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Author Topic: Do we have free will?  (Read 10093 times)
Ben
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« on: August 14, 2009, 01:11:49 PM »

I've been thinking my ass off about subconcious influences on human decisions recently, and have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as free will. Let me explain.

Every single decision a human being makes is more than influenced by subconcious memories. It is completely controlled by them. For example, the only reason people choose to co-operate with society is because their basic childhood instincts about trusting their parents have carried over.

Shit, I can't say it concisely at all with that example. Here's another-

Say someone kills someone else out of jealousy, over, say, an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. They get caught by the police and charged with murder. The jury finds them guilty, and that this person was not in any way mentally ill or suffering from extreme trauma at the time they commited the murder, so they have to take full responsibility for their actions. Or should they? The only reason they were driven to kill was because they have been subconciously preconditioned from earlier in their life, due to memories of unfair loss and jealousy in their past, which is the reason why they reacted so, by our society's standards, extremely. Or, if it was simply base instincts that the person acted upon, then they can't be blamed for that then either, as the descision to try and control yourself better is dependent on your past, which is, in turn, dependent on other's pasts or failure to control animal instincts, which goes right back to the first humans, and possibly their "missing link" predecessors, apes, and every single animal in our evolutionary line, which has been the way it is as a ridiculously complex continuation of the (as far as I can tell) pointless and meaningless reproductive process of a kind of mineral that, billions of years ago, due to random chemical reactions, started splitting in two.

Yay! I've managed to fit my ideas on where we came from in as well!

Though I must point out that I can only choose to live within the illusion of free will, as there is no alternative lifestyle outside of it  Undecided and if I was reminding myself of this all the time it would be pretty depressing. And yes, I'm aware that, under my reasoning, it's not my choice to remind myself of this. But there you go. Your opinions please!
   
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Emmeline Pankhurst
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2009, 10:35:20 PM »

Brilliant argument my dear boy. One that requires more and deeper thought. Perhaps some consultation too. I'll reply soon.
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jrkulmer
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2009, 07:27:25 PM »

Thats so weird, I'm reading a philosophy book, and this is the same concept that i found really interesting Smiley
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Emmeline Pankhurst
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 06:56:01 PM »

Sorry for leaving my reply late.
BTW: This first paragraph, Im not telling you to shut up and listen to the grown ups.Im just saying that you shouldn't jump to the conclusion that you've cracked it and thats it, your done.

The first thing to say is: free will is a very fundamental element to our modern soceity. Hundreds and thousands of people have already studied it, because our very system of society relies on it. Take the justice system: its judges people on what they did out of their own free will. If some of the greatest minds EVER had discerned that we didn't have free will, then a lot of things would be different. Brilliant people have studied it. If there was no free will, then why is it believed to be one of the most important aspects of our world and humanity?

The second thing to say is: yes, we do. First, let's talk about animals. Now, I don't think animals have free will, as do many other people. Why is this? BEcause animals run on basic instincts, products of their evolutions. Their thoughts centre around survival, for them and their species, either by feeding, escaping, pro-creation etc. An animal cannot decide to go against someting fundamental, such as feeding. It can't say "oh Im hungry, but you know what? I won't eat." It has to follow these instincts and evolutionary emotions. Now let's look at humans. Its Ramadhan. I'm fasting. And Im effin hungry. BUT I have decided to not eat. That was my choice and free will. I could very easily get up and go grab a biscuit or something. Another example is desire: I really want that. I want it soooo much. But I can't have it because its bad/stealing etc. In short, the emotions that we have as animals ensure we survive: they tell us we need to eat, pro-create, have fun etc. But it is our free will to decide not to just go with it. In the modern world, people are more occupied with fulfiling their emotions, doing what they want, making themselves happy by any means nessescery. People nowadays worship their emotions, rather than what's right. Have a look at the "Huxley or Orwell" thread, its gives you a picture of what I mean. Last example: the journey we're taking in CW is going to be difficult and hard, as Mike said. We may not want to carry on with it, because it's so easy not to try and understand our world etc etc. It's our choice to do it. I'm not fulfilling my emotions. I'm doing wat I believe is right.

Your subconscious makes you who you are. It IS who you are, but so is your conscious. It is influenced by the outside, sure. But in the end, it's not just a product of other people's actions or you're experiences. It's what you we're born with, you're internal moral compass, your soul if you'll let me say. It experiences and learns, but in the end, you, and by you I mean your entire being, makes your own decisions.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 06:59:43 PM by WA2 » Logged

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jrkulmer
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 07:08:22 PM »

Theres no such thing as free will, look at apes, they are rather closer to us in regards to decision making than a goldfish are. We just have a significantly more developed processor (our brain). Just because we are more developed than the other species on our planet, does not mean we are not animals. But then again why am I arguing with you, you are predisposed to think we do, as that is the conclusion your brain has come to, and theres nothing YOU can do about it.
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2009, 07:14:59 PM »

Well, it seems you have made UD completely irrelevant. Shut it down Ed, we're all pre-disposed to believe what we want.

Guess what James? I'm inclined to agree with your side of the argument. But I don't, because I have talked to people, researched it, and have made my own logical decisions, and I have reached that conclusion that we do have free will.

