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 Free will and hunger
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MisterMaggot
New Member

Fed Rep Yugoslavia
6 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  04:05:41  Show Profile Send MisterMaggot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How can we have free will and experience hunger?

All living things are coerced into doing things by hunger, hunger is painful and cannot be ignored. Even the most intelligent human will, when hungry, think only of acquiring food. Our actions are governed by hunger, thirst, tiredness, the need for sex etc. These are fundamental 'needs', such as those in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. All of these needs cause discomfort when not addressed. How can anyone experience these needs and still maintain that we have free will?

Humans are capable of resisting these needs, such as resisting hunger when dieting. However this resistance is caused by a greater need, perhaps the need to be accepted or find a mate.

I conclude that all human actions are caused by human needs. Therefore we have no free will, we are simply machines waiting for our need for 'x' to reach a certain level at which point we must address it.

What are your thoughts on this theory?

Edited by - MisterMaggot on 02/08/2013 04:10:59

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  05:09:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is not a Theory, it's hardly even coherant.

Define "Free Will", it is not a scientific concept as far as I am aware. Since it has no scientific meaning, tying it to hunger and 'basic human needs' is about as usful as tying it to Sasquach Politics.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  06:54:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by MisterMaggot

How can we have free will and experience hunger?

All living things are coerced into doing things by hunger, hunger is painful and cannot be ignored. Even the most intelligent human will, when hungry, think only of acquiring food. Our actions are governed by hunger, thirst, tiredness, the need for sex etc. These are fundamental 'needs', such as those in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. All of these needs cause discomfort when not addressed. How can anyone experience these needs and still maintain that we have free will?

Humans are capable of resisting these needs, such as resisting hunger when dieting. However this resistance is caused by a greater need, perhaps the need to be accepted or find a mate.

I conclude that all human actions are caused by human needs. Therefore we have no free will, we are simply machines waiting for our need for 'x' to reach a certain level at which point we must address it.

What are your thoughts on this theory?


Maslow's Heirarchy of needs dictates what will tend to happen.

Yogic masters occassionally will ignore those needs in lieu of prayer. In some cases practioners of other religions will fast for extended periods for their spirituality.

There are biological needs. Just because they exist does not negate free will. Free will indicates that we are not fated to perform a specific action at a specific time.

Biological needs are independant of free will and vice versa. I believe that you are confusing the two and claiming a negating of free will due to biological needs. This is circular resoning at best.

All living things require biological fuel to continue operating. The alternative is that the living being becomes weaker and weaker until they stop operating. (aka starving to death)


Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  10:07:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Philosophically minded Christians will point out that "free will" only pertains to whether or not one accepts Jesus as Savior, and so a lack of free will in other areas doesn't mean that we walk around like robots with God pulling the strings.

But ignoring that for the wider picture, free will is an illusion we are forced to accept as true by our biology. The choices we make are determined by patterns of neuronal activity, and we do not direct those patterns, so we can't be said to control them. Consciousness is not separable or distinct from a brain, so neurons firing determine both the choices we make and the feeling that we have "made a choice." We can't escape this.

Note that this argument against free will is independent from both the stimulations to action (hunger, for example) and from the question of whether the universe is deterministic. To the latter point, it doesn't matter if we are able to "rewind the tape" and make a different choice a second time through, the fact is that the choices we make aren't in our direct, conscious control.

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  05:40:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll point out as well, some people have 'freewillingly' starved themselves to death!

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  06:51:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Philosophically minded Christians will point out that "free will" only pertains to whether or not one accepts Jesus as Savior, and so a lack of free will in other areas doesn't mean that we walk around like robots with God pulling the strings.

But ignoring that for the wider picture, free will is an illusion we are forced to accept as true by our biology. The choices we make are determined by patterns of neuronal activity, and we do not direct those patterns, so we can't be said to control them. Consciousness is not separable or distinct from a brain, so neurons firing determine both the choices we make and the feeling that we have "made a choice." We can't escape this.

Note that this argument against free will is independent from both the stimulations to action (hunger, for example) and from the question of whether the universe is deterministic. To the latter point, it doesn't matter if we are able to "rewind the tape" and make a different choice a second time through, the fact is that the choices we make aren't in our direct, conscious control.
That appears to be what the new neural science studies suggest or show. Nicely put Dave.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  12:28:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.Note that this argument against free will is independent from both the stimulations to action (hunger, for example) and from the question of whether the universe is deterministic. To the latter point, it doesn't matter if we are able to "rewind the tape" and make a different choice a second time through, the fact is that the choices we make aren't in our direct, conscious control.


So is the lack of the assumption of determinism is providing for the potential that some randomness may be involved in the series of events between something causing neural activity and a choice being made?

I'm curious how to make the claim that a we can't control any part of this and not the weaker claim that "we see no evidence that we can direct the choices" (maybe I'm being too literal and seeing certainty where it's unintended).

The nonexistence of conscious choice would be difficult to deal with in conceptions of justice (if such a thing could even exist?) and the like, but I suppose that's irrelevant the truth value of the claim.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Edited by - Machi4velli on 02/11/2013 12:32:46
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Dave W.
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USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  14:00:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

(maybe I'm being too literal and seeing certainty where it's unintended).
Bingo. Until some neuroscientist can provide evidence that there is some direct control passing from consciousness to biology - and that's going to be tough, considering we can't feel our own neurons "thinking" - we should tentatively conclude that no such control exists.
The nonexistence of conscious choice would be difficult to deal with in conceptions of justice (if such a thing could even exist?) and the like, but I suppose that's irrelevant the truth value of the claim.
It's an interesting aside, but the fact that we feel like we have free will and can't escape that feeling means that the drive to assign responsibility to choice-making is strong. However, we already "forgive" automatically young kids and the severely mentally disabled because they can't understand the consequences of their choices, and studies show that positive and negative reinforcement both work (to different extents) to modify behavior as if justice were a meaningful concept, so we may as well act under that illusion, too.

I mean, I praise and punish my child to try to get his big blob of neurons to act (or not) in certain ways more consistently. The biological and behavioral reactions seem to work, even if the kid is just a hugely complex stimulus-response machine and not, in the grand scheme of things, ultimately responsible for his own choices.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  14:31:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You mean the illusion of choice integrates into your mind the conception that this is why you praise and punish your child? :)

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  14:50:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

You mean the illusion of choice integrates into your mind the conception that this is why you praise and punish your child? :)
Well, I certainly didn't choose to mean that.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  16:03:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Is this falsifiable? What kind of evidence could indicate that one makes choices?

Suppose some stimulus only sometimes causes a particular choice -- how do we tell if it was in fact free will making the choice or it's just due to effects of the non-determinism we've allowed for?

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  19:34:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Can a neuron make a choice to fire or not fire in response to particular levels of incoming stimulus? If one cannot, how could many?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  19:59:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know, maybe that's not all a choice is, maybe we don't understand some key point about what's going on in there. I'm not making the argument that we make choices, only asking that if it were true, what sort of evidence could even theoretically support it.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  22:22:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

I don't know, maybe that's not all a choice is, maybe we don't understand some key point about what's going on in there. I'm not making the argument that we make choices, only asking that if it were true, what sort of evidence could even theoretically support it.
The same sort of evidence that would be present if mind/brain dualism were true. In other words, evidence of a "soul."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  23:14:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, sure, but what could be evidence of mind/brain dualism?

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2013 :  05:08:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

Well, sure, but what could be evidence of mind/brain dualism?
Umm.... 21 grams?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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