Consciousness and free will.

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

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bergie15
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by bergie15 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:51 pm

I have just looked up alien hand sydrome. Are there really choices with this syndrome? I can see what you are saying. I had never heard of that before.

raw_thought
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by raw_thought » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:38 pm

"alien hand" should be for another thread. It has nothing to do with the topic here.

Dalek Prime
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by Dalek Prime » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:34 am

I'm reading Thomas Ligotti at the moment, and he mentions Thomas Metzsinger, who believes there is no self as we think we know it. Anyways, whilst he's a wavering determinist, at least in polite society, Metzsinger makes a point when he says we can choose, for example, not to be a, say, bodybuilder. But we cannot choose to want to be a bodybuilder, should that not be our proclivity. It's an interesting point. ie. We have limited choices, and cannot choose our choices, in effect making us limited puppets of a determined world.
Last edited by Dalek Prime on Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by Dalek Prime » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:51 am

Argh! Double post.

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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:40 am

raw_thought wrote:It seems to me that consciousness is required for free will to exist.
OK, that sounds good.
In other words I have to consciously decide something for it to be a free will act.
OK
1. Cause always precedes effect.
Yes
2. One cannot be conscious of a thought before one thinks it.
I see that thinking is a process like math. Ones memory has many things stored inside it. As one extrapolates, (adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, etc., them), he's thinking.
3. Therefore, one cannot consciously cause one's thoughts!
Not at all. One "causes" them when they decide which memories of things stored, to perform math functions upon. And what math functions to perform upon them. It almost seems to be automatic in simple cases, while complex ideas require more thought, more functions, manipulations.
Since we cannot consciously determine our thoughts (our decisions)
But we do, as indicated above!
free will is impossible in all situations!
Not at all, free will is enacted within the picking and choosing of specific memories (knowledge/beliefs), math functions to perform, priority, etc.

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RG1
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by RG1 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:06 pm

raw_thought wrote:Therefore, one cannot consciously cause one's thoughts!
SpheresOfBalance wrote:Not at all. One "causes" them when they decide which memories of things stored, to perform math functions upon.
So, how does one "decide"? Does it take 'thoughts' to "decide"? And if so, then did one consciously "cause" these thoughts? And if so, were these consciously "decided" too? And if so, ...

As you can see (via infinite regress), that it is NOT logically possible to consciously create/select/choose/dictate one's own thoughts. We are left with only the ability to 'experience' the thoughts that we do.

In other words, ...our thoughts cannot dictate what we think! ...free-will is a myth!

:P http://www.simplelogic123.com

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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by raw_thought » Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:00 am

“Honestly, I cannot understand what people mean when they talk about the freedom of the human will. I have a feeling, for instance, that I will something or other; but what relation this has with freedom I cannot understand at all. I feel that I will to light my pipe and I do it; but how can I connect this up with the idea of freedom? What is behind the act of willing to light the pipe? Another act of willing? Schopenhauer once said: Der Mensch kann was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will (Man can do what he will but he cannot will what he wills).”

― Albert Einstein

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RG1
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by RG1 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:18 pm

raw_thought wrote:“Honestly, I cannot understand what people mean when they talk about the freedom of the human will. I have a feeling, for instance, that I will something or other; but what relation this has with freedom I cannot understand at all. I feel that I will to light my pipe and I do it; but how can I connect this up with the idea of freedom? What is behind the act of willing to light the pipe? Another act of willing? Schopenhauer once said: Der Mensch kann was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will (Man can do what he will but he cannot will what he wills).”

― Albert Einstein
Bingo. Albert recognized the impossibility of free-will.

Also, Consciousness is just a made-up word to make us feel special. Consciousness in itself does not exist, for what is it that we mean when we use the word consciousness?

How do we know we are conscious? What tips us off that we possess this consciousness? What are the indicators of consciousness? How do we know we are conscious? Does this knowledge present itself as a thought, a feeling, or an awareness? If so, then it is a thought, a feeling, or an awareness. Period.

No need to make up spooky words in an attempt to make ourselves feel special/unique.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:56 pm

Alarm goes off at 4am...I groan...do I really wanna get up?

I think on it...consider what I have to do later in the day and compare it to the pleasures of another hour in bed...I deliberate, decide another hour in bed isn't worth being time-pressed later...I fall out of bed.

Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').

-

Stumbling down the hall, wondering what to do first (piss, smoke, put the coffee on)...which path will I take? I choose, putting events in the order I like.

Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').

-

Bladder empty, lungs ensmokulated, coffee in hand, I turn the tube on and scan channels for the overnight miseries...what am I in the mood for? Local crap? MSNBC's leftie crap? Fox's rightist crap? CNN? Mebbe I'll just read the paper. Mebbe I'll just watch cartoons...*shrug*...I select.

Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').

-

Shower time: I eye myself in the mirror...I could use a shave, but I don't wanna...how many folks of import (folks who can throw work my way) will I deal with today? If few to none (cuz I'm alone in an archive) then I got no reason to make myself pretty...if potential clients are around every corner (and if I intend to court them) then, yeah, I probably need to scrape the hair off my face...I pick a path.

Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').

-

Driving, I note the gas tank is almost empty...there's a station ahead but, lordy, they charge $2.60 a gallon...ten miles down the road is another station where I can get gas for $2.40 a gallon...can my car cover the ten miles on fumes? I think on it, consider what I know about the car, make a decision.

Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').

-

And on and on and on and on...


Everyone get riled up over 'words' (free will, consciousness) but few actually examine the events/processes the words place hold for.

It's really not about consciousness or free will at all.


Bottom line: 'I' exist (as a singular, on-going, perspective) and 'I choose' (all the time, in large and small ways).

The reality of 'I choose' trumps all the philosophical wordplay in the world.

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RG1
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by RG1 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:25 pm

Hi Henry, thanks for the good thoughtful response. Although you are looking at this issue closer than most, I think you are still not looking close enough. You are falling victim to automatically (falsely) assuming, that it is “you” (the conscious you) that is the controller of these thoughts and feelings that “you” experience.
Henry Quirk wrote:Alarm goes off at 4am...I groan...do I really wanna get up?

I think on it...consider what I have to do later in the day and compare it to the pleasures of another hour in bed...I deliberate, decide another hour in bed isn't worth being time-pressed later...I fall out of bed.
Translated above, [upon closer examination] --- [These damn thoughts and feelings are popping into my head/awareness]…I’m having the thought of staying in bed, the feeling of comfort of the bed, the worry of being late for work, and many more thoughts and feelings, including feeling the “plop” on the floor as I fall out of bed…[sheez, I didn’t ask for any of these damn thoughts and feelings, they just arrived unannounced and uninvited, without my conscious permission. How dare they! And adding insult to injury, I am somehow ‘forced’ to ‘experience’ these suckers!]
Henry Quirk wrote:Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').
But actually --- I ‘experienced’ the choice (i.e. the “plop” on the floor) made by these ‘un-asked for’ thoughts and feelings. Therefore, I didn’t ‘make’ my choice, I only ‘experienced’ it!


I don’t want to go through all your examples, as the above example should suffice in making my point. The point being that just because we ‘experience’ something does NOT mean, nor equate, to us choosing/dictating/creating/controlling the experience.

All we can do is experience (feel/sense/detect) our experiences, not create/control them. And as further confirmation, the creating or controlling of our experiences is NOT logically possible (via creating an infinite regress situation), therefore we are ‘stuck’ with ONLY being ‘experiencers’ (and auto-reacting accordingly).
Henry Quirk wrote:Bottom line: 'I' exist (as a singular, on-going, perspective) and 'I choose' (all the time, in large and small ways). The reality of 'I choose' trumps all the philosophical wordplay in the world.
Henry, there is no “I” to do any choosing. There is only an “I” to ‘experience’ (thoughts/feelings/sensory awareness). --- And don't forget: the concept of “I” exists ONLY as a ‘thought’ (an experience in itself)!

We are just 'experiencing machines' auto-reacting accordingly. There is no way around this, without lying/deceiving ourselves.

---
RG1 wrote:June 3, 2010 --- “All that I know about anything comes from my thoughts. Though, my thoughts are not my own. They are given to me. I become aware of them when they come to me, and not before. There is no other way, as it is not logically possible for me to pre-select those thoughts for which I am then to become aware of. I am only the receiver of my thoughts, not the giver. For if I could truly give, or pre-select, my own thoughts, then I would certainly select happy, pleasurable thoughts all the time.”
http://www.simplelogic123.com

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Post by henry quirk » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:54 pm

"You are falling victim to automatically (falsely) assuming, that it is “you” (the conscious you) that is the controller of these thoughts and feelings that “you” experience."

No, I said (nor implied) nuthin' about control.

Let me try this...

Is it sensible to talk about 'walking' apart from 'legs'?

That is: is it sensible to talk about or examine 'walking' as though it were a quality, or substance, or thing in itself?

Of course not.

'Walking' is what legs 'do'.

Without legs there is no walking.

Walking is action.

In the same way: thinking, remembering, feeling is what a particular and peculiar kind of animal with a particular and peculiar kind of complexity does.

Mind (or self or 'I') is what such an animal does.

'I', then, is the placeholder for a particular and peculiar action (on-going and coherent).

