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Everything posted by Eise

  1. Yes. But there is also the opposite: congestion influencing drivers. They get irritated, their cars use more gas, local pressure on the road is increasing where the congestions are, etc. So the congestion, as congestion, has impact on the components it is built off. Maybe an example of @TheVat's down causation? What you are suggesting is e.g. the impact of drugs on the brain. By changing something at a lower level (chemistry) one also changes mental phenomena.
  2. I may need you to elaborate here. Obviously. I wrote 'the highest concentrations of cars' not 'the cars'. Look e.g. at this video (clearest from 0:50, using time lapse). There you can clearly see that no car is going backwards, but the congestion does. The backward moving congestion is an emergent phenomenon, that cannot be explained on the level of individual cars.
  3. Yes. The reason is that you state that brain states cause mental phenomena, but the mental phenomena themselves have no causal impact. This 'construct' is exactly what epiphenomalism is. The perspective. Like my comparison with the book. On one side, you can study its physical and chemical properties, on the other side you can read it. But obviously, there is no contradiction. Both perspectives are valid, but somebody who studies the physical properties of a book is not in the position to claim that the book is 'just' paper, ink and nothing more. But you are saying this a lot: we are just wet meat robots. You are right that we are wet meat robots, but that is not the whole story: we, as wet meat robots, are so advanced that we are conscious, i.e. can experience ourselves, but not at levels below, like descriptions in terms of neurons, molecules, atoms etc. Watch it, if you feel the inclination to use the word 'just' (except you are talking about justice...). Most of the time, when people use the word 'just' in such a context, they leave out exactly what is essential. Once again traffic jams: it is obvious that all cars are moving forwards, slowly, and sometimes standing still, but never backwards. But what if I say that in a traffic jam something is moving backwards? Somebody who 'just' looks at the cars will declare me insane: no car is moving backwards! But if you look how a traffic jam develops, you can see how the highest concentrations of cars move backwards! The reason of course is that I look at another level, not on the level of single cars, but as the cars as 'collective'.
  4. No. It is one brain state causing the next one. That is simplified of course: all kind of external causes also chime in, like the input of our senses. I don't understand your questions. I am just as a determinist as you are. Our difference lies in our different conceptions of what free will is.
  5. I think I have written that already: All these mental phenomena are brain states. There are no mental phenomena that are not brain states. I would suggest to get back to the original question:
  6. Nope. All these mental phenomena are brain states. You sound like a dualist here: mental phenomena 'influencing' brain states. (I put 'influencing' between quotes, because I think you are just trying to avoid 'causing'.)
  7. Seems silly to me, but okay. Why? Do mental phenomena play a causal role in brain states? If so, how? If not, why do you think it is silly?
  8. sethoflagos was referring to Libet, so I reacted on that. If you want to discuss newer Libet-style experiments, then maybe mention one, so we have something to discuss? But if such experiments only show that a spooky, magical and incoherent idea of free will does not exist, then it is not much use. Measuring events building up in the brain before a conscious action is done is not against compatibilist free will, so if this is the only thing these experiments show, you can let it be.
  9. For me the Trash Can would even be better.
  10. Did I claim that epiphenomalists claim that? Quite the opposite: according epiphenomalists the brain would work just as it does even without conscious, mental phenomena. That is implicit in the definition of an epiphenomenon: mental phenomena play no role in brain states. Brain states cause new brain states, that cause new brain states etc. Just a causal process. But mental events are also caused by brain states, but have themselves no causal impact on the brain. Therefore they theoretically could just not exist at all.
