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January 19, 2005 7:43 PM   Subscribe

The Determinism and Freedom Philosophy Website
posted by painquale (17 comments total)

 
Also see David Chalmer's collection on Free Will. I think the question of its existence is unanswerable.
posted by Gyan at 8:08 PM on January 19, 2005


Free Will is a Judeo/Christian myth.

Nike will tell you otherwise.
posted by lacus at 8:32 PM on January 19, 2005


Free Will is a Judeo/Christian myth.

lacus -- Surely such a smug comment is supported by some insight?
posted by Lisa S at 8:38 PM on January 19, 2005


Existence of free will would be an (at least implicit) requirement for any prescriptive doctrine, especially a religious one. If it's not in your hands, then it's not really up to you to be moral or accept [Persona/Entity of Choice] as your saviour.
posted by Gyan at 8:59 PM on January 19, 2005


Imagine you are an oarsmen on a rapidly flowing river, you can influence your position a little to the left or a little to the right, but you must, necessarily, flow with the rapids. Free will, your ability to navigate, is largely an illusion.

Or, at birth you are a like a rock thrown, when you land it is death. On the way you can scream, fuck, pontificate, but the end is absolute. Free will is an illusion.
posted by lacus at 9:06 PM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of compatibilist accounts that support 'free' human agency whilst allowing for complete physical determinism. What do you want from free will? For your actions to result from your will? Or the possibility to have done something differently? Seems to me you can have the first option but not the second.

I always liked the thought experiment where a man decides to stay in a room. Yet the door is locked so he could never have left had he chosen to do so. Did he freely choose to stay in the room?

It's not a prison if you never try the door.
posted by leibniz at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]



There are plenty of compatibilist accounts that support 'free' human agency whilst allowing for complete physical determinism.


That is, of course, if a mind/body duality exist. I don't see how it does.
posted by lacus at 9:42 PM on January 19, 2005


That is, of course, if a mind/body duality exist. I don't see how it does.

No, there are plenty of materialist compatibilists, Daniel Dennett being the most famous. See here on the linked site. Dualists tend to be indeterminists.
posted by painquale at 9:52 PM on January 19, 2005


Painquale, must admit myself off topic here, but thought the following amusing:

(bio) My nick is Pain Quale.
It's pronounced quah-lay. Not quail.
The plural of quale is qualia.
Qualia are the irreducible, private, ineffable properties of an experience.
They don't exist.
Trust me on this.

(comment) No, there are plenty of materialist compatibilists, Daniel Dennett being the most famous.

(Wikipedia; Dennet) Dennett is also well known for his argument against qualia, which claims that the concept is so confused that it cannot be put to any use or understood in any non-contradictory way, and therefore does not constitute a valid refutation of physicalism. This argument was presented most comprehensively in his book Consciousness Explained.
posted by lacus at 10:42 PM on January 19, 2005


My philosophical sensibilities are showing!
posted by painquale at 10:52 PM on January 19, 2005


OT: If you can find it, do read Dennett's piece on qualia called "Where Am I?" It was a great read, definitely the most interesting in my PHI101 class.
posted by sian at 11:12 PM on January 19, 2005


We're born, we die, time's arrow flies only one way, and we control none of that. So much is true.(1)

But lacus, as you note in your striking analogies(2) we have some say over how we vary the journey. Surely that is what most people mean by free will?

*******
(1) Little boy, exasperated, to father: "I didn't ask to be born!"
Father: "Well, if you had of, the answer would've been 'No'."

(2) Your thing about the rock will forever after make me hear the sentence "Just throw me the fucking ball" in a different way.
posted by mono blanco at 11:54 PM on January 19, 2005


What does it matter if you are determined or not? If you feel like doing something, do it. I've never been stopped from doing something by some invisible deterministic force. "Gee, I'd sure like to pick up that glass of water but... can't... must be... some kind... of force... field." If you were determined to do it, great, it's what you wanted to do anyway. If you were free to do it, even awesomer.
posted by Eideteker at 4:47 AM on January 20, 2005


if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

/geddy lee
posted by wbm$tr at 7:45 AM on January 20, 2005


If I had to read all that stuff, I'd never find out whether I have free will or not. How (non-)fortunate that lacus was determined to tell me in a few words!
posted by stuporJIX at 11:14 AM on January 20, 2005


Imagine you are an oarsmen on a rapidly flowing river, you can influence your position a little to the left or a little to the right, but you must, necessarily, flow with the rapids. Free will, your ability to navigate, is largely an illusion.

or you could jump out of the canoe.
posted by blendor at 2:16 PM on January 20, 2005


or you could jump out of the canoe.

Can you swim? And if you cannot, but do not jump out, is that still your choice?
posted by billsaysthis at 3:40 PM on January 20, 2005


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