# Free will

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2 hours ago, Eise said:

That is in its generality wrong.

OK, @Eise. You're pretty clever. I didn't want to do this, but you've forced me to.

<BEGIN HUMOUR>

Is there any way in which you can take it out of its generality so that it's right? Then you would be taking it at the point where I meant it to be.

</END HUMOUR>

You remind me of a friend philosopher (yes, I'm the type who enjoys the company of philosophers) who once told me: "What you're saying, taken to extremes, would imply that..."

I retorted: "Then, please, don't take it to extremes, leave it where I put it."

One of the rare occasions when I've been quick to answer to something.

Edited by joigus
lexical nuance: true --> right
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I wouldn’t waste your time, Eise. He’s just here to stir up trouble And now he’s not here at all since he got banned. Carry on...

That we are thinking in the wrong way about it. We are still living with the religious concept of free will, meaning that humans can act completely independent of their (neural) physiology, which of c

Mathematica uses this exact sequence as a random number generator for large integers. Does that mean it's truly random? I guess that's a question for the philosophy of maths and above my pay grade. Bu

2 hours ago, Eise said:

Real life example: one day a developer came to me how he could get certain information from a database. I showed him with an example on paper that it was logically impossible, and ended saying that even Oracle (a relational database software) cannot do what is logically impossible, despite its name...)

Well, there’s your problem right there. You’re relying on the flash and glitz of Ellison instead of visiting the house that Hasso built.

Not ignoring your other points, but still organizing my thoughts on this (indexing them, as it were).

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7 minutes ago, iNow said:

Not ignoring your other points, but still organizing my thoughts on this (indexing them, as it were).

I'm in a similar situation to @iNow: Very interested in this topic, I suspect enjoying the debate too, but in sorry need of more time to go over the main points.

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3 hours ago, joigus said:

OK, @Eise. You're pretty clever. I didn't want to do this, but you've forced me to.

No, no, you did this freely.

3 hours ago, joigus said:

Is there any way in which you can take it out of its generality so that it's right? Then you would be taking it at the point where I meant it to be.

Yes. This is what your proposition was based on:

On 6/11/2020 at 11:37 PM, joigus said:

By reductionism (not shallow, nor naive reductionism) I mean the contention that in general small (many in their instances, simple in structure, and few in their categories) parts determine what the big (much fewer in their instances, very complex in structure, many in their categories) self-organizing systems of matter do, and not the other way about.

This is not a causal relationship. As said in my previous posting, it is a conceptual, or logical relationship. How neurons fire, depends on how other neurons fire that are connected to it. That is a causal relationship. That the whole of firing neurons represents you thinking about free will, is not a causal relationship, but another way of viewing the same process.

2 hours ago, iNow said:

Well, there’s your problem right there. You’re relying on the flash and glitz of Ellison instead of visiting the house that Hasso built.

SAP??? Igit...I must throw up, puke and vomit... And, BTW, there is a relational database working under SAP: that can even be Oracle...

(For those who don't know: ABAP is the programming language of SAP)

2 hours ago, iNow said:

Not ignoring your other points, but still organizing my thoughts on this (indexing them, as it were).

You seem to be quite knowledgeable about relational databases... And I thought your were a neuro-biologist! (But of course, that can be a non-excluding 'or').

Edited by Eise
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37 minutes ago, Eise said:

This is not a causal relationship. As said in my previous posting, it is a conceptual, or logical relationship.

Fair enough. But let's analyse your argument by means of isomorphism.

$\varphi\left(\textrm{causal relationship}\right)=\textrm{camel}$

$\varphi\left(\textrm{conceptual relationship}\right)=\textrm{horse}$

Now, this is what I see:

And this is what you say:

This is not a camel. As I said in my previous posting, it is a horse.

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On 6/7/2020 at 12:47 PM, Eise said:

the network is able to recognise cats, and not for recognising if a painting was painted by Magritte ('Ceci n'est pas une pipe').

Machine learning is a nice example to use for discussion. Assume we have trained an advanced network and we show the same cat again and again without any retraining. If the cat is recognised by the AI the same response, "cat", will deterministically be returned for any rerun with the same input. Question: if an AI with free will were given the task and after some runs states "ugly cat, looks like a camel" or "I don't care" I would have thought that would require the programmer to give up some control. I think my problem is that I for some reason see a programmer in 100% control as using coercion to such a degree that there is no room for the AI to have any wishes and to try to act according to them.

