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Free will is circular reasoning

A is true because B is true. B is true because A is true (circular reasoning).
The idea of free will says "I caused myself to happen/act." Me causes me. My actions are caused by myself. My conscious actions are a result of myself.
If you ask why someone chose vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and they answer "it was my(A) choice(B)", they could also say "the choice(B) was mine(A) to make". Free will claims to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is circular reasoning. "I chose(A) because I have free will(B). I have free will(B) because I have a choice(A)."
Options(A) makes choices(B) possible. Choices(B) are made when there are options(A) given.

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    Jan 9 2014: Personally I think the entire debate is oversimplified and really skips a lot of grey areas and nuances.:

    What really allows for people to advocate for free-will is that they subjectively feel free. For me the more I sit in contemplation and meditation and pay close attention to the flow of experience, I don’t feel as free as I once believed because thoughts simply flow in my mind (some welcomed and some unwelcome). I first realized this when I was going through depression and how I could not get certain thoughts out of my head no matter how hard I tried. I also notice this when I get back from concerts and how the music is still playing in my head without me really thinking hard about it. I simply have no control of what I will think next. So subjectively, this experience of feeling free makes little sense to me because it is in this way that all my mental thoughts (i.e desires, intentions, beliefs) come to me. They simply emerge in my mind. Nonetheless this is not enough for me to state that free-will is an illusion. I try my best to remain open minded about the debate and I realize the implications of telling people that they are not free and I am not comfortable (nor confident enough) in my philosophy to advocate for complete determinism.

    Still when we are talking about Free-Will what are we really talking about? Is it more about the experience of feeling free or willing oneself to do something (i.e. action)? Nietzsche constantly talked about overcoming who we are. To constantly push ourselves and reinvent who we are. To will ourselves to become the person we want to become. To do that wouldn’t that require freedom? Nietzsche words reminds me of the athlete that pushes her/himself to do one more push-up in spite of being physically exhausted (I have had such experiences). To do that takes not only strength and courage but the capacity to take control and will yourself to get it done.

    All and All I have no idea what is true
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      Jan 9 2014: Orlando, I like to think we are bouncing around the idea format as posted. The questions appear as abstract, and everyone sees what they see based on their interpretation. I personally like to keep it as simple as possible, that way I do not get lost in my complexity.

      I can identify with "thoughts simply flow in my mind (some welcomed and some unwelcome). What do you see in the backwash of that experience?

      I can see free will and no free will, I can choose between existing ice cream flavors but the limit of my will does not extend to the creation of cows from scratch.

      What is true is true and what is false is false. I'm here to learn the difference. Regards
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        Jan 9 2014: Hi Larry,

        I understand what you are saying but I would have to disagree to a certain point. Yes, everyone on this thread probably has their own idea about free-will but I think it is for the reasons that I've suggested (the topic is very nuanced). so we can keep it as simple as we want and talk about the brain processes, chemical interactions, psychology and logic but from my point of view this is not sufficient. Life isn't experienced in that way. Getting lost in the complexity I believe will bring us closer to the truth because we are really digging at the issue. If you want to keep it simple I would have to say that I am not the right person to be talking to about this issue (I don't mean this out of disrespect or anything).

        I am not sure if I can say I see anything in the backwash of such an experience. All I know is what enters my conscious mind but I haven't made any conclusions in regards to free-will or determinism. I just stated that from a subjective standpoint I can't see how anyone would invoke freedom.

        as far as learning, that makes two of us.
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    Dec 31 2013: What I define as being freewill is, the will is what I want and free is to be at liberty to pursue what I want. Starts out as self will run riotous. I don't know what I want so I want everything. Appears to be a void that everything of this world can not fill. By the pain and suffering through time I was forced to look within. In the process of self discovery I came to the recognition of my willful nature with the life experiences of always seeking and never finding. That was then and this is now. I know what I was searching for and I know what I really want. I want a state of tranquility and freedom from disturbance that can only come from the principle of Peace. So there appears my freewill. Peace or what stands in contrast to it. When I cook it down the choice of my freewill becomes obvious. "Freewill does not mean that I establish the curriculum". In my case freewill is not free, dependent on the choice there could be a heavy price to pay on the level of cause and effect.
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      Jan 2 2014: Larry, I like the way you think.

