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A pragmatic discussion about free will
Posted: 13 April 2012 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2012 09:32 AM
traveler - 13 April 2012 07:15 AM

Yeah, I don’t see a difference between “I” and my brain. Things get a little more interesting when considering the person who takes medication for schizophrenia. “I” control “me” by making “me” not “I”.

I know you mean this funny… But you get a serious answer:

In schizophrenia some mental contents are not recognised as belonging to the patient himself. They are alien to them. So they become “voices”, “entities” that are not himself. I don’t know if antipsychotics really help against this mis-identification, or that they just tranquilize, so that is easier to cope with the voices.

As a novice in philosopher land, I do find this interesting. And it’s my understanding that the meds make the voices go away, but I have no first-hand experience. However, the same result is found in those who change themselves by taking antidepressants. The mind deciding to change the mind.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

I see in this discussion the continuing idea of dualism.  Both sides(but it appears not directly opposed sides(for the most part)) take and detract from the “dualism” concept.  This is because the idea of dualism arises from the effort of trying to understand human consciousness…trying to literate or flesh out the mechanics of consciousness!

No, no, that is not enough. Dualism arises because it seems unbelievable that matter can organise in such a way that it becomes conscious (in the form of the brain). So one makes the “soul” the conscious entity. But eh…Vyazma: are you conscious.

VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

The fact that the universe and all it’s parts are “chain-reaction determined” is not disputable.

Yep, correct. And?

VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

The only thing left to do is to extrapolate that into the mechanics of bio-chemiostry, DNA, and most importantly the science of how the brain works-specifically consciousness.)

Yep. Correct again!

VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

On the subject of consciousness the most important concept is the fact that we can think in future tense.(the illusion!!!) When in fact we are constantly…constantly thinking in past tense!!!

 
Wrong. If you walk to the fridge because you are thirsty and you know that there is a beer in it you are anticipating the future. Of course, you are using experience you got in the past, but you are planning your future.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]
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traveler - 13 April 2012 09:58 AM

As a novice in philosopher land, I do find this interesting. And it’s my understanding that the meds make the voices go away, but I have no first-hand experience. However, the same result is found in those who change themselves by taking antidepressants. The mind deciding to change the mind.

Yes. Same result with alcohol…

Interesting is that many depressive people who use antidepressants have the feeling that they feel like being themselves again. So it seems they cannot really identify with the dump feeling that takes all the joy and courage in their lives away.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]
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traveler - 13 April 2012 09:58 AM
GdB - 13 April 2012 09:32 AM
traveler - 13 April 2012 07:15 AM

Yeah, I don’t see a difference between “I” and my brain. Things get a little more interesting when considering the person who takes medication for schizophrenia. “I” control “me” by making “me” not “I”.

I know you mean this funny… But you get a serious answer:

In schizophrenia some mental contents are not recognised as belonging to the patient himself. They are alien to them. So they become “voices”, “entities” that are not himself. I don’t know if antipsychotics really help against this mis-identification, or that they just tranquilize, so that is easier to cope with the voices.

As a novice in philosopher land, I do find this interesting. And it’s my understanding that the meds make the voices go away, but I have no first-hand experience. However, the same result is found in those who change themselves by taking antidepressants. The mind deciding to change the mind.

Instead of saying “The mind deciding to change the mind.”  I would propose saying “Behavior that changes the probabilty of future behavior.”

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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2012 09:24 AM
TimB - 13 April 2012 09:21 AM

I look at it from a behavior analytic perspective, while using the operational definition of compatiblilist free will as I understand it.

That is not simple enough…

I apologize for the jargon.  I would attempt to explain my position in everyday terminology, but it would take a full page, and I am not sure anyone would seriously want to try to process it.

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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2012 10:28 AM

If you walk to the fridge because you are thirsty and you know that there is a beer in it you are anticipating the future. Of course, you are using experience you got in the past, but you are planning your future.

The only problem here is that the “planning” had begun more than 14 billion years ago and it so happened that along its way “it” (the universe, i guess) also created a way to witness a part of this long 14-billion-year process. I guess you can call the consciousness here “you,” but that “you” has nothing to with the planning. It’s just witnessing a part of those 14 billion years that it took to get here.

So no, “you” are not using any experience, since “you” (i.e. your consciousness, the only thing we can call “you” here) has nothing to do with the “planning.” You are such a dualist, GdB.  grin

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Posted: 13 April 2012 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

On the subject of consciousness the most important concept is the fact that we can think in future tense.(the illusion!!!) When in fact we are constantly…constantly thinking in past tense!!!

 
GdB-

Wrong. If you walk to the fridge because you are thirsty and you know that there is a beer in it you are anticipating the future. Of course, you are using experience you got in the past, but you are planning your future.

grin  Ha Ha ha.. you’ve described normal observed human behavior. So what?
Here’s what…we only need now decide upon the definition of free-will in a semantic sense.
The determinism has been proven.
Planning….great word.  You’ll have to do better.
That’s what Free in Kentucky described as The “special factor”.  That’s my point about the semantics of free-will.
There is no special factor.  If all of the computations and algorithms could be tabulated our behavior could be predicted with high degrees of accuracy.
Once the predictions are made successfully, the idea of free-will is out the door!
The calculations and algorithms will never be made though. There are far too many moving parts. 
We can “dither” the math down enough though to reason my assertation with logic.
Or we can observe humans and animals “planning” and call it free-will.  Might as well do that anyways. It seems to work.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]
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George - 13 April 2012 11:34 AM
GdB - 13 April 2012 10:28 AM

If you walk to the fridge because you are thirsty and you know that there is a beer in it you are anticipating the future. Of course, you are using experience you got in the past, but you are planning your future.

