Is Pyrrhonism the ultimate truth?

This examples are not about free will. They assume free will.

I’m not talking about the false hand experiment

We can’t solve the three body problem.

This happens all the time for me. It’s not a place. It’s an activity. My wife has caused me to override many of my thoughts. She happens to be one of the most intelligent people I have met. Through conversation, she often shows me the faults in my thoughts. There are those rare occasions in which I do the same for her.

Books often cause my thoughts to be overridden as they offer new information. So do lectures. So does experience.

So, at any instant in time I have a set of thoughts. Those exist at that instant. An instant is immutable but the next instant can be very different from the previous one because I can override my thoughts as new information and experiences come my way. I do this freely as I am not dogmatic. It is my will.

So, I have now listened to the OP video (at 1.5 speed). The speaker, to me, seems very dogmatic in his lack of dogmatism. He says he can’t know anything and this frees his mind to learn very quickly many things. Read that sentence again. Much of what he seems to aspire to is frankly, death. No judgement, no bias, no opinion, and so on.

I have also considered getting Sapolsky book on free will and I ran into what seems to me to be a good critique of his work here.

It seems that way, but how do you know? Try the opposite, try convincing a mentally ill person that they aren’t Napoleon. We can treat that, we can work with their brain to help them get in tune with reality. Or, we can give you drugs and your wife won’t be able to convince you. The drugs wear off, hopefully.

If we could observe ourselves using free will vs being affected by drugs then we maybe could get a start on finding how free will works, but if the drugs are strong enough or our brain is chemically unbalanced enough, we can’t. It’s why drunk people claim they are okay to drive.

Instead, when all the science is applied, we can’t find that place where we decide to listen to our spouse. If we you say it’s not a mechanism, then what is it? How do you demonstrate it? How do you help someone who is obviously not in control?

One way I’ve heard it described is, we decide, that is, our history of evolution kicks us in a certain direction, THEN your brain makes up a story about how you chose.

Granted, I have no idea. I’m not going to run any of these experiments. Well, I did some “experimenting”, but anyway.

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[quote=“lausten, post:41, topic:10724”]
This examples are not about free will. They assume free will.

No, it assumes choice, …difference.

I’m not talking about the false hand experiment

I believe that experiment clearly demonstrates that the brain only makes a best guess of what’s truth.

Well, according to many philosophers, I don’t exist. So, how do I know, becomes a real predicament.

I guess I say it is my personality that makes the decision as I know others whose personality causes them to ignore their mate. Now, can I change my personality? Well, that’s where the experimentation comes in. But even with the shrooms I don’t think my personality really changed. So maybe I have accepted the illusion. I’m reminded of the Star Trek episode when the aliens watching over Captain Pike said, “May you be as happy in your world as we are in ours.”

After reading through the article from Stuart Doyle that I shared, I saw a humorous comment following the article itself.

If there is no free will, what does it even mean to write a book saying that there is no free will? What are you doing when you read a book arguing against free will. What does leaving a comment about other people’s comments about an article about a book about someone else’s opinion on free will mean? It means some people have too much time on their hands.


The Sapolsky interview is better for Free Will than the OP.

I could find some time stamps for you. I have them on a scrap of paper around here somewhere.

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I grew up in a Xian family and never could figure out what was meant by “freewill” because they don’t give you a choice. You either believe or if you don’t, you’re going to hell… according to my family. I don’t call that freewill. I call that bullying and intimidation. However, we are free to make choices in this world and we often have at least two choices.

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That was an incredible interview with Sapolsky! The interviewer was excellent. I am now subscribed to his channel.

Successful people are the ones who are most likely to find pain in the realization that they aren’t as responsible for their greatness as they thought they were. And the offsetting pleasure that less fortunate people are likely to feel is satisfying to me.

I have to admit that this is pretty much how my rational brain has seen the world for some time now. Of course that’s of no credit to me! I just like to fake myself out in order to believe I have free will since believing that creates the illusion that I have control over my life. Lack of free will is somewhat deflating, of course, and it does make one wonder how such realization affects motivation. But people will always be motivated to do what they love to do. The lucky ones will be in a position to get involved in those endeavors. The unlucky will have to fight hard to gain such a position.

The most important things to me that I took from this interview is to feel extremely lucky in my circumstances, and that being kind to others is always good.

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I’m not talking about that either

I know, from your perspective, you’re not. From my perspective we are.

