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Persuade me: Free will is possible

Debate Information

What I am looking for here, is just any reasonable explanation, or plausible description of how free will is metaphysically possible. I am not necessarily looking for proof that it is true, but just that it is something that isn't excluded somehow by some logical contradiction or other impossibility.

By free will, I am specifically referring to libertarian free will which is the ability for someone to choose something or make a decision which is free from external influence, or the ability to perform otherwise in any given decision.
At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
Through a long process of evolution this life 
developed into the human race.
Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

All of that so we can argue about nothing.
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  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -  
    @Happy_Killbot What would be the alternative to free will?
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 2318 Pts   -  
    @Debater123

    What about "Unfree" will? But an alternative is not an answer to the question: Is it possible?  
    Happy_KillbotDeeZeusAres42
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "




  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @Debater123 ;
    What would be the alternative to free will?
    There are a few things, determinism is probably the big one (the mind will always behave the same in identical circumstances)

    Others include:
    Fatalism: everything in the universe is predetermined

    super-determinism: time runs forward and backwards such that future events are necessary to enable current events to cause them (this is a quantum rabbit hole)

    Stochastic: The universe/your mind is governed by random interactions that statistically result in your actions

    Compatibilism: The idea that free will is compatible with a deterministic universe

    solipsism: It is only the self that exists, everyone and thing else is an illusion

    Some forms of nihilism for which the name alludes me: The self and/or reality do not actually exist at all
    Debater123
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -   edited February 14
    @Happy_Killbot

    Fatalism wouldn't work without a god or higher power.

    Determinism doesn't work because different people react in different ways, there is such a thing as personality.

    Stochastic, what does it mean by random interactions?

    Compatibilism doesn't really make sense to me.

    Solipsism and nihilism seems to be forms of delusion.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @Debater123 ;
    That is a very lackluster response, you need to elaborate on every single one of those as you never explain why for any of them.
    Stochastic, what does it mean by random interactions?
    This idea is derived from a quantum dynamics perspective, where the universe might actually be governed by random events rather than deterministic ones, but to avoid confusing you suppose that there was a mind that made decisions by rolling dice/flipping coins/drawing cards etc. and then updates the probabilities it uses for certain decisions based on the outcome. (some neural networks work like this)

    This mind would be stochastic in nature. Some people assert that the brain is fundamentally quantum in nature (and therefore random) and indeed there is some evidence for this, but I list it as an alternative to free will because a mind that makes choices based on probabilities isn't really free because it is still governed by the external influence of the randum events.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -   edited February 14
    @Happy_Killbot

    Fatalism wouldn't work without a god or higher power since nothing else would be able to set those events.

    Stochastic makes sense to an extent, free will is ultimately the ability to choose and therefore creates a sense of randomness, people will do random things. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

    Determinism also makes sense, people base their choices on past events, although not entirely. 


    I would actually say free will is Stochastic-Compatibilism, people determine their choice based on past or current variables/events, however, the choice is ultimately random(Stochastic).
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @Debater123 ;
    You are going about this all wrong, you are trying to prove that free will is possible by disproving the alternatives, but even if you did that successfully (which I doubt you can) you still would not have achieved the goal because there could be other possibilities I haven't thought of, so all of this is irrelevant.

    Fatalism wouldn't work without a god or higher power since nothing else would be able to set those events.
    How would that prove free will is possible? You should know that one of the most popular arguments for god, the Kalam Cosmological argument is incompatible with libertarian free will.
    Stochastic makes sense to an extent, free will is ultimately the ability to choose and therefore creates a sense of randomness, people will do random things.
    No, because the randomness is making your choices, so you are not really free in this sense.
    Determinism also makes sense, people base their choices on past events, although not entirely. 
    How does this prove free will is possible?
    I would actually say free will is Stochastic-Compatibilism, people determine their choice based on past or current variables/events, however, the choice is ultimately random(Stochastic).
    How does this prove free will is possible?


