Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 09:53 pm
Hello, I'm new to this forum and I thought I'd start off with something original, which I hope someone will find interesting. The following is just one of a group of interrelated essays/misc. ramblings that I've been working on for a while. If I get any responses, I'll post some more of them.

Any response will be greatly appreciated; excepting one good friend of mine, who is now at another school, you will be the first people to read any of this.

Thanks,
Rick


The Primal Phenomena, Change, Evolution


"Nothing can be other than it is." That will henceforth be the fundamental doctrine for our explanation of the passage of events in the phenomenal world. Darwinian theory, though all but certainly true, is nothing but an elaboration of a limited part of this idea. The problem with evolutionarily theory is not in the theory itself, but in its common interpretation, which seems, to me at least, to insert the idea of chance. There is no such thing as chance, which implies that multiple possibilities exist. Though I wholeheartedly deny the notion that science explains anything, even within the domain where it has meaning, that of description, there is no room for chance, luck or potential. To believe that there is some circumstance which may follow another, other than that which we observe following, is pure speculation and mysticism. Possibility is nothing but a means by which we express our uncertainty; where observation has yet to yield the cause of some phenomena or its effects, we posit our uncertainty as a fact of that phenomena, rather than as a function of our own activities. Of course, there is no cause and effect; by these I mean precedent and subsequent phenomena. To understand the working of the world is nothing but to be aware of all the attendant phenomena of some selected phenomena. Incidentally, there are an infinite number of phenomena and therefore an infinite number of attendant phenomena for each of those; this is so because the idea itself implies separation of the phenomena from its attendant phenomena and there are any number of such divisions of the world that may be made in any way. In other words, the world can be divided into any arbitrarily devised number of objects, things, situations, circumstances, phenomena, etc.

To say that a species prospered for some period of time because it was a better competitor than its peers is to say this; an organism that is not arranged in such a way as to linger in the form it has, will not have that form! Does that not sound inane? Consider the analogies of the material world. For example, our good scientists have created synthetic elements that are able to exist for mere fractions of a second before their essential instability reduces them to some component parts. "Why did the bacteria evolve so as to have a protoplasmic membrane around itself?" Because otherwise, it would not exist at all; it would not be that enclosed entity which we call bacteria! Of course, these definitions, the boundaries that we impose on the world when saying of some particular segment of the world, "this is a bacterium and not something else," are quite arbitrary. Any number of contrary propositions could be stated, which could claim equal validity. In other words, if one were to except the validity of any one such statement, one must also, by logical necessity, except the validity of all the others and, therefore, the falsehood of them all!

The view I espouse is not radically different form the traditional, scientific, Darwinian one, except in that it lacks any spectral, arbitrary implications beyond itself. Rather than viewing the triumph of one species over another as a act of chance, which could easily have been inverted, one must hold that the world unfolds itself in the only manner in which it can unfold itself. Every aspect of reality is inherent to reality; there can be nothing more, nor less. Speaking in the language of psychology, I suspect that the invention of the idea of chance is associated with the idea of free will, both of which mankind has developed in order to place an eternal, if ever so thin and fragile, barrier between himself and nature, as he imagines them to diverge. To believe that the development of human kind is a rarity, some precious accident, is but a means by which a self-conscious species exalts itself.
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iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 10:41 pm
@BrightNoon,
Brightnoon,

I like your essay and think we must have run many of the same thought expeiments - like rolling a boulder down a hill, in theory determinate, but with so many variables it's only theoretically possible to know where it will land. The thing is, when you run into an infinity of variables do you have to concede randomness, or chance? From a god's eye view maybe not, but that's not realistic from our perspective. And then there's the actions of human beings on physical things, based on creative and original intent - how do we reconcile that with a theoretically determinate universe?

