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Please tell me we have free will


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2 hours ago, teroko said:

This is my last comment. I'm out now. It doesn't worth discuss this anymore.

No disrespect intended but you are missing out on the opportunity to learn something from Eise. You are in over your head and don't recognize it. This is similar to arguing with a doctor who wants to adjust a patient's oxygen level, when to you it is obvious that the patient's blue lips indicate their lips are broken.

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You can be quite certain there is free will.   Reality is an infinite number of orders of magnitude too chaotic for consciousness to be driven by any sort of chemical reaction or mechanical proce

Do you mean that because, in this case, it has no free will, in normal circumstance it does? @ others: I can’t moderate in this thread but there is no reason to suddenly get irrational and offens

If I have to tell you, you don't.

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13 minutes ago, IkeDillinger said:

Ok. So you just want to argue semantics. Philosophy is completely lost on you. It’s like listening to a TED talk. You’d be an incredible subject for a case study on the Dunning-Kruger effect. 

Please elaborate. Lots of personal attack. Little substance. Can/will you do better?

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1 hour ago, IkeDillinger said:

Ok. So you just want to argue semantics. Philosophy is completely lost on you. It’s like listening to a TED talk. You’d be an incredible subject for a case study on the Dunning-Kruger effect. 

I have no idea what you are prattling on about. Is this really how you wish to begin your time here? 

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Why? Does it bother you when I talk that way? Because I’m just exercising my “free will”. As you’d be exercising your “freedom of choice” by blocking me from the group if you wanted. 

That’s the best way I can think to show what I believe is evidence or at least an argument for “freedom of choice/will”. 

Please forgive me for any facetious remarks in my prior comments I merely needed a reaction to get my point across. 

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Do you understand the argument that free will is something you feel like you experience, but in no way can your actions prove that you were ever going to do something else. Yes you may say that you can reason and think about other options. but that reasoning/thinking could just as well be something you were gonna do regardless of your choice. Your brain may just make it seem like you have any control. If you understand those arguments, then you also understand how your example of posting on this forum, does nothing to refute that argument?

Additionally, from a physical point of view, if you don't invoke a soul, then your brain is made of neurons, with proteins, all of which undergo chemical reactions that lead to thoughts/emotions (of course your body also has hormones, but those too are physical things). So if molecules don't have free will, how could you have free will. (My apologies if this is already talked about in this thread, I just skimmed the last pages).

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4 hours ago, IkeDillinger said:

Ok. So you just want to argue semantics. Philosophy is completely lost on you. 

A large part of philosophy is arguing semantics.

For example, when discussing free will, what does "free" mean, what does "will" mean, which version of "free will" are we discussing, and so on. Defining and understanding exactly what these words and concepts mean (ie. semantics) is an essential part of any such discussion.

(Using "semantics" to dismiss an argument is one of my pet hates: it indicates lazy thinking, that the person don't really care what the discussion is about.)

Also, it's not clear who your criticism was addressed to. Maybe everybody?

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For those interested, I now read the whole article "Is everything determined?" of Stephen Hawking.

I find it funny that already in the third sentence, the ambiguity of Hawking's position becomes clear. It is one of the leading questions of the article:

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Or is everything we do determined and preordained?

Bold by me. I would have formulated: 

Is everything we do determined or preordained?

Reason is that they are different things: Being determined is not the same as being preordained. I would answer 'yes' to the first question (at least when no quantum effects are considered, which in the question of free will seems a good approximation), but 'no' to second. What we do matters, also in a determined world, i.e. we have influence on what happens.

Hawking seems to be aware of this difference, but just does not dive deep enough in the difference. Reason is what he takes as outstanding attribute of free will:

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The ultimate objective test of free will would seem to be: can one predict the behaviour of the organism? If one can, then it clearly doesn't have free will but is predetermined. On the other  hand, if one cannot predict the behaviour, one could take that as an operational definition that the organism has free will.

Both determinism and predestination in principle offer the possibility that we can predict human behaviour. But is unpredictability really an attribute of free will? I think it isn't at all; and Hawking thinks it isn't practically. Two reasons:

Hawking's end conclusion:

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is everything determined? The answer is yes, it is. But it might as well not be, because we can never know what is determined.

