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does anyone know if we have free will or not?

SE25WallSE25Wall ExplorerLondon Explorer

anyone know?

thanks.

Comments

  • CarameltailCarameltail Veteran UK Veteran

    Yes, you have the responsibility to make strengthening decisions or not.
    Sometimes that free will may be limited by external things but usually there is at least something you can influence.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    No, I don't think anyone here or in the world actually knows the answer to that question. There are many good ideas on how to think about it though that can bring us nearer to a true understanding.

    I think I've come to a compatibilist position. Often in the debate there are two opposing conceptions, on the one side there is libertarian free will and on the other there is a hard deterministic view of the mind. In the world we know every effect has a prior cause, the determinists make a compelling case that this extends to our preferences and choices, libertarians argue that individuals have the capacity to start a chain of causation, they say we aren't bound to the deterministic laws of the outer world.

    As a compatibalist I agree with the determinists that our preferences and choices are set in motion by forces outside of us. But I think there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Even though our choices are influenced by external factors there is a difference between "deciding" to jump in the lake and being pushed into the lake. Also, when conditions outside of our conscious awareness, whether externally or subconsciously, impact our decisions they impact our unique makeup in different ways than they impact others. So even though much of our decision making is outside of our conscious awareness, it can still rightly be said to be "us" that is making the decision.

    At any rate, the whole question is really deep and complex and doesn't have a "correct" answer at the moment. I think it can be fairly well argued that we should at least act like we have the free ability to choose rather than just giving up and not doing anything, because really that is a choice too.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @SE25Wall said:
    anyone know?

    thanks.

    Who compelled you to write this?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Perhaps I could encourage you (if not force you!) to do two things:

    One, use our search engine - as you can see, it's a discussion we've had before...

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/22292/free-will-an-illusion

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/25353/free-willy

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/24901/free-will-and-the-self

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/10841/free-will

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/8201/free-will

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/1633/free-will-what-is-it-what-is-it-not

    and

    Two: - if you post threads asking questions, at least have the common courtesy and civility to respond, instead of just leaving members hanging... It's rude not to.... ;)

  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    maybe sit on it.feel the dharma.it takes time for intuition and rationale to meet in the middle.

    buddhist practice helps our brain to act instinctively wise ,an element of dao,in zen.kinda like the right choice and doing it which every individual is different.

    lobster
  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    which jason introduce the sutta,safe bet,feels right to me in the life of our free will which we determine to have a life of less drama and more peace as we develop virtue,meditation leading to wisdom gain along the way.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    does anyone know if we have free will or not?

    Ah ha ... an imponderable ...
    Do you know what Yule Ye Olde Buddha said about imponderables? Don't bother your noodle. Only leads to entrapment.

    Consider the enlightened ...
    http://tap3x.net/EMBTI/page13.html
    Do they have more freedom?
    You bet your dukkha!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh, Lordy, that is bonkers! My word I am laughing so much - in a good way!! Priceless!

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    @Shoshin said:

    does anyone know if we have free will or not?

    I just checked ...sorry we are out of stock ...but you could try "Ehipassiko" :)

    confusingly catchy. even started swaying a bit.

    Shoshin
  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    @person said:
    No, I don't think anyone here or in the world actually knows the answer to that question. There are many good ideas on how to think about it though that can bring us nearer to a true understanding.

    I think I've come to a compatibilist position. Often in the debate there are two opposing conceptions, on the one side there is libertarian free will and on the other there is a hard deterministic view of the mind. In the world we know every effect has a prior cause, the determinists make a compelling case that this extends to our preferences and choices, libertarians argue that individuals have the capacity to start a chain of causation, they say we aren't bound to the deterministic laws of the outer world.

    As a compatibalist I agree with the determinists that our preferences and choices are set in motion by forces outside of us. But I think there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Even though our choices are influenced by external factors there is a difference between "deciding" to jump in the lake and being pushed into the lake. Also, when conditions outside of our conscious awareness, whether externally or subconsciously, impact our decisions they impact our unique makeup in different ways than they impact others. So even though much of our decision making is outside of our conscious awareness, it can still rightly be said to be "us" that is making the decision.

    At any rate, the whole question is really deep and complex and doesn't have a "correct" answer at the moment. I think it can be fairly well argued that we should at least act like we have the free ability to choose rather than just giving up and not doing anything, because really that is a choice too.

    thank you, yes, my thoughts roughly too. if I had total free will, surely I would have ultimate control over what thoughts come into your head. even a thought such as "I want to have a bath" arises from nowhere, although it is a "willful" thought. Or put another way, if i had total free will, i would probably be somewhere other than i am now.

    person
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @SE25Wall said:

    @person said:
    No, I don't think anyone here or in the world actually knows the answer to that question. There are many good ideas on how to think about it though that can bring us nearer to a true understanding.

    I think I've come to a compatibilist position. Often in the debate there are two opposing conceptions, on the one side there is libertarian free will and on the other there is a hard deterministic view of the mind. In the world we know every effect has a prior cause, the determinists make a compelling case that this extends to our preferences and choices, libertarians argue that individuals have the capacity to start a chain of causation, they say we aren't bound to the deterministic laws of the outer world.

    As a compatibalist I agree with the determinists that our preferences and choices are set in motion by forces outside of us. But I think there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Even though our choices are influenced by external factors there is a difference between "deciding" to jump in the lake and being pushed into the lake. Also, when conditions outside of our conscious awareness, whether externally or subconsciously, impact our decisions they impact our unique makeup in different ways than they impact others. So even though much of our decision making is outside of our conscious awareness, it can still rightly be said to be "us" that is making the decision.

