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Determinism

[Title Modified, as the original one probably sent the message that I believe the issue to be solved, which is not the case.]

I used to think that the concept of determinism, essentially the refutation to free will was too abstract and "technical" to be worth talking about -- even if it was true, who cares, right? Why get so confusing?

But I think there are simpler ways to look at this. Is killing yourself easy? Maybe -- after all, all you really need is a ridiculous overdose of some dangerous drug for example. Just swallow lots of pills. Swallowing is easy. But when you put that stuff in front of you, is it really easy? Just the thought of it would make it hard for me to make the movement with my petrified arm and put even one of those things in my mouth -- to destroy your body so voluntarily? It would probably be one of the hardest things for us to do, and when you look at it this way, it's very easy to understand how this demonstrates determinism -- a physically simple thing became nearly impossible purely because of our psychology.

But what about the people who do commit suicide? First of all, very few people commit it before giving off signs, almost signaling people to support them if they're going through a miserable chapter. You really have to truly give up. Anyway, one could argue the people who actually do it "beat the system," actually did what I said was nearly impossible -- but that was from my perspective.

If anything, this actually supports determinism: their mindset was characterized in that they had no other way out of their wretched life; at one point, what is nearly impossible for most of us became very easy once more; it was now the "obvious" decision.

Everything we do is doomed to our biology; our decisions are determined by, among other things, a combination of our personality, outside influences, and the level of ability to react appropriately to things that may contradict our personal desires (i.e., ethics; maturity). That is not the equivalent of predictable. However, sometimes predicting can indeed be easy or at least possible if you understand someone's psychological state: in the above example you would guess the person who committed suicide was probably not too happy; you would not predict someone who was genuinely smiling all the time to ever make such a decision.

For the person committing suicide, the decision depended on this question: "Is this really all I can do? And if so, would it be right to leave my family like this, or would it cause them too much pain?" In other words, you had to factor in his desires combined with morals (not leaving everyone forever); whichever feeling was more powerful would ultimately be the one to take over the decision.

We can flip this around and say that hard things can become easier depending on circumstance. For example, if your house is burning, you get out, and find out that someone is still inside, for some it may be, almost easy (as scary as it may be), to run into a burning building if it has purpose -- saving someone you love -- as opposed to say running in there to the second floor because you think you forgot a couple 10 dollar bills; for some, it's the only decision. It depends on whether or not the danger involved, factored with your judgment on the chances of success, overrides the desire to save a family member.

Really, our decisions are made easy or difficult on what seems to be just an extremely complicated equation! Sometimes it's predictable if you know the person, other times it's mysterious, but whatever it concludes is, easily or not, attributable to the brain's assessment of these factors, among dozens of others; in a sense, we aren't really choosing anything but merely observing these things play out in our head.

Comments


  • 11 months ago

    Semasio

    "I suppose you disagree, but I think I'm entitled to make ignorant arguments, especially given the disclaimer that I acknowledge that they are ignorant in the sense you are describing, and that this is not a peer-reviewed article and not prescribed to be taken that way."


    --You are entitled to do cartwheelies with your thumb up your butt if you so desire, and I am sure you could even obtain a certificate and licence to perform such feats in front of a live audience, but entitlement isn't much of a condition, now is it? Now, if this is the level to which you are willing to sink if to believe you have achieved something, then it is little more than the sense of achievement experienced by a child in saying "I know you are but what am I" as though in saying such repeatedly, something were "won" or "proven." Instead, speaking on and on on is effectively the same thing as fanaticism and is without utility as regards the truth. Is that what you are after? If so, then yes, continue. Tell me more about your entitlements and think up wonderful ways to say such. What does that have to do with the philosophy of mind, and, if you have already admitted to not knowing anything about said endeavours, then why are you still speaking? I am not sure how many times I am expected to pound this in... 

