I've just finished Sam Harris' Free Will.  It isn't exactly a book, rather an extended essay.  I'm also reading The Illusion of Conscious Will by Daniel M. Wegner published in 2002 so it is more a review of and background material for Harris' discussion.  

My question is one of predictability.  Nobody likes to think their actions, their thoughts, their very lives are predictable.  But does determinism imply predictability?  If not, then how does the belief in determinism distinguish itself from free will?  I don't know what you will do next...I don't know what I will do next...I do not know what will happen next...all  of these statements would seem to be valid whether you take the free will position or the deterministic position.

My position could be described by the term "apathetic determinism."  Everything I do and say...and you do and say...and that happens in our world...has been determined by the culmination of a long train...perhaps infinite?...of cause and effect.  I agree.  When it comes to particulars in our lives, then who we are and what we do, can with some degree of predictability, be assigned meaning.  But to what point?

With each person traveling along a line from being abused to being an abuser, then at what point can we say they went from victim to perpetrator?  For that matter, can we ever make such a distinction?  

Free will...conscious will...is necessary if we are to feel justified in condemning and punishing other people.  But it is the last thing we apply when we are reviewing our own life and actions.  This explains the idea that there are no guilty men in prison or that when Judge Judy cast her verdict the people who she claims to be guilty still use their final minutes of their fifteen to declare their innocence.

The question is never "Do we have free will?"  There are always extenuating circumstances that are just as valid as those that would be used to condemn us.  The question...and answer...is "Do other people have free will?"

Religion is a sick delusion not because it offers forgiveness but because it allows people to judge and condemn others for the same sins we commit.  

The original subject, which I seem to have drifted from, is simply:

If determinism does not imply predictability then what good is it?

 

Tags: Christianity, Sin, conscious, forgiveness, free, will

Views: 685

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thinking, fast and slow   / Kahneman, Daniel,

Just finished reading Kahneman's book.  His distinguishing between System 1...intuitive...and System 2...rational....thinking has led me to understand the subject of Free Will vs Determinism in a different light.

Still, I contend that as a practical, real world version of Free Will the attraction is not to explicate one's own will but rather is attractive to individuals as a way of condemning others.  Also stopped reading Daniel Dennet after Breaking the Spell when I tried to move on to Freedom Evolves.  I was expecting something more along the lines of Robert Wright's The Evolution of God but was sorely dissappionted.  Dennet's work was outrageously flawed by his use of the term Libertarian to refer to believer's in Free Will...even though he included a disingenuous disclaimer that he was not refering to any political movement...but when he referred to 'freeloader' cells I realized he was way beyond any legitmate consideration either philosophical or scientific.  

I am currently reading The age of insight : the quest to understand the unconscious in art, mind, and brain : from Vienna 1900 to the present   / Kandel, Eric R.  More as a way of cleansing my palate...as wine tasters do...and because I have a particular interest in the turn of the 19th to the 20th century as a way of organizing my thoughts.

On the subject at hand, I agree totally with 'Trick Slattery's assessment of Free Will as logically incoherent.  I am addressing myself to the attraction that Free Will has to certain religious and philosophical believers.  As far as Free Will on a personal level...which it all boils down to in the end...I am content...even relieved...to be free of the burden.  

I see evolution of species as creative. It generates novelty, new kinds of living creatures, on a scale of novelty we don't see in non-living matter.Evolution is, to this extent, not predictable.

I see my own creativity as being a chip of that old block. So I too can be creative, as evolution can, as matter is not. Free will is being conscious of having that degree and kind of creativity.

Evolution can create new species only from existing species, it is not entirely free. But it can create unprecedented new creatures, eg elephants. So it has a degree of freedom from physical determinism.

Having this degree of freedom is enough for me. I am not absolutely free, or determined, I am as free and as determined as evolution is.

Is evolution or physics responsible for bacteria one eon, elephants several eons later? In what ways is evolution determined, free? Then, that goes for me, too. And you. This avoids the logical free/determined argument. It throws the focus on evolution instead.

