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Proof of nonexistence of free will

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 04:58 pm
@litewave,
"Empirical" reality is not applicable to behavioral contexts. This is captured by analogy with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in which the observer interacts with the observed such that "data" depends on the functionality of the observation. What "free wil" correctly describes is those aspects of social interaction involving "responsibility" etc in so far that such "responsibility" figures in societal decision procedures such as what to do with "deviants".

As far as the application of "traditional logic" is concerned, this too is problematic because 1. as Piaget points out "logic" is a product of cognition and a subset general semantics. and 2. its coherence is based on static set theory rather than the dynamics of interaction. Thus "logic" has no no a priori epistemological status in "explanations" of behaviour.

I'm afraid all this is elementary and tedious to regurgitate. I suggest you acquaint yourself with some basic reading and metaphorically release your dog from my trouser leg.
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 10:19 pm
@litewave,
I'd like to hear from you what would be evidence of free will. It seems you are tailoring your definitnions to meet your argument.

Here is an critical example of error in your reasoning:
Quote:
The knowledge or perception of outcomes of various actions and how they relate to our desires are reasons that influence our choice. Our choice will be determined by the reasons that influence us more strongly than other reasons, those that best fulfill our desires in the given situation.

Our choice is not determined by what we are influenced to do. Influence is but one thing that contributes to the individual's choice.

We are free to do anything and defy all influence/reason/logic/desire and that is where your argument goes flat.

I don't have to have a reason to throw a rock into the ocean.

If we do not have free will then the only driver left is nature itself and the outcome of any event is driven solely by natural forces. You seem uncomfortable with this.

Quote:
[Uncaused events] are events that exhibit quantum uncertainty, for example nuclear decay.

I'll play. So nuclear decay not the product of natural forces? Wouldn't those natural forces be exactly what "causes" nuclear decay?

Wikipedia wrote:
The neutrons and protons that constitute nuclei, as well as other particles that may approach them, are governed by several interactions. The strong nuclear force, not observed at the familiar macroscopic scale, is the most powerful force over subatomic distances. The electrostatic force is almost always significant, and in the case of beta decay, the weak nuclear force is also involved.

The interplay of these forces produces a number of different phenomena in which energy may be released by rearrangement of particles. Some configurations of the particles in a nucleus have the property that, should they shift ever so slightly, the particles could rearrange into a lower-energy arrangement and release some energy. One might draw an analogy with a snowfield on a mountain: while friction between the ice crystals may be supporting the snow's weight, the system is inherently unstable with regard to a state of lower potential energy. A disturbance would thus facilitate the path to a state of greater entropy: the system will move towards the ground state, producing heat, and the total energy will be distributable over a larger number of quantum states. Thus, an avalanche results. The total energy does not change in this process, but because of the law of entropy, avalanches only happen in one direction and that is towards the "ground state" " the state with the largest number of ways in which the available energy could be distributed.

Such a collapse (a decay event) requires a specific activation energy. For a snow avalanche, this energy comes as a disturbance from outside the system, although such disturbances can be arbitrarily small. In the case of an excited atomic nucleus, the arbitrarily small disturbance comes from quantum vacuum fluctuations. A radioactive nucleus (or any excited system in quantum mechanics) is unstable, and can thus spontaneously stabilize to a less-excited system. The resulting transformation alters the structure of the nucleus and results in the emission of either a photon or a high-velocity particle which has mass (such as an electron, alpha particle, or other type).

more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay

Your musings on the notion of an uncaused event are simply incorrect.

T
K
O
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 12:48 am
All of this jockeying about "free will" boils down to a confusion between "description" and "explanation" in different domains. The two merge into each other in the material domain, because the "properties of inanimate objects" are essentially predictions of our future relationships with them, and prediction and its bedfellow "causality" are elements in satisfactory explanation. But when it comes to animate objects "prediction" tends to break down but we are still tempted to strive for "explanation" in the form of covert causality obscured by "complexity". However as Kant suggested, following the philosophical demolition of "causality" by Hume, it may be that such a concept is a psychological predisposition we use as conscious beings. (Kant's term was perceptual a priori) Since the term "free will" is the antithesis of "mechanistic determinism",we have by definition already transcended the bounds of the "materialistic realism" and entered the realm of "social realism" whose "objects/concepts" are not tied to causal explanation.

Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:09 am
@fresco,
I've really enjoyed reading your posts on this fresco. It is good for me to learn some of the academic vernacular on something in which I observe through a much different filter do to my discipline. You've demensionalized this in a way that makes sense and addresses the issue of how common language affects people's outlook on this particular issue.

T
K
O
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:17 am
@Diest TKO,
Thankyou.
0 Replies
 
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 02:47 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
What "free wil" correctly describes is those aspects of social interaction involving "responsibility" etc in so far that such "responsibility" figures in societal decision procedures such as what to do with "deviants".

How do you know that it is not people's belief in free will rather than free will itself that correctly describes those aspects of social interaction?
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 03:12 pm
@Diest TKO,
Quote:
I'd like to hear from you what would be evidence of free will. It seems you are tailoring your definitnions to meet your argument.

That's like asking me what would be evidence that 0=1. Free will is a logical nonsense.

Quote:
Our choice is not determined by what we are influenced to do. Influence is but one thing that contributes to the individual's choice.

Yes, influence is a partial cause. Partial causes contribute to our action, and if there is no element of acausality then they determine the action.

Quote:
We are free to do anything and defy all influence/reason/logic/desire and that is where your argument goes flat.

Then you do it unwittingly. Which is not free will.

Quote:
If we do not have free will then the only driver left is nature itself and the outcome of any event is driven solely by natural forces. You seem uncomfortable with this.

