Reddit Reddit reviews Free Will [Deckle Edge]

We found 48 Reddit comments about Free Will [Deckle Edge]. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Free Will [Deckle Edge]
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48 Reddit comments about Free Will [Deckle Edge]:

u/5py · 34 pointsr/philosophy

Even though your understanding of how choice works is correct, the conclusion that follows (life is "worthless") is false. You seem to be keen on explaining your depression with the fact that you have considered how choice works... but I feel like there's an underlying cause you didn't mention. You even hinted at this in your closing line (major factor means there are other factors at play).

I know this is /r/philosophy and not /r/psychology, but heck, I'm going to say it anyway: you might want to reconsider what the real reason is for your depression instead of (arrogantly) assuming that the "no-choice" life isn't good enough for you.

We do make choices, by the way. Every choice may be a culmination of past experiences and events but that doesn't mean there's not a lot to choose from. Introspection, reflection, meditation and creation can change us within the constraints of a formulaic universe.

Edit: Taking a risk here in /r/philosophy by suggesting this, but here goes: you might be interested in Sam Harris' "Free Will": Amazon link (I'd recommend getting it at The Book Depository alas, it's out of stock there).

u/NukeThePope · 16 pointsr/atheism

For a scientific approach to the same topic, I can (sorta) recommend Sam Harris' recent book Free Will. His basic argument is that we are biological robots whose decisions to act are determined by the physical states of our brains, which are determined by our biology and the events that have led up to the present point in time.

Nothing stops us (the biocomputers) from making decisions based on what we know and think and feel, but those things are determined by our past experience so, give or take problems with complexity, the results of our decisions could be reliably predicted from our current brain states. This would include (e.g.) a possible decision to act in an unexpected way ;)

I say "sorta" on the recommendation because it's rather a thin little book; some people fit that amount of wisdom into a (somewhat oversized) blog post. But more importantly, because as I was reading I kept running into little snags where I'd say, "wait, that can't be right..." I'm very sorry I didn't keep notes and can't give examples, it's just that I got the feeling Harris had missed some loose ends. I had the same feeling from The Moral Landscape earlier.

u/Paddlesons · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Neither do I, it's nonsensical any way you slice it. If you'd like to know more about the arguments against "free will" I'd recommend Sam Harris' new book.

u/kablamokablamo · 9 pointsr/Foodforthought

This article is not a great jumping off point if you want to understand Harris's position. If you don't want to read his book, Free Will (which is short, compact, and easy to read), this talk summarizes his position. It is about 55 minutes long after which there is a Q&A session.

u/Callidor · 8 pointsr/atheism

Have you read The Moral Landscape? Sam Harris is a neuroscientist and a philosopher, and the book is an argument for Utilitarianism, a philosophical position which states that the morality of an act is determined by the amounts of suffering and/or well-being it causes.

That's not to say that Harris doesn't adopt a scientific approach to this question (or to the questions he examines in his other works of philosophy). His thesis is essentially that well-being can be measured objectively by using scientific tools like MRI scans etc.

But if what you're trying to suggest is that Harris is a scientist who somehow does away with that pesky philosophy nonsense, then you're deeply mistaken, both about what sorts of things science and philosophy are, and about Harris as an individual.

u/elphabaloves · 7 pointsr/Meditation

Free will being an illusion doesn't mean you can't change - you can do something today (read a book, go out and meet someone, meditate) that will change your life. But, because free will is an illusion, you don't know why you may choose to do that "something"'s all a result of causes and conditions that stretch back to before you were born. But what you do today becomes part of causes and conditions that shape tomorrow.

I suggest reading Sam Harris' "Free Will" - or, watching this YouTube video. Free will being an illusion does not mean your future is set in stone regardless of what you do/don't do...Sam Harris explains it well: it simply means what you do/don't do is a result of previous causes and conditions.

edit - fixed link.

u/EricTboneJackson · 5 pointsr/WTF

> Calling him a "demon child" and "fucked up" just reeks of insensitivity to me. The kid has problems and should probably be institutionalized, but let's not bash him.

The bottom line is that all bad behavior is the result of deterministic processes in the brain over which we have no control. Despite the profound subjective impression we have that we're in control of our own actions, from a logical and scientific perspective, the notion of free will is untenable. If you were to swap places with Jeffrey Dahmer, atom for atom, you would do everything he did. You'd have every thought he did, ever impulse, his exact ability/inability to resist various impulses, etc.

Doesn't stop me from wanted to slap the shit out of this kid when I see stuff like this, but that's an emotional reaction. And it doesn't mean he shouldn't be institutionalized, if we have no way of fixing someone like him. But it does mean that the notion of "punishment" for punishment's sake is nonsensical.

u/Wood717 · 4 pointsr/CatholicPhilosophy

I'll preface this by saying that it is not entirely clear what, precisely, your question is. So let me restate your question as I see it.

Science is an enormously successful endeavor. Using the scientific method we can, with high degrees of precision, mathematically describe certain aspects of reality using deterministic equations - e.g. the motion of a cannonball shot across a battlefield. To say that the motion of the cannonball is deterministic is to say that if we know the location and velocity of the cannonball at any given time, then using the equations and assuming no interfering factors, we can infer its location and velocity at any other time. This clearly works for some aspects of reality; might it work for all aspects of reality? In particular, might it work in describing the behavior of a human being? And, if so, would that not then suggest that we do not have freedom of the will?

This is more or less what Sam Harris argues in his book, Free Will, that if determinism is true, i.e. if all aspects of reality are governed by these deterministic equations, then we do not have free will.

There are at least two things I would want to say in reply to this. First, it is far from obvious that all aspects of reality are governed by deterministic equations. Actually, I would want to say that no aspects of reality are governed by equations. Rather, these equations describe what we observe - they do not cause what we observe nor do they govern the thing being observed. When Newton tells us, for example, that the force acting on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration, i.e. F = ma, this is a mathematical description of a phenomena we observe. It does not tell us what is causing that force, or if it will always hold, or why such a relationship exists in the first place.

Second, I think that higher scientific education, in my experience anyways, is all backwards. If you are thrown into a physics or chemistry class in college, you will immediately come face to face with many equations - equations of motion, rates of chemical reaction, electromagnetic equations, thermodynamic equations, quantum mechanical equations etc. The impression is that these equations are true, and that reality abides by them. But, as I say, this is backwards. Instead, we should begin by studying the motion of cannonballs, how magnets generate fields, specific chemical reactions, converting steam into work using a turbine, electrons going through a slit, etc. and then attempt to develop a mathematical theory which accurately describes the phenomena we observe. When things are done in this order, we are immediately faced with the reality that those equations only work in very limited and often idealized conditions. This, for me anyway, immediately removes any serious thoughts that all of reality might be deterministic.

u/_raytheist_ · 4 pointsr/samharris

It’s (conveniently) titled “Free Will”. ;)

u/christgoldman · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> The idea that the mind is in some way non-physical.

The mind is a product and an element of the physical brain. It may not be concretely tangible (i.e., you can't hold a mind), but that does not mean it is not a part of the physical universe. Physics explains the mind quite well, actually. The neurons in our brain are developed in compliance to the laws of physics and biology, the neurochemicals in our brain are physical substances, and the electric currents in our brains that communicate signals between neurons operate in compliance to the laws of physics.

Evolution also provides insight into the development of consciousness. While, sure, humans are the only terrestrial species with advanced enough consciousness to develop religious and philosophical ideas, we know now that many animals have forms of consciousness and proto-consciousness like what we would expect if humans evolved consciousness from simple origins. The mind is perfectly explainable through naturalistic sciences, and our naturalistic model of human consciousness makes predictions that are falsifiable.

I'd suggest reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works. Here's a talk he gave on the book. I'd also suggest his The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct, and The Blank Slate.

I'd also suggest Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. While it's main thrust is to show how science can inform morality, it offers some pretty decent layperson explanation of consciousness, and it is written by an accomplished neuroscientist (whatever your opinion on his religious works may be). His pamphlet-esque Free Will also covers some good ground here.

> All able-bodied humans are born with the ability to learn language.

Not at all true. You can be able-bodied and learning disabled. There was a nonverbal autistic student at my middle school years ago who ran track. Trivial point, but still incorrect.

> I would argue humans also have a Spiritual Acquisition Device.

I would argue that this argument is SAD. (pun; sorry.)

