Jump to content
T-MoarTheTeddyBear

Is there really such a thing as Free Will?

Recommended Posts

This debate comes up largely in a religious setting, in which a "god" figure does or does not control our individual lives, but I want to know your opinions on this topic.

 

Considering that by and large our actions are determined by our tastes and interests, and our tastes and interests are determined by a combination of genetics and experiences, is it really fair to say that we are in total control of ourselves?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
determinism makes the most sense to me, but I don't understand quantum physics well enough to understand the reasons why it might be unlikely.

 

quantum physics has nothing to do with free will. it might make the discussion of determinism more probabilistic than overdetermined, but there's very little to discuss neuroscientifically at the quantum level.

 

these things are best understood thru the lens of neurosystems.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a philosophy that's been around that's called "radical behaviorism." It basically makes the point that individual factors shape us so that we make our decisions based on them. For example: If you were raised in a republican community, you are more likely to end up republican. If you are raised in a democratic community, odds are, you're a democrat. Large factors like these greatly alter the directions of our lives. Logically, then, smaller and smaller factors would affect us in progressively smaller ways, giving us tendencies and indirectly altering our decisions on every level. Ergo, there is no free will.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quantum physics has nothing to do with free will. it might make the discussion of determinism more probabilistic than overdetermined, but there's very little to discuss neuroscientifically at the quantum level.

 

these things are best understood thru the lens of neurosystems.

 

i think he is referencing quantum physics in regards to actions that are random or unpredictable. you are right though in stating that quantum physics has nothing to do with free will, but it seems relevant to determinism, i.e. there is no free will, either it is determined or it is random.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i think he is referencing quantum physics in regards to actions that are random or unpredictable. you are right though in stating that quantum physics has nothing to do with free will, but it seems relevant to determinism, i.e. there is no free will, either it is determined or it is random.

 

but thats already answered. even if the world isn't hard determined, even if there are only probabilistic outcomes, they are driven by material conditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
but thats already answered. even if the world isn't hard determined, even if there are only probabilistic outcomes, they are driven by material conditions.

 

which is why soft determism is feasible. the possiblity of certain outcomes can be determined, but which of those outcomes actually happen can simply be the result of unpredictable chance or a causal determined relationship. quantum physics gives us probablities, not set outcomes. it seems we are arguing the same thing, though i was giving a clarification that quantum physics is worth talking about in discussing the relationship between determinism and free will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
which is why soft determism is feasible. the possiblity of certain outcomes can be determined, but which of those outcomes actually happen can simply be the result of unpredictable chance or a causal determined relationship. quantum physics gives us probablities, not set outcomes. it seems we are arguing the same thing, though i was giving a clarification that quantum physics is worth talking about in discussing the relationship between determinism and free will.

 

it just seems outdated to have the conversation, seeing as appeals to quantum level mechanics don't serve to explain away decision making/neuroactivity.

 

philosophy should defer to science, when possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah. We're coerced by everything ever. You can atleast minimize it by doing different things from the norms.

 

