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Fate and Free will

  1. Mar 7, 2004 #1
    Which do you believe and why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2004 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I believe in free will. I believe that I am responsible for my actions and I suffer the consequences of those actions, good or bad.

    There was a thread recently that said that everything we do is already predestined and nothing we do matters.

    I don't believe that we are simply the pawns of some mysterious unseen being that has already created everything we will do in our lives and that we are just mindlessly going through meaningless motions.
  4. Mar 8, 2004 #3


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    Actually, you don't need the "unseen being" for determinism.

    But here's a marx-engels view. The ignorant person is more constrained than the informed one, because forces he doesn't understand act on the uninformed man and he can't cope with them and so is doomed to do what theey make them do.

    But the informed person understands the forces impinging on her. Because she understands them she can make a plan to cope with them, so to that extent she is freer than the other.

    Knowledge is not only power, it is freedom.
  5. Mar 8, 2004 #4
    I believe there isn't a difference; at least, not at the subjective level. I'm still going to do what I'm going to do, whether I choose it or not.

    I've chosen to believe in free will because that is what the Bible indicates, but I don't really care whether I have it or not.
  6. Mar 8, 2004 #5


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    I hadn't heard that, I like it.
  7. Mar 9, 2004 #6
    Now this is the big question. In fact I believe that there has to be free will. If everything is determined because everything is the result of cause action, a causes b etc then I think there would be more randomness to the way we act. But in actuallity our society seems to have an order and sameness that covers the entire world.

    For instance objects that move acording to the laws of physics such as the planets never decide to stop when they see an asteroid coming. Nope they take their hits and keep on going. They are following a path that can be predicted for thousands of years maybe more. But you cannot predict the path of even the most primitive creature for more than a short period of time. Somehow it can determine where and when it is going this way or that.

    However, I do not understand how we are able to chose A or B because it seems the opposite must be true in that I believe that if you go to the atomic level all things react predictably. So if you had sufficient knowledge you could predict every interaction taking place in our system. But for some reason it seems as if we can alter these reactios so that our actions can change.

    I guess I am talking out of both sides of my mouth in that I can see the logic in both sides of this argument yet I still believe that our actions have some element of free will and there is some reason to chose actions that are what can be called positive althought I am not talking from a religeous standpoint I still thing there is a reason to lead a moral life.
  8. Mar 18, 2004 #7

    The world obeys causality within the laws of physics. IF this happens, then THAT will result. I have a few pounds of meat in my head that bounce electrons off of neurons according to the laws of physics that cannot act in any other way. They do so in such a fashion as to convince myself of having a free will to do anything.
  9. Mar 30, 2004 #8


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    ...I will choose free will.

  10. Mar 30, 2004 #9
    Both. God decides "what", we decide "how".
  11. Mar 30, 2004 #10
    I actually agree with Mentat on this. I don't see the difference and I don't care. I'm going to do what I'm going to do. This is the reason I've never been interested in the philosophy discussions of determinism versus free will.
  12. Mar 30, 2004 #11
    If you choose to believe in fate, is that not a consequence of free will? And if you choose free will, how do you know it's not just your fate?

    I guess I also agree with Mentat. I like to believe in free will because I want to feel like I'm in charge of my life, but that doesn't I really am. The important thing is that you believe you are in charge, so if something goes bad you can correct yourself and not blame it on the Creator or just random fate.
  13. Mar 30, 2004 #12


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    The first two problems you deal with in quantum mechanics are the free particle, and the particle in a box. They are useful as basic tools, but they are not interesting in the long run. Eventually, you learn to deal with more difficult potentials. These are often called constraints.

    I believe in a constrained reality. I'm not just talking about my inabilty to fly, or bend spoons with my mind. There are limits to what I can understand because my intellect, like any human's, is indeed limited. There are behavioral limits on what I will do, due to my upbringing. I believe there are also built-in behavior mechanisms due to biology.

    While it is easy to demonstrate that we are not entirely free, it is hard to show that we have some freedom. Sometimes I don't believe I have any, other times I think I have some. Either way, I believe in acting as if I do. Life is more fun that way.

  14. Mar 31, 2004 #13
    Free Will

    I am conscious and aware that I have a free will. I change my decisions even when I want to follow another direction. My only proof, IS that is the way I percieve it to be. I was going to just type free will, stopped and decided to post my reason.

    What free will decision, would one make with his arm bent behind his back. It might be quite different if he was not restrained?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
  15. Apr 8, 2004 #14
    Nobody really believes in absolute determinism

    Those who say they do try to convince you to adopt their point of view.

    In other words, they behave as though you have a choice in the matter, and try to influence your choice.
  16. Apr 9, 2004 #15
    Actually this is where Heisenberg uncertainty principle comes in. Electrons move according to the laws of chance and probablity. this make the universe indetermnate which allows for free will.
    All may be known but we have limited free will.
  17. Apr 9, 2004 #16


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    The HUP merely means the future state of the universe is unpredictable to some degree. It does not affect the free will debate. Assume a man tumbling along in a rockslide. Does the predictablilty of the rockslide or its lack affect whether the man can control his actions?

  18. Apr 9, 2004 #17
    If the future state of the universe is unpredictable to any degree however slight, it makes the deterministic universe an impossibility.

    If the universe is not deterministic there is room for or a possibility for free will.

    If there is a possibility for free will then it is not necessarily an illusion that we have and use free will as we all think that we do and have used.

    The laws of chance and probability do accurately describe many events in the universe to a remarkable degree of accuracy and have been tested and verified countless times. I maintain that in a universe where the laws of chance exist and operate, that universe cannot be and is not deterministic.
    Only a deterministic universe make free will and the exercise of free will impossible. If it is possible, it probably is.
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