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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 05 February 2014 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 796 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 February 2014 08:57 AM

Excellent. So can you give some examples where humans don’t act “intentionally”?

I’ve sugared my tea unintentionally.

Have you ever acted against your intentions?  I know I haven’t.

By mistake Yes. Playing the wrong note on a musical instrument would be an example

Whatever that person did, it was their intention.

No calculation, no intention, so whenever I’m not aware of a calculation perhaps it’s unintentional by the definition I’m using.

If you can’t answer yes, then your whole “squirrel” thing is out the window.

I can’t see why it makes any difference.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 797 ]
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GdB - 02 November 2012 11:10 AM
TimB - 01 November 2012 01:56 PM

Don’t count out the 2 envelopes problem, as a thread that may never end.

Hey, I am just waiting till kkwan gives up his resistance!

Voila! I am rational, you are wrong, he is obstinate?

From http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hot-thought/201305/irregular-emotions

The great British philosopher Bertrand Russell devised a word game he called “irregular verbs” with examples like: I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pigheaded fool. These constructions provide excellent illustrations of the varying emotional associations of words. Here are some contemporary examples. If you like, substitute “she” for “he”, but the third person example is always emotionally negative, so nothing is gained by shifting the gender.

On rationality. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationality

Rationality is the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings. An action, belief, or desire is rational if we ought to choose it. Rationality is a normative concept that refers to the conformity of one’s beliefs with one’s reasons to believe, or of one’s actions with one’s reasons for action.

Determining what is rational behavior:

Determining optimality for rational behavior requires a quantifiable formulation of the problem, and making several key assumptions. When the goal or problem involves making a decision, rationality factors in how much information is available (e.g. complete or incomplete knowledge).

Bold added by me.

The relativity of rationality:

Illustrating the relativity of rationality: if one accepts a model in which benefitting oneself is optimal, then rationality is equated with behavior that is self-interested to the point of being selfish; whereas if one accepts a model in which benefiting the group is optimal, then purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational. It is thus meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated.

BTW, the 2 envelopes problem thread has ended. R.I.P.

LOL

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Posted: 05 February 2014 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 798 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 February 2014 12:31 PM

I’ve sugared my tea unintentionally.

 

No Steve. No.  You sugared your tea with intention. That’s what you wanted to do.
That’s why you sugared it in the first place. That’s how sugar ended up in the cup.

“Oh drat!  I’ve sugared my tea!”...(unintentionally)
If you didn’t want sugar in your tea, then why did you do it?

Either you sugared your tea with intention, or an invisible hand was holding your arm
and forcing you to do it while you cringed and protested.

What happened was you made some environmental or memory mistake. You were used to formerly taking tea with sugar
and you put sugar in your tea from habit. Or you were sugaring a bunch of teas and put sugar in your cup.
Whatever the case, you put sugar in the cup you had- with intention.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 799 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 February 2014 07:30 PM
StephenLawrence - 05 February 2014 12:31 PM

I’ve sugared my tea unintentionally.

 

No Steve. No.  You sugared your tea with intention.

He somnambulates and respirates intentionally, too.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 800 ]
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Let’s take Stephen’s squirrel. On the end of a branch on a tree is an acorn. He walks to the acorn but then shortly before he reaches it, the branch breaks and the squirrel drops down dead (sorry Stephen).

VYAZMA: of the two events, walking to the acorn, and dropping down dead, which one was intentional?

Now let’s assume (I don’t know if this is the case but for the sake of the argument) collecting acorns for winter is an instinct: the squirrel has no idea why he is doing it. Then this would not count as an intentional action. But do you want to say that the squirrel’s walking to the acorn is not an intentional action?

Compare it with a second squirrel: he too sees the acorn, walks to it, but then notices that the branch is making untrustworthy noises. He turns around, then walks to another stronger branch that happens to come close to the same acorn, walks up this branch and takes the acorn. Wasn’t it the intention of both squirrels to get the acorn? Is it not just a valid description of the acorns that they want to get the acorn? And that the first one had the belief that the branch would be strong enough, where the second one had the belief that the branch would break? Is it wrong to say that the first sqirrel could have done otherwise? In the end, there was another possibility to get the acorn, as the second one realised.

