JCC If you don't believe in free will, you are bad and should feel bad

Discussion in 'Community' started by ophelia, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Moviefan2k4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    No, I just used it for emphasis.

    I believe that everything temporal has a cause. If something or Someone is eternal, they don't need a cause.

    What if the "unseen hand" in your example gave His creations the freedom of choice? He'd still be the final moral authority, but all His creations would be free to decide how they wanted to live up to that point. Free will doesn't equal an absence of ultimate accountability, or a lack of consequences; it simply means being able to consciously choose.
    Last edited by Moviefan2k4, Jan 22, 2014
  2. I Are The Internets Game Winner

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    Nov 20, 2012
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    Whatever happened to "ignorance is bliss"?
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  3. Moviefan2k4 Force Ghost

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    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    Its a temporary bliss at best, and I'd rather have the eternal version.
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  4. I Are The Internets Game Winner

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    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    But isn't it better to live one's short life without the fear that someone is controlling them rather than living in that constant fear?
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  5. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Ah, @Moviefan2k4, you are a theist! Very good. Just out of curiosity, would you say that people arrive at faith in God by the use of their reason, or by faith alone?
  6. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    That's not actually a counterexample in the slightest. You're conflating what could easily be the mere illusion of choice with actual choice, but without justifying why it's not the former.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 22, 2014
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  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Ramza beat me to it! Damn you, @Ramza!
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I think the most interesting thing about this movie is how it has exactly the opposite philosophy than the original story. I recommend people read the story and then watch the movie; it gives an interesting look at the two very different philosophies of the writers on a whole host of things: free will vs. determinism; encroachment of rights vs. protection of society; etc.
    Saintheart likes this.
  9. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
  10. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    A thing and the illusion of a thing appears to be something which our fervent believers find very hard to distinguish.
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  11. Lord Vivec Chosen One

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    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Lol
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  12. Dark Lord Of The Empire Jedi Grand Master

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    Aug 28, 2013
    star 4
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9

    They just love assigning God to everything. A pen, still for a while, rolls off a desk? I didn't bump the desk, so it must be god. Can't be any other explanation.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  14. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    i found it just as bemusing, believe me. :p

    i agree with this part of the first article: For example, a recent set of studies by Sharif and colleagues found that discouraging a belief in free will reduced people’s tendency to punish purely for the sake of vengeance. im against, for example, something like capital punishment (besides the dubious effect it has as a deterrent, the potential mistakes in evidence etc) because fundamentally i appreciate that people are essentially the result of their dna and upbringing, both of which they have no control over whatsoever. i would say that a lack of free will definitely boosts empathy, which can be a positive thing.

    i think we're all kind of dragged along an inescapable path, to large degrees, no matter what. we have to eat, we have to work, we have to have sex. but i don't see how it's any more depressing not believing in free will because the illusion of choice is still there, whether you think it's an illusion or not. if you want to change something about your life you always can -- the person who believes in free will will state that a particularly dramatic change or decision came about because of their free choice; the person who doesn't believe in free will will state that the dramatic change of decision was the conclusion of a myriad of preceding factors, culminating in the need for that action to have been made at that particular time, with no other conclusion possible. the world keeps spinning, our neurons keep firing -- i don't know where free will exists.
  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Yeah, it's Rorty and contingency. Even if we have free will and self-determinism, those things are still contingent on a huge amount of controlling factors.
  16. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    i figured your argument against determinism was linked to free will, given this is a thread on free will. :p

    i guess i would say about your point on determinism, is that at this stage, we just don't know. quantum physics certainly does throw up these strange, unpredictable findings which kind of suggests randomness, so i suppose that is a nail in the coffin, but at the same time our science is also obviously not yet sophisticated enough to understand what's really going on. i certainly wouldn't be surprised if the randomness in quantum physics one day turned out to be deterministic, on some other scientific plane we've yet to discover/evidence.
  17. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
  18. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4

    A sore Kirk contemplating Soren Kierkegaard

    [IMG]

    "Why do I fear falling off, as much as throwing myself off, a given cliff?"
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  19. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    A very interesting post, overall. I guess I'd put a couple caveats in your analysis though. First off, it's atypical for people to have any information about how they will die. It much more seems to be the case that fatalistic people simply believe there is nothing they can do to alter their death when or however that happens to come. That being the case, it would still be courageous to tackle risks, since they have no assurance of how it will come out. Even if they did, I would point out their still enduring many risks short of death, and that can be applauded.

    I guess I take the opposite view here. I would argue that the fact that he can no longer affect the outcome elevates his actions to a more philosophically pure plain. Mood has known affects on performance, and many people have tried to build up their courage because they are conscious of the way this might give them a better chance of survival or victory. MacBeth, though, there is no hope of this. He literally has nothing to gain The only reason to be courageous or fight on is because he sees the acts as intrinsically virtuous. Isn't that pretty rare, as most other acts in life are tinged with at least a mild bit of self-interest or benefit?
  20. Moviefan2k4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    If you trust that God loves you, and sent His Son to take your penalty, then there's ultimately nothing to fear from Him. When the Bible talks about the "fear of God", its usually about reverence, not terror.

