Eise

Split from AI sentience

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Posted (edited)

The free-not free one. 

You seem to accept a drug addict is not (less) free, which would suggest a spectrum of 'freeness'.

Edited by dimreepr

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Eise said:

I think it is important to see that choices, even in a strictly determined universe, are real. Say, you must catch a train that leaves in 20 minutes. If you walk, you will be late; a taxi would take 5 minutes but is expensive; a bus would take 10 minutes, and every 10 minutes a bus is coming. So walking is not really an option, because if you would walk, you would not catch your train. If you would take the taxi, you would have to pay $20. And if you would take the bus, you have to take the risk that you miss your train. These are the informations you have: modal sentences that are true, but do not describe what factually happens (yet). These are called contra-factual sentences, and they can be true or false, independently of they describe events that really happen in the universe, and also independent of the question if the universe is determined or not. (But the universe better be determined, otherwise you could not even be sure of your information about your choices...) Again a reason why we need a determined universe in order to be free.

Now, of course your brain is determined also, so what your choice will be is determined too. But it is determined according the options you see, so you are really choosing. Yes, your choice is fixed, but not without your evaluating the real, available options. So your decision for one of the options (e.g. you take the taxi) determines your action (calling a taxi). That I would definitely call free will. 

"determined universe", "determined choice".. IMHO inappropriate wording for what you described above.. There is very few optimal paths how to do something, and ocean of non-optimal paths how to do something (and possibly fail), and even greater ocean of alternative choices (do something else). Sometimes there is just one optimal way how to do something. If you won't do it the right way, you will fail. So, no alternative choices.

Suppose so, somebody is not in hurry, has no alternative commitments, and has straight forward route from home to other location. He or she, can go the most optimal route, the shortest (length), or the quickest (time), but alternatively choose not to use them, but go around. Without any purpose. Without brain suggesting "you need to burn calories, move your body!" etc. That was free will choice. Maybe. Doing something without purpose. Doing something without reason which can be explained by physics, chemistry, biology etc..

 Some people notoriously are asking me "why did you do this or that?" and can't find answer for their question by themselves, because nobody is paying me nor I don't have any other reward for it, which is astonishing to them, as they do, in majority, only things they are paid for..

 

 

Edited by Sensei

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22 hours ago, Sensei said:

"determined universe", "determined choice".. IMHO inappropriate wording for what you described above.. There is very few optimal paths how to do something, and ocean of non-optimal paths how to do something (and possibly fail), and even greater ocean of alternative choices (do something else). Sometimes there is just one optimal way how to do something. If you won't do it the right way, you will fail. So, no alternative choices.

Suppose so, somebody is not in hurry, has no alternative commitments, and has straight forward route from home to other location. He or she, can go the most optimal route, the shortest (length), or the quickest (time), but alternatively choose not to use them, but go around. Without any purpose. Without brain suggesting "you need to burn calories, move your body!" etc. That was free will choice. Maybe. Doing something without purpose. Doing something without reason which can be explained by physics, chemistry, biology etc..

 Some people notoriously are asking me "why did you do this or that?" and can't find answer for their question by themselves, because nobody is paying me nor I don't have any other reward for it, which is astonishing to them, as they do, in majority, only things they are paid for.

Can you please explain how this (rant) is relevant?

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On 5/10/2019 at 3:49 PM, dimreepr said:
On 5/10/2019 at 3:31 PM, Eise said:

So yes, it is part of the clockwork, but it is the whole process of evaluating what to do next that is part of the clockwork. But even in the clockwork, you can see which actions are based on free will, namely those that are according your motivations, and those that are not, namely those that are according the motivations of somebody else, against your own motivations.

Not to mention the motivation of something else.

Where do think free will resides on the bell curve? 

On 5/10/2019 at 3:51 PM, Eise said:

Which bell curve?

On 5/10/2019 at 4:00 PM, dimreepr said:

The free-not free one. 

Do you even know your self what you are asking?

