Free Will

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
LeadByExemption
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:51 am

Free Will

Post by LeadByExemption »

Who excercises free will?

Free will cannot possibly exist because there are too many opposite motives. One man decides that he wants to enslave another. Choosing to enslave is a decision made from his own free will, he is able and he chooses to do so. The enslaved man of course does not want this, but his free will is not supported by anything that could stop the slaver's choice. So I guess my real question is, does free will stand alone, or must free will always be supported by another attribute, such as strength?
User avatar
Notvacka
Posts: 412
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:37 am

Re: Free Will

Post by Notvacka »

Hello, LeadByExemption!

I have written about free will and determinsim many times on this forum. For your benefit, I'll quote myself:
Notvacka wrote:Our very use of language here makes it obvious that something must be wrong with the concept of free will. The common expression is "I have a free will" rather than "I am a free will". But how can my will be free if it's in my possession? The phrase suggests that my will is not free from "me".

On the other hand, can I be free from my will? Does my will not rule my actions? In which case the expression should be "free will has me". Which seems like so much nonsense, because it is.

What, then, is the will supposed to be free from? External influences? Internal influences? Can anybody come up with anyghing that makes even the slightest bit of sense as to what the supposedly "free" will could be "free" from?

Free will is the experience of having alternatives to choose from. Beyond the experience itself, there is nothing tangible to be found.

Free will and identity are what we experience between circumstances and actions.

On a purely subjective level, free will is experienced as having alternatives to choose from. On the same subjective level, identity is experienced as being the one doing the choosing.

For free will to exist in reality, alternatives must exist in reality, but they don't. However, they do exist in our imagination. Here is an example of how it works:

Imagine that you are going on a journey and have the choice of going by car or by train. There could be other options, but for the sake of simplicity, let's only consider these two distinct choices.

The alternatives are:

1. You go by car.

2. You go by train.

The alternatives are not the car and the train, which both exist in physical reality. The alternatives are you going by car or you going by train. Please note the difference.

You can imagine yourself going by car and you can imagine yourself going by train. That is how you experience the alternatives of free will. Both alternatives exist in your imagination.

Then you make your mind up. Let's say that you settle for the train. That is how you experience the decision of free will. The decision exists in your imagination.

Then you actually take the train. That is how you experience the action of free will. The action exists in physical reality.

Note that only one of the percieved alternatives can exist in physical reality. If you go by train in reality, then you can't simultaneously go by car.

Once you're on the train, there is no way for you to know if you actually could have gone by car instead. That alternative only ever existed in your imagination.

What you experienced as free will could possibly have been predetermination (as suggested by the theory of relativity) or random chance (as suggested by quantum physics). Since you can't go back in time and choose differently, there is no way to know. And it doesn't matter. Free will exists in our imagination (which is important to us) but not in physical reality (which is less important).

On the train, you experience having made the morally superior choice, since trains impact the environment less than cars. This is true even if the alternative never existed in reality.
User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 8254
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by henry quirk »

Following Notvacka's example, I post a bit I wrote for another thread (similar) thread.

-----

If 'free will' means 'unconstrained will', then, no, there's no such animal (the very flesh that comprises an individual imposes constraint).

The problem, I think is purely semantic, that being: trying to fit the phenomena of ' an individual choosing, then, acting' into the container of 'free will'.

'Free will' is a poor placeholder.

'Agency' is better. Simply, the Agent chooses and acts (why he or she acts, while interesting to examine, is irrelevant to acknowledging choice [a recursive act] and action [the attempt to satisfy the choice]).

-----

And: 'free will' (or Agency) cannot 'stand alone'. Wanting to own a slave won't net you a slave. The would-be slave owner must have a way to subdue the other, and he must be mindful the other may have a way to blunt him, to self-defend against the would-be slave owner's predation.
User avatar
SpheresOfBalance
Posts: 5457
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:27 pm
Location: On a Star Dust Metamorphosis

Re: Free Will

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

LeadByExemption wrote:Who excercises free will?

Free will cannot possibly exist because there are too many opposite motives. One man decides that he wants to enslave another. Choosing to enslave is a decision made from his own free will, he is able and he chooses to do so. The enslaved man of course does not want this, but his free will is not supported by anything that could stop the slaver's choice. So I guess my real question is, does free will stand alone, or must free will always be supported by another attribute, such as strength?
Free will are two separate words, meaning two separate things. While the meaning of will is probably a little more standard in terms of mass agreement, I would say that the meaning of free, is far more variable.

