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MisterSwig

My Free Will Theory

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I created a blog to introduce my theory on free will:

https://freewilltheory.blogspot.com/2019/04/free-will-is-learned-skill.html?m=1

My goal is to identify the necessary steps in the development of free will, starting from birth. I briefly discuss reflexes, feelings, and purpose, and how they relate to gaining control over one's body and mind.

I appreciate any comments or criticism, placed here or on the blog.

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I created a blog to introduce my theory on free will:

https://freewilltheory.blogspot.com/2019/04/free-will-is-learned-skill.html?m=1

My goal is to identify the necessary steps in the development of free will, starting from birth. I briefly discuss reflexes, feelings, and purpose, and how they relate to gaining control over one's body and mind.

I appreciate any comments or criticism, placed here or on the blog.

I would have assumed that at the beginning of a theory of free will you would define exactly what you mean by “free will” before addressing what you argue makes it possible (and what you submit is necessary for a complex system to do it) and why.  

Identifying “free will” is necessary to make a persuasive argument, to make a reasoned rational claim which justifies your theory as against any other speculation, and distinguishes your chosen topics (feelings, reflexes, purpose) as uniquely generating free will as opposed to generating mechanistic (determined) animation.

Accordingly, for any particular aspect of your theory of free will, a reader should always be clear about what you mean by  free will, and clearly shown how and why the particular aspect relates to it and not determinism.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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4 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Accordingly, for any particular aspect of your theory of free will, a reader should always be clear about what you mean by  free will, and clearly shown how and why the particular aspect relates to it and not determinism.

Thanks. If I write a longer treatise for a general audience, I would definitely need to do that. But I wrote this introduction for Objectivists and people who already share a non-deterministic view of free will, so I did not bother addressing determinism just yet. I also left out a bunch about concept-formation, since Rand wrote a whole book on that already. After listening to others, I apparently also need to address Pavlov's theory.

I suppose I could define free will at the start. But I worry about distracting the reader's attention from the process, which does not begin with free will already established. I tried to incorporate induction into my style. In general, I want the reader to use his own concepts and definitions, and be convinced that my theory fits with his own general knowledge. However, I could not resist giving a hint in the title, where I call free will a learned skill.

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In response to comments, I've posted a critique of David Hume. I talk about his method and theory on free will, compared to my own. I also provide the introspective evidence for my theory, as well as how it works with the law of causality.

https://freewilltheory.blogspot.com/?m=1

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Do you want any help honing your theory i.e. strengthening it in response to possible criticism?

Absolutely, any suggestion or criticism is appreciated. Even if someone thinks the theory is ridiculous, I'd like to know why.

I have plans for additional essays, but will prioritize responding to reader's points or objections. Thanks.

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I agree with the article but I would put it a little differently or maybe add to the last section.

Free will pertains to directing your consciousness. We are beings who are able to focus and regulate our consciousness towards topics that we are interested in. To learn any subject, ideas are entered into our minds but they do not have to be true so we have to check their efficacy. To validate any idea, we can test it against the facts of reality and use the feedback from our sensations (perceptual faculty) or logic (rational faculty) to confirm our thoughts or adjust if necessary. Choosing to think or not to think, as Galt says it, defines whether or not we are to modify or confirm our thoughts based on the facts of reality or to evade it and default to willful blindness. Both of which can only be explained by the volitional ability to direct and regulate consciousnesses.

I hope this helps.

Edited by Ali Shannon
Choice of words

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11 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

I hope this helps.

Thank you, it does help. I'm planning to compare my theory to behaviorism. I think I'll address your point in that article. I'm contemplating the notion that, in a sense, we are capable of self-conditioning our own responses to stimuli. We might even condition the sort of idea-checking behavior that we do to avoid believing or acting improperly.

Edited by MisterSwig

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On 4/13/2019 at 10:39 AM, MisterSwig said:

I created a blog to introduce my theory on free will:

https://freewilltheory.blogspot.com/2019/04/free-will-is-learned-skill.html?m=1

My goal is to identify the necessary steps in the development of free will, starting from birth. I briefly discuss reflexes, feelings, and purpose, and how they relate to gaining control over one's body and mind.

