Do you believe in free will

Getting to know more about a specific belief

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sleepyhead
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Do you believe in free will

Post #1

Post by sleepyhead »

Hello,

Occasionally when debating non thesist, they claim that there is no free will. I was wondering if this was a prevalent viewpoint among non theists or if it was only a few. Does a non belief in free will help in supporting an argument for you.
May all your naps be joyous occasions.

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McCulloch
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Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

It all depends on what you mean. If by free will you mean that I am not always constrained by factors beyond my control and can freely make choices and decisions, then of course, my will is free. If, on the other hand, you mean that our choices and decisions originate from some process that is not subject to the apparently deterministic1 laws of the universe, then I see no evidence of nor theoretical basis for free will. We cannot know if I could have chosen differently from what I have chosen, for any specific choice I have made. Free will opens the metaphysical door to some non-physical entity, a spirit or soul, not subject to the normal laws of determinism. Once that door is opened, God is not far behind.


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1 Except on a quantum scale, where events are random and follow statistical laws rather than discrete ones.

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LiamOS
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Post #3

Post by LiamOS »

Based on my study of physics so far, I conclude that free will does not exist in this universe when it is defined to necessitate something that would not otherwise be.

My lack of belief in free will doesn't support any arguments, but it allows me to dismiss many arguments. Essentially, it furthers my agnosticism in general.

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sleepyhead
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Post #4

Post by sleepyhead »

Thanks to both of you,

It will take me a while to digiest what you wrote so I won't be replying now. I have to defeat some dominators before they take over the universe. Anyway thank you.
May all your naps be joyous occasions.

Americanguy

Free will exists

Post #5

Post by Americanguy »

This thread is a bit old, but I feeling like posting to show my own view. I believe free will exists.

Don't we consider choices and reason everyday? Do we not control our own thoughts? (At least to some extent.) We can make all manner of choices. Besides we have clear distinctions between free actions, everything from trivial matters like what to wear or life changing decisions and involuntary actions not under conscious control like or heart rate or compulsive thoughts/behavior.

When it comes to free will as a view among non-theists humans free will is important in Secular humanism. One source on Humanistic psychology can be found here:
http://psychology.about.com/b/2007/04/0 ... hology.htm

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LiamOS
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Re: Free will exists

Post #6

Post by LiamOS »

[color=orange]Americanguy[/color] wrote:Do we not control our own thoughts? (At least to some extent.)
I see no reason to believe that we do.

That you say "At least to some extent" implies that you believe there is a degree of determinism in our thought processes. Given that you do believe in free will, it follows that there is, at some level, a disconnect between physical interaction and the mind. At what point does this occur?

Americanguy

Re: Free will exists

Post #7

Post by Americanguy »

AkiThePirate wrote:
[color=orange]Americanguy[/color] wrote:Do we not control our own thoughts? (At least to some extent.)
I see no reason to believe that we do.

That you say "At least to some extent" implies that you believe there is a degree of determinism in our thought processes. Given that you do believe in free will, it follows that there is, at some level, a disconnect between physical interaction and the mind. At what point does this occur?
Good point.

:-k

I am at lose for answers to that question. I admit i can't explain the distinction between the mind and physical interactions.

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Re: Free will exists

Post #8

Post by Goat »

Americanguy wrote:This thread is a bit old, but I feeling like posting to show my own view. I believe free will exists.

Don't we consider choices and reason everyday? Do we not control our own thoughts? (At least to some extent.) We can make all manner of choices. Besides we have clear distinctions between free actions, everything from trivial matters like what to wear or life changing decisions and involuntary actions not under conscious control like or heart rate or compulsive thoughts/behavior.

When it comes to free will as a view among non-theists humans free will is important in Secular humanism. One source on Humanistic psychology can be found here:
http://psychology.about.com/b/2007/04/0 ... hology.htm
Do we make our choice? What evidence do you have that 'we control our own thoughts' ? How do you know that our thoughts and our actions are not deterministic?
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

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Re: Do you believe in free will

Post #9

Post by Wootah »

sleepyhead wrote:Hello,

Occasionally when debating non thesist, they claim that there is no free will. I was wondering if this was a prevalent viewpoint among non theists or if it was only a few. Does a non belief in free will help in supporting an argument for you.
They know not what it means to their arguments. Let alone their language, thoughts and any semblance of existence. Although I also think they know exactly what free will means and so deny it even more.

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Re: Do you believe in free will

Post #10

Post by Ragna »

sleepyhead wrote:Hello,

Occasionally when debating non thesist, they claim that there is no free will. I was wondering if this was a prevalent viewpoint among non theists or if it was only a few. Does a non belief in free will help in supporting an argument for you.
I don't believe in free will, because I find no reason for doing so and no practical value when it's so vaguely defined. I suspect people use the word without delving into the true philosophical and physical implications it conveys. I think the determinism inherent in this universe combined with a naturalistic explanation for life does a lot to theism when understood as humans having some special place or relation to a "creator". With determinism, having a creator means having a determiner, someone who "sets" us, making sin, Heaven, and Hell lose their meaning. But I don't think free will is a likely scenario for a theistic world (or even likely at all, granted it's coherent), so it's a bit neutral. And deism most likely remains untouched by determinism - maybe even favored against theism.
Wootah wrote:They know not what it means to their arguments. Let alone their language, thoughts and any semblance of existence.
First, do you know what it means? Can you give me a coherent definition of the source, nature and process of free will?

Secondly, I don't see any practical value in a false generalization like that you did there. It seems like mere words trying to hide a void message.
Wootah wrote:Although I also think they know exactly what free will means and so deny it even more.
I don't deny it, I simply don't believe it. Nothing points to it and the defenses I've seen of it often resort to misconceptions and obfuscate semantics. So you say we have "exact knowledge" of the meaning of free will. What is it, tell me?

And how is something deniable "even more", either you deny it or you don't, don't you?

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