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    Default Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Syllogistastic!

    Every event has a cause.
    Human actions (including thought) are events.
    Therefore: All human actions have a cause.


    Thus freewill does not exist.

    Think of it like this: Metaphor-

    Something happens, the universe as we know it begins. Could be the G word (discussion of the G word is against the rules as I understand), could be a massive explosion—doesn’t matter. Imagine this as a domino falling over. This domino hits another domino, which hits another domino, which hits two dominoes, each hit a domino of their own… et cetera. The domino being hit is the effect, the hitter the cause, and these domino’s branch off, one hitting another… And so on. Everyone’s life can therefore be thought of as a series of dominoes falling, every one of our actions is just part of a cosmic predetermined set of circumstances.

    Freewill cannot exist because humans lack the ability to escape domino-hood. Previous motivators determine all of your actions. Hypothetically if every causation and every affect up until this point was known, the future could be calculated because every cause has a logical effect. Although, prediction of the future becomes far less of an option ever since the discovery of quantum mechanics; I’m no physicist by I understand that on the molecular level some things really are random—for instance electron movement. Electrons moving randomly may not be that big of a deal but, according to chaos theory, little things can have a large effect.

    Which in turn raises a number of points. If you can agree that freewill is an illusion, and you’re a simple domino, then the human sense of morality crumbles.

    If you’ve never made a choice that hasn’t been previously motivated then personal responsibility does not exist. We cannot be any other place than where we are now because we did not make any choices. The murderer on death row never decided to be there; this star collided with that star, this sperm cell hit that egg, this father beat up that son, that son killed and raped that woman. It was not possible for that man on death row to be anyplace but on death row, and that woman died because a universal domino chain happened to fall on her.

    Please forgive me for any difficulties reading the post; I’ve never had the opportunity to properly write out a philosophical argument or question. Now I see why Satre is so hard to read. Please understand, I merely state the question because I think it’s thought provoking and a lovely vein (if bleak) of thought… which of course, has a cause.

    Have at it.

    Ok I lied about the death. Ha-ha!
    Last edited by Semidi; 2007-08-04 at 02:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    How do you feel about Dualism?

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Holy crap I have a weird argument that I had with my friends one day that relates to exactly this but i can use it because IT'S RELIGIOUS IN NATURE.

    Dammies. I could have actually participated instead of making my usual random quips.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    You are defining lack of free will as an event and a cause, the cause is human choice. There are things which govern our feelings and thoughts but, barring the meme theory, we ultimately make our own decisions. Everything happens for a reason, but you have the free will to decice what to do, making that the reason. The domino effect only works to an extent, before chaos theory comes into play, and we have a whole new ball game. Free will exists, but only in small, hard to find doses.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    To use your domino theory, when a "domino" hits us, causing us to hit another domino, our "free will" is which domino we now hit.
    Of course, if you know that person you will know where his path will lead. In essence allowing you to predict which domino he will choose. Thus ultimately free will is the question "Do I do what is intrinsic to my nature or not?"

    To put it in the broadest of terms, that can be discussed on the forums.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Cant say I am good a philosophy. I have beliefs but lack the way to explain them. Lets see I feel that your discussion of freewill not existing is wrong. Using your own domino theory not all dominos are created the same. The way the domino is made (person raised, inborn genetic factors etc) can determine the way it will fall. Take by example my parents. If we took your example as truth and people follow the "domino" that created them. My mother would be an alcoholic, smoker, and (slightly) verbaly abusive. My father would be much more distant, and a smoker also. (his father was not there much) instead of being a very close very friendly guy. All of my mothers's siblings (6 of them) have or do smoke, but my mother never has. None of them drink alcohol. They all saw how their father after his nightly drinking and wanted nothing to do with that. If you follow that the domino before you influences what you are in life then my mother should have at least been a smoker. A couple of her siblings have even decided to just stop smoking, they just put down the cigarettes and stopped cold turkey. They choose to not smoke, a freewill option. If this was not they case they still would be smoking. Now I do agree that the people or "dominos" from our past influence us greatly, espically with the way we are raised, and genetic factors, but we all have the ability to choose.

