kx21 The Spark or Fire of Passion... 011201
dust devil or the fašade behind which lurks predestination 011201
kx21 Gift or more precisely Gene from God or something else (please specify)? 011201
Gift or more precisely Gene from God or something else (please specify)?
kx21 Momentum of Soul 020111
ever dumbening "
Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete

Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt
That's far too fleet ...
cube Free will or freedom of choice is what Lucifer wanted to take from us - that we might all come back to God. Of course, he wanted God's power as a reward for this neat hack.

So, the whole war in heaven thing was fought over this issue of free will. If it can cause that much discord, it must be worth something...
kx21 Increase of one's Free will (e.g. Tribe) is equal to decrease of Free Will of Other(s)? 020113
j_blue only if you take more than is yours to be had 020116
CheapVodka oh...this is good...i just thought up the perfect rant for this earlier today at work (in all my boredom)

Some guy told me the other day, "We all should be thankful that God gave us free_will. And I asked him why. He said, "because he wanted us to make our own decisions and be our own people." yes, if there is a god, that was really cool of him to hook it up with free_will...but then it got me thinking...

what kind of sick_fuck would create beings and a world and NOT give us free_will... wouldn't that be wrong...he would have created a world of zombies wandering around and eating forbidden fruits all day.

So... what does this prove? Once again, if there is a God...he's fucking us all in our ass..

he's not great and forgiving... he's a big asshole who obviously enjoys watching us struggle and rewarding those that don't need shit...

he is more like a big, cruel, unfair obstacle that we can't get around

if this offends anyone...please, just ignore me
cube The KEY reason for having free will at all is for US to decide whether to come back to God or not.God obviously wants us all to come back to him or Lucifer wouldn't have presented the 'Zombie Plan' in the first place.

The Zombie Plan would have taken away our free will. Every action would have been mapped out for us. We would have become little more than biological machines. Prisoners...
patch ooops, did'nt mean to shout. 020119
Malachite ... is selfishness personified. 030619
User24 yup patch, tis true

we only have the freedom to do what is socially acceptable and feasable within our society.
stork daddy why is this always looked at so either or? yes we are determined but we are determined to seek freedom. that is, we are determined to become aware about the world, to increase our knowledge about the options. of course the relevance of any given thing before us in the tableau of an earth moment is all relative to a goal that has to at some level be inborn. So you could argue that there must be some inborn goals of ours which are determined, our hunger, or comfort levels or so on and so forth. to make it seem as if we are just a complicated domino rally set though is a tad inaccurate as there is information being exchanged and circuited back and forth. trajectories are not just embarked on, but changed. if you look at it all after the fact as one large trajectory you could say it was all pre-determined, but certainly not in any predictable way, nor is there anyway to prove that it couldn't've been different. a good decision is one in which we are clearly informed of which choices bring us most directly to whatever goal we have. that is what decision making consists of to me, awareness. We are configured to increase awareness and find freedom. One of the awareness' we've inevitably come across is that of "free will." Just being aware of it we could arbitrarily choose something or draw it out of a hat. There's no reason to suggest this is the best way of making a decision, but we are free to do so, in the sense we are aware of it and can if we so desire. We can even go against our own desires if what we want more than anything is to be free. Of course we cannot at some level escape our circumstances, but why would we want to? The very reason a decision is worthwhile to waver over is because it matters to us. For the most part, the human mind is free in that it isn't chained to any one sort of action, and awaits relevant information. we are trapped by our clamoring for new options and new possibilities. freedom is the ability to make choices in my opinion. any other definition needs lots of metaphysical claptrap. i do hold, however, that an actual choice is made since the very executive function that we say is impotent, a figurehead, does play a large role in configuring the self that makes these choices. We can veto choices which go against our larger desires, we can ennact a larger action which contains many subdecisions (to study a language or to learn how to play guitar for instance). The very responsibility we feel, the awareness we feel is not needless ornamentation, it is a key part of the decision process, it is our user interface between ourselves and our decision trees. You cannot say it is just awareness of something which is happening without us, because we are the happening, the freedom we feel is our mind's way of telling us that there is a decision to be made which requires our attention, our further orders. We are not only given access to relevant parts of ourself as well as the world which it must involve itself in, but are then asked to find the best path between the two, the best actions. Of course we aren't like computers, it'd make no sense to evolve into something that searches out the very best possibility everytime because we evolved in a world with time limits with decisions that needed to be made right now, not years from now. So we make some decisions half blind, but that feeling of responsibility we have is what makes us seek out better choices next time, or learn to improve our turnaround time. There is even more freedom in this middle ground as we are not bewildered by possibilities or trapped by lack of them. We know the freedom of making a decision because it had to be made, and we often get to decide when that time is. Of course there are limitations, of course we are subject to the laws of physics, but to say that means we are necessarily automatons who must sit back and play no role in what happens to us is a totally unfounded conclusion. i'm not saying we're going to ferret out on blather a rhetoric that years and years of philosophy hasn't, but I will openly state that all of that philosophy as well as the common sense appreciation of it fails to capture the complexity of what is actually going on. 030619
User24 Firstly, just because it seems an appropriate answer to your argument; chaos_theory

