1. Joined
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    17 Apr '08 23:07
    Free will is a necessary illusion:

    Consider a) is "free will" (true to the common concept of it) empirically possible and b) what would happen if we didn't feel we had free will, in evolutionary terms.

    I think the answers are a) no, all that science can help us with is either causality or randomness, neither of which constitute an ability to make "free" choices, and b) well, there would be apathy and/or destruction (as people remove all responsibility from actions) - this is contrary to an evolutionary pathway (i.e. survival) and hence the illusion of free will is certainly an evolutionary advantage for rational beings.

    Hence, I hope that my initial statement stands supported.

    (discuss) :p
  2. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 00:16
    Originally posted by cpbrown
    Free will is a necessary illusion:

    Consider a) is "free will" (true to the common concept of it) empirically possible and b) what would happen if we didn't feel we had free will, in evolutionary terms.

    I think the answers are a) no, all that science can help us with is either causality or randomness, neither of which constitute an ability to make "free ...[text shortened]... tional beings.

    Hence, I hope that my initial statement stands supported.

    (discuss) :p
    What is the common concept of free will?
  3. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 01:041 edit
    I agree that, if free will is an illusion, it's a necessary one.

    Without free will there can be no self, and it's pretty much impossible to live your life as though you have no self, even if it's objectively true.
  4. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 01:511 edit
    Originally posted by darthmix
    I agree that, if free will is an illusion, it's a necessary one.

    Without free will there can be no self, and it's pretty much impossible to live your life as though you have no self, even if it's objectively true.
  5. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 01:52
    Originally posted by cpbrown
    Free will is a necessary illusion:

    Consider a) is "free will" (true to the common concept of it) empirically possible and b) what would happen if we didn't feel we had free will, in evolutionary terms.

    I think the answers are a) no, all that science can help us with is either causality or randomness, neither of which constitute an ability to make "free ...[text shortened]... tional beings.

    Hence, I hope that my initial statement stands supported.

    (discuss) :p
    Without free will you may as well be dust.
    Without free will you would have no consciousness of self.
    Without free will you would be without the ability to choose.
    Without free will you would be without desire.
    Etc.,etc.,etc.
  6. Standard memberNemesio
    Ursulakantor
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    18 Apr '08 02:432 edits
    Originally posted by josephw
    Without free will you may as well be dust.
    Without free will you would have no consciousness of self.
    Without free will you would be without desire.
    None of the above is true.
  7. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 10:251 edit
    Originally posted by cpbrown
    Free will is a necessary illusion:

    Consider a) is "free will" (true to the common concept of it) empirically possible and b) what would happen if we didn't feel we had free will, in evolutionary terms.

    I think the answers are a) no, all that science can help us with is either causality or randomness, neither of which constitute an ability to make "free tional beings.

    Hence, I hope that my initial statement stands supported.

    (discuss) :p
    so if i call you a pink fluffy bunny even though i have no reason to call you that i am not making a a free willed choice but rather what?

    maybe i have a secret agenda for calling you a pink fluffy bunny? one that i don't even know myself? or a little angel sits on my shoulder and yells "call him a pink fluffy bunny. it is the will of the universe"



    almost forgot: cpbrown, you are a freaking pink fluffy bunny
  8. Cape Town
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    18 Apr '08 10:31
    Originally posted by cpbrown
    Free will is a necessary illusion:
    Can you give me a definition of free will that is an illusion? I have heard a number of people make similar claims but cant seem to picture it.
  9. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 15:36
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Can you give me a definition of free will that is an illusion? I have heard a number of people make similar claims but cant seem to picture it.
    I've heard of this claim and it's based on the premise that the universe is inherently deterministic.

    If everything is deterministic then if all the variables were known (i.e. all your thoughts, unconscious and conscious, all the workings of your environment, etc..) then your response to any stimulus could be predicted since every reaction of yours would be deterministically based on it.

    The problem is, of course, that now we don't have nearly enough knowledge of all the variables of one's personality and the workings of their mind to be able to predict these things.
  10. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 20:111 edit
    Originally posted by darthmix
    I agree that, if free will is an illusion, it's a necessary one.

    Without free will there can be no self, and it's pretty much impossible to live your life as though you have no self, even if it's objectively true.
    Premise: "Without free will there can be no self".

    I would broaden this to read: "Without some degree of free will there can be no consciousness".

    Then, given this premise, and given my own undeniable and direct apprehension of my own consciousness, I must conclude that free-will objectively exists.

    However, a logical proof of the existence of free will is superfluous, since I experience my own free will directly and undeniably.

    If "science" only includes mechanistic determinism and randomness as causal modes, it is clear that science (at least, in its contemporary version) is inaccurate, or incomplete, or both.

    A familiarity with the history and philosophy of science can be liberating and illuminative: in the 19th century, for example, the model of a "clockwork universe" (mechanistically deterministic) was widely accepted. The basic models then accepted were regarded as fundamentally correct, and practical science was conceived of merely as the process of dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

    In the 20th century the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics introduced acausality (ontological randomness) as a radical departure.

