# rare argument against free will

## Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Listen 23:30. I had exactly same thought long time ago... I read like 1Mill. articles about free will and everything that exist and i wondered: i never encountered this anywhere, now i did... I was expressing it little bit differently, but i meant the same thing: How could i choose my preferences before i was born ? Answer is: i couldn't, because i was nothing, or rather particles at different places. Which don't have will, or a brain to be able to choose. So therefore i couldn't chose my preferences before i was born, something had to be given to me first - so i could chose my preferences. So than i don't have free will, because by definition free will is: "to be able to choose between one, or multiple things, without interference of external factors." But how would i choose in the first place how i will be ???

And even if i existed forever, or before this life, that wouldn't solve how i am in the way i am. If someone believed in souls for example etc. And than shouldn't i remember previous lives ? How come i don't even know why i am in the way i am ? No one can explain his behavior from 100%, not even genius with 250 iq , with 20 degrees in behavioral sciences and from psychology, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, physics... E.g. while i was listening to this podcast, i was moving around with my headphone volume controller and i don't know why, or i was focusing with sight at one point and didn't even  perceive vision much. This is more subtle. More important is why someone go rob a bank etc. but still... So how come, we don't even know why we do things and for what ? I can in retrospect analyze my actions and say i did it, probably because of this and that. But i don't really know. I didn't chose what entertains me and what i like, so i am doing that naturally. Like it is crazy, i can list almost anything. While some say, we may have partial free will. Even so there is another billion of arguments against it and contradictory facts and experiences from daily life scenarios. To be honest i don't understand how anyone in the right mind can believe in a free will, given human experience we have. I can think of almost any scenario, that is in direct contradiction to free will. And i don't think they can be reconciled, if ever.

Besides there is scientific proof about environment and genes and how our parents dedicate attention to us, affects our personality traits. So if you wanted to claim free will exists, most of these studies would have to be false, but all of them can't be false right. Well maybe if there were some ridiculous twists, like every study ever concluded about genes was wrong, but that's ridiculous.

And see i don't even know why i wrote all of this, i got carried away. I wanted at first just to tell about this argument and than these things are related to it and than again i get this idea and wanted to talk about this.

Edited by empleat

##### Share on other sites
9 hours ago, empleat said:

"to be able to choose between one, or multiple things, without interference of external factors."

This is one of the weirdest definitions of free will I've ever heard. Without external factors there is not even a reason to act. What you want is always in a field of  possibilities from which you can choose. Using a more direct, less controversial definition of free will your problem does not even arise.If you can act according your own wishes and beliefs, then you acted freely. If you can act freely, you have free will. Or let it put a little differently: given your wishes and beliefs, if you can act according to them, you have free will.

The idea that you can choose what preferences you have (before you are born???) is an absurd idea. 'You' were not there, so who is doing the choosing of your preferences? And what are the preferences used to choose your preferences? Using a definition that implies an infinite regress from the beginning is a very poor move, and leads inherently to absurdities.

You do not choose who or what you self are. But you can choose how to act. That is the touchstone for the question if you act freely: if you act according your own (given!) preferences, you act freely. If you are coerced, i.e. act according the preferences of somebody else, against your own preferences is a 'none-free' action.

##### Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Eise said:

This is one of the weirdest definitions of free will I've ever heard. Without external factors there is not even a reason to act.

+1. I totally agree, without external factors there is "free" but there can be no "will."

##### Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Eise said:

This is one of the weirdest definitions of free will I've ever heard.

What ? I don't why. It simply implies you could choose otherwise and that your choice isn't limited to one action. As for external influences: e.g. if someone manipulates you, or some external influence changes your decision, than it wasn't you who decided freely.

4 hours ago, Eise said:

What you want is always in a field of  possibilities from which you can choose.

Yeah that's what my definition implies, that there is more than one possibility.

4 hours ago, Eise said:

Using a more direct, less controversial definition of free will your problem does not even arise.

How so ?

4 hours ago, Eise said:

.If you can act according your own wishes and beliefs, then you acted freely.

