Do We Have The Freedom Of Choice?

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Post by ughaibu » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:57 am

biohazard wrote:I was referring to events purely within the natural sciences with no metaphysical or philosophical aspect in mind. With the word/term 'determinism' I meant that each reaction in the world is determined by the reactions preceding it and that each reaction determines the reactions succeeding it. 'Reaction' being any event that happens because of the laws of nature (a physical, chemical or biological interaction of photons, electrons, atoms, or molecules and such).
You appear to be talking about laws of science, philosophers distinguish these from laws of nature. Whether or not there are any laws of nature is a matter of dispute, and if there are, what manner of thing they are and whether or not they could support a determined world, are also matters of dispute.
On the other hand, there clearly are laws of science and they allow us to manipulate the world to our advantage. In short, they're a bit like recipes, so it's quite puzzling that they would strike anyone as a reason to doubt the reality of free will. But, assume that we can take a complete and exact measurement of the relevant state of the world, at time zero, and have the calculating power to predict how the agent will behave at time two. At time one, we tell the agent what they have been predicted to do at time two. Unless the prediction is something quite trivial, like "the agent's heart will beat", the agent can countermand the prediction. And we are committed to this, because countermanding the prediction is logically equivalent to observing it, and the sciences we appeal to for the relevant laws are dependent on observation, so we cannot simply rule out an observation which conflicts with our thesis. The consequence of this is that no law of empirical science can ever cast doubt on the reality of free will.
biohazard wrote:I was asking if there is proof of anything being random in the world, because this would bring the element of uncertainty to this chain reaction and thus 'break us free' from our predetermined actions and reactions.
The randomness which conflicts with determinism, is mathematical randomness. In principle, a determined world is fully computable, this has various consequences and explains, inter alia, the present popularity of Zuse's thesis with determinists.
In classical mathematics, the probability of a real number being computable is zero. This means that the continued expansion of a string generated by non-algorithmic means, has a zero probability of being computable. We can construct such a string from controlled voluntary actions. For example, append, in sequence, to "0.", a "1" for any word written by me in this post, that has an odd number of letters and a "0" for any word with an even number; 0.100011001 etc. It would be begging the question against determinists to say that this string is random, but it is sufficient to show that there is no logical difficulty for controlled voluntary actions which are mathematically random.
biohazard wrote:In my opinion, the only metaphysical or philosophical aspect of free will is just the question: does it really matter?
It matters in exactly the same way that evolution matters. The denial of free will is at least as irrational as the denial of evolution, both are observable. If we deny that which is observably the case, then we have no non-arbitrary way in which to talk about the world. Human beings are social animals, so they need to be able to communicate, and this requires that they have a world which is common to them all.

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Post by Arlen1991 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:00 am

The world can be perceptible !

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Re: Re:

Post by biohazard » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:38 am

ughaibu wrote:It matters in exactly the same way that evolution matters. The denial of free will is at least as irrational as the denial of evolution, both are observable.

I still do not understand: how do you observe free will? I don't even know how to study that, because you can never go back and prove that some decision could have been taken in any other way. Or can you?

I do not deny evolution, we have got heaps and loads of evidence supporting it and not a single credible alternative theory.

But about free will, as far as I understand, we have just two options and not any(?) direct piece of evidence supports the existence of free will. But we can empirically study biological or computational decision-making and see that it is just a network of very elaborate series of chain reactions that follow the most basic rules of physics and would support the deterministic view of the world.

And I do not think that sufficient evidence for free will is that you feel like you had one! :)

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Post by Aymeric » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:38 pm

I don't understand how non-determined free will is observable...

And even if it were, how would you tell that it is NOT an illusion deriving from the fact that you are a conscious being?
Being conscious means being able to look at yourself WHILE being you, unlike other animals who can only be aware of what is around them without being aware that they are 'someone'.
And the fact that you can 'watch yourself' as you go along in your life (and thus make choices) is what creates the impression of free will.
You look at yourself, and you see yourself doing something, and you tell yourself "I'm doing this thing for this or that reason". The very fact that you analyse the reasons behind your choices makes you forget or lose sight of deeper, ingrained, DETERMINED factors that push you to go for X rather than Y or Z. In other words, it is your consciousness that blinds you from determinism. It prevents you from seeing it by covering it up with rationales and reasons that are all made up by your consciousness itself.

For instance, out of free will, you choose the green sweatshirt instead of the red one, and your consciousness tells you 'because I prefer green, because green looks nicer'. And that makes you forget that your childhood bedroom was painted in green, which subconsciously became a nostalgic memory that you cherish without realising it. That's just a made-up example, but this is a phenomenon that dictates practically EVERYTHING in our lives.

And this is why, in my opinion, free will CAN be determined. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. We have been determined to have this impression of free will, which actually only means 'conscious choice'.

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