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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 03 April 2013 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 526 ]
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VYAZMA - 03 April 2013 12:10 PM

You said our wishes and desires were caused.  I thought you said we don’t have free-will? LOL

VYAZMA, even that I repeatedly have argued that you are repeating the same error again and again, you are still repeating it. It makes no sense to argue with you, because you simply do not read what I write, you are just following the triggers in your brain. See this posting where I laid out your fallacies in this discussion.

VYAZMA - 03 April 2013 12:10 PM

Our perceptions are determined!  You said it yourself!

Yes. That is what I am saying all the time. May I give you an advice? First read my postings well, then try to understand what I am saying, and then if you checked with me that you understood me, then show me why you think that my standpoint is invalid.

VYAZMA - 03 April 2013 12:10 PM

We don’t exist in the future.  We perceive the future. We have a determined concept of the future.

This is a perfect example of not reading. I talked about anticipating the future, not about ‘existing’. And what would ‘perceive the future’ even mean?

VYAZMA - 03 April 2013 12:14 PM

That’s it.  You think wishes and desires are in an ether.  That’s it. 
If you refute this…you lose. End. Game over.

You see? You are just not able to understand the thoughts of somebody else. Wishes and desires are implemented in the brain, similar to the way model calculations are implemented on computers. But obviously you think that those calculations must exist in the ether… Or you think that in designing computer algorithms you must know if you are running your program on a Mac or a PC. You see, VYAZMA, computer algorithms (say a calculation of pi in 1000000 decimal places) can be discussed without bothering about the hardware it will run on. That means it can be studied independently of any hardware the calculation will run on. On the other side, if we want to run the calculation, we must run it on some hardware. That is all what I mean when I say that the essence of the algorithm cannot be found on the level of the hardware, and that it is independent of it.

I lay it out for you once again:

-                                a.                                  b.                     -
Biological/social history ---cause------>  wishes and beliefs ---cause--------->  actions -
-                                                                                           - 

First: Note that everything is caused, i.e. is determined.
Second: Free will means that b. is true, i.e. that my wishes and beliefs cause my actions
Third: a. being true is the guarantee that my wishes and beliefs have something to do with the real world. I react on my perceptions according to what I have become in my biological and personal history.
And fourth: all these processes are implemented in our bodies and brains.

You keep sticking to your own definition of free will, namely that because my wishes and beliefs are caused, I am not free. You call this just a discussion of definitions, but my position is that my definition can bear our daily practice of assigning free will and responsibility to people. And you never started even to discuss that. You keep yelling “We are determined! We are not free! Get used to it!”

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Posted: 03 April 2013 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 527 ]
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VYAZMA - 03 April 2013 12:23 PM

I know you are fond of buddhism, or you practice it.  I get your angle about human potential.  And chi. Or whatever.
Ok.  I get it GdB.  This has bled into your scientific reasoning though.
I’m not faulting you for these beliefs.  Go for it.  Whatever makes you happy-do it.  Believe it. 
It’s just not being fair when some are trying to reason out human consciousness etc…and you have a biased angle.
This human potential thing….and all of your opinions on justice and desserts etc..
I’ve raised this point before as you know.  It’s being disingenuous.  You’re apparently smart enough to know this.

You see? Just a few words, and your mind triggers the rest, without even reading what I really write. I’ve never written one word about ‘human potential’, I even have emotional resistance against the concept. And there is no place for ‘chi’ in my world view. I assume you think that I think that wishes and beliefs are implemented in this chi? And btw, your posting is insinuating, that I somehow have second thoughts, and do not write what I honestly believe in.

I am not ‘fond of buddhism’, I am sometimes practising Zen meditation. I assume you will not understand what I will write here, but at least I can say to myself I tried to explain it to you:

I am convinced that we are ‘just’ functions of our brains, just as science says. But I notice that I,  and I think most western people (I have no clear idea about other cultures, but I assume it is similar there) we do not feel this way. We feel as if we are somehow separate entities that are acting on the world around us, and the world around us is working on me. Now most Buddhist schools say exactly this: that this is an illusion. And meditation is presented as a way of not just knowing that we are a function of other stuff, but to experience it. And as a note, I think it is exactly this remnant of feeling separately, of dualism, that makes the discussion about free will so difficult. There are two thinking errors in saying we have no free will: to think that the mind is caused by the brain (it isn’t, the mind is the working brain); and that ‘causing’ means ‘coercion’. I am convinced that if one really would think non-dualistically, one would not make these errors.

