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FrolicsomeQuipster

On the existence of free will.

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I just thought of this, if you heard this specific argument before please link to it, if you have not and like it please give me credit.

Everyone is free to copy and paste anything from this post as long as they say that they are quoting FrolicomeQuipster!

To do otherwise would be against Justice witch also includes praising the good for being the good.

This deals with the argument of the empiricists, against free will existing, because people are motivated by things to do things, because of Ayn Rand I have identified that all motivations one can have for something are finite, this coupled with the open-ended nature of concepts, witch can hold a infinite amount of potential paticulares, made me come to a certain conclusion.

Okay, so infinity exists only as a ''potential'' right?

The future results of of the reasoning mind also exist only as a potential.

But everything and therefore all things by witch someone maybe motivated are finite.

It is my theory (witch I think is supported by numerous facts, but I couldn't have come to it without the Internet), that human potential is also infinite.

To come to something from an infinite potential set with finite existential motivation requires a will witch is free to do so.

I also think that the current theory of focus, is compatible with my own insight, as Ayn Rand identified concepts make it possible for someone to hold an infinite amount of information, as a potential, I thought that this was the logical conclusion from that.

Also, I don't consider myself as a philosopher but an Administrator, I am not officially one but I will be , I'm still studying for it, and a ''new intellectual''. :lol:

I have also thought up a double blind experiment to, proof the merits of her theory on epistemology, but I still have to work that one out. And I have written a short analysis on the differences of Rorschach and Mr.A, but I still have to type that out. :P

I'd like to give thanks to Ayn Rand and her insight that moral perfection is attainable, it was what motivated me and I only just realised how true that it is.

Also I would never have reached this conclusion if all of you didn't at least with some conviction insist that it is an axiom as she identified it to be. :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE2XQm_sJGk, (try to imagine it being honest and without the negativity, as someone who used to be a Nihilist for a while I apologise for today's culture, also, try to take that into account when judging my sense of live, I love, Lovecraftian horror). :worry:

If anyone wants to know witch central purpose I have chosen I personally think that is and should be a private matter, although if anyone wants advice on what one should be I think they ought to be open ended.

I'm very proud, because I figured this out by myself and for myself, I needed to know it, to get rid of my moral dissonance I felt when confronted by empiricist arguments, I also think that only O-ism deserves a capital letter, as a closed philosophy.

Of course any number of you might disagree, but I'm not about to ask anyone to ''allow'' me to do anything, except for when I know, that a giant gang of thugs (a state witch has ''regulations'' instead of Objective laws), will come after me if I dont. :nuke:

And, if anyone reminds me having said something irrational, on another site, I assure you, that that was either a longer then a week ago, or that you don't know the full context of what I meant. :P

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.

Please say so, if I have used too many comma's, and point out all grammatical mistakes I may have made, language is the plumbing for proper epistemological juices. ^_^

I'm posting this now, because I sense that I am reaching analysis paralysis (the point where doing something is no longer in your best interests), as a last note, I had to reduce the amount of smileys, so you may not get all the nuances witch I would like to convey.

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Makes no sense to me.

Why are human motivations finite and human potential infinite? Do you mean by "human potential" all possible things you can imagine he could do? That would be a big difference between that and what he actually could be doing, something you can't prove, because you can not predict the future.

So if you observe somebody doing something and then state "His motivations are finite (in other words, he had a specific mindset at that moment), he choose to do something, but he could have picked an infinite number of other options", you'd have to prove that he could in fact have done something different and if you achieve that you have to prove that this choice was not a result of randomness, but of free will.

For example, one could make the claim that "human potential" is in fact "1". In other words, there is always only 1 possible thing a human "can do", his actions are determined.

On the other hand one could claim, that "human potential" is in fact infinite, but the reason for that is an existing true randomness in the universe (coppenhagen interpretation) and the infinite potential is simply a result or this randomness.

Objectivism states (correct me if I'm wrong) that free will can be perceived directly. You do know that you have free will.

It is a result or strictly tied to the concept of volition, which is neither determinism (only 1 option) nor randomness, but self-causation.

In other words, you don't need to prove free will, like you don't need to prove existence. You perceive it and perception is true.

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Objectivism states (correct me if I'm wrong) that free will can be perceived directly.
Objectivism does not state that free will can be perceived directly. You cannot see free will, the way you can see an apple. That is what it means to "perceive directly". Volition is axiomatic.

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To do otherwise would be against Justice witch also includes praising the good for being the good.

..., witch can hold a infinite.

But everything and therefore all things by witch...

