I have been thinking about freewill. Does it exist – i haven’t decided. My thoughts go to ideas to schrodinger’s cat (if any wants to know about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrödinger’s_cat this is good enough). Is life already decide and there is only one path you walk, and there only appear’s to be more? or is it like the cat in the box – many options which could possible happen and at the last moment reality conforms to show which is true?
I would really appreciate some other ideas on this subject
@MarthaMarks, hey, I have had the same question for a long time and I had to write an essay also about it. There has been many experiments asking people to choose something and it showed that a couple of seconds they made a decision about it, the brain already decided (mili seconds or sth) , showing that there is no free will in a way. however, what I think is that there is free will. sometimes, our brain cam make decisions prior to it, but we have exercised it in that way, for example if we have to choose between tea or coffee we have exercised our brain that we usually drink coffee so automatically it will go for coffee, because of the experience. Going back to free will, I do think it exists in everything we do,there are options, we make choices and so on. Ofc you can still argue with this because there isnt a lot of scientific evidence yet, but in a way, if people would have this idea that everything is determined, they would be lazy an dnot fight for what they want, there wouldnt be any development, no self improvement and nothing good coming out of it. I believe in free will because I have made my decisions and choices, ofc they are influenced by the environment, family etc but its not like the universe or god or sth else made the decision for me in my brain.
This has vexed philosophers and theologians for thousands of years. Here’s my 2 cents:
The future is kind of sketched out from our perspective: there are trends and possibilities based on the current state of things now. Your individual “fate” may have possibilities that are sketched out, but every decision is up to you at every moment. You can always choose this way or that. That could be positive or negative. It’s like growing up with an alcoholic Dad who beats you and all your siblings. Statistics suggest you’ll end up doing the same thing. Is that fate? Well, it’s still up to you. Maybe you decide to become a Mormon or a rehab counselor, and make it a priority in life to not drink and to not abuse your kids. Sorry, that’s a harsh example, but you get the point, right? There’s always a choice in how you respond to your circumstances.
Stop over-complicating everything. Why does it have to be any? Why do you think it has to be that or this?
Freewill is a human creation just like predetermined futures. We are not in total control of our lives. We certainly do not have anyone fully controlling our lives or future.
Things just are as they are. If you think you are being controlled then you will be. If you think you have freewill then you are delusional.
Read Free Will by Sam Harris, the book is not even 100 pages I believe.
He gives a lucid demonstration that Free will is simply an illusion, and further that the illusion of free will is an illusion in itself. Completely changed my perspective for I firmly believed in free will prior to reading.
In my opinion, and after reading about the topic this last year, I think that destiny and free will co-exist in a complex feedback relationship. @sandman is basically illustrating what that means, but it’s a little more complicated.
In relation to this, it is interesting to note Lieber’s “lateness problem of conscious experience.” Basically he did a series of experiments where he was able to show that consciousness is neurally represented in the brain ~500 ms after a thought or decision has been created or made. From his view, consciousness appears to late in the causal sequence of events for there to be free will. There’s more to it that he missed, I think, but still an interesting thing to think about nonetheless. Consciousness makes us feel like we are experiencing this moment exactly, but really we’re experiencing the moment that took place a half a second ago.
@ajacksharrison Scientists are still baffled by consciousness. The experiments that show our conscious awareness of our decision (and retroactive justification for it) does not paint the whole picture. For one thing, these experiments are done using priming, a common research technique used in university laboratories, where you expose someone to an unconscious suggestion and then see if it affects their response in a test some time later. So, a lot of what these tests show is subliminal influence, which has been well-established since the 1960s.
Another point is that just because our decisions do not follow an 1) executive function (pre-frontal cortex) self-aware conscious decision to 2) initiate some action that 3) creates a result, does not mean that it’s not free will. This misinterpretation stems from the fact that we don’t understand where the ego-sense of “me, making a decision” arises.
Any decision is going to be a result of a lifetime of experience (conscious and unconscious,) as well as the slower, self-aware plodding through rational decision making. The decision emerges from somewhere (nobody knows where) and then the decision process itself comes into awareness. Just because the awareness is second doesn’t mean that there’s a) no free will, or b) that we do not participate consciously in making our decisions. It just means that the “I” identification is slower than the decision-making mechanism.
@MarthaMarks, I don’t believe there is free will. I believe what we consider free will is just the realization of our thoughts and decisions that were made in the immediate past, as in split seconds. I could go on with my ideas about it but instead I’d recommend the book called Free Will by the philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris. I found my copy at Barnes & Noble. What I will say about my ides is that in the nature vs. nurture debate, all that exists is a mix of just those two things, nature and nurture, neither of which are in our control.
@MarthaMarks, You can let go of discipline and end up in some kind of trouble for yourself and say “It was predetermined” or you can focus on your discipline and make some decent life for yourself where you matter and still say “It was predetermined”.
You wont really know either way so it doesn’t really matter, it doesn’t change anything about your life either way, you are still a linear being so from your perspective your choices do matter.