Anyhow, I think you're off to a great start. Welcome to the forum.

iconoclast.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 03:30 am
@iconoclast,
Hi Brightnoon,

I liked your writing. I am wondering if you have been getting a formal eduction? I think so. I am also wondering if you know what ontological differences are?
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 08:15 am
@Arjen,
Hello and welcome Brightnoon,

I like your ideas and will probably end up indulging myself by needlessly expanding on them later Smile (I do that a lot.) Your writing style is smooth and you are encompassing a lot of factors that I have pondered on these forums for a while. Notably the deterministic sentiment of... 'The world unfolds itself in the only manner in which it can unfold'
You then suppose that chance 'is associated with the idea of free will' perhaps as a psychological fail safe?- lest we go insane. Anyways, I spent a lot of time exhausting Arjen over how free will can exist in a deterministic world and think that not everything is as set in stone as you may want it to be. When I first started to read about Chaos math and attractors I started to get a taste of how systems have 'tendencies' but can less and less be tied down to one outcome or another as complexity increases. I think natural systems are no exception and although what IS, is most definitely what it IS and nothing else, what COULD is something else to be considered separate (potentiality?). Hume's 'An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding', though, will quickly reveal that predictions like COULD as appose to IS are something uniquely human and therefore perhaps you are right to say that potentiality is futile and that 'the world unfolds itself in the only manner in which it can unfold.' Do you think potentiality, predictions and the human ability to should'a, would'a and could'a are perhaps illusionary extrapolations from the world of cause and effect? Evolutionary aids which just happen to work fairly often.

I'm rambling anyway and starting far to soon, I'll re-read tonight and see if I can make more sense Very Happy
Regards,
Dan,
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 09:54 am
@de budding,
I liked your writing. I am wondering if you have been getting a formal eduction? I think so. I am also wondering if you know what ontological differences are? --Arjen

Thanks, but no I haven't had a formal education, unless you include high school (haha); i just started as a freshman in college yesterday. I understand the term ontology and so I suppose I know what are ontological differences, unless there is some special/technical meaning in some philosophical school of thought. If so, I'd be glad to learn.


I like your essay and think we must have run many of the same thought expeiments - like rolling a boulder down a hill, in theory determinate, but with so many variables it's only theoretically possible to know where it will land. The thing is, when you run into an infinity of variables do you have to concede randomness, or chance? From a god's eye view maybe not, but that's not realistic from our perspective. And then there's the actions of human beings on physical things, based on creative and original intent - how do we reconcile that with a theoretically determinate universe?
--Iconoclast

If we are to discuss the world at all, as something objectively existent, we have to accept that it functions in a certain manner, regardless of our ability or inability to measure or define it. The scientific world-view cannot be reconciled with the humanistic. Therefore, to say that our confusion in understanding (i.e., naming, dividing, measuring; all arbitrarily of course) some exceedingly complex phenomena proves the existance of randomness is unjustified. What is randomness anyhow? Doesn't everything neccessarily, by its definition as thing, have some nature, some course, some behavior; the fact that we cannot predict this, is not proof that it doesn't exist.

---

Anyway, I do not believe in fate, the omniscience of god, destiny, etc, not really. They are concepts, in some cases apt enough, to describe some little understood phenomena in a phenomenological world; Nietzsche might say "they are the horizon of our knowledge."

As I reject causality, replacing it with sequentiality, I see no need to invent entities to direct the action; their are no motives behind the action of the individual, there is merely the action, which is a subset of his experience in general, his life. As a cause, there is no such thing as will. This should not be depressing though, as whatever it is that we humans have been calling willing, wanting, intending, etc does exist. How can it be understood without resorting to causal deities?

Well, fortunately for me, because I'm really hungry and about to go eat lunch, I have another essay on this very topic already written. Basically, it explains my view on how to differentiate the feeling of willing from other experiences and to explain the source of its uniqueness, all in phenomenological/sensual terms...Actually, I need to look for it, not sure where it is, will post later.

Thanks
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 01:00 pm
@BrightNoon,
brightnoon,

I've read your other essay - following from this one, in that it's the consequence of your arguments here that you must dismiss human intentionality (free will is just bad terminology.)

