free will-how can it exist?

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

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MGL
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by MGL »

Response to Chaz Wyman:

Your argument against free will seems to be based on the following:

1) The universe is wholly deterministic. Where is the evidence for this? Simply referring to the laws of physics is not an argument for determinism, especially as there is a mainstream interpretation of quantum physics that regards uncertainty of particle behavour as intrinsically uncertain, not just an uncertainty due to ignorance - ie cause unknown.

2) If agents actions are being determined by chaotic events they therefore cannot be free. This seems to be a misunderstanding of what I said. My claim is that the chaotic event is part of the agent, not something external to it ( as I clarified in my original point 4 ).

3) If an agent is still constrained by deterministic forces then it is cannot be free. By constrained I do not mean wholly determined, simply that they limit the options available to a non-deterministic process. This is a kind of compatibilism in the sense that deterministic and non-deterministic forces can both be at work in the universe, but not the kind of compatibilism that describes a postion of free-will, which the compatibility of free-will in a wholly deterministic universe. Of course it is not wholly free, but I am not claiming that free-will allows an agent to do absolutely anything anyway.

4) Because there is no way to make a distinction between random and deterministic event AND if there are random events THEN the laws of physics have to be jettisoned. Certainly there is no way to know for sure whether our uncertainty about something is due to our ignorance or some intrinsic uncertainty, but this is not the same thing as saying that there is no distinction in reality ( unless you are an anti-realist of course ). Why either of these should require the jettisoning of the laws of physics I fail to understand, especially becasue there are deterministic AND non-determinsitic laws.
chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

MGL wrote:Response to Chaz Wyman:

Your argument against free will seems to be based on the following:

1) The universe is wholly deterministic. Where is the evidence for this? Simply referring to the laws of physics is not an argument for determinism, especially as there is a mainstream interpretation of quantum physics that regards uncertainty of particle behavour as intrinsically uncertain, not just an uncertainty due to ignorance - ie cause unknown.

True - nothing comes from nothing.

2) If agents actions are being determined by chaotic events they therefore cannot be free. This seems to be a misunderstanding of what I said. My claim is that the chaotic event is part of the agent, not something external to it ( as I clarified in my original point 4 ).

That is a contradiction. You still are stuck exactly where I say you are.


3) If an agent is still constrained by deterministic forces then it is cannot be free. By constrained I do not mean wholly determined, simply that they limit the options available to a non-deterministic process. This is a kind of compatibilism in the sense that deterministic and non-deterministic forces can both be at work in the universe, but not the kind of compatibilism that describes a postion of free-will, which the compatibility of free-will in a wholly deterministic universe. Of course it is not wholly free, but I am not claiming that free-will allows an agent to do absolutely anything anyway.

You are postulating a contradictory idea that there can be effects for which there was no cause; for which you have no evidence or reason to assert.
What sort of thing do you imagine is a 'non-deterministic' force. From what or where does such a force emanate, or does it just puff into existence?

4) Because there is no way to make a distinction between random and deterministic event AND if there are random events THEN the laws of physics have to be jettisoned. Certainly there is no way to know for sure whether our uncertainty about something is due to our ignorance or some intrinsic uncertainty, but this is not the same thing as saying that there is no distinction in reality ( unless you are an anti-realist of course ). Why either of these should require the jettisoning of the laws of physics I fail to understand, especially becasue there are deterministic AND non-determinsitic laws.

The fact that there are laws of physics some of which are uncannily reliable you would have to account for why it is that these are somehow immune from these 'occult' forces of which you speak, whilst only humans seem to be able magically to summon such 'occult' forces that you describe as "non-deterministic".
Can you account for humans having this remarkable power?
And why is it that a rock or pebble cannot also have a free-will.


chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

zimmer80203` wrote:Free-will implies choice. Freewill does not imply or mean using the same "thing" or "source" to choose. Thought choosing red rather than blue or right rather than left is not free-will. It is merely thought making a choice or decision. In order for free-will to exsist there has to be two completely different and unrelated sources to make a decision.

Fortunately, man has two sources to choose from: thought and consciousness. Man has the freedoom to choose whether he wants to rely upon thought or consciousness. The absence of thought allows man to experience consciousness and understand how thought and consciousness are different.

Thought is binary, fragmented, limited, and incomplete. On the other hand, consciousness is multidimensional, whole, complete, and unlimited. Thought and consciousness are two completely different fields of existence. Thought is unaware or oblivious of consciousness; consciousness is aware and understands thought.
Nice try but hocus pocus.
Nikolai
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by Nikolai »

zimmer80203` wrote:Free-will implies choice. Freewill does not imply or mean using the same "thing" or "source" to choose. Thought choosing red rather than blue or right rather than left is not free-will. It is merely thought making a choice or decision. In order for free-will to exsist there has to be two completely different and unrelated sources to make a decision.

Fortunately, man has two sources to choose from: thought and consciousness. Man has the freedoom to choose whether he wants to rely upon thought or consciousness. The absence of thought allows man to experience consciousness and understand how thought and consciousness are different.

Thought is binary, fragmented, limited, and incomplete. On the other hand, consciousness is multidimensional, whole, complete, and unlimited. Thought and consciousness are two completely different fields of existence. Thought is unaware or oblivious of consciousness; consciousness is aware and understands thought.
I think this reference to 'consciousness' is an excellent description of freedom, not of the will, but of freedom from the will. The only thing I would disagree with is this: "man has two sources to choose from: thought and consciousness." Very few people actually have this choice because they do not understand the consciousness that transcends their will. Once people understand consciousness they achieve freedom, while their will can be viewed as either free or determined - you can choose your perspective.

