Self Image as Free Will

 
CaliforniaDreamin
 
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CaliforniaDreamin
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14 July 2016 02:53
 

Free will is the ability to choose otherwise given the same scenario. Only a creature with a sense of itself would be able to put aside its instincts to choose a different outcome. That doesn’t mean that given the opportunity to reverse time that the creature would change its action. The sense of self necessary for free will means that given an identical situation the creature will react the same way. What makes free will remarkable is that it allows us to break free from our more base reactions.

My favorite (although fictional) example of this in action is Paul Atreides with his hand in the box of pain. He is told he will die should he remove his hand from the box which is causing him untold agony. If he were a simple animal instead of a self aware man, he would simply flee the pain of the box and be killed in turn. His free will allows him to endure the pain out of knowledge of the alternative. He will endure the pain every time because of the situation and who he is. If instead of being his normal self he was suicidal, he could instead pull his hand out of the box. The option is open to him even though he won’t pick it.

For whatever reason, people like to use coin tosses or die rolls as an analogy for free will. Could the outcome change? No. In order for the rewinded version of history to play out differently something would need to change in its setup. Once the setup for a coin toss has changed a new, unique situation has presented itself. Knowledge of the events to happens changes the image of the self which means the events aren’t the same. Thus in the new unique situation you could have a different outcome, however the original situation is bound to the factors in play at the time of its inception.

People have a sense that they could have done differently based on the knowledge of the outcome of a situation. To truly know what it would be like to go through a rewind in time you would have to experiance an unconscious sort of deja vu. If your actions were to change then it would mean you didn’t have free will. That would instead point to your decisions being random to some degree instead of determined by your will.

 
Poldano
 
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Poldano
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14 July 2016 04:06
 

Your title seems to imply considering self image as identical to free will. This doesn’t seem to be what you wrote at all. Instead, you said that the ability to have a self image is a requirement for free will.

 
 
CaliforniaDreamin
 
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CaliforniaDreamin
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14 July 2016 04:26
 
Poldano - 14 July 2016 04:06 AM

Your title seems to imply considering self image as identical to free will. This doesn’t seem to be what you wrote at all. Instead, you said that the ability to have a self image is a requirement for free will.

All people with free will have a self image, but not all people with a self image have free will. Kids and the like have a self image, but not a very well defined one. They may not realize that they have a choice, which I consider crucial to the process. Someone like Sam would be better able to tell you from a neurological standpoint when the brain of a child has developed to the point where they have most of if not all of their cognitive function.

Ultimately I’m not sure where the dividing line is. Animals such as foxes have been known to chew off their own legs to get out of traps. That is e sort of behavior I would categorize as coming from free will. Thus I’d say it’s quite possible that higher animals have the capacity for free will.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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16 July 2016 15:06
 

I think you have it backwards. Free will and self image are both illusions. We lack the former to transcend the latter.

Also, when you say that “all people with free will have a self image,” does that apply to foxes, too? Does the fox with the free will to chew his leg off have a self image?

[ Edited: 16 July 2016 15:12 by Antisocialdarwinist]