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Everything posted by Eise

  1. OK, that is not the point I was making: the point I was making is that there is no difference in the physics of what we observe: there is only a difference in how we look at the pixels. In this case from nearby vs from a distance. From nearby we see pixels; from a distance we see text (or should I say 'text'). But we are looking at exactly the same physical object. But they are! But again you are using a vague word, 'responsible'. (you used 'driven' before, also vague). What is this 'responsible'-relationship? You say it is causation, I say it is supervenience. So my answer to your question is simple: there are no other variables. But there are different ways we can look: from the low levels like atoms, molecules, and neurons; or at the higher level of persons, (true) beliefs, actions, motivations, (free) will etc. The latter we are using in day-to-day life, the former by neurologists, biologists etc.
  2. Do you have references for that? Special relativity, mind you. And please only serious sources.
  3. @iNow No, it is not obvious. And it really seems you have some trouble understanding me here. (Usually you haven't). And I am sorry you wrote such a long exposé on something I did not mean. I should have omitted 'you are reading'. My point is the relationship between the pixels and the text. Here I have some pixels, greatly enlarged: Just some colours. In reality it is the cross point of the 'x' in the word 'text' above: (Yes, I have anti-aliasing turned on, therefore these colours). Now: is the word 'text' caused by the pixels, or is the word just the pixels seen from a distance? And that is the point I am making: our mental phenomena are the physical and biochemical processes, just observed from a very different perspective. By assuming that physical and biochemical processes cause mental phenomena, you are indeed entering the arena of epiphenomalism, and that is a dead end. It even leads to a form of dualism. (No I am not AIkonoklazt. But he is right on this point. Pity that he is not more polite.)
  4. Good argument. Is there a causal relationship between the pixels of a monitor and the text you are reading on that monitor?
  5. Remarks on @iNow's summary. Right, I argued for that too. It already means, that if we stand for a decision or choice, and that my action will be a determining factor of my future, I better think well about the consequences of my possible actions and how they fit to my interests. That is of no importance for my concept of free will. So you are attacking the position that consciousness is the primary cause of an action, i.e. you are attacking the concept of 'libertarian free will'. 'Driven'? You mean 'caused', or what? There is a subtlety here: there is no causal relationship between physical and biochemical processes and our mental phenomena. Mental phenomena supervene on these physical and biochemical processes. So yes, mental phenomena are determined, because the processes they are based on are deterministic. But they do not cause mental phenomena. Compare with a book: it is obvious that a book, without its physical existence, cannot exist. It needs paper and ink. But it does not follow that a book is 'just paper with ink' (compare your 'meat bags'). Even stronger, while it is true that books cannot exist without their physical substrate, the essence of the book is its meaningful contents. And these are not dependent on paper and ink: you can read a book on a monitor, you can have it on an ebook reader, you can even listen to it as audio book (or worse, a human reading it to you). But thinking about how to act, we also cannot do without meaning. It arises in the values that flow into my decision how to act. The importance of such narratives is that we identify with our actions: we recognise them as our actions. In some cases we don't identify with our actions: e.g. when I fall to the ground because I stumbled over a stone (this one should not be called an action at all, as there is no intention whatsoever involved). Or if I am coerced to do something: as I did not act according my own motivations, but those of somebody else's, I do not identify with them. Now this could have been a remark of a compatibilist. If it really changes nothing in our existence, we still can use the idea of free will in our daily life. We just get rid of its (meta)physical and ideological ballast. So for me it is not understandable why you stick to an outdated, ideological, inconsistent concept of free will: We had that already before: you are beating a dead horse. What is the fun in giving another proof that 1 does not equal 3? It is inconsistent, so not worth the effort. More important is to convince people that the idea of libertarian free will is inconsistent, and instead give a proper analysis of our behaviour which we call 'free'. You can give examples as much as you want. But the only thing you show, is that the future depends on the actions we decide/choose for. The 'elbow room' lies in the evaluating of the reasons to act in certain ways, in the availability of real options (beaming the survivors out of the jungle pity enough was no option). But this evaluating can be just as well a determined process. For what I mean with real options, see here: PS Why do we hear nothing anymore from you, @Anirudh Dabas? You started the discussion.
  6. Does one 'fix' the temperature with a thermometer?
  7. For the record, I do not say the world is determined: QM shows it isn't. But of course one can play intellectual games, like 'Assume the world is determined: does it mean that in principle everything can be predicted?'. Or of course: 'Assume the world is determined: does it mean that we have no free will?'. My position, maybe not very clear, for free will we need 'sufficient determinism', i.e. we can ignore random processes in the situation we are interested in. And by the way, your 'pun intended': do you see that your 'determine' has another meaning than 'fixed by preceding causes'?
