Questions for those who believe in free will

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Rational Atheist
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Questions for those who believe in free will

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Post by Rational Atheist »

I'm trying to understand the belief in free will. For those who believe in free will, do you believe that your actions are determined by a chain of prior causes or not? If you do, you're a determinist and do not believe in free choice, since you can't control the causes that took place before you were born. If you don't believe your actions are determined by a chain of prior causes, or don't believe that that causal chain extends to before your birth, then you believe that at some point before your action, an event occurred for no reason whatsoever (purely random). How could this possibly get you free will either? No combination of determinism nor indeterminism (randomness) gives you "free will" in the sense of authorship of and responsibility for your actions. How can you believe anyone is ultimately responsible for what they do?

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #201

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to William in post #192]

As far as I can tell, the argument would still go through if one believed as you do about the world’s relationship to the Creator. (P1) You accept the causal premise as true, I think. (P2) The “natural universe” began to exist in the sense that the “anything but solid, real, material” universe isn’t eternal. The Creator’s ‘mode’ of existence began to be something new, right? (P3) The Creator existing in its mode prior to the change into the “natural universe” is the cause of the “natural universe”. (P4) Natural and supernatural just mean different things now, but are still exhaustive categories of the modes of existence prior to “creation” and after it. The cause is “supernatural” and the effect still “natural” in this sense. So, while I agree that our views are different, I don’t think that disagreement affects the reasoning we are analyzing in this argument.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #202

Post by The Tanager »

Bust Nak wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:44 amAt worse it would provide the empirical evidence needed to support premises of thought experiment a la William L. Craig defense of premise 2 of the cosmological argument. If the best tool is not good enough, worse ones aren't gonna help.
Science is not needed to support the second premise of the Kalam. Philosophy does it. Science can’t be supported without philosophical arguments itself. So, while I value science tremendously, it logically can’t be the best tool when you can’t even trust it without philosophical assumptions.
Bust Nak wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:44 am
Anything that isn't fundamentally random is deterministic.
If those are the only two options then being ‘deterministic’ includes both determinism and libertarian free will, moving the disagreement to a different ‘level’ but still the disagreement we are talking about.
Wait, have you ruled out non-deterministic free will? I haven't.
You said it’s either random or deterministic. Libertarian free will, usually, is considered a third option different from both.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #203

Post by Bust Nak »

The Tanager wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:47 pm Science is not needed to support the second premise of the Kalam. Philosophy does it. Science can’t be supported without philosophical arguments itself. So, while I value science tremendously, it logically can’t be the best tool when you can’t even trust it without philosophical assumptions.
But science is itself a form of philosophy in that sense, the best form.
You said it’s either random or deterministic. Libertarian free will, usually, is considered a third option different from both.
Random or deterministic is a true dichotomy in my book. So the only options are random with free will, random without free will, determinism with free will, determinism without free will. If the "libertarian" label marks free will as none of the above, then the very concept of libertarian free will can be discarded trivially.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #204

Post by Seek »

Bust Nak wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:17 am
The Tanager wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:47 pm Science is not needed to support the second premise of the Kalam. Philosophy does it. Science can’t be supported without philosophical arguments itself. So, while I value science tremendously, it logically can’t be the best tool when you can’t even trust it without philosophical assumptions.
But science is itself a form of philosophy in that sense, the best form.
You said it’s either random or deterministic. Libertarian free will, usually, is considered a third option different from both.
Random or deterministic is a true dichotomy in my book. So the only options are random with free will, random without free will, determinism with free will, determinism without free will. If the "libertarian" label marks free will as none of the above, then the very concept of libertarian free will can be discarded trivially.
Random means your fate is determined, but unpredictable.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #205

Post by Bust Nak »

[Replying to Seek in post #206]

Determined yet unpredictable counts as determinism. Unpredictability is simply inescapable, given the (mathematically speaking) chaotic world we live in. The interesting question is whether this unpredictability is fundamental to reality or due to a lack of knowledge on our part. "Is it fundamental" is a yes/no question - a true dichotomy. The same dichotomy can be phrase in many ways: "appearance of random or objective random," "is it predictable in principle, yes or no."

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #206

Post by Seek »

Bust Nak wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:14 am [Replying to Seek in post #206]

Determined yet unpredictable counts as determinism. Unpredictability is simply inescapable, given the (mathematically speaking) chaotic world we live in. The interesting question is whether this unpredictability is fundamental to reality or due to a lack of knowledge on our part. "Is it fundamental" is a yes/no question - a true dichotomy. The same dichotomy can be phrase in many ways: "appearance of random or objective random," "is it predictable in principle, yes or no."
I can guarantee you that you were just as determined to write and post this message as you are destined to die no matter what. :D

On a serious note, there is strong scientific and emprical evidence against free will.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #207

Post by Seek »

I think it’s possible that free will exists, but if it does it cannot be understood.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #208

Post by Miles »

Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:15 pm I think it’s possible that free will exists, but if it does it cannot be understood.
Free will is commonly understood as "having the ability to have done differently." Or, as some have said,

"Will is the capacity to act decisively on one's desires.

Free will is to do so undirected by controlling influences."




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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #209

Post by Seek »

Miles wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:15 pm I think it’s possible that free will exists, but if it does it cannot be understood.
Free will is commonly understood as "having the ability to have done differently." Or, as some have said,

"Will is the capacity to act decisively on one's desires.

Free will is to do so undirected by controlling influences."




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Miles, I meant in a metaphysical sense, not theoretically.

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Re: Questions for those who believe in free will

Post #210

Post by Miles »

Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:59 pm
Miles wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:15 pm I think it’s possible that free will exists, but if it does it cannot be understood.
Free will is commonly understood as "having the ability to have done differently." Or, as some have said,

"Will is the capacity to act decisively on one's desires.

Free will is to do so undirected by controlling influences."




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Miles, I meant in a metaphysical sense, not theoretically.

From The Metaphysicist

"The Metaphysics of Free Will

The existence of free will depends on the existence of genuine possibility (some absence of necessity), in the sense of counterfactual situations in the past that were alternative possibilities for action. They allow us to say that we could have done otherwise."

source



From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"Metaphysics

One major issue in the metaphysics of causation concerns specifying the relata of causal relations.."

"relata." That is, "a thing or term related : one of a group of related things : correlative specifically : one of the terms to which a logical relation proceeds: the second or one of the succeeding terms of a relation."* In other words, the casual chain of events leading up to and producing an event." That is, "the controlling influences."
source

*Merriam Webster



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