Why, humans are part of nature. However, nature is indeterminate.

Quote:
I'll play. So nuclear decay not the product of natural forces? Wouldn't those natural forces be exactly what "causes" nuclear decay?

Nuclear forces contribute to the decay but there is an element of randomness in the decay that is not explainable by the forces. This is the element of acausality. You may imagine that the randomness has a cause but this cause would be irrelevant and superfluous because the randomness will be the same without a cause anyway.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 05:35 pm
@litewave,
Forget about the layman's terms "belief" and "reality"! The "naive realism" to which those words refer involves the idea that there are "things in themselves". Contrary to that simplistic idea, Thomas Khun's celebrated "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", reinforces the view that things/concepts are better understood as interconnected nodes of communicative significance within epistemological networks rather than separate ontological entities in their own right. For example "an electron" has "existence" by virtue of its relational connections with all aspects of chemical, atomic, and electromagentic theory. Thus entities exist by virtue of their utility, within sub-domains of social interaction called "paradigms".

So once again, ( hopefully for the last time), within the paradigm of social dynamics the term "free will" has existence by virtue of its interconnections with other terms like "responsibility" , "liberty", "morality" etc. By challenging the utility of one component you challenge the whole paradigm.


Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 06:48 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

Quote:
I'd like to hear from you what would be evidence of free will. It seems you are tailoring your definitnions to meet your argument.

That's like asking me what would be evidence that 0=1. Free will is a logical nonsense.

That's your assertion. You've built your argument around the idea that it is logical nonsense, not actually established this.

litewave wrote:

Quote:
We are free to do anything and defy all influence/reason/logic/desire and that is where your argument goes flat.

Then you do it unwittingly. Which is not free will.

I can throw a rock in the ocean for ANY or NO reason. I can throw a rock in the ocean because I simply choose to. If I perceive the potential outcome of an action, I have free will.

T
K
O
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 07:02 pm
@Diest TKO,
If given the exact same conditions, humans must take the exact same actions, then there is no free will. If given the exact same conditions, humans can take a variety of actions, then that is the definition of free will. Clearly the later is the case.
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 01:11 am
@fresco,
Quote:
So once again, ( hopefully for the last time), within the paradigm of social dynamics the term "free will" has existence by virtue of its interconnections with other terms like "responsibility" , "liberty", "morality" etc. By challenging the utility of one component you challenge the whole paradigm.

Beliefs have interconnections with other social terms too, so they exist too, but the things that are believed don't necessarily exist. If someone believes that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus that doesn't mean that she was a virgin.
0 Replies
 
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 01:13 am
@Diest TKO,
Quote:
If I perceive the potential outcome of an action, I have free will.

No, you have a reason, not free will.
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 01:17 am
@engineer,
Quote:
If given the exact same conditions, humans must take the exact same actions, then there is no free will. If given the exact same conditions, humans can take a variety of actions, then that is the definition of free will. Clearly the later is the case.

How is that clear? Did you ever see the exact same conditions repeated?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 01:26 am
@engineer,
Engineer,

I'm afraid that argument is problematic because "exact same conditions" only apply to scientific "control" of closed systems. Behaviour of humans is not such a system because it involves accessible "internal states". Furthermore "sameness" is philosophically extended as "sameness with respect to what purpose". This is because any two entities must always be both similar and different. (Trivially thay are "similar" because they are being compared and "different" because there two of them).

0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 01:55 am
engineer,
Sorry, that should have read ".....inaccessible internal states...." .

litewave,

I call myself "an atheist" because my concept of "self" has a negative relationship with "God" concepts. It is futile to talk about existence of "things -in-themselves", or "beliefs" execept within particular social contexts where they have particular functional significance. (Read the social reality thread).

Your problem in understanding this seems to be that you have a vested interest in maintaining a concept of "yourself" within an "external reality".
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 03:20 am
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

Quote:
If I perceive the potential outcome of an action, I have free will.

No, you have a reason, not free will.

Again, says you.

You won't define what would be considered free will, and yet when given examples of free will, you refer to it as a reason.

It is as if you declare you don't believe in dessert, but when given the example of ice-cream, you say "no, that's a snack."

It's been fun, but I don't see anything to be gained by doing laps around the semantic track you've created to perpetuate your opinion.

T
K
O
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 02:36 pm
I've always considered the question of the ontological status of free will to be a false problem. But if the notable Fresco is willing to consider it an issue I'm willing to follow this discussion.
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 02:54 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
I call myself "an atheist" because my concept of "self" has a negative relationship with "God" concepts. It is futile to talk about existence of "things -in-themselves", or "beliefs" execept within particular social contexts where they have particular functional significance. (Read the social reality thread).

You call yourself an atheist but you don't seem to have anything to say about whether Mary conceived Jesus as a virgin. What about Jesus' resurrection? It seems to make sense in social contexts because many people pray to him, worship him, kill for him and are convinced that they will have eternal life too. Jesus' resurrection makes sense just like free will. According to you free will exists because it makes sense in social contexts. So I suppose that Jesus rose from the dead too, by your reasoning.
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 02:58 pm
@Diest TKO,
Quote:
You won't define what would be considered free will, and yet when given examples of free will, you refer to it as a reason.

If it was not clear from my OP, free will is an ability to act without being compelled and to be in control of your action.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 03:01 pm
@JLNobody,
JLN ! Nice to see you.

I don't think there's much mileage left in this issue. I've not introduced the notion of a transient "self" to add to "the futility" because the issue can be tackled without specific reference to "non-dualism".

(Interesting paintings BTW . My sister has a similar style)
0 Replies
 
 

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