You say:
Quote:
If we are to discuss the world at all, as something objectively existent, we have to accept that it functions in a certain manner, regardless of our ability or inability to measure or define it.


But according to you - whether we discuss the world or not is not our decision to make, but is either in the future of a sequence of unfolding events or it is not.

I'll tell you what, to decide the matter I'll flip a coin. Now you might argue that the coin flip is determined by the force it's hit by my thumb, mass, gravity, wind resistance and so on, but you cannot argue that my decision to make continuing this discussion contingent upon a coin toss was predetrmined, or leads to a predestined outcome, because they are independent processes linked only by creative human intent.

heads we talk/ tails it's goodbye.

heads.

So there you are - just reading this you are now doing something independent of the determining forces of the universe. bndwufcaeiubaibwibuc

iconoclast.
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 01:21 pm
@iconoclast,
iconoclast wrote:
brightnoon,

I've read your other essay - following from this one, in that it's the consequence of your arguments here that you must dismiss human intentionality (free will is just bad terminology.)

You say:

But according to you - whether we discuss the world or not is not our decision to make, but is either in the future of a sequence of unfolding events or it is not.

I'll tell you what, to decide the matter I'll flip a coin. Now you might argue that the coin flip is determined by the force it's hit by my thumb, mass, gravity, wind resistance and so on, but you cannot argue that my decision to make continuing this discussion contingent upon a coin toss was predetrmined, or leads to a predestined outcome, because they are independent processes linked only by creative human intent.

heads we talk/ tails it's goodbye.

heads.

So there you are - just reading this you are now doing something independent of the determining forces of the universe. bndwufcaeiubaibwibuc

iconoclast.


You do not escape the ways of cause & effect by flipping a coin; your personality and character are determined by your experience (and thus the results you assigned to 'heads' and 'tails')which is in turn governed by the determination of the universe. People are as predicable as the example of a coin being used in a discussion like this...

What makes you set human creativity, will and thought aside from the 'external' events of cause and effect? I quote Boagie- there is 'no human action, only reaction.' Your environment (past and present) governs your actions which in turn set the stage of your environment which again govern your actions...

Dan.
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 01:48 pm
@de budding,
de_budding,

I think that brightnoon dismisses cause and effect and replaces that with a more deterministic concept of sequentiality - but anyways, I don't buy it.

You might argue that flipping a coin is a fairly commonplace concept, but nonethless, there's no necessary conection between continuing this discussion and flipping a coin, less yet the force I put into the toss, that in theory determined the outcome.

The only link is in intentionality, and as a consequence of this decision, there are now real effects - if at present, merely the arrangement of a few electrons in cyber-space.

But what if brightnoon is dismayed at this comment, goes out gets drunk and ploughs his pick-up into a bus queue killing sixteen people and a dog?

At the very least there's going to be a can of chum not open tommorow that would have been had I put a few grammes per square inch more force into flipping that coin. Or watched star trek rather than booting up the pc. Or slept an extra hour last night, or any number of things I might have decided to do differently.

iconoclast.
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 03:01 pm
@iconoclast,
Well I agree with you, but I don't see the difference between cause and effect and determinism, I'm not sure what sequentially is either. I think I see the contradiction here -> 'whether we discuss the world or not is not our decision to make, but is either in the future of a sequence of unfolding events or it is not.' Well I think your both right in that case, there is only one chance for everything to come to fruition, actuality, and if we could predict the movement of every atom in the universe we could predict the future and see that here is a fate we can not escape from. But knowing our future would throw the whole thing into turmoil and our fates would automatically change and become unknown again.

So if your gripe is that Brightnoon's determinism suggests a fate or ultimate path we follow, I would say he is right- but! Because our fate, once known, is automatically altered and pretty much destroyed, making way for a new unknown fate, this fate might as well be non existent... we can not know it. And if we did discover it some how we would be given a new one which in turn would be unknown and if it was... poof, it's changed again.

