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#275684 - 10/07/07 12:11 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: VictorWolf]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10122
And you have to wonder if "Will" can interrupt your own biology.

To put it plainly, that's one of the most off the wall concepts I've ever heard.

Let me lay it out for you:

Your mind is biological. Nothing else. Not spiritual, not mystical, not inorganic.

Will is a function of the mind, specifically your mind's determination to carry out a bodily function of some variety.

So no, your own biology cannot interrupt your own biology. That would be called carrying out a biological function, which is what I just said will is.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#275685 - 10/07/07 12:18 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: reprobate]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10122
I don't buy this. Saying that "it's beyond the scope of science to comment on" is just a way for "disciplines" with no solid foundation in reality to justify themselves.

If philosophy contradicts a biological reality, namely that all actions are a process of a limited biological program, then guess which one has to give? That's right, the one that is a construct, not reality.

Free will is, like concepts such as "justice," "deserving," "ethics," and "meaning," nothing more than a more or less arbitrary and ethereal non-reality with no bearing on the universe at large.

That's not to say that you can't use the essentially metaphorical sense of "free will" to say that someone did something "of his own free will" as in not under coercion, but as a concept we can actually apply to the nature of reality, it's bullshit.

By the way, that doesn't absolve responsibility, since a bad program has to be dealt with anyway, and regardless we're all programmed for retribution. ;\)
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#275687 - 10/07/07 12:29 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: VictorWolf]
Poetaster Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 01/20/06
Posts: 2334
Loc: East Coast, USA.
 Quote:
Perhaps not if you want to load on physics and other factors. We all obey the basic laws and motivations of the universe, after all.


Reductionist arguments that intense aren't even necessary.

The mind - that house of thought which causes so much controversy - is a by-product of a biological organ selected, modified and modulated - as per Steven Pinker, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby - by the process of evolution.

It can therefore be argued, and I think sufficiently well, that any action or reaction is merely a biological process.

The beauty of it is, however, that our organ for thought is so fine tuned, we don't have anything to compare our non-existent "free will" to; hence, we don't know any different. Since we don't know any different, this topic is really just good for some titillating conversation, but not any real practical concern outside of academia. You can go on living with a sense of philosophical, although completely false, "free will."

To postulate that "free will" actually exists as a metaphysical phenomenon completely separate from biology, I think it would be necessary to present a process which transcends biology, and that's getting too close to wishful thinking for my tastes; some might even call it faith.

Like it or not, we're just evolved organisms with the power to fool ourselves.

As the saying goes "nothing comes from nothing." And "free will" is nothing, without the biologically adapted organ necessary to even consider the damn concept.



Edited by Poetaster (10/07/07 12:42 AM)
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"People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power. The only thing we should respect in a personís faith is his desire for a better life in this world; we need never have respected his certainty that one awaits him in the next."

- Sam Harris





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#275688 - 10/07/07 12:34 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
reprobate Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
I'm not contradicting biological reality. Or even current biological theory (which is different). I'm saying, a reduction is not an elimination, an explanation in terms of parts in motion doesn't make anything disappear in a puff of theory.

But since you won't define what it is you purport to deny, or give examples of who (who worth taking seriously) believes in it according to this or that definition, or survey alternate definitions and assess their relative merits, your denial has no meaning.


Edited by reprobate (10/07/07 12:34 AM)
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#275690 - 10/07/07 12:42 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: reprobate]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10122
your denial has no meaning

Of course it doesn't, nothing does. ;\)

Wiktionary says:

Free will: The doctrine that humans (and possibly other entities) are able to choose their actions without being caused to do so by external forces.

Simply insert the fact that biological compulsion can pinch-hit as an "external force" and my argument is pretty clear. I have no idea why you'd need this defined for you, or why you think my definition was something different. Are you using a different definition?
_________________________
"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#275691 - 10/07/07 12:47 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: reprobate]
VictorWolf Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 237
Well there's another question. What in the hell is a mind? Its certainly the result of biological processes. No its not spiritual or anything silly like that. Certainly its something that has some sort of physical presence. I've always thought of the electrical impulses (bio-electricity if you like) that go on in your nervous system and your brain constituted the mind. Then again, I know absolute dick about the whole subject, so this is all speculation on my part.