"Where does 'free will' reside on the 'free-not free' Bell curve?"

The only consistent, but meaningless, answer would be: "It resides at the free will end.' Try again. Or let it be... (speaking words of wisdom...).

 

 

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On 5/10/2019 at 4:02 PM, Sensei said:

Suppose so, somebody is not in hurry, has no alternative commitments, and has straight forward route from home to other location. He or she, can go the most optimal route, the shortest (length), or the quickest (time), but alternatively choose not to use them, but go around. Without any purpose. Without brain suggesting "you need to burn calories, move your body!" etc. That was free will choice. Maybe. Doing something without purpose. Doing something without reason which can be explained by physics, chemistry, biology etc..

So as soon you have a purpose, your actions to reach that purpose are not free anymore? 

I would say that if your are not too strongly attached to your purposes, so strong that it overrules all other purposes (OCD?), you have free will.

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@Eise

I'm trying to understand your perspective - let me explain how i've come to understand it and tell me how close it is to what you're actually saying.

You don't dispute that the contents of consciousness (value, meaning etc...) have neurochemical antecedents. But those antecedents give rise to another 'space' in which cause and effect can play a role. So when we come to choose something to eat, for instance, there are plenty of neurochemical antecedents driving a desire for meat - but for ethical reasons the person may choose other than meat. The choice of being vegetarian, in this instance, is sufficient to override the desire for meat - the choice to eat other than meat is the effect, the cause being the mental/ethical framework.

Is that a reasonable caricature of your position? 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Prometheus said:

@Eise

I'm trying to understand your perspective - let me explain how i've come to understand it and tell me how close it is to what you're actually saying.

You don't dispute that the contents of consciousness (value, meaning etc...) have neurochemical antecedents. But those antecedents give rise to another 'space' in which cause and effect can play a role. So when we come to choose something to eat, for instance, there are plenty of neurochemical antecedents driving a desire for meat - but for ethical reasons the person may choose other than meat. The choice of being vegetarian, in this instance, is sufficient to override the desire for meat - the choice to eat other than meat is the effect, the cause being the mental/ethical framework.

Is that a reasonable caricature of your position? 

You should consider a teaching role, you have the knack. +1 (deserves more)...

6 hours ago, Eise said:

Do you even know your self what you are asking?

"Where does 'free will' reside on the 'free-not free' Bell curve?"

The only consistent, but meaningless, answer would be: "It resides at the free will end.' Try again. Or let it be... (speaking words of wisdom...).

Thought I did at the time, but it turns out I'm an idiot (who knew :blink:).

Edited by dimreepr

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

it turns out I'm an idiot (who knew).

Rhetorical question, I presume? ;)

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53 minutes ago, iNow said:

Rhetorical question, I presume? ;)

:-)

We can but hope...

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20 hours ago, Prometheus said:

You don't dispute that the contents of consciousness (value, meaning etc...) have neurochemical antecedents.

That is not quite what I am saying. The way you write it leaves the door open to 'magic'. The 'antecedents' are physical, and 'vlaham!', the result is 'magical consciousness'. Consciousness is completely implemented in the brain, like software on a computer.

21 hours ago, Prometheus said:

But those antecedents give rise to another 'space' in which cause and effect can play a role.

Close again... This other 'space' is just a higher description level of what the brain does.

21 hours ago, Prometheus said:

So when we come to choose something to eat, for instance, there are plenty of neurochemical antecedents driving a desire for meat - but for ethical reasons the person may choose other than meat. The choice of being vegetarian, in this instance, is sufficient to override the desire for meat - the choice to eat other than meat is the effect, the cause being the mental/ethical framework.

Yes, but the ethical reasons are just another 'drive' (from the biological view, not the moral view of course) that is implemented in your brain. It is a question of 'which drive wins': the lust for meat, or your ethical concerns.