That is the thing: no one choses his wishes, or believes. Believes are dependent on the intelligence, iq and many other factors. E.g. i don't know yet person who chosen his iq. To be able to act by your believes and wishes, you would have to made yourself according them. But where they come from in the first place ? Before you was born, you couldn't choose the way you will be. Besides: real world experience contradicts this. Consider this scenario: kids lose their parents to airstrike and gonna live with his uncle, who is radical and teaches them hate against west, they are denied books and internet to make their own opinions and believes. Could they chose by their wishes to not become terrorists, that's unlikely right ? Than it is same ad infinitum problem, you would have to get behind that - how your wishes and believes arised and no one can do that currently.

4 hours ago, Eise said:

The idea that you can choose what preferences you have (before you are born???) is an absurd idea. 'You' were not there, so who is doing the choosing of your preferences? And what are the preferences used to choose your preferences? Using a definition that implies an infinite regress from the beginning is a very poor move, and leads inherently to absurdities.

Is it ? But than, how would you explain your wishes and believes to be truly free, if they didn't exist before you was born, as that is something we can agree on. Btw even they existed before that, that still doesn't explain how they would be free... Because i didn't choose my environment and genes. There is scientific proof that, both affect personality: so our preferences were chosen for us, before we were born yet!!! Otherwise you would have to claim: environment and genes don't influence our personality at all. And all scientific studies about them are flat out wrong! Or that immaterialism is true etc. Again we get to that: i do what i do, because the way i am. But in order for me to be responsible for my actions, i would have to made me somehow the way i am. But how could i made myself the way i am, before i was born ? Because after i am born, i am already in some way.

4 hours ago, Eise said:

You do not choose who or what you self are. But you can choose how to act.

That doesn't seem logical. If i can't choose what self i am, how can i choose how to act ? What if i am piece of sh.t alcoholic and i beat my family. I can argument almost with anything in the world against that. There are studies about, why people become alcoholics etc. Even tesla said he seemed to himself like an automaton and he couldn't stop doing his experiments and research and couldn't even sleep.

Edited by empleat

##### Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, joigus said:

+1. I totally agree, without external factors there is "free" but there can be no "will."

Whoops i can't edit anymore... I didn't mean like no external factors at all. Like things in the world: which motivates you, or prompt you to some action. I meant external factors like: for example - parasit, which has 80% of population and is known to reduce intelligence, whereas other parasit cause risky behaviour in men and suicide in women. Or what if someone manipulates you, who is much smarter than you are, could you really done otherwise ?

Edited by empleat

##### Share on other sites
1 hour ago, empleat said:

Whoops i can't edit anymore...

Editing works only for some minutes.

I will limit myself to the contention that your decisions could have been adopted before you were born. I don't think that makes any sense at all. And AAMOF I would not get involved in such nonsense. I recently heard a sentence that made me smile:

If something is not worth doing, it's not worth doing well.

Decisions before you're born. That makes so little sense to me that it's not worth pursuing, even to argue against it.

##### Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, joigus said:

Editing works only for some minutes.

I will limit myself to the contention that your decisions could have been adopted before you were born. I don't think that makes any sense at all. And AAMOF I would not get involved in such nonsense. I recently heard a sentence that made me smile:

If something is not worth doing, it's not worth doing well.

Decisions before you're born. That makes so little sense to me that it's not worth pursuing, even to argue against it.

You don't understand, that's what i was claiming. It doesn't make sense you could decide how you will be, yet before you was born, because you didn't exist. Therefore something has to be given to me first, so i can decide, or form believes etc.

Edited by empleat

##### Share on other sites
2 hours ago, empleat said:

You don't understand, that's what i was claiming. It doesn't make sense you could decide how you will be, yet before you was born, because you didn't exist. Therefore something has to be given to me first, so i can decide, or form believes etc.

I see. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

##### Share on other sites
20 hours ago, empleat said:

What ? I don't why. It simply implies you could choose otherwise and that your choice isn't limited to one action. As for external influences: e.g. if someone manipulates you, or some external influence changes your decision, than it wasn't you who decided freely.