I could be way of, but as I said I'm failing to see a contradiction.

Dan.


p.s excuse the use of the word 'fate', I use it to express an event or state which is inescapable if and only if we are ignorant to its eminent fruition. Once your told you die tomorrow you act unavoidably differently to if you were not to know it was coming. But while I am ignorant to the final negative outcomes of my character I'll carry on acting as Dan and I will act as my experience and personality dictate.
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 03:27 pm
@de budding,
de-budding,

I think the principle difference is that cause and effect allows for discrete causes and effects where sequentiality links big bang and heat death, with everything in between as one necessary chain of events.

I agree there's cause and effect but think they're discrete - any cause only having limited consequence. It's like the butterfly effect - the idea that a butterfly flapping it's wings can be the cause of a hurricane half the world away. It's wrong because the flap of a butterfly's wing is a discrete phenomenon - with a limited effect.

I should say, I haven't got a gripe - I like the essay and consider it an interesting philosophical argument, and i'm arguing. So you think we have a fate? I don't. Ironically, I think that's a concept conjoured into existence by the limits of our knowledge - where brightnoon has it the other way round.

Quote:
But while I am ignorant to the final negative outcomes of my character I’ll carry on acting as Dan and I will act as my experience and personality dictate.


Even if you were a personality robot I don't see why the outcome should be negative - you seem intelligent and personable...so far! But you're not - you're creativity and chaos, original intent and thus personal responsibility. You have your fate in your hands.

regards,

iconoclast.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 03:46 pm
@de budding,
My point is this; there are no causes, whether we are considering physical bodies or human activities. There is no motive power which is seperate from the action it supposedly motivates. Where is the proof that any one thing affects another thing? Something happens and then something else happens: sequentiality, not causality. There is no agent seperated from the action. There is only phenomena, occurance, change, life, etc. It seems to me that causality is just a pragmatic development, now raised to beleif, which allows for an easier way of communicating and understanding. If we all went around using the terms of sequentiality, it would be very confusing and time consuming; that which is expedient is not neccessarily true.

Therefore, when i say that there is no free will, I do not mean to say that we are slaves of some other will/natural law/etc. It is not that there is such a thing as free will and we simply do not have it; i mean that free will has no meaning, it is nothing, purely imaginary; how can we be saddenned by the realization that we lack something nonexistent?

You might argue that flipping a coin is a fairly commonplace concept, but nonethless, there's no necessary conection between continuing this discussion and flipping a coin, less yet the force I put into the toss, that in theory determined the outcome.

The only link is in intentionality, and as a consequence of this decision, there are now real effects --Iconoclast


Where does this intentionality lie; what is its nature? To beleive in this requires the same faith that christians have in the existance of the soul. You, nor I, have ever witnessed an intention, we have only expericned some action. the fact that you think of some action and then perform it does not demonstrate a causal link between the two.

This is the perfect place to insert the other essay I mentioned earlier. It's still a work in progress, so its not written in the clearest way: my apologies.


