Is free-will an illusion?

Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2016 02:09 pm
If it is an illusion, why did you ask the question? Because you had to? Then you can't expect a real answer just a reflex.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 04:27 pm

A atribute to the discussion of Free will and Consciousness

In the last decennia there is a discussion going on on Free Will, Consiousness and Determinisme and in the end Responsibillity and Moral behavoir.
Especially Antonio Damasio (Feeling of what happen and The Error of Descartes) and Daniel Wegner ( The illusion of Conscious Will) did research on this subject. Earlier Bernard Baars, Daniel Denett and nower days Suzanne Blackmore, Roger Penrose and others make statements about this subject.
In 1980 Kees Ruys and Peter den Hollander wrote a paper called: Verondersteld Bestaan (Presumed Existence). In this paper they show how to look at the existence in the whole. They subtitled it as “bezinning op de menselijke aansprakelijkheid” (reflection on the human responsibility.)
Its this paper that is used as a basis for the comment on what Antonio Damasio, Daniel Wegner and others say about Free Will en Consciousness.

Knowing (beware off)
First we have to define what we are talking about. We can divide the meaning of consciousness in three different meanings: knowing, knowing to know, and controlled by the known.
Consciousness in the meaning of knowing is the basis of our existents. We know a lot. We know how to handle in certain circumstances. (In controlled by the known we will talk about the feeling of the control, here we let out the nuance of controlling)
In several experiments different scientists have shown that we are agents that know, that we handle conform what we know and in that order proofed we are agents that know. We consider that as evident proof, which we will not discuss.
So we recognise human beings as agents that know. In this paper we will address this meaning for conscious as The Known. The theory of Bernard Baars i.e about the Working Memory and the Global Workingspace, is about how we use knowing in our daily acts. In this theory he claims that in our brains exist a kind of workspace which interferes with the systems that handles. Based on contexts and concepts we human-beings handle according a hierarchy competition based on information. The contents off these context and concepts is what we know about our ‘world’ internally and externally, including about our ‘self’[1] [2]

Knowing off the known (consciousness)
In the same way as written by Knowing, scientists of all kinds has shown that we are agents, not only as Knowners but also as Knowners off the Known. We are agents that know what we know, and we know that because we can witness about the things we know. We can tell others about our behaviour, about our thoughts before and after we act. Antonio Damasio as put a lot off effort to show how this knowing off the known works in our minds. He showed this especially with people who had brain damage, he showed that there are area’s in the brain that highlights when the agents makes a appeal on that special ability: knowing the known. He showed with a patient that only could wink with the eyelid that this person although completely paralysed could by winking with its eyelid, answering questions about his consciousness, about how he felt. Damasio had shown that all of our acts not only passed the cerebral cortex so that could be the place where the Knowing of the known is settled. The nerves that serve the eyelid is located at the other side of that cortex, so the paralysing didn’t effect the eye winking. Therefore patient could communicate with the eyelid about his existents.[3] This Knowing off the Known we will call consciousness.

Controlled by the known (Will)
This ability of humans is the centre off the discussion. It has to do with the feeling of free will, is has to do if we are agents with a determinated state of mind, or do we have a free will indeed. It also has to do with responsibility for our acts. It is the philosophy on which our societies are build. We will show that this controlling doesn’t exist. Almost all of the above mentioned scientists puzzle with this item. Especially the ‘older’ ones. Bernard Baars introduces ‘voluntaries’ actions, without explained how this voluntarily occurs. Antonio Damasio accept that consciousness isn’t in controll , but he doesn’t talk about the consequences. Susanne Blackmore will start all over again and ignores all what is written about this subject. Saul Smylanski, gives a suggestion to solve this problem: he suggest first not to talk about the problem of free will and determinisme because is it unsolveble and as second solution he suggest to accepte free will as an illusion, so that we can go on on the discussion.

Now about what we know.

In Assumed Existende , Ruys and Den Hollander say about reality: it only exists because we humans can witness about it. So, to speak off a reality you need two actors: the one that witness the reality and the reality itself. One can’t exist without the other. If there is no witness to speak about reality, speaking about realities isn’t possible and the same occurs when there is no reality; if there is non, one can’t speak of it.

Ruys and Den Hollander splited reality in to two devices: the material and the immaterial.
Both of them are members of the same reality. The immaterial reality is the conformation an-sich of the material reality, it gives sense, it gives meaning to the subject .
There are tree ways reality shows itself to the subject:
1. By a sensory projection
direct when the sense organs, see, feel, hear, smell, it
indirect when the subject think of it
2. As the reality has a meaning for subjects (self)assimilation[4]
3. As a word[5] that describes the reality[6].

All we know we know on this way. There is no immaterial reality that exists outside the subject, all immaterial realities is based on material realities. Love only can experienced when there is somebody to be loved. Sadness exists because there is a cause that causes this sadness and that cause is always material-depended. As Madonna sings: we live in a material world. [7]

A material thing exist when it takes a place in space and in time. There were a thing is taking space and time, an other thing can’t take the same place at the same time.
Experiencing a thing can only happen if that thing is distinguished from his environment. If every thing is black, we will not see, we will not know there are other colours, we will not know about our ability to distinguish colours. [8]

All our knowledge is about this material world.