Maybe it implies that 'you could choose otherwise and that your choice isn't limited to one action', but why don't stick to that? Why take the broader description 'without interference of external factors' in it?

20 hours ago, empleat said:

Yeah that's what my definition implies, that there is more than one possibility.

Well, we have, don't we? Go to a restaurant, and you see all the possibilities on the menu card. Just choose!

20 hours ago, empleat said:
On 6/23/2020 at 9:24 AM, Eise said:

Using a more direct, less controversial definition of free will your problem does not even arise.

How so ?

In the first place it avoids the infinite regression that is in your definition of free will. In the second place it does not need some weird metaphysical assumptions.

20 hours ago, empleat said:

That is the thing: no one choses his wishes, or believes.

Right. And now look at my definition, of free will, and you will see that it is not touched by that. 'Free will' lies in the relationship between your preferences and if you can 'act these out': not in where your preferences come from.

It is just absurd to require that for 'genuine free will' you should be able to choose yourself. As said, this leads already to an infinite regress, independent on the metaphysics you adhere too. Why would one define a concept that is used daily in a way that is logically incoherent?

20 hours ago, empleat said:

But than, how would you explain your wishes and believes to be truly free, if they didn't exist before you was born

See my definition in italics above. Wishes and beliefs are not just chosen: they are the basis on which you act. Without wishes and beliefs, there would be no ground to choose.

Please think carefully, before you react from unusable definitions.

##### Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eise said:

Maybe it implies that 'you could choose otherwise and that your choice isn't limited to one action', but why don't stick to that? Why take the broader description 'without interference of external factors' in it?

Isn't that obvious, if bacteria in your gut motivates you to eat specific food, or you feel more attraction to a person with different immune system, or parasite can cause you kill yourself. How is that free will ?

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Well, we have, don't we? Go to a restaurant, and you see all the possibilities on the menu card. Just choose!

Yep, but that doesn't say anything about free will itself. You can choose even if everything was predetermined, but it wasn't your choice: from your own free will. So that's why external factors, because if someone, or something change your decision, it wasn't really you who decided freely! It should probably include yet, to be able to choose from your own free will and not because you chosen something, because it was predetermined. But you get what i mean.

3 hours ago, Eise said:

In the first place it avoids the infinite regression that is in your definition of free will. In the second place it does not need some weird metaphysical assumptions.

That's what i don't get, we don't chose definitions of problems: because they are simpler, or to eliminate some problems, unless we trying to solve some complex problems and we just try to go with axioms and than change our believes, if theory doesn't fit the facts. We chose them, because we deduce, or induce them! So you don't agree with that logic ? What about paradoxes ? World is full of them. If something cannot be currently solved, like a determinism ? Is that proof, that it is not true ? I don't think so.

You said: if you can act according your own wishes and believes, you have free will. But than, you have to responsible for your own wishes and believes to be able to act freely. Because you are acting on your own wishes. And still doesn't solve problem: how did you choose your wishes in the first place ? Because to be able to choose: you have to have already some preferences! How do i choose between blue and red t-shirt, if i don't have any preference yet ? Some could argue - i can choose randomly. But even so, how do i decide to do that ? Even that is preference, if i don't have any preference yet: so i don't care what i choose, so i choose randomly. Or i can decide to not choose at all, but that is preference too and had to come from somewhere! But when that come from ?

Because we can agree on, i wasn't there forever, i was born at some point in the time. And i didn't choose my environment, or genes. So how could i choose my own preferences, or any sort of mental capacity, which will allow me to form them ? But than my preferences were dependent on the way, i was from the time i was born and my life until this point. But i didn't choose initial point, if i was nothing, i couldn't choose and form any preferences what so ever. But than i was born and i wasn't responsible for the way i was made. So than how my own preferences would be free, if they were chosen for me ? And i act upon them. Hope that makes sense.

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Right. And now look at my definition, of free will, and you will see that it is not touched by that. 'Free will' lies in the relationship between your preferences and if you can 'act these out': not in where your preferences come from.