You're positing a massively complex hypothetical neurological infrastructure to link human brains to a divine alternate universe or dimension that has never been shown to exist. Not only has this neural uplink never been observed, but it is entirely unnecessary, as neuroscientists and psychologists have a perfectly functional, testable model of consciousness without it. You're adding a new element to that model that is functionally redundant and untestable. Occam's Razor would trim away your entire posited element out of extraneousness and convolution.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/indonesia

> Yes, but according to Clark families could escape this Poverty Trap by having their children marrying up.

Muhammad is the perfect example for this. He married Siti Khadijah who was already very rich and well known in Quraysh tribe. I do agree that this thing could happen, but the chance is slim nowadays. In Indonesia, can we classify the phenomenon of Indonesian girls marry bule as an effort to escape Poverty Trap? Since yeah, Chinese rarely want to marry pribumi if not prohibited by the family. Worst thing happens to the lowest caste of Indian (Dalit), they are the untouchable. Every time I read news about them, my heart breaks and I can hear its cracking sound.

> I haven't read any of his book. What do you recommend?

Free Will:

u/Corruption555 · 3 pointsr/samharris
u/tessarect · 3 pointsr/determinism

Sam Harris - Free Will

Also, his presentation of the same content.

Both are excellent! He talks a little bit about a proof for determinism (however, I find it caters to people who already accept determinism). He also debunks the idea that determinism is incompatible with ethics/law.

u/EpistemicFaithCri5is · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I like some of his writings, and in particular find his short Free Will to be useful in refuting materialistic naturalism. When someone accuses Christians or religious more broadly as being a belief in "magic" I often refer them to Free Will to show them that even naturalists believe in "magic" when they believe in the existence of free will.

I haven't read his more seminal works like The End of Faith or The Moral Landscape, but I'm deeply skeptical of his background in philosophy and in particular his apparently unfamiliarity with the is-ought problem.

u/pair_a_medic · 2 pointsr/atheism

I would recommend reading "Free Will" by Sam Harris. Really fascinating stuff, completely changed how I think about a lot of things. It's a pretty quick read, and he keeps it relatively easy to understand.

u/J_JOA · 2 pointsr/funny

Free will may not be as "free" as we once thought it was. For example, there is a major correlation with rates of violence dropping with the reduction of lead usage. Lead makes people more violent regardless of their "free will". There is also an essay written by neuroscientist Sam Harris called Free Will where he talks about this same subject stating that something as simple as what you are for breakfast can have an impact on your "free will" that day. So like I said, free will isn't as free as we think it is maybe.

u/anomoly · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> We make decisions based on option, experience, upbringing, that sort of thing

This implies that two people who had the exact life experiences would react the exact same way in any given circumstance.

> Indeed, we can only be held responsible if we actually have a decision making process

Given your previous statement, how can one be held responsible for the an outcome that was pre-determined by their past experience?

Lets say the culmination of the experiences and influences of a man's life determined that he would wake up the morning of October 1st 2013 and decide to kill his neighbor. Your first statement implies that if you had lived his exact life up to that point, you would make the exact same decision he did.

This rules out the idea that he was, in fact, responsible for his decision to kill. The decision was simply the product of all his previous "experience, upbringing, that sort of thing". Do you assign the moral responsibility to him or to the culmination of his experience?

I know I'm not putting this forward very eloquently. It's a concept covered in the book Free Will by Sam Harris; a book that this thread has prompted me to start re-reading today.

u/ManSkirtDude101 · 2 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

He is most famous for his work on the philosophy of free will. I don't think he is that great of a philosopher but he defiantly is one.

u/Kirkayak · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

I am a psychonaut AND a hard determinist.

In my experience, most of the emotional upset we seem to encounter when thinking about determinism is that we feel powerless, as if all power resided in choice. Yet, merely being alive as a human, with human capacities and human capabilities is awesome power already!! It is true that you may never become an Einstein, owing to your environmental and biological history, but you will also likely never become a Hitler.

More to the point, the illusion of choice is persistent-- indeed we probably evolved that apprehension as some sort of psychological stress-release mechanism simultaneously with our abilities of higher thinking and reflection. If you like, you can pretend that you have choice, knowing that what you actually "choose" will quite likely not bring you into a terribly atrocious place, relative to other humans, provided that you are already fairly mentally sound and sufficiently ethical.