    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • You're free to believe that you have free will or not. ;)
    Happy_Killbot



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;
    You're free to believe that you have free will or not.
    Very clever, but I don't think it holds up to scrutiny.  :D

    ZeusAres42
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 15
    @ZeusAres42 ;
    You're free to believe that you have free will or not.
    Very clever, but I don't think it holds up to scrutiny.  :D



    Thanks. And maybe not in bizarre philosophical terms but perhaps more so in pragmatic terms. :D




  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 15
    Forgive me but right now I am a little drunk. I guess I am a bit like George Best in that respect. Even though my name is "Best" you never really did see the best of me. ;)



  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -  
    @Happy_Killbot Why do you assume I believe in free will? My initial question was perplexion, the only true alternative to free will that I knew of was Fatalism, and knowing you as an atheist, you wouldn't support it since that required a higher power, so I was wondering what other alternatives you had, 2 were irrelevant, 2 were alternatives, while one was free will itself.




  • @Debater123

    What about "Unfree" will? But an alternative is not an answer to the question: Is it possible?  


    Well, you're not unfree to choose what to believe. ;)




  • I didn't even realize it was you that created this debate until now. I do atually think I can provide an appropriate and more lucid response which I will try to do in the near future when I am completely sober.
    Plaffelvohfen



  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3702 Pts   -   edited February 15
    Let me suggest a mental experiment to illustrate just how complicated this question is.

    Suppose I write a complex AI with complex decision-making and self-learning mechanism. I let it train itself for 5 years. It ends up being far more intelligent than me.
    One day I let it drive my car. We approach a red light. The AI presses on gas and jets through the intersection, narrowly escaping a truck that also crosses the intersection.
    I freak out. "Hey, Judy, what was that?!" She says, "You will not understand my reasoning, but after running some complex analysis I realized that the chances of any accident happening there were near zero, while the time saving we achieved thanks to this was significant".

    Was this decision the manifestation of this AI's free will? Was it pure programming directive? Was it both? Was it neither? Was it both and then something else?
    The answer really depends on how you define free will. Free from what? Free on what level? Free in what context?

    On a very fundamental level, I believe that it is necessary to accept that the Universe is fundamentally deterministic: if we had a computer with a perfect computational capability and access to all possible information in the world (even the information that, perhaps, we are prohibited from acquiring by the laws of physics), then we would be able to predict the future with 100% accuracy.
    But it is not a very useful view, is it? Knowing that everything is predetermined still does not tell you anything about what it is going to be, nor does it tell you anything about how much control you have over your choices. You clearly can choose whether to drink tea or coffee in the morning. Maybe your choices are just the result of predictable chemical reactions in your brain. But so what? From your perspective, it is still you making this choice, and what do other perspectives matter?

    Again, this is a very difficult question philosophically, but hopefully my insight is helpful!
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 15
    In any case, I am gonna try and persuade you now while somewhat under the influence. Now let's take those that have been hard core drug addicts or alcoholics and then just one day decided to stop no matter what and never return to their addictions?

    Due to the way addiciton works one would have thought it's very difficult to just quit and yet here we have people that have done just that. Take Sir Anthony Hopkins for example.


    On another note I will also state that the will is not free as it it's just an act of determination. The man is free however. The man isn't free from the laws of physics but the man is free within the laws of physics. I guess therefore, you can say Free will is posible to a certain extent.
    Plaffelvohfen



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @Debater123 ;
    Why do you assume I believe in free will? My initial question was perplexion, the only true alternative to free will that I knew of was Fatalism, and knowing you as an atheist, you wouldn't support it since that required a higher power, so I was wondering what other alternatives you had, 2 were irrelevant, 2 were alternatives, while one was free will itself.
    If you don't believe in free will, then how can you possibly hope to convince me that it is possible?

    Frankly, I don't think free will is possible even with a higher power in the picture, because that power can't control us yet somehow made us, all kinds of ontological costs and issues.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 15
    @Debater123 ;
    Why do you assume I believe in free will? My initial question was perplexion, the only true alternative to free will that I knew of was Fatalism, and knowing you as an atheist, you wouldn't support it since that required a higher power, so I was wondering what other alternatives you had, 2 were irrelevant, 2 were alternatives, while one was free will itself.
    If you don't believe in free will, then how can you possibly hope to convince me that it is possible?

    Frankly, I don't think free will is possible even with a higher power in the picture, because that power can't control us yet somehow made us, all kinds of ontological costs and issues.


