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If free will does not exist, then consciousness has no reason to exist either

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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23 August 2018 19:07
 
GAD - 23 August 2018 06:27 PM
Alexmahone - 23 August 2018 06:05 PM

So, what is the point of consciousness if one has no free will?

To understand that you have none. Like the Cyclops’s in Krull, they had the power to see the future, but only their own deaths.

Ha ha, good answer!

 
 
ubique13
 
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ubique13
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24 August 2018 10:30
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 23 August 2018 07:07 PM
GAD - 23 August 2018 06:27 PM
Alexmahone - 23 August 2018 06:05 PM

So, what is the point of consciousness if one has no free will?

To understand that you have none. Like the Cyclops’s in Krull, they had the power to see the future, but only their own deaths.

Ha ha, good answer!

“Free will” is a horrible way of phrasing what is much more aptly interpreted as being the freedom to comply (or resist). “Free choice” is a better way of framing it, but the problem still remains that the only choice any of us ever really has is whether or not to resist the compulsion to go along with that which might otherwise occur. Even if we exercise highly disciplined control over our inhibitory faculties, we can only resist up to a point before biological imperatives override our conscious willpower.

I would venture a step further and posit that consciousness and willpower are the same thing. Each is nourished or diminished by our respective experiences, and the two are inextricably woven together. The meaning of life, as it were, is the midpoint at which we exist. The point is to live.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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24 August 2018 14:10
 
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 10:30 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 23 August 2018 07:07 PM
GAD - 23 August 2018 06:27 PM
Alexmahone - 23 August 2018 06:05 PM

So, what is the point of consciousness if one has no free will?

To understand that you have none. Like the Cyclops’s in Krull, they had the power to see the future, but only their own deaths.

Ha ha, good answer!

“Free will” is a horrible way of phrasing what is much more aptly interpreted as being the freedom to comply (or resist). “Free choice” is a better way of framing it, but the problem still remains that the only choice any of us ever really has is whether or not to resist the compulsion to go along with that which might otherwise occur.

Otherwise known as Free Won’t.

ubique13 - 24 August 2018 10:30 AM

I would venture a step further and posit that consciousness and willpower are the same thing. Each is nourished or diminished by our respective experiences, and the two are inextricably woven together. The meaning of life, as it were, is the midpoint at which we exist. The point is to live.

No, because most of the time consciousness does not exercise “free won’t,” but merely rationalizes, after the fact, our subconscious impulses: the compulsions that otherwise occur.

 
 
ubique13
 
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ubique13
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24 August 2018 14:21
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 24 August 2018 02:10 PM
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 10:30 AM

I would venture a step further and posit that consciousness and willpower are the same thing. Each is nourished or diminished by our respective experiences, and the two are inextricably woven together. The meaning of life, as it were, is the midpoint at which we exist. The point is to live.

No, because most of the time consciousness does not exercise “free won’t,” but merely rationalizes, after the fact, our subconscious impulses: the compulsions that otherwise occur.

I will readily admit that most people seem completely unmoored from any notion that they could posses inhibitory function, let alone exercise it. Nevertheless, what’s true for many is not true for all.

As an anecdotal example, one night about six years ago I chose to stop smoking cigarettes. I’ve been around other people smoking plenty of times since then, but I still haven’t touched a single cigarette since my decision. I never claimed that everyone possesses the will to do something like that, but I know that some do.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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24 August 2018 16:49
 
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 02:21 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 24 August 2018 02:10 PM
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 10:30 AM

I would venture a step further and posit that consciousness and willpower are the same thing. Each is nourished or diminished by our respective experiences, and the two are inextricably woven together. The meaning of life, as it were, is the midpoint at which we exist. The point is to live.

No, because most of the time consciousness does not exercise “free won’t,” but merely rationalizes, after the fact, our subconscious impulses: the compulsions that otherwise occur.

I will readily admit that most people seem completely unmoored from any notion that they could posses inhibitory function, let alone exercise it. Nevertheless, what’s true for many is not true for all.

As an anecdotal example, one night about six years ago I chose to stop smoking cigarettes. I’ve been around other people smoking plenty of times since then, but I still haven’t touched a single cigarette since my decision. I never claimed that everyone possesses the will to do something like that, but I know that some do.

