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Since we have no free will, what purpose does/did consciousness serve?

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Stardust with opinions. Freewill is the concept created to punish people for what they do and NEVER look into the cause of it.

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@ nimae: That is your opinion, correct, and not based on facts per se..?

 

@ johnmusic: "Stardust with opinions"...lol, I like it.

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@ nimae: That is your opinion, correct, and not based on facts per se..?

 

 

 

 

Let me think.

A species can't evolve if it dies out. And therefore freewill could only develop if it didn't really decrease our survival chances much, So if freewill exists it has adapted to survival as a main factor. However this happens on many levels from the single cell to the survival of the social group, We have adapted to all these levels. The individual is obviously the most relevant and has the highest adaptation factor which limits freewill, However this effect is decreased by adaptation to many other levels including the survival of the social group (consider the group as one single organism to make things easy), As well as the survival of the whole line of species (consider it one organism again).

 

 

 

So while the development of real freewill is blocked by the survival law, A limited version of freewill is the best adaptation to the complex situation a social animal finds itself in. Therefore it's encouraged and may exist.

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So your opinion/conclusion is that a limited version of free will may exist? Why do you think free will plays a role in enhancing social skills...even to the point of improving a group's chance of survival?

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I find the idea that we do not possess free will ludicrous. The thoughts I develop and the actions I take originated somewhere in my brain. Whether I consciously thought about it or whether it emerged from some dim back corner without conscious thought or whether or not someone convinced me to do it is immaterial.-- either way the decision to act came from within. That's free will.

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I find the idea that we do not possess free will ludicrous. The thoughts I develop and the actions I take originated somewhere in my brain. Whether I consciously thought about it or whether it emerged from some dim back corner without conscious thought or whether or not someone convinced me to do it is immaterial.-- either way the decision to act came from within. That's free will.

So the decision to act in a certain way...notwithstanding how it came about...equates to free will? If said decision to act is an entirely automated (akin to computerised) neurological process, how can it be free will? This school of thought seems to be gaining momentum within the scientific community. For example, from an article that I already referenced:

 

Our thoughts and actions are the outputs of a computer made of meat—our brain—a computer that must obey the laws of physics. Our choices, therefore, must also obey those laws. This puts paid to the traditional idea of dualistic or "libertarian" free will: that our lives comprise a series of decisions in which we could have chosen otherwise.

Free Will - Jerry Coyne

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Since we have no free will, what purpose does/did consciousness serve?

 

It's doesn't serve any purpose. If free will doesn't exist, nothing has a purpose and everything may just as well not exist.

 

That said, it's obviously not known whether or not free will exists.

Edited by Thorham

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Why do you make the assumption that free will does not exist and then design a Disneyworld around such a false premise?

 

Most mammals have free will. They can decide how and whether to react to most stimuli. That the range of stimulus they react to is limited does not change those facts.

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Most mammals have free will. They can decide how and whether to react to most stimuli. That the range of stimulus they react to is limited does not change those facts.

And on what grounds do they decide?

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So the decision to act in a certain way...notwithstanding how it came about...equates to free will? If said decision to act is an entirely automated (akin to computerised) neurological process, how can it be free will? This school of thought seems to be gaining momentum within the scientific community. For example, from an article that I already referenced:

The neurological process happens in your brain, so it is your decision. It doesn't matter whether it is automated or deterministic: it still is the choice you (=your brain) "want" to make.

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Even though this is an older thread I will offer my learned opinion on the question of, to wit:

 

“Since we have no free will, what purpose does/did consciousness serve?”

 

 

First let me say that human “consciousness” is best defined and regarded as a “state of the mind” ……. rather than a “function of the mind”. Therefore, most any discussion of the human “mind” is in fact a discussion about brain activity.

 

And the brain-mind of the human animal, the same as all other higher animal species, consists of two (2) distinct entities, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. All said animals are born with a functioning subconscious mind ….. but none are born with a functioning conscious mind simply because they know nothing whatsoever about their environment to be consciously thinking about. Thus, the development of the conscious mind is a “work in progress”.