BTW God influences a hell of a lot. As in the religion/people believing in it, not the actual entity. Actual thing doesn't exist, k?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“It is a wretched subterfuge to seek to evadethis[determinism] by saying that the kind of determining grounds of his causality in accordance with natural law agrees with a comparative concept of freedom, according to which that is sometimes called afree effect, the determining natural ground of which lies within the acting being, e.g., that which a projectile accomplishes when it is in free motion, in which case one uses the word "freedom" because while it is in flight it is not impelled from without; or as we also call the motion of a clock a free motion because it moves the hands itself, which therefore do not need to be pushed externally; in the same way the actions of the human being, although they are necessary by their determining grounds which preceded them in time, are yet called free because the actions are caused from within, by representations produced by our own powers, whereby desires are evoked on occasion of circumstances and hence actions are produced at our own discretion. Some still let themselves be put off by this subterfuge and so think they have solved, with a little quibbling about words, that difficult problem on the solution of which millennia have worked in vain and which can therefore hardly be found so completely on the surface, That is to say, in the question about that freedom which must be put at the basis of all moral laws and the imputation appropriate to them, it does not matter whether the causality determined in accordance with a natural law is necessary through determining grounds lying within the subject or outside him, or in the first case whether these determining grounds are instinctive or thought by reason, if, as is admitted by these men themselves,these determining representations have the ground of their existence in time andindeedin the antecedent state; and this in turn in a preceding state, and so forth. These determinations may be internal and they may have psychological instead of mechanical causality, that is, produce actions by means of representations and not by bodily movements; [still] they are always determining grounds of the causality of a being insofar as its existence is determinable in time and therefore under the necessitating conditions of past time, which are thus, when the subject is to act, no longer within his control and which may therefore bring with them psychological freedom (if one wants to use this term for a merely internal chain of representations in the soul) but nevertheless natural necessity; and they therefore leave notranscendental freedom, which must be thought as independence from everything empirical and so from nature generally, whether it is regarded as an object of inner sense in time only or also of outer sense in both space and time; without this freedom (in the latter and proper sense),which alone is practical a priori, no moral law is possible and no imputation in accordance with it.â€

-Kant

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“It is a wretched subterfuge to seek to evade this [determinism] by saying that the kind of determining grounds of his causality in accordance with natural law agrees with a comparative concept of freedom, according to which that is sometimes called a free effect, the determining natural ground of which lies within the acting being, e.g., that which a projectile accomplishes when it is in free motion, in which case one uses the word "freedom" because while it is in flight it is not impelled from without; or as we also call the motion of a clock a free motion because it moves the hands itself, which therefore do not need to be pushed externally; in the same way the actions of the human being, although they are necessary by their determining grounds which preceded them in time, are yet called free because the actions are caused from within, by representations produced by our own powers, whereby desires are evoked on occasion of circumstances and hence actions are produced at our own discretion. Some still let themselves be put off by this subterfuge and so think they have solved, with a little quibbling about words, that difficult problem on the solution of which millennia have worked in vain and which can therefore hardly be found so completely on the surface, That is to say, in the question about that freedom which must be put at the basis of all moral laws and the imputation appropriate to them, it does not matter whether the causality determined in accordance with a natural law is necessary through determining grounds lying within the subject or outside him, or in the first case whether these determining grounds are instinctive or thought by reason, if, as is admitted by these men themselves,these determining representations have the ground of their existence in time and indeed in the antecedent state; and this in turn in a preceding state, and so forth. These determinations may be internal and they may have psychological instead of mechanical causality, that is, produce actions by means of representations and not by bodily movements; [still] they are always determining grounds of the causality of a being insofar as its existence is determinable in time and therefore under the necessitating conditions of past time, which are thus, when the subject is to act, no longer within his control and which may therefore bring with them psychological freedom (if one wants to use this term for a merely internal chain of representations in the soul) but nevertheless natural necessity; and they therefore leave notranscendental freedom, which must be thought as independence from everything empirical and so from nature generally, whether it is regarded as an object of inner sense in time only or also of outer sense in both space and time; without this freedom (in the latter and proper sense),which alone is practical a priori, no moral law is possible and no imputation in accordance with it.â€

-Kant

 

Kant is trying to argue against Hume's compatibilist model of free will and determinism here. I find it amusing how he skirts around mentioning Hume by name.

 

Hume's argument was roughly that in order for people to be free, their desires and intentions need to be able to be exerted on the world. If I desire to do something, in order for us to say that I have freedom, we must concede that our desires have causal influence on our physical bodies and thus our ability to effect the external world. According to Hume, you're not free if you can't control what you do. That means that free will requires determinism, and the two positions aren't incompatible.

 

But Kant is here objecting, saying that the real purpose of the "free will" debate is to determine if acts can be spontaneously generated without cause.

