An Introspective Look at Choice

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chaz wyman
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by chaz wyman »

Notvacka wrote:Yes. I could not have chosen differently, but somebody else could. Had I chosen differently, then I would have been somebody else. It's common to speculate about what one would have done, had one been somebody else. Unfortunately, we are stuck with being ourselves. And, for instance, had you been Anders Behring Breivik at Utøya, then you would have done what he did.
The rejection of the idea of free-will is often countered with the notion of personal responsibility. How can we imprison a person for fulfilling his determined course of action?
For me this is not a problem. Whilst the free-will proponents fool themselves that the perpetrator could have done differently - but bizarrely did not. The proponent of determinism is able to examine the causal factors that led to the crime, and to devise modifications through the penal system to encourage those things not to happen again. The idea of re-habilitation or 'correctionalism', is based on the idea that whilst you acknowledge that a crime is caused, you can also cause a change in the prisoner that might help him avoid recidivism.
If you believe in free will then you have to accept that the will of the prisoner will not be changed by his time in gaol and whatever you do, he can wilfully commit more crimes on release.
I think the evidence is that the determinists case works, whilst the home of free-will (the USA) has the largest prison population on earth and the greatest rate of recidivism.
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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

RG1 wrote:Could I have chosen differently than what I actually chose?
You could have, but you didn't. The next time you can. You decided that particular time that chocolate was your choice, no matter what the reasoning, as the reasoning was only that, which your then, state of knowledge, would allow. Even if you knew chocolate would kill you, you could still choose it, that is free will. The ability to do what you want, when you want, is in fact free will.

Free will has constraints of course. For instance a human can only choose to do what the physical and mental constraints of a human allows. In addition, one can only make the choices that ones knowledge allows. If you do not know of a 4th consideration, you can not choose it. It might be a much better choice, it might be seen as a freer choice, if you only knew it existed. So free will is bound within constraints, but one can always push those constraints, through both physical and mental exercise. Of course in the end, the limit of such pushing, is bound by the current human abilities, at their very maximum.

Those that deny free will because it supposedly had its origins of the church, do so because they fear the church. It would seem they are incapable of understanding, that the church and free will are not necessarily mutually inclusive, just because the church was a group to which it's coiner belonged at the time. Any authority can see a golden opportunity to use such a phrase to it's own ends, this does not, however, reflect upon the phrases truth or untruth, or it being good or bad. If something is used to do harm, it is the user that is harmful, not the thing being used.

I can't create a universe, so I guess there is no such thing as free will. ;-)

But wait, I can send this or not...
I choose to send it...
My will was free to do as it wanted, I was free to will it, let it be done.
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RG1
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

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SpheresOfBalance wrote:But wait, I can send this or not...
I choose to send it...
My will was free to do as it wanted, I was free to will it, let it be done.
Before you claim that your free-will sent this or not, let me ask, did you have a reason for sending this?
If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
If no, then I ask, why did you send it? What caused you to send it?

Was it your 'conscious' self that chose to send this or your 'unconscious' self?
Free-will implies that you had some conscious control in making this choice.
If you sent this consciously (knowingly) then you would have a memory of doing so.
If no memory exists, then the choice was not consciously made, therefore was not via free-will.

If you have a 'reason' for sending this, then it was that reason (not you or your free-will) that determined your choice.
But then, you may argue that it was your free-will that 'chose' your reason.
If so, then let me ask, did you have a reason for choosing this reason?

As you can see, all paths ultimately end up leading to our 'unconscious' selves actually making our choices, not our conscious selves that we associate with having the power of free-will.
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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

RG1 wrote:
SpheresOfBalance wrote:But wait, I can send this or not...
I choose to send it...
My will was free to do as it wanted, I was free to will it, let it be done.
Before you claim that your free-will sent this or not, let me ask, did you have a reason for sending this?
If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
If no, then I ask, why did you send it? What caused you to send it?

Was it your 'conscious' self that chose to send this or your 'unconscious' self?
Free-will implies that you had some conscious control in making this choice.
If you sent this consciously (knowingly) then you would have a memory of doing so.
If no memory exists, then the choice was not consciously made, therefore was not via free-will.

