simply impossible.

If there is such a thing as free will, it has many dimensions. In what follows, I will sketch the freedom-conferring characteristics that have attracted most of the attention. The reader is warned, however, that while many philosophers emphasize a single such characteristic, perhaps in response to the views of their immediate audience, it is probable that most would recognize the significance of many of the other features discussed here."

· Clarke, Randolph (2003). Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
· Kane, Robert (1996). The Significance of Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press.
· Pereboom, Derk (2001). Living Without Free Will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Free Will" by Timothy O'Connor

That is for background. My position (the existence of radical free will) is an echo of Scotus-Suarez-Descartes. But if one comes into the XXth century, the Existentialists (Kierkegaard-to-Satre and Kierkegaard-to-Rosenzweig) also believe in radical free will. The ultimate proof is that of Weiss’ The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, simply that an individual can (by radical free choice) end her or his own life.
 

Bhaktajan II

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To offer a topic to this thread:

a] The fact that the Americas (the new world) sat vacant for generations ---awaiting the 'eventual' arrival of western man. Those Furr Trees & Redwood Trees and Orange Groves and buffalos counted down their days until the inevitable began. It was the beginnig of the end of isolation for the new world when those Spanish folks set up casinos in cuba.

b] the historical usage of the term 'Manifest Destiny'
 

Etu Malku

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Ego from a Magickal point of view:

The concept of the Ego - the psychic structure of self-identifications, beliefs, desires and personifications is recognized as the basis of our psychocosm. A curious misconception has arisen that the Ego is a barrier to
magical development - that it is somehow to be taken down or destroyed before one can advance 'spiritually'.

To some, it seems that while 'Western development' builds up the ego, 'Eastern approaches' aim at ego-transcendence. There is much discussion of the 'higher self' which appears after the ego has been transcended - this is a common theme in so-called 'New Age' thought.

The psyche however, is not a static entity, and this kind of 'ego vs higher self' thinking is a carry-over of the rationalistic mind-body division.
Attempts to get rid of the ego can easily result in one-sided development, fostering both self-importance and a 'holier-than-thou' attitude. Avoiding the so-called 'dark' aspect of human desire results in a shallow caricature of human potentiality, a blandness which avoids plumbing the depths of the psyche. Clarity of thought, insight, and struggle are glossed over with a sugar-coating of bliss.

To work with one's ego is to begin an inner alchemy, the aim of which is not to 'destroy' or 'transcend' it, but to move from a state of fixation (ego-centric) to a condition of mutability (Exo-centric), which is capable of
constant revision and change. This is what is meant by the phrase 'letting go', and of dissolving the idea of mind as separate to the world.

The Ego remains as a point of 'I-ness' which gives meaning to experience, yet the contents of the psyche become much more fluid. In one sense, it is the ego which roots us in space-time - the psychic equivalent of having a sense of place, of occupying a particular set of co-ordinates. The majority of our experience of reality is at the level of objects, bodies and events that appear to be temporally separate. We experience ourselves as centres of will, perception, and ego.

In contrast to the ego, the will displays a vector quality, in that it has both direction and magnitude. The will is the wave to the ego's particle. Although we like to think of ourselves as centers of intentionality, much of our behavior is a result of vector resonance - waves rippling through, appearing in our space-time universe as separate events and synchronous experiences. Will is an emergent property of our interaction with the total environment - it cannot be isolated to any one element. Will, perception and consciousness - we are immersed in them the way a fish is immersed in water.
 

Azure24

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Going back to the topic of Free will (sorry bhaktajan).

Philosophers and theologians can come with as many different definitions as they want (as a means to confuse people).

None-the-less it comes down to the fact that we are subject to causality. The first being are very existence.

Then consequently:

We do NOT decide WHERE we are born...we do NOT decide WHEN we are born...we do NOT decide WHO we are born to...we do NOT decide in what condition we are born in...we do NOT decide who our family members are...we do NOT decide what SEX we are...we do NOT decide what RACE we are...we do NOT decide our physical appearance...etc, etc.

