The problem of Free Will

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    Feb 26, 2013 4:02 PM GMT
    Alright folks have a few questions that I am trying to get others people's perspectives on. Free will is a question that philosophers have been trying to answer for generations. Many have potential solutions to the problem but what's great about it is there is no direct answer but mere opinions.

    So the questions are:
    1) what is free will? (A definition basically)

    2) do you think we have free will?

    3) (this is a dangerous one) do you think free will is compatible with the idea of god( god being an all powerful all knowing and all good being)? Or is having free will a proof against god?

    My responses:
    Free will to me is as an agent having the ability to make choices or decisions without any interference.

    I would say we do

    This one is hard for me to answer so not sure!

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    Feb 26, 2013 4:48 PM GMT
    "1) what is free will? (A definition basically)

    2) do you think we have free will?

    3) (this is a dangerous one) do you think free will is compatible with the idea of god( god being an all powerful all knowing and all good being)? Or is having free will a proof against god?

    My responses:
    Free will to me is as an agent having the ability to make choices or decisions without any interference.

    I would say we do

    This one is hard for me to answer so not sure!"

    1) I agree with your definition


    2) yes, but only sometimes is free will applicable to your definition in answer 1. Our environments, whether it be family, work, where we live, how much we make, who we love, our health; all play a part in deciding our decisions. icon_wink.gif

    3) absolutely compatible. icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 26, 2013 6:54 PM GMT
    1.) Free will is having the right and responsibility to say your part, claim your piece of existence, and not be a victim to the whims of others or forces beyond your control. We all have to be accountable for what we understand, say, do, and how it relates to those around us. Noone is free from this responsibility; though many have found ways around it, i.e. politics.

    2.) Of course, we have free will. We couldn't say, "Welcome to RJ." if you didn't chose to come here in the first place.

    3.) Of course, Free Will is compatible with the Idea of God. In fact, there can't be a relationship with God without it. He wants your Faith in HIM, Happiness, and to know the HE IS GOD. How can one be a follower without having the conscious willingness to make a choice? Free will doesn't exist in some areas of God's creation, but we're not Rocks, Rivers, and Tar Pits. Faith, is an act of will. Choosing to be happy is an act of will, like being sad. Nothing can be fated to us, unless we impart into our lives. Like letting a vampire in when he knocks on your door.

    Post Edit: Also, depends on what You consider GOD.
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:17 PM GMT
    This is the thread topic every 16 year old spends months and infinite pages debating back and forth on their first message board....or was that just me..
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:18 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidThis is the thread topic every 16 year old spends months and infinite pages debating back and forth on their first message board....or was that just me..


    I wasn't smart enough for that level of navel gazing at that age.


    Speaking of navels. icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:19 PM GMT
    showme said
    Speaking of navels. icon_razz.gif


    I pick at mine too much, it's such a bad habit.
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:21 PM GMT
    Oh and on topic, sorry to spoil the answer to quickly but there is no answer, it's the exact equivalent of trying to define absolute truths, we are only privy to pragmatic contextual truths. I think chapter 1 of any intro to Philosophy 101 college course covers it.
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:22 PM GMT
    showme said
    Ariodante saidThis is the thread topic every 16 year old spends months and infinite pages debating back and forth on their first message board....or was that just me..


    I wasn't smart enough for that level of navel gazing at that age.


    Speaking of navels. icon_razz.gif



    omphaloskepsis - contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:22 PM GMT
    Ariodante said
    showme said
    Speaking of navels. icon_razz.gif


    I pick at mine too much, it's such a bad habit.


    Oh, let me do it for you.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Feb 26, 2013 7:23 PM GMT
    1) the freedom to make choices without pre determination by an outside source

    2) no. We are victims of our biology.

    3) no. With complete control over creation ad omniscience, he know it'd go exactly the way it has upon creation.
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:26 PM GMT
    Shawnathan saidHe probably didn't fit in with the other orcas because he spent most of his life in captivity.