    "Well, I take being told that I don't know what I'm talking about to be insulting or at least hostile in nature. If you really had good intentions I don't think you would word things that way. I don't think you would use words like "pathetic" to describe my analogies, or say I'm a waste of time, as if it's a disgrace to talk to an innocent person because I don't live up to your standards."

    --Your taking such to be insulting is subjective and is not based on the literal definition and standard usage of the verb to insult. So, again, don't feel sad about it, but no, you are very clearly uninformed as regards the philosophy. You not two posts ago talked about the brain as though it were interchangeable in this context with the mind, which again, in the appropriate context, is like saying black is white. How else would you have me conclude if not to say that you are obvlivious as regards the positioning of the philsophy historically and even the most basic classifications and terms?  Would you assume that a person knew a great deal about chess if, left uncorrected, he called a king a dictator? If left uncorrected, he said that a horse could move diagonally versus in an L shape? No, I think you would conclude, and this is the logical point of my example, that the person didn't know very much if any thing at all about chess. And, if the person had presented themselves as though they did, you might intensify your language usage to show them that they are, certainly, wrong. So, again, no, I don't get the impression that you know very much about the philsophy of mind; and regardless, you have yet to demonstrate that you do. That's it. Go learn about it and then you will at least be able to back up your position and to know what it is. Nothing insulting about that. 

    Further, I said your analogies are pathetic because they are illogical and used to manipulate the impression one has of your understanding of the tradition in question as though it were more lucid than it actually is. From an intellectual, literary perspective, it was as an analogy indeed highly simplistic and utterly inappropriate. And, I would much rather have those standards if to assert myself and a position and if to criticise those who assert their positions and respective opinions. Yes, it is important to respect others, but the information they express doesn't need be held with any privilge if we disagree with it, and to emphasize that with such adjectives is in no way insulting but meant to underline the inappropriateness and inaccuracy of the analogy to begin with. 
      

    "If you really had good intentions, I am pretty sure you would leave out words like "pathetic" -- you would still point out the problems you have with my chess engine analogy, but you wouldn't use condescending words like "pathetic" with so much frequency."

    --Pathetic modified your analogy, not you. Therefore the only thing it "condescended" was your analogy. That is called argumentation. I am rebutting your attempt to convince me of your truth by slamming your attempt down as far as I can make it go. If I could, I would reduce it to dust by pounding. Again, argumentation. 

    Now, if you want to see mudslinging, if you want to see maligning your opponent, [that] is disrespectful and [that] will leave you feeling utterly disrespected. What is worse, is common by-passers who only seek to aggravate your anger and rightfully perceived violation to the point of rage, only for their own amusement. That is also part of argumentation, and it happens frequently. Instead, I still give you my attention, I parry every point you bring up, and logically, and I teach you where you don't understand. Too, Isuggest that you do what you haven't done and would not otherwise know to do, except if similarly informed. - Listen, don't listen. I did not insult you. You will know when you are insulted. The best thing you can do to such people is ignore them and move on or maintain your point and ignore every attempt they launch so as to obfuscate and manipulate and appeal to emotions. Again, nothing I have done. 

    "I have sparsely if at all used words anything like that when addressing you."


    --And you will not use them with me because I offer you rational explanations and as far as you can conclude informed views. And I am careful to express myself cogently. Not much to criticize save long-windedness. Not unless you want you resign entirely from from any dwindling hope of actual debate and instead condescend to quibbling and mere antagonisation. 

    "If for example you replaced your word "pathetic" with a weaker word like "questionable," and kept doing that in place of your stronger condescending words, I would react much better to what you are saying."

    --They are indeed strong adjectives, but the information they modify is emphasized, not you.  


    "You don't want to argue with me because I'm ignorant; fine. I don't want to argue with you because you're rude."

    --I do not want to argue with you unless you really can show that you have something to argue and, as of yet, you apparently do not. As regards this subject, I therefore conclude that you are uninformed.  

     

  • 11 months ago

    Elubas

    "But don't delude yourself into thinking that you are not making arguments in your OP. Indeed you are, regardless of your ignorance on the issues."