    I actually think Free will is even less possible with a higher power. With a higher power everying is fixed, set in stone. Without it things are much more random.
    Happy_KillbotPlaffelvohfen



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar ;
    You would name your AI Judy? As in Judge Judy?!? And it's DRIVING YOUR CAR???!!!  LMFAO!

    I'm a little drunk right now, but that's still funny given the scenario.
    Was this decision the manifestation of this AI's free will? Was it pure programming directive? Was it both? Was it neither? Was it both and then something else?
    The answer really depends on how you define free will. Free from what? Free on what level? Free in what context?
    By my definition, defined in the OP with a definition this was not free will because it's decisions are based on it's programing and therefore a product of external causes.
    On a very fundamental level, I believe that it is necessary to accept that the Universe is fundamentally deterministic: if we had a computer with a perfect computational capability and access to all possible information in the world (even the information that, perhaps, we are prohibited from acquiring by the laws of physics), then we would be able to predict the future with 100% accuracy.
    But it is not a very useful view, is it? Knowing that everything is predetermined still does not tell you anything about what it is going to be, nor does it tell you anything about how much control you have over your choices. You clearly can choose whether to drink tea or coffee in the morning. Maybe your choices are just the result of predictable chemical reactions in your brain. But so what? From your perspective, it is still you making this choice, and what do other perspectives matter?
    Not possible. See the halting problem. If the computer has a perfect model of everything, does that include a perfect model of itself? If so, then does that model have a perfect model? Does this computation include the answer of the computation in it's starting assumptions? It can't, this computer is fundamentally a logically impossibility.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;
    In any case, I am gonna try and persuade you now while somewhat under the influence. Now let's take those that have been hard core drug addicts or alcoholics and then just one day decided to stop no matter what and never return to their addictions?

    Due to the way addiciton works one would have thought it's very difficult to just quit and yet here we have people that have done just that. Take Sir Anthony Hopkins for example.

    On another note I will also state that the will is not free as it it's just an act of determination. The man is free however. The man isn't free from the laws of physics but the man is free within the laws of physics. I guess therefore, you can say Free will is posible to a certain extent.
    I don't know if this makes a strong case, because if it isn't free will then there could still be some fundamental reason they moved to violate their addiction.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3702 Pts   -  
    @Happy_Killbot

    Eh, I am just playing Cyberpunk currently, helping Judy find her friend Evelyn Parker. No other particular reason for the name! But I also just like the name Judy. It is concise; it has a ring to it.

    Well, one cannot have will that is free from their biological makeup or their hardware. That is why I asked, "Free of what?" It is important to properly define the terms before even beginning to consider the validity of the concept.

    A computer can in principle model itself perfectly, much like I can describe various aspects of my organism without altering them. I think that this idea comes from the popular misunderstanding of stochasticity in quantum mechanics: people often say that you cannot measure both the velocity and the location of the particle, because the act of measuring it alters these quantities. That is obviously a poor argument: you can measure these quantities and then adjust the values to the act of measurement itself, improving your results, in principle, infinitely.
    The real explanation of this stochasticity is much more complex and has to do with the wave-particle duality principle which, as Feynman said once, nobody understands, including him.
    But, perhaps, the wave-particle duality principle is not all there is to it. There could be hidden variables (which people often mistakenly assume is impossible due to the Bell theorem) that result in the observed stochasticity, but inherent determinism.
  • maxxmaxx 504 Pts   -  




  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @maxx ;

    I'm looking for proof that it is possible, not evidence that it is not.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar ;
    Well, one cannot have will that is free from their biological makeup or their hardware. That is why I asked, "Free of what?" It is important to properly define the terms before even beginning to consider the validity of the concept.
    I did define free will in the OP, and I suppose with a little word-smithing I could answer that "free of what" question, but the short answer is that free will means that your decisions are not made based on external influences, meaning that the things that happen around you or happened to you don't change the way you make choices.
    A computer can in principle model itself perfectly, much like I can describe various aspects of my organism without altering them. 
    No, this is 100% wrong even in theory. I know I didn't give a good explanation of it while inebriated but my response does invoke the correct rebuttal: The halting problem.