    Take for example children who were molested. There is a higher percentage of them doing the same to their children or being prostitutes, but not ALL. We are influenced but not forced into roles.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    this contradicts some R words, and confirms some beleifs of others, and idk how direct the reference the rules are referring to but if thats true then some discussions of physics, history, and evolution would be taboo, i hope this rule doesnt exist, but if it does let me just take the time to say that its wrong

    but i beleive (or at least try to) that there is at least some free will, though time travel does seem to be possible (i think there was some experiment with planes flying around the world in opposite directions with some whatsitcalled with a specific decay rate and one standing still in relation on earth, when the planes got back they were all slightly different, this would imply that, though i dont remember where i heard this and it might not be true) if time travel is possible then all events are predertermined and theres no point in doing anything, because thats what your supposed to do/have done and so im willing to continue assuming the opposite of the only evidence i have either way, just because it means that i DO have some freedom
    Last edited by tannish2; 2007-08-04 at 03:39 AM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Extra_Crispy View Post
    Cant say I am good a philosophy. I have beliefs but lack the way to explain them. Lets see I feel that your discussion of freewill not existing is wrong. ... Take for example children who were molested. There is a higher percentage of them doing the same to their children or being prostitutes, but not ALL. We are influenced but not forced into roles.
    I think you've misunderstood. Determinism does not claim that you always will be the role you were born into. It claims that everything we do is ultimately determined by physical factors. You can have two people in broadly similar circumstances -- two molested children for example -- who turn out very differently, because their circumstances are never absolutely identical. For a start, they're different people, which means their brains are configured differently; but this is a physical fact about them even if it's unobservable to everyone except neurologists (and even they are far from having a complete understanding of how the brain works). If, however, we did have a complete physical understanding of the brain and we knew all the physical events that happen to a certain person over the course of their life, we would be able to predict the physical outcomes of those events (the person's actions).

    However, where I differ from the OP is when it comes to his claim that determinism means morality is bunkum. Sure, you're not responsible for being the person you are; the universe has landed you with that and you can't change it. But I simply don't believe "responsibility" is the be-all and end-all of morality. To me, that's like saying "Colour can be explained away in terms of the tendency of objects to reflect certain forms of light; therefore aesthetics is a pointless discipline." At best, reponsibility is a secondary concept that depends on the primary concepts of right and wrong. Morality is about knowing which actions are right and which are not right, and there is a point to this, because our knowledge can itself be a cause of other events and, in particular, can lead us to perform right actions more often.
    Last edited by Sir_Norbert; 2007-08-04 at 05:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Stupid maintenance on boards.........I had a post written up and it got lost while the boards were down

    Oh, well.

    Quantum mechanics AND philosophy? I know someone in the playground who is going to have a field day with this one.

    I have actually wondered about this question before, but not being a physicist type, I don't know if absolute certainty of outcomes is possible (I mean certainty as an independent principle, not one that is dependent on the scope of the knowledge of the person doing the predicting.) To put it another way, is the outcome of something already a given and the only sense in which "probability" is relevant is in assessing how accurately a human can apply their knowledge and predict it? If that actually were the case, then that line of thought might apply. I have no idea how you could actually test such a thing, though.

    But, I will say this. When you alter the potential benefits of a given action, you alter the frequency of the action. Since the action preceeds the benefit, the benefit cannot be said to be the physical cause (again, apologies to QM people who want to argue that point, I am just not qualified to do it). Yet, it has changed the behavior. I think that has to prove it is a choice, not predetermined, because none of the physical determinants were changed. If that makes any sense to anyone other than me.
    Last edited by Sisqui; 2007-08-04 at 12:42 PM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Now you lot are just barring me from these topics!

