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Steve-n

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  1. I read your answers. I did not see value in continuing to go in circles. If emotions are non-volitional then is it not fair to say that the associated thoughts that arise with the emotions are also non-volitional? Would you say about a depressed person that their emotions of depression are non-volitional but the thoughts "I am worthless," "life sucks," etc, that arise with their depression are volitional? Perhaps I don't know much about objectivism. I've only read Atlas Shrugged. I just got OPAR in the mail today so won't be posting here anymore until I've gone through it. If you know something you know it. You can adamantly deny that you know it, sure, but that does not change the fact that you know it.
  2. Why are you saying she places value in the reactions? Would you say she is volitionally placing value in them? Is she intentionally self-sabotaging? In both of these types of cases, individuals often seek help because they have lost control. They acknowledge that they are no longer steering their ship. Their actions are being direct by unchosen thoughts/emotions/impulses. Her unwanted reaction during sex satisfies both conditions. It was both "in conflict with other goals" and "unavoidable." I am not saying permanently unavoidable but it was unavoidable if it had not yet been healed. Just because she had not healed the wound yet does not mean that she won't. She may have already scheduled an appointment with a therapist. I am not claiming that "free will" must entail the ability to act apart from the brain, just pointing out that individuals have unconscious conditioned responses that cause thoughts/emotions to occur non-volitionally. Unconsciousness can be overcome. Meditation is excellent for this, as many rational scientists like Sam Harris have discovered.
  3. I know the difference, but I can see how my example could lend itself to that confusion. At what age did your consciousness become volitionally directed? Unless English was your second language, I find that suggestion that you had any active or volitional role in the formation of the banana or yellow concept to be extremely unlikely. What about the "mamma" or "dadda" concept, are you going to suggest their was a choice involved in their formation on the part of the baby?
  4. The point of the example was to shows to show undeniably that at least some thoughts are non-volitional. Clearly in the case of unwanted thoughts there exist no volitional thinker. So why would positive thoughts necessitate a volitional thinker? The way the term free will is usually used it does suggest a mind/body dichotomy. I agree no such dichotomy exists. Anyways, reviewing the arguments, I can see that 'free will' does exist if I use the objectivist definition. If I go by mainstream use of the term it does not.
  5. Let's try this from another angle. Imagine you are a therapist and a woman told you that every time she made love to her husband, she has unwanted thoughts and emotions relating to sexual abuse she experienced as a child. Is it your position that this is her volitional consciousness at work? I assume you won't take the absurd position that she is volitionally thinking unwanted thoughts, as that would be a clear contradiction. Okay, lets say I believe all bananas are purple in color. If you show me a yellow banana, I have no choice but to accept that my belief was incorrect and that a banana can be yellow. I have no choice to accept or reject/disregard the existence of non-purple bananas. I can pretend to disregard the existence of non-purple bananas, but once proven it cannot be denied.
  6. Now we are getting somewhere. Nothing is acausal and that fact has implications. Thoughts and choices are necessitated effects of previous causes. Given all the causal factors only one effect is possible. Hence, choice is really an illusion. Any choice or thought that arises has to arise unless the laws of cause/effect are violated. Since you disagree with both Sam and Jacob's use of the term mind then please indicate what you mean by mind. What I said was "Experience does not necessitate a volitional entity that is the experiencer." I never said there was no experiencer. We can refer to the physical body as the experiencer. That Self certainly exists and is not being argued against. Why is that wrong? Proof cannot be disregarded because of the way my brain works. I can pretend to disregard but cannot actually do it. Whenever something is proven to me, it becomes part of my knowledge without any volitional effort. Based on how he is using the terms "self" and "free will" he does not refute himself. Clearly you use the terms differently. It might be productive for you to define what those terms mean to you. Its possible that based on your definitions of "free will" and "self" that I would agree both exist.