 

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On 5/14/2019 at 10:15 AM, Eise said:

The way you write it leaves the door open to 'magic'. The 'antecedents' are physical, and 'vlaham!', the result is 'magical consciousness'. Consciousness is completely implemented in the brain, like software on a computer.

I didn't mean to leave room for magic (though it is magic in the sense of wonder). Consciousness completely implemented by the brain, but once implemented is itself a 'cog in the machine', capable of influencing downstream (neurochemical) pathways?

On 5/13/2019 at 1:45 PM, dimreepr said:

You should consider a teaching role, you have the knack. +1 (deserves more)...

Thanks, but let's see if i'm right first.

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17 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

I didn't mean to leave room for magic (though it is magic in the sense of wonder). Consciousness completely implemented by the brain, but once implemented is itself a 'cog in the machine', capable of influencing downstream (neurochemical) pathways?

Reciprocating influences?

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11 hours ago, Prometheus said:

Consciousness completely implemented by the brain, but once implemented is itself a 'cog in the machine', capable of influencing downstream (neurochemical) pathways?

Yes, because this 'cog in the machine' is itself neurological activity. But your metaphor is a bit meager. As I said some postings above, it is not a 'one step' emergence, in contrast with the backwards moving congestion in traffic jams.

Just to extend the traffic jam example a little. Assume a road has a few old bridges, and because the bridges are old, they are monitored for the weight of the traffic. Now you can imagine what happens when there is much traffic: first there is a maximum weight on the last bridge,  then on the one before the last etc. So if all the weight readings are monitored centrally, the operator seems to see something is moving backwards on the road. Now he sends a field engineer to investigate, but being an ex-neurologist, he looks at the cars only, and reports back that nothing is moving backwards. So what we have: a real physical phenomenon (unusual heavy weight moving backwards), that is not visible looking at only individual cars. So physical effects due to emergent phenomena can go together very well. Now imagine that we have not one abstraction level (from individual cars to congestions of cars), but many more (10? 100?) in the brain. Then of course everybody gets lost.

So a 'cog in the machine'? Principally, yes, practically endless more subtle. And as soon as we are on the level where we can talk about reasons, decisions, and actions, we can simply define what free will is: decisions according my reasons, actions according my decisions.

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16 hours ago, Prometheus said:

Thanks, but let's see if i'm right first.

Teaching isn't about being right, it's about being close enough to inspire understanding of the next level. 

And Eise just inspired me to the one after that (I think) +1.

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On 5/16/2019 at 9:08 AM, Eise said:

So a 'cog in the machine'? Principally, yes, practically endless more subtle. And as soon as we are on the level where we can talk about reasons, decisions, and actions, we can simply define what free will is: decisions according my reasons, actions according my decisions.

It's caricature for sure, but it helps me see the traffic for the cars.

Considering the ring of cars as loosely analogous to the brain, my next question is whether that back-propagating phenomena has causative effects. Each car slows down because the car in front slows down - that's the chain of causation. The back-propagation seems to manifest from this chain, but itself is not a causative agent. It's like they are different categories of things.

On 5/16/2019 at 12:38 PM, dimreepr said:

Teaching isn't about being right, it's about being close enough to inspire understanding of the next level. 

That's a nice way of putting it. Here's to the next level.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Prometheus said:

It's caricature for sure, but it helps me see the traffic for the cars.

Considering the ring of cars as loosely analogous to the brain, my next question is whether that back-propagating phenomena has causative effects. Each car slows down because the car in front slows down - that's the chain of causation. The back-propagation seems to manifest from this chain, but itself is not a causative agent. It's like they are different categories of things.

That's a nice way of putting it. Here's to the next level.

Which I think suggests it's an observer-dependent phenomenon and probably why it is difficult to objectively pin down and describe quantitatively..

Edited by StringJunky

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On 5/17/2019 at 6:24 PM, Prometheus said:

Considering the ring of cars as loosely analogous to the brain, my next question is whether that back-propagating phenomena has causative effects.

I thought I illustrated just that with my 'story'. So let's extend it a little.