however, that's a surefire way to kill a discussion (and one of the most interesting ones on blather for a while, thankyou), so;


(shuffles notes)


(sips water)

(turns projector on)

Free will.

A discussion.

From the moment we are born, we start making choices. At first, of course, we are not aware of them, it could be said that we have not yet developed our memory enough to store our experiences - a vital function for personal, social and evolutionary functions.

So, as a young child, we make the simplest of choices, and after a short amount of time, we start learning things; cry, and get love. Sleep to get energy. And how do learn these things? By association. We learn over time that when we sleep we get more energy, so next time we are tired, we know to sleep.

It could therefore be said that after a short amount of time 'getting to know the world' we realise how things work, and learn to manipulate ourselves and our environment to our own ends - that we develop our free will.

However, that would be a simplistic argument, yes, we can excercise a choice to sleep, but we do not have the choice over the effectiveness of sleep. Often, sleeping does not produce the desired effect; we are still tired when we wake. Nor do we choose that it is sleep that renews our energy, it is simply a thing that is. We have no choice over what foods are good for us, or what music we like. We only know that sleep is good, and some music is nice; it appeals to our subconscious, a part of our self which we affect, and that affects us.

The next stage in our development is to realise the existence of our subconscious, and along with it, the things in the world over which we have no direct control - the weather, gravity, our eyesight, the inner workings of our kidneys.

Realising that we have a degree of control over some things, and none over others, we rationalise our environment. It has been said that there are 3 stages to an argument; first it is ridiculed, then vehemently denied, then accepted as being self-evident. We can see these stages very rapidly progressing in childhood;

"it's silly! why can't I fly?"

"I CAN fly, I did yesterday"

"Of course you can't fly, it's impossible"

So, the child accepts his environment, and learns what is and is not possible, and usually, not much thought is given to the impossible afterwards. In fact, we can identify 3 broad areas of humanity using the 3 stages above, we have the scientists who still want to know why, the paranormalists who believe that nothing is impossible, and the majority of humanity, who accept it with childish intuition.

So, having rationalised our environment, we stop asking why we have no control. However, in order to explore free will, we need to look at those things over which we have no control, and ask why.

First, then, let us decide what we do not have, or seem to have, complete control over.

The Weather?

The Weather.

I cannot affect the weather directly, so it can be said that I cannot control the weather, however, my actions may affect the weather in subtle, random ways, so, while having a degree of control, it is not with conscious effort that I can control it.
Then no, I do not contol the weather.


Likewise, while I can take medications, I cannot instruct my white blood cells to attack a disease, even if I know the exact nature of this disease - A pioneer of reseach into the common cold will still need antibiotics to fight it.


I have the power of life and death over plants, it is true. But, I cannot control how many leaves it grows, how much water it uses, or when it flowers, except by manipulating its external environment - I cannot instigate an internal change.

What, then is meant by control?

Is it the power to destroy? The power to affect in any way? Or the power to affect choice, for surely a plant must choose to grow more leaves in summer, and less in winter, to conserve energy?

