Did you know free choice is a paradox?

James 08/16/2017. 28 answers
Arts & Humanities Philosophy

If you were to choose to do something "of your own free will", with absolutely nothing else in the universe making you want it or choose it or do it, then it would be called an uncaused cause. An uncaused cause is something that happens without being caused to happen by anything else, and they are...

28 Answers

7Flightsup 08/02/2017.

I always have free choice, because when I choose to do something it's always done in the present, not in the past or the future. I might rely on the past for information, but I wouldn't necessarily need it, because I have an intellect. My intellect is independent of conditioning and everything else. It's part of my consciousness that is always in the present. The present is unavoidable, because that's all there is.

The past and the future only exist as your thoughts, ie., a time that you experienced or will experience, but either one doesn't exist except as memory and postulating the future, which are both done in the present.

Maximus Williamitis 08/02/2017.

No; a free will choice is just a 'dox'; as, it entails only a single decision. Cause with no effect is a paradox; as it involves two elements.

Houston, we have a problem 08/02/2017.

You describe an error in semantics, not a paradox.

tizzoseddy 08/02/2017.

You are confused. The only part of the universe that can MAKE you do, or want, anything is you. The cause of your actions is you. Saying that the other parts of the universe are the cause of your actions is like a wife-beater saying that his wife made him do it.

All hat 08/02/2017.

Paradox or not, do you honestly feel you have no choice in life? Like whether to pee in the bathroom or in your living room?

elj2017c 08/02/2017.

People have debated this subject for centuries. Some claim that there is no such thing as free will—that all our actions are predetermined by God. Others argue that true free will is only possible if we have absolute freedom. However, to understand this matter properly, we must turn to God’s Word, the Bible because it reveals that Jehovah created us with free will; that is, the capacity and freedom to make our own intelligent choices.

(Joshua 24:15) "Now if it seems bad to you to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods that your forefathers served on the other side of the River or the gods of the Amʹor·ites in whose land you are dwelling. But as for me and my household, we will serve Jehovah.”

STAN 08/02/2017.

James, as a human being I have the ability to make choices that are not externally determined. Those choice's are free and independent of anything and, anyone else, its a voluntary decision. It is my own ability or, discretion to choose. I LOVE IT. ;-)


Have a great day. That was my choice to say this to you. ;-)

Raver Raver Raver 08/02/2017.

Your post addresses how libertarian free will is inconsistent with causal determinism. But causal determinism is not true, as randomness occurs on the quantum scale.

The reason uncaused actions are not free either, is precisely because they are uncaused. We are not the cause of them. They are not "our" actions. If my action is a random outcome generated by the probabilistic equations of quantum mechanics, I am not responsible for it.

Grey Tower 08/02/2017.

Free choice is the result of mental activity, not the big bang.

Do I have a cup of tea this wet, miserable, cold morning or do I have a cup of coffee?

Do I put washing on knowing I won't be able to hang it outside to dry or do I wait till tomorrow when the weather forecast is looking good?

Am I a robot whose every thought, word, action and deed is being manipulated by physical laws of nature or do I control my thoughts, words, actions and deeds?

Do I choose to accept your reasoning or do I engage my intellect and draw my own conclusions?

That's a no-brainer and the answer to your question.

No Chance Without Jesus 08/02/2017.

I see and the big bang made you post this nonsense?

I am pretty sure this is your own brain fart

God can't be omniscient but now the big bang can be....sheesh the crap you people will believe to do away with God

Why 08/02/2017.

existence is useless so nothing matter anyway

Luke 08/02/2017.

Yeah, I already knew that

sparrow 08/02/2017.

Yes. I believe that. I think everything was already 'set into motion', and all small atoms and such must follow the laws of

physics. And that it's paradoxical to call something free will, when actually higher laws of physics are guiding it.

However, there's no reason both can't take credit for the decision. It IS YOU making the decision, AND also the

laws of physics, for you cannot exist separate from these laws.

Christopher F 08/02/2017.

You seem to be confused about the meaning of the word "paradox." The barber who shaves every man in town who does not shave himself is a paradox. That is, if we assume that the barber is a member of a closed set (is a man and lives in town). Then the barber both must and cannot shave himself.

If you believe "free will" falls into the same category as that barber, then you might want to define your terms and lay things out more rigorously. All you really seem to be saying so far is that you don't believe it possible. Fine: but a different point.

Plogsties 08/02/2017.

Did you know this is only one of many ways of looking at the universe and reality (and I exclude religious views) ? It sounds like some prof has managed to brainwash you into believing that he/she had all the answers. No, free choice is not a paradox at all.

