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Freewill Vs. Freethinking
Posted: 26 July 2008 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam - 17 November 2007 02:35 PM

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.

Occam

Occam - 17 November 2007 02:35 PM

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.

Occam

Hi, Occam

Just happened to come across this bit of history and thought I’d comment as your view is fairly common.

I don’t think we have to operate as if we had free will. I think it’s better than that. We do have the free will that you are refering to. (I wouldn’t usually call it free will but I’ll leave that aside.)

If we could predict everything we are going to do, then we wouldn’t make choices. But as you say we can’t and this is the key to explaining how we make choices.

We imagine things which are possible due to the fact we don’t know what will happen and pick the one that we react to most favourably.

No illusion, no as if, no problem, it’s what we do!

Edit: I’ll just add the reason I wouldn’t usually call this free will is because it isn’t, we already have another name for it.

It’s called making choices.
Stephen

[ Edited: 26 July 2008 12:48 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 26 July 2008 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I agee, SL.  Unfortunately, there is an ongoing debate among a great many people between free will vs determinism.  As you indicate, it’s not really a debate about substance, but rather about semantics and nitpicking.  The important thing is that we must make choices in our lives, whether the basis for them are deeply hidden, complex other causes, or whether we have a “god-given” “free will” isn’t really germane.

Occam
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Posted: 27 July 2008 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Occam - 26 July 2008 02:37 PM

I agee, SL.  Unfortunately, there is an ongoing debate among a great many people between free will vs determinism.  As you indicate, it’s not really a debate about substance, but rather about semantics and nitpicking.  The important thing is that we must make choices in our lives, whether the basis for them are deeply hidden, complex other causes, or whether we have a “god-given” “free will” isn’t really germane.

Occam
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I think there are two important points. One is the one you refer to and one that I think most of us who don’t believe in free will would agree with.

But there is another vitally important point that some of us are trying to get across. Ultimately it is a matter of happenstance (as far as we are concerned) what we are and what circumstances we are in and therefore what choice we make. 

The myth that circulates in society is that we have a special power that makes this untrue.

The myth has a profound affect on the way people think, feel and act.

On the second important point, it definately is a debate about substance and what is strange is how people who are concerned about belief in a personal God, homeopathy, and other such myths, are not concerned about this one.

I think it’s because we are so deeply immersed in the myth that we can’t see what damage it is doing, in the way we can see what damage it does if a person thinks God wants him to blow up a bus. 

Stephen

[ Edited: 27 July 2008 07:24 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 27 July 2008 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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As I understand it. SL, you are saying that the problem is that although we all make choices there are two orienttions:

1) I’m responsible for the choices I make (even though we recognize that all actions are preceded by a concatenation of causes).
2) The devil (or god) made me do it.  In other words, I’m not responsible for my actions.  And the consequence of that, is: Therefore I should not suffer for the consequences of my actions.

Occam

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Posted: 28 July 2008 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Occam - 27 July 2008 05:57 PM

As I understand it. SL, you are saying that the problem is that although we all make choices there are two orienttions:

I’ll start with 2) and work back to 1) to explain what I’m saying.

2) The devil (or god) made me do it.  In other words, I’m not responsible for my actions.

The cards I get and the way I play them ultimately boils down to luck as far as I’m concerned, I’m assuming that the devil or (god) made me do it are meant to mean that. So I’m not responsible for my actions in the sense which denies this.

1) I’m responsible for the choices I make (even though we recognize that all actions are preceded by a concatenation of causes).

If this is true then the word responsible in 1) must mean something other than it does in 2).

What concerns me is that people believe we are responsible type 2.

  And the consequence of that, is: Therefore I should not suffer for the consequences of my actions.

Well I think the belief in responsibility type 2. is such a significant part of our psychology that we would all think feel and behave completely differently, if the myth wasn’t so prevailant and if our intuitions didn’t develop in a world where this was so. So there are many consequences.

But to address your point, it is true that I should not suffer if should is founded on responsibilty type 2.

So one of the things that worries me is that people think I and others should suffer in this sense. I believe we would be much better off and people would be much less willing to or have much less desire to inflict suffering on others, if they didn’t believe in responsibility type 2.

Whilst some atheists think belief in God is the root of all evil, I think belief in responsibility type 2. is the root of all evil. (don’t take this too literally just trying to give you a sense of what I’m saying.)


Stephen

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Posted: 28 July 2008 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Occam - 27 July 2008 05:57 PM

As I understand it. SL, you are saying that the problem is that although we all make choices there are two orienttions:

1) I’m responsible for the choices I make (even though we recognize that all actions are preceded by a concatenation of causes).
2) The devil (or god) made me do it.  In other words, I’m not responsible for my actions.  And the consequence of that, is: Therefore I should not suffer for the consequences of my actions.

Occam

I’ve run into a third that doesn’t quite fit your two. It is that my life is so controlled by fate, that I will not make a choice.

3) I will make no choice because I have no control.

An example of this is a friend(of mine) who hates her job, and refuses to look for another, because if it were meant for her to have another job, it will come to her!

Odd,defeatist thinking, it’s not the first time I have seen this.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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asanta - 28 July 2008 03:28 AM

I’ve run into a third that doesn’t quite fit your two. It is that my life is so controlled by fate, that I will not make a choice.

3) I will make no choice because I have no control.

An example of this is a friend(of mine) who hates her job, and refuses to look for another, because if it were meant for her to have another job, it will come to her!

Odd,defeatist thinking, it’s not the first time I have seen this.

Yes, I think we’ve all come across this sought of thing. If it was what most people believed, we’d try hard to combat it.

Most people believe we have responsibility type 2. The type that denies ‘luck swallows everything’ but very few are concerned about doing anything about it, as if the belief is likely to be benign or even positive.

Stephen

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 04:00 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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asanta - 28 July 2008 03:28 AM

I’ve run into a third that doesn’t quite fit your two. It is that my life is so controlled by fate, that I will not make a choice.

3) I will make no choice because I have no control.

An example of this is a friend(of mine) who hates her job, and refuses to look for another, because if it were meant for her to have another job, it will come to her!

Odd, defeatist thinking, it’s not the first time I have seen this.

Not necessarily defeatist, sometimes it’s based on experience.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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A Voice of Sanity - 28 July 2008 10:47 AM
asanta - 28 July 2008 03:28 AM

I’ve run into a third that doesn’t quite fit your two. It is that my life is so controlled by fate, that I will not make a choice.

3) I will make no choice because I have no control.

An example of this is a friend(of mine) who hates her job, and refuses to look for another, because if it were meant for her to have another job, it will come to her!

Odd, defeatist thinking, it’s not the first time I have seen this.

Not necessarily defeatist, sometimes it’s based on experience.

I’ve yet to see a job ‘walk’  rolleyes , but (who knows)...I’m still looking!

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