    I suppose you disagree, but I think I'm entitled to make ignorant arguments, especially given the disclaimer that I acknowledge that they are ignorant in the sense you are describing, and that this is not a peer-reviewed article and not prescribed to be taken that way.

    "I did not insult you. I made you understand that you are wrong and don't know what you are talking about."

    Well, I take being told that I don't know what I'm talking about to be insulting or at least hostile in nature. If you really had good intentions I don't think you would word things that way. I don't think you would use words like "pathetic" to describe my analogies, or say I'm a waste of time, as if it's a disgrace to talk to an innocent person because I don't live up to your standards.

    If you really had good intentions, I am pretty sure you would leave out words like "pathetic" -- you would still point out the problems you have with my chess engine analogy, but you wouldn't use condescending words like "pathetic" with so much frequency. I have sparsely if at all used words anything like that when addressing you.

    If for example you replaced your word "pathetic" with a weaker word like "questionable," and kept doing that in place of your stronger condescending words, I would react much better to what you are saying.

    You don't want to argue with me because I'm ignorant; fine. I don't want to argue with you because you're rude.

  • 11 months ago

    Semasio

    "I would dispute that a little personally -- although in the specific case of determinism/compatibilism etc I have not looked into much of the history of that."


    --I rest my case.
     

    "So in this case, no, I don't know about the history of this particular topic. In fact, I actually don't think I understand all of the old philosophies -- I agree it would be a silly assumption to make having not even seen what they are about. And I don't care -- again if this was about me being right, I would in fact look into previous developments. But as I simply want to discuss the topic, and see where my logic takes me, it's not necessary: basically, if I only do that, I'm not going to die or anything, but you can make it look like the end of the world if you want Smile"

     

    --This has nothing to do with what you previously wrote. If you are willing to resign, that is your choice.  But don't delude yourself into thinking that you are not making arguments in your OP. Indeed you are, regardless of your ignorance on the issues.

    "Now, it may be necessary for me to do those things if I want to convince you that I am not an idiot, but I find it pointless for me to do so, as whether I succeed or not, I won't necessarily learn the things I wanted to, or in the way I wanted to -- at best it would be a great rhetorical achievement for me to succeed, but that's not what I'm aiming for."


    --I did not say you are an idiot, but rather that it is patently obvious that you are uninformed as regards the philsophy. And, therefore, there is no point arguing with you. That's it. Further, you could lend what you have said to any form of instruction, which makes your case useless. If you want to learn about it, get a book that analyses the debate from beginning to end. At least then you would have a survey knowledge of it and be able to see the positions clearly, and develop your own reasoning as regards your own position. Here however, you have been calling queens pawns and pawns kings. If that doesn't bother you then I can't imagine what progress you hope to make by ... "discussing." 

    "I would be lying if I said I appreciate how eager you are to insult me, but that's the way the world goes I guess. I'll still leave your opinion here for everyone to judge for themselves."

    --I did not insult you. I made you understand that you are wrong and don't know what you are talking about. It's really quite like chess, argumentation. If you can convince your opponent that you are better, he will generally keep coming back. But if you let him win, he will be gone and bored and won't have the time. Obviously that is a sad pretense of most players on sites like this, and it doesn't have to be and, in my opinion, should not be that way.

    Best of luck.  

  • 11 months ago

    Elubas

    "Unfortunately, the comparison is as pathetic as it is because while you would like to assume that you understand the appropriate traditions and philosophies, you actually do not have any idea of what they are, where they start, their developments, problems, etc,"

    I would dispute that a little personally -- although in the specific case of determinism/compatibilism etc I have not looked into much of the history of that.