I appreciate any comments or criticism, placed here or on the blog.

I think approach involving classification and growth is good.

Further, I think before we go into the details of free will and its relation to growth, we should try to understand why the subject of Free Will is so important. Therefore, basic examples involving subjects of Ethics and Independence, Literature and Naturalism/Romanticism, Psychology and conceptual faculty will be good. Comparing Peter Keating and Howard Roark will be especially interesting for me.

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On 4/12/2019 at 10:09 PM, MisterSwig said:

I created a blog to introduce my theory on free will:

https://freewilltheory.blogspot.com/2019/04/free-will-is-learned-skill.html?m=1

My goal is to identify the necessary steps in the development of free will, starting from birth. I briefly discuss reflexes, feelings, and purpose, and how they relate to gaining control over one's body and mind.

I appreciate any comments or criticism, placed here or on the blog.

 Have you ever read "On The Origin of Consciousness, The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes?

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31 minutes ago, Jimbean said:

Have you ever read "On The Origin of Consciousness, The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes?

No, does it offer a similar theory on free will? Since writing my first two articles, I've discovered Bernhard Hommel, whose theory on "human action control" contains some similarities.

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4 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

No, does it offer a similar theory on free will? Since writing my first two articles, I've discovered Bernhard Hommel, whose theory on "human action control" contains some similarities.

I think it also give some clues about what free will is.

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On 1/2/2020 at 6:42 PM, RohinGupta said:

Further, I think before we go into the details of free will and its relation to growth, we should try to understand why the subject of Free Will is so important. Therefore, basic examples involving subjects of Ethics and Independence, Literature and Naturalism/Romanticism, Psychology and conceptual faculty will be good. Comparing Peter Keating and Howard Roark will be especially interesting for me.

Once I'm done with one or two more articles on related theories, I can see about surveying philosophers who've discussed why this subject is so important. (I'm doing the reading for those articles now.) In a nutshell, I think it's important because understanding how something arises and functions allows you to better use it and fix it when there are problems. People who train dogs and other animals have more success when they understand how reflexes and feelings work. It's the same way when people are trying to train themselves to choose and act a certain way.

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33 minutes ago, Jimbean said:

Free will is a corollary of consciousness.  Julian Jaynes proposes a very interesting theory of consciousness that runs parallel with Objectivism.

Thanks! I'll check it out.

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2 hours ago, Jimbean said:

Julian Jaynes proposes a very interesting theory of consciousness that runs parallel with Objectivism.

I'm not sure what you're talking about, there isn't anything parallel with Objectivism that I can even point out, only compatibility. His theory is about the development of consciousness, and a lot of what he writes entails that language expression is essential to understanding consciousness. It's compatible with any cognitive perspective on psychology.

Most of the theory presented here is armchair reasoning, basically science fiction (it's scientific in that it uses some scientific facts, but uses imagination to propose a theory). That is, it's not a theory. Not to say that the facts are wrong, but the combination of facts come together as an idea focused on the gradual development of associative mechanisms eventually resulting in some more complex form of rationality. But it doesn't hold up really well, because you can't transition into complex forms on the level of dolphins and higher. Associative thinking has its value, it's just completely distinct from reasoned, creative thought. 

Jaynes from the outset, as I recall, really only focuses on the nature of consciousness. What it is like to have experiences and an inner voice. The gist is that he suggests that integrated brain lateralization (basically the way the human brain is split into two hemispheres) could be responsible for what we know as conscious experience and modes of thinking deliberately. More or less, up to about 3000 years ago, life kind of just "happened" and was mediated by an inner voice. Something vaguely similar to schizophrenia, but then imagine you didn't have the ability to think about your own thoughts. Consciousness as we know it developed as this divided mind became more integrated. Most of his theory is literary, and he acknowledges this. Mostly very peculiar observations of very old literature (and pretty much the only way we can get any evidence of psychology that long ago when writing was very new)  I wouldn't even call it a theory necessarily. It's interesting though that it approaches consciousness and its development apart and distinct from the development of associative thinking. 

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