Do we have Free Will?

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:13 pm

The notion of free will permeates much of what we care about, broaching issues of individual culpability, freedom, our intuitions of morality, cherished beliefs of liberty and the autonomous formation of out thoughts. There is no single question more important than 'am I in control of myself'?

As philosophy gripped my mind and guided my life through academia, I've became not only interested in, but deeply moved by the implications of the free will question, of which I yearn to answer throughout the duration of my life. I consider myself a hard determinist, the notion that consciousness is the product of the physical universe, that the brain is ultimately molded by cosmic and biological law.

Hard determinism isn't the only determinism in town. Compatibilists also propound a weary shaking of the hands between free will and determinism, that the two positions are ultimately compatible and that, as long as we feel free of any outer or inner compulsion, we are exercising our free will.

The main purpose of this thread is to ask the following three questions: Do we have free will? What gives rise to free will or determinism? And how important is the free will question?

I would love to understand how most people resolve the free will issue and how important they believe free will to be.

User avatar
Céline Rémy
Posts: 3443
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:45 am

Post » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:14 am

Poll added.

User avatar
Sharra Llenos
Posts: 3399
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:09 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:59 pm

No, I think a bigger question is "Who Am I?"

Answer that, and you'll be in a better position to work out if you have free will.

User avatar
lucy chadwick
Posts: 3412
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:43 am

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:45 pm

Everyone in the world has free will. Even a serf in old Imperial Russia had free will. Most people take the option NOT to exercise that free will.

Reminds me of the song "Already Gone" by the Eagles. So many times it happens, you spend your life in chains, never even noticed you had the key....
User avatar
Cody Banks
Posts: 3393
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:30 am

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:40 pm

I personally believe that the self is an illusion, partly because of my views on free will. Determinism to me implies something much greater than the self, that the question "who am I?" is not initiated by the self.

User avatar
Rhysa Hughes
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:00 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:49 pm

Would determinism imply to you that we live in chains?

User avatar
Damien Mulvenna
Posts: 3498
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:33 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:19 pm

Khajiit is not drunk enough to attempt to answer this question, lol
User avatar
Rob Smith
Posts: 3424
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:30 pm

Post » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:27 am

Well get drinking :)

User avatar
Jesus Lopez
Posts: 3508
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:16 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:53 pm

We do, but many things, such as morality and character, affect our choices.

User avatar
Anna S
Posts: 3408
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:13 am

Post » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:10 am

Where so we get our ideas of morality?
User avatar
RAww DInsaww
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:47 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:43 am

Usually from parents and/or society, although a few of those people such as psychopath serial killers would disagree. :P

User avatar
Jessie Butterfield
Posts: 3453
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:59 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:11 pm

If you never notice the key, or can't notice the key, are you free to unshackle yourself?

This musing reminds me of a great quote from E.M Forster "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?". One of the areas that free will unravels for me is in the origin of our thoughts, it's not an original proposition, many philosophers and neuroscientists have concluded similarly, but focus on the process of an idea, or a sentence entering and leaving your mind. If I say to you name a handful of video games, after a few seconds, almost from the void, the name Bioshock bubbles towards our consciousness and then Half Life and then Fallout: New Vegas. I have no idea why those specific games bubbled to my awareness and others did not. Why did Super Mario Galaxy not reach my mind first, who or what controls the cadence of my thoughts? Surely I can't, that would require more thoughts?

This seems to be true of all cognitions: thoughts seem to rise from the void uninitiated, indeed the individual is in no position to forecast their next thought, or to elucidate upon the origins of their current cognitions.

Can we have free will if we are just as likely to predict what another person might say as we are to predict what our minds might say?

User avatar
Posts: 3469
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:50 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:01 pm


Ok so society, an environmental factor, influences our ideas of right and wrong actions, in most cases outright defining them. Would it then be accurate to say that our environment controls us?
User avatar
Jonathan Egan
Posts: 3432
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:27 pm

Post » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:42 pm

For what it is to simply occur? To one man a freedom is born to another a prison. Pray the gods, let occur what frees us. Let occur the right choice, for no man decides the choice he makes, the reflections that guide him. We are slave to mind.
User avatar
Trista Jim
Posts: 3308
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:39 pm

Return to Othor Games