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  1. Thanks for the many replies, much appreciated! Of course not. Just like a raindrop cannot identify the forces that make it fall, the way it falls. I’m saying, it seems to me that I have a free choice, but that doesn’t mean the choice is in fact free. It could just be the deterministic forces, that mend my mind and give me the illusion of thinking it was a free choice. Maybe that illusion was necessary to develop with evolution to keep man sane, or I don’t know why it would have been formed/determined. The difference between the fact, that I, e.g., see a tree and the fact that I notice I focus my minds is the following: Perception of tree: I can explain, with causality, why the tree has grown in that spot and why it keeps growing. (seed, right soil, water and sunshine --> all causalities) Perception of me focusing my mind: I can observe that “fact” but I cannot explain how I’m able to do it. What CAUSES my choice to focus my mind?? (This is really the most important question.) And if you say it’s not caused by anything, it is primary. Please explain how you can say: everything else in the world is caused by something (like the growth of the tree) but the focusing of my mind, is NOT caused by something but is a primary?? That’s my predicament. Thank you very much for the link. I’m happy if people point me to resources. I’m going to listen to this towards the end of the week, when i’m done with my current audio program. I’m happy with the notion that if determinism were true I wasn’t thinking. That could be an option, that my perception of me making a free choice could in fact be an illusion. Researches have found, we have made up our decisions 5-6 seconds before it actually becomes conscious to us! (Edit: I'm not saying we don't have the power to veto that. But what makes as veto it? Is that also a decision that was made up seconds before it became conscious? and if not, what makes us veto it?) http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/mind_decision (please watch this 5min video) What makes me focus my mind?
  2. Yes. For example, I can tell myself: Now I'm going to focus on this text. I can observe an inner push that makes me focus/direct my attention. But that's proof of nothing. That's just an observation and doesn't prove as fact. It could be an illusion or a mechanism that tells me, it was a free choice. This mechanism could have been installed by nature for whatever purpose. A rain drop falls the way it has to fall. You can observe the causes makeing it fall the way it does. Ice melts the way it has to melts, you can predict it. But humans are supposed to be outside the system of causality? What makes them defy those laws of causality? How can you reasonably acknowledge that whatever we do is not a result of some forces?
  3. Thanks for the replies. Why is that? My choice to think could have been determined. There may be many options open to me, but who says it weren't deterministic forces that made me decide for the one I decided? The fact that I can consider several options doesn't man that I'm free to choose between them. It only means that I'm able to consider them, which might also be due to deterministic forces. Yes, I get that. It doesn't explain why the choice to focus or not to focus would be a primary, a first cause. And so it doesn't explain that this choice wasn't also a reaction to some causality. Please explain. Why? It can be deterministic forces that make me think about free will. I believe what you want to say is that in order to "know" I must be able to test my believes against the facts of reality. That's our definiton of knowledge, but it may in deed be just the definition deterministic forces lead us to believe and we are not free in forming it at all. Creating out of nothing was supposed to describe the primary of thinking. Where does your decision to think or not to think come from? Objectivism says it's a first cause, it's not a reaction to something else. That's why I say, "out of nothing" because it's not a reaction to something, it's a primary. I am wondering how Objectivism can advocate and explain with reasons that the choice to think is a primary and not a reaction/ not determined. I'm not sure that I chose to ask this question. That's why I asked it.
  4. Hello, I've been thinking a lot about the question of free will. I've listened to Branden's lectures on the subject and read Rand's articles as well as her answers on the topic in the Q&A booklet. What I do not understand: How can you argue that man's choice to think or not to think, in other words, to focus his mind or not to focus it, is a primary? (Yes, it is in his natrue to do that, but why is the choice free?) How come there weren't simply any deterministic forces that made man decide to think or not to think? Why should man be able to create something out of nothing, if everything else in nature is bound to the law of causality? I'd immensely appreciate input here. I want to believe that we have free will and I agree with the concept that we can change our values and principles but whether the choice to do that or not is free, I cannot rationally represent. Thank you.
  5. Good day, I want to read Nathaniel Branden's first fan letters that seeded his relationship with Ayn Rand. I'm especially interested in Branden's third letter and Rand's lengthy response in which she invited him. Does anybody know where to find those letters? Much appreciated.
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