How we learn about this material word?
Humans has the ability to (self)confirmation. This gives him to experience his world. Without this ability, he would not experience at all, he would not experience a self neither a world he lives in, where the self[9] is indissolublely attached to.
This (self)confirmation is the will, a will that powers him to do the things he need to do to get this (self)confirmation. So the will leads us thru all the realities to find the things that will full fill this (self)confirmation. All we do is related to this search.

The (self)confirmation can go on the positive way and on the negative way:
The (self)confirmation can only be experienced when the confirmation is in opposite of the position the subject is at that time. If the subject is happy, he will get his (self)confirmation, when something unhappy appears and the other way around, if subject is unhappy his (self)confirmation will happen when something happy will appear.[10]
Because the subject will try to be happy, he will learn from the disappointments. He will store those experiences and will make an appeal to them when a (new) disappointed matter occurs.
It is in this sence where the theory for Baars fits in. In the Working Memory are those things stored that the agents needs to feel happy, while the Global Workingspace allows only these contexts and concepts to get consciousness and to action that will make the agents on the short term happy.[11]

In this sence we can discuss about The Free Will.
Free Will is a relative notion. Since we live with a body absolutely free will can’t exist. We always will have to concern about that body. The body ask for feeding, for nursing, for rest, for sex.. So Free Will concentrate around the choices we make to fulfill those needs. As said by the definition of Reality: something exist when there is a subject that can confirm the existence of that reality..[12]
So in that way the Free Will exist: people experience the Free Will.
We can however leave out the word Free, because, as mentioned before, the freedom is relative. Poeple experience a Will, experience choises they make – how it works you can see what we wrote about the (self)confirmation- . Now we have eliminated the freedom of will, are we now determinated agents? Yes and no, Yes because we will all gonna die, so in that way determination isn’t relative and the Terror Management theory as shown that we handle in fear of dead. No, because we as agents choose our way outoff the many contexts and concepts to get the most happy feeling for that moment.
But we experience our will and determination just the other way around: we experience will as a freedom an determination as a phenomena that can be cheated.

How come?
In Verondersteld Bestaan Ruys en Den Hollander show that the drive for living is the search for (self)confirmation, this drive makes us blind for the insurmountable end of live. It isn’t surprising we are blind for this truth: because if we realise that is all end with dead, why should we put any effort in any thing, when it’s all so meaningless.

How does this search for the grail: (self)confirmation, looks like?
In all of the social research in way people handle like they do, always there appears the word: attention, attention for you self, attention for your family, attention for you surroundings, for you environment. People search is very different ways to satisfy this need for attention[13].
They even look for it in negative way, by criminal actions. Almost every, perhaps every criminal has a background with social concerns, with social evidents that explains his behaviour: mostly there is a social neglecting in times of the childhood.
It’s here we plead for a coalesce from the brain science and the social science. It wouldn’t be surprising if some behaviour will give some brain reaction, if our theory is correct, then there will be a brain reaction when human’s (self)confirmation is satisfied, even if this is gained by a negative act.

How is this al linked to the Consciousness: controlled by the known?
We have to disappoint you: we aren’t controlled by the known, we aren’t controlling agents. And we are not the only once. It’s almost common sense in the brain science that we aren’t controlled by a self, a I, a soul or what ever name you will give it.
It’s a matter of timing to show you that Consciousness can’t be a controller. Ask yourself at what moment you can by consciousness about a thing that had happen: precisely...you can only be aware of something that has happen, after it has happen. There is no way there can be a reversed way. Even people who say they can see in the future, can only be aware of the fact that they see something is going to happen, but they can’t interfere in the act, because it still has to happen before he can say he predicted it. As you will understand: if the predicted act didn’t happen, the future teller was wrong about his prediction.

As talked about it by searching for the grail: people act because they search for there (self)confirmation. That’s our conductor, it determine our actions, it’s the one that makes the choices out of all the (former) experiences, to do the right thing. He can make the choices Iucceed on the long term: will I go for a new job, or will I stay longer at this old one and get my satisfaction on the long term, or do I seduce this woman at this moment to get my satisfaction right now.

