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Thanks for the answer. Again, I still can't get the animal rights thing. If you are torturing an animal or a mentally unstable/undeveloped person, then you are initiating force.

Great answers so far. :) Any answers for 3 and 6 though?

 Right, but I mean, you get that it's an animal as versus a human. If you didn't believe animals to have rights, then using force against them isn't violating any rights. Biographically, Rand was reportedly an animal lover and wanted to find a good argument for animal rights, but ultimately didn't think it was possible.

 

3. The role of a government to Rand was to protect the rights of the citizens, not to decide how many people should live in certain areas, so that would not be compatible with Objectivism. In any event, what constitutes "crowded" or "not crowded" is a subjective matter of taste. No doubt, certain areas of a libertarian society would be more relatively crowded, other areas less so. There is actually an "optimum population" with any given capital structure and it tends to equalize. If people feel their area is too crowded they can always just simply refuse to admit new people, or again enter into restrictive contracts with surrounding property owners to make their area more or less exclusive depending on what they perceive to be in their best interests.

 

6. You state that rational egoism is opposed to concern for others, but this is not the case with Rand. Why does there have to be such a dichotomy. Rand's version of rational egoism held that one's concerns for others is included in one's interests.

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Well right off the bat I'll tell you that:

1: People have "rights" because people who coexist morally provide incalculable value to each other; so much so that the most selfish thing is always to allow them the freedom to live morally. And since rational egoism isn't hedonism (or sadism) we'll return to this one shortly.

But the short answer is that only rational human beings have rights.

2: Your best bet for finding an answer is in rands books and in your own judgment; objectivists in general are massively divided on that.

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3: Nope. If you want to save the forests then buy them; otherwise they're fair game.

Although if you did buy a rainforest or an endangered species in order to preserve it, nobody could exploit any bit of it without permission- that would be theft. And there's no reason why someone very motivated couldn't turn sentimental value into cash value for just that purpose; corporations are, after all, just out to make money.

But if someone else owns the forest then the same applies; it would be theft for anyone to forbid them to use it.

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4: You can't prevent an innocent person from living wherever they please. Thugs and terrorists are another matter, entirely.

5: Most objectivists would tell you that an inventor has the right to dictate how his ideas are used.

I would tell you that's laughable but, for the record, Im not ayn rand.

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6: Rational selfishness isn't about doing what feels good; it's about being the best (most intelligent, athletic, capable, wealthy, beautiful) that you can be, and learning to like it.

You have to think the consequences of your actions through, within the context of your entire lifespan, and choose according to how those consequences affect the ultimate value: your love of your own life.

Not all happiness is valid. It isn't about the joy of drugs or self-mutilation or homicide or even money; it's about the joy OF LIVING.

You have to stop and really realize the fact of your own existence, how great it is to be alive! You have to find that feeling, hold onto it and figure out how to keep it for as long as you possibly can. THAT is selfishness; THAT'S what it means to love yourself and your own life. And it isn't compatible with sociopathy.

Someone with suicidal tendencies isn't being selfish, no matter how badly they want death. And someone who hurts or kills others, simply for the thrill of it, is not the opposite- they're the other side of the same coin.

Cheating on your spouse in your final hours is a grey area; it really depends on the people involved. Sleeping with someone you despise is selfless (evil) but so is remaining in a loveless relationship. It all depends on who you're cheating on, with whom, and why.

But remember the question about animal rights? Animals have no rights, but anyone who inflicts pain for pain's own sake is evil. Not criminal but absolutely evil (don't imprison them but don't hide your disgust, either).

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Hey everyone :)

I've recently discovered Ayn Rand, and she seems like a really brilliant philosopher. I haven't had time to read Atlas Shrugged yet, but I'm still very curious about her philosophy and objectivism as a political system. I apologize if these questions are stupid or if they are carefully answered in her works, but again, I haven't had the time to read them yet, I'd be thankful for good answers. :)

1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are objectivism against animal rights because they don't and will not have the ability to reason and create? Does that mean mentally challenged people shouldn't have any rights either? I understand the need for killing animals for food and skins (although in modern society that might not be necessary), but shouldn't animals at least have the right not to suffer? Shouldn't we have the chance to put people who torture animals in prison?

2. Ayn Rand was against anarchy, or multiple governments/court systems, because it could easily lead to governments or courts with really bad moral standpoints to rule, such as sharia courts, extreme animal right groups who would put you in jail for having an aquarium and so on, that's understandable. But competing objectivist governments/courts would be okay? What if they had slightly different stances on the age of consent, the length of patents and copyrights, at how many weeks you can have an abortion, etc?