But! Here is another idea**: Assume we have created an AI that possess free will*. It does not matter much how we did it, just that it passes some test as having free will. Now we create a copy of the AI and then delay the second AI by some time. Now the first copy of the A.I could come up with any surprising and undetermined behaviour. But we don't care, we only use the behaviour to predict the exact behaviour of our second AI. So contrary to my earlier statement it seems quite possible to create situations where an AI is predicable in every detail and still possess free will. We need control of environment to predict the behaviour of the second AI copy but not absolute control of the AI. We do not need to be able to roll back, reset or restart the AIs. If we are unhappy that there are two AIs I guess we could hide the first one, its environment and the measurement of its output. The only thing we see is the second AI and the result of the first. The result is that we have an AI that acts vy free will and a text box (or whatever) that predicts what the AI will do, without ever failing.

This is probably not the best way to actually create such an AI or program, just thought experiment I share as an attempt to test my own earlier statements.

*) Eise's definition is quite fine for this thought experiment. The A.I being able to act according to the AI's wishes and beliefs
**) not claiming this is original, just that I've not seen it yet.

Edited by Ghideon
grammar and clarifications
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15 hours ago, joigus said:

Fair enough. But let's analyse your argument by means of isomorphism.

Now, this is what I see:

And this is what you say:

This is not a camel. As I said in my previous posting, it is a horse.

This is you worst posting until now. It is not thought through at all. If you do not see the difference between determination by physically causal relationships and by emergence I cannot help you. If you want to learn it, please say so, but please refrain from these kind of cheap and shallow arguments.

10 hours ago, Ghideon said:

But! Here is another idea**: Assume we have created an AI that possess free will*. It does not matter much how we did it, just that it passes some test as having free will. Now we create a copy of the AI and then delay the second AI by some time. Now the first copy of the A.I could come up with any surprising and undetermined behaviour. But we don't care, we only use the behaviour to predict the exact behaviour of our second AI. So contrary to my earlier statement it seems quite possible to create situations where an AI is predicable in every detail and still possess free will. We need control of environment to predict the behaviour of the second AI copy but not absolute control of the AI. We do not need to be able to roll back, reset or restart the AIs. If we are unhappy that there are two AIs I guess we could hide the first one, its environment and the measurement of its output. The only thing we see is the second AI and the result of the first. The result is that we have an AI that acts vy free will and a text box (or whatever) that predicts what the AI will do, without ever failing.

This is pretty to the point. I only object to the sentence I made italic.The behaviour is not 'undetermined'. If it really was, there would be no reason that the two AI systems would behave exactly the same.

There are some practical problems with your scenario, e.g. both A.I.s should be fed with exactly the same input, but I think the gist of your argument is correct. In the end 'determined' implies that when two exactly the same systems are fed with exactly the same inputs, they react exactly the same. Same holds for us. But that we are determined does not mean we have no free will, at least not in a definition of free will that does not go back to some magical metaphysics.

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

his is you worst posting until now. It is not thought through at all. If you do not see the difference between determination by physically causal relationships and by emergence I cannot help you. If you want to learn it, please say so, but please refrain from these kind of cheap and shallow arguments.

You misunderstood me. I meant that the "argument", "this is not such and such, as I said earlier it's so and so" is not a serious argument and you can do much better than that. That's just gainsay followed by a re-definition or definition of a categorical qualification. Categorical limits always carry an arbitrariness with them.

I was defining what I understand by reductionism. I have no idea how I could be wrong in what I understand by reductionism! What I understand by reductionism is, I surmise, what I understand by reductionism.

Essentially, I said, there is causal connection between what atoms do and what macroscopic systems do. That's what I call "determine." The macroscopic patterns, on the contrary, do not determine (in that sense) what the atoms do. There is a directionality in what Steven Weinberg, e.g., in Dreams of a Final Theory, calls "arrows of implication." You denied the point. What am I supposed to do next? I simply pointed out that denying what something is following by the drawing of an arbitrary line, could be used to say that a camel is not a camel.

Having said that, it's entirely possible that my argument is not an argument. All it would require for it not to be is to say: "It's not an argument," and then re-draw the line that defines what an argument is.

2 hours ago, Eise said:

If you do not see the difference between determination by physically causal relationships and by emergence I cannot help you. If you want to learn it, please say so

It is entirely possible, I would say more than likely, that you teach me something I don't know. So yes, I want to learn the difference between causal relationships and emergence. All I'm asking is that, as soon as you have the time, give me something better than "no, that's not it, it's the other."

