ForumsDialogue is Action
Last Post Update: Feb 16
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Buridan's Ass (Free Will)
@delphine Free will is subjective. There's nothing that really defines the lengths to which free will can reach. All we have to visualize how far free will can go are laws and/or boundaries that society has placed upon us to prevent us from attempting to find out ourselves. What you said about breaking laws in order to exert our free will, I feel has more to do with our mindset than the concept of free will itself. We are raised to believe that breaking the rules is wrong, and that's what prevents us from doing so. The argument of free will in terms of this paradox does not exemplify that, or at least I think so.
@xmysterio This is so true. Part of the reason that free will is so subjective is because if not taught these lessons as a young child, the concept of free will will mean something so incredibly different to the person. For example, if we left someone to be raised isolated with no mention of any sort of "rules", structure, or laws, how would they know what we perceive as right and wrong? Are our perceptions of right and wrong necessarily the correct ones? Of course we believe they are, but in many other cultures this is not the case. Who are we to claim the correct behavioral attitudes are the ones we as a culture formulate? Does free will or the lack thereof really even exist?
@delphine I think there is a huge difference between someone who doesn't have free will, and someone who does but has been taught to use that free will in a certain way. It doesn't matter if a child grows up in an American city, or a farm in a developing country, the kid will still have free will. I think that it is important that we think of free will as something we always have, even if we don't always use it. An example of this is that I can follow the speed limit, which doesn't mean I have no free will, just that I choose not to use it.
@leinweber Ooh, I like the way you put this. Saying that we all have free will but don't use it is an interesting take. This goes back to the idea of free will being subjective. I would argue that although we all have complete and total free will, it's nearly impossible to utilize it due to these laws we have in most societies.
@delphine Do you think that by making said laws, mankind is putting a cap on their free will? Or do you think that the lawmaking is a way of exercising the free will? I'm interested on your thoughts here. I personally think that lawmaking is exercising the free will. It may limit it, but it ensures that everyone in one place is able to act equally.
@leinweber I agree with this. Everyone has free will, but it's all about whether it is taken away, used, or not used. It is something everyone is born with, but in some cases it is restricted. I think that important to remember especially in the case where we think of free will as subjective - there really isn't a true limit, except for what society may dictate is the limit.
I agree with you that the absence of exercising free will does not necessarily mean that there is no free will. This indeed makes it difficult to judge the free will of many situations in which choices are made. This connects to the in-class discussions on whether certain constructs such as laws control you or not. Although you may choose to break the law, the conscious choice to do so still means they are exerting change in your behavior. It's like choosing to step on sidewalk cracks to prove the point that the superstition is false, it still is changing your behavior. The choices like these that are made in part by an outside force makes the determination of free will's presence difficult.
Laws do have an effect on free will. Although the presence of free will is almost considered a constant in the day to day life of people, the laws that are in place do limit the choices that you are able to make. You are still able to choose between what color clothes to wear on a particular day, but you are unable to choose between whether to go the speed limit or to speed without the influence of the societal construct. As I mention in my reply to @_leinweber, the choices can still be made, but they are influenced to a degree by laws and therefore restricted.
@conster At that point, is it still truly free will? More like restricted will, if you're beholden to the law. If you can only make certain choices, that's no freedom at all. Of course you can choose whether to break the law or not, but it's still exerting an influence over you, restricting your decision making. The only way to really have free will is to entirely ignore any rules set by other people, and that's very difficult in a society. However, if everyone did have truly free will, you'd have to expect a lot of responsibility from every individual, so maybe "free will" in the purest sense isn't all that grand.
I believe that the concept of free will is quite awesome at first. The problem is the corruption of this free will by humans. Humanity has garnished a long-running and well-deserved reputation of being corrupt, cruel, and at times outright terrible. There are many who are considered good by today's moral standards, but the few that actively cause mayhem still exist and reinforce the need to have laws. People have shown that they cannot be trusted with total freedom to not commit terrible acts. The issue is that the current state of society is with laws in place, granted there are thousands incarcerated who shouldn't be, the number of "criminals" (bad people in a generalized sense since without laws crime doesn't exist) would exponentially increase due to the lack of consequences for negative actions. There are conceptual pieces on this subject, one of the most popular would be The Purge movies. Without consequences, it seems to be generally agreed, people will do terrible things.
@conster I agree, even in a universe where everyone was responsible and only made decisions that were informed and rational, there would still be huge problems where values conflict. You'd need some hyper-ideal world where every person had every other person's best interests in mind. In a place like that, negative consequences would be useless, so free will could actually function properly. They always say that power corrupts, and perhaps the strongest power of all is being able to make your own choices entirely on your own. It makes a lot of sense why you'd say that removal of consequences would create more criminals.
Today in class we were viewing President Biden's inauguration and Mr. Chisnell had a so called "psychic moment". He predicted the next rhetorical strategy that President Biden used in his inauguration speech. This relates to some of the arguments going on in this forum. We are predictable, and we make our own choices. When a choice is the best a human will take it.
@msar This is an interesting take. I have to think about what this says in terms of politics. If the way that Biden spoke could be so easily predicted, what does that say about the types of people we elect into office? Are they too similar to each other? Or is this just humans in general and the way that they speak? Tying it back to the main focus, how does the free will of politicians differ from the free will of civilians?
@conster I definitely agree with this. We can't imagine a perfect world where this concept of free will is 100% present. People's interests and personalities will always conflict and clash. This will cause issues no matter what.
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