I recommend Sam Harris's very short book on Free Will as a basic introduction to determinism, including why a lack of free will does not remove our ability to hold persons responsible for their actions, from a harm-reduction perspective, even though it is entirely senseless to judge their soul or spirit in any moralistic sense thereby.

u/Dont_PlagiarizeMeBro · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

Sam Harris (neuroscientist) wrote a book titled "free will" on it.

I'd recommend giving this video of his a watch.

I think people have the hardest time coming to terms with the idea that we may just be on this human ride without any real control.

i'm not asserting anything as fact. just looking for another view.

u/dust4ngel · 2 pointsr/changemyview

i would recommend free will by sam harris, which is brief and unusually lucid for a work of philosophy - you could read this in an afternoon. his take is that free will as it is commonly conceived is an illusion, and that we need to come to terms with how free our will is not in order to become effective decision-makers.

freedom evolves by dan dennett is more technical and dense, but tries to make a compatibilist case that, though our actions are physically determined, we still have freedom in a meaningful way; i.e. the kind you are talking about.

reading about free will will surely blow your mind, even if it doesn't change your mind :)

u/mathent · 2 pointsr/atheism

Consciousness is...tricky. From what I've studied, all we are really confident in saying about it now is that it's entirely dependent on the brain. If you change the brain, it directly effects consciousness. How consciousness, a non-physical entity, can arise from exclusively physical attributes is still under discussion. What Dennett is offering in the video is a re-characterization of the entire discussion. People seem to be looking for a "real" magic trick to explain consciousness. Dennett is making the case that just as there really is no "real" magic, there's only illusions to make you believe there's magic, that there's no "real" magic to consciousness. It's an illusion, in a non-deceptive sense. Consciousness is what happens when the extremely complex systems in your brain interact in the way they do.

If you want some books to read about the mind and brain, check out Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (NY Times Bestseller List 2011) and Connectome by Sebastian Seung. Kaheman will change the way you think about the way you think. He outlines the to "systems" that operated the way you think, and then outlines the biases he's discovered that causes the way you think to be wrong. Connectome outlines the processes of the brain and how the brain is wired to give a somewhat speculative look into Connectome science (mapping all the neurons in the brain and their connections to eachother) and makes claims that once we do this we will better understand the brain and consciousness because the physical structure of the brain is hypothesized to matter a great deal.

As a moderately related point to consciousness, you may want to ask that if consciousness is dependent on the brain, what does that mean for free-will. You should check out Free Will by Sam Harris. It's extremly short--more of an essay. Then look at what Dennett says about free-will. They very strongly disagree, and Sam has said that he hopes to sit down with Dennett and discuss it. When that happens it will be really interesting, and worth having at least a small background on the issue.

u/KARMA_POLIC3 · 2 pointsr/pics

Yes, I agree and advances in Neuroscience point to that conclusion as well. I admit though, determinism was/is a hard pill for me to swallow. The philosphical debate over the concept (or illusion) of free will is an interesting topic to me, and one that I am still not sure about.

If you are more interested in the topic I would recommend the Sam Harris' short new book called Free Will, or you can check out this video lecture where he basically paraphrases it (I originally found it on /r/Documentaries) . He spends a lot of time discussing how the deterministic conclusion is inevitable, and then goes on to argue why this doesn't strip all meaning from our lives (determinism vs fatalism).

u/midnightgiraffe · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>free will by definition requires the possibility of choosing the wrong thing or making a bad choice. and those people who always choose good of their own free will, they exist, but they all live in heaven.

There are many things that human beings cannot do. We cannot fly unassisted or travel faster than the speed of light. However, we are never tempted to say that this restrictions on our ability somehow infringe upon our free will. Even though our possible actions are restricted by a set of parameters, we are still free within those parameters - free will does not require infinite choice.

Given this, it is logically possible that God could have created beings that such that they would always freely choose the good. That is, that these beings would have only innocent inclinations - what Kant called holy will.

>if he interfered then he has compromised our freedom to choose the wrong thing and thus we would not have free will.

Why does having free will necessarily require the ability to harm others? Couldn't God, being omnipotent, have created a world in which people who chose evil harmed only themselves through their actions, and not been able to cause innocents to suffer. I fail to see how this would in any way impinge on those agents' free will.

Clearly, this is not the world we live in. We live in a world in which those who choose evil can inflict harm on others, which seems to suggest that either God does not have the capacity to do this (in which case he is not omnipotent) or does not have the inclination to (in which case he is not omnibenevolent).

