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Thread: does free will really exist?

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    does free will really exist?

    Hello guys , this is my first post here.. and excuse my English for it's not my mother tongue...

    I know the free will vs.fate is an old controversial topic, just wanted to see your opinions out there..
    I personally have always been in doubt if a person can do everything and that impossible is nothing... and that everything is in his own hands. It's true the person's character is his fate, but character is also affected by heredity, upbringing, and the general milieu of the person,, and where he lives. MY own dreams were not realized because of living in an underdeveloped country, where you can not do anything other than marrying and living just for living's sake. And now everything's crushed because Syria is bleeding...

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    Of course there is free will. But it is choices you make within the reality you live. It means that you choose freely among the possibilities you manage to see and act upon. There is no absolute free will. There is mad free will on the part of people who want to act upon possibilities that only are and exist, but do not occur beyond the imagination. And as Einstein plainly said, knowledge is important but the imagination much more, because imagination without enough knowledge is like a toilet without water. Many people like to be constantly full of free will. Have fun.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Free Will and Fate or Faith?
    That is three words.
    Do they exist?
    Yes separately.
    You are free to think the way you want.
    You have a will so that you can change your mind.
    And you have faith or at least I think you should. If you don't then you can't exist and then you can take it back to Descarte.
    He thought he did not exist and therefore he could not think faith will or free exist and therefore would not have any.
    Last edited by cacian; 12-07-2012 at 05:24 AM.
    it may never try
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    Exclamation I don't think we have free will.

    I believe that free will doesn't actually properly exist, considering my belief (and sciences belief) that our mind and our thoughts are completely physical and so are affected by its surroundings: thoughts don't just pop out of nowhere like they are free of the physical world and of something "higher". Everything that we ever come in contact with affects us and so our thoughts are a result of our environment and other factors. Of course, this could be disputed with issues such as the idea that maybe events don't have a chain-and-reaction effect if there is no beginnings (or is there? who knows). So really I don't know, but am more inclined to believe that, no, we don't have free will.
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  5. #5
    What do you mean by free will? Libertarian free will? Compatibalist free will? Frankfurt free will?

    What do you mean by determinism? Or fatalism? They are not the same.

    What forms of determinism are you considering? Epistemic determinism? Logical determinism? Causal determinism? Relativistic determinism?

    Like anything worthwhile, this has a huge literature, a lot of aspects and requires study.

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    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Free Will is our invention and in reality it is something we spin to justify some of our unjustifiable, unprovable nonsenses

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cioran View Post
    What do you mean by free will? Libertarian free will? Compatibalist free will? Frankfurt free will?

    What do you mean by determinism? Or fatalism? They are not the same.

    What forms of determinism are you considering? Epistemic determinism? Logical determinism? Causal determinism? Relativistic determinism?

    Like anything worthwhile, this has a huge literature, a lot of aspects and requires study.
    How do you study free will?
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    God's Bluff Rainyhawaii's Avatar
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    I do believe in free will. "The ability to act at one's own discretion." ~ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/free+will Yes, your environment affects you, as well as heredity and upbringing, but that's part of what gives you the necessary experiences to make decisions. If we didn't have any of these things we wouldn't have any experiences to base our actions, though, decisions, ect. on. These things are not an inhibitor of free will, rather, they are the creator of it.
    Redemption is held in the hearts of those that are willing, not the sceptres of those who don't believe in giving them that chance. ~ Colton Robinsmith

    When winds take forests in their paws
    The universe is still
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    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    People are bound to behave in a certain way and it is not always in his capacity to behave the way he or like. We are too much with a particular religious dogma. When people become too poor his senses of morality liquidates and the reality he falls into solidifies and he becomes a helpless lot and behaves contrary to his will or any moral principles he was taught

