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Does free will exist?

 
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 08:26 am
The fact that people have wants and needs and are able to satisfy those wants and needs sometimes, even if they could do it every time is in no way an indication neither of causation nor of free will. On the contrary, one should start by honestly focusing on the fact that we have very tangible very "material" wants and needs and deal with it.

When I say that I am a hard Determinist I am going further than just making a case against free will. I am pointing out, with or without a Multiverse, that Reality is Unified, One, throughout spacetime. And as one it has an Order. If you prefer the Multiverse hypothesis it is an Order of all possible forms of ordering and re-arranging matter and information that do not violate the laws of physics that are the case, that is to mean the ones we know and the ones we don't know.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 09:12 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
say a line that is not approximately straight nor curved in any sense.
Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I get accused of that a lot.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 10:01 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Quote:
So you can say that the path of a bouncing ball is totally deterministic in a way that a human choosing what to eat for lunch isn't, but if the human agency to choose lunch is caused by a mechanical process that's just as deterministic as the bouncing ball, then we can just as easily apply the interpretive frame of 'agency' to the ball as we can to the mind choosing lunch.

What if it was the other way round? If the human agency to choose lunch caused a mechanical process to physically pick up and eat that lunch?

Both processes are deterministic, but that's my point: if everything is ultimately deterministic than interpreting events in terms of agency shouldn't be limited to human actions. A ball bouncing can also be framed in terms of agency, because agency is just a way of framing/interpreting events caused by complex patterns of determination.

Quote:
Why can't agency be in itself a causal factor?

Yes, you can look at it that way, but that doesn't make agency any less a product of sub-conscious determination. Agency is just a way of framing and black-boxing a complex of deterministic causes. So you could say a flower chooses to bloom at a given moment, even though you know blooming is caused by a complex pattern of deterministic mechanisms, and by framing the blooming in terms of the flower's agency, you can say that the bees' 'choice' to land on an open flower instead of a as-of-yet-unopened flower bud is determined by the choice of one flower to bloom while another stays closed.

Quote:
If it isn't a cause of anything else, is that consistent with the principal of reaction? How could something exist in this universe, and not have an effect on other stuff?

Nothing can exist and not affect other things it interacts with.

The universe is a giant machine made up of interacting machines/mechanisms, and consciousness and thus the perception of agency within the machine is part of the machine.

Quote:
Our mind exists for a reason. It's there to integrate information (including from senses and memory) and calculus, diagnosis/prognosis, and thereby support the function of integrated (coherent) choice making.

Yes, but choice-making is determined by deterministic mechanisms within the brain/mind machine along with its interactions with other factors outside the brain/mind. Consciousness/awareness plays a role, because the mind responds to things it is aware of while ignoring things its not aware of.

A lot of power is exercised in the form of distraction for this reason; hence the humorous description sometimes attributed to media as "weapons of mass distraction."
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 11:59 am
@livinglava,
Why the focus on determination? 'Causation' is enough. Full determinism is an unproven belief.
livinglava
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 12:36 pm
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Why the focus on determination? 'Causation' is enough. Full determinism is an unproven belief.

I don't know what you mean by 'full determination,' as opposed to 'partial determination.'

Determination is contrasted with agency, where determination is considered passive mechanical chain reactions and agency is considered active, chosen, actions.

Determinism/agency isn't really a valid distinction, so thinking in terms of 'full determination' or 'partial determination' isn't going to be valid either.

Maybe what you mean is determination by a single cause vs. a web of interacting causes. Reality is rarely if ever determined by single cause-effect relationships. In reality, multiple causes and conditions interact to produce effects.

Is that what you mean by 'full determinism,' vs. 'partial determinism?'

Or is it that you want to preserve the idea that agency and free-will is something radically different from mechanical determinism? If so, how would you explain how/why a brain functions differently than other systems made up of the same fundamental particles governed by the same fundamental laws of nature as passive/mechanistic/determined systems?
Doner
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 05:56 pm
This is one of those eternal philosophical problems that will never be conclusively answered. Given how the world plays out, it’s impossible to determine whether there’s free will or not, as free will is about what you could have done otherwise in the past. It ultimately boils down to belief, and my belief is that we have libertarian free will. And it makes some sense, because there must be something to have started the universe, without having been caused by anything before it. Similarly, we are able to actually cause things to happen. I’m not suggesting this because I want us to feel superior and free, but because that’s how it feels and what our behaviors suggest.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 07:21 pm
@Doner,
Please cause me to had not read your post above. Thank you!
(Just close your eyes and pray for entanglement to work, I am almost praying right now)
0 Replies
 
Briancrc
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 07:32 pm
@Doner,
Quote:
Given how the world plays out, it’s impossible to determine whether there’s free will or not, as free will is about what you could have done otherwise in the past. It ultimately boils down to belief


