5 of 6
5
I can’t believe there is still a debate about free will.
Posted: 21 May 2011 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31
sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 06:30 AM
GdB - 21 May 2011 05:45 AM

Hard determinism: The nervous system causes consciousness, but this consciousness in itself causes nothing. (epiphenomenalism)

I don’t agree with this contextual definition of epiphenomenon.

Of course you don’t. It is a very difficult concept to convey… wink

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 06:30 AM

Consciousness is not something extending ‘out’ of the machinery of consciousness, it is what it feels like to be conscious machinery.

I think that when you want to explain consciousness, you shouldn’t explain it by means of consciousness…

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 06:30 AM

If this sounds like a brand of Whitehead’s panexperientialism, that’s because it is, though without the panentheism. Put another way, the fact of existence is the prerequisite for consciousness, but human consciousness is exclusive to human brains because of their structure and action. Again, this is not qualia, or any other hidden property. It is simply the fact of being. Words fail, I can only point towards the meaning.

Hmmm. Would Hofstadter agree with that? I don’t know Whitehead very well, but I am wondering if panexperientialism isn’t an empty concept. If not all stones are statues, but all could be, and stones exist, should we not agree with panstatuism? In the end, stones can be statues (remember Aristotle’s substance and form). Do sleeping pills work because they contain virtus dormitiva? Does panexperientialism really explain something? Do the words fail, because there is not even a concept?

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 06:30 AM

I will add that the alleged dualism in the description/action of physical properties seems to be generated by an argument from category error. We can prattle on about whether action ‘causes’ effects ad nauseam; this doesn’t change the fact that something is happening, and that ‘that something’ is part of a continuous chain reaction.

Yes, of course. But that does not mean that free will does not exist. It only does not exist in the dualist, libertarian way. But without wishes and believes being causally effective, how can evolution have selected for that? The only idea we must get rid of is that our wishes and believes need to come from blue air to say we have free will. We can determine our actions, but not ourselves. We are thrown into existence… We can take responsibility for our existence, meaning we live reflected what we are, and determine our actions from this feeling of responsibility. If you do, you will see automatically that these ideas on its own can be causally effective already.

But maybe these ideas are a too difficult idea to convey?

Edite Second sentence. Forgot a ‘not‘in the fast typing of my thoughts…

[ Edited: 21 May 2011 07:20 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  32
Joined  2008-07-28
GdB - 21 May 2011 07:09 AM

Of course you don’t. It is a very difficult concept to convey… wink

Hehe. Indeed.

GdB - 21 May 2011 07:09 AM

I think that when you want to explain consciousness, you should use explain it by means of consciousness…

Not sure what this means. Correct the last part of that sentence please.

GdB - 21 May 2011 07:09 AM

Hmmm. Would Hofstadter agree with that? I don’t know Whitehead very well, but I am wondering if panexperientialism isn’t an empty concept. If not all stones are statues, but all could be, and stones exist, should we not agree with panstatuism? In the end, stones can be statues (remember Aristotle’s substance and form). Do sleeping pills work because they contain virtus dormitiva? Does panexperientialism really explain something? Do the words fail, because there is not even a concept?

I think you are falling into your own ‘my book is better than yours’ narrative here. I don’t speak for Hofstadter, and I don’t agree with all of his ideas. Your lack of comprehension regarding panexperientialism is the crux of the matter here (pun intended). Words fail because concepts are fuzzy at this resolution, and we are homing in on an answer to a question that has eluded the best of minds. Sitting still and relaxing in a lotus posture (a position selected for practical, not mystical reasons) might give you some insight into ‘panstatuism’. wink

GdB - 21 May 2011 07:09 AM

Yes, of course. But that does not mean that free will does not exist. It only does not exist in the dualist, libertarian way. But without wishes and believes being causally effective, how can evolution have selected for that? The only idea we must get rid of is that our wishes and believes need to come from blue air to say we have free will. We can determine our actions, but not ourselves. We are thrown into existence… We can take responsibility for our existence, meaning we live reflected what we are, and determine our actions from this feeling of responsibility. If you do, you will see automatically that these ideas on its own can be causally effective already.

What are wishes and belief’s? Answer that question, and you will see the causal chain is unbroken.

GdB - 21 May 2011 07:09 AM

But maybe these ideas are a too difficult idea to convey?

Keep at it anyway.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31

Not a bad posting. Just a pity that any arguments are missing.

Keep at it anyway

You too. You did not remove my suspicion that what you try to convey is empty.

What are wishes and belief’s? Answer that question, and you will see the causal chain is unbroken.