The other one is that if one would be able to predict what I will do based on laws of nature and present conditions, and then tells me his prediction, I can change my behaviour based on this prediction. 

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The concept of free will belongs to a different arena from that of fundamental laws of science. If one tries to deduce human behaviour from the laws of science, one gets caught in the logical paradox of self-referencing systems. If what one does could be predicted from the fundamental laws, then the fact of making that prediction could change what happens.

The way out for the determinist is of course: keep the prediction secret. Put it in an envelope and bring it to a notary. Then after the prediction was fulfilled, show the prediction to everybody. But if he predicted something I did out of my free choice, should that bother me at all? The question if I was forced to do something by somebody, or did it because I liked to do it is not changed by the fact that the prediction was correct. So even under perfect prediction, I can still make the distinction if my action was free or not.

At a more daily level: people who know me very well, will often be able to correctly predict what I will do in a certain situation. But really, I have not the feeling that this possibility somehow is an argument against free will. It just show I am a person with certain character traits. Would be funny if I do not act according to them, wouldn't it?

But then, I found this statement of honesty of Hawking:

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What follows is my personal attempt to come to terms with these problems. I don't claim any great originality or depth, but it is the best I can do at the moment.

I assume that he was often asked his opinion, as a world famous physicist, about the free will 'problem'. So he decided to write down what his way of thinking is. He does not claim to deliver a solution to it. What is left is an interesting, thought provoking, and well written essay about how he himself sees the solution of the seeming contradiction between determinism and free will.

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28 minutes ago, Eise said:

The other one is that if one would be able to predict what I will do based on laws of nature and present conditions, and then tells me his prediction, I can change my behaviour based on this prediction. 

I don't entirely agree with this, because if I would predict what would happen based on the laws of physics, then the part where I am telling you, must be part of that prediction. Because the environment and all other molecules are part of that equation, and thus if I could predict what would happen, then I would have to include all the information that includes telling you, and thus it 'has' to happen. If I won't tell you, but then I would have predicted that I wouldn't tell you since I predicted it based on the laws of nature. It seems impossible to calculate ONLY your actions based on the laws of nature and present conditions, because for that I would have to calculate MY and the entire (local) environment, right?

Your thoughts? (Hope I am clear, only have a few sec before I have to leave, otherwise I will reiterate later). 

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Is the question of Free Will capable of simple rational analysis, leading to a simple yes or no type answer?

We are historically and culturally conditioned to seek simple answers.
Indeed we often abstract a quality or property from the world around us to attribute to something with varying degrees of success.

Is the world round ?

Leads to the abstraction of a perfect circle.
Did we really mean a perfect circle or would a lesser 'roundness' do?

What is the temperature of that bar of steel?
Classical thermodynamics (and common sense) requires that bar to have one uniform unique temperature for the question to have meaning.
One end in ice and the other in a furnace will not do.

In part our success in answering such questions depends upon our ability to abstract, isolate and encapsulate such qualities and their definitions.

So back to Free Will.

Is this a thing like thermodynamic temperature unformly possessed of the whole organism or being ?
Does it have to be possessed by each and every instance of that organism

Could you put you hand into red hot coals or seize a bar or red hot iron.
Some people have been know to do this, but others not.
Does part of the being fight 'free will' of another part ?

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On 4/10/2020 at 6:35 AM, studiot said:

 

In part our success in answering such questions depends upon our ability to abstract, isolate and encapsulate such qualities and their definitions.

 

Animals obviously have free will and consciousness but they don't understand the concept of abstraction.  They don't understand any concept at all because even a concept is an abstraction.  

Humans overthink everything.   We do it for myriad reasons like the fact we can ONLY think in abstraction because that's the nature of our language today.   "Abstractions" aren't real for exactly the reasons you delineate.  We have reduced reality to abstractions we call religion or "physical law" but reality is concrete; it is a roundish (sphere-like)  object that floats in space.   It is unique and continually changing just like all of reality.  Within that reality we can do as we choose whether we know it or not.  This is the very nature of what it means to be "alive"; CHOICE.   It is a gift bestowed by nature to prolong out lives and propagate our genes which are our individual realities.  

Some things are very hard to see if you have the "wrong" perspective and definitions.  

