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Free-Will DNE

Simply Put Free Will Does Not Exist. This Group is for anyone who believes free will is an even greater mass delusion than God. Those who uphold Naturalism in its purest form. And anyone else who has questions about this topic.

Members: 82
Latest Activity: Jun 12, 2014

Discussion Forum

Sam Harris: The Illusion of Free Will

Started by Jedi Wanderer. Last reply by Steph S. Mar 19, 2012. 1 Reply

Experimental Philosophy

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Jedi Wanderer Dec 22, 2011. 5 Replies

Is free will really a supernatural concept?

Started by Howard S. Dunn. Last reply by Tonya Wynn Apr 6, 2011. 8 Replies

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Comment by Mike Layfield on May 25, 2009 at 1:04am
More evidence of determinism at work in our decision making and the illusion of free will.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions.html
Comment by Ockraz on March 3, 2009 at 2:57am
PS: the quote was from zerosmelt
Comment by Ockraz on March 3, 2009 at 2:55am
"I think we really need a word to describe free will skeptics who are not hard determinists and who are also not compatabilists."

There should be two labels of this sort- one for 'agnostics' on the responsibility issue, and another for those who deny determinism based on an incompatibility with purely probabilistic models of "micro" phenomena.

I'll suggest 'fulcrum determinists' (as opposed to hard or soft) for the former and 'probabilstic will theorists' (as opposed to free) for the latter.

What say you?
Comment by JohnFrost on February 8, 2009 at 6:56am
Hey, I don't know if this is considered inappropriate self-promotion, but I recently wrote a blog about the topic of Free Will/Neuroscience/and Buddhism, and thought that others in this group might have some insight or opinions on it.
Comment by Ajita Kamal on November 23, 2008 at 5:48pm
Quoting Jim from the comment below:

"I too am very much a naturalist.....However, science doesn't have an explanation for consciousness or mind."

The idea of consciousness that you allude to will never be naturalistic, precisely because it assumes that consciousness is a non-material entity. Scientists have proposed many naturalistic models of consciousness, none of which are intuitive. These models are materialist and do not address your subjective experiential conception of consciousness. The point is that they don't need to because there is nothing that a non-material consciousness is demonstrably capable of that the material (naturalistic) consciousness can't also do. The idea that consciousness is non-material fails to survive Ockham's Razor. You are right that consciousness is still mostly a philosophical concept, but there is a lot of evidence that much of the philosophical arguments against it being non-material will go the way-side as have other such non-material explanations of biological phenomena over the years.

Free-will DNE is a parsimonious assertion.

I agree that life is somewhat "special" as you put it, but I refrain from using such naturalistic criteria as "animation" to accord it this status. This begs the naturalistic fallacy. I would prefer assigning "special" status to life simply from a subjective moral perspective. After all, I am alive, and am entitled to my emotional preferences. There is no inherent objective value in "animation" just as there is none in "consciousness" "awareness" or any other intuitive emotional state.
Comment by Nate on September 28, 2008 at 8:59pm
Fascinating concept for a group.
Comment by Zerosmelt on September 17, 2008 at 2:51pm
There is no reply option becuase this is the comment section, not a discussion section.

"The physical world is ALL there was for the overwhelming majority of the history of the universe.

Please bear with me.

But LIFE introduces an entirely new element to the physical universe."


-Basically you are not a naturalist, while I am. This topic is better discussed elsewhere.

However i will address one other thing you said:
"We are special."