  11. No, sorry. In philosophical free will discussions, libertarian free will means that we, with our 'free minds' can break through determinism. The connection with libertarianism, as political ideology is loose. Where it does give some support to political libertarianism, it does not logically follow from a belief in libertarian free will. I think the Libet experiment is not very meaningful as a model of free choice IRL (=in real life). The task of the test subjects was to spontaneously move a hand, i.e. without any reason why just then. Is that really a good model for what we consider free will IRL? Some choices what to do take considerably 'pre-thinking', e.g. the greater choices we make in life. Or in planning longer term projects, be it in private of together. (Was there thinking involved in designing the LHC? I am inclined to believe 'yes'...) Some choices are automatic, trained reactions. E.g. I brake for an unexpected pedestrian on the road, even before I am conscious of me seeing him. But the braking is completely according my intentions, the automatism created by consciously training driving. Sports training is another example. Consciousness is just too slow for many sports (tennis, or even worse table tennis), so you train to get automatically correct reactions. Just what you want I can't think of examples of actions that we do for no reason, have no importance at all, and are still conscious, willed actions. In short, Libet's experiments have nothing to do free will as we experience IRL. (Great abbreviation, iNow!). Perhaps. Or perhaps it's the lack of consistency in the degree of determinism necessary in defining 'will'. I thought we had left that behind? Compatibilism is the position that determinism (without any wriggles!) is compatible with free will, or even a necessary condition for free will. It does not say that the world is completely deterministic. But the more randomness sneaks in, the more difficult it becomes to express out free will. Therefore I used the concept of 'sufficient free will'. 100% Determinism would be best for free will. And if e.g. in the brain quantum processes average out, then we can assume the brain to be deterministic, so that would be great. One sentence linking at least five distinct concepts all subject to diverse interpretation. Easy as pie! I think IRL you know very well what my definition means.
  12. Well, 'afraid' is an exaggeration. But yes, self declared 'Übermenschen' cause a lot wreckage e.g. in relationships. Most of the times, such self declarations come from lack of self confidence.
  13. Sure, this API exists. But to use it for logging, give the possibility to possibly spy out other sessions, is not legitimate in my ethics... The OP did not even explain why he needs it. So I prefer to stay on the safe side, and do not help in how this could be done.
  14. It lies in the kind of relationship between the 'lower order phenomena' and the 'higher order phenomena'. For supervenience this means ontologically we look at same system with different views: we can chemically analyse the paper of a book, measure its dimensions, chemically analyse the ink, and can even describe the form of the ink blobs on the pages. This is the view needed e.g. in forensic investigation, or archaeological research. But we can also just read the book. But it is the same book! Both views are completely OK. But it is clear you will understand nothing about the contents of the book, if you only do physical- or chemical analyses. But this is what 'freewill deniers' do: they look at the lower order phenomena only. And then, by using a magical definition of 'free will', it is easy to deny its existence. Nothing at the lower order phenomena points at some magic. So case closed. Epiphenomalism states that brain states cause mental phenomena, but mental phenomena cannot cause changes in the brain. But it simply doesn't fit to the concept of the naturalist conception of causation: causation implies energy- and momentum exchange (action is reaction), but in this case, we then should see energy leaking away from the brain, that never comes back. One option to get out of this, is proposing a 'mental entity' that cannot be detected by other physical means, but is the home of our mental events. In other words, a soul. Only for this reason, epiphenomalism is not a viable alternative for naturalists. The other problem is that it is a self contradiction. Epiphenomalism means, per definition, that the processes would run just the same, if it produces mental events or not. So it would mean that philosophical zombies are possible: entities that exactly look like humans, behave exactly the same like humans, but they have no mental life. How could such a zombie write an article about epiphenomalism? He has no idea about mental events, also per definition, so when we talk with one, we might soon discover that it looks like a human, but it isn't. Which contradicts the very definition of a philosophical zombie. Here is a short short story from Raymond Smullyan: An Unfortunate Dualist. Read it, it is fun!
  15. No idea what is obscure in my definition: "to be able to act according to what you want". I think the main problem in this understanding is that the ideological concept of free will always sneaks in. It shows e.g. when people are baffled about Libet-like experiments: it means that people automatically still assume that consciousness comes first, then the action potential in the brain, and then the action itself. But nothing of that is in my definition! And there is also nothing in our experience that I really could have done otherwise in the exact physical circumstances, including my body and brain. So why stick to that? Because we must live with the old fashioned heritage of our Christian culture, in which our libertarian free will was used to solve the problem of the theodicy? If you are not interested in the problem, fine. But if one wants to solve an intelligibility problem, then one has to dive deeper.
  16. Well, if Dim is OK with the reactions he got, we better, close the thread, before a herd of 'oobermenschen' invades it... Otherwise, silence is the answer.
  17. I agree with @StringJunky: we do not know if you have good intentions. I think we should not support technologies where misuse is more common than good use.
  18. @sethoflagos: are you sure you used the compatibilist definition of free will? If you apply the libertarian definition of free will, sure, then these statements are inconsistent.
  19. Exception: Hard determinism precludes free will. I hate the words 'hard determinism' (and of course its companion 'soft determinism'). Compatibilism's determinism is just as hard as what is supposed to be 'hard determinism'. Nope. Compatibilism is the view that there is no contradiction between the concepts of determinism and free will. Incomaptibilsm and compatibilism do not really differ in their positions what determinism is. They differ in their conception of what free will is. So to make the steps as clear as possible: Compatibilism is the position that there is no conflict between determinism and free will Even stronger: without determinism free will would be impossible So if the world is completely determined, the possibility for free will exists Randomness in relationship between events only disturbs the possibility for free will to exist We know the real world is not deterministic through and through Given that randomness possibly plays only a small, maybe even no role, free will is possible So my idea of 'sufficient determinism' just means that we need enough determinism for compatibilist free will to be possible. The wiggle room does not exist: either events are random, or they are determined. Randomness disturbs compatibilist free will, determinism makes it possible. To say it simple: the more events relate deterministically, the less our free will is disturbed by random events. I read it a second time, and I do not get it. Might be just me.
  20. It can be done... This is the way I did it: And then copy, or better cut, the complete text from the 'Reply to this topic' box, and paste it into the topic you want. I had to google it also.
  21. I use 'sufficient determinism' because we do not live in an absolutely determined universe. Now small random hiccups may not disturb much, but if the deviations from determinism become too big, it disturbs the connections between my intentions, knowledge, decisions and actions. For free will to be possible, their relations must be pretty fix determined. The possible actions are given by our surroundings: e.g. in a restaurant, it contains a menu card, on which my 'alternative actions' are listed. Supposing that it is a free choice, i.e. nobody coerces me to some special choice, then what I will choose then depends on me only. So given the situation, my preferences determine what action I will take. Then the action is really free. And I couldn't care less if the action potential goes up before I become conscious of my choice. There is simply no contradiction between determinism and free will. Compatibilism is not the view that there somehow is a little wiggle room in determinism in which we can choose. It is the view that free will can only exist in a determined world, so arguments in favour of determinism does in no sense argue against compatibilist free will. If you would like to give another 'Frankfurt case', one that can also be understood by somebody who is not in the world of active chess players, maybe we can discuss that.
  22. Of course Ekin = ½mv2. The higher the velocity, the more energy you need. That is even in Newtonian mechanics the case. Nope. The Lorentz transformations are like a rotation, they change our perspective.
  23. Not force. To keep up an acceleration, you need a constant force, not more and more force. 'Energy' is correct, to keep up the force, you need energy. Not for the rocket that is accelerating. As long as the rocket has energy to keep the force doing work, it can accelerate. There is no resistance. But for a 'left behind observer', she sees that the speed of the rocket approaches c, but never reaches c. She will also see that the acceleration becomes less and less. But the momentum steadily increases, as long as the force is doing its work.
  24. I wouldn't call it 'the essence', but 'essential', I think so, yes. Our minds are built up from simpler mechanisms. Just as a computer is built up on flip-flops, logical ports, which for them selves are also built up of smaller components (transistor, capacitors etc), but on higher level runs a program, e.g. a simulation of the universe. Yes, too full... But... In the first place, not epiphenomenal. Epiphenomalism is in my eyes just another form of dualism. I prefer 'supervenience' as concept to describe the relationship between the brain and the mind. And in the second place, determinism is a necessary condition of free will.
  25. You forgot the opposites: You did a good thing =>You did it because you had no choice ("determinism" for you) I did a good thing =>I did it because I chose to do it ("free will" for me) It depends on the situation: do you want to avoid blame, or do you want to get praised... Take your pick! Precisely. Neurons do not act, nor do they have intentions. But we have. Yes, because it is not bleeding obvious. AFAIK there have many studies, that show that imprisonment does not help, in fact, show the opposite. Maybe @iNow has some interesting references?
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