 

The problem is, Hume specifically criticized this view. If acts are spontaneously generated without a physical cause, then we aren't free, we're slaves to randomness and chance. If our desires aren't formed in response to our material conditions, then they are completely arbitrary, and also it becomes pretty difficult to conceive of our desires as meaningful. To call such a will free is a misnomer, because its only metaphysical difference from Hume's compatibilist determinist model is that under Kant's view our desires are connected to an abstract metaphysical void, and not the real material world of real value and importance. Hume allows for us to have predictable and meaningful lives and understandings of desire. It would be better to be a slave to the predictable and tangible than to the totally unknowable and impalpable. And while Kant accuses Hume of playing with semantics here, obviously Hume's interpretation is the only one which preserves anything close to what the layperson conceives of as freedom, so that charge is exactly opposite the truth.

 

In conclusion, Kant is wretched.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have spent many a hour arguing this with my social studies teacher. The world, as far as humans know, is a lot of particles moving in response to the laws of physics. Ignoring quantum mechanics, we are just made up of particles that will inevitably follow paths according to the laws of physics. No free will. Including Quantum Mechanics, we have the probability of following multiple different paths, but we don't choose which path: Quantum Mechanics does. So under Kant's definition, we do have free will, but I find the definition wrong, because it just says random, it says nothing about were the randomness comes from. To have free will the randomness would have to come from something outside of matter, which probably doesn't exist (we can start a new thread on if God is real or not to answer that ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have spent many a hour arguing this with my social studies teacher. The world, as far as humans know, is a lot of particles moving in response to the laws of physics. Ignoring quantum mechanics, we are just made up of particles that will inevitably follow paths according to the laws of physics. No free will. Including Quantum Mechanics, we have the probability of following multiple different paths, but we don't choose which path: Quantum Mechanics does. So under Kant's definition, we do have free will, but I find the definition wrong, because it just says random, it says nothing about were the randomness comes from. To have free will the randomness would have to come from something outside of matter, which probably doesn't exist (we can start a new thread on if God is real or not to answer that ).

what does quantum mechanics have anything to do with kant

 

pretty sure quantum mechanics is the study of actions at the atomic level, not the metaphysical level

 

edit

dont necro bro

2199959-martysomehowwewerebroug.jpg

Edited by Zuul
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It Doesn't "Zuul". But some people make the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis for free will, so it was a preemptive. Also it doesn't really matter how cafe intellectuals think the world works, what matters is how the world works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It Doesn't "Zuul". But some people make the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis for free will, so it was a preemptive. Also it doesn't really matter how cafe intellectuals think the world works, what matters is how the world works.

Here's what someone else said earlier that sums up my response to the first part of your post

it just seems outdated to have the conversation, seeing as appeals to quantum level mechanics don't serve to explain away decision making/neuroactivity.

And how were Kant and Hume "cafe intellectuals"?

How are they different than the intellectuals making your arguments?

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because Kant and Hume don't have PhDs in physics. Philosophical questions that are scientific in nature, have no basis in being debated by people who don't use the laws of nature. Us debating it won't change whether or not we have free will, so instead of debating it, we can look at what science says, and settle the question

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because Kant and Hume don't have PhDs in physics. Philosophical questions that are scientific in nature, have no basis in being debated by people who don't use the laws of nature. Us debating it won't change whether or not we have free will, so instead of debating it, we can look at what science says, and settle the question

No PhD in physics = THROW OUT EVERYTHING THEY EVER SAID!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course I know who Kant is. I'm not saying science degree is necessary for credibility, I'm saying that philosophy about free will, and where we came from don't necessarily have basis in reality, while the science on these questions does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have spent many a hour arguing this with my social studies teacher. The world, as far as humans know, is a lot of particles moving in response to the laws of physics. Ignoring quantum mechanics, we are just made up of particles that will inevitably follow paths according to the laws of physics. No free will. Including Quantum Mechanics, we have the probability of following multiple different paths, but we don't choose which path: Quantum Mechanics does. So under Kant's definition, we do have free will, but I find the definition wrong, because it just says random, it says nothing about were the randomness comes from. To have free will the randomness would have to come from something outside of matter, which probably doesn't exist (we can start a new thread on if God is real or not to answer that ).

 

That only applies if forms of organic organisation didn't exist. People aren't air or water, this principle in the way you presented doesn't apply insofar as the concept of free will is concerned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...