@sandman I completely agree with you. I’m pretty well versed on the subject of unconscious processes, especially in regards to decision making. And like I said, I do not think that there is no free will. I was just pointing out that Libet’s lateness problem of consciousness is often referred to when debating about free will from a causal-deterministic perspective. I guess I didn’t really finish my point, which was that causal-deterministic evidence such as this is easy to get hung up on, but viewed from an altered perspective it’s not hard to see that it is merely an illusion of destiny much in the same way that it is trying to paint a picture of an illusion of free will.
I think everything you pointed out was right on the mark though.
@ajacksharrison, I love the fact that researchers are really not even close to figuring out consciousness. That’s exciting! Personally, I think it’s because we have a soul, and we currently have no instrument that can measure that. But that’s for another thread perhaps…
This is silly
Schrodingers cat is just a total waste of time.This is what happens when you philosophize all day and don’t get anything done. You think about the dumbest things and try to rationalize it into something ‘genius’.Honestly this is the fruitless production of sitting on one’s ass all day thinking. That’s probably the greatest flaw of all any philosopher I’ve ever read.
Yes you have full free will why are you even questioning that. At any second you can do whatever you want. The only limitation are ones you set for yourself.
@aestheticbrah, “You did not pick your parents or the time and place of your birth. You didn’t choose your gender or most of your life experiences. You had no control whatsoever over your genome or the development of your brain. And now your brain is making choices on the basis of preferences and beliefs that have been hammered into it over a lifetime – by your genes, your physical development since the moment you were conceived, and the interactions you have had with other people, events, and ideas. Where is the freedom in this? Yes, you are free to do what you want even now. But where did your desires come from?”
@Dafunks, I have a totally similar point of view to you. This entire conversation is actually pointless – this is the sort of question that we will never know the answer to. If that’s the case, why don’t we just imagine we all have free will, and try to make the best decisions in life!
@MarthaMarks, the whole point of Schrödinger’s cat was to show the absurdity of applying quantum mechanical concepts to macroscopic objects.
I subscribe to the idea that free will is an illusion.
Closing thoughts for this thread:
1) As for determinism, there are certain interpretations of quantum mechanics that are compatible with it.
2) No, the uncertainty principle doesn’t debunk determinism.
3) Even if determinism was proved to be false, that doesn’t necessarily mean that free will is true.
@khandero, Your questions are silly. WILL is the carrying out of an idea or a thought. You wouldn’t even know what WILL was or FREE was. Hell you wouldn’t even understand anything I’m writing or saying. Language didn’t even exist until you learned it.
Think about that one
Free will isn’t even universally real. It’s a word us humans have come up with to try to convince ourselves that we have some little piece of knowing the great mystery of life.
Sorry to break it to you but we don’t know a damn thing. And don’t listen to anyone thinking they do. They know as much as you and I do. That’s the mystery. That’s the beauty. Let it be.
You will literally mindfuck yourself to eternity if you continue to ask questions such as these.
@aestheticbrah, You do not have free will. Can you control your thoughts? No you cannot. Where do your thoughts come from? Who is controlling that? You? Who is you? You is merely a concept we created to express ourselves, but there is nobody controlling. All your thoughts are effects of previous causes and conditions, there is nobody influencing that. Everything that happens, happens because of past conditions. Each moment is created cause of previous conditions. Without previous conditions the present moment would not exist.
@filipek, i really dotn agree with you. how could the world change and go to this point where we are if there was no free will? I agree with the idea that our free will is is based on past experiences and choices, but how can a world develop, or a person develop is free will doesnt exist? We would have been still living in caves I think. Just an idea.
@silviadanaj, The world is changing because that is how the Universe is created. Everything is in balance with each other, but every effect is due to past causes and conditions. We live in the illusion that we have free will, and we desperately want to believe so. However, if there is free will, that would mean there would have to be somebody outside our body and mind who is controlling it right? Our thoughts are happening also because of previous causes and conditions. There is nobody controlling this, they are just happening.
The world ‘develops’, because it is also an effect of previous causes and conditions. It is simple physics but we make it so difficult.
@filipek, so what you are saying is that the would would still be the same if it wasnt populated? i understand that free will may not be that free because is based on past experiences but yes there is a choice to make, invent the car, invent electricity, internet, everything the world now has. if there wasnt free will, would these things still be there? its not entirely physical conditions, it is the thought of people and I believe that we can control our thoughts, way of life and everything. It may not be free will 100% but sure there is some of it.
@silviadanaj, No no, I think there is a misunderstanding. The fact that the world is populated by human beings is an effect of all the previous conditions. Of one celled organisms who started to evolve into more celled organisms etc. etc. Everything has a cause and effect. When I press the buttons on my keyboard, text will appear on the screen. When I press send, you will be able to read what I have just written.
These things would still be there yes, free choice is just an illusion. You never have a choice, because you can only choose one thing. The other options you create in your mind are only illusionary, they do not exist in reality. They are just thoughts, and thoughts are never real. Reality is things how they are, our thoughts and our minds create things that are not real, we create concepts etc. Without these concepts it would be very difficult to function, but the fact that we do create these concepts is only because of earlier conditions.
We cannot control anything, this is what we like to believe. Nothing is in our control. Can you control death? Can you control the time of your death?
@silviadanaj, You would think so. But would you have done so if we have not have had this discussion right now? Probably not. So then the fact that you are considering doing so, is caused by this discussion right? This is what I mean that every effect is just an effect of earlier causes and conditions.