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Re: Free Will

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  • ds
    Sure, but isn t it also possible that what we perceive as free will is only just an automatic response our brain gives when confronted with a situation? It
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 6, 1999
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      Sure, but isn't it also possible that what we perceive as "free will" is
      only just an automatic response our brain gives when confronted with a
      situation? It incorporates reason, experience, instinct etc all into this
      automated response, but the individual, who is merely observing these
      processes believes that he/she consciously controlled the decision because
      the individual feels that he/she "is" the decision making process (the
      mind). Is this not possible? Personally, I'm in between behaviorism and free
      will, I can see the behaviorists points, but I've also thought that maybe,
      the mind, being non-physical is not subject to the "laws" of the physical
      world, including laws of causality. A thought I had that kind of supported
      this was that thoughts can disappear and reappear; matter/energy cannot do
      this...just a thought, though

      daniel

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Charles Vermont
      To: Existentialism List
      Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 1999 6:19 AM
      Subject: [existlist] Free Will


      ds wrote:

      >Personally, I think the whole concept of "free will" is a bit shaky and I
      can't understand why Sartre would put so much weight on it.<

      I recently read a biography of Sartre, and throughout it the writer kept on
      making the point that Sartre and de Beauvoir had nothing but contempt for
      what they called bourgeois morality'. I suppose it was this passionate
      dislike of contemporary manners and behaviour which made them so interested
      in free will. It seems to me that it was during the 1939-45 war that they
      really got going with their views since at that time it looked as though the
      whole 'old order' in France would disappear. After all, the Germans had
      found it easy to invade and occupy the country so the 'old guard' were
      discredited.

      ds also mentioned the way our choices are influenced by >experience, social
      conditioning, instinct, etc< Isn't the important point here that free will
      means we acknowledge that we could make alternative choices if we had chosen
      to do so? Surely how we arrive at the final decision is a matter of personal
      choice?

      Charles Vermont
      London, England
    • yeoman
      Lets just make the subject free will , since this is what we are talking about. Sartre has said that we are condemned to the freedom of choice. An article I
      Message 2 of 5 , May 11, 2003
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        Lets just make the subject "free will", since this is what we are talking about.

        Sartre has said that we are "condemned" to the freedom of choice.

        An article I found says:
        ***************************************
        Existentialism


        Philosophical movement oriented toward two major themes,

        - the analysis of human existence and

        - the centrality of human choice.



        Existentialism's chief theoretical energies are thus devoted to questions about ontology and decision. It traces its roots to the writings of S. Kierkegaard and F. Nietzsche. As a philosophy of human existence, existentialism found its best 20th-cent. exponent in K. Jaspers; as a philosophy of human decision, its foremost representative was J.-P. Sartre. Sartre finds the essence of human existence in freedom--in the duty of self-determination and the freedom of choice--and therefore spends much time describing the human tendency toward "bad faith," reflected in humanity's perverse attempts to deny its own responsibility and flee from the truth of its inescapable freedom.

        ***********



        What has been said, in discussion, is that we are subject to "programming". This is true. The brain seeks to find or develop patterns that we can follow. This saves us from having to do everything from scratch. But the existence of programming, does not mean that we do not have free will. We can still choose our behaviour based upon a new evaluation of this programming. If we had no ability, in this regard, then there would not be new behaviour and new philosophies.



        eduard


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • C. S. Wyatt
        A question in a course I am taking: How free are we when most information is controlled by large media, government regulations on broadcasting, and the
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 13, 2005
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          A question in a course I am taking:

          How free are we when most information is "controlled" by large media,
          government regulations on broadcasting, and the expense of seeking
          alternative media?

          Personally, I cannot understand someone claiming he or she cannot
          locate alternative views, extra data, and the like. I think it is
          pretty easy to read whatever you want to find. However, many of my
          colleagues seem to think the world is controlled by "dark forces" of
          the capitalist economic system.

          I believe deeply in free will, or at least the choice to have free
          will or compromise. I admit to compromise on a regular basis... but by
          choice!

          - CSW
        • Trinidad Cruz
          One could argue that there is a great government conspiracy now, but I do not think that is the case. Louis Farakhan calls this country AmeriKKKa, and argues
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 14, 2005
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            One could argue that there is a great government conspiracy now, but I
            do not think that is the case. Louis Farakhan calls this country
            AmeriKKKa, and argues vehemently that the government has conspired to
            keep the black man down. I do not think that is entirely the case.
            Democracy is working in the sense that this present government
            reflects the majority view of the general public on specific
            philosophical and material issues.Philosophically it is failing
            because the general public is afraid and has a generally indefensible
            cosmological view.There is no question that current events reflect an
            agenda. I do not think it can be characterized as a conspiracy. It is
            only a reflection of the majority view of the people. There are men in
            positions of power in many areas who simply agree with this government
            and are acting out their beliefs. In government it means nothing. In
            the media it means nothing. In business it means nothing. It's more
            like people who agree with one another talking to each other for
            encouragment.In the legal system, and the educational system, it has
            the potential to be lastingly detrimental. In the scientific community
            it could be the final human tragedy. The government should keep its
            nose out of science except to sign a check here or there. Good science
            should be detached even from capitalism to continue to progress. That
            has not been the case here for a long long time.I would define the
            "dark force" at work in this case of scientific endeavor as
            "stupidity".
            tc
            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@t...> wrote:
            >
            > A question in a course I am taking:
            >
            > How free are we when most information is "controlled" by large media,
            > government regulations on broadcasting, and the expense of seeking
            > alternative media?
            >
            > Personally, I cannot understand someone claiming he or she cannot
            > locate alternative views, extra data, and the like. I think it is
            > pretty easy to read whatever you want to find. However, many of my
            > colleagues seem to think the world is controlled by "dark forces" of
            > the capitalist economic system.
            >
            > I believe deeply in free will, or at least the choice to have free
            > will or compromise. I admit to compromise on a regular basis... but by
            > choice!
            >
            > - CSW
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