How about our responsibility.
Saul.Smilansky.from Telaviv wrote about this subject the following:
The Compatibility Question might be answered in a Yes-and-No fashion, for there is no conceptual reason why it should not be the case that certain forms of moral responsibility require libertarian free will, while other forms could be sustained without it. There is nothing to prevent incompatibilists and compatibilists from insisting that real moral responsibility does, or does not, require libertarian free will, but their case must be made in ethical terms, and it may well turn out that there is no single or exhaustive notion of moral responsibility.
He is finding the solution of the compatibilists and hard determinists in two proposals: one he suggested that we live with both explanations, compatibilists and hard determinists, live together not in a opposite way, but as ways humans experience them, as we talked about it in Reality: when people feel the existence its exists.
The second proposal of both Saul Smilansky and Daniel Wegner saying that it is all an illusions, stands in our point of view to far away from the way people experience consciousness.
The Frimisme is leaning at the compatibility view. Althought we say that the drive is to be find in the ability of (self)confirmation. This ability, as wrote above, is also a need. In this term you can say that the Frimisme is also a determinism because it says that people behave to fulfill this need. Still we recognize a free will, because we experience choices, we experience that we make a choice, we can witness that choice both before the act takes place and after the act takes place.
It is because of this testifying the act we can hold responsible. Because we acted in a Presumed Existence.
Our Feelings of remorse are inherently tied to the person's self-perception as a morally responsible agent as Saul Smilansky say it . It’s a ability that gives others the ‘right’ to hold one responsible for his act. It’s that ability that’s responsible for the moral of the human race. We feel truly responsible after action and we are, because, the self, the agent, the I etc etc, did do the action: no one else.
This compunction we have, exists because of the other ability humans have: knowing what anaother humanbeing can feel. Because of the ability to witness our thoughts, we can be aware of what people feel, of the mental state people are in. It’s this ability that must prevent we harm people. But here is the will for the (self)confirmation stronger then the moral culture: the personal will, will lead the agents true its act. It’s his will that makes the choises that are stored in the memory. This storage, always is links with the meaning of the event that’s stored. It’s this meaning that makes if the appeal of the event will lead to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour.

Dispate of this all, how come we experiences a free will while it doesn’t exists.
Talking with ordinary people they will say: when I have an appointment and I’m there in time, I’m there because I want to, because I have a free will. That’s what they experience they are at a time in a place where they wanted to be at that time at that place, while as written above it is nothing more that that they realise they are in a time space they wanted to be, there was no consciousness decision taken. Still they experience such. The answer for that dilemma is: the decision has taken place in the unconsciousness area and recognised while folding out. So the agent recognised the unconsciousness making decision to go at that time to that place and has the feeling the decision has been made in full consciousness.

Absolute Free Will
Last but nog least, the brains are to consider an unwilling organ, like our hart and other organs, they do there jobs without any ‘conscious stirring', one can’t starting them off or turning them off. The brains does there job based on the information they has collected during their lifetime, they make choices and decisions, without any interfering or what so ever. They balance the pro's and contra's in no time, and if the decision was wrong it was because there was a of lack information.
One could say there is a absolute freedom with the frame off the brains, like my arm is an arm because it functions within his armframe, would it go out off its frame and behave like a leg it becomes a leg. The same way the brains functions in absolute freedom within the frame of being brains.
Peter den Hollander
2 january 2007

[1] These contents had is not been discussed in the book, it’s what we completed.
[2] Baars claims in his theory that in our brains there’s a competition between acts to get consciousness and even to get to an action. It would be intressting to find out wich of the acts wins the competion and why it wins.
[3] In this paper I will not go into the question whether the patient was happy. In The Feeling of What Happens Damasio put a mark at this point. In short: this patient didn’t had any other feeling than the feeling that present in his body. He didn’t had any reference, so he was happy
[4](self)assimilation means: the assimilation of the subject, of the agent with his surroundings, i.c. his mental existence in his environment
[5] Words meaning as a way to communicate: figures and other signs can figure as words, as long as this communication is able to show the inner of the subject.
[6] We say here that there is no consciousness if there is not the possibility to communicate.
[7] Even the non-qualitative conscious events like beliefs, intentions, and expectations are material realated: see the Frimistische Essential Needs Theory, it shows that those ‘desires’ are in serve of the need for (self)confirmation. Even ideas like democracy, and the likes are about objects: with democracy its how to organize society and what this way of organizing means for the subjects (self)assimilation.

[8] It’s this same distinguisd that plays a role in how to get consciousness about the world. One can only be consciousness of something, when the same thing is distinguised from his environment
[9] The self here to read as the consciousness related to the Knower who Knows.
[10] See 8
[11] Here is the need to say that it for the short term, because most of our actions are for the short term. Actions for the long term always need a aproval of the short term action.
[12]How about hallucinations, dreams and the voices heard by people who suffer of schizophrenia? Those phenomena exist as much as a world in Tin Tin exist. Is a world created by he brain: it exist because a hardware reality has created it. It’s a projection by the hardware reality.
[13]We leave aside of this discussion the need for sexual satisfaction. It could be that that is the source of the attention search, but we think it’s the other way around. In our few this is a chicken and egg discussion.
Reply Wed 20 Jul, 2016 10:25 am
There are 3 levels of knowing in your discussion, from most certain and immediate to lesser so:

1) Your knowledge of your own being
2) First Principles, what you can't help not thinking
3) science (loosely thought, as there is no monolithic science)

So, if you want me to discard my immediate knowledge of my freedom (1) for derived knowledge (3) then I ask, Upon what basis is that assured knowledge if I am wrong about my own being?

0 Replies
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:48 am
If you felt that way you would HAVE TO feel that way, which means it is dogbutt stupid to argue for it. You can't help it, right?
0 Replies

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
DOES NOTHING EXIST??? - Question by mark noble
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
Copyright © 2017 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 01/21/2017 at 11:26:22