Did I say it was broken? I only say that seen from a more global and abstract level the causal chain can be described as wishes and beliefs. Do unpredictable storms not exist because the movement of the molecules are determined? Don’t storms cause a lot of damage, just by being a storm, and not just one fast molecule? I hope these concepts are not too difficult to understand? And, ehhh… Do you understand what I am writing?

Please come down, then we can talk face to face.

Not sure what this means. Correct the last part of that sentence please.

Fixed that one even before you asked…

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  32
Joined  2008-07-28
GdB - 21 May 2011 07:41 AM

Did I say it was broken? I only say that seen from a more global and abstract level the causal chain can be described as wishes and beliefs. Do unpredictable storms not exist because the movement of the molecules are determined? Don’t storms cause a lot of damage, just by being a storm, and not just one fast molecule? I hope these concepts are not too difficult to understand? And, ehhh… Do you understand what I am writing?

Please come down, then we can talk face to face.

In effect, yes, you did say it was broken. If not then it behaves in accordance with, but not because of, certain regular observable patterns that we call ‘laws’. Unpredictable storms…now you are showing the weakness in your argument very clearly. In what sense do we have free will? Are we free because we are unpredictable? Is this unpredictability relative or absolute? Let me answer that for you, it’s relative. We are non-random (in general), constrained, determined, and aware. Awareness is not the presence of choice, it is the embodiment of being a survival machine that has a human brain (a memetic ‘thinking’ machine). As I have said before, we perceive at the level of concepts, far removed from the underlying quantum roil, and so it is easy for us to be fooled into thinking that reverse causality is in effect. Your storm analogy is a good example of this illusion.

There is nothing for me to come down from, I sit level, grounded. I live in Michigan if you would like to meet ‘face-to-face’. PM me and we can discuss this over a bottle of wine perhaps.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31
sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 08:06 AM

In effect, yes, you did say it was broken.

You must show me where you interpret me in such a way. I think you interpret my posting as a dualist, and so you are reading something I did not write.

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 08:06 AM

Unpredictable storms…now you are showing the weakness in your argument very clearly. In what sense do we have free will? Are we free because we are unpredictable?

Ok, a bit unhappy example. What I wanted to express with my storms is that on a certain level new properties arise that cannot be found on the level of molecules. Hofstadter’s ideas about strange loops cannot do without seeing the reality of these levels.

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 08:06 AM

Awareness is (...) the embodiment of being a survival machine that has a human brain (a memetic ‘thinking’ machine).

With that I agree. But if ‘memes’ are something and play a causal role, why should not wishes and beliefs? These are memes too, don’t they? Of course, the whole stuff is embodied in a deterministic state machine, but that exactly is what compatibilism is all about: that determinism and free will are compatible, or even stronger, without any form of determinism, free will would not even possible.

And still I think your idea about panexperientialism is vacuous. Instead of just a few remarks about my lack of comprehension, you could possible tell what the difference is between panstatuism and panexperientialism?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  32
Joined  2008-07-28

Before we continue, GdB, I request that you clearly state what it is you think free will is. Or if you have already stated your position unambiguously elsewhere, please direct me to it.

I will retract the point about panexperientialism, it is most likely a dead end. While it isn’t vacuous, it is irrelevant.

[ Edited: 21 May 2011 10:40 AM by sixfootbrit ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31
sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 10:35 AM

I will retract the point about panexperientialism, it is most likely a dead end. While it isn’t vacuous, it is irrelevant.

Hmm… You brought it in, and I think you need it for your version of epiphenomenalism. You know I think epiphenomenalism is BS.

You wrote:

Consciousness is not something extending ‘out’ of the machinery of consciousness, it is what it feels like to be conscious machinery.
(...)
...human consciousness is exclusive to human brains because of their structure and action

If nature is just like that, i.e. consciousness arises in (human) brains because of their structure and action, what the heck is then epiphenomenalism? Is it not that consciousness necessarily arises in such complex structures as the brain? And that it is evolutionary selected for such structures because they are causally effective?

What are your thoughts about philosophical zombies?

sixfootbrit - 21 May 2011 10:35 AM

Before we continue, GdB, I request that you clearly state what it is you think free will is. Or if you have already stated your position unambiguously elsewhere, please direct me to it.

‘Free will’ is for me an unhappy wording for a clear concept, and leads to a lot of confusion. Persons or actions can be free. A person is free when it can act freely. Actions are (partially) free when the deliberating and anticipating of a person has causal effects. ‘Free will’ suggests that we can want what we want. That is a silly concept, that leads to the idea of an unmoved mover.

Try this concept out on the example of the hard determinist, sitting in the restaurant, with the menu card in front of him, choosing what to eat. He knows his choice is determined. But that thought does not help him a bit to choose what to eat. He cannot avoid to choose. And his choice has causal effects. So he is free.