If you have a 'reason' for sending this, then it was that reason (not you or your free-will) that determined your choice.
But then, you may argue that it was your free-will that 'chose' your reason.
If so, then let me ask, did you have a reason for choosing this reason?

As you can see, all paths ultimately end up leading to our 'unconscious' selves actually making our choices, not our conscious selves that we associate with having the power of free-will.
Wikipedia:

UNCONSCIOUS MIND:
"The unconscious mind (or the unconscious) consists of the processes in the mind that occur automatically and are not available to introspection, and include thought processes, memory, affect, and motivation.[1] The term was coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The concept was developed and popularized by the Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Empirical evidence suggests that unconscious phenomena include repressed feelings, automatic skills, subliminal perceptions, thoughts, habits, and automatic reactions,[1] and possibly also complexes, hidden phobias and desires. In psychoanalytic theory, unconscious processes are understood to be expressed in dreams in a symbolical form, as well as in slips of the tongue and jokes. Thus the unconscious mind can be seen as the source of dreams and automatic thoughts (those that appear without any apparent cause), the repository of forgotten memories (that may still be accessible to consciousness at some later time), and the locus of implicit knowledge (the things that we have learned so well that we do them without thinking).

It has been argued that consciousness is influenced by other parts of the mind. These include unconsciousness as a personal habit, being unaware, and intuition. Terms related to semi-consciousness include: awakening, implicit memory, subliminal messages, trances, hypnagogia, and hypnosis. While sleep, sleep walking, dreaming, delirium, and comas may signal the presence of unconscious processes, these processes are not the unconscious mind itself, but rather symptoms.

"Some critics have doubted the existence of the unconscious.[2][3][4]"


"Controversy

The notion that the unconscious mind exists at all has been disputed.

Franz Brentano rejected the concept of the unconscious in his 1874 book Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, although his rejection followed largely from his definitions of consciousness and unconsciousness.[22]

Jean-Paul Sartre offers a critique of Freud's theory of the unconscious in Being and Nothingness, based on the claim that consciousness is essentially self-conscious. Sartre also argues that Freud's theory of repression is internally flawed. Philosopher Thomas Baldwin argues that Sartre's argument is based on a misunderstanding of Freud.[2]

Erich Fromm contends that, "The term 'the unconscious' is actually a mystification (even though one might use it for reasons of convenience, as I am guilty of doing in these pages). There is no such thing as the unconscious; there are only experiences of which we are aware, and others of which we are not aware, that is, of which we are unconscious. If I hate a man because I am afraid of him, and if I am aware of my hate but not of my fear, we may say that my hate is conscious and that my fear is unconscious; still my fear does not lie in that mysterious place: 'the' unconscious."[23]

John Searle has offered a critique of the Freudian unconscious. He contends that the very notion of a collection of "thoughts" that exist in a privileged region of the mind such that they are in principle never accessible to conscious awareness, is incoherent. This is not to imply that there are not "nonconscious" processes that form the basis of much of conscious life. Rather, Searle simply claims that to posit the existence of something that is like a "thought" in every way except for the fact that no one can ever be aware of it (can never, indeed, "think" it) is an incoherent concept. To speak of "something" as a "thought" either implies that it is being thought by a thinker or that it could be thought by a thinker. Processes that are not causally related to the phenomenon called thinking are more appropriately called the nonconscious processes of the brain.[24]

Other critics of the Freudian unconscious include David Stannard,[3] Richard Webster,[4] Ethan Watters,[25] and Richard Ofshe.[26]

David Holmes[27] examined sixty years of research about the Freudian concept of "repression", and concluded that there is no positive evidence for this concept. Given the lack of evidence of many Freudian hypotheses, some scientific researchers proposed the existence of unconscious mechanisms that are very different from the Freudian ones. They speak of a "cognitive unconscious" (John Kihlstrom),[28][29] an "adaptive unconscious" (Timothy Wilson),[30] or a "dumb unconscious" (Loftus & Klinger),[31] which executes automatic processes but lacks the complex mechanisms of repression and symbolic return of the repressed.

