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romansh

Free Will

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Rather heavy topic and questions to begin a Sunday morning.

 

If "I" is an illusion the question and the answer does not matter. If it is an illusion and one knows it is an illusion, why engage in what one knows is illusory? On the simplest level, I do not experience myself as an illusion. Actually, I don't think anyone does - until maybe they begin these kinds of conversations but immediately have second thoughts - because they simply do not experience self or other as unreal. To move beyond Decartes (I think therefore I am), the to primary experience is, "'I' am."

 

All that is, IS and there is nothing other. All that is experienced is experienced as being, in other words, it is. I do not experience myself as the one (for lack of a better phrase) who 'keeps' everything in being or is 'responsible' for their being. I experience myself as dependent, creation, 'part of,' immersed in........... This (question of being) is not a theoretical question, it is an existential question, arising from one (as we all are) involved in being. For Heidegger, being is an issue for man. And John Macquarie adds, being is the act or condition of being - which is not the same as everything that is and not the same as anything that can be called a being, yet in some way, being is common to all beings. Before both of these philosophers, Aristotle stated that it is not possible that unity or being should be a single genus of things. And again, Heidegger: being is the transcendens pure and simple. The essence of being is the dynamic 'letting be' of beings.

 

Being 'lets be' all that is (which includes the universe - all that is, i.e. beings). There is (only) One - but I will offer the words of the man who introduced me to Philosophy (and Being) in 1970: : there is not a multiplicity of beings (in Being, there is only {one} Being) but there is a multiplicity of persons in the One).

 

Philosophers might call it being but the person of faith might move beyond philosophy to call being, Holy Being (God).

 

This is but a brief answer to a very 'heavy' topic. It is just an indication and a topic that I continue to both try to understand and articulate.

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Seemingly, man is part of the 'stardust,' part of the universe and is 'let be' by/in what is common to all that is: being. There is a 'sameness' (an interconnectedness) with (beings) the universe (in Being there is only Being). And, there is a 'difference:' man is capable of (called to?) 'let be' thereby enabling (empowering) self/other selves/the universe to fulfillment/abundance: diversity in unity. Contradictory? No. Paradoxical? Definitely.

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Seemingly, man is part of the 'stardust,' part of the universe and is 'let be' by/in what is common to all that is: being. There is a 'sameness' (an interconnectedness) with (beings) the universe (in Being there is only Being). And, there is a 'difference:' man is capable of (called to?) 'let be' thereby enabling (empowering) self/other selves/the universe to fulfillment/abundance: diversity in unity. Contradictory? No. Paradoxical? Definitely.

 

I must admit ... I find the substance of your post not clear to me.

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I must admit I am very skeptical of a "free" choice. See you on the free will thread (or not :-) )

For me the question of free will is largely academic. I will continue to "choose" to look before crossing the road. Just as I will continue to walk on a flat earth and watch as the sun moves across the sky.

 

My own suspicion is that the answer to the free will question is lost within another "common sense" experience - i.e. that we live in a linear time frame.....and actual reality itself is not so. But really, who at the moment knows?

 

"That there IS suffering, that I know".

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Derek,

I think you hit the nail on the head. It "is largely academic". While i tend to side with the view we have a choice and a will, the free part seems to me to be limited and not free in the true sense of the word "free". However, i wouldn't put any quid on it.

 

The perceived advantage, as i see it, of my choice of view of the matter, is my compassion instead of anger is triggered by some of the seemingly ignorant choices we all seem to make .

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Not to sully the other thread ...

For me the question of free will is largely academic. I will continue to "choose" to look before crossing the road. Just as I will continue to walk on a flat earth and watch as the sun moves across the sky.

 

Well it might be largely academic, but for me it is an interesting academic. It leads to all sorts of 'spiritual' outlooks. And those too are largely academic for some.

 

One nice academic aspect is, whilst driving I find myself looking in the mirror and then thinking I'll check what is behind me. I wonder if you observe the same phenomena when looking before crossing the road?

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Not to sully the other thread ...

 

 

Well it might be largely academic, but for me it is an interesting academic. It leads to all sorts of 'spiritual' outlooks. And those too are largely academic for some.

 

One nice academic aspect is, whilst driving I find myself looking in the mirror and then thinking I'll check what is behind me. I wonder if you observe the same phenomena when looking before crossing the road?

I love "sullied" threads, so much more interesting than those that go in a straight line.

 

But about crossing the road and looking, for me it goes back visits paid to my school by a policeman who drove the "code" deep into my themn immortal head.

 

"Look right, look left, then right again".

 

It saved my life once, seriously. I was walking along a very busy street in London and reached a junction to cross. The thought that any car could actually enter that road junction st speed was really not a possibility. But instinctively I looked to the right even as I was taking a step into the road. I just stepped back in time as a sports car zipped past at a real pace, having sped crazily straight across the busy road.

 

As you love the question, please carry on with all its academic attributes.

 

By the,way, I do not drive. Never chose to learn.

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"Look right, look left, then right again".

 

 

Yep ... this is still true for me ... even after living thirty years in Canada.

I can't even get on a bicycle from what passes as the correct side here.

In London you can get away without a vehicle.

 

But understanding how the universe ticks and how we in it dance to its beat is academic.

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Here is a RadioLab excerpt .... it is about free will. https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/777882

The first 27 minutes sets up the twenty minute discussion at the end with Robert Sapolsky.

The first 27 min: In short, "Kevin" has epilepsy and has part of his frontal cortex removed. He does various societally unacceptable misdemeanours, gets caught and goes to jail. The last twenty minutes is the discussion with the Radioab host and Sapolsky (author of Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst). I will definitely read this in the future.

and this may of interest ... have not had a chance to listen to it yet.

https://ww2.kqed.org/forum/2017/05/15/robert-sapolsky-tackles-best-and-worst-of-human-nature-in-behave/

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Free will is intention.  To forgive or not to forgive.  To love or not to love.  To accept or to challenge.

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On November 13, 2016 at 1:17 PM, romansh said:

So where does a person end and the rest of the universe begin?

Gordon Allport had a demonstration of this question.  Work up a good mouthful of saliva and swallow it.  Then do the same thing, but spit it into a clean glass and then drink it.  The disgust at swallowing the saliva from the glass is because the personal boundry was violated.

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21 hours ago, Burl said:

Free will is intention.  To forgive or not to forgive.  To love or not to love.  To accept or to challenge.

Your first sentence is a little tautological for my taste Burl. Having a will or an intention to do something does not make it free, does it? 

And from personal anecdotes ... I either love or not love ... I certainly did not have an intention to love. I don't intend to accept or not another view. I either do or don't.  Now I might decide (choose} to voice a my challenge or objection to a particular view, but that does not mean I do so freely? 

There are certain sexual practices that might throw some doubt on your spittle boundary. But I was thinking a little more broadly than just some (for me) narrow psychological aspect of our lives. Simply that we might immediately perceive our lips as a boundary does not mean some potato and lamb chop with gravy is not "me" now. 

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You have free will to give to the corner panhandler or not.  You further have free will to intend either choice for any number of reasons.  You have free will to further imagine what the panhandler thinks of your choice, and what they imagine your intentions might be.

The opposite of free will is instinct.  Would you argue that all thought is purely instinctive?

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

You have free will to give to the corner panhandler or not.  You further have free will to intend either choice for any number of reasons.  You have free will to further imagine what the panhandler thinks of your choice, and what they imagine your intentions might be.

Here you by-pass two millennia or more of discussion and careful observation Burl. Simply asserting we use free will does not make our wills free per se. It is the nature of the choice that is under discussion. Are our choices independent of antecedents ... whether the antecedents be physical or psychological (should such a duality be real). 
Is all will free (independent of cause)?

Quote

The opposite of free will is instinct.

 

This I would argue is plainly false. If I inadvertently look for my the cereal box in the fridge is that instinctual? There are multitude of documented studies of subliminal causes for our behaviour. These are definitely not instinctual as such. 

Quote

 Would you argue that all thought is purely instinctive?

With the false duality of thought and instinct the question becomes moot. But while we are on thought, are our thoughts a result of cause? Again the cause can be physical or psychological.

Edited by romansh

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I've posted this before

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw

At the 4:30 min mark there are several different definitions. The whole video is worth a watch.

For me:    Free will is the ability to act in someway that is somehow independent of cause (deterministic or indeterministic cause that is).

 

 

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Only rarely can any action be considered independent of cause, so I agree with you per your definition.

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

Only rarely can any action be considered independent of cause, so I agree with you per your definition.

And what are these occasions that we are independent of cause ... rare as they may be?

And for you what be the ramifications of everything being a result of a prior cause?

 

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

And what are these occasions that we are independent of cause ... rare as they may be?

And for you what be the ramifications of everything being a result of a prior cause?

 

The major ramification of all actions (not everything) having a prior cause is that it points to the existence of a theistic god; a prime mover or first cause from which all others descend.

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On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎19 at 5:10 AM, Burl said:

The major ramification of all actions (not everything) having a prior cause is that it points to the existence of a theistic god; a prime mover or first cause from which all others descend.

I am reminded by the debate between Krauss and others of the universe being created out of nothing. The others claim Krauss's nothing is a true nothing, and Krauss retorts no it is the real nothing and not an imaginary one. Simon Blackburn (a philosopher) asks "why is nothing our default state?" 

Similarly ... why does there have to be a first cause?  But I digress. Why a theistic god and not a deistic/panentheistic god and perhaps even a pantheistic god? Here I take theistic god to be a personal revealed god.

 

Edited by romansh

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15 minutes ago, romansh said:

I am reminded by the debate between Krauss and others of the universe being created out of nothing. The others claim Krauss's nothing is a true nothing, and Krauss retorts no it is the real nothing and not an imaginary one. Simon Blackburn (a philosopher) asks "why is nothing our default state?" 

Similarly ... why does there have to be a first cause?  But I digress. Why a theistic god and not a deistic/panentheistic god and perhaps even a pantheistic god? Here I take theistic god to be a personal revealed god.

 

All three are types of theism.  Your private definitions of will and theism are making you unclear.  

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deism noun, the belief in the existence of supreme being arising from reason rather than revelation.

theism noun, belief in the existence of gods or a god , especially a God supernaturally revealed to man and sustaining a personal relationship to his creatures.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Eighth Edition, 1990.

 

 

 

Edited by romansh

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Right.  Deists are theists.  Plus the panentheists, pantheists and polytheists.  All postulate a supreme being who brought everything into existence via free will.  

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