  8. PS this ambiguity can be found in at least the other languages I am familiar with: Dutch: bepalen, or vaststellen German: bestimmen, or feststellen If somebody know other languages in which this ambiguity exist, please post! Martillo, you mother tongue is Spanish, isn't it? Can you enlighten us? Of course! Wiktionary:
  9. No. I think you smuggle in another meaning of 'determined'. Like in 'Can you please determine the temperature?', meaning, 'Can you please measure the temperature?' You could apply the same meaning of 'determined' to a real stochastic process. After a measurement is made, one could say that the value of an observable was determined. But still, the result was not determined, i.e. the result was not fixed by conditions immediately before. If a process is determined or not does not depend on if it is in the past, present or future. The only thing is that when it is in the past, it will not change anymore.
  10. @martillo If it interests you, I once wrote a comment on an article by Hawking on free will:
  11. Well, it is a fact that we live in a universe that is not deterministic through and through, quantum effects being the exception. However, this is not relevant for free will: free will implies that my actions are really my actions. Quantum jiggles would only be disturbing the connections between my self and my actions. Your other examples can be distinguished in two categories: (partial) ignorance: it is impossible to have a complete overview of all conditions that lead to an event deterministic chaos: microscopic changes in initial conditions lead to macroscopic effects But both these categories are still deterministic! So all three of your 'escape routes' lead to unpredictability, but do not contribute to free will. @iNow and @TheVat: We already had the topic of epiphenomalism: And about consciousness and free will: I listed the reasons why consciousness is an evolutionary advantage: These are all mental processes ('observe', 'see', 'anticipate', 'reflect', 'compare', 'choose'). I have no problem that all these processes run on a determined hardware. But I think it really is not possible to understand free will without taking consciousness into account. But the only thing really necessary to be able to speak about free will, is that I can observe that my actions are according my own motivations.
  12. Still looking for words? You should look for definitions. Now "the faculty or power of using one's will" comes very close to my definition. So apply this definition on a will that is causally determined. Then still the question makes sense if we can act according our will or not. This question can be asked independently of how this will has arisen. And here you go again: "sometimes". What are these conditions? I get that. But in discussions it should be clear for everybody what you mean with those 'names'. Obviously you think 'volition' is more than "the faculty or power of using one's will". Nope. Do not use 'determined' in the same meaning as 'predetermined'. 'Predetermined' means that the future is fixed, and that nothing, not even my actions, can change anything. 'Determined', in a naturalistic understanding, means that everything is caused, but our actions are part of the causal network: they have causal impact. That my actions are caused too does not matter. So the key point is that the question if we have free will or not lies in the relationship between my own intentions, and the possibility to act according them. Everything else is either magical thinking, or metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. No: the future is determined and depends on our choices and actions. Do you get it (and TheVat too)? Our choices and actions are parts of the causal network. Our choices and acts matter, the future depends on it. Nope. The world is determined, or it is not. Our possibility to predict the future, even in a determined universe, has nothing to do with it. We in fact know that the future is unpredictable, even when the universe is determined: see chaos theory. Predictability has nothing to do with free will. It has to do with determinism: only in a sufficient determined universe, (scientific) predictions are possible.
  13. Well, you are the one that says that consciousness plays no causal role. That means we could just as well be not-conscious, it would make no difference. This seems unrelated to my stance, so again I'll politely ignore it. Sorry, but again, you are saying that consciousness plays no causal role, so it follows it also plays no role in the big projects humans achieve. And where does the question if an action was free or not plays an essential role: in day-to-day experience. You said: So this is the context: day-to-day experience. Not some (meta)physical ideas about how free free will arises from the deeper layers of reality. It is the opposite: 'free will' is a higher order phenomenon, and the only context where it plays a role is the context in which also other higher level phenomena exist: persons, actions, wishes, beliefs, ideas, laws and regulations, etc. That's why you see only higher level phenomena in my definition of 'free will': the capability to act according one's own motivations. Applying the idea of 'free will' on levels where these higher level phenomena do not exist is a category error. It is not so that an electron has no free will: the concept of free will simply does not apply. Well, a libertarian free will concept would lead to such a conclusion. All I was saying is that for a naturalist a causal foreplay is not astonishing. So why people think these kind of experiments are 'shocking'? Simply, because they stick to a wrong concept of free will, thinking it must be rooted in physical reality, and therefore must be found on that level. And for @martillo: I do not see why the capability to act according one's own motivations is in contradiction with determinism.
