Free Will vs Determinism

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
devonmm
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Free Will vs Determinism

Post by devonmm » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:25 am

I was a Political science major with a minor in philosophy, and I've come to realize that most political debates seem to boil down to a difference in opinion onfree will vs determinism. Free will thinkers are typically conservatives that believe we have the power to make our own choices, and therefor place blame when a negative choice is made. They refute the idea of determinism assuming there'd be no personal responsibility taken in our actions if it were true.

People that believe in determinism are typically liberals who believe that individuals are a product of their inborn traits and the environment, and if society is to change, we'd have to change the environment that shapes the brain as it develops. They refute free will assuming the concept creates blame and hatred.

For example.. Take a criminal. The free will thinker believes that the person chose to be a criminal and deserves punishment for choosing to become one. If things are to change we need harsher punishments etc.

The deterministic thinker believes the person is merely a statistic. 1 out of every x amount of people will become criminals. It's not the persons fault that they became a statistic. If things are to change we need to change society to lower chances of people becoming criminals..

My question is, how can someone actually believe in free will? If free will exists.. molecules and chemicals that drive our actions are being created in the brain from nothing, with no initial cause. It goes completely against the law of cause and effect. I don't see how the thought is logical.. Are you reading this post right now because of free will? or because the topic of free will vs determinism interests you and you circumstantially saw the title of this thread and clicked on it? How can anyone not agree that the latter is the case

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 2857
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:42 pm

"how can someone actually believe in free will?"

Put aside the placeholder 'free will' and self-interrogate: 'Do I choose?' Don't over-think it. The question is simple. The answer is 'yes' or 'no'.

If 'yes': then you're utterly self-responsible.

If 'no': then you're bio-automation.

Impenitent
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by Impenitent » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:57 pm

laws are meaningless if you have no control over your actions

-Imp

thedoc
Posts: 6336
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by thedoc » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:22 pm

Impenitent wrote:laws are meaningless if you have no control over your actions

-Imp
That was the intention of Peacegirl on this and other forums. The proposal was to deny free will, remove the ability to do harm and with it responsibility for one's actions, and therefore remove the necessity for laws. What was proposed failed altogether, not because the concept was flawed, but the justification and execution was totally wrong, and the author followed the line to some very ridiculous conclusions.

duszek
Posts: 2147
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Thin Air

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by duszek » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:45 pm

If a vilain does not choose what he is doing how can the society choose whether to punish him or not and how ?

The executionist acts without free will either.

Everything just happens.

What would the Peacegirl respond to this ?

devonmm
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Re:

Post by devonmm » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:13 am

henry quirk wrote:"how can someone actually believe in free will?"

Put aside the placeholder 'free will' and self-interrogate: 'Do I choose?' Don't over-think it. The question is simple. The answer is 'yes' or 'no'.

If 'yes': then you're utterly self-responsible.

If 'no': then you're bio-automation.
Absolutely not. I read your post, got to 'Do I choose' and immediately thought, "no." This probably happened because of my preconception on the subject. If there was no cause, then the thought just appeared in the universe all on it's own. That's not how it works

devonmm
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by devonmm » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:17 am

duszek wrote:If a vilain does not choose what he is doing how can the society choose whether to punish him or not and how ?

The executionist acts without free will either.

Everything just happens.

What would the Peacegirl respond to this ?
You realize that the villain isn't a villain. Rather just a person that was born with a particular brain that went through particular things in life. If the person ends up doing things that society deems negative, the goal shouldn't be to punish the person. It should be to rehabilitate them so the negative action is prevented from happening again. We should then take a look at society to figure out how we can lessen the chance of that negative action from the next person

Impenitent
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by Impenitent » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:51 am

if the individual actor acts outside of his own accord, how then will he act in accordance with the collective accord? neither he, nor society, have the choice of his action...

-Imp

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 2857
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:41 pm

Devon,

How do you square being bioautomation (if you don't choose then you're a robot) with society reforming itself (which is what you seem to call for with "If the person ends up doing things that society deems negative, the goal shouldn't be to punish the person. It should be to rehabilitate them so the negative action is prevented from happening again. We should then take a look at society to figure out how we can lessen the chance of that negative action from the next person.)?

If we're all just following programs (you, me, Joe Badguy, etc.), then how can any of us (individually, collectively) strive for anything? We might think we can (but that's just programming), some of us might try to (but that's just programming), some of us (like you, for example) might call for reforms (but that's just programming), some of us (like me) might believe our real experience of choice trumps a logical construct (cause and effect) and so might believe we each self-direct and -determine and therefore are each self-responsible (but that's just programming), and on and on and on...

If what you believe is true, then each of us is just a Roomba, pinballing offa the universe's furniture.

devonmm
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Re:

Post by devonmm » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:59 pm

henry quirk wrote:Devon,

How do you square being bioautomation (if you don't choose then you're a robot) with society reforming itself (which is what you seem to call for with "If the person ends up doing things that society deems negative, the goal shouldn't be to punish the person. It should be to rehabilitate them so the negative action is prevented from happening again. We should then take a look at society to figure out how we can lessen the chance of that negative action from the next person.)?

