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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 15 August 2012 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1876 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 06:00 PM
Write4U - 15 August 2012 04:40 PM
George - 15 August 2012 03:52 PM

Well, I am aware of only one type of free will. It’s called “free will” and everybody knows what it’s supposed to represent. GdB and Doug see “free act” as part of this problem, which could be the reason why this discussion has gone on here for years now.

Not trying to be argumentative, but you say that everybody knows what free will is supposed to represent. But your answer to me was that free will does not exist at all.

question: what is this non existent thing called free will which everyone knows what it is supposed to mean?  Is there a context issue?

free will
1.power of independent action and choice: the ability to act or make choices as a free and autonomous being and not solely as a result of compulsion or predestination

Synonyms: autonomy, self-determination, choice, liberty, freedom, independence

It’s called free will bacause it feels as if we were free to will. But we are not. What I call “I,” that which feels is doing the willing, is my consciesness. We know, however, that the decision how we will react is decided before we become conscious of it.

We know this? Who knows this? If I am not yet conscious of how I will react how can I (or anyone) know how I will react?

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Posted: 15 August 2012 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1877 ]
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They can see it on fMRI. But now that I think about it, it probably doesn’t really matter when the brain comes to the conclusion how it will react. Even if it happend ar the same moment as we become conscious of it, it wouldn’t change anything. Consciousness is probably just a spectator of what is happening and that’s all there is to it. Every decision we make had been decided a long time ago, billions of years ago.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1878 ]
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dougsmith - 15 August 2012 06:06 PM
Write4U - 15 August 2012 04:40 PM

free will
1.power of independent action and choice: the ability to act or make choices as a free and autonomous being and not solely as a result of compulsion or predestination

Synonyms: autonomy, self-determination, choice, liberty, freedom, independence

This is an interesting case; it depends on how “compulsion or predestination” is understood. The problematic cases for free will involve a separate person who does the compelling, or a personal God who does the predestination. Given that understanding of the definition, it is correct. For an action to be free it must not be compelled (i.e. forced against one’s wishes) by another person, either human or divine.

However if one understands “compulsion or predestination” to include non-personal causal factors that act naturally through one’s own desires, then the definition makes free will into an incoherency, and further one that does not follow how free will and free actions are naturally understood.

Are you saying that if a Divinity exists that has predestined us, then there is no free will? -  and/or - Are you saying that if an individual believes in a deity that has predestined his life, then that individual has no free will?

Also, I still have a problem with the term “independent action” in the above definition’s phrase: “power of independent action…”

Inependent of what?  It can’t be independent of one’s biology, environment, and personal history of environmental exposure.

Is there something I’m not getting?

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1879 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 06:43 PM

They can see it on fMRI. But now that I think about it, it probably doesn’t really matter when the brain comes to the conclusion how it will react. Even if it happend ar the same moment as we become conscious of it, it wouldn’t change anything. Consciousness is probably just a spectator of what is happening and that’s all there is to it. Every decision we make had been decided a long time ago, billions of years ago.

You think it was decided billions of years ago that you would leave an “e” out of the word “happened” above? (I’m really asking, not critiquing your proof reading, as I make typos in most posts, myself.)

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1880 ]
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TimB - 15 August 2012 07:09 PM
George - 15 August 2012 06:43 PM

They can see it on fMRI. But now that I think about it, it probably doesn’t really matter when the brain comes to the conclusion how it will react. Even if it happend ar the same moment as we become conscious of it, it wouldn’t change anything. Consciousness is probably just a spectator of what is happening and that’s all there is to it. Every decision we make had been decided a long time ago, billions of years ago.

You think it was decided billions of years ago that you would leave an “e” out of the word “happened” above? (I’m really asking, not critiquing your proof reading, as I make typos in most posts, myself.)

Yes, I do believe that.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1881 ]
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TimB - 15 August 2012 07:03 PM
dougsmith - 15 August 2012 06:06 PM
Write4U - 15 August 2012 04:40 PM

free will
1.power of independent action and choice: the ability to act or make choices as a free and autonomous being and not solely as a result of compulsion or predestination

Synonyms: autonomy, self-determination, choice, liberty, freedom, independence

This is an interesting case; it depends on how “compulsion or predestination” is understood. The problematic cases for free will involve a separate person who does the compelling, or a personal God who does the predestination. Given that understanding of the definition, it is correct. For an action to be free it must not be compelled (i.e. forced against one’s wishes) by another person, either human or divine.

