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Thread: Free will. Do we really have it?

  1. #11
    Ying Yang Member Peteman's Avatar
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    Please do.

  2. #12
    Fenn
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    Take the example of a boyfriend and girlfriend (or any two people in a loving relationship). Sure, social context and norms have an influence on our actions towards our significant other, but so do personality, imprinted family values, personal experience, etc. In the end, it is this collection of factors that influences our choices. And to the mentally functioning human being, the choice feels, in the end, like our own, even though it is simply the actions of neurons in response to sensory input.

    Bottom line is we are not ALL puppets moved by society, unless we allow ourselves to be or do not see the strings.

  3. #13
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    yes, and free will is the practice of personal choices, correct? I said our personal choices are extremely limited by the expectations set for us by society from birth.

    Furthermore, what is our ultimate goal in life? Most people would say get a degree, get a job, make money and retire, right? expectations.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 12-02-2011 at 12:32 AM.

  4. #14
    Ruler of the Seventh Empire GunZet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon_Barbarian View Post
    GunZ, remember arguing about this with Kodos on the middle MT?
    Yes, yes I do.

  5. #15
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    yes, and free will is the practice of personal choices, correct? I said our personal choices are extremely limited by the expectations set for us by society from birth.
    I'm not sure you're considering the full breadth of choices we make either. Career-wise, I'd maybe agree with you for those raised in lower income brackets. Relationship/inter-personal wise? Not so much. And those are just two areas, what about sustainability, or personal health, or entertainment options, or finances?

    Extremely limited and non-existant are two different things. WELL LOOKIE HERE. SEMANTICS AGAIN.

  6. #16
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Most people have the same goals as far as personal health, entertainment and finances. Most of us shoot for the "norm". Or by the standard of "success" based on the consensus of society abroad. What's available is different, but our choices--what we desire--are the same, for the most part.

    If we all made a list of our objectives as far as personal health, finances and entertainment, I'm willing to bet that they would look very similar. And if not, they all still shoot toward the ultimate goal of autonomy and making and spending money. Like I said, we're all groomed by society to live in similar ways with similar overarching objectives.

  7. #17
    Fenn
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    Wait, since when were personal desires and goals free will?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free%20will

    1: Voluntary choice or decision.

    We do not choose our desires. That is true. That does not mean we have no free will. We have, for example, the choice to pursue a desire/goal, or to put that desire/goal aside until a future time.

  8. #18
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Did you just seriously say you don't choose your desires?

    Hmm, actually I'll meet you halfway here. Certain desires are the result of impulse, sure, but I'd argue that most of our objectives in life are pretty much our choice. And I'm saying these objectives are heavily dictated by standards set by society.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 12-02-2011 at 12:53 AM.

  9. #19
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    Did you just seriously say you don't choose your desires?
    Er, now I may have exaggerated. Depends. Your most base desires, no. Did you choose to desire pleasure, or chocolate, or a certain school subject? Probably not. More advances desires, which are similar to goals and wants, yeah. Based on your base desires, you want/wish for/seek out things that will fulfill these more innate desires, like money, security, fame, etc.

    Funny thing is, that doesn't matter in the least as far as free will is concerned. The important thing is you can choose when, where, and how to pursue these desires, or whether to pursue them at all. Hence, free will.

  10. #20
    Devilish Member Inksprout's Avatar
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    We do have free will to the extent that we have the courage to. As Gunzet seems to be saying, our choices are heavily dictated by society and many factors such as religion, society's expectations, peer pressure etc. At the end of the day though any one person can look and see that there is something else they can do, and they can choose to pursue it. Ultimately we DO have free will, but because of the nature of the world we live in today for many of us our ability to freely make decisions is heavily influenced by others. We Are consumers, so for a lot of people the goal in life is to make money, buy things and then make more money. If you have the courage to though you can seek a different purpose and different goals in life.

    For example you may be born into a religious family but this does not mean you have no free will to choose your beliefs. Many people do change their religion or become atheists and they have through out history. It merely becomes harder to use your free will because you have to seek out other things, rather than being given a variety of choices from the beginning. Humans naturally have free will and I can't see this changing without some kind of mind control device that takes away the ability to think and consider. Even some one who is enslaved can perform actions of free will, they can refuse to work, they can seek escape or a way to kill themselves.

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