    I'm a non-denominational Christian, actually.

    I believe that God speaks to everyone every day, but its our choice whether to listen. A few years ago, I'd have cited the Bible without anything else, but I've since been exploring the merits of Christian apologetics; it's very interesting stuff.

    If free will is an illusion, then absolute truth doesn't exist. That, in turn, means no one's opinion can be trusted on anything...even our own.

    It most definitely can be, that's for sure. We abuse our freedom all the time through irresponsible or cruel behavior, which causes lots of pain and suffering in the world...but that same freedom also gives us the capacity to love and be selfless.

    Actually, we have the freedom to consciously refuse all of those, but there's different consequences attached to each choice. If we don't eat, we'll eventually die; no work means living in poverty, and no sex means no children unless you adopt.
    Last edited by Moviefan2k4, Jan 22, 2014
  21. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Well, if one's not acting on a certainty of death that must change the situation, as would acting on the inevitability of death as somewhere in the future rather than the certainty of a particular manner of death at a particular time. Not to mention whether something is "moral" or "courageous" must change depending on context and subjectivity; observe all the WW2 veterans who when interviewed about their heroism insist they were not being courageous and were just doing their jobs - Admiral Nimitz's famous quote "Uncommon valour was a common virtue" speaks to this subjectivity. And I'd accept acting on a likelihood of pain or suffering rather than outright death perhaps could indeed be seen as moral or courageous depending on the context.

    Macbeth's always going to be a thought exercise since (a) he's fictional and (b) he has the benefit of perfectly accurate if twisted prophecy, but ...

    Macbeth's subjective view of his actions I think would probably be that he is, indeed, being moral if not virtuous. He's been screwed by prophecy and now realises it, and his entire moral compass has been messed with hugely by women his wife and the Three Witches as well as his own feet of clay. He sees himself entrapped by evil rather than responsible for his own downfall, so therefore it is virtuous to try and rail against the fate the dark powers have wound him up in. Objectively, though, and I think this is part of Shakespeare's genius as a storyteller, the reverse can be just as strongly argued: Macbeth can be seen as acting out of sheer spite and pride. Let's look at the scene--

    MACDUFF
    Despair thy charm;
    And let the angel whom thou still hast served
    Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
    Untimely ripp'd.

    MACBETH
    Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
    For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
    And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
    That palter with us in a double sense;
    That keep the word of promise to our ear,
    And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee.

    MACDUFF
    Then yield thee, coward,
    And live to be the show and gaze o' the time:
    We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
    Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
    'Here may you see the tyrant.'

    MACBETH
    I will not yield,
    To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
    And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
    Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
    And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
    Yet I will try the last. Before my body
    I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
    And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'

    So Macduff offers Macbeth a chance to surrender, even to live; I don't think there's much argument that Macbeth must know or at least have some sense he's in the legal (possibly opposed to the moral) wrong here since he's personally murdered the rightful king of Scotland. It's out of pride that Macbeth fights on. But as an audience we can't work out where predestination starts and free will kicks in: Macbeth knows he won't be killed by anyone but Macduff, and Macduff offers him a chance to live. So is it Macbeth choosing his own death, or is he simply following the destiny he knows to be laid out for him?
    Last edited by Saintheart, Jan 22, 2014
  22. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    1. That conclusion does not follow from that hypothesis, nor does it actually form a compelling rationale against the nonexistence of free will. Generally speaking, metaphysical universals are not intrinsically tied up in the concept of determinism nor in the concept of free will, and adherents of any of the four broad classifications of opinions on the latter have been both universalists and relativists.
    2. Relativism is not so shockingly horrific a concept that its mere possibility automatically debunks a metaphysical position. Plenty of metaphysicists, moralists, etc. have been and continue to be relativists.
    3. There is nothing to suggest my, your, or anyone else's opinion is inherently trustworthy on anything ever under any circumstance.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 22, 2014
  23. Moviefan2k4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    Thank you for proving my point. By making any kind of objective claim regarding a subject, you're exercising personal choice which is a result of free will. All these so-called "intellectual theories" don't hold up because studying them is also a deliberate choice.
  24. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    How is that? Isn't it perfectly possible that he actually had no choice but to claim he had no choice? I mean, if the determinist position is in fact true, isn't that literally required?

    @Saintheart: That was an awesome post, man. I'm really enjoying this discussion with you. Unfortunately, I've got to run at the moment, so I can't generate the response it deserves until tomorrow. I wouldn't have posted at all except the above was so patently absurd I felt I had to weigh in.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Jan 22, 2014
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  25. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    [IMG]

    Do you happen to know this gentleman, Moviefan?