I see it like this:

Circumstances ---->Reason -----> Choices.

Choices are in our control, reasons are partially in our control...circumstances are NOT in our control.

Ultimately it boils down to our circumstances.
 

radarmark

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Wrong. Causality is a physical principle. It is scientific, provable. If circumstances (something physical) determine (as you say) our choices, how do they do that? Does the mosquito reach into my brain and "cause" me to wat at him?

Choice is what free will is about.

Free will is one of the original topic of Socrates and Plato. It's philosophical roots go much further back than your or my birth, Azure.
 

Bhaktajan II

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Going back to the topic of Free will (sorry bhaktajan).

Sorry?

I digressed?

Are you referring to Bhaktajan in general?


I backed up your reasoning:

"Manifest Destiny" ---???
 

radarmark

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I knew you were on point, bhaktajan. Little free will could be exercised by my native ancestors (my english ones pretty much gave them no choice). I got it!
 

Bhaktajan II

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"Free-Will" & "We are subject to causality"

Exist simultaneously.

I think it is referred to in the phrase, "Level Playing Field".

The whole topic becomes more complicated in conceptualising
when one acknowledges that both "Free-Will" & "We are subject to causality" exist & transpire simultaneously without contradiction.

Actually, maybe the notion of "Friction" arises from such a state, of
having "Free-Will" & "being subject to causality".

This may very well be just another facet of Duality [ying-yang duality ---(I do not use the word duality to refer to the philosophical consclusions as used by the both schools of monism versus non-monism schools)]

BTW, Advaita Tattva and Achitya-bheda-abheda Tattva exist simultaneously without contradiction ---but maybe with friction.
 

Azure24

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Wrong. Causality is a physical principle. It is scientific, provable. If circumstances (something physical) determine (as you say) our choices, how do they do that? Does the mosquito reach into my brain and "cause" me to wat at him?

Using your scenario: Whether you decide to swat the mosquito or not, there will be a reason for it. One that believes it is okay to swat a mosquito will squat...one that doesn't will not.

"Free-Will" & "We are subject to causality"

Exist simultaneously.

Exactly.

Choice is what free will is about.

Here's a scenario:

You are mugged in the street by an armed robber. Taking your money, they then give you a choice.

"Would you like to be shot in the head or in the foot?"

You have choices but where is the freedom?

Sorry?

I digressed?

Are you referring to Bhaktajan in general?


I backed up your reasoning:

"Manifest Destiny" ---???

I misinterpreted your post.
 

Bhaktajan II

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Here's a scenario:

You are mugged in the street by an armed robber. Taking your money, they then give you a choice.

"Would you like to be shot in the head or in the foot?"

You have choices but where is the freedom?


a] Amazing! I have already thought to say the following as an example of what you have been speaking of ... from my own thoughts:

A man is mugged ... the policeman sees the mugger run away ... the mugged man is getting the 'fruit of past acts' [aka, a karmic reaction] ... the policeman knows this too.
Thus, the policeman soon acts to aide and assist the victim ... if the policeman neglected to assist ---even though the victim was getting their own past-due unplatable results of past actions ---the policeman must carry out the policeman's duty to aide and protect.

Just like when the copper tells you to 'watch your head' as you were lowered into the car's back door.

The resident trapped in a house on fire is under going the experience of an event of Bad-Karma ---the firemen rush in selflessly and exercise the skills of their vocation.

Each of the two parties are engage in opposite ends of a spectrum that is connected ... What is the 'connection' composed of? ---other than the obvious 'Human Condition' factor.

b] Available seats: Another thought that comes back to mind now is:

The "Availablity of Vancancies to take Human birth(s)" ---IOW, the evolution of the soul toward enlightenment and then to liberation etc etc leads one to all the stratums of existence ---among the Human mankind societies, there are only so many post(s) to be born into.