This is the road:

A-City--------------------------B1----------B2---------B3---------B4----------B5--------------------B-Town

The B's are the bridges, all built 70 years ago according the same design. The problem: traffic and the weight of trucks, tractor etc have increased, and the bridges are not built for heavy weights. So to avoid problems two measures are taken: the road is only allowed for vehicles below 5 tons (5000kg), and sensors are built at the bridges that issue an alarm when the weight on the bridges is higher than this 5 tons. 

One day, the alarm goes of for B1, a while later at B2 etc. However, it is slower than one would expect from normal traffic. So the field engineer, living in B-Town drives to B5 and waits. And yes, after a while a slow moving tractor with a heavy loaded trailer crosses B5, and it is heavier than the 5 tons. The farmer gets a fine. And this happens a few times. 

On another day the same phenomenon happens: alarms go off from B1 to B2, etc,  The field engineer goes to B5 again, he waits and waits, but no heavy vehicles pass the bridge. So he reports back to the monitoring authority that there must be an error in the alarming system. In fact, of course it was a traffic jam caused by a minor accident between B1 and A-City. After a while the car involved in the accident is put aside, and the traffic jam starts to dissolve. But the congestion still slowly moves backwards, about as slow as a tractor. And as the bridges are longer than 5 vehicles, and every vehicle happens to have a weight of one ton, the alarms go off. 

So what can we conclude:

  1. There is a clear physical effect: the alarms go off, the weight on the bridges really is more than 5 tons.
  2. There is an illusion of a heavy vehicle moving from B1 to B5.

So the congestion of course is real, the illusion is that it is caused by one slow vehicle moving from B1 to B5, where in fact it is caused by traffic moving from B5 to B1. So the illusion is that the alarms are not caused by one thing (a heavy vehicle) that is moving from B1 to B5, but by a process that occurs due to a moving pattern of many vehicles together.

Now the naive neurologist is like the field engineer who says that there must be an error in the monitoring system: consciousness does not have physical effects. The error is that he sees consciousness as a thing, something like the 'command room', a soul, or the mind, which he clearly sees, does not exist as a thing: there is no tractor. On the other side, the process is real, and has physical effects. The not so naive neurologist of course sees this. The 'thingy tractor' is an illusion. But consciousness, and its causal powers, are not. As a Buddhist (if you are...) you might recognise the illusion: it is the independent existence of the soul, or self, like the illusionary tractor. 

On 5/17/2019 at 6:24 PM, Prometheus said:

The back-propagation seems to manifest from this chain, but itself is not a causative agent. It's like they are different categories of things.

I hope I have shown that it is a causal agent (the alarms really go off), but yes, they are different categories: the tractor is a thing, the congestion is a process, built up from a moving pattern of things.

On 5/17/2019 at 7:30 PM, StringJunky said:

Which I think suggests it's an observer-dependent phenomenon...

Yes, you could see it like that. We are observers that happen to observe other people, not at the neurological level (unless you work as a neurologist) but at the global level of an acting person, acting because of his motivations and (presumed) knowledge.

As a remark: I have nothing against neurologists doing their work. I have something against neurologists who think they are justified in making philosophical statements.

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56 minutes ago, Eise said:

So let's extend it a little.

This is the road:

 

Another first rate model, +1 keep them coming please.

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3 hours ago, Eise said:

On the other side, the process is real, and has physical effects. The not so naive neurologist of course sees this. The 'thingy tractor' is an illusion. But consciousness, and its causal powers, are not. As a Buddhist (if you are...) you might recognise the illusion: it is the independent existence of the soul, or self, like the illusionary tractor. 

Yes, i'm a Buddhist, and your view is particularly consistent with my understanding of the dharma. This means i have an emotional stake in you being right, which i temper with a bit more scepticism than usual. However, not being trained in philosophy, i prefer the little stories so keep thinking them up.

This all leads again to the idea of emergence so i might take this back over to the AI sentience thread.

 

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