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Just now, cladking said:

Humans overthink everything.

Indeed we do...

2 minutes ago, cladking said:

Some things are very hard to see if you have the "wrong" perspective and definitions.  

You could always relax, and live like a slug...

 

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On 4/10/2020 at 9:44 AM, Dagl1 said:

Do you understand the argument that free will is something you feel like you experience, but in no way can your actions prove that you were ever going to do something else.

How would such a proof look like?

On 4/10/2020 at 9:44 AM, Dagl1 said:

Yes you may say that you can reason and think about other options. but that reasoning/thinking could just as well be something you were gonna do regardless of your choice.

That is wagging the dog. Choice is a result of the reasoning, even when the reasoning is determined. A bit gross, one can say that your reasoning causes your choice, and your action is caused by your choice. If you are blocked to act according to your choice your free will is restricted. If not, then your action is free. 

You seem to think that 'being able to do otherwise' under exactly the same circumstances, including the state of your brain and body, would be necessary for free will. It isn't. Free will means to be able to act according your motivations.

On 4/10/2020 at 9:44 AM, Dagl1 said:

So if molecules don't have free will, how could you have free will.

Electrons have no colour, as protons and neutrons. So how can objects made of them have colour?

On 4/10/2020 at 1:20 PM, Dagl1 said:

I don't entirely agree with this, because if I would predict what would happen based on the laws of physics, then the part where I am telling you, must be part of that prediction.

Think deeper. I'll give you a clou: endless loop.

On 4/10/2020 at 1:20 PM, Dagl1 said:

It seems impossible to calculate ONLY your actions based on the laws of nature and present conditions, because for that I would have to calculate MY and the entire (local) environment, right?

Yeah, it is a herculean job, sure.

On 4/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, studiot said:

Is the question of Free Will capable of simple rational analysis, leading to a simple yes or no type answer?

Principally I would say 'yes'. But we must agree on what we understand under 'free will'. If it means e.g. the above 'could have done otherwise under exactly the same circumstances, including our brain and body' (1) then the answer is no. That follows from the concept of determinism: if the start conditions are exactly the same, the same results will happen. So also your choice and action will be the same. Also when one means with free will 'not caused by natural processes' (2), then the answer would be 'no'.

But if one takes as definition 'being able to act according your own motivations', then yes, we have free will. And in my opinion, this is the only aspect we empirically know of ourselves. Decide to do something, and you can do it! But there is not any empirical basis in our daily life that fits the previous two attributes: they are interpretations:

(1) is not empirically given: we cannot play the movie again exactly the same. It follows from the idea that the world is determined. Besides there are far better analyses what exactly we mean with 'could have done otherwise', much more realistic, and with no contradiction with determinism and with my concept of free will.

(2) is a remnant of Christian theology, in which in the Creation by an omnipotent, omniscient, and good God an explanation was needed why people do bad things and are responsible for their actions.

On 4/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, studiot said:

Is this a thing like thermodynamic temperature unformly possessed of the whole organism or being ?

More or less, but the brain of course plays a major role.

On 4/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, studiot said:

Does it have to be possessed by each and every instance of that organism

Not necessarily, but grosso modo yes. One needs certain capabilities that most people have, some only a bit, others much more: self knowledge, experience of how actions can work out, awareness of what other people do, i.e. see the consequences of your actions. So definitely some people are freer than others.

On 4/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, studiot said:

Could you put you hand into red hot coals or seize a bar or red hot iron.
Some people have been know to do this, but others not.
Does part of the being fight 'free will' of another part ?

I have some difficulty to understand what you mean, but maybe this reaction touches it: People's minds are not a unity. Different motivations exist in us that can contradict each other. It can make choice extremely difficult, and in your example one must have a very strong motivation to overrule the other motivations, of not to like feeling pain, or destruct (parts of) your own body.

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

 

You could always relax, and live like a slug...

 

I believe a slug has a better understanding of being a slug than we do of being human.  Indeed, i believe the slug has a better understanding of life, reality, and free will than we do; at least from the perspective of a slug.  

We mostly understand human concerns that are based around emotions, definitions, and abstractions.  From this perspective the nature of life and free will can be hard to see.   