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    Feb 26, 2013 7:26 PM GMT
    3) (this is a dangerous one) do you think free will is compatible with the idea of god( god being an all powerful all knowing and all good being)? Or is having free will a proof against god?

    Yes, Having perfect foreknowledge of the choices someone is going to make is not the same as forcing their hand to make the choice.

    That said: Why would a loving god bring forth into existence someone he already knows is going to piss him off and he's going to have to condemn to eternal fire in Hell? That's what I have a problem with.
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    Feb 26, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
    1)

    I think free will concept exist as the opposite of fate/destiny concept.

    If you don't believe that your future is predetermined, then you believe in free will.

    it certainly doesn't mean your will is free of external influences, it just mean your life story is not determined before you live it.

    2)
    I don't believe destiny (don't see why I should). I don't care about free will outside of rejecting the idea of destiny.

    3)
    I don't know what god you refer too, and what form of religious belief.
    As far as I understand, in the classical understanding of Christianity, free will is mandatory, as it's what makes you able to chose the Christ. Without free will, your choices have no value, your actions no consequences etc...
  • Zinc

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    Feb 26, 2013 7:41 PM GMT
    The existence of free will, in my opinion, presents issues for physicalists.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism

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    Feb 26, 2013 7:48 PM GMT
    Zinc saidThe existence of free will, in my opinion, presents issues for physicalists.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism


    This challenges my way of thinking! Thanks for sharing. icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 26, 2013 8:04 PM GMT
    The problem of Free Will

    The problem with this thread is the loaded question that free will is a problem. Free will is not a problem - it is a strength, and a privilege of being human.

    A fundamental assumption of the US Constitution, as originally framed, is that free will is a basic human right, a condition of our existence. That concept has been lost over the centuries, so that now an entire generation thinks free will, and the right to exercise it, is a privilege granted by the majority, in legislation. A privilege that can be denied at the whim of 50%+ of the participating voters.

    And this is the weakness of democracies, that the Founders worried about. The tyranny of the simple majority, that can deny basic rights and free will as it wishes. With no higher authority to say no, you got it wrong, you're being selfish and bigoted against the minority. Such is the basis upon which the US Republican Party has built its dominance over US citizens in most States.
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

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    Feb 26, 2013 8:09 PM GMT
    Free will is defined by the government in which it is a brainwashed idea that is given to people to make them feel like the they have rights and the ability to do whatever they want when in reality free will truly does not exist.
    And the idea of God.... I have no religion, I hate the idea of it.
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    Feb 26, 2013 8:12 PM GMT
    ThatSwimmerGuy saidFree will is defined by the government in which it is a brainwashed idea that is given to people to make them feel like the they have rights and the ability to do whatever they want when in reality free will truly does not exist.
    And the idea of God.... I have no religion, I hate the idea of it.


    totally.

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    Feb 26, 2013 8:15 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidThe problem of Free Will

    The problem with this thread is the loaded question that free will is a problem. Free will is not a problem - it is a strength, and a privilege of being human.

    A fundamental assumption of the US Constitution, as originally framed, is that free will is a basic human right, a condition of our existence. That concept has been lost over the centuries, so that now an entire generation thinks free will, and the right to exercise it, is a privilege granted by the majority, in legislation. A privilege that can be denied at the whim of 50%+ of the participating voters.

    And this is the weakness of democracies, that the Founders worried about. The tyranny of the simple majority, that can deny basic rights and free will as it wishes. With no higher authority to say no, you got it wrong, you're being selfish and bigoted against the minority. Such is the basis upon which the US Republican Party has built its dominance over US citizens in most States.


    Correction: That concept (free will) has been usurped throught the years by the federal government. As well as freedom of conscience.

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    Feb 26, 2013 9:05 PM GMT
    OK, Art & Undercover, conflating Free Will (the concept of) and Rights Endowed by Our Creator is not what this topic is about.