 

And given the fact that “free will” is associated with the false belief that one’s conscious mind is capable of “decision making” means that there is no such thing as “free will” simply because one’s conscious mind activity is subservient to their subconscious mind’s activity.

 

Anyway, one’s conscious mind activity or “consciousness” serves the purpose of “choice making” …. if or when their subconscious mind presents it with two (2) or more entities to choose from.

 

The conscious mind is non-functioning when it is “asleep”, but the subconscious mind never sleeps.

 

Nuff said for now.

 

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And given the fact that “free will” is associated with the false belief that one’s conscious mind is capable of “decision making” means that there is no such thing as “free will” simply because one’s conscious mind activity is subservient to their subconscious mind’s activity.

Unless one is identified by one's entire brain and not just the "conscious" part. In that case any decision made by the subconsciousness, is still a decision made by the individual.

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And given the fact that “free will” is associated with the false belief that one’s conscious mind is capable of “decision making” means that there is no such thing as “free will” simply because one’s conscious mind activity is subservient to their subconscious mind’s activity.

 

 

How do you know that this is a false belief?

How do you know that the "conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious mind"?

How do you know that the subconscious mind is not free to make decisions?

 

As this is your "learned" opinion, you should have no problem providing evidence to support these positions.

Edited by Strange

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How do you know that the subconscious mind is not free to make decisions?

 

Current physics models seem to suggest that we're automatons.

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Current physics models seem to suggest that we're automatons.

Evolution shows we are automatons.

A quote from Richard Dawkins:

"

We are survival machines robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment."

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And, of course, you have evidence for that?

 

I said seems and suggest, not that it is so, but I can say something about it that's perhaps not unreasonable:

 

Current physics models are a collection of mathematical formulae. It seems that for free will to exist there has to be more than determinism and chance, and it seems that maths doesn't provide that.

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I said seems and suggest, not that it is so, but I can say something about it that's perhaps not unreasonable:

 

Current physics models are a collection of mathematical formulae. It seems that for free will to exist there has to be more than determinism and chance, and it seems that maths doesn't provide that.

I have yet to see a definition of free will that does not have some form of determinism as a prerequisite. The opposite of determinism is not "free will." It is "randomness." For "you" to have any input in your own decisions, they can't be random. They must have a cause or causes, because you and your decision-making process need to be that cause or at least a part of it.

 

The problem people stumble over is the weird belief that if we understand our own decision-making process on a mechanical level, it means we're not really making any decisions, which is silly.

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I have yet to see a definition of free will that does not have some form of determinism as a prerequisite.

I didn't say that it excludes determinism, I said that it seems there should be more to free will than determinism and randomness in relation to our mathematical physics models.

 

This is related to what I wrote earlier:

 

Current physics models seem to suggest that we're automatons.

Edited by Thorham

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How do you know that this is a false belief?

How do you know that the "conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious mind"?

How do you know that the subconscious mind is not free to make decisions?

 

As this is your "learned" opinion, you should have no problem providing evidence to support these positions.

 

@ Strange, in answer to your questions, to wit:

 

How do you know that this (free will) is a false belief?

 

Because “free will” implies/infers that the person is capable of making a “conscious” decision, ……but the literal fact is that one’s conscious mind is only capable of making “choices”, …… but only if or when their subconscious mind presents it with a “choice” to be made.

 

Anyone that truly believes that they have “free will” to consciously make a decision ….. should pick a type of food that they literally hate and detest both the smell and taste of, ….. and via their perceived “free will” ability, …… tell themselves that the very next time that they “smell or taste” said food type that they are going to dearly love the “smell and taste” of it and thereafter eat it with pleasure and satisfaction.

How do you know that the "conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious mind"?

 

There are dozens of examples that define the above as being a “literal fact”.

 

“DUH”, the “conscious” mind is buried somewhere within the “dark” recesses of the skull …. and has no DIRECT access whatsoever to the light of day, dark of night or the sounds, sights, smells, etc., of the environment in which it exists. And all the environmental info/data that is detected by the sense organs is transmitted directly to specific areas within the brain where it is processed by the subconscious mind PRIOR TO informing the “conscious” mind of what happened.