VYAZMA: what you do not understand is that explaining the behaviour of squirrels and humans in terms of the simpler elements from which they are build up does not explain them away. The only fact that counts is that the description in terms of intentions, beliefs and wishes is valid. If you explain lightning as ‘just an electrical discharge’ did you then prove that lightning does not exist, or that describing it as ‘lightning’ is invalid? It just means that some other explanations are wrong (e.g. that it is Thor). So explaining the behaviour of us and animals and us in terms of intentions, beliefs and wishes is not wrong: it is just that some other things we associate with actions are wrong: e.g. that we are moved by a soul, are uncaused causes, or that necessarily randomness would be involved to explain ‘could have done otherwise’.

And yes, of course, because, for all practical purposes, the world is determined, and so are the beliefs, wishes and intentions of the squirrels and of us. But having an explanation does not invalidate the higher level description.

But I assume you are determined to ignore my arguments… Do you think that is because you do not like my arguments, or because your neurons just happen to be determined to result in this ignoring?

[ Edited: 05 February 2014 10:21 PM by GdB ]
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Posted: 05 February 2014 11:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 801 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 February 2014 07:30 PM
StephenLawrence - 05 February 2014 12:31 PM

I’ve sugared my tea unintentionally.

 

No Steve. No.  You sugared your tea with intention. That’s what you wanted to do.
That’s why you sugared it in the first place. That’s how sugar ended up in the cup.

“Oh drat!  I’ve sugared my tea!”...(unintentionally)
If you didn’t want sugar in your tea, then why did you do it?

I was chatting and did it automatically. I didn’t want sugar, I haven’t taken sugar in my tea for years and now I prefer it without.

In any case work with my definition. I’m talking about actions based on calculations regarding the future. Behaviour can be selected for because of the consequences of the behaviour, like storing food. But this can also be developed further and people can store food because they’ve calculated the consequences. That’s the difference I’m talking about.

What happened was you made some environmental or memory mistake. You were used to formerly taking tea with sugar
and you put sugar in your tea from habit. Or you were sugaring a bunch of teas and put sugar in your cup.
Whatever the case, you put sugar in the cup you had- with intention.

Can’t see why, or what the point is.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 802 ]
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Read back my last post and see if you can understand my point.
I illustrated the redundancy of the concept of “intentional”.
Yes there’s a word which describes what we perceive as “unintentionally”(as in Steve’s example with tea and sugar..)

He can claim that he didn’t intend to put sugar in the tea.  Then how did the tea get there?

Ironically Bryan’s attempt(in the subsequent post) to harry me was actually an illustration of what I was saying.
Bryan’s reply illustrates the fact that we act on conscious or subconscious recall. In this case memory.

Steve could say that he intended not to put sugar in his tea.  What happened to his intentions there?
Why did he put sugar in his tea? Memory lapse? Out of habit?
Why would he not put sugar in his tea? He remembers liking it that way? Out of habit?

In both instances you can say “He wants to have his tea without sugar”
or- “He doesn’t want sugar in his tea.”
How is his wanting tea without sugar different from the way he ended up putting sugar in his tea?
Where does a want originate from?  Where does a mistake(a not want) originate from?

Sure we all discussed the reasons why we use the term “intentional”. Language.

How else would Steve express himself when he took a sip of his tea and winced? “Ughh, I unintentionally put sugar in my tea!”
What does any of this have to do with a topic about Free-will in animals? It’s language.

One can’t make the argument for special circumstances in determinism by pointing out intentions.
There are no “unintentions”. Just like I said.  There are only intentions.
Sometimes our “intentions” are not met. Environment, ability, memory lapse, errors etc etc..

Are you guys just discussing the use of the term “intention” as it is used in language?
Or laws or social gatherings?  We discussed all that already.
Let’s talk about how consciousness works and how the brain works in regards to determinism.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 803 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 February 2014 11:40 PM

Let’s talk about how consciousness works and how the brain works in regards to determinism.

There is no discussion. The brain is a determined system, and so is consciousness. We agree on that.

But the evolutionary advantage, following George’s suggestion that consciousness is a by-product of reasoning, is that with consciousness we can evaluate possible actions, i.e. anticipate the future. Do you deny this? If you do, how do you explain that in evolution the capability of reasoning was selected for? How can that be if reasoning is not causally effective?

