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Thread: Free Will vs Natural Response

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    Default Free Will vs. Natural Response

    The questions I would like to pose for the general audience are straight forward, but the answers are subjective and vague. Now, imagine every action you have ever done in your entire life. Using that, attempt to discern what was done as a natural response of your personality behaviour patterns or what was performed as a result of your own choice. Basically, are we a slave to our personalities or brain programming? OR is every choice we made because we wanted or strived for it? Wait a second...how can one know what they want is really what they desire? Your desires could be the result of your natural instincts because they achieve a satsifying desire. You perform it and feel useless afterwards after realizing that in the grand scheme of things, it is not what you truly strive for.

    Taking that into account, imagine every response you embedded into your life when the environment raised a specific scenario. Has the responses been similar for specific changes in the environment? Was your response the immediate result of your personality shunning or accepting a task simply because it adheres or abhors the general code of your being? Everyone likes to believe that what they immerse themselves in is the product of their free will because they are biological and have the ability to fulfill their desires and their egos. However, how is it free-will when your desires and egos are not chosen?

    Keep in mind that this is directly related to socionics because our personality dictates what our goals in life are and what will activate the reward centers in our brain. In the future, can you imagine a manager refusing to reward an XSXJ for his/her hardwork because it is in their nature? What about refusing to thank a gamma SF for their generosity or ignoring an NF's altruism? This brings up the question of what is attributed to our development and perseverance as a person and what should be acknowledged as a simple fiber of our being.
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    That was not one question but many. Which one would you like me to answer first?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    That was not one question but many. Which one would you like me to answer first?
    That is true, I guess from ascending order if you wish.
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    Ones dominant function may be responsible for ones general desire(s), but that doesn't mean there isn't free-will involved, for the simple reason that no ones ego can predict the future and hence know for sure which course of action will lead to the greatest satisfaction of ones dominant function.

    That is to say, a person with dominant may seek to preserve the integrity of their sense of well-being, but there may be many possible ways to do this - maybe complying with others will achieve this, maybe going against them will. As aforementioned, in the final analysis one can never be certain which option is more likely to satisfy the ego, therefore the choice of whether to comply with others (as in the case of following a manager's orders) is down to the individual, and can thus be said to be worthy of reward.
    [Stormy] [LII]

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    Okay, but you do not make it easier for us ...

    Now, imagine every action you have ever done in your entire life. Using that, attempt to discern what was done as a natural response of your personality behaviour patterns or what was performed as a result of your own choice.
    These two alternatives are not mutually exclusive.

    Basically, are we a slave to our personalities or brain programming?
    Yes.

    OR is every choice we made because we wanted or strived for it?
    Yes. The "OR" is based on a wrong assumption.

    Wait a second...how can one know what they want is really what they desire?
    Well, there is no difference between what you want and what you desire.

    Your desires could be the result of your natural instincts because they achieve a satsifying desire. You perform it and feel useless afterwards after realizing that in the grand scheme of things, it is not what you truly strive for.
    Yes. Of course you can have many different desires, and they can sometimes be conflicting.

    Taking that into account, imagine every response you embedded into your life when the environment raised a specific scenario. Has the responses been similar for specific changes in the environment? Was your response the immediate result of your personality shunning or accepting a task simply because it adheres or abhors the general code of your being?
    I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

    Everyone likes to believe that what they immerse themselves in is the product of their free will because they are biological and have the ability to fulfill their desires and their egos.
    No. Not me.

    However, how is it free-will when your desires and egos are not chosen?
    You can choose what you want, but there is no free will in any interesting sense of the word, because the concept of a free will is either incoherent or trivial.

    In the future, can you imagine a manager refusing to reward an XSXJ for his/her hardwork because it is in their nature?
    Of course. But that doesn't make it right. Though in this case it is also in the nature of the manager to refuse to reward the XSXJ.

    What about refusing to thank a gamma SF for their generosity or ignoring an NF's altruism?
    What's the problem here? That might happen, but if it is right or wrong is another question completely that has nothing to do with our natures and our lack of free will.

