11
   

On freewill and choice.

 
 
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Sep, 2011 12:10 am
@Krumple,
Wow, i haven't been spending time on these forums much this year, but i don't think that i've come across such a polite and reasonable objection to anything i've said in all of the time that i've frequented any board. So for that, i thank you. i see that your last post was on the 17th of August , so i hope that you see my appreciation in time for it to mean anything to you.

i agree with you, in principle, that given sufficient info that the universe would not only be explicable and predictable, but is capable of being reverse engineered. However, i am in doubt as to whether such complete information is accessible to the human intellect (particularly in a given moment) in any practical sense. Given the minute changes that the "cosmic fabric" is subject to in a given moment, it would require a much more acute instrument than the human brain (which i recognize as a much more complicated and sensitive instrument that any person-created computer) to grasp the "total truth" of any given situation. In my view, the human brain is much more of a filter than a receptacle of experience, grasping what is "needful", or even "useful", rather than what merely "is".

Nonetheless, (in regards free will) i feel that human choices are made in conjunction with the information, or lack thereof, available to the subject at a given time. Arguing that all things are knowable is not the same as saying that all things could be known at the moment of choice (crisis). I am not saying that there is some mysterious , unknowable reality; i am merely saying that every factor cannot be processed at once. Hindsight might be 20/20, foresight never is (and hindsight rarely is).

That being said, natural "laws" are only representations of certain long standing patterns. Nature is not subject to the human habit of assuming regular routines. "Nature" is a collection of forces, and if one of them can expand its "natural" boundaries, it will. "Nature" is a momentary balance, an ellipsis in which "life" occurs; it is presumptuous to assume that it is either permanent or cosmically meaningful. I hope that I'm not coming off as condescending to either scientific discourse or human existence...

@Doubt doubt

i have to say that i haven't looked back at all of your posts in this thread, so i can't say that i'm totally unsympathetic to your views, but i do have some superficial objections. It's not true that you can have only one preference at a time. the term "preference " implies that there are a number of positive outcomes to any given situation. A "preference" implies that there are a range of positive outcomes that are balanced by a range of practical outcomes. Thus, if you choose what you prefer, it implies only that there has been a cost/benefit calculation as to your chosen modus, not that choice has been compelled.

As to the clear-cut distinction between science and technology, i find it hard to locate this division. Modern science is dependent upon technology to conduct its experiments, and tech is the product of successfully established scientific hypothesis.

Science, even at its most speculative, is essentially a mode of description. It's ultimate aim is not to explain why, but to so combine the how and the why so that description is ultimately explanatory. Science and technology are not entirely distinct, save by convenient and arbitrary means. Rather, their relationship might be best demonstrated as a sine wave. Perhaps "scientific experimentation" is the "up"-swing and "technological innovation" is the "down"-turn, or vice versa. i am not a big proponent of the idea of progress, but perhaps, for the benefit of this example, this sine wave might be drawn "up-and-down" on the "page" rather than "left-to-right" (heh, up-and-down and left-and-right being relative, of course); and that might better suggest the relationship between science and technology. There are two "poles" to this pursuit, but only one line. There is plenty of science around these days (despite your claim), but very little in the way of certainty, and a great deal of technology, although none currently available without negative consequences.
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Sep, 2011 01:08 am
@Razzleg,
i apologize for the grammatically incorrect "It's ultimate aim". i obviously meant "Its ultimate aim"...stoopid grammar. All of that high minded rhetoric is pretty quickly undermined by inaccurate punctuation....i say, "poop". That's right, poop.
0 Replies
 
JIDDY20
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Sep, 2011 01:25 pm
@Doubt doubt,
WHAT IS FREE WILL.? We cannot disscuss this unless there is a agreed definition of the term. So what are we talking about/
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 04:17 am
@JIDDY20,
A leftover from dogmatic, theistic thinking that has little or no philosophical value.
0 Replies
 