To come to something from an infinite potential set with finite existential motivation requires a will witch is free to do so.

If anyone wants to know witch ...

...(a state witch has ...

... all the nuances witch I would like to convey.

I hope that you'll simply appreciate my bringing this to your attention. After reading this post as well as a few others of yours (in other threads), I kept noticing that you have been using "witch" when you should be using "which," so I thought I'd mention it.

witch: a woman thought to have evil magic powers. Witches are popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat, and flying on a broomstick.

which:

interrogative pronoun & adjective

asking for information specifying one or more people or things from a definite set : [as pron. ] which are the best varieties of grapes for long keeping? | which of the suspects murdered him? | [as adj. ] which way is the wind blowing?

relative pronoun & adjective

used referring to something previously mentioned when introducing a clause giving further information : [as pron. ] a conference in Vienna, which ended on Friday | [after prep. ] it was a crisis for which he was totally unprepared | [as adj., after prep. ] your claim ought to succeed, in which case the damages will be substantial.

I hope this helps.

Edited by Trebor

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To come to something from an infinite potential set with finite existential motivation requires a will witch is free to do so.

(which, not witch)

In general, I don't think I quite follow what you're saying or what your purpose is. People are definitely motivated to do things -by- things, whether or not they acknowledge it. I was motivated to make a post by the post that you created. Also, potential of humans is definitely limited by the amount of knowledge your brain can hold. That's the limit. Even if the brain were able to store every piece of knowledge in the universe, human potential would still be limited by what exists in reality. I'm not 100% sure if my concept of infinity is accurate, but I think it's safe something can't -be- infinite.

Crizon, I do think free-will needs to be proven. It's not enough to just say "you chose whether or not to make a post". What you do perceive is certainly true, but that doesn't mean what you think about that perception is true. Everyone -should- recognize that the axioms are self-evident, but that doesn't mean they will. But that's sort of off topic. Having a possible choice doesn't always mean there was a choice. I can program a computer to make -specific- decisions, but it was certainly not based on the computer's "free will". I think to really prove free will, you need to show that a choice can be made despite a specific set of rules. I think this is sufficiently dealt with in what Rand wrote about tabula rasa. If you don't quite follow, please ask me to clarify.

(edited out "Rand doesn't say volition is an axiom either", I misunderstood/misread a quote I read)

Edited by Eiuol

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I think FrolicsomeQuipster is arguing that a future potential is causing something in the present, which is not how causality works.

Objectivism does not state that free will can be perceived directly. You cannot see free will, the way you can see an apple. That is what it means to "perceive directly". Volition is axiomatic.

Free will is not perceived with the eyes, but it is perceived by introspection. Dr. Peikoff flatly states the principle of free will is self-evident on pg. 70 of OPAR, and on pg. 8 "axioms are perceptual self-evidencies".

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Free will is not perceived with the eyes, but it is perceived by introspection. Dr. Peikoff flatly states the principle of free will is self-evident on pg. 70 of OPAR, and on pg. 8 "axioms are perceptual self-evidencies".

I don't understand how free will is self-evident. Introspection might not always be accurate, since you're always able to lie to yourself. The fact that there is a choice isn't enough to prove that it was a free choice.

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"The fact that there is a choice isn't enough to prove that it was a free choice."

That is a contradiction. "Choice" as a random or predetermined outcome is a meaningless concept.

If someone believes in free will, end of discussion. If someone doesn't, why do they even bother?

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Thanks for pointing out the witches, now I can burn them, I'm a grammar puritan :lol: . Because a few of them must have put some kind of curse on me which made me accidentally remove everything I typed by a few unlucky key strokes, three times. :)

But I'd like to think that I am paying more attention to them now.

Thanks for all the responses, I think I can now formulate it in a diverent way which does not even require mention of the open-endedness of concepts.

"The fact that there is a choice isn't enough to prove that it was a free choice."

That is a contradiction. "Choice" as a random or predetermined outcome is a meaningless concept.

If someone believes in free will, end of discussion. If someone doesn't, why do they even bother?

Yea, that's also what I think, I just wanted to add, why free will has to exist, in the same way it is so easy to make fun of those who proclaim that ''reality'' does not exist.

There is choice, but what do we first choose? To focus or not, I can agree with that.

But what happens when we do focus, and why do we need focus for it?

To make a concept you have with the least amount of possible dissonance compare two similar things and give their similarities a name.

Empiricists say we are specifically motivated by certain feelings and urges , and therefore ''forced'' somehow, by a causal chain to do everything which we do.

Objectivism however properly shows that you cant ''force'' someone to think, and that humans have no instinct.