If a plant does not make choices, then surely we do not make choices, for we react to our environment in a similar way - people in the sun more have dark skin to protect them - was this through choice? no. So then, a plant makes no choices? we cannot tell.

Is control only the power to destroy?

The third law of thermodynamics is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If I burn a piece of paper, the paper has not been destroyed, it has been converted to light and heat.
So control cannot be simply the power to destroy or to create, for that is impossible.

The power to convert, then?
It is a distinct possibility, that control is just the ability to convert a to b, to transfer energy. I can see no counter-arguments, and that which is not contradictable must be true.

So, using the above definition, we can say every entity, sentient and otherwise, has a degree of control.

How, then does free will differ from control?

Is free will synonymous with self-control?

If so, then to what degree?

A total power of self control is impossible - I cannot cure myself of disease, and I cannot make myself fitter without excercise.

Free will can be described as "a limited power to convert parts of ourselves from one form to another"

Yes, we have free will.
stork daddy a plant has evolved reactions which serve its purposes, but they really don't make use of options the way humans do. to say free will is only converting our energy into another type of energy is a bit misleading since that describes almost every process physically possible. there is no doubt we are made of the same stuff as rocks, but unlike rocks, you cannot describe our function and structure in the same sentence. The material is organized towards an end. The way information is stored and recognized in our minds, used as a tool, given an interface, is what makes a plant's choices "choices" and our choices what we really mean when we say choices. A decision where both sides are hypothesized and foresight is attempted is different than a more passive reaction such as a plant withdrawing from aversive stimulus. The fact is, the plant instinctively withdraws from certain stimulus, it does not have a means of more clearly defining aversive since its definition is written in evolutionary precedent not logic, or the safe trials of a laboratory where a hypothesis dies in your stead. As you pointed out, and as i was discussing earlier, we are not ourselves free from such instinct. We cannot naturally see ultraviolet light or fly. But we've found ways to know they are possibilities. Our choices are not limited to any one type of reaction but instead we are given whatever options our mind is aware of (and this usually includes awareness of our own fallibility and a curiosity to counteract it when we can) and must do further research to find which of these options best matches our goals. So in a way, we do get to decide how we will react to the world. Or on a purely rhetorical level we don't, we seem cursed to have to decide things, to have choices, to waver. We obviously don't learn only by association since some niches will never really be suitable for us, but certainly we are one of the most flexible creatures since we fill the cognitive niche. The real question is though, can it ever be said that I could've acted differently? I'm not sure of the answer, but I know that we can act differently in any recurring situation we know the specifics of and we can even forsee situations before they happen. In this sense we can make real decisions, because we can play the situation out in our mind and see whatever options we are capable of. The type of choices we make differ from a plants though, not just in complexity. A plant does not gather secondary information as to how to react to a stimulus. A plant does not make associations in one lifetime, so a plant does not learn. Of course, what really makes us complex is that we do more than make associations, we try to find relevance. A person does not associate a bell with being kicked in the stomach unless it really does predict it. A bell without a foot will never make a person wince. And people are very good at picking which factor, in a variety of factors is most related to whatever they are attempting to understand. My main point is this though, our reaction to the world, much more complex than a plant's, is to seek out information rather than wait for it to become relevant when it is often too late. Of course we are configured to favor certain choices, and a lot of our goals are inborn, or at least means to an inborn end of sorts, but we are so configured that we know this, we know we must search out the best decision and we know there are uncertainties, and we are even capable of randomly deciding with the help of a chaos theory assisted randomizer. the fact