Free Will

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

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Jori
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:58 am

Free Will

Post by Jori »

When faced with a decision, the mind calculates the best choice. The calculation might be wrong due to lack of information, wrong information, or wrong logic, but it comes up with the choice that it thinks is the best. Then it chooses this decision. However it cannot help but choose this. It has no choice but to select this. It is predetermined to choose what it thinks is best. Is this free will? Is there something wrong with my idea?
Impenitent
Posts: 3466
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by Impenitent »

reflexes

-Imp
RogerSH
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:30 am
Contact:

Re: Free Will

Post by RogerSH »

I suggest 3 objections. (1) If this is not free will, it leaves nothing for free will to mean. It is logically impossible, impossible not just in this world but in any conceivable world, for a choice to be both undetermined and expressive of a will. This is why many philosophers (the majority by one poll) say that free will is better understood as something like making a choice after evaluating at least two options that would each be possible if chosen. (2) You refer to "the mind" as something apart from the decision process you describe. See the decision process as part of the mind, and choice by a creative decision process [see point (3)] and choice by the mind comes to the same thing. (3) "Calculations" imply a pre-existing algorithm, but there is always the possibility of inventing a new theorem, as it were - a novel analogy, for example - to arrive at the result.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 12335
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by Immanuel Can »

Jori wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:19 am It is predetermined to choose what it thinks is best.
It's not clear what is "predetermining" here. What is the agency that is compelling the decision?

In any case, free will comes back in because "what it thinks is best" is a) not a specific thing, and b) a product of cognition, not of prior causes. So there really isn't a perplexity for us to deal with here: you're just saying, "Free will exists."
Jori
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:58 am

Re: Free Will

Post by Jori »

Yes, Immanuel Can. The thing the mind thinks is best is a product of cognition and deliberation. I see that philosophers who beleive in free will think that choosing the best is an exercise of free will. But I still can't get it. I still think that the mind is predetermined to choose the best. If it chooses another option, then that is the best. So it has no choice but too choose the best. Maybe someday I'll understand those libertarians and indeterminists.
User avatar
RCSaunders
Posts: 3037
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:42 pm
Contact:

Re: Free Will

Post by RCSaunders »

Jori wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:52 am Yes, Immanuel Can. The thing the mind thinks is best is a product of cognition and deliberation. I see that philosophers who beleive in free will think that choosing the best is an exercise of free will. But I still can't get it. I still think that the mind is predetermined to choose the best. If it chooses another option, then that is the best. So it has no choice but too choose the best. Maybe someday I'll understand those libertarians and indeterminists.
Don't get hung up on, "free will," which is a religions corruption of the fact that all human behavior must be consciously chosen. It's volition, not free will. Volition is the aspect of human nature that requires all behavior to be consciously chosen. [You cannot choose the strictly biological functions of the autonomic nervous system, reflexes, etc.] Everything you think and everything you do overtly you must choose to do. Try sitting in a chair and make no choice to do anything, and you will do nothing. Anything you do, you consciously choose to do and nothing makes you choose anything.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 12335
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by Immanuel Can »

Jori wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:52 am Yes, Immanuel Can. The thing the mind thinks is best is a product of cognition and deliberation. I see that philosophers who beleive in free will think that choosing the best is an exercise of free will. But I still can't get it.
"The best" is a category in the individual's mind, in your sentence, rather than some sort of universal or predetermined "best," since it's manifest that human beings make many choices that are not that second kind of "best." So you've again made the choice depend on mind, on cognition, not on predetermining factors.

Now, if you had said, "People can't actually choose at all, because prior physical forces determine their choices for them," then you might be challenging free will. It might be reductional, but at least it would amount to a denial of free will.

But so long as you keep "choice" and "best" in your vocabulary, you're already presuppposing free will, even if you don't realize you are.
User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 11276
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by henry quirk »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:25 pm
Jori wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:52 am Yes, Immanuel Can. The thing the mind thinks is best is a product of cognition and deliberation. I see that philosophers who beleive in free will think that choosing the best is an exercise of free will. But I still can't get it.
"The best" is a category in the individual's mind, in your sentence, rather than some sort of universal or predetermined "best," since it's manifest that human beings make many choices that are not that second kind of "best." So you've again made the choice depend on mind, on cognition, not on predetermining factors.

Now, if you had said, "People can't actually choose at all, because prior physical forces determine their choices for them," then you might be challenging free will. It might be reductional, but at least it would amount to a denial of free will.