Albretch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 06:05 pm
@Doubt doubt,
~
if you can read past the self-flagellating drama (unnecessary in your life anyway), typical of Catholic/religious litanies, you may find a clear example of free will there
~
part of free will is also that you can -literally- learn from your own mistakes
~
lbrtchx
~
// __ Edit [Moderator]: Link removed
~
CHAPTER VIII
HOW ST FRANCIS, WALKING ONE DAY WITH BROTHER LEO, EXPLAINED TO HIM WHAT THINGS ARE PERFECT JOY
One day in winter, as St Francis was going with Brother Leo from Perugia to St Mary of the Angels, and was suffering greatly from the cold, he called to Brother Leo, who was walking on before him, and said to him: "Brother Leo, if it were to please God that the Friars Minor should give, in all lands, a great example of holiness and edification, write down, and note carefully, that this would not be perfect joy." A little further on, St Francis called to him a second time: "O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor were to make the lame to walk, if they should make straight the crooked, chase away demons, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and, what is even a far greater work, if they should raise the dead after four days, write that this would not be perfect joy." Shortly after, he cried out again: "O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor knew all languages; if they were versed in all science; if they could explain all Scripture; if they had the gift of prophecy, and could reveal, not only all future things, but likewise the secrets of all consciences and all souls, write that this would not be perfect joy." After proceeding a few steps farther, he cried out again with a loud voice: "O Brother Leo, thou little lamb of God! if the Friars Minor could speak with the tongues of angels; if they could explain the course of the stars; if they knew the virtues of all plants; if all the treasures of the earth were revealed to them; if they were acquainted with the various qualities of all birds, of all fish, of all animals, of men, of trees, of stones, of roots, and of waters - write that this would not be perfect joy." Shortly after, he cried out again: "O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor had the gift of preaching so as to convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that this would not be perfect joy." Now when this manner of discourse had lasted for the space of two miles, Brother Leo wondered much within himself; and, questioning the saint, he said: "Father, I pray thee teach me wherein is perfect joy." St Francis answered: "If, when we shall arrive at St Mary of the Angels, all drenched with rain and trembling with cold, all covered with mud and exhausted from hunger; if, when we knock at the convent-gate, the porter should come angrily and ask us who we are; if, after we have told him, 'We are two of the brethren', he should answer angrily, 'What ye say is not the truth; ye are but two impostors going about to deceive the world, and take away the alms of the poor; begone I say'; if then he refuse to open to us, and leave us outside, exposed to the snow and rain, suffering from cold and hunger till nightfall - then, if we accept such injustice, such cruelty and such contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, believing with humility and charity that the porter really knows us, and that it is God who maketh him to speak thus against us, write down, O Brother Leo, that this is perfect joy. And if we knock again, and the porter come out in anger to drive us away with oaths and blows, as if we were vile impostors, saying, 'Begone, miserable robbers! to to the hospital, for here you shall neither eat nor sleep!' - and if we accept all this with patience, with joy, and with charity, O Brother Leo, write that this indeed is perfect joy. And if, urged by cold and hunger, we knock again, calling to the porter and entreating him with many tears to open to us and give us shelter, for the love of God, and if he come out more angry than before, exclaiming, 'These are but importunate rascals, I will deal with them as they deserve'; and taking a knotted stick, he seize us by the hood, throwing us on the ground, rolling us in the snow, and shall beat and wound us with the knots in the stick - if we bear all these injuries with patience and joy, thinking of the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, which we would share out of love for him, write, O Brother Leo, that here, finally, is perfect joy. And now, brother, listen to the conclusion. Above all the graces and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ grants to his friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself, and accepting willingly, out of love for Christ, all suffering, injury, discomfort and contempt; for in all other gifts of God we cannot glory, seeing they proceed not from ourselves but from God, according to the words of the Apostle, 'What hast thou that thou hast not received from God? and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?' But in the cross of tribulation and affliction we may glory, because, as the Apostle says again, 'I will not glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Amen."
~
0 Replies
 
demonhunter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Feb, 2012 08:16 pm
@Doubt doubt,
We are only as free as our decisions let us be.
0 Replies
 
