free will!

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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raw_thought
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free will!

Post by raw_thought » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm

"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B". "A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it ) therefore " A" cannot have caused "B". Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts. Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts and consciousness cannot create thoughts it follows that free will is impossible.

thought addict
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Re: free will!

Post by thought addict » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:48 pm

I see what you're getting at, but I think it's important to distinguish between thoughts as brain states representing information and the private, first person qualia that are associated with experiencing those thoughts. We also need to distinguish between thoughts and actions.

In your example (with A preceding B), if the consciousness experiences anything at all at the moment it initiates an action, it would be some kind of relevant quale, rather than the thought itself. If we reject cartesian dualism then the quale associated with a thought is likely to be different and possibly simpler than the thought itself.

Also, with regard to free will, if we take the example of making a decision, normally a chain of thoughts is involved. The decision could for example be the final thought in the chain after pondering the alternatives. If each thought in the brain generates some associated qualia for the consciousness, the consciousness could act on those qualia to trigger new thoughts (which would give rise to further qualia) therefore qualia can both precede and follow thoughts. If free will exists, then qualia would first affect consciousness and consciousness would in turn affect the brain, causing thoughts and/or actions, giving rise to further qualia.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: free will!

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:43 pm

Duality requires a feedback loop, for consciousness to exist. It is a Venn Diagram drawn on a Möbius Strip. Just rubbing two brain cells together doesn't produce consciousness, though it may trigger a momentary Dualism,

So think of feedback loops.

http://imageshack.com/a/img921/6070/d7vmCW.png

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GreatandWiseTrixie
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Re: free will!

Post by GreatandWiseTrixie » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:55 am

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:43 pm
Duality requires a feedback loop, for consciousness to exist. It is a Venn Diagram drawn on a Möbius Strip. Just rubbing two brain cells together doesn't produce consciousness, though it may trigger a momentary Dualism,

So think of feedback loops.

http://imageshack.com/a/img921/6070/d7vmCW.png
I think you are just making stuff up.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: free will!

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:43 am

No, I am not, it is a basic theory on how consciousness works. Ants have symmetrical brains, so they have some level of consciousness, tiny left brain talks to tiny right, tiny right to tiny left. That's is a duality, with a feedback loop. Human brains are massive, so a hemisphere can talk to itself, but also other parts of the mind, along cranial nerves.

I didn't present any new ideas, other than show that the op can be mutually dependent despite being conditionally preceding one another..... hence a Venn Diagram on a Mobius Strip.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venn_diagram

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Möbius_strip

It would be paradoxical in a normal approach to saying what belongs to what in terms of origination from dependency on the other, but they did pop up together.

However, every time a synapsis connects, you have Dualism. White noise is Dualism. Distraction and incomplete throughts is duality, but not always consciousness. A old telegraph line in the civil war era can pull off Dualism without consciousness. Modern internet can too, it hasn't created a self made creature yet like Samuel Butler thought would happen in Erewhon (Terminator is a movie based on his older idea). Why? Because it isn't mutually reinforcing on the World Wide Web, in our super computers. In a simple ant, it does. If has consciousness, while million dollar computers lack it.

Londoner
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Re: free will!

Post by Londoner » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:16 am

raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B". "A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it ) therefore " A" cannot have caused "B". Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts. Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts and consciousness cannot create thoughts it follows that free will is impossible.
What does 'consciousness' mean? It isn't a thing in itself, it is a description of something else, usually a certain kind of thought. One isn't just 'conscious', one is always conscious 'of' something - of an object, of a concept, of oneself.

Similarly, 'thought' is a general term for mental activity. It might or might not be 'conscious'. We can have a mental reaction to events without being 'conscious of' that reaction. For example, an animal has thoughts but not necessarily self-awareness.

Sure, you can say that you do not accept that mental activity without it being 'conscious' should be called 'thought', but then any claim that consciousness must precede thought would just be true by definition, nothing to do with 'cause'. One could equally declare that since 'consciousness' is a type of thought, then thought must precede 'consciousness'. It just depends on how we want to use the words. There is no empirical claim.

Regarding 'free will', surely the consciousness we are interested in is 'self-consciousness'. That is that our minds can think of ourselves, meaning our bodies, as being an object in the world. That means that our minds are not constrained by 'what is'; my body may be here, but I am aware that it could be somewhere else. That we can think this way just seems to be a fact about human consciousness, thought, mind, brains...whatever word we care to use.

OuterLimits
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Re: free will!

Post by OuterLimits » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:49 pm

Science does not find other minds. This limits what can be said about conscious in general and then label it scientific or empirical truth.

Impenitent
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Re: free will!

Post by Impenitent » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:46 am

without freewill there can be no moral culpability

-Imp

thought addict
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Re: free will!