    So in this case, no, I don't know about the history of this particular topic. In fact, I actually don't think I understand all of the old philosophies -- I agree it would be a silly assumption to make having not even seen what they are about. And I don't care -- again if this was about me being right, I would in fact look into previous developments. But as I simply want to discuss the topic, and see where my logic takes me, it's not necessary: basically, if I only do that, I'm not going to die or anything, but you can make it look like the end of the world if you want Smile

    Now, it may be necessary for me to do those things if I want to convince you that I am not an idiot, but I find it pointless for me to do so, as whether I succeed or not, I won't necessarily learn the things I wanted to, or in the way I wanted to -- at best it would be a great rhetorical achievement for me to succeed, but that's not what I'm aiming for.

    I would be lying if I said I appreciate how eager you are to insult me, but that's the way the world goes I guess. I'll still leave your opinion here for everyone to judge for themselves.

  • 11 months ago

    Semasio

    No, I was not pedantic in the least. I pointed to your lack of conjunction because that is exactly what is needed if you are making a logical argument. Again, if you don't understand the fields in which you pretend to operate, then obviously you will come off as a complete fool. 

    For example, your hilarious comparison. You say that studying chess according to what an engine shows us would be quite zombie like. Rather, you would prefer to immerse yourself in the game as a first person and to think critically on your own so as to learn and enjoy yourself.

    Unfortunately, the comparison is as pathetic as it is because while you would like to assume that you understand the appropriate traditions and philosophies, you actually do not have any idea of what they are, where they start, their developments, problems, etc, nor has anyone shown you how they work, their limitations, contexts, etc. So, it's not the same as your understanding of chess. You understand all the rules in chess. All the pieces. You understand how each one moves; you understand strategy, the game from beginning to end, and have probably been practicing it for years.

    As regards the aformentioned traditions and philsophies, I doubt you have read even a single book or made many references and, again, that you have been shown how they work or what they are.

    Hence, the comparison you should have chosen would be more like someone who doesn't even know how a bishop moves in chess; what an en passant is, nor a discovery check, nor how to develop a king's indian attack or any opening at all, averring "the greatest chess players use psychological intimidation tactics to win their matches," and then also saying to someone who responds in the correct terminology, for example by saying "that piece is not called a dictator but a king," or explaining that one's opening is crucial for several reasons, "you are being pedantic and only focusing on my grammar." -No, sorry, I don't care if you are unable to express yourself in a grammatically correct way.  

    So, again, instead of correcting your grammar, which I may or may not do, I was criticizing your ideas, exactly. Your not using a conjunction in your "argument" literally means that you have not made an argument. The conjunction shows the relation between your premises and your inference.

    Your talking about the mind instead of talking about the brain is like talking about a bishop instead of talking about a queen. If that distinction is not important to you, fine, don't worry about whether you are speaking correctly, but don't be surprised if informed persons avoid speaking with you either.

    That you interpreted my correction of the brain vs the mind as a grammatical correction shows that you don't know what you are talking about. I did not refer to the brain instead of the mind for grammatical reasons but because the philosophy of which we are talking is called the philosophy of mind, lol and the distinction is very important.

    Like I said, get informed, then establish a position.  

  • 13 months ago

    Elubas

    Thanks for the comment. In fact, I don't really mind thinking about questions like this without researching other views -- it's not really my goal to come to the total truth, one because it may not even be possible, because of the nature of philosophical questions; two, I'm not sure it would be worth the effort; and three, it's in some ways more interesting that way -- kind of like how analyzing a chess position without an engine makes you feel more involved (instead of just playing out variations like a zombie). And so I am often content with simply thinking about these things with my own mind -- it gives me a sort of mental workout.

    If I were to claim that I had the true answer to a philosophical question, I agree, I would then be obligated to research arguments previously made by philosophers before saying anything. For my purposes, though, it's not necessary -- I just want to discuss and think. If I came across as thinking I knew the answer, I apologize -- I'm simply putting forth an argument that makes sense to me, not concerned if it turns out to be wrong.

