How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Known unknowns and unknown unknowns!

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Philosophy Explorer
Posts: 4386
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:39 am

How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Thu May 28, 2015 3:58 pm

Maybe not at all because scientists say it takes greater brainpower to do basic things. If so, and assuming free will exists at some level, then what lies behind it?

PhilX

Skip
Posts: 2221
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Skip » Fri May 29, 2015 3:08 pm

The concepts "will" and "free" are both abstract. Only an abstract thinker could even come up with them, let alone juxtapose them in the weird configurations in which we are accustomed to arguing. Whether either one can exist in the real world is beside the point: they're real enough to the people thinking about them.

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8385
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Fri May 29, 2015 9:11 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:Maybe not at all because scientists say it takes greater brainpower to do basic things. If so, and assuming free will exists at some level, then what lies behind it?

PhilX
Thats the trouble when you assert something as ridiculous as free will, you have to have something else. It's like trying to answer the ex nihil hypothesis with "god", what crated god?
According to Terry Pratchett "It's turtles all the way down."

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4018
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Obvious Leo » Fri May 29, 2015 10:54 pm

Skip wrote:The concepts "will" and "free" are both abstract. Only an abstract thinker could even come up with them, let alone juxtapose them in the weird configurations in which we are accustomed to arguing. Whether either one can exist in the real world is beside the point: they're real enough to the people thinking about them.
I agree. In fact I reckon attaching the adjective "free" to the notion of the will effectively renders the term meaningless. All of our choices are constrained by a host of factors, both internal and external to ourselves. Our capacity for abstract thought allows us to contemplate the impossible but it doesn't allow us to execute the impossible.

Skip
Posts: 2221
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Skip » Sat May 30, 2015 12:22 am

It may be an illusion, or a conceit, but we experience the process just the same. Indeed, we cannot help feeling, thinking and acting as if we were making decisions. So maybe discussions of the subject should always be confined inside those imaginary brackets (as if).

User avatar
hammock
Posts: 232
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:21 pm
Location: Heckville, Dorado; Republic of Lostanglia

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by hammock » Sun May 31, 2015 11:19 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:Maybe not at all because scientists say it takes greater brainpower to do basic things. If so, and assuming free will exists at some level, then what lies behind it?

General concepts expand cognition, reasoning, and introduce more complexity. Potentially allowing grander interpretations of "what's going on" than what a brain/body system could muster which was confined to only observing and instinctively reacting to the immediacy of a concrete environment and its particulars [empirical objects]. Thus, will-wise, abstract thinking might result in more aims and options being "computed". But that just enhances what these assorted processes summed-up as "will" have to work upon, rather than totally undergirding personal impetus and production of conclusions.

As for "free": Volition already signifies a dynamic entity having the capacity of intention and decision-making contained within its own framework. So appending liberty to the term is either redundant or a useless decoration. Even if a person named Sam Spate is completely predictable, his determinations are still being outputted by Sam Spate; and are following or resulting from his specific nature -- his "principles" which regulate him, his interests which motivate him, his prior states, etc -- instead of a "Fill In The Blank" external Master Manipulator (the universal laws of physics, the gods, statistical-abiding rolls of the cosmic dice, etc) which usually lack any intelligence / awareness / empathy for caring #### about specifically remote-controlling insignificant, local biological organisms.

Sam Spate can't be free from his own bodily structure and innate / acquired formal system of governance since that is what makes him distinct to begin with from a random arrangement of matter. One can't be a functional organization and also be unfettered and formless chaos (indeterminate, literally free). To individuate, to separate into existence from the noise of the homogeneous background, is to emerge from a disorder and conform to an order (to lose that prior lack of sustained pattern, design, and predictability).

A non-mechanical toy soldier is completely heteronomous; dependent upon an external agency to provide its plans, selections, and movements. Whereas the human serving as its source for such is an autonomous body possessing the necessary internal structure for generating its own goals, its own understanding of a situation and the options available to choose from, and its own locomotion / behavior.

If Punch and Judy (devoid of their external puppeteers) are suspended above a fire pit by a tyrant, they lack the ability to even apprehend the two meager options presented to them: "Reveal where the secret treasure is hidden or be destroyed!" Accordingly they have no alternative but to be burned. Whereas a human in the same situation at least has the whole tiny set of two choices available: The human can decide to persist or decide to be eradicated.

HexHammer
Posts: 2841
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by HexHammer » Sun May 31, 2015 1:04 pm

Skip wrote:The concepts "will" and "free" are both abstract. Only an abstract thinker could even come up with them, let alone juxtapose them in the weird configurations in which we are accustomed to arguing. Whether either one can exist in the real world is beside the point: they're real enough to the people thinking about them.
Pure nonsense.

Free will and abstract thinking is a mix of being free of compulsions and not victim to suggestion, so they root in the same 2 things.

Greylorn Ell
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:13 pm
Location: SE Arizona

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Greylorn Ell » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:36 pm

Because the brain is a machine, it cannot have genuinely free will. It can do only what its creators engineered it to do.

Yet many humans who have enough intelligence to consider the concept of free will, also feel that they possess it. (You might find Sam Harris' comments on the subject to be of interest, but I hope that he does not convert you to his way of thinking.)

Traditionally, the "soul" has been the carrier of free will. It cannot possess that property. The "soul" is typically defined as an entity created by God and infused into the human brain-body system. If the soul is indeed a created entity then it is not inherently different from any other created information processing mechanism, such as brains or supercomputers, and cannot have free will.