This made me laugh a little. sorry. I agree that we are but in a completely different way then you see it. I believe. I don't see how your world view actually accounts for us being special. In my world view however, we are realities highest manifestation of itself. We are special not bc. we are somehow distinct from the rest of reality but bc. we are reality itself. How does creating a distinction make us special exactly?
Comment by Zerosmelt on September 10, 2008 at 5:33pm
wow really great debate if you have teh time. (or reverse time. lol. )

http://thesciencenetwork.org/BeyondBelief/watch/watch.php?Video=Session%204
Comment by Zerosmelt on September 8, 2008 at 11:52am
I think we really need a word to describe free will skeptics who are not hard determinists and who are also not compatabilists.
Comment by Prytanis on September 5, 2008 at 11:57pm
I've really wanted to find a group of people to discuss this subject with, and to test some ideas that I've had about it recently. I didn't think I'd actually find a compatibilist (Jim Ashby) with which to debate! Frankly, I'm overjoyed, as it means that there is a rare breed here with whom I can debate. Very exciting.

To state my position explicitly: I am a determinist and an incompatibilist. I have only recently changed my mind on this subject. 6 months ago I had what I would now term a "libertarian" view of free will. I too was recently a compatibilist.

I am going to find this challenging to put into a text forum. I was planning my first foray into this in a series of videos on YouTube in about a month, once I had some time to properly formulate my ideas for presentation, but I'll take a quick and very brief stab at it now.

1) We have no evidence for anything but matter.
2) The mind can not exist without the brain, therefore the mind is material.
3) The mind is not epiphenomenonal. That would imply that the mind or mental state can exist without a causal relationship to the matter of the brain.
4) It is therefore likely that the brain-mind distinction is a false dichotomy. One does not exist without the other.
5) The brain is an extremely complicated material object. Daniel Dennett would use the term VASTLY complex. Even if we were able to somehow violate Plank's constant and get a perfectly accurate picture down to the subatomic level of the exact position and velocity of all matter in the brain, and even if we had a perfect knowledge of the laws of physics, then all of the computers in the world couldn't calculate the next probable state of the brain with any kind of accuracy in any less time than the current age of the universe. VAST! But: The vastness of it's complexity in no way means that it can somehow violate the laws of physics by moving from one state to another without physical cause. This means that determinism is theoretically falsifiable, though practically impossible to do so with absolute certainty. What other disciplines do we hold to that standard, though? Mathematics. That's it.
6) The brain as a vastly complicated object is formed by the traditional factors of nature and nurture.

Here's where I think I get interesting...

7) Nurture IS Nature. Or, more accurately, nurture is a subset of nature. Memetics demonstrates this. Ideas are physical states. This is a continuation of my earlier observation that the brain-mind or brain-mental state distinction is a false dichotomy. So too is the nature-nurture distinction. Social interactions, ideas that occur to you that you never share that nevertheless effect you, dreams, pop commercials, and your mother singing to you while you were in her womb are all physical phenomenon. If I speak to you, a series of chemical reactions in my brain forces my lungs to contract and to push air over my vocal cords which sends soundwaves through the air to your cochlea which reverberates in a way that sends signals to your brain which your existing, vastly complex network of neurons and synapses and chemicals not only interprets, but is altered by! By my typing this post, I have had a physical interaction with you! And your neurology has changed as a result...
8) How your neurology changes given the catalyst of experience, and it's subsequent outputs, are determined by it's preceding physical structure and by the physical structure of the experience. Experimentation, albeit at a basic level, has begun on this, and the results have not been positive for compatibilists. In other words, there is evidence for determinism.

There is much more to this, of course, I have only just begun to explain myself, and I'm getting a bit sleepy. I'll try to sum up...

Implications:
There are massive repercussions for personal identity. Who I am is no longer physically distinct from my environment. I am physically connected to...everyone everything. As Sagan says: "we are all star stuff". But it goes further than waxing poetic. I can no longer define myself by the limitations of my body. I must define myself as something larger, and expand my definition of personal identity to include...everyone and everything.
Expanding the definition of the self in this way has very serious ramifications, not just for the concepts of responsibility and justice--as ethical analyses of life without free will are usually limited to--but also for principles of how I relate to other living beings in the universe, what person actually is. Although we can't prove it, we can make a good statement of probability that there is no evidence for free will. To be very terse, and hopefully profound, we can be relatively certain that...
All is One
 

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