In modern cognitive psychology, many researchers have sought to strip the notion of the unconscious from its Freudian heritage, and alternative terms such as "implicit" or "automatic" have come into currency. These traditions emphasize the degree to which cognitive processing happens outside the scope of cognitive awareness, and show that things we are unaware of can nonetheless influence other cognitive processes as well as behavior.[32][33][34][35][36] Active research traditions related to the unconscious include implicit memory (see priming, implicit attitudes), and nonconscious acquisition of knowledge (see Lewicki, see also the section on cognitive perspective, below)."

2. ^ a b Thomas Baldwin (1995). Ted Honderich. ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 792. ISBN 0-19-866132-0.
3. ^ a b See "The Problem of Logic", Chapter 3 of Shrinking History: On Freud and the Failure of Psychohistory, published by Oxford University Press, 1980
4. ^ a b See "Exploring the Unconscious: Self-Analysis and Oedipus", Chapter 11 of Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis, published by The Orwell Press, 2005

Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.[1] It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art, and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature.[2] The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to intuitive reason.[3]

REASON:
"Reason or "reasoning" is associated with thinking, cognition, and intellect. Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. For example, it is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad.

In contrast to reason as an abstract noun, a reason is a consideration which explains or justifies some event, phenomenon or behaviour.[4] The ways in which human beings reason through argument are the subject of inquiries in the field of logic.

Reason is closely identified with the ability to self-consciously change beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and institutions, and therefore with the capacity for freedom and self-determination.[5]

Psychologists and cognitive scientists have attempted to study and explain how people reason, e.g. which cognitive and neural processes are engaged, and how cultural factors affect the inferences that people draw. The field of automated reasoning studies how reasoning may or may not be modeled computationally. Animal psychology considers the controversial question of whether animals can reason."

WILL:
Will, in philosophy, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally performed. Actions made according to a person's will are called “willing” or “voluntary” and sometimes pejoratively “willful” or “at will”. In general, "will" does not refer to one particular or most preferred desire but rather to the general capacity to have such desires and act decisively based on them, according to whatever criteria the willing agent applies. The will is in turn important within philosophy because a person's will is one of the most distinct parts of their mind, along with reason and understanding. It is one of the things which makes a person who they are, and it is especially important in ethics, because it is the part which determines whether people act, at least when they act deliberately.

FREE WILL:
"Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (for example, logical, nomological, or theological determinism), physical constraints (for example, chains or imprisonment), social constraints (for example, threat of punishment or censure), and mental constraints (for example, compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions). The principle of free will has religious, legal, ethical, and scientific implications.[1] For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity. In the law, it affects considerations of punishment and rehabilitation. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior.
A simplified taxonomy of philosophical positions regarding free will and determinism.

This important issue has been widely debated throughout history, including not only whether free will exists but even how to define the concept. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been determinism of some variety (such as logical, nomological, or theological), so the most prominent common positions are named for the relation they hold to exist between free will and determinism. Those who define free will as freedom from determinism are called incompatibilists, as they hold determinism to be incompatible with free will. The two main incompatibilist positions are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false and thus free will is at least possible; and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true and thus free will is not possible. Hard incompatibilism furthermore posits that indeterminism is likewise incompatible with free will, and thus either way free will is not possible.

Those who define free will otherwise, without reference to determinism, are called compatibilists, because they hold determinism to be compatible with free will. Some compatibilists hold even that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, a process that requires some sense of how choices will turn out.[2][3] Compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarians and hard determinists over free will vs determinism a false dilemma.[4] Different compatibilists offer very different definitions of free will even means, taking different types of constraints to be relevant to the issue; but because all agree that determinism is not the relevant concern, they are traditionally grouped together under this common name."

Now that that's out of the way, you were saying what, with certainty?"

