Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Free Will Is An Illusion!?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Neutral Singh, Jul 24, 2004.

Tags:
  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,009
    Likes Received:
    81
    I am sure of it, it is a illusion. Since everything is material (including our mind), and since everything material follow the law of cause and effect, free will must be an illusion.
     
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    Concept Of Manmukh/Gurmukh. Is There A Freewill In Sikhism? Questions and Answers Jul 25, 2016
    Interfaith Religious Freedom For Sikhs In The US Armed Forces Interfaith Dialogues Apr 20, 2016
    General freelove Blogs Oct 16, 2015
    Get fit for free: Long-distance running Health & Nutrition Jul 23, 2015
    Sikh doctors in UK deliver 10,000 free health checks Health & Nutrition May 2, 2015

  3. Arvind

    Arvind
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    379
    Singh ji,

    Not sure of the msg in this post. Did u say free will as equating to 'Bhaana Man'naa'?

    Regards.
     
  4. S|kH

    S|kH
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    29
    Didn't Descartes actually attempt to prove the same thing? That free will is an illusion.

    You are sure that free-will is an illusion? Are you being sarcastic or ?

    I am certain, that I have free-will, whether its written in any holy scripture or not, I know I have it.
     
  5. Arvind

    Arvind
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    379
    Sikh ji,

    Does your Free-will mean not to interfere in the natural flow of Hukam? Pls write back in more detail.

    Best Regards.
     
  6. etinder

    etinder
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    6
    dear guys
    lemme explain a bit about Free will here and hopefully we can direct our further discossions on that basis


    Introduction and Conditions for Free Will

    What does it mean to have free will? To have free will at least two conditions must obtain.
    1. We must have two or more possibilities 'genuinely open' to us when we face a choice; and
    2. our choice must not be 'forced'.
    The concept of free will plays a central role in our thinking about the world, particularly in our apportioning praise and blame, and in our finding persons morally responsible for things they have done.

    All sorts of conditions serve to diminish moral responsibility (and blameworthiness). We do not hold persons morally responsible for their actions when they are
    • under the influence of a powerful medication having unexpected psychological effects
    • very young (since the young are unable to predict [foresee] the consequences of their actions and may themselves not have mature concepts of right and wrong)
    • delirious
    • coerced, e.g. by someone putting a knife to their throats or a gun to their heads.

      (An aside: The French Existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre [1905-1980], who fought as a Partisan in the Second World War against the Nazis, refused to accept as an excuse for complicity, "But it was my life or theirs [i.e. the innocent victims of the Nazis]". Sartre argued that even under such dire circumstances, one is still morally responsible for one's actions and one is free to choose life or death, and that in some instances choosing life is an immoral choice.)
    • physically forced by a person or thing of superior strength
    The list of 'excusing conditions' has grown steadily over the years.
    • For example, recently in a court case, a man was found not guilty of murder on the grounds that he was sleepwalking during the killing (including driving his car to the victim's house across town).
    Many other 'factors' influencing behavior have been proposed:
    • one's genetic makeup (over which one has no control)
    • one's environment and upbringing (again over which one has little, if any, control)
    • one's education which, at least in one's early years, is - again - beyond one's control
    But when all these 'influencing' and 'controlling' factors are considered, is there any room left for the exercise of one's own freedom? Can one truly choose? Or is free choice, ultimately, a myth and/or an illusion?
     
  7. etinder

    etinder
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    6
    contd from earlier post

    Lets examine a situation here there are two serial killers, can they be not morally responsible for their behavior, it was because of what others had done to them. But these others, in turn, were not morally responsible for what they had done, since they were the product of what had earlier been done to them. And so on, and so on. The argument works like a line of dominos, it is - in effect - the domino theory of moral nonresponsibility. If someone is to be regarded as not morally responsible for what he does because he is the product of someone else's actions, then, ultimately, no one is responsible for anything he/she does.

    How compelling are the reasons to accept the first step of this argument? Is none of us morally responsible for his/her actions? Is freedom to choose, is some degree of moral responsibility, an illusion, a myth? What are the philosophical arguments that we are never free to choose? What are the opposing arguments that we are - at least sometimes - free to choose?

    Some philosophers portray the situation as if there were only two competing views, in effect that these views exhaust the possibilities. They put determinism on one side and freedom (i.e. freedom to choose) on the other.

    But his simple classification does not do the debate justice. There are other possibilities like,that one can subscribe without contradiction to both of these theories: to determinism and to free will. I will try to explain, briefly, how I think that this is possible. (Such theories -- that determinism holds and that we have (at least some significant degree of) free will -- are called "compatibilist theories", and philosophers who subscribe to such theories are called "compatibilists".)

    As we will soon see, there is not just one concept of determinism, but three: (i) logical determinism; (2) epistemic determinism; and (iii) causal determinism.

    The first turns on the notion of truth; the second on knowledge, in particular on the consequences of God's foreknowledge, if there is a God; and the third on the belief that every event in the universe has a cause.

    Only the third of these three kinds of determinism poses a serious threat to the existence of free will. But to see this, we need to see the logical flaws in the first two versions of determinism.

    The first version of determinism, so-called 'logical determinism', is often called, alternatively, 'the problem of future contingents'. ("Logical" in the title is not meant to contrast with "illogical", but instead refers to a particular concept of logic, namely truth itself.)



     
  8. etinder

    etinder
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    6
    Logical Determinism (or, Logical Fatalism)

    Here is Aristotle's problem of tomorrow's sea battle (reconstructed and considerably embellished).
    Two admirals, A and B, are preparing their navies for a sea battle tomorrow. The battle will be fought until one side is victorious. But the 'laws' of the excluded middle (every statement is either true or false) and of noncontradiction (no statement is both true and false), require that one of the statements, 'A wins' and 'B wins', is true and the other is false. Suppose 'A wins' is (today) true. Then whatever A does (or fails to do) today will make no difference; similarly, whatever B does (or fails to do) today will make no difference: the outcome is already settled. Or again, suppose 'A wins' is (today) false. Then no matter what A does today (or fails to do), it will make no difference; similarly, no matter what B does (or fails to do), it will make no difference: the outcome is already settled. Thus, if every statement is either true or false (and not both), then planning, or as Aristotle put it 'taking care', is illusory in its efficacy. The future will be what it will be, irrespective of our planning, intentions, etc. ​
    Is it possible to 'escape' the sting of the conclusion of this argument? How might one argue against accepting the conclusion that planning (for the future) is useless?




    We will examine this in the coming times?
    all opinions are welcome
     
  9. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,009
    Likes Received:
    81
    Etinder Ji,

    This is fantastic stuff... Please continue with your discussion... do not worry much about nobody is replying or is able to reply to your philosophy right now, but we are learnign so much from your discussion.

    Please continue with your next posts... we are learning about Logical Determination... Aristotal said "But the 'laws' of the excluded middle (every statement is either true or false) and of noncontradiction (no statement is both true and false), require that one of the statements, 'A wins' and 'B wins', is true and the other is false."

    Please elaborate some more on this so that from next lines I can draw a visual picture in my mind...

    Keep it Up !!

    Best Regards
     
  10. etinder

    etinder
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks veer

    I was wondering weather i was doing justice with the topic or not?

    regards
     
  11. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,009
    Likes Received:
    81
    Its fascinating reading your posts, please continue with discussion... :)
     
  12. etinder

    etinder
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    6
    thanx veer

    continuing from the previous discussion

    There have been three ways that have been proposed to avoid having to accept the conclusion.

    Proposal One: One might argue that propositions are not true in advance of the events described. Propositions 'become' true when the events described occur.

    Objections to Proposal One: (1) When did it 'become true' that Bush won the 1988 election? When the votes were counted? When it was clear that he would win? When 'the deciding vote' was cast? (2) When did Germany lose World War Two? When the Allies' invasion force landed on the beaches of Normandy? When the British invented and were able to use radar against the German Luftwaffe? When Alan Turing and his team broke the German secret code? When ...? (3) Is it not true now that tomorrow copper will conduct electricity?

    The questions in the preceding paragraph strongly suggest that it will prove problematic in the extreme to try to put precise times on the (supposed) occurrence of a proposition's 'becoming true'. Moreover, propositions, you'll recall, are supposed to be abstract entities, entities which do not exist in space and time; but if they do not exist in time, how can their properties change at some particular time?
    Another Objection to Proposal One: To argue that propositions about the future acquire a truth-value only when the described event occurs (i.e. in the future) will entail abandoning the law of the excluded middle: propositions about the future will not, then, have truth-values now, i.e. prior to the occurrence of the predicted event. Adopting Proposal One would require our creating a far more complicated logic. This is not to say that this proposed solution is completely without merit; but it is to say that we ought to try to find some other solution before resorting to such a major revision of logic.