  7. I should clarify. I did not mean to suggest, nor did Sam, that free will needs to be proven to be a function of a specific part of the brain, i.e. amygdala, or some brain cells. Just that if there is free will, we should be able to discover evidence through observation of how the brain functions. The "Self" that he is refuting is the volitional self. In the youtube videos it was entirely clear that he was not refuting the existence of the body. Well if personal experience should be dismissed then we can dismiss the only argument I've seen an objectivist present for free will: "it is self-evident." Experience does not necessitate a volitional entity that is the experiencer. On what basis do you claim he has a poor grasp on causality? If you "prove" free will to me, I would have no choice but to accept it. But no volition would be required. Acceptance would be the natural effect of the cause (being provided proof). Harris is well-respected for his clarity of thinking and his eloquent speech.
  8. He's showing that there is no evidence for free will in the one place (the brain) that their COULD be evidence. This does not mean that he is saying free will would just be an attribute of some portion of cells in the brain, rather that if free will in fact existed then their should be evidence for it in the brain. Note the difference. Funny you should say that, since according to Newseek, his next project is a spirituality guide tentatively titled The Illusion of the Self. The chair analogy only works if we equate the Self with the physical body, which he does not do. "By paying close attention to moment-to-moment conscious experience, Harris suggests, it is possible to make our sense of "self" vanish and thereby uncover a new state of personal well-being. " (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris_%28author%29 ) Personal experience has verified this claim for myself and countless others. Define atheist free will, as opposed to theist free will. No stolen concept - in order for your mind to change, it is not necessary for you to volitionally change it. Sam Harris clearly was not refuting the ability to identify truth. You accuse him of attacking a strawman?
  9. The following Sam Harris videos on youtube present the idea that free will is an illusion, and ultimately that even "the illusion of free will is an illusion" (in other words it is NOT self-evident). If anyone can refute his scientific and logical arguments, I'd love to hear it. Thanks.
  10. You gained nothing because you didn't really want to. Those who take the reasoning mind to be the supreme authority are only limiting themselves.
  11. There is nothing supernatural about nature nor am I advocating determinism. You are just projecting. I could care less whether or not you take your projections onto me seriously or not. There is some validity to Buddhism, in that it teaches about the formless beingness/awareness underlying all things. This is directly verifiable through meditation. However, I see the goal of Nirvana, to escape the physical world, to be misguided. For those who overcome destructive conditioning, living on earth is paradise. That's my experience.
  12. When you relax your mind, what you become aware of is outside of the conceptual realm. It has no name. You can call it whatever you want. Becoming aware of the space between your thoughts acts does act as a doorway, it is a valid metaphor.
  13. Birds instincts are an example of nature taking care of all living organisms. You would be shocked to discover how much guidance you, as human being are constantly receiving from nature but are filtering out. You are dominated by your thoughts while thinking you are their master. If you could just get your mind to shut up for even a minute, you would get a glimpse beyond your conceptually-derived sense of self. When the mind is quiet a non-conceptual awareness of yourself and the universe is available. See for yourself. Becoming aware of the spaces between your thoughts can serve as a doorway.
  14. Yes, nature exists independent of reason, but reason does not exist independent of nature. Reason can make attempts to understand nature. The mind can only understand the aspects of nature which can be conceptualized. Even if the mind could fully understand nature, the map would never be the territory. The mind can at best reflect conceptually, what can be known directly through nature. I know from personal experience that reason is not the only tool we have for gaining knowledge or guiding our behavior. Knowledge is not limited to conceptual knowledge. Nature can guide us and provide us with information, the same way she can guide a species of birds where to fly. The birds are not going on faith or intuition, nor should we. Since we are all flesh and blood human beings we can never actually be disconnected from nature, and she is communication with all of us, all of the time. The addiction to the mind has veiled this communication for most individuals. When the mind is quiet, you can become aware of much more.
  15. Yes, man cannot actually disconnect from nature, but he can have that artificial experience. If man believes "I think, therefore I am," his experience will be one of disconnection from his body and therefore nature. Man must BE before he can think or anything else. Awareness of beingness prior to thought leads to an authentic experience of being one's body. The body is nature. We can never reconnect to nature, we just need to get rid of the false beliefs that cause the illusory disconnection. And yes, I use the term nature to refer to both the sum of all existents and a volitional entity. Using distinct terms is not appropriate for my intended communication. Reason is not always required to prove something. If you are arguing that earth is yellow and you have tinted glasses on then I don't need to use reason to prove you wrong. I can simply remove your shades.
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