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Discussion Starter #1
The existence of free will is one of the older and more difficult philosophical challenges humanity has ever tackled. Can man make his own decisions? Can animals make their own decisions? Can plants? Single celled organisms? If some species can and some species can't, what's the mechanism that those special few have that others don't? If there is such a mechanism, what allows that mechanism to buck the laws of nature that control everything else in the universe?

Beyond that, is there a way to identify an act of free will as separate and different from anything that could be traced back to external motivations, evolutionary drives, or genetic predispositions? If we can't, why would we "choose" to attribute such an action to free will instead of just the laws of nature acting themselves out in the only way possible?

For the spiritually inclined, is it the soul or something similar that allows for free will? How does a supreme being's knowledge of the future affect free will?

For those that deny all mysticism, what about one particular arrangement of atoms (the human brain) allows it to break the rules that all other atoms have to follow?

For those that would cite something along the lines quantum uncertainty, explain yourself thoroughly as to how that leads to free will, especially how we as individuals could be accountable for controlling anything of that nature.

If it simply comes down to a feeling of free will, is that sufficient? A feeling?
 

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No such thing as free will. We are just cognitive beings who do shit on a rock floating through space around a giant ball of fire swirling in a galaxy that's floating away from the center at an increasing speed. No one gave us free will, it's not a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting. Are people morally culpable? How do we deal with justice and responsibility? Do people deserve the awards they receive or the punishments for their crimes?

Also, why could we not have developed free will? Why would someone have to give it to us?
 

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No such thing as free will. We are just cognitive beings who do shit on a rock floating through space around a giant ball of fire swirling in a galaxy that's floating away from the center at an increasing speed. No one gave us free will, it's not a thing.
^ this. :pokerface:


:considered: besides OP is in the mountains.
 

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Well before i accepted god into my life, i pretty much raped and piliaged everything i could get my hands on......
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The question isn't if God is the only source of morality. The question is if you're not in control of your actions (by way of free will) can you be held responsible for those actions?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The legal system does exist, so yes, you can be held accountable for your actions assuming you don't have a large quantity of money.
I guess practically we can be held accountable, but that legal system is built on the assumption people do have free will and are actually morally culpable for their actions.

My question is if we don't have free will, is it even possible for us be responsible or blameworthy for any of our actions?

Our legal system even makes exceptions for people who are considered not to be in control of their own actions; what if that's all of us?
 

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No, the legal system is based on keeping people from doing things to other people that they don't want done to them. It's a common sense based system.
Do I want to be murdered? No, so maybe we should make it wrong to murder people.
Do I want my shit stolen? Nope. Let's make it wrong to steal.
How could we not be blamed for the things we do? If my dog shits on the carpet, he gets his nose pressed in it.
Animals such as the bonobo can set up an economy and prostitution. They frown on theft and other misdeeds. It is completely independent of "free will" It's a group consensus. The majority thought that stealing was wrong, so therefore it is wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No, the legal system is based on keeping people from doing things to other people that they don't want done to them. It's a common sense based system.
Do I want to be murdered? No, so maybe we should make it wrong to murder people.
Do I want my shit stolen? Nope. Let's make it wrong to steal.
How could we not be blamed for the things we do? If my dog shits on the carpet, he gets his nose pressed in it.
Animals such as the bonobo can set up an economy and prostitution. They frown on theft and other misdeeds. It is completely independent of "free will" It's a group consensus. The majority thought that stealing was wrong, so therefore it is wrong.
I like your explanation of the legal system.

Here's a thought experiment:
A human without free will throws a rock at a window and breaks it. Who/what is responsible for breaking the window? If the human has no free will how are his motivations meaningfully different from the throw that powered the rock through the window?
 

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A human without free will throws a rock at a window and breaks it. Who/what is responsible for breaking the window? If the human has no free will how are his motivations meaningfully different from the throw that powered the rock through the window?
How was the window broken?
Did a second human use another human's hand to throw the rock? If so, the first human is to blame for the broken window.
His motivations are irrelevant, his course of action led directly to the broken window.
What caused him to throw the rock? A decision he made with his brain followed by his body acting out the thoughts of said brain.
If you want to break it down excessively far, you could say that rogue electricity is too blame but that's just silly.
 

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i think you are interpreting free will improperly.

i always thought that it would suggest that there is a higher power behind our actions, and we are puppets.

since that isnt the case, we technically have free will, the ability to do as you choose to do. even if you don't think we have free will due to rogue electrons, those are still your rogue electrons. you are responsible for them. you are responsible for your own actions.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
i think you are interpreting free will improperly.

i always thought that it would suggest that there is a higher power behind our actions, and we are puppets.

since that isnt the case, we technically have free will, the ability to do as you choose to do. even if you don't think we have free will due to rogue electrons, those are still your rogue electrons. you are responsible for them. you are responsible for your own actions.
I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly, but this often comes up when I talk to people about this, so I'll clear it up a bit. There are two main alternatives to free will. The one you're referencing falls into the "fate/destiny/God's Plan" category. As you know, this category implies that some supreme being, be it personified as God or left ambiguous in some sense of Eastern "purpose", has constructed our lives and the universe with some kind of goal in mind. You take certain actions that eventually lead to finding your soul mate; or you're supposed crash the ferry you're captaining, accidentally killing hundreds of innocents, but among them is the next Hitler; etc, etc.

The other alternative is called just "determinism", which is what EA and I are talking about. Here, there is no supervisor, creator, or even some kind of universal will, there is only the prior state of the universe and all applicable natural laws controlling it. Since the Big Bang, and likely before, all the matter and energy in the universe has simply been following all natural laws, steadily progressing in the only way possible without any supernatural interference. There is no chance, no randomness, only the invariable adherence to natural laws. As denizens of this rule-bound universe we and our brains are simply more atoms following more laws, unable to have any influence on the progression of events in any way that indicates true agency or free will.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
How was the window broken?
Did a second human use another human's hand to throw the rock? If so, the first human is to blame for the broken window.
His motivations are irrelevant, his course of action led directly to the broken window.
What caused him to throw the rock? A decision he made with his brain followed by his body acting out the thoughts of said brain.
If you want to break it down excessively far, you could say that rogue electricity is too blame but that's just silly.
This is where we enter the slippery slope of infinite regression:

What's the meaningful difference between the second human holding the first human's hand, physically using it to throw the rock and a situation where the second human influences or even coerces the first human to throw the rock?

What if there's a third human influencing/coercing the second person to influence/coerce the first person who threw the rock?

Now stretch that back into infinity as far as you like and ask if there's a difference in the relationship (in a world without free will) between each of the earlier influencers/coercers and the last guy and his relationship with the rock.

I know such an extended chain of causality seems far-fetched at first, but it's actually a decent model for our human reality of societal and genetic influences that create our motivations. Genes, familial practices (can't break the chain), and peer pressure all equate, on a simplistic level, to the chain of influencers/coercers persuading/forcing the last guy to throw the rock through the window.

(Edit: running low on battery, I'll clarify and expand this post when I can.)
 

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:fulloffuck: oh my FCUKIN GOD!!!! Dude you alright?!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm just fine, but I'll admit I was pretty depressed for a long time after deciding that free will doesn't work without magic. Since I deny the existence of the supernatural or anything else that breaks natural laws, I must also deny the existence of free will.
 
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