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How To Prove Free Will

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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 08:04 AM
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How would one prove that free will exists?

I'm not sure it can be proven.

We would need to prove that we control matter(circuits in our brain) with our consciousness. If there was no conscious control then how do we have free will? Then if we experience having a choice in life and then chose based on our information from past experiences does that really mean free will? Because we depend on information to make decisions, we are at the mercy of knowledge to make choices in life. If one is extremely limited in knowledge then a choice would be just a guess. Does free will include guessing?

Maybe you guys could elaborate if free will can be proven?




posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 08:18 AM
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Originally posted by Ralphy
How would one prove that free will exists?

I'm not sure it can be proven.

We would need to prove that we control matter(circuits in our brain) with our consciousness.

You ARE the circuits in your brain. You ARE the chemicals in your body. And act accordingly.
You need to realize that your consciousness is only a part of that machine. You operate the way you operate. The "conscious part" is your window to your values and a partial insight into how you make up your decisions and why.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 08:20 AM
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reply to post by Ralphy
 


Perhaps Hawking can help us here. His theories explain how a particle would have travelled all possible routes in the past to get to the present. It's all based on our observation, and perhaps choices, that makes us arrive at our current known present. We simply exist as all choices at the same time, but we move down different paths; such as if we chose to eat breakfast this morning or comb our hair. In a parallel universe we could have not had breakfast or combed our hair, but the possibilities are all laid out.

It's either that we choose to take these paths, or we simultaneously exist as all paths at the same time.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:07 AM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by Ralphy
 

Good question.


I think that first we need to define what "will" is before we can determine what freedom (if any) can be assigned/attached to it. But even then, there is an issue. For example, people are sometimes coerced into acting "against their will", which suggests "will" implies there might be some degree of freedom involved anyway.

My apologies if I have expressed the above poorly. I hope it makes a modicum of sense, even if there are holes in the argument, so to speak.

Mike

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:13 AM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by Myollinir
 

That's a very succinct summation of a complex line of reasoning. I, for one, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I suppose if we take that view and combine it with the Buddhist philosophical perspective as espoused by the Dalai Lama -- as eg in his books that discuss Compassion, such as "An Open Heart" -- then if there are multiple universes (or multiple possibilities for any event), then there must be an infinite number of them and all co-exist.

In this scenario, does "will" actually have a place?

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:13 AM
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want to prove it?

Turn on your stove burner and let hit get nice and roasting.

While you take notice of the roaring heat and think in awe of how destructive it can be, place your hand into it.

No this is not very smart, but it can be done if you so choose.


 
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:25 AM
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reply to post by Ralphy
 


you first need to know what free will is before you can decide if it exsists. i belive that free will is action without consequence or repercusion for that action. the more we have to lose the more repercusion we can feel for our actions.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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Originally posted by Ralphy
How would one prove that free will exists?

I'm not sure it can be proven.

We would need to prove that we control matter(circuits in our brain) with our consciousness. If there was no conscious control then how do we have free will? Then if we experience having a choice in life and then chose based on our information from past experiences does that really mean free will? Because we depend on information to make decisions, we are at the mercy of knowledge to make choices in life. If one is extremely limited in knowledge then a choice would be just a guess. Does free will include guessing?

Maybe you guys could elaborate if free will can be proven?



You would have to define acceptable terms for the proof. Since "free will" is not an object for scientific tests, but rather a description of responsibility, you may want to look into whether or not "free will" has been "proven" to your satisfaction in social and linguistic psychology. Perhaps you would be satisfied with the idea of "free will", as described in law?



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by Ralphy
Maybe you guys could elaborate if free will can be proven?


Conclusively? No, it can't, because to do so would require proving that nothing but you can direct your own will, and that is impossible to prove.

If you're a little more fluid in your level of proof, you might be interested in neurological studies such as this one or the classic Benjamin Libet study, which indicate that, in some respects, free will doesn't appear to exist. I've seen recent refutations of Libet, though, so take it with a grain of salt.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:59 AM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.


Originally posted by jed001
[snip]

you first need to know what free will is before you can decide if it exsists. i belive that free will is action without consequence or repercusion for that action. the more we have to lose the more repercusion we can feel for our actions.

So, that implies free will is determined by what might result? That's an interesting way of looking at it. But a question: doesn't every action have some form of consequence? If not, then some actions exist entirely in isolation and in our realm of existence I doubt that's possible.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:18 AM
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Originally posted by JustMike
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.


Originally posted by jed001
[snip]

you first need to know what free will is before you can decide if it exsists. i belive that free will is action without consequence or repercusion for that action. the more we have to lose the more repercusion we can feel for our actions.

So, that implies free will is determined by what might result? That's an interesting way of looking at it. But a question: doesn't every action have some form of consequence? If not, then some actions exist entirely in isolation and in our realm of existence I doubt that's possible.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.


from standard encyclopedia of philosophy



Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action. (Clearly, there will also be epistemic conditions on responsibility as well, such as being aware—or failing that, being culpably unaware—of relevant alternatives to one's action and of the alternatives' moral significance.) But the significance of free will is not exhausted by its connection to moral responsibility


i beileve that i have never had free will but the closeset i was to it was in my 20's. at that time in my life i had less material things holding me down and very few personal relationships that concerned me. i could wake up when i wanted and do what i wanted (almost) with little concern about losing something or adversely affecting someone ( if i did affect them it was of little concern to me, so i did not feel any consequence for my action)



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by Ralphy
 


You'd probably have to prove that your future state of knowledge is deterministic to make a strong case for free will. For example, you decide to eat out for the evening. As such you in some sense exercise the ability to choose among choices available to you (e.g. you might have stayed home and eaten instead).

