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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 08 April 2013 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 586 ]
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Write4U - 07 April 2013 12:13 PM
Lois - 07 April 2013 09:18 AM
Write4U - 07 April 2013 01:49 AM

I disagree,
IMO, free will does not override anything, it selects a possible future compatible with all possible futures and acts toward achieving a specific self-determined goal. All compatible with determinism in general because it does not override cause and effect.

If “free will” goes against other factors, it would have to override them to affect a detemined decision. If your determining factors, most of which you are not aware of, lead you to make a particular decision how can some independent part of you make a different one without overriding those factors? Where does that will come from if it’s separate from your determining factors?  My contention is there is no part of you that can override them. You can only persuade yourself that some independent “you” somehow made the decision independent of all the other factors, no matter how strong they are and no matter how unaware you are of them. Who is this “you” who can separate itself from what went into creating your character and driving your decisions?

I don’t disagree with that. Determinism is a given.  However I still believe that we are able to make choices without breaking determining factors.
IOW, ultimately what I do will be chemically and mathematically determined by the exact circumstances under which I must act, but within that limitation there are non-pertubative choices that can be made.

I think you are contradicting yourself.  If some independent part of your brain can make a decision that is in opposition to what your determining factors decide for you, how can that part of your brain do that without overriding the determining factors?

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Posted: 08 April 2013 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 587 ]
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GdB - 08 April 2013 09:54 AM
StephenLawrence - 08 April 2013 09:34 AM

The first proposition is false.

So even if it was determined you would not know that you were run out of coffee, the sentence “Oh, I could have bought a pack of coffee if I would have known we were run out of it!” is true?

Yes.

There are two logically possible ways it can be true.

1) Determinism is true but if I had bought a pack of coffee it would be false

2) Determinism is true and if I had bought a pack of coffee it would still be true because there would be more ifs.. that would explain how I came to have the knowledge.

In your example I don’t think the counterfactual refers to knowledge simply appearing mysteriously, so I think it fits with 2) rather than 1).

And take another look at this:

So even if it was determined you would not know that you were run out of coffee

By insisting on “all else exactly the same” you are insisting on the possibility of me having the knowledge in circumstances in which I would not have the knowledge.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 April 2013 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 588 ]
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Lois - 08 April 2013 11:22 AM
Write4U - 07 April 2013 12:13 PM
Lois - 07 April 2013 09:18 AM
Write4U - 07 April 2013 01:49 AM

I disagree,
IMO, free will does not override anything, it selects a possible future compatible with all possible futures and acts toward achieving a specific self-determined goal. All compatible with determinism in general because it does not override cause and effect.

If “free will” goes against other factors, it would have to override them to affect a detemined decision. If your determining factors, most of which you are not aware of, lead you to make a particular decision how can some independent part of you make a different one without overriding those factors? Where does that will come from if it’s separate from your determining factors?  My contention is there is no part of you that can override them. You can only persuade yourself that some independent “you” somehow made the decision independent of all the other factors, no matter how strong they are and no matter how unaware you are of them. Who is this “you” who can separate itself from what went into creating your character and driving your decisions?

I don’t disagree with that. Determinism is a given.  However I still believe that we are able to make choices without breaking determining factors.
IOW, ultimately what I do will be chemically and mathematically determined by the exact circumstances under which I must act, but within that limitation there are non-pertubative choices that can be made.

I think you are contradicting yourself.  If some independent part of your brain can make a decision that is in opposition to what your determining factors decide for you, how can that part of your brain do that without overriding the determining factors?

The entire idea of Buddhism is that you can “train” the chemical brain processes. Apparently it is possible to learn to control one’s own chemical responses, which means that, even if they are still chemical (deterministic) processes, it is I (the mind) who controls the mix.

Yes, we override determining factors all the time, we even create them, all the time.  Could we create different determining factors in the future?  Yes.  We do it when we project scenarios, what ifs, and prepare multiple responses.
Building a levee creates a determining factor in the future, a hurricane will hit the town, but the citizens will be dry.

IMO, Determinism is no more than the natural evolution of cause and effect sequences. But determinism does not mean that there is only one possible future.  Determinism (orderly, mathematical chemical and energetic functions) means we can utilize it with self caused determinations to create many different futures on many different planets.
IMO Determinism means only that the universe is able to function in accordance with certain constants (Determinism), it does not forbid the use of determinism to create a self-determined future.

