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Free will is an illusion
in Philosophy

By ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts
I say Free Will is no more than an illusion. I haven't come across any good arguments that suggest it isn't any more than an illusion.  Please try and persuade me that we do have Free Will or alternatively post some arguments that will convince me even more.

One of my arguments on this is that based on that we are bound by the laws of physics we cannot possibly have absolute free will. Now, what do you think?
PlaffelvohfenSESMeTjesusisGod777CYDdharta

The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

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Persuaded Argument

  • piloteerpiloteer 471 Pts
    edited August 16 Winning Argument ✓
    The theory of non-locality has consistently stood the test of vigorous scrutiny. It demonstrates that the idea that "all actions are just reactions", is absolutely false. Actions occur (on the subatomic level) without any influence from prior actions, or surrounding circumstances. Predeterminism is an illusion. Admittedly, this doesn't prove free will exists, but it chips away at one of the strongest arguments against free will in the physical realm.

    Individual free will most certainly exists. In fact, it is social authority that is the illusion. Societal structures are only social constructions.  As soon as those social structures are no longer "accepted" by society, they crumble. All doctrines of authority are simply pieces of paper with words on them. They have to be "accepted" by enough people to be properly "applied" (enforced) as a legitimate order. Social order is an illusion. Anarchy is the only true constant.

    Free will over our emotions are possible. Perhaps it's true that we cannot "control" our emotions, because if we could, we would most likely chose to be happy, or at least satisfied all the time. But we can chose how we react to our emotions, because our emotions do not "control" our actions, and we can chose to not react to them at all. Over time, it is possible for an individual to gain more influence over their emotions, so they may not react as exaggerated to their emotions. Even more so, an individual may be able to influence the prevalence of emerging emotions altogether. While some may run and scream in terror, others may remain calm and collected. There is a downside to being less invested in your emotions though. If anger, fear, and sadness don't effect you, happiness, love, and satisfaction will not either. But that's how the Buddhists do it, so it surely works for some people.


    ZeusAres42



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Arguments

  • What is your definition of free will?
    SESMeTjesusisGod777
  • TKDBTKDB 266 Pts
    edited May 10
    Is this a Millinial, or a 21st century philosophy, maybe, being taught in what Collegiate college's? 

    "I say Free Will is no more than an illusion. I haven't come across any good arguments that suggest it isn't any more than an illusion."
    SESMeTZeusAres42
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1878 Pts
    The existence of true free will, unbound by physical principles, is only consistent with an undeterministic world view. However, lack of determinism leads to serious philosophical issues and breaks out entire logical apparatus. If we cannot say about the event Y that it was caused by the event X, then the event Y is a rogue event that does not fit into our causative logic and cannot be studied by scientific means.

    I do think that the free will is an illusion, indeed. No matter how free we may feel, we still are a subject to the chemical reactions in our bodies which we cannot control, and which define our mental processes entirely.
    ZeusAres42PlaffelvohfenSESMeTjesusisGod777CYDdhartapiloteer
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts
    edited May 9

    The existence of true free will, unbound by physical principles, is only consistent with an undeterministic world view. However, lack of determinism leads to serious philosophical issues and breaks out entire logical apparatus. If we cannot say about the event Y that it was caused by the event X, then the event Y is a rogue event that does not fit into our causative logic and cannot be studied by scientific means.

    It has been argued by some in the past that Free Will does exist due to the fact that the Universe is indeterministic. However, this still doesn't work because the indeterminism is still based on deterministic probabilities. Regardless, of this, however, neither determinism or indeterminsim equates to free will. 


    MayCaesarSESMeTjesusisGod777

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • IdolRocksIdolRocks 54 Pts
    What makes you think that FreeWill is even an illusion? 
    SESMeT
  • DeeDee 717 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    Free will may indeed be illusory but if this were to be determined beyond a doubt why should we hold anyone responsible for their actions no matter how despicable and why punish them? 

    We are are not responsible for where we are born nor to who we are born nor indeed for our genetic make up, so how can we be responsible for how we act or behave? 
    SESMeT
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts

    Ah, perhaps I could have used my sentences a little bit more clearly. What I meant was that the notion held by some people that we have absolute free will is no more than an illusion. 
    SESMeT

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts

    Free will may indeed be illusory but if this were to be determined beyond a doubt why should we hold anyone responsible for their actions no matter how despicable and why punish them? 

    We are are not responsible for where we are born nor to who we are born nor indeed for our genetic make up, so how can we be responsible for how we act or behave? 