But so long as you keep "choice" and "best" in your vocabulary, you're already presuppposing free will, even if you don't realize you are.
Jori is seekin' a compatiblistic solution. He ain't denyin' free will: he's tryin' to fit the square peg of it into the round hole of Reality.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 12335
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by Immanuel Can »

henry quirk wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:31 pm Jori is seekin' a compatiblistic solution. He ain't denyin' free will: he's tryin' to fit the square peg of it into the round hole of Reality.
Yeah, but as we know, Compatiblism is a cheat. It's a pretense that if I don't KNOW I'm predetermined, then even though I AM predetermined, free will can be saved. But it can't. My lack of knowledge does not deliver me from Determinism, if Determinism is how things really are. And in that sense, you're quite right: it won't fit in "the round hole of reality."

But it seems to me that Jori doesn't realize he/she is smuggling in free will language by using words like "choice" and "best." So the proposed question contains a self-contradiction already, and his/her proposed resolution is already irrational therefore.
RogerSH
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:30 am
Contact:

Re: Free Will

Post by RogerSH »

For from being “a cheat”, compatibilism is the recognition that the mind is part of the world - so that determination by the mind and determination by the world are the same thing described in different language. Any detail of any outcome that is not predetermined by the state of the world cannot have been determined by my will. So free will isn’t just compatible with determinism, it positively requires it (at least in the sense that there are some deterministic processes).

Of course I am pre-determined, if I wasn’t there would be no experience, no continuity, so I wouldn’t be a self and couldn’t have a will! But what is pre-determined is not necessarily predictable. The pre-determined truth of a mathematical conjecture is in general not predictable. The pre-determined outcome of on-line searching is in general not predictable. Likewise, in the general case, the only way I can discover what I am about to think is by thinking it.
User avatar
bahman
Posts: 5077
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by bahman »

Jori wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:19 am When faced with a decision, the mind calculates the best choice. The calculation might be wrong due to lack of information, wrong information, or wrong logic, but it comes up with the choice that it thinks is the best. Then it chooses this decision. However it cannot help but choose this. It has no choice but to select this. It is predetermined to choose what it thinks is best. Is this free will? Is there something wrong with my idea?
So you are saying that you cannot choose chocolate ice cream over vanilla one in spite of liking vanilla one? That is certainly not true.
Skepdick
Posts: 8305
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Free Will

Post by Skepdick »

Jori wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:19 am When faced with a decision, the mind calculates the best choice. The calculation might be wrong due to lack of information, wrong information, or wrong logic, but it comes up with the choice that it thinks is the best. Then it chooses this decision. However it cannot help but choose this. It has no choice but to select this. It is predetermined to choose what it thinks is best. Is this free will? Is there something wrong with my idea?
That is free will. Willing to examine both decisions ceteris paribus.

Some people simply choose not to choose. They have surrendered free will.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 12335
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Free Will

Post by Immanuel Can »

RogerSH wrote: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:22 am For from being “a cheat”, compatibilism is the recognition that the mind is part of the world - so that determination by the mind and determination by the world are the same thing described in different language. Any detail of any outcome that is not predetermined by the state of the world cannot have been determined by my will. So free will isn’t just compatible with determinism, it positively requires it (at least in the sense that there are some deterministic processes).
Actually, if there is ANY such thing as "free will," then Determinism is false. Because Determinism is an absolute claim, a claim that all things -- including human will, whatever it may appear, is nothing more than the inevitable product of prior physical or ideal forces.
Of course I am pre-determined, if I wasn’t there would be no experience,
No, this doesn't follow at all.

There would only be genuine "experience" if there were a mind to detect it, and "mind" is not a concept that Determinism can accept in the causal chain. "Brain," yes: because it's made of matter; but "mind," no, because it's immaterial and seems to start causal chains of its own, chains not immediately traceable to prior physical causes. So the Determinist has to say free will is an "illusion." The word they use for that is "epiphenomenon."

It may be you're confused between "prediction" and "predetermination." The latter is much more demanding, ironclad and absolute than the former. People who believe in free will can concede the value of prediction, without imperilling free will -- not just because prediction is imperfect, but also because it only implies general regulartiies exist in the physical world, and does not rule out exceptions.

But Determinism is non-negotiating on that. There can be no free will if Determinism is true.
Jori
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:58 am

Re: Free Will

Post by Jori »

Even if you like vanilla more than chocolate, you can still choose chocolate if you think that this choice is better this time. Why? Because you miss chocolate, you want some variety, you want to miss vanilla, etc.
Skepdick
Posts: 8305
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Free Will

Post by Skepdick »

Jori wrote: Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:35 pm Even if you like vanilla more than chocolate, you can still choose chocolate if you think that this choice is better this time. Why? Because you miss chocolate, you want some variety, you want to miss vanilla, etc.
If you had to make the choice infinitely-many times, what percentage-split do you think would be vanilla vs chocolate?
Post Reply