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Thread: Free Will And Free Choice

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I find the entire notion of free will to be incoherent. What is supposed to be making this "choice"? The brain is a complicated system to be sure but it is inherently responsive - it does nothing "on its own" but is bound to respond to external stimuli somehow, as is the function of any brain in any vertebrate organism. There is no apparatus for creating thoughts or opinions independent of one's surroundings. Derived, adapted, inferrred, or delayed, but never entirely invented. So by what definition of "free" could this process ever be defined?
    Part of the Christian theology is the idea that god gave humans the free will to choose between what god wants and what god does not want.

    If there is no free will then god's creation are just automatons programed to obey god....puppets.

    As to 'who' makes the choices has a number of traditional angers in non Abrahamic traditions. Do you not know who and what 'you' are?
    I see you've never met a Calvinist! This has historically been a subject of much debate, within all three of the dominamt Abrahamic traditions in fact. The Bible and Qur'an themselves are ambiguous at best and possibly contradictory, so it comes down to what side one takes in one of the most ancient of theological disputes. If God exists, I don't believe that we have more power than god to control our destiny, no. What would that make of omnipotence?

    But you know, this is a predominately atheist forum. I would generally expect the array of opinions among most of the posters here to have more scientific rather than paranormal explanations. Is this a wrong assumption?

    I would consider "selfhood" to be an even thornier issue than free will, since you ask.
    I know about Calvanism. It is generaly an exception.

    Do you know who and what you are and makes choices?

    You do not appear to be a Christian, what are you?

  2. Top | #12
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    The assumption made by some appears to be: the ability to make decisions/select an option from a set of reliazable alternatives, is an instance of free will. In which case a computer has free will.

  3. Top | #13
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    Turing Machine vs Neural Net?

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Turing Machine vs Neural Net?
    Probably any number of possibilities in between. Intelligence, adaptability, learning, etc, are not classed as 'robotic' and may apply to any number of organism that are not 'moral agents' yet are able to select options and carry out actions. Either 'robot' or 'free will' appears to be a false dichotomy.

  5. Top | #15
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    ...
    I would consider "selfhood" to be an even thornier issue than free will, since you ask.
    ...
    Do you know who and what you are and makes choices?
    ...
    You've hit the nail on the proverbial head. We are free to be what we are and no more than what we are. It's seems like that should satisfy everyone across the spectrum of beliefs. The real question becomes "How do I define what I am?" (or what I is, perhaps). Because whenever we talk about the self it's always in terms of the model our brains have conceived to explain the world and our relationship to it. Just the same as every other object we encounter, but much richer and more intimate. To my way of thinking it comes down to "I am what I have", rather than what I do. That is, the things I take ownership of. I don't "think" so much as "I have thoughts". Where they come from is less important than that I have them. The conscious awareness of them is a different, and more difficult, issue. But I'm sure the experience of conscious awareness can be broken down into much simpler and more basic components, even if never explained completely. When we can properly describe what we are we will be able to also realize our full degree of freedom.

  6. Top | #16
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    We have no choice but to be what we are. Even when we try to change. Even when we do change, as inevitably we do. We grow, learn and adapt. We respond, but not on the basis of 'free will.'

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    We have no choice but to be what we are. Even when we try to change. Even when we do change, as inevitably we do. We grow, learn and adapt. We respond, but not on the basis of 'free will.'
    Nice.

  8. Top | #18
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Is there nothing inbetween? Only 'free will' - whatever that is supposed to be - and 'automatons?'
    Well, perhaps you could explain what being half automatic would look like, and what physiological system would accommodate this state?
    The ability to acquire information and respond to it is a matter of brain architecture and senses. Response comes automatically. That is what a brain is evolved to do, to process information and respond. The manner of response may be creative, different each time a similar situation or need arises....creative but determined by the information state of the brain in any given instance in time. That is intelligence, not free will.

  9. Top | #19
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    I think what you called intelligence is actually evolutionary fitness. Determination is in the description.

  10. Top | #20
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    I think what you called intelligence is actually evolutionary fitness. Determination is in the description.
    Sure, you could say that. But evolutionary fitness may also come in different forms.

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