Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Zom
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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? the great free will determinism debate

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:14 pm

So he thinks, "I chose to study dhamma instead of going to the pub, I'm such a good boy for exercising my free will that way." Isn't that just more "selfing", increasing his conceit. Isn't the thought, "the universe caused me to study dhamma rather than go to the pub, the causal process went well today," a better thought. No selfing there!
No difference here if a conceit is in action. In the first case he thinks "I chose". In the second: "Universe caused ME" 8-)

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? the great free will determinism debate

Post by binocular » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:07 pm

Zom wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:14 pm
So he thinks, "I chose to study dhamma instead of going to the pub, I'm such a good boy for exercising my free will that way." Isn't that just more "selfing", increasing his conceit. Isn't the thought, "the universe caused me to study dhamma rather than go to the pub, the causal process went well today," a better thought. No selfing there!
No difference here if a conceit is in action. In the first case he thinks "I chose". In the second: "Universe caused ME" 8-)
Excellent point!
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? the great free will determinism debate

Post by form » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:26 am

Maybe the buddha suggested something like probability as the term tendencies is found in the sutta. With his level he could process very complicated calculations accurately so he can make certain predictions very confidently.

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by cappuccino » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:16 am

Karma is from intentions, you have to intend something.

If you have to intend, you can intend. Hence free will.
“Life is anxiety”

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by L.N. » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:35 am

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:16 am
Karma is from intentions, you have to intend something.

If you have to intend, you can intend. Hence free will.
However, to the extent such intensions are tainted with greed, hatred and/or delusion, they are not truly free. Volitional action (kamma) rooted in greed, hatred, and/or delusion is not freedom from greed, hatred and delusion.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by cappuccino » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:43 am

A desire for removing desire?
“Life is anxiety”

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? the great free will determinism debate

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:22 am

DNS wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:03 pm
Don't complain about me merging them; I had no choice. :tongue:
To merge or not to merge, that is the question. :toilet:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by ToVincent » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:43 am

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:16 am
Karma is from intentions, you have to intend something.
If you have to intend, you can intend. Hence free will.
That's exactly it.
Whether or not you understand, Susīma, first comes knowledge of the stability (unmoving) of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.
Pubbe kho, susima, dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇan’ti. (SN 12.70)
The stability (ṭhiti), the unmoving, the continuance of the dhamma is due to manosañcetanā (mano saṃ cetanā - mano + cetanā). The unfree immaterial citta (a-cittavimutti, so to speak), stuck & fastened to mano, the material sensory organ.
See the yellow part: https://justpaste.it/1695d

Cetanā again, and again.
Right.
The cause of the maintenance (ṭhitiya) of consciousness. The cause of the ṭhitiya of the dhamma.

Free will from the "I". From the internal (mano + ~cetanā).
There exist an element of instigation (ārabbhadhātuyā) (AN 6.38).
No excuse whatsoever.

.
Sk.स्थिति sthiti

dve vāva brahmaṇo rūpe
mūrtaṃ caivāmūrtaṃ ca
martyaṃ cāmṛtaṃ ca
sthitaṃ ca yac ca
sac ca tyaṃ ca
Verily, there are two forms of Brahman,
the formed and the formless,
the mortal and the immortal,
the unmoving and the moving,
the actual (existent) and the true (being).
BṛĀrUp. 2.3.1
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Re: 'The illusion of free will' by Sam Harris is a dangerous idea, but can anyone disprove it?

Post by chownah » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 pm

manas wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:01 pm
It runs counter to what the Buddha taught, and furthermore, it could lead some people to stop making an effort to improve themselves, since according to Harris that effort, too, is predetermined, and whether you try or not, won't change what is already preordained to occur. Yet despite my revulsion for it, and the fact that on an intuitive, experiential level, I feel it is incorrect, I find myself unable to definitely prove him wrong on an intellectual level. Can anyone prove him wrong, definitively?
At time mark 0:30 harris says that everything you think and do arises from an ocean of prior causes. This seems to be pretty much the basis of his point of view on the matter of free will. If this is the basis then he is making a huge error in logic....he is assuming what he is trying to prove. I'm not sure whether even the exitence of an ocean of prior causes can be proven but putting that uncertainty aside and assuming that an ocean of prior causes exists then the task remains to prove that there is no other active principle other than prior cause.

He repeats his error at time mark 6:30 where he says, "your beliefs about the world are formed in a perfect crucible of prior causes." Again, maybe your beliefs are formed in relation to some 'perfect crucible of prior causes' but not in it....not with it being the only causitive agent. Again, he is assuming what he is trying to prove.
OOOOOps.
chownah

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Re: 'The illusion of free will' by Sam Harris is a dangerous idea, but can anyone disprove it?

Post by mal4mac » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:54 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 pm

At time mark 0:30 harris says that everything you think and do arises from an ocean of prior causes. This seems to be pretty much the basis of his point of view on the matter of free will. If this is the basis then he is making a huge error in logic....he is assuming what he is trying to prove.
Is he making a point based on logic? He might just be stating a commonly accepted hypothesis. Of course you can doubt what he says, but then you need to point to something that is *without doubt* not part of the ocean.
chownah wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 pm
I'm not sure whether even the existence of an ocean of prior causes can be proven but putting that uncertainty aside and assuming that an ocean of prior causes exists then the task remains to prove that there is no other active principle other than prior cause.
Can anything be proven? Even the strictest laws of physics are open to falsification.

