Debate: Free Will V. Determinism

2 years, 11 months ago

A topic anyone who mingles here will no doubt have experience with, I ask you to revisit this battleground to hash out your argument for free will, determinism, or the crossbreeds thereof (if you are going to go with one of the lesser known hybrids/independents, please define it for those who are not away of its stance).

May 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm

You must sign in or join to reply!

Profile photo of Deepak Deepak (@deepak87) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

The one ultimate stopper for analysis of any sort is ‘INFINITY’. When something is infinite, thinking/analysis as a goal oriented activity suddenly loses all relevancy.

If I tell you, there is an extremely complex system, if you believe that you can understand it, then you proceed to study, think, ponder, explore, question etc.

But if I tell you that there is a system that is infinitely complex, where would you start?, what would you analyze?, what beliefs are you going to have? How far would you analyze? What is the purpose of your analysis?

Its starts to get more introspective/subjective after that. Does it matter if reality was objectively based on free will or determinism beyond my beliefs about it? Aren’t the rest of the factors just stories we are telling ourselves? Is the story we tell ourselves/perception what ultimately matters?

Another issue this question reminds me of is ‘final causation’. What is the final cause of things? It’s unknown. If you ask a child ‘why does a bird have wings?’ It will say ‘To fly’. If the child gets older and studies evolution, it may come up with a longer explanation about how birds evolved into having wings, hollow bones etc. But persist with the ‘why’ question and an unknown is reached. The complicated thread of story is so tightly tied, it seems so convincing. But if you go on excavating with the ‘why’ question a final cause is not found.

As someone mentioned in the thread, who or what is the thinker of thoughts? is a conundrum. The other one is ‘Is there any real doer of actions?’.

Profile photo of Daniel Daniel (@meta) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

From a purely metaphysical perspective, if there is not total free will in one’s actions then one ceases to exist and the argument becomes entirely unimportant. This would be comparable to a robot who was programed to complete a specific task and nothing else. The robot doesn’t actually have an identity, it is simply a tool, a catalyst of sorts, by which other things are accomplished.

Profile photo of Han Han (@infidel) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

So I haven’t read the whole thread, I’m just new here and want to talk about awesome things!

Here’s what I think; Free will is mostly an illusion, determinism is what is true, BUT we need to keep living AS THOUGH free will is a thing, because the IDEA that we can control our selves will lead to positive differences in behaviour, even if we don’t actually control those differences.

But there is a way in which admitting determinism can also help people, as articulated by Sam Harris; the same way that we do not feel rage, or prolonged bitterness or the need for vengeance if, say, our homes are destroyed by a hurricane, or if a loved one is killed by a lightning strike, so we should feel about crimes that are inflicted by other people. I think this change in perception; realising that people are ultimately as much in control of their actions as the weather is for its actions (that is to say, not at all), will lead to a lot less bitterness and hate in the world, and a lot more healthy psyches.

Reply to this topic

More Posts Like This


Profile photo of Zykanthos 5 Crazy Things You Never Knew About The Universe

1 – If Aliens on a Planet 65 Million Light Years Away Could Look at the Surface of the Earth Through a Telescope, They Would See Dinosaurs.   At first it sounds bizarre and nonsensical, and you’re...


Profile photo of Imperium The Darkness

The Darkness Are you tired of this shit? Tired of your safe and mundane existence? Tired of pretending to care? What if you just gave up? What if you just did not give a fuck anymore? How liberating would that feel?...


Profile photo of Immortality Life Defined

Life is a forcefield. Field of dreams. Dream, Explore, Discover. Uncover. Be kind to one another. Another day, another dollar. Dollars and cents. Common sense costs less. Lessons learned. Books burned. Burning for the...


Profile photo of angstrem “Why are you here and not somewhere else?”

Prompt: Why are you here and not somewhere else? Why I am, where I am, in this universe is solely because of that fact that I want to be. Where I stand is not actually dependant on my physical location; on mars, in the...


Profile photo of Imperium The secret of a beautiful life

Embrace pain with all of your might, seek it frantically with the same intensity with which you seek pleasure. When you find it, be excited about finding it because sooner or later you realize that the power of all pain...


Profile photo of Lonely-Lion-Prince I get paranoid when im high

Hey 4/20 is tomarow but i get really really paranoid when im high almost like a really scary dream and every thing feels faster how do i stop this         P.S im not gonna stop smoking


Profile photo of jrgrisham86 Any one want to live in the mountains of Colorado in Earthship and off Grid?

Starting a Earthship commune type place to go and live off the land and be free. Geodesic greenhouses and creative place where their is no worries, no pressure, no bullshit, raise a family. Any one want to live in an...


Profile photo of Greg Flighty Love

Recently I met a girl on a flight. I was flying from Malaysia to Turkey on my way back home to the U.S. I boarded the plane in Kuala Lumpur and from the aisle I saw her sitting next to my seat. I thought it was too good...


Profile photo of Poinsetta Who invented war?

Seriously where did war and violence and all the bad things in life come from? Without war there would be no need for guns, and in consequence people wouldn’t be able to walk into a school and just kill people.


Profile photo of Bagi I see pulsating purple light/energy when I meditate….whats up with that?

Has any one had a similar experience? I have no idea what this means or the implications of it. What do I do with it? In more detail: The energy static patterns begin a few minutes after I begin the usual meditation...


Profile photo of apricelessgoat Depression: what to say to comfort/help people?

Hey guys, so, when I am talking/writing to people with depression, I somehow always have to write the same things. One that is really bothering me, becaue I know it isn’t helping (allthough it is true) is: It is...


Profile photo of Jacky Jobar What's the deal with aliens?

I’ve never been particularly interested in extra terrestrial life, but been hearing about it quite allot lately, so I’ve devoted an afternoon looking at YouTube vids, and checking which info is available. I...


Profile photo of Mikey W Does Good and Evil Exist in mind of the Doer ?

“If there is no extant God and no extant gods, no good and no evil, no right and no wrong, no meaning and no purpose: if there are no values that are inherently valuable; no justice that is ultimately justifiable; no...


Profile photo of PostageStamps Jaw Still Trembling Two Days After First Drug/MDMA Experiences?

I took one cap on Sunday with my partner of MDMA that was tested (to at least being MDxx); I had some jaw tremors. On Monday I took one more, and I had such jaw shakes, body shakes, and pale skin, that my partner said he...


Profile photo of J Test Self-Awareness, My First Stab at Poetry

So i wrote a poem about my journey into self-awareness and mindfulness. I tried to make sure the rhymes weren’t forced. It should flow like a conversation that happens to rhyme. Hope you enjoy, Recently I lost a...