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Does free will exist?

Wayne
Posts: 55
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10/11/2008 4:19:22 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
It looks like some people want to debate about it, so hence, this thread :)
To be or not to be... what kind of question is that?
Logical-Master
Posts: 2,538
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10/11/2008 4:28:38 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/11/2008 4:19:22 PM, Wayne wrote:
It looks like some people want to debate about it, so hence, this thread :)

Depends on your definition.
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/11/2008 5:30:20 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Free will defined in any sort of Non-contra-causal way simply isn't free will. Contra Causal free will most certainly doesn't exist. :D

I was going to start a thread on this when i had the time since it is a very in depth topic that requires much time.
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/11/2008 5:51:26 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
before this becomes to much of a hornet's nest i strongly suggest that people watch this inspiring video, remembering that the only basis for belief in free will is that it is a so called "perception"

With that being said I think we need to approach this topic in a scientific way, meaning that no one should invest their ego into either side. This way it will not become an Us vs. Them sort of thing. Instead we should realize we are all in the same boat trying to discover truth. Some or all of us might have false beliefs about this, its really no big deal. Lets just not let our egos get in the way of our ability to discern truth.

;D
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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10/11/2008 6:46:15 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
What's contra causal free will? Surely you can't mean actions that are utterly uncaused? Do you mean actions caused by an entity rather than other events?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Harlan
Posts: 1,880
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10/11/2008 7:30:09 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
There are no crossroads in the passage of events, there is only one solid path. All crossroads are illusions. It is a mathematical truth that if one input can be equivalent too more than one output, than it is not a function, and if our world is not a function, than everything is random and illogical, which doesn't make any sense.

2+3 may only equal 5, and so only one event is possible from another series of events. It may SEEM possible to us, but that is because we can't possibly percieve of the complicated process of all interconnected things to reach a final result.

Because of the chaos theory, things seem ridicilously unpredictable, and therefore random, or an entity which has free will. This is a flawed and ignorant conclusion, however.

We often refer to the number resulting from the roll of a die as "random", but it is quite obviously not. The number that the die will settle on is determined by innumerable tiny influences such as the surface it is rolled on, and bouciness of the die. For all practical purposes it is random, but we must be quite clear that it is not. Likewise with free will.
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/11/2008 7:31:19 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/11/2008 6:46:15 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
What's contra causal free will? Surely you can't mean actions that are utterly uncaused? Do you mean actions caused by an entity rather than other events?

Contra Causal free will is the will to act contrary to external causes.
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/11/2008 7:34:55 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/11/2008 7:30:09 PM, Harlan wrote:
There are no crossroads in the passage of events, there is only one solid path. All crossroads are illusions. It is a mathematical truth that if one input can be equivalent too more than one output, than it is not a function, and if our world is not a function, than everything is random and illogical, which doesn't make any sense.

2+3 may only equal 5, and so only one event is possible from another series of events. It may SEEM possible to us, but that is because we can't possibly percieve of the complicated process of all interconnected things to reach a final result.

Because of the chaos theory, things seem ridicilously unpredictable, and therefore random, or an entity which has free will. This is a flawed and ignorant conclusion, however.

We often refer to the number resulting from the roll of a die as "random", but it is quite obviously not. The number that the die will settle on is determined by innumerable tiny influences such as the surface it is rolled on, and bouciness of the die. For all practical purposes it is random, but we must be quite clear that it is not. Likewise with free will.

There are more of us out there than I thought! lol

be prepared for R_R to eat this apart semantically, as that is his favorite method of argumentation :P lol R_R
Rezzealaux
Posts: 2,251
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10/11/2008 7:54:10 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Semantics good.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Lightkeeper
Posts: 50
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10/12/2008 4:55:33 AM
Posted: 8 years ago
Free will cannot exist.
Information is processed by a device called "brain" and possibly some other parts of the nurosystem. There is no scientific evidence of any other part of the body (or external to the body) that processes information or makes decisions.
The brain works on the basis of electro-chemical reactions. These reactions give rise to thoughts and decisions. Since we cannot control these reactions, we cannot consciously control our thoughts and decisions.
Without an ability to consciously control thoughts and decisions, we do not have free will.
Rezzealaux
Posts: 2,251
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10/12/2008 8:42:00 AM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/12/2008 4:55:33 AM, Lightkeeper wrote:
Free will cannot exist.
Information is processed by a device called "brain" and possibly some other parts of the nurosystem. There is no scientific evidence of any other part of the body (or external to the body) that processes information or makes decisions.
The brain works on the basis of electro-chemical reactions. These reactions give rise to thoughts and decisions. Since we cannot control these reactions, we cannot consciously control our thoughts and decisions.
Without an ability to consciously control thoughts and decisions, we do not have free will.