 

The primary example of it being a fact is that the “subconscious” mind can put, direct or force the “conscious” mind into a state of “unconsciousness”, …… more commonly referred to as a state of “sleep”, or being “asleep” …….. and the “conscious” mind will remain in that state of “unconsciousness” or “sleep” until such time that the “subconscious” mind decides to awaken it, which might be in 2 hours, 8 hours, 2 months or 5 years from the time/date it was put into a “state of sleep”. Ps, lengthy "sleep" periods experienced by the "conscious" mind is, more often than not, referred to as a "coma".

 

How do you know that the subconscious mind is not free to make decisions?

 

The “subconscious” mind is, per se, “free to make ‘subject dependent’ decisions” ……. but only if it has been nurtured with the ability to render said decision.

 

Have you ever heard of a “sleepwalker”? SURE YOU HAVE.

 

Iffen a “sleepwalking” person is asleep…. then their “conscious” mind is non-functioning. And iffen that “sleepwalking” person is up n’ about, walking around, doing chores, driving their car, etc., etc. …… then it sure as ell isn’t their “conscious” mind making the decisions concerning the “activities” they are performing during their bout of “sleepwalking”. And unless that person’s “conscious” mmd is awakened during the bout of “sleepwalking” it will never know anything happened.

 

Now I published a kinda lengthy commentary on this “subject”….. but on another web site, I’ll re-publish it hereon iffen you are interested.

 

Sam C

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The opposite of determinism is not "free will." It is "randomness."

 

Exactly. And the opposite of free will, or better of a free action, is a coerced action. There is no contradiction between free will and determinism: just as there is none between red and tall.

 

It is astonishing how many people just take for granted that determinism and free will contradict each other. To begin with, they should explicate what kind of free will contradicts determinism. The one you really experience on a daily basis? Or the one you are ideologically filled with?

 

On the question of the OP (yes, I know, it is 4 years old): one can seriously discuss if some higher animals like cats, rats, black birds etc have free will. To discuss if they are are conscious seems pointless to me. To say it differently: it seems that consciousness evolutionary appeared before the capabilities that we today subsume under the concept of 'free will'.

 

Sorry I have not more time at the moment to expand on that.

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@ Strange, in answer to your questions, to wit:

 

How do you know that this (free will) is a false belief?

 

Because “free will” implies/infers that the person is capable of making a “conscious” decision, ……but the literal fact is that one’s conscious mind is only capable of making “choices”, …… but only if or when their subconscious mind presents it with a “choice” to be made.

 

Anyone that truly believes that they have “free will” to consciously make a decision ….. should pick a type of food that they literally hate and detest both the smell and taste of, ….. and via their perceived “free will” ability, …… tell themselves that the very next time that they “smell or taste” said food type that they are going to dearly love the “smell and taste” of it and thereafter eat it with pleasure and satisfaction.

How do you know that the "conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious mind"?

 

There are dozens of examples that define the above as being a “literal fact”.

 

“DUH”, the “conscious” mind is buried somewhere within the “dark” recesses of the skull …. and has no DIRECT access whatsoever to the light of day, dark of night or the sounds, sights, smells, etc., of the environment in which it exists. And all the environmental info/data that is detected by the sense organs is transmitted directly to specific areas within the brain where it is processed by the subconscious mind PRIOR TO informing the “conscious” mind of what happened.

 

The primary example of it being a fact is that the “subconscious” mind can put, direct or force the “conscious” mind into a state of “unconsciousness”, …… more commonly referred to as a state of “sleep”, or being “asleep” …….. and the “conscious” mind will remain in that state of “unconsciousness” or “sleep” until such time that the “subconscious” mind decides to awaken it, which might be in 2 hours, 8 hours, 2 months or 5 years from the time/date it was put into a “state of sleep”. Ps, lengthy "sleep" periods experienced by the "conscious" mind is, more often than not, referred to as a "coma".