That is: there is no quality or substance or thing that I (or you) can point to and say 'this is consciousness' or 'this is will', so of course there's no control needed cuz there's nuthin' 'to' control. I 'am' thinking, remembering, feeling (and self-reflecting and self-referencing and self-deliberating all the time)...I exist as an on-going, discrete, organic phenomenon constantly weighing 'this' against 'that', choosing this road over that one, all the time.

I don' have thoughts: I think.

I don't have memories: I remember.

I don't have feeling: I feel.

As I say: It's really not about consciousness or free will at all.

To paraphrase that googly-eyed commie bastid: the human animal is condemned to choose, over and over, all the time.

#

"I am only the receiver of my thoughts, not the giver."

No, you 'are' the (ongoing, coherent, stream of) thinking (and remembering and feeling and self-reflecting and self-referencing and self-deliberating)...that's what 'you' (as a particular and peculiar kind of animal) 'do' (and 'are').

#

"We are just 'experiencing machines' auto-reacting accordingly."

No, the human individual is an auto-responder, and auto-chooser. The choosing is not always wise or sensible but it's always in operation...that is: I got no choice but to choose. And what is choice/choosing? It is thinking, remembering, feeling, self-reflecting, self-referencing, self-deliberating.

Thus endth the ramble.

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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by Wyman » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:26 pm

RG1 wrote:Hi Henry, thanks for the good thoughtful response. Although you are looking at this issue closer than most, I think you are still not looking close enough. You are falling victim to automatically (falsely) assuming, that it is “you” (the conscious you) that is the controller of these thoughts and feelings that “you” experience.
Henry Quirk wrote:Alarm goes off at 4am...I groan...do I really wanna get up?

I think on it...consider what I have to do later in the day and compare it to the pleasures of another hour in bed...I deliberate, decide another hour in bed isn't worth being time-pressed later...I fall out of bed.
Translated above, [upon closer examination] --- [These damn thoughts and feelings are popping into my head/awareness]…I’m having the thought of staying in bed, the feeling of comfort of the bed, the worry of being late for work, and many more thoughts and feelings, including feeling the “plop” on the floor as I fall out of bed…[sheez, I didn’t ask for any of these damn thoughts and feelings, they just arrived unannounced and uninvited, without my conscious permission. How dare they! And adding insult to injury, I am somehow ‘forced’ to ‘experience’ these suckers!]
Henry Quirk wrote:Seems to me: 'I' (self-aware, self-directing, self-conscious) make choices (exercise 'will').
But actually --- I ‘experienced’ the choice (i.e. the “plop” on the floor) made by these ‘un-asked for’ thoughts and feelings. Therefore, I didn’t ‘make’ my choice, I only ‘experienced’ it!


I don’t want to go through all your examples, as the above example should suffice in making my point. The point being that just because we ‘experience’ something does NOT mean, nor equate, to us choosing/dictating/creating/controlling the experience.

All we can do is experience (feel/sense/detect) our experiences, not create/control them. And as further confirmation, the creating or controlling of our experiences is NOT logically possible (via creating an infinite regress situation), therefore we are ‘stuck’ with ONLY being ‘experiencers’ (and auto-reacting accordingly).
Henry Quirk wrote:Bottom line: 'I' exist (as a singular, on-going, perspective) and 'I choose' (all the time, in large and small ways). The reality of 'I choose' trumps all the philosophical wordplay in the world.
Henry, there is no “I” to do any choosing. There is only an “I” to ‘experience’ (thoughts/feelings/sensory awareness). --- And don't forget: the concept of “I” exists ONLY as a ‘thought’ (an experience in itself)!

We are just 'experiencing machines' auto-reacting accordingly. There is no way around this, without lying/deceiving ourselves.

---
RG1 wrote:June 3, 2010 --- “All that I know about anything comes from my thoughts. Though, my thoughts are not my own. They are given to me. I become aware of them when they come to me, and not before. There is no other way, as it is not logically possible for me to pre-select those thoughts for which I am then to become aware of. I am only the receiver of my thoughts, not the giver. For if I could truly give, or pre-select, my own thoughts, then I would certainly select happy, pleasurable thoughts all the time.”
http://www.simplelogic123.com

OK, but when you are undecided and decide to make a decision, you weigh the experiences - comfortable bed v. late for work. You allow these experiences to happen and then judge what you want to do. Unless you are prepared to say that we then only experience the judging of the experience (and on ad infinitum) and this subsequent experience of the judging compels the action, don't you have to make a division between judging and experiencing somewhere?

