what is your definition of determinism?
Regardless Free will all the way, it will either make or break you
I'm interested in principle, but whether or not I'm interested in discussing your particular definition of determinism and how it affects our understanding etc. depends on what it is. You haven't given us anything to base a choice on yet.
I'm very interested in this topic. But I agree with Dexter Sinister that we'd need a more substantial definition of determinism to discuss it.
What I find fascinating with this subject is that nearly everyone considers themselves free, yet I've never met anyone who was able to propose a reasonable hypothesis as to how free will can even be possible from a scientific and rational point of view.
In other words, there is nothing science has found so far that lays the ground for the concept of a truly free mind. Until then, science seems to be condemned to view the mind as being totally subordinated to brain chemistry.
I just want to say that the definition of determinism in no way conflicts with the ability to contemplate and decide. Most people are up in arms when they think of determinism because, in their minds, this would turn them into robots with no say in what they do, nor would they be responsible for their actions. This in incorrect on both counts. The knowledge of our true nature has the power to change our world for the better because it prevents that for which blame and punishment came into existence. The author passed away in 1991 and I compiled 7 of his books. If you are interested in learning more, the book that discusses this new definition is online for free, so this is not an advertisement. If you do link on, please read the first two chapters before moving on, or else the book will sound like a fairy tale.
Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado - The Agora
Hello - We have a number of differing philosophies - not religious one - but by renowned Philosophers - have you ever noticed that with any of them - 1 is right - the other is wrong - Rather simple people these renowned philosophers, and their camp followers with big ideas etc that cannot accept criticism - most not all mind you.
Myself - I am a free will - as i am a religious person and that was Gods gift to mankind - You, the individual will decide what you do or not do. And accept the repercussions of such decisions. Realizing we all make bad decisions -
The easy ones are helping those in need, not killing, I am a former soldier and yes i would kill, bit of a conundrum there for some - Not I mind you -
Doing the least harm possible as many decisions, regardless of what decision you make will cause harm.
If you are convinced that man has free will, then maybe this thread isn't for you. I don't want to take away your strong held beliefs if it gives you comfort. I happen to love the wisdom in Christianity, even though I am not Christian. And I also believe in God, just not a personal God. Your last comment is in keeping with what I posted. We always make decisions that we believe will help us in some way, even if it means hurting someone else. We also can choose as a preferable alternative to help someone else, even if it hurts us. This is an individual choice based on our values, needs, wants, and desires.
Let me change God to a creator - i do not believe as Muslims and many Christian sect do that my life has been pre ordained -
I belive in the free will - who else makes the choices.
peacegirl, that link is not a link to the book as you implied... please post the link to the book you're discussing, not to another forum. Thanks.
We make the choices, but those choices are driven by a compulsion to choose the most preferable alternative each and every moment of time. We cannot choose an alternative that is worse for ourselves when a better alternative is available. This is an invariable law and there are no exceptions. But this must be qualified because what is good for me might not look to the observer as the best choice. It also means that given the same circumstance, another person might choose something different because we are all different to a degree.
Then you do not believe in Self Sacrife for another benefit - as that would the " worse choice" dying for someone else to live.
That's not what I'm saying Goober. All I am saying is that every individual has reasons for why they choose certain things. I, personally, would rather sacrifice my happiness for my children's happiness. I also give as much as I can to charity, as long as I don't end up in the poor house. And I doubt whether I would jump in a lake to save someone when I can't swim.
We cannot choose an alternative that is worse for ourselves when a better alternative is available. This is an invariable law and there are no exceptions.
That presupposes you can accurately predict the outcomes of every possible alternative and choose the best one, which you're implicitly arguing isn't in fact a choice at all because the best alternative is, by the way you've defined things, the only possible thing to do. But unless you claim god-like omniscience, you cannot possibly know enough to always identify the best alternative.
I read the first 30 pages of "Decline and Fall of Evil." That's all I'm going to read of it, I'm not interested in anything else Seymour Lessans has to say about anything. I was a little put off by the sub-title, "The Most Important Discovery of our Times." What kind of monster of vanity and arrogance was this guy? The first 30 pages are a turgid, self-congratulatory, repetitive, and rather smug description of how much smarter he is than everybody, how he bested highly educated people in argument, and what a wonderful thing he's discovered, but he doesn't actually say anything useful about it. He just claims (falsely) he's proven determinism, without actually doing so, he's just playing word games. I figure that anybody who hasn't said anything useful in 30 pages isn't likely to say anything useful in 478 more pages. This guy does it better, much more briefly, and intelligently.
