What if the (wining and dining) date [...]
What if the drugging [...]
Does this follow the idea that will is less free if the suppression agent (wine, drugs, atmosphere) is overtly given over time vs. being insidiously snuck into the picture?
Here are a few more:
- A person, of his or her own free will, smokes their first cigarette. (9)
- A person, of his or her own free will, smokes their second cigarette. (8)
- A person, of his or her own free will, smokes their thousandth cigarette. (2)
My reasoning here is a combination of being wined and dined, and being drugged.
The assumptions you add to the initial scenarios are rather unexpected when you look at the initial proposals, and therefore constitute different scenarios. We don't need to add all kinds of scenarios to the list, only those that have constraints of a nature radically different from those of the other scenarios.From now on, shall we indicate what we think is really novel about a scenario before we add it?
ucim wrote:I differ with you about falling on the hand grenade... that is an instinctive reaction, not a thought-out one. It comes out of the pure mechanics of "who you are" (which is influenced over time by circumstance, and perhaps by deliberation). With careful deliberation at home, the soldier may prefer that somebody else jump on the bomb. But the pressures of war and buddy loyalty play into an instant decision. Similar kinds of pressures can lead to the kinds of torture our own GIs are reported to have inflicted on prisoners of war. The Stanford prison experiment (while badly done in some ways) illuminates this capacity we all seem to have, under the right circumstances, to act against our own nature. Are people under those circumstances acting "of their own free will"? To me the answer isn't an obvious yes at all, at least not the way I casually think of free will as applied to people.
In the grenade case, that it might come out directly from who he is is exactly
why I would
think it is a case of free will.
But on second thought, and based on the principles I outlined in my previous post, I think that this case isn't that free.
Besides fear, there is the sense of duty and other values that are hammered into soldiers through peer pressure, constant repetition and various other means throughout their experience in the army. If he wouldn't make that decision after careful deliberation (which some would), then they probably aren't really part of who he is.
Conversely, I would think that the case of a man who jumps on the metro rails to make the kid who fell there flatten himself right between the rails and thus saved him (true story; he survived too) is mostly free will, because
he wouldn't have done that if it hadn't felt profoundly right
to him, i.e. it comes from the values that are part of who he is at his core
.How likely a person would be to make the same decision after careful deliberation is a tempting test of free will.
The problem I see with it is that giving in to "unreasonable" desires would always
be considered unfree, which I don't think is true. It wrongly gives an exclusivity on free will to second order desires (what we want to want/the person we wish we were, for those who didn't follow that conversation)
, which we sometimes disregard in favour of more immediate desires "of our own free will", imho.
ucim wrote:This may differ from how I analytically think of free will as applied to arbitrary entities, but right now I'm limiting myself to people, for a different perspective.
The whole point of this discussion is to have a good
definition of free will. I don't see how one that doesn't apply to all
cases would qualify.
ucim wrote:You keep talking about constraints on choice - I don't think that's the right word to use. (At least, it is not a word whose usage resonates in me with the idea I see it applied to.) I see, primarily and so far,
1: cases that include choices with profound negative consequences opposing choices with much less profound consequences, and
2: cases that include deterioration or evasion of the subject's cognitive facilities.
Same as guenter, I don't see (1) as a case of unfree will. Given a situation, no matter how difficult, we make a choice. If we aren't affected by any case of (2), then it was "of our own free will".In the cases of duress or material impossibility
, justice will always see mitigating factors, but I'd say that the choice was still free. It's just that it was between options that didn't include a "right" one
ucim wrote:@makc, @Sanjuricus: To answer your question ("does a random number function embody free will?"), consider the answering machine example brought up several pages ago. Why would it (or would it not) satisfy you to call what it does an act of free will? Because the interesting question is not whether, but why.
ucim wrote:I'm not convinced it doe
Guenter was writing from the point of view of someone who does
think that case (1) includes cases of unfree will. I don't think he believes that the expression "force one's will on someone" accurately reflects what we mean by free will, and neither do I.
ucim wrote:I don't think it would be all that reasonable to say that "of my own free will, I got on a train to Boise"
Even though it's a situation "mandated by nature itself", there wasn't a choice to do so, so free will is irrelevant.
ucim wrote:I would subdivide #1 differently:
1c: cases where a choice was inconsequential, but external circumstances are brought in that artificially make a particular choice especially unattractive (e.g. he pulls out a gun), and
1d: cases where the unattractivity of a particular choice is inherent - e.g. illness.
... which can be further subdivided into
1d1: cases where the illness is "natural" (got the plague), and
1d2: cases where the illness is artificial (i.e. somebody breaks your arm)
... so, I guess yes, the idea that somebody else's actions (somebody else's will) is being imposed on me does seem to figure into whether I consider actions to be "of my own free will". But deliberation vs instinctive responses also play into it.
Tell me if I'm understanding you right: you're saying that man-made circumstances make the will less free but other circumstances don't?
Then what if you're in a situation where you don't know whether the circumstances are man-made, does free-will become undecidable? I don't think so.As for deliberation Vs instinct,
the problem is that instinctive reactions are often indistinguishable from extremely quick decisions, even from the subject's point of view. Would you disagree that snap decisions that don't involve alteration of the subject's cognitive abilities are free will?
Edit: wow, wall of text... Sorry about that, I didn't realize I was writing so much
I'll add some more formatting to make the important points stand out.