However if one understands “compulsion or predestination” to include non-personal causal factors that act naturally through one’s own desires, then the definition makes free will into an incoherency, and further one that does not follow how free will and free actions are naturally understood.

Are you saying that if a Divinity exists that has predestined us, then there is no free will? -  and/or - Are you saying that if an individual believes in a deity that has predestined his life, then that individual has no free will?

Also, I still have a problem with the term “independent action” in the above definition’s phrase: “power of independent action…”

Inependent of what?  It can’t be independent of one’s biology, environment, and personal history of environmental exposure.

Is there something I’m not getting?

Perhaps it means independent of everyone else. This would be appropriate as we each have a unique personal history and personal experience and the ability to take independent action (react differently than everyone else) under certain circumstances.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1882 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 07:25 PM
TimB - 15 August 2012 07:03 PM
dougsmith - 15 August 2012 06:06 PM
Write4U - 15 August 2012 04:40 PM

free will
1.power of independent action and choice: the ability to act or make choices as a free and autonomous being and not solely as a result of compulsion or predestination

Synonyms: autonomy, self-determination, choice, liberty, freedom, independence

This is an interesting case; it depends on how “compulsion or predestination” is understood. The problematic cases for free will involve a separate person who does the compelling, or a personal God who does the predestination. Given that understanding of the definition, it is correct. For an action to be free it must not be compelled (i.e. forced against one’s wishes) by another person, either human or divine.

However if one understands “compulsion or predestination” to include non-personal causal factors that act naturally through one’s own desires, then the definition makes free will into an incoherency, and further one that does not follow how free will and free actions are naturally understood.

Are you saying that if a Divinity exists that has predestined us, then there is no free will? -  and/or - Are you saying that if an individual believes in a deity that has predestined his life, then that individual has no free will?

Also, I still have a problem with the term “independent action” in the above definition’s phrase: “power of independent action…”

Inependent of what?  It can’t be independent of one’s biology, environment, and personal history of environmental exposure.

Is there something I’m not getting?

Perhaps it means independent of everyone else. This would be appropriate as we each have a unique personal history and personal experience and the ability to take independent action (react differently than everyone else) under certain circumstances.

Well, some other individual/s has/have always been part of anyone’s history and often is part of one’s current environment, so that is not adequate either.  The key, I think is “compulsion”.  You can be influenced by others, and act freely.  But if you are compelled to act, it is not free.

Write, You don’t believe that everything we do is predestined, do you.  (Personally, I doubt it.  But I don’t really know. If it is, I don’t believe it was predestined by some divinity.)

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1883 ]
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I am really conflicted by the concept of Free Will in a Deterministic universe. It is obvious that physical matter obeys the laws of nature, i.e. Determinstic.
If we all were computers loaded with the same programs, determinism would hold as well. There would be no choice but to act exactly the same under all circumstances. However, even computers have glitches and it is possible that a computer may produce a different result than all the other computers. Of course this would also be a result of determinism. Every action (reaction) all computers performs are firmly fixed by by their hardware and programs. However at quantum, we have to deal with probability and even uncertainty and an event is determined the instant of manifestation.
This is how I see the function of Universal determinism. A mathematical progression programmed by the Laws of nature.
 
But when it comes to intelligence I see an ocean of differences. And the more sophisticated the intelligence, the greater the difference of actions and reactions to a given situation. In humans, with the ability to “see” into the future, we can even take preemptive action. IOW, we can deliberately change the course of a series of deterministic events. We become the determining factor all the way up to the instant before manifestation.
I understand that the brain works deterministically (biochemical impulses), but no two brains are the same. Each human brain is more or less unique in structure and even if two individuals are exposed to the same experience throughout their lives, they may still act independent of each other, even though their hardware (brain) have been programmed with the same information.
Thus thoughts (results of brain function) and physical action/reaction will be different in every single individual. Upredictable even. Thus in 7 billion people, we have 7 billion different thoughts and actions at any one time. This is different than how 7 billion water molecules act.