But what would you consider as persuasive evidence of Human brain function and at what point does brain activity become meaningful?
Why do you expect to understand and determine what an isolated artificially maintained brain would even “know”, let alone speak?

What happens when such a condition presents a form of living hell to the brain. How would we understand such “output values”.

What does any of that have to do with free will?

It seems to me one thing to realize the countless ways in which we don’t have free will, start with the body you are born into, the family, the upbringing, etc., etc., It’s a wonderfully liberating period, but after all that is done, we are still tossed into a reality that is running at us full tilt, we have to make choices, with cascading consequence played out over life times, mingled with other cones of consequences.

Making choices, anticipating reactions, setting up situations, Karma basically.
So I don’t have an infinitely Free Will, I still have my hand on the tiller moving toward the part of the spectrum that I like.

There’s different between the Free Will a damn builder possess
and the Free Will of a kayaker following his/her line in a turbulent river.

Loading the dice - now that’s an apt metaphor.

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It’s a thought experiment to determine if the brain has an innate free will or if freedom of choice emerges with evolving ability to observe and analyze the sensory input for danger or opportunity, thereby increasing the basis on which to make decisions.

In reality, no such brain could exist without an attached biome. It might think the sun is shining , but without a full spectrum of sensory inputs the brain would immediately begin to shut down and “devolve” into a simpler state.

The analogy is that the human brain acts in a decision-making process based on the sensory input from without and within as a survival mechanism in mobile organisms , such as predator species, that must learn “problem solving” and natural selection will favor better “problem solving” organisms.

The natural world of brained animals shows are markable variety of evolved problem solving skills , each brain attuned and programmed to its unique environment.

It appears that our emotional states influence the choices we make, so free- will is kind of a relative term , because it relies on the assumption that one can make a decision to anticipate danger and gain valuable time, like building a levee to prevent a future flooding. And that evolutionary refinement of sensory and problem solving abilities is evident up along the evolutionary scale.

To determine?

What does Free Will mean in an existence where all reality has been removed?

Although what does “reality” mean in a world where so many have become so profoundly divorced from Earth’s patterns and biospheres.
It’s like what’s “truth” without a frame of reference?

I say, does this piece of flesh have innate Free Will?

That this is the best we can come up with in this day and age is so depressing for me.

It’s intellectual entertain and playing God, who can come up with the next most wow experiment, to build the most provocative suppositions around, while all the real existential down to Earth challenges keep getting avoided.

I’m sorry . . .

Free will has an enormous impact on criminal law, welfare, racism, merit, inheritance, and I’m sure much more. Sometimes your personal favorite issues blind you.

No, reality has been replaced by artificial means

I’m sorry too. It is so frustrating that with all the technology at our disposal, we still are just beginning to explore the brain, although it must be said that the research is increasing exponentially since the new hypotheses of data transmission at nanoscale, which is difficult to observe but is yielding troves of information about electrochemical activities that can be mapped and categorized.

To everyone, I agree, it sure does look like we have free will. It sure does feel like it. Also, I can see people who don’t choose the path that is better for their survival and I can see how that’s related to their birth circumstances. Should I simply tell them to use their free will? How do I do that? Where is it so I can show them how to pull themselves out of their rut?

Not to mention, you’d sure better live your life as if you did have Free Will,
or your odds of living out sets of negative cascading consequence increases.

Why not recognize there’s something contrived about the NO Free Will framing?
It’s like it true enough, but there’s too much sloppiness in the detail for fast open and shut, you have Free Will or you don’t have Free Will.

Or like the attitude we are conscious, or unconscious, sans all the real life nuances.

I suspect no philosopher has even come up with a reasonable definition for what this “Free Will” is, except for some idealized mind experiment construct - why else do we discuss it in such absolutist terms?

I think that’s just you. It’s a new discovery and it is opening many discussions about merit and punishment.

This may shed some light.


Determinism should not be confused with the self-determination of human actions by reasons, motives, and desires. Determinism is about interactions which affect cognitive processes in people’s lives.[[4]]

(Determinism - Wikipedia)

It is about the cause and the result of what people have done. Cause and result are always bound together in cognitive processes.[/quote] [quote] It assumes that if an observer has sufficient information about an object or human being, that such an observer might be able to predict every consequent move of that object or human being. Determinism rarely requires that perfect prediction be practically possible.