Like I've said in the past, free will falls within the constraints of the physical, mental, knowledge and oppression, so obviously, time is of essence. We are all, not created, exactly equal; one mans fears, are not necessarily, another's. Some are more aware of themselves than others. All abilities are therefore relative between men. While you may believe that you do not have free will, I believe otherwise, I'm a compatibilist.
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Bernard
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by Bernard »

Its interesting how strongly linked to objectivity free will is. It can't be denied that free will is a very real entity in any deliberate act. The main protagonist in this clip has obviously an objective that requires the engagement of his will in order to engage the will of the others on the train, but you wouldn't say that their will is free once it is engaged - well maybe later on. There is a definite demarcation between an act that is deliberate and one that is a reaction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... dQnuqFlD7U

A lot of the arguments against free will is that we only feel that we have free will. This entails that feeling is an unreal component of our consciousness. I would as;, why is feeling considered unreal when we have a system in our organism that deals almost exclusively with feeling: the limbic system?
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

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SpheresOfBalance, why do you avoid answering my post? If you are so confident of your free-will, then try answering my questions. Here they are again:

Before you claim that your free-will sent this or not, let me ask, did you have a reason for sending this?
If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
If no, then I ask, why did you send it? What caused you to send it?

Was it your 'conscious' self that chose to send this or your 'unconscious' self?
Free-will implies that you had some conscious control in making this choice.
If you sent this consciously (knowingly) then you would have a memory of doing so.
If no memory exists, then the choice was not consciously made, therefore was not via free-will.

If you have a 'reason' for sending this, then it was that reason (not you or your free-will) that determined your choice.
But then, you may argue that it was your free-will that 'chose' your reason.
If so, then let me ask, did you have a reason for choosing this reason?
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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

RG1 wrote:SpheresOfBalance, why do you avoid answering my post? If you are so confident of your free-will, then try answering my questions. Here they are again:

Before you claim that your free-will sent this or not, let me ask, did you have a reason for sending this?
If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
If no, then I ask, why did you send it? What caused you to send it?

Was it your 'conscious' self that chose to send this or your 'unconscious' self?
Free-will implies that you had some conscious control in making this choice.
If you sent this consciously (knowingly) then you would have a memory of doing so.
If no memory exists, then the choice was not consciously made, therefore was not via free-will.

If you have a 'reason' for sending this, then it was that reason (not you or your free-will) that determined your choice.
But then, you may argue that it was your free-will that 'chose' your reason.
If so, then let me ask, did you have a reason for choosing this reason?
If you'd read my post, then you might have understood, that I see your questions as necessarily absurd, as they're based upon your beliefs. Just because you share them with others, doesn't necessarily mean anything. Just like it doesn't necessarily mean anything, that my beliefs are shared with others. My point is that you speak as if certain, about something that is impossible to prove either way. If you had actually read my response, that should have been apparent. You do understand that my response was contained in, what would most obviously be extrapolated, by an intelligent individual, from my red highlighting, correct?
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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

Bernard wrote:Its interesting how strongly linked to objectivity free will is. It can't be denied that free will is a very real entity in any deliberate act. The main protagonist in this clip has obviously an objective that requires the engagement of his will in order to engage the will of the others on the train, but you wouldn't say that their will is free once it is engaged - well maybe later on. There is a definite demarcation between an act that is deliberate and one that is a reaction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... dQnuqFlD7U

A lot of the arguments against free will is that we only feel that we have free will. This entails that feeling is an unreal component of our consciousness. I would as;, why is feeling considered unreal when we have a system in our organism that deals almost exclusively with feeling: the limbic system?
OK Bernard, I watched your video, of a bunch of actors, acting out a fictitious scene. It reminds me of another video I saw, of a bunch of actors flying in a star-ship through another galaxy, then they circled a star, fast enough to reverse time. So I'm wondering what the point of your video is? Maybe that actors/screenwriters can create any fictitious scene they want, and especially today with CG? Please elaborate.
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RG1
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by RG1 »

SpheresOfBalance wrote:If you'd read my post, then you might have understood, that I see your questions as necessarily absurd, as they're based upon your beliefs. Just because you share them with others, doesn't necessarily mean anything. Just like it doesn't necessarily mean anything, that my beliefs are shared with others. My point is that you speak as if certain, about something that is impossible to prove either way. If you had actually read my response, that should have been apparent. You do understand that my response was contained in, what would most obviously be extrapolated, by an intelligent individual, from my red highlighting, correct?
Nope, I view it as a creative way to avoid answering some very simple questions. Well Done.
chaz wyman
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by chaz wyman »

Oh umm. Right on cue. As soon as anyone asserts determinism and calls into question the idea of free-will he get the objectivists crawling out from under their rocks to protest about libertarianism and personal responsibility. Yawn!
I suppose one god-centred myth deserves another.
chaz wyman
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by chaz wyman »

SpheresOfBalance wrote: If you'd read my post, then you might have understood, that I see your questions as necessarily absurd, as they're based upon your beliefs. Just because you share them with others, doesn't necessarily mean anything. Just like it doesn't necessarily mean anything, that my beliefs are shared with others. My point is that you speak as if certain, about something that is impossible to prove either way. If you had actually read my response, that should have been apparent. You do understand that my response was contained in, what would most obviously be extrapolated, by an intelligent individual, from my red highlighting, correct?
Spheres of Balance also know as Daffy Duck. The most poultry question ducker on the Forum.
The point is that to pretend your will is free is beyond reason, a claim that you are able to exist outside; not only the laws of nature but outside yourself.
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Bernard
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by Bernard »

The point of the film was to show proof that free will exists: the man engages the will of the others on the train in a very deliberate way. I thought laughter was an excellent example of the exercising of free will. We can, and do, choose to laugh ; or we laugh compulsively - against our free will.
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

RG1 wrote:
SpheresOfBalance wrote:If you'd read my post, then you might have understood, that I see your questions as necessarily absurd, as they're based upon your beliefs. Just because you share them with others, doesn't necessarily mean anything. Just like it doesn't necessarily mean anything, that my beliefs are shared with others. My point is that you speak as if certain, about something that is impossible to prove either way. If you had actually read my response, that should have been apparent. You do understand that my response was contained in, what would most obviously be extrapolated, by an intelligent individual, from my red highlighting, correct?
Nope, I view it as a creative way to avoid answering some very simple questions. Well Done.
Obviously, you can 'BELIEVE' what you want to 'BELIEVE,' and this is in fact, where the differences between all of us, 'LIE!'

It is true, that those that debate upon common ground, though with slightly different views, can do so, ad infinitum, each believing they are correct, however, pull the common ground from beneath them, and the argument falls into infinity, and neither can proceed logically, unless one tries to change the subject, attacking the others truth in believing.

Socrates: 'I only know, that I know nothing,' think about how it may pertain to our dilemma, if you care to.

(Edit 1)
P.S. As an example (see below), If you had read my definitions above, then you'd have known, that your reason 'is' you. I guess you're referring to schizophrenics.
RG1 wrote:If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
Last edited by SpheresOfBalance on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

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Bernard wrote:The point of the film was to show proof that free will exists: the man engages the will of the others on the train in a very deliberate way. I thought laughter was an excellent example of the exercising of free will. We can, and do, choose to laugh ; or we laugh compulsively - against our free will.
But how can a fictitious screenplay demonstrate anything real, was my point; it was scripted!
If something similar was filmed without the participants knowledge, that was a genuine spontaneous occurrence, one might be able to see that some percentage laughed 'with' him, some percentage laughed 'at' him, and a final percentage 'did not' laugh at all. At that point, dependent or not dependent, on the percentages, would there be any difference in your point?

I think so!

Would this speak more of the relativity between that of the inner man (arrogance, esteem, security, fear, etc.)? And before someone jumps upon these emotional responses as limiting free will, I see that they are a part of it; that free will, knowledge, and oppression decide the percentages of each, of their relative existences, knowledge being the enlightening factor, at least in ones mind (oppression). Of course they feed one another, but I can see how some, religious types in particular, may be stuck with the chicken or egg paradox, which is actually no paradox at all; (evolution).

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
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Re: An Introspective Look at Choice

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SpheresOfBalance wrote:(Edit 1)P.S. As an example (see below), If you had read my definitions above, then you'd have known, that your reason 'is' you. I guess you're referring to schizophrenics.
RG1 wrote:If yes, then this choice was determined by your reason (not by you).
No, I am not referring to schizophrenics.

You say "...that your reason 'is' you." Please clarify your meaning of the 'you' that you refer to here. Is this 'you' the conscious (thinking/knowing) self. Or the other part of the self (that I refer to as the 'unconscious' self) that operates automatically without conscious control, such as operating all the bodily functions (pumping heart, breathing lungs, etc.), creating compulsions, desires, fears, etc.
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