I'd suggest you might want to summarize what his great discovery was. I got tired of reading his discussions with other people, and him leading up to his point and wandering off again. If you can summarize it, I'll gladly discuss it. But I suspect that something that required so much energy in setting up arguments for how arguments against it validate it, is shaky at best.
No one is claiming to know what is the best alternative for YOU. I can only know what is the best alternative FOR ME, and even here I don't always get it right.
It took me 8 years to compile 7 books, and I cannot summarize it in a few posts.
He doesn't write that way, he writes in fact like a crank who's convinced the establishment is against him and his brilliant discovery because it doesn't suit current prejudices. That's one of the defining features of pseudoscience. If he can't demonstrate any credibility or even say anything specific about his brilliant discovery in 30 pages of turgid prose, I tend to think he's blowing smoke.
I started reading the book and am now at page 45.
I find the book interesting because it deals with a subject that has captivated my mind for as long as I was mature enough to think of such things. But that being said, it's a frustrating read because the book would benefit from some serious editing. And as Dexter Sinister already pointed out, the ''prophetic'' tone of the book is very much a turn off.
From what I've read, it seems clear to me that the whole introduction is rather unnecessary, considering the author repeats the same message at the beginning of Chapter 1. The message being ''Keep an open-mind and be willing to reconsider things that seem obvious to you, despite what the establishment or society has to say about it''. It's a good message and it needs to be insisted on, but personally, I feel like I've understood this a good while ago so I could have easily skipped all that part.
I am taking the liberty to quote (in blue) an excerpt from the book because I feel it is a good summary of what the author has been trying to say so far... I'm doing this in the hope that this can lead to constructive discussion about the book's subject by those who are turned off by the long and frustrating read...
(I'll keep my opinion of it for later.)
I will now put the conclusive proof that man’s will is not free to a mathematical test.
Imagine that you were taken prisoner in war time for espionage and condemned to death, but mercifully given a choice between two exits: A is the painless hemlock of Socrates, while B is death by having your head held under water. The letters A and B, representing small or large differences, are compared. The comparison is absolutely necessary to know which is preferable. The difference which is considered favorable, regardless of the reason, is the compulsion of greater satisfaction desire is forced to take which makes one of them an impossible choice in this comparison simply because it gives less satisfaction under the circumstances. Consequently, since B is an impossible choice, man is not free to choose A. Is it humanly possible, providing no other conditions are introduced to affect your decision, to prefer exit B if A is offered as an alternative?
“Yes, if this meant that those I loved would not be harmed in any way.”
“Well, if this was your preference under these conditions, could you prefer the other alternative?”
“No I couldn’t, but this is ridiculous because you really haven’t given me any choice.”
“You most certainly do have a choice, and if your will is free, you should be able to choose B just as well as A, or A just as well as B.
In other words, if B is considered the greater evil in this comparison of alternatives, one is compelled completely beyond control to prefer A. It is impossible for B to be selected in this comparison (although it could be chosen to something still worse) as long as A is available as an alternative. Consequently, since B is an impossible choice, you are not free to choose A for your preference is a natural compulsion of the direction of life over which you have absolutely no control.
Which is the same as saying you DON'T know; if you did you'd always get it right.
You're asking us to read only one, and really only the first two chapters of one. If you can't summarize his claims (or yours about him) in a paragraph or two, then I think you don't really understand them. I've just read the final chapter, in which he refers to the scientific equation he presented in the introduction. There is no such equation. He didn't really understand what he was claiming either, and he certainly didn't prove his claim by the point where I read that he claimed he had.
The author said at the end of the book that if anyone can explain this better than him, please come forward. He never presumed that he was the only one who could explain this knowledge. I actually wrote the introduction so please blame me if it is too long winded. I know there is some repetition, but I felt it was that important to explain why he had such a hard time bringing this knowledge to light, so if it was too repetitive, I apologize. If that's all that you can criticize, then we're doing okay so far, right?
I came to the conclusion that no one seems to have managed to explain how free will could even remotely be possible in a world understood as being ruled by the laws of physics.