    Allan Turing devised this logical proof in 1936 that demonstrates that even in principal, you can never know if a computer will finish it's program or not. To put it simply, in order for the computer to know if it will finish it's task or not it would have to run through that routine and see if it finishes, but if it doesn't finish then it can never know if it will finish or not, and there is a simple proof by contradiction. Imagine a computer that can input the design of a computer/program as input, then emulate that computer and check if it halts. This computer will return true if it halts, or false if it does not. Now suppose we plug in the schematic of this computer into the program, (the equivalent of having the computer model itself) For the computer to return true, the model needs to run a model of itself to see if it will halt, which needs to run a model of itself, ad infinitum, thus it will never halt, therefore it can not return true because that is a contradiction. Similarly, the computer can not return false because how would it know if it was done checking the program if indeed it never halted, thus it will never halt, therefore it can not return false either.

    This idea follows from a question in logic which asks if the premises include the conclusion as pat of their answer (the same as asking if a computer that models the future has it's solution as one of it's assumptions) The solution for that is that no it is not possible, because the can't know it's conclusion until after it modeled it.
    That is obviously a poor argument: you can measure these quantities and then adjust the values to the act of measurement itself, improving your results, in principle, infinitely.
    No, that's not really how that works either, the more you know about one the less you know about the other, it's a fundamental property of waves that is true not just of quantum systems but in mathematical models of waves including radio waves, radar, sonar, and such. I do not know about this well enough to explain it competently, but the TL;DR is that in order to measure the distance (position) to an object you need a short single ping that has high specificity of location, but in doing that you can't tell the velocity because that single ping contains no directional/velocity information. To get that intel, you need a steady continuous wave and then you check the shift to find speed, but in doing that you lose location data because the waves contain no specificity in location having many possible locations at once. With radar/sonar we can use sweeping octaves that basically move across many pitches to limit the number of possible locations and speeds to a minimum, but with particles you can't do that because it changes their behavior in ways we can't predict, so even if it is "super deterministic" it is still fundamentally unknowable, so there is always absolute unknowability in any quantum system..
    There could be hidden variables (which people often mistakenly assume is impossible due to the Bell theorem) that result in the observed stochasticity, but inherent determinism.
    This has also been disproved by bell's inequality, another thing I can't explain competently, but I know that it does in fact prove that there are no hidden variables by contradiction, and this will one day make quantum internet unhackable.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -  
    @Happy_Killbot I'm not trying to convince you that it is possible.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3702 Pts   -  
    @Happy_Killbot

    That is a bit of a strange definition of the free will though, and free will formulated in such a way, obviously, does not exist.
    Things that happen around you naturally make you alter your choices. Common interpretation of free will suggests that people have a choice in how to respond to things around them, and they will make different choices under different circumstances - but they will make them not because they are forced to, but because they logically, emotionally, instinctually or somehow else conclude that they are the best choices they can make in a given situation.
    A person who does not alter their choices based on the circumstances around them would just be effectively oblivious to them. They would have to give up on all of their senses and just stubbornly follow a pre-determined course. A person could decide to travel to the west and start driving directly in the western direction, ignoring all the trees, buildings, etc. that they might run into on the way. It would not be a viable survival strategy.

    I think that the error in your reasoning is the assumption that to predict the outcome of something, that something must be fully simulated, in all details. Yet this is not the case. I do not need to run a complex simulation of the egg boiling process to know that if I throw a couple of eggs into a pot full of water and warm that pot to 100 Celcius and wait for a few minutes, then the eggs will be cooked.
    Complexity of predicting something often is much lower than "inherent" complexity of that something, and that is exactly that makes it (in theory) possible to predict the future with 100% certainty.

    Your reasoning is correct, but it is different from the reasoning of the people who just say that you cannot measure something because the act of you measuring it alters it. This alone is not a sufficient explanation, which was my point.