Now please VYAZMA, from now on, stick to the arguments I am giving: not to some supposedly hidden agenda of me, and not to your free associations with the words I write.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 528 ]
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GdB- Therefore the essence of our wishes and beliefs lies not its physical implementation

Then what does this mean?  OK, I’ll follow your instructions. I’m asking you for clarification before I argue against what I think you mean.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 529 ]
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GdB-You see, VYAZMA, computer algorithms (say a calculation of pi in 1000000 decimal places) can be discussed without bothering about the hardware it will run on. That means it can be studied independently of any hardware the calculation will run on. On the other side, if we want to run the calculation, we must run it on some hardware.

So one hard drive is studying a program before it is copied to another hard drive?

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Posted: 04 April 2013 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 530 ]
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VYAZMA - 04 April 2013 08:31 AM

GdB- Therefore the essence of our wishes and beliefs lies not its physical implementation

Then what does this mean?  OK, I’ll follow your instructions. I’m asking you for clarification before I argue against what I think you mean.

Didn’t your see the clarifications?

One was the comparison with traffic phenomena, that are studied in queuing theory, and which apply to time sharing in computation and computer networking on the one side, and two car traffic on the other side. The essence of what traffic is does not lie in its physical implementation. But of course there must be some physical implementation.

Same with the algorithm for calculating pi: if you apply it by hand on paper, with an abacus, with an old fashioned radio tube computer, with a Mac, PC, write the algorithm in C++, Pascal, Cobol, Java or whatever computer language: you have not understood the essence of the algorithm at all if you only know how the components of your devices work. But if you want to calculate pi, you will need one of these devices, so you must implement it at least in some way.

In the same way you have not understood what free actions are, if you do not see that the brain has implemented processes that we know as wishes and beliefs. You will not find traffic in a car, no value of pi in transistors, and no free will in neurons. But free will does not exist as some free floating entity in the brain, it is implemented in the brain. You bluntly keep thinking and saying that I say free will is some additional metaphysical entity, or dependent on it. I nowhere say so, I nowhere imply so; it is what you think all the time I am saying.

It is your naive way of thinking “Determinism true, free will false! Determinism true, free will false! Determinism true, free will false!” that makes you blind for the fact that there are meaningful ways to speak about free will in a deterministic universe, and that we can be free because the universe is determined.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 531 ]
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VYAZMA - 04 April 2013 08:37 AM

GdB-You see, VYAZMA, computer algorithms (say a calculation of pi in 1000000 decimal places) can be discussed without bothering about the hardware it will run on. That means it can be studied independently of any hardware the calculation will run on. On the other side, if we want to run the calculation, we must run it on some hardware.

So one hard drive is studying a program before it is copied to another hard drive?

No. Why? What has that to do with my example?

Counter question: does a programmer think before his program is successfully running on a computer? Or do you say to your hard disk that it can calculate pi for itself, because it has exactly the right form to do this?

I think my questions have no meaning too but they are fun. Oh, here is another funny one: are neurons conscious because you are? And still another one: Does every neuron in your visual cortex see?
Or do you start too realise that there are high-level phenomena that may not exist on the levels that lie below it? Do you really think you understand how the brain works? I don’t think so. “Oh, yes, it is all firing neurons, nothin’ more!”

Sorry for getting ironical, but it is what you do all the time.

But thanks for your posting above, where you ask for clarification. IF you continue like that we might get somewhere.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 532 ]
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Or do you start to realize that there are high-level phenomena that may not exist on the levels that lie below it?

I would think that by now you would know how I feel about that assertion.
Especially when you can’t describe these phenomena.  But are forced to use poor analogies like “traffic” and “computer programs”.
I’m supposed to see a phenomena in the description of simple traffic? 

There is a higher order to traffic beyond it’s physical manifestations?  What? The people driving the cars with their wishes and beliefs?

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Posted: 04 April 2013 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 533 ]
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GdB - 04 April 2013 09:09 AM
VYAZMA - 04 April 2013 08:37 AM

GdB-You see, VYAZMA, computer algorithms (say a calculation of pi in 1000000 decimal places) can be discussed without bothering about the hardware it will run on. That means it can be studied independently of any hardware the calculation will run on. On the other side, if we want to run the calculation, we must run it on some hardware.

So one hard drive is studying a program before it is copied to another hard drive?

No. Why? What has that to do with my example?

