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romansh

Free Will

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You  have made my case: these are a good number of posts under this topic which always seems to go far afield. This is not a burning issue for me (or anyone else given the lack of current new posts). As I mentioned, when this was (again) brought up by you, I was only presenting another position and had no interest (at this time) in yet another discussion.  And, with your comment that " ... belief in free will (for some of us) boils down to a considered ignorance ...... " why would anyone be interested in a dialogue when you have closed off any opposing position as ignorance? I have freely decided it is a waste of time.

Suffice to say I don't accept the denial of all cause and effect, I recognize a more - but not absolute - causal model, within which there is free choice. I accept that I am the cause of joy or hurt - in greater or lesser degrees - in my life. Am I influenced by others or my prior experiences, or what I have learned or by particular and changing circumstances? Sure, but I am the agent at work in the world and I assume the responsibility for my .....decisions. From what I read, there is no definitive answer that is proof certain, so your position, as all others, is opinion. 

You seem to be saying the mathematical models describe the chemistry and physics nicely - UNLESS you accept Joseph's position. So the models are useless given his position? 

This topic like the topic of illusion, the meaningfulness of life, God and on and on have no definitive answers. They are opinions, beliefs.  

 

 

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58 minutes ago, thormas said:

You  have made my case:

You addressed cause and effect? Really? You used the word cause once in respect to the first cause - which is largely irrelevant to our immediate free will.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

I recognize a more - but not absolute - causal model, within which there is free choice

While interesting that you recognize this "free choice" that is somehow independent of prior cause, one is left wondering how this might come about.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

I assume the responsibility for my .....decisions

This is fine, sounds good proper. I too accept that I am a proximate cause of the many effects I have. And I too accept responsibility in that sense.

 

1 hour ago, thormas said:

You seem to be saying the mathematical models describe the chemistry and physics nicely - UNLESS you accept Joseph's position. So the models are useless given his position? 

I don't particularly buy Joseph's position ... just pointing out the coincidence.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

From what I read, there is no definitive answer that is proof certain,

Certainly there is not. So the question becomes why would one side with the believe in free will/choice side. Why not be agnostic about it? Ask what are the influences, biases, and mistakes in your belief.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

why would anyone be interested in a dialogue when you have closed off any opposing position as ignorance?

This is nuts. I too am ignorant of all the chemistry, biases, etc that go into any particular so-called "free" choice I make. But simply being aware that they exist I have to become circumspect with respect to the philosophical concept of free. Get your ad hominin correct thormas. Why would anyone be interested in the subject of free will? Well for me it is how the universe ticks (or does not) and how that ticking applies to the human condition that is interesting. 

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As PaulS said in December, referring to 'opinions' on free will, "neither can make a convincing case..." acceptable to the other. And most importantly, "not that we need to..."  (Concerning the repetition of opinions) he adds "...is a bit boring to me." I agree: it is opinion (belief), I have no need to convince you but you seem to need to convince others and bring them to your position (why not be agnostic about it?). 

Agnosticism is a position: one 'believes' he can not know if he is free (has free will) or is determined. Some here believe they are determined. My position is that I believe I am free (and not determined), that I make choices and am culpable, responsible, accountable for my actions. So it makes no sense that I would then say I believe I don't know one way or the other, when the case is that I believe one way and not the other. I accept that I am not a absolute first cause but I also, acknowledging the paradox, accept that I have freedom.

Many of us, diametrically opposed have had great and informative dialogues, presented our ideas (without the 'ad hominem'), go back and forth and move on. 

 

Edited by thormas

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One has free will in choosing attitudes, intentions and viewpoint/perspective.  Frankl is the arguably the most well known philosopher on this.  What one does may or may not be determined, but there is definitely free will in the cognitive processes surrounding the action.

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14 hours ago, Burl said:

 Frankl is the arguably the most well known philosopher on this.

So how did Frankl deal with the issue that everything is a result of cause and effect? 

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20 hours ago, thormas said:

'opinions' on free will

Well with respect to Paul ... some opinions are based on a fair amount of thought, evidence, research, logic. Others (in the cased of free will) are derived from a considered ignorance and just an appeal to our perceptions. Some opinions are just assertions. 

