• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views




    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
    Results 1 to 25 of 55
    Like Tree13Likes

    Thread: The short argument against free will

    1. #1
      Basketball Player kidjordan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2009
      Posts
      218
      Likes
      11
      DJ Entries
      3

      The short argument against free will

      The short argument against free will:

      1. Thoughts determine our actions. (If you don't think about an action before you do it, it's an unconscious reflex).

      2. We can't control our thoughts. (Try meditating and stopping your thoughts. You'll realize you can't do it.)

      3.Therefore, "we" cannot control our actions. (I have yet to find a good definition of the "self").

      4. Therefore, free will is an illusion.

      I'm looking to elaborate on this short argument once I understand the nature of the "self" better. Obviously, decisions are made by "selves", but what is the "self"?

    2. #2
      Diamonds And Rust Achievements:
      Veteran First Class Vivid Dream Journal Referrer Bronze Populated Wall 5000 Hall Points Made lots of Friends on DV Tagger First Class
      Darkmatters's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2009
      Gender
      Location
      Center of the universe
      Posts
      6,951
      Likes
      5833
      DJ Entries
      172
      Disagree with 2.

      Actually meditating teaches us that we CAN stop random thoughts - it's just not EASY. Or am I missing something?

      But regardless, I certainly can control the directions of my thoughts. Example... if I suddenly decide I want to go get a huge cookies-n-cream milkshake I might then decide I don't need that and end up not getting it. If that's not controlling your thoughts and deciding your actions, then what is it?

      ***EDIT***

      Oh my bad... this is in Philosophy. I was talking about reality.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 09-02-2011 at 03:25 AM.

    3. #3
      Member Jenny5's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011
      LD Count
      1 accidental
      Gender
      Location
      East Coast, USA
      Posts
      30
      Likes
      11
      DJ Entries
      1
      Yeah... I think there were some pretty major assumptions there.

      There is no support for point two. Even if you grant that most people will never have 100% control over their mental process, isn't 1% of control enough to determine an action? If you can grant just a fraction of control to a single person then the whole arguement collapses. In fact, if thoughts do determine our actions and the one thing we can not do naturally is stop thinking.... doesn't that make us, in some sense, even more in control?

      I don't really know what the answer is but I know that logic doesn't work for me. I feel completely in control of whatever stupid decision I make. But who knows, that could be an illusion.


      Shouldn't philosophy have some basis in reality?
      Darkmatters likes this.

    4. #4
      Diamonds And Rust Achievements:
      Veteran First Class Vivid Dream Journal Referrer Bronze Populated Wall 5000 Hall Points Made lots of Friends on DV Tagger First Class
      Darkmatters's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2009
      Gender
      Location
      Center of the universe
      Posts
      6,951
      Likes
      5833
      DJ Entries
      172
      Can anybody link to the long version? I have a feeling if we'd read that it would probably make a lot more sense. Philosophy can be so damnably hard to follow though!

      I always feel like every philosophical proposition has some tiny flaw in it that needs re-examining, and that goes unchallenged until some great philosopher comes along and points it out. And then we're all like "YEEEEEAHHHHHH! That's what I was thinking!! i just couldn't put it into words!!"


      Here it is: The Standard Argument Against Free Will

      At least one version. And all it requires is that we first study all the different terms and the ideologies behind them!!!
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 09-02-2011 at 04:03 AM.

    5. #5
      Member Jenny5's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011
      LD Count
      1 accidental
      Gender
      Location
      East Coast, USA
      Posts
      30
      Likes
      11
      DJ Entries
      1
      I have a feeling the long version would say the exact same thing but make it much harder to point out the flaws. I like philosophy boiled down.