 

3. When Hong Kong became a very free country, lots of people moved there, as far as I understand, this has led Hong Kong to be the most crammed place on earth in terms of population. Isn't there a concern that if a country becomes fully objectivist, people from all over the world would want to move there, and forests would diminish more and more to make more room for housing? And if a forest has a very sentimental value to people nearby, what, if anything, can prevent corporations from turning the forest into a mall or a football stadium?

 

4. What is the objectivist stance on immigration and borders? Could an objectivist government refuse people whose identities they didn't know to enter the country, or would immigration be basically free and open?

 

5. Patents and copyrights obviously motivate people to create great new inventions and pieces of art, so if objectivism advocates intellectual property, is it a form of pragmatism? Many libertarians are against intellectual property rights because you're not hurting anyone or their property by making yourself a copy, or building the same invention, two people could even have the same idea independently of each other. I think this argument makes a lot of sense, but it would also be a great pragmatic standpoint to uphold these laws to allow more innovation.

 

6. I've heard Yaron Brook talk about rational egoism, which is very interesting. But what about sociopaths? Lying, cheating and so on doesn't cause them guilt or stress, so is it morally right for them to do these things then? Another example, what if you are about to die, and you could have sex with another person other than your spouse before death, you wouldn't be alive to feel the guilt of it afterwards. Wouldn't that be morally wrong? You would still cheat on and hurt your spouse. Is the entire objectivist moral set based around rational egoism, and no consideration of others, or is that simply a perspective that objectivists try to inspire others with to remove stigmas about selfishness?

 

7. Did Ayn Rand really believe that we have free will, or was it simply a way of describing our exceptional minds and it's ability to reason? Free will is not supported by science.

 

8. If I believe that there could possibly be a god or a life after death, but without the mysticism element (If God and life after death are real, I don't think we as humans can acquire proof of that), would that be compatible with objectivism?

 

Glad to add my two cents! :)

 

1.  Rights are a product of being a rational being, yes, so that precludes animals.  Just think about putting a lion on trial for "murdering" a gazelle to see how the concept of rights breaks down for animals.   The mentally challenged have individual rights still, just like you.  They fall under a similar umbrella of children in that they have rights but are not adults who can act fully on their own.  How you want to delineate privileges (like a driver license) is above my pay grade so to speak, but they are still protected like any individual in society for having his rights violated. 

 

2.  Competing Governments would simply be two different countries, which would be fine.  Two competing Governments within one country would be apt to fall apart from the gang style warfare she talked about, unless you delineate it by law like our Constitution already does (then it no longer is competing Governments by the Anarchist definition). 

 

3.  People can do with their property whatever they want unless it violates someone else's rights.  If they don't want their forest to be cut, then they can buy the land and use it how they want (or use it not at all).  That being said, the idea that every individual will cut down his trees to form a sci-fi planet of metroplex city systems is very unrealistic.  Considering the there are more trees in America now then there were when the Country was founded I'd say you have nothing to fear, however, since it is good business to keep a renewable crop like trees going. 

 

4.  Freedom of Association is the moral principle at work here so yea free immigration should be the standard.  The only reason to stop someone for moving here is criminal record, war time enemy, or disease.  There might be others but they are the only ones I've ever thought of being reasonable. 

 

5.  Patents and copyrights protects people's property, in this case new property they have created themselves.  There is no pragmatic or utilitarian reason to do it - Only the moral one. 

 

6.  Objectivist ethics is one to live by, not one built around "emergency situations" or unique phenomenal, but the things we actually encounter on a day-to-day basis. The sociopath by definition does not respect the rights of others, so I'm sure he is guilt free about what he does.  I'll be guilt free in watching the authorities punish the psychopath for violating the rights of people who do want to live too I might add!  As for the spouse thing, I doubt leaving my wife with a bad memory is in my self-interest, and frankly if anyone feels that way then one wanders why they would be married in the first place.   Also, the "No consideration for others" is a myth and smear others commit against Rand.  The idea is that the purpose of ethics is to guide you to live, and by live I mean that in the full use of the word in thrive.  Other people are not the primary, but they are still a part of your life.  To paraphrase something Rand said, the issue is not that charity is good or bad, but simply that an individual still has a right to exist if he does not do it. 