That his brain determines the choice simply does not make a difference. At most it is the guarantee that his deliberations in the end cause his uttering ‘Menu 2, please’.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6031
Joined  2006-12-20
isaac - 18 May 2011 01:47 PM

I think Gdb makes “serious sense of this”, although his writing isn’t always the world’s best.

I debate this, believe it or not, to find things out. How do we make serious sense of this?

I’ve spent a lot of time quizzing GdB to that end but it’s been a waste of time.

The first rule is no contradiction.

(Assuming GdB’s version of determinism)

Gdb believes everything happens of physical necessity. (he affirms this)

and believes there are non actual physical possibilities. (he also affirms this)

That’s a flat out contradiction.

He has escape routes but he refuses to take any of them, so in effect just sits there swearing black is white.

The second problem is causal efficiacy and I think it’s helpful to focus on preventative causes.

This problem isn’t peculiar to GdB, it’s an age old problem and I’m not sure anyone has satisfactorily dealt with it yet.

What does taking a headache pill prevent? We can say the words “it prevents what would have happened had we not taken the pill” but what are we referring to when we say these words?

Stephen

[ Edited: 22 May 2011 06:04 AM by StephenLawrence ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31

Stephen,

If you want to react the same point again and again, please do that in ‘our’ thread. There is no need to bring in your misreperesentation of my standpoint in every thread that has something to do with free will. OK?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31

Stephen,

Maybe you should think a little about this too. Might help to understand Swartz.

GdB - 21 May 2011 05:45 AM

The same misunderstanding lies in seeing natural laws as causing things to happen as they do. If one billiard ball collides with another, and therefore the second one starts to move, then the moving of one billiard ball causes the moving of the second one. This process is described by collision laws. But the collision laws themselves cause nothing. That would again be dualism. We do as if there is a second domain in nature. One domain is that of matter and energy etc, and the other ‘real’ domain is that of natural laws who ‘rule’ matter and energy etc. It is just the plain old dualism in a new jacket. Without this dualism both hard determinism and LWF cannot even be formulated.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27

so, does swarz think that every event can be spoken of as a “law”?  This seems to violate the letter and the spirit of what “laws” are all about.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31
isaac - 22 May 2011 12:22 PM

so, does swarz think that every event can be spoken of as a “law”?  This seems to violate the letter and the spirit of what “laws” are all about.

No. But every event occurs as it is described by natural laws. The collision laws are correct descriptions of what billiard bass always do. Nothing forces them to move as they do. We might not have discovered the right descriptions yet, but that such descriptions can be found is a presupposition of science, and of course of determinism.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27

“But you do get to choose a great many other laws. How do you do that? Simply by doing whatever you do in fact do.

For example, if you were to choose(!) to raise your arm, then there would be a timelessly true universal description (let’s call it “D4729“) of what you have done. If, however, you were to choose not to raise your arm, then there would be a (different) timelessly true universal description (we can call it “D5322“) of what you did (and D4729 would be timelessly false).”

It sure seems like he’s conflating a “timelessly true universal description (let’s call it “D4729“) of what you have done” with a “law”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2011 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27
GdB - 16 May 2011 11:13 PM

philosophical zombie.

Hmm… obviously, such a zombie would NOT be physiologically identical to (even if it were indistinguishable from) a person with conscious experience.

so there goes that whole argument, i would think

(wishful thinking on my part…)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2011 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4491
Joined  2007-08-31
isaac - 22 May 2011 01:25 PM

It sure seems like he’s conflating a “timelessly true universal description (let’s call it “D4729“) of what you have done” with a “law”.

Yes, it seems like that. But I think he is just stumbling on the same point I do: to explain something that is so obvious that it nearly cannot explained.

Assume, somebody raises his arm. Then there is a description of
1. A natural law (D4929)
2. A set of conditions C314 on which natural law D4929 applies, and gives rise to exact one event: raising the arm.

Now, for D4729 to be a natural law (and more than just a description of an event) it must be the case that everytime when conditions C314 occur, afterwards the event ‘raising arm’ occurs.

Same of course for D5322 and not raising the arm.

Now imagine we are researchers. We do not know what you will do, but we are already that far that we know D4929 and D5322 are viable hypothesis for what will happen when conditions C314 occur. We look at our devices and the tension is increasing as we see C314 could occur soon… Then it happens, and our test person raises his arm. So now we know: D4929 is the rule according to which C314 develops! We discovered a natural law! Had the test person lowered his arm, we would have known that D5322 would have been the right description. So the test person did choose, but not for D4929 or D5322 (as non-neurologist he has no idea), but to raise his arm. And D4929 turned out to be the law according which his choosing can be described.

Does that make sense?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
   
5 of 6
5