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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 24 February 2011 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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All I was trying to say, GdB, is that that is certainly not what Vyazma believes. As for myself, I no longer know what my beliefs are on free will. I figure that until we understand consciousness, it is useless (useless to me) to speculate on this topic.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Why does it have to be one or the other, why not both, each under given circumstances?

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Posted: 24 February 2011 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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George,

As for myself, I no longer know what my beliefs are on free will. I figure that until we understand consciousness, it is useless (useless to me) to speculate on this topic.

You are aware that what GdB refers to as free will is not the thing that you refer to as free will.

Understanding consciousness won’t help.

You’re so bombarded by compatibilist messages that you’ve lost confidence in what you previously knew was the case.

Even GdB is not really a compatibilist. Even Gdb doesn’t accept that if the world was appropriately different 1,000 years before his birth he would be a rapist, for instance.

Stephen

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Posted: 24 February 2011 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Stephen,

I feel that consciousness must play some role in all of this but how or why I don’t really know. It is one of those things where the deeper I try to understand the problem, the more confused I find myself to be. I feel literally sick when thinking about it.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 24 February 2011 01:08 PM

Stephen,

I feel literally sick when thinking about it.

Blinkin’ heck mate!

(that means I dunno what to say but want to respond for the best)

Best,

Stephen

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Posted: 24 February 2011 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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George - 24 February 2011 01:08 PM

Stephen,

I feel that consciousness must play some role in all of this but how or why I don’t really know. It is one of those things where the deeper I try to understand the problem, the more confused I find myself to be. I feel literally sick when thinking about it.

Perhaps you can’t choose whether or not to feel sick however you can choose, in the future, not to get involved in these type of threads.  grin

P.S. Don’t think about what I just posted above…  tongue laugh

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Posted: 24 February 2011 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Robert Sproule - 21 February 2011 07:31 PM
The Traveler - 21 February 2011 09:48 AM

...unless you’re predetermined to do so.

I don’t think you had to post that, and I know I didn’t have to post this.

You’re right, if things had been different you wouldn’t have posted. Whether you posted or not depended upon the way the world was 1,000 years before you were born.

Stephen

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Posted: 24 February 2011 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 21 February 2011 03:26 AM

... Is the capacity to deny it.

Except denial doesn’t change reality. Does that make free will nothing more then the ability to reject reality and what is true?

Here’s reality is and here’s what could have been or should be reality.

Just need a way to get computers to accept what they believe or “wish” to be true over reality for them to have free will?

No, I don’t think so. This is the wrong direction for an argument/discussion on free will to head I think.

[ Edited: 25 February 2011 09:44 AM by Gnostikosis ]
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Posted: 24 February 2011 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I am not sure when something is free-will or predetermined.
Example: My friend and I both like raspberry swirl icecream.
At the ice cream shop we both order a raspeberry swirl, but the shop keeper tells us he is out of that swirl. As a second choice I order a straight raspberry, which the shopkeeper immediately presents. My friend orders a vanilla substitute, but the shop keeper advises him that he is also out of vanilla. So my friend also orders a raspeberry, which is promptly placed in front of him.
As it was predetermined that we would not have the swirl, we both ended up with raspberry icecream, except my second choice was from free will (choice between raspeberry and vanilla), while my friend received his raspberry due to the unavailability of his second choice of vanilla.
Can one make a case that it was predetermined that we both ended up with raspeberry? Or was there a secondary condition which allowed for free will in addition to predetermination?

[ Edited: 24 February 2011 02:23 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 24 February 2011 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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“Can one make a case that it was predetermined that we both ended up with raspeberry?”

What if we make the case that you make all choices a split second before you become consciously aware that you made the choice?  You could cling to your hope of free will, but really in such a world what evidence is there for it: the act of conscious deciding in the moment is demonstrably an illusion, and really it doesn’t make any sense given physical constraints on the brains processing power.  It is a much more plausible narrative that like rendering a really complicated CGI scene it is done not in real time, but as fast as the computer can manage and then the computer displays the frames of the scene to create the illusion of a movie.  Our mind may be like that.  There is other evidence (beyond the sort that is below) that our “Stream of consciousness” is not real.  That the mind actually splutters and spurts consciousness and is unaware of it: putting together an illusion of unbroken time.  Philosophy has worked on ideas for these sorts of things, but neuroscience is catching up with evidence on which philosophical idea is actually correct.


These sorts of things are interesting:
http://www.economist.com/node/13489722?story_id=13489722

You say you make decisions with free will, but you made them before you even could tell me.

Though the really good question is why?  Why is this an efficient adaptation to environment?  Though, my question would be is it possible to evolve a mind as good at problem solving as ours that does not display these characteristics?  Tough questions to answer.

[ Edited: 24 February 2011 05:43 PM by qutsemnie ]
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Posted: 24 February 2011 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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If determinism is true then which option you select depends upon the way the world was 1000 years before your birth.

Yes. Zillions and zillions of grains of sand in an hourglass. The way the grains are stacked in the glass predetermines exactly(or as some have suggested 99.999% probability)how they will fall through the glass and in which order.(and to get technical…yes how they will land on the bottom side of the glass and stack and arrange themselves.)