[ Edited: 08 April 2013 05:18 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 08 April 2013 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 589 ]
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“You” can train the chemical part of the brain? Who or what is “you”?

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Posted: 08 April 2013 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 590 ]
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George - 08 April 2013 06:14 PM

“You” can train the chemical part of the brain? Who or what is “you”?

The product of the biochemical activity in the brain is an emergent quality (an emergent potential), sentience. The mind, the self, the observer.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 10:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 591 ]
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Write4U - 08 April 2013 05:05 PM

The entire idea of Buddhism is that you can “train” the chemical brain processes. Apparently it is possible to learn to control one’s own chemical responses, which means that, even if they are still chemical (deterministic) processes, it is I (the mind) who controls the mix.

As you’ve written that here it is BS, Write. People can train anything: tennis, walking, condition, playing an instrument, programming. Buddhism adds to this that you can train in being humane and in seeing the world in a different light than we usually do. All these trainings mean a change in the physical layer of our bodies and brains as well, because all these capabilities are implemented in them. But in no way does that mean that ‘you’ train chemical processes. On the level you exist you do not even experience that you are implemented in a chemical machine. Now you have fallen deeper in the dualist hole than George and VYAZMA ever did.

Write4U, you are defending a form of libertarian free will. Your referring to ‘perturbations’ in deterministic processes, of ‘creating different determining factors’ and many other remarks show that you do not really see the the universe as determined, you keep making exceptions for us.

Lois is very clearly referring to the idea that you, independent of causal processes, can intervene in an otherwise deterministic universe. That is just Lois’ definition of free will. It is wrong and inconsistent, but if you affirm this, then you are clearly a libertarian.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 592 ]
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George - 08 April 2013 06:14 PM

Who or what is “you”?

That is a good question. Who is that “you” that is not free?

Write4U makes the same error as you do if you treat questions of wishes, beliefs, actions and free will on the same level as chemical reactions. The transistors in a chess computer do not play chess. And neurons are not free.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 593 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 April 2013 11:44 AM

Yes.

There are two logically possible ways it can be true.

No, there are three:

Rewrite the sentence as:

If I would have known we were run out of coffee, then I could have bought a pack of coffee.

Which is of the form:
If p then q.

This sentence is true when:
a. p is true and q is true
b. p is not true and q is true
c. p is not true and q is not true

See here.

In our case the sentence is true because of c. Of course by making your statement you claim all cases, also that your sentence is falsified when p is true and q is not true.

But it has nothing to do with the question if p is (metaphysically) possible or not.

The meaning of the sentence is unproblematically clear without any reference to whatever metaphysical system.

[ Edited: 09 April 2013 12:01 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 09 April 2013 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 594 ]
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GdB - 08 April 2013 10:45 PM
StephenLawrence - 08 April 2013 11:44 AM

Yes.

There are two logically possible ways it can be true.

No, there are three:

Your third way is one of the two ways.

If P had been true all else exactly the same it would have been uncaused.

There is a logical consequence of treating ‘all else the same’ as you do, and you are simply ignoring it.

Nothing you write has any bearing on that at all.

Stephen

[ Edited: 09 April 2013 05:36 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 09 April 2013 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 595 ]
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Write4U - 08 April 2013 05:05 PM

IMO, Determinism is no more than the natural evolution of cause and effect sequences. But determinism does not mean that there is only one possible future.

You can, of course, define determinism how you like but you need to understand that compatibilism means free will is compatible with determinism as in one possible future (given the way the world is now).

It’s quite absurd to say you are a compatibilist if you think free will requires more than one physically possible future (given the way the world is now).

I think it would be best if you straighten this out and say you’re a libertarian. Who knows, you might be right.

Edit: A couple of definitions of determinism for you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

Determinism is a metaphysical philosophical position stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

Causal determinism is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature.


Stephen

[ Edited: 09 April 2013 05:27 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 09 April 2013 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 596 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 April 2013 05:08 AM

There is a logical consequence of treating all else the same as you do, and you are simply ignoring it.

Yes. The point is that you do not see that it is perfectly OK to ignore it.

Thinking about the fact that the big bang should have banged differently, or that there is magic going on, or indeterminism would be true, does not have any impact on the formulation and the truth value of counter-factuals. They are true or false completely independent of the factual possibilities that I could somehow prepare the initial conditions or not.