It is just absurd to require that for 'genuine free will' you should be able to choose yourself. As said, this leads already to an infinite regress, independent on the metaphysics you adhere too. Why would one define a concept that is used daily in a way that is logically incoherent?

Yeah but you said that yourself, you act upon your preferences, which you didn't choose. So you act upon something you didn't choose by your own free will. What has been given to you. I don't see how is this any free will worth having. Yes you can choose how to act, but you can't choose your own wishes and believes upon, which you are acting. This seems to be like determinism.

3 hours ago, Eise said:

See my definition in italics above. Wishes and beliefs are not just chosen: they are the basis on which you act. Without wishes and beliefs, there would be no ground to choose.

Please think carefully, before you react from unusable definitions.

So you say: i can have preferences, but decide to act, or not to act on them ? And than it would be free will ? That still doesn't explain, why i did that. Because everything has a reason, or is random. So to be able to act freely, i would have to decide from my own volition and have my reasons why i did that right ? But where that came from ? Maybe my preferences changed, by thinking about them, but what caused that in the first place ? And that's where it gets to that pesky ad infinitum. So unless we can solve that. How can we know, we have a free will ? And so it doesn't make sense, that we would have free will. I can't even imagine how, that would be possible. Because everything we know is either predetermined, or random. There is no third option. I read that even from physicists and tried to find third option million times and no one proved yet: there would be another one.

Edited by empleat

##### Share on other sites

All your arguments boil down to your idea that to be free one should be able to choose what you are. You did not even try to apply my definition, you are just protesting against it.

There is only one way that we experience free will: by observing that if I want to do something, and then are able to do it. The rest is unsupported ideological BS.

Say, you have murdered somebody, and now stand for the judge: would you plead not guilty, because you were determined? Why (not)? Would you claim to the judge that he is not justified to punish you, because you could not help doing it?

##### Share on other sites
1 hour ago, empleat said:

You said: if you can act according your own wishes and believes, you have free will. But than, you have to responsible for your own wishes and believes to be able to act freely. Because you are acting on your own wishes. And still doesn't solve problem: how did you choose your wishes in the first place ? Because to be able to choose: you have to have already some preferences!

I believe Eise suggests that there is no distinction between our “wishes and beliefs” and us. We as an entity ARE this chemical reactions and those wishes, etc., and therefore it’s nonsensical to suggest an “us” which is in any way different or distinct from those chemical processes, gut bacteria, wishes, beliefs, and the rest.

The logic of treating these things separately breaks down in the same way (and for similar reasons) as positing a soul as separate from the self, as if there’s some sort of a gods-eye-view of us as individuals from some higher state. There’s not. We ARE that state. We’re not isolated from the system. We are the system.

‘The consequence of this approach is that we can be determined and can still call our will free since the desires and beliefs being acted upon are still our own. (Apologies to Eise if this summary is inaccurate or misrepresents you in any way... its a shorthand version of how I’ve come to understand your position).

##### Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, iNow said:

I believe Eise suggests that...

Your believe is quite right. Thanks for the summary. If it helps empleat to understand what I am saying, I do not know. We'll see.

##### Share on other sites
On 6/24/2020 at 2:26 PM, Eise said:

You did not even try to apply my definition, you are just protesting against it.

You say that. I read that carefully twice, but i still disagree, i mean no offense! But i am allowed to have my opinion.

On 6/24/2020 at 2:26 PM, Eise said:

There is only one way that we experience free will: by observing that if I want to do something, and then are able to do it

But your definition still doesn't explain how it is decided. Because everything has a reason, or is random, at least until it gets disproved maybe, but currently everything is either predetermined, or random. That's fact! Think about it! Lets say: you have a wish to rob a bank, but than you decide to not do it. (E.g. because at the end, we decide only by pleasure, or pain - say neurologists). Since we can decide whether or not to act upon our wishes, than how it was determined? It had to be somehow right? Maybe in reward/risk ratio, risk exceeded reward. But someone wouldn't care and someone would care in the same situation. Because both are different persons. But than again: how it was determined, that one person decided like that?! And second person is different ?