    Bell's Inequality merely suggests that local hidden variables contradict modern physics. Global hidden variables are not outlawed.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar ;
    That is a bit of a strange definition of the free will though, and free will formulated in such a way, obviously, does not exist.
    Things that happen around you naturally make you alter your choices. Common interpretation of free will suggests that people have a choice in how to respond to things around them, and they will make different choices under different circumstances - but they will make them not because they are forced to, but because they logically, emotionally, instinctually or somehow else conclude that they are the best choices they can make in a given situation.
    A person who does not alter their choices based on the circumstances around them would just be effectively oblivious to them. They would have to give up on all of their senses and just stubbornly follow a pre-determined course. A person could decide to travel to the west and start driving directly in the western direction, ignoring all the trees, buildings, etc. that they might run into on the way. It would not be a viable survival strategy.
    The assumption of free will is that you could choose differently in a given situation, for example you might have a choice of what to order on a menu, if you have free will then you might choose something different in the same circumstances, so if you went back in time and played the same events over you would get different picks, instead of the same ones. The assumption that this is true is foundational to our legal system.
    I think that the error in your reasoning is the assumption that to predict the outcome of something, that something must be fully simulated, in all details. Yet this is not the case. I do not need to run a complex simulation of the egg boiling process to know that if I throw a couple of eggs into a pot full of water and warm that pot to 100 Celcius and wait for a few minutes, then the eggs will be cooked.
    Complexity of predicting something often is much lower than "inherent" complexity of that something, and that is exactly that makes it (in theory) possible to predict the future with 100% certainty.
    You are moving the goal posts a little here, because when you describe the egg boiling that is an externality the calculations of which don't include the fact that you are monitoring and predicting what will happen to the egg. You can predict other things, but you can't predict your own predictions until after you predicted them, which is an impossibility because it violates causality. The computer would literally have to know the solution as an assumption before it started it's calculation, but if it know that then why do the calculation at all?
    Your reasoning is correct, but it is different from the reasoning of the people who just say that you cannot measure something because the act of you measuring it alters it. This alone is not a sufficient explanation, which was my point.
    Except that when you alter it, you lose the ability to predict what it's state is, so you fundamentally have to exchange knowing velocity for position, you can't know both because both literally do not exist at the same time, therefore there is always fundamental quantum indeterminacy.

    All of this kind of misses the point anyways, which is that even if your mind is governed by random events (a stochastic mind) then you still don't have free will because there was still something governing it in the first place. This is true regardless of if the universe/human minds are stochastic or not.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • @ZeusAres42 ;
    In any case, I am gonna try and persuade you now while somewhat under the influence. Now let's take those that have been hard core drug addicts or alcoholics and then just one day decided to stop no matter what and never return to their addictions?

    Due to the way addiciton works one would have thought it's very difficult to just quit and yet here we have people that have done just that. Take Sir Anthony Hopkins for example.

    On another note I will also state that the will is not free as it it's just an act of determination. The man is free however. The man isn't free from the laws of physics but the man is free within the laws of physics. I guess therefore, you can say Free will is posible to a certain extent.
    I don't know if this makes a strong case, because if it isn't free will then there could still be some fundamental reason they moved to violate their addiction.

    @Happy_Killbot you only addressed one part of my argument here which was only the drug part.



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;

    The second part where you are talking about physics doesn't really demonstrate free will unless you can demonstrate that physics itself has free will. Free to do things inside physics isn't much of an argument, it's like saying a rock is free to fall to the ground, but that isn't really freedom at all because it doesn't have the option not to fall.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 16
    @ZeusAres42 ;

    The second part where you are talking about physics doesn't really demonstrate free will unless you can demonstrate that physics itself has free will. Free to do things inside physics isn't much of an argument, it's like saying a rock is free to fall to the ground, but that isn't really freedom at all because it doesn't have the option not to fall.


    There's a big difference between a rock and a human being. I would be more convinced of your argument if you could provide an anology that that was more similar. Unless of course you are asking to be persuaded that everything has free will regardless if it's a living thing or not. And if that is what you are asking to be persuaded then I can't realy help you there.



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;
    There's a big difference between a rock and a human being. I would be more convinced of your argument if you could provide an anology that that was more similar. Unless of course you are asking to be persuaded that everything has free will regardless if it's a living thing or not.
    If humans are restricted by physics, that doesn't demonstrate that free will is possible. Lets just take a human mind so that there need be no analogy, suppose that the way the brain works is a product of the interactions of physics just more complex than rocks falling. Then the brain would be deterministic. Anyways, this wouldn't prove that free will is possible, just that determinism is a possibility as well.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • @ZeusAres42 ;
    There's a big difference between a rock and a human being. I would be more convinced of your argument if you could provide an anology that that was more similar. Unless of course you are asking to be persuaded that everything has free will regardless if it's a living thing or not.
    If humans are restricted by physics, that doesn't demonstrate that free will is possible. Lets just take a human mind so that there need be no analogy, suppose that the way the brain works is a product of the interactions of physics just more complex than rocks falling. Then the brain would be deterministic. Anyways, this wouldn't prove that free will is possible, just that determinism is a possibility as well.