Hi Shaun,

I hope you don't mind a little criticism. Nothing personal.

Why would being conscious of creativity be considered "free will" (compared to say not being conscious of it, yet still being "creative")? And why would creativity have anything to do with it, when any such creativity stems back to events that are out of are control?

"Evolution can create new species only from existing species, it is not entirely free. But it can create unprecedented new creatures, eg elephants. So it has a degree of freedom from physical determinism."

I'm not sure how you are getting to "So it has a degree of freedom from physical determinism." That doesn't seem to follow from "creating unprecedented new creatures".

"Is evolution or physics responsible for bacteria one eon, elephants several eons later?"

Both are. Evolution is not separate from physics. It's the direction physics takes.

"This avoids the logical free/determined argument."

True, but it doesn't suggest why such argument should be avoided in the first place. It simply re-labels the word "free will" to mean "being conscious of creativity", regardless if any such "creativity" had to come about due to events that are outside of "us", even events before we are even born. Why avoid this? :)

Take care,

'Trick

The issue matters to me in the first place because it gets at the root of motivation for developing one's mental capacities (education). If we believe we are determined there'll be no incentive for taking the effort to develop those mental capacities--If you're determined they'll either develop or not, whatever your consciousness says. End up not struggling to develop those metal capacities and one will lack, in old age, mental resources very important for satisfaction. That's a simple benefit-based argument for not being fatalistic, for believing your conscious desires can drive your behavior. A deterministic society will end up in barbarism.

Another benefit is, control over our attention. If I am determined, my attention is just happening to me, directed by brain chemistry, and I merely passively observe what attention yields. But my attention seems to be a tool of my conscious thoughts, those thoughts appear to direct it. I enjoy feeling I direct my attention, I value that experience very highly. I don't want to feel my stream of consciousness is a robotic response to chemical stimuli, I want to feel I can direct my attention to change what happens next. If I'm determined there'd be no point in caring. But I believe attention is trainable, and rewards active direction. As people age they are said to get wiser. I believe that would happen to the degree they have actively trained their attention.

And the issue matters in how we understand people. To determinists, what's more important about people is what they do--consciousness is merely a passive reflection of what happens in the brain to drive behavior. To free will advocates, what more important is what people think consciously, because for them it's those thoughts that drive behavior, not brain chemistry. The main motivation of behavior is is a chain of conscious feelings, that lead to a decision. That chain is the driver of behavior, and it consists of conscious experiences--desires, rationalizations, memories recalled and so on that lead directly from one another. If other people's behavior can be better understood as driven by conscious decisions rather than by chemistry, then a belief in free will is supported.

Now, if the issue matters, it's important to be able to think about it clearly, on a suitable basis. A rational paradox of contrasting free will against physical determinism gets us nowhere. So I say we need a new basis for talking about the issue. So I introduce evolution, as a metaphor.

Is evolution or physics responsible for bacteria one eon, elephants several eons later? "Both are," you say. "Evolution is not separate from physics. It's the direction physics takes."

That's a conviction, that you arrive at from first principles: the entire universe consists of nothing but matter subject to known physical processes. But I see the evolution of new species as defying the constraints of physics. In no other context does matter show such ability to generate novelty, in millions of species, over billions of years. The evolution of life is a one-time, unique event spread out of 4 billion years. There is no logic in claiming a unique event that can't be studied by current scientific methods abides by the constraints of physics. When we see so much novelty we may legitimately claim it is displaying creativity. And why that matters it that we find creativity in ourselves. The prospect opens up that we could by learning more about evolution enrich our own creative capabilities. It's the same talent, whether it's in us or in evolution.

This approach seems to me to open up wonderful prospects. I think we shouldn't just close that door by insisting evolution is nothing more than the direction physics takes.

