Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Free Will: Now You Have It, Now You Donít
NY Times ^ | 2 January 2007 | Dennis Overbye

Posted on 01/02/2007 5:08:42 AM PST by shrinkermd

“Is it an illusion? That’s the question,” said Michael Silberstein, a science philosopher at Elizabethtown College in Maryland. Another question, he added, is whether talking about this in public will fan the culture wars.

“If people freak at evolution, etc.,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “how much more will they freak if scientists and philosophers tell them they are nothing more than sophisticated meat machines, and is that conclusion now clearly warranted or is it premature?”

Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Tufts University who has written extensively about free will, said that “when we consider whether free will is an illusion or reality, we are looking into an abyss. What seems to confront us is a plunge into nihilism and despair.”

Mark Hallett, a researcher with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said, “Free will does exist, but it’s a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free.

“The more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don’t have it,” he said.

That is hardly a new thought. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: free; freewill; will
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-88 next last
Now the NYT tells me they have no "free will" but out of my "free will" must come the will to pay them $50 a year to read their premium service.

If I had only known! I had better donate to FR before it is too late.

1 posted on 01/02/2007 5:08:45 AM PST by shrinkermd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

" Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Tufts University who has written extensively about free will, said that “when we consider whether free will is an illusion or reality, we are looking into an abyss. What seems to confront us is a plunge into nihilism and despair.” "

Funny -- this plays into an idea that I've been playing with for a little while now.

I throw this out for what it's worth --

"The core difference between the Conservative Mindset and the Liberal, is that Conservatives believe in - and accept - "free will"; Liberals don't."


2 posted on 01/02/2007 5:13:39 AM PST by Uncle Ike ("Tripping over the lines connecting all of the dots"... [FReeper Pinz-n-needlez])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”



Well said. The will is a slave to the heart.


3 posted on 01/02/2007 5:15:25 AM PST by freedomfiter2 ("Modern, bureaucratic, unionized education is a form of intellectual child abuse." Newt Gingrich)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

bump


4 posted on 01/02/2007 5:22:47 AM PST by Dark Skies ("He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that" ... John Stuart Mill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

Good!

This idiot has provide my defense for when I hit him in the face!


5 posted on 01/02/2007 5:25:39 AM PST by G Larry (Only strict constructionists on the Supreme Court!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2
Freedom says, "Well said. The will is a slave to the heart." VI personalities can spout hyperbole like Schopenhauer does here, but let a layman try erecting such a strawman argument! The "will" in one usage is DIFFERENT than that which Schopenhauer tries to infer it is . . .!!! This is a snide crack at religion . . .
6 posted on 01/02/2007 5:27:21 AM PST by tadowe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

Upon what grounds does Dennett, and other rabid atheists, attack theist? After all, if there is no free will, how can I be held responsible for what I believe?


7 posted on 01/02/2007 5:39:34 AM PST by Lucas McCain (The day may come when the courage of men will fail...but not this day.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2
"The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

Well said. The will is a slave to the heart.

Actually, this is untrue and indeed what liberals believe. That's how they can cover for a man like Saddam, and overlook their hero Clinton's devastating missteps.

However, our will is not a slave to our heart but rather to our mind. We can choose to do what our feelings rebel against doing. However, when we choose to believe/think on Truth, our will and our feelings will follow suit.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

8 posted on 01/02/2007 5:40:02 AM PST by TruthSetsUFree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
We have no choice but to believe in free will.

-ccm

9 posted on 01/02/2007 5:47:18 AM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

bkamrk


10 posted on 01/02/2007 5:49:19 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/optimism_nov8th.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd

God's will trumps your free will.


11 posted on 01/02/2007 5:53:53 AM PST by Delta 21 ( MKC USCG - ret)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Tufts University who has written extensively about free will, said that “when we consider whether free will is an illusion or reality, we are looking into an abyss. What seems to confront us is a plunge into nihilism and despair.”

Not if you're a Calvinist or a Muslim.
12 posted on 01/02/2007 5:57:59 AM PST by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2

"I think; therefore I am; I think.


13 posted on 01/02/2007 6:00:02 AM PST by tom paine 2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: TruthSetsUFree

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

You would seem to agree with me. Until God quickens a man's heart, his desire will be to go his own way. Once he is given a desire to seek and follow God he will choose to do so.


14 posted on 01/02/2007 6:00:05 AM PST by freedomfiter2 ("Modern, bureaucratic, unionized education is a form of intellectual child abuse." Newt Gingrich)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
Perhaps "free will" is not the place to begin. The fact is, we make choices. Our choices may be variously conditioned, but in the final analysis we are all conscious of choosing. This then leads to the question of making the right choices, which is what all the fuss is about.
15 posted on 01/02/2007 6:04:01 AM PST by sphinx
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2
But at the end of the day, it is God's will we're supposed follow...not our own.

sw

16 posted on 01/02/2007 6:04:53 AM PST by spectre (Spectre's wife)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
All of this is nothing new. These questions have plagued humanity since Plato and before. Does man have free will or is everything rigged and we are just puppets?

Calling someone a "science philosopher" or couching the question in terms of describing man as a "meat machine" changes nothing nor adds to the discussion.

This is just another aspect of the Darwinian anti-religionist viewpoint. Man is a product of evolution and is nothing more than a meat machine dancing to the tune of his hormones and genetic coding. God does not exist.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtin, he does not exist.

17 posted on 01/02/2007 6:05:16 AM PST by Dogrobber
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freedomfiter2
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

Well said. The will is a slave to the heart.


That's not quite what this says. It doesn't say that you cannot choose whether or not to act on what you want, it just says that what you want is not an act of will. In saying that desire is not an act of will, it is also not saying that the scope and quality of one's desires is not amenable to choice.

Learning to control the output of one's actions in spite of the input of one's desires is the essence of learning to live a moral life. Those who aren't even aware of the difference are mostly under the age of six. Those who know but don't care are mostly hedonists or criminals.
18 posted on 01/02/2007 6:12:01 AM PST by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
That is hardly a new thought.

Duh!!

Welcome to another A vs C thread war!

19 posted on 01/02/2007 6:17:22 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shrinkermd
Run into such arguments regularly these days.

Several arguments refute this sophomoric conceit. (The person forwarding the argument always refuses the refutation, of course.) Here are four.

First, there is a circularity refutation. "If there is no free will, then you, who claim there is no free will, are merely a thing without moral standing, simply a voice box, a meat tinker toy and not even a robot since "robot" implies some autonomy. If your hypothesis is correct then by your own argument listening to you is not different from watching a movie, a television commercial, or even the clouds. Who should pay attention to you at all? Why should I? If your hypothasis is correct then your "opinion" is meaningless in the same way you yourself are meaningless.

Secondly, your argument is not disprovable and so cannot be scientific. Your argument has no mathematical structure (nor even a logical structure, as shown by the first proposition. It makes neither falsifiable nor verifiable predictions and is therefore mere matter of faith, that is, an opinion.

Third, organic structures work on the quantum level. Examine biochemistry and physical chemistry. Therefore organic structures are not bound by "causality" in the same way as, and for the same reason, as electrons in the two slit experiment. Therefore by their nature organic structures are not predictable except statistically.

Fourthly, you are advancing an hypothesis and therefore the burden of proof lies with you. I do not have to refute your argument but instead you must convince me you are correct. You have not done so.

Each of these arguments is sufficient unto itself.

An irrational belief without evidence is in psychiatry technically a "delusion", I believe. Therefore we can categorize your belief are "delusion" in exactly the same way we can so describe the arguments of a schizophrenic.

Q.E.D."

20 posted on 01/02/2007 6:17:24 AM PST by Iris7 (Dare to be pigheaded! Stubborn! "Tolerance" is not a virtue!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-88 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson