Topic: Free Will and Determinism

"Free Will and Determinism" was voted on at our 12/11/2013 meeting.

All members are encouraged to RSVP, but please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. 

As a small change in process, I will no longer be using the waiting list feature for upcoming meetups, in favor of using the site's "notify me" functionality. If all available spots are taken by the time you try to RSVP for this meetup, I encourage you to put yourself on the "notify me" list.

We will meet on the second level of the Barnes & Noble store, to the right of the cafe counter area in the back of the store (but not in the cafe itself). You will see a circle of folding chairs (and possibly a folding table) if you walk up to the cafe counter and then look to your right to the back wall of the store.

Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to change your RSVP (at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting) to provide others with an opportunity to RSVP for this meetup.

I look forward to seeing you!


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  • Elizabeth

    What a fun discussion! The honesty, authenticity and willingness to share led to some hilarious insights! Who knew philosophy could be so much fun? Thanks for the additional research Lawrence. I'll be reading it this weekend.

    January 10

  • Lawrence

    Since we touched on a number of concepts, like compatibilism, incompatibilism and metaphysical libertarianism, I thought I'd go to Wikipedia this morning to see if I could pull up articles about these concepts. I was able to find a few that provide a decent overview.

    This article on free will discusses incompatibilism and compatibilism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr...­

    Here's an article on Metaphysical Libertarianism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li...­)

    Since I had brought up Daniel Dennett to provide an example of a compatibilist perspective, here's an article about one of his books, "Elbow Room": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El...­)

    Also, the "Free Will" section in the article on Dennett himself provides a rough idea of his position: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da...­

    January 10

  • nancy s.

    Lawrence, it was an excellent first meeting. I learned or relearned that the purpose of a group is not the end product or goal, but the process. True, word terms would have prevented a more free flowing sharing from happening. I also agree with you too, and the last author you quoted, that we can have free agency and also Determination in similar ever mind expanding existences.

    January 9

  • Jeremy S.

    Sorry, something came up and I won't be able to attend this one. This is a great group with good people. I look forward to the next meeting. Thanks Lawrence for keeping this going!

    January 6

    • Lawrence

      Thanks, Jeremy. I look forward to seeing you at a future meeting.

      January 6

  • nancy s.

    We all evolve our own different perceptions and opinions. I agree, in many ways, with both Charles and Cobra 945. However, It maybe that free will and self determination are like two perpendicular circles , evolving around each other. At the center could be ones self awareness and inner value system that act upon these revolving circles independently. And these later factors together may decide the type of person we can become and what our potential may be. Is agency mechanically directed??

    December 31

    • Cobra0945

      Yes, kind of sounds like spiral dynamics, which does explain a lot. I like to think I could or would rise near the top in any culture, but I think, sometimes, ..... I think too much. Many good people do much more with unending desire, which may be free will or imposed impetus

      December 31

  • Adrian T.

    Anyone heard of the "Performance Philosopher" Jason Silva? His short form YouTube video series "Shots of awe" touch on some of the topics our cafe has discussed. He seems to share my optimism about the future of our species and technology. Perhaps future discussion topics for our group could be found in his videos?
    http://thisisjasonsilva.com/­

    This is a 30 minute video of him presenting in TED Talk like format at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year:

    http://youtu.be/cF2VrefjIjk­

    Talks a bit too fast, but an interesting guy. Thought some of you might enjoy his passion for thought if nothing else.
    -Adrian

    2 · December 19, 2013

    • Lawrence

      Thanks for sharing, Adrian. I really liked the video.

      1 · December 20, 2013

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you so much Adrian for filling my New Years Eve with the joy if Awe! Very exciting discourse!

      1 · December 31

  • A former member
    A former member

    How does free will and self determination relate to self awareness and a person’s inner value systems?

    Free will and self determination are more or less the same – in that what’s thought to be free will, the entity which is free to choose, is directed (actualized) by a self. Determinism, on the other hand, is characterized as a phenomenon that acts without the slightest degree of freedom; it’s simply a reaction to mechanical stimuli generated by our inner and outer worlds. It is a commonly held belief there is some form of agency - in that we (our amorphous construct of ourselves) have the ability to direct and control what might be no more than mechanically generated activity.

    In this context, a value system is the characterization of a unique set of beliefs (valid or invalid) that are said to be responsible for a given individual’s thoughts, emotions and behavior.

    1 · December 20, 2013

  • Cobra0945

    It seems closely related to belief and evidence, in the sense that what makes up a persons character and beliefs, stems from and creates the will or lack of, and self determination. I like to think we all have a certain degree of free will, but it is tied to our ability to make choices in our own limited world of education, finance and relationships. As always people of motivation create more choices, unfortunately the world population is a majority of people that have limited scope due to their life conditions.

    We , the others, are very lucky and I know we are continually striving to learn more and improve our world and evolution.

    my two cents since the group is full.

    December 15, 2013

  • nancy s.

    How does free will and self determination relate to self awareness and a persons inner value systems?

    December 14, 2013

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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