Already we recognize that free will is restrained by choices available to the extent that your free will (or my free will, it doesn't matter) might have preferred to eat out on the planet Mars. And yeah, it's sort of nonsense to think that, but the "free" in "will" opens a range of possibilities that we cannot simply close the gate to if we accept, by definition, that free imparts unrestrictied access to what we desire. So by implication free will has this flavor of infinite possibilities. If you accept this idea that free will implies infinite possibilities then you probably recognize there is a problem with free will. But we needn't be that abstract.

Continuing to the restaurant you drive thru a green traffic light (it could just as easily be me in this example) and get t-boned by another driver. You're wearing your sealbelt, but the force of the impact drove the left part of your head into the driver's side window &, unfortunately, you died.

Did you exercise free will on behalf of your death (i.e., in this example we presume that is was not your intent to become rubbed out by some idiot driving thru a red traffic light)? Did the driver who caused your death exercise free will over your free will, resulting of your death (i.e, we assume that the driver did not purposely intend to kill you)? My point is that you could not predict your future death, which is equivalent to saying you could not predict your future state of knowledge (ignoring whether or not a person retains his/her present state of knowledge upon & immediately after death).

Generally I would say that we can only approximate our future state of knowledge. In some sense we exercise free will with an ordinal degree of certainty (contrasted with cardinal, which would imply a definite certainty of outcome & represents a pure abstraction) that is nonetheless restrained by a variable number of choices we can make in practice.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 06:32 PM
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reply to post by spinalremain
 


I think you have described free choice well

As regards Free Will -
I will that I am on a Sunny beach -
Sipping a long cool alcoholic drink -
Looking at a pretty girl -
Willing her to join me - No not happening

Free choice yes - Free Will - I wish



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 06:52 PM
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I have not been persuaded that we can prove free volition in the classical sense.

My thoughts on the matter and some related topics, for those interested: Is it at least possible that free will is entirely an illusion? It would seem so.

That the universe appears to be indeterministic on the quantum scale does not even prove that free will exists. It could simply be the case that the universe is unpredictable but still lacking free volition.

This is a subject philosophers and researchers have debated and investigated since humanity was young, and it will probably remain so for some time.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 07:09 PM
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Reply to post by Kovenov
 


well, let's start by questioning step 1.
You decide to eat out...
WHY do you decide to do that?

Was it because you couldn't be asked to cook and had the cash in your pocket?
Why couldn't you be asked to cook?
Could this 'laziness' have been due to the way you were brought up?
So is it then freewill (free choice) that 'caused' your death? or your character, which is a unique combination of genes, education, experience and possibly other external influences?

IMHO you cannot prove the existence of freewill, you can only believe in it. I hope and believe that freewill exists, because if it doesn't the world would be even more messed up than it already is....




 
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 07:20 PM
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Here is your proof . Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle thread closed.

edit on 6-9-2012 by Theophorus because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by AceWombat04
I have not been persuaded that we can prove free volition in the classical sense.

My thoughts on the matter and some related topics, for those interested: Is it at least possible that free will is entirely an illusion? It would seem so.

That the universe appears to be indeterministic on the quantum scale does not even prove that free will exists. It could simply be the case that the universe is unpredictable but still lacking free volition.

This is a subject philosophers and researchers have debated and investigated since humanity was young, and it will probably remain so for some time.


I just watched a Noam Chomsky's lecture, where he spoke about "free will". As an example in the lecture, Chomsky paraphrases William James; "If you believe there is no freedom of the will, then why bother presenting an argument? Anyone who denies freedom of the will, actually believes that it is there, otherwise they wouldn't bother presenting reasons (against freedom of the will)..."

There is a similar argument against solipsism. I very much agree that free will, as Chomsky says, is "...our most immediate phenomenologically obvious impression."


Here is the lecture, if anyone is interested:
www.youtube.com...

The discussion of free will is around the 1 hour, 20 minute mark. Enjoy:-)
edit on 6-9-2012 by trysts because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 08:43 PM
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reply to post by Aldolas
 


The answers to your questions can be whatever you might imagine them to be. My point was that you could not predict your future state of knowledge given the events that unfolded. For instance you could not predict that it would be in your interest to go ahead and stop at the traffic intersection to be sure there was no oncoming traffic from your left and right. You could not predict that if you'd departed, say, 10 seconds earlier or 10 seconds later that you'd still be alive. Free will had been impeded because you could not predict your future state with 100% certainty.

To the best of my knowledge no one has such an ability. At least I'm unable to predict the future with 100% accuracy; and yes, my inability to do so impedes my free will or free choice (I'll accept that these two descriptions are interchangeable and mean the same thing). Translated, there are limits to free will / free choice, and as I described further in my initial response there is an idea about ordinal versus cardinal certainty. And I think that distinction is important because it informs us that we can still make informed, intelligent decisions, but that we are nonetheless limited by that which we cannot know with absolute certainty. So if in one case it is demonstrated that free will has been impeded then I take it as evidence that proof of free will is a hard sell, unless someone can answer this riddle about knowledge. I mean if it could be proven a priori that free will exists then ... that would be incredible. But, as it stands, the action axiom (implications that derive from the action axiom) rule out the possibility of predicting the future. Moreover, the idea that (and I know that you'd not claimed this, but I'm going to go ahead and point this out) free will could be proven empirically is, from the start, impossible.

If it's your preference to believe in free will then, you know, I'm neither offended nor affected by that preference.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:00 PM
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extend arm ..grasp beer..raise arm up...open mouth...pour,..lower arm..repeat



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:19 PM
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You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.


Freewill by RUSH - 1980
(home to Alex's finest solo)
edit on 6-9-2012 by TXRabbit because: (no reason given)




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