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Do we have free will?

Hi all,

Hope your 2013 is starting to take shape.

Earlier this month we met up in the Long Stone on Townsend street to discuss the question “How do circumstances influence our ethical choices?”  As questions and discussions go, it brought us to some really interesting places, including the question of whether or not we have free will to make any choices at all.  So we’ve decided to follow this line of inquiry and dedicate the next Socrates Café to discussing the question:

Do we have free will?

We will be meeting upstairs in the The Long Stone (which is a really great venue by the way – cosy, warm and reasonably quiet) from 715pm with conversation starting at 7:30.

 

We look forward to seeing you there and then,

Paul & Roy

Socrates Café  – a space where ideas and dialogue can flourish

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Emails are notorious for being the harbingers of misunderstandings. I think everyone is trying to do their best despite the heated moments. I believe that most of the enchanges between Jeanne, Kieran and Roy were in the realm of visceral responses. All of us have 'feet of clay' in this regard. Reconcile with Kieran please. Whether or not this format of discussion on these fundamental questions is of real relevance to our lives or whether this is just a debating group where people are taking stances just for the sake of conversation and argument, without questioning what a given stance really means to us in our lives, I am as yet unsure.. Quick visceral responses risk us closing our minds and our hearts to what is really going on for us. Maybe there is a lesson for us - to allow space for silence to consider more deeply how silence within us is responding to the idea before us. Truth emerges in silence, in this space we can really hear the other and our true self. S

    February 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I would just like to note that I did reconcile with Keiran...anyone who is curious about this conversation, just ask me and I will explain as I feel embarassed at Susans leaving (above).

      April 17, 2013

    • Roy

      I met personally with Kieran several weeks ago and this is all sorted. It was one of those online miscommunications. It happens in the best of communities.

      April 18, 2013

  • Rob

    Hi all,

    I have just joined the group. I was sorry to see that I missed the discussion on freewill. Apparently it was a lively discussion. Presuming the question hasn't been sufficiently answered, might I suggest to you (Roy/Paul) that we consider scheduling a sequel to that topic in the near future. It's a hugely important question and the implications of a 'no' answer are very far-reaching.

    I look forward to the next meeting, whatever the topic.

    Rob

    April 17, 2013

  • John M.

    shoot! seems I missed the liveliest debate ever! And it all happened without me! bwahaaahaaa! ;)

    March 5, 2013

  • John

    I’m amazed. Contraception, religion, religious abuse, free speech, reconciliation etc. etc. all dragged into the topic ‘Do we have free will?’

    As far as I’m concerned the most relevant thing to free will that has been mentioned on this page has been: “Sweets on the tables”! Surely this is the simplest example showing that we do indeed have free will, and that it does indeed exist (Just my opinion).


    P.S. I propose that any future comments on topics discussed be restricted to people who actually attended the discussion.

    1 · February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi,

    I see from here that two or three emails between Kieran and Jeanne were copied to my email account and seem to have been removed from here. This is a pity. My response to these emals is a general one. Can we not just speak our truth without having to 'despise' the other in the process? I mean by this, taking the attitude that the 'other' and their views are somehow a threat to us and our position, or even a threat to our perception of any given aspect of our present reality, as we experience it in the world.

    I think that the thing which keeps us locked in separateness from others and from learning , growing and expanding in self-knowledge is 'contempt prior to investigation'. But, truly and sincerely, don't we all just want peace in ourselves and with others while being true to ourselves of course.

    The last meetup was very rewarding for me with wonderful people. Love,
    Susan

    1 · February 14, 2013

    • Roy

      Jeanne...I just wanted to respond to your comment and ask you to consider a thought or two. You are right about religion having a history laced with heinous acts done in the name of their brand of reality. And Ireland has seen more than its share lately as crimes of one kind or another become exposed to public awareness. But to brand all religious people with such a wide brush is to, quoting Terry Eagleton who is not a religious person by any means, "reject religion on the cheap." It is to take a gross portion of the whole, i.e. "the abuse and lies" (gross indeed!) and make it descriptive of ALL religion. The bits that are wrong and unjust should not be dealt with on any other basis than being immoral and unjust. But if we are going to be just in our judgement we will also have to look at the good that religion has done, i.e. schools, hospitals, digging wells, linguistics and language translation, etc.

      February 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I certainly don't want to brand all religious people and I have done a disservice to myself if I have made it look like I do. Keiran emailed me privately and said he was upset that his comments were deleted. So to be fair I replied to him (several days ago) and had a dignified (I think) discussion on abortion. I also explained that capital letters are seen as a virtual way of shouting and he said he didnt mean this, also I explained that we were discussing the existence of free will - a different discussion to 'acting' on free will. So maybe it would be decent to allow him back into the group (he told me he was blocked).

