Do you believe that humans have free will?  I don't.  I have yet to hear compelling arguments for the existence of free will~ prove me wrong A/N.

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Will I have Salad or pizza for lunch? I've been putting on weight, I should have salad... but the pizza smells great... but my girlfriend would be pissed if I had pizza as she is on a diet... and the pizza is more expensive... and the TV told me that'd I'd get Heart disease if I ate lots of junk food...


Determinism is complicated. The amount of factors that effect a decision are immense, but they are all from pre-programming, past experiences, genetics, anything that has led to the moment you are in right now. just because some of them are brought to consciousness they get labeled "free will" rather than instinct... you still arrive at a decision based on knowledge and environment.


All systems in the universe respond in predictable ways (if they didn't science wouldn't work AT ALL), some of them are very very complicated, like the brain, and seem random before further research, but if we are to believe that science can actually explain the whole universe then we should reject free will - as free will would be completely ruining the predictability of the universe in any location where self aware beings could come in and enact their free will.


Noooo. We have been determined to use science to begin with, just like we have been determined to have eyes and to be able to see. How are we any different from any other animal, in that we can anticipate what is about to happen and react so that we can avoid danger and seek out reward? Your argument that self-aware beings change the predictability of the universe is downright silly. Why stop at self-aware beings? An insect "aware" of its environment to a certain degree can respond to it and change the course of things, but you wouldn't argue free will here, would you?

Hah, I love that we keep coming back to this discussion. I'm gonna send you a request to join my new group, maybe you can help me decide on how things really work in probably the most important way - how we determine what is good/bad and right/wrong.


Anyway sadly no, I haven't read DDI by DD. What I've read of Dennett's I've loved, but I am too busy writing these days to actually do much reading. I've got a lot of catching up to do. But the points you bring up are spot on. Even viruses may have choice. Obviously we've got a lot more choice, but this is a matter of difference of degrees, not differences in kind. People who argue for free will must really misunderstand what determinists mean by our arguments. We are not saying that choice does not exist, but neither are we saying that it is "free" as in unconstrained by reality and natural causes. But you've got to admit, it is sort of weird to say that we have choice but that it is more of an illusion than anything else. As weird as it may be, however, and as weird as evolution is and even existence (which is really quite bizarre if you think about it), the notion of free will makes still less sense. Weirdness abounds!

I think freewill is the illusion, not choice. Since choice as a determined mental calculation is reducible to perceptual evidence, we must make room for the concept. Obviously there is nothing different in the causal interactions that make up choice and reflex, but we, and other sufficiently complex neural networks, do in fact consider logically plausible scenarios and choose from them, while trees don't, they react in a less complex or non-mental method. I think strict determinism works as long as people don't insist that choice is, by definition, acausal. Every event that occurs, does so causally, even the mental consideration of logically plausible outcomes and action towards the end of one.
Intent is a lot like choice. But, if I had to separate the two, I would say choice includes more action and intent includes more meaning, but they both entail both. I may have intended to do well on the test but I chose too many wrong answers. Intention is more in respect to a goal. And choice is more in respect to an action.
Yeah Park, I see where you're going with this. Say intent is just a motivation, perhaps one out of many (motivation meaning what you said, being driven to some desire or another). So I intended to wash the car, but I also intended to go out with my friends. Intention is perhaps codefinitional with desire or motivation. Choice means two things. It means that there are different possibilities (I can wash the car and/or go out with my friends), and it also means the actual outcome. I think you are trying to get at the latter. So I chose to go out with my friends, because that motivation was more overwhelming to me/more motivating to me/more desirous to me than washing the car, and in a real sense I could not help it (assuming I am a teenage boy and not an adult who should have a different, more responsible set of motivations). So let's take the computer. An android (still a computer!) could intend to scrub the turbo-lift, and it could intend to help out in engineering. It chooses to help out in engineering (where the choice is simply the end result) because its set of instructions tells it that this is the more pressing (i.e. motivating) task, and the turbo-lift can wait. Does that about do it for ya?
I think only a sentient being, or one sufficiently complex to make a reasoned choice (I think they are the same thing), can intend, mean and chose. Trees do not do these things. But I would have a harder time saying that they do not react and an even harder time saying that they don't act, but I am certain they don't have goals. I think rocks are so simple of structures that it can be said to do very little other than be acted upon and its momentum and such is directed from that simple collision. Is that an action? Is it a reaction? Sure, I guess, but not a very complex one, and therefore cannot be called chosen, intended or meant. A rock being struck and a person choosing are no less inextricably linked to the causal chain than the other.

@Wanderer. Sorry if thats how you read my argument, let me clarify, I am arguing that the idea of "free will would be completely ruining the predictability of the universe", ie. it does not fit in the picture and determinism is a much more sensible and compatible system for understanding human thought.



"What seems to be the problem with strict determinism?  is it that it doesn't really translate well into the workings [and illusion] of choice in regards to the human psyche"


I agree completely, people want to hold onto the idea of free will because thats how it "feels" when they make a decision. but it is an illusion. This is exactly the argument one of my philosophy tutors came out with to me (which was shocking from someone so educated in the subject!) she couldn't accept, regardless of my structured arguments, that how it feels to make choices could in fact be an illusion, and just continued to re-affirm her faulty premise as proof of her point of view.


People don't want to let go of free will, it makes them feel like they no longer have any control over there own lives.

The quantum mechanics thing did cross my mind... I don't see how a plausible theory could be formulated in that direction though. I would of thought that any appeal to that would lead to us believing that all decisions are made at random or something... I have no idea!


Have you seen arguments made like this?? if anything, I'd think it would still eliminate free will and just be a different sort of "indeterminate determinism" lol. if such a thing could be imagined.


i only have a basic understanding of Quantum Mechanics though, so a bit of assumption going on here.

I am a big fan of the 'hidden variable' theory in QM. Things may appear to be random because there is a limit to our perception, based on the fact that any perception must be by a singular consciousness which is only a small localized part of the universe. Appearing random and being random are two different things. This randomness, according to the hidden variable theory, is caused by an unseen and not known about 'hidden' variable, beyond the limit of our ability to perceive and predict. And this conundrum is only relevant when measuring things in extreme exactitude. It is logically impossible to use the method of science, based on reason, which is based on causality and noncontradiction, to prove that this process is invalid or that randomness is possible.

It is refreshing to see others that are not fooled by the quantum hype.

You hit it right on the head! This is exactly the argument I used to counter the guy who we were initially arguing against that made Park decide to start up this post here. QM would just make decisions random, not "free". Spot on.
Consider yourself lucky that you have not endured the phantasmagorical quantum babble that is out there. You keep this up and you will.


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