    It seems you are mostly just pedanticly pointing out technicalities about my argument without really caring about the ideas I'm trying to get through. For instance, criticizing me for saying "biology of the mind," while perhaps correct, seems trivial, because even if it's technically wrong it's clear that I'm basically talking about what goes on in our brain to make decisions (after all, the whole point of language is to communicate such that both people know what the other is talking about -- ideally we want perfect grammar/word choices, but cooperative people can make do with a few mistakes and make an educated guess about what the person meant, and not have to completely terminate genuine discussion regarding the person's point).

    Another example would be when you're using so many abstract terms like conjunctions and inferences to respond to my point about the word "choose" -- again it seems like you simply prefer to point out technical errors rather than talking about, instead, the nature of when we can use the word choose.

    But instead of focusing on responding to the latter point, you seem more concerned with making a big deal out of me using "mind" in the wrong way. I'm more concerned with getting ideas out there rather than spending 30 minutes checking grammar. So, if that is what you care about the most, indeed it's probably not worth your time to discuss with me.

  • 13 months ago

    Semasio

    "Interesting. Nonetheless, I'm only "choosing" (or we could say instead "landing on") what I'm choosing because of how all of the electrical impulses worked out. I'm at mercy of those."


    -- All this point demonstrates is cognitive limitations. One is limited to his sensory experiences, (for example) but this in no way means he cannot choose from within those. He is limited by the laws of gravity, (for example) but this doesn't mean he can't choose to walk or run or so forth.

    In other words, you are not rebutting the right point. 

    "If a scientist could get into my brain and change exactly how my neurons are coordinating, then I might "land on" some decision that previously I wouldn't have made." 

    -- The importance of this sentence is that it is first a hypothetical, and second, further qualified by your modal verb, might. In other words, it is not an argument for determinism. 

    "So I feel like you are being a bit liberal with your word "choose" -- it sounds good when you call it that, but arguably other descriptions for it, as I've said, may or may not be more accurate." 

    -- Here, your conjuction is not a valid inference that follows inductively from any premises you think you have provided, which in fact you have not. In other words, you are begging the question, a phrase that has a usage and proper context, as so contextualized, and which requires reference prior to assuming an understanding and arguing around as though nothing were in fact said, or worse, as I imagine the response, one which addresses a position I do not espouse. 

    In other words, good try. 

    In your following paragraph, you attempt to talk about passion and apathy as though in so doing you were advancing an argument, but instead you go on to merely assert your position while also offering a gross error as regards the tradition in question. 

    "To me a person's attitude is simply conforming to the biology of their mind, and is at the mercy of those biological processes." 

    --First, the mind does not have a "biology" to it. The mind is a theory, and more importantly, a state, which as of yet is not fully understood by the sciences responsible for studying the human brain. Some philosophical positions posit the mind as an emergent property (as in reductive materialism), others hypothesize that it is an actual aspect of reality, the other part of reality being physical, as in Cartesian dualism; still others think that we live and exist in that which is but purely mind, and that no physical reality exists at all, known as philosophical idealism. Again, you have to study these concepts prior to just "thinking up" the view you no doubt heard argued by some biased speaker championing given views as though they were a concensus in science. That is, you are no doubt famililar with Chomsky. He is a fierce advocate of the freedom of the wills, and is as you might not know, an actual contemporary philosopher, scientist and linguist. So, you might study language and philosophy and logic a bit more - not to mention the actual tradition in question and the argument thereof.

    You don't exhibit any pertinent knowledge or practice as regards these questions and therefore I conclude you are a waste of time. Study, then speak.    

  • 14 months ago

    Elubas

    Free as in it's not a law to doubt its existence, but again comes the ambiguity of the word "free" or "freedom." My brain will continue to doubt it for as long as doing so makes sense to my brain.

  • 14 months ago

    hicetnunc

    "You have to imagine Sisyphus happy" (Albert Camus).

    Some people kept their faith or dignity while living hell in the nazi's concentration camps.

    This is free will. You are completely free to doubt its existence of course...

