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Switch to Forum Live View Pragmatic Considerations on the Issue of Free Will
2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 6:29AM #1
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

"We don't have it"; "We have it"; "Harris says..."; "Libet thinks..."; "Schwartz concludes..."; "Hume thought..."; "Descartes mused..."; "Hobbes argued..."; "Kane maintains..."; blah blah and a blah and BLAH.

Fact is, it hasn't been settled by science, or philosophy, or science and philosophy (btw, of course, it HAS been settled by (most) theists and theistic theologians to include Christianity.)  And there are too many definitions of free will and related concepts to count which makes the whole argument a long series of equivocations and/or individuals and whole groups talking past one another.

So I'd really rather not get into the above issues (and there are a couple threads on that anyway.)  What I'd like to explore in this thread are the practical ramifications of it all.

Would thinking we have free will lead to one set of practices individually and/or in society?

Would thinking we didn't have free will lead to another set of practices individually and/or in society?

If so, what?

And/or iow, what should it or does it change?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 6:53AM #2
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,084

Freedom, if it is not a delusion, can mean one and only one thing: that we can truly decide between alternatives, that we are NOT (more or less obviously) determined in what we ultimately do.


MdS


Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 7:08AM #3
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

Jun 27, 2012 -- 6:53AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:


Freedom, if it is not a delusion, can mean one and only one thing: that we can truly decide between alternatives, that we are NOT (more or less obviously) determined in what we ultimately do.


MdS





Thank you.


And how does that affect you and/or the individual and--perhaps the wider question--society?


iow, what do you/the individual and/or society do differently (if anything) with that understanding/position?  What should they do differently (if anything)?  For example, in our systems of reward and punishment?


I'm thinking you don't think that holding that position is irrelevant as compared to the determinist--or do you?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 7:21AM #4
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

Just posted this on another thread but I think it might some stimulate some thinking along the OP's lines so thought I'd include it here:


Research Article


The Value of Believing in Free Will
Encouraging a Belief in Determinism Increases Cheating


From the abstract:


"...These findings suggest that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications."

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 7:42AM #5
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,084

Jun 27, 2012 -- 7:08AM, Adelphe wrote:

Jun 27, 2012 -- 6:53AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:

Freedom, if it is not a delusion, can mean one and only one thing: that we can truly decide between alternatives, that we are NOT (more or less obviously) determined in what we ultimately do.


... And how does that affect you and/or the individual and--perhaps the wider question--society?


iow, what do you/the individual and/or society do differently (if anything) with that understanding/position?  What should they do differently (if anything)?  For example, in our systems of reward and punishment?


I'm thinking you don't think that holding that position is irrelevant as compared to the determinist--or do you?


According to Aristotle (with who for a change I agree) there are three possible causes of events:


1. Necessity (Greek ἀνάγκη, ananchê): deterministic causality or, simply determinism.


2. Chance (Greek τύχη, tychê ): indeterministic causality or, simply indeterminism.


3. Agency of a free agent: what Aristotle says depends "on us" (ἐφ' ἡμῖν, eph'êmin  ).


For more details on this subject, see MdS' Journal, post Necessity, chance and free agency.


IMO, the consequence of believeing ONLY in determinism is fatalism, which can take the forms, these days of a mythization of the possibilities of natural science and technology. 


OTOH, the consequence of believeing ONLY in indeterminism is indifferentism.


Only a balanced belief, in which free agency is not excluded, according to common sense, leards to personal and social responsibility.


MdS




Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 7:56AM #6
Eliascomes
Posts: 994

 I think what God was referring about us having free-will, is having the ability to think independently from other beings. Like animals reacts on instinct like a dog only serve the one that it's familiar with and or whom feeds it, and which some people has the same instincts as a dog which means that they doesn't have any free-will or a soul.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 8:23AM #7
Keyfer
Posts: 2,905

In the past, I believed in predestination. Arthur Pink made it believable to me, then Swedenborg helped me to see through that error. IMO, predestination presents God as being unfair...why save some and not all? This has to affect a person’s attitude toward God and life. The chosen cannot love the unchosen, after all, God does not! If He did, He would save them. 



Swedenborg says that all are predestined to go to heaven, no one is created for hell. However, all are given free will and each ultimately chooses between the two by choosing what to believe and how to live. Will I choose to submit to God’s laws of love and justice and acknowledge Him or not?



I can love, respect, reverence and worship God because I believe that He keeps each person free to choose what to believe and how to live. This belief empowers the individual, the choice is ours. We are in control of our destinies because of how our loving, just God has set things up, imo. 



Some would argue that we cannot control many things so we cannot control our destines, however, we can control how we react to the ways of love and justice. Will I submit to loving, just ways when others do not? When it costs me to do so? Peace, safety and plenty are ahead for those who will stay the course through the storm that we have created, imo.



Good thread, Adelphe.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 8:29AM #8
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

Jun 27, 2012 -- 7:42AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:


According to Aristotle (with who for a change I agree) there are three possible causes of events:


1. Necessity (Greek ἀνάγκη, ananchê): deterministic causality or, simply determinism.


2. Chance (Greek τύχη, tychê ): indeterministic causality or, simply indeterminism.


3. Agency of a free agent: what Aristotle says depends "on us" (ἐφ' ἡμῖν, eph'êmin  ).


For more details on this subject, see MdS' Journal, post Necessity, chance and free agency.



Okay, I see nothing there that insists on ontological indeterminism ;-), so I have no real argument with this.


IMO, the consequence of believeing ONLY in determinism is fatalism, which can take the forms, these days of a mythization of the possibilities of natural science and technology.



What do you mean by "mythization" ("of the possibilities of natural science and technology")?



OTOH, the consequence of believeing ONLY in indeterminism is indifferentism.



Just "indifferentism"?  How about a sort of chaos (not in the technical sense)? 


For example, assuming there's only indeterminism, then it can be argued all acts are truly random.  If all acts are random, there's no such thing as "morality" (and can it even be said there are "acts"?)--there'd only be amorality.  And if there's only amorality, how does society organize itself?  Or doesn't it?



Only a balanced belief, in which free agency is not excluded, according to common sense, leards to personal and social responsibility.


MdS




Some people argue that "responsibility" is irrelevant--or, rather, that we can't assign it in a deterministic world but that's perfectly okay.  We can assign accountability.


Do you agree or disagree that "accountability" is effective or just as effective?  And why?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 8:37AM #9
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

btw, for the Christians here, what do you think about free will before "salvation" as compared to free will after?


Does it exist before?  Only really after?  In only some form before?  And/or after?


And which ever way you argue (or maybe if you argue only the latter is the case then you use the following in support of that), what did Jesus mean by this?:


34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2012 - 8:39AM #10
Adelphe
Posts: 28,727

Jun 27, 2012 -- 7:56AM, Eliascomes wrote:


 I think what God was referring about us having free-will, is having the ability to think independently from other beings. Like animals reacts on instinct like a dog only serve the one that it's familiar with and or whom feeds it, and which some people has the same instincts as a dog which means that they doesn't have any free-will or a soul.




I would agree--I think that those "instincts" are exactly what Christ/Christianity is telling us (and showing us how) to overcome.

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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