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Thread: Freedom Doesn't Exist.

  1. #16
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    How would you go about proving determinism? You would have to have multiple equal starting universes and observe the outcome. If they all have the same preset collision course they would have to end up exactly the same. That would be difficult to test. It also impossible to prove free will since changing your mind or changing a planned outcome could just as well be determined. So wouldn't it be best to take the position that has a positive edge i.e. free will.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Hyde View Post
    How can somthing contingent be free?

    How can somthing which is imposed by limitations, confinements, restrictions,and dependencies ever be free?

    How can somthing that is in constant need ever be considered truely independent?
    I think, Mr. Hyde, that there is a misconception within the philosophical realm that a word has but one meaning. I do not mean all philosophers fall ill to this but many, oh so many, do.

    There is freedom in its concrete sense, which is unattainable—for all things (presumably) are contingent to cause & effect, therefore cannot truly be free: for there are only so many effects that go with any particular cause, but there are multiple effects; and therefore, though there is a limited freedom in which effect will occur, there is a freedom—and then there is the applicable sense of the word (which falls more into the plain of thought of liberty): I have the choice (today) to A, B, or C; I will do B. The only real freedom one has is an inner freedom—a freedom to not follow the passions of life, to resist the causes of negative (or even positive) effects (i.e. I know that shooting myself in the foot will (in all likelihood) cause a severe pain to register from the nerves in my foot, therefore I will not shoot myself in the foot). It is true we have no (or at least little) power over effects, but one can simply not initiate the cause that will bring about the effect. This is our freedom.

    Political Freedom, on the other hand, has its limits because we bring ourselves into a social contract that says to heighten the overall freedom of all we must subject ourselves to confining our freedom (or choices) to choices that do not hurt other members of the contract’s freedom. In other words, we forfeit the freedom to shoot someone, in order to take on the right not to be shot by someone—and, so long as no one deviates from the contract (which we all know happens), no one within the social contract will be harmed.
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  3. #18
    Pirate! Katy North's Avatar
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    Guilty!

    Of misuse of syllogisms!

    Personally, I like syllogisms because they are a very elegant argument and easy to use... however, these suckers are also quite easy to use to argue false points...

    Here is a syllogism that is used correctly. I will use it to demonstrate the flaws in the arguments:

    All men are mortal.
    Socrates is a man.
    Therefore Socrates is mortal.

    P1. The experience of free will is no more than an appearance.
    P2. If the experience of free will is no more than an appearance, then people don't really have free will.
    C1. So, people don't really have free will.
    What proof do you have that free will is no more than an appearance? In my example syllogism, we have proof that men are mortal, and that Socrates is a man, but in your syllogism, we have no proof that free will is no more than an appearance. Nice attempt but... NEXT:

    P1. If a choice is free, then it is not caused.
    P2. If a choice is not caused, then it is a random occurrence.
    P3. But, if a choice is free, then it is not a random occurrence.
    C1. So, if a choice is free, then it is both a random occurrence and not a random occurrence, which is impossible.
    C2. So, no choice can be free.
    In all 36 definitions of the word "free" on the online dictionary, I saw no definition that stated that something "free" is not caused. That may possible be a scientific or mathematical definition somewhere, but scientific or mathematical definitions usually don't work in philosophy. Thus, the rest of your argument does not follow, and is in fact, somewhat ridiculous. Here is my definition of free will:

    free: the power to determine action without restraint.
    will: the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions:



    P1. Whatever future events will happen, it is now true that these future events will happen as they do. (E.g., if I will in fact sing tomorrow, then it is true, and it is true now, that I will sing tomorrow.)
    P2. If it is now true that these future events will happen as they do, then it is now not possible for anyone to bring it about that any of these future events will not happen. (E.g., if it is now true that I will sing tomorrow, then it is now not possible for me to bring it about that I will not sing tomorrow.)
    P3. If it is now not possible for anyone to bring it about that any of these future events will not happen, then people are not free with respect to any future events.
    C1. So, people are not free with respect to any future events.
    Unless you are either god or a fortune teller, you can have no way of knowing what is going to happen tomorrow. I personally doubt the existence of both. So, your argument does not follow. I can SAY "I will sing tomorrow", but if this evening I'm in a car crash and end up being unconscious tomorrow, it's pretty certain I won't be singing. Your first statement is flawed, and thus the other statements fall apart under it.

