Convince me you have Freewill

It is universally accepted that we have freewill- our society is based on the concept of personal responsibility.

This may be a necessary belief in order to support our social construction of existence. But is there any tenable evidence, apart from moral or religious beliefs- that anyone has freewill in the way that they have a body, consciousness and behaviour?

Apart from our joint cultural needs to blame people for their behaviour, is there really any difference between being an autonomous individual with Freewill and being a fully conscious automoton which owns its own behaviour as part of its physical/mental being?

Without adducing moral or religious neccessity:

  Convince me that you have Freewill.

No, I won’t! :wink:
The reason you should accept that I am a being with free will, and treat me in an according manner, is that you want me to treat you that way. (And so the social contract is formed…)

That about sums it up. What do you want? A completely predestined reality or one where I (by putting my fist through my monitor screen) incrementally decrease your idea’s popularity by doing so?

Convince me that we don’t.

Sorry I’m not present, this doesn’t work very well through this media - but the standard reply is to start hitting whoever argues against free will as hard as you can. (I wouldn’t take this line of reasoning with Glitch, obviously :))

If he starts yelling “Stop it”, he has more or less admitted that it is in your power to decide not to hit him, hence free will.

It’s a “Haha, only serious” type of argument, but really not a bad one. (I’ll be damned if I remember which one of the old Greeks thought that one up.)

S. Norman

It is NOT universally accepted. I don’t think anyone really has free will - any ‘decision’ is no decision, it’s exactly what you would do under those circumstances.

Complicated by the cosmic forces of indecision.

Pjen’s statement about “our joint cultural needs to blame people for their behaviour” needs to be amended to “our cultural need to protect ourselves from the consequences of other people’s bad behavior”.

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

I will choose freewill.
(Oh, Coldfire…)

David B,

You just had to say that, didn’t you?

the way to have convinced you was for noone to respond to this post.

we have limited free will. it’s a question of how big is the box in your mind. every culture by it’s very nature attempts to create different size and shaped boxes in childrens minds and different children fight the box in different ways. GOOD CHILDREN accept the box. sorry, i’m not a GOOD child.

i’m trying to burn the boxes in other people minds.

search for “economic wargames”, the internet provides a new way to exercise free will.

Dal Timgar

The Devil made me come into this thread.

*Originally posted by Jackmannii *

I must amend this statement (more cosmically-inspired indecision). There is obviously not a cultural need, but a cosmic imperative to punish wrongdoers. We have no free will in the matter.

This puts the death penalty issue in a whole new light.

The ideas about cultural infulence and social conditioning are red herrings. The question in its purest form is simply whether consiousness has an escape from the deterministic play of physics. Now, there are arguments ot be made about just how deterministic physics becomes at the microscopic level, whether there exists a non-material component to consciousness, whether an organizational structure can ever transcend the base material of its composition, what is the distinction between a determined yet absolutely unknowable course and an undetermined course, etc.

I could address some of those in more detail, but the material in this thread has not forced me to make such a response.

I’m pretty much a determinist when pressed to the issue, and a strong one at that. Never bought into the “limited freedom” thing…wasn’t that spinoza’s idea of weak determinism as compatible with free will? Anyway…
Here I countered free will arguments from all sides, I thought. Either no one could show me I was wrong or I was being an idiot and people chose to ignore me in the end.

Basically, I relied on the “fact” that there is no soul, and used both gravity and non-locality of quantum theory to get to a zen position of the interconnectedness of all things, and showed then that if anything absolutely happened to any one thing, everything else was then set on a course. That is, so long as we show that any one thing is deterministic, all things connected to it are deterministic, and since all things are connected period, then everything is deterministic.

I made the point that if consciousness can collapse quantum probability waveforms then free will might be possible still, but then weakly countered that too.

Let’s go Free Willers…I never felt satisfied with that last debate. :puts up fists in a comically unthreatening manner:

If one automatically assumes it, they may or may not have free will. If one disassumes it, they are experiencing free will, through self-awareness.

Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Neutron decay.

Chaos theory.

'nuff said.

Oh, I don’t think so. Self-awareness is simply recursion… the fibbonacci sequence is recursively defined (defined in terms of itself) and yet is completely deterministic.

Recursion is present at multiple levels of human existence. “Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas Hofstader[sp?] deals with many levels of recursion. Both he and I seem to feel that the universe is tautological and/or recursive in nature, though I’m not sure where he stands on the free will thing.

The HUP says nothing about consciousness in itself.
Neutron decay says nothing about consciousness in itself.
Chaos theory does not guarantee fre will, just super-complex, and possibly incalcuable, deterministic properties of events. Oh, and it says nothing about consciousness.
:smiley: Not enough said!

I believe in free will (though I’m not sure what it is) for reasons other than

In fact, while taking into account the “Clockwork Orange” type potential such methods have for abuse, I generally think rehabilitation/punishment works better when we look at the deterministic aspects of behavior. I believe in freewill because you’d have a damned hard time convincing me that when I go to the store to buy milk, it isn’t because I chose to.


Let me see if I your idea of recursion is the same as mine, from Algebra, where an outcome is based on the last calculation, not the original input? Also, when I read Godel, Escher, Bach I recall that it proposed that machine language had no ability to overcome an instruction if-then infinite looping sequence, aka, virus feedback mechanism. But, humans develop to this ability to overcome obsessive thoughts, or do they? I recall the record player analogy. Can’t humans escape from the interminible loop? Are we in one right now? (joke). Thanks.

If there is no such thing as free will then there cannot be good and evil.

Look at folk like Stalin etc and they would be merely carrying out their reactive programmed roles.