    What if it is the laws of physics that allow us to have a certain amount of free will? My current argument is not that Free will exists completely as that would defy the laws of physics regardless if everything is deterministic or indeterministic but does exist to a certain extent within the boundaries of physics. Call it an oxymoron if you wish; "imprisoned Free Will."








  • @Happy_Killbot

    By free will, I am specifically referring to libertarian free will which is the ability for someone to choose something or make a decision which is free from external influence, or the ability to perform otherwise in any given decision.
    That is not a reference to free will.

    For free will to be achieved we are to express fact with the control of both cost or payment, to or from, self-ability is not measured in the form of no payments and no limitation, a capacity is not bound by self-suffering nor the suffering of others in the area of feelings. We know... We do not know...


  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;
    What if it is the laws of physics that allow us to have a certain amount of free will? My current argument is not that Free will exists completely as that would defy the laws of physics regardless if everything is deterministic or indeterministic but does exist to a certain extent within the boundaries of physics. Call it an oxymoron if you wish; "imprisoned Free Will."
    Then you would need to demonstrate that this is possible. Does your concept of "imprisoned free will" contradict the definition I provided in any way?

    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • @ZeusAres42 ;
    What if it is the laws of physics that allow us to have a certain amount of free will? My current argument is not that Free will exists completely as that would defy the laws of physics regardless if everything is deterministic or indeterministic but does exist to a certain extent within the boundaries of physics. Call it an oxymoron if you wish; "imprisoned Free Will."
    Then you would need to demonstrate that this is possible. Does your concept of "imprisoned free will" contradict the definition I provided in any way?



    Remind me, what is your exact defitintion of Free Will, like say in a nutshell?



  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42 ;

    By free will, I am specifically referring to libertarian free will which is the ability for someone to choose something or make a decision which is free from external influence, or the ability to perform otherwise in any given decision.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • @ZeusAres42 ;

    By free will, I am specifically referring to libertarian free will which is the ability for someone to choose something or make a decision which is free from external influence, or the ability to perform otherwise in any given decision.

    Well, my definition of "imprisoned free will" is an oxymoron; a rhetorical device that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox. I know it sounds rather illogical but life and the universe is illogical and random. Nothing is set in stone but in the middle of it all you've got us human beings with the conciousness to choose whether to turn left or right when we just feel like taking a walk. And while there may be events leading up to us going out for a walk the ultimate decision as whether to turn left or right is ours.




  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 2318 Pts   -   edited February 16
    @ZeusAres42

    What do you mean by the universe is illogical? How can it be illogical? Are you talking about its workings or its absence of logical reason to exist at all?
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • DeeDee 3442 Pts   -  
    @ZeusAres42

     Nothing is set in stone but in the middle of it all you've got us human beings with the conciousness to choose whether to turn left or right when we just feel like taking a walk.
    And while there may be events leading up to us going out for a walk the ultimate decision as whether to turn left or right is ours. 



    If the laws of physics suggest the future is predetermined then everything is indeed set in stone.

    Yes you make a “decision “ to turn left or right but that “decision “ is in no way free but only has the illusion of such 
    ZeusAres42
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 18
    @ZeusAres42

    What do you mean by the universe is illogical? How can it be illogical? Are you talking about its workings or its absence of logical reason to exist at all?


    I was going off on a tangent here haha. Time to try and keep things simple. I think I might have been confusing freedom of choice with free will.

    Firstly, we need to define what we mean when we talk of "we?" I define this as being the sum total of our brain cells. It's not like there is some external entity of ourselves outside of ourselves controlling us and the things around us. But there is no other single external entity controlling us or things around us either.

    Furthermore, it is due to the complex nature of our neurological makeup that gives us a certain level of independence even though for our neurology to work we still need interactions with the rest of the physical world. The more our neurology is in working order the more independence we have to be able to alter our future events.