  • 14 months ago

    Elubas

    "Can I choose not to feel sexually attracted to a hot woman?
    Can I choose not to salivate when I see a delicious meal and I havent eaten in 2 days?
    If you ask yourself all these really simple concrete questions you will soon realise what you thought was a big free will has been chopped down to what it is: tiny."

    Interesting points.

  • 14 months ago

    Elubas

    "The fact that you are able to choose what information you would like process is a statement of free will. Indeed, the very fact that often our thoughts carry on without any overall "connection" shows that we are very much open to willing them into our minds."

    Interesting. Nonetheless, I'm only "choosing" (or we could say instead "landing on") what I'm choosing because of how all of the electrical impulses worked out. I'm at mercy of those. If a scientist could get into my brain and change exactly how my neurons are coordinating, then I might "land on" some decision that previously I wouldn't have made. So I feel like you are being a bit liberal with your word "choose" -- it sounds good when you call it that, but arguably other descriptions for it, as I've said, may or may not be more accurate.

    If I know someone to be a "really passionate" person, that's only because of how their brain is working. If they get into a vegetative state, suddenly we're not hearing the passion of their voice anymore, or perceiving anything related to their passion, which is kind of contradictory to the person being identified as "a passionate individual" as I or his friends might describe him. To me a person's attitude is simply conforming to the biology of their mind, and is at the mercy of those biological processes. I don't really equate "conforming" with "choosing," which is why in the paragraph above I use "land on" instead of "choose" :)

    "If my mind perceives that there are both pros and cons to both choices, which often times there are if one considers carefully, inaction is also a possible choice."

    I would argue even the "weighing of the pros and cons," is still an unfree biological process. Though we call it "weighing of the pros and cons," it could also be called "Neurons and such working in the brain leading to its body performing some action."

    Instead I think when we're reasoning it's more like we are enjoying the ride -- we are thinking about decisions, not totally sure what we will ultimately be convinced of. Even when I'm making this post, I'm being informed "Wow, so that's what 'me' ended up typing. Cool."

  • 17 months ago

    Monster_with_no_Name

    Do we have free will? 1st of all how much "free will" did you have in being born? Exactly.

    No one is saying we have 0 "free will"
    This discussion by its nature is always absolutely about *degrees* of "free will" and what "free will" means exactly (definition).

    We are not some magic spirit in a vacuum.. we are very *constrained* animals by:
    *very limited bodies (2 arms, 2 legs, need food/water, sleep, sex, etc)
    *with limited energy
    *and a brain and senses that has been *shaped* by evolution
    *feel pain/pleasure (getting punched in the head vs delicious food) predetermined by evolution (0 freedom)
    *primitive instincts + all the associations made in your upbringing + genes inherited from parents
    *a small environment/things/people around us
    *all we know and *can* know is only thru our 5 senses, brain

    All these very specific concrete *constraints* limit freedom.

    Anyway.. the best way to deal with all these kinds of "invisible castles in the air" type of philosophies is practical examples.
    Can I choose not to feel sexually attracted to a hot woman?
    Can I choose not to salivate when I see a delicious meal and I havent eaten in 2 days?
    If you ask yourself all these really simple concrete questions you will soon realise what you thought was a big free will has been chopped down to what it is: tiny.

    Picking countries "at random", choosing whether to watch a tv show or change channel...
    If you really analyzed in minute detail whats going on (not just in your consciousness) but also in the brain you will find again, you have less "freedom" in your choice than you thought.

  • 17 months ago

    Semasio

    Free will is a fact of human life. Although biological determinism makes sense, and today most scientists subscribe to reductive materialism, there is no scientific data that refutes free will, nor is there any consensus ruling it out in philosophy. The simple fact is that while there are certain mental kinds of information that seem to "come into consciousness" without our ability to "choose which do first" (vs. second or third or fourth), we are free to reject them and keep searching for a fifth, and sixth and so forth. If I ask you to pick a country, if to exemplify, it is true that your mind will come up with a country and that the country that "comes up" does so from apparent oblivion.


