Free Will vs. Predestination

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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby James » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:45 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:I don't get how you can have it both ways.

It seems like he was saying that while he acknowledges the possibility that choice might not exist on a complete level, he chooses to believe that it does and chooses to pick his own path in life. And that sounds like a pretty sound plan to me. Nobody is better off for blaming events in their lives on others (real or not).
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:30 pm

James wrote:
Shikanosuke wrote:I don't get how you can have it both ways.

It seems like he was saying that while he acknowledges the possibility that choice might not exist on a complete level, he chooses to believe that it does and chooses to pick his own path in life. And that sounds like a pretty sound plan to me. Nobody is better off for blaming events in their lives on others (real or not).


Fair enough, and it is a sound plan. Though I still do suggest we couldn't even know, like calling "conspiracy" at every action/event encountered. Just as your last sentence said, no one is better of blaming events on other sources than their obvious source.
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Liu Pi » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:35 pm

I was doing some reading on the subjet recently and wondered what everyone thought of it. I have to say that I'm very sceptical as to the existence of free-will.

The British philosopher Galen Strawson puts forth an argument as to why we cannot have free-will (and as a consequence moral responsibility) regardless of whether determinism proves to be true or not.

One way of setting out the no-freedom theorists' argument is as follows.

(1) When you act, you do what you do, in the situation in which you find yourself, because of the way you are.

It seems to follow that

(2) To be truly or ultimately morally responsible for what you do, you must be truly or ultimately responsible for the way you are, at least in certain crucial mental respects. (Obviously you don't have to be responsible for the way you are in all respects. You don't have to be responsible for your height, age, sex, and so on. But it does seem that you have to be responsible for the way you are at least in certain mental respects. After all, it is your overall mental make-up that leads you to do what you do when you act.)

But

(3) You cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all, so you cannot be ultimately morally responsible for what you do.

Why is that you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are? Because

(4) To be ultimately responsible for the way you are, you would have to have intentionally brought it about that you are the way you are, in a way that is impossible.

The impossibility is shown as follows. Suppose that

(5) You have somehow intentionally brought it about that you are the way you now are, in certain mental respects: suppose that you have intentionally brought it about that you have a certain mental nature N, and that you have brought this about in such a way that you can now be said to be ultimately responsible for having nature N. (The limiting case of this would be the case in which you had simply endorsed your existing mental nature N from a position of power to change it.)

For this to be true

(6) You must already have had a certain mental nature N-1 , in the light of which you intentionally brought it about that you now have nature N. (If you did not already have a certain mental nature, then you cannot have had any intentions or preferences, and even if you did change in some way, you cannot be held to be responsible for the way you now are.)

But then

(7) For it to be true that you and you alone are truly responsible for how you now are, you must be truly responsible for having had the nature N-1 in the light of which you intentionally brought it about that you now have nature N.

So

(8) You must have intentionally brought it about that you had that nature N-1. But in that case, you must have existed already with a prior nature, N-2, in the light of which you intentionally brought it about that you had the nature N-1 .

And so on. Here one is setting off on a potentially infinite regress. In order for one to be truly or ultimately responsible for how one is, in such a way that one can be truly morally responsible for what one does, something impossible has to be true: there has to be, and cannot be, a starting point in the series of acts of bringing it about that one has a certain nature - a starting point that constitutes an act of ultimate self- origination.
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Kristina » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:17 am

My outlook on it is this: We do, but we don't.

Example: Say we choose a blue shirt to wear. There was some underlying cause for you to choose that particular style and color. You had the choice, but at the same time, there was no other choice for you to make. It's not predetermined, but rather a process of elimination via the subconscious. Or the conscious, even. Say your boyfriend hated the shirt, and you were mad at him. So you wear it. Or say his favorite color is blue, and you really want to see him. So you wear blue, if not to please him when he sees you, then to remind yourself of him if he doesn't.

I'm not sure if this is completely sense making. Perhaps I'll come back for an edit once I've gotten sleep.
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Liu Pi » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:38 am

Kristina wrote:My outlook on it is this: We do, but we don't.

Example: Say we choose a blue shirt to wear. There was some underlying cause for you to choose that particular style and color. You had the choice, but at the same time, there was no other choice for you to make. It's not predetermined, but rather a process of elimination via the subconscious. Or the conscious, even. Say your boyfriend hated the shirt, and you were mad at him. So you wear it. Or say his favorite color is blue, and you really want to see him. So you wear blue, if not to please him when he sees you, then to remind yourself of him if he doesn't.

I'm not sure if this is completely sense making. Perhaps I'll come back for an edit once I've gotten sleep.


Interesting.

How do you propose that a subconscious decision could be an act of free will?

In the case of the boyfriend, I think a hard determinist would say that such a situation would be a clear cut case of cause and effect.
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Kristina » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:58 am

Yeah, that's kinda what I mean. It's cause and effect, but based on the causes, there's only one possible effect.
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Liu Pi » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:07 am

Kristina wrote:Yeah, that's kinda what I mean. It's cause and effect, but based on the causes, there's only one possible effect.


So I ask you this. Where does free will come into it?
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Solid Raven » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:54 am

Kristina wrote:Yeah, that's kinda what I mean. It's cause and effect, but based on the causes, there's only one possible effect.


Yes but you still could've had a choice (though that choice would be determined by causality). My point is, if you accept the premise of causality being the underlying factor of everything you do in life, you should see it as a starting point. It doesn't make something predestined. There is no way for me to tell what the future may bring, nor can causility. The choice is causal, but it is still a choice, and since a lot of choices are to be made in a lifetime (resulting in a multitude of possible otcomes, how causal they may be), I think you still have a portion of free will, i.e. not predestined. It kinda depends on how much credit you're willing to give to causality.

Actually it's pretty hard to give any argument against causality in the first place, you can't really reject it since a choice will always be made based on something else (how futile that basis may be).

Anyway, just my 2c
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Louhawk » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:05 am

I believie in what the bible teaches, and contratry to what many think, or have been taught, the bible teaches free will, that is what everything is all about. That is why mankinds suffers so much and God allows it to happen. Mankind chose their path, and God has allowd us to persue every avenue of that choice with little interference. Some of the beliefs I find comical in many forms of Christianity are predestination and Hell. Just think about that for a second. What your saying is God predetermins that you are going to be a bad person and then punishes you in a burning Hell for it :!: Does that sound logical at all :?: :?:
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Re: Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Liu Pi » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:13 am

Louhawk wrote:I believie in what the bible teaches, and contratry to what many think, or have been taught, the bible teaches free will, that is what everything is all about. That is why mankinds suffers so much and God allows it to happen. Mankind chose their path, and God has allowd us to persue every avenue of that choice with little interference. Some of the beliefs I find comical in many forms of Christianity are predestination and Hell. Just think about that for a second. What your saying is God predetermins that you are going to be a bad person and then punishes you in a burning Hell for it :!: Does that sound logical at all :?: :?:


Hi Louhawk,

You raise an interesting point Reformed/Calvinistic theology is quite interesting insofar as it's controversial theological views. As far as I can tell scripture makes a number of references to predestination and have heard others who argue that it makes no reference to free will whatsoever. Why do you suppose that predestination is such an unreasonable position?
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