This already does away with all instinctual ''urges'', but the empiricist pull out a diverent gun, and says that it is ones ''environment'' which provides one (somehow) with urges.

This however is a contradiction, a baby may feel certain feelings, and deem some to be beneficial to it and others harmful, but the fact that it does so are not based on the ''urges'' of the baby, but on its earliest application of volitional reason.

At which point if there are still a few die hard Empiricist left tough, and they continue on, saying that you may initially need reason, but that after a while everything becomes ''automatic''.

Reason however is not only used to form concepts but also to integrate them.

At which point there are only those empiricist left who would already complain about reality being a tyranny on the mind, and who themselves would have come up with empiricism if they had the chance.

And they are the ones which can be ignored. :D

Is this better? :thumbsup:

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"The fact that there is a choice isn't enough to prove that it was a free choice."

That is a contradiction. "Choice" as a random or predetermined outcome is a meaningless concept.

I agree with your content but am uncomfortable with the formulation. Does the meaning of "choice" presuppose volition in all contexts? Or can it mean the same as the word "selection" as in: animals make choices (selections) without free will. In that context, "choice" is not a meaningless concept. And that is the context determinists are always trying to drag man into.

I usually counter them by pointing out that qualifying free will renders the word "truth" a meaningless (and a stolen) concept. "Truth" presupposes volition. No statement qualifying free will can be claimed to be true, because there would be no way to know if the claim was product of reason or just predetermined i.e., no way to know if it was true.

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To clarify, I do think people have free will. I just was suggesting that the argument given was not a particularly great one. In particular, I had issue/confusion with how free will could be self-evident.

I suppose I should have said "the fact that a selection is made does not mean that free will was involved". I was trying to make a distinction between a computer making "choices", a computer choosing between true and false based on a specific rule set, and a person making choices, choosing between true, false and even contradictory regardless of a "biological rule set".

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I agree with your content but am uncomfortable with the formulation. Does the meaning of "choice" presuppose volition in all contexts? Or can it mean the same as the word "selection" as in: animals make choices (selections) without free will. In that context, "choice" is not a meaningless concept. And that is the context determinists are always trying to drag man into.

I don't believe animals choose. They act according to their nature. To live, they eat, drink, sleep, avoid danger and so on. Even plants do this. Animals have a psyche (they can feel contentness, fear, anger, annoyance, etc.) but this is more like a biological robot.

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Even plants do this. Animals have a psyche (they can feel contentness, fear, anger, annoyance, etc.) but this is more like a biological robot.

I'm confused as to why "choice" must mean that a choice is made by rational means. An animal makes "choice" to live or die, but that choice is not made because they thought about. "Selection" would do a better word to use in that context. An animal will only "select" to live, but it's only because their biology told them to make that selection. It was certainly not made through reason. It would be like a biological robot, like you said.

Edited by Eiuol

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I don't understand how free will is self-evident. Introspection might not always be accurate, since you're always able to lie to yourself. The fact that there is a choice isn't enough to prove that it was a free choice.

It is impossible to prove a choice is free as the proof, logic, and truth all depend upon free choice. Only perception is available as a means of validation.

Lying to oneself is no refutation of volition as lies imply at least a dim awareness of the truth before one can choose to lie about it.

Choosing to not look at the sun doesn't make the sunlight go away.

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An animal will only "select" to live, but it's only because their biology told them to make that selection.

Then it is neither selection nor choice, but a pre-programmed path. A river does not flow into the unobstructed air.

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Animals do not have alternatives. Choice presupposes alternatives.

This is perhaps just a matter of perspective involving two different aspects of one event — a "choice".

I place two plates of food before you on the table and two plates of food on the floor before your cat. Each of you chooses to eat from one plate or the other first. From the aspect of my experience of the event, each of you makes a choice. But from the causal aspect, my knowledge of your different natures tells me that you initiated your choice, while the action of the cat that resulted in it's choice was caused solely by its nature and hence, was unchosen.

In other words: the choices we see animals make are not optional.

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I think it is important that we all get on the same page with the terminology. So that there is no confusion, we should use Ayn Rand's formulation.

- All living things face an alternative: the alternative of life or death.

- Plants and animals act automatically in the face of that alternative.

- Man acts volitionally.

- Plants and animals always act one way when faced with an alternative, toward the furtherance of their lives.

- Man must choose in the face of an alternative and can choose to act against his life.

- Man has a choice about how he acts, plants and animals have no choice.

Also, computers have no choice. A computer executes a program. Any alternatives in a computer program were put there by the programmer.