Continuum fallacy.
GG.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Posts: 190
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10/12/2008 9:23:56 AM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/12/2008 4:55:33 AM, Lightkeeper wrote:
Free will cannot exist.
Information is processed by a device called "brain" and possibly some other parts of the nurosystem. There is no scientific evidence of any other part of the body (or external to the body) that processes information or makes decisions.
The brain works on the basis of electro-chemical reactions. These reactions give rise to thoughts and decisions. Since we cannot control these reactions, we cannot consciously control our thoughts and decisions.
Without an ability to consciously control thoughts and decisions, we do not have free will.

Got any proof that brain chemical reaction cause thoughts and decisions? How do you know it is the other way around? Furthermore, what makes the chemicals make decision X, when in the same exact situation another person makes decision Y?
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/12/2008 10:43:35 AM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/12/2008 9:23:56 AM, LR4N6FTW4EVA wrote:

Got any proof that brain chemical reaction cause thoughts and decisions? How do you know it is the other way around? Furthermore, what makes the chemicals make decision X, when in the same exact situation another person makes decision Y?

This experiment shows that your body enacts its actions BEFORE you make your decisions to enact them.. hehehe :P

http://www.consciousentities.com...
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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10/12/2008 12:11:37 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
"
Contra Causal free will is the will to act contrary to external causes."
If you can act contrary to them, they aren't contrary to anything, therefore they aren't causes, therefore free will as you describe it is incoherent.

And there is a reason for semantics- without a clear meaning for each term, deduction is impossible, and so is any other form of knowledge.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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10/12/2008 12:14:18 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Btw, last I checked the research in question only predicted the action 60% of the time, where 50% would be the results of random guessing. A partial influence on thoughts from chemicals=/= strong causation.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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10/12/2008 12:16:38 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
http://www.theness.com...
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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10/12/2008 12:18:12 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Oh yes, and correction- knowledge is not indeed impossible without a clear meaning for terms, just without a clear concept. The transmission of knowledge through language is what is impossible without the clear meaning of terms. But for our purposes as a debate website it amounts to the same.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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10/12/2008 12:25:22 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
"
If you can act contrary to them, they aren't contrary to anything, therefore they aren't causes, therefore free will as you describe it is incoherent.
"
Should read:

If you can act contrary to them, they aren't the sole relevant variable, therefore they aren't causes, therefore free will as you describe it is incoherent.

Besides, wouldn't we get a lot further if the PROPONENTS of free will defined free will, rather than the opponents? Pursuant to that: Free will is the ability of an entity to act in a way not fully determined by any cause previous to the entity

Oh and Harlan, according to quantum mechanics, there is chance. Whether such chance is relevant to the roll of a die is an open question (as is whether quantum mechanics is valid, it's really not my field :D) Certainly the more complex the roll, the more involved such chance is likely to be- and the closer the die comes to reaching some sort of "balance", again the more involved.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Zerosmelt
Posts: 287
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10/12/2008 2:03:58 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
At 10/12/2008 12:25:22 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

Besides, wouldn't we get a lot further if the PROPONENTS of free will defined free will, rather than the opponents? Pursuant to that: Free will is the ability of an entity to act in a way not fully determined by any cause previous to the entity

so basically R_R you are saying that chance, complete randomness, qualifies as being free will bc it causes actions in a "not fully determined" manner?
Ragnar_Rahl
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10/12/2008 3:04:23 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Randomness is an entity?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Lightkeeper
Posts: 50
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10/12/2008 6:56:13 PM
Posted: 8 years ago
Got any proof that brain chemical reaction cause thoughts and decisions? How do you know it is the other way around? Furthermore, what makes the chemicals make decision X, when in the same exact situation another person makes decision Y?

Do you want me to present scientific evidence that people think using their brains? Or do you want me to present scientific evidence that brains work on chemical and eletrical reactions?

As for "the other way around" I do not need to address that. There is simply no evidence whatsoever of any "soul" or "mind" independent of the brain. There is, however, plenty of evidence that when people think, certain parts of their brain have heightened activity.
DanielChristopherBlowes
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10/16/2012 4:41:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/11/2008 4:19:22 PM, Wayne wrote:
It looks like some people want to debate about it, so hence, this thread :)

I see true free will as the curse of mankind; God gave Adam A choice to choose rebellion but that choice was the freedom to commit any and every evil, which is slavery..

Our ideas of heaven usually involve a place where there is no evil, hence no true free will: it is the King of kings Kingdom, and it is FREEDOM!
Everyone on the side of Truth listens to Me. (Jesus Christ)
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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10/16/2012 7:55:02 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/11/2008 4:28:38 PM, Logical-Master wrote:

Depends on your definition.