      I trust that single terms, like Freewill, which are actually manmade collective symbols to indicate some experience that we may share. We commonly are bewildered by how others understand the same terms, and use them in many different ways.

      "Freewill" is a collective abstract symbol, it is not a thing, in any event cannot be followed, photographed or put under some microscope. it only can be described, in our human words, how one's personal action can be driven by one's personal choice. The entire world of instant interactions does not allow absolutely "free" actions of any sorts.

      We effect our environment and we are getting effected by it at the same time. Our situation is changing even while we are selecting where to go. Change is bringing new challenges and opportunity, even before we are able to comprehend what has happened.

      It is up to our personal ability to perceive possible choices. Some of us see a few, and some see none, feeling trapped.

      I really like what you say " In my case freewill is not free..." Hopefully someone would be able to understand this.

      When people use any types of terms in their ideal symbolic meaning, they get lost.
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        Jan 2 2014: Dear Vera, I Love the way you think. I seem to always leave an engaging conversation with you having benefited in some manner. Perhaps to gain a clear understanding of "freewill" it might be good to ask the question what is the will? If the energy can be described as the dynamic forces of the natural motor then perhaps the will could be described as the steering gear that will give the energy direction. I seem to be aware of what I would call being in procession of a dual thought system. This would seem to be the source of chaos, confusion and the circular reasoning that goes nowhere. As I become aware I recognize I must choose, "a man cannot serve two masters" . What is understood is that it takes recognition and understanding of both to make the one choice. Therefore I have determined my will by atoning to the one energy of life. The return or giving back of my free choice to higher authority. That would appear to be one directional straight forward reasoning. I guess it all depends on how you want to look at things or desire things to appear.
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          Jan 3 2014: "Perhaps to gain a clear understanding of "freewill" it might be good to ask the question what is the will?"

          Your question would be the best way to begin this whole discussion.
          The meaning of will or freewill is not hidden between vanilla ice-cream or chocolate ice-cream, (small reasons to select one over the other may be endless, including "physiological" or "psychological" conditions). But I guess, Austin wants to think about the very internal nature's motor that drives us to act accordingly to consciously selected choices. In any case, one very important fact needs to be cleared here. Freewill cannot exist on its own out there, without the one who drives it.

          I think the mysterious power of "will" was recognized back in prehistoric time. Some unknown to us powers/forces that dramatically effected human life also ignited our early human imagination. Only while confronting these mysterious forces/powers we were able to identify our Selves. We have to constantly resist something, and choose our ways, and also learn how to wisely find some benefits for the sake of our survival. You already have a great description of these conditions - one's freewill cannot be absolutely free. Freewill or just Will needs to be challenged in order to exist and reveal itself.

          In my modest opinion will-power is an integrating power holding our body and spirit together. Without this great power we would be melted down into everything else loosing our personal existence.

          The interactions among the opposites as Heraclitus put it, not just destroys but composes life - we Commonly fight our own will within ourselves.

          Though we can witness the most horrific ugliness and cruelty produced by humans playing their will for controlling themselves and others, we must admit, the most beautiful grace created by those rare individuals who have resisted mighty ugliness within and without are driven by their intuition and talent.

          Will to live identifies a living form.
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    Dec 27 2013: Hello Austin. "These are the definitions given to me by a dictionary app by Clatin Software, LLC"

    These definitions/ explanations sound like a mixed-up computer concoction. (It is my individual Freewilll not to take it seriously). I really would like to know YOUR OWN opinion, especially because you are the author of this topic.