But, the argument may be fruitless. There is a huge barrier between basing human nature on having free will, making it an exception to physics, and basing human nature on acceptance of the universal reign of physics, in defiance of our sense of having free will. This barrier may be unbridgeable, since all the rest of personality seems to get built upon one or the other. So if you see physics as equally applicable to all of matter, including evolved creatures, with no possible exceptions, my points will fail right there. There's no discussion.

I don't take it for granted that physics applies to everything. Science has made a principle of excluding from consideration consciousness, free will, and creativity. The result? No evidence for mind. And hence, by false logic, supposedly evidence for no mind! Physics rules. No, I leave the issue open that beyond the methods of science may lie an independent basis for volition in evolved creatures. But only that--nothing supernatural, only a creativity in evolution of species similar to what we are conscious of being able to take advantage of in ourselves. Where else but from evolution itself could we have got that ability, and the feeling of being able to be creative ourselves?

I see I've taken some leaps here that I've not backed up. I'm just running out of endurance. I think I've addressed the issue ion your post, though.

"If we believe we are determined there'll be no incentive for taking the effort to develop those mental capacities--If you're determined they'll either develop or not, whatever your consciousness says."

It doesn't follow that there would be no incentive or that people would think they will just develop or not.

"That's a simple benefit-based argument for not being fatalistic, for believing your conscious desires can drive your behavior."

It doesn't follow that people would stop believing their conscious desires drive behavior.

"A deterministic society will end up in barbarism."

This definitely doesn't follow. In fact the notion of free will has lead to numerous acts of barbarism. The ability to blame others and the ability to place others on pedestals of being "more deserving" have lead to great inequalities, as well as hate driven responses. 

"If I am determined, my attention is just happening to me, directed by brain chemistry, and I merely passively observe what attention yields."

This doesn't follow either. Most determinists believe in downward causation, meaning the parts create the whole and the whole has an effect on the parts. That includes consciousness, what we think, feel, etc. 

"I enjoy feeling I direct my attention, I value that experience very highly."

That feeling isn't lost with determinism. It's merely that you had to direct your attention to X. But you are still directing none-the-less.

"If I'm determined there'd be no point in caring."

This certainly doesn't follow. 

"To free will advocates, what more important is what people think consciously, because for them it's those thoughts that drive behavior,"

Determinists understand the importance of what people think consciously and understand they drive behavior.

"A rational paradox of contrasting free will against physical determinism gets us nowhere."

I think it gets us everywhere.

"But I see the evolution of new species as defying the constraints of physics. In no other context does matter show such ability to generate novelty, in millions of species, over billions of years."

I'm still not sure how you arrive at it defying the constraints of physics from the ability to generate novelty. Still doesn't follow.

"There is no logic in claiming a unique event that can't be studied by current scientific methods abides by the constraints of physics. "

That's exactly what science does. It doesn't place it outside of physics.

" So if you see physics as equally applicable to all of matter, including evolved creatures, with no possible exceptions, my points will fail right there. "

I do, however, even if I did not, I still think the arguments are flawed. Even if we go beyond physics, even into lets say some "non-physical" or even "spiritual" realm (for what-ever-that might mean) - we still have the problem of events and causality / acausality. If all events are causal, there is no free will , and if acausal events happen, there is no free will...regardless of the physical, or non-physical "realm" they would be happening in. This renders free will incoherent in both a physical and a non-physical context.

"Science has made a principle of excluding from consideration consciousness, ..."

No it hasn't. Consciousness is an important topic in science. 

"And hence, by false logic, supposedly evidence for no mind!"

I don't know of many scientists who think this. Most think conscious experience exists...and so do most determinists.

"I see I've taken some leaps here that I've not backed up."

That's okay, you had to take them. You didn't have the free will to do otherwise. ;)

And again, I do hope you don't take any of my criticisms personally. They aren't meant to be and in text any criticisms can come off in an un-kind light.

Take care.

Trick, I am finding this very useful because it helps me see where my arguments appear to break down.