remains, we can direct ourselves down many paths, we can make choices. yes the atoms control us, but we control the atoms as well. All of this stems from a language confusion. We are the atoms...the sensation you get when you're making a choice is the "cold determinism" people dread. The soaring heights felt by a responsible existentialist are the same as the mechanations of a mind made from the same atoms as rocks but infinitely different in so many other meaningful ways. When we feel like we are making a decision we are, we are seeking out information as to which of our options (aware all the while and trying to defy whatever limitations we've recognized) best suits our best suited goals. Yes there is a transfer of energy, but there is also a transfer of information, relevant information. We are finding out which choice we'd rather make, we are responsibly deciding in a way random decisions or decisions never allowed to be more representative than instinct allows do not. We are chained to the world around us, but as it says in that song, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. Things do matter to us, we're made of matter, but we still do choose between two or more options in even our most simple activities. Whether you describe that choice as something that happens to us or something we make is up to you. I feel it is both. We are the happening. When we feel we've made a choice, we've found a suitable answer. Any other sort of freedom you can imagine is abstract, is part of the tenacious search for control we have that plants don't. After all, people have learned how to control "involuntary reactions" like digestion and such, and always expand their sphere of influence. The most defining characteristic of our species is we clamor always for more choices, for more information, for more relevance. We are determined to be as free as anything on this earth can be. Everything is involved in a chain of reaction, but we try to predict those reactions. Nothing is completely free, but we are free from a lot of causal chains, even if it took a causal chain to accomplish it. I personally believe that if AI was ever designed well enough, it could possess free will. I don't rule it out as a possibility anyways since my definition of freedom is the ability to know the features of the world most relevant to any situation where a variety of responses are possible and to approximate the best course of action, never allowing for all other options to be disconsidered untill all relevant information is known. We are free in that we do not know what choice we will make and do not rule out options. that is why no one takes seriously the advice to sit back and watch life happen since none of us are free. That would be defeating ourselves whether or not some metaphysical definition of freedom actually holds. we do play a part in important decisions, however you define decisions. We have a freedom that matters, not a reckless ridiculous one. Who would want a person as free to kill their mother as they are to feed their cat? We all, i feel are free at an extreme level to do both (especially if we're cocktail party philosophers with something to prove) but we aren't really equally free to do both. It's all really relative to what's relevant to us. And do we get to decide that? Yes, because we don't always know, and we are a part of finding out and so cannot rule all but one option out at this time. They all are equally possible to us, untill we learn more. I do not believe that wavering is an illusion. Nor do i believe there needs to be a quantum explanation of freedom, or one not tied up in the very world that makes decisions matter. Our very freedom is that we are far from random, but also far from passive (and i mean that in a sense relative to this world, not relative to the magic land philosophers wish we lived in). 030621
stork daddy as to all your talk about control, we of course cannot operate outside of the laws of physics, but we have learned to manipulate those laws. a geneticist can control when a plant flowers. and if you believe we have limited control over our internal states and are a materialist, you realize our internal states are our states of minds and actions and so on and so forth, so we would have control over our actions. It's amazing how this argument went in the history of philosophy from god's design for us to the laws of physics. It clearly shows that freedom is one of our main concerns. We could never have the freedom of a god and if we could, what would we do with it? It's the paradox of what does an enlightened person want? How do they remain amongst the conditioned things etc. etc. Either way, i apologize for the length of this madness. 030621
User24 I agree with a lot of what you're saying there, I think that we are free to become free.