Will is simply what one intends, and is the result of conscious choice, and unconscious turmoil. Obviously what one intends is limited by their knowledge, both of those things external and internal to the being. If there are three choices, and one only knows of two, then their intention/will/informed decision can only include the two. This can be seen as 'partially' deterministic/free, as the lack of knowledge determines the number of possibilities that can be chosen. I say partially because one can always seek knowledge, thus expanding the number of available choices, such that I see that we all start off at birth with our will and freedom very determined, however as we grow and learn, I see that the choices we have, increase, thus the will is less determined, and more free.

So in essence I see that it is false to see this problem in terms of an either/or dichotomy, and that in fact, both being free and being determined is continuously variable, and inversely proportional.

These are the constraints of what it is in being human, obviously humans can only create a word/phrase bound by these constraints. As it's ridiculous to see the freedom to express our will as determined because we cant fly the astral plane of the universe. The point being that some people envision a fantastical freedom as having no constraints at all, yet even the universe has constraints, this line of thinking has no basis in reality, and thus is not a true idea of the extent of freedom. For one to even consider such things, at least to me, is quite the joke. Which is not to say that we won't one day be capable of doing so, but then this falls in line perfectly, with what I said above, not about an individual, but about humanities youth, versus it's growth.

Edit 1: Additional content
Edit 2: Color
Edit 3: missing word
Last edited by SpheresOfBalance on Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
duszek
Posts: 2271
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Thin Air

Re: Free Will

Post by duszek »

What I want is an expression of my free will if it comes from my inner self.
Whether I can get what I want is another story.

An un-free will would be a will that someone talked me into having.
My psychotherapist has persuaded me that I should want to become a desk clerk. And I want to become a desk clerk.
Whereas at first I wanted to become an adventurer like Bruce Chatwin.

Salesmen try to make you want something they want to sell to you. Commercials are schemed to instir this desire in you.
Such a will is not free, I would say.

Another example:
Parents persuade a young woman that she should want to marry a certain rich man. She does brain-washing to herself and the miracle of her loving him occurs.
She adopted the will of her parents. This will is now her but it was not her free will from the beginning.
artisticsolution
Posts: 1938
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:38 am
Contact:

Re: Free Will

Post by artisticsolution »

duszek wrote:What I want is an expression of my free will if it comes from my inner self.
Whether I can get what I want is another story.

An un-free will would be a will that someone talked me into having.
My psychotherapist has persuaded me that I should want to become a desk clerk. And I want to become a desk clerk.
Whereas at first I wanted to become an adventurer like Bruce Chatwin.

Salesmen try to make you want something they want to sell to you. Commercials are schemed to instir this desire in you.
Such a will is not free, I would say.

Another example:
Parents persuade a young woman that she should want to marry a certain rich man. She does brain-washing to herself and the miracle of her loving him occurs.
She adopted the will of her parents. This will is now her but it was not her free will from the beginning.
Was it her will to be born to those set of parents...was it her will to be born at all? What made her love him...her 'brainwashing' herself...or the 'miracle' that was performed by God's will? Was she really free to choose or were those things set in stone before she was created? If a person has no control over when they live or die...can they truly have free will?
duszek
Posts: 2271
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Thin Air

Re: Free Will

Post by duszek »

You sound like a fatalist, AS.
A Christian is supposed to have free will and to choose between good and bad.

I can make a decision to love an ugly toad because ... I want to please my parents.
I don´t know how it works but some women seem to be able to do it.

I can make a decision to marry an ugly toad and to make an honest effort to love this person. Whether I succeed or not is another question. I can pray to God and to Mary to help me. I can ask my guardian angel to help me.
The result is not sure.
artisticsolution
Posts: 1938
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:38 am
Contact:

Re: Free Will

Post by artisticsolution »

Hi Duszek,

D:You sound like a fatalist, AS.
A Christian is supposed to have free will and to choose between good and bad.

AS: I am not sure if I am...could you explain what that means? I looked it up but I am still unsure what you mean. I do believe that we have minor little choices in life...but try as we may to control, sometimes a worse scenario befalls us.

I remember arising saying something once about it saying in the bible to tread lightly upon the earth...well, I kinda take that to mean that we shouldn't try so hard to control everything. I have noticed that sometimes when I am still in my mind...things work out just fine...and sometimes when I push for something I want...things go awry.

I am just not sure anymore duszek...to tell you the truth sometimes we are just damned if we do and damned if we don't. What does it matter if fall in love with an ugly toad? How would you know he was an ugly toad if you were happy than youve even been? Also, suppose you married a handsome prince...but fell out of love....some say that is hell.