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34 minutes ago, joigus said:

Essentially, I said, there is causal connection between what atoms do and what macroscopic systems do. That's what I call "determine." The macroscopic patterns, on the contrary, do not determine (in that sense) what the atoms do. There is a directionality in what Steven Weinberg, e.g., in Dreams of a Final Theory, calls "arrows of implication." You denied the point.

I did not. Weinberg's description with "arrows of implication" is already much better than what you say, because it does not necessarily imply causality. Do the atoms of a system determine what the system does? In the end, yes, of course they do. But it is not a 'causal connection' as you mention it here again.

Say, you look at the causal connections between some physical events. Then a physicist, trying to describe these connections, can e.g. use the conservation laws of energy and momentum. If she has a description of the processes involved, one check she can do is calculating if both conservation laws apply. If not, then she knows that her description is not complete. And this applies not just to simple systems of moving and colliding bodies, but also to the electrical processes of a computer, or the electro-chemical processes in our brains. Now if this description turns out to pass the test, there is nothing left: energy and momentum are balanced. So now, how can this system physically cause emergent properties? It simply can't, there is no energy, or momentum, or what else, that goes into the emergent property! Otherwise it would be missing already on physical level, and our physicist would have considered her description as incomplete.

'Emergence' depends on the level that we are observing a system, and that has directly nothing to do with the system in itself.

I already said before, that when the lower physical level is determined, than the system as whole is. I also agreed that therefore, we are determined. But the 'determining relation' between us and our constituents is an emergence relationship, not a causal relationship. And then I called the emergence relationship a conceptual relationship, because how we see a system depends on the concepts we use to describe the system.

1 hour ago, joigus said:

I was defining what I understand by reductionism. I have no idea how I could be wrong in what I understand by reductionism! What I understand by reductionism is, I surmise, what I understand by reductionism.

Just look at how I reacted on these two different passages of you:

On 6/10/2020 at 11:55 PM, joigus said:

I personally don't abide by what maybe @Eise would call a shallow reductionism. I consider myself a reductionist in the sense that I think that what molecules do in people's brains, however complex, determines what they think, feel, believe, wish, and finally do. And those things must have been set in motion by what they have seen, heard, thought, felt, believed, wished, and finally done, in full circle, before that, reflected in the behaviour of the molecules in their brains, which have registered somehow in their states the previous experiences. I don't think that saying that what people wish, or think, feel, believe, wish, and finally do determines what the molecules in their brains do. There is a fundamental asymmetry in the explanation, if nothing else. I think that it's the workings of the molecules what gives rise to actions, feelings and decisions. It's very awkward to me, to say the least, that it's the other way around. I don't think that's what @Eise is saying though, I must clarify.

Indeed, I did not react at all, because I more or less agree with this.

But then in a later posting you said this:

On 6/11/2020 at 11:37 PM, joigus said:

By reductionism (not shallow, nor naive reductionism) I mean the contention that in general small (many in their instances, simple in structure, and few in their categories) parts determine what the big (much fewer in their instances, very complex in structure, many in their categories) self-organizing systems of matter do, and not the other way about. "Determine," for me, is a physical causal connection; not --repeat, not-- a contingency in our mechanisms of explanation. So it doesn't really matter that much whether the explanation is easy or convenient or how many variables you have to use to describe the causal connection.

So I am only denying that the 'determining' between lower layers and higher layers is a 'physical causal connection'. Determined, yes; but causally, no. So I pointed you at the part in your understanding that is plainly wrong.

One last example: say I am looking closely at a video screen. Because I am so close, I only see some different coloured pixels. Is that a correct description of what I see? Of course. But now I take a distance to the screen, and I see letters, I go a bit further, and e.g see the words 'black lives matter'. Now, is there a physical causal relationship between the pixels and the message 'black lives matter'? If so, can you show me the laws of physics that lead to this? (just think about what I said above about the conservation laws).

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9 minutes ago, Eise said:

I did not. Weinberg's description with "arrows of implication" is already much better than what you say, because it does not necessarily imply causality. Do the atoms of a system determine what the system does? In the end, yes, of course they do. But it is not a 'causal connection' as you mention it here again.

Say, you look at the causal connections between some physical events. Then a physicist, trying to describe these connections, can e.g. use the conservation laws of energy and momentum. If she has a description of the processes involved, one check she can do is calculating if both conservation laws apply. If not, then she knows that her description is not complete. And this applies not just to simple systems of moving and colliding bodies, but also to the electrical processes of a computer, or the electro-chemical processes in our brains. Now if this description turns out to pass the test, there is nothing left: energy and momentum are balanced. So now, how can this system physically cause emergent properties? It simply can't, there is no energy, or momentum, or what else, that goes into the emergent property! Otherwise it would be missing already on physical level, and our physicist would have considered her description as incomplete.