Your comment about the "magical land" philosophers would have us live in is very true, sometimes we have to bring ourselves back to earth and stop talking theoretically.

Ok, I'm very tired, so I apologise for the poor format of my argument here, I simply can't stay awak and think enough to formulate it into a coherent essay form, so;

"A bell without a foot will never make a person wince."

see "little albert" psychological experiment performed by behaiviourists Watson and Rayner

"We obviously don't learn only by association"

very true, I was over simplifing things.

"we can play the situation out in our mind"

It could be said, then, that we learn not only by association, but experience, personal and 3rd party

"Of course we are configured to favor certain choices"

An answer would seem to present itself then; that we have a degree of free will

"we are even capable of randomly deciding with the help of a chaos theory assisted randomizer"

I love that phrase and may have to get it tattooed onto my forehead - very very true, while we are part of a complex system, and affected by an infinity of confounding variables, we also are producing an infinity of confounding variables.

"We are finding out which choice we'd rather make"

Yes, we apply a theoretical decision made in our minds to a real situation.

"Whether you describe that choice as something that happens to us or something we make is up to you. I feel it is both."

Yeah, good point.

"The most defining characteristic of our species is we clamor always for more choices"

Which would seem to indicate that we do not have enough choices as it is?

"I personally believe that if AI was ever designed well enough, it could possess free will."

One of my life ambitions is to make it.

"We are free in that we do not know what choice we will make"

We simply are not aware of the predeterminism inherenent in life. Discuss.


And some food for thought.

Would a thinking computer believe it had free will?

How is it that I can become psychologically addicted?

Or for that matter, psychologically ill?

Do I have free will during my dreams?

Do I choose who I love?

Can every emotion be broken down to chemical changes?

Is the reason every human is different down to biochemical differences, socialisation, both or neither.

Is there a soul, and if so, why does this reality exist?


And one for the religionists;

If God is almighty, why did He create imperfection, why not just create a race of perfect, good people and send em straight to heaven?
User24 btw that last question is not just aimed at Christians, every religion included, from Satanists to Muslims. 030621
stork daddy well, first of all, little Albert was conditioned as a boy and no followup research was done to determine the long term effects of the association training. Piaget opened the door for distinct cognitive stages. His simplistic association may have been the result of a unfully matured mind not yet capable of abstracting and observing for validity the implicit premises of his fearful response. If there was no change, we can only feel for poor little albert, out there on his own somewhere afraid of white fluffy things. The theologian's response to your last proposal, by the by, is that a universe where people had no free will and were perfect would be meaningless, as god wanted us to have choices, wanted our acceptance of god to mean something. How can we have free will while God knows everything we will do though? I've heard some interesting answers. One of them is god sits outside of time, so to him he looks at the end result and in this way does not hamper the freedom of the choice by his knowing. 030621
stork daddy and yes, we do learn vicariously 030621
User24 v true.

jane jean-paul sartre 030622
User24 explain yerself, jane?

The name rings a bell, but I'm not sure why??
niska literary genius, modern philosopher, atheistic existentialist...

'man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.'

--being and nothingness: sartre, 1943
stork daddy how nauseating...hehehehehehehe 030622
niska don't you have someone else to annoy? 030623
stork daddy eh...fuck will...what'd he ever do for me? 030623
god free_willy 030623
right? stork; but if free_will never existed, and there was no concept of it, it wouldn't mean anything if we didn't have it.. 030623
stork daddy i was making a play off of the word will being a name as well. i happen to fall along the lines of what i think you were saying if you read all of the claptrap above my closing bad joke. it's quite obvious the concept of it exists, i don't think that's the argument. 030623
Dafremen Claptrap was an appropriate choice of words. Speaking of claptrap, for those of you who managed to plod through this amazing tripe, there's also: CLAPTRAP if you like long winded yak about nothing. 030623
stork daddy dafreman...if you feel like you have something more relevant to say on the issue of free will please be my guest, but otherwise don't belittle people actually trying to expand their minds. 030623
ferret here's a thought: if God knows everything, then he also knows your future. now, if somone knows your future, can it be said that you actually have choices? if i were to say to you that you had to choose a letter, either A or B, and then i told you that i knew what your choice would be, you would most likely ask me to tell you which one you would have chosen, now, if i said that you would've picked A, you will most likely pick B to prove me wrong, but you don't know that i didn't really know that you would pick B and because i told you to pick A you actually DID pick B. are you with me so far? now, let's make this more fun. if we did the previous then you would be slightly wiser than before. now, if i told you that you had 3 letters to pick from, A, B, and C, and told you that i "knew" that you were going to pick A, then you would most likely pick either B or C. so if i truly knew which one you would pick, then you would have no true choice of which to pick. IF i knew which you would pick, then you would have no choice, but if i were just trying to get you to choose the letter i thought it MOST LIKELY that you would choose, then you would actually have a choice, or so it would appear to me. so, from our miserable little point here on earth, with out VERY limited knowledge, it would APPEAR to us that we have choices. if there are 3 people in a room, one who knows the futures of the two, one who doesn't, and one who is being tested, and the previous was demonstrated (the A, B, or C thing) without the person who knew telling the other which he would choose, then it would appear to the bystander that the one being tested ( i wouldn't really call it a test, more of a demonstration) would appear to have had a choice. i mean, ok, that wasn't the best description of how i'm thinking, but you get the idea right? 030623
jane i wanted to remind myself to write about sartre later 030623
jane sartre was an atheist. he believed in the power of the mind. he said, i am going to be the smartest man in france. he took a year off, studied, and became the smartest man in france. the reason sartre was an atheist was because he believed in free will, and a god who had our lives mapped out would be imposing on our free will. he believed in infinite responsibility for our decisions...we are responsible for our past (we decide what we want to remember and how we want to remember it), our present (there are infinite decisions in every moment), and our future (those decisions lead to consequences)... 030623
User24 thanks, he seems quite clever..