    At any rate, the whole question is really deep and complex and doesn't have a "correct" answer at the moment. I think it can be fairly well argued that we should at least act like we have the free ability to choose rather than just giving up and not doing anything, because really that is a choice too.

    thank you, yes, my thoughts roughly too. if I had total free will, surely I would have ultimate control over what thoughts come into your head. even a thought such as "I want to have a bath" arises from nowhere, although it is a "willful" thought. Or put another way, if i had total free will, i would probably be somewhere other than i am now.

    I am convinced that even if we only have partial free will, we can then act upon that conclusion and choose whether to follow suit or not.
    If your mind develops the thought "I want to have a bath" you are still at liberty to decide whether to go and put the plug in and run the hot water, even then...
    Even if we are 'surprised' by a thought or decision, I believe we are still free enough to decide whether to follow through or not.
    Admittedly, it has occasionally happened to me, that I have been surprised by a completely random thought, apparently out of nowhere - but i have always stopped short, asking myself "Where the hell did THAT come from?!" and then focusing on the next step...

    ...if i had total free will, i would probably be somewhere other than i am now.

    If we really have no choice, and cannot extricate ourselves from a given situation (for example, if we're in prison, or hospital) then we must naturally progress to the next level, which is to ensure we make the right decisions that arise, and make the best of it. Even within a seemingly choiceless situation, there are still choices.

    personSE25WallKundo
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SE25Wall said:

    confusingly catchy. even started swaying a bit.

    ...Of your own free will ? ;) ;)

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    @Shoshin said:
    ow.

    I am convinced that even if we only have partial free will, we can then act upon that conclusion and choose whether to follow suit or not.
    If your mind develops the thought "I want to have a bath" you are still at liberty to decide whether to go and put the plug in and run the hot water, even then...

    yes you do, of course. however, to explain if you have the following thought processes, which on first glance seems like free will:

    thought arises: "I want a bath"
    then: "Ok, let me go and run that bath"
    and then you go and run the bath.

    that seems like free will, for all intents and purposes.

    but the second thought, just like the first, has had no "I" controller drawing it into mind. "The self" does not haul that thought into conciousness. it just appears.

    we do not and cannot control anything that arises in the mind - even "willfull" thoughts. there is no controller. there is no self, i guess.

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    free will implies an all powerful, all controlling self that is not instead at the mercy of all the conditions that exist within and without it. a self that can draw thoughts into mind independant of all conditions.

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    and yes, i have been listening to far too much Alan Watts =)

    Tosh
  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    there is definite "agency" or "willing" or some such shit within us, but absoloute free will, nah, i don't by it.

    philosophers etc, please stand up and speak

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SE25Wall the quote is @federica :).... and not from my free will ;) ;)

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    @Shoshin said:
    @SE25Wall the quote is @federica :).... and not from my free will ;) ;)

    oh dear, thanks :3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    No worries :)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Shoshin said:
    No worries :)

    The Comment is WILL-ing but the quote is weak.

    I forgive you too, @SE25Wall.
    I decided that of my own free will.

    image

  • SE25WallSE25Wall Explorer London Explorer

    that is the biggest smilie in Western Buddhist interneting

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I think we make decisions but would call it conditional will rather than free.

    I can't sprout wings and fly but by studying and working with the environment I can build an airplane.

    SE25Wall
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I would say that thoughts springing from our unconscious processes is still "us". Our conscious mind is not the sum total of the aggregates that make up an individual.

    federicaKundo
  • herbieherbie Veteran Veteran

    We have free will, not in an absolute but in a relative sense. Otherwise 'Right Resolve/Intention (Samma-sankappo)' would not make sense.

    Kerome
  • ToshTosh Veteran Veteran

    @herbie said:
    We have free will, not in an absolute but in a relative sense. Otherwise 'Right Resolve/Intention (Samma-sankappo)' would not make sense.

    But what about the people who cannot muster the will to have 'right resolve/intention'?

  • ToshTosh Veteran Veteran

    @SE25Wall said:
    anyone know?

    thanks.

    I don't think we have free will. It seems to be more conditional-will; i.e. the will relies upon causes and conditions.

    What seems to help me do the stuff I should be doing (but often don't) is other people.

    I go to A.A., not just because I'm an alcoholic and should go, but because I give two people a lift in my car there. Quite often, if it was just me, I'd not bother because I'm tired or can't be bothered. So by 'using' these other alcoholics who I have to give a ride to a local meeting, for me it removes any power of choice I have not to go.

    I have to go otherwise those other alkies won't go.

  • herbieherbie Veteran Veteran

    @Tosh said:

    @herbie said:
    We have free will, not in an absolute but in a relative sense. Otherwise 'Right Resolve/Intention (Samma-sankappo)' would not make sense.

    But what about the people who cannot muster the will to have 'right resolve/intention'?

    Hi Tosh,

    saying 'We' is a conventional saying not meaning to assert that every individual is equally free to decide in a given situation. That is why free will is relative depending on contexts and individual capacities.
    However the buddhist path is a path to increase one's capacity to freely decide, to become more and more independent of greed, anger, attachments and aversions and delusion.
    And since individual conditions and capacities differ every individual actually has to enter the path at a different position.

    personTosh
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