    P1. Computers can perform every task that people can perform.
    P2. Computers do not have free will.
    C1. So, no task that people can perform requires that people have free will.
    P3. If no human activity requires free will, then we have no reason to believe that people have free will.
    P4. If we have no reason to believe that people have free will, then we should not believe that people have free will.
    C2. So, we should not believe that people have free will.
    First of all, let's pretend that this is 1000 years from now and computers can, in fact, do everything that people can.

    The main problem with your argument is P3. We call this a slippery slope. If no human activity REQUIRES, free will, you argue, then there is no free will.

    However, your conclusion does not automatically follow. What if we have free will anyway? Computers and humans are completely different constructs. Computers make a choice based on programming, and humans make their choices based on.... what? Some may say there's a god, but others may say that god has given us free will. There is no proof for or against. Unless you're willing to attempt to prove that people are computers, your argument, again, has a shaky foundation.

    P1. Things made only of matter can only have actions that are caused.
    P2. Things that can only have actions that are caused do not have free will.
    C1. So, things made only of matter do not have free will.
    C2. So, if people are made only of matter, then people do not have free will.
    Again, you're using science (Isn't science fun??!!) to argue about human actions. True, in science, there is only potential or kinetic energy, and objects with energy transfer it to others, giving objects kinetic (active) energy. Humans are matter, this is true, and our MATTER may not have a lot of free will... however, who decides what our matter does? We do! We have the ability to decide what our bodies do. If you were to actually believe your above argument, there would be no need to get up in the morning. We'd just sit around and wait for stuff to happen to us. I sure hope it rains, 'cause I'm thirsty.

    P1. The entire human body (including the brain) is made up of cells each of which has no freedom of choice.
    P2. If the entire human body (including the brain) is made up of cells each of which has no freedom of choice, then a human being cannot have freedom of choice.
    C1. So, a human being cannot have freedom of choice.
    I'm sure that there's a name for the fallacy you made here, but I can't remember. You're right, in the sense, that cells probably don't really have conscious thought, and probably don't actively choose what they do. However, the brain is BUILT of cells, it isn't just a bunch of cells... and when those cells are put together they create something (the brain) that DOES have free will. The qualities of the parts do not reflect the qualities of the WHOLE.
    Last edited by Katy North; 03-16-2010 at 08:05 AM.
    Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

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  4. #19
    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Human personality is determined by genetic and environmental influences - nature vs. nuture. Therefore, there is choice, but that choice is determined by the mass of your genetic data and your personal life experience. For example, there is genetic coding to determine how extroverted/introverted you are.

    Therefore there is no free will because the individual making choices himself is determined.

  5. #20
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    I agree with Katy North, there is a gross misuse of the rules of logic and syllogism. An argument must be a) accurate and b) sound, of which the creator of these arguments have not established the accuracy of any of the statements made in the arguments. Most if not all of them are greatly flawed. Therefore the conclusions are also profoundly flawed. Others have exposed enough of their errors that it doesn't need to be rehashed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mayneverhave View Post
    Human personality is determined by genetic and environmental influences - nature vs. nuture. Therefore, there is choice, but that choice is determined by the mass of your genetic data and your personal life experience. For example, there is genetic coding to determine how extroverted/introverted you are.

    Therefore there is no free will because the individual making choices himself is determined.
    Genetic code does not determine personality, it merely influences it. Otherwise, a murderer has no choice but to murder. This is a ludicrous statement.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  6. #21
    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    Genetic code does not determine personality, it merely influences it. Otherwise, a murderer has no choice but to murder. This is a ludicrous statement.
    Genetic code and environment determine personality. Every organism is the product of some sort of natural process.