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    One point first off - even if Determinism were completely true, morality may still have an instrumental value.

    When applied to the case of free will, I usually find myself agreeing with Kant -that Determinism is inconsistent and begs the question, the argument already assumes that human will is merely a passive cog in the causal machine. But then Kant's ideas on free will and long and complex, and end on a sort of "you'll never know!" note, so maybe that's not overly useful.

    The other thing worth thinking about is if you want a 'free' will that is completely uncaused by anything (i.e. undetermined) then you'd end up with quite a strange thing indeed. If you took away all the factors of your past that Determinism states caused you to make a decision then you'd have nothing left to influence the decision apart from this 'free will'. Anything like your personality, your mood, your intelligence - all these things could not be counted as factors leading to the decision, and the 'free will' becomes completely arbitrary, like flipping a coin.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Violence View Post
    One point first off - even if Determinism were completely true, morality may still have an instrumental value.

    When applied to the case of free will, I usually find myself agreeing with Kant -that Determinism is inconsistent and begs the question, the argument already assumes that human will is merely a passive cog in the causal machine. But then Kant's ideas on free will and long and complex, and end on a sort of "you'll never know!" note, so maybe that's not overly useful.

    The other thing worth thinking about is if you want a 'free' will that is completely uncaused by anything (i.e. undetermined) then you'd end up with quite a strange thing indeed. If you took away all the factors of your past that Determinism states caused you to make a decision then you'd have nothing left to influence the decision apart from this 'free will'. Anything like your personality, your mood, your intelligence - all these things could not be counted as factors leading to the decision, and the 'free will' becomes completely arbitrary, like flipping a coin.
    Yes, if people were constrained to a given outcome without the input of their intellectual capabilities then they'd do all kinds of weird things. Hmm.......maybe that isn't such a good argument to make But seriously, I don't think that determinism can explain how a person gains experience and learns to adjust their behavior about the world. Simple physical interaction does not require any cognitive process to occur. Yet people do change their behavior because of experience or a change in incentives or costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Death, your friend the Reaper View Post
    Now you lot are just barring me from these topics!

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    Last edited by Sisqui; 2007-08-04 at 10:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sisqui View Post
    But seriously, I don't think that determinism can explain how a person gains experience and learns to adjust their behavior about the world. Simple physical interaction does not require any cognitive process to occur. Yet people do change their behavior because of experience or a change in incentives or costs.
    I think it could. If you considered a neuropsychological perspective, with the human brain as hideously complex as it is, which also would postulate that cognitive processes are 'just' physical interaction. Determinism may be simple enough to explain, but given that it involves causation of absolutely everything, right through the subatomic level and chaos theory etc., its hard to see what it can't account for without one somehow having to discuss non-physical entities, or things outside of causation.
    Last edited by Tom_Violence; 2007-08-04 at 10:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Violence View Post
    I think it could. If you considered a neuropsychological perspective, with the human brain as hideously complex as it is, which also would postulate that cognitive processes are 'just' physical interaction. Determinism may be simple enough to explain, but given that it involves causation of absolutely everything, right through the subatomic level and chaos theory etc., its hard to see what it can't account for without one somehow having to discuss non-physical entities, or things outside of causation.
    I suppose there is no way to argue with that.

    However, if the changing of the incentives does produce a change in the results (via a physical change in neurochemistry or what have you), then I think it is reasonably safe to keep the justice system in place, determinism or no. Whew! Of course, now comes the argument that it was the change in neurochemistry in individuals in society caused by the acts of offenders that led to the laws that changed the incentives that changed the.........BLAH,BLAH,BLAH. So, I declare, if the criminals can't help being criminals because they were predestined to do it, then I can't help punishing them because I am predestined to do that. So there!

