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    Thread: Free will is completely irrelevant

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      Free will is completely irrelevant

      I challenge you to give me a situation in which it matters whether you have free will or not. First I want to say that people should be punished for bad things they did even without free will because if they do something bad it's likely that they'll do it again if unpunished. Punishment is not an enjoyable thing (generally) and the brain will want to avoid doing bad things if it leads to punishment.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      free will
      How are you defining this?

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      No matter what anyone says, the other side of the arguement will be "we are all robots, souls are BS, neurons are in what ever postion they are in, quarks, blah blah, science...) So, arguement about IF free will is a thing is pointless, when the other side is going to claim we are biological robots.

      What can we discuss that is even worth the time?

      How about this? Teaching youth that free will is not a thing is destructive, regardless of IF it exists. You say punishment will deter crime. But that is simplistic and sounds sociopathic if it is the whole of the arguement. Sociopathic? As in, the only reason to avoid impulses such as rape, is the bad feelings or punishment that will arise as a result. It removes accountability, beyond fear of conciquence. If we believe in no free will, then we can excuse acting sociopathically, because we are just robots after all. How about general right and wrong? I will not rape this girl because that is horrible and wrong, not because I fear punishment.
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      You say punishment will deter crime. But that is simplistic and sounds sociopathic if it is the whole of the arguement.
      To me, it's your answer that sounds simplistic. You seem to be saying that a simple knowledge of right and wrong is what is wanting in criminals, and that this knowledge will be sufficient to stop crime. That's incredibly naive and it's plain wrong. It is perfectly possible for somebody to know that something is wrong and yet still do it. Do you think somebody who mugs an old lady for their wallet just doesn't know that it's wrong?? Of course they know it's wrong. Knowledge isn't the problem, the problem is that the individual disregards this knowledge because of their selfishness. And once the crime has been committed, what would you have done? Are you saying you wouldn't punish them? Obviously you have to punish such people to deter them in future. Such people will always exist. It's a scientific fact that some people are inherently disposed towards selfish behaviour and lack empathy - extreme cases are called "psychopathy", and it's genetic. How do you propose to moderate these people's behaviour but by fear of reprisal? Punishment also serves the purpose of keeping the community safe during a period of incarceration, of providing redress and a sense of justice to victims, and potentially rehabilitating those who are capable of rehabilitation.

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      I am all for punishment and agree with al you have said. Please note this part "if it is the whole of the arguement."

      I feel that those who want to argue that ALL of reality is the result of random particle physics and that no other outcome was every available since the Big Bang dehuminize people.

      What is my point? While sociopaths and psycopaths need fear to hold back, it is useless and harmful in general to attempt to remove all concept of individual choice. It opens to many oppertunities for bad behavior. feeling that we can choose to do bad and therefore are personally responsible, regardless of if we get caught, is a useful tool for society.
      Peace Be With You. Oh, and sure, The Force too, why not.



      "Instruction in Dream Yoga"

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      sir sivason, don't you think it's more logical that everything is the result of certain physical principles? Because if you take that away, it becomes quite unclear what 'human' or 'free will' really means. I have nothing against the unknown and mysterious but I feel that you think the 'soul' or the 'real you' chooses to do something. I think that is unnecessarily mysterious.

      I don't agree with your last part. I honestly feel that free will in the objective sense makes no sense at all. It implies something outside of physical reality deciding behaviour (the soul?). Saying free will is an illusion sounds a bit dramatic and I would say that free will is subjective. From our personal point of view and expierience we feel a very real sense of free will. I do feel responsible and accountable for my actions, I feel that every bad decision is my fault. Even though I believe that with enough knowledge all my thoughts and feelings and actions can be predicted with 100% accuracy, I still feel responsible. And I think that everybody (except for the mentally sick) will feel responsible regardless of any evidence that free will is purely subjective. I even think that sufficient knowledge will prove that people feel responsible and act as if they have free will.

      I think you underestimate human goodness if you think that knowing free will is an illusion will ultimately be bad for society.
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      Here is what I am saying. Let us pretend you are proven 100% correct, and I am shown the proof. Now, let's say I am made into a powerful creator of some new space colony in that I can grow new biological persons from a vat and teach them what ever I want.

      I would still choose to NOT teach what you had proven to me, as I feel belief in high powers or a soul serves a very valuable function. Yes, even if I knew it was untrue, I would instill in my new world a belief in some sort of battle of good vs bad and a higher directive than just science.

