Do we humans have a free will?
February 25, 2010 11:14am CST
Do we? there are a few theories that say we do ,the religious one for example : God gave us free will, we choose to make good or bad, others say we don't , the theory of destiny , or the fact the we make choices by what our experience from the past tells us to do, so do we have the ability to choose or we do not infact decide for ourselves? Let me know what you think.
3 people like this
25 Feb 10
Ok, there are a number of reasons why a person might hold that we have no freewill. Firstly, what we might call strict or causal determinism as expounded by Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827). Now by Leibniz law of sufficient cause every happens for a cause and a single proximate cause is sufficient to explain the event and strives to show that for all events there is a sufficient physical cause. This precludes a mental cause and thus eliminates the possibility of autonomy of the will. (Free will) Laplace, proposed a thought experiment to show this; "We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect (The demon) which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes. This has been described as a clockwork universe unwinding along a pre-set formula. Leaving aside the obvious objection to this on the grounds of Quantum mechanics we need to consider other objections such as those from information theory, which suggests that information in a closed system is constant, yet we see it increase. And other technical objections. Whilst these objections are by no means weak by and large the universe at a medium scale (i.e. the size of humans and other day to day objects) does behave in a deterministic manner. Yet, there are more fundamental problems from theory of mind and artificial intelligence. Now if the brain is a physical object which is identical with the mind or if the mind is a function of the brain then we can say that every event is cause in the brain and therefore every event in the mind is thus caused by the brain and therefore determined and thus we have no freewill. However in order to show this it is necessary to establish that mind and brain are the same, Now by Leibniz Identity Law, identical descriptors have identical properties. For instance Barack Obama is identical with the current President of the USA because they have the same properties. Yet, to date no one has been able to provide a satisfactory identity theory for the mind/brain divide. A second problem is the so called 'Frame Problem,' this is a problem would be designers of artificial intelligence have come up with and to date seems intractable. It is, in other-words what information is relevant. Imagine some scientists invent a robot and call it Reasoner 1 (R1) and test it. They put its power pack on a cart in a barn and tell it that there is a bomb in the barn. One of the robots prime directives (Desires) is survival, R1 goes into the barn, identifies that the power-pack is on a cart and pushes the cart out of the barn. Unfortunately, the bomb is also on the cart and poor old R1 is destroyed. The next robot Reasoner 1 and deducer 1 (R1D1) is told that it must take all information into account, so that it doesn't make the same mistake again. The situation is set up again but this time R1D1 does nothing and the bomb blows up destroying the power-pack. But why did you not act? Scientists ask and are told, "I was compiling a list of information to consider. Reasoner 2 Deducer 1 (R2D1) is instructed to ignore irrelevant information but again does nothing. Why? "I was preparing a list of information that was not relevant so that I didn't take it into consideration! Enter, R2D2? No. What is the relevance (sic) of this? Perhaps it seems just to easy to say that when we talk of causes for human behaviour or decisions we are confusing reasons with causes. although we often use these terms interchangeably they are very different. Thirst did not cause me to drink though it gave me a reason so to do. May write something on 'psychological determinism' later. all the best urban
25 Feb 10
Good, that is a good answer, and you found it from good fonts over the internet I suppose, thanks for it it was interesting reading, but a difference must be made about philosophy, and idea and science, science proves things, philosophy isn't in fact a science and so it cannot be proven to be true or right.
6 Mar 10
I don't believe in destiny! I believe that God has a plan for each and everyone of us. Our life is not like a script already written. We can direct our life according to our daily life decisions. I am a Christian and a married guy. I can wake up tomorrow leave the church and leave my wife. We are all free to act! We are not puppet on a strings. God is not directing our lives like puppets. God grants us grace so that we would convert and live a good life and love Him. But we are free to accept his grace or not.
• United States
27 Feb 10
I think we do have free will. The choice to be good or to be bad is always with in us. Sure there are things we can not control. We can not control when we will die or when those we love will die, unless we decide to take our own or their lives of course. We control certain things in our lives, but there are plenty of things we can control, and I do believe that our choices to affect the future of our lives. Choosing to do one thing over another can certainly create different out comes and that is our choice to have done so. We can not control the outcome completely but our choice will have created it.