I see two points of difference. Where I thought determinists saw the brain driving behavior directly, with consciousness merely passively reflecting that activity, like the viewfinder of a camera just showing whatever the camera pointed at, you seem to see consciousness as part of the loop driving behavior, the viewfinder being able to actually release the shutter. That is, you see first brain chemistry drives conscious experience, and then that conscious experience drives behavior. Consciousness does drive behavior, but it is determined.

You say: "It doesn't follow that people would stop believing their conscious desires drive behavior.... Most determinists believe in downward causation, meaning the parts create the whole and the whole has an effect on the parts. That includes consciousness, what we think, feel, etc.... [Attention] is merely that you had to direct your attention to X. But you are still directing none-the-less.

Ie, the conscious self is a whole that drives the parts, and the whole is determined. So I can say, our decisions are driven by elements of conscious experience, not by chemistry, and you say, so what, conscious experiences are also determined.

I assumed determinism arose out of physicalism, that because conscious experience is not physical, it can't act back on matter, hence if can't be what drives behavior. You are not that kind of determinist. You say, even though it isn't physical, conscious experience can drive behavior and physics does apply to it. That's a whole different philosophy than I'm used to encountering.

I find evolutionists not subscribing to your kind of determinism because they don't want to include conscious experience as the kind of thing that can act on matter. I can through conscious decision support the preservation of endangered species, and hence change the course of their evolution. Through implementing education programs I can change the course of human evolution. If this is possible for consciousness acting in us, it could be possible for consciousness acting in any species. But darwinism makes no allowance for consciousness acting as an agent in evolution, it allows for only physical processes, natural selection and genetic mutation. If conscious experience could be created through genetic mutation, once it existed it could take over from mutation as the genesis of new ways of behaving, that could drive evolution more effectively than mutation. In my experience, evolutionists won't go near that argument, they stay with classical Positivism, and deny volition of any kind.

Our other major difference that I see is about evolution. You see it as bound by physics, I see it as creative and so not entirely bound by physics. I don't see physics generating anything like new living creatures. This may simply be a difference of definition, you saying, evolution does take place according to physics, me saying it doesn't. Here's a metaphor: we're sitting opposite over a table. I point to a cup and I say, to prove I'm not entirely bound by physics I'm going to move that cup to a place it would never get through physics alone. I move the cup two inches to one side. I say, I can only do what's physically possible, but I am free to make something happen that happens only because I want to demonstrate my freedom of will. You say, it was determined that you would want to show off that you had free will, and that you would so by moving it in that otherwise-meaningless way. Now, what are we to make of that demonstration?

In the same way, I say of evolution it cannot do what is physically impossible but in creating living creatures it is behaving in ways we see nowhere else in all the physics science has encountered and described. We can say, physics if extended suitably could account for it, or that physics as presently conceived is not capable of accounting for it. I see no way through logic or science (except by sheer belief in the universal reach of physics) to decide which is right.

That brings me to my main concern: discourse. Which makes for a better account of our experience. I think seeing us, and evolution, as free to some extent of total direction by physics, so we can use the language of free will, "I experience such and such, and so I decide to do such and such." For me, the discourse of free will allows me a more sophisticated account of things, including both matter and conscious experience.

Over to you.

"That is, you see first brain chemistry drives conscious experience, and then that conscious experience drives behavior. Consciousness does drive behavior, but it is determined."

Exactly. But I think most hard determinists and hard incompatibilists (what I am) do.

"Ie, the conscious self is a whole that drives the parts, and the whole is determined. So I can say, our decisions are driven by elements of conscious experience, not by chemistry, and you say, so what, conscious experiences are also determined. "

To be clear, and because I'm a materialist, I think consciousness is a physical manifestation, just as sound is a physical manifestation of sound waves. It's a physical manifestation of specific configurations of matter and energy (brain, nervous system, etc...) playing through time. But regardless of what I think on that, even if consciousness is not physical itself, it still runs into the very same problem for this topic, and there would be no reason to believe it wouldn't have an effect on the physical. In other words, determinism and hard incompatibilism are not restricted to physicalism. :)

"I find evolutionists not subscribing to your kind of determinism because they don't want to include conscious experience as the kind of thing that can act on matter."