On 6/24/2020 at 2:26 PM, Eise said:

There is only one way that we experience free will: by observing that if I want to do something, and then are able to do it. The rest is unsupported ideological BS.

E.g. one which had a wish and decided to not act upon it, so why he did that ? He had to have reason right ? Was risking a prison to much for him, was he afraid of pain? Than how did he chosen, that he was like that?

I give more examples:

- Kids find parent's gun and decide to play with it and shoot someone by accident. E.g. if parents were more responsible and used safe, kids wouldn't find it. Than they wouldn't get into that situation in the first place! - that was external factor, which completely changed course of action, if parents had no gun - there would be no gun to be found!

- But what if parents had 200 iq prodigy and he would have cracked the safe and than kids would still played with the gun and shoot someone - but no one chosen his iq!

- Or lets say i want to win contest in a school, but there are a lot of smart kids competing and i have just average iq and i don't win that. But if i had iq 200, i would probably won that right ?

- Or lets say i want to buy ice cream, but ice cream shop closes at 4pm, lets say: i am doing test at school and after tests kids are allowed to quit. I have to finish the test, because i want to get good rating, but at the same time i want to make it for ice cream. But if i wouldn't have high iq, i wouldn't finish it in time and make it for the ice cream as well.

- So what if i wanted to be rich, but i didn't get rich, because i didn't observed something. Maybe some people notice something in news, or see some opportunity by being lucky, or higher intelligence and see patterns!

- So you see, sometimes we can't act upon our wishes, because intelligence for example. But we didn't choose our intelligence did we ? So that's perfect example for my argument! How would you counter that ?

So you see are limited by external factors too, even if i want to rob a bank, i don't want to, because i would end up in prison probably. If people weren't put into prison and if we omit other factors for sake of the argument. Than nothing else would stop me. But i didn't choose, that people go to prison for crimes!

- What if i born in africa and i liked astronomy, but i had to much on my plate and had to deal with many things, before i could start working on my goal and than i don't achieve it!

So than you could argue, but not all people are equal. But you can choose according your own wishes and free will, in that range what is available to you. But than again, what about all scientific studies about gut bacterias, parasites, which change our behavior. And genes, some people born with asperger and have trouble making social contacts: even they want to! But if they didn't born with it, they would live completely different life. How do you argue against that huh ? Consider every scenario, every permutation, than can ever happen and tell me how is that free will in each one ?

But i still think: no one have free will, because you can't be responsible for the way you are. But you act, because the way you are! I gave many examples above.

##### Share on other sites
12 hours ago, empleat said:

You say that. I read that carefully twice, but i still disagree, i mean no offense! But i am allowed to have my opinion.

Yes and no. Yes, you are allowed to have any opinion - but this is the philosophy forum. This means one should give arguments for one's opinion. And of course you do. But there is one other thing: not every argument is as good as others. For good arguments, a few requirements apply:

1. The arguments should be true
2. The arguments should be relevant.

Where your arguments are not too bad concerning the first point, they miss completely on the second.

Let's 'draw an ascii diagram'.

                 1                    2
Previous causes --> your preferences --> your action

Your examples concern the relationship 1, between causes and your preferences. I on the other hand say that the question of free will or not can completely be answered by looking at relationship 2. If you can act according your preferences, then it was a free action. Simply said: if you can do what you want, you have free will. That has nothing to do with where your preferences came from.

In order to refute my position, there are several options:

1. Proof that determinism and free will (in my definition!) are contradictory
2. Proof that my definition cannot bear the weight of our praxis of blaming, praising, earning salary, assigning responsibility, taking obligations, etc.

So really, giving lots of example that show that we are determined does not help. I am already convinced that we, for all practical purposes, are determined.

No, we are indeed not responsible for who we are. But we are responsible for what we do. If you act irresponsibly, I cannot trust you. So are you a responsible person or not? If you aren't, I would never make some deal with you, because every moment you could cop out, without any consequences, because you can refer to 'I cannot help it, I am determined'.

## Create an account

Register a new account