'Emergence' depends on the level that we are observing a system, and that has directly nothing to do with the system in itself.

I already said before, that when the lower physical level is determined, than the system as whole is. I also agreed that therefore, we are determined. But the 'determining relation' between us and our constituents is an emergence relationship, not a causal relationship. And then I called the emergence relationship a conceptual relationship, because how we see a system depends on the concepts we use to describe the system.

Just look at how I reacted on these two different passages of you:

Indeed, I did not react at all, because I more or less agree with this.

But then in a later posting you said this:

So I am only denying that the 'determining' between lower layers and higher layers is a 'physical causal connection'. Determined, yes; but causally, no. So I pointed you at the part in your understanding that is plainly wrong.

One last example: say I am looking closely at a video screen. Because I am so close, I only see some different coloured pixels. Is that a correct description of what I see? Of course. But now I take a distance to the screen, and I see letters, I go a bit further, and e.g see the words 'black lives matter'. Now, is there a physical causal relationship between the pixels and the message 'black lives matter'? If so, can you show me the laws of physics that lead to this? (just think about what I said above about the conservation laws).

I understand soooo much better what you mean. I do have an answer for that, but I need more time.

I want to apologise for the camel example, because it sounded facetious, although it was not. But I felt like I had to call you to task. This question matters to me because I think it's a much better stance to assume that something in the molecules is causing our behaviour (even if it's not coded in energy and momentum, why would it be?: if a system has 1024 determinations and my physics only give me less than 10) than just make big names like "will," "belief," etc. and go on to define people's ways taking that as a basis. The latter leaves you with nothing but the old system of punishment and guilt; the first allows you to conceive of better ways to improve the situation by understanding why some people behave badly. As I said before: early detection of pathological behaviours, monitoring, alleviation of a lot of suffering... But I need to think more about this.

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19 minutes ago, joigus said:

I understand soooo much better what you mean. I do have an answer for that, but I need more time.

Ok, I'll wait. Just as a correction:

19 minutes ago, joigus said:

even if it's not coded in energy and momentum, why would it be?

It is not 'coded'. But every physical process implies an exchange of energy and momentum. But there is no exchange of those between the different description levels of a system. If there would be, then your 'proof calculations' would show that somehow energy leaks away, or is added from some unphysical source (aha, the soul!). But physically that does not make sense.

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

Then a physicist, trying to describe these connections, can e.g. use the conservation laws of energy and momentum. If she has a description of the processes involved, one check she can do is calculating if both conservation laws apply. If not, then she knows that her description is not complete. And this applies not just to simple systems of moving and colliding bodies, but also to the electrical processes of a computer, or the electro-chemical processes in our brains. Now if this description turns out to pass the test, there is nothing left: energy and momentum are balanced. So now, how can this system physically cause emergent properties? It simply can't, there is no energy, or momentum, or what else, that goes into the emergent property! Otherwise it would be missing already on physical level, and our physicist would have considered her description as incomplete.

I don't agree that this constitutes either a necessary or a sufficient condition for emergence.
I have already given an example where this is shown.

A phenomenon may emerge due to configuration of the system.

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1 hour ago, studiot said:

I don't agree that this constitutes either a necessary or a sufficient condition for emergence.
I have already given an example where this is shown.

A phenomenon may emerge due to configuration of the system.

I don't agree either. And I'm going over your argument, that I didn't completely understand. Here it is:

On 6/12/2020 at 3:16 PM, studiot said:

[...]

Which brings me to my usual example of an emergent phenomenon, arch action.

This only 'emerges' only when the last component voussoir is in place and not until.

Or does it?

Arching action occurs when there is only one component and can be likened to my earlier example to Eise of a perfect circle.

This is a very interesting case that I think goes to illustrate how surprisingly different phenomena of emergence can be, so that to the non-reductionist mind (we all have one, mind you) they might look like almost magic. +1. In the case of the arch action, it's the last piece that does all the others do their job efficiently or not do it at all.

Emergence it is, but not from out of the blue. It comes from the pieces, but in a devilishly complex and cooperative way.

I said "magic" and, just to be clear, I do not think @Eise is talking about anything like. I do think that he's trying to draw a distinction I don't quite see. But I'll keep working on it.

And as a last note for the time being, I never try to be told I'm right; I always try to be proved wrong. It's incredibly more constructive, and always a win-win situation.