How can we square this with the concept of a deterministic path as far as the human race is concerned is puzzling to me. Perhaps we can point to trends but we do not function as a collective (beehive) and there seems to be room for conflicting or seperate actions.

And no, I definitely do not believe in pre-destination or a divinity. However, philosophically I do believe in Cause/Effect.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 10:33 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1884 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:37 PM

Thus thought has a certain independence from reality and can introduce a randomness of action, outside of mathematical determinism. Am I wrong?

Yes.

When thoughts are implemented in the deterministic brain, then the thoughts are determined too.

George - 15 August 2012 04:35 PM

Yeah, well, I call them “free will” and “free act.” “Libertarian fee will” and “compabilitism” fall in the same category for me as “pneumatology.”

A free act is an act that is in accordance with your wishes and beliefs, as in Doug’s refrigerator example. Somebody who can act according his wishes and beliefs has free will. That’s it. Is that of the same level as pneumatology?

Free will is not a ‘causal hole’ in the universe, as Write4U obvious would like to have it.

George - 15 August 2012 06:00 PM

It’s called free will bacause it feels as if we were free to will. But we are not. What I call “I,” that which feels is doing the willing, is my consciesness. We know, however, that the decision how we will react is decided before we become conscious of it.

Not quite. The problem is that “I” feels as a separate entity opposed to a determined world. When we act according our wishes and beliefs we get the illusion that “I” does this as this separate and independent entity, and that feels like unconditioned, libertarian free will. That is an illusion of course.

That our action starts on unconscious level has nothing to do with it. If you walk to the fridge because you are hungry, does it matter that the action starts before you are conscious that you will start to walk? I don’t see the relevance of it. Your are beating a dead ghost, George. (However I see that Write4U is still trying to revive the ghost…)

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 11:12 PM by GdB ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1885 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:21 PM

I completely understand A) the circumstance we find ourselves now is a result of circumstances which existed before. The laws of nature work infallibly and deterministically. Cause/effect, specific cause/specific effect. Determinism.

Ok so there is one possible future you can get to from your current actual circumstances.

Thus the question is if we can change this self inflicted present circumstance and create a new deterministic path B)

It’s logically impossible to create a new deterministic path. The old deterministic path cannot have been your determined path if you get off it! And it’s logically impossible to change the present circumstances because the old present circumstances wouldn’t be the present circumstances if you changed them. These are facts that you reject.

What you can do is take action that will produce one result rather than another.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1886 ]
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As I said I am confused as to an exclusivity of one or the other. As the thinker is also the experiencer, then the I should be able to act as an independent observer and possibly influencer on a local level. All I say is that IMO the law of Cause /Effect does not exclude either.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1887 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 06:43 PM

Every decision we make had been decided a long time ago, billions of years ago.

In the sense that those decisions are the only ones we could make given the distant past , yes. But in an ordinary, everyday sense, no.

(assuming determinism)

Stephen

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1888 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 11:05 PM

As I said I am confused as to an exclusivity of one or the other. As the thinker is also the experiencer, then the I should be able to act as an independent observer and possibly influencer on a local level. All I say is that IMO the law of Cause /Effect does not exclude either.

Writer4U.

I think you simply propose logical impossibilities.

1) Changing the present from what it is.

2) Changing the deterministic path from what it is.

Anything else just confuses this simple issue.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1889 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 03:03 PM

Again, Write, free will is not a product of the thought of our brain, because free will doesn’t exist.

I think it’s correct to concede we use free will to mean different things, so I wouldn’t say it doesn’t exist.

But it’s also not true to say we have it without qualification. There most definately is something people believe in that we call free will that doesn’t and can’t exist.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1890 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 08:54 PM

There would be no choice but to act exactly the same under all circumstances.

I firmly believe this is all just about a very simple mistake arising from what we mean by “the circumstances”. If we narrow what we mean down to the actual circumstances you are right.

But we can check to see if we do mean that by looking at examples.

It turns out that we don’t ordinarily mean that. That’s what you need to get. (assuming I’m not determined to be wrong that is) grin

Stephen

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 11:52 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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