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Free Will...

Discussion in 'Philosophical Forum' started by DemonAbyss10, May 29, 2007.

  1. DemonAbyss10 Demigod

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    This question i am about to ask can be interpretted in many, i mean, many different ways depending on all the different beliefs and fact thrown out there. This is actually a serious question that requires alot of rational thinking.

    Note: Some of the Questions are hard for me to word to get what i truly mean across, so bear with me.

    Religious proof/dis-proof is welcom, but no flamebaiting/flaming please. Same goes for throwing insults at eachother, as i said, please keep this a civilized discussion.

    as for the questions im gonna be asking, they are the following.

    1) Does free will really exist, or are we all programmed to perform specific behavioral paterns in specific situations? (This question can also be viewed as a question about the origins of mankind also, as if we actually evolver, or if we are in essence "robots" programmed by fate/god.)

    2) If Free Will is in fact as real as night and day, is is right/wrong/good/evil to try and coerce/control peoples will?

    3) If free will is just an illusion, are we really living, or are we figments of a "greater Being's" Intellegince/Imagination?

    4) Do we really exist? (AKA, kinda of an expansion on the previous question.)


    I can easily add more questions to this later. I am really sleepy right now, so meh.
     
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  2. Link Courage

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    I personally believe we all have the will to choose. Sometimes we aren't conscious of that choice though, or are taken by surprise. Split second decisions would be programmed responses, due to some combination of experiences, environment, and emotional state. Long term choices, like how you wish to spend your money, are free will.
    As for "fate"... I do believe in a form of it. I see time as the distance between you and a point, all paths with one destination. There are different ways to get to the end, but breaking from the main road can be difficult. It can be dangerous. It takes some courage and some foolishness to fight fate, but it can be done. But sometimes fighting the future can have bad effects. There is some backlash, especially if you resisted an important event.
    People can only be coerced if they want to be. If manipulation is bad, I blame the manipulated, I do not pity them.
    Yes. Imagine if you got amnesia, which you retained for years. Would the personality you built after the amnesia be a figment of your imagination? No. It's just another part of you.
    Yes we do.
     
  3. impersonal Banned

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    As I see it, there are 3 possibilities.
    1) Determinism. All events form chains of causes and consequences.
    A system is determinist if its state at a time is a consequence of its initial state. For example, in a determinist point of view, today's universe is a consequence of the state of the universe at the time of the big bang.

    2) Cause/consequence + randomness: the same as above, except that some events are completely random. If things are partially random, there could be billions of possible universes from one initial big bang, because of a high number of very small random variations.

    3) Free will. I have no idea what it means. Or rather, I don't think it means anything.

    Determinism is, in my opinion, the only acceptable scientifical point of view. Indeed, if you do not believe that events cause each other, how can you determine physical or biological laws? You could just as well say "it's random" every time you face a problem! (For those who are interested, this is the reason why I think the quantum physicians who argue that some particles have probabilistic behavior are making a huge methodological mistake).


    Randomness might be unacceptable from a scientifical point of view, but that doesn't mean it does not exist. It is a bit like the infinite - you can never claim that something is infinite, because the edge could always be only one step away. So, we cannot claim that random events happen, because perhaps we are only one step away from explaining things; for example we managed to explain weather that initially seemed to be random. But that doesn't mean there aren't random things. It is one thing that we will probably never know :(.


    Finally, free will. I have a big problem with the notion. As I see it, something is either determined or random. If something is not the consequence of something else, then how can it be anything but the consequence of pure luck? Free will rejects determinism. So our thoughts are not the consequence of who we are, of logical rules, of emotional states?! And they are not random either! This doesn't make any sense. Besides, even if free will was possible, who would want to have thoughts independant of who they are and of logic?


    My conclusion is that free will doesn't exist, and that it is for the better.


    Regardless of whether free will is real or not, nobody is going to say that education doesn't do anything to someone's mind, nor that education cannot be greatly beneficial. I'd say that it is right to try to coerce/control a child's will, to make him a better adult.

    I believe it is wrong to try to do the same thing to an adult, but for political rather than moral reasons. The problem here is that allowing ourselves power over other adults could very well lead to a totalitarian state - who are we to judge others?... even though it would be good if we were able to change bad people into good people :(.

    I see where this question is coming from. Interesting one. I used to think that our own consciousness is a figment of our own imagination: ie, consciousness is thought (= bio-physical processes happening in the brain) making a logical loop. I could explain further, but I'm not sure it even makes sense, so it's best if I stop here. And I can't find any other explanation... Our existence is a real problem.

    Anyway, whether our existence as individual beings is a reality or an illusion, we still have to live with it (illusion or not). If it's an illusion, then we're trapped in a dream. Even if life's a dream, it doesn't really change anything about how we should live it, does it? :nod
     
  4. Edo Αρχίδια

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    @ Hugo_Pratt
    I was wondering when you'd post here...lol you are so complicated mon amie :)

    what if Free will is just being able to make a choice....in other words the ability to chose?!!

    It is natural that our education our environment and everything around us affect us and such things may leed us to choose one thing over the other...nevertheless we are the ones making the choice freely we are not being forced to.
     