2 hours ago, Eise said:

Indeed, I did not react at all, because I more or less agree with this.

Yes, I'm still trying to figure this out. Not easy for me.

So people act according to their wishes and belief. So then what?

Do we stop studying DNA as a major determiner of some behaviours, which it surely is?

Tobacco use has been shown to be correlated to Neanderthal genome. Do we deny it? See my point?

Emergence is complicated: Neanderthals didn't smoke, of course. Consequences of causal connections may even shown up millennia afterwards they appeared.

2 hours ago, Eise said:

It is not 'coded'. But every physical process implies an exchange of energy and momentum. But there is no exchange of those between the different description levels of a system. If there would be, then your 'proof calculations' would show that somehow energy leaks away, or is added from some unphysical source (aha, the soul!). But physically that does not make sense.

Every physical process implies an exchange of energy and momentum, and linear momentum, and other integrals of motion, like the Runge-Lenz vector. But overall they're just less than 10. Now, a real physical system has 1024+ determinations. Which combination of the 1024 determines that your sweetheart says "yes" to you when you ask her if she wants to marry you? I don't think it's energy or momentum, or any of the 3 components of the Runge-Lenz vector. It could be something like "every 1017 seconds all your atoms push in one direction (this is just a made-up example.) Energy, momentum, angular momentum, etc., just don't cut it.

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1 hour ago, joigus said:

So people act according to their wishes and belief. So then what?

So they have free will, exactly according my definition.

1 hour ago, joigus said:

Do we stop studying DNA as a major determiner of some behaviours, which it surely is?

Tobacco use has been shown to be correlated to Neanderthal genome. Do we deny it? See my point?

And do you see that that has nothing to do with my definition of free will? The examples you gave here, are factors that made you to what you are. But that has nothing to do with the question if somebody can act according his wishes and believes. Don't forget, I fully agree that we are determinedSo repeating again and again that we are determined does not undermine my position. I think this is at least the third time I am saying this in this thread. Must I yell to get this point across? Do you see my point?

1 hour ago, joigus said:

Every physical process implies an exchange of energy and momentum, and linear momentum, and other integrals of motion, like the Runge-Lenz vector. But overall they're just less than 10. Now, a real physical system has 1024+ determinations. Which combination of the 1024 determines that your sweetheart says "yes" to you when you ask her if she wants to marry you? I don't think it's energy or momentum, or any of the 3 components of the Runge-Lenz vector. It could be something like "every 1017 seconds all your atoms push in one direction (this is just a made-up example.) Energy, momentum, angular momentum, etc., just don't cut it.

I brought in the energy and momentum to show that there is no causal relationship between the lower, physical levels, but a conceptual relationship. Nowhere I said that energy or momentum have something to do with free will. This is a straw man.

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

Do you see my point?

I see your point, but I'm having difficulty understanding what side of a certain line your point is. That line being very clear in my mind, I do recognize that I'm having difficulty with your point.

1 hour ago, Eise said:

I brought in the energy and momentum to show that there is no causal relationship between the lower, physical levels, but a conceptual relationship. Nowhere I said that energy or momentum have something to do with free will. This is a straw man.

Will all due respect, I don't think it is. A straw man is putting words in your mouth that you haven't said, remind vaguely of what you've said, but are much easier to rebut than what you've actually said.

Now, what you've said is,

5 hours ago, Eise said:

It is not 'coded'. But every physical process implies an exchange of energy and momentum. But there is no exchange of those between the different description levels of a system. If there would be, then your 'proof calculations' would show that somehow energy leaks away, or is added from some unphysical source (aha, the soul!). But physically that does not make sense.

You seem to imply (correct me if I'm wrong) that because there's no exchange of energy and momentum between the layers, or because energy/momentum don't play a role in the "upper layers", then the question of determination of actions is something beyond physics (chemistry --> biology). IOW, that physics (chemistry --> biology) has nothing to say about how the "upper layers" work from the smaller parts. What I said is that it's not just energy, momentum and the like the only quantities the determine the motion (I think this is in close correspondence to what you said, and thereby, as honest an answer to it as I can think.) In thermal systems, most of what the variables are doing is completely thermalized, hidden, smoothed out, it you will. In complex self-organizing (living) systems, it's quite different. It's even possible (actually quite plausible) that energy, momentum etc. + entropy (accounting for the lost information) do not suffice, and there be many more variables keeping track of the information. Actually, that's what I think is happening. There must be some other job that the remaining 1024-10 other variables are doing to organize the system. And that other job can be no other than physical (chemical --> biological.) The opposite would be what Daniel Dennett calls skyhooks, instead of cranes.