I'm an "evolutionist", meaning I believe in evolution. I find it hard to believe they wouldn't subscribe to such things. Even Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, came up with the term "meme" which relates. Most evolutionists agree that behavior has to do with consciousness, and behaviors are either an evolutionary advantage, a disadvantage, or they are benign.

"You see it as bound by physics, I see it as creative and so not entirely bound by physics."

I guess if you are seeing consciousness as some non-physical manifestation, then I can see why you would think that. 

"I think seeing us, and evolution, as free to some extent of total direction by physics, so we can use the language of free will, "I experience such and such, and so I decide to do such and such.""

This is a more compatibilist notion of "free will"...sort of like Dennett proposes. The only problem I have with compatibilism is that it looks to redefine the word "free will". I think when most people say they "feel they have free will", they don't mean these re-definitions. To me it's like redefining "god" as "the universe" or "nature" and then saying "god exists". To those that don't use such uncommon definitions, saying "god exists" supports the idea of all of these other harmful notions. 

Also redefining "free will" that way takes away from the other extremely important topics that revolve around the free will that most "feel" they have. I think this is a huge mistake. So though we can "use" free will to mean: "I experience such and such, and so I decide to do such and such", I see no good reason to do so, and I see a number of really good reasons not to.

"For me, the discourse of free will allows me a more sophisticated account of things, including both matter and conscious experience."

More sophisticated how?

Anyway good talk. I think I understand where you are coming from more, at least on your ideas of evolution not being entirely physical (e.g. your idea of consciousness is not a physicalist notion of it). That part has clarified this for me. :)

Later,

'Trick

consciousness is a physical manifestation, just as sound is a physical manifestation of sound waves.

I think you're stretching the meaning of "physical" further than is legitimate. Conscious experiences can't be weighed, counted, measured in any way, nor their locations identified, as you can even with sound. You therefore cannot explore the relation of conscious experiences to each other in any of the ways we expect to with physical objects (except possibly temporal sequence). You can't tell if they operate according to how physical properties work. You can't tell if they obey laws of conservation. You can't hold all but one factor constant, and you can't obtain repeatable measurements, which means you can't do science on them, you have no data on them to prove they observe regularities that would qualify them to be thought of as material, as you can with sound or a gas, for example. I feel entitled to say your saying of consciousness that it's "physical" is solely to win the argument; you've called them physical when they've none of the properties we all attribute to physical matter. Do that, and you win by a foul.

I had to look up compatibilism, I still don't understand it. Oh, well! Seems like winning by another foul.

It's a physical manifestation of specific configurations of matter and energy (brain, nervous system, etc...) playing through time

Without question, changes in matter can result in corresponding conscious experiences, such as pain. But you must prove that ALL conscious experiences are caused by changes in matter. If one conscious experience in a century could be shown to not have a physical cause then free will could exist. You have to prove that how every conscious experience I can refer to can have a physical cause.

I'm an "evolutionist", meaning I believe in evolution.

So am I.

Even Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, came up with the term "meme" which relates. 

Meme is irrelevant to determinism, I believe, Dawkins means only that they are selected for by process similar to natural selection. I don't think he even includes mutation in this metaphor.

Most evolutionists agree that behavior has to do with consciousness,

In a survey a few years ago something like 85% of professional evolutionists said they were physicalists, specifically, which means consciousness cannot drive behavior I believe. So I think you're wrong here. Flanagan for example, cannot understand why any of his students or colleagues could accept physicalism in the lab (consciousness unable to act on matter, as scientific methodology demands) and not accept it at home. In Cris Evat's book "The Myth of Free Will" Susan Blackmore (a representative evolutionist and physicalist?) says “It is possible to live happily and morally without believing in freewill…. As for giving up the sense of an inner conscious self altogether–-this is very much harder. I just keep on seeming to exist. But though I cannot prove it, I think it’s true that I don’t.” Can determinism lead to dysfunction? Are you in her camp? :)

and behaviors are either an evolutionary advantage, a disadvantage, or they are benign.

