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Free will: A question
Posted: 10 April 2007 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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This idea of free will: I see no reason to believe in it .* However, if there is no free will, how does one live one's life?  :!: 

(I also wanted to ask if anyone has read "Straw Dogs" by John Gray and if so what they thought.)

(*This has been argued and counterargued by countless philosophers. It seems however that recent and not-so-recent findings in neuroscience suggest free will to be an illusion.)

Even if you don't agree with me, imagine hypothetically that there is no free will, what might your answer to my question be?

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Posted: 10 April 2007 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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.
how can i even answer you if i don’t have the freedom
to will myself to think about such things?
.
D
.

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Posted: 10 April 2007 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”]This idea of free will: I see no reason to believe in it .* However, if there is no free will, how does one live one’s life?  :!:

I totally believe in Free Will, just not the part where he jumps over the little boy to freedom. They made that up.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 10 April 2007 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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The phrase “Free Will” is meaningless. It was manufactured as a Christian apologetic by St Augustine.


To use the phrase “Free Will” outside the context of Christainity is as maningless as using terms lie “Salvation” or “Sin”.

Short course:

God is PERFECT being. God therefore could only create a PERFECT world.
The world appears to be imperfect. That cannot be God’s fault. Therefore there must be some other reason. That reason was labelled “Free Will”.

It was a pathetic attempt to explain the obvious contradictions of Christianity to the uneducated peasants of the 15th century.

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Posted: 11 April 2007 01:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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If I walk up to you, put a gun to your head & demand your money or your life, you say no and I pull the trigger, do you think the jury would give a damn that I gave you a choice?

If you said yes, gave me the money & I disappeared, do you think I should be worshiped?  Bowed down to?

Of course not.  Like god, I put you in jeopardy both times.

In “Atheist Universe,” David Mills destroys the concept of “free will” as it relates to religion.

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http://powerlessnolonger.com

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Posted: 14 April 2007 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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.
] on 11apr hampsteadpete say [snip] In “Atheist Universe,” David
] Mills destroys the concept of “free will” as it relates to religion.
.
tx asks Does Mr Mills agrue that free-will relates directly to
reason and/or logic?
.

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Posted: 14 April 2007 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Free will as traditionally viewed can hypothetically be accounted for by the sorting of information through all of the senses at once by the brain and making associaions with current perception and previous experience.  Pavlov’s dog is an example of how imprinting and other brainwashing techniques can illicit intended responses. 

Free will is the power to act irrationally and know it.  Or at least that’s my story.  Ignorance is acting irrationally and not knowing.  I kinda like that, too.

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Posted: 16 April 2007 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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The free will question was put to end in the Exodus 7.  God “hardened” the Pharaoh’s heart so he would not release the hebrew’s during the plagues.  No matter how much Moses pleaded, no matter how much suffering was put upon his people, the Pharaoh could not bend. 

Exod.7
[1] And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
[2] Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.
[3] And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

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Posted: 16 April 2007 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“Recovering Catholic”]The free will question was put to end in the Exodus 7.  God “hardened” the Pharaoh’s heart so he would not release the hebrew’s during the plagues.  No matter how much Moses pleaded, no matter how much suffering was put upon his people, the Pharaoh could not bend. 

Exod.7
[1] And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
[2] Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.
[3] And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

Yes, this is an example of Yahweh’s assholocity, but I don’t think that it demonstrates that, according to the Bible, nobody has free will.

What it demonstrates is that Yahweh has is a megalomaniac who is willing to use humans as pieces in his DIVINE GAME OF CHESS (or, as we mortals ought to call it: His divine game of “Who the EFF cares?”)

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 19 April 2007 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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God intervened with the pharoah, making him incapable of practicing free will.  God made sure that the pharoah could not make the appropriate choice, just so he could send plagues and kill babies.  For what?  God never gave the pharoah the chance to make the right decision on his own.  That is not free will.  If we believe in the Abrahamic god, we cannot accept free will.  That god, like the Greek gods before him, interferes with mortal lives for sport.  God sent the holy spirit to the apostles to prod themout of hiding, an angel to Mary to let her know she, Joseph got an angel so he would still marry Mary, he sent Moses a burning bush, he appeared in person to Abraham… he couldn’t go to the pharoah and convince him to release the hebrews without killing babies and sending plagues?

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Posted: 19 April 2007 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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God intervened with the pharoah, making him incapable of practicing free will.  God made sure that the pharoah could not make the appropriate choice, just so he could send plagues and kill babies.  For what?  God never gave the pharoah the chance to make the right decision on his own.  That is not free will.  If we believe in the Abrahamic god, we cannot accept free will.  That god, like the Greek gods before him, interferes with mortal lives for sport.  God sent the holy spirit to the apostles to prod themout of hiding, an angel to Mary to let her know she had been impregnated, Joseph got an angel so he would still marry Mary, he sent Moses a burning bush, he appeared in person to Abraham… he couldn’t go to the pharoah and convince him to release the hebrews without killing babies and sending plagues?

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Posted: 19 April 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Free will is a myth. We are programmed genetically to respond in a predictable way to external stimulus. Though we think that we choose, we really just enable the expected result. Some would say that this behavior is a product of a “grand scheme of things”, or a “Divine plan.” Others attribute predictable decisions to the flow of life as we comprehend it and the mysterious complexity and interconnection of all events, i.e., “it just is.”

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Posted: 19 April 2007 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Even if free will is a myth it doesn’t really matter.  Nothing changes.

I am reminded about what one of my best undergraduate philosophy professors had to say on this topic:

[paraphrasing]“Suppose you are a determinist and believe that there is no free will. You believe that everything that will happen is unchangeable; whatever is going to happen is going to happen and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  So how does this affect your decisions:

When you are at a restaurant and the waiter comes to take your order, you can’t just say, ‘Well, whatever is going to happen is going to happen and there is nothing I can do about it.  So let’s just wait and see what I do.’  You can’t do that.  You have to make a decision.”

Even if free will is an illusion, we have no choice but to act as if we do have free choices.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 19 April 2007 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Nicely stated, folks. It warms my heart to see such intelligence about a topic so subtle and controversial. Jason (waltercat), I especially appreciate your take on the matter. Low-level peering at reality really doesn’t change anything whatsoever, and we need to acknowledge and remember that as fact, in my opinion.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 19 April 2007 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Just a suggestion, for those who are truly interested in this issue… Go to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy website and look up “compatibilism.”  Aw, heck, here’s the link to make it easier…

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

All the best,
RC Metcalf
http://thinkagain.us

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Posted: 22 April 2007 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Even if free will is a myth it doesn’t really matter. Nothing changes.

The point concerns wether the belief that free will does not exist is existentially relevant.  If I’m being pursued by a pack of wolves towards a cliff, all of the literature on determinism or fatalism and my beliefs thereof are not going to be terribly relevant to my subjective state.  However, the belief does have consequences elsewhere.  For example, if you deny free will, it does not make sense to make ethical judgments on people’s actions; that is, you can only be held responsible for what you did or did not do if you had a choice to act otherwise.  Thus, there is a lot at stake, so the status of this debate does matter.

“I don’t believe in the freedom of the will. Schopenhauer’s saying, that a human can very well do what he wants, but can not will what he wants, accompanies me in all of life’s circumstances and reconciles me with the actions of humans, even when they are truly distressing. This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals.” Einstein

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