I don't know if I'm being clear, although I must admit that I didn't pay the attention to some of your previous points that they deserved, I'll give you that. Your point of complaint is well taken, and I apologise.

You sound to me so similar to a quasi-standard reductionist, determinist like myself (except for QM limitations) etc. that I'm confused. I'm not saying it's a moot point what you say; I'm saying that your point is so subtle to me that it escapes me so far.

2 hours ago, Eise said:

Nowhere I said that energy or momentum have something to do with free will. This is a straw man.

OK. I see how you thought that. I meant: Why would energy or momentum have to do with free will?

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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3 hours ago, Eise said:

I brought in the energy and momentum to show that there is no causal relationship between the lower, physical levels, but a conceptual relationship. Nowhere I said that energy or momentum have something to do with free will. This is a straw man.

1 hour ago, joigus said:

OK. I see how you thought that. I meant: Why would energy or momentum have to do with free will?

I suggest the problem here is that energy and momenta (in the plural) have to do with determinism, which was introduced many pages back.

This is because both in classical and quantum theory, knowledge of all the momenta of a system at any instant will entirely 'determine' its subsequent trajectory in phase space.
Note momenta has a special meaning in this case which includes the normal mass x velcoity type.

Firstly I think the relationship between 'determinism' or fully determined and a scale of indeterminism is similar to the relationship between 'certainty' and a scale of uncertainty or probability.

I often have to remind folks that a probability of 1 has more than one meaning.

Secondly there is the question introducing of Chaos theory to the mix.

Returning to free will

Go back to my example of ice cream flavours.

But this time you have a choice of vanilla or chocolate and you are only going to have one ice cream.

A priori you have a choice and therefore can exercise the high level 'free will' as offered by Eise.

But this changes, at the instant of choice, since you can no longer choose say vanilla, having ordered the chocolate.

So a posteriori  you do not have this free will.

This is rather like the famous Monty hall problem, which alters the probability of things between a priori and a posteriori.

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13 hours ago, joigus said:

You seem to imply (correct me if I'm wrong) that because there's no exchange of energy and momentum between the layers, or because energy/momentum don't play a role in the "upper layers", then the question of determination of actions is something beyond physics (chemistry --> biology). IOW, that physics (chemistry --> biology) has nothing to say about how the "upper layers" work from the smaller parts.

No, no, and no again. The only thing (trying other words) I wanted to say is that the lowest, physical, level is 'causally closed', meaning there is no reason to add some unknown 'causal leaks' or 'causal sources'. So there is no causation from the lower levels to higher levels. A neurologist would, studying the workings of neurons, will never find a point where 'causality leaks away' or is 'magically added'. The neurologist can do his work without looking at the higher levels. But at higher levels, big conglomerates of neurons can give rise to emergent phenomena. But this 'giving rise' is simply not physical causation.

So of course one can explain how lower level phenomena give rise to higher level phenomena, but there is no physical causation between the higher level and the lower levels. So of course physics, chemistry and biology have something to say about how the processes they are interested in are determined by the ontologically most fundamental building blocks that we know.

The importance of this point is, that if you see the 'emergence-relationship' as a causal process, it lightly leads to some form of dualism. And only under dualism it could make sense to say we are not free. But the question of free will must be answered without presupposing some form of dualism, as this is an non-credible metaphysics for naturalists. On the physical level  there is no 'me' that can be 'forced'. On the highest emergent level we have wishes, believes and actions. If the actions correspond to to the wishes and believes of a person (which of course only exists at the highest level of emergence), then these actions are free.

13 hours ago, joigus said:

Will all due respect, I don't think it is. A straw man is putting words in your mouth that you haven't said, remind vaguely of what you've said, but are much easier to rebut than what you've actually said.

That is a well thought-out, strategical straw man. But attacking a viewpoint that somebody does not hold, is just as well a straw man.

13 hours ago, joigus said:

Why would energy or momentum have to do with free will?

I did not even say that they have something to do with free will. Again, my reference to energy or momentum is only meant to show that emergent properties are not physically caused by the physical layer. The emergent properties arise when you look at the system as a whole.

This is the point:

On 6/5/2020 at 3:37 PM, vexspits said:

One pictures the internal processes as dictatorial to an agent, instead of picturing them as what makes up the agent—their wants, knowledge of the consequences of their actions etc. Without this perspective reversal one can’t see anything other than “passive causality” top to bottom.

11 hours ago, studiot said:

A priori you have a choice and therefore can exercise the high level 'free will' as offered by Eise.