My point is that consciousness and willpower/inhibitory function are not the same thing, as you claim. In addition to overriding our subconscious compulsions—exercising willpower—consciousness also rationalizes them.

 
 
ubique13
 
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ubique13
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24 August 2018 17:12
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 24 August 2018 04:49 PM
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 02:21 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 24 August 2018 02:10 PM
ubique13 - 24 August 2018 10:30 AM

I would venture a step further and posit that consciousness and willpower are the same thing. Each is nourished or diminished by our respective experiences, and the two are inextricably woven together. The meaning of life, as it were, is the midpoint at which we exist. The point is to live.

No, because most of the time consciousness does not exercise “free won’t,” but merely rationalizes, after the fact, our subconscious impulses: the compulsions that otherwise occur.

I will readily admit that most people seem completely unmoored from any notion that they could posses inhibitory function, let alone exercise it. Nevertheless, what’s true for many is not true for all.

As an anecdotal example, one night about six years ago I chose to stop smoking cigarettes. I’ve been around other people smoking plenty of times since then, but I still haven’t touched a single cigarette since my decision. I never claimed that everyone possesses the will to do something like that, but I know that some do.

My point is that consciousness and willpower/inhibitory function are not the same thing, as you claim. In addition to overriding our subconscious compulsions—exercising willpower—consciousness also rationalizes them.

If I am conscious of a patterned, habitual behavior that I wish to change in myself, and then I make the conscious decision to alter the aforementioned behavioral pattern, then I have the ability to freely exert my preference. And this free exertion is of a willful nature. It is what I chose, insofar as any choice exists at all.

Phenomonology has made a fucking mess of things.

 
 
RedJamaX
 
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RedJamaX
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21 September 2018 15:44
 
Burleigh - 18 July 2017 12:02 PM

Dr. Harris argues that all perception is the result of neural activity, and that free will is impossible because we are controlled by our neurochemistry and how it relates to the outside world. We therefore are merely perceiving thoughts rather than thinking them, and we do not make decisions- rather, we have the perception of decisions being made. This is what Dr. Harris means by “free will is an illusion.”

However, society’s common belief about consciousness is that it is a means of cognitively processing stimuli for the purpose of organizing and enacting behavior. This clearly contradicts the logical outcome of the argument above. Following Sam’s reasoning, consciousness is just a perceptive device that cannot have an impact on the outside world.

The question I ask, then, is if consciousness has any purpose at all. If it cannot influence the outside world, there seems to be no explanation as to its function. Did evolution select for the existence of consciousness? Impossible, if consciousness has no influence on brain function.

This raises another issue. If the brain *causes* consciousness, then we would expect physical resources to be expended on the maintenance of consciousness. Apart from the conundrum of physical matter causing something non-physical, we should be suspicious of this claim. If evolution does not select for consciousness and physical resources/energy are spent on its maintenance, then we should expect evolution to select *against* the existence of consciousness. Basically, evolution always selects for the least energy-expensive mechanisms for the survival of the species. Not only does consciousness seem to not have a purpose, it also should be specifically selected against (if the brain creates consciousness).

One final issue: we are faced with an odd fact regarding the specific content of consciousness. Why are we only conscious of the events that relate our body to the outside world? This is puzzling when you think about it. I am currently sitting and aware of sensory stimuli from the outside world. I am also aware of certain specific stimuli that originate in my body. What is interesting is that the stimuli I am aware of inside my body seems to directly relate to the outside world. Consider this: I am aware of when I have a stomach ache, but I am not aware of when my stomach contracts to digest food. Why do I perceive the stomach ache? Because it may be informing me that I ate some spoiled food. Another example: I am aware of when someone thrusts a knife into my liver, but I am not aware of when my liver releases bile into the bile duct. My sensory experiences of internal events seem to only select those that are caused by the outside world. Any internal event that is caused by a routine internal process I am blissfully unaware of.

So my perceptive experiences seem to all revolve around the outside environment. In an uncanny way, my conscious experiences seem to witness to the role of consciousness in modulating responses to the outside world. But, as expressed earlier, consciousness can have no role whatsoever in deciding how my body reacts to any exterior events. The illusion that consciousness can influence body’s reactions to the outside world is very strong.

Thank you,
Burleigh

 
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