Thursday, March 10, 2016

605: Freedom and limitations...

The more you study on the subject of Free Will, the more interesting it becomes and the more complex it becomes too.

I have added a few details to our diagram in relation to free will. As said, our positive freedom, our freedom to act is what makes us the individual we are.

But freedom? I guess this is a good moment to quote Clint Eastwood in his role as Dirty Harry: “A man has to know his limitations.”

Yes, we all believe our life is guided by our free will, but yet we are well aware that there are all kinds of limitations. Food for philosophers….

So there is a constant battle going on between our sense of freedom and our awareness , that one way to an other we can not act differently than we do…

Let’s have a closer look at these “forces” which seem to limit our freedom.

A  first one is the roles of ‘chance and necessity’ in human life and the impotence of the individual’s will in the face of it.

A second problem are some aspects of christian thinking. The believe that god has absolute foreknowledge of everything, means that all our actions are already knows, thence determined.

But when science freed itself from religious dogmas and went its own secular way, we didn’t regain our freedom.

On the contrary, we had to face a third attack on our freedom: the general law of causality. If everything is ruled by laws of physics and we are physical beings or objects………. ?????

Awareness of a fourth attack on our freedom is that feeling that every day is the same to you,  the perception of the endless repetition 

of the same patterns of action and behaviour in individual lives, the impotence of the will to change these patterns. 

You sigh and conclude, that you are the product op your childhood and education and that you can not get rid of its effect on your behaviour.

Through history philosophers have faced the four problems and tried to find satisfactory answers for human freedom in a world of cause, chance and necessity.

We are flesh-and-blood beings. As such we are part of the material world and so are subject to its causality. 

We are social beings and live in a world shaped by the culture to which we belong. We owe our very modes of thinking and assessment to it. 

We share its form of life and activities with others who exist independently of us and who co-operate as well as oppose us. 

We have a history, a past and roots in that past, attachments and loyalties. 

And, last but not least, chance too has a part in the events that confront us in our life and often stand in our way. 

We do not act in a vacuum and so we cannot be free in a vacuum. 
Each one of us has to find his freedom, in the sense of autonomy, in a world of cause, chance and necessity.

However, when we look around in this world, we see, that our concept of human freedom,

which makes us the individual persons, we can be, is nor really shared by everyone. 

And looking for a future of this world….is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Thank you for your attention…. the floor is yours…^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995

Free Will, Ilham Dilham, 1999
On Free will, J.J.C.Smart, Mind 1961
Of Liberty and Necessity, James A. Harris, 2005
Free Will, A very short Introduction, Thomas Pink, 2003