But this changes, at the instant of choice, since you can no longer choose say vanilla, having ordered the chocolate.

So a posteriori  you do not have this free will.

This is sometimes call 'the modal error': that because something happened, it happened necessarily

The correct way to view this:

A priori: I can choose vanilla.

To make it a posteriori, you make the past tense:

A posteriori. I could have chosen vanilla.

Imagine two ice cream shops: in one all the vanilla ice cream is sold out. In that case, the sentence 'I could have chosen vanilla' is false, where in the other, where it was not sold out, but I chose chocolate ice cream, the sentence 'I could have chosen vanilla' is true. This is the relevant meaning of 'could have done otherwise'. Not the fact that you chose vanilla.

Edited by Eise
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12 hours ago, Eise said:

This is sometimes call 'the modal error': that because something happened, it happened necessarily

So nothing happens necessarily? Or maybe some things do but others don't?

By things not having to happen necessarily, you mean things that happened didn't have to happen, don't you?

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On 11/16/2019 at 9:49 AM, Robert Wilson said:

What do you think about free will?

It seems only an autonomous person has the ability of free will. The ability to not be conditioned by those around oneself.

The same reason why scientists and/or original thinkers are born and can't ever be made.

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9 hours ago, joigus said:

So nothing happens necessarily? Or maybe some things do but others don't?

I maybe was a bit short. Let me say it this way: the modal status of a proposition does not change because time passes. If something is possible today, then it was possible when I look at the same fact back tomorrow. Same for necessity of course: if something necessarily happens in one hour, than in two hours it happened necessarily one hour ago. I think with my example with the two ice cream shops it would be clear what I meant.

The only change is in my knowledge: I might not be sure what will happen in an hour, and I express this with propositions like 'It is possible that A occurs'. Then, when in fact A really occurred, I know for sure that A happened. It could even happen, if I analyse afterwards why A occurred, that I see it was necessary that A occurred. But that only reflects the status of my knowledge, it says nothing about the possibility or necessity of A itself. But I do not think that we should dive too deep in the philosophy of modal logic, it opens a huge can of worms.

I hope we can agree on this: my knowledge of what I have chosen does not say anything about the modal status of the event itself. If I have a choice now, then tomorrow it is still true that I had a choice.

We can also apply this on the concept of 'determined'. If something is determined now, then tomorrow it will still be true that it was determined yesterday. If something was determined yesterday, then it also was before that event happened.

6 hours ago, essereio said:

It seems only an autonomous person has the ability of free will.

That is more a definition than an (empirical) fact. Whereby consistently the free will deniers cannot have any idea about which persons are more autonomous than others. In the end, everything is determined...

6 hours ago, essereio said:

The ability to not be conditioned by those around oneself.

They will say that you are conditioned through and through. By your biology, culture, upbringing, biography... As good humoured zombies we stumble through life. We are just (nothing but) machines. One could wonder why 'black machines matter'...

Sorry that I get a bit cynical. The problem is that I think people defend ideas here that they do not use in their daily lives, and do not even want to use in their daily lives. I call this the 'philosophical disease': defending ideas theoretically, but living according completely different ideas, i.e. adhere to them practically.

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

Sorry that I get a bit cynical. The problem is that I think people defend ideas here that they do not use in their daily lives, and do not even want to use in their daily lives. I call this the 'philosophical disease': defending ideas theoretically, but living according completely different ideas, i.e. adhere to them practically.

Do you use the idea that... "Oh, thank goodness I had a choice yesterday!" on a daily basis?  On my part, I've turned a bit cynical in this discussion too.

Quote

Socrates as described in Plato's dialogues, was a critic and under some interpretations - also a cynic. Being a critic, he used to criticize his interlocutors' presumptions by finding (logical and other) weaknesses in their reasoning and positions.

Quote

Every cynical remark carries some criticism. Cynicism may be thought of as pragmatic tool just as irony, humor and so on. Delivering criticism via being cynical might at times hurt the criticized subject, and hence might miss the point. Otherwise, sometimes it is exactly the cynicism (especially in social matters) that has ability to raise issues that are overlooked.

Before you jump on my assumptions, statements, questions, quotations, I'm not comparing myself with Socrates, or Weinberg, or anybody else.

I differ with Socrates among other things* in that I offer you an idea and I'm quite happy to have you tear it to shreds if it's wrong or flawed. I'm a collector of arguments.

In case there is any doubt, I appreciate and admire you, @Eise, and I wish to learn from you. You've studied and thought about this topic far more than I have.

