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Free Will Yes or No, Step Two- So What?
Posted: 16 June 2008 01:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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Substantially identical post to one at #3 here. Please avoid multiple identical postings, as per rule 2(b). Thanks much, dougsmith—Admin

[ Edited: 16 June 2008 06:47 AM by dougsmith ]
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“Mary is the Yoko Ono of the Holy Family… and Satan is the Ringo.  It wouldn’t be the same without him- sometimes they even let him sing”

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Posted: 19 August 2008 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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Going through a couple threads on the free will question, this one appeared the most relevant to this article (no need to start yet another thread on this).

This Scientific American article just popped up on their web site - Free Will vs. the Programmed Brain

Some of you may already be aware of the research, but it’s a good quick read and introduction. There’s a fairly fascinating link under the Varieties of Immorality heading, raised questions. A poster on that link provides a pdf - The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will where the authors of the scientific study respond to some criticism, including from Dennett.

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Posted: 19 August 2008 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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jholt - 19 August 2008 08:01 AM

Going through a couple threads on the free will question, this one appeared the most relevant to this article (no need to start yet another thread on this).

This Scientific American article just popped up on their web site - Free Will vs. the Programmed Brain

Some of you may already be aware of the research, but it’s a good quick read and introduction. There’s a fairly fascinating link under the Varieties of Immorality heading, raised questions. A poster on that link provides a pdf - The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will where the authors of the scientific study respond to some criticism, including from Dennett.

Thanks for the heads up. The Scientific American article is notable for not addressing the factual question of whether free will exists as its defined: “everything that happens is [not] determined by what happened before—our actions are [not] inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action…”  Rather what’s discussed are the possible consequences of not believing we have this sort of libertarian, contra-causal free will. It turns out that some scientists (psychologists Vohs and Schooler) think they’ve got evidence to show that without this belief we’re morally handicapped. They say that even if we don’t have such freedom, it’s a good thing to believe we do.

But the article ends by asking why it is that the many scientists and philosophers who don’t believe in libertarian free will are nevertheless as morally responsible as people who do. Perhaps, the author surmises, it’s because belief in such freedom isn’t necessary for holding oneself responsible, or perhaps it’s because in morally freighted situations these scientists and philosophers revert to believing in it. I think the first option is more likely, given that there are good reasons to hold each other (and oneself) responsible and treat each other ethically even if we’re not causal exceptions to nature, reasons that are not difficult to understand and find compelling. I critique the Vohs and Schooler paper on The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will here, and philosopher Tamler Sommers critiques their study on cheating here.

Tom

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Posted: 20 August 2008 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]
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The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will


“THE HARD PROBLEM OF FREE WILL
The hard problem of free will boils down to whether the subjective experience
of volition influences action, and if so, how?”

There is no hard problem of free will. To say we don’t have free will is not to say volition does not influence action.

Stephen

[ Edited: 20 August 2008 08:15 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 20 August 2008 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]
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Quoting S.L.:

There is no hard problem of free will. To say we don’t have free will is not to say volition does not influence action.

Stephen, which of these negatives cancel which so we get a positive and clear statement? LOL

Occam

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Posted: 21 August 2008 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]
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Occam - 20 August 2008 06:32 PM

Quoting S.L.:

There is no hard problem of free will. To say we don’t have free will is not to say volition does not influence action.

Stephen, which of these negatives cancel which so we get a positive and clear statement? LOL

Occam

Ok good point. I’ll try again.

There is no hard problem of free will, as to say we have free will, is not to say volition influences action.

Stephen

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Posted: 19 September 2008 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]
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I believe in “free will”. I believe that free will governs personal choices.

For example.

If a criminal had a hostage and you were a witness. The criminal has a gun and the hostage is tied up to a chair.
The criminal says you have 2 options: 1) I give you the gun and you shoot the hostage and we pretend this never happened and I will pay you to keep quiet about it.
                                    2) You refuse to shoot the hostage and I will kill you myself.

Obviously the only choice is number 1, but if you believe in free will there is a third choice.
                                    3) The criminal gives you the gun and you shoot him or spare him at your mercy.
The free will choice is then based on your personal characteristic whether or not you are “good” or “bad”, but then again there is no good or bad in real life it is just somebody’s opinion of things. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you spare the criminal or not the important thing is you changed the course of you future by using your free will and making a third option that did not exist.

Free will has the power to change anybody’s future. It depends on a person’s will, whether or not the person is willing to change his or her future.

Here is another example. You have a choice between Obama and McCain, but if every American was willing to change their future they would do an unexpected thing. They would not vote for either candidate. That would be one of the most massive display of free will if it happened.

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Posted: 20 September 2008 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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Icedbullet77 - 19 September 2008 11:44 PM

Free will has the power to change anybody’s future. It depends on a person’s will, whether or not the person is willing to change his or her future.

Hi Icebullet77,

What do you mean by change the future? From what to what?

We can’t change it from what it’s going to be, because that is impossible.

What we can do is change it from what it would be if we didn’t do such and such.

Stephen

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Posted: 20 September 2008 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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Sorry Icebullet77, but your simplistic examples demonstrate your abysmal lack of understanding of the complexities buried within the ideas of free will and determinism.  Doug and Stephen have gone back and forth on this for over a year.  You might spend a few days reading their posts before you spout inanities.

Occam

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Posted: 20 September 2008 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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Ugh, I guess you are right, you can not really change your future.
I don;t know how else to describe it, i guess its just the ability to make personal choice instead of following somebody’s orders.

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Posted: 21 September 2008 01:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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Icedbullet77 - 20 September 2008 02:28 PM

Ugh, I guess you are right, you can not really change your future.

Yes but I understand that it sometimes feels to you like we can, I think it does to many of us. If we observe ourselves I think we can see what really happens, we imagine things we think could happen and are guided by our desire for those things to happen or not to happen. In this way we steer our own course and in a sense create our future.  When we manage to avoid something in this manner we can slip and think we changed our future. The mistake occurs because we think what we imagined might happen was going to happen.

I don;t know how else to describe it, i guess its just the ability to make personal choice instead of following somebody’s orders.

I think this is probably something different but of course we can do this too, bearing in mind that often following orders is the best choice to make.

Stephen

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