    Good question indeed. However, I am talking about absolutely free will that I think many people tend to be thinking that they have. In some sense, I agree that we have humans do have some free will but it's not absolute.

    Furthermore, I can't remember who said this but a good saying by someone that I like was the following:

    It's the man that's free; not the will. The will cannot be free because that's just an act of determination.
    With probably a few rare exceptions at least most of us have the freedom to choose our actions and should be held accountable to them as well. By the time we are making decisions that point at which we are at then was still influenced by preceding factors and it's the very root that leads to all those influences in the first place that we have no control over.  We cannot freely will things, but we can freely choose things. If that makes sense?
    SESMeTpiloteer

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1878 Pts
    Dee said:
    @ZeusAres42

    Free will may indeed be illusory but if this were to be determined beyond a doubt why should we hold anyone responsible for their actions no matter how despicable and why punish them? 

    We are are not responsible for where we are born nor to who we are born nor indeed for our genetic make up, so how can we be responsible for how we act or behave? 
    To answer this, we must first clarify: what do we mean by "we"? Who is "we"? Are we our bodies? Are we our brains? Are we both? Are we neither? Are we our consciousness, and if yes, then what is that consciousness physically? Does it even exist outside our perspective?

    I tend to look at it in a pretty abstract manner: our bodies and brains are merely vessels, while "we" are something deeper, something resulting in consciousness - which, again, is a vessel of our will. Our will is not free because it is completely determined by the chemical reactions happening inside these entities, but the entire complex of us and our vessels can be seen as having free will.

    In simplified terms, there is an entity that has free will, but that entity is not us, and we are merely a part of it. And when we say that someone is responsible for something, we really mean that entity. That entity, in turn, is not free from the laws of physics and its environment, but we need to draw the line somewhere, and we do it there.

    When someone murders someone else, you could say, "They did it because their organism decided to do it, not because they freely chose to do it". But you could also say, "They did it because their organism decided to do it, and they are responsible for what their organism decides, because that organism is a part of them". It is kind of like having a pet dog and being sued when that pet dog attacks a neighbor: you obviously cannot control what the dog does, when you are not around, but the dog is still your property, and you are responsible for misuse of that property - even if that property misuses itself.

    The difference from who we are born and what our genetic make up is is that these traits are decided before "we" even exist. Once we have emerged in this world, however, and once we have reached a certain degree of adulthood that gives us a relatively mature consciousness - we become responsible for our actions.
    SESMeT
  • IdolRocksIdolRocks 54 Pts
    @ZeusAres42 "absolute free will is no more than an illusion.  "

    Can you expand on what this means, please?
    SESMeT
  • DeeDee 717 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    Good response , the topic fascinates me and I like to ask various questions regarding the different position people state on the topic , I like Galen Strawson take on free will of which you’re possibly familiar with in which he puts forward his view on  moral responsibility please let me know your thoughts ........


    Strawson's Basic Argument

    Galen Strawson has a post on moral responsibility at The Stone. One of the arguments he gives is:


    (a) It’s undeniable that the way you are initially is a result of your genetic inheritance and early experience.


    (b) It’s undeniable that these are things for which you can’t be held to be in any way responsible (morally or otherwise).


    (c) But you can’t at any later stage of life hope to acquire true or ultimate moral responsibility for the way you are by trying to change the way you already are as a result of genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    (d) Why not? Because both the particular ways in which you try to change yourself, and the amount of success you have when trying to change yourself, will be determined by how you already are as a result of your genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    (e) And any further changes that you may become able to bring about after you have brought about certain initial changes will in turn be determined, via the initial changes, by your genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    This isn't an idle exercise; it really is Strawson's view that there is no such thing as moral responsibility, unless we use the phrase in an exceptionally weak sense. The argument above is part of a larger argument ("the Basic Argument") to this end.

    SESMeT
  • piloteerpiloteer 471 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    Could you clarify the difference between "free will" and " absolute free will"?
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts
    edited May 12

    Absolute free will being the idea that we have complete control over everything about us vs the idea that free will can exist but only within the natural laws, we're all bound by.

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • piloteerpiloteer 471 Pts
    edited May 12
    @ZeusAres42

    Oh. That's a world of difference. Are you arguing that because absolute free will doesn't exist, then no free will exists? 
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts

    No, that is not what I am saying.

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • piloteerpiloteer 471 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    It looks like there's not really much of a debate to be had here then.
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 506 Pts
    @piloteer

    There are however people that might disagree and so there be debate.