  7. #22
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayneverhave View Post
    Genetic code and environment determine personality. Every organism is the product of some sort of natural process.
    You have left out the major determining factor, and that is one's own will to choose. Neither genetic code nor environment determine anything. One chooses according to their own will.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  8. #23
    ésprit de l’escalier DanielBenoit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    Neither genetic code nor environment determine anything. One chooses according to their own will.
    Almost all criminal and social theory disagrees with you. Are you telling me that a kid born in North Korea and a kid born in America are going to grow up to be the same people? How about one born in the slums of Brazil and one born in suburban California? Did the people of North Korea just choose to be indoctrotated into believing their leader is a deity? Did the six year old in Third-World slums who knows how to use a handgun just choose that lifestyle, or was it the only thing he knew? the only hierarchy there was?

    And also "no murder chooses to be a muderer"? Well what about sociopaths? How about sadists? No one chooses to be deranged or to possess no conscience, these are mental disorders brought about by either environment or generics. A person may choose to kill someone out of say pleasure, but it is a basic psychological fact that people who do that are clearly mentally unstable. Is the murderer still responsible? yes. Should he be locked up? absolutely. If an induvidual's mental disorder poses a danger to society then it is only sensible that they'd be thrown in prison.
    Last edited by DanielBenoit; 03-16-2010 at 09:32 PM.
    The Moments of Dominion
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    Too exquisite — to tell —
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVW8GCnr9-I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckGIvr6WVw4

  9. #24
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielBenoit View Post
    Almost all criminal and social theory disagrees with you.
    Can you document your statement? I think that you are way off base on your facts.


    Are you telling me that a kid born in North Korea and a kid born in America are going to grow up to be the same people? How about one born in the slums of Brazil and one born in suburban California? Did the people of North Korea just choose to be indoctrotated into believing their leader is a deity? Did the six year old in Third-World slums who knows how to use a handgun just choose that lifestyle, or was it the only thing he knew? the only hierarchy there was?
    Not all people in these areas believe their leaders. This really has no application to my statement. While people make personal choices every day, being oppressed has nothing to do with genetic code or environmental influence.


    And also "no murder chooses to be a muderer"? Well what about sociopaths? How about sadists? No one chooses to be deranged or to possess no conscience, these are mental disorders brought about by either environment or generics. A person may choose to kill someone out of say pleasure, but it is a basic psychological fact that people who do that are clearly mentally unstable. Is the murderer still responsible? yes. Should he be locked up? absolutely. If an induvidual's mental disorder poses a danger to society then it is only sensible that they'd be thrown in prison.

    You are trying to apply the exception to the rule. You also are making assumptions that you are not qualified to make. You need to document your claims about "basic psychological facts". I think that you are blowing a bunch of smoke, making a distraction from the statement that I made.

    For the average individual, they make their choices based on their own will. It may be influenced by genetic code or environment, but we all make our own choices.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  10. #25
    Registered User Nax's Avatar
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    I think there are too many issues floating around here.

    Humans can make choices yes but they are detirmined by an insurmountable number of variables.

    However all of that is moot, and I am with the OP in saying that we are not free. Nor can we ever be free for a number of reasons. Give me an example of being truly free, and I will argue that it is false in our current world. Unless your example is something cliche like falling in love, or being able to watch the sun go down, in which case your a romantic and a slave to ur heart anyways.