There are only so many earthly bodily Persons required to, say, form a society; fill a continent; become the Prime Minister; to be a local mayor; the one and only of one's spouse; to be a sports icon etc ---the unique position in society need be occupied by a candidate simply one-at-a-time.

The bum in the street, the starlett; the Olympic Gold medal winner etc are lottery winner 'posts', nay, 'posts' earned by those that have been good stewards that gravitated to be next in line to get the 'post' to occupy on their own accord.

Just remember what Alfalfa [of the Little Rascals]: "The large they come the greater they fall" ---hubris among the well-healed is an old 'prodigal-son' architypal experience.
 

Bhaktajan II

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Little free will could be exercised by my native ancestors

I remember the concluding moment of Apocolypto by Mel Gibson ---I got the moment and its pathos. The final moment transferred me vicariously to the emotive thoughts of that Mayan Native ---but mixed with the hine-sight by dint of my present historical learnings.

Now, I also remember the concluding scene of The Planet of the Apes ---of the original version.

Or even the symbolism of the starting scene of 2001 Space Odessy ---with the Monolilth and the Apes.

Or even "Jonathan Livingston Seagal" ---whoa! Does any one know about this book any more?
 

Snoopy

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I'm not confused, maybe a dizzy from all the big words though ;)

In any case my argument is thus; when you are truly free from the indoctrination of another's Belief System, only then are your constraints lifted and 'your' Will being executed.

Thy Will Be Done
My Will Be Done

Yes, Wiki can lead you down rabbit holes as you follow up terms! Free will debates have been around for millenia as Radarmark says, and it seems it's on every net forum!

As this thread is starting from a declared position, rather than derail it I have gone down the Wiki rabbit holes and put a free will OP in the philosophy sub-forum.
 

radarmark

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Azure. Believing in free will does not mean that there are not constraints. I cannot choose to be a 20 year old female. Free will does not imply forcing my point-of-view or will on the world (which ususally does not work). Look up the life of Jaques Roux... the French Revolution scheduled him to be guillotined. Instead he bit through the arteries of both wrists. When the escorts asked why he reoplied (I am winging it on memory here) "the state has acted in accordance with its law, I acted in accordance with my freedom". Or the famous last call of WIlliam Wallace (which really did happen) before they quartered him and posted parts across England.

As for your constrained choice you gave me. Of course, the foot.

As for you comment on mosquito. Yes, the choice was made based on reasinging. However the reasoning was made by choice.

Bhatajan, my friend. I am afraid that here in the colonies too few read any more (let alone JLS). The web and web sites substitute for literature searches and learning and, oh, hard thought. My personal opinion is that is why we suffer from things like Timothy McVeigh (influenced and brainwashed by the Turner Diaries and Ride a Pale Horse, thank you Bill Pierce and Cooper) or Atkins, Kasabian and Krenwinkle (for whom we have to tahnak Charles Manson).

One just has to fight back against hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.
 

Azure24

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Azure. Believing in free will does not mean that there are not constraints.

Are you suggesting something that is "FREE" has CONSTRAINTS?

The American Heritage College Dictionary:

"free will n. 1. The ability or discretion to choose; free choice. 2. The power of making free choices that are UNCONSTRAINED by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will."

Exactly, free will is an oxymoron.

Remind me, what exactly is FREE about free will again?

No wonder God says:

"For the wisdom [the ‘wisdom’ mind you, not the ‘foolishness’]…the wisdom of this world is foolishness [Gk: ‘stupidity’] with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness" (I Cor. 3:19).

As for your constrained choice you gave me. Of course, the foot.

It's interesting that you added "of course".

But why the foot? Why not the head?

I thought your will was "free"?

As for you comment on mosquito. Yes, the choice was made based on reasinging. However the reasoning was made by choice.

Yes, but there was a REASON why you chose that particular reason, namely, your circumstances.
 

radarmark

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Do you even know how to read a dictionary? I am using "free will" in the first sense, not the second. So you frist argument is not germaine.

