Thank you, I will look into David Kelly.
You've brought up some very interesting points. To better understand your argument, can we define what you mean by free will more specifically(This may be self-evident, but bear with me)? For instance, when I explained this theory to my dad he said, "are you saying that we as humans are predisposed to certain actions, but still have the free will to choose between those actions?" That isn't what I meant, but that brings up an interesting point. Is this what you all believe free will to be.
Predisposed, as in: we are predisposed to drink water and not poison, but within that predisposition, we have the free will to choose any non-lethal beverage?
I would narrow down this definition of free will as: What we can physically do -> What we can mentally choose -> Our range of choices.
For example: (We cannot choose to fly) - (Sane people will
not choose poison) - (non-lethal beverages)
Is this how you would define free will?
Free will. You begin with the assumption that you "want" water. I assure you that there are many hours during the day when my body reminds my brain to find food and my brain tells my body that it will just have to wait. Water gets a higher priority, but the principle is the same. The problem - the fallacy of the stolen concept - is your assumption that you "want" something. What do you mean by "want"? We have all kinds of impulses and internal signals. Something sorts them out; that something is will.
By "want" I mean that my body has a predisposition to attempt to obtain water, just as plants "want" to grow towards the sun. Plants are physically able to grow any which way (I would assume - I am not an expert on plants), but the direction that they will
grow is towards the sun. The fact that you are able to postpone the action of getting water only means that at the moment you value something or some action more than water. This is how I would describe how choices are made without free will:
We start with automatic values (certain dispositions) as babies: Seek out pleasure, stay away from pain. These are automatic and branch out into more specifics such as obtaining food and pulling your hand away from a hot stove when burned (though this action is very clearly automatic, without choice, and the former is not clearly without choice). Then, though our lives we develop what I call a "value hierarchy", which can change from moment to moment depending on what is happening to you, but has an underlying structure. For example, the desire to drink water will go up the value hierarchy the longer you are without water, it will become more and more of a conscious priority. We have no control over how much our body wants water, though we can ignore the want until it gets too strong. This "want" for water is automatic, and not a result of free will. The "choice" to fulfill that want depends on whether there are other actions that you value more at the given moment. (The NASA mission specialists have enough self control to not itch because they have more important things to do, higher values).
Therefore, I do not believe that I am victim to the fallacy of the stolen concept because the want for water does not stem from a free choice. Babies do not think "Hm, I think I will choose to want water(/milk) for the rest of my life."
That "something [that] sorts them out", as you mentioned, I believe to be the simple process of rearranging our value hierarchy subconsciously through the filter of "is this good for me, or is this bad for me."
For example, "Water is good for me, but I need to adjust the calibration of this space satellite more than I need a drink of water right now so I will wait to have a drink until I am done with this adjustment."
Or, "I am dehydrated and haven't had a drink in three days, I will have some water right now rather than finish this adjustment."
These look like choices from the outside, but I suggest that they are merely the highest momentary value taking precedence over what the astronaut will do.
if there is free will, then this conversation actually matters. If there isn't, then it doesn't.
I will have to disagree. Something "matters" or "has significance" when that something effects an defined outcome. For example, sun light matters(has significance) in regards to the subject of the life of a plant. (Obviously it cannot matter to
the plant, because the plant is not conscious, but
the sunlight has significance relative to a desired outcome, growth and life).
Continuing life is an automatic value for anything alive on our planet (whether that thing has free will or not), otherwise they would not have survived natural selection
. By value, I mean "an outcome which the actions of that living thing are attuned to support". Grow towards the sun, avoid predators, eat food, etc. This value is apparent in living things that obiously do not have free will, cells for example - they multiply - an action that furthers life. I trust no one will dispute me on this.
Therefore, I suggest that humans work the same way, just a billion times more complicated. If we are intelligent enough to perform introspection, and we question our free will in regard to how it helps us obtain our values - I suggest that it does matter because it will help us to determine how to better obtain the values that we have no choice in owning.
I remember him once describing free will this way: imagine you are at home enjoying a glass of wine and reading a favorite book. Suddenly you hear a scratching sound outside a window in another room. The noise concerns you. In order to examine the source/nature of that noise, you focus your perception. You put your book down, and listen more closely. You do so consciously. You realize it is the wind shuffling outside. You have just exercised your free will, by, in effect, tightening the screws of your senses and analysing the data from said senses. One could argue that the entirety of life consists of the accumulation of such actions, with an occasional "glass of wine" sprinkled in.
Why does the noise concern you? You did not choose to let it concern you. If that concerning noise caused
you (or was the stimuli that caused you) to "put your book down, and listen more closely" I suggest the opposite, there is no free will involved.
Dglgmut said: "Even if you don't have a say in what you want, you have a huge say in whether you get what you want."Yes, some people will be lazy and not achieve their wants while some will be dilligent; however, I still think that those choices are the results of billions of inputs filtered through our very complicated minds that will lead us to make these choices. Why do certain people exercise patience, diligence, and hard work every day while other people choose to be lazy every day? Is is because every day they make a fresh, uninfluenced choice to behave in this way? I think its more reasonable to assume that over time the hard worker has nurtured character values which molds him into the person that makes those same positive choices every day, while the other did the opposite. I hope none of you think that I am being obstinate here. You all are raising good points, but those points allow be to be more specific about how I think that humans make "choices". I have considered similar ideas before (the wine glass for example) and these are the responses that I have come up with over the years.The fallacy of the stolen concept is new to me, but I don't think it applies here as a "want" does not predicate free will (as I have demonstrated). Respectfully, Jordan