if god gave us free will, can we destroy god?
User24 ok, ferret, you're proposing that if a person was given a choice between 3 options, and then told which choice they would make, the question of their -actual- choice comes down to the intention of the person foreseeing which choice would be made, right?

As a side note, I just want to say that I think that it is possible to know the future, but that that view of the future would be different each time you looked; as soon as anything changes, so does the future. That is to say, more simply, that the future is always changing, and also, that given enough information about the present and the past, you can predict what the future would have been, had you not predicted it.

Dafremen I'm watching this tail-chasing and wondering how the mind is expanded by contemplating whether the Wolverine's adamantium claws could cut through The Hulk's impenetrable skin. Such is the nature of this discussion. 030624
jane *they could. but the hulk would heal.
*such is his skin.
stork daddy i was of course, referring only to my part in to never responded to my totally smashing theory on why claptrap can't be disproven! 030626
stork daddy furthermore, any time two people try to understand the points of another person and organize them logically, it is an expansion or at very least an excercise of the mind (something to keep it expanded). It doesn't matter if the premises are proveable or not, the rhetoric itself is healthy. if you disagree, that's fine, but i would've thought you'd be the last person to dismiss arguing as a waste of time. 030626
User24 would rather be thinking than doing any other recreational activity. 030627
Dafremen So we're through here then?

Excellent. I'll be working on my web page. Ta ta.
joda Debate is never a waste of time.

How else would anyone ever impress upon everyone, how right they are?

...Or aren't?
kx21 The Mass of Matter in Chicken minuses Egg... 030630
mon excellent discussion 030701
Dafremen It was a so-so discussion. It had range. Oh..and a cool heckler in the audience. That usually helps the debate along nicely. 030701
ferret hmmm, so i see kx21 is still around, but what i was saying about the threee point thing is that if God knew your future and He knew which one you would choose, and by telling you which you would choose influenced your actual choice, then you never really had free will. just something to think about. 030701
birdmad free will versus causality

i am not just stuck, but impaled on the popint of that intersection
self-correcting bird the point, that is. 030701
jane actually, will is no longer being given away for free. it now is just three easy payments of 29.95. and if you order now you get a second will free. but that's not it. we'll include this free igia robe. if you're not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it for a complete refund, but keep the robe as our gift to you 031013
stork daddy see once again...i love how dafremen's attempt at naval gazing are considered sacred cows despite the fact that takes quite an active role dismissing other people's attempts to find meaning on their own, especially when other people actually tend to say meaningful things as opposed to the hallmark shit you'd expect to see on a poster with a windsurfer or a kitten "hanging in there" and not actually coming out of a human being who isn't ten's mouth. It makes my blue blood boil. Because look, i can tell people should be raised to love and care for one another, but really when you get down to it, a little more specifics are necessary. While we're going over what's possible and not possible in order to be able to best proscribe, you're the coach who says, "i think you should win son" Thanks. i can't wait untill horoscopes become a pivotal part of your plan for humanity. 031014
marked . 031104
kx21 ***
* The Speed of Free Will

What constituted / determined the Speed of Free will?

* M_Theory *

M Equation- Chicken & Egg...
. M_Theories 040920
shower singer For a fleeting moment, two years ago, I had a sudden clear image of what free will was. I'm not sure if I will ever be able to communicate it to someone else.