    This brings up the question of what is attributed to our development and perseverance as a person and what should be acknowledged as a simple fiber of our being.
    There is no problem here.

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    "Yes. "

    You don't mean to imply that such slavery precludes the existence of a free-will, do you?
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticSonic
    "Yes. "

    You don't mean to imply that such slavery precludes the existence of a free-will, do you?
    Not sure if your replying to Phaedrus, but I believe that mental slavery is a result of low self-control. It is strange that by having lower self control, we becomes less free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormy
    Ones dominant function may be responsible for ones general desire(s), but that doesn't mean there isn't free-will involved, for the simple reason that no ones ego can predict the future and hence know for sure which course of action will lead to the greatest satisfaction of ones dominant function.

    That is to say, a person with dominant may seek to preserve the integrity of their sense of well-being, but there may be many possible ways to do this - maybe complying with others will achieve this, maybe going against them will. As aforementioned, in the final analysis one can never be certain which option is more likely to satisfy the ego, therefore the choice of whether to comply with others (as in the case of following a manager's orders) is down to the individual, and can thus be said to be worthy of reward.
    So, your basically trying to imply that free-will comes down to making the choice of whether to satisfy your ego or not?
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    Quote Originally Posted by MysticSonic
    Ones dominant function may be responsible for ones general desire(s), but that doesn't mean there isn't free-will involved, for the simple reason that no ones ego can predict the future and hence know for sure which course of action will lead to the greatest satisfaction of ones dominant function.

    That is to say, a person with dominant may seek to preserve the integrity of their sense of well-being, but there may be many possible ways to do this - maybe complying with others will achieve this, maybe going against them will. As aforementioned, in the final analysis one can never be certain which option is more likely to satisfy the ego, therefore the choice of whether to comply with others (as in the case of following a manager's orders) is down to the individual, and can thus be said to be worthy of reward.
    So, your basically trying to imply that free-will comes down to making the choice of whether to satisfy your ego or not?
    No, I'm saying that one can never know with certainty what will satisfy ones ego, therefore ones choices must be influenced (at least in part) by a factor independent of ego-satisfaction - 'free will'.
    [Stormy] [LII]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    , but you do not make it easier for us ...
    Elaborate, I'm merely trying to pose more questions. I meant factors like hunger or belonging, those are instinctual ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    These two alternatives are not mutually exclusive.
    Well, isn't it a power struggle between satisfication vs. the ego?

    Taking that into account, imagine every response you embedded into your life when the environment raised a specific scenario. Has the responses been similar for specific changes in the environment? Was your response the immediate result of your personality shunning or accepting a task simply because it adheres or abhors the general code of your being?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    I'm not sure what you are getting at here.
    The general code is basically in way your super ego or your judgement of what can be performed at the day and what cannot. I am trying to imply that if you respond the same way with a certain circumstance in the environment then that could imply that you are a slave to your mind.
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormy
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    Quote Originally Posted by MysticSonic
    Ones dominant function may be responsible for ones general desire(s), but that doesn't mean there isn't free-will involved, for the simple reason that no ones ego can predict the future and hence know for sure which course of action will lead to the greatest satisfaction of ones dominant function.