      KISS wins every time


      **I skimmed and I stand by my original statement
      Last edited by Jenny5; 09-02-2011 at 04:07 AM.

    6. #6
      knows
      Join Date
      Mar 2007
      LD Count
      1billion+5
      Posts
      546
      Likes
      31
      Quote Originally Posted by kidjordan View Post
      The short argument against free will:

      1. Thoughts determine our actions. (If you don't think about an action before you do it, it's an unconscious reflex).

      2. We can't control our thoughts. (Try meditating and stopping your thoughts. You'll realize you can't do it.)

      3.Therefore, "we" cannot control our actions. (I have yet to find a good definition of the "self").

      4. Therefore, free will is an illusion.

      I'm looking to elaborate on this short argument once I understand the nature of the "self" better. Obviously, decisions are made by "selves", but what is the "self"?
      You're probably wanting someone to affirm or deny the validity of your argument, as the premises themselves can hardly be looked unto as scientifically induced. Simple: Your argument is invalid. Your logic basically goes as - All cats are animals. No dog is a cat. Therefore, no dog is an animal. You can easily see the fault in this, yes?

      #4 you just pulled out of your ass.... come on.
      I stomp on your ideas.

    7. #7
      Member Achievements:
      1 year registered Veteran First Class 5000 Hall Points

      Join Date
      Sep 2004
      Gender
      Location
      Seattle, WA
      Posts
      2,503
      Likes
      217
      Yeah, none of these assumptions are right. I have LOTS of thoughts that don't determine my actions. You're assuming that ALL thoughts lead to specific actions. Free will comes in, among other places, at the point where you have the ability to choose how you react to your thoughts.

    8. #8
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 2010
      Gender
      Location
      Texas
      Posts
      707
      Likes
      491
      I think we may have what one day could be looked upon as a primitive version of free will. It's evolving, emerging along lines similar to those taken during the evolutionary development of consciousness. Imagine that free will is like a sandbox mode in some application. The first thing that has to develop is the program framework. Only then can the next part develop which is needed to allow something like free will: empty space.

      If there is one take-away point that we can actually rely on, its that is that we have significantly less free will than we intuitively think we have.
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 09-03-2011 at 04:06 AM.

    9. #9
      Member Jenny5's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011
      LD Count
      1 accidental
      Gender
      Location
      East Coast, USA
      Posts
      30
      Likes
      11
      DJ Entries
      1
      Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion

      ...
      ...

      wait a minute. That sounds like a symptom of free will.

    10. #10
      Basketball Player kidjordan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2009
      Posts
      218
      Likes
      11
      DJ Entries
      3
      Quote Originally Posted by Somii View Post
      You're probably wanting someone to affirm or deny the validity of your argument, as the premises themselves can hardly be looked unto as scientifically induced. Simple: Your argument is invalid. Your logic basically goes as - All cats are animals. No dog is a cat. Therefore, no dog is an animal. You can easily see the fault in this, yes?

      #4 you just pulled out of your ass.... come on.
      I'm having a little trouble seeing the analogy as being valid. Also, do you have free will if you can't control your actions?

    11. #11
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
      Banned
      Join Date
      Aug 2005
      Posts
      9,984
      Likes
      3082
      As is the way with most philosophical debates, the problem here is semantic. You haven't defined what you think free will is, so we really can't argue about it. Neither did you validate the proposition that being unable to stop one's thoughts means one is unable to control one's thoughts (being unable to stop water flowing down a mountain doesn't mean I'm unable to divert its path), or support the proposition that one can't stop one's thoughts.

      Quote Originally Posted by kidjordan View Post
      I'm having a little trouble seeing the analogy as being valid.
      Don't worry, it isn't.
      Jenny5 likes this.

    12. #12
      Member Isadore's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011
      LD Count
      1
      Gender
      Location
      England
      Posts
      34
      Likes
      9
      DJ Entries
      26
      People go on and on about how our thoughts, biology, experience, memories, upbringing, etc determine our actions. The problem is that these people are treating the 'self' as some entity separate from our thoughts, biology, experience, memories, upbringing, etc. The self is made up entirely of these things.