*I would never drink the hemlock, but I would drink other people's ideas. I'm not afraid of alien ideas. If they're nonsense, they won't hurt me; if they're sensible, I will metabolize them.

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1 hour ago, joigus said:

Do you use the idea that... "Oh, thank goodness I had a choice yesterday!" on a daily basis?

No. But I take responsibility for my free actions, and I don't for actions where I am coerced.

So if I did something wrong freely, I can:

• correct my error
• apologise
• apologise and ask help to correct my error
• accept the consequences

When it was coerced I say terrible things, like:

• I warned you
• Sorry, but I was ordered to do that, they did not listen to my objections
• Sorry, it wasn't me who decided that. Complain somewhere else.

So yes, the discussion has very practical impact. And btw, one of your paragraphs in your previous posts, paraphrasing Dennett, you showed why:

On 5/24/2020 at 9:31 PM, joigus said:

2) Daniel Dennet has said, or perhaps suggested, if I'm quoting him correctly, that not having free will is not that bad, once we realize everyone would be willing to behave properly if they want to be respectable members of this society. You may well get away with saying 'it was my bad youth, your honour," but if you want to be able to be trusted, sign contracts, get a job, etc., you'd better abide by the rules.

Only this small part is of course wrong: "that not having free will is not that bad". We declare our free will and responsibility, so that we can 'join the club': that is Dennett's stance.

Which reminds me of something else: Sam Harris has written a pamphlet against free will, but he very much realises that responsibility is the glue of society, even that there are circumstances where punishment is justified. So in his pamphlet 'Free Will' he first shoots all his arguments against the idea that we have free will, and then, in explaining how he sees responsibility, defends a view that exactly matches compatibilist free will. He just refuses to call it that.

Edited by Eise
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On 6/15/2020 at 9:00 AM, Eise said:

This is sometimes call 'the modal error': that because something happened, it happened necessarily

The correct way to view this:

A priori: I can choose vanilla.

To make it a posteriori, you make the past tense:

A posteriori. I could have chosen vanilla.

Imagine two ice cream shops: in one all the vanilla ice cream is sold out. In that case, the sentence 'I could have chosen vanilla' is false, where in the other, where it was not sold out, but I chose chocolate ice cream, the sentence 'I could have chosen vanilla' is true. This is the relevant meaning of 'could have done otherwise'. Not the fact that you chose vanilla

Thank you for the change of grammar, but changing the grammar, as well as the tense and the mood entirely misses my point.

Further it makes a nonsense of this statement of yours, since it fails to progress to the future.

4 hours ago, Eise said:

I hope we can agree on this: my knowledge of what I have chosen does not say anything about the modal status of the event itself. If I have a choice now, then tomorrow it is still true that I had a choice.

We can also apply this on the concept of 'determined'. If something is determined now, then tomorrow it will still be true that it was determined yesterday. If something was determined yesterday, then it also was before that event happened.

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17 minutes ago, studiot said:

Thank you for the change of grammar, but changing the grammar, as well as the tense and the mood entirely misses my point.

Then explain your point in other words. My understanding of your point is, that what counts as 'free will' a priori, does not do anymore a posteriori. I translated your Latin in 'before the choice' and 'after the choice'.

21 minutes ago, studiot said:

Further it makes a nonsense of this statement of yours, since it fails to progress to the future.

Please explain. Is 'tomorrow' not in the future?

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7 hours ago, Eise said:

That is more a definition than an (empirical) fact. Whereby consistently the free will deniers cannot have any idea about which persons are more autonomous than others. In the end, everything is determined...

Are you sure someone can be more or less autonomous than others? Rather than simply be autonomous or not?

Determined by what? Aura? Destiny? The universe?

7 hours ago, Eise said:

They will say that you are conditioned through and through. By your biology, culture, upbringing, biography... As good humoured zombies we stumble through life. We are just (nothing but) machines. One could wonder why 'black machines matter'...

Sorry that I get a bit cynical. The problem is that I think people defend ideas here that they do not use in their daily lives, and do not even want to use in their daily lives. I call this the 'philosophical disease': defending ideas theoretically, but living according completely different ideas, i.e. adhere to them practically.

All my early school reports were basically my teachers complaining about my autonomy. It drove them nuts that I would never participate with others and do what I felt was correct. They wanted me to be a zombie and make bad decisions like the rest when my own nature is to be autonomous. To basically have an aversion to the conditioning. I still live like this.

I get the gist of what you're saying in the second paragraph. Talk is cheap.

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