Jerry954878
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 12:32 am
@Doubt doubt,
This question is far to abstract due to the different ideas of what free will is or can be. I believe, in my own mind, that free will is the ability to make a choice solely on a decision you have grafted and not one that someone else has given you. A simple example is weather to speed, or do the speed limit. If I choose to speed, I have freely made the choice to exceed the speed limit based on several factors. We can't take into account any appointment (work, doctor, girlfriend, mistress etc.) due to outside influence. Simply a pleasure drive through town. In this way, yes, I exhibit free will and the freedom to choose to break the traffic law. Disbelief in free will is in and of it self a "free" choice that you have made based off of evidence that you deem worthy of interpretation, so by either the evidences influence or you're freedom to interpret them, you have "chosen" to not belief the idea of Free Will. So I suppose this answers your question based on the "can anyone say that ever their own thoughts has in any way displayed freewill." sentence.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 02:17 am
@Jerry954878,
...You just admited that the pleasure you get conditioned your choice...I suppose you recognize that you did n't chose your genetic propensions to...
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 09:50 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
...i can't believe that i'm commenting in this thread again, i keep swearing to myself that i won't. Hey , Fil, i hope you're doing well. Have we ever agreed on anything?

Fil Albuquerque wrote:

...You just admited that the pleasure you get conditioned your choice...I suppose you recognize that you did n't chose your genetic propensions to...


...And yet, how are one's genetic "propensions" (propensions? really?) distinct from "oneself"? As an aesthetic event, pleasure seems to require both a participant and a melieu. Perhaps this is a key point of contention: i would argue that pleasure and the propensity that causes it belong to the subject of the aesthetic event.

The argument for "free will" is argued, in the main, by the adherents of a conscious "free will", and to the "free will" of consciousness. But what if the majority of "free will"-type tendencies required a sub-conscious, or even un-conscious, element? "Genetics" is just biology's term for history at the reproductive level -- and history is not determinative, physical conditions are. Individuals, one could say uniques, are restrained by physical conditions, but they are not limited to single options. Otherwise, statistics would not exist. Biology need not necessarily exclude the idea of exceptions and independence from former constraints; and the idea of evolution must accept it.

If pleasure conditions a choice, might not the effect of pleasure be "self"-produced? Thus the condition that produces an affect might be "self"-determined.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 08:19 pm
@Razzleg,
Hi Razzleg ! Glad to see u back ! Very Happy
...my position on this issue is no different from common sense upon perpetual motion machines...they donĀ“t exist...on conscious mind I would argue that it is a mirror on all the unconscious and sub conscious conditioning taking place in relation with the background source of stimuli...where else would the will emerge of ? nothingness ?

...again my take is that people must understand that willing is NEEDING...
...now if u ask me to be the devils advocate the good argument against it is the argument against causality at large...although of course it still does not make a case for free will either...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 08:30 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
...the kind of subtle general coherence my philosophical beliefs have cannot distinguish any more creation from creator then it can on the willing of the subject conscious mind as independent from the full conditioning of the unconscious n nature at large...if I were to believe in the separation of the first I would be bounded to believe the same on the second by a matter of simple coherence necessity...of course if we take the compartmentalised approach then we go for the compatiblist perspective...which seams to be your start position...
0 Replies
 