    I think this philosophy is self-limiting in practice, though. If it were applied and people were suddenly not to be held accountable for their actions, anarchy would ensue. Everyone could do whatever they wanted to anyone else and not only do they have a built in justification, they have completely eliminated the need for justification itself. People just will not put up with that kind of environment. They will band together to enforce some kind of order and take punitive measures to do it, thus reestablishing society and a justice system.
    Last edited by Sisqui; 2007-08-04 at 11:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Want a great way to explain what you're talking about.

    Here's a Waking Life excerpt.

    I understand what you're talking about, but it's hard to explain. Overall, our illusion of freewill gives us choice, but those choices we choose are ultimately pre-chosen.

    Okay, nevermind, I did an awful job at describing that, but still.


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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    I read all the posts, and nabbed the parts which I felt displayed the core of your argument to reduce post size. Please notify me if I missed an argument—though I did ignore some because they were already addressed properly, or I didn’t feel they required it. This debate is also severely neutered because the G word is a rather significant argument to be made for and against determinism.

    I like to view myself as somewhere between a hard and soft determinist. I support the theory because I’ve looked quite a bit and haven’t found an argument which I think properly dismisses it.

    How do you feel about Dualism?
    I don't believe in a spirit; here nor there. The mind and body are one entity.

    Holy crap I have a weird argument that I had with my friends one day that relates to exactly this but i can use it because IT'S RELIGIOUS IN NATURE.

    Dammies. I could have actually participated instead of making my usual random quips.
    Now that is an interesting debate. Sadly, it cannot take place here. You’re free to send me a PM if you want my input on the G word debate from this point of view.

    Everything happens for a reason, but you have the free will to decide what to do, making that the reason.
    Interesting point. Though I would argue that your decision for the reason has already been decided by prior experiences before you make that "choice." The choice of course would be the illusion--it only has one avenue which can pursue. If your choices weren’t based upon prior causation then the world would be an extremely chaotic place.

    Yes, if people were constrained to a given outcome without the input of their intellectual capabilities then they'd do all kinds of weird things. Hmm.......maybe that isn't such a good argument to make But seriously, I don't think that determinism can explain how a person gains experience and learns to adjust their behavior about the world. Simple physical interaction does not require any cognitive process to occur. Yet people do change their behavior because of experience or a change in incentives or costs.
    There's something called learned response. Touch a hot stove and you say something like "Son of a *****!", and the next time, you realize that the stove is hot. This is what experience is: a behavior has been adjusted to fit into the world--minus burns. It’s a bit more advanced than this, though I prefer thinking in the macro rather than the micro. I’m a dreamer, not a scientist.

    However, where I differ from the OP is when it comes to his claim that determinism means morality is bunkum. Sure, you're not responsible for being the person you are; the universe has landed you with that and you can't change it. But I simply don't believe "responsibility" is the be-all and end-all of morality. To me, that's like saying "Colour can be explained away in terms of the tendency of objects to reflect certain forms of light; therefore aesthetics is a pointless discipline." At best, reponsibility is a secondary concept that depends on the primary concepts of right and wrong. Morality is about knowing which actions are right and which are not right, and there is a point to this, because our knowledge can itself be a cause of other events and, in particular, can lead us to perform right actions more often.
    I think we disagree on your a priori assumption that a theoretical universal set of rules for right and wrong exist. Though I feel my statement about morality crumbling needs to be amended. Morality exists—however it is not universal, rather it is a culturally excepted set of beliefs of right or wrong.

    I do believe that the relative concept of morality dictates action and is a significant causer of effects; though I also will point out that the concept of morality has a cause, most of which can be explained via evolutionary psychology.

    "responsibility" is the be-all and end-all of morality. To me, that's like saying "Colour can be explained away in terms of the tendency of objects to reflect certain forms of light; therefore aesthetics is a pointless discipline."
    All are is quite useless – Oscar Wilde

    It really doesn’t fit. But how many times a day do you get to pull out that nifty quote.

    When applied to the case of free will, I usually find myself agreeing with Kant -that Determinism is inconsistent and begs the question, the argument already assumes that human will is merely a passive cog in the causal machine. But then Kant's ideas on free will and long and complex, and end on a sort of "you'll never know!" note, so maybe that's not overly useful.

    The other thing worth thinking about is if you want a 'free' will that is completely uncaused by anything (i.e. undetermined) then you'd end up with quite a strange thing indeed. If you took away all the factors of your past that Determinism states caused you to make a decision then you'd have nothing left to influence the decision apart from this 'free will'. Anything like your personality, your mood, your intelligence - all these things could not be counted as factors leading to the decision, and the 'free will' becomes completely arbitrary, like flipping a coin.
    I agree with Kant when he states that we’ll never know, which makes it a lovely debate. Though I do not feel capable in arguing the finer points of his theories because I haven’t read much Kant (though I am familier with his main ideas). Could you be so kind as to reference me a work of his where he goes into detail with his theories?

    So, I declare, if the criminals can't help being criminals because they were predestined to do it, then I can't help punishing them because I am predestined to do that. So there!
    'zactly. I wont go as far to argue that we should do away with the justice system, just that those who have the joys of experiencing it aren't responsible for where they are. This pretty much goes in the face of the very American idea that we all choose our own destiny.

    I might write more later.

    Want a great way to explain what you're talking about.

    Here's a Waking Life excerpt.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Semidi View Post
    I do believe that the relative concept of morality
    Ah! There's no escaping it! I could do a post about kittens, and as long as I put "philosophy" in the title it would degenerate into an argument about moral relativism.

    Well, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I definitely have free will. See, the world is just a projection of my mind, so anything that "happens" to me is just the result of my own subconcious, and not because of any outside factors.


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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    If I had free will, I certaintly wouldn't be HERE.
    So it logically can't exist.

    By the way, I have a related question...how CAN free will exist? If you accept the fact that free will exists, and you bear with me in the belief that all of your actions are defined by circumstance and personality, and that personality is influenced by environment, and that environment is the product of other people's actions, then therefore all of your actions are the product of other people's actions.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    I don't know if I have free will, but I do know that I exist within a larger group, who, perhaps due to cultural pressures, agree upon the "basic universal laws" of morality. I also know that I am happy abiding by those laws, and that, by choosing to do so, I further increase my happiness existing within this group. It doesn't really matter to me, because justice, right and wrong, etc. can go take a flying stab at a rolling donut compared to happiness.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by D'anna Biers View Post
    If I had free will, I certaintly wouldn't be HERE.
    So it logically can't exist.

    By the way, I have a related question...how CAN free will exist? If you accept the fact that free will exists, and you bear with me in the belief that all of your actions are defined by circumstance and personality, and that personality is influenced by environment, and that environment is the product of other people's actions, then therefore all of your actions are the product of other people's actions.
    Well, you could try this to test it. Take several individuals and put them through exactly the same scenario. Even do some Kiersey testing and try it on people who have the same personality type. See if people start making different choices even though their personalities and situations are the same.
    That would seem to control for both personality and environment. I think.

    But it still won't get rid of the pesky determinism thing

    Also, there is a difference between free will and total freedom. If you have total freedom, you are, essentially, not bound by any constraint, be it moral, physical, societal, etc... But free will could exist even if the options are limited. So long as you had options to choose from and were not coerced into choosing one or the other.
    Last edited by Sisqui; 2007-08-04 at 01:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sisqui View Post
    Well, you could try this to test it. Take several individuals and put them through exactly the same scenario. Even do some Kiersey testing and try it on people who have the same personality type. See if people start making different choices even though their personalities and situations are the same.
    That would seem to control for both personality and environment. I think.

    But it still won't get rid of the pesky determinism thing
    Well, no one has exactly the same personality. By environment, I was referring both to current environment and the environment that shaped you, ie, your parents, guardians, fellow clutch mates, imaginary friends, whatever you grew up with. The childhood-shaping environment forms your personality, the current-environment shapes the actions you take. So you would have to take identical twins, clone the parents, create a carbon copy of Earth, put one twin on each planet, under each parent, under controlled situations so that everything is exactly the same for, say, 13 years, and see what comes out.
    Obviously undoable.
    Like determinism, it is completely and utterly unproveable and irrefutable.

    Also, Freedom is an environment. Free willdom is a philosophical construct. I'm not sure where I mentioned freedom, but whereever I did, I'm pretty sure I didn't mean to.
    Last edited by Cyrano; 2007-08-04 at 01:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    This theory is certainly unnerving, and it is one I have struggled with for years. The fact is, I feel, that it is very hard to prove it wrong. As a man of science, I believe that every motion in the universe (including the activity in our brains) must have a cause. Since the universe seems to be operating by a few basic laws, none of them which include any random elements, it is logical that everything that has ever happened was predetermined in the Big Bang (or possibly before that).
    I really don't like the idea, though, but I haven't heard any good arguments against it yet. Thus I have moved on by asking myself not whether it is true, but whether it does matter in any way. How would one answer or the other affect my life? The notion of not having free will seems to defy common sense, but I have always put my faith in logic.

    Then again, I have problems proving whether anything except myself exist
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    This theory sounds like a lame attempt to get off death row. Too bad it won't hold up in Court.

    I disagree with this theory. Or maybe just your metaphor. I don't know.

    You use a domino theory. But that's assuming that events work together. It's too linear. Galaxies aren't sentient. It's more like an avalanche. An event occurs, the beginning of time maybe, that Causes a rock to roll. This hits a rock, and causes another to roll, like the dominoes. However at any given time, one rock might hit two rocks. These two rocks might hit four rocks. Before you know it, you have a wave of spherical and rockish destruction rolling down the mountain side. Any rock that rolls has a either a chance of hitting a number of rocks, or getting hit by a different rock and getting hit clear of course, into the nearby lake.

    What does this mean? The events in the galaxy or to numerous and chaotic to possibly work together in an orderly fashion to end our free will. Sure, the father beat his son, which possibly could have ended in the murder of the woman, but all that went out the window when he found out that woman was actually the son's father, who happened to be cross dressing. Rather than kill "her" and go to jail, he laughed at his father, walked away, and became President of the Universe. Or, maybe, Rather than kill the woman, a random asteroid crashed into the planet and caused it to 'splode.

    Their is a incalculable number of variables, an incalculable number of futures.

    Maybe the Domino theory could still work if you said their was an innumerable amount of domino trails that frequently ran into each other. But, yeah, either way, I'm pretty sure I disagree with you. It's hard to tell when I don't know what I'm thinking.
    Just tell them you aren't death. You are a cat. In a box. (Who may or may not be death ;) )
    Hm I thought he WAS death and WASN'T death at any given time. Maybe I'm thinking of a different theory.
    Last edited by Siric; 2007-08-04 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    I believe that I have free will. That belief is either correct or it is not. If it is correct, then I am rational to believe it. If it is not, then my belief is just a deterministic outcome of the physical forces in the universe or the chemical processes in my brain, or the programming of the computer simulation that appear as reality to me or what have you, and therefore I am not particularly foolish for being incorrect.

    In fewer words, there is no utility in believing that my beliefs are irrelevant, and so it is rational to believe that they are relevant.

    This argument is essentially Pascal's Wager, except applied against determinism instead of atheism, and it seems even more sound than Pascal's original argument.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    By the way, Semedi, your entire premise is begging the question. You can't make an absolute judgement based on inabsolute evidence.
    I can get away with it because I use terms like "If you can accept the fact that" and "IF such and such, THEN" rather than "Blahdeblah, SO, X must exist." Just a quibble.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by D'anna Biers View Post

    Also, Freedom is an environment. Free willdom is a philosophical construct. I'm not sure where I mentioned freedom, but whereever I did, I'm pretty sure I didn't mean to.
    Sorry. I think I misunderstood what you were saying. I thought you were saying that since the actions of others affect what choices you make and what options you have before you, that you could not be free willed- that limitation of choice negated the ability to choose. I see what you meant now.

    But, yeah, either way, I'm pretty sure I disagree with you. It's hard to tell when I don't know what I'm thinking.
    I am so glad I am not the only one with this problem.
    Last edited by Sisqui; 2007-08-04 at 01:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by D'anna Biers View Post
    By the way, Semedi, your entire premise is begging the question. You can't make an absolute judgement based on inabsolute evidence.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Every event has a cause.
    Actually, this is not stricty true. Causality gets totally screwed up on a quantum scale. I don't recall the exact nature of the experiment, but there was on that showed that under certain conditions there is a 50% chance of a neutron spinning left and 50% chance of it spinning right (oversimplified, I know.) But it doesn't have a reason for spinning left/right, it's literally just probability.

    However our brain isn't at a quantum scale, so causality works for us. And even if some low-probability, totally bizarre event happened, it would just cause the particles to behave oddly and spontaneously, which would just make our brain act differently, not giving us free will.

    So yeah, I don't think you can consider free will real without believing in it, which is fine. I just try not to blindly have faith in anything.

    EDIT:
    before chaos theory comes into play, and we have a whole new ball game.
    Chaos theory just deals with the so-called "butterfly effect." Very small events can cause huge, seemingly spontaneous changes in the long run, but there's still a cause.
    Last edited by Siwenna; 2007-08-04 at 02:25 PM.
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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sisqui View Post
    I suppose there is no way to argue with that.

    However, if the changing of the incentives does produce a change in the results (via a physical change in neurochemistry or what have you), then I think it is reasonably safe to keep the justice system in place, determinism or no. Whew! Of course, now comes the argument that it was the change in neurochemistry in individuals in society caused by the acts of offenders that led to the laws that changed the incentives that changed the.........BLAH,BLAH,BLAH. So, I declare, if the criminals can't help being criminals because they were predestined to do it, then I can't help punishing them because I am predestined to do that. So there!

    I think this philosophy is self-limiting in practice, though. If it were applied and people were suddenly not to be held accountable for their actions, anarchy would ensue. Everyone could do whatever they wanted to anyone else and not only do they have a built in justification, they have completely eliminated the need for justification itself. People just will not put up with that kind of environment. They will band together to enforce some kind of order and take punitive measures to do it, thus reestablishing society and a justice system.
    Well the thing about a theory like Determinism is that it is in no way prescriptive - you can't use it as a 'reason' for doing something. You can try and say to people "here are reasons why morality isn't quite as 'real' as you might think it is" (and it is very possible to do this without collapsing into relativism, as it depends on what your definitions of 'real' are), but after you've said that people are likely to either disbelieve your claims, or perhaps just carry on as normal as the way of doing things that we have, which may often be referred to as 'morality', works quite nicely and we wouldn't want to lose it due to the aforementioned chaos you pointed out.

    Quote Originally Posted by averagejoe View Post
    Well, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I definitely have free will. See, the world is just a projection of my mind, so anything that "happens" to me is just the result of my own subconcious, and not because of any outside factors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siwenna View Post
    Chaos theory just deals with the so-called "butterfly effect." Very small events can cause huge, seemingly spontaneous changes in the long run, but there's still a cause.
    Absolutely true. Determinism and Chaos Theory are completely compatible. So much so, in fact, that you could say that one relies on the other.
    Last edited by Tom_Violence; 2007-08-04 at 02:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy: on Freewill. (No Death).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Violence View Post
    I shall hereby refer to you as Solipsistic Cat!

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    That is hilarious.


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