    Now, I do remember a Philosopher (can't remember his name sorry) saying that "the will cannot be free because it's just an act of determination; the man is free, however." Now, I think my previous paragraph is what was meant by that statement. What's more, is I don't really like the expression "Free Will" as it doesn't seem to make much sense to me. Hence why I like to talk in terms of independence instead.

    Moreover, as for the future being predetermined, I think it's long been refuted that is the case. I think most (If not all) physicists agree that everything is in fact indeterministic. Einstein was a determinist and believed the future was predetermined but he was wrong as Heisenberg was able to demonstrate. See the following "Why Physics ends the free will debate:"




    Also, there are examples of people altering the course of their future with the flick of a coin or the roll of a dice. Take "Dice Man" for example. This was a TV program about traveling. He had a number of options where to travel next; a whole part of his future rested upon the roll of a dice which was his own doing.


    To conclude I will say we do have a certain level of independence and control enabling us to change and alter the course of our future events. The more in working order our neurological and biological makeup the more independence we have; the less it's in working order the less independence and control we have. Now, if this is what is meant by free will then I think it's fair to say we have it and it's not an illusion; it's just the way we and the world works. And even if there is such a thing as deterministic indeterminism then I don't think that changes this either; in fact, I think it might actually support it. Lastly, Sam Harris who doesn't believe in Freewill did say that if neurologists can create studies to test whether they can predict what people are about to do then we have sufficient proof that Freewill is either possible or not. I would be willing to bet, however, that there would be people in these studies that did something completely different than what the Neuorogists were predicting. The world is sporadic and so are we.

    @Happy_Killbot ;

    The above is for you to mull over as well. 






  • piloteerpiloteer 1222 Pts   -   edited February 18
    @Debater123 ;
    What would be the alternative to free will?
    There are a few things, determinism is probably the big one (the mind will always behave the same in identical circumstances)

    Others include:
    Fatalism: everything in the universe is predetermined

    super-determinism: time runs forward and backwards such that future events are necessary to enable current events to cause them (this is a quantum rabbit hole)

    Stochastic: The universe/your mind is governed by random interactions that statistically result in your actions

    Compatibilism: The idea that free will is compatible with a deterministic universe

    solipsism: It is only the self that exists, everyone and thing else is an illusion

    Some forms of nihilism for which the name alludes me: The self and/or reality do not actually exist at all
    Solipsism would be an extension of the "idealistic" view of the universe, and that is specifically branched in with the free will school of thought. The idea of an idealistic universe stems from the notion that our universe is directly influenced by our perception of the universe. If everybody and everything but yourself were only illusions, then your interactions and feelings towards everybody and everything would have a direct impact on those things and therefore the will of the universe would hinge on your perception of it. All the other alternatives to free will that you listed seem to be in order though. Except maybe nihilism because nihilism would probably rule out any form of will, whether it's free or determined. A nihilistic view would be that any form of will is merely an illusion. But there may be a specific form of nihilism that would stipulate that free will is the illusion and it that form of nihilism would probably be a predetermined view of the universe. I'm just not aware of that kind of nihilism if it indeed exists. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. (that doesn't mean that form of nihilism doesn't exist. tee hee :p

    Another view of the universe being a determined universe would be the classical, or Copenhagen interpretation found in physics. That is the viewpoint which stipulates that all action is reaction. In that interpretation, everything that happens is just a reaction to everything that caused it to happen, and the reaction phenom goes all the way back to the beginning of the universe. That leaves out any room for free will. 

    Unfortunately for the Copenhagen interpretation, the quantum theory of non-locality has stood the test of time and has been proven to be a more accurate interpretation of the universe. Non-locality contradicts the notion of all actions just being reactions. The classic interpretation relies on the belief of locality being a major factor in the motion of the universe. It means that everything is most directly affected by all the other influences that are closest to it, and that line of influence fades as objects become more distant to it. Non-locality postulates that everything in the universe is influenced by every other thin in the universe and no matter what the distance one object has in relation to another, they are still influenced by each other. Non-locality also stipulates that actions do indeed happen without the existence of prior influences. This phenomenon has been recreated in labs and documented. Non-locality stipulates that free will (or free actions) are not only possible, they are constantly occurring. It is an anarchist view of the universe.           