The Discussion

[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): compare to other states we have a lot of freedom
[13:22] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:23] herman Bergson: ok our situation is a good thing?
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, i think so
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we are free to choose what we want and to say what we want
[13:24] herman Bergson: Sounds like everyone agrees with you Beertje :-)
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they are free to sleep now:)
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: i'm not sure where you were pointing at herman : is culture limiting free will right now? and is that a good thing? is that the question?
[13:25] herman Bergson: and I must say that we are not free to choos ewhat we want or say what we want ^_^
[13:25] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): is here, awake
[13:26] herman Bergson: Good remark Ciska....!
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): some cultures definitely are
[13:26] herman Bergson: I point you at begin with :-)
[13:26] CB Axel: Are there any cultures where one is free to just murder someone? That would be an example of not being able to choose what you do.
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: well the question might be : what is the use of a culture usually?
[13:28] herman Bergson: the use of culture...?
[13:28] herman Bergson: it is just there...
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: yes - well practically spoken culutre organizes us
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: culture
[13:28] herman Bergson: and the freedom to murder...that is a really basic biological question....
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well there indeed are cultures in iran and middle east in general if a girl is seen with a man that her family have not decided they can then choose to murder her to "preserve the family honour"
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): horrible stuff!
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: mostly for basic needs
[13:29] CB Axel: Sure, but even there they can't just go around killing just anyone.
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we murder lot's of animals just to eat them, that's horrible too
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: true beertje
[13:30] herman Bergson: that is another subject beertje...
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no, we are free to refuse to eat aniimals
[13:30] herman Bergson: Killing humans at random is something...
[13:31] herman Bergson: but that idea isn't realistic...I would say...biologically we are not inclined to killour fellowmen at random
[13:31] herman Bergson: we need an ideology to motivate us...
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): killing someone because in love with wrong person is so sad. I dont get how anyone think they can control a basic drive like love
[13:31] herman Bergson: best one is a religion...
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes bejiita a sidestep we commit a crime passionel :-)
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:33] herman Bergson: But let's get back to Ciska's question...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Is culture limiting our free will....
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): depends on the culture i guess
[13:34] herman Bergson: but WE ARE the culture Bejiita...
[13:34] CB Axel: I can't think of a single culture that doesn't limit our free will.
[13:34] herman Bergson: we create our way of livnng together..
[13:34] herman Bergson: Indeed CB
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): depends on the tribe I guess which culture you have
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes this is our culture and we are free but other cultures have not same freedom, like the example i told before
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: for one thing we need culture to sustain us physical  - we need to eat built and be healthy
[13:35] CB Axel: And I say our culture still controls our behavior.
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: do we need a will to want that?
[13:35] herman Bergson: That was my final remakr inthe lecture Bejiita...!
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: or is that just biological basics?
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: I do agree cb - but that comes due to the way culture was organized in history and still is
[13:36] herman Bergson: as  I said...we do not live in a vacuum....
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): culture is so many different things all connected together to form a sort of system to hold us together in one way or another
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its complex
[13:36] herman Bergson: Like a fish doesn’t live outside the water
[13:37] CB Axel: Not for long, anyway.
[13:37] herman Bergson: Like we do not live outside oxygen...:-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: (just to help the fish :-)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: fact is we do have basic needs which do come automatically with our biology
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: would we have the free will to live without them?
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: bit difficult because we would stop to exist if we would not sustain our biology
[13:39] herman Bergson: this is a good point, Ciska....
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): very true
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: so is a will still free if it does sustain our intrests?
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can culture be an excuse to do horrible things and not think for yourself?
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: (In this point- the interest of being alive?
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: )
[13:39] herman Bergson: you have to keep in mind that free refers to our actions.....
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: no thats nothing culture can do beertje - thats true
[13:40] herman Bergson: the will is just the determination to act
[13:40] CB Axel: we found that in order to survive we had to learn to depend on others. And to be able to depend on others, we had to be nice to each other. Thus, culture.
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats how a culture should be indeed
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes CB :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: And the removal of total free will.
[13:41] herman Bergson: I would disagree there.....
[13:42] herman Bergson: for in your last statement you make free will some special concept  not related to the context we live in...
[13:42] CB Axel: Well, you could still have the freedom to be a jerk, but then you'd lose the community that helps you survive.
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: mh - maybe we could put it differently: culture should serve to sustain the basic needs of everyone who lives in. To achieve that we all have the will to work - the one way or the other - but we do not have the will to give up choices as to how that looks like
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: so will becomes a quality based idea then somehow
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: which is tied to the individual
[13:43] herman Bergson: the whole debate about free will is the observation that we do not live in a vacuum....
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: seen from the perspective that free will is the determination to act
[13:44] herman Bergson: our context forces limitations on us....but in how far...and in how much should we accept them....and in  how much are they unavoidable....
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: is there the question if reacting is no free will in general?
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well we still choose if and how to act
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: yes  and to react too
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: may brain is a bit tango atm
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: my
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: sorry ,)
[13:46] herman Bergson: but even in your reactions you can be conditioned by education, Ciska...
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: thats possible yes
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: or not ;)
[13:47] herman Bergson: main point here might be the concept of "Freedom"
[13:48] herman Bergson: The whole debate is about fredom and determinism...eventually
[13:48] herman Bergson: so we'll have this debate another number of times in the coming lectures :-)
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): has freedom the same meaning for every person on this earth?
[13:49] herman Bergson: That depends Beertje...
[13:49] herman Bergson: Maybe a person feels free..bu twhenyou show this person what you are allowed to do...???
[13:50] herman Bergson: I guess freedom might get another meaning for that person
[13:51] herman Bergson: Plenty of stuff to think about I guess...
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: isn't personal freedom always limited by the ideas we have?
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: in the moment we get more ideas
[13:51] herman Bergson: So, thank you all again for your participation....:-)
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: we have more possibilities to choose
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: and that feels freer ;)
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:51] herman Bergson: Enjoy the weekend ^_^
[13:51] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: u too
[13:52] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Thank you Herman
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again Herman
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu next time
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: I go dancing a ibt to shake the brain ;)
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: have a good evening everyone
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: heheh
[13:52] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Waves
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welteruste Ciska
[13:52] herman Bergson: Good idea Ciska :-)
[13:52] CB Axel: Good bye, everyone. See you on Tuesday. °͜°

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