I imagine the universe, all of existence, as a huge ocean of stuff, all swirling and swarming and moving around in patterns. Mixing here and separating and reforming there, one wave never quite discernible from the next. One part of the ocean effected by and implied in every other part.

And what I am is one of these waves. Not something separate (not a boat sitting on the surface or anything), but actually that tip of the ocean as one of the patterns it creates reaches into the sky. I am made up of that swell of somethingness, I am the point where it expresses it's self, the tip where it tries to cross into the nothingness.

I am the tip of the wave, which is made of and can't be distinguished from the wave or the wave next to it or the wave it is about to become or any of the rest of the ocean.

So while I am completely determined by everything that makes up what/where/when I am, I am also that which determines me.


Well, thats my first attempt. I wonder how it went?
u24 absolutely perfectly. 050601
Christ without the cross Ihave not read the entire page but i love but i love this discussion.

Not that i have anything relevant to say but i hope by the end of this blathe something comes to me.

Society does shape a lot of our choices and in a sense it strips us of our free will. Yes we are being controlled. Society's rules and morals and judgments are apparatuses (is that spelled right) of control used to seemingly strip you of your free will. Where society ends manipulation from individuals begins . People use guilt, fear, judgments of right and wrong and in many instances God in order to limit and strip you of your free will.

So in the end what you are left with is fear. fear to break away from the rules of society and the belief that free will is limited or does not exist. You coerced/conditioned to believe that you have no choice but what has really happened is that in order to feel safe and secure and comfortale you have given up your freedom and ultimately the will to be free has become a distance dream almost impossible to achieve due to the various levels of control that you have entered to as children.

But i am just making a long page even longer and i do not consider it very beneficial to argue about things such as these, well at least to me. It doesn't make me any more free.
Witness I believe in free will. 071025
u24 do you believe in the westworld? 071025
Lemon_Soda Free Will?

Yes and No.

I do not give credit to coincidence. We are given a set hand and we play that hand as we see fit, yes, but we are still confined to playing poker and we don't get to choose the cards we start with.
z it is a matter of semantics. things are. we choose. we do. it is what happens. the question is at fault. 071025
Lemon_Soda Does "z" stand for Zen? 071025
zeke no. zeke. 071025
u24 "the question is at fault"-z

zeke u: can you expand on that? 071025
u24 I feel that any attempt to answer the question "do we have free will" is doomed to fail because the question has certain built-in failings. I can't quite explain why I feel that.

It's almost like a contradiction in terms, or a leading question. Again, I can't quite encapsulate what's wrong with it, it's just a feeling I have that it's the wrong question to ask; that any answer will lack due to the construction of the question (or of the implied definitions of the concepts of freedom and will).

The question is flawed because will must be free?
The question is flawed because will cannot be free?

A category mistake? i.e. "free" is just not the sort of term that can be applied to "will"? (which it is vital to note is quite a different claim to the one that states that will is not free) or more concisely, that it is agrammatical to predicate "free" of "will".

I think that the category mistake explanation is much closer to the difficulty I feel.

To clarify,

Just as "solid" cannot logically be applied to "dreams", so "free" cannot be applied to "will".

In the case of solid dreams, we are so used to what solid and dreams are, what logical, grammatical, category they fit under, that it is (should be) obvious that "solid dreams" is nonsense; it is not that dreams are not solid, it is that dreams are not the type of thing which can be described as either solid or nonsolid.

Or to labour the point and use another example, "the rabid keyboard"; it's not right to say "the keyboard is not rabid" because that implies that it *could* be rabid under another set of circumstances. In fact it's just a mistake to apply rabidity to keyboards; they're just not the sort of thing that has a rabidity-value. It's not simply the lack of rabidity, but the lack of possibility of rabidity - they *can't*, not *aren't*.

But because we are unfamiliar (or for whatever reason*) with the grammar of "free" and "will", we do not so easily see the mistake.

* perhaps because in asking the question "do we have free will", we are in part asking what category those terms fit in. The question implies a lack of definition, which allows us to make category mistakes; because we have not a good definition of the terms.