    Humans inherintly desire control, as both a means of preservation and lust, and in order to have control there must be a heirarchy of power. All of us in this forum are at the lower rungs of this chain, the higher rungs are not known to almost anyone. Some would say government is thus, but they would be incorrect, as the government is just another tool by the corperations in order to give the illusion of freedom of choice. Does it really matter who you vote for? The policies generally are all lies either way, and the government will do watever it has to to stay in power, be it against their alignment or not. No one will actually make the choices we NEED right now, because it would result in the masses having to make sacrifices to comfort, like not having 100 appliances and three cars and hot water all day every day even when ur not using it. Its all well and good to say, were going to do somethin! But to actually impliment it is just not going to happen as long as politicians only care about the next election, and not actually doing what they are supposed to. Because when they are in power, they are getting money, lots of money, as well as alot of "benifits" which stay off the books. Socialists amung us will say that it is saving the weaker among us and providing us with essential services, which is true. But last time I checked, if it wasnt for the taxman, I could walk out to almost any strip of land and be completely self sustained and happy. Yes some would suffer, and some would die, but its this exact empathy that is used against us in order to keep those of us quite capable of surviving without any form of government in check, which is a great great deal of us. Even dim people can put a seed in the dirt, they were doing it for eons before someone stood up and said "holy ****, we can be making money off these people!"

    We in the modern era have been completely brain washed and imprisoned. Fear is force fed to us through media, newspapers and television every single day. And if it isnt fear its complacency. Because of this we are more then willing (partially due to our parents) to sacrifice everything that we are in order to be another cog in the machine, making money to buy things we dont need to impress people we dont know for reasons we dont really understand. We have had some of our most basic morals and compulsions used against us in the form of materialism. "You dont need to think! You can watch tv! Friends? PFFT they are nothing but trouble, come buy yourself something and forget your worries. Things getting a bit sketchy towards the government? Fat cash payouts!" Epicurus believed that we needed to have friends, reflection, and a self sustained existence in order to be truley happy, and I believe he was right.

    Everything around us is crumbling. Societies mental health issues are skyrocketing, physical health issues continue to climb, even though we have greater and more powerful ways of fighting it. People are eating, drinking, and drugging themselves to death. The gap between rich and poor is of course growing ever bigger. The planet is being crippled at an astounding rate on land, in water, and in the air all in the name of progress. Are these the symptoms of a happy free people? Are these indicators that what we are doing is working?

    We are bred to be slaves under the illusion of freedom. If given the illusion of freedom, we will quite happily sacrifice the only thing which is truly ours (time) and in exchange we are given some liberties and assistance. We feel like its our choice, but what choice do you have really? Become a bum? A hermit? Eventually they will find you, like that poor man a few months back, lived on a tract of land completely self sustaining for decades, till the taxman found him, said he was 2 million behind in unpaid taxes, and threw him in jail. Freedom indeed.


    At the end of the day it all comes down to money, the day we threw away the barter system was the day we gave up our rights as individuals, the right to produce our own goods and exchange them in whatever way we saw fit. We gave this up in exchange for the safety of the mass and greed, kinda like ants. It wasnt enough to just exist and survive anymore, we needed to hoard our wealth, show everyone how much better we are then them.

    We have strayed from the path. Now we are gripped by a planetary struggle on almost every continent in the world. Environmentally, economically, and internally. Its only a matter of time before enough people become aware. I hope anyways.


    To finish, I would just like to post this quote by Hunter S Thompson.

    "It's a strange world. Some people get rich and other eat **** and die. A fat man will feel his heart burst and call it beautiful. Who knows? If there is, in fact, a Heaven and a Hell, all we know for sure is that Hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Pheonix - a clean well-lighted place full of sunshine and bromides and fast cars where almost everybody seems vaguely happy, except for the ones who know in their hearts what is missing...And being driven slowly and quietly into the kind of terminal craziness that comes with finally understanding that the one thing you want is not there. Missing. Back-ordered. no tengo. Vaya con Dios. Grow up! Small is better. Take what you can get.......the swine will be sorted out at the gate and sent off like rats, with huge welts and lumps and puncture wounds all over their bodies - down the long black chute where ugliness rolls over you every 10 or 16 minutes like waves of boiling asphalt and poison scum, followed by sergeants and lawyers and crooked cops waving rule books; and where nobody laughs and everybody lies and the days drag by like dead animals and the nights are full of whores and junkies clawing at your window and tax men jamming writs under your door"

  11. #26
    ésprit de l’escalier DanielBenoit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    Can you document your statement? I think that you are way off base on your facts.
    Look up nature vs. nurture debate.