 

How do you know that the subconscious mind is not free to make decisions?

 

The “subconscious” mind is, per se, “free to make ‘subject dependent’ decisions” ……. but only if it has been nurtured with the ability to render said decision.

 

Have you ever heard of a “sleepwalker”? SURE YOU HAVE.

 

Iffen a “sleepwalking” person is asleep…. then their “conscious” mind is non-functioning. And iffen that “sleepwalking” person is up n’ about, walking around, doing chores, driving their car, etc., etc. …… then it sure as ell isn’t their “conscious” mind making the decisions concerning the “activities” they are performing during their bout of “sleepwalking”. And unless that person’s “conscious” mmd is awakened during the bout of “sleepwalking” it will never know anything happened.

Now I published a kinda lengthy commentary on this “subject”….. but on another web site, I’ll re-publish it hereon iffen you are interested.

 

Sam C

- I used to be a horrible eater as a kid, up to the point where I almost had to vomit from some foods. One day, I made the conscious decision that that was silly, since then I quite enjoy a lot of the things I couldn't swallow before. I guess it was probably a bit more gradual than just the one day, but not much.

 

- It is not because we do not record memories while sleeping that we are not conscious. Moreover, the fact that we sometimes do remember our dreams proves that we are conscious while dreaming at least some of the time.

 

- the subconscious mind is also buried somewhere in our skull

 

- our subconsciousness is simply a handy filter to make our lives liveable, it is also a part of us, so any decision it makes, it is still our decision. It makes handy preselections for me to choose from. I like the preselection, because my subconsciousness knows what I like, because it is part of me and has all my experiences to work with. e.g. when deciding what to do this evening, it presented me with options like: clean the kitchen, watch the next episode of Game of Thrones or read the next chapter of my book. That way I don't have to consider stupid options like clean my neighbours kitchen, watch the previous episode of Game of Thrones or start reading a different book. It is silly to claim that I had no part in that decision making process, because all my previous experience lead to the decision, which happened in my own brain.

Another example: imagine consciously having to process the millions of tactile stimuli we receive every second. It is still me who is receiving those stimuli, even though my subconsciousness conveniently selects and groups only the relevant stimuli.

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@ Bender

 

I thank you for responding to my above commentary and will address a couple of your statements to give you my learned opinion on said.

 

So sayith Bender:
- It is not because we do not record memories while sleeping that we are not conscious. Moreover, the fact that we sometimes do remember our dreams proves that we are conscious while dreaming at least some of the time.

 

 

In actuality, we (meaning our subconscious mind) DOES NOT record memories (meaning uploaded environmentally sensed info/data) when a person’s conscious mind is asleep. Those per se “memories” are already recorded in the DNA of brain neurons prior to the conscious mind being put to sleep and it is during said “sleep cycle” that the subconscious mind does its “housekeeping chores” by creating synaptic links between old, new, associated and/or related info/data that was “addressed” during one’s “awake” hours.

 

And “NO”, we (meaning our conscious mind) is NOT awake during a “dream cycle” (or Rapid Eye Movement [REM] cycle), …… BUT, …. our conscious mind is oftentimes “awakened” during a dream cycle as a result of a per se “interrupt signal” that something is amiss and thus the conscious mind is made aware of a small portion of said dream, …….. which was abruptly terminated when the conscious mind awoke.

 

And it is only during that small portion of the “dream cycle” that one’s conscious mind has a per se “window” through which it is permitted to “see” what the subconscious mind is doing. At no other time, day or night, is the "person" even aware that they have a "subconscious mind".

 

Bender, in order to avoid a lot of confusion when discussing the functioning of the brain/mind …… one has to be very careful about using “pronouns” such as …… I, me, we, our, he, she, him, her, etc., simply because they define “the person” that is being referred to …….. and not the person’s conscious mind verses their subconscious mind.

 

Bender, do you know what the difference is between a “dream” and a “hallucination”?

 

Given the fact they are both per se “live action videos” that are created by one’s subconscious mind, ….. and the conscious mind is permitted to “see” a portion of, ……. the only difference is, …… one knows they were experiencing a dream simply because they knew they just awoke from being asleep.