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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by RG1 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:20 pm

Henry Quirk wrote:No, I said (nor implied) nuthin' about control.
You did say you can “choose”. Isn’t choosing a form of control (i.e. selecting one thing over another)?
Henry Quirk wrote:That is: there is no quality or substance or thing that I (or you) can point to and say 'this is consciousness' or 'this is will', so of course there's no control needed cuz there's nuthin' 'to' control. I 'am' thinking, remembering, feeling (and self-reflecting and self-referencing and self-deliberating all the time)...I exist as an on-going, discrete, organic phenomenon constantly weighing 'this' against 'that', choosing this road over that one, all the time.
How do you perform this action of “choosing”? Does it require ‘thinking’? And if so, does thinking require thoughts? And if so, did you choose these thoughts that are required for thinking so that you can then perform this action of “choosing”? And if so, then how did you perform this action of choosing the thoughts needed for thinking to perform the choosing? And if so, then …on and on for-ev-er.
Henry Quirk wrote:I don' have thoughts: I think.
Does it take thoughts to think? Or can you think without thoughts?
Henry Quirk wrote:I don't have memories: I remember.
What do you remember? Are these called memories?
Henry Quirk wrote:I don't have feeling: I feel.
What do you feel?
Henry Quirk wrote:...vulgar example: pretty lady give me a woody (I got no choice about that) but I get to choose what I do with that woody (let it be, self-pleasure, get laid) and I make the choice based on what priorities I have at the moment, for the day, for the week, for the year, for a lifetime.
Umm, interesting example, but NO. You have no more control (or “choice”) of what to do with that woody, than when you got that woody. In other words, there was “no choice” when that pretty lady gave you the woody, and likewise, there is “no choice” what to do with that woody.
Henry Quirk wrote:Thus endth the ramble.
Woody, (oops, I mean Henry!), I am sorry, but I had difficulty in understanding what you were saying (this “ramble”), and may have missed some points you were trying to make.

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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by henry quirk » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:20 pm

"You did say you can “choose”. Isn’t choosing a form of control (i.e. selecting one thing over another)?"

No, I said 'I choose all the time'...it's not a feature I can turn off or on...I'm choosing all the time...I have no choice but to choose.

So: no, it's not the same as 'control'.

#

"does thinking require thoughts?"

There are no thoughts (no discrete, stand alone, units) there's only thinking (on-going, seamless [and finite...there was a beginning and there will be an end]).

#

"interesting example"

Not really. After posting, I reconsidered that section, found it pedestrian and beneath me and edited it out. Thanks for preserving my error... :|

#

"points you were trying to make"

The only point any one should take away from my posts in this thread: the human individual is an agent (action and intent) not a receptacle (a receiver)...'consciousness' (as thing) and 'free will' (as thing) are unnecessary.

I'm certain you're no more moved by my posts than I am by yours (or the countless stream of folks before you who wanted to convince me [or was it themselves?] that each was nuthin' more than bio-automata and, therefore, utterly blameless for anything each may do)...*shrug*...having said my piece here (poorly, perhaps), I'll leave this discussion where it always has been (since man fell out of the trees) and where it will always be (till the sun goes cold). That is: I leave this discussion with the central question unanswered (mebbe cuz it's the wrong damned question).

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RG1
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Re: Consciousness and free will.

Post by RG1 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:40 pm

Wyman wrote:OK, but when you are undecided and decide to make a decision, you weigh the experiences - comfortable bed v. late for work. You allow these experiences to happen and then judge what you want to do.
No. There is no actual weighing, allowing, judging, or choosing going on. We are only ‘experiencing’ sequential events (of thoughts and feelings) that we automatically (and falsely) connect/assume as ‘doing’ the supposed act (of weighing, allowing, judging, or choosing). The only thing we are ‘doing’ is ‘experiencing’! That is all that we CAN do!

For instance if I ask you how did you “weigh” (or allow/judge/choose), you would tell me “Well, I had the thought of [this] and then the thought of [that] and then the feeling of [this and that], and therefore, I weighed!”, but in reality, all that really happened was that you just received a sequential set of experiences (thoughts/feelings), and then falsely concluded that it 'must' have been “you” (the conscious you) that did this act of weighing (allowing/judging/choosing), even though you do not have an actual memory of 'doing' this act of weighing.
Wyman wrote:Unless you are prepared to say that we then only experience the judging of the experience (and on ad infinitum) and this subsequent experience of the judging compels the action, don't you have to make a division between judging and experiencing somewhere?
We don't experience "judging" itself, we only experience thoughts and feelings that we then infer as "judging".

In making a (supposed) “conscious choice” (i.e. a free-will choice), we experience all the conscious events (thoughts and feelings) leading up to that choice (the action), and then the choice (the action) itself. But we NEVER actually experience (nor have memory of) that actual magical moment of ‘choosing’ (exerting our free-will). We can't peer in-between the conscious moments to see the actual choosing itself. We can only experience the (conscious) events leading up to, and the action/choice itself.

Choices can only be ‘made’ non-consciously. In fact, it is logically impossible to make a “conscious choice” via the infinite regress position. I have written much more, regarding this topic on my blog posting "Choice" at http://www.simplelogic123.com.

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