    Chaos theory introduced another radical departure: the mathematical embodiments of many physical laws demonstrate a sensitive dependence on initial conditions; and the existence of both practical and theoretical limitations on the accuracy of measuring processes mean that even within the context of a deterministic universe, initial conditions cannot be specified with absolute accuracy. Since systems with sensitive dependence on initial conditions demonstrate rapid and large divergences in behavior, given two sets of initial conditions separated by arbitrarily small differences, this also implies that complex systems are intrinsically unpredictable.

    It should be pointed out that neither of these ideas (acausality and chaos theory's concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions) provide empirical or theoretical support for free will. Free will must be regarded as a qualitatively different causal agency than either mechanistic materialism or acausality. The point is that, even for those who regard science as the means to truth, the history of science suggests that fundamental modifications of the physical model of reality remain plausible. Therefore, conclusions drawn on the basis of the assumption that science has already discovered and acknowledged the foundational principles of reality, should be regarded as suspect even by the conventional-minded. Furthermore, the proper way to conduct science, according to science, is to begin with factual observations and fit theory to them, not to begin with theory and exclude observations which fail to demonstrate consistency with it. Anyone who fails to acknowledge that consciousness is an order of phenomena fundamentally different from physical systems which do not involve it, can safely be accused of hypocrisy and dogmatism.

    Furthermore, quantum theory itself depends centrally on the concept of something it calls "the observer", and this must of logical necessity supercede the phenomenological elements it interacts with, since in the theory, the "observational act" is what collapses quantum superpositions into definite states and eliminates associated uncertainties. "The observer" is not a derivative aspect of a quantum system (since otherwise it would be superfluous), but is instead treated as one which acts independently on such systems. This is as close to the implication of the existence of free-willed conscious entities as quantum mechanics comes, but it's close enough to be highly suggestive.

    My own philosophical views are considerably more radical: I do not believe that the concepts of mechanistic materialism or statistical probability stand up to logical scrutiny; and the very concepts of time and space are fundamentally flawed. To me, "science" represents an attempt by an insufficiently developed mind to impose order and predictability on phenomena of a fundamentally different metaphysical class -- one which must of necessity both incorporate the observer and recognize the central role of the observer in the creation of reality. Models which are local rather than global, or which invoke various kinds of infinite regress, or which attempt to reconcile strict randomness with order, will never reach the truth. I am also a solipsist.
  11. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 20:28
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    [b]Premise: "Without free will there can be no self"


    ...[text shortened]...
    I see absolutely no reason to accept this premise.
  12. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 20:40
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    [b]...[text shortened]...

    Furthermore, the proper way to conduct science, according to science, is to begin with factual observations and fit theory to them, not to begin with theory and exclude observations which fail to demonstrate consistency with it. Anyone who fails to acknowledge that consciousness is an order of phenomena fundamentally different ...[text shortened]... which do not involve it, can safely be accused of hypocrisy and dogmatism.

    ...[text shortened]...
    This doesn't follow. Is consciousness "factually observed" to be "fundamentally distinct from physical systems"? Scientific reductivists will contend that "consciousness" is a sort of property that emerges from the operation of certain physical systems.

    Your "fundamental difference" claim sounds alot like a Cartesian "substance dualism." You're not going in that direction, are you?
  13. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    18 Apr '08 20:41
    Originally posted by cpbrown
    Free will is a necessary illusion:

    Consider a) is "free will" (true to the common concept of it) empirically possible and b) what would happen if we didn't feel we had free will, in evolutionary terms.

    I think the answers are a) no, all that science can help us with is either causality or randomness, neither of which constitute an ability to make "free ...[text shortened]... tional beings.

    Hence, I hope that my initial statement stands supported.

    (discuss) :p
    Apparently so.

    http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02045.x
  14. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    18 Apr '08 20:42
    Originally posted by josephw
    Without free will you may as well be dust.
    Without free will you would have no consciousness of self.
    Without free will you would be without the ability to choose.
    Without free will you would be without desire.
    Etc.,etc.,etc.
    Explain how self-consciousness is incompatible with determinism.
  15. Joined
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    18 Apr '08 20:44
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    ...[text shortened]...

    My own philosophical views are considerably more radical: I do not believe that the concepts of mechanistic materialism or statistical probability stand up to logical scrutiny; and the very concepts of time and space are fundamentally flawed. To me, "science" represents an attempt by an insufficiently developed mind to impose o ...[text shortened]... to reconcile strict randomness with order, will never reach the truth. I am also a solipsist.
    And finally, (sorry to be picking on you so much, but there's alot to cover in your post 🙂 )...


    How can you be a "solipsist" while at the same time "recognizing the role of the observer in the creation of reality"? If I'm creatin' it, how can I be fully seperated off from it?
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