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Again with calling the opinions of people who disagree with your position/opinion to be not just ignorant but a considered ignorance (which contradicts your point because if something is considered, it suggests that a fair amount of thought and research went into it). Say what now? But you continue: your assertions (against free will) come from  a "fair amount research, thought ...."  One guesses that Rogers and Maslow, to name just two free will advocates, never gave much thought, did any research or utilized logic to arrive at their positions. 

It never gets old Rom ...................but it is predictable (determined???), but it could be otherwise (freedom of choice)!

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, romansh said:

So how did Frankl deal with the issue that everything is a result of cause and effect? 

Viktor Frankl worked out his philosophy in a concentration camp.  He did not oversimplify and say everything is the result of cause and effect.  He observed how his fellow prisoner's attitude influenced their suffering.  He realized human cognition is far too complex to exclude everything but cause and effect.

Even in the no choice concentration camp situation people could always choose their reaction.

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Viktor Frankl worked out his philosophy in a concentration camp.  He did not oversimplify and say everything is the result of cause and effect.  He observed how his fellow prisoner's attitude influenced their suffering.  He realized human cognition is far too complex to exclude everything but cause and effect.

Even in the no choice concentration camp situation people could always choose their reaction.

So what you are saying is you don't know how Frankl dealt with the simple conundrum of cause and effect in free will.  Frankl apparently observed different people dealt with the horrendous situation they found themselves in. Yes people make choices even in a concentration camp. But to claim (and I am sure Frankl would not) that these choices are somehow independent of the underlying chemistry (and physics) is nonsense. People deal differently with hunger, deprivation and shock.

What evidence do we have that the attitudes people chose were not a result of prior cause?

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

Again with calling the opinions of people who disagree with your position/opinion to be not just ignorant but a considered ignorance

Read what I wrote thormas. Your opinion is not a considered ignorance. But the way we come to the opinion that our choices are free. Free from genetics, prior experience, the food we eat, the chemistry of our decision making. How deliberately are you avoiding this part of the topic?

I was going to say we reify our consciousness and ignore the strings that form our choices opinions whatever. But reify is not strong enough. We deify our experience.  We literally become Gods ... little first cause generators. This is a position I find difficult to believe.

Edited by romansh

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Rom, 

You wrote, "Other....(opinions - and you specified free will)... are derived from (i.e. based on) a considered ignorance and just an appeal to our perceptions. Some opinions are just assertions." This reads that one opinion (that of free will) is, for you, based in ignorance and therefore a mere assertion and, by inference, inferior to yours which is "..... based on a fair amount of thought, evidence, research, logic."  You wrote it, I read it as it is: if, now, you think you have been misunderstood - don't make such all encompassing comments. However, let's leave that aside for now.

Moving on, it is you who is not reading carefully and considering what I said: "I accept that I am not a absolute first cause but I also, acknowledging the paradox, accept that I have freedom." In this statement, I am not denying prior experience, genetics, physical limitations, strings, or the coffee that makes one jittery if they have too much or cranky if they don't have any - I am saying they do not so determine one to remove all (free) choice. All behavior is not determined, there is personal agency (i.e.. free will). Free choice (and, with it, culpability, responsibility, accountability) is real and most of us accept and live this even while acknowledging that which influences us.

Finally, I am neither reifying or deifying either consciousness or experience: I just do not accept that environmental and behavioral determinism are absolute or that free choice is illusory. You (?) and determinists reduce all to a physicalism or a naturalism and reduce personal agency to nothingness. I disagree: "this is a position I find difficult to believe" and not worthy (for me) of serious consideration. I accept it is for you, respect, well I would typically say, your (free) choice, and would wish you well but this seems pointless since, given your position (or belief), whether you are/will be well or not well is already determined. 

 

Edited by thormas

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You know I will have to give some additional thought to your idea of humans being "little first causes." 

And referring back to 'the beginning of all things' was there nothing and then Bang? And if so, what do we think was the cause to that effect? Or was there something that caused the Bang and if so, what was it and was there a cause for it?  Can a closed natural system entirely sufficient to itself be verified, deductively or empirically from within that system?  

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10 hours ago, romansh said:

So what you are saying is you don't know how Frankl dealt with the simple conundrum of cause and effect in free will.  Frankl apparently observed different people dealt with the horrendous situation they found themselves in. Yes people make choices even in a concentration camp. But to claim (and I am sure Frankl would not) that these choices are somehow independent of the underlying chemistry (and physics) is nonsense. People deal differently with hunger, deprivation and shock.