I don't think we can control what will happen to us in our life with any real certainty. Do you?

I can make a decision to love an ugly toad because ... I want to please my parents.
I don´t know how it works but some women seem to be able to do it.

I can make a decision to marry an ugly toad and to make an honest effort to love this person. Whether I succeed or not is another question. I can pray to God and to Mary to help me. I can ask my guardian angel to help me.
The result is not sure.[/quote]
LeadByExemption
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:51 am

Re: Free Will

Post by LeadByExemption »

Was it her will to be born to those set of parents...was it her will to be born at all? What made her love him...her 'brainwashing' herself...or the 'miracle' that was performed by God's will? Was she really free to choose or were those things set in stone before she was created? If a person has no control over when they live or die...can they truly have free will?[/quote]


Exactly, free will is a contradiction. One cannot have free will if it is given to another.
User avatar
SpheresOfBalance
Posts: 5457
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:27 pm
Location: On a Star Dust Metamorphosis

Re: Free Will

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

duszek wrote:What I want is an expression of my free will if it comes from my inner self.
Whether I can get what I want is another story.
You are not referencing me here, if you thought so, not that I'm saying that I necessarily believe you thought so. I'm just not sure. Because I see, that it's impossible for ones will to be determined, by any other entity than oneself, unless one is held captive, and denied any experience, other than, only that, which their captor allows, as a means to control.

An un-free will would be a will that someone talked me into having.
My psychotherapist has persuaded me that I should want to become a desk clerk. And I want to become a desk clerk.
Whereas at first I wanted to become an adventurer like Bruce Chatwin.
I see that this is incorrect, as to my way of thinking. Because you did not have to agree. You have left out the entirety of "persuaded me," such that I cannot determine what it was that you learned, that caused your will to switch gears, because it saw greater advantage, in the change. I'm saying that you 'willed' the change, and that at the time of that change, you were both 'free' to do so, or not; you were free to decide for yourself and you did. What this greater advantage was, only you know.

Salesmen try to make you want something they want to sell to you. Commercials are schemed to instir this desire in you.
Such a will is not free, I would say.
I disagree. As to salesman, I never listen to them, and merely send them packing. When I go to a store, I always know exactly what I want, via research. When the salesclerk approaches me, and asks "Can I help you?" I always blow them off, either by saying "NO!" or making a joke out of it, usually by saying "I don't know, are you a pychologist or something, because let me tell you about..." at which point we both start chuckling, with the sales clerk, a bit more nervously, than myself ;-) Of course then I always say that I've got it under control.

Another example:
Parents persuade a young woman that she should want to marry a certain rich man. She does brain-washing to herself and the miracle of her loving him occurs.
She adopted the will of her parents. This will is now her but it was not her free will from the beginning.
You are speaking of a hypothetical? But it makes no difference, again, something the parents said, made sense to her, such that through education, as to what a marriage could comprise, she makes an informed decision, it was indeed her will, and it was free to either follow her previous version, of what it is to marry, based upon all that she had learned, from others up until that point, or to listen to the additional, new, data coming from someone else, her parents, because everything anyone has in their minds, comes from someone else, as fetus's are not born with encyclopedia sets of information, in their heads.

The point is that from birth, we are all bombarded with information, as to what we should, or should not do, at first, as children, we are usually forced to do as we're told, even though the child wants to do what it wants to do, and usually, gets into trouble for doing so. The part that, wants to do, what it wants to do, from the beginning, is called the "Child," and comes from instinctual qualities. All that the child is told to do, is the "Parent," as it is all the data that instructs the child, what it should do, to be fair, proper, learn, etc. But at about 2 years of age, another part starts, thought it's slow to progress, and that is the "Adult," which usually comes into it's own, in ones teens, again, rebellion against the parental inputs. But at this point it really weighs, that of it's "Childish" wants, against it's "Parental" demands, to come to the "Adult" resolution between the two, so as to socially fit in, or not, and this usually continues until one dies, and is fueled by nothing more than knowledge, about its wants, needs, and knowledge itself, which is what started the whole ball rolling, in the first place. But make no mistake, the WILL of the individual is ALWAYS FREE to CHOOSE ANY path that it CHOOSES, for WHATEVER REASON it CHOOSES. Don't believe me? Change your mind! Not because I said so, but because you Will It!

No I was not yelling, I was wanting you to pay particular attention to those specific words for your comprehension of my point. So please look beyond the caps. ;-)
Post Reply