Can't argue with that, they must  be one of those. There's an important point being hinted at here, but I can't reach it. Can you expand? Here's a fumble--if consciousness does not evolve through darwinism, then it can have other functions than enhancing adaptation, depending on what the criteria are that drive evolution by consciousness.

Also redefining "free will" that way takes away from the other extremely important topics that revolve around the free will that most "feel" they have.

Key preference on your part. I do want to redefine free will, because I feel pitting it against physical determinism is placing it in the wrong context. We're talking about an experience here, a qualia, not a part of a logical grid. We're into what Plato refers to as "carving nature at the joints," but at different joints. Prepared for that?

Here's my carving. Evolution generates novelty (new classes of creatures) to a degree far beyond anything that physics has been shown able to account for. Agreed? If so, then the universe divides into two: non-living matter to which today's physics applies completely, and evolved living creatures. In so far as living creatures consist of matter they are subject to physics, eg pigs can't fly. But in so far as they can create novelty they share in evolution's nature, which is unknown still. I need no more freedom, to have free will, than that ability to generate novelty that I get from being evolved. I am redefining free will as not absolute freedom from determinism, but a sharing in evolution's capacity to generate novelty. To the extend that physics cannot account for evolution's ability to generate novelty it cannot account for mine. In consciousness I experience being able to generate novelty--I don't need to explain how, I can simply say that I can feel it. That's my feeling of having free will. I too can't fly whenever I want to, but I can pick up something and place it somewhere it otherwise wouldn't be, and in doing so I am drawing on the same kind of capacity that evolution has demonstrated of being able to generate new species.

By placing free will in the context of evolution I am cutting through all traditional discourse on compatibilism etc, I claim.

What did you think of my example of moving a cup two inches away as a demonstration that I had some freedom from absolute physical determinism?

Another question. If you are determined, are you not as likely to say you've free will, as that you're determined? Can anyone's word be taken for it that they do, or don't have free will?

I appreciate this opportunity to explore these ideas. They are not at all theoretical to me, but extremely close to home.

"I think you're stretching the meaning of "physical" further than is legitimate. Conscious experiences can't be weighed, counted, measured in any way, nor their locations identified, as you can even with sound."

Sound is what we "experience", and is different than the "sound waves". We don't weigh, count, or measure these things. We hear (experience) them, or we measure the waves. But certain waves produce a different "qualia" in our experience, so it is obvious that the sound stems from the wave. Likewise, with consciousness, we experience it or we measure the brain activity. And certain brain activity produces certain experience, so those stem from the brain activity. They are inherent in the property of that configuration of matter and energy through time. Same with odor, we know there is a physical constituent that causes the odor, and we pick it up and experience it through our olfactory senses. That does not mean the physical constituent that makes up the odor is not there when no-one is smelling it. Likewise, I'd suggest, that consciousness is no different than the physical constituent that produces it. Perhaps "material" (matter and energy) is a more accurate word than "physical" which can be somewhat ambiguous.

"Without question, changes in matter can result in corresponding conscious experiences, such as pain. But you must prove that ALL conscious experiences are caused by changes in matter."

That isn't the way science works. The burden is on the person claiming otherwise and what they are talking about when they say it's produced by something that is not matter or energy, etc.

"If one conscious experience in a century could be shown to not have a physical cause then free will could exist."

This doesn't follow. Again, the case against free will is not dependent on physicalism. This is important, because free will (the type most think they have) is not only problematic in a physical universe, but it's logically incoherent in any context. 