wb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 03:09 am
@Doubt doubt,
Long sceptical of Libet's interpretation (on evidence for freewill after neuro research), Jeff Miller and Judy Trevena of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, attempted to tease apart what prompts the RP using a similar experiment, with a key twist.They also used scalp electrodes, but instead of letting their volunteers decide when to move, Miller and Trevena asked them
to wait for an audio tone before deciding whether to tap a key. If Libet's interpretation were correct, Miller reasoned, the RP should be greater after the tone when a person chose to tap the key.While there was an RP before volunteers made their decision to move, the signal was the same whether or not they elected to tap. Miller concludes that the RP may merely be a sign that the brain is paying attention and does not indicate that a decision has been made.Miller and Trevena also failed to find evidence of subconscious decision-making in a second experiment. This time they asked volunteers to press a key after the tone, but to decide on the spot whether to use their left or right hand. As movement in the right limbs is related to the brain signals in the left hemisphere and vice versa, they reasoned that if an unconscious process is driving this decision, where it occurs in the brain should depend on which hand is chosen. But they found no such correlation.
wb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 03:15 am
@Doubt doubt,
I, personally, believe in free will. This is an empirical fact, which I know on the basis of introspection. Of course, there will be those who dispute my belief, in the sense that they think it is a false belief, but I assume no one will question the mere fact that I have such a belief; I assume, that is, that none will wish to accuse me of lying when I say I believe I have free will. Incidentally, any other example of an individual who believes MFT will do just as well for purposes of my argument.

Given these premises, now, we can deduce the truth of the minimal free-will thesis:

1.
With respect to the free-will issue, we should refrain from believing falsehoods. (premise)

2.
Whatever should be done can be done. (premise)

3.
If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done. (premise)

4.
I believe MFT. (premise)

5.
With respect to the free-will issue, we can refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 1,2)

6.
If determinism is true, then with respect to the free will issue, we refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 3,5)

7.
If determinism is true, then MFT is true. (from 6,4)

8.
MFT is true. (from 7)

The validity of steps 5-8 should be uncontroversial.(3) In step 7, we see that, if determinism is true, then MFT is not a falsehood, since if it were, we would (step 6) refrain from believing it, whereas some in fact believe it (step 4). Thus, we see that determinism is self-refuting, in the sense that, modulo certain true premises, determinism implies its own contradictory (MFT). Any proposition that thus implies its own contradictory is false, so determinism is false, and MFT true.

Despite the unquestionable validity of my proof and its highly plausible premises, in my experience, few people are prepared right away to accept it.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 04:11 am
@wb,
...you are a funny guy ! Smile
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Aug, 2012 09:55 pm
@wb,
wb wrote:

I, personally, believe in free will. This is an empirical fact, which I know on the basis of introspection. Of course, there will be those who dispute my belief, in the sense that they think it is a false belief, but I assume no one will question the mere fact that I have such a belief; I assume, that is, that none will wish to accuse me of lying when I say I believe I have free will. Incidentally, any other example of an individual who believes MFT will do just as well for purposes of my argument.

Given these premises, now, we can deduce the truth of the minimal free-will thesis:

1.
With respect to the free-will issue, we should refrain from believing falsehoods. (premise)

2.
Whatever should be done can be done. (premise)

3.
If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done. (premise)

4.
I believe MFT. (premise)

5.
With respect to the free-will issue, we can refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 1,2)

6.
If determinism is true, then with respect to the free will issue, we refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 3,5)

7.
If determinism is true, then MFT is true. (from 6,4)

8.
MFT is true. (from 7)

The validity of steps 5-8 should be uncontroversial.(3) In step 7, we see that, if determinism is true, then MFT is not a falsehood, since if it were, we would (step 6) refrain from believing it, whereas some in fact believe it (step 4). Thus, we see that determinism is self-refuting, in the sense that, modulo certain true premises, determinism implies its own contradictory (MFT). Any proposition that thus implies its own contradictory is false, so determinism is false, and MFT true.

Despite the unquestionable validity of my proof and its highly plausible premises, in my experience, few people are prepared right away to accept it.