    A majority/government/dictator/kidnapper/abuser can coerce the decisions of an individual by making one decision or another more pleasing. But that individual only loses Free Will when their brain chemistry and genetic makeup are irreversibly altered.

    To avoid pain of incarceration, for instance, I'll not thump my aunt on the head with a frying pan. But take away that threat and my aunt is as good as dead. My will wasn't lost when I considered my alternatives, it was just deferred or delayed.

    The subject of Free Will falls under the realm of biology, and for some, theology. Does my genetic makeup essentially pick my path for me? Does God have the universe all mapped out?
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    Feb 26, 2013 9:34 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidOK, Art & Undercover, conflating Free Will (the concept of) and Rights Endowed by Our Creator is not what this topic is about.

    A majority/government/dictator/kidnapper/abuser can coerce the decisions of an individual by making one decision or another more pleasing. But that individual only loses Free Will when their brain chemistry and genetic makeup are irreversibly altered.

    To avoid pain of incarceration, for instance, I'll not thump my aunt on the head with a frying pan. But take away that threat and my aunt is as good as dead. My will wasn't lost when I considered my alternatives, it was just deferred or delayed.

    The subject of Free Will falls under the realm of biology, and for some, theology. Does my genetic makeup essentially pick my path for me? Does God have the universe all mapped out?


    I conflated nothing. I understand perfectly the concept of free will and the inalienable rights we are endowed with by our creator. I was trying to point out to Art that the concept he was dubbing free will was not free will, hence the pararentheses around free will. On second thought I should have used quotations and been a bit better in my response but I was trying to be succinct.

    Just for clarity: The decision to not hit your aunt in the head was a free will decision in that you conformed your will to optimize a better outcome for yourself. You conformed it freely because you still had the freedom to hit her even with the threat of incarceration because no one, including the Almighty, physically stopped you from hitting her. You freely chose not to, given the possible outcome (incarceration) for yourself.

  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Feb 26, 2013 9:42 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    Correction: That concept (free will) has been usurped throught the years by the federal government. As well as freedom of conscience.



    I don't like when people say this. The government has not infringed on personal freedoms in the slightest. They've just added consequences for some actions...

    Can you think of many things that you are completely unable to do, on an individual basis? I can't. I just have to decide if its worth the punishment.
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    Feb 26, 2013 9:52 PM GMT
    There is no problem with free will- there is a problem with accepting the fact that you indeed have free will and there may not be some omnipotent being pulling the strings. Morality and values still apply in a godless world.
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    Feb 26, 2013 9:57 PM GMT
    Free will in a society is not the same as unfettered will.

    Unfettered will means we get to kill people who stand in our way, to act as we wish to the detriment of others.

    Free will, in our US Constitution, means to think as we will, and act as we will, insofar as it doesn't harm others, or infringe on the rights of others.

    But that societal definition of harm, and infringement, are the variables that bedevil us. Where do my rights end, and yours begin?

    The human social condition can probably never be balanced, always subject to irresolvable conflicts. All I can hope is that good will more often will triumph over ill will. But nowhere is that guaranteed and ensured.
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    Feb 26, 2013 10:06 PM GMT
    Medjai said
    UndercoverMan said
    Correction: That concept (free will) has been usurped throught the years by the federal government. As well as freedom of conscience.



    I don't like when people say this. The government has not infringed on personal freedoms in the slightest. They've just added consequences for some actions...

    Can you think of many things that you are completely unable to do, on an individual basis? I can't. I just have to decide if its worth the punishment.


    At one time a white person couldn't marry a black person. You couldn't get a license from the governmental authorities to do so. And laws prohibiting it are probably still on the books in some states. I'm sure there are other examples, that one readily comes to mind.

    Oh, another: The government takes money from us right out of our paychecks before we even get to hold it in our hands or have the opportunity to flee the country with it. Our will to keep what we've earned and run off with it to Thahiti has been physically thwarted by the government even though it might be our will to do so.