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- Plants and animals always act one way when faced with an alternative, toward the furtherance of their lives.

This is false when you are speaking about individual plants/animals, which you do. There are plenty of examples where animals of certain species chose death in order to reproduce, male Black Widow being the most popular.

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I place two plates of food before you on the table and two plates of food on the floor before your cat. Each of you chooses to eat from one plate or the other first.
Herein lies the false dichotomy. For man, the choices are not "left plate" or "right plate", they also include "sit and read the newspaper", "get up and walk around the block", "write a concerto", "hum an opera", "switch the plates around", "eat the cat", "pet the cat", "take all four plates to the street and sell them to customers", "take the plates back to the kitchen and add a dash of salt and fresh chopped marjoram", and so on and so on. The man first choses to focus, or not. If he focuses, he sees that he may choose a course of action, or not. If he is to choose a course of action, he can do it for a reason, or not. If he acts for a reason, he must identify his reason. And so on.

There are no alternatives open to anyone except man; all alternatives are open to him. Man must, in essence, create alternatives because there are no predefined alternatives metaphysically hanging out there, ready for man to pick. For man, alternatives are hypothetical facts -- states of reality that do not yet exist. Plants and animals have the metaphysically-selected alternative handed to them.

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It would be accurate to say that they act to be able to reproduce (and occasionally that involves death). But that doesn't change the fact that they only act in one way given a particular input.

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This is false when you are speaking about individual plants/animals, which you do. There are plenty of examples where animals of certain species chose death in order to reproduce, male Black Widow being the most popular.

Well, there you go again, Mr. counterexample.

Yes, this is the popular argument we've heard before. Please read threads that discuss "ultimate value" such as these two:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...=2652&st=60

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...mp;#entry133966

This is the argument where you wish a salmon was a bass so that he won't die procreating. Sorry, A is A and a salmon is salmon, just as a black widow is a black widow. I especially like when the argument turns to a lion dying while in pursuit of a zebra, thus killing itself while trying to stay alive, I hope we don't make it there.

If you think the black widow is acting in detriment to its life, then why isn't it extinct?

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I think it is important that we all get on the same page with the terminology. So that there is no confusion, we should use Ayn Rand's formulation.

- All living things face an alternative: the alternative of life or death.

- Plants and animals act automatically in the face of that alternative.

- Man acts volitionally.

- Plants and animals always act one way when faced with an alternative, toward the furtherance of their lives.

- Man must choose in the face of an alternative and can choose to act against his life.

- Man has a choice about how he acts, plants and animals have no choice.

Also, computers have no choice. A computer executes a program. Any alternatives in a computer program were put there by the programmer.

I am on this page, but the answer to the other question I was provoking is not. Google "animal chooses" and among the results are many phrases like, "if the animal chooses path A over path B...", "how the animal chooses its mate...", and "when the animal chooses its territory...". Are these statements all nonsense, because animals do not ever "choose"? Or is "choose" merely being used in a different context in which it refers to the choice that is the result of the animal's action rather than the unchosen cause of it?

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Well, there you go again, Mr. counterexample.

Yes, this is the popular argument we've heard before. Please read threads that discuss "ultimate value" such as these two:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...=2652&st=60

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...mp;#entry133966

This is the argument where you wish a salmon was a bass so that he won't die procreating. Sorry, A is A and a salmon is salmon, just as a black widow is a black widow. I especially like when the argument turns to a lion dying while in pursuit of a zebra, thus killing itself while trying to stay alive, I hope we don't make it there.

If you think the black widow is acting in detriment to its life, then why isn't it extinct?

I don't know how a Lion has anything to do with it. A lion surely does not "choose" to die in pursuit of a zebra, so you won't get that argument from me.

Assuming you mean life in the common sense as "not-dead", then a male black widow chooses not to further his life because his offspring has a better chance of survival when he does so. The chances for him finding a second mate without dying in process are probably very slim so chooses to give the nutrition in his body to the female.

The traits and patterns animals have developed all have the goal to procreate and staying alive is simply a condition that is often needed to do so, but it is also evident that if staying alive lowers the chance to procreate, it is abandoned in order to procreate.

I'm sure you are aware of these examples (as you said), but I just don't see how this formulation can be accurate:

"Plants and animals always act one way when faced with an alternative, toward the furtherance of their lives."

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If you think the black widow is acting in detriment to its life, then why isn't it extinct?

It won't go extinct if it has mated and has passed its genes on to the next generation. It is the timid males, unwilling to sacrifice their lives to mate are the ones that will go extinct. :dough:

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