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Free will

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Re: Free will « Reply #570 on: March 11, 2013, 05:14 PM »
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"Though we feel we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets" - Stephen Hawking
That's exactly what I was saying, but put more eloquently. Well I'm happy to know that guy agrees with me anyway, whoever he is.
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Re: Free will « Reply #571 on: March 11, 2013, 05:15 PM »
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Some of the quotes I have gathtered in my idle time.

Me too.

"Perceptual reality requires total potentiality" - Pseudo Chopra
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Re: Free will « Reply #572 on: March 11, 2013, 05:23 PM »
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Long article I warn you in advance. Anywy, I don't have the link to this aritlce but it's probably from the Stanford University's articles. I saved it as word doc but I forgot to save the link. I am sure I will find it if I look for it.

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An Event Has Many Causes

"Every Event Has A Cause" is a principle of universal causality so sweeping as to be of little practical use. Events have many contributing causes. Selecting the "one" cause of an event is an exercise in story-telling.

The ancient idea of a "causal chain," with one event being the cause of the next event, and so on ad infinitum, is a philosophical fiction.

Aristotle made it clear that there are many kinds of causes, classifying them as efficient, material, final, and formal. He also added accidental causes. His word for causes, aitia (ἀιτία), has as root meaning "the things responsible for" something.

Even in a simple mechanical and deterministic world like that of Pierre-Simon Laplace's "super-intelligence," the future motion of each particle is dependent on ("caused by") the positions, momenta, and forces of all the other particles in the world.

More sophisticated physical determinists refine their idea of determinism, including the notion of every event having a cause, to the idea that the state of the universe at time t is completely determined by the state of the world an instant earlier.

But because of quantum mechanics, we now know that indeterminism is true, irreducible chance exists in the universe, and there are many events that occur only probabilistically.

What this means is that tracing any particular sequence of events back in time will come to one event - a "starting point" or "fresh start" (Aristotle calls it an origin or arche (ἀρκῆ)) - whose major contributing cause (or causes) was itself uncaused, in that it involved quantum indeterminacy.

Whether a particular thing happens, says Aristotle, may depend on a series of causes that
"goes back to some starting-point, which does not go back to something else. This, therefore, will be the starting-point of the fortuitous, and nothing else is the cause of its generation."
Metaphysics Book VI 1027b12-14)


We can thus in principle assign times, or ages, to the starting points of the contributing causes of an event. Some of these may in fact go back before the birth of an agent, hereditary causes for example. To the extent that such causes adequately determine an action, we can understand why hard determinists think that the agent has no control over such actions. (Of course if we can opt out of the action at the last moment, we retain a kind of control.)

Other contributing causes may be traceable back to environmental and developmental events, perhaps education, perhaps simply life experiences, that were "character-forming" events. These and hereditary causes would be present in the mind of the agent as fixed habits, with a very high probability of "adequately determining" the agent's actions in many situations.

But other contributing causes of a specific action may have been undetermined up to the very near past, even seconds before an important decision. Most importantly, these will include the free generation of new alternative possibilities during the agent's deliberations.

Causes with these most recent starting points are the fundamental reason why an agent can do otherwise in what are essentially (up to that starting point) the same circumstances.


These alternatives are likely generated from our internal knowledge of practical possibilities based on our past experience. Those that are handed up for consideration may be filtered to some extent by unconscious processes to be "within reason." They may consist of slight variations of past actions we have willed many times in the past.

The evaluation and selection of one of these possibilities by the will is as deterministic and causal a process as anything that a determinist or compatibilist could ask for, consistent with our current knowledge of the physical world.

But remember that instead of strict causal determinism, the world offers only adequate determinism.

Just as determinism is limited, the role of random chance is limited. Rarely or never is chance the direct cause of action.

Consequently, in most cases the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and leads to just one of many contributing causes.

One of these possibilities is selected by our adequately determined will, so we can say that the action was up to us and that we can accept responsibility for it.

We might select something that we always do for hereditary reasons, of some habit that was formed by our education. But we always have the option of not doing those things, when our evaluation suggests good reasons for not doing them. And we may often select a brand new creative idea, one that has occurred to us only moments before we closed off deliberation and made our selection.

These new creative ideas originate within us (Aristotle's ἐν ἡμῖν.


If we extend the "moment of choice" backwards to include the deliberation process and its generation of new possibilities, we have captured the essence of an "agent-causal" liberty that is not necessitated by any particular past causes, but instead is the result of many contributing causes, some habitual with causal chains that go back before our deliberations, others distinctly lacking causal chains that go back before our deliberations and free generation of alternative possibilities.

The Cogito model explains not only human freedom but human creativity.

There is no causal chain back to the Big Bang.

We can see that some causes may be traced back very far indeed. Instinctual acts, such as babies' sucking, or fight or flight reactions, may be traceable back to earlier ancestor species. But it is extremely improbable that the causal chains extend back to the prime mover or big bang of the universe, as some determinists believe.