    For instance, regarding "external factors" --- if our minds and bodies are somehow ignited by some "external factors" (or in simple terms, Change, with which we are in constant contact) we may never understand or perfectly evaluate these "factors" as they are. Our perceptions are forever limited, and forever unique within everyone of us.

    We have to use our Internal abilities to find our way out, and we greatly depend on these Internal abilities whether we wish to admit it or not.

    This experience of choosing from the internal individual state of mind makes us believe in what we call Freewill. Freewill cannot be collective - it is an ability to choose by an individual. Otherwise, we are not talking about "Freewill".

    We depend on our internal conditions and sensitivity of our own perceptions in making our choices.

    We may have strong or weak intuition, have different levels of personal experience, or some special abilities.

    Moreover, we are not only choose from some obvious alternatives - we can create new alternatives.

    We also can suggest more choices when we share our knowledge. But after all it is up to an INDIVIDUAL and its Freewill to select what to follow.
    • Dec 27 2013: Here's what part of my opinion that will fit in the number of characters I can use:

      Free will is a conscious choice. But do we choose to be conscious? We are conscious when we are born, do we choose that? We have many unconscious reflexes to external factors, so what if consciousness is a conscious reflex? We don't have an internal choice unless there are external options. Do you have free will if you aren't given an option?
      If free will comes from ourselves, then is free will something we ourselves created? Or is free will given to us, and therefore is not our own, from ourselves?
      When you make sense of something, you make rules and laws. If there's no laws or structure, it doesn't make sense. You can't make sense of freedom, because there are no rules in freedom. Can you make sense of free will? Does free will have laws? Does free will have structure?


      Free will would also mean that your choices can't be determined
      (I don't 100% agree with these people)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFLR5vNKiSw.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l1lQMCOguw
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCwY36a19aQ
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMp30Q8OGOE
      If quantum mechanics says we have free will because of uncertainty, and the measurement is dependent on the observer, whether it is a partial or energy, does that mean free will determines how we view and perceive the world? Does free will determine perception?
      If free will means your actions aren't determined, how can you determine that we have free will? Is the fact that we still don't know (it's undetermined) if we have free will the evidence for it? Is not knowing if we have free will what makes us have free will?

      If you look inside yourself, you have free will. If you look outside yourself, you don't.
      If you believe inside your own thoughts "mind over matter" you are internally overpowering external applications. If you look around at the external applications, you'll just respond to them
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    Jan 13 2014: As one of the previous speakers said, your premise is very over simplified. My premise is that in this life: we live predetermined existence containing free will inside it, both on a micro scale as individuals, and on a macro scale as a species.

    As a person I was predetermined to be here through a combination of science and decisions by all the generations who preceded me. My father and mother chose to have sex conceived, their parents conceived them and so it goes on since the first people. Scientifically evolutionists would take this back to evolution from previous species and a marvel of scientific chemistry dating back to the big bang while creationists would attribute this to God. Whichever happened as far as I know I had no choice and free will in this.

    When I was born I started making choices, this was my free will. Where to look, how to act, what I liked and disliked. My country I was born in and the people around me were predetermined for me, but in it I can choose how I responded to situations and events in my life. My choice is marred by my circumstances and physical limitations including my own mortality, but in it I have free will and can choose what part my life goes on. It is by no means perfect, but it is creative.

    From my childhood my choices grew more and more and I grew stronger in stature. My will got more pronounced and accepted in society. When I was 18 I started driving a car, got promotions through various jobs, and was allowed to start drinking and partying. Some of the exercises of my free will was good for me while other decisions I made had devastating consequences. The laws around me have still been predetermined by others and have often resulted in traffic fines for speeding.

