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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 17 November 2012 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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GdB - 17 November 2012 09:30 AM
George - 17 November 2012 08:27 AM

Do volcanos run 100 km per hour on our highways? Do they they grow in top of palm trees?

What’s your point?

That increased complexity gives rise to new phenomena, that do not exist on lower levels. Atoms and volcanoes do not evolve in the Darwinian meaning of the word. Evolution is a new quality, which does not exist at the level of atoms.  And even that evolution is ‘implemented’ with atoms, it cannot even be understood from by natural laws about atoms. Don’t you agree?

That is what I was trying to posit. The mind is an emergent quality and clearly adds a new dimension to the question of choice (free will).

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Posted: 18 November 2012 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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Write4U - 17 November 2012 05:23 PM

That is what I was trying to posit. The mind is an emergent quality and clearly adds a new dimension to the question of choice (free will).

absolutely. many dimensions. but none of them have to do with determinism (at least not primarily).

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Posted: 18 November 2012 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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GdB - 16 November 2012 04:24 AM

There is some clear illusion: as we do not have access to our own hardware layer in the brain where just determined processes run, it seems that our thoughts and feelings have no clear causes. It is only very partially clear where our thoughts and feelings come from. E.g. when something is very funny I laugh: that is a kind of causal explanation, even if it is very incomplete (just to be sure: the only way we can talk about causes because we can separate them from an environment that is more or less stable, or where we are able to keep control over the environment (scientific experiments!)). This unexplained rising of feelings and thoughts feels like they come from nowhere: they seem uncaused. And that is the illusion: they seem uncaused, but of course they aren’t.

if a gust of wind has no clear cause, does that make it seem ‘uncaused’? to what % of people?
does it make it seem to be caused by a ‘willful agent’, a sentient being? to very primitive people.

or maybe *not* just to primitive people.

i would say the world ‘feels’ more ‘alive’ on a gusty day… i suppose it stimulates parts of the brain which evolved to deal with complex social situations (most of the brain, perhaps), but which we’re also able to use for other things.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 11:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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isaac - 18 November 2012 03:20 PM

if a gust of wind has no clear cause, does that make it seem ‘uncaused’? to what % of people?
does it make it seem to be caused by a ‘willful agent’, a sentient being? to very primitive people.

Sorry, this misses the point I am making. The ‘gust of wind’ and its cause both belong to the physical level. But feelings and thoughts on one side, and neural process on the other side belong to different levels. You will not find a feeling or thinking neuron, just a neuron processing electro-chemical signals. But many firing neurons together in the context of the brain as it is at that moment may be a feeling or thought. But the feeling or thought ‘does nor know’ it is running on firing neurons, i.e. its physical causes are hidden to it.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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isaac - 15 November 2012 02:36 PM

did someone actually post a coherent definition of libertarian free will—something sensible enough to rise to the level of being called an illusion?

The so called ‘illusion’ is that our choices are totally up to us.

Stephen

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Posted: 21 November 2012 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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GdB - 15 November 2012 10:03 AM
VYAZMA - 15 November 2012 09:40 AM

You make the same error again and again: you extensively show that we are determined. YES, we are determined!

VYAZMA - 15 November 2012 09:40 AM

Another easily identifiable flag GdB is your having to point out that there is a difference between Volcanos and Humans.  This readily explains to me that you DO INDEED imply a magic in people. It’s that simple.  If we boil it all down, that’s the summary. You are implying a magic. A soul or whatever.

This is such bullshit, VYAZMA. I nowhere imply that the difference between a volcano and a human is that volcanoes have no soul. But I do say, and you will agree with me, that there is no way that you can ask a volcano for his reasons to spit lava. But do you deny that you can ask people for their reasons for what they are doing? Humans have reasons, and these reasons are implemented in the software of the brain. That of course means they are determined. But we have no access to our own hardware layer of firing neurons. So it seems we have libertarian free will, and yes, that is an illusion. But the actions of people can be in accordance with their wishes and beliefs, and hopefully also with their reasons. A free will is a will that can express itself in its actions, not a will that is not caused. Such a will does not exist, that is an illusion. But we can very well distinguish between free and non-free actions, even if there is a vague border between them. You see no difference between a person falling according to the law of gravity, and a person going to the fridge for a beer because he knows there is still some in it, but with this action also just follows laws of nature.

VYAZMA - 15 November 2012 09:40 AM

The problem is..it’s hard to explain this to folks, especially folks who don’t understand the concept of the illusion of free-will as it relates to biology, DNA, chemistry, consciousness, causality etc.