    That is to say, a person with dominant may seek to preserve the integrity of their sense of well-being, but there may be many possible ways to do this - maybe complying with others will achieve this, maybe going against them will. As aforementioned, in the final analysis one can never be certain which option is more likely to satisfy the ego, therefore the choice of whether to comply with others (as in the case of following a manager's orders) is down to the individual, and can thus be said to be worthy of reward.
    So, your basically trying to imply that free-will comes down to making the choice of whether to satisfy your ego or not?
    No, I'm saying that one can never know with certainty what will satisfy ones ego, therefore ones choices must be influenced (at least in part) by a factor independent of ego-satisfaction - 'free will'.
    Possibly, however that factor can also be derived from externally. If you strive for a goal that was ascertained from the environment, would that make that free-will?
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    You'd love ethical philosophy. Maybe you already do. You could look at some books if not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormy
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    No, I'm saying that one can never know with certainty what will satisfy ones ego, therefore ones choices must be influenced (at least in part) by a factor independent of ego-satisfaction - 'free will'.
    Possibly, however that factor can also be derived from externally.
    To the extent that one can never know with certainty the state of that which is external, no, it can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    If you strive for a goal that was ascertained from the environment, would that make that free-will?
    Yes - the free will is in deciding that the goal exists.
    - :wink:
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    I am trying to imply that if you respond the same way with a certain circumstance in the environment then that could imply that you are a slave to your mind.
    But what does that mean? In what sense are you a "slave"? We don't have free will in the "metaphysical" sense, but neither are we "slaves" in any meaningful sense of that word just because all our actions might be pretermined. We would be equally free or unfree if none of our actions was predetermined. The way we and the world and are structured does not determine our freedom (or lack of).

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    It is strange that by having lower self control, we becomes less free.
    No. Your level of self control has nothing to do with whether you are free or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    I am trying to imply that if you respond the same way with a certain circumstance in the environment then that could imply that you are a slave to your mind.
    But what does that mean? In what sense are you a "slave"? We don't have free will in the "metaphysical" sense, but neither are we "slaves" in any meaningful sense of that word just because all our actions might be pretermined. We would be equally free or unfree if none of our actions was predetermined. The way we and the world and are structured does not determine our freedom (or lack of).
    I apologize if I'm being too vague. What I'm trying to say is that if our brain functions in the same way a programmed robot does then were not free. For example, if an ESFP ignores a certain sentence said by another individual mainly because it is far too strange and goes beyond their own constrains. Would that mean that the individual is blocking him or herself because he/she refuses to open themselves to something that is naturally "wrong and pointless" for them.

    Well, the way our environment is structured does impede in our freedom. If you desire to eat a hamburger and hamburgers are banned, wouldn't that be prohibiting your freedom? If you wish to suceed in a business, however you indulge too much in immediate matters, thus purging your ability to invest your money for your business.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    No. Your level of self control has nothing to do with whether you are free or not.
    If an individual is addicted to amphetamines, food, alcohol and sex. Isn't it fair to say that the addicted person is a slave to immediate desires?

    EDIT: I just realized that self-control does relate to freedom, however a high level of control doesn't necessarily equate to freedom because the individual's life would be stringent and dependent on prioritized tasks. Also, a low level of control won't equate to freedom as well becaues the individual would become a slave to his desires. This would lead one to believe that balance is the ideal that will solve this problem, however this is an unattainable goal that should not be reached, but instead should be progressed to a reasonable point of functionality.
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadae
    You'd love ethical philosophy. Maybe you already do. You could look at some books if not.
    Thanks , I'll pick up some books that revolve around that topic, since I'm going to return the books in a few days that I am presently reading.
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    Cool! It's quite a broad topic and feels almost never ending but I feel it is an excellent thing to be aware of.

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    What I'm trying to say is that if our brain functions in the same way a programmed robot does then were not free.
    Why not? The concept freedom is meaningful when applied to human actions, but it does not apply to natural events. Such events can prevent us from doing certain things, of course, but then it is not our freedom that has diminished, it is our power of control, our capacity to do what we want, that has diminished. Let's assume that there is no principal difference between a human being and a complex computer (or robot). We would still be as free as we are right now in that case.

    Well, the way our environment is structured does impede in our freedom. If you desire to eat a hamburger and hamburgers are banned, wouldn't that be prohibiting your freedom?
    As I said above, the answer is no.

    If an individual is addicted to amphetamines, food, alcohol and sex. Isn't it fair to say that the addicted person is a slave to immediate desires?
    It is misleading to say that, because the concept slavery should apply only to human actions. We can be another person's slave, but Nature can not enslave us.