      February 19, 2013

  • Roy

    We had three groups last night. Our group raised sub-questions such as: What is freedom?, Is there a difference between individual freedom and societal freedom?, How does our background effect our freedom - if at all? Can our awareness of our situation ever be neutral or objective? Are we determined creatures making choice an illusion? The aspect of our limitations (capacity - humans cannot fly unaided) and constraint (outside forces preventing action) and their relation to freedom was considered. What effect does conscious and unconscious influences have on our freedom? Can we reconfigure our various influences to make legitimate choices or do these influences determine our actions? What about being morally responsible if we do not have free will? If I now end this brief description of what happened at the Cafe last night and resist the temptation to slag off the other two groups who were at times too jovial and animated to be having a serious discussion, am I exercising free will?

    February 13, 2013

    • Gary C.

      I submit you don't Roy because despite your stated intention to resist slagging off the other two groups, you wound up doing it anyway :) There was considerable joviality and animation in the group I was in, aided at least in my case, by a restorative potion brewed by the excellent Mr. Guiness. We might not have managed to conclusively solve the whole free will issue but we did manage to make some certain other groups (Roy's group shall remain nameless) look positively dour by comparision ;)

      Also, whoever the evil genius was who decided to put sweets on the tables made a mockery of any attempt to demonstrate free will. I was forced to rationalise my inability to leave them alone!

      "I can resist, I'm just choosing not to!" :)

      February 16, 2013

    • Roy

      Hats off to 'restorative potions' and sweets on the table to field test our theories of free will and may all be found waffling.

      February 16, 2013

  • anne j

    Hoping I can learn to spell also

    February 13, 2013

    • Gary C.

      Learning to spell has been a long-standing dream of mine. If you should discover the secret, please pass it on :)

      February 16, 2013

  • Roy

    Just a brief note here to all...the organizers have removed Kieran's comments due to their caustic nature. We welcome respectful engagement and critique of one another's ideas and views. But not when it comes at the price of disrespect of the group as a whole or any one participant within the group. This is in keeping with our mantra of the Cafe being "a space where ideas and dialogue can flourish".

    February 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have to apologise to the organisers for not showing up last night despite having confirmed. I won't let that happen again

    February 13, 2013

    • Roy

      You are most gracious for your apology Frances, but we have no firing squads at Socates Cafe. See you next time.

      1 · February 13, 2013

  • anne j

    Yeh .. But you can't help it

    February 13, 2013

  • anne j

    Thoroughly enjoyed the evening .. Thanks all for very infirmative debate . Looking forward to more

    February 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a very enjoyable discussion, I spotted some typical mind fallacies in my own perspective, but this was only on reflection, two hours after the meeting. While I have not shifted my position from believing in elements of free will. Its nice to spot inadequacy in ones owns views as part of a learning curve.

    1 · February 13, 2013

  • Elva

    Hi Paul and Roy, Sorry for the very late notice...was leaving it to last moment in the hope that I would be better from a bug. Have a good night. Hopefully see you again.. Elva

    February 12, 2013

  • Catherine

    Sorry for the late notice. I won‘t get back to Dublin in time to join you.

    February 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Am I going to this because I have free will or because I dont ....hmm?

    February 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Philosophy Talk ppl might be interested in:
    Plato's Republic
    Dublin Arts & Culture
    Added by Angelo
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013
    8:00 PM
    DRURY COURT HOTEL
    28 Lower Stephen Street, Dublin 2
    Dublin

    February 11, 2013

  • Pamela

    Sorry can't make it

    February 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    hope to be there

    February 11, 2013

  • Michelle

    Hello all

    February 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    hi!!i studied philosophy in Spain, and i am really curios!! i am going fot the next. the main question is very interesting, i usually think in that.
    so, see you soon everybody!!

    February 7, 2013

  • avril

    I would love to but I doubt ill make it this time. Enjoy!

    February 6, 2013

  • Sheila

    Dont know if I have the free will to resist not coming along on night........................

    January 24, 2013

    • Roy

      Just kidding!

      January 28, 2013

    • Vincent

      ahhh Roy!! Don't be kidding, Sheila is a cheeky monkey :0)

      January 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    As a first time attender, can I ask what the format of the meeting is? Are people expected to have a few words prepared, or do we just see where the conversation leads?

    January 28, 2013

    • Roy

      The format is breaking up into groups of 6-8 at most with each having a facilitator guiding the conversation. No formal presentations. Each view respected, questions are encouraged, friendly challenges welcomed.

      January 28, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks Roy

      January 28, 2013

  • Gary

    Just found out you guys exist. Exciting

    January 27, 2013

  • Pamela

    First timer - be gentle with me

    January 23, 2013

  • Helga H.

    I'll be 30 minutes late, sorry, but really want to join

    January 23, 2013

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