On Will, a new theory
[CENTER][CENTER] [/CENTER][/CENTER]
While there is no formal will, posited somewhere, imprecisely behind a phenomena, there is certainly a feeling of willing. This is the same as the feeling of acting, of doing, or of making. How can this be accounted for? The feeling of authorship for events could not exist without its opposite, its contrast, which is being done to, being acted upon. What is the origin of the difference between these two states? This investigation, of the states of doing and being done to, involves the question of the identity of the individual. Therefore, let me say that, while I recognize the likelihood of an external world, such a world cannot have real substance in my reality except as that very idea. As we shall address later, ideas arise from experience and not from some other sphere. Thus, any notion one has of another's experiences is composed of one's own experience. In describing reality from the lone human perspective, there is no such external world except as this idea originating without variation from the only world. We must seek for the difference between the feeling of doing and that of being done to strictly within the individual, with sensation as the ultimate foundation therefore.
Sensual impressions linger as hollowed or dulled versions of themselves once passed. These old sensations are called memories or thoughts. Thoughts have relations to one another and, indeed, become nothing but relations. Having relations means only, existing simultaneously. I suppose that the concept idea may itself be a very recent, complex, cumulative development of the aforementioned process, thinking (this is not the thinking of the logicians, who suppose that ideas are the origin of ideas, and that reason actually causes anything; here thinking means only, the play of thoughts as they arise and dissipate). I wonder what the world might have been like before we arrived at that particular metaperspective which produced the notion idea. I, child of this age, cannot even describe such circumstances except in a non-sensical fashion.
When a person has in mind to do something, intends to do something, that person is experiencing such a thought (memory of some occurrence), which is about to be nearly replicated in sensual immediacy. The memory and the immediate, sensually occurring event are not necessarily identical, though the more strongly they resemble one another the more the person will assume authorship. For this to be possible the person must have previously had this sort of sensual experience. Thus, when one acts on one's intention, there is the now-experience occurring simultaneously with the memory of a similar previous experience. Correspondences of this sort between immediate experience and memories, account for all so called willful actions. In this way, the feeling of free will can be explained phenomenologically, without resorting to imaginary, causal deities or homunculi.
Such instances of correspondence develop a kind of momentum and become an auto-catalytically unfolding process. This is apparent from the changes in ability that accompany aging. In the life of an infant, who has been sensate for a comparatively brief period of time, there will be few opportunities for any correspondence of remembered with current sensations, simply because there are relatively few memories. As the child ages and acquires more memories there are an increasing number of these correspondences and, therefore, of intentions and of willful actions. These willful actions, are also remembered and those memories may later correspond with new now-experiences. In this way one order of correspondences follows another and so on ad infinitum, during which progression the individual acquires an increasing sense of mastery. As time passes, the sensual impressions themselves will increase in variety as well, because of the physical development of the organs of sensation, etc.
However, we have not yet fully examined the nature of willing; a problem remains. For example, a person might experience the wind blowing on his face simultaneously with the memory of a similar preceding experience, though he does not suppose that he is the author of the wind's motion. Thus, willful action must have one more component, other than present experience and a corresponding memory of similar previous experience. This third factor is closely associated with the notion body, in its most fundamental sense. While sight and hearing, for example, can extend into space somewhat indefinitely, there are very fixed limits to the kinesthetic sense (the senses of internal body movement, the tactile sensation of pressure, heat, etc). Though the measure of these limits is wholly relative and arbitrary, that there is a constant disparity between these extended and limited senses is the origin of the notion that one acts in a world, as opposed to the idea of a world, which is one acting. The body sense is of course a part of the now-experience, of visceral sensation, albeit a special one, which we have separated here for only the purpose of explanation. And so the body sense is necessary for willful action to occur, while the other senses may or may not be involved.
The inverse, being acted upon, is now easily explained. If, for example, someone pushes you, you don't suppose that you are the author of the push because you did not have a vision, a memory of the push before or during its occurrence in sensual immediacy; the other person did. Obviously, neither was there any body sense in a correspondence, as there was no correspondence for you.
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 04:19 pm
@iconoclast,
Iconoclast,

I can't understand though, why chaos is can not just be more complex order; could not 'chaos' and 'creativity' be terms conjured into existence by the limits of our knowledge ?

The alternative name for the butterfly effect is sensitive dependency on initial conditions. The only way I can see cause and effect is, agreeably, as discrete events which are extremely sensitive to their initial conditions. But in sequence, said cause and effect contribute to a new 'condition' which all would-be causes are as sensitive to.

On our scale, the behavior of the quantum world is so incredibly chaotic it is impossible to work out what atoms will in fact do next. For many systems as well the behavior gets so complex and unpredictable we label it chaos, like eddies and the flow of a river over rocks and debris in the water. But if we could mathematically hone in on the individual variables or systems that dictated the behavior of flow over an individual rock we would be able to predict the behavior of the water behind the rock (behind as in the side of the rock the water is not flowing against.)