What evidence do we have that the attitudes people chose were not a result of prior cause?

This unnuanced, procrustean thinking is 40 years out of date, Rom.  It is an intellectual dead end proven useful in training animals and the mentally retarded but not much else.  Mankind is not independent of chemistry and physics, but not completely dependent upon them either.  

Cognition is a major mediator of how people contextualize, interpret and react.  This is the basis of psychotherapy, which is a rather huge body of evidence.

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Rom,

I think some views, (opinions), even though/if  they might be correct or based on a more thorough examination of perceived existing evidence , are better left unsaid when it comes to the word ignorant or inference that a view is pinned to just our perceptions as if that is inferior to our own on a particular matter. Don't you think so ?.  As it doesn't seem to me to play out very well in a conversation or civil discussion that way.

Joseph (as Moderator)

PS While i agree we all might be ignorant in certain areas of expertise, the word itself carries a definition ... lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated ...   which does not seem to benefit conversations on this forum.

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On ‎2018‎-‎04‎-‎03 at 8:05 PM, thormas said:

You know I will have to give some additional thought to your idea of humans being "little first causes." 

And referring back to 'the beginning of all things' was there nothing and then Bang? And if so, what do we think was the cause to that effect? Or was there something that caused the Bang and if so, what was it and was there a cause for it?  Can a closed natural system entirely sufficient to itself be verified, deductively or empirically from within that system?  

We are mini first cause generators (in a God like fashion) if we have free will.

As to the big bang etc. Irrelevant to the whether I have free will as I type up this reply. The causal mesh just has to extend to before my conception for us to worry about not having free will.

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On ‎2018‎-‎04‎-‎04 at 3:33 AM, Burl said:

This unnuanced, procrustean thinking is 40 years out of date, Rom.  It is an intellectual dead end proven useful in training animals and the mentally retarded but not much else.  Mankind is not independent of chemistry and physics, but not completely dependent upon them either.  

Cognition is a major mediator of how people contextualize, interpret and react.  This is the basis of psychotherapy, which is a rather huge body of evidence.

Asserting it as un-nuanced does not make it so Burl. You claim mankind is not completely dependent chemistry and physics of making decisions. Fine, Can you give example of how a decision might be made independent of physics and chemistry?

I am awaiting you nuanced and non procrustean thinking Burl.

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23 hours ago, JosephM said:

I think some views, (opinions), even though/if  they might be correct or based on a more thorough examination of perceived existing evidence , are better left unsaid when it comes to the word ignorant or inference that a view is pinned to just our perceptions as if that is inferior to our own on a particular matter. Don't you think so ?.  As it doesn't seem to me to play out very well in a conversation or civil discussion that way.

Joseph ... I do understand the power of words. I also realize we are all ignorant in some respect. In a free will sense, I am totally ignorant (or perhaps unaware) of the chemistry that is me on a moment basis. While I have been made aware that it [chemistry] is there and it is what underpins the lively discussions that go in what passes as my mind. 

I don't get a sense that anyone is uneducated here. So they are not ignorant in that sense. I think most are quite thoughtful in the academic sense, so they are not ignorant in that sense. Do we know all? Definitely not, So we are ignorant in that sense.

Ignorance is not a sin, 

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44 minutes ago, romansh said:

We are mini first cause generators (in a God like fashion) if we have free will.

Not sure what you mean by God like but there is the idea of deification in the Eastern Church Fathers and Western Christianity believe we are born to be the sons and daughters of God. So there might be something to what you said.

As to the big bang etc. Irrelevant to the whether I have free will as I type up this reply. The causal mesh just has to extend to before my conception for us to worry about not having free will.

Of course it is not pertinent to the present discussion, it was simply a series of questions.

 

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

Not sure what you mean by God like but there is the idea of deification in the Eastern Church Fathers and Western Christianity believe we are born to be the sons and daughters of God. So there might be something to what you said.

You well may like the idea thormas. God like - We can make choices - independent of our biases, education, experiences, environment, evolution and the universe in general.

