Free will, is it just an illusion?

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Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Gillipig on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:15 pm

I've been reading Sam Harris books for quite a while now and it was by doing so that I ended up accepting free will as an illusion. I'm interested what CC's intellectual elite (i.e the trolls and procrastinators) think about free will.
If you have some time to kill and an interest for this question, here's a video of him explaining how he views free will and why it's an illusion.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:21 pm

Here's my foolhardy attempt to stop 10 pages of people talking past each other.

Everyone please define "free will" before answering this.

I'll give my view later. Don't have time now.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:27 pm

There is no poll, so I am not sure how to express my opinion. :(


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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Woodruff on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:33 pm

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Here's my foolhardy attempt to stop 10 pages of people talking past each other.
Everyone please define "free will" before answering this.
I'll give my view later. Don't have time now.


Screw you!

Free will for me is the ability to choose my actions. I can eat a pepper or an apple...I get to pick. I can pee in my restroom or on the sidewalk outside...I get to pick. I can go to work tomorrow or I can just stay home...I get to pick.

As to whether I think that free will is an illusion...well, it's an interesting philosophical concept to me. But it comes down to practicality over philosophy, so I come down on the side of it not being an illusion. I am not DESTINED to eat the apple. I am not DESTINED to pee on the sidewalk. I am not destined to go to work. I get to pick.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby betiko on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:47 pm

Of course free will exists. Otherwise criminals wouldn t exist for example.
You don t always have choices, for example if you want to become an astronaut or if you want to turkey stuff scarlett johanson. Actually if you really really want to turkey stuff scarlett johanson i m sure you can fid a way, maybe not for the astronaut shit.
You just take decisions within the dictats of the society you live in. But you are free not to follow them and assume the consequences of your actions.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby crispybits on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:55 pm

First post here that has actually had the time to watch the video before commenting :wink:

I agree with most of what he says, especially the main point about a causal link in a deterministic universe completely undermining the concept of free will, I wish he'd expanded further in this talk on the bit he just touched on at the end about how we could structure a properly just society without the concepts of blame and retribution.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Nola_Lifer on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:56 pm

Free will doesn't exist. It is like saying you have complete control over your brain and consciousness. You don't have control over these processes you only think you do.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Woodruff on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:58 pm

crispybits wrote:First post here that has actually had the time to watch the video before commenting :wink:


Yeah, I didn't watch the video.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Woodruff on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:59 pm

Nola_Lifer wrote:Free will doesn't exist. It is like saying you have complete control over your brain and consciousness. You don't have control over these processes you only think you do.


Why is it necessary to have complete control over those processes in order to have free will?
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Crazyirishman on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:04 pm

What type of free will are we talking about? Philosophic free will, or the colloquial definition of free will?
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:56 pm

Suppose the speaker of the video wished to be a woman, but couldn't afford the operation and years of speech therapy.

Does this mean he/she doesn't have free will?

Or are financial/physical constraints distinct from free will?

If financial, physical, mental, etc. constraints are distinct from free will, then people have free will. Everyone is limited in some way when it comes to some imagined alternative life we can have (different job, banging scarlett johanson, not 100% control over one's brain/consciousness, etc.), but that's how the world is.

It's not deterministic, in that you could never bang scarlett johanson. If that was your goal, some people are capable of taking that opportunity through much planning and difficult work (other people might not have to face such a high barrier). This doesn't mean they we have 'different' free wills.

Free will is about making choices. The opposite--in my opinion--is the denial of choice. For example, the government attempts to prohibit you from exercising your choice when it comes to illegal drugs, settling outside of court with criminals, etc.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Nola_Lifer on Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:10 pm

Woodruff wrote:
Nola_Lifer wrote:Free will doesn't exist. It is like saying you have complete control over your brain and consciousness. You don't have control over these processes you only think you do.


Why is it necessary to have complete control over those processes in order to have free will?

If you have control then you would have free will over your consciousness. For example, when you sleep and have a dream your mind will paralyze your body so that your mind can be free of bodily functions. Like kicking yourself out of bed or punching your wall. You have no free will over this, conscious choice. There is a phenomenon where some people wake up and can't move. In this sense, having free will is consciously having control over your bodily and mental functions, which we don't. We don't even have control over consciousness which we believe has power over all functions.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:39 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:There is no poll, so I am not sure how to express my opinion. :(


--Andy

You can't just type "kittens" one letter at a time?
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby nietzsche on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:51 pm

I don't see something good coming out of this thread.

But it's interesting to note that those who believe there's no free will tend to have a fatalistic or negative outlook on life, and viceversa.

What causes what? .. Would you change your belief in the existence of free will if it would give you a positive attitude.
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Re: Free will, is it just an illusion?

Postby Funkyterrance on Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:24 am

nietzsche wrote:
But it's interesting to note that those who believe there's no free will tend to have a fatalistic or negative outlook on life, and viceversa.


I'm ultimately a determinist and I've got a pretty positive outlook. Free will doesn't necessitate one way or another really.
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