We are the other hard drive! It’s not being studied independently of any hard drive. 
We’re the hard drive studying the program.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 534 ]
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The problem with those “fun” analogies is that there may not be any higher level when it comes to free will, no matter how much you try, GdB. And nice try trying to sneak consciousness into this once again.

I can use the example of natural selection. We won’t see it on the level of the atom, but as much as many want to believe it, it is nowhere to be found on the level of group of individuals either. Natural selection works on the level of the gene, and that’s it.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 535 ]
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George - 04 April 2013 10:42 AM

The problem with those “fun” analogies is that there may not be any higher level when it comes to free will, no matter how much you try, GdB.

So you do not have wishes and beliefs, you do not act? You do not discuss, based your standpoint on arguments? All these ‘things’ exist, as higher level phenomena in our brains. Nobody can even understand what a ‘discussion’ is when he only stares at firing neurons. You cannot understand the power of an argument if you only study neurons and brains.

And that is the level in which free will exists. Not as a spooky indeterminate process, but as correct description of how our wishes and beliefs determine our actions: if they do, an action is called free. If my action is caused by somebody else’s wishes and beliefs then it is not free, it is coerced. I am not sneakily introducing indeterminism, which you both obviously keep thinking.

Do you see there is a difference between coerced and non-coerced actions?

George - 04 April 2013 10:42 AM

I can use the example of natural selection. We won’t see it on the level of the atom, but as much as many want to believe it, it is nowhere to be found on the level of group of individuals either. Natural selection works on the level of the gene, and that’s it.

Exactly. That is precisely my point. In the same way when one studies behaviour of people, their motivations, the causes, their reasons, and why they act as they do, one can talk about free will, as the opposite of being coerced.

Free will works on the level of persons, and that’s it.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 536 ]
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VYAZMA - 04 April 2013 10:35 AM

I’m supposed to see a phenomena in the description of simple traffic? 

You will never find out what a traffic jam is if you study the workings of an Otto motor. However, if you study traffic, it is not important that cars are driven by Otto motors, it could also be Wankel motors, or Stirling motors. The exact physical implementation plays no role in explaining traffic jams.

In the same way you will not find wishes, beliefs and actions if you only study brains and bodily movements. But wishes, beliefs and actions possibly could also be implemented with advanced AI in computers, or maybe in some alien, on silicon chemistry based life form. But not in some independent soul, that is ridiculous (but you still think that I think that). You also think that I try to introduce indeterminism at this higher level.

VYAZMA - 04 April 2013 10:35 AM

There is a higher order to traffic beyond it’s physical manifestations?  What? The people driving the cars with their wishes and beliefs?

This is just plain silly.

Edit:
Play around here a while, and see under what conditions traffic jams arise. And then tell me if the cars have Otto motors or Stirling motors, and if you understand traffic jams when you know the answer. What in the traffic simulation is the essential difference between trucks and cars? That they have Diesel engines?
(You need java activated in your browser).

[ Edited: 05 April 2013 09:46 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 05 April 2013 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 537 ]
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Why does no one ever bring up the word Potential when discussing the metaphysical concepts of the future..  These thoughts are not preserved in an ether or any other medium.  Potential is an inherent excellence which is causal to the possibilities of futures (determinism). The advantage humans have is that they can “perceive potential” as an abstraction of a promise inherent in a present condition. 

Bohm calls it the Implicate, and I do not believe he meant that as a medium which stores energy, but more as an abstraction for “possibilities” and by extension, “probabilities”, and by final extension, “certainty in reality” or as Bohm calls it the Explicate..

[ Edited: 05 April 2013 04:20 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 April 2013 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 538 ]
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Actually I think the Title asks the question if animals have the ability to recognize potential when they see it. I say yes, at many different levels. Check out the cuttlefish.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1150618835

[ Edited: 05 April 2013 04:28 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 April 2013 11:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 539 ]
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Write4U - 05 April 2013 04:09 PM

Why does no one ever bring up the word Potential when discussing the metaphysical concepts of the future..  ,

I think it’s probably because it’s covered by the words possibilities and abilities. Not sure?

Stephen

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Posted: 05 April 2013 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 540 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 April 2013 11:02 PM
Write4U - 05 April 2013 04:09 PM

Why does no one ever bring up the word Potential when discussing the metaphysical concepts of the future..  ,

I think it’s probably because it’s covered by the words possibilities and abilities. Not sure?

Stephen

In that case the answer would be that there is nothing to forbid non-humans animals from possessing or exercising FW?

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