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52 minutes ago, cladking said:

I believe a slug has a better understanding of being a slug than we do of being human.  Indeed, i believe the slug has a better understanding of life, reality, and free will than we do; at least from the perspective of a slug.  

Speak for yourself.

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1 hour ago, cladking said:

I believe a slug has a better understanding of being a slug than we do of being human.  Indeed, i believe the slug has a better understanding of life, reality, and free will than we do; at least from the perspective of a slug.  

Do you have some research that you are basing this belief on?

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

How would such a proof look like?

That is wagging the dog. Choice is a result of the reasoning, even when the reasoning is determined. A bit gross, one can say that your reasoning causes your choice, and your action is caused by your choice. If you are blocked to act according to your choice your free will is restricted. If not, then your action is free. 

You seem to think that 'being able to do otherwise' under exactly the same circumstances, including the state of your brain and body, would be necessary for free will. It isn't. Free will means to be able to act according your motivations.

Electrons have no colour, as protons and neutrons. So how can objects made of them have colour?

Think deeper. I'll give you a clou: endless loop.

Yeah, it is a herculean job, sure.

I was thinking of free will in the sense of conditions (your actions now are the result of things that happened in the past, and the molecules in your body reacting to previous states, at no point do you have any 'say' in what the molecules do), not regarding the idea one could make some different choice based on reasoning, but I believe even with the definition that people can make meaningful choices, they are limited to whatever their personality/being/brainstate at that particular time allows, so that type of free will would be limited (but not non-existent).

You confidently say what free will is, but I presume it is the definition (that I missed by not reading through the entire thread) you or people have agreed upon here, because I generally interpret free will in the sense as I described above.
If we do follow my definition, I don't agree you would come into an endless loop when calculating everything, you would come to the conclusion that you calculating everything was part of what was/is going to happen, and it would all be part of some causal chain (of course, quantum mechanics and inherent randomness can make that chain deviate each time, but since humans (as far as I know) can't control the randomness of quantum mechanics, this deviation is still not in anyway influenced by some person). 

Regarding colour... well that is wavelengths of light being interpreted being picked upon our eyes right. Do electrons, protons, and neutrons not emit specific frequencies of light (even if they may not be within the visual spectrum)? (I honestly don't know, but always assumed they do).

My point about the fact that calculating what YOU would do, would have to include myself into that equation, and to calculate what I would do, I would require my own environment, therefore me calculating whatever would be part of the causality, and therefore me telling you, and the specific reaction (you changing) would all be included in that calculation, thus you would have to change your calculation until the deviation would be so small that it is true. But I suppose it could also be an endless loop, depending if the act of knowing the calculations leads to divergent or convergent changes upon each subsequent calculation.

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41 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Do you have some research that you are basing this belief on?

Of course.  But it's considered off-topic in almost every thread and certainly in this one.  

But we don't need no stinkin' research because we have observation and logic.  We can see animals display intelligence and consciousness and have an extremely poor ability to teach them any sort of abstractions.  There are some things that seem like abstractions but I don't believe they are to the individual.  If a coffee grinder is activated every time right before you feed a cat the sound simply represents food.  A bird that flies into a window to get food merely associates your attention to being fed.  

Animals always have a choice though the choice is far more limited when under attack or otherwise operating strictly on what we call "instinct".  Humans suppress instinct, animals much less so.  

We see humans operating on belief and these beliefs are framed in language and manifested in models.   These models, the language formatting them, and the beliefs themselves are abstractions.   We simply don't see free will directly because there are too many underlying beliefs.   How does a scientist reconcile the idea of free will if he believes the universe is a clockwork or that it behaves physical laws?  How does a theologian believe in free will if God is all powerful?   

No matter what kind of beliefs you have they will interfere with the most basic and simple questions like "what is life", "what is consciousness",  and "do we have free will".  They actually interfere with every single aspect of our perceptions but this is largely invisible to us.   These things have been shown in experiment again and again but we usually interpret them differently and we all always interpret them in terms of our beliefs.   

 

 

I'm about to bring back the "evidence of your own eyes" thread and the next post will touch on this.  

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4 hours ago, Eise said:
On 4/10/2020 at 12:35 PM, studiot said:

Is this a thing like thermodynamic temperature unformly possessed of the whole organism or being ?

More or less, but the brain of course plays a major role.

Thank you for your reply.

I'm sorry if I was not clear enough, I don't think you quite caught my meaning.

In Thermodynamics certain property variables such temperature are only defined (ie they only exist) if they have the same value for each and every part of 'the system'.

A system that has different 'temperatures' in diferent parts does not have a temperature.

 

I was suggesting that free will might be a similar property variable in the appropriate discipline. Not exact the same, but similar.
So an entity that is capable if multiple different response to a single stimulus cannot then have 'free will', since part of that entity opposes the response or intent of another part.

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5 hours ago, cladking said:

I believe a slug has a better understanding of being a slug than we do of being human.  Indeed, i believe the slug has a better understanding of life, reality, and free will than we do; at least from the perspective of a slug.  

 

Sans evidence that is no different that the musings of one who just smoked a fatty.

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We have turned even free will, consciousness,  and life into abstractions.  Yet a slug still has these attributes despite an inability to understand abstraction.  

I maintain these are simple observation and don't require experiment or "fatties".  Indeed, no one has ever properly defined any of these such that "experiment" can be performed so the questions are ones of philosophy and not true science at this time.  And, yes, I am referring to "life" in the abstract which has not been properly defined and I am aware there are reasonably good definitions for the difference between a "live" guinea pig and a dead one.  

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9 minutes ago, cladking said:

I maintain these are simple observation and don't require experiment

Sorry, science doesn't work that way. Even philosophy doesn't work that way.

For example, others will say you are wrong. So we need some way to determine who is right and who is wrong. No one is just going to accept your word based on your observations (especially not if they have reviewed tour posting history).

11 minutes ago, cladking said:

And, yes, I am referring to "life" in the abstract which has not been properly defined

Ah, I see. "It is undefined so I am free to make up my own definitions". Sorry, science and philosophy don't work like that, either.

12 minutes ago, cladking said:

and I am aware there are reasonably good definitions for the difference between a "live" guinea pig and a dead one

Oh, so "life" is defined after all.

This is nonsensical and self-contradictory. Very on brand.

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36 minutes ago, Strange said:

 

Oh, so "life" is defined after all.

 

I would type out the definition of "life" from my unabridged dictionary but I wager it's more than 1200 words of very fine print, colons, italics, and various other devices as is found in these sources.   There are definitions of "life" that are not abstractions and there are definitions that are pure abstraction.   Meanwhile EVERY SINGLE definition of "life" can apply each time someone uses the word.  

The life of a guinea pig is dissimilar to the life of a human, yet few mourn when a guinea pig's life passes and few people will think of their pet guinea pig when their life passes before their eyes. Language is a life long interest of mine.   Most people will deconstruct these sentences correctly despite using a few of the very very many different definitions for life.  If I call our concept of "life" an abstraction I am simply not talking about whether it is breathing or will ever breath again.  "Consciousness" is far worse.  

I have never observed or seen evidence that anyone has observed an abstraction in the life of an animal.  

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1 hour ago, cladking said:

We have turned even free will, consciousness,  and life into abstractions.  Yet a slug still has these attributes despite an inability to understand abstraction. 

I get it, you'd rather be a slug; me too for most of my life. It can be hard to be a human, all those thoughts flying around and nothing to connect them; other than guilt (was I being stupid to trust) and vengeance (I can only be happy, when I get them back).

While a slug just eats, shits and avoids salt.

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13 minutes ago, cladking said:

I have never observed or seen evidence that anyone has observed an abstraction in the life of an animal.  

The first item that came up in my Google search.

Quote

Date: October 14, 2001 Contact: Public Affairs Office (202) 336-5700

BABOONS CAN THINK ABSTRACTLY, IN THE FIRST STUDY TO SHOW THAT A NON-HUMAN, NON-APE ANIMAL SHARES A CENTRAL ASPECT OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

https://psychology.uiowa.edu/sites/psychology.uiowa.edu/files/groups/wasserman/files/apaBaboonAbs.pdf

And the second...

Quote

Many Animals Can Think Abstractly

Several species can think conceptually about the things they see

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/many-animals-can-think-abstractly/

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