The determinism syllogism

Author: Bones ,

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  • Bones
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    Premise 1  Every human choice or action is driven by past events. 

    Premise 2 We do not control past events. 

    Conclusion 1 Human free will does not exist. 

    From my perspective, the syllogism seems simple to the point where it is irrefutable. What do we think?
  • Tarik
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    --> @Bones
    Premise 1  Every human choice or action is driven by past events. 
    Or free will?
  • Bones
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    --> @Tarik
    No, all actions occur because of something which happened in the past. 
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Bones
    1. Human choice or action is driven by internal data manipulation, resultant of past events (acquisition/conditioning).

    2. Past events were........ And exist only as record or memory, which we control.

    3. All decisions are made upon the above basis.....So all barring physiological malfunction, it is impossible to function spontaneously.


    Therefore, from my perspective, "free will" amounts to the ability to internally make informed choices, without external interference.
  • Intelligence_06
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    The past events actually exist because we exist. We have the right to determine what past events would happen by existing in a certain state, and if we have the right to control the past, we could possibly control the future.
  • Sum1hugme
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    --> @Intelligence_06
    The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is wrong because it falsley assumes that particles do not have mass until they are observed
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Bones
    Premise 1  Every human choice or action is driven by past events. 

    Premise 2 We do not control past events. 

    Conclusion 1 Human free will does not exist. 

    From my perspective, the syllogism seems simple to the point where it is irrefutable. What do we think?
    I see no logical flaws in your argument.
  • Tarik
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    --> @Bones
    No, all actions occur because of something which happened in the past. 
    Prove it.
  • FLRW
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    --> @Tarik
    You had no say in you being born.  It  occurred because of something which happened in the past. 
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @FLRW
    There is an argument of internal versus external free will - that is why I no longer consider myself a hard determinist.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @FLRW
    For example, though you do not choose whether you prefer one thing to another - you can choose to go against that preference - while could argue that ultimately leads one back to another preference which you did not choose, you ULTIMATELY did go against a preference. So though libertarian free will is quite silly, I think that this form of "Will" is still something that humans have. As we do see people who change principles and such, such things are caused by external events, and internal thought - sometimes you choose something consciously without subconscious thought -as the the fact that the experiments I have read are not ALWAYS able to read subconscious neurologic activity before the action happens, just most times.

    This would suggest that while what we perceive as "free will" does not exist, we have some type of control over our actions. The question is to what degree
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @FLRW
    Some religions and practices say you do pick when you are reborn. 
  • Tarik
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    --> @FLRW
    You had no say in you being born.  It  occurred because of something which happened in the past. 
    Thanks for bringing up my parents in their intimacy, that was a mental image I definitely needed lol, but anyway so what about that thing which happened in the past why did that occur? Because of free will.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    There is an argument of internal versus external free will - that is why I no longer consider myself a hard determinist.
    Indeterminism (not subject to cause and effect) would be indistinguishable from entirely random and almost certainly lacking in utility. Random events are incompatible with "choice". The alternative is determinism which is incompatible with "choice".
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    This would suggest that while what we perceive as "free will" does not exist, we have some type of control over our actions. The question is to what degree
    We appear to have full control over our voluntary behavior. This does not make freewill other than logically incoherent. 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @FLRW
    You had no say in you being born.  It  occurred because of something which happened in the past. 
    Well stated.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @secularmerlin
    That doesn't disagree with me - I agreed that our traditional sense of free will does not exist - were you reading? You even quoted the section that I said "Free will doesn't seem to exist" - please read before attempting to refute me again.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    It qasnot an attempt at criticism or even necessarily rebuttal. I was trying to answer your question in regards to the degree to which we control our actions. 
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Bones
    Premise 1  Every human choice or action is driven by past events. 

    Premise 2 We do not control past events. 

    Conclusion 1 Human free will does not exist. 

    From my perspective, the syllogism seems simple to the point where it is irrefutable. What do we think?
    There are some issues with how you drew the conclusion as well as semantics of the word 'we'.

    So, premise 1, even if proven to be true, doesn't exclude other factors in the choice-making process. It states that past events are part of it.

    Premise 2 doesn't make clear who 'we' are because if one individual was or wasn't in control of certain past events it doesn't necessariy equate to 'we' being or not being in control as a whole group. Equally, even if 'we' the collective were in control in a hive-mind type thing, free will for the individual surely would be significantly limited.

    The conclusion implies you had a premise specifying that free will is or isn't contingent on something (such as control of past events, which is probably what was implied) however the direct way you linked premise 1 and premise 2 to the conclusion isn't irrefutable at all, it's inconherent based on written words in your syllogism. You maybe needed a first conclusion to that syllogism to use as a premise in a future one, then you may evolve it to draw the conclusion you had there (with another premise on the new one).
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    So, premise 1, even if proven to be true, doesn't exclude other factors in the choice-making process. It states that past events are part of it.

    Premise 2 doesn't make clear who 'we' are because if one individual was or wasn't in control of certain past events it doesn't necessariy equate to 'we' being or not being in control as a whole group. Equally, even if 'we' the collective were in control in a hive-mind type thing, free will for the individual surely would be significantly limited.
    So perhaps a better syllogism would be 

    Biology + circumstances = behavior 

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Can you expand each premise and the conclusion?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Sure.

    Biology = everything about you mechanically. Genetics, organ function, biochemistry etc but also any genetically coded behaviors and any behavior predicated upon our physical form.

    Circumstances = everything that has ever happened anywhere at any time and also "before" time if that even has any meaning up to and including this moment. Your biology is actually a subset of your circumstances and could technically be left out but I like having the a + b = x structure for the argument.

    Behavior = the subset of all things you are or have ever been physically capable of doing that you have actually done or are currently doing. By extrapolation also all the things you actually will do but that is an unknown quantity so let's just stick with past and present. 
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    This thread spoke about a syllogism and asked if it was irrefutable, it didn't say we are generally discussing free will.

    Free will comes down to whether teality is scripted fate or random at its core, in my opinion. See, even if reality itself is semi deterministic, if it's random at the core than will is free because god itself is incapable of full control then.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Events which are not concordant with cause and effect are by and large devoid of utility. If that is what you mean by random then that would seem to be separate from "choice" which I understand requires an informed and purposeful course of action (predicated on previous events aka cause and effect aka determinism).
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Bones
    P1 I have never smoked anything [cigarette, cigar, weed, or any other flammable substance rolled in a paper tube, set on fire at one end, and sucked from the other end. Thus, I have no past event on which to make a choice to never do so.

    P2 With no past event on which to make a choice of change, I am not compelled to have control of any change.

    C I therefore maintain the free will to never change, or to change. That is the nature of free will, and it need not be based on any past event.