>if we choose to live in the material world, suffering and death are unavoidable. it is our choice to live in this world that is the bad choice we have made.

In what way do we choose to live in this world? I'm sorry, but this seems utterly nonsensical to me. We are simply born into the material world; there is no choice involved.

>if you choose to jump off a building, is gravity responsible for your injuries?

Of course not. In that case it is your choice that caused the suffering. However, there are plenty of cases where the free choice of moral agents is in no way responsible for the suffering caused. This is the definition of natural evil.

For example, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, rescue efforts were hampered by rain. If not for that rain, it is surely possible that a few more people might have been pulled from the wreckage. Even assuming that the WTC attacks happened because of the perpetrators exercising their free will, there's no reason for God to have made the situation worse by hampering rescue efforts. Surely God could have simply not sent this rain, or made it not rain, without infringing on anyone's free will.

>wasn't sure of your exact argument for libertarian free will so haven't replied to that.

I certainly don't have an argument for libertarian free will. I do have an argument against it, but it's not really something I can sum up in a short reddit post. If you're interested, I'd encourage you to read Sam Harris' excellent book Free Will. As I said in my first post, the free will defense does require libertarian free will and that's not something I think exists, so for me the argument really does stop there.

u/a7h13f · 2 pointsr/atheism

As promised here's a short list of sources. If you need/would like more, let me know!

First off is Sam Harris - he's a well-respect author on the subject, possessing a degree in Philosophy and a Ph.D in Neuroscience:

Book link

Youtube video of him speaking on the subject

Next is an article from Scientific American.

Jerry Coyne

That last article links to a few more articles with similar conclusions!


u/materhern · 2 pointsr/atheism

There is a great argument for the scientifically based idea that we do not have free will. Mark Balaguer and Sam Harris both have books that discuss this from a neurological stand point. Very good reading.

Sam Harris: Free Will

Mark Balaguer: Free Will

u/EldeederSFW · 2 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

If you enjoy those kind of conversations, this might be the best $5.25 you'll ever spend.

u/byrd_nick · 2 pointsr/philosophy

Overview of the Week's Blog Posts

>Skepticism about free will has become ever more prominent. If one browses the popular science section of any large bookshop or flicks through recent popular science magazines, one is likely to come across some books or articles arguing that free will is an illusion: a left-over from an outmoded, pre-scientific way of thinking that has no place in modern science. The authors typically cite some influential neuroscientific studies that appear to undermine the idea of free will by showing that human actions are caused not by our intentional mental states, but by physical processes in the brain and body. More broadly, if everything in the universe is governed by the laws of physics, and our actions are part of that universe, then how could those actions be free? This line of reasoning, in turn, puts pressure on our traditional notions of responsibility. How could it make sense to hold anyone responsible for their actions if those actions weren’t done out of this person’s own free will?
>Such skepticism about free will is not yet the mainstream view among the general public. Nor is it the mainstream view among academic philosophers, the majority of whom are “free-will compatibilists”: proponents of the thesis that free will – perhaps after some definitional tweaking – is compatible with a law-governed, even deterministic universe. But free-will skepticism is on the rise, as illustrated by Sam Harris’s best-selling book, Free Will (2012). Many free-will skeptics have a noble moral motive, alongside their scientific motivation: they find the present criminal justice systems in many countries unjust and wish to argue for criminal justice reform. But one can certainly agree on the need for an overhaul of our criminal justice systems and advocate a more rehabilitative and less retributivist approach, while still thinking that it is a philosophical mistake to throw the notion of free will out of the window. Moreover, the idea of free will is central to our human self-understanding as agents, independently of its relevance to criminal justice. How, for instance, could we genuinely deliberate about which course of action to take – say, when we choose a job, a partner, or a political cause we wish to endorse – if we didn’t take ourselves to be free in making this choice?
>In my book, Why Free Will is Real (Harvard University Press, 2019), I offer a new defence of free will against the growing skepticism. Crucially, I do not proceed by denying science or watering down the definition of free will. Rather, my aim is to show that if we understand the lessons of a scientific worldview correctly, the idea of free will – in a fairly robust sense – is not just consistent with such a worldview but supported by it. In short, I argue that there is a naturalistic case for free will.
>In this series of blog posts, I will first describe what I take to be the main challenges for free will from a scientifically informed perspective and then explain what my strategy is for answering those challenges. And I will illustrate this strategy by zooming in on the most widely discussed challenge, namely the challenge from determinism. Of course, I will only be able to sketch some key ideas relatively informally; more detailed and precise arguments can be found in the book itself, as well as in some of my earlier articles (available on my webpage).