I would concur that there can"t be a meaningful debate about free will without an agreed upon definition, and so far, it looks like the debate has already begun without such a definition even being proposed, and apparently, practically without a Free Will proponent to debate against. I am that proponent, and I am looking forward to a real debate if any of you are serious about it.

I know something about the history of this debate and I"d say it is characterized by a rather serpentine definition, which is why it is rarely if ever determined to be decided by either side. The problem is that, too often, the Free Will debate is characterized by people trying to either "define" it out of, or into, existence, which of course isn"t a real approach to debate or anything resembling a path to intelligibility or truth. Therefore, I"d like to make a case for a usable definition, not an easy thing to do, so I"ll apologize now for the length of this post.

I will begin by saying that the reason that this concept has been so hotly debated for centuries is that it is it is a matter of our identity; it speaks to what and who we are as human beings, and the fact is, without a distinction between subject and object, between knower and known, the very fact of knowledge would be completely unaccountable. This is why it is all but impossible to define precisely; any attempt at a precise definition will be self referential and therefore paradoxical at best. This does not mean it doesn"t exist, just as the fact that quantum physics has determined that the fundamental reality of matter and energy is paradoxically represented by the two mutually exclusive concepts of particle and wave, and that the observer must be included in the analysis, does not yield a conclusion that matter and energy do not exist.

Nevertheless, we can in fact characterize the concept of "free will" by examining what the presumptive entity "self" is doing when it appears to be operating in a manner that we refer to with the term "free will". This argument, any argument in fact, and all rational thought, presupposes a "self" that does the knowing, and in the same way, the free will debate presupposes a "self" that does the willing.

The "self" is that presupposed center of consciousness that we are referring to when we use the pronouns "I", "you" and "we", with an acceptance that we are referring to something that is intuitively clear and has at least some commonly agreed upon characteristics. Again, the conscious "self" is difficult to define precisely, but even deniers and Buddhists require an account of what is being denied, in the same way, we can bound the term to agreed upon characteristics in order to utilize it in discussion of free will without making controversial determinations about matters such as mind/body duality, source, or specific causality.

The self then, is that entity that is aware via a single unified conscious experience of the world, in which particular experiences are unified into a more complex experience that provides continuity of self over time allowing us to relate the continual stream of temporal experiences, recall antecedent experiences, and make comparisons of the contents of experience. The self is not only aware of the contents of experience, but is also self aware, there is a "single common subject of one's experience", which is to say that we possess the quality of "self consciousness", we do not only know, we know that we know, so to speak.

Can we concur that this is a usable definition of the self that we will be referring to in discussing whether or not we actually have free will?

If so, then let"s agree on a usable definition of the subject of the debate, "free will". The debate tends to come down to whether or not the self evident quality of our possessing free will is, or is not, illusory. Whether it is an illusion or not, I think we should be able to agree that there is a self evident quality that we are referring to with the term "free will", experientially known as the human feeling or sensation of exerting the force of consciousness to some effect, which minimally has the following characteristics.

Historically, the common understanding of the term "free will" is contrasted with "fatalism", the belief that we have the conscious ability to affect outcomes in some manner that makes fatalism, the belief that events are irrevocably fixed (a matter of determinism), a false proposition because human effort can in fact, alter outcomes, illusory or not, free will is the belief that the future is not beyond our control. The belief in free will then, is a rejection of the causal closure of the universe, a contention that we have the ability to select a course of action as a means of fulfilling some desire which is consistent with an ability to judge some ends as "good" or worth pursuing and value them. If we do in fact have free will, then it follows that we can have some effect on our personal and corporate tomorrows, which is to say that we are free to plan the future, and that our resultant intentions make a real difference in the world.

Free will then, relates to a "perceived control" which is a matter of whether I could have acted otherwise, that implies both the ability to select among alternatives and the ability to determine the means by which we will achieve goals.

Historically, the free will debate has been irrevocably connected to the question of moral responsibility, and from that and the aforementioned points, we can include the philosophical concept that free will involves the capacity to act with moral responsibility, which is to say that we are morally responsible agents if and only if, we possess free will. Therefore, to say that we possess free will is to say that the unity of consciousness we call the "self" involves the integration of motivating factors such as perceptions, ideologies, and beliefs in a manner that provides a unity of response that consists of the integration of behavior is such a way that there is some non-zero probability that our behavioral outcome could be altered by the choices made by a causally effective self.

What the debate comes down to then is whether free will has an ontological status of existence which would be indicated by a logical determination as to whether or not the self, as it has been defined, is at times a causal agent as well as an entity that is acted upon by external causes.