Why do determinists have to prove that there is no other active principle than prior cause? Why shouldn't non-determinists have to prove that there is an active principle other than prior cause? Christians say "God is the cause"? Do you accept that? If not, why not? You seem to be saying that "my ultimate self, my atman" is the cause. That also seems non-Buddhist. But if you are not saying that, what are you pointing to as the active principle outside causality?
- Mal

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by mal4mac » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:57 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:16 am
... you have to intend something.

If you have to intend, you can intend. Hence free will.
Why? The intention might be determined. Maybe you just feel that you are choosing something freely.
- Mal

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by cappuccino » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:25 pm

well destiny doesn't need intention, karma needs intention
“Life is anxiety”

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Re: 'The illusion of free will' by Sam Harris is a dangerous idea, but can anyone disprove it?

Post by chownah » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:05 am

mal4mac wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:54 pm
chownah wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 pm

At time mark 0:30 harris says that everything you think and do arises from an ocean of prior causes. This seems to be pretty much the basis of his point of view on the matter of free will. If this is the basis then he is making a huge error in logic....he is assuming what he is trying to prove.
Is he making a point based on logic? He might just be stating a commonly accepted hypothesis. Of course you can doubt what he says, but then you need to point to something that is *without doubt* not part of the ocean.
Take harris's logical approach to the subject out of the presentation and what is left?....so , yes, I do think he is trying to make a point based on logic. I reallly do not think that "free will is an illusion" is a commonly accepted hypothesis. I think you are completely wrong to say that one can doubt without suggesting an alternative.....this is equivalent to saying that the arguement "what else could it be?" is valid unless it can be proven to be something else.

IF IF IF he was not trying to make a point based on logic and IF IF IF "free will is an illusion" is a commonly accepted hypothesis....THEN THEN THEN why would he even be giving this talk? Why wouldn't he just say "yep, all you people who know that free will is an illusion are right....I'll just grab my coat now and I'll be back on thursday....and as I leave let me just say 'isn't that priest a foolish knave?'"

Please do note that I was replying to manas who said, "I find myself unable to definitely prove him wrong on an intellectual level. Can anyone prove him wrong, definitively?".....and I think I have done almost that....I have shown that from an intellectual level that he has presented false logic in support of his position. Don't I win a prize or something?
mal4mac wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:54 pm
chownah wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 pm
I'm not sure whether even the existence of an ocean of prior causes can be proven but putting that uncertainty aside and assuming that an ocean of prior causes exists then the task remains to prove that there is no other active principle other than prior cause.
Can anything be proven? Even the strictest laws of physics are open to falsification.

Why do determinists have to prove that there is no other active principle than prior cause? Why shouldn't non-determinists have to prove that there is an active principle other than prior cause? Christians say "God is the cause"? Do you accept that? If not, why not? You seem to be saying that "my ultimate self, my atman" is the cause. That also seems non-Buddhist. But if you are not saying that, what are you pointing to as the active principle outside causality?
Nothing can be proven.....that is the best lesson this video imparts I think.
Non-determinists and all other people as well need not prove anything.....which is a good thing since nothing can be proven anyway.
I'd like to see exactly the words I presented which seem to say that I have taken a position on ultimate self or atman.......there aren't any in my presentation....it is purely your fabrication. I think that you fabricate this scenario because of your mistaken idea that if one doubts then then one must posit something else......why not just relax and say "I don't know"?......after all nothing can be proven anyway.

By the way. I like his presentation except for him bashing the priest.....really unnecessary and kind of makes me think that he is more of propogandist than a seeker of the truth...but since I guess he supports himself this way he needs to write whatever makes his stuff interesting and consumable.....in general though I find what he says about things to be well thought out and interesting.
chownah

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:16 am

I don't mean to offend, but the best thing you can do is to stop thinking about free will and whether we have it. It is a make believe problem based on a make believe sense of there being a substantial self that wants to identify with something. :toilet:

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Re: Did the Buddha teach we have choice? (aka The Great Free Will v Determinism Debate)

Post by L.N. » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:42 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:16 am
I don't mean to offend, but the best thing you can do is to stop thinking about free will and whether we have it. It is a make believe problem based on a make believe sense of there being a substantial self that wants to identify with something.
I think this is generally true. The idea of "free will" is nonsensical. What is "free"? The only freedom is freedom from greed, hatred, and delusion. There is no other freedom. What is "will"? If it is volition, we can say that volition is conditioned. As noted above, the idea of "free will" as usually discussed is (1) indistinguishable from saying the people act in random, unconditioned ways, and (2) implies an underlying self capable of acting in an unconditioned manner.

There is a path which leads to the cessation of suffering. This is the path to freedom. "Freedom from will" may be the more apt descriptor.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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