There is an obvious sense of which it’s your good fortune if the world was then in a state that produces a good selection and visa versa.

I don’t follow this.

Free will can mean different things but often it refers to a version that denies this.

Well then why did you “not quite” me above. That was basically my gist Stevie ol’ boy. The semantics part..that was my point.

[ Edited: 24 February 2011 07:06 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 24 February 2011 06:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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George - 24 February 2011 09:58 AM

All I was trying to say, GdB, is that that is certainly not what Vyazma believes. As for myself, I no longer know what my beliefs are on free will. I figure that until we understand consciousness, it is useless (useless to me) to speculate on this topic.

Yes. Thanks George. Especially the consciousness part. That is one of my favorite parts about discussing free-will(the illusion of it).
Nobody ever wants to go there though. I don’t get it. That’s the crux of the matter. Without consciousness and memory and the like we are nothing more than rocks with different molecular chains basically.(or plants lets not get technical)
Free-will or the illusion of it is nothing more than attaching mystical properties to consciousness, or maybe more often just not understanding consciousness.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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VYAZMA - 24 February 2011 06:44 PM

If determinism is true then which option you select depends upon the way the world was 1000 years before your birth.

Yes. Zillions and zillions of grains of sand in an hourglass. The way the grains are stacked in the glass predetermines exactly(or as some have suggested 99.999% probability)how they will fall through the glass and in which order.(and to get technical…yes how they will land on the bottom side of the glass and stack and arrange themselves.)

If that were so, why can we not predict the future? According to most physicists the future is uncertain. Thus it seems that determination is in fact made the very instant before the event becomes real. If that is the case, why would a person not be able to influence this event the moment before it happens. Perhaps that undetermined .001 is subject to free will. In the grand scheme of things (trillions upon trillions of events) a .001 % chance may translate in considerable changes.

In your example of the hourglass, what if I picked it up and shook it a little. It would destroy the existing stack of sand and rearrange it into a different outcome. Is that still predetermination or did my voluntary action cause a different outcome?

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Posted: 24 February 2011 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Hello GdB-

I reacted on 2 points in your posting:

1. That you talk about the illusion of free will.
2. That you say it is a problem of semantics.

Why would you react on these two points?

To 1:
Calling something an illusion means denying that it really exists, it only seems to exist. From my point of view, you only deny the existence of free will in the following sense: as not caused (otherwise it is determined), and as caused (by the person). But from physics we know that everything is already fully caused, so there is no room left for a person to additionally interfere with the chain of causes. And voila, as the person cannot interfere with the physical universe, free will does not exist. But you started from an inconsistent definition, and from inconsistent definitions you can conclude what you want.

I think you are dwelling too much on my use of the illusion model. Obviously people think they are making choices. I say we are not. Yet people think we are. This is an illusion. It’s a perception, a conscious perception. It’s probably a necessity of evolution. We discussed this way back in the other pages if you remember. Well I posited it…who pays attention when we are all screaming to get our points in. I could be wrong it’s just a weakly reasoned idea.
But don’t get hung up on the “illusion” metaphor. Am I hearing you right? Am I still following an “inconsistent definition”? Let’s clear this up please.

To 2:
The problem with the semantics lies at your side. In a physical discourse concepts of ‚persons‘, ‚consciousness‘, ‚grounds‘ and ‚actions‘ have no meaning. So‚ free will‘, or if you want ‚unfree will‘ have neither. How can you say we are not free, as ‚we‘ has no meaning? But if ‚we‘ exist, then persons exist, and with them consciousness, grounds and actions. And then we can we can talk about free will, and we can distinguish between actions and movements, between free actions and non free actions, we can even talk about responsibility and morality.

Ok here I think we have something to kick around. This all makes sense to me. Of course we can talk about free-will and responsibility, but we have neither. This is where the conversation about free-will and responsibility gets tough. Because we have to graph out layers of human thought algorithms as they pertain to a certain moment for a certain environmental situation. But if we do this by using simple examples which can be logically expounded than we can see that responsibility or choice is just a fancy way of describing determined human behavior for a given set of subjects and environments.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Write4U - 24 February 2011 07:25 PM
VYAZMA - 24 February 2011 06:44 PM

If determinism is true then which option you select depends upon the way the world was 1000 years before your birth.

Yes. Zillions and zillions of grains of sand in an hourglass. The way the grains are stacked in the glass predetermines exactly(or as some have suggested 99.999% probability)how they will fall through the glass and in which order.(and to get technical…yes how they will land on the bottom side of the glass and stack and arrange themselves.)

If that were so, why can we not predict the future? According to most physicists the future is uncertain. Thus it seems that determination is in fact made the very instant before the event becomes real. If that is the case, why would a person not be able to influence this event the moment before it happens. Perhaps that undetermined .001 is subject to free will. In the grand scheme of things (trillions upon trillions of events) a .001 % chance may translate in considerable changes.

In your example of the hourglass, what if I picked it up and shook it a little. It would destroy the existing stack of sand and rearrange it into a different outcome. Is that still predetermination or did my voluntary action cause a different outcome?

Real simple Write, like an hourglass the grains of sand can’t all be seen or counted.

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