Do you concur that these definitions are acceptable and useful in order to debate the subject of free will? If not, please identify any problems with these definitions so we can address and alter them in order to have common agreement on the terms of discussion before we attempt to address the argument itself.

If you do concur, then I will provide a resultant more concise and usable definition as follows: The real free will debate is about whether we have the cognitive ability to conceive of future courses of action, deliberate about various reasons for choosing among them, determine our actions on the basis of such deliberation, and control our actions despite the presence of competing desires. If we do have these abilities, and we can exercise these cognitive abilities to act without our actions being unreasonably compromised by externally determined causal pressure, then we possess free will and human beings are morally responsible causal agents.

If that"s the debate you want to have, then "I"m your Huckleberry", so to speak, I"ll debate it here, or accept any challenge to a formal debate, just let me know.

If that"s not the debate you want to have, then let"s have a debate about what is flawed about this definition. I think this is reasonable if you really want to have a serious debate about the existence free will.

Anybody in?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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10/17/2012 10:07:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/11/2008 4:19:22 PM, Wayne wrote:
It looks like some people want to debate about it, so hence, this thread :)

Just as I figured, nobody really wanted a serious debate on the issue of free will..
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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10/17/2012 10:08:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
RESOLVED - Free Will does exist.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Composer
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10/18/2012 2:54:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/17/2012 10:08:23 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
RESOLVED - Free Will does exist.

Me Composer the ongoing successful Cult buster: I only just noticed this Thread!

Free -will is defined as -

free will n. 1 power of acting independently of necessity or fate. 2 ability to act without coercion (did it of my own free will). (Pocket Oxford Dictionary/POD)

coerce v. (-cing) persuade or restrain by force. (POD)

1. For those calling themselves xtians that believe Free-Will exists, then my question to them is " Why do you Freely keep choosing to Sin? ".

2. In bible Story book Land, Adam was commanded not to partake of the forbidden tree; but on pain of death if he did! f. Gen. 2:16-17 bible Story book

Hence that threat of death proves that (See POD - 2. above) Adam was coerced (threatened by Story book god) thus Adam had NO Free-Will choice in the matter, consequently Adam had NO Free-Will!!

Subsequently, bible Story book god gives NO ONE a Free-Will, because it threatens ALL with death, if they make a choice other than the one that it wants chosen!

That's coersion; which is a denial of Free-Will!!

We have another fine example of this coersion in the following also -

(Story book jebus says (cf. Luke 19:28)) But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king,75 bring them here and slaughter76 them77 in front of me!"" (Luke 19:27) NET Story book
annanicole
Posts: 19,788
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10/18/2012 3:11:27 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/18/2012 2:54:00 AM, Composer wrote:
At 10/17/2012 10:08:23 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
RESOLVED - Free Will does exist.

Me Composer the ongoing successful Cult buster: I only just noticed this Thread!

Thank goodness! Your overlooking of the thread kept you from parasitizing it until now.

Free -will is defined as -

free will n. 1 power of acting independently of necessity or fate. 2 ability to act without coercion (did it of my own free will). (Pocket Oxford Dictionary/POD)

coerce v. (-cing) persuade or restrain by force. (POD)


1. For those calling themselves xtians that believe Free-Will exists, then my question to them is " Why do you Freely keep choosing to Sin? ".

Because people make mistakes. Becoming a Christian does not magically remove the ability to make errors.

2. In bible Story book Land, Adam was commanded not to partake of the forbidden tree; but on pain of death if he did! f. Gen. 2:16-17 bible Story book

True. He exercised free will.

Hence that threat of death proves that (See POD - 2. above) Adam was coerced (threatened by Story book god) thus Adam had NO Free-Will choice in the matter, consequently Adam had NO Free-Will!!

The threat of punishment does not in any way negate free will. Nor does the promise of reward.

Composer to the Judge:

Composer: Yes, I knew she wasn't on birth control. I knew she might get knocked up.
Judge: Didn't you have free will in the matter.
Composer: No, because Adam didn't when he ate the forbidden fruit. The fact that bad consequences (unwanted pregnancy) might occur removed my free will.
Judge: Bailiff, prepare the padded cell. This guy's a tard.

Subsequently, bible Story book god gives NO ONE a Free-Will, because it threatens ALL with death, if they make a choice other than the one that it wants chosen!

Do you have "free will"? If not, why don't you go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. The fact that it would kill you doesn't remove your choice. In fact, I guess you can't do it.

That's coersion; which is a denial of Free-Will!!

Placing the "fear of punishment" or "promise of reward" before a person does not negate free will.

We have another fine example of this coersion in the following also -

Another one? You didn't have the first one.

(Story book jebus says (cf. Luke 19:28)) But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king,75 bring them here and slaughter76 them77 in front of me!"" (Luke 19:27) NET Story book
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."