Post by thought addict » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:00 am

Londoner wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:16 am
raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B". "A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it ) therefore " A" cannot have caused "B". Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts. Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts and consciousness cannot create thoughts it follows that free will is impossible.
What does 'consciousness' mean? It isn't a thing in itself, it is a description of something else, usually a certain kind of thought. One isn't just 'conscious', one is always conscious 'of' something - of an object, of a concept, of oneself.
To me, 'consciousness' means all the bits of something that are different when you view that thing from a first person perspective compared to a third person perspective. This is why, unlike a lot of people, I don't think consciousness is all about thoughts. Thoughts are brain states and brain states can be scanned by other people. The first person part of a thought is the experience (or 'quale') of having that thought.

It's hard to see how that kind of consciousness could play a role in decision making though, since the brain already has thoughts and emotions that apparently work fine without any first person experience.

Philosophers often raise the fact that we can talk about having consciousness and qualia to suggest that it can affect our behavior and therefore exercise free will. I'm not sure I believe that though. I think the brain can still think it has first person experience, and talk about it, even if it doesn't.

OuterLimits
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Re: free will!

Post by OuterLimits » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:55 am

thought addict wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:00 am
Philosophers often raise the fact that we can talk about having consciousness and qualia to suggest that it can affect our behavior and therefore exercise free will. I'm not sure I believe that though. I think the brain can still think it has first person experience, and talk about it, even if it doesn't.
If the mind or the brain or the soul is "thinking' it is having a first person experience, then it is having a first person experience of that thought. Otherwise if they aren't having it, and someone else isn't having it, who is having it?

Londoner
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Re: free will!

Post by Londoner » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:14 am

OuterLimits wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:55 am
If the mind or the brain or the soul is "thinking' it is having a first person experience, then it is having a first person experience of that thought. Otherwise if they aren't having it, and someone else isn't having it, who is having it?
Isn't that a problem created by language? That there must first be a subject (mind, brain, soul) and that this subject does something; it 'has an experience'.

What would a 'mind' - that didn't have experiences - describe? To say that someone 'has a mind' is surely the same as saying you think it 'has experiences', it 'has thoughts'. 'Mind' is a collective name for those things, not the source of them.

(I do not think 'brain' works that way. Brains are things; I can distinguish 'me' from 'my brain'. So if 'my brain' is having experiences, then they must be different from my own experiences!)

Wyman
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Re: free will!

Post by Wyman » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:44 am

raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B". "A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it ) therefore " A" cannot have caused "B". Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts. Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts and consciousness cannot create thoughts it follows that free will is impossible.
Is this like Wittgenstein's rule following paradox?

Viveka
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Re: free will!

Post by Viveka » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:24 pm

If A can precede B in time, then A cannot cannot precede B. If I think a thought, it is preceded and anteceded by a thought, which could have consciousnesses inbetween each two particular of thought. A->B->A->B->A... and so on.

If A precedes B, then supposedly, according to you, A->B is A<-B. You are trying to deny preceding through what is obviously a non-sequitur argument.

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bahman
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Re: free will!

Post by bahman » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:57 pm

raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B". "A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it ) therefore " A" cannot have caused "B". Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts.
I agree with you up to here.
raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts and consciousness cannot create thoughts it follows that free will is impossible.
That doesn't follow. Creation of thought is an unconscious act.

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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: free will!

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:12 am

raw_thought wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:29 pm
"A" ( consciousness ) must precede "B" ( the thought) if it caused "B".
Consciousness is simply the ability to sense things, to gather inputs and record them in ones memory banks. Then it can work with those things memorized. Thinking is to compare those inputs in your memory so as to know which are correct and which are not, which can be added together to find new solution; Abstraction! Invention! Creation! Free Will! etc.

"A "cannot precede "B", ( because if "A" could precede "B" that would mean that you are aware of a thought before you think it )
Nope, incorrect, as one has to be capable of sensing (conscious) before they can work (thinking) with what has been sensed (memory). Of course as time goes and we age, memory, thus previously stored thinking, informs new sensing.

therefore " A" cannot have caused "B".
Both your first and second premises are invalid thus your conclusion is false.

Therefore consciousness cannot cause thoughts.
Sure it can, it senses inputs, stores them in memory banks, then compares them. It started when you were just a baby, you're just having problems remembering day one. Don't worry, because we all have that problem. ;-)

Since free will requires that consciousness creates thoughts
It does!

and consciousness cannot create thoughts
Incorrect, as it does!

it follows that free will is impossible.
Incorrect, your understanding of how the mind works is flawed!

Happy Holidays my friend!

And if you don't celebrate any upcoming Holidays, celebrate the diversity of life, for the gift that it certainly is.

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