 

Hallucinations occur at some “point” during the “awake cycle”, ….. aka: when one’s conscious mind is and has been awake for some period of time.

 

Here, read this commentary that I am the author of, by clicking this hyperlink, to wit:
A View of How the Human Mind Works

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Because “free will” implies/infers that the person is capable of making a “conscious” decision, ……but the literal fact is that one’s conscious mind is only capable of making “choices”, …… but only if or when their subconscious mind presents it with a “choice” to be made.

 

That is a novel definition of "free will" (or at least, not one I have come across before).

 

However, I would still like some evidence that conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious.

 

So far, you have only presented assertions and opinions. Perhaps you could back up your apparent expertise with evidence?

 

Anyone that truly believes that they have “free will” to consciously make a decision ….. should pick a type of food that they literally hate and detest both the smell and taste of, ….. and via their perceived “free will” ability, …… tell themselves that the very next time that they “smell or taste” said food type that they are going to dearly love the “smell and taste” of it and thereafter eat it with pleasure and satisfaction.

 

Been there. Done that. At least twice. (For example, I had a food phobia when I was young. I decided it was getting in the way of life so I started eating the food in question. And delicious it is too.)

 

There are dozens of examples that define the above as being a “literal fact”.

 

How about presenting some. Preferably in the form of references to scientific papers, rather than anecdotes.

 

“DUH”, the “conscious” mind is buried somewhere within the “dark” recesses of the skull …. and has no DIRECT access whatsoever to the light of day, dark of night or the sounds, sights, smells, etc., of the environment in which it exists.

 

Citation needed.

 

Now I published a kinda lengthy commentary on this “subject”….. but on another web site, I’ll re-publish it hereon iffen you are interested.

Only if it includes references to the relevant science. I am not particularly interested in your opinions (however confidently expressed).

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@ Bender

 

I thank you for responding to my above commentary and will address a couple of your statements to give you my learned opinion on said.

 

 

In actuality, we (meaning our subconscious mind) DOES NOT record memories (meaning uploaded environmentally sensed info/data) when a person’s conscious mind is asleep. Those per se “memories” are already recorded in the DNA of brain neurons prior to the conscious mind being put to sleep and it is during said “sleep cycle” that the subconscious mind does its “housekeeping chores” by creating synaptic links between old, new, associated and/or related info/data that was “addressed” during one’s “awake” hours.

 

And “NO”, we (meaning our conscious mind) is NOT awake during a “dream cycle” (or Rapid Eye Movement [REM] cycle), …… BUT, …. our conscious mind is oftentimes “awakened” during a dream cycle as a result of a per se “interrupt signal” that something is amiss and thus the conscious mind is made aware of a small portion of said dream, …….. which was abruptly terminated when the conscious mind awoke.

 

And it is only during that small portion of the “dream cycle” that one’s conscious mind has a per se “window” through which it is permitted to “see” what the subconscious mind is doing. At no other time, day or night, is the "person" even aware that they have a "subconscious mind".

 

Bender, in order to avoid a lot of confusion when discussing the functioning of the brain/mind …… one has to be very careful about using “pronouns” such as …… I, me, we, our, he, she, him, her, etc., simply because they define “the person” that is being referred to …….. and not the person’s conscious mind verses their subconscious mind.

 

Bender, do you know what the difference is between a “dream” and a “hallucination”?

 

Given the fact they are both per se “live action videos” that are created by one’s subconscious mind, ….. and the conscious mind is permitted to “see” a portion of, ……. the only difference is, …… one knows they were experiencing a dream simply because they knew they just awoke from being asleep.

 

Hallucinations occur at some “point” during the “awake cycle”, ….. aka: when one’s conscious mind is and has been awake for some period of time.

 

Here, read this commentary that I am the author of, by clicking this hyperlink, to wit:

A View of How the Human Mind Works

Do you have any references? I have no time now for reading such a long comment right now, but one thing I noticed is the complete lack of references. Why would I accept any of it?

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