    If I get old one day, my choices will become more limited until one day I am predetermined to die. On that day they will read my last will and testament in this life. My free will will become the predetermination of others.
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    Jan 9 2014: This is a very philosophical statement. A statement like this can get people thinking to no avail. I am unsure whether you are incorporating a higher power into this argument or strictly basing it of earthly intuition. Saying this, free will is either existent or nonexistent. Our brains are not capable of grasping a concept like this. For example, Leibniz thought the universe consisted of monads, or basically atoms. These ranged from the simplest, for example a rock to God. I like to think of it as how can an ant think on the level of a human? it is simply not feasible. In Descartes meditations, he was not able to think about not thinking, suggesting a duality of man. The brain (soul) and body therefore are different entities. He went on to theorize dream/madness argument and the evil genius. Because we have the same perceptions in the brain, how can we distinguish the two realities of sleep and waking states? The evil genius describes how there is a "demon" controlling everything, much like the architect of the matrix. Once again, how are we to know whats true if we cannot think on this plain of thought, as we are only human. This implies there is a type of God which turns this argument into one of God, which i do not wish to do. The free will argument is merely based on which premises of the argument the questioner wants to believe.
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      Jan 9 2014: Herr Gerhardt, If I think to no avail, that's my problem. Perhaps I am incorrect in thinking that we were exploring an idea rather than making arguments or debating. I am ok with whatever you will to use to further the understanding of the posted statements and questions at hand. I will not know if I am incapable of grasping a concept unless I try.

      "The free will argument is merely based on which premises of the argument the questioner wants to believe" and what do I will to accept as truth as we know it? Empfehlungen
    • Jan 11 2014: Hi Freeman, the ant cannot think on our level, right, and I don't think we can think on the Divine level either. That's why, I think, we have Revelation. In many different ways, whichever we think makes sense to us as individuals.
      Animals do not have the freewill to love their enemies, I'd like to think we do. Even if they do not agree with us :)
      When we keep using our freewill to look and search, we'll find something..
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        Jan 11 2014: Hi Adriaan,

        Thank you for your link. I am well aware that a "belief" in free-will promots good social behavior, meaning and sense of well-being. I am also well aware from multiiple sources that a belief in determinism for some people would will result in one or two things: 1) people would feel as though the ground had just been swept from under their feet causing anxiety. 2) they would feel as though they can live life with no consequences since they are not responsible for their actions.

        The first one may be true but the second point I think is a misconception.

        Anyhow a "belief" in free-will does not entail that free-will exist. It's just a belief or intuition that it does because of our subjectivity. If you ask me, outside of our subjectivity (which I even questioned in my first response) all the evidence points to determinism.

        I'm surprise the article did not mention Ben Libet experiment about how our brain makes decisions for us prior to us being consciously aware of making that decision. The time gap between brain processes and our conscious awareness can range from milliseconds to 7 seconds..

        All the linked invoked is that we should trust our intuition more than the empirical evidence but this does not suggest that free-will exist.
        • Jan 11 2014: Hello Orlando, I've heard that the Ben Libet experiment may proof that the human mind is above and not connected to the brain. As a material and non-material relationship. That the mind works on what to think or do and then passes that onto the brain and body.

          I do not know what determinism could be based on? I know we have our limits because of money and hereditary tendencies (good and bad) and the fact that at times we HAVE to eat :)
          In my opinion we have the freedom to love what we choose to love. We also have to be realistic about what our limitations are. but also about which way we can have or do what we want. And do it.
          Thanks Orlando for reading the link, this is a short one in England,
          http://spiritualquestions.org.uk/2013/06/victim-of-circumstance/

          Have a great weekend
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        Jan 12 2014: Hi Adriaan,

        I am inclined to agree with you but up to a certain point. It is true that some people invoke the Libet experiment without considering the nuances involved. You may be correct that there is perhaps a level of awareness involved (perhaps sub-consciously) that would eventually lead to brain processes but I'm not inclined to say that this is proof that the mind is independent of the brain. Descartes believed essentially the same thing that you said. For more, it's just one more mystery of the brain that needs to be unraveled.