    If you were to pick a country in such a thought experiment and China of all countries arose in your mind first, such wouldn't mean you were bound by your consciousness to choose China. And, while there would perhaps be a reason for not choosing it, for example to show that free will exists or simply on account of some other factor, the simple reality would be that you were not obliged to choose any first or second or third country but could scroll through a list of countries that popped in to your mind and eventually decide on one.

    However, at the same time, think about the fact that the mind is not flooded with all sorts of information when we don't want it to be. We can of course distinguish between being on “idle," in which case we go from thought to thought apparently aimlessly - perhaps on a bus ride to work - and being flooded with random information all the time without any conscious control, (e.g. visual information, mnemonic information, auditory information, linguistic information, emotional information, kinisic information, etc); without any ability to block out the information and to ignore it. I.e., right now, you are exerting energy enough that you are able to understand each of these words and indeed the many sequences of words that compose this very paragraph. Simultaneously, however, you are "blocking out" or, "ignoring" the rest of the infinite kinds of information at your conscious disposal. The colors that make up this page, any one point on the screen vs. any other, the many noises around, perhaps the smells or temporal realities, etc. The fact that you are able to choose what information you would like process is a statement of free will. Indeed, the very fact that often our thoughts carry on without any overall "connection" shows that we are very much open to willing them into our minds.

    Also, asserting that factors will always determine the choices we make assumes first that other factors are always mentally present prior to any choice; and further, that their presence always has more effect for us than the choices they "lead up to." However, there are numerous circumstances in which we find ourselves when there are only a few basic factors involved, dare I say none at all, and in which those factors don't outweigh the subordinate choice according to our ability to judge.

    For example, if I don't like what is on t.v. but am at the same time too tired to raise my arm so as to grab the remote and push the button, said factors can easily be equal enough (to my mind) that I decide not to exert any energy and at the same time accept not being totally satisfied with what is on t.v. If my mind perceives that there are both pros and cons to both choices, which often times there are if one considers carefully, inaction is also a possible choice.

    In other words, yes the mind considers choices and yes the mind decides, even if the decision is to not act. However, acting either way or not acting is the  part where free will comes in. The difference is that the factors that lead up to the decision are in some way connected to the decision itself. However, asserting that they determine the decision is the assumption that seems unsupported by evidence. For example, my hunger informs me that an action or some series of actions is required of me if I am to satisfy my hunger. But the ultimate decision [to] act lies within me. 

    Also, free will needn't indicate dualism or something as extreme as idealism, nor does it evince supernature or even a mind, necessarily.

  • 20 months ago

    Elubas

    And yes, you can't really be free from yourself, which is sort of my point. That's why our word "free" may not mean what we think it means. Technically, if we are just carrying out functions determined by physical laws, the free term may not be relevant. In the practical sense though it certainly seems like we are free, and of course, I'm not claiming to know the answer here.

  • 22 months ago

    Elubas

    In fact, it's a lot easier to want to want something than it is to want something Smile. I would probably be better off if there were 10 different things I wanted to do rather than having 3 things I wanted to do, as in the former case I would have more to look forward to. Thus it is not that difficult for anyone to want to want. But to just plain want -- that may depend on things like their interests and personality, that can hardly be controlled.

    Although it's true that an annoying philosopher could, if he wanted, make an infinite regress of the matter -- e.g., to want to want to want, etc, it would be pointless, at least, compared to wanting to want. Here's why:

    As I have said it's pretty easy to want to want to do something. If we add one more "want," it's saying I want to do... the thing that what was mentioned in the first paragraph. In other words, you're saying "I wish I could want to want to do this," the wish being used to make it easier to read. There wouldn't be many cases where I would want to want to want something, because if I already want to want something, then I would just be wanting something I am already doing Smile(that thing I would already be doing is, to clarify, wanting to want something)

    To put it another way: If you want to want to want to do something, chances are you already want to want to do something, because all wanting to want requires is the logic that wanting to do a lot of things is probably beneficial. The same can be said for wanting to want to want to want something: if this is true, then you probably also want to want to want something, and thus also want to want something. However: if you want to want to do something, that doesn't necessarily mean you will want to do it.