    Not all people in these areas believe their leaders. This really has no application to my statement.
    Interesting, well how do you explain this or this?

    While people make personal choices every day, being oppressed has nothing to do with genetic code or environmental influence.
    Oh really? I think being oppressed by ones government and by society at large pretty much fits the definition of environmental influence.

    You are trying to apply the exception to the rule. You also are making assumptions that you are not qualified to make. You need to document your claims about "basic psychological facts". I think that you are blowing a bunch of smoke, making a distraction from the statement that I made.
    The statement you made is that "Neither genetic code nor environment determine anything." I gave the easy example of sociopathy (or psychopathy).

    Well if you've never heard of sociopathy as a mental disorder, I suppose you're not well informed.

    For the average individual, they make their choices based on their own will. It may be influenced by genetic code or environment, but we all make our own choices.
    But when there's less influence, the more "choice" is available to the individual. Again, how is it that a kid born into slavery have more "choice" than one not? How is it that a kid born into an enviroment of war and violence has more of a chance to be mentally disturbed?
    The Moments of Dominion
    That happen on the Soul
    And leave it with a Discontent
    Too exquisite — to tell —
    -Emily Dickinson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVW8GCnr9-I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckGIvr6WVw4

  12. #27
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Daniel,
    You are not addressing the context of my statement. I am not addressing that someone is being oppressed or forced by an oppressive government. I am not addressing the small minority of the clinically insane. I am addressing the majority of individuals that use free choice based on their will. They make decisions based on sound decisions. Stay on topic.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  13. #28
    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    You have left out the major determining factor, and that is one's own will to choose. Neither genetic code nor environment determine anything. One chooses according to their own will.
    But how is that will determined? Who is the one you speak of, and how did it biologically develop? I'm not saying humans have no choice. I'm just saying humans have no decision in determining themselves, and therefore the decisions they make are already determined.

  14. #29
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayneverhave View Post
    But how is that will determined? Who is the one you speak of, and how did it biologically develop? I'm not saying humans have no choice. I'm just saying humans have no decision in determining themselves, and therefore the decisions they make are already determined.
    And I disagree with your conclusions...
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  15. #30
    ésprit de l’escalier DanielBenoit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    Daniel,
    You are not addressing the context of my statement. I am not addressing that someone is being oppressed or forced by an oppressive government. I am not addressing the small minority of the clinically insane. I am addressing the majority of individuals that use free choice based on their will. They make decisions based on sound decisions. Stay on topic.
    But are we not all oppressed by our own environments? (I do not mean this in a political way)

    The examples oppressive governments and societies were made because they showed a clear image of indoctrination. If you want to be more general then how about this: why is it that most generations of religious cultures create more generations possessing the same belief-system? That said, things are different now in this age of globalization with the emergence of cultures in which all different sorts of cultural enviroments juxtapose.

    As far as personality traits go, as I said before, look up the nature vs. nurture debate. Look up any disorder, idiosyncrasy or personality trait and you will almost always find the determining factors to be either enviromental (i.e. social) or genetic.

    Semantically speaking, we must address the question, what is free will? Well, it can basically be determined that free will is an act made of ones own choice. But that's not good enough, because one can freely choose to go join the mob or join a terrorist organization, but there are factors determining that choice (you have come to believe that social issues can be solved through violence, etc.). In fact, all our choices are determined by factors, that is, choices with reasons behind them. You choose to accept the theory of gravity. Why? Because you believe in the evidence presented. Why? Because you believe in the scientific method., etc.

    In a sense the concept of free will is really just a semantic word game based on creating a gap between cause and effect. For as the foundational principle of determinism is that all events are determined by a causal chain of prior occurences or rather all things are determined by their causes. The only free act is an act without cause or purpose.
    The Moments of Dominion
    That happen on the Soul
    And leave it with a Discontent
    Too exquisite — to tell —
    -Emily Dickinson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVW8GCnr9-I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckGIvr6WVw4

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