  14. Better. But not good enough. It still does not explain why we are conscious, i.e. how we explain that consciousness exists. What is the evolutionary advantage? I would say that it is the capability to: observe the environment see how you self are placed in this environment can anticipate different possible actions, and reflect on the results thereof compare this with your aims, interests, needs, desires etc choose the action that fits best Now if all these steps are initiated at an unconscious level, does it change anything? It is only the last step where the question of free will comes into play: can I choose the action with which I can identify myself; or am I forced to do something against my aims, interests, needs, desires etc? Your arguments are valid when you would argue against libertarian free will. But how would they be arguments against compatibilist free will? And may I assume, given your position, that in planning and building e.g. the LHC, the consciousness of none of planners, builders, engineers, physicists etc plays a role? And the Libet experiments are pretty useless in my eyes. In the first place, if you are a naturalist, one should not be surprised at all by the results of these experiments. Everything has a 'causal fore-play', so it would be astonishing to see my 'action plans' pop out of nothing, and causing my behaviour. In the second place is the experiment too artificial, compared with situations in which the idea of free will really plays a role. The task for the subjects of the Libet experiments is to flex their hand without a reason, just spontaneous. So the flexing of the hand, the moment when I am doing this, is in no way personally relevant, so really no model of an action for which the question of free will is relevant.
  15. "Conscious behaviour", but consciousness plays no causal role? Now that is as unclear as Martillo's 'sometimes'. If consciousness is the basis for 'conscious behaviour', meaning nothing else then that consciousness has at least something to do with behaviour, then consciousness somehow plays a causal role. To require that 'the "conscious behavior" itself is also beyond any "conscious" influence' is exactly where I protest against: you seem to think that you must be able to want what you want, instead of being able to do what you want. The minimum that this implies is that you cannot express your thoughts clearly enough that we really understand your point. The maximum is that you do not understand it yourself: that you realise there are gaps in your explanations, and even might be contradictory. It seems your looking for the right replacement of the words 'free will' instead of clearly defining the concept of free will. Your search for the right words shows that you are looking for words that sound acceptable, but in reality just shift the problem under the carpet. This is the philosophy forum, which implies that viewpoint should be argumentative supported. That needs clear definitions, not vague ones like 'sometimes'.
  16. From your viewpoint? I definitely meant "i.e. do not have consciousness". I would like you to work out this 'sometimes'. In what situations does, in your vocabulary, 'will' exists (and we are not completely determined, and in what kind of situations is everything determined, leaving no room for 'will'.
  17. @iNow: If 'we' are just spectators, then 'we' have no causal impact: our nervous system can perfectly do without. Having no causal impact, natural selection cannot make a difference between organisms that are spectators, and organisms that are not (i.e. do not have consciousness). From a '3rd party view', given your worldview that everything is determined, all our behaviour can be explained from the biological level. Not necessary to posit something like awareness, consciousness or 'spectatorship'. That means we can just be as well 'philosophical zombies'. But the idea of philosophical zombies is inherently inconsistent. With other words, there must exist something like 'conscious behaviour', otherwise evolution has no way to select for conscious organisms: consciousness would have no evolutionar advantage.
  18. Well, at least that is a clear position, but still very much in the abstract. However it still very unclear what exactly is not determined. 'Sometimes it is' and 'sometimes it is not' is a bit vague, don't you think?
  19. Made it bold for you... So free will exists?? Is your decision determined or not? I would say we call that 'making choices/decisions'... See, the question is not if we make choices and/or decisions. We do. There are two questions when discussing free will: are choices and decisions determined? can we act according our choices and decisions? I answer both questions with 'yes'. And it is in the second question that the possibility of free will exists. We simply cannot always act according our choices and decisions, I can be forced to do something I not really want, then we are not free. So you do not think that there is a naturalistic explanation? I think we all (iNow, Studiot, me) see that you don't have a clear viewpoint. It is no use to try to find 'correct' words to hide that fact.
  20. Yes. So you agree that because of the uncaused soul, we can act freely? That is what Descartes says. Because Kant mentions them. Please explain with a real life example (at least we can imagine such a situation as occurring in real life). Is 'will' determined? Always? Or sometimes not? Sometimes? Sometimes the will is determined, and sometimes it is not? Please, give an example here as well.
  21. I am glad to agree with Hume and Daniel Dennett. Descartes was a dualist, who maintained that there are 2 substances, res extensa (~ matter), and res cogitans (~ soul). Because the soul exists independently of the physical world, we can be free. Do you still agree with Descartes? In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant describes how our knowledge of the world is 'filtered' by the so-called categories. One of them is causality. That means we see the world as determined. But then in his ethical work, The Critique of Practical Reason, he states that to understand our moral reasoning, we need 3 concepts: immortailty, freedom and God. Do you still agree with Kant? Absolutely no, of course. But you said 'will' is a question of decisions and choices. And now you must refer to the possibility to act on those decisions and choices.
  22. No. Freedom to act is one thing. Freedom to make a choice is something different. Please answer my question.
  23. And that is my point: we do not have to look there. You are who you are, because of your genes, your culture, your biography, etc. E.g., when somebody does not like chicory, she cannot do much to change that. But she can act according to her preferences: just not eating them, even if if it is a real option (see my restaurant example here).
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