But because so many millions variables really are in place like the volume, speed and velocity of the flow; trees roots and the position of millions of stones, sticks and debris in said river; the temperature and density of the liquid as well as wind. We simply don't have the time to work this all out and piece it together as a model of said river so we can predict the behavior of the water behind certain obstacles, hence we label it chaos.

Therefore I can't understand how cause and effect are only responsible as discrete events when they are responsible for future conditions; two events are tide because the first is necessary for the second which is necessary for a third. But without the first, there would be no second and without that no third. Is not the first as necessary as the second for the existence of the third event?

I just simply can't see beyond this and I've been told it is ridiculous and wrong- especially when arguing about whose responsibility something like a car accident is. How can chaos not be more complex order when, given the scope and detail we can surely, in theory, predict it; and when every event is ultimately sensitive- to the point that minor changes manipulate events out of existence or prevent them from happening, on its initial conditions for fruition.

Dan.
0 Replies
 
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 04:26 pm
@BrightNoon,
brightnoon,

Quote:
Where is the proof that any one thing affects another thing? Something happens and then something else happens: sequentiality, not causality.


The idea of causality is that it's the nature of the 'one thing' that happens that causes the nature of the 'other thing' that happens. Sequentiality does not account for this - for it does not allow that there could have been another cause with a different effect, but in reality, this is not the case.

As I said in my earlier argument, the decision to relate continuing this discussion to the toss of a coin is a creative one that links two real events not normally associated with eachother.

Now, if I'd have bought that chocolate cake yesterday, I'd not have had a coin sitting on my desk top and wouldn't have thought of this example, and wouldn't have flipped the coin and so on and on...

The chocolate cake decision is another decision that was not in any way necessary - but creative and willful, and which contributed to this outcome.
Cause and effect, yes. Sequentiality - I don't think so, and I do think, create, invent, imagine, dream and decide.

iconoclast.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 05:02 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:

Thanks, but no I haven't had a formal education, unless you include high school (haha); i just started as a freshman in college yesterday. I understand the term ontology and so I suppose I know what are ontological differences, unless there is some special/technical meaning in some philosophical school of thought. If so, I'd be glad to learn.

I thought so. It seems as if you are using a number of terms which you have been introduced to recently. I think your thoughts on this matter are very much going in the right direction, but I also think that you cannot get a clear view of what exists yet. I think a lot of people can show you around a bit concerning these terms. I, myself, am about to go on a holiday for three weeks, but I'd love to help you out now and again.

For now this blog might get you on track, although it has its limitations (a loack of clear explanation of the diversity of ways the terms are used).

I hope that will satisfy you for now.

Smile
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 06:09 pm
@Arjen,
Thank you Arjen, but actually I have never taken any sort of philosophy class, in high school or in my two days thus far in college, so I hope my (mis)use of some of these terms, in a technical sense, will be understood. Knowing the formal terminology is no doubt important, saves time in defining, but there is so much redefinition, inclduing by myself, that its almost a futile endeavor.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 06:43 pm
@BrightNoon,
The idea of causality is that it's the nature of the 'one thing' that happens that causes the nature of the 'other thing' that happens.

I fully understand that. My point is that there is no reason for such an assumption of dependence and causal relation; it is pure speculation. There is as much evidence for causal relations among bodies as there is for the existance of a god who directs them: none. The only fact, indisputable, is that A happens, followed by B, etc. That we observe A always following B does not prove a causal relation, only that that is the order in which the phenomena always occur: at least pending further observation.

Sequentiality does not account for this - for it does not allow that there could have been another cause with a different effect...