If we're all just following programs (you, me, Joe Badguy, etc.), then how can any of us (individually, collectively) strive for anything? We might think we can (but that's just programming), some of us might try to (but that's just programming), some of us (like you, for example) might call for reforms (but that's just programming), some of us (like me) might believe our real experience of choice trumps a logical construct (cause and effect) and so might believe we each self-direct and -determine and therefore are each self-responsible (but that's just programming), and on and on and on...

If what you believe is true, then each of us is just a Roomba, pinballing offa the universe's furniture.
You're asking how we can progress without knowledge of choice? How does a bacteria evolve into a mammal without knowledge of choice? It just does. The universe will unfold itself and progress with our without our opinion on how it's happening. We all have an innate need to reproduce and seek pleasure in all it's forms, and we'll continue to do so with or without the belief of choice in the matter.

Also, free will goes against rudimentary laws of physics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. If free will exists, then energy is being created.

Really, what is a decision? Your brain takes in information from the environment, and based on that information as well as the physiology of the brain, synapses fire off, and a "decision" is made. It's an extremely complex domino effect.

The concept of free will basically says that synapses fire off randomly. Randomness doesn't exist

duszek
Posts: 2147
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Thin Air

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by duszek » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:58 am

devonmm wrote:
duszek wrote:If a vilain does not choose what he is doing how can the society choose whether to punish him or not and how ?

The executionist acts without free will either.

Everything just happens.

What would the Peacegirl respond to this ?
You realize that the villain isn't a villain. Rather just a person that was born with a particular brain that went through particular things in life. If the person ends up doing things that society deems negative, the goal shouldn't be to punish the person. It should be to rehabilitate them so the negative action is prevented from happening again. We should then take a look at society to figure out how we can lessen the chance of that negative action from the next person
So the person commiting an act of crime has no free will but the people who sentence him to death and who execute him do have free will and should use it in a reasonable and noble way ?

How can it be ?

devonmm
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by devonmm » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:44 pm

duszek wrote:
devonmm wrote:
duszek wrote:If a vilain does not choose what he is doing how can the society choose whether to punish him or not and how ?

The executionist acts without free will either.

Everything just happens.

What would the Peacegirl respond to this ?
You realize that the villain isn't a villain. Rather just a person that was born with a particular brain that went through particular things in life. If the person ends up doing things that society deems negative, the goal shouldn't be to punish the person. It should be to rehabilitate them so the negative action is prevented from happening again. We should then take a look at society to figure out how we can lessen the chance of that negative action from the next person
So the person commiting an act of crime has no free will but the people who sentence him to death and who execute him do have free will and should use it in a reasonable and noble way ?

How can it be ?
Never said that. The death penalty is societally instituted. You don't blame the executioner. You come together as a society, realize there's no good and bad and make changes so that the death penalty isn't needed.

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 2857
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:09 pm

"You're asking how we can progress without knowledge of choice?"

No, I was asking how you reconcile being a robot with the idea that robots are supposed to reform anything when -- as robots -- all they can do is follow a program...I was kinda being rhetorical.

#

"Also, free will goes against rudimentary laws of physics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. If free will exists, then energy is being created."

Well, I'm not advocating for free will...no one can agree on a definition for it...I prefer to just go with 'choosing', 'choice'...lot less ambiguity that way...also, for me to say 'I choose' is a far less remarkable claim than 'my will is free'...to say 'I choose' doesn't put me outside of causal chains but merely points out I can direct (some) causal chains.

#

"Really, what is a decision? Your brain takes in information from the environment, and based on that information as well as the physiology of the brain, synapses fire off, and a "decision" is made. It's an extremely complex domino effect."

Well enough but barren. Preferable: I apprehend the world by way of my senses: I compare and contrast what I apprehend in the moment to what I've apprehended in the past: I assess, conclude, act.

In your description 'I' doesn't exist; in mine, 'I' is the dominant feature.

#

"The concept of free will basically says that synapses fire off randomly. Randomness doesn't exist."

Again: I'm not gonna defend 'free will', so...*shrug*

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 2857
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:18 pm

"You come together as a society, realize there's no good and bad and make changes so that the death penalty isn't needed."

Well, some robots will come together cuz that's their programing, will have 'realizations' cuz that's their programming, and will (attempt to) make changes cuz that's their programming. Many other robots won't. Me, for example, my program sez shoot 'em in the head and be done with 'em.

Your programming may have you see me as violent and dangerous while my programming might have me see you as naive and muddled, but it's just programming...it doesn't mean anything...illusions, shadows, ghost whispers and angel farts.

Right?

duszek
Posts: 2147
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Thin Air

Re: Free Will vs Determinism

Post by duszek » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:51 pm

So when a person commits a crime he is innocent because free will does not exist.

If a judge wants to protect his community and himself because they are all scared and sentences this "criminal" to death and so gets the illusion of security for a while then free will pops up again and this judge representing the will of the people should behave according to high moral standards ?

When does the free will disappear and when does it appear exactly ?

Did the holy inquisition act with a free will or not ?
Because if not there is nobody to blame for the burning of heretics and witches.
Apart from "nature", "universe" etc.

This is a point that cannot be dismissed easily, so try again please.

Society as a whole has free will but the individuals don´t ? :roll:
Double standards.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Nick_A and 4 guests