Perhaps, but we can find empirical evidence for external events that control a person's behavior without coercion. Gambling addicts are one group of individuals where it seems difficult to say that a person's will is free such that the person is the agent making the choices about what to do next. Can a person be free at the same moment they feel compelled to do something where no external enforcing agent exists?
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 07:42 pm
Maybe our minds are just random number generators that roll the dice every few seconds. I wonder why the number for sex comes up so often? Doesn’t seem random enough.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 08:57 pm
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Mar, 2020 09:15 pm
@Doner,
Doner wrote:

This is one of those eternal philosophical problems that will never be conclusively answered. Given how the world plays out, it’s impossible to determine whether there’s free will or not, as free will is about what you could have done otherwise in the past. It ultimately boils down to belief, and my belief is that we have libertarian free will. And it makes some sense, because there must be something to have started the universe, without having been caused by anything before it. Similarly, we are able to actually cause things to happen. I’m not suggesting this because I want us to feel superior and free, but because that’s how it feels and what our behaviors suggest.

I've heard that there are brain-scan studies that can identify the sub-conscious moment a decision is made before the conscious mind becomes aware of itself as having made a choice.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 02:45 am
@livinglava,
It's pretty obvious that a brain does not behave like a ball at all. It doesn't bounce, for one thing... :-)
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 08:51 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

It's pretty obvious that a brain does not behave like a ball at all. It doesn't bounce, for one thing... :-)

xD
...we disagree on this subject but that answer made laugh and that is a good thing! (I couldn't help it)
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 10:55 am
@Olivier5,
Sure they bounce.

See: contrecoup injury
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 12:09 pm
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

It's pretty obvious that a brain does not behave like a ball at all. It doesn't bounce, for one thing... :-)

Are you just making a joke here, or are you actually asserting that you think brain function operates according to non-deterministic mechanics, while other physical systems do?
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 12:24 pm
@livinglava,
But but but... other parts of physics are not necessarily determinist. Quantum mechanics in particular.

Don't believe people who think your whole life was written down to the penny in some cosmic book millions of years before you were born.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 12:27 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Hey, it doesn't need to be boring...
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 12:38 pm
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

But but but... other parts of physics are not necessarily determinist. Quantum mechanics in particular.

I think there are some sleights of hand in quantum physics theory that obfuscate determinism, but there is no escaping causality in the quantum realm and more than there is the possibility of defying conservation laws or thermodynamics.

There are certain universals that determine how things work in reality, although they are sometimes misunderstood and extrapolated in ways that overextend them and cause people to assume the spectrum of possibilities within the universe is narrower than it actually is.

Quote:
People who think their whole life was written down to the penny in some cosmic book millions of years before they were born are crazy.

I don't think the future can be foreseen as a result of determinism, because the level of detail in the mechanics of all the interacting causes are too complex to accurately model and thus exclude surprise.

You could, for example, sequence the entire genome of a given tree or plant and then build a model that takes various parameters into consideration for how the seed will sprout and grow. Within that model, however, there are going to be all sorts of variables that can't be controlled, not just in the weather and soil conditions; but also within the growing organism itself.

Think of it this way: not only is the planetary system and climate too complex to predict with perfect accuracy, but the same level of complexity emerges in a living organism because of the complexity of each cell, the vast number of cells and differentiated tissues, and all the interactional complexities that emerge through the interplay of different levels of complexity.

So nature is just complex in a way that makes it impossible to model things with complete accuracy, and the natural forms of variation that emerge among individuals of the same species, their life details, the environmental and interactional specificities, etc. generate unlimited numbers of patterns, patterns within patterns, and interactions between various levels of patterns at the inter- and intra- levels.

So you falsely assume that determinism is insufficient to cause the aspects of quantum mechanics that seem non-deterministic, just as you would be false to assume that determinism is insufficient to cause all the variation in nature, human experiences, the mind's ability to experience free will and intentional action/agency, etc. etc.

Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Mar, 2020 09:46 pm
@livinglava,
A computer gate is a door, a window can be a camera, and thinking is a form of moving. Words are tricky only if we miss the fundamental function root in them. I don't think there is much diversity around at all...fractal world says otherwise...right now the Sun is in winter season...as for people, there are two kinds, the stupid that got to understand they are profoundly stupid, and the stupid that believe they are smart.
Also, I don't get why you approached the topic of Determinism from the epistemic POV problem instead of the Ontological approach. One thing is to not be able to predict and quite another to state that that difficulty has any bearing on whether Determinism is true. In fact, the epistemic problem leads people in the wrong direction and often is used to make a case for Libertarianism.
The simplest argument I know for Determinism is to state that Reality is One. You don't even have to make a case for causation and linear time sequencing to get that. You can go with perfect correlation and drop Time as we perceive it out of the equation. For all that I know and care the Future might already be there...my argument for that is that I can't picture inflation growing into nothingness, as nothingness has no properties or existence. Moving into nothingness would turn nothingness into something with at least one property. Allowing motion into it. But alas nothingness denies its own existence. Nothingness is nothing!
Finally, what are we left with? Be it the Multiverse or the Universe we have ONE reality. Preferably understand that the wording ONE here means that all the time extension and space extension coexist. Otherwise, ONE reality would not be possible nor complete.
Determinism is true not because of cause and effect or time. Determinism is true because of the ORDER of ONE reality was always a brut fact.
When people dive into deciding to ask me what is or is not real I normally answer that mistakes are real mistakes, that dreams are real dreams, normal hallucinations, that cyberspace is just as real as physical space. This, in turn, does not mean that everything is equal. Equally real? Yes, but in different levels of order. That is why a dream is at a distinct level of experience and has not the same consequences that being woke up does. The same goes for Myths, Religions, and all sorts of beliefs. They are daydreams and have a function of sorts. They still are experiences, TRUE experiences as experiencing occurs!...
Well, this is getting long and complicated although I could be typing 2 hours more on the subject diving deep on the languaging and perceptual problem...I suspect doing so is not welcomed nor needed.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2020 06:22 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

