It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Others, however, argue that if the universe itself is deterministic in nature, then human actions must also be deterministic - thus, modern determinism tends to be an outgrowth of modern science. If human actions simply follow the course of natural law, then it is difficult to hold that those actions can be "freely" chosen. Those who advocate determinism run into something of a contradiction, however, when they try to argue their point with those who argue for free will. If it is true that nothing is freely chosen, then those who believe in the existence of free will do not do so by choice - so what is the point of trying to convince them otherwise? Indeed, what is the point of trying to convince anyone of anything if all events are determined?
One thing to note about the debate between free will and determinism is that both terms tend to be defined in such a way as to explicitly exclude the other. But why must that be the case? The philosophical position of compatibilism argues that these concepts do not need to be defined in such a mutually exclusive manner and that, in fact, both free will and determinism can be compatible.
Algorithms exist, but are they already part of our world, or do we sometimes bring them to life out of necessity
Originally posted by BenTFH
Hey ATS, this is my first thread so I hope it all goes well!
I've been thinking about free will and determinism today, because I don't know much about it apart from what I've been taught in my Psychology classes and my own research. Then the thought struck me that ATS members may be the best people to talk to about it!
I can't bring myself to a logical conclusion about whether free will exists in Human Beings, or whether all our behaviour is predetermined. The main problem in my head about free will is that it defies laws such as causality. The issue I have with determinism is: what is in control of which behaviours are expressed? Are they completely random, contradicting the deterministic theory, or is something in control of our behaviour?
I can't make my mind up between the two. The theory I have is that both free will and determism exist in human beings, I believe a train of thought known as 'compatibilism'. I'll expand:
I believe that we have free will over the mundane decisions in our life (what we eat for breakfast, when we cross the road, etc), however there are certain points where a something MUST happen. For example, when we marry (not necessarily who), when we reproduce, and finally our death. I also believe each individual has personal events where all branches join (see next paragraph). These are different for everyone, and may be getting fired from a job, contracting an illness, or simply meeting someone.
This leads to a constantly expanding tree diagram of behaviour, where one branch may split into three, four or four hundred seperate behaviours, and they in turn may split again multiple times, but all will lead back to one branch (a major behaviour that has been determined). This one branch then splits again into multiple behaviours, which again merge into one determined behaviour, and so forth.
Leave a reply about your views/any knowledge you may have and let's have a talk about the topic! It fascinates me and I'm sure there's some of you out there interested by it. Thank you for reading my post!
I've also put some wiki links of interest at the bottom, for further reading or whatever.
Also, I was debating whether to put this in Philosophy or The Gray Area, Philosophy won out in the end! Mods, feel free to move this thread into a different Forum if necessary.
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
It seems to me that a problem arises when we consider these two notions exclusive of one another. Instead, I think they both represent our complexity, moving through this complex world of energy and will.
Our experience up to date justifies us in feeling sure that in Nature is actualized the ideal of mathematical simplicity. It is my conviction that pure mathematical construction enables us to discover the concepts and the laws connecting them which give us the key to the understanding of the phenomena of Nature. Experience can of course guide us in our choice of serviceable mathematical concepts; it cannot possibly be the source from which they are derived; experience of course remains the sole criterion of the serviceability of a mathematical construction for physics, but the truly creative principle resides in mathematics. In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it to be true that pure thought is competent to comprehend the real, as the ancients dreamed.
I can't bring myself to a logical conclusion about whether free will exists in Human Beings, or whether all our behaviour is predetermined. The main problem in my head about free will is that it defies laws such as causality. The issue I have with determinism is: what is in control of which behaviours are expressed? Are they completely random, contradicting the deterministic theory, or is something in control of our behaviour? I can't make my mind up between the two. The theory I have is that both free will and determism exist in human beings, I believe a train of thought known as 'compatibilism'.
Originally posted by BenTFH
reply to post by rwfresh
Hey rwfresh, thank you for your response!
I agree that Psychology and Philosophy are fighting to say there is no free will. After all, both disciplines, as far as I'm aware, are trying to become recognised as sciences, on a par with the traditional sciences of Physics, Chemistry and Biology?
I'm not as well versed in Philosophy as I am in Psychology, but it makes sense to me for both to be pushing towards a similar goal.
Your reference to THE ONE seems to be a common falling point for researchers of this topic: if cause and effect is as indisputable as we think it is, what is the CAUSE of free will? Or, is free will the cause, and has an effect on something else? Either we'll never know, or it'll be a good shock for our species when we do find out!
Cheers for a really interesting point of view!
Originally posted by FinalAccount2008
The more free your will is the more danger you are in. The more I run from absolute truth the closer I am to death. Fear and belief are hand in hand. The hidden hand is probably somewhere around here too.....