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    the fact that I can choose to think or not think something, to feel or not feel something, to desire or not desire something - speaks volumes for the existence of something we'd call free will.
    No. It speaks for the existence of something we'd call "will", but it is not "free" in any interesting sense of the word "free". Free in relation to what? Neither is the will "unfree".

    It's interesting, I can sit back and watch all kinds of things randomly or not so randomly register in my conscious awareness... yet I can stop any one of them dead cold, no matter what it is, and choose not to experience it and not pay attention to it.
    Yes, you can. If you decide to stop any one of those things dead cold, your decision is made by you, but your conscious awareness of which decision you have made comes much later in the "decision" process than the causes of that "decision".

    It might seem trivial and I'm not sure if you grasp the profoundness of this, but I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a naturalistic/deterministic mechanism to account for this kind of phenomenon that I'm sure everyone experiences at least some of the time.
    This phenomenon has been endlessly discussed, and the naturalistic/deterministic mechanisms of it has been described in various sources over the years. One book I can recommend reading is Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained. I also found this on the Internet:
    http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/pubpage.htm

    I'm not saying that Dennett is right about everything he says, but he (and many others) has described the phenomenon you refer to, and he explains why the conclusions you seem to draw are the wrong ones.

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    You've done a good job at bluntly asserting I'm wrong, but you might want to explain your reasoning.
    Okay. But first we must know where to begin. As for the last part of your post, I wrote that your conclusions seemed wrong. I'm not sure that they are, because I'm not sure about what we are discussing here. Exactly where do we disagree?

    You seem to believe in the existence of free will. This is a big topic, but in my opinion the concept free will is incoherent. You can define "free will" in a trivial sense if you want, but then everyone agrees with that, and it becomes totally uninteresting. If you define the concept in an interesting way, it becomes incoherent, because it is based on the confusion of two different perspectives, which are incompatible.

    1. One perspective is the third-person view. Everything seen from that perspective is an object. So, every human being is also an object seen from that perspective. And an object can not have a free will, because an object doesn't choose and doesn't act. Things happen to an object, though, and the events that the object takes part in have (natural) causes.

    2. The other perspective is the first-person view. We can choose to see a human being as a subject, and in fact we often do just that. A subject can have free will, at least if the subject is a human being. A subject acts, and the subject (usually) has reasons for doing things. And there is a huge difference between reasons and causes.

    Now comes the problem. When we discuss whether we have a free will or not, we invariably start to confuse these two perspectives. But nothing seen from one of those two perspectives has anything to do with anything seen from the other perspective. They are forever logically separate.

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    A subject can have free will, at least if the subject is a human being.
    Correction. A subject can have a will, and by definition it has. But my point is that to add the word "free" doesn't add anything substantial to that. You are free if no other subject coerces you, otherwise you are equally free regardless of any natural circumstances or causes. For example, an alcoholic or a schizofrenic are as free as anyone else, as long as no one prevents them from doing what they want. They can still choose to what they want, but they can not (and neither can anyone else) in any meaningful way choose what to choose.

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    You both make very interesting points and I'm not saying that free will doesn't exist because it does retain a strong presence. However, free will is more like a catalyst that would determine what your natural processes would do next. Imagine you standing on the center of an circular road, which contains numerous possibilities for roads travelling in different directions. The process of road selection should be labelled as free will, since it is ultimately up to you. The fact that it is up to you and not your desires or goals is because the selection is determined by the amount of energy you implement in order to stradle yourself to that road. It could also be interpreted as being aware of the external options and overcoming fear to embrace them. Of course that can be seen as an extravert's attitude, I'm sure one of you can enlighten me for an introvert's process of selection. However, the actions that are performed while travelling that road is not free will, since they are natural responses to the environment. Of course, several pathways will open up during the process leading for more chances for free will to emerge.
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    Default Re: Free Will vs. Natural Response