The only religion that proposes a soul capable of any semblance of free will is original, classical Buddhism, which treats the soul as an epiphenomenon of the human brain. (This form of Buddhism has been relegated to obscure passages in arcane books.)

The only way to arrive at the possibility of an intelligent and conscious entity that possesses genuinely free will is to hypothesize that such entities have a natural origin. They were not deliberately created by another intelligent entity. They were the result of a random event, a Little Bang leading not to the creation of matter and shit, but to the simpler formation of potentially self-aware entities.

Such entities must possess one property, other than existence and a boundary condition: they must be a natural counterforce to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Yes, I know philosophers have no idea what that means, so most of them will ignore this and other relevant conversations, as they and other unqualified readers should. However, these concepts can be learned. Digital Universe analog Soul will help.

Greylorn

RG1
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:49 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by RG1 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:07 pm

Free-will and thinking are myths. “Abstract” thinking is an even greater myth.

Look, all we do in this stinkin life is ‘experience’ stuff. We experience thoughts (/memories), feelings, and sensations. We don’t make or create anything. We are just ‘experiencers’. That is all that we CAN do. Period. The end. That is all there is to this life.

Making up impossible imaginary powers such as free-will and the ability to think (create/construct our own thoughts) is just fooling ourselves, appeasing the desire for significance and feel-goodness.

Ask yourself “Can I experience something other than an experience?” Dwell on this a bit, until the realization hits you that we are just 'experiencing machines'. There is no logical way out. We are trapped within. There is no "Me" to take charge of my life, there is only a 'me' to experience this life. There is no "Me", no "mind", no "consciousness" to take charge of anything. These are all made up 'fairy godmothers' to enable a feel-goodness.

Everything that we experience is just an experience! There is nothing more. It is not possible to step outside the realm of experiencing and into a 'control mode'. The control that we feel can only be illusionary, not real. The only real/certain thing is 'experience' itself. In effect, we are no different than that blade of grass growing on the side of the road, blowing in the wind, and subject to all its affecting influences.

If our desire for 'truth' is greater than our desire for 'feel-goodness', then we will recognize free-will and thinking as the myths they are, otherwise we won't!

HexHammer
Posts: 2841
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by HexHammer » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:43 pm

RG1 wrote:Free-will and thinking are myths. “Abstract” thinking is an even greater myth.

Look, all we do in this stinkin life is ‘experience’ stuff. We experience thoughts (/memories), feelings, and sensations. We don’t make or create anything. We are just ‘experiencers’. That is all that we CAN do. Period. The end. That is all there is to this life.

Making up impossible imaginary powers such as free-will and the ability to think (create/construct our own thoughts) is just fooling ourselves, appeasing the desire for significance and feel-goodness.

Ask yourself “Can I experience something other than an experience?” Dwell on this a bit, until the realization hits you that we are just 'experiencing machines'. There is no logical way out. We are trapped within. There is no "Me" to take charge of my life, there is only a 'me' to experience this life. There is no "Me", no "mind", no "consciousness" to take charge of anything. These are all made up 'fairy godmothers' to enable a feel-goodness.

Everything that we experience is just an experience! There is nothing more. It is not possible to step outside the realm of experiencing and into a 'control mode'. The control that we feel can only be illusionary, not real. The only real/certain thing is 'experience' itself. In effect, we are no different than that blade of grass growing on the side of the road, blowing in the wind, and subject to all its affecting influences.

If our desire for 'truth' is greater than our desire for 'feel-goodness', then we will recognize free-will and thinking as the myths they are, otherwise we won't!
What a bunch of complete nonsense and babble, go read up on it, you have on fucking clue what you are talking about.

RG1
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:49 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by RG1 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:06 pm

HexHammer wrote:What a bunch of complete nonsense and babble, go read up on it, you have on fucking clue what you are talking about.
Thanks Hex, I was unaware that such a book existed. Where may I find this 'book of truth'? (...so that I can then "go read up on it").

HexHammer
Posts: 2841
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by HexHammer » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:09 am

RG1 wrote:Thanks Hex, I was unaware that such a book existed. Where may I find this 'book of truth'? (...so that I can then "go read up on it").
Have you been sheltered as a kid?

Philosophy Explorer
Posts: 4386
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:39 am

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:20 am

HexHammer wrote:
RG1 wrote:Thanks Hex, I was unaware that such a book existed. Where may I find this 'book of truth'? (...so that I can then "go read up on it").
Have you been sheltered as a kid?
Hex

This is uncharacteristic of you. You've been known to tell people to look it up on the internet. Now you're not giving your source suggesting you have something to hide. What gives?

PhilX

HexHammer
Posts: 2841
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by HexHammer » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:14 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
RG1 wrote:Thanks Hex, I was unaware that such a book existed. Where may I find this 'book of truth'? (...so that I can then "go read up on it").
Have you been sheltered as a kid?
Hex

This is uncharacteristic of you. You've been known to tell people to look it up on the internet. Now you're not giving your source suggesting you have something to hide. What gives?
U'r wrong, make a logical assertion and u'll find out.

Philosophy Explorer
Posts: 4386
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:39 am

Re: How closely related are free will and abstract thinking?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:23 am

[quoteHexHammer,]U'r wrong, make a logical assertion and u'll find out.[/quote]

Nope. You're on the wrong foot.

PhilX

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest