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Do We Really Have Free Will?


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#16    redhen

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

You do realize that human autonomous free will is the foundation of our legal system? People make decisions every day that flies in the face of your false dichotomy of either nature or nurture. These decisions sometimes are reached after a long period of inner debate, they are not all snap decisions, i.e. fight or flight.

In fact many renowned philosophers and religious figures assert that the only thing that we can control is our own will.  I'm thinking of Stoics and Buddhists, those that teach non-attachment and the right use of the semblance of things.


#17    Sean93

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

I don't know about the whole spiritual side of Free Will, no one does for sure but I know for a fact that in society, you do not, nor will you ever have free will. Freedom of speech is also an illusion.

Edited by Sean93, 05 December 2012 - 03:09 PM.

"Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged it alike: It is worthless."

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

#18    Rlyeh

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:54 PM

I think free will is complicated, many of our decisions are based on prior experience, knowledge, needs or wants.
I wouldn't be surprised if we have greatly overestimated the freedom in free will.


#19    Etu Malku

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

I have a related question for you all; How do YOU judge whether something is right or wrong?

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#20    redhen

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

View PostSean93, on 05 December 2012 - 03:09 PM, said:

I don't know about the whole spiritual side of Free Will, no one does for sure but I know for a fact that in society, you do not, nor will you ever have free will.

Hmm, so you had no choice about this conclusion? You were already programmed to adopt it? Really?


#21    Babe Ruth

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

View PostEtu Malku, on 05 December 2012 - 05:08 PM, said:

I have a related question for you all; How do YOU judge whether something is right or wrong?

The answer would be complex, as each situation must be judged on its own merits, but in general terms an act is wrong if another person's rights and dignity are infringed.


#22    Bella-Angelique

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

Every person who goes on a diet, submits to a painful medical treatment, or the addict that gives up an addiction is demonstrating free will.
The animal instinct and the physical body itself can be demanding one thing but the intellect rules over it and forces a different action to take place.
Another nickname is Will Power. When used in a group setting such as for addiction they are often encouraged to reach for a Higher Power when their personal will does not seem to be strong enough, or psychologically making the choice to submit their will to the will of the group to become a part of it and stronger. Change is not easy but it is almost always worth it.

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#23    FlyingAngel

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

Free will is the capability to choose a path without obligation and limitation

Yes, our decisions are influenced by everything around us and our experiemences but it's still mean that no one has forced us to choose those decisions


#24    Etu Malku

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:48 PM

I don't equate "Choices" with "Free Will", deciding to make a right turn instead of going straight is making a choice, controlling drugs instead of them controlling you, is a positive choice . . . NOT going to "Confession" because you believe that your "poor choices" will be forgiven if told to some clergyman is Free Will (Freedom from the Will of Another).

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#25    Sean93

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:59 AM

View Postredhen, on 05 December 2012 - 05:09 PM, said:

Hmm, so you had no choice about this conclusion? You were already programmed to adopt it? Really?

Free will means being able to do what you want without constraint but there are things you cannot do because society tells you so, but posting on a forum isn't one of them...Well actually, there are some things you cannot post of forums such as under age pornography and in some places, racial hate among others. Me being in Northern Ireland, If I were to write a sectarian message on facebook, I could be brought to court for it so much for freedom of speech and political opinion...

And of course I had choice about the conclusion I made but take note that all of your choices fall into law in one way or the other, whether you're obeying or disobeying and luckily, my choice of saying what I see isn't a crime, at least not in this context anyway. Sure you can say you have free will and can speak freely, but do this then - go up to an ethnic minority and insult them because of it and then we'll see if you really have the freedom to express your opinions once the law gets involved. I bet there are racists out there who believe their beliefs are genuine...but they cannot express them without being told "You can't do that", and soon they find themselves in a prison shower and unfortunately for them, they've dropped the soap :no:

Everyone likes to say that they have free will, but there's always that hand on their back, reminding them of this - "You're free to do whatever we tell you."

"Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged it alike: It is worthless."

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

#26    Sean93

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:01 AM

View PostEtu Malku, on 05 December 2012 - 05:08 PM, said:

I have a related question for you all; How do YOU judge whether something is right or wrong?

I make my mind up about it, not according to any law or political doctrine. I don't think I'm too bad of a person so I can take solace in the fact that just because I follow my own book, it doesn't mean I'm going to murder or rape people.

"Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged it alike: It is worthless."

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

#27    redhen

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:37 AM

View PostSean93, on 06 December 2012 - 12:59 AM, said:

Free will means being able to do what you want without constraint but there are things you cannot do because society tells you so

Ok gotcha. You should have titled your post on "societal/political freedom" not free will. Perhaps a mod should move this into another forum, it's not a philosophical question, it's a political one.

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Everyone likes to say that they have free will, but there's always that hand on their back, reminding them of this - "You're free to do whatever we tell you."

I think people like Socrates proved that the human will is supreme. No one can make you assent to something you don't want to. If the result is drinking hemlock, so be it.





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