    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamicism
    We're not a slave to personality or so called "brain programming" - or at least, we don't have to be. The Behaviorist school of thought already lost out on this flimsyass argument 30 some years ago. The fact is, people actively regulate their own behaviors on all kinds of different levels in pretty much every waking moment of every day. Life itself necessitates this kind of adapability and the only people who act in any way as you've described here are lobotomy patients and feral animals. Besides that, people's personalities and even convictions and outlooks that at one time they may have seemed so assured of, can flip around through all kinds of dizzying extremes over the course of a lifetime - sometimes even with conscious intent. I know I've personally gone through all kinds of polarities in all kinds of aspects of who I am, mostly on purpose just to experiment. So I can't see any sustainable arguments for these things being static determinants of behavior.

    The crux of all this though, and I hope you'll understand what I'm about to get at... the fact that I can choose to think or not think something, to feel or not feel something, to desire or not desire something - speaks volumes for the existence of something we'd call free will. It's interesting, I can sit back and watch all kinds of things randomly or not so randomly register in my conscious awareness... yet I can stop any one of them dead cold, no matter what it is, and choose not to experience it and not pay attention to it. It might seem trivial and I'm not sure if you grasp the profoundness of this, but I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a naturalistic/deterministic mechanism to account for this kind of phenomenon that I'm sure everyone experiences at least some of the time.

    If you're really interested in this topic, I'd reccommend checking this book out: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...88479?v=glance
    I would like to point out that people who lacked a rational function in their personality would be unable to organize information in terms of "this goes, this is ok". From their PoV, behaviorism would explain their experience, and their perception of other people, pretty well. I'm referring to crosstypes here.

    This very question of whether or not people have free will has been on my own mind for some time. I've concluded that if a person is thinking irrationally (intuitively or sensately, for example) then they will find rational notions that focus on cause and effect, or feelings, a bit boring, tiresome, even irrelevant so long as they are using their irrational function. If they are always using the irrational function when another person is using their rational function, they may think poorly of that person's abilities, because they will always find something to criticise them over. Is this tendency towards conflict fate, or can we look further?

    Let's take an example. Two men are exchanging ideas about how to build a bridge. The first man is saying, "we're gonna build a bridge over the river to allow the farmers to cross." The second man is thinking critically about the situation, and concludes that due to a pending armed conflict the army needs the bridge more, and that it will be necessary to indefinitely secure the bridge against the rate of traffic needed by the farmers, to prevent enemy infiltration. Indeed, it is so necessary to stop the enemy, they figure, that the bridge must be reserved to the army alone. Two competing needs arise: the need to secure the bridge, and the need to give farmers access to the bridge. If the first man does not perceive he will benefit from the army, but feels sympathy for the farmers, then he will be more likely to argue with the second man who believes he will benefit from the army's security. The one needs to use intuition at that moment to adapt the future to anticipated needs; the other needs to use rationality to adapt to the immediate issues at hand. In each case, the one force threatens to overcome the other: the one's rational security need inhibits the farmer's need for an adaptable future; the farmer's need for potential to adapt free of the army threatens the need of the army's supporters for the security the farmers want them to forgo.

    Is the conflict between the first man and the second man, and the farmers and the army, one of choice or one of fate? Does either side have free will, or are they just players in a game that justifies itself?

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    However, free will is more like a catalyst that would determine what your natural processes would do next.
    No it is not. Free will in that sense doesn't exist, because it is just as much a part of those natural processes than any other part of those processes. And it is definitely not the catalyst, even though most people are inclined to think that way.

    Imagine you standing on the center of an circular road, which contains numerous possibilities for roads travelling in different directions. The process of road selection should be labelled as free will, since it is ultimately up to you.
    Yes, it is up to me. But when you define "free will" in this sense, it is just a natural phenomenon, one of the links in a long chain of natural causes that we find it convenient to label "free will". It is no more "free" than any other part of that chain of causes. It would be more accurate to say that my "free will" is what makes me to what I am. Whenever I become aware of which choice I want to make, the "choice" has already been "made" about half a second earlier, and at that time (when the die is cast and there is no turning back) I didn't know which choice I was going to make. But which choice it was going to be was already determined.

