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Discussion on Free Will

  • Sep 22, 2014 · 7:00 PM
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Discussion topic for this month's meeting will be Free Will. Do humans have free will? How can we go about figuring out if we do? What is a coherent definition of free will?  We may experiment with a workshop format for this meeting.

The meeting will be in the 2nd floor lounge (go up the stairs) at the Ventura Harbor: 1198 Navigator Dr., Ventura, CA. Feel free to call (805)[masked] if you need help finding it.

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  • Kevin Earl S.

    Good group. Broad discussion. Many viewpoints and polite behaviour. Good mix of 'old timers' and newcomers. Thanks for opportunity to interact. Respect.

    September 22, 2014

    • Ted D.

      Two problems with the article are: (1) that people do not usually associate "free will" with choosing between two totally inconsequential alternatives (like looking to the left or the right) but rather with choosing between alternatives on which one places some significance, and (2) that no one would ever say that a choice was "made by free will" if it were shown to have been a totally random event (such as a quantum leap).

      September 18, 2014

    • Craig B.

      Good points. [Sidebar: As a scientist, I think of a quantum leap as an electron changing states from one energy level to another - random, but with limited possibilities, like flipping a coin. Most, and debatably all, of the universe can be described with quantum mechanics. While a catalyst may cause each electron's location to be individually random the group falls into a pattern that is completely predictable - even more so than flipping a coin where each coin toss is random but the end result is eventually, but not completely predictable.]

      September 20, 2014

  • Ted D.

    Three possible impediments to free will are causal determinism (every event, including actions, being totally determined by past events and conditions), God's foreknowledge (God always knowing for sure what you will do before you do it), and predestination (God pre-determining everything that happens according to his own purposes). If "free will" were simply defined as "not having one's choice affected by a compulsion (such as being threatened at gunpoint or acting under hypnotic suggestion)," then it seems possible to have free will (doing what you want to do in a situation you want to be in) even if your choice were causally determined or known ahead of time by God or even pre-determined by God. However, such a simple definition would probably be unsatisfactory to many people. A large part of the overall problem is indeed that of defining "free will" in a way acceptable to most people.

    September 16, 2014

  • Larry S.

    Are we still meeting in the Ventura Marina room on the 2nd floor?????????

    September 3, 2014

    • Akop

      Yes, the Sep. 22nd meeting is on the 2nd floor in the Marina.

      September 16, 2014

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