I very well understand the relationship between biology, DNA, chemistry, causality and consciousness. Where did I show I have no general understanding of those topics? You should start reading what I write, and not interpret me between the lines.

You do imply indirectly that humans have a soul.  You might not want to imply that, but you do by default.
The fact that people can reply, or state, or answewr, or deduce, or give REASONS is just as determined-just as causally determined- as the pressure building up below the volcano.
So, I do state that in this sense, and in all other senses regarding determinism as it applies to humans and volcanoes, that humans and volcanos are the same.
I invite you to re-examine your position that you are NOT indirectly implying that humans have a soul. I say you are. Indirectly.
I am interested to see that you are now entertaining the idea of the illusion of free-will.  Is this the first time you are using the term in it’s rightful context?
Again, you are still drifting into liberty here.
I feel strongly about my position that I stated above:
The ideas of freedom and liberty can be deconstucted by the concept of Determinism and Causality(this thread’s discussion and illusion et al…)
The inverse of this statement is false.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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VYAZMA - 21 November 2012 10:14 AM

You do imply indirectly that humans have a soul.  You might not want to imply that, but you do by default.

OK (deep breath), yes we have soul. And it is made of billions of tiny robots. (Dennett)

VYAZMA - 21 November 2012 10:14 AM

The fact that people can reply, or state, or answewr, or deduce, or give REASONS is just as determined-just as causally determined- as the pressure building up below the volcano.

Yes, exactly as I wrote in my posting you reacted on. You do not read.

VYAZMA - 21 November 2012 10:14 AM

So, I do state that in this sense, and in all other senses regarding determinism as it applies to humans and volcanoes, that humans and volcanos are the same.

OK (deep breath again): yes, volcanoes and humans are the same in the respect that both are determined (where did I deny that?). But they differ in the the respect of having wishes, beliefs, morality, and can reason about their behaviour. Oh, btw, and humans cannot spit lava…

VYAZMA - 21 November 2012 10:14 AM

I invite you to re-examine your position that you are NOT indirectly implying that humans have a soul. I say you are. Indirectly.

I invite you to find places where I imply that, in a way that it meaningful differs from a naturalist account of our behaviour.

VYAZMA - 21 November 2012 10:14 AM

I am interested to see that you are now entertaining the idea of the illusion of free-will.  Is this the first time you are using the term in it’s rightful context?

I repeated hundreds of times that I am not quite happy with the term ‘free will’. It gives the suggestion of libertarian free will, a will that is not determined by previous causes. That is BS, I repeated that again and again (but you are pointing your arrows against this type of free will, which is not my concept). If you want, call it ‘free action’ then: the ability to act according to our wishes and beliefs. If you think that is liberty… But I think there are a lot of situations where we are not free to act, that do not fit the idea of (political) liberty (psychological dependence, addiction, to name two).

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Posted: 23 November 2012 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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Write4U - 17 November 2012 05:23 PM
GdB - 17 November 2012 09:30 AM
George - 17 November 2012 08:27 AM

Do volcanos run 100 km per hour on our highways? Do they they grow in top of palm trees?

What’s your point?

That increased complexity gives rise to new phenomena, that do not exist on lower levels. Atoms and volcanoes do not evolve in the Darwinian meaning of the word. Evolution is a new quality, which does not exist at the level of atoms.  And even that evolution is ‘implemented’ with atoms, it cannot even be understood from by natural laws about atoms. Don’t you agree?

That is what I was trying to posit. The mind is an emergent quality and clearly adds a new dimension to the question of choice (free will).

This would be one area of your responses(and Write’s) that I was taking exception with.
This is why I wrote that you are indirectly implying a soul, or magic.
“New Phenomena”
It can be understood on an atomic level.  Mainly through chemistry.  Here again you are implying a special phenomena.
WTF.  You tell me I don’t read, then I have to come back and dig up quotes you either forgot about, or didn’t understand when you yourself wrote them.
I read them. This goes back to the obfusgation I have repeatedly mentioned in these related posts.

Just because we don’t fully understand the chemistry or the mechanics of evolution fully doesn’t mean it isn’t determined.
On a surface level, we can clearly observe all human behavior as re-actions to other actions. to say nothing of cellular levels or deeper.
Come on already. I’m looking for direct challenges to my suppositions here, not further obfusgation.
I’ve made my points, most rebuttals are coming in the form of deflection, or vague responses.(because the poster doesn’t want to fully reveal their hand?)

