Who believes in freewill? I don’t think freewill actually exist. I believe in chemical reactions causeing me to do this. Same for freethinking. But I did not start this topic to tell what I think, I set it up to see what you think. So here’s the question "Is there a a difference between freewill and freethinking?". (Topic is not limited to this, just at least address the previous posts)
Who believes in freewill? I don’t think freewill actually exist. I believe in chemical reactions causeing me to do this. Same for freethinking. But I did not start this topic to tell what I think, I set it up to see what you think. So here’s the question “Is there a a difference between freewill and freethinking?”. (Topic is not limited to this, just at least address the previous posts)
That’s a very interesting question. Yes, there is a similarity. To act freely (with free will) is to act without duress, without compulsion.
To think freely (as in, to be a “freethinker”) is to think without the compulsion of having to follow some outmoded form of irrational dogma. Religion is one form of this sort of dogma.
In other words, to be a “freethinker” is not to have to measure one’s beliefs by what the religious leaders tell us. It is to make up one’s mind for oneself.
On the other hand, a wise freethinker does look to other sources of reliable information to inform belief: i.e. the sciences. Why? Because this is the one source of belief that is not determined by dogma, but rather by experiment.
[quote author=“theatheistheretic”]Interesting! Let’s hear the complexity.
Do you mean about the will? That’s a topic that really goes even beyond the state-of-the-art in brain science. The point, though, is that all the structure and function of the brain is causal. It is a very, very complex machine, as is the rest of our body, and indeed every living thing.
One question for cognitive psychology and brain science is to find the biochemical roots of human behavior, action, beliefs, desires, and other states of the mind/brain. We’re still just scratching the surface, IMO.
Philosophy can help us get a bit of a handle on some things though ... for example, given that we are just machines, what is the difference between the causes that constitute free acts, and the causes that constitute unfree acts or behavior under compulsion?
We have to start from examples.
So, we know there is a difference between someone who freely robs a store because he wants money and someone who robs a store because a kidnapper has his child and has forced him to rob. Or between consensual sex and rape. Or between someone freely sitting in a chair and someone tied there. Or between someone freely spending time in his room and someone locked in a cell. There are a million such examples, and I’m sure you can come up with a few.
Then we have to figure out some principled way to distinguish the “free” cases (where the person did the action because he wanted to), from the “unfree” cases (where the person did the thing out of compulsion).
Hint: it’s a hard job. But I have no doubt that it can be done.
I can see your point of freewill, and I see it as a reason but IMhumbleO its not a good one empirically if viewed at emphatically. I don’t see there being a freewill because nature/nurture is ALWAYS playing a role in some way or another that will eventual give rise to the reason why you did such an such.
Why did i haev casual sex with this peson to why did i have sex with a rapist for example. I had casual sex with that person because the chemicals in my body liked what it sensed and it gave arousal thus wanting some po-tang. And i could go further and further back to a root cause. cause and effect relationship, I am not an unmoved mover.
With brain waves, chemicals, state of mind, collective memory, experiences, all having a toll on who you are and what you do, and how you do it.
I would measure the existance of “Free Will”, as being the degree to which people make rational decisions. And to the degree that we do make rational decisions in our lives, I would say that there is some amount of free will, but it’s fragile. And I have trouble making a meaningful distinction between “will” and “thought”.
In addition to uncoerced choice, another essential component of freedom is having options that are not artificially restricted. You may not be compelled in your choice to vote for either Bush or Kerry, but if your choices are artificially limited to just those two, you are’nt really acting freely anymore either.
On a biological level, awareness of our options are limited by our perceptions which get cluttered by compulsion, symbology & delusions. Our ability to perceive and assess viable option is then, very limited I think. And therefore so is free will.
Riley wrote: “I would measure the existance of “Free Will”, as being the degree to which people make rational decisions. And to the degree that we do make rational decisions in our lives, I would say that there is a degree of free will, but it’s fragile. And I have trouble making a meaningful distinction between ‘will’ and ‘thought’.”
In my thinking about free will I’ve come from an acceptance of it to a complete rejection of it. I now agree with Riley that “there is a degree of free will, but it’s fragile”.
Many people believe in a sort of supernatural free will, courtesy of
a soul that lies outside the continuum of physics, which causes our actions
and directs our brains. I think it’s pretty clear that this is unlikely to be true, which has added a lot of ammo for those who would argue against
free will. However, as Doug pointed out (also refer to Dennett), determinism and freedom can coexist to a certain degree. Another interesting perspective that many people don’t seem to think about is the
issue of “free won’t.” That is, we become more free by learning to deny
impulses. Our brain creates impulses to think, say, or do things, but we (unless we have developmental disorders) acquire the ability to hesitate
and consider these thoughts and compare them rationally. Obviously
some of us are better at this than others. I am tempted to go on a rant
about how, in light of this view of the mind, skepticism and freethought are necessary for a free society to function. But I imagine I would be preaching to the choir.
I think it depends on what you mean by FREEWILL. On one hand there is a causal link of actions extending back “forever” - - so what we decided to do now is certainly influenced and made possible by everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that has come before. Still you can make choices within your immediate existence and environment. How “free” you are to make those choices is certainly debatable.
As I posted quite a while ago in a similar thread, nothing I’ve seen presented demonstrates that the law of cause and effect isn’t always working. Therefore, I have to assume that all of our behavior is caused so free will doesn’t exist. However, the causes are so complex, hidden, and interwoven that we can’t come close to identifying enough of them to assure reasonable predictability. Because of that, we have to operate as if we had free will.