I am sorry. G!d did not write Corinthians or any other part of the Old or New Testament. Men did.

You just do not understand. I choose in accordance with what. You choose in accordance with what you want. If you want, in those circumstances, to be shot in the head do it.

Free will implies I can choose. In that case between two painful scenarios. I did. Ipso facto, free will.

Circumstances are constraints not causes. Did the fact that there was a mosquito there somehow cause me to slap it? (HINT: look up causation on wiki, you are using it rather oddly). If I choose to use my middle finger to type this "o" (when typing class trained me to use my ring finger, that is my choice. I have the freedom of will (no one is holding a gun to my head or forcing to do that in any way) to oh, for absoulutely no reason, to do it (which I did).

That one example kinda burns down you house of cards. "Free will is an oxymoron" is disprovable with just one counterexample. It is a scientific claim (even if most of the argument in history has been in philosophy or theology) that can be falsified. And I just did.

I also exercise my freedom of will to choose to reason about the act of choosing. You cannot have one without the other.
 

Azure24

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I am sorry. G!d did not write Corinthians or any other part of the Old or New Testament. Men did.

What's your point?

Free will implies I can choose. In that case between two painful scenarios. I did. Ipso facto, free will.

You chose but you choice was influenced...namely, you did not want to die.

So you never really had a "choice" in the first place. Can someone choose to do anything if they do not exist? No, we must exist first...which is not our choice, subsequently (to our existence) everything we do then is FORCED upon us, even if we choose to end our life...as you cannot end your life if you are not alive in the first place.

Did the fact that there was a mosquito there somehow cause me to slap it?

No. But try to squat a mosquito IF IT IS NOT THERE.

If I choose to use my middle finger to type this "o" (when typing class trained me to use my ring finger, that is my choice. I have the freedom of will (no one is holding a gun to my head or forcing to do that in any way) to oh, for absoulutely no reason, to do it (which I did).

No, but try to use your middle finger IF IT IS NOT THERE.

I also exercise my freedom of will to choose to reason about the act of choosing. You cannot have one without the other.

If you're referring to acting "without a reason" then this is false. Acting "without a reason", is acting BECAUSE you don't have reason...which therefore IS a reason.
 

Etu Malku

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Can someone choose to do anything if they do not exist? No, we must exist first...which is not our choice, subsequently (to our existence) everything we do then is FORCED upon us, even if we choose to end our life...as you cannot end your life if you are not alive in the first place.
Not true. The only reason we are manifest into the physical/objective universe is from our decision to be so.

No. But try to squat a mosquito IF IT IS NOT THERE.
No, but try to use your middle finger IF IT IS NOT THERE.
What do you mean "IF IT IS NOT THERE"?
You're speaking from the physical/objective universe I presume, because anything and everything can exist within our subjective universe, My mosquito has a middle finger and I can squash it.
 

Azure24

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Not true. The only reason we are manifest into the physical/objective universe is from our decision to be so.

Prove it! When did you make this decision?

What do you mean "IF IT IS NOT THERE"?
You're speaking from the physical/objective universe I presume, because anything and everything can exist within our subjective universe, My mosquito has a middle finger and I can squash it.

Can you draw a shape that does not exist? If you can, do so now (with your mystical free will) and send it to me.
 

Etu Malku

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Prove it! When did you make this decision?
"prove it"? Isn't that a little silly? Can you prove anything you say or believe in?

Can you draw a shape that does not exist? If you can, do so now (with your mystical free will) and send it to me.
Ever hear of a mandala, or a yantra? But, you are missing my point entirely.
 

Snoopy

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Azure24, do you not believe in free will because you think  causality arising from prior conditions means whatever happens must happen (so you are a determinist) or is it because of the involvement of random chance (so you are an indeterminist)?

(Determinism states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen.

In contrast, indeterminism states that events are not caused deterministically and must involve chance.)
 
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