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3 hours ago, romansh said:

 

3 hours ago, romansh said:

Asserting it as un-nuanced does not make it so Burl. You claim mankind is not completely dependent chemistry and physics of making decisions. Fine, Can you give example of how a decision might be made independent of physics and chemistry?

I am awaiting you nuanced and non procrustean thinking Burl.

Tell me about how you decided who to marry, Rom.  Identify the causes and effects.  How about how you felt the first time you looked into your child's eyes?  Identify all the explicit causes and effects which impassionately created that feeling.

The big problem is that limiting everything to cause & effect is only a rationalization or an excuse but not an explanation.  It makes one big garbage can called cause and effect and claims everything can be jammed into that garbage can.  Kind of tidy, but it explains only the obvious and dismsses all the delightful aspects of humanity we are interested in.  

Causes and effects are so prolific it is impossible to define all the relevant causes and effects, much less all the interactions between them.  Divine revlation is a cause.  So is motivation, temperment, personality,  instinct, archetype, imitation, talent, imagination, belief, faith, revelation, love, resentment, beauty pleasure, suffering, pain, fear . . .

Claiming all is cause and effect is not a valid theory because it cannot be proven and is at best only a null hypothesis.  Absence of evidence is never evidence of absence.  Limiting all examination of life to cause and effect is just a psychological defense mechanism (rationalization, intellectualzation) which allows one to escape the anxiety of accepting that there is no understandable way to explain the complexities of human behavior.  

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2 minutes ago, Burl said:

Causes and effects are so prolific it is impossible to define all the relevant causes and effects, much less all the interactions between them.

So what ... no one is denying there are a lot of causes and we can't really identify the proximate causes.

3 minutes ago, Burl said:

Divine revlation is a cause.  So is motivation, temperment, personality,  instinct, archetype, imitation, talent, imagination, belief, faith, revelation, love, resentment, beauty pleasure, suffering, pain, fear .

And ...

4 minutes ago, Burl said:

Claiming all is cause and effect is not a valid theory because it cannot be proven and is at best only a null hypothesis

Not knowing how to test a hypothesis does mean the hypothesis is not valid. Think Avogadro when he hypothesized. Also science does not prove stuff. I wonder why we keep getting this wrong.

8 minutes ago, Burl said:

Absence of evidence is never evidence of absence.  Limiting all examination of life to cause and effect is just a psychological defense mechanism (rationalization, intellectualzation) which allows one to escape the anxiety of accepting that there is no understandable way to explain the complexities of human behavior.

Perhaps - but just claiming that we can make choices of independent of cause without evidence is what exactly?

I asked you this question:

4 hours ago, romansh said:

You claim mankind is not completely dependent chemistry and physics of making decisions. Fine, Can you give example of how a decision might be made independent of physics and chemistry?

Would you care to have a go at it - thanks

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24 minutes ago, romansh said:

So what ... no one is denying there are a lot of causes and we can't really identify the proximate causes.

And ...

Not knowing how to test a hypothesis does mean the hypothesis is not valid. Think Avogadro when he hypothesized. Also science does not prove stuff. I wonder why we keep getting this wrong.

Perhaps - but just claiming that we can make choices of independent of cause without evidence is what exactly?

I asked you this question:

Would you care to have a go at it - thanks

I did that.  You ignored it.

The way you chose your wife was not determined entirely by chemistry and physics.

The way you felt when you first saw your child's eyes was not determined entirely by chemistry and physics.

i do not believe you can dispute this evidence.

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4 minutes ago, Burl said:

The way you chose your wife was not determined entirely by chemistry and physics.

The way you felt when you first saw your child's eyes was not determined entirely by chemistry and physics.

Show your working Burl. What is your evidence that it is not chemistry and physics?

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7 minutes ago, romansh said:

Show your working Burl. What is your evidence that it is not chemistry and physics?

You are repeating yourself and adding nothing to the conversation.

i answered your question in detail.  It is now your turn to answer questions and put forth positive support of your position.

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Please provide a link - because I missed where your provided the evidence? Unless you mean this?

1 hour ago, Burl said:

Divine revlation is a cause.  So is motivation, temperment, personality,  instinct, archetype, imitation, talent, imagination, belief, faith, revelation, love, resentment, beauty pleasure, suffering, pain, fear . . .

With exception supposed revelation, are all the attributes listed not based in chemistry and physics? 

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