"Here's a fumble--if consciousness does not evolve through darwinism, then it can have other functions than enhancing adaptation, depending on what the criteria are that drive evolution by consciousness."

Oh, it evolved through evolution. No fumble. And it still can have other functions than enhancing adaption.

"In Cris Evat's book "The Myth of Free Will" Susan Blackmore..."

I read that book, I didn't remember her saying that. I remember her being mistaken on a number of things in that book. I think if she did say that she's addressing that her sense of self stems to events that are outside of what she would consider "I", for example, all of the experiences she's had and the events that led up to them, and even events before she was even born. I don't think she's saying consciousness does not exist, but if so I disagree with her.

"Key preference on your part. I do want to redefine free will, because I feel pitting it against physical determinism is placing it in the wrong context."

Just to be clear, it's not only pitted against determinism (not necessarily physical determinism), but also indeterminism as well. Both possible universes are incompatible with free will. That is why they are pitted.  And redefining free will does not change the context, it changes the term. To change the context you need to use the same free will most think they have and explain why these two different possible states of the universe would have no consequence to such free will's existence...and that suggesting they do is incorrect. 

"We're talking about an experience here, a qualia, not a part of a logical grid."

It's also an experience that parallel train tracks converge at the horizon. Though we perceive this, we know better. We also know that the train does not physically get smaller as it nears the horizon. If the experience is logically incoherent or proven otherwise than the experience, we except it as a false experience. We still experience it, but we are knowledgeable of what it is (e.g. the way perspective works, or a feeling we experience due to a lack of knowing and experiencing all of the past causes, etc).

"I need no more freedom, to have free will, than that ability to generate novelty that I get from being evolved."

I still don't understand how novelty = freedom. Seems a strange equation to me. I get the non-physicalist notion of consciousness...but still don't know how that would lead to such freedom either.

"What did you think of my example of moving a cup two inches away as a demonstration that I had some freedom from absolute physical determinism?"

You sort of answered that one yourself with how you said I would respond. ;)

Have a great night. Catch ya lata'!

I am glad my post has provided fodder for so much discussion.

Continue on with my blessing.

The only part I would clarify, for myself, is that free will and determinism are all part of a Dance.  Do I have free will?  Probably not.  Is everything I say determined?  Most  probably. But it's a Dance. 

My free will is the opening move of the Dance.  Your reaction to my Free Will is determined by your own state at the time you read my opening steps.

My opening step is determined... of course...by all the past influences that brought me to this moment.  Your response to my opening step is, also, determined by everything that brought you to this moment in time.

Free will is a Dance.

It's a Dance betweem two minds.

Our selves...our ego...our identity..

Isn't fixed and solid as a part of who we are.

Identity exist as the interaction of one person against another...or against all others if you prefer.

Our identity...our true selves...is not a fixed part of who we are.

We don't become who we are until we interact with others.

Identity is not a function of who we are...not a place within our brains like the ego, superego and id;

Identity is who we are in relationship with others.

We speak of a group conciousness and that is a logical fallacy.  There is no magical connection between all people.  

But there is identity.

Identity is who we are in relationship with others.

Who I am is who you percieve me to be through this lines of text.

I have no identity other than the one I project to others.

Do I have free will?  Does my identity have free will?

Of course not.  What should it?  What would be the purpose of free will be to an isolated identity of myself?  Do I have free will?  Of course not.  Does my identity...the person I am in interaction with others...have free will?  Yes.

But only the free will to decide if I will Dance and which partners I will choose in my Dance.

A dance it is. :D

You will decide if you will dance and which partners you will choose, but not of any free will. What you decide will be something dictated to you by events that ultimately stem outside of you, your ego, or your identity.

I like the dance analogy though. :)

Everyone of you are amazing ! All of you make good points. I'm very impressed. I wish I were as intelligent as all of you are, but I'm just an everyday atheist with a High School education. I've only been a member of atheist nexus for maybe a month or two, but I learn so much here. Thanks.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service