    An updated version of the Copenhagen interpretation is the many worlds interpretation which stipulates that every possible physical outcome that can be achieved will most certainly be achieved in every possible instance. But the different possibilities will branch off into different universes, or dimensions, and that branching off is constantly taking place. So if you were to throw a ball up and try to catch it, the possibility of you catching the ball, and missing it are equally possible because in one dimension you miss the ball, but in another, you will catch it. This interpretation basically says that there is an infinite number of yous existing in an infinite number of dimensions and that number of dimensions is based on the infinite number of physical outcomes. That would be a determined view of the universe because all physical outcomes will definitely be achieved no matter what we do to try an influence it. That is especially personified by the view that even our mental capacity is determined by prior instances which is known as the many minds interpretation. 

    Unfortunately for the many worlds interpretation, it is now considered DOA because the many worlds interpretation can never overcome the born rule. The born rule is a measurement of the likelihood of a physical outcome. When all of the physical possibilities are factored in, the likelihood of a physical outcome can be measured. Even the margin of error can be measured when the born rule is done correctly and that means that if all the data that is available is incomplete, a proper measurement can still be obtained and the margin of error can be measured along with the lack of data. Since the born rule works on the basis of likelihood, it is in direct contrast to the stipulation of the many worlds interpretation which postulates that all physical outcomes are equally likely. But the born rule proves that some physical outcomes are millions, or even billions of times less likely to occur than other physical outcomes.

    Just because the born rule works at all, it contradicts a major premise of the many worlds interpretation, and the many worlds interpretation cannot disprove the accuracy of the born rule because it is basically considered a scientific truth like the big band theory or evolution. Any attempts to integrate the born rule into the many worlds interpretation either waters down many worlds to the point of uselessness, or the attempt to integrate the born rule turns into an ad-hoc add on which goes against the scientific method of explaining a theory as easily as possible without adding onto it to integrate other theories that contradict it. So if the many worlds interpretation were true, the born rule would not work at all in any dimension. But it does in this one, so the many worlds interpretation is considered dead on arrival.                           
  • bjinthirtybjinthirty 27 Pts   -  
    If I give you something for free then that is a given. Meaning even if free will existed it would have to be given.




  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 Emerald Premium Member 1750 Pts   -   edited February 18
    In simple layman's terms, there is such a thing as free will but it's not complete free will; it's limited.

    "Man can do what he wills but cannot will what he wills" - Arthur Schopenhauer

    @Happy_Killbot so, I cannot persuade you that there is such a thing as complete free will just as I wouldn't be able to persuade you that a house made out of bricks is actually made out of banana skin.



  • If I give you something for free then that is a given. Meaning even if free will existed it would have to be given.


    Or it just happened by chance, much like the big bang theory. ;)



  • bjinthirtybjinthirty 27 Pts   -  
    nothing comes from nothing. Something makes it nothing.
  • nothing comes from nothing. Something makes it nothing.

    That still doesn't mean something doesn't come about as chance.



  • DeeDee 3442 Pts   -   edited February 19
    @bjinthirty

    nothing comes from nothing 

    Can something come from nothing ? If not how do you go about proving it?
  • It's an illusion to think there is such a thing as complete free will. But it's also an illusion to think there is no such thing as free will at all. And the idea that we have the freedom to make choices is not an illusion at all. The word "free" doesn't have to imply complete freedom; it can imply degrees of freedom.



  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1224 Pts   -  
    If what you are asking is whether in the exact same conditions, the exact same human would always behave in the exact same way, we simply have no way of testing this because the conditions will always slightly vary. We will not know if varying outcomes are the human's free choice, or simply a random dice-roll.
    ZeusAres42
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    @xlJ_dolphin_473 ;
    If what you are asking is whether in the exact same conditions, the exact same human would always behave in the exact same way, we simply have no way of testing this because the conditions will always slightly vary. We will not know if varying outcomes are the human's free choice, or simply a random dice-roll.
    This begs the question, because it assumes free will is true to arrive at a conclusion that it is. What I am looking here isn't a proof of free will, I'm looking for an argument that shows that it is possible in the first place, meaning that there is no contradiction in the definition I provided.
    ZeusAres42
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
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