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finns View Post
    I believe that free will doesn't actually properly exist, considering my belief (and sciences belief) that our mind and our thoughts are completely physical and so are affected by its surroundings: thoughts don't just pop out of nowhere like they are free of the physical world and of something "higher". Everything that we ever come in contact with affects us and so our thoughts are a result of our environment and other factors. Of course, this could be disputed with issues such as the idea that maybe events don't have a chain-and-reaction effect if there is no beginnings (or is there? who knows). So really I don't know, but am more inclined to believe that, no, we don't have free will.
    This is true, we make our decisions before we are consciously aware of them, so free will is evidently a bit of an illusion.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    How do you study free will?
    There is a huge literature on it dating back a couple of thousands years. You could read it.

    There is fatalism. There is determinism. There is Aristotle's Sea Battle argument. There is libertarian free will. There is compatiblist free will. There is Frankfurtian free will. We have arguments to causal, logical, epistemic and relativistic determinism. We have the Libett (sp?) experiments of the 1980s that gave the first empirical demonstration that free will may be limited if it exists at all. And so on.

    Get reading!

  12. #12
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    If free will does not exist, then truth cannot exist. If we do not freely choose our words/thoughts and they are merely the by-products of psychological/biological/chemical/sociological forces, then the things we say were not of our choosing - and those words/thoughts were merely "fed" to us by our influences. That means that every post here isn't really our opinions per se but rather our responses to these influencing factors. How can truth come out of those mindless influences?
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

  13. #13
    Whosie Whatsie? Ser Nevarc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    If free will does not exist, then truth cannot exist. If we do not freely choose our words/thoughts and they are merely the by-products of psychological/biological/chemical/sociological forces, then the things we say were not of our choosing - and those words/thoughts were merely "fed" to us by our influences. That means that every post here isn't really our opinions per se but rather our responses to these influencing factors. How can truth come out of those mindless influences?
    Yea you're picking up on the major issue. That's why, despite that fact that empirically we're fairly sure free will is an illusion, it is not held as fact by large groups of people. It is tramped out by the fear of the inevitable consequences--that personal responsibility, perhaps, ceases to exist?

    But I'm not sure what you mean by "truth" not existing. Can you clarify or expand on that?

  14. #14
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cioran View Post
    There is a huge literature on it dating back a couple of thousands years. You could read it.

    There is fatalism. There is determinism. There is Aristotle's Sea Battle argument. There is libertarian free will. There is compatiblist free will. There is Frankfurtian free will. We have arguments to causal, logical, epistemic and relativistic determinism. We have the Libett (sp?) experiments of the 1980s that gave the first empirical demonstration that free will may be limited if it exists at all. And so on.

    Get reading!
    Wow a revolutionary thesis on free will is in order.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Most of what I've read on free will seems more interested in defining the term than explaining the common, non-philosophical understanding of it which I would say is that of libertarian free will.

    I have never seen any good argument for libertarian free will, at least not one which doesn't rely on some hypothetical unknown. Sure, we might have freedom, if transcendental idealism is true and our motives originate in the noumenon..or maybe there is some quantum occurrence at some place in our brains...who knows? But I don't see why it is necessary to invent these possibilities. People will say 'I know I have free will..I can feel it'. But what would it feel like if you didn't have free will? How would it feel different? Determinism doesn't mean that we don't have to make choices (unfortunately, perhaps). It's just that the choices we make are the ones we would have made anyway. Determinism is not the same as fatalism. Only an omniscient god can afford to be a fatalist.

    Most scientifically informed philosophers seem to accept determinism even if they won't admit it. The question they seem to be asking is to what extent determinism absolves us from responsibility. I think it comes down to how you define the 'self'. As Daniel Dennett has said - if you make yourself really small you can externalise just about everything. Of course this also means that you can make yourself really large and take responsibility for your unconscious, your genes..whatever you want. The idea of 'self' is a convenient fiction. This is not a controversial idea. As with free will, anybody wanting to pin down exactly what a 'self' is has to invoke some kind of mystery.

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