      Take a person. Now remove their memories, experiences, thoughts, etc. What's left? The 'self' disappeared along with those qualities. Even removing one of the qualities raises questions about the self. For example, think of a person (or yourself). Would they/you be the same person if we were to remove all memory? Bottom line, treating the 'self' as a separate entity rather than an equation of certain properties is where the confusion is.

      The implications are that freewill is an illusion. However, if we are determined by the very things that make us what we are, are we free? Or is this determinism? Or perhaps we're determined to be free...
      Xei, Jenny5 and StephL like this.
      No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish - David Hume

    13. #13
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      I think we actually can stop thoughts by focusing on immediate experience or at least control them by being aware of them, questioning their validity, and changing them accordingly. So I think there's different levels of "freewill" that are motivated by certain goals. It's easy to feel anger when something doesn't go your way because it's a natural reaction or it's considered culturally normal, but you can question if that emotion is actually hindering your goal and maybe another state such as a peaceful clear-headed acceptance might put things into a better perspective and produce better action for change. Then you can question if that thoughtful change was actually just a product of deterministic processes in your brain, just on a different level. If anything can be called "freewill" to me it's inclined vs. desired states. Can we in principle precisely predict our behaviors as a function of deterministic neurological processes? who knows, especially considering quantum mechanics, our understanding of reality is too complex and too mysterious for us, so for all practical purposes we might as well say we have freewill because we do experience decision making. The whole question of freewill seems invalid and only goes in a worthless endless circle.

    14. #14
      knows
      Join Date
      Mar 2007
      LD Count
      1billion+5
      Posts
      546
      Likes
      31
      Quote Originally Posted by kidjordan View Post
      I'm having a little trouble seeing the analogy as being valid. Also, do you have free will if you can't control your actions?
      You can't see it as logically valid because it isn't. Essentially, your logical form is

      All T is D
      No W is C
      :.No W is X

      Simplifying its atomic structure, and switching its values, is what resulted as the logical analogy you couldn't relate. Can you comprehend now?

      I assume your puzzlement answers my question about you noticing the invalidity of your logical form. Am I right?
      I stomp on your ideas.

    15. #15
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2006
      Gender
      Location
      San Antonio, TX
      Posts
      3,865
      Likes
      1171
      DJ Entries
      144
      Quote Originally Posted by Isadore View Post
      People go on and on about how our thoughts, biology, experience, memories, upbringing, etc determine our actions. The problem is that these people are treating the 'self' as some entity separate from our thoughts, biology, experience, memories, upbringing, etc. The self is made up entirely of these things.

      Take a person. Now remove their memories, experiences, thoughts, etc. What's left? The 'self' disappeared along with those qualities. Even removing one of the qualities raises questions about the self. For example, think of a person (or yourself). Would they/you be the same person if we were to remove all memory? Bottom line, treating the 'self' as a separate entity rather than an equation of certain properties is where the confusion is.

      The implications are that freewill is an illusion. However, if we are determined by the very things that make us what we are, are we free? Or is this determinism? Or perhaps we're determined to be free...
      But you have to remember that consciousness is not made up of memories, thoughts, experiences, or upbringing. But rather consciousness experiences memories, thoughts, etc. The self may not be separate, but consciousness is!

      I know this from experience. I was only a kid when it happened, but suddenly I had this revelation that who I thought I was, isn't me. My name isn't me. My age isn't me. The things I like aren't me. My face isn't me. The things I think aren't me. The way I talk isn't me. Who was I? I knew who I thought I was, there was nothing wrong with my memory it was all there. But in that brief moment I understood that none of those memories are actually me.

      If I'm not really this person who goes by this name, with this type of personality, then who am I? I got only one answer. The answer was shocking. I felt like my whole world could fall apart if I stayed with that answer. So I shook my head until I felt my self again. I guess it wasn't a complete ego collapse, because I could still feel fear.

      This happened at least twice, and twice I decided to continue being my "self", even though I knew it wasn't who I am, it just felt comfortable being that "self".

