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Free to choose
Posted: 17 September 2007 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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Brennan,

mckenzievmd - 11 September 2007 02:37 PM

I’m not sure I understand your question, George. We all perceive ourselves to be agents with consciousness and the ability to choose and to act. I think to some extent the perception of a self that is unitary in time and space is an illusion (much like free will), but it is how most people claim to experience their lives and I think is a pretty widespread, natural illusion. So in that sense, there is no “we” doing the choosing, but it sure feels like there is, which is why I think the hwhole problem (and these endless debates) arises. Our intuitive perception of how we are and how we relate to the uuniverse turns out to be challenged by intellectual abstrations from science, and we’re stuck with a conflict between how we think things are and how they feel.

Whether there is a we doing the choosing or the brain chooses makes no difference. A choice takes place.

Confusion in the debate arises from the idea that the feeling there is a seperate I to my brain, doing the choosing is the free will illusion.

It can’t be!

If this seperate I is choosing between tea and coffee and prefers tea, this still gives us no reason to think it is this seperate I’s fault that it prefers tea. You could say I might prefer coffee ok maybe but so what?

In your mind you believe there is a reason to think it can be my fault that I prefer tea. Free will includes the belief there is a reason. That is why I call free will an erroneous belief not an illusion. I think it is well worth looking at the no illusion argument because if true it simplifies and gives us a way out of the endless circling. I think the belief free will is an illusion is the biggest blocker to seeing the truth. I also think this is why I have something different to add to the same old debate.

Somehow it has to be ultimately my fault that I prefered tea for me to have free will. It boils down to, somehow it has to be my fault, that I am me!

There is nothing that could make this so, that we know of.

It’s the belief there is, which is the problem, nothing else.

This is the free will error, if you have the feeling we have free will you must believe there is something that can make this so.

You are looking in the wrong place Brennan.

If you come to realise this, you will realise we can keep the illusion that there is a seperate I controlling our brains and bodies in tacked and still stop believing in free will, as I’ve done.

Without taking this step we are stuck because as you say this illusion is not going away.

Luckily the truth is, it doesn’t matter.

Stephen

[ Edited: 17 September 2007 04:53 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 17 September 2007 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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.

[ Edited: 20 October 2007 02:46 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 17 September 2007 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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zarcus - 17 September 2007 08:20 AM

I would like to apologize to Narwhol and everyone else who witnessed my deterioration.

I am embarrassed and a bit ashamed of my behavior.

Even though it is no excuse I will admit to having a drinking problem. I have spent years now dealing with it. As one can see from my behavior on two occasions that I drank and posted on the forum, I become incoherent, belligerent, and it is an acute personality change.

I am sorry and I will not allow it to happen again, nor will the administrators, with very good reason.

No worries, Zarcus. I hope you are well. Take care of yourself, eh?

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Posted: 17 September 2007 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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Thank you Doug.

I have had a general reluctance to do all that needs to be done to aid myself in this matter. As strange as it may seem I have had a continued internal battle over this issue that has stemmed in no small measure to treatment options. When I first found myself in a situation where I knew corrective measures must be put in place, I was faced with Alcoholics Anonymous. I went through what I think of as a slow burn, dismayed, angered and finally rejection of what I see as a quasi-religion that can be mandated by the state. I turned to Secularist for Sobriety and the work of James Christopher. But, there was simply limited resources to fall back on, as in no local meetings, centers that are completely ignorant of alternate views and so on.

These are no excuses and in fact AA does supply needed support for many. But, I at this time, must keep trying.

O.k., no more of my stuff on this thread - thanks for the tolerance.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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speaking of tolerence… I work for a company that has a zero-tolerance policy. What’s amusing is, all the employees tolerate it.

[ Edited: 17 September 2007 03:56 PM by morgantj ]
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Posted: 26 September 2007 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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I don’t think this proves the nonexistence of the free will but it does sound interesting:

From New Scientist, September 22-28, by Graham Lawton:
“Make a pendulum out of a paper clip and a piece of thread and dangle it over a cross a cross drawn on a piece of paper. Ask yourself a simple yes/no question, such as “am I at home?” or “do I have a cat?”, and tell yourself that if the pendulum swings clockwise, the answer is yes, while anticlockwise means no. Spookily, the pendulum will generally start rotating in the direction of the correct answer.
It looks supernatural, but it’s not. The reason it works is that, as soon as you ask the question, your unconscious brain fires up motor preparation circuits in anticipation of the answer it expects to see. These circuits initiate subtle muscle movements that you are not normally aware of – expect when they are amplified by a pendulum (or dowsing stick or Ouija board). This is your unconscious brain in action.”

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Posted: 26 September 2007 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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Yes, I remember trying this as a kid. Very impressive, even after you know about ideomotor action. I also remember enjoying the ouija board bit when I was about 11, thbough I haven’t tried it since. I wonder if my skepticism would interfere with it? Probably not.

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Posted: 26 September 2007 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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mckenzievmd - 26 September 2007 11:46 AM

I wonder if my skepticism would interfere with it? Probably not.

Hmm, it shouldn’t. I think that’s the whole point.

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Posted: 27 September 2007 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

Stephen

Yes.

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Posted: 27 September 2007 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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Jackson - 27 September 2007 10:34 PM
StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

Stephen

Yes.

No

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Posted: 28 September 2007 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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Jackson,

Jackson - 27 September 2007 10:34 PM
StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

Stephen

Yes.

I agree.

Do you think being free to choose is compatible with determinism?

Stephen

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Posted: 28 September 2007 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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Morgan,

morgantj - 27 September 2007 10:56 PM
Jackson - 27 September 2007 10:34 PM
StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

Stephen

Yes.

No

When you go and buy a pair of shoes, can’t you consider a number of alternatives and pick the pair you want the most?

Isn’t that an example of being free to choose?

Stephen

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Posted: 28 September 2007 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 September 2007 03:05 AM

Morgan,

morgantj - 27 September 2007 10:56 PM
Jackson - 27 September 2007 10:34 PM
StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

Stephen

Yes.

No

When you go and buy a pair of shoes, can’t you consider a number of alternatives and pick the pair you want the most?

Isn’t that an example of being free to choose?

Stephen

I don’t believe so. Just like the series of events and influences that conditioned me to go to the store and buy a pair of shoes, a similar series of events, influences, and conditions determined the pair of shoes I end up selecting. Lets say I select “a” over “b”. It is because I have determined “a” to meet my needs more then “b” in some way. How I made that determination is based off of a series of values I applied to the options. These values are conditions that determine what we “choose.”

I think people often think they have free will because they are looking for a direct and current influence that effected what appears to be their choice. But when they do not see this direct and immediate influence, they conclude they must have free will. However, I would have to argue that not every action we make will have such a visible direct influence.  There are many influences that we don’t consciously and immediately acknowledge or see, nonetheless we are influenced by these subtle influences.

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Posted: 28 September 2007 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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Morgan,

morgantj - 28 September 2007 09:23 AM

Lets say I select “a” over “b”. It is because I have determined “a” to meet my needs more then “b” in some way. How I made that determination is based off of a series of values I applied to the options. These values are conditions that determine what we “choose.”

 

Precisely, this is how it feels to most people, we value different pairs of shoes, one pair we give a higher value to than another and pick that pair.

What you have done is described the experience rather well, I would say you have described what it is like, to choose freely.

Stephen

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Posted: 28 September 2007 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 September 2007 09:56 AM

Morgan,

morgantj - 28 September 2007 09:23 AM

Lets say I select “a” over “b”. It is because I have determined “a” to meet my needs more then “b” in some way. How I made that determination is based off of a series of values I applied to the options. These values are conditions that determine what we “choose.”

 

Precisely, this is how it feels to most people, we value different pairs of shoes, one pair we give a higher value to than another and pick that pair.

What you have done is described the experience rather well, I would say you have described what it is like, to choose freely.

Stephen

I’m afraid not. I illustrated how what we are calling “choice” was “determined” by the influence of my conditioning. Therefore, I must ask, how are you defining “freely?”

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