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Old 04-07-2009, 03:21 PM
830 posts, read 2,505,767 times
Reputation: 380


Since my last topic went over so well, I thought I'd start another one.

Simple question. I am curious what people think.

Do we control the decisions we make? I believe we do. And I believe we control ALL of the decisions we make.

If we control our decisions, then are we entirely responsible for the decisions we make?

If we do not control our decisions, in what types of situations would we be unable to control them?

For those of you familiar with the other thread, implied in the above is you have to have the ability to make a decision, otherwise you could not make a decision. Whether it is a good decision, a bad decision, a decision you would prefer not to have to make, a decision you have to make because you are now presented with a situation that you did not originally expect, a decision based on imperfect information, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., is irrelevant. A decision is a decision.

You can look at this from both a real world and a very technical perspective.

For example, if you walk outside and get hit by a small meteor you did not control the meteor hitting you, but you did make the decision to walk outside at that particular time, so you did play a part in the meteor hitting you. Had you not walked outside it couldn't have hit you. I'm sure someone will argue that even a small meteor would cause a good amount of damage and would probably destroy your house, therefore that is out of your control and your decision didn't matter, blah, blah, blah.

If you get involved in a traffic accident, and you caused it because you were not paying attention, it wasn't an accident, it was the result of your decision not to pay attention. Unless you argue that you not paying attention was somehow controlled by something other than you. Aliens perhaps.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:58 PM
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Atlas Shrugged - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:05 PM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,114 posts, read 39,184,670 times
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Yes. But, sometimes, the choices can be between bad or worse. I can't think of an example right now but not all choices are always good or bad.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:53 PM
455 posts, read 886,074 times
Reputation: 372
I sense that this question is masquerading as a debate on 'determinism' and 'causality'. Much of the world in a macro sense seems to be the slave of determinism. However, in the micro sense (i.e. at the quantum level), everything is 'seemingly' random.

If I had to choose determinism or indeterminism, I would choose indeterminism. But that choice is primarily because I would prefer that to be the truth of our world. I like the idea that we have some semblance of control of our lives. However, that doesn't mean it is true.

In summation, I don't KNOW the answer. But indeterminism makes for a better story
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:48 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,488,886 times
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People control their decisions, but most often from what I see it's not the way I thought. Most people you see you think they will be confronted with a choice, think about the pros and cons, then act on the most rational choice. Mostly what happens though is that when confronted with an issue more often then not people will resort to what they have done before...using instinct, habit, and emotional values they have from similar events...then rationalize it. The faster the decision is needed, the more likely it's going to happen the second way then the first.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:15 PM
3,566 posts, read 4,491,128 times
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I'm just going to start where I left off. This is the exact same thread and the consequence of the prior thread is that you do not get to just wipe away the icky parts. As much as I would like to. The thing that you cannot control and this is where "decisions" go awry many times is that you can't control, guess, or assume the reaction or action of another individual.

At any rate, after reading the post, which is not really what I was asking, but I will work with it, I am picking up that you are standing very close to what is true for one is true for all. Your mother could have played the victim therefore anyone who does not react in that manner IS playing the victim. That is where I see you headed with all of this; dealing with the victim mentality as you see it.

One of the things that I am also picking up from your prior posts is that you are standing very close to "You Should/n't or should/n't have".

Again, this "personal responsibility" position is repeated in thread after thread after thread. There are few that have taken that position and can explain why they have taken that position-----intelligently.

This is where I am at. As you read through the threads of those that have gone before you, these people make a few flip statements. Therefore, issues within our society they don't actually have to put any real effort into thinking through. They are absolved from participating or problem solving because it is not their problem. They don't have to research or actively learn anything because it is someone elses responsibility. Their answer is "if I could do it so can others" or they should just all not have sex, not have children, not be expelled, not whatever. Ok........now back to reality.

This is why I was interested in what this means for you in the larger context of society. Are you, too, absolved?
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:03 AM
6,952 posts, read 8,878,222 times
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Sure, we control our decisions. But to do a good job of it we have to find and possibly explode our assumptions and biases, to keep our decisions from being unconscious or knee-jerk ones. That is a tough, tough job.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:45 PM
Location: Columbus, OH
857 posts, read 1,228,861 times
Reputation: 558
Nobody listened last time, and I doubt they will this time, but it never hurts to try so here goes nothing.

if you care enough to learn anything about how our brain works it is impossible to claim we choose to do anything. As far as researchers can tell the brain has no controlling function that tells its millions f different sets of neurons when to fire. They simply react to external stimuli brought in from all our different senses. If we have no control then we did not choose anything...
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:09 PM
830 posts, read 2,505,767 times
Reputation: 380
Originally Posted by TakeAhike View Post

Thanks for that. Sounds like a good read.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:14 PM
830 posts, read 2,505,767 times
Reputation: 380
Ok, this discussion is much more what I was hoping for with my first post. Thank you everyone. Very good, well thought-out points from all.
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