    So indeed, I do think wanting to want has significance, but that doesn't mean I feel there is any point of adding wants in an infinite stream.

    Of course, this philosophical stuff is trivial to many, and I don't discuss this because it solves practical problems; I mainly discuss it because it makes my head spin Smile. If you don't want to think about that kind of stuff that is totally up to you, but I should be able to make my head spin if I want to Smile. Believe it or not, I actually find this fun!

  • 22 months ago

    Elubas

    No, no, your concerns are perfectly valid. Nonetheless, keep in mind that I'm not hurting anyone by pseudo-philosophizing Smile.

    As for what it means to want to want: Well, what you want is determined by your nature -- there are going to be certain things that you wish you would enjoy, but simply won't -- wanting to want is wishing your nature enjoyed something different, essentially. For example, it may be inevitable that you don't enjoy the taste of lemons. A reason why I would want lemons to be satisfying to me is because then I would have a broader range of things that I enjoy, ultimately improving my life. As said though, I don't necessarily have control over whether I enjoy the taste of something or not.

    That's all it is Smile

  • 2 years ago

    Monster_with_no_Name

    I hate this kind of "pseudo-philosophising"

    The definition that I tend to use (perhaps just because of personal taste), is to not only be free from others, but to also be free from yourself! A person may be able to do what he wants, but can he want what he wants?

    Its nonsensical, meaningless and doesnt have any basis in any reality we know. How can you be free from yourself? What on earth does that mean?

    All we know and *can* know is only thru our senses, brain, and human experience. If you are free from that , your not human and the question doesnt make sense anyway.

    If I want ice cream, I want ice cream...
    To ask if I want what I want is just trying to confuse things... yes I want it! What does it mean do "I want to want it" ??? This is nonsensical.

    You could go on and on btw... do you want to want to want to want ice cream?

    Nietzsche had it right... philosophy should be practical and solve practical real world problems. Not this kind of metaphysical idling.

  • 2 years ago

    Elubas

    I think there are two plausible definitions of "free," the use of such are divided among people:

    Free meaning that if you "make a decision" or, the pessimistic version of that, "end up doing something," the other people around you will not interrupt you with that. For instance, my decision to eat ice cream if I am alone is free from everyone around me -- if I do it, I won't hear objections from any people.

    The definition that I tend to use (perhaps just because of personal taste), is to not only be free from others, but to also be free from yourself! A person may be able to do what he wants, but can he want what he wants? I have wanted to want to do something before (if I enjoyed playing football for instance, that would be nice, since it would be another thing for me to do; unfortunately, due to my nature, it never ends up happening). Again, under the first definition I would have total freedom to enjoy football -- people won't normally get in my way -- but if there are certain things about me that don't go well with football, then I might still not end up enjoying it.

    That doesn't mean I have a true problem with the first definition -- it's just not what feels most natural to me.

  • 2 years ago

    Monster_with_no_Name

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    Monster_with_no_Name

    I dont like concepts like determinism and free will. Heres why... they are very similar to a concept of god for eg. What is god? god is a concept that has some basis in reality (a strong loving father to his children, I mean an actual human male) and then people distort this thing which people have experienced and add all sorts of shit onto it (invisibility, all powerful, etc etc) and things get confused (by the stupid). They say a good lie always has some element of truth. The "kernel of reality" (the good strong father) is distorted and turned into a weird one sided abstract *extreme* that is a non-sense and doesnt apply to reality.

    Do we have free will? yes and no.
    Will I have ice cream or chocolate? yes, I can choose.. Should I go to work today or not, yes I can choose.. Can I decide to be hungry or not.. no. There are infinite of these cases, to reduce it to one abstract stupid extreme is ridiculous.

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