Causality itself does not allow for one cause to have multiple affects. That in real circumstances there are too many variables to predict perfectly the outcome of some action does not demonstrate that said cause has multiple potential effects, only that we have failed to assess perfectly either the cause, the effects, or both. Hence, in theoretical systems, of which we can have perfect knowledge, a cause has certain effects and not others.

Incidentally, there is also the problem of perfect definition, even of a simple object: a ping pong ball, e.g. As there are an infinite number of lower orders of matter (molecule, atom, sub-atom. particles, sub-sub., etc.) all the components of the ping pong ball are not known; ergo all the variables in any reaction between the ping pong ball and something else are not known. This means that randomness will always apparently exist in real interactions of bodies, not that anything therein is in fact random, merely too complex for our measurement. As I said before, chance, randomness, etc. is the term we place at the end of our knowledge; it is essentially a mystical and not a rational idea; it has no meaning.

Now, if I'd have bought that chocolate cake yesterday, I'd not have had a coin sitting on my desk top and wouldn't have thought of this example, and wouldn't have flipped the coin and so on and on...

Keep in mind that I do not believe in a true external world, seperate from human observation, but I suspect its existance; how could I not. In any case, assuming there is an objective world, your decision has nothing to do with your qualitative emotions, memories, etc., it is purely a matter of neural and other chemistry. There was therefore a certain course of action, given a certain given situation/material/etc., which, by the laws of nature, had to occur. your ancestors and every trivial detail of your life ensured the buying of that cake, etc.


The chocolate cake decision is another decision that was not in any way necessary - but creative and willful, and which contributed to this outcome.
Cause and effect, yes. Sequentiality - I don't think so, and I do think, create, invent, imagine, dream and decide.

I'm sure you do, as do I, in the common sense of those words. The issue is whether or not there is actually a mystical, motive power, whose existance cannot be proven and whose nature is completely unknown; I think not. To think otherwise, seems to me, completely antithetical to reason; i.e., you might as well, with equal justification, claim that the television is actually operated by a little green man who resides in a control room behind the screen.

I get the feeling that you are especially concerned with maintaining the idea of free will because the alternative repels you. Again, as I said before, at least in my mind, it need not be at all depressing. If we have currently lived without free will, quite satisfied, what difference does it make if we discover it is nonexistent? Moreover, we could never actually determine the course of the world as it unfolds, as someone said earlier, because that very knowledge would alter (via complex neural chemistry, etc.) that future and so on ad infinitum. There is no need to feel as though you are an automaton, a slave, a pawn etc., as there is no robotics company constructing these automatons, no God, no master, no plan for the game. There is only our own experience, however it might be described.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 01:37 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
Thank you Arjen, but actually I have never taken any sort of philosophy class, in high school or in my two days thus far in college, so I hope my (mis)use of some of these terms, in a technical sense, will be understood. Knowing the formal terminology is no doubt important, saves time in defining, but there is so much redefinition, inclduing by myself, that its almost a futile endeavor.

I know that it is irrelevant for a personal growth, but for communications with others it can be very important.

Anyway, to get back ontopic:

I enjoyed your work.

Smile
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 03:42 am
@Arjen,
de_budding,

Please pardon the lateness of my reply. It's arguable that choas and creativity are, as you say, conjured into existence by the limits of our knowledge - but if that's so, where does that leave us?

If you say that I only seem to have free will - but it's beyond my knowledge to know that I don't, how can I refute it? It's a bad argument because it relies on a sceptical premise, just as much a 'faith' argument as it's opposite, but without the practical benefit of explaining what we seem to experience.

brightnoon says:
Quote:
I get the feeling that you are especially concerned with maintaining the idea of free will because the alternative repels you.


If the alternative is that everything, not merely the orbits of planets, but every decision, thought, word and deed is predetermined - there's nothing more to be said, and so I'll say nothing more on the subject than this. I don't believe this is correct, but I know it's not useful.

iconoclast.
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 10:06 am
@iconoclast,
Quote:
you say that I only seem to have free will - but it's beyond my knowledge to know that I don't, how can I refute it?