    What other ways might one, then, propose to avoid the conclusion of the argument about tomorrow's sea battle?

    Proposal Two: Disjunctions (i.e. statements of the form "P or Q" [in this particular case "A wins or A does not win"] are true, but not the individual disjuncts (components, i.e. "A wins"; "A does not win").

    Objection to Proposal Two: The proposal is terribly peculiar. We are inclined to say that a disjunction is true just because (at least) one of its disjuncts is true. If neither P nor Q is true, how can "P or Q" be true? And, further, just as in the previous case, this Proposal also entails abandoning the law of the excluded middle: while "A wins or A does not win" has a truth-value now, neither of the two propositions "A wins" and "A does not win" has a truth-value. So, once again, we would prefer a less radical solution.

    Proposal Three: The truth of propositions does not 'make' events happen (occur).

    Consider I m watching Olympics at this very moment [Aug 22] is what makes (the proposition expressed by) "Etinder is watchind Olympics on Aug 22, 2004, 1997" true. It is not the other way round. Logical fatalism confuses the semantic (truth-making) order. It makes it appear that the truth of a proposition 'causes' an event to occur. It is, rather, that the event's occurring tomorrow 'makes' (but does not cause) the proposition to be true today. This is not 'backwards causation': the relation between an event and the truth of the proposition describing that event is not a causal relation whatever. It is a semantic relation.

    The logic of the preceding paragraph can perhaps be made apparent by switching the example to one of speaking about the past rather than the future.
    Indira Gandhi was killed in 1984 and there is a group of 5 people arguing abt the year of her death A says 1982, B says 1984, C 1985, D 1983 and E 1980 so among all of them only B is right. Of all these 5 claims only one claims and thats by B is true and rest are false
    Now ask yourself: Does B's making a true claim today (about the year of Gandhi's death) account for Gandhi's killing? Did B's asserting a truth today about Gandhi's killing somehow or other 'force' Beant Singh and Satwant Singh to fire bullets into Indira Gandhi? Of course not. Now what if the year of the discussion were 1975? A says, "Gandhi will be killed in 1982." B says that it will happen in 1984. C, that it will happen in 1985. D, that it will happen in 1983. E, that it will happen in 1980. Of the five discussants, one, namely B, gets it 'right'; the other four make false predictions. Does B's true prediction (in 1975) somehow or other 'force' Beant Singh and Satwant Singh to fire bullets into Indira Gandhi? Of course not.
    Similarly you and I can make all sorts of predictions -- some true, some false, some on the basis of excellent evidence -- but those that are true do not 'force' the predicted events to occur.

    The future will be just what it is going to be. None of us can change the future. But that does not mean that we do not have free will.
    I cannot change the future - by anything I have done, am doing, or will do - from what it is going to be. But I can change the future from what it might have been. I may carefully consider the appearance of my garden, and after a bit of thought, mulling over a few alternatives, I decide to cut down the apple tree. By so doing, I change the future from what it might have been. But I do not change it from what it will be. Indeed, by my doing what I do, I - in small measure - contribute to making the future the very way it will be.

    Similarly, I cannot change the present from the way it is. I can only change the present from the way it might have been, from the way it would have been were I not doing what I am doing right now. And finally, I cannot change the past from the way it was. In the past, I changed it from what it might have been, from what it would have been had I not done what I did.

    We can change the world from what it might have been; but in doing that we contribute to making the world the way it was, is, and will be. We cannot - on pain of logical contradiction - change the world from the way it was, is, or will be.


    all comments welcome :)



     
  13. jagmeet

    jagmeet
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    4
    ....kindly explain how you think this is possible.


    ...what are these flaws?

    I suggest that instead of thinking about what different philosophers think of free will,you should try to make out what gurbani says about this--may be you can take this up as a project and then enlighten us all.

    My personal view is that there ought to be some amount of free will--else sin/good deeds lose meaning.
     

Share This Page