Sorry if I'm being too Wittgensteinian btw.
u24 also, w00t! first blathe of the day! 071026
!! "Is one, as a being, at liberty to direct and construct one's own volitions, or are one's volitions mere manifestations of other prevailing factors?" 071026
sameolme Free Billy Power! 071026
sameolme Who is it? Who is going to wield will? 071026
zeke u: for me, everything you wrote above about category errors rings true. i think it is the reflexive retreat to an absolute that the question invokes. i think a careful thinker might answer: maybe. the error, for me, is in the supposition that the question is answerable at all. the question seems to be based on an untestable hypothesis and therefore any answer cannot be verifiably true and therefore cannot match the absolute nature of the question. that would make it a category error (by my reckoning). 071026
u24 a category error in that any answer cannot be of the type implicitly required by the question? interesting.

(I've tried to say more about that (above) but am failing)

I agree that the question (any question, really) implies answerability. But I'm not sure that should be a problem. It might.

Certainly there is a supposition that the question is answerable. And I agree that that is very likely an erroneous supposition.

That any answer might lack verifiability doesn't worry me too much (beyond the mismatch between the absolute terms of the question and the vagueness of the question (have you read Russell, btw?))

I'm still not sure about your (my phrasing of your) assertion that it's a category error in that any answer cannot be of the type implicitly required by the question. It definitely feels like an error, but I'm not sure that in the original Rylean sense it is a category error, and I'm also not sure that that should matter, for it seems to me that this difficulty is just as damaging as Ryle's category errors...

That last para could probably do with editing, but I have to go. talk back! :-)
zeke yes, i have read russell, and i can guess at why you might ask. you did well at rephrasing my sketch. it is a bit of a stretch, but jargon aside, i think the notion of answerability is valid. whether the question and the answer are parallel in scope, i think, is key. 071026
u24 I keep just repeating your words when I read you, as if trying them on in a shop.

"parallel in scope"
u24 i agree that it is a problem, I just don't think I have much more to add. 071026
zeke i am flattered (i think). 071026
u24 what do you think about grammar and language games and all that?

I always worry slightly that it's just syntactic games and has no real bearing on reality.
u24 re: flattered, heh, thanks :) 071026
zeke grammar and semantics are amajor preocupation for me. (more later i am working and must focus now). 071026
birdmad Free-will is somewhat illusory.

we are bound not only by the written, codified laws set forth by other people, we are bound by the laws of science, physics, time, space.

we are bound at least to some degree by the circumstances in which we were born and by the eventualities and causalities of previous choices we have made, we are bound by economic contraints, political realities, ethnic divides

we may occasionally transcend some of these boundaries, but no one who is not some mystical, superhuman demigod could hope to transcend all of them

i used to struggle with this until it drove me mad, but i've made some grudging degree of peace with it
z bird: it seems to me that these are all different sorts of uses of the phrase "free_will". they operate at different levels and in different paradigms. free socially, free economically, free psychologically, free ontologically or free cosmologically all mean different things (to me). the idea that free will exists in some related way between these categories of understanding and behavior is for me only expressed causal hierarchy. if my will is not free at the cosmological level, then all of the remaining subsets of "free will" are effected. or if i am free cosmologically, but not ontologically, then i am still not free, and so on. the whole thing is dependant on a question that cannot be answered: is the universe deterministic or can actual randomness occur. 071026
z u: grammar, syntax and even vocabulary are definitely useful. i think that they are essential. fuzzy construction produces vague results. i think that nuance is not gilding the lily, it is the lily. without specificity the lily might actually be a daisy, a blade of grass or even a rock. and yes, different words does change a truth. the notion that there is an ideal that is imperfectly described is (for me) a fallacy. all description is choice. the choosing produces the truth. socrates was wrong.

thinking a thought in a different language produces a different truth. thinking a thought in a different brain yields another. thinking a thought with out words produces something else.
somebody it is these "thoughts without words" that always seem the truest, and most enduring, to me... 071026
u24 somebody: truest, yes, but I can never make them endure. 071027
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