    However, the actions that are performed while travelling that road is not free will, since they are natural responses to the environment.
    And your "free will" is also (and just as much) a natural response to the environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    However, free will is more like a catalyst that would determine what your natural processes would do next.
    No it is not. Free will in that sense doesn't exist, because it is just as much a part of those natural processes than any other part of those processes. And it is definitely not the catalyst, even though most people are inclined to think that way.
    That is possible, free will can be a numerous amount of possibilities and it is difficult to decipher, which one would correlate best with free will, since they are blurred and the truth is hidden.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    Imagine you standing on the center of an circular road, which contains numerous possibilities for roads travelling in different directions. The process of road selection should be labelled as free will, since it is ultimately up to you.
    Yes, it is up to me. But when you define "free will" in this sense, it is just a natural phenomenon, one of the links in a long chain of natural causes that we find it convenient to label "free will". It is no more "free" than any other part of that chain of causes. It would be more accurate to say that my "free will" is what makes me to what I am. Whenever I become aware of which choice I want to make, the "choice" has already been "made" about half a second earlier, and at that time (when the die is cast and there is no turning back) I didn't know which choice I was going to make. But which choice it was going to be was already determined.
    I had been pondering about this well because I was trying to link the decision making process with free will, but like you stated the selection of choices can possibly be a natural response embedded in you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler
    However, the actions that are performed while travelling that road is not free will, since they are natural responses to the environment.
    And your "free will" is also (and just as much) a natural response to the environment.
    What do you believe free will is? Does it even exist from own your perception? or does it resemble a puzzle that is far too complex?
    "Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change."

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    What do you believe free will is? Does it even exist from own your perception? or does it resemble a puzzle that is far too complex?
    I don't believe in free will in the metaphysical sense, because, as I have tried to explain, it is impossible to believe in that kind of free will. It is an incoherent, confused concept. We can compare it with other confused concepts, like "soul", for example. I'm not sure how to understand your puzzle metaphor.

    But it is useful to talk about free will in real life situations, if we don't make the mistake of thinking that one person has more or less of it than another person. It doesn't matter one bit whether every event is predetermined or random, we are as free or unfree as ever in either case. The only thing that can delimit our free will is other peoples actions against us, i.e if they use force to prevent us from choosing what we want. No psychic disease can make us less free, no drug, no natural circumstances of any kind.

    If we choose to view other persons as natural objects, neither can anything they "do" to us make us less free nor anything (and I mean literally anything) we "do" to them make them less free. But we can also choose to view them as subjects, and if we do that, all subjects are equally free (as subjects), unless they actively try to prevent each other from choosing what they want.

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    A will is free if-and-only-if they are the sole source of their choice of actions; that is, a will is free if it desires that which it desires uncaused.

    The existence of such a will seems unlikely given our current knowledge about neurology and whatnot, but its existence is not a logical impossibility.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticSonic
    A will is free if-and-only-if they are the sole source of their choice of actions; that is, a will is free if it desires that which it desires uncaused.

    The existence of such a will seems unlikely given our current knowledge about neurology and whatnot, but its existence is not a logical impossibility.
    On that note about neurology, it seems useful from my PoV to remember that synapse actions in the brain are quantum-mechanical in nature. Thus one can never say for certain if the brain is causal or random, because the laws of its fundamental operation are themselves due to chance. Perhaps the best compromise on the subject of free will is the same used for quantum mechanics: although one understands that there is a relationship between the fundamental mechanics of the universe and the human mind, the imperceivable precise state of the particles that embody those mechanics at any given time makes perfect predictions of human behavior impossible.

    Therefore we can say that although definite patterns of particle activity cause free will, it is impossible to know which particles are engaging in what patterns at any time because we cannot observe them all. Like any mechanistic pattern, free will can be understood and engaged, but never controlled.