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Posted: 05 February 2014 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 804 ]
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Vyazma,

There are consequences in general and there are consequences in particular which occur because we’ve worked them out and acted in order to bring them about.

You are simply ignoring this for some reason.

http://www.chess.com/echess/game?id=83988526

You can see from this game since I told you what future I was trying to get to.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 805 ]
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GdB - 05 February 2014 11:51 PM
VYAZMA - 05 February 2014 11:40 PM

Let’s talk about how consciousness works and how the brain works in regards to determinism.

There is no discussion. The brain is a determined system, and so is consciousness. We agree on that.

But the evolutionary advantage, following George’s suggestion that consciousness is a by-product of reasoning, is that with consciousness we can evaluate possible actions, i.e. anticipate the future. Do you deny this? If you do, how do you explain that in evolution the capability of reasoning was selected for? How can that be if reasoning is not causally effective?

Because I don’t follow George’s suggestion.
Consciousness is a “by-product”(?) of memory and sensory input coupled with autonomous
bodily reactions such as hormones that all works together in a framework of evolutionary “instincts”.

We only perceive ourselves as reasoning. And in the past too. Because by the time a thought occurs, it’s in the past. It’s a memory too.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 806 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 12:00 AM

Consciousness is a “by-product”(?) of memory and sensory input coupled with autonomous
bodily reactions such as hormones that all works together in a framework of evolutionary “instincts”.

The only thing you do is putting in an explanatory level between molecular processes and reasoning. If your ‘memory and sensory input coupled with autonomous bodily reactions such as hormones that all works together in a framework of evolutionary “instincts”’ would not result in reasoning about future possibilities, it would not be evolutionary advantageous.

[ Edited: 06 February 2014 12:57 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 06 February 2014 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 807 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 12:00 AM

We only perceive ourselves as reasoning. And in the past too. Because by the time a thought occurs, it’s in the past. It’s a memory too.

So what?

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Posted: 06 February 2014 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 808 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 12:07 AM
VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 12:00 AM

Consciousness is a “by-product”(?) of memory and sensory input coupled with autonomous
bodily reactions such as hormones that all works together in a framework of evolutionary “instincts”.

The only thing you do is putting in an explanatory level between molecular processes and reasoning. If your ‘memory and sensory input coupled with autonomous bodily reactions such as hormones that all works together in a framework of evolutionary “instincts”’ would not result in reasoning about future possibilities, it would not be evolutionary advantageous.

Evolutionary processes do not “look at future possibilities”. They just adapt to the present in a very slow process.
DNA didn’t say..“Oh boy I’d like to start walking on that land over there, I think I’ll start evolving feet.”
Rather the water level,in one instance perhaps, got more and more shallow over time. Or a fish kept trying to get at food that was in shallower waters or near the edge of the water. It used it’s fins to wriggle to the food.  And in time the fish with the longer, stronger fins kept getting selected.
Also we don’t reason/DNA ourselves into the future. Our “reasoning’s” don’t affect how we evolve. Not on a day by day basis or over time.
Food, sex and shelter are the only “reasonings” we have to evolve.  And those are all instinctual responses. Automatic.

In fact food and shelter could even be bundled into the sex drive.  Some scientists have postulated that even Stephen’s chess games are
an abstraction, and extension of sexual behavior. I tend to believe this myself.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 01:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 809 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 01:26 AM

Evolutionary processes do not “look at future possibilities”.

I did not say that. Certain organisms look at future possibilities, not evolution. And the capability to do that was selected for by the blind process of evolution.

You completely missed the point.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 02:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 810 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 01:47 AM
VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 01:26 AM

Evolutionary processes do not “look at future possibilities”.

I did not say that. Certain organisms look at future possibilities, not evolution. And the capability to do that was selected for by the blind process of evolution.

You completely missed the point.

Ok.  We look at future possibilities.  What does that mean? 
We anticipate things? Yes.
What does looking at future possibilities mean?
Does that mean looking in the newspaper and seeing an employment position that is opening up in 2 weeks?
Explain what it means to look at “future possibilities”. Please.

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