I feel as autonomous and free as I ever have, so I find it hard to believe that I can discover that free will is an illusion of sorts, it is far to tangible to not be real. But I do think there is still room to discover that consciousness, self-awareness and free will are merely complex systems; we all know how impossibly complex the brain is, and after reading Creation: Life and how to Make it by Steve Grand I can't help but see such things, as consciousness, as emergent phenomenon. Much like the flow of a river to complex to be broken down by humans

I feel consciousness rises much like the magnetic field around coiled, electronic cable. When a long enough cable is wrapped around itself and a high enough voltage put through the cable voila! An emergent phenomena- a magnetic field. Similarly, enough neural connections leading to enough functions, variables and mental options and presto! Consciousness and the underlying autonomy we call 'free well'.

But you are right that it is pretty much unfalsifiable and that's a terrible quality. I can only speculate that if we 'zoom in' to systems enough that we will be able to break the systems down into organised predictable sub-systems and constituents, but I feel this is the way of things, and considering that nearly any complex system can be broken down and predicted, considering this is the observant way of science (confirming it's results via predictability and consistency) is it not most likely that this system (the brain and consciousness) is the same?

Dan.

(p.s. If I'm exhausting you and missing the point feel free to inform me so Razz)
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 11:27 am
@de budding,
Iconoclast:

If the alternative is that everything, not merely the orbits of planets, but every decision, thought, word and deed is predetermined - there's nothing more to be said, and so I'll say nothing more on the subject than this. I don't believe this is correct, but I know it's not useful.

The manner in which the world unfolds itself is fixed, not predetermined, if by predetermined you mean that it could be deduced before it arrives. I do not beleive in determinism in the sense of fate, destony, etc. It is strictly a matter of removing the motive or cause, in order to have a new vision of life as a series of phenomena, which, by the way, is completely individual and anthropocentric. Whether or not the planets and other bodies in the emprically known universe follow the same natural laws as do the incomphrensibly complex systems of our brain is a matter for science to investigate; for this argument of mine it is irrelevant. My point can be understood without reference to anything imaginary (such as other galaxies, electrons, etc.; by imaginary I mean that which is not experienced, but known) beyond personal experience. As my philosophy is soley for the individual and founded soloey on individual sensation/experience, the fact that the individual does not actually do anything, in a causal sense, makes no difference. Nothing else is doing anything, because there is nothing else! I wish to explain the feeling of willing, the sorts of experiences in which people, without any doubt whatsoever, claim to decide or act, in these terms of phenomena within the individual's world. The alternative is to suppose either (1) that humans are the pawn of the universe, which through complex machinations, has dorected every aspect of their lives or (2) that there is a magical entity residing within the individual thaqt causes things, even though we cannot describe what this entity is or even what it means to cause anything. Indeed, I think the proof that causality is false lies in the fact that its definition does not in any way differ from that of sequentiality without becoming tautology; any so called cause and effect relationship cannot be described, causally, unless one uses the term cause, causality, etc., while the same event can be described, with as much acccuracy as to what apparently occured, by saying this happened, followed by that happening. You might argue that this lack of causation is only apparent, that pure sequentiality is only apparent, but, as I said before, this philosophy of mine is based on the individual's world and, as such, is only apparent; there can be no differencr between what is apparent and what is 'real'.

As I said, there is a feeling of willing, just not actual willing. This is a confusing semantic problem. So, to illustrate the difference, think of what you actually mean by willing; what happens when to do something? If you can completely describe the situation without having to refer to a motive, i.e., phenomenalogically, how can one rationally claim that such a motive exists?

Also, what is a motive; can you define it without saying something like, "a motive is that which motivates", or "A motive is the causal factor."

I suspect that you cannot, nor anyone else. If we do not know what a motive is, how can we say that one exists. That is like saying, Quabbledypoof exists, when no one has defined Quabbledypoof; such a statement has no substnce, no meaning.
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