      I guess what I am trying to say is, don't underestimate how much you choose to be you out of your own free will. Consciousness is separate from the "self". But every morning must of us consciously choose to continue to be that person anyways.

    16. #16
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      It depends on how you define "self". Ultimately you can simplify self to the being of the Cosmos, the perpetual now of existence, a self everyone/everything shares and may be the "consciousness" you say is a more essential level to the self constructed of our individual experience and forms.

    17. #17
      Member Isadore's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011
      LD Count
      1
      Gender
      Location
      England
      Posts
      34
      Likes
      9
      DJ Entries
      26
      Quote Originally Posted by juroara View Post
      But you have to remember that consciousness is not made up of memories, thoughts, experiences, or upbringing. But rather consciousness experiences memories, thoughts, etc. The self may not be separate, but consciousness is!

      I know this from experience. I was only a kid when it happened, but suddenly I had this revelation that who I thought I was, isn't me. My name isn't me. My age isn't me. The things I like aren't me. My face isn't me. The things I think aren't me. The way I talk isn't me. Who was I? I knew who I thought I was, there was nothing wrong with my memory it was all there. But in that brief moment I understood that none of those memories are actually me.

      If I'm not really this person who goes by this name, with this type of personality, then who am I? I got only one answer. The answer was shocking. I felt like my whole world could fall apart if I stayed with that answer. So I shook my head until I felt my self again. I guess it wasn't a complete ego collapse, because I could still feel fear.

      This happened at least twice, and twice I decided to continue being my "self", even though I knew it wasn't who I am, it just felt comfortable being that "self".

      I guess what I am trying to say is, don't underestimate how much you choose to be you out of your own free will. Consciousness is separate from the "self". But every morning must of us consciously choose to continue to be that person anyways.
      I think consciousness comes under the umbrella of 'biology'. I think a lot of confusions lay in treating the 'self' or the qualia of consciousness as a continuous thing. If you look up David Hume's 'bundle theory', you'll get a vague but more eloquent version of what I'm saying - if not a little out-dated.

      Freewill is a funny kind of concept. Metaphysical libertarians seem to want an impossible kind of freewill. They want to be an entity that 'causes' but is not, in itself, caused by anything. I'm not really sure they really understand what they're saying.
      No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish - David Hume

    18. #18
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      Quote Originally Posted by Isadore View Post
      I think consciousness comes under the umbrella of 'biology'.
      So essentially fluctuating patterns of a conserved amount of matter/energy. I don't think that just because our individual experience as humans are the product of emergent physical structures described by biology we can ignore that it all supposedly came from a unified point of energy and processes described by physics/chemistry and not attribute them as an intrinsic part of consciousness.

      Quote Originally Posted by Isadore View Post
      I think a lot of confusions lay in treating the 'self' or the qualia of consciousness as a continuous thing.
      how so?

      Quote Originally Posted by Isadore View Post
      Freewill is a funny kind of concept. Metaphysical libertarians seem to want an impossible kind of freewill. They want to be an entity that 'causes' but is not, in itself, caused by anything. I'm not really sure they really understand what they're saying.
      Exactly. That's why I think the whole question of free-will is invalid.

    19. #19
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
      Banned
      Join Date
      Aug 2005
      Posts
      9,984
      Likes
      3082
      Quote Originally Posted by Somii View Post
      You can't see it as logically valid because it isn't. Essentially, your logical form is

      All T is D
      No W is C
      :.No W is X

      Simplifying its atomic structure, and switching its values, is what resulted as the logical analogy you couldn't relate. Can you comprehend now?
      Except this is nonsense.

    20. #20
      DuB
      DuB is offline
      Distinct among snowflakes DuB's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2005
      Gender
      Posts
      2,399
      Likes
      358
      Quote Originally Posted by Somii View Post
      You can't see it as logically valid because it isn't. Essentially, your logical form is

      All T is D
      No W is C
      :.No W is X

      Simplifying its atomic structure, and switching its values, is what resulted as the logical analogy you couldn't relate. Can you comprehend now?

