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Freewill / Determinism


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Personally i believe that life in general, and humans in particular, can posses agency if not particularly free will. It seems like a lot of discussion in this thread is grounded in philosophy and basic principles of the West, which is sort of a uni-linear approach.


more inclined toward a holistic understanding of the human experience (undergraduate anthropologist), i tend to think of the way information is distributed and culture is shared. certainly living creatures are able to have an effect on the environment and i'd say that life, by virtue of existing, is evidence of living agency.


jesus. hard to formulate my thoughts on this without writing a fucking giant paper. determinism is a hotly debated subject in the discipline on a cross-cultural scale. either way i think that personal experience and participant observation with different people is more beneficial to an understanding of the free will vs fate argument as opposed to the armchairish philosophising based on rich greek dudes with too much time on their hands. especially in more regimented societies

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How do you know that you were free to choose?

Just because you say you can make one, doesn't mean there aren't antecedent events that caused you to pick one or the other.


I never said I was free to choose, I merely said I was ignorant to the choice until i've already made it


in which case one can explain the sensation or perception of free will as that ignorance.

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There are no permanent or ultimate answers in philosophy. It is only the study of the question.

Then again, there aren't any 100% positives in science either


There's a lot of 100% positives in science. We're just born into an age of such high understanding that we take most of it for granted. Socrates thought semen was menstrual blood that had been purified. Before the 1700's we didnt know other planets existed. We didnt know why stars twinkled or how birds fly. We didnt know what germs were. We didnt know shit, and now we do. Its one of the reasons I sortof lost interest in philosophy. 4000 years ago we connected algebra to geometry. Now we've connected math to physics to chemistry to biology to medicine... We've sent a robot to mars and reactivated dinosaur genes in a chicken to grow arms and a tail.... There's a lot of 100% scientific positives established between Ancient Greece and where we are now.

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They are only 100% within a theory, given that its assumptions hold.



But that's an entirely different conversation that I feel we've actually had before.


Look we both understand why people dismiss science because "it's not 100%." It's a religious point of view, because religious people hate complexity and just wish everyone and everything was simple and just like them. They CRAVE 100%'s and refuse to accept anything that isn't. That's about where philosophy ends and the age of allowing complexity begins. It's where science begins. The world is complex and there will never be a 100% understanding of EVERYTHING because knowledge looks like fractal. We've written a physics formula that explains everything from the big bang to how double helix DNA formed but it requires the presence of the higgs particle which may or may not exist.


That said there have been a billion 100%'s since ancient Greece, which is where this discussion about logic originates, or at least where historical record begins. Planets are a 100%. We first discovered planets in our solar system in the 1700's, 2000 years after Socrates died, which means free will and determinism weren't designed as a metrics for understanding a universe nobody knew existed. They were trying to understand human behavior. You gotta remember that 400 years after Socrates died Rome, an empire that idolized the teachings of Greece, was still sacrificing animals to the gods so their crops would grow. They thought people were marionettes for the gods and if someone was raped or murdered, it was the gods doing it. Understanding human psychology didnt even exist until the 1800's.


It's a lack of education and understanding on this planet that's phenominal. Nobody on this planet could fly to africa and make so much as a toaster or a water bottle from scratch. Few people would even know where to begin. Same with genetics. Only a handful really understand why it's even possible to grow a human ear on a mouse's back. How many people here have even heard of epigenetics?


if this is tldr i'll sum up what i think im trying to say here: The number of 100%'s out there are flying out at such a rapid pace. You could sit around and imagine what could be out there. Or you could be learning about half of what IS out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's cute that people believe in freewill. That people so pretentiously think themselves above the animal kingdom. We try to hard to separate ourselves from the animalistic tendencies we have by wearing clothes, building megaliths, and monuments to our own genius. We pretend that what we do serves a purpose but really all this is driven by our own pathetic attempt at self preservation, our drive to conquer the things that scare us and impress the opposite gender so we can mash our genitals together and pop out another child. And while we try so hard to defeat this overwhelming feeling of determinism we also destroy the only things sustaining us. Brilliant. We act so smart, we fight who we are, and at the end of our short lives we've really only managed to prove we are who we're trying so hard not to be — animals. Eating, murdering, fucking, and shitting our way to death. We're smarter, but still controlled by our genetic coding and fear of death like all other animals. So if no matter how much you fight who you are, you are something, then wouldn't that be the ultimate proof against freewill?

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We are the only animals that can even contemplate such a thing. I think that alone, that human essence, is what separates us from our animal side. We do the same as animals do, fear for death. But animals fear imminent death. We are the only animals that contemplate our death. We are animals. Supremely special ones. Like no other.


Do you doubt this?




mar: "So if no matter how much you fight who you are, you are something, then wouldn't that be the ultimate proof against freewill?"


free will in this case means freedom to choose. if you cannot choose until your brain has cognitively developed, then it wouldn't be possible to choose who you are.


freewill inside of determinism. i like that idea up there. thats the one making sense.



on a personal note, I'm guessing that before each new life, our essence does make a decision to be something. whether you believe in religion or whatever. you're making choices to determine your next life or afterlife. /endingthatbullshitimjustsayingwrongthread

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Animals make choices all the time. Just because our brains are (are they?) more developed doesn't make us have freewill. You're still driven by your biological need to eat, sleep and reproduce even if it manifests itself in a more complex manner. True freewill is choice made without constraints.

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Therefore, not (I) [Libertarianism, endorsed by Dennett] (Not the political kind)


ed by Ayer)





As far as I know Dennett subscribes to Compatibilism. Compatibalism (as far as I know) is not the Libertarian view of Free will.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Can I jump in here for a minute? Excuse my ignorance, but do some philosophers still hold a Hard Deterministic view, that if one knows enough information about a system and its inputs that one can predict the future? Obviously contemporary scientists do not hold that view, but rather a probabilistic view. I still think it's determinism though.


Even in a probabilistic universe, free will seems to be, at best, an illusion. It seems to be an illusion that would be useful to have. Whether free will exists or not, believing that one has no free will may be impossible for one to fully accept, even if all evidence points to it. I am fairly certain that I do not believe in free will, but I cannot imagine that my thought process actually works that way.


on a side note, MAR, did you lose your religion?

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  • 3 weeks later...

In regards to the Question of Religion, Mythology and Science:



The origin of modern science in the 16th and 17th centuries corresponds with the origins of modern capitalism and the industrial system. From the beginning, the worldview and methods of science have fit in perfectly with the need of the capitalist social system to dominate nature and the vast majority of human beings. Francis Bacon made it clear that science was not an attempt to understand nature as it is, but to dominate it in order to twist it to the ends of humanity — in this case meaning the current rulers of the social order.


Science is not simply a matter of observing the world, experimenting with its elements and drawing reasonable conclusions. Otherwise, we would have to recognize children, so-called primitives and a good many animals as excellent scientists. But the practical experiments carried out by all of us every day lack a few necessary factors, the first and most important of which is the concept of the universe as a single entity operating under universal, rational, knowable laws. Without this foundation, science cannot operate as such.

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Of course, the idea of universal natural laws had already come into existence in ancient Greece, arising at about the same time as written law for governing the city-states and money-based commerce. But the ancient Greek perspective differed significantly from that of modern science. The universal natural laws of Greek philosophy were fundamentally relational, parallel to the political and economic institutions of ancient Greek society. Thus this conception tended to promote moderation — Aristotle’s “golden mean” — and an avoidance of hubris, traits that very clearly do not find their equivalent in the modern scientific perspective.


Between the time of the ancient Greek philosophers and the origin of modern science, two significant historical events affected the western view of the world. The first of these was the rise of the Christian religion as the central dominating factor in western thought. This worldview replaced the concept of a multiplicity of gods who were part of the world with that of a single god external to the universe who created it and controls it. It additionally declared that the world had been created for the use of god’s favored creature, the human being, who was to subdue and rule it. The second significant event was the invention of the first automatic machine to play a significant role in public social life: the clock. The full significance of the invention of the clock in the development of capitalism, particularly in its industrial form, is a tale in itself, but my concern here is more specific. By materializing the concept of a non-living thing that could nonetheless move on its own for the populace, the clock gave an understandable basis for a new conception of the universe. Together with the idea of a creator external to the universe, it provided the basis for perceiving the unity of the universe as a clockwork created by the great clockmaker. In other words, it was essentially mechanical.


So religion and a technological development laid the basis for the development of a mechanistic view of the universe and with it of modern science. Recognizing the importance of religion in providing this ideological framework, it should come as no surprise that most early scientists were ecclesiastics, and that the sufferings of Galileo and Copernicus were exceptions to the rule, useful in developing the mythology of science as a force of truth fighting against the obscurantism of superstition and dogma. In reality, the early scientists were generally working for one or another of the various state powers as integral parts of the power structure, following the same path as one of the best known among them, Francis Bacon, who had no problem with reporting people like Giordano Bruno, who expressed ‘heretical’ ideas, to the church authorities.


But the scandals of science, like those of the church, the state or capital, are not the substance of the problem. The substance lies in the ideological foundations of science. Basically relational views of the universe — whether the legalistic one of the ancient Greek or the more fluid views of people who lived outside civilization — imply that an understanding of the universe would come from attempting to view it as holistically as possible in order to observe the relationships between things, the connections and interactions. Such a viewpoint works well for those who have no desire to dominate the universe, but rather only want to determine how to interact with their environment in order to fulfill their desires and create their life. But the capitalist need for industrial development required a different worldview.


If the universe is a machine and not an interrelationship between a myriad of beings, then one does not achieve an understanding of it through simple observation and direct experimentation, but through a specialized form of experimentation. One cannot come to an understanding of how a machine works simply by observing it as it functions in its environment. One needs to break it down into its parts — the gears, the wheels, the wires, the levers, etc. — in order to figure out what each part does. Thus, a foundational aspect of the method of modern science is the necessity of breaking everything down into its parts, with the aim of achieving the most basic unit. It is in this light that one can understand why scientists think that it is possible to learn more about life by cutting a frog open in a laboratory than by sitting by a pond observing frogs and fish and mosquitoes and lily pads actually living together. The knowledge science pursues is quantitative knowledge, mathematical knowledge, utilitarian knowledge — a type of knowledge that transforms the world into the machine it claims the world is. This sort of knowledge cannot be drawn from free observation in the world. It requires the sphere of the laboratory where parts can be experimented with outside of the context of the whole and within the framework of the ideological foundations of mathematics and a mechanistic worldview. Only parts that have been separated in this way can be reconstructed to meet the needs of those who rule.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This thread seems dead and I don't know if VFoR is going to update or not.


That said, I think some modern day philosophers who actually espouse a libertarian free will stance are Dean Zimmerman at Rutgers University and Peter van Inwagen at Notre Dame...if anyone was interested in reading up on that view.

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McLovin, cuntflaps.... swing and a miss.

cunt sauce... thanks for the anarchist literature by Wolfi Landstreicher? It has nothing to do with the subject of free will and determinism though.


dignan, crooked... I guess I was mistaken, sorry.


THIS, however, is related to free will...



Much related to the Ch.0 thread I made

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