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    A will is free if-and-only-if they are the sole source of their choice of actions; that is, a will is free if it desires that which it desires uncaused.
    That's one possible way of defining free will, and it is rather common among those who want to believe in the existence of free will.

    The existence of such a will seems unlikely given our current knowledge about neurology and whatnot, but its existence is not a logical impossibility.
    I agree. But if that kind of will exists, why should we call it "will"? It is not something we are conscious of. It is more like a mysterious, invisable, unknown director behind the scene, who makes totally random (by chance) "decisions" that causes our conscious awareness of which choices he forces us to make. We know for a fact that our conscious decisions are not that kind of source of our actions.

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    The thing is, though, that this mysterious, invisible director is OURSELF, and thus, it is a will.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticSonic
    The thing is, though, that this mysterious, invisible director is OURSELF, and thus, it is a will.
    OURSELF? What is "self"? What is its physical correspondence?

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    I appologize; I meant THE self. Also, there need not exist a physical correspondance.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    I appologize; I meant THE self. Also, there need not exist a physical correspondance.
    Now you start drifting. If you believe that there is no need for a physical correspondence, you are fooling yourself in a similar way to those who believe in the existence of a soul that they think can be something else than what can (in principle) be explained by science. If there is no physical correspondence, how can that mysterious "self" have any influence at all on how we (the body) act? You might, maybe, think of that "self" in Wittgenstein's way as a metaphysical subject, but in that case it is not part of the world and can take no part in it.

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    Then you obviously misunderstand what I meant by "physical correspondance"; that is, it has no material form---though it certainly does have influence on the physical.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    it has no material form---though it certainly does have influence on the physical.
    If it has no material form (and by that I understand it that it is no form of energy either, since matter and energy are essentially the same "thing"), what do you think it is? And how can it have influence on the physical?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    it has no material form---though it certainly does have influence on the physical.
    If it has no material form (and by that I understand it that it is no form of energy either, since matter and energy are essentially the same "thing"), what do you think it is? And how can it have influence on the physical?
    Matter and energy are equivalent, but only at the systematic level. You can't casually convert matter into energy. What he means is a quasi-body the like of which may not be describable in terms of any recognized authority. (you can't say, "this is Wittgenstein's way" or "[insert authority here]'s way" because it is not a concept that has been well developed by any definite authority. (although the concept of Cosmic Consciousness, and the book after the same name, does go somewhat into describing the concept)) He is thinking of a physical analogue to Jung's idea of the Self, an all-encompassing, relationally manifesting entity that appears relationally, not causally. So to say, the concept of self being discussed is a massive relational pattern wholly dependent upon the subject who perceives the pattern.

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    "If it has no material form (and by that I understand it that it is no form of energy either, since matter and energy are essentially the same "thing"), what do you think it is?"

    A sort of platonic entity that influences the world via non-physical forces; though I concede that the likelihood of the existence of such an entity(a free-will) is rather low, there still exists the possibilty of its actuality.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    A sort of platonic entity that influences the world via non-physical forces; though I concede that the likelihood of the existence of such an entity(a free-will) is rather low, there still exists the possibilty of its actuality.
    You are right about the low likelihood of the existence of such an entity, but you are wrong about the possibility of its actuality. The likelihood that such an entity exists is simply zero. There is no platonic entity that influences the world via non-physical forces, because there are no non-physical forces, and there can't be any. The concept of a non-physical force is incoherent, a logical impossibilty, that is another example of that kind of conceptual confusions I have been talking about. Every force is, by definition, physical, and those who deny that are talking nothing but sophisticated nonsense.

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    "Every force is, by definition, physical, and those who deny that are talking nothing but sophisticated nonsense."

    How is force, by definition, physical? Certainly all forces must have an observable physical EFFECT upon reality, but that does not neccessarily mean the force itself is a physical one.
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    Certainly all forces must have an observable physical EFFECT upon reality, but that does not neccessarily mean the force itself is a physical one.
    Can you give one example of a non-physical force?

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