    The unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

  • If time travel exists, then free will does not exist.
    As this may at first glance make relatively little sense, I will explain through example.
    Suppose you host a party for time travellers. You have the resources to send out a huge number of invitations. To make sure that only time travellers come, you send out the invitations only after the party. If people turn up at your party, that means you did send out the invitations. Because cause always precedes effect, but this is reversed where time travel is concerned, that means you must have sent out the invitations. So you have no free will to choose not to send the invitations. The only other option would be collapse of chronology. It seems the more likely option is loss of free will. As time travel hasn't been invented yet (and probably never will be, as we never have encountered any time-traveller visitors) this scenario won't occur. But anyhow, it's a thought worth thinking.
  • SESMeTSESMeT 22 Pts
    Free will, in the strongest possible sense, is logically impossible.

    Here's my argument against free will, in simple form:

    (1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to control your fundamental nature.

    (2) But you can't control your fundamental nature.

    (3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
    ZeusAres42
  • SESMeTSESMeT 22 Pts
    Dee said:
    @ZeusAres42

    Good response , the topic fascinates me and I like to ask various questions regarding the different position people state on the topic , I like Galen Strawson take on free will of which you’re possibly familiar with in which he puts forward his view on  moral responsibility please let me know your thoughts ........


    Strawson's Basic Argument

    Galen Strawson has a post on moral responsibility at The Stone. One of the arguments he gives is:


    (a) It’s undeniable that the way you are initially is a result of your genetic inheritance and early experience.


    (b) It’s undeniable that these are things for which you can’t be held to be in any way responsible (morally or otherwise).


    (c) But you can’t at any later stage of life hope to acquire true or ultimate moral responsibility for the way you are by trying to change the way you already are as a result of genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    (d) Why not? Because both the particular ways in which you try to change yourself, and the amount of success you have when trying to change yourself, will be determined by how you already are as a result of your genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    (e) And any further changes that you may become able to bring about after you have brought about certain initial changes will in turn be determined, via the initial changes, by your genetic inheritance and previous experience.


    This isn't an idle exercise; it really is Strawson's view that there is no such thing as moral responsibility, unless we use the phrase in an exceptionally weak sense. The argument above is part of a larger argument ("the Basic Argument") to this end.

    I'm familiar with the article. 

    The Galen Strawson argument that you posted here is amazing. He's the greatest philosopher of our time. My username comes from one of his books.  
  • DeeDee 717 Pts
    @SESMeT

    Thats great and I like you am a big fan of Strawsons way of thinking 
    SESMeT
  • SESMeTSESMeT 22 Pts
    My updated argument against free will:

    (1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

    (2) But you can't originate your original nature because you can't be causa sui. 

    (3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
    Dee
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1878 Pts
    @xlJ_dolphin_473

    Here is a simple argument to show that it is impossible to change anything by time-travelling. 

    Suppose you build a time travel machine and decide to travel 10 years into the past. That means that everything will change into how it was 10 years ago, including you and your brain. So you will find yourself with the same brain and the same memories as you had 10 years ago. Meaning, you will not even know that you have time travelled, as all of your memories for the next 10 years have been erased.
    In other words, time travel effectively equals reliving everything once again. And since in 10 years you will develop a time travel machine and go back to the past again, you will be stuck reliving those 10 years again and again forever - without ever being aware that this is what is happening!

    That is assuming our universe is deterministic, that is the absence of free will. In case true free will exists, resulting in divergence of "timelines", you may theoretically arrive at a different world in 10 years, than the previous time. But, again, you will not be aware of it, since your memories of the previous timeline are gone.

    The counter-intuitive conclusion here is that, whether free will exists or not, the actual outcome from our perspective is the same as if it did not exist, and there is no experimental way to prove that it exists, even if it does. And that means that it effectively does not exist: if both possibilities lead to the same experimental results, then the null hypothesis of non-existence of free will should be adopted.
  • Free will is a belief we have which is not an illusion. It exists in our mind. It is something seen different in everyone's minds. meaning it exists in one mind as a unique form so exists about 8 billion times. Sorry if it is hard to understand.
  • If you're will was not free you would not have a will not ask such an inane question.

    Jesus is Lord.
    ZeusAres42
  • @xlJ_dolphin_473

    TIME TRAVEL?!?!?! REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If time travel can exist at all, it would have already happened because if someone traveled to the past, then time travel would have existed in the past. The reason nobody has ever witnessed a time traveler from the future, is because it is impossible. Plus, the idea of time travel is only a fantasy because all time happens simultaneously. The idea that time is linear is an illusion. The future, present, and past are happening simultaneously. If you don't believe that, you'll need to take your gripe up with the entire community of physicists.
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