Best wishes, Nikolai
charon
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by charon »

freedom, not of the will, but of freedom from the will.
Quite so.
chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

charon wrote:
freedom, not of the will, but of freedom from the will.
Quite so.
Impossible and undesirable.
charon
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by charon »

Impossible and undesirable
What matters is freedom and freedom can't be achieved by will.
chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

charon wrote:
Impossible and undesirable
What matters is freedom and freedom can't be achieved by will.
That simply does not mean anything.

What do you mean by freedom. ANd how can you achieve it, if not by an act of will?
charon
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by charon »

Freedom means no self. Since will is part of self how can it achieve freedom?
Dimebag
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by Dimebag »

charon wrote:
Impossible and undesirable
What matters is freedom and freedom can't be achieved by will.
I would say freedom can't be achieved in matters of action production, which you may call will if you want. And if freedom through will is not possible, why does it matter? I would love to be able to fly like superman, or have x-ray vision, but those things are not possible, so it doesn't matter to me, and doesn't bother me. However, if we were under the impression we did infact have free will, and then came to the conclusion that free will did not exist, and was not a capability of our selves, and our sense of self was tied up in our need to be the author of our own actions, then this would matter to the individual. Thankfully, I am a person with an external locus of control, meaning I don't tend to plan my actions so much as react to a situation, so my sense of self is not tied up in my need to be the author of my own actions. That is not to mean I am not sometimes proactive, however most of the time I like to see how things pan out before I act. I wonder if the acceptance of free will as myth might be correlated with ones locus of control.
chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

charon wrote:Freedom means no self. Since will is part of self how can it achieve freedom?
You are talking about death.
You can either wait for nature to make you free, or you can always put a bullet in your own head.
Either way takes will.
Nikolai
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by Nikolai »

chaz wyman wrote:You are talking about death.
You can either wait for nature to make you free, or you can always put a bullet in your own head.
Either way takes will.
It is a death of sorts but perhaps not the death that you think of! The ending of the self is the transcendence of the self, which is also the transcendence of time and space - and the transcendence of causality. Consciousness itself is above all notions of freedom and determinism but is the container for them to occur. To describe consciousness as free therefore misses the point slightly, although i do recognise what zimmer was saying and he is on the right track.

From this transcendent perspective freedom and determinism are one and the same thing, but viewed from different angles. This is the one and only solution to the problem of free will.
MGL
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by MGL »

Responses to Chaz Wyman.

Chaz: True - nothing comes from nothing.
MGL: I am not sure how this response proves determinism or even how it relates to anything I said. Could you elaborate?

Chaz: That is a contradiction. You still are stuck exactly where I say you are.
MGL: Where exactly is the contradiction in claiming that an event A that is reducable to and therefore identifiable with its sub-events is not caused by those sub-events? Causation requires the cause to come before the effect. If event A and its constituent sub-events occur at exactly the same time how can the latter cause the other?

Chaz: You are postulating a contradictory idea that there can be effects for which there was no cause; for which you have no evidence or reason to assert.
What sort of thing do you imagine is a 'non-deterministic' force. From what or where does such a force emanate, or does it just puff into existence?

MG: I am pustulating no such thing. I am merely suggesting that some effects are not inevitable given their cause. The standard interpretation of quantum theory suggests the same. The event of an electron travelling through a slit towards a detector panel may be caused by it being fired out of some device, but this firing does not determine the precise path that it takes. The theory that calculates its path is non-deterministic. There is no conclusive evidence either way to know for sure if this is intrinsically so or just a consequence of our ignorance but many scientists believe it to be the former. If you have an argument that proves otherwise I would very much like to hear it.

Chaz: The fact that there are laws of physics some of which are uncannily reliable you would have to account for why it is that these are somehow immune from these 'occult' forces of which you speak, whilst only humans seem to be able magically to summon such 'occult' forces that you describe as "non-deterministic".
Can you account for humans having this remarkable power?
And why is it that a rock or pebble cannot also have a free-will.

MGL: The ways scientists account for the reliability of the laws of physics is usually in terms of probability and scale. The randomness of sub-atomic particles is not utterly chaotic. They are constrained to behave within certain parameters. There will always be a higher probability for a particle to be in one place rather than another. The interaction between particles also constrains there behaviour so that on macroscopic scales the behaviour of the objects they constitute are much more reliable. However, there is no good reason to suppose that the spontaneity on the sub-atomic scale cannot be amplified in suitable complex circumstances to the macroscopic arena. This could explain why non-complex objects like rocks or pebbles are unable to do anything interesting while biological organisms and especially humans never cease to surprise.
charon
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by charon »

chaz wyman
You are talking about death.
Quite right, the end of self is death. Not the physical death but the inward.
You can either wait for nature to make you free, or you can always put a bullet in your own head.
There's no question of waiting for nature or anything else. Die, not 'wait'!
Either way takes will.
One can't willfully die any more than one can make oneself fall asleep.
chaz wyman
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Re: free will-how can it exist?

Post by chaz wyman »

charon wrote:chaz wyman
You are talking about death.
Quite right, the end of self is death. Not the physical death but the inward.
You can either wait for nature to make you free, or you can always put a bullet in your own head.
There's no question of waiting for nature or anything else. Die, not 'wait'!
Either way takes will.
One can't willfully die any more than one can make oneself fall asleep.
It takes an extreme act of will to throw yourself of a building.
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