        As for determinism it would be impossible for us to narrow down every causal relation to our actions but to invoke that we have total freedom I think would be a mistake. But to invoke that we are completely determined perhaps is a mistake as well. Personally I am sitting on the fence with this issue.

        even if we were determined love, compassion, meaning and value do not go away. Nothing about our experiences change.
  • Jan 7 2014: I do apologise. Last post was for Adriaan Braam. I keep forgetting to hit reply and keep hitting 'post' instead!

    Again, apologies to everyone!
  • Jan 7 2014: I mentioned Sam Harris. You didn't, is I assume you have no knowledge of his talk on free will on TED and didn't see fit to look it up/watch it, or you have knowledge of it, but chose to ignore it.

    Did you choose how to respond, or was it a choice you were not free to make from the start? You have inherited certain traits through your DNA, which you have no control over. Your life experiences have moulded the way your brain works, and your brain often decides on issues before you are even aware. If you were a different person, then you would make different choices. Why? For the very reasons I have already given. Your DNA and life experiences would be different.

    Do we wish to punish the murderer for being a psychopath? Maybe we should punish the blind man for choosing to be blind, and a drain on the welfare system. Should we punish people who have cancer? They made the choice to be sick, right? Or maybe they had no choice. No free will. They are just victims of their DNA and life experiences.

    Did you make a conscious decision to dislike me, or did it just happen? Was it something you wanted to do, dislike me... or was it just a product of your DNA, the things you were told as a child.... indeed everything that you have experienced before this moment in time?!

    Do you wish that you had responded to my original post in a more Christian manner? Less self-assured, boastful, arrogant, ignorant, etc?

    If you don't feel anger when someone cuts you up in traffic, it would never occur to you to use it as an example of an instance when one might react with anger. So, you feel anger! Did you have a choice? You might respond with forgiveness, but you know you felt anger when imagining that example that you gave. Did you have a choice? Why not decide to never feel anger again? It is, after all such a destructive emotion. Why would you choose to ever feel anger, ever! Or could it be that you have no choice. You have no control. Your biology decides!
    • Jan 9 2014: Dave, I'm sorry but I'll come back when you are less angry and more mature.

      I have never met anyone that chose to be blind or to have cancer..

      BTW most people that want to share something leave a link, not just a name.

      Have a nice day Day
      • Jan 9 2014: Brian, no anger here, but some frustration. If I was rude, then I apologise... but bare in mind, there may have been good reasons for my reaction.

        You give little or no evidence for your statements and use quite insulting language. Maybe I reacted in a rather terse, acerbic manner, but only because of your dismissive and insulting language. If you diss someone's opinion without giving reasons and ignore the points they make, you're not going to get a good response. Maybe be more polite, or grow a thicker skin? Don't insult someone, then cry foul when they turn round and stand up to you!

        If you can't fathom what someone's point is in a conversation, maybe the fault lies with you and you should consider asking some polite questions to get clarity rather than being rude and dismissive.

        Your view that we all have free will 'because the bible tells me so' is actually pretty insulting. It's not actually evidence, just repetition of an opinion, with nothing substantial to back it up.

        So, you know of nobody that chose to be blind or have cancer... but missed the whole point of the example, which was that we don't choose to be sick (in general) and this includes people who suffer from psychopathy! So, of we're rational people, why do we punish sick people? "Because the bible tells me so!"? (Just be clear, this is a valid point and I'm not just poking fun! It's pretty serious and could do with a serious response!)

        You ask why we have prisons, amongst other things, if we don't have free will. Well, ignorance of conditions like psychopathy and religious books telling everyone that they have free will are part of the problem. It's not the only thing in the bible that is in our DNA and we are condemned for? Made sick and commanded to be well.

        And all the other points I raised? I think they were pretty clear. Maybe I was a little acerbic and terse, but there was no need to go off in a huff. I'm not the only one who could be more a little more mature!
  • Jan 7 2014: When reality matches a proposition it is not circular reasoning, it's empirical confirmation. Empirical observations are not arguments. Our interpretations might be wrong, biased, whatever, but questioning reality as if it was part of an argument is nonsense.

    Edit: Chocolate ice cream chooses me. Not the other way around. :)
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      Jan 7 2014: Entropy, Appearances deceive but can be changed. Reality is changeless, argue as one wills. What is real does not deceive. If you fail to see beyond appearances, you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it is real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Being changeless is what makes reality real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. What stands the test of time without change other than the energy and will of Life?
  • Jan 5 2014: Hello Austin, you got me until the ice cream..

    We can walk forward and backward. Does that mean we're going in circles and not getting anywhere?

    Spiritual free choice or free will is what makes us humans, human. That choice gives us not only the option to eat vanilla ice cream but also to become a very loving and caring person. It also gives us the opportunity to become hateful and worse than animals.

    Based on my religion, I believe we were created to use our free will to shape our character, and so become the person we choose to be. God hopes we make the right choices and end-up with Him in heaven so He can really can make us happy to eternity.
    We, our mind, has a will and an understanding. Our will is who we are because of what we love, want or crave. It is very usual as a human being, to be born with a tendency toward being selfish. We notice that when we raise kids.

    We have our understanding or intellect, so we can control and possibly influence our will to change for the better. We have the freedom to want anything we want. We learn, however, that some things we want are dangerous, or would make us look stupid etc.

    To be 'born again' means nothing else than changing our 'old' will into a new will. That is the process of our life, the reason we're here.
    This link is the first of two books. "Divine Love and Wisdom."
    http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DLW_port-web.pdf

    A very Happy New Year!!


    .
    • Jan 7 2014: I think I agree with Sam Harris, and the 'free will' that you think you have is just an illusion. You're not as free in the choices you make as you think you are. You don't have free will "because The Bible tells me so"!
      • Jan 7 2014: No doubt we are influenced by all sort of hereditary tendencies, experiences and 'learned' reactions.
        But where do you base the opinion on that we do not have free will? Animals do not have freewill, they are incapable of loving their enemies. We do, if we choose to.

        We can get up before the alarm goes of, stay in bed and even report sick and not go to work. We have no control over what happens to us, but we have complete control how to react to it.

        Why have counselling, commercials, prisons, guidelines if we had not the freedom of choice or the freedom to change our mind?
        When someone cuts you off in traffic, you have no choice as to how to react???

        I cannot even fathom what you base your opinion on.. but you could change my mind.
  • Dec 31 2013: I'm hesitant to comment on this topic because at best I will probably just sidetrack from the point you are trying to make. I spent some time thinking about tje subject of freewill and have seen that for thousands of years, more capable minds than mine have struggled with understanding it. The point I came to a few years ago is that I couldn't convince myself one way or the other of how "free" my will was, but since it felt true that had the capacity to choose then I at the very least had "will". To the discussion you have started I can only say that the books on freewill, those for and against it, do seem to use circular logic and seem to be bound up in semantics. This may well have just have seemed that way to me because of my limited capacity to understand the terminology needed to dive deep in to these abstract subjects but I have to say sometimes it feels like there is a conscious effort to talk over the heads of those of us not trained in these fields. I guess I fell on the side of us not having "free" will though. Not because I hold to strict determinsm or a plan of a deity on high, but because we grip so tightly our egos and the memories of past experiences. This is a way of life that comes naturally to us and has brought mankind to the point where we can join in this conversation from points all over the planet, but it also enslaves us to our past. When and if you are in a situation where your survival is in question then I say stick to what has worked for you so far, but if you are trying to free your will, I believe you have to loosen your grip on "I", open yourself up to possibility, and try to make a fully conscious choice. I think this is the path to the survival and evolution of the human species, not the destruction of the ego, but the practiced use of it as a tool in the proper circumstances. Great topic, thanks for starting the conversation.
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    Dec 26 2013: Before talking about whether Freewill exists or not, whether it can effect our choices over "chemically " or "mechanically" explained bodily reactions, PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEAN BY USING THIS TERM - FREEWILL.

    For instance, do you think that the power of Freewill might be physically "generated" somewhere in brains?

    Or do you believe in the existence of one's mind, which image is impossible for the researchers to see in brains?

    In our world of instant change must we, as the rest of all living creatures, keep choosing what to eat, grab, run from?

    How would we be able to survive without making our own, personal choices in our always personally unique sircumstances?

    In my opinion what we call FREEWILL to CHOOSE is deeply rooted in our natural mechanism of survival.

    (An individual might choose to follow others or find some special unique ways. Life ends when we have no choice. CHOOSING is the process of LIFE that no living creature can avoid! I trust this is how our belief in Freewill has been created.)
    • Dec 27 2013: Free will: the power of making free choices unconstrained by external factors.

      Choice: the act of choosing or selecting.
      Choose: pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives.

      Select: pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives.

      Pick out: pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives.

      These are the definitions given to me by a dictionary app by Clatin Software, LLC

      They all define each other according to these definitions. And this is one area I where see circular reasoning.
  • Dec 26 2013: Free will is the enabling trait and choosing vanilla ice cream is the resulting action.
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    Dec 25 2013: I think that is an astute cop-out for people not to tell you the real reason.
  • Dec 24 2013: Let's try this combination :

    I don't have a choice(A) because i have free will(B)

    Looks like a working definition for altruism or something Christlike, doesn't it ?
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    Dec 22 2013: yes it is/ Consider a error in logic or our collective observation makes cycles to foriegn to concieve..but it is in fact how reality in fact occurs..therefore the linear perspective of duality is an outdatred model of events
  • Dec 20 2013: Your approach is too simplistic. Your reasoning has a fundamental flaw, as it combines the self and the environment into a single entity, which is not only false but unreal. A full understanding of "Free Will" is impossible without an environment interacting with the self. "I cause my self to act upon (or react to) the environment, [then], me causes the environment to change". My actions are caused by my perception of the environment. My conscious actions are a result of the environment.... Where is the circular reasoning here? I don't see any.

    If you ask someone why chose vanilla ice cream over chocolate, no one will answer: "The choice was mine to make", unless they are meaning to be rude, a more realistic answer will be something like: "because in this case the environment provides me with a more pleasant experience", go ahead make you own experiment.

    In conclusion: The only possible way in which "Free Will" would be self-sufficient, would be by excluding the environment form the equation, which can only be done in a mental exercise.
  • Dec 19 2013: Neat! 2-Dimensional thinking in a 3-Dimensional game :) I touch on this subjected when I questioned myself about John Forbes Nash's equilibrium in Game Theory. This lead me to come up with my own "Theory of Everything."
  • Dec 18 2013: By that reasoning any empirical test would be circular reasoning.
    • Dec 18 2013: Yes, that would be true.
      I observed(A) it because it exists(B).
      It exists(B) because I observed(A) it.
      I believe(A) it because it is true(B).
      It is true(B) because I believe(A) it.
      I have free will(A) because I have the ability to choose(B).
      I have the ability to choose(B) because I have free will(A).
      But I also think that it's circular reasoning because we can't think beyond or outside of consciousness, observations, or outside of our free will, so we therefore cannot find anything past it to break this circle.
      So the idea is that all consciousness is circular, but it is only circular because we cannot think or observe outside of our own consciousness.
  • Dec 17 2013: Think it is not circular logic if A B.

    If I have the ability to choose or not choose, then I have free will.

    If I have free will, then I have the ability to choose or not choose.
  • Dec 17 2013: You may want to add more time by editing the discussion.
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    Dec 17 2013: So what's the implication?I think free will is not about having or having not choices but to what extent people are in control of their choices.
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    Dec 17 2013: "I caused myself to happen?"

    Freewill doesn't say that. It says "I caused myself to act", meaning "I did that because of computation in my brain."