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Posted: 23 November 2012 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

This is why I wrote that you are indirectly implying a soul, or magic.
“New Phenomena”

Yes. New phenomena. Not a new substance, with magic capabilities. A heap of iron, coal, and water cannot move itself along a railtrack. A steam locomotive can. What you are saying is that a train is just a heap of iron, coal, and water.

VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

It can be understood on an atomic level.  Mainly through chemistry.  Here again you are implying a special phenomena.

No, I am pretty sure that we will never be able to understand humans from the atomic level. We need different levels like DNA-transcription (did you ever see an atom producing other atoms?), neural circuits (ever seen an atom send messages to other atoms?), evaluation of future actions (ever seen an atom thinking what to do next?) to understand humans. On every level new categories arise, that did not exist on the lower levels. The scientific view on this is that we know for every level, that it can be translated to the level below. I assume that is what you mean, but you have not thought deep enough to see it. Yes, nature is conglomerate of moving particles, partially bound into bigger structures that can be quite complex (ever seen the stable spiral arms of atoms that galaxies can have?). So there is a perfect natural translation from one level to the next. But it is impossible to understand the highest levels from the atomic level. That is just plain silly, VYAZMA.

VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

WTF.  You tell me I don’t read, then I have to come back and dig up quotes you either forgot about, or didn’t understand when you yourself wrote them.

You don’t want them to understand.

VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

Just because we don’t fully understand the chemistry or the mechanics of evolution fully doesn’t mean it isn’t determined.

Why are you saying this again and again? Didn’t you read that I said again and again that we are determined? Of course we are determined, because we are on the lowest level. But that does not mean I cannot act according to my wishes and beliefs! It is just that my wishes and beliefs are determined themselves. Some people might refuse to call that ‘free will’. I prefer to keep it in, because people might conclude from this that we then are not responsible for our actions at all.

VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

Come on already. I’m looking for direct challenges to my suppositions here, not further obfusgation.

LOL
What do you want me to do? Honestly trying to prove we have an independent soul, uncaused? C’mon VYAZMA, stop with this cursory and naive thinking of you.

VYAZMA - 23 November 2012 09:45 AM

I’ve made my points, most rebuttals are coming in the form of deflection, or vague responses.(because the poster doesn’t want to fully reveal their hand?)

Yelling or doing powerful statements are better, what?

[ Edited: 25 November 2012 08:15 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 23 November 2012 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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GdB - 23 November 2012 10:14 AM

But that does not mean I cannot act according to my wishes and beliefs!

Am I free not to act according to my wishes and beliefs?

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Posted: 23 November 2012 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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George - 23 November 2012 10:42 AM
GdB - 23 November 2012 10:14 AM

But that does not mean I cannot act according to my wishes and beliefs!

Am I free not to act according to my wishes and beliefs?

No! Which I find rather comforting.

Stephen

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Posted: 23 November 2012 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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Welcome to the Peak of Nihilism, Stephen. I have been expecting you.  grin

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Posted: 23 November 2012 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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VYAZMA - 31 October 2012 08:57 AM
StephenLawrence - 31 October 2012 01:21 AM
GdB - 30 October 2012 11:50 PM

Animals (human and non-human) are future-anticipating machines, which make them conscious.

Do you mean it’s necessary to be conscious to anticipate the future?

Stephen

This is one of many, many examples of why the free-will discussion is bogged down, confusing, and most of all unproductive.

Most discussions of this kind become bogged down, confusing, and unproductive.  It doesn’t mean we should not debate them. In fact if we were to do away with all discussions that become bogged down, confusing and unproductive, we might as well do away with all discussion groups about religion and philosophy, including this one.  It is the nature of such topics to fall into that category, including discussions as to whether there is or can be a god.

As for free will, the people claiming it exists have the burden of proof to show it does. Without that evidence, the default is to assume it doesn’t.  As with belief in god, “feeling” is not evidence.  Nevertheless,  though the deniers of free will do not have the burden of proof, there have been laboratory tests using brain scans with results appearing in peer reviewed journals that show that our decisions are made before we are aware of them.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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George - 23 November 2012 11:41 AM

Welcome to the Peak of Nihilism, Stephen. I have been expecting you.  grin

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Not sure I understand but grin I think.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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George - 23 November 2012 10:42 AM
GdB - 23 November 2012 10:14 AM

But that does not mean I cannot act according to my wishes and beliefs!

Am I free not to act according to my wishes and beliefs?

You are not free to either act or not act on your wishes and beliefs.  You have no control over your decisions, no matter what you wish or believe, though your wishes and beliefs do dissolve into the sea of determining factors, they are very weak antagonists in the presence of countless much stronger ones.

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