The only problem here is that the “planning” had begun more than 14 billion years ago and it so happened that along its way “it” (the universe, i guess) also created a way to witness a part of this long 14-billion-year process. I guess you can call the consciousness here “you,” but that “you” has nothing to with the planning. It’s just witnessing a part of those 14 billion years that it took to get here.

So no, “you” are not using any experience, since “you” (i.e. your consciousness, the only thing we can call “you” here) has nothing to do with the “planning.” You are such a dualist, GdB.  grin

I don’t understand this line of argument. Just because your genes may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago (or may not, in fact, if the predominant interpretation of QM is true) doesn’t mean that your genes weren’t partly responsible for bringing you into being. Just because Vesuvius’s eruption may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago doesn’t mean that Vesuvius didn’t destroy Pompeii. Just because your brain may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago doesn’t mean that your brain didn’t help plan your future.

The brain is only a special case if one thinks that there’s some special mind-stuff that does the planning. If not, if for example consciousness and mind stuff are just higher-level ways of describing physical behavior of one sort or another, then the brain’s causal responsibility for future action is just the same as the gene’s or the volcano’s.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]
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Soooo, the other thread on free will wasn’t long enough?? tongue laugh

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]
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asanta - 13 April 2012 12:35 PM

Soooo, the other thread on free will wasn’t long enough?? tongue laugh

There’s more than one.

They’re metastasizing ...

shock

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 11:53 AM
VYAZMA - 13 April 2012 07:41 AM

On the subject of consciousness the most important concept is the fact that we can think in future tense.(the illusion!!!) When in fact we are constantly…constantly thinking in past tense!!!

 
GdB-

Wrong. If you walk to the fridge because you are thirsty and you know that there is a beer in it you are anticipating the future. Of course, you are using experience you got in the past, but you are planning your future.

grin  Ha Ha ha.. you’ve described normal observed human behavior. So what?
Here’s what…we only need now decide upon the definition of free-will in a semantic sense.
The determinism has been proven.
Planning….great word.  You’ll have to do better.
That’s what Free in Kentucky described as The “special factor”.  That’s my point about the semantics of free-will.
There is no special factor.  If all of the computations and algorithms could be tabulated our behavior could be predicted with high degrees of accuracy.
Once the predictions are made successfully, the idea of free-will is out the door!
The calculations and algorithms will never be made though. There are far too many moving parts. 
We can “dither” the math down enough though to reason my assertation with logic.
Or we can observe humans and animals “planning” and call it free-will.  Might as well do that anyways. It seems to work.

Of course all behavior is ultimately determined, but the wiggle room, I believe comes in with all the complex “moving parts” of verbal behavior.  e.g., I can say things to myself that act as antecedents which effects the probablilty of behavior that I do, or don’t do, subsequently.  The parameters of what I can say are so expansive that it seems to me that there is some level of “freedom” here. 

“Freedom” is a relative term, however.  If I were let out of jail, I would be free to move around more.  I might not, however, be free to leave the county.  Or if I were free to leave the county, I might not have the means to leave the country.  If I had the means to travel about the world, I still wouldn’t be free to roam the solar system, etc.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2012 05:05 AM

Then you thought wrongly. The idea that we cannot have free will because we are determined presupposes that somebody (soul?) is forced by something external.

This is simply not true. The problem with determinism is that there is only one possible future you can get to from your actual past.

And your actual past is out of your control.

Sure your freely choosing soul is what is supposed to overcome this problem.

But take away the soul and you are just left with the problem.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 April 2012 12:41 PM

And your actual past is out of your control.

Sure your freely choosing soul is what is supposed to overcome this problem.

But take away the soul and you are just left with the problem.

Even with the soul you have the problem. The soul is supposed to help, but in fact it cannot help.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]
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dougsmith - 13 April 2012 12:23 PM

I don’t understand this line of argument. Just because your genes may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago (or may not, in fact, if the predominant interpretation of QM is true) doesn’t mean that your genes weren’t partly responsible for bringing you into being. Just because Vesuvius’s eruption may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago doesn’t mean that Vesuvius didn’t destroy Pompeii. Just because your brain may have been determined by something 14 billion years ago doesn’t mean that your brain didn’t help plan your future.

The brain is only a special case if one thinks that there’s some special mind-stuff that does the planning. If not, if for example consciousness and mind stuff are just higher-level ways of describing physical behavior of one sort or another, then the brain’s causal responsibility for future action is just the same as the gene’s or the volcano’s.

Sure, a small part (a very small part indeed) of the “planning” of walking up to the fridge happens in the brain, and for everyday type of communication this description is adequate. But I believe here we are trying to be a little more accurate about the whole thing. It’s as if two psychologists were trying to figure out why, I dunno, some faces may be more attractive than others, and one of them would say “because faces X are sooo cute.” True, but so what?

If you are a historian you may be satisfied with the answer that Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii. As a geologist you will find the effect of Vesuvius much larger, both in time and space, and even larger if you are a physicist.

So I want to know who or what is the “you” in Gdb’ post that is doing the “planning.” Libet’s study shows it is not the consciousness. What is it then?

(And mentioning QM in free will discussions is like mentioning Hitler in any other discussion. If you say QM again, you lose.  grin )

[ Edited: 13 April 2012 12:52 PM by George ]
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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]
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dougsmith - 13 April 2012 12:43 PM
StephenLawrence - 13 April 2012 12:41 PM

And your actual past is out of your control.

Sure your freely choosing soul is what is supposed to overcome this problem.

But take away the soul and you are just left with the problem.

Even with the soul you have the problem. The soul is supposed to help, but in fact it cannot help.

Yep.

Stephen

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