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Buridan's Ass (Free Will)  

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DeepThought
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@aaparrot What I mean by this is that if my mom asks me to clean the kitchen, an outside observer would be able to reasonably predict that I am going to do so, and they would be right. Even though this is a predictable outcome, and the observer knew how I would react to the situation, I am still exercising my free will in order to weigh the positives and negatives of doing what my mom asked to reach the logical and predictable conclusion that it would not be worth starting an argument with my mom over just cleaning the kitchen. Even though my action was predictable, I was still using my free will.


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Conster
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@leinweber

Even as cliche as it is, it is almost similar to can I vs may I. You can literally choose to stand up in the middle of class and walk to the bathroom without anything stopping you from making that choice. The may I only implies that you are resting the decision on the teacher/authority to be made for you. I believe that the confusion between you and @aaparrot may have something to do with the difference in perspective on it being whether you can do it vs whether you do it means you are choosing if something else is choosing for you (or predicting).


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MSAR
 MSAR
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This is an interesting paradox to say the least. It very well may seem that there is not solution to the paradox itself ,but as you mentioned it does bring up an idea of whether or not we have an illusion of free will. And to this I am going to say no, we do not have an illusion of free will. Just because someone or something can predict what one will do will choose to do doesn't mean i didn't mean to do it. 


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savhoisington
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@salmon I think that is a really good point to bring up. In THEORY i think a lot of paradoxes make sense but they never usually play out that way. For example,  in the donkey situation, the number one instinct is to stay alive. so, at the point where it is almost dying of hunger and thirst, there is no way it would even take the time to rationalize which is closer, it would simply just pick one at random. I do not think it would just sit there dying when both chances at life are options


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MSAR
 MSAR
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@conster That is a great illustration you bring up to back up your point. But I am also wanting more from the perspective aspect you are talking about. I am quite confused but I perceive it as this thing that whether you are looking at it from the authorities angle or the person being governed. Because either way one of them is exercising their free will, whether it be for the good or the bad


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Delphine
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@savhoisington This is a good way to describe it. When confronted with an emergency, instincts will kick in rather than normal and structured decision making that is well thought out. The donkey paradox is a good example.


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wildsalmon
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@savhoisington This just made me think, then, why is it that the instincts are seen as "rationalizing"? If choosing at random is a survival instinct, then what is the paralysis the donkey has before? Somehow not instinct? I think a creature with free will would be stuck in this room a lot more firmly than one without, simply because the one with free will has the ability to weigh the decisions. In a way then, this scenario is entirely backwards, and in fact a commentary on the detrimental nature of the freedom of choice.


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Conster
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@salmon

For me personally, when it comes to making the decision between one thing or another in front of me and I cannot decide, I will fall back on base deciders for me. By this I mean that I am almost always going to pick up the glass of water (for example) that is on the right side. I am right-handed and generally biased to that side both in the physical sense and in the general sense. In the commonly shown example in shows/movies, when characters are faced with the decision of picking between multiple doorways/routes to escape, I automatically want the characters to go to the right one. Would my own well known free will still be exercised if I use this instinctual bias, or am I just a drone following instinct?


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wildsalmon
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@conster And that's the thing, how can we even know? Are you really choosing things on the right just because you're right-handed, or is it because your free-thinking brain can use a complex pattern recognition algorithm and simply uses the logically best choice? In fact, free will could well be the ability to slip between rational higher thought and instinctual urges at will. Being rational all the time doesn't exactly sounds free to me, it seems like being able to weigh the pros and cons is STILL simply reacting to the world. Maybe true free will is simply because able to choose when to think and when not to?


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Conster
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@salmon

You have a great idea, that free will is so hard to actually determine. This is one of those odd and almost unsettling topics. Have I gotten to this point in my life because of a set of specific relations that I have to different stimuli, or is it more spontaneous than that? If I were to be copied over and over and put in the same circumstances, would there be any deviance from the original 'timeline' or would there be spontaneous changes because of free will? or is free will more chemically rooted than that?


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Delphine
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I think free will is so subjective to the lives of everyone. We all technically have free will, but we are blocked by things like laws. Who's to say we can't just break these laws? If we all executed the free will in which we possess, our world would resort to total chaos. The discussions we've had in class regarding these raise some interesting and intriguing points. How can we determine what the definition of free will really is?


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xmysterio
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I believe that this paradox can be resolved, although not easily. To me, this paradox reminded me a lot of myself, as I tend to be incredibly indecisive. Both choices can seem to take an equal amount of effort to reach, but it’s the decision itself that places the stress upon the subject. If both sides are equally appealing, it’s a matter of taking matters into your own hands. I’m not sure what you mean by “illusion of free will”, but I think it doesn’t have to do with free will. Yes, we are all given the ability to make decisions for ourselves, but not everyone is as decisive or indecisive as another person.


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Conster
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@xmysterio

I think that the free will be present is the correct primary point of the paradox. The presence of free will is not dependent on the willingness of a consciousness to utilize said free will in that yes different people struggle to make decisions while others find it to be easy. There are differences in the processing of the decisions, causing differences in appearance, but the fact that there is a decision that can be made, which does not have an outside force making the decision for the consciousness, is the point behind the paradox. This is just my perspective on it and no one is really right or wrong in this type of discussion as a paradox itself is almost pointless as it is a paradox, which self contradicts.


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Nikki
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@delphine I definitely agree with your point that free will is subjective. People are limited by legal parameters, but they are also limited by things like income, prejudice, and social class. The idea that humans have free will is true to an extent. It is just not as "free" as it looks at first glance.


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DeepThought
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@delphine I think there is a difference between having free will and using it. If I follow the speed limit even though I don't want to I am sacrificing a bit of free will, but that doesn't mean that i don't have any. I think this is part of why it is so difficult to define free will, because even if something has free will there are situations when it can be hard to tell.


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