 

7.  Free will is a precondition of rational thought, language, and by extension science.  In other words, if we didn't have free will we would not know they we did no have free will.  The fact some scientists review the facts and choose this idea from a field of options is one of the more embarrassing contradictions going on today.  Then again some scientists think the proper conclusion is that the cat is alive and dead at the same time until you go look so...

 

8.  No.  What you are describing a supernatural realm of which we have no proof.  It is simply an assertion born of religious tradition that some people try to justify.   It is supernatural since it is super-nature, or above nature. You are describing a place outside of existence. 

 

Great questions and I hoped I helped! 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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7: You choose what to think about at any given time. You decide what to say and what to do.

If it's ever discovered that all these choices are simply logically inevitable reactions to various stimuli, that doesn't negate the fact that they're your own, self determined responses.

Suppose i could tell you exactly what will happen tomorrow, what you'll choose and when and why, would they no longer be your choices? There's no contradiction here; fate and free will are both simply parts of causality.

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Thanks for the  great answers guys, it's really interesting. :)

Spiral Architect, hmmm, could you elaborate more on your point about free will? Why can't we know that we don't have free will if we don't?

Edited by Severinian

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Free Will

 

7. Did Ayn Rand really believe that we have free will, or was it simply a way of describing our exceptional minds and it's ability to reason? Free will is not supported by science.

 

7.  Free will is a precondition of rational thought, language, and by extension science.  In other words, if we didn't have free will we would not know they we did no have free will.  The fact some scientists review the facts and choose this idea from a field of options is one of the more embarrassing contradictions going on today.  Then again some scientists think the proper conclusion is that the cat is alive and dead at the same time until you go look so...

LOL, as I was reading this I couldn't help remembering Rumsfeld's categories of knowledge...

 

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." ~ Donald Rumsfeld

 

... perhaps free will is one of Rummy's unknown unknowns?

--

Free will is synonymous with volition and rebuts dissenters with their own argument; by demonstrating their choice to disagree.

 

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Free will is self awareness.

You have one fundamental choice. Most objectivity would call it the choice to think or not, but i think it's better described as the choice of what to think about.

Each of us has multiple trains of thought running simultaneously, which we can observe and manipulate. We can focus on one thought or another, to the exclusion of all alternatives, or let our minds wander freely.

Why did you decide to think about philosophy [rhetorical question]?

---

Philosophy doesn't have to explain the discoveries of science which contradict the self evident; science has to explain that contradiction.

Free will is clearly apparent to everyone, in every waking moment.

And my pet theory is that when neuroscience does explain that apparent contradiction, it'll be in the discovery of some sort of cognitive feedback loop.

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Thanks for the  great answers guys, it's really interesting. :)

Spiral Architect, hmmm, could you elaborate more on your point about free will? Why can't we know that we don't have free will if we don't?

 

There is a quick answer, but it might not be satisfying plus I suspect you would like an in depth look so I'll take my hand at that first :)

 

Free will is a precondition to having a rational mind.  The human mind is what separates us from the animals by allowing us to form complex ideas, including language which allows us to communicate complex ideas.  The ability to build a complex idea or any thought beyond immediate perception is conceptual thinking.  To build a concept however required the user to look over a vast amount of data  and decide what parts are relevant to the concept.  For example, if I look at my wife I see all kinds of attributes.  To form the concept "woman" I need to identify and choose which attributes  makes her a woman.  Many attributes are not relevant to her being a woman, for example she has opposable thumbs but it is irrelevant because so do men.   Some other attributes are only on women. 

 

Now, did the universe build this knowledge into humanity through the "billiard ball" theory of human action?  Did we just stumble through the ages bouncing off of each other and by hook and crook the idea of "woman" became accepted so it is that?  Or did we at some point look at the information and separate it by choice into what is essential to every example of a woman and discard what was irrelevant (or in this case what was the same in men).   Did God, society, the categorical imperative, chemical reactions, or random chance force humans to accept that women are different from men or did someone look at the difference and distinguished the attributes into a new concept? 

 

Something ostensive, like a woman or a man I can get away with just pointing at it and going "that" (at least for physical differences).  Now how about something more complex, like mankind. That is all the men and women that live today, including all of the men and women in the past and the future.  That is an incredible number of people, literally trillions of examples of men and women. You cannot point at them, since it is an abstract idea, but you know what I mean and can identify all of them in one word because we have identified a complex concept to do that - Man (or Mankind).  Did the universe impose this idea on you.  How could it?  Or did great thinkers actually sit down and look at the data and choose which information was essential and discard the rest to form that concept?   

