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Does "free will" really exist in humanity?
Yes, my actions are decided by me, and by me alone.
59%
 59%  [ 46 ]
No, my actions are determined only by a string of unknown causes.
33%
 33%  [ 26 ]
No, my actions were determined by something (i.e. fate), and neither I nor anyone else has any control over them.
6%
 6%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 77

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YopWongSapn
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:05 pm    Post subject: Does "free will" exist? Reply with quote

I was feeling rather philosophical today, and thought I'd post a poll. Do we humans actually have a "free will," or are all of our thoughts/decisions simply the result of a string of causes?

I am interested not only in your answers, but I would also be interested in the explanations of your answers.


Edit: I'm looking for speculation about factors involed in our decsion making. What makes our actions free? Given this criteria, are our actions truely free? Something to think about when answering the question. :D

EDIT2: Please leave animals out of this discussion...whether animals have free will is irrelavent to the poll. It's a subject that deserves a whole new discussion on its own.
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lagrima
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i would say i do not have complete free will since most of my actions are affected by factors such us what consequences will happen when i do my action. also sometimes "what others think" is a factor on what i do. but generally i would say i choose my actions from my own accord.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted for that everyone has the choice. And I don't just speak of humans, because every living being makes choices. Except maybe plants. I hate it when everyone discludes everything else. Humans are not the center of this world.
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YopWongSapn
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r wrote:
Humans are not the center of this world.


Well, no, but they are the subject of more philosohpical speculation than other living things. I'm more than willing to admit that animals are limited by the same "free will" (or lack thereof) as humans are, but that's a discussion that I'd rather not go into for this poll.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r wrote:
I voted for that everyone has the choice. And I don't just speak of humans, because every living being makes choices. Except maybe plants. I hate it when everyone discludes everything else. Humans are not the center of this world.


Yes they are. Remember Dune: "he who can destroy a thing controls it". We can destroy this world (and ourselves with it), so we control it.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno.
If you choose not to eat you die.
If you choose not to drink you die.
If you choose not to sleep you die.

Not much choice there.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you like highbrow philosbabble, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

But when you boil it all down, free will is the choice between good vs. bad, righteousness vs. wickedness. That's the essence of free will. Humans have it. Animals don't.

:!:
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But when you boil it all down, free will is the choice between good vs. bad, righteousness vs. wickedness. That's the essence of free will. Humans have it. Animals don't.


Okay, on a scale of one to ten, that was retarded. If animals do not have free choice, then why are some mean and some nice? Yeah, they all have it. You're not any more special than they are, so face it. In fact, humanity is in many cases more barbaric than almost all other animals. You're a human, and cannot speak for any other species so you cannot affirm it either way unless you look. Then you'll see that the choice is theirs. They can choose to hate something or like it. Hate someone, or like them, and many more things. What do you think all the other animals are, mindless drones?
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r, animals are completely irrelevant to this discussion. The poll question is: "Does free will exist in humanity?"
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YopWongSapn
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a23d56 wrote:
But when you boil it all down, free will is the choice between good vs. bad, righteousness vs. wickedness. That's the essence of free will. Humans have it. Animals don't.


Hmmmm, allow me to pose a counter-argument...

It seems to me that our societies decide the difference between good and evil based on what ensures our survival (good) vs. what causes us to perish (evil).

Food for thought. :)
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a23d56 wrote:
If you like highbrow philosbabble, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

But when you boil it all down, free will is the choice between good vs. bad, righteousness vs. wickedness. That's the essence of free will. Humans have it. Animals don't.

:!:

How do you know that animals don't? I'm not sure that anyone could know that unless they be an omniscient god. You can't get inside an animal's head, so how do you know?