A computer gate is a door, a window can be a camera, and thinking is a form of moving. Words are tricky only if we miss the fundamental function root in them. I don't think there is much diversity around at all...fractal world says otherwise...right now the Sun is in winter season...as for people, there are two kinds, the stupid that got to understand they are profoundly stupid, and the stupid that believe they are smart.

What is the relevance of all this? It sounds like a post on the other thread about people overestimating their own intelligence.

Quote:
Also, I don't get why you approached the topic of Determinism from the epistemic POV problem instead of the Ontological approach. One thing is to not be able to predict and quite another to state that that difficulty has any bearing on whether Determinism is true. In fact, the epistemic problem leads people in the wrong direction and often is used to make a case for Libertarianism.

When things are used to make a case for other things, it is usually not because they are essentially suited to that use but because they are spun in a way that makes them work within the context of the case they are being used for.

In short, don't let your aversion to libertarianism bias you in your thinking about determinism/agency.

Quote:
The simplest argument I know for Determinism is to state that Reality is One. You don't even have to make a case for causation and linear time sequencing to get that. You can go with perfect correlation and drop Time as we perceive it out of the equation. For all that I know and care the Future might already be there...my argument for that is that I can't picture inflation growing into nothingness, as nothingness has no properties or existence. Moving into nothingness would turn nothingness into something with at least one property. Allowing motion into it. But alas nothingness denies its own existence. Nothingness is nothing!

You have to realize that all the thinking about reality being someone other than 'one,' the universe, future, etc. ; basically everything you mentioned being aversive toward, are thoughts within the 'one reality.' It's like realizing a house of mirrors/glass and magic tricks and other illusions all only work due to the fact that everything involved, including our minds that experience the illusions, are governed by the same laws of nature in the same one reality. Reality is 'one,' but it is complex.

Quote:
Finally, what are we left with? Be it the Multiverse or the Universe we have ONE reality. Preferably understand that the wording ONE here means that all the time extension and space extension coexist. Otherwise, ONE reality would not be possible nor complete.
Determinism is true not because of cause and effect or time. Determinism is true because of the ORDER of ONE reality was always a brut fact.
When people dive into deciding to ask me what is or is not real I normally answer that mistakes are real mistakes, that dreams are real dreams, normal hallucinations, that cyberspace is just as real as physical space. This, in turn, does not mean that everything is equal. Equally real? Yes, but in different levels of order. That is why a dream is at a distinct level of experience and has not the same consequences that being woke up does. The same goes for Myths, Religions, and all sorts of beliefs. They are daydreams and have a function of sorts. They still are experiences, TRUE experiences as experiencing occurs!...
Well, this is getting long and complicated although I could be typing 2 hours more on the subject diving deep on the languaging and perceptual problem...I suspect doing so is not welcomed nor needed.

I wouldn't say cyberspace is 'just as real as physical space,' but it is certainly part of the same reality that manifests physical space. Brains exist as part of the 'physical space/universe' and our experience of consciousness as a separate dimension of reality is connected with the way the brain functions as a complex of cells and neural events.

So subjectivity and objectivity are part of the same overall universe, but we can't assume that objective brain chemistry events determine subjectivity or vice-versa because they are both connected within the same deterministic reality, which includes the experience/perception of agency as part of its functioning. If we would dispense with faith in free will, it would have an effect on how our brain function is determined.

You might argue that in a truly deterministic universe, it wouldn't matter if we try to have faith in free will or not, that everything would come out the same either way, but consciousness of intent and effort is part of the mechanics of the brain, so if you would try to deny your experience of the capacity for intent and effort, it could very well affect your brain function, or at least you have to think that it would in order to function properly.

Put simply, if you shirk the illusion of choice, intent, and effort; it could be a sign that your mind is degenerating, so just believe in agency for your own good. I.e. don't experiment with denying agency just because you understand the universe and thus also brain function is deterministic at the sub-conscious level.
0 Replies
 
 

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