The_Doc_Man 08/02/2017.

"Free choice" exists - but you have to define your terms. There is no paradox, merely a legal issue. If you are caught committing a crime, get taken before the judge, and enter a "guilty" plea, did you choose that option of your own free will unencumbered by threats of torture, or did you choose because of conscience? Free will does not and cannot separate itself from the factors that go into your decision. The question must be this: When you make a choice, was another choice available and were you free to choose either alternative? If so, then it was a choice of free will.

People sometimes get involved in discussions about how we are merely following biochemical potentials in the brain and thus are slaves to deterministic thinking. These people make me laugh. We don't know the inner details of how, at the lowest levels, a bunch of firing neurons eventually becomes a concerto or a brilliant novel.

The question therefore must be, was a given person's choice predictable? Many times the answer turns out to be NO. If you cannot predict someone's actions, then you cannot tell the difference between your own inability and that person's possession of Free Will. Stated another way, there is no pragmatic difference between a person exercising Free Will and a person making a choice you would not have predicted.

If you cannot predict actions, it MIGHT AS WELL be Free Will.

I want MOAR 08/02/2017.

Free will doesn't exist. Ought, should, need... all these things are abstract concepts that don't exist. There are only events, human wants, human desires, and that's it. It's really just play on language really. There is what there is. It's not even about logic, do you take the world as it is or do you make value judgements? There is no way to derive a value.

quaz 08/02/2017.

[1] Did u know "did-you-know" questions are a form of chat and are against the Yahoo! community guidelines ?

[2] i'll go u one better. It's not a paradox or anything so dignified as that. It's (free choice) merely NONSENSE.

[3] I accept the physical explanation u gave as fact until a better theory comes along.

Obed 08/02/2017.

Nope - not so !

Nothing whatsoever to do with the dream of a corrupt Vatican priest.

john b. loved 08/02/2017.

Not for me. I believe God has the capability of making beings like Himself, and I believe His name as He declared it, saying I am what I am, or possibly I will be what I will be, is intrinsic in His nature, and He is able to be whatever He chooses to be.

I do not then agree with your assessment of the nature of free will. But, you are free to disagree with me - or aren't you ?

Warren Thomas 08/02/2017.

I have been thinking a lot about consequential living, and your statement seems to regard that thought. As I write this I am experiencing the consequence of living, my actions at this very moment are creating a cause and effect and it stems from a risk/reward factor. This thought is elaborated in the 16 universal desires of man. But I do see freewill as leaving us with constant choices and to survive we are forced to choose, and then based on our actions, or lack therof, we live our lives consequentially. Which brings forth the question, if forced to choose then are we free?

Mr. Interesting 08/02/2017.


elenchuskb 08/02/2017.

If, quote: "absolutely nothing else in the universe ma(de) you want it or choose it or do it,", THEN why would your choice be, quote "determined (i.e. caused) in the first instant of the big bang"?

Why do you seem to think that a cause is an effect = "something that happens"?

Free choice is no more a "paradox" than "free beer". On the other hand, "FREE health care", as we allegedly have in Canada, is a paradox because it is eating up about 40% of our provincial budget.

You need a dictionary because a "free choice" is always caused by whatever one freely chooses. And whatever it is that one freely chooses is always caused by a rational desire as distinct from an animal instinct (where there is no choice) or a vegetative tropism (again no choice) or a physical/chemical action/reaction (again no choice).


Who 08/02/2017.

"then it would be called an uncaused cause."

no it wouldnt

Rowan 08/02/2017.

Yeah, that's right, there is no such thing as free will, everything anyone does is caused by genetics and environment, however the way you view that changes the decisions you make. For example, if you decided that there was no point in making choices as it was all planned out what was going to happen anyway and you couldn't change it, that might lead you on a path where you don't bother to do things that might have made you more successful in life, if you had done them. Then again, by not doing things it could also be the decision that means you don't get hit by a bus and spend months slowly dying in a hospital bed. There's no knowing which way you're going, and there's no signs of slowing so the danger must be growing...

Everard 08/02/2017.

As far as I know Big Bang only explains this incarnation.

I'm fairly sure no one knows how often all this has happened before.


Pythagorean Apatheist 08/02/2017.

Christian Skydaddy is no different than Greek Chaos or Egyptian Primordial Chaos were gods came from . Greeks believed from disorder came order . That is special pleading when something comes without a beginning .

When Christians proclaim their god has no beginning then that is not different .

Evan 08/02/2017.

Need a blog, champ?