The Rest of the Blog Post(s)

Use the link from the OP to find the rest of the blog post summarized above as well as the remaining blog posts from Christian List throughout the week.

The Podcast Version

You can listen to Christian List discuss their book Why Free Will Is Real on the New Books in Philosophy podcast here:

u/adam_dorr · 1 pointr/philosophy

I think you would enjoy Sam Harris's book, Free Will. It confirms and explores many of the insights you have had, and provides a good deal of interesting evidence from cognitive neuroscience to support your suspicion that our brains operate deterministically.

u/otakuman · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Sam Harris wrote a book just about that. It's called "Free will".

u/slapdashbr · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Yes, I did. There is no such thing as free will. You merely experience the illusion of free will, when in reality your brain is making decisions that are inevitable given the electro-chemical pathway contained within it and the outside stimuli you experience. You do not have free will.


u/ggliddy357 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thanks for the response. I hoped for a little repartee.

>But there's also a difference between, say, the example you gave of a dragon and these Christian accounts.

No, alas, they are exactly the same. They rely on eye witness (personal anecdote) testimony and have no evidence. Again, if there WAS evidence you (they) would be the first in history to show it. Additionally, you might want to theologically think about your stance on evidence and whether or not there is any. If a god provided evidence of its existence, wouldn't that remove our free will that christians so desperately defend by compelling us to believe? (By the way, you might want to hear what Sam has to say about Free Will)

>you can look at those who have been willing to die for their faith

This doesn't make a thing true. Those who follow Allah say this exact same thing before they blow themselves up on the crowed Israeli bus. The stronger you say your faith is, the faster I walk the other way in fear for my safety. There's no telling where ardent faith leads. Oh yeah, the Crusades for one. 9/11 for another. I'm pretty sure the female genital mutilation crowd is willing to die for their faith too. How about those parents who let their children die of easily cured maladies because they'd rather pray for help to come? I'll bet they're pretty strong in their faith.

Which leads me to...

> insincere or just deluded?

I think the majority of those who profess a belief in supernatural woo-woo actually believe it. True charlatans are rare but exist nonetheless. The easy way to spot a charlatan is the request for money. "God made the universe but you need to give 'til it hurts 'cause he's out of money." Therefore, to answer your either/or question, woo-woo believers are deluded. You know there's a famous book with a title you might recognize, The God Delusion. The clue is in the title.

Since you finished with a question, allow me the same privilege.

Do you care if your beliefs are true?

*Edit: Hyperlinked to The God Delusion by Sir Richard Dawkins. Thought for sure you'd want more details.

u/rironin · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Thank you very much. I haven't studied this subject very deeply, but I know that there are writers who cover it far more eloquently and convincingly than I. Much of my current thinking on this comes from Sam Harris, especially his books on free will and morality. Both are fascinating and extremely well argued, in my opinion.

u/Adtwerk · 1 pointr/DebateReligion You could probably read the entire thing in a couple hours.

u/forestdragon · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I'll say no. A big influence on this way of thinking comes from Free Will by Sam Harris. These intoxicated individuals did not chose their genes, their upbringing, and they have no control over what thoughts occur to them (just like any other person). Thoughts and decisions simply arise unauthored from their minds. Those who make the "right" decisions are just lucky, ultimately. I think we should show more compassion to those who make the "wrong" decisions and try to help them in what ways we can.

u/thethimble · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Free will (in the sense that you and I know it) doesn't exist.

If you're into philosophy, I'd highly recommend Sam Harris's book on the matter. He has a knack for conveying complex ideas simply.

u/RavingRationality · 1 pointr/atheism

> You can freely choose to either pick the fork up or not. It is not predetermined and you can freely chose.

I (and neuroscience in general) am saying no, that's not true. Whether or not you pick up the fork is nothing you have any control over. You think you "make a choice" - but you are following your programming. You and I are simply machines. We are doing exactly what we are programmed to do by our biology and our set of experiences, and nothing more. It's causal. Every choice you make is not just influenced by determined things that ultimately happened outside your body, but 100% decided by them.