 

Concept formation requires choices, which is why humanity is the only animal to have a mind.  We have the ability to focus our mind and distinguish information into essentials then we can choose to in integrate it with other information.  I learn what a man is - I learn what a woman is - I learn what a human is - I learn what a primate is l - I learn what a mammal is - I learn what an animal is - etc... up the complex chain of concepts to more abstract ideas. 

 

Animals differentiate through observation, humans integrate observations into relationships with each other.   Integration requires humans to choose to focus and differentiate what is essential in the concepts we wish to integrate into a new concept.    An animal can differentiate between a fire and water in a very basic way, but it cannot break those ideas down and form the Laws of Thermodynamics which were essential to the early steam engines.  Did the universe impose such knowledge through reactions like a lab experiment with the cruise control on or did people actually have to think about it - Look at the information and choose.  At every step of  the  way, sometimes failing, choosing between "yes" or "no" to every question when building those complex ideas? 

 

When you read the above - Are you choosing to accept it or question it?  Or are you merely reacting like a chemical reaction to an event and sputtering an answer?  

 

When I said, "If you did not have free will you would not know you did not have free will", it was for two reasons.  The first was the above and I was playing off the old saying, "If our minds were simple enough to understand, we would be so simple we would not understand it".  In this case, if you did not have free will you would not be smart enough to know you did not have free will.  Complex knowledge requires free will. 

 

The second part, which the above was a huge elaboration to demonstrate the next point, really boils down to the fact that Free Will is axiomatic.  It is not a primary axiom but a corollary of the axioms.  We know this because any attempt to discuss it requires its use, including the claim it does not exist.   Saying "I do not have free will" is a slightly more complex variation of saying "I am not conscious" while ignoring the fact you are communicating with a conscious mind.  You had to use your free will to choose to believe you do not have free will.  If you did not choose to believe you do not have free will, then you simply don't know... Nature (or whatever) imposed it on you and you really have no choice.  Right and wrong requires looking at alternatives and choosing one, which you cannot do.  You do not know if I'm right, only that my answer is different.  There is no right or wrong answer.  The fact I think I do have free will is the same thing - I've been conditioned and prompted to accept it as well. 

 

Who is right?  There is no right answer since that would require looking at both ideas and choosing one.  We can't, so neither can be right or wrong, just differences of unwitting opinions imposed on us by the universe.  Thus, the ultimate end of the road for those who claim to not have free will is that they just admitted that they do not know anything, including whether free will is true or not, because they do not have the ability to choose between alternatives.  They  simply repeat what they have been programed to say.  They cannot argue with me because that requires them to choose to focus, choose to disagree, choose which ideas to elaborate, choose to form new examples and thoughts to demonstrate it, etc.  

 

They have to use free will to tell me that they do not have free will. 

 

But frankly, if you want my stock answer to that - And yes I've had this debate enough to have a stock answer -

 

Me: "We do not have free will?"

Them: "No"

Me: "We do not choose something, but technically have it imposed on us with no thought on our part?"

Them: "Well, yea..."

Me: "I'll give you $50 to put that on a Valentines Card  to your wife.  Tell me how well that works out for you." 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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LOL, as I was reading this I couldn't help remembering Rumsfeld's categories of knowledge...

 

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." ~ Donald Rumsfeld

 

... perhaps free will is one of Rummy's unknown unknowns?

 

 

Oh good grief, I forgot all about that! 

 

In this case, I'd say that Free Will is the determinists unknown unknowns, but the fact is I don't know :P 

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Hmmm, interesting post Spiral, I must admit that I still don't understand why it proves free will, but maybe it's just me who don't get it yet.. I'll re-read your post a few times and meditate on it. :) Thanks for the great answers, both you and the rest of you. :)

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Hmmm, interesting post Spiral, I must admit that I still don't understand why it proves free will, but maybe it's just me who don't get it yet.. I'll re-read your post a few times and meditate on it. :) Thanks for the great answers, both you and the rest of you. :)

 

Severinian, I think any one who "proves" free will would be deserving of the Pulitzer prize, since such a knowledge would no doubt allow us to create and/or assess complex artificial thinking systems approaching, and thanks to the discovery, actually having free will.

 

I seriously think the problem we still have here is a definition of just exactly what "free" means in the context of "free will".  When we say "Will" or "choice" is free, "what" exactly are we saying it is free from?  External influence?  External determination?  The past nature of the actor?  The nature (identity) of the actor at the very moment of acting? The context?  Everything in reality that IS or ever WAS?

 

We must recall that we are in the context of a philosophy that has "causality" as a corollary of the law of identity, specifically the law of identity as applied to action, which states that an entity of a specific nature (in a specific state) in a specific context, can act only in a singular inexorable way (rather than freely from a number of multiple actions) doing the one thing its unique specific nature and the unique specific context together determine. So causality is argued to be a logical inevitability.  The reasoning is that to assert something as acausal, with any degree of freedom undetermined, would be to assert a contradiction of the law of identity.  This holds in reality only if identity (of the entity and context) and possible action are related in a 1 to 1 mapping. 

 

We must also recall that we are in the context of a philosophy that does not ascribe to any form of supernaturalism whatever.  All of reality, whether described by biology, chemistry, physics, comprise systems of existents which at any one time exist in accordance with the law of identity.  Whatever it is at a time t it is what it is at that time t and not what it is not.

 

What does it mean for you to have "free" will?  I have heard it is not "freedom" from external influence, or even "freedom" from external determination.  I have heard it said, given your nature, at time t and the entire universe as it was at time t, even if you made choice B at t+dt, you COULD have chosen differently.  It matters not whether this choice is to devote your life to becoming the president, or whether to raise a finger, or whether it is the choice to think or abstain from thinking... THAT choice made by you (the complex natural system of existents in reality) could actually have been different.  AND how is it "free"?  The particular choice say B (from A, B, C) as against A, was not determined by ANYTHING.  This is one definition of "free" will.

 

I cannot speak to the position of Objectivism itself, but I am of the view that whatever any system is free from, whether you speak of it physically, chemically, biologically, or psychologically, it cannot escape the laws of "causality" and specifically with respect to the law of identity as applied to action.  In other words IF there is a law of identity as applied to action, if it is a law, it must be applicable to all of reality, any combination, system, group, sub-portion, existent, all of reality.  If it is applicable to SOME of reality or only some of the time, then we have something OTHER than a law of reality.

 

Others will appeal to experiments based on your ability to introspect.  I ask you to indulge in a critical examination of what you experience as you experience it:

 

1. set up a decision context, give yourself two choices, make them as arbitrary as possible (no preference for either) say choosing to write down letter J or K.

2.  Prior to making the choice solidify your introspection that you a. do not know what you will chose, b. are "free" to choose J or K

3. Make your decision: with full introspection.  Can you identify exactly when or why you chose what you did?  Try to focus on the EXACT instant of your choice not before it was final, and not after it was made...

4. Recall the process 1 through 3.  Assess what it means for you to think to your self "I could have chosen differently" and upon what evidence it is based.

 

I submit in performing 4 you will note that you cannot believe you actually made a different choice (of course you cant you are not insane), you will recall what it was like to realize you had just made a decision, and you can recall the feeling BEFORE you chose of the possibility of choosing either.  Remembering 3, the very instant of choice, you may find things blank or possibly unreachable (it is very possible the subconscious is involved in the very instant of choice).

 

What do you know?  I would say A. you know nothing about the exact mechanism of choice at the very instant of choice, B. You know you cannot choose otherwise now that the choice is made, after the choice, and C: You know before the choice you felt as though you could choose either but did not know what that choice would be.

 

It seems an open question to me whether choice is independent of your nature and hence truly acausal and non-determined by anything in reality.

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Absolutely! Human beings are deterministic, but determined by a richly dynamic interplay between reality, the subconscious and active awareness which cannot be predicted in advance without essentially omniscience.

You've given me an idea.

The human mind is conditional across countless, massively parallel levels. Much of what we consider universal is actually conditional.

"Freedom is good" because life is good. "All men are mortal" because all entities with dominantly human traits are mortal, "Socrates is a man" because he can think, speak, et cetera. "Gravitational force is mass times mass divided by distance squared" by the same method.

And people are fallible, with incomplete knowledge.

Your experiment gets right down to the nature of it- and what if all volition is a system of computational feedback mechanisms, for the exclusive purpose of forming conditional hypothesis (like this one) with incomplete data?

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I seriously think the problem we still have here is a definition of just exactly what "free" means in the context of "free will".  When we say "Will" or "choice" is free, "what" exactly are we saying it is free from?  External influence?  External determination?  The past nature of the actor?  The nature (identity) of the actor at the very moment of acting? The context?  Everything in reality that IS or ever WAS?