      I assume your puzzlement answers my question about you noticing the invalidity of your logical form. Am I right?
      I think the puzzlement is regarding why or how you think the syllogism that you expressed is an accurate translation of the argument in the OP. I have to agree with other commentators that I don't see that it properly reflects the argument at all. It neither contains the same number of premises as the original argument nor does it refer to the same number of entities. So before we even try substituting in the English phrases it already seems obvious that something has gone wrong. It's not even clear to me that the argument can be adequately expressed in terms of syllogistic logic in the first place. It seems to me to require the machinery at least of first-order predicate logic. Let's give it a shot and see what happens.

      1. For all X, if X is an action, then there exists a Y such that Y is a thought and X is caused by Y.
      2. For all X and Y, if X is a thought and Y is a "self," then X is not caused by Y.

      At this point, if we are to get to #3, then we need to make an assumption about the nature of the causal relation. This seems to be a hidden premise in the OP. Let's make it explicit and call it #2.5.

      2.5. For all X, Y, and Z, iff X is caused by Y and Y is caused by Z, then X is caused by Z.
      (Note that this is similar to transitivity, but not quite the same because it involves the biconditional. So in this case, anything that makes the antecedent false also makes the consequent false.)

      Now from #1, #2, and #2.5 it follows that

      3. For all X and Y: if X is an action and Y is a "self," then X is not caused by Y.

      But now we need to insert one more premise if we are to get to the final conclusion about free will. We need to give necessary and sufficient conditions under which we can conclude that the doctrine of free will is true or false. In other words, we need to define free will. The OP implies but does not state the following (this will be messy written out in English, so I'll try to indicate the proper parsing with parentheses):

      3.5. Iff (for all X: if X is an action, then there exists a Y such that Y is a "self" and X is caused by Y), then the doctrine of free will is true.

      Obviously it follows from #3 and #3.5 that

      4. The doctrine of free will is false.

      This fully explicated chain of inference is valid as far as I can see, although there are certainly still various ways in which we can question the conclusion. #3 and #4 are straightforward conclusions from the other premises. But we may not accept those premises. It seems that few people are satisfied with #2. We might also want to think hard about whether we are satisfied with #3.5.
      Last edited by DuB; 09-04-2011 at 10:12 PM.
      kidjordan likes this.

    21. #21
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      LOL please tell me your kidding, I'm pretty sure Somii's response was a satirical joke...

    22. #22
      DuB
      DuB is offline
      Distinct among snowflakes DuB's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2005
      Gender
      Posts
      2,399
      Likes
      358

      It is not clear to me in what possible sense Somii's response could be considered as satire. Either we have very different ideas about what constitutes a satirical joke, or this is one piece of satire that is going way over my head...

    23. #23
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      Can you plug in some real life examples into the variables of your logical structure there to confirm how "the doctrine of freewill is false"?

    24. #24
      DuB
      DuB is offline
      Distinct among snowflakes DuB's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2005
      Gender
      Posts
      2,399
      Likes
      358
      Yes. Can you?

    25. #25
      Banned
      Join Date
      May 2008
      LD Count
      don't know
      Gender
      Posts
      1,602
      Likes
      1144
      DJ Entries
      17
      Underneath all of that stuff all you say is if whatever you define as self (Y) "causes" ( I guess you mean has the ability to choose) thoughts (X) and thus actions, then we have freewill. Obv. You could have just said that or are you trying to confuse people? lol

    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

    Similar Threads

    1. Replies: 12
      Last Post: 01-18-2011, 11:19 PM
    2. Replies: 5
      Last Post: 10-20-2009, 12:02 AM
    3. An argument free R/S
      By wendylove in forum Religion/Spirituality
      Replies: 15
      Last Post: 04-13-2008, 05:05 AM
    4. Any one have any argument for free will?
      By Introspectre in forum Philosophy
      Replies: 55
      Last Post: 07-10-2006, 02:08 PM

    Bookmarks

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •