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Free will

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Clydey
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Free will « on: April 03, 2012, 09:42 PM »
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That's great, but what would he have got over here? I like tough sentencing. I'm keen on Singapore - drop a crisp packet and it's the death penalty. Crime is virtually non-existent in Singapore.

I'm a fan of, firstly, prevention and, secondly. rehabilitation. The law should not be about retribution, given that criminals are no more responsible for their behaviour than we are. Of course, punishment should always be there as a deterrent, but the fact that we lack free will makes vengeance about as logical as seeking retribution on natural disasters.

Sam Harris makes some great points regarding crime and punishment in his latest book.


Mod NoticeCreated a new thread from discussion on the 'News Thread' about free will.
[ Last edit by Mark April 05, 2012, 06:38 PM ] IP Logged
Caz
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I'd like to be the good person my dog thinks I am!

Re: Free will « Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 05:05 AM »
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I pretty much agree with the first part of your post Clydey, but not sure about 'but the fact that we lack free will.........'
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 03:24 PM »
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I pretty much agree with the first part of your post Clydey, but not sure about 'but the fact that we lack free will.........'

We do lack free will. Everything you do is caused by something else. You are not responsible for your genes or your environment. Every decision you make is based on prior causes.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 04:08 PM »
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If you're going to talk like that, you might as well endorse the misconception that 'The Selfish Gene' offers an excuse for our selfish actions in today's society. As you know, Dawkins points out that once we developed a consciousness, we were able to override the selfish actions our genes would probably have us do if they completely controlled us. Our genes may leave us with tendencies towards certain things but we can override them, just some easier than others.

As we once agreed, paedophiles are not bad people for being attracted to children, they're only bad if they choose to act upon their desires.
[ Last edit by Mark April 04, 2012, 04:28 PM ] IP Logged
Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 04:40 PM »
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If you're going to talk like that, you might as well endorse the misconception that 'The Selfish Gene' offers an excuse for our selfish actions in today's society. As you know, Dawkins points out that once we developed a consciousness, we were able to override the selfish actions our genes would probably have us do if they completely controlled us. Our genes may leave us with tendencies towards certain things but we can override them, just some easier than others.

As we once agreed, paedophiles are not bad people for being attracted to children, they're only bad if they choose to act upon their desires.

I don't think you understand what I am saying. Have you considered what it would mean to actually be the conscious author of your choices? Firstly, neuroscience has already demonstrated that decisions are made in the brain shortly before we are conscious of making them. This alone undermines the concept of free will. Even without this fact, philosophically free will is a non-starter.

Every decision you make is caused by something else, whether it be your genes or your environment. Who you are and, as a consequence, every decision you make is determined by biology and environment. And you are not responsible for either of those factors.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 05:40 PM »
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I probably don't understand what you're saying because it sounds like you're suggesting I didn't decide to go to uni and look for a job but rather something else did?
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 05:54 PM »
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I probably don't understand what you're saying because it sounds like you're suggesting I didn't decide to go to uni and look for a job but rather something else did?

No, you decided, but you weren't ultimately responsible for that decision. Your biology and environment determine everything about you, including the decisions you make. And you were not responsible for your genes or your environment.

It isn't a particularly nice thing to have to come to terms with, but free will is simply an illusion. If you want to really get to grips with what I am talking about, pick up Sam Harris' new book. It's only around 90 pages long. He also discusses it at length on various YouTube videos.

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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #7 on: April 04, 2012, 05:57 PM »
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Cheers, I'll reluctantly educate myself on it lol
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 06:09 PM »
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Cheers, I'll reluctantly educate myself on it lol

Yeah, it's not something that's going to make you feel good. I'm an atheist, a nihilist and I don't believe in free will. From the outside it sounds like an utterly depressing world view, and it might very well be if I was always aware of the truth of our circumstances.

I'll use my standard analogy to explain how I feel. It's like watching a movie. You know it isn't real, but you still lose yourself in the plot and become invested in the characters. That's how I view life. I don't consciously embrace the illusion, but I happily lose myself in it most of the time.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 06:22 PM »
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Is this theory/discovery backed by significant evidence? I'd love to know RD's opinion but maybe it's out of his scope.
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 06:24 PM »
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Is this theory/discovery backed by significant evidence? I'd love to know RD's opinion but maybe it's out of his scope.

I'm not sure what his view is, but I imagine he would find the reasoning pretty much impenetrable.

As far as evidence, it's mostly just logic. However, there is neuroscientific evidence that suggests decisions are taken before we are conscious of them.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 06:33 PM »
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I see Think
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 06:37 PM »
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I see Think

But watch that video. He's great to listen to and he discusses many of the arguments in the book.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 06:44 PM »
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What's the book called? I'll have it on my list after I'm done with Dawkins.
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 06:45 PM »
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What's the book called? I'll have it on my list after I'm done with Dawkins.

'Free Will'.

I actually have two copies. Somehow ordered two from Amazon by mistake.
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