Just playing devil's advocate here. I mostly agree with you because I don't feel most animals possess the required critical mass of rationality to talk about them having a "will". I'd say that the difference is more a matter of degree, though. There is probably a certain threshold of brain-power necessary for human-type rationality and will. I'd be willing to bet that dolphins and chimpanzees are at least self-aware and rational, though. They have been shown to be capable of very complex reasoning, creativity, etc.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just watching cats, you can see them making choices all the time. I don't think that it takes much mental capacity to make choices. Of course, dogs eat poo so maybe they're not as rational as cats and such, but not all dogs do which basically shows that they make different choices. Yeah you heard me right, choices. :P

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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All my decisions are made up of a consideration of the circumstances. So my actions are not dictated by me but by behavioral pattern applied to the situation.

An I believe my behavioral pattern is made up of the experiences from past situations and actions that either were or were not perceived by me as "good". Now, I don't believe in a definite "good" and "evil" (the world's a waay too big place for such things to exist, as there are always three sides of a story: One part's version, the other part's version and then the truth :)).

Regarding animals, I agree completely with Pwnz3r... Why else would a dog care if it's owner walks it? Why else would a cat spend hours a day being petted? Why else would any mammal mother in nature sacrifice it's own life for the survival it's offspring?

And if it was a proper argument, I would say that you can simply look into the eyes of an animal - it will tell you quickly that there is mind activity behind, that it has feelings and thus makes choices.

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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'll go ahead a make a topic on it since the animal thing is actually off topic. ;)
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r wrote:
I think I'll go ahead a make a topic on it since the animal thing is actually off topic. ;)


Awesome. Wouldn't hurt to post a link here :D
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r wrote:
Just watching cats, you can see them making choices all the time. I don't think that it takes much mental capacity to make choices. Of course, dogs eat poo so maybe they're not as rational as cats and such, but not all dogs do which basically shows that they make different choices. Yeah you heard me right, choices. :P


I'm not sure that making choices is the same thing as making "rational" choices. Even a robot running a very simple program (not strong AI) makes choices, but I wouldn't argue that that means the robot has rationality. Rationality requires a complex thought process in addition to decision making. Decisions can be made without rationality based on instinctual programming.
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Mnemia
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pwnz3r wrote:
I think I'll go ahead a make a topic on it since the animal thing is actually off topic. ;)

Go ahead, but I don't think it really is off-topic. Considering the rationality of animals and robots and machines is a pretty common philosophical technique in thinking about how human rationality works.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vote the hardcore deterministic view. At any instance there's is only one possible future. That means of course there is no free will. Dennett argues against this in Freedom Evolves, but his reasoning is sloppy.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fate to me requires one thing. That is a magical sky guy or other devine being, and I don't believe that there can possibly be a being with that power because everything that is "matter" in the universe is composed of energy and energy is all the same. ;)
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nixnut wrote:
I vote the hardcore deterministic view. At any instance there's is only one possible future. That means of course there is no free will. Dennett argues against this in Freedom Evolves, but his reasoning is sloppy.


If there's no free will, then what's the point of living? Why don't you just buy a sword and fall on it?
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mnemia wrote:
I'm not sure that making choices is the same thing as making "rational" choices. Even a robot running a very simple program (not strong AI) makes choices, but I wouldn't argue that that means the robot has rationality

Same with animals. One who thinks animals have free will, doesn't understand free will. Animals were created to die. Humans were created to live forever. Among all fleshly creation, humans are unique in those two respects.

Pathetic insults notwithstanding.

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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a23d56 wrote:
Same with animals. One who thinks animals have free will, doesn't understand free will. Animals were created to die. Humans were created to live forever. Among all fleshly creation, humans are unique in those two respects.


Don't go there. We've got plenty of religion-oriented threads already.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stormy Eyes wrote:
If there's no free will, then what's the point of living? Why don't you just buy a sword and fall on it?
There is no point. And I don't really know why I don't buy a sword and fall on it. I just haven't felt the impuls to do so.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stormy Eyes wrote:
Don't go there. We've got plenty of religion-oriented threads already

The question was philosophical. Does philosophy exclude God?

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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a23d56 wrote:
The question was philosophical. Does philosophy exclude God?


The question is free will vs. determinism. How does dragging God into the discussion help answer the question one way or the other?
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