“If I would have known we were run out of coffee, then I could have bought a pack of coffee.” can be true, even if it was impossible for you to know that you were running out of coffee. It would be false when you in fact had no possibility to buy a pack of coffee at all. (Think about the truth table of the material implication!)

“If I would heat water here and now to 100C, then it would start to boil.” is true, even if I have no means here and now to heat up water.

And in this way the sentence “if you would have chosen another option, something else would have happened” also makes perfectly sense and is true in most situations where your choices are involved. It is the expression for saying that we are causal agents.

[ Edited: 09 April 2013 06:32 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 09 April 2013 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 597 ]
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Write4U - 08 April 2013 08:46 PM
George - 08 April 2013 06:14 PM

“You” can train the chemical part of the brain? Who or what is “you”?

The product of the biochemical activity in the brain is an emergent quality (an emergent potential), sentience. The mind, the self, the observer.

And since when does an observer do anything else but to observe?

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Posted: 09 April 2013 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 598 ]
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GdB - 08 April 2013 10:24 PM
Write4U - 08 April 2013 05:05 PM

The entire idea of Buddhism is that you can “train” the chemical brain processes. Apparently it is possible to learn to control one’s own chemical responses, which means that, even if they are still chemical (deterministic) processes, it is I (the mind) who controls the mix.

As you’ve written that here it is BS, Write. People can train anything: tennis, walking, condition, playing an instrument, programming. Buddhism adds to this that you can train in being humane and in seeing the world in a different light than we usually do. All these trainings mean a change in the physical layer of our bodies and brains as well, because all these capabilities are implemented in them. But in no way does that mean that ‘you’ train chemical processes. On the level you exist you do not even experience that you are implemented in a chemical machine. Now you have fallen deeper in the dualist hole than George and VYAZMA ever did.

Write4U, you are defending a form of libertarian free will. Your referring to ‘perturbations’ in deterministic processes, of ‘creating different determining factors’ and many other remarks show that you do not really see the the universe as determined, you keep making exceptions for us.

Lois is very clearly referring to the idea that you, independent of causal processes, can intervene in an otherwise deterministic universe. That is just Lois’ definition of free will. It is wrong and inconsistent, but if you affirm this, then you are clearly a libertarian.

My position is that free will does not exist and we cannot intervene in a determinist universe.  Our decisions are made by our determining factors, over which we have no control and we can’t override them. If you think this is inconsistent, please explain.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 599 ]
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Lois - 09 April 2013 09:15 AM

My position is that free will does not exist and we cannot intervene in a determinist universe.  Our decisions are made by our determining factors, over which we have no control and we can’t override them. If you think this is inconsistent, please explain.

You deny libertarian free will, as you describe: the possibility to ‘intervene in a determinist universe’. This concept is incoherent from the beginning, so you deny in fact nothing. You deny that the existence of square circles, which is not very interesting.

For libertarian free will you must ask on what our choices are based: if they are not caused, how do they arise then? Are they uncaused? And if they are not part of our physical universe, how do they interfere with it, and how does the physical world influence our choices? What are the consequences for such a simple law of nature as the conservation of energy? It seems that libertarian free will must move mental processes to a soul, but there all the problem just repeat.

So I agree with you that libertarian free will does not exist, but we only need to analyse what it means to show that it is an absurd notion. We do not need any research for that.

So you are denying an inconsistent notion. I did not say that your position is inconsistent.

However, that is not the notion I defend. I defend that all that free will means is that there is a causal relationship between my wishes and beliefs on one side, and my actions on the other side. And that this is enough to base our daily use of free will and responsibility on it. So that my wishes are beliefs are caused does not mean we are not free. It only means that we are determined.

In simple terms: free will means being able to do what you want, but not that you can want what you want. You have no control over who you are, but being a causal agent means that your wishes and belief are causes, so these control your actions.

If your thermostat does not control the temperature, then you better throw it away, it is broken…

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Posted: 09 April 2013 06:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 600 ]
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I was typing, then I deleted it all.  I kicked myself for getting sucked back in here.
I typed out a simple defense of George and myself regarding this so-called “dualist hole” that George and I have fallen into. But then I started rambling about how dualism is an illusion…that’s when I realized I was back to square 1. So I ejected.

George-“You” can train the chemical part of the brain? Who or what is “you”?

If I’m not mistaken, here is George refuting another member’s ideas of dualism.

GdB-Now you have fallen deeper in the dualist hole than George and VYAZMA ever did.

I don’t remember falling in any hole?

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