Given the conservative nature of evolution, the fundamental strategy of random variation followed by lawful selection, a behavioral strategy present in the most primitive life forms (cf. Martin Heisenberg), may well be connected to our two-stage model of "free" possibilities followed by "willed" determinations in the higher animals and humans.

But although this ancient fundamental strategy may be present in human minds, its presence insures that the mind has access to randomness and a break with determinism when it needs it to create new alternative possibilities for totally unexpected situations, or importantly whenever the agent simply wants to be creative and original in thoughts or actions.

Since our decisions may always include options generated immediately before the decision, we can always "opt out" of an action at the very last moment, even if, before that moment, we were otherwise in exactly the same circumstances.

Aristotle Metaphysics VI iii describes the accidental starting points of new causal chains.
Clearly, then, the series goes back to some starting-point, which does not go back to something else. This, therefore, will be the starting-point of the fortuitous, and nothing else is the cause of its generation.
But to what sort of starting-point and cause this process of tracing back leads, whether to a material or final or moving cause, is a question for careful consideration.
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Re: Free will « Reply #573 on: March 11, 2013, 05:27 PM »
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Finally, what caused the Big Bang?
Determinism.
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Re: Free will « Reply #574 on: March 11, 2013, 05:28 PM »
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^^  Ah, thanks for reminding me....bucket day tomorrow .
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Re: Free will « Reply #575 on: March 11, 2013, 06:00 PM »
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Determinism.

Right. And what caused that?
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Re: Free will « Reply #576 on: March 11, 2013, 06:06 PM »
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How we feel is a very important aspect of life, because that decides a lot of our actions in life in general if not all and if we feel we are responsible for our actions, then there must be something else attached to it as well. If everything is determined and fixed, by the same rule/ laws of nature, our feelings should also be of same accordance but we can clearly see that is not the case. Some don’t but most people feel responsible for their actions – sooner or later anyway. Animals generally don’t because they aren’t of higher conscious beings like humans. And if we feel we are higher conscious beings than animals, then by the same rules and laws, the Universe must offer even higher conscious beings and so on.  Why but it’s only logical. Obviously determinism provides contradiction as well. It is only true to a certain part but it doesn’t contain the whole truth and in fact, like that physics student says in one of my quotes, "The problem is more our simplistic conception of causation, rather than any mysterious aspect of the universe. We base our idea of what a cause/effect is, on a very narrow and primitive band of experience. The Quantum and Cosmic worlds are just now opening our eyes to how limited our view is. When talking authoritatively about cause/effect, we should limit ourselves to only what we know, and that is direct human experience. When non-locality, singularities, and relativity, enter into the equation, we really don't know much more than equations which are descriptive, but are lacking in explanatory power."
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Re: Free will « Reply #577 on: March 11, 2013, 06:26 PM »
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Determinism.
Right. And what caused that?
Determinism.
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Re: Free will « Reply #578 on: March 11, 2013, 10:04 PM »
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No prior causes?
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Re: Free will « Reply #579 on: March 11, 2013, 10:39 PM »
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I'm determined to get to the bottom of this.
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Re: Free will « Reply #580 on: March 11, 2013, 10:47 PM »
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No prior causes?
Any prior cause to the big bang would be the resultant act of determinism, which in turn makes determinism the unpinning cause of the big bang. Everything is caused by determinism, it's a fundamental truth of existence.

Even if you believe in God, God's existence is the result of determinism... if God exists surely he was always going to exists, there's no way he could possibly not exist, he would have been always destined to exist.

The same applies to the big bang, given that it happened: how could it possibly have not happened? There was no possible way that the big bang could not have occurred otherwise it wouldn't have done. Somehow, whateverhow, it was and is possible for the existence of the big bang and our universe to occur and as such it has resulted so.
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Re: Free will « Reply #581 on: March 11, 2013, 10:55 PM »
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Some people believe God is a fundamental truth of existence.    Determinism is a theory.
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Re: Free will « Reply #582 on: March 11, 2013, 11:13 PM »
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Some people believe God is a fundamental truth of existence.    Determinism is a theory.
It's not really a theory though, it's a logically bounded axiom. If God is a fundamental truth (whatever that would imply) then they would be an intertwined truth. Unless God has the capability of paradoxically deciding that he wasn't going to exist.
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Re: Free will « Reply #583 on: March 11, 2013, 11:28 PM »
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It is a theory until it is proved.    Or is God a logically founded axiom?
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Re: Free will « Reply #584 on: March 11, 2013, 11:39 PM »
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Long article I warn you in advance. Anywy, I don't have the link to this aritlce but it's probably from the Stanford University's articles. I saved it as word doc but I forgot to save the link. I am sure I will find it if I look for it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An Event Has Many Causes

"Every Event Has A Cause" is a principle of universal causality so sweeping as to be of little practical use. Events have many contributing causes. Selecting the "one" cause of an event is an exercise in story-telling.

The ancient idea of a "causal chain," with one event being the cause of the next event, and so on ad infinitum, is a philosophical fiction.


Is this the link, Emma? http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/event_has_many_causes.html
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