Edit: Here, an actual neuroscientist can describe this better than I can. Or, read the book.

u/dejoblue · 1 pointr/intj

Free Will

-Sam Harris

Here is a free lecture about the book's ideas.

u/zorno · 1 pointr/TrueReddit

People do not have free will. Science is accumulating evidence to back up the theory every day. Famous neuroscientists even write books about it.

We are all slaves to genetics, saying he voluntarily did anything is... impossible. I read somewhere that if humans have free will, our brains would be the ONLY thing in the entire universe that breaks the known laws of physics. Or... our brains do follow the laws of physics, and we do not have free will.

But sure, lets go with the idea that our brains rose above physics, sure the kid made the choice on his own.

u/symon_says · 1 pointr/bestof

Sorry you ended up incapable of understanding rational logic. Maybe try school again, there are still minor repairs you can make to the gaping holes in your intellect if you're under 30.

Start here.

u/notwhoithink · 1 pointr/philosophy

Sam Harris has written a shot but excellent book on the topic of "free will" and how it relates to our current understanding of neuroscience. It is called, oddly enough, Free Will

u/NinesRS · 1 pointr/philosophy

> assume you might be thinking bout some of the experiments that show we can observe what decision a person will make before they are conscious of the decision

Not at all, although I'm familiar with those as well. Rather, there's demonstrable evidence that you have no free agency in exercising your mind to bring about specific conscious thought on demand. Further, that your biology and your environment are the driving forces that shape your nuerodevelopment, neither of which you have any command of. Thus, by extension, 'you' are the product of concurrent and prior processes that you do not control.

To return to your example,

>Did the neurons that make up my mind not weigh the options and produce an answer on their own?

Yes, and chose an answer based on the sum of your experiences that you had no true free agency in experiencing, and neither did your ancestor's whose biology you share that informed that conclusion.

See: Sam Harris on Free Will, for a deep dive into this topic. Essay Book Lecture

u/kingdumbcum · 1 pointr/philosophy

Can I offer some other choice reads that will make you question your rational decision based on "how it feels" we make decisions rather than how they "actually are made"? We can now do brain studies that show our unconscious brain makes our decisions before our conscious brain is even aware of the choices. We rationalize our decisions based on our emotions, not logic. The beautiful thing is we feel like we are the ones in charge, the 'I", me, you, they, she, he, whomever, but every single person is as predictable as our Earth's rotation around the sun.

Let's see, some interesting books with hundreds if not thousands of sources in them each: Subliminal, Free Will, Incognito to get you started.

Feelings are only feelings, they are an old response before our prefontal cortex made its appearance. Don't let those get in the way of learning about how we work. Sure it feels like the earth is flat, it feels bad when we get rejected, it feels like your conscious mind made that choice to get a burger over the salad, but don't let feelings get in the way of what's actually happening. It's all an illusion, man..

u/Jen33 · 0 pointsr/AskWomen

Not sure if this is the type of answer you're looking for, but I've come to believe (with this book as the jump off point) that there is no such thing as free will. This literally means that no one can act in any other way than they do. Knowing this really helps me reflect on kneejerk judgments.

u/Daemonicus · 0 pointsr/worldnews

No, it wasn't in self defence... And yes you are completely ignorant to psychology. Your reply is further proof of that.

I had actually written several paragraphs trying to explain it to you, but it's probably worthless. So instead I suggest you try and read some material on behavioural psychology. And read this book. Free Will only takes about an hour to read (it's short) and it illustrates a very real problem that exists in the mentality of most people.

u/Delet3r · 0 pointsr/nsfw

Dude... people don't make free choices. I mean, take a minute and look into psychology, genetics, studies on how people's environment shapes what they do and think, mental health issues, etc. If you dig into the science of it, anyone who look at it openly realizes, people do not have free will. Neuroscientists even write books about it.

So to say anything is 100% free choice... I mean, how naive can you get?

Do you think healthy women can get into bad relationships with an abusive man and get driven to suicide? Or even better... do you think Stockholm Syndrome isn't real? The examples are so endless it boggles the mind.

I doubt the guy who committed suicide was totally healthy to start, but it doesn't mean the woman didn't push him either. Its also possible she was sane, and he had all the issues. But usually, crazy attracts crazy.