I doubt the answer to any of this would bother me either way though.

And not to be disrespectful, but why is biological compulsion an external force?


Edited by VictorWolf (10/07/07 12:49 AM)
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#275693 - 10/07/07 12:54 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: VictorWolf]
Poetaster Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 01/20/06
Posts: 2334
Loc: East Coast, USA.
 Quote:
but why is biological compulsion an external force?


Because biology produces the interactions we are capable of making in regards to external concretes.

AKA - reality.

How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature are two excellent companion books written by Steven Pinker, dealing directly with what the mind is, and how it necessarily came to operate the way it does.


Edited by Poetaster (10/07/07 12:58 AM)
_________________________
"People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power. The only thing we should respect in a personís faith is his desire for a better life in this world; we need never have respected his certainty that one awaits him in the next."

- Sam Harris





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#275694 - 10/07/07 01:00 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Poetaster]
VictorWolf Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 237
I'll look into them.
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"It's pretty fun, doing the impossible." -Walt Disney

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#275695 - 10/07/07 01:08 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
reprobate Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Are you using a different definition?

A different notion, which I hope I can define.

I'm afraid to say, most scientists and philosophers throughout history have not had the benefit of Wiktionary. If only they had, so much ink might not have been spilled. But maybe, just maybe, they might have produced rival definitions that are worth taking a look at.

The underlying question is, What is will? and what does it mean to describe will as "free"? If you really have no idea why I made you take responsibility for your own answer to this question, then there isn't going to be much point to talking about the issue anymore. Philosophy doesn't begin with authoritative definitions, it makes them, and if you don't want to do the work of fashioning a good definition then this discussion isn't going to be very interesting for me.

Here's how I'd prefer to talk about it, my provisional definition: Free will is the doctrine that humans (and possibly other entities) are able to be the sufficient cause of their own choices.

Take out reference to "external forces" - "freedom" is a positive descriptor, not a negative one. Also "external forces" already presupposes a distinction between "internal" and "external", which implies two different kinds of forces, two substances, in other words dualism. We ought not build metaphysics into our definitions; that makes them tendentious. I'd call "choosing without being caused by external forces" something else, not freedom; maybe "undetermined behavior". There's no such thing as undetermined behavior.

My position is, we can regard ourselves as free, and we can also regard ourselves as fully determined, without contradiction, without dualism, and without mental gymnastics. My behavior, as a phenomenon that can be investigated empirically, is fully determined by other phenomena; but nevertheless I'm also capable of understanding myself as a will, as a being with values and interests, capable of reason and responsible for my choices.

I want to set up a distinction between behavior and will, but I'm not quite sure how I'd draw that distinction, and I'm too tired to think about it right now. If this conversation is still interesting in the morning, I might pursue that thought some more. My first thought is, you could have two questions: (1) "What would you do if your behavior, as a phenomenon, was undetermined by other phenomena?" - the answer to which would be, "The same as I already do, because I am already sufficient cause of my choices." (2) "What would you do if your will was undetermined?" - "Nothing - I couldn't do anything, because doing something would be a determination, which we've assumed away."


Edited by reprobate (10/07/07 01:30 AM)
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#275700 - 10/07/07 02:04 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: reprobate]
Sigurthr Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 184
Loc: U.P. of MI, USA
I'd like to point out that there is another definition, a Third Definition, for Free Will, one that when applied to the smaller biological process model is inaccurate and simply impossible.

Free Will: The condition of being able to set one's own will apart from a collective group will, to make one's own choices; i.e. Individualism, to seek one's own level on one's personal accord. To make choices not directly handed down from influencing stimuli, but choices developed from influence. This kind of Free Will does exist.

All action is the effect of a previous cause, there is no true "spontaneous" actions. So to use the definition that Free Will is the ability to make decisions without a prior influence is impossible and inaccurate. Whether the cause is one's own biology, or one's environment, or a very rare circumstance, no matter how much one wants to think that one's "Will" was "Free" of all influences is simply not true. One may not know the causative influence that brought about said "Will" and assume it was "Free", but it is not, and never was "Free".

To use the definition that Free Will is the ability to make decisions free of one's biology is also inaccurate and impossible. In this case, yes, Priest LeviathanXIII is correct in his assertion that THIS kind of Free Will does not exist. To even suggest the capability of a biological entity to do anything other than biological is to suggest that the entity is more than just biological by definition. Entities cannot simply Will into effect a change greater than the capability present in said type of entity. Take a sodium atom for instance, it simply can not be anything other than sodium under it's own will, nor can it do more than any other sodium atom could do in the same situation. Said sodium atom could become more than sodium via a nuclear event, but it would not be the sodium atom's Will that caused this, it would be the will of said nuclear event, perhaps neutron radiation's Will caused the evolution of the sodium atom. Even then the new (formerly sodium) atom is bound by the capabilities of its new element.

The definition of Free Will changes depending on what model you apply it to simply because the adjective "free" means nothing without first defining what one is "free" of. The definition of "Will" does not and need not change no matter the model one applies the issue "Free Will" to. As defined by Wiki; Will - One's accord, decisions, actions, intent.
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"After an inferior man has been taught a doctrine of superiority he will remain as inferior as he was before his lesson. He will merely assume himself to be superior, and attempt to employ his recently learned tactics against his own kind, whom he will then consider his inferiors. With each inferior man enjoying what he considers his unique role, the entire bunch will be reduced to a pack of strutting, foppish, self-centered monkeys gamboling about on an island of ignorance. There they will play their games under the supervision of their keeper, who was and will always be a superior man."
-Magus Anton Szandor LaVey (The Devil's Notebook, "Diabolica")

Undefiled Wisdom
**Formerly known as "Romenadan"**

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#275727 - 10/07/07 03:25 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Evil_Eve Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 09/23/06
Posts: 4234
Loc: 1313 Mockingbird Lane
This is actually a very good question and fun as well to ponder.

The fact of the matter is that I do indeed have 'Free Will'.

What I do, I do so freely without fear of punishment. Those things which are punishable I don't wish to partake in naturally so I am not out of anything.

Example: If you had free will to do drugs would you?

Answer: No. I know what happens to those who partake in such things freely or (illegally).

Now on the matter of warfare...... if I had total free will? Let's just say that.....let's just not say anything.

I have My own thoughts on this and how to end this big bag of piss but.......even though I have free will, I do not have the right to impose it on others.

I laugh when I read "Thy will be done not Mine". Bullocks!
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Magistra Nadramia.

FEARED!
Revered.
YOU can be a voice for the voiceless.


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#275756 - 10/07/07 05:39 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Jack_Lantern Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
I would put it on display in a glass case, with a placard that reads, "Most Useless Thing Ever".
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#275761 - 10/07/07 07:13 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: VictorWolf]
Mr Sam Offline


Registered: 07/18/06
Posts: 776
Loc: Somewhere in the UK.
My genes and my biology are what makes me. So the will of my genes, or my 'biology', is ultimately my own will.

I think the problem is not how you define will, but how you define free.

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#275767 - 10/07/07 08:12 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Mr Sam]
Moon Shadow Offline


Registered: 10/01/07
Posts: 58
Loc: ohio
Hi all,

My question is: Free will and conscience with regard to satanism.

Teresa Salyer (Moon Shadow).
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'Magic is like nature itself, and success in magic requires working in harmony with nature, not against it.' LaVey

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#275784 - 10/07/07 08:52 AM Re: If you had free will... [Re: Moon Shadow]
Rory_Rocketpants Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 1795
Loc: unknown
My question is: What?

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