Of course we're similar to animals. But we are not just animals. Why is it, that man is the only species that can create amazing things, study complicated sciences, and are self-aware. How is it possible that I can go against my bodily desires and animal instincts, like no other animal can?
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jrkulmer
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2009, 08:30:29 PM »

other animals can just not to the same extent, were just highly developed. and it is very useful, your brain is completely predisposed on previous events, however if we don't have these experiences, you won't be able to be predisposed. lol see what i mean.
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carter
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2009, 11:19:46 PM »

isn't the point that even if we dont have free will, we should act like we do? otherwise what's the point?
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Carter 4 Maxxie Oliver
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 11:16:33 AM »

other animals can just not to the same extent, were just highly developed

Evidence?

And if we all had the same past experiences, we would therefore all make the same decisions with our free will, and therefore you wouldn't have free will anymore. So it's your past that gives you your free will.

isn't the point that even if we dont have free will, we should act like we do? otherwise what's the point?

Some people are happy to live like animals.
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jrkulmer
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2009, 12:19:12 PM »

im not even going to explain it, but amer you are so so wrong. (Facepalm.)
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2009, 12:30:25 PM »

Wow that's productive for a debate on UD isn't it? Pfft.
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carter
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2009, 07:56:00 PM »

yeah, u can't just wimp out like that, jr  Lips sealed
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Carter 4 Maxxie Oliver
Isaac
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2009, 02:10:43 AM »

How is there any way of proving that animals don't have free will??
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Ben
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 10:21:12 PM »

Amer, my opinion on the "moral compass from birth" thing is that yes, we do have one, but it is only altered by subconcious influences.
And yes, at Ramadhan you are fasting. But it isn't not your choice. You have been brought up to be a Muslim. You are a very smart person, so I'm sure you have questioned it quite a lot, but what I'm saying is that it isn't your choice to come to the conclusion that your religion is right. That is predisposed by past experiences. And I am arguing that it is the same with everything.
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Emmeline Pankhurst
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2009, 10:23:53 PM »

And you my friend have been brought up to be an atheist.

However, there are many instances of atheists believing in God, and vice versa. You can't bring up an animal to go against its instincts.

So if that's all because of past experiences and such, where does reason fit in? Are you saying that it's impossible for humans to reason?
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Ben
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2009, 12:05:04 PM »

I know, I'm not denying it's any different for me, just because I think I understand it.
I'm saying that the illusion of reason is there, and it's pretty convincing, but even when you spend a lot of time thinking about a choice, you "feel" one way or another, and you can't control that. And even if you completely defy your emotions and think you are exercising free will by changing your mind at the last minute, you are predisposed to do that, because of who you are. Which kinda brings us back round to that debate we had ages ago about whether humans are capable of functioning without emotion.
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Emmeline Pankhurst
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2009, 01:07:12 PM »

Have you ever heard of an animal committing suicide? How about a human? The fact that we can go against our most basic instinct of survival is proof we have that choice over our life.

You past experiences and your pre-dispositions make you who you are. They set you apart from anyone else. If everyone was the same, then there would be no such thing as free will would there? Because everyone would do the same. What I'm saying is, who we are is made up of our experiences and pre-dispositions, and we make our choice based on them, but we still have a level of self-control. I sometimes have very real urges to bitch slap someone upside the head, but in the end, I have to to tear myself away from that because of the consequences, but sometimes I have given in because it makes me feel happy, and those are the few instances where I have given in to my animal instinct of violence.

But it's no good arguing with me because despite what I say, you won't want to change your mind on account of me (because you want to be the correct one), unless you pull yourself away and look at it rationally (which you have the option to do), so I would suggest you do some research.
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jrkulmer
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2009, 02:00:47 PM »

there are instances where that has occurred, hell there are even homosexual animals, that sort of defeats the whole reproductive incstinct doesnt it?
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2009, 02:14:02 PM »

Why the hell would an animal want to top itself? And I thought there was such thing as a gay gene?
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2009, 04:38:17 AM »

i think you wrongly threw out carter's idea...because his was basically the most logical response.



if we dont have freewill, then we are impotent in this universe , thus acting like we have free freel can't change anything anyway, so at the same time we can at least have the satisfaction of feeling like we have power. if we do have free will....sweet. this issue basically comes down to human emotion because it is so logically impenetrable, and thus pointless to really debate. ( ifroget t he who who orginally put forth this idea but i read an entire essay on it and as soon as i remember i will point you in the direction)

« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 04:53:49 AM by nauseamfromrum[wii] » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2009, 10:17:52 AM »

I thought we'd established that we had to at least act!

I agree with you to some extent, but I still think we can argue about free will, on a basic level, rather than whether we should act upon it. Purely philosophical.
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nauseamfromrum
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« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2009, 12:57:34 AM »

i dont know if you've ever dabbled in drugs but i had a bad trip tied to freewwill. for no particular reason i wanted to get up from my chair so, naturally,  through my head went the thoughts that would lead to me getting up, but before i could do do  i  realized  "wait...why do i have to listen to that?, why can't i stay sitting down?" 
 (of course this explanation doesn't even remotely do justice to the actual thought process i had)

the distinction between what i wanted to do and the impulse to do so was blurred to a singular point. free will and predestiny aren't opposites, but one in the same thing. thus, a debate is pointless. there will never be adequate context to reveal whether are actions are free or were preceded by some other force. it's like trying to put a word into absolute context in a poem that continually adds text to  itself...you just can't, it's not even a  problem of logic but a problem of semantics, lakin to arguing whether it's the peanut butter or the jelly that defines a peanutbutter & jelly sandwich
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 01:01:09 AM by nauseamfromrum[wii] » Logged
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Emmeline Pankhurst
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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2009, 05:01:33 AM »

Hmmm....cool. I like that. Thanks!
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