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Free will and hunger

Free will and hunger
MisterMaggot
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 3:06 AM:
Subject: Free will and hunger
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?
Veritas Vincit
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 3:33 AM:

MisterMaggot wrote:
I conclude that all human actions are caused by human needs.
Duh! Seems like you have a need to point out the obvious.
Emptyheady
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 7:28 AM:

Right so basically you say:

1. All human actions are caused by human needs.
2. We can not choose the needs
> therefore, all human actions are not by choice.

I think that this is too simplistic. I think that *free will* should be categorised.

physiological needs, emotional need, or whatever categorise them wisely

So the question switches to, to what extent do we have free will (=the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.)

side note: Marlow's hierarchy of needs is in no way scientific and could only be used for entertainment. Obviously the hierarchy is not right, since certain cultures/religions abandon certain stages for the spiritual.

I think that our actions based on our reasoning can be called free will.

Extremely simplistic:

Parameters -> thinking/reasoning -> act rather then, Parameters -> act -> reasoning (why you did it)

But I do suggest that we have less free will than we think we do. Also note that philosophers, scientist and lawyers/judge all have their own view on free will. The judge for example, uses the term to the extent of your personal responsibility. Scientist may use a fMRI-scan to determine your brain activities before the action itself.
Philosophers dig deeper and then we go into arguments like, substance dualism.

cheers, time for beer!
MrSkeptic
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 7:51 AM:

First, a word about Maslow's hiearchy of needs. It is invalid. See the link below:

Maslow's Pyramid of Fatal Errors

www.psychologytoday.com/blo...slows-pyramid-fatal-errors

Steven Reiss has put together a more scientifically valid list of needs. Maybe you would like to use it in a revised argument.

Now, I will deal with your general idea. You believe all human action is governed by human need. This is false. Psychology has discovered a number of other variables that cause human behavior. Motivation via need is just one theory and it doesn't have greater predictability than other theories of human behavior. If a theory is very true it is usually very predictive. To say it is the sole cause of human behavior when it is not very predictive is post hoc reasoning.

The idea that resistance of a desire/need is just another desire/need at work has been argued by Nietszsche. I don't think it is correct because willing feel phenominologically different than desire. Moreover, the psychological literature makes a distinction between willing/ resistance relative to mind stuff (often it is called suppression) and motivation. There are probably neurological differences between desire and will. Will is probably originating in the neocortex and desire is generated in a lower area of the brain. Bauemeister has discovered a relationship between glucose and will power. The larger the supply of glucose in brain the more will power one has.
richrf
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 7:51 AM:

To be specific, any self-organizing form of life needs some form of energy in order to continue to organize itself and to move.

So, a human does have a choice whether to eat or not to eat but the outcome will be death. (Some people actually die from incorrect fasting, for example.)

If a human chooses to live (i.e. continue to eat), then of course there are loads of choices of what to eat.
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 8:07 AM:


It is to a certain degree possible to chose not to have hunger. Personally I never have any hunger before 2 PM, but years ago I always was very hungry early in the morning, so I decided by my own free will to try to eat my break-fast at 2 PM, so now I get hungry at that time instead! The reason for this is that the "hungerhormone" - Grehlin adjust to your eating routine. Many people that are fasting loses the sense of hunger after a few days when not eating...
statiktech
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 9:35 AM:

MrSkeptic wrote:
The idea that resistance of a desire/need is just another desire/need at work has been argued by Nietszsche. I don't think it is correct because willing feel phenominologically different than desire.


That seems like a false dichotomy. How can you differentiate between the two? How do you know desire is not a manifestation of the will rather than a separate thing altogether?

Moreover, the psychological literature makes a distinction between willing/ resistance relative to mind stuff (often it is called suppression) and motivation. There are probably neurological differences between desire and will. Will is probably originating in the neocortex and desire is generated in a lower area of the brain. Bauemeister has discovered a relationship between glucose and will power. The larger the supply of glucose in brain the more will power one has.


If we look at the functioning of the brain as a manifestation of the will, attempting to identify a part of the brain responsible for the will seems misguided.

Maybe I just haven't read what you have. Am I missing something?
Rich Vernadeau
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 10:08 AM:

We do not have control over our autonomic system (e.g. respiration). Hunger is an automatic thing which tells the body it is time to consume nourishment. It can be tinkered with through dieting and resetting your appetite clock, etc., but it's a fundamental part of us that will never completely disappear. There are supposedly Buddhist monks who can lower their heart rate and blood pressure through meditation, so it may be possible to gain SOME PARTIAL control over the autonomic. There are those political prisoners who starve themselves as a form of protest (this is an obvious conscious use of free will to overcome the hunger impulse).
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 9:23 PM:

"Free Will" is supposedly the ability to make choice independent of external coercion. Hunger is in the category of external, (even if it is inside our bodies), rather than choices. Someone with free will would allegedly still be able to choose not to eat, regardless of how hungry they were. You end up with a nagging paradox that if someone doesn't eat, regardless of how hungry they are, they are exercising their "free will". If they give in to the hunger, then they simply chose to eat. So it is an ability that would be impossible to prove. The real challenge comes at extreme levels of hunger, where people start hallucinating.
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Posted Feb 8, 2013 - 9:49 PM:

MisterMaggot wrote:

All living things are coerced into doing things by hunger, hunger is painful and cannot be ignored. {...}
What are your thoughts on this theory?


It's wrong.

See Bobby Sands for example.
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