Unless you are Michael Huemer, you should attribute his proof to him.
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 12:27 am
@wb,
wb wrote:

Long sceptical of Libet's interpretation (on evidence for freewill after neuro research), Jeff Miller and Judy Trevena of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, attempted to tease apart what prompts the RP using a similar experiment, with a key twist.They also used scalp electrodes, but instead of letting their volunteers decide when to move, Miller and Trevena asked them
to wait for an audio tone before deciding whether to tap a key. If Libet's interpretation were correct, Miller reasoned, the RP should be greater after the tone when a person chose to tap the key.While there was an RP before volunteers made their decision to move, the signal was the same whether or not they elected to tap. Miller concludes that the RP may merely be a sign that the brain is paying attention and does not indicate that a decision has been made.Miller and Trevena also failed to find evidence of subconscious decision-making in a second experiment. This time they asked volunteers to press a key after the tone, but to decide on the spot whether to use their left or right hand. As movement in the right limbs is related to the brain signals in the left hemisphere and vice versa, they reasoned that if an unconscious process is driving this decision, where it occurs in the brain should depend on which hand is chosen. But they found no such correlation.
So, this too is an unattributed quote. Source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17835-free-will-is-not-an-illusion-after-all.html
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 02:45 am
Civilization itself is the most simpler common proof against the free will simple minded argument, as similarly statistical pools are great evidence of it...there is nothing else needed to be added to those two lines above...
0 Replies
 
Andrew H
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2013 01:58 pm
@Doubt doubt,
I posted this same material in another forum. I assume its OK to copy and paste it here:

Kant argues that free will is possible, given a strong distinction between the "thing in itself" and the world of the phenomenal, that is, the world of "appearances" - I will elaborate.

The argument of the OP appeals, at least implicitly, to the law of cause and effect. More specifically, I assume the writer of the OP would say that any decision I take is "caused" by chemical reactions in my brain, all of which are grounded in the laws of physics, and not in the putative "free will" of any agent. In short, the laws of physics, perhaps combined with random chance, are fully causally sufficient in respect to any action I might take. Fine.

But Kant argues that the law of cause and effect is something our minds "impose" on the data of sense experience that is given to us (Kant also argues that our minds structure the raw data of sense experience in other ways as well). Futhermore, we simply cannot have access to things as they are "in themselves". And one of those things is me. So, Kant would assert (if I understand him) that while our minds necessarily think in terms of cause and effect, and this invariably forces free will out of the picture as the implications are unpacked, the entire "cause-effect" argument only applies to the world as we "see and undertand it" (the realm of "appearance"), and not the world as it is "in itself".

This leaves open the possibility that each of us, as we are in ourselves, can indeed act freely. And, of course, we cannot imagine how that would work precisely because we are "trapped" in the mode of only having access to the world of our "experience", and in that domain, we cannot help but think in terms of cause and effect.

I realize this argument is pretty loose and I can imagine some objections, but there it is. The key point, I think, is that it is at least plausible that the very thing that seems to rule out free will - the unavoidable chain of cause and effect reasoning that results in attributing all our choices to the entirely "will - less" forces of the fundamental laws of nature, may really only apply in the world of "appearances", and not in the "real" world - the world as it truly exists.
Andrew H
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2013 02:02 pm
@Amperage,
Quote:
I personally think it is somewhat difficult to maintain a vision of free will without some sort of espousal of either a soul or dualism or some transcendent self which is not subject to causal determinism.

I think I agree. I believe that, as per my last post and assuming I am representing him properly, Immanual Kant argues essentially the second alternative: "a transcendent self which is not subject to causal determinism".

I see no reason to challenge the plausibility of Kant's position.
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 11:57 pm
@Andrew H,
Andrew H wrote:
In short, the laws of physics, perhaps combined with random chance, are fully causally sufficient in respect to any action I might take. Fine.
It's not "fine" really, is it? It's rather silly. For one thing, we know that it's impossible for any physicist ever to have enough information or computing power to demonstrate this. So it's some kind of statement about the supernatural abilities of a Laplacean demon. For another, consider the different laws of physics that would be used to track different media, for example, smoke, sound waves, electric pulses, etc, but all of these can be used to transmit chess moves. There are many positions in which a player is winning but has only one legal move, so we can use the rules of chess to predict the behaviour of the physical media. In short, the rules of chess, which are arbitrary conventions, allow us to actually do what Laplacean demons can only be fantasised about doing. But I hope no one would seriously contend that this entails that the rules of chess are laws of physics.
 

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