      Not being able to argue a topic like this (or shared dreaming/ aliens/ the existance of anything spiritual) I am going for the part where you ask "if it matters."

      Does it matter to the particle physics itself? Probably not. Does the belief that you are wrong matter? Maybe.








      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      sir sivason, don't you think it's more logical that everything is the result of certain physical principles?
      Nope, not for a second.
      Last edited by sivason; 02-14-2015 at 10:21 PM.
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      It appears that we disagree on a deep level.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      It appears that we disagree on a deep level.
      Sure, but that is one of the fun things about free will OR the subjective appearance of such, lol.

      It is a neat topic and I hope some other people will respond to your OP.

      Thanks for taking the time to make some new threads lately.
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      So do you not have a definition of free will, Ginsan?

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      Sure sivason I love this forum and the fact that I can ask any kind of wild question and have interesting discussions about it. And also the friendly atmosphere maintained by moderators like you! I think a community like the one on this website is priceless

      Mr statue, free will: the freedom to act independant of anything except for what "you yourself" "want".

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      When would anybody not according to their wants (unless they were being coerced)?

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      I can't answer your question directly. If you agree that all behaviour can be predicted with sufficient knowledge, then in a way, everybody is always being forced because they never really had a choice because it is predictable. But then every behaviour is always forced and then the term 'forced' doesn't mean anything anymore. I think objectively everybody is always being forced (by the laws of nature) and subjectively nobody is never being forced because it always feels like you made a choice.

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      But the fact that you were always going to choose according to your wants does not mean that you did not in fact choose according to your wants.
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      But does the fact that wants are predetermined and can be predicted not change the idea of 'wants'? You are absolutely right. It does mean that you choose according to your wants. But now wants becomes something as a product of many many things happening according to the laws of nature. And not a desire of the soul, or something mysterious like that.

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      Why not both? Well, I wouldn't call it the "soul", that word can lead to even more confusion. Let's just refer to "ourselves", that is to say, our thinking beings (which clearly exist). Things are (for the sake of argument) predetermined, but they're also still a result the "desires" of "myself". These aren't mutually exclusive.

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      But I think that those desires and "myself" are also predetermined.

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      Yes?

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      Let me answer your question that caused these last few posts.

      "When would anybody not according to their wants (unless they were being coerced)?"

      Never.

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      So by the definition you chose, we always have free will.

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      If free will means that you decided according to your wants, then yes. This is a very interesting conclusion. Because if wants are predetermined, and free will is acting according to your wants, then I don't even know what free will means.

      EDIT: If predetermined wants are the precursor and predictor of what a free willed person will do, then free will is subjective, which I already said in my second post
      Last edited by Ginsan; 02-15-2015 at 01:34 AM.

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      Does it change if we choose what we do not want? probably not, there must be a reason that negative choice is made. Just a thought.
      Peace Be With You. Oh, and sure, The Force too, why not.



      "Instruction in Dream Yoga"

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      I don't think it changes anything. One thing I find really interesting is that this realization that everything might be pretermined makes me feel even more strongly about properly guiding my own actions I should ask a neuroscientist about this..
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      If free will means that you decided according to your wants, then yes. This is a very interesting conclusion. Because if wants are predetermined, and free will is acting according to your wants, then I don't even know what free will means.
      It means precisely that. Personally I'm perfectly happy with having free will by this 'parsimonious' definition; I don't see any problems at all. I make decisions based on my desires: I weigh up the pros and cons, in view of my personal desires and my moral beliefs, and I make a choice. It was my thought process and my agency. What more could you want? Yes, it may well be the case that my thought process and its outcome could in principle have been predicted at a prior time... but of what consequence is that? In my view it's rather strange to desire the contrary; to desire that the outcome be incapable of prediction at a time prior to its occurrence -- strange because it just seems rather superfluous, and of no import; why does it matter? I think when people consider that their decision was predictable, they get this idea in their heads of a runaway train on rails, and in that image there seems to be no element of choice, and they perceive a contradiction. But that's simply a contradiction in terms. There is a choice. The image is simply broken: a runaway train is not an agent capable of contemplation and of making decisions. But we are.
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      Yes, yes! I completely agree. Perhaps I was lacking the intelligence to be as articulate as you, but this is exactly why I said that free will is completely irrelevant.
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