  5. impersonal Banned

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    (In this post I'll leave alone the whole "randomness" hypothesis, which would only complicate everything. Consider that when I say "determinism", I take in account the possibility of a part of randomness. And fuck precision ^^ ).


    I was trying to answer the question taking the terms "free will" and "determinism" as opposites. What I demonstrated is that, in this case, "free will" doesn't mean anything.

    But indeed, I think it's possible to see free will and determinism as compatible.

    I am who I am (good or bad) because of my DNA, my education, and the experiences I went through. And because I am who I am - intelligent or dumb, good or bad, moral, immoral or amoral, a girl or a boy, I'll make certain choices instead of others.

    So my choices are determined but they also directly depend on who I am. We are responsible for our choices when they depend on us. Thus one could say I am responsible for my choices.

    We are only unresponsible for our choices when the chain of events which leads to these choices do not "go through ourselves". For example, a slave has to act in a certain way regardless of who he is: the evil slave will do the same thing as the good slave. The chain of events which leads to his acts barely includes his own mind (everything is decided by the slaves' master), so you can't say the slaves made choice: it's as if their body was controlled by an exterior brain.


    (I hope that's a bit clearer)

    PS: My reasonning brings a few problems. For example, according to this reasonning, you cannot say that a mad man is not responsible for his acts. Also, there are limit-cases such as hypnose.
     
  6. AbnormallyNormal 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 * 2 * 3

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    1) no, it does not exist, and the whole idea of "programming" is misleading since you are making a wrong analogy and therefore you are led to the crazy idea of a god directing our affairs. i think of it more like, why dont you think rocks or trees have free will? why dont you think a salamander or a bacterum has free will? then just extend those concepts into humans.

    2) free will is inherently contradictory and so is provably un-real.

    3) see the answer to #1...

    4) um yes? lol. yes we "really exist" how could we not "really exist"? it depends on your definition of 'us' i suppose. to me, the physical reality is inherently non-understandable, so i dont bother with it anymore, i mean if you think about there is no real border between 'us' and 'our surroundings'.
     
  7. DemonAbyss10 Demigod

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    Hugo is pretty much thinking along the lines of what i was thinking. I agree with most, if not all of his point on this.

    And lackinglack, your breakdown of number 1 and 3 are fair, and so you know, sometimes i have trouble wording stuff right, or i dont want to as explained in the paragraph below ^^

    I dont believe in the greater being stuff also, Its typed in that form because of the fact i wanted to keep the original questions i was asked by my friend, and also it can produce some neat answers to questions also.

    Main reason i posted this was to start a neat discussion that will open our minds to Life itself or whatever, and also to see how other people would answer these questions my best friend asked me.


    Edit: Well looking thru the responses, a few more questions for all of you to think about.

    5) Fate, do you believe in it, and if you do, explain YOUR OWN OPINION about it.

    6) When does free will become a bad thing?

    7) Are supposed Random events really random, or are they all interconnected to some other event?

    8) Are Coincidences really even coincidences? (This is to question another side of the arguement given in question 7)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  8. AbnormallyNormal 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 * 2 * 3

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    5) yes i believe in fate but i dont think we are intelligent enough to be able to predict the future very well for other human beings since we're so complicated, so its more of an abstract belief for me.

    6) i dont believe free will exists or COULD exist.

    7) i think its all random

    8) yes i think its all coincidences, the idea of causation was effectively demolished by hume in 1700's
     
  9. Goodfellow .

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    I doubt the existance of free will as you guys think of it. All of our decision are based of experience, genetics and simple biology. That's what defines us, taht's what steers us.

    Free will? Depends on what you view as free will. You definitivly made the choice, but to be honest, casuality still had the largest impact on your choice.
     
  10. Daito Nosniv [U.y.B] Clan Squad Leader

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    This question i am about to ask can be interpretted in many, i mean, many different ways depending on all the different beliefs and fact thrown out there. This is actually a serious question that requires alot of rational thinking.

    Note: Some of the Questions are hard for me to word to get what i truly mean across, so bear with me.

    Religious proof/dis-proof is welcom, but no flamebaiting/flaming please. Same goes for throwing insults at eachother, as i said, please keep this a civilized discussion.

    as for the questions im gonna be asking, they are the following.

    I belive free will does exist, that we are not programmed by anything nor anyone. Fate is just something that was meant to happen not something that tells us what to do.

    I don't think it is right to try to turn people to belive what you belive but like fate it is just something that happens.


    If we are just some one's imagination then that person has a very big imagination, I belvie that I am real, no one told me to belive this nor any event showed me to belive this either, I have always belived it. I don't think anybody just made up up like *snap* that.

    Like in the previous question I belive that I do exist becasue I belive in it with every fiber of my being, that I am myself and no one else, no one told me to act like this and no one made me look like this, I am me becasue this is what i chose to look like. therefor so much effort I belive that I do exist and not just me but everyone I know and even those that I never met before.


    Hugo is pretty much thinking along the lines of what i was thinking. I agree with most, if not all of his point on this.

    And lackinglack, your breakdown of number 1 and 3 are fair, and so you know, sometimes i have trouble wording stuff right, or i dont want to as explained in the paragraph below ^^

    I dont believe in the greater being stuff also, Its typed in that form because of the fact i wanted to keep the original questions i was asked by my friend, and also it can produce some neat answers to questions also.

    Main reason i posted this was to start a neat discussion that will open our minds to Life itself or whatever, and also to see how other people would answer these questions my best friend asked me.


    Edit: Well looking thru the responses, a few more questions for all of you to think about.

    Yes. My opinion of it is it is just something that is meant to happen, no 2 ways about it, It is mean to happen to change our like in a small or big way.

    I belive that Free Will is never a bad or good thing but it is just something that gives us individuality.


    I belive that what ever happen anywhere is inter connected to all events, like me typing this, you are or someone else is reading this correct?


    Yeah. Sometimes things happen because..well they just do.
     
  11. DemonAbyss10 Demigod

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    pretty much, your belief right there is very much like what hugo and I think.


    That first question can also be interpreted as...

    1) Does free will really exist, or are we all programmed to perform specific behavioral paterns in specific situations? Can our own conscience and habits condition/program our brains to react in certain ways in specific situations even. (In the term "programmed" it can be interpretted in many ways, but MY main belief on it is biological/genetics.)
     
  12. mislead it's just Che Guevara

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    Relevant discussion.

    Weather was thought to be random? It's merely chaotic, and there's a big difference between the two. Incidentally, I wouldn't find it strange if the human brain turned out to be a chaotic system too. That would solve some problems, since, while keeping up it's deterministic nature, it would make it effectively unpredictable.

    Well, the problem arises when we try to recursively apply our thought process to itself. It's easy for me to accept that every other person in this world is a biological machine, but if I consider the notion "My own consciousness, which is formulating this sentence right now, is a mechanical, deterministic process.", problems start to appear. I suppose it can be seen as an extension of the paradoxes that come from using any self-referencing entities.

    It's not that the idea was "demolished", but that Hume has effectively shown that it's unprovable. Doesn't mean it's not true though.
     
  13. AbnormallyNormal 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 * 2 * 3

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    ok mislead hume shows you cant prove causation exists, to my mind that is the same as demolishing the claim that it does. and if something is unprovable one way or another it leaves the realm of the known.
     
  14. DemonAbyss10 Demigod

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    yeah, these are all paradoxes in thier own right.

    "Biological machines" is a good way to phrase it Mislead, in fact ill prolly remember it for the future.

    and can someone bring up an article about hume, im quite interested in reading it actually, and i think it would help prove the notion that the universe itself is nothing but chaos refined to the Nth degree. (I know the wording is wierd, in esscence it means There is no such thing as order thru the span of time the universe has existed, "IF" it even truly exists.)


    ah and mislead, thanks for referencing that article, im reading it right now.

    EDIT: that topic was a very interesting read :) thank you for showing it.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  15. impersonal Banned

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    I see no reason to believe in it. Fate is often described as something you are destined to, and which will happen to you whatever you do to fight against it. I don't think anyone is destined to anything. Even if the world is determinist, that doesn't mean that what people become does not depend on them. (see my previous post). In other words, nobody decides for you what you will become.

    Free will could become a bad thing if humans were less social that they currently are. I mean, we all pretty much agree on what is good and what is bad, or at least on the basics of good and bad. Almost nobody believes that killing children for fun is good. If more free will means more independence, then it could mean a wider range of moral values. This could result in "the war of everyone against everyone", the death of society, replaced by a totally individualistic world. :eek

    Are you referring to my previous post? I think I stated my opinion rather clearly. I'll write it again:
    It is possible that there are random events. However, we will never be able to prove the existence of random events. For example, it is known that energy "comes out of the void". What is the cause of this? Isn't it a good example of a random event? Well, we cannot decide. Perhaps there is a cause, except it is invisible to us.

    Proving that an event has no cause is impossible (it is impossible to prove a negative); for the same reason that you cannot prove that God doesn't exist, you cannot prove that an event has no cause.

    However, if you do not search, you will never find. This is why a scientist has a duty to continuously search for the cause of events even if there is no clue that there is a cause at all, even if, in the end, it is a possibility that there isn't any cause and that the search will go on forever...

    I'm not sure what you mean. I think coincidences are really coincidences. I'm an atheist and I don't think there is a higher being or otherwise supernatural power driving things, giving meaning to what happens in our world.
     
  16. impersonal Banned

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    I feel a bit insulted that you thought I used "random" in place of "chaotic". Nothing of what I said would make any sense if I had meant "chaotic".


    PS: If you wanted to be 100% accurate, you should have said that weather was not thought to be either chaotic or random, back then when people couldn't see past the next valley. People hate things that do not obey reason so much that they put gods (=other humans, except more powerful) behind everything they don't grasp. So weather was not random, it was a direct consequence of the mood of the thunder god.
    But I was just using an example, so I don't think it matters a lot, as long as people get the idea.



    Yeah, if we go a bit deeper we come back to the problem: "before we worry about the world, are we sure that it exists and that what we're aware of isn't just... phenomenoms?"
    :amuse
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
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