 

The best working definition I've come across is, free to choose what is possible;  if not, we are simply puppets with delusions of grandeur.  I believe free will is self evident, similar to Harrison's earlier comment that, "free will is self awareness" (post #22).  The efficacy of choice in terms of causation is the contentious issue, where free will is validated by intent regardless of outcome.  If reality is real and our acceptance of reality is conditional, then free will has more to do with an awareness of possibilities than anything else.

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Absolutely! Human beings are deterministic, but determined by a richly dynamic interplay between reality, the subconscious and active awareness which cannot be predicted in advance without essentially omniscience.

You've given me an idea.

The human mind is conditional across countless, massively parallel levels. Much of what we consider universal is actually conditional.

"Freedom is good" because life is good. "All men are mortal" because all entities with dominantly human traits are mortal, "Socrates is a man" because he can think, speak, et cetera. "Gravitational force is mass times mass divided by distance squared" by the same method.

And people are fallible, with incomplete knowledge.

Your experiment gets right down to the nature of it- and what if all volition is a system of computational feedback mechanisms, for the exclusive purpose of forming conditional hypothesis (like this one) with incomplete data?

 

HD, I haven't come to a conclusion that human beings are deterministic, only that the nature of the "free"dom we have is not yet understood or proven. 

 

I merely point out that "natural law" must apply to all of reality.  How it applies may depend on many actual factors including of course the form, complexity, and arrangement of "stuffs", sweeping generalizations do not bed well with flimsy apparently self-evident exceptions.  The contradiction between the way causality is formulated/proven and freewill is asserted as an exception strikes me as a kind of M1 disjointed compartmentalism.  But enough of Objectivism...

 

I, in looking at the data before me must conclude, that the particular nature of the "free"ness I have, is not well understood.  I do accept that as a "natural law" that "free"ness must be applicable, according the rules (for example) of form, complexity, and arrangements of "stuffs", to all of reality in general.  As a natural thing I am NOT supernatural, not "special" in a godly, split-off from reality like a false dichotomy manner... I am of the stuff of grass, food, tables, and yes..  stars themselves, but somehow have come into an arrangement and a form which is, as we all know, quite wondrous, and "free".  This is what the ripples of causality and the methods of conceptualization and science has enabled me to know.  "Free"ness applies to stuff which is me, and other stuff, and I am of the same stuff.  What I hope we will determine is the level of that "free"ness humans have, its particular nature, and its causes.

 

I DO have a feeling, a hope, and a suspicion that freewill is free in a very fundamental way... I merely have reserved judgment at this point, and point out inconsistencies which must be resolved.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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HD your bit about the human mind being conditional... I'm not entirely certain where you are going with this.

 

Are you identifying our ability to extrapolate and imagine as central to our experience due to the finite data we can ever have at any moment?

Certainly only a creature like us could make the kinds of leaps (verified afterward) which have lead us to the discovery of the Higgs particle.  then again the same sort of leaps have "populated" the universe with Trolls under bridges, Angel's and ghosts... the main difference being the non-imposition of verification/validation for Angels.

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I DO have a feeling, a hope, and a suspicion that freewill is free in a very fundamental way... I merely have reserved judgment at this point, and point out inconsistencies which must be resolved.

Fundamental yes, but not absolute; one is free to choose heads or tails, but not to will the result.

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A few questions to ponder:

 

1.  Are human beings (specifically human mind/brains) natural entities of reality?

2.  Do all natural entities of reality have at any one time a particular identity, i.e do they obey the law of identity? 

3.  Does the law of identity as applied to action logically entail that an entity act in only one way at a given time, given its particular nature and the particular context?

4.  How does the answer to 3 apply to quantum mechanics (e.g. electrons or photons)?

5.  How does the answer to 3 apply to human beings, specifically minds/brains?

6. Given answers to 4 and 5 Is 3 really a law of all existents or only some existents?

7. If the answer to 6 is it is applicable to only some, then what in reality are the differences in the entities such that the application of identity to action is different?

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All action, including thought, is constrained by what is possible to do, or know.  There's research* that suggests choice actually precedes consideration, i.e., that the act of choosing is more like reviewing a choice that's already made.  If that's the case, then free will has more to do with endorsing ones actions than choosing them; which makes sense in terms of the morality of ones actions.

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* “Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done,” said study co-author John-Dylan Haynes, a Max Planck Institute neuroscientist. ~ http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/brain-scans-can-reveal-your-decisions-7-seconds-before-you-decide

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