182. Free Will and Addiction

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5 Comments

    1. Some get more out of listening that only reading. I have already published my book and there are tons of others who have written about why free will is impossible. I don’t expect you personally to take the time to read or to listen since I know you are compatibilist and just redefine free will to mean something that is completely unlike the notion I am trying to expose as the lie that it is.

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  1. Okay, so I’m snowed in and ended up watching the video.

    Chandler, if you’re interested in addiction, you can start with the wikipedia article. And, as someone who quit smoking multiple times until I got it right, let me tell you that quitting is not about one decision, but about making multiple decisions to react differently to the urge to smoke. Lot’s of people have successfully quit cigarettes and there’s lots of help out there.

    Most people of my age (68) who took up the habit did so when smoking was very popular and even sexy (see Bette Davis in “Now, Voyager”, Ortega looks old enough to have seen it, and it’s a really great movie — except for the smoking).

    Each decision made of one’s own free will is caused. The fact that it is caused does not mean the will is unfree. It is the nature of will that it represents the self’s intent. It is the nature of self that self is an interaction between a biological organism and it’s environment. Therefore, the meaning of ‘freedom’ can only be that the will is able to act on it’s own without coercion by the will of another.

    There is no freedom from causation, there is no freedom from self, there is no freedom from the external environment. All of these constraints are natural and inescapable. Therefore, it follows that the definition of “free will” cannot possibly mean any of these impossible freedoms.

    The only sensible meaning of “free will” is freedom from the coercion of someone else. If you are free from such coercion, then what you choose to do is either praiseworthy or blameworthy. If not, then the praise or blame belongs to the person doing the coercing.

    George, I appreciate the need for absolution. Guilt is a bookmark, a reminder that one should not have done something wrong, and it may hang around until you take steps to repair the harm your bad action has inflicted and until you adjust your behavior to avoid inflicting that harm again. After that, you can throw away the reminder (absolve yourself from guilt). But to claim absolution on the basis of “determinism made me do it” is morally foolish.

    And you should feel guilty for trying to convince people that they have no will of their own. George, you should read and comment on Dr. Eddy Nahmias’ article on ‘Willusionism’. In it Nahmias notes a number of studies showing that people who are told that “free will is an illusion” are likely to “cheat more, help less, and behave more aggressively”.

    Your crusade, George, is likely to have the opposite effect than what you intend.

    http://eddynahmias.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Neuroethics-Response-to-Baumeister.pdf

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    1. “There is no freedom from causation, there is no freedom from self, there is no freedom from the external environment. All of these constraints are natural and inescapable. Therefore, it follows that the definition of “free will” cannot possibly mean any of these impossible freedoms.”

      All very true.

      “The only sensible meaning of “free will” is freedom from the coercion of someone else. If you are free from such coercion, then what you choose to do is either praiseworthy or blameworthy. If not, then the praise or blame belongs to the person doing the coercing.”

      This is interesting because it depends on what you mean by coercion. None of our wills are free from the wills of others because we are stuck on the planet with them and we know that we will be punished by them if we disobey them. This is why all of us are coerced by others when you think about it.

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