9
   

Trick of the Language?

 
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:45 pm
@Lola,
Lola I absoutey love you
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:47 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
Lola I absoutey love you

I love you too dale. Dare I say that my brain loves you? Or that my brain chooses to love you? Yes, I do.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:51 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
The mechanism whereby we occupy such a special place in It All, however, is a total mystery

Quote:
Yes. It is a mystery here in the western culture. But the mechanism is called ego.
Indeed Cyr the point is swell taken and I've often reflected upon it. Still, man's unique position, the most complex object in The Entire Whole, suggests a sort of importance therein

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And this ego blinds us often, keeping us from seeing that we are the judges and the jury.
Oh indubitably

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…….it is not surprising that this mysterious mechanism would have everything pointing at itself as the most important part……..
Not at all
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:52 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
Clearly (to my own Intuition anyhow) the entire panoply without the humanoid would constitute a hopeless, random, senseless bouncing of particles off one another, culminating in sepoctillions of rapidly cooling objects and particles mutually accelerating away from one another forever

This is what I was referring to.
It is not clear that without the "humanoid" all would be senseless bouncing of particles. This does not correlate with reality observable outside of the 'self' it also does not correlate with mathematical/logical models of reality.
If that is your intuition, I think that your intuition is false.
As to the question of purpose, I was not addressing ethical concerns (at least not directly).
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:53 pm
@Lola,
Quote:
I love you too dale.
I am flattered and reassured

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Dare I say that my brain loves you?
Oh, do Lola

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Or that my brain chooses to love you? Yes, I do.
I wallow in it
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:14 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
This is what I was referring to.
By "this" I'm not sure whether you make reference to what preceded or what follows. Quadrillions of words have been wasted and wars fought over such apparently trivial issue


Quote:
It is not clear that without the "humanoid" all would be senseless bouncing of particles.
Of course not, if you demand instant scientific evidence; it's "merely" an observation of The Intuition (mine anyway)

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This does not correlate with reality observable outside of the 'self'
I disagree. Einstein's relativity was largely intuitional and although it hung together well mathematically it wasn't "proven" til we could make the appropriate measurements

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it also does not correlate with mathematical/logical models of reality.
With the former it's not supposed to. With the latter however I'm not so sure

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If that is your intuition, I think that your intuition is false.
Okay


Quote:
As to the question of purpose, I was not addressing ethical concerns (at least not directly).
Forgive me Matt but your reference to "purpose" as well as "ethical concerns" leave me puzzled. Doubtless if I were to review the entire thread I might guess but yardwork calls
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:28 pm
@dalehileman,
I'm only going to play along with this line by line thing once Wink
dalehileman wrote:

Quote:
This is what I was referring to.
By "this" I'm not sure whether you make reference to what preceded or what follows. Quadrillions of words have been wasted and wars fought over such apparently trivial issue
Reference was to quoted excerpt from the post (your response to me) in the sequence it was presented, chronologically.
Quote:
It is not clear that without the "humanoid" all would be senseless bouncing of particles.
Of course not, if you demand instant scientific evidence; it's "merely" an observation of The Intuition (mine anyway)
We may obviously be in disagreement over what 'intuition' means.

Quote:
This does not correlate with reality observable outside of the 'self'
I disagree. Einstein's relativity was largely intuitional and although it hung together well mathematically it wasn't "proven" til we could make the appropriate measurements
In which case his intuition has apparently been correct.

Quote:
it also does not correlate with mathematical/logical models of reality.
With the former it's not supposed to. With the latter however I'm not so sure
I would be happy to look over any evidence you would like.

Quote:
If that is your intuition, I think that your intuition is false.
Okay
Agreed.

Quote:
As to the question of purpose, I was not addressing ethical concerns (at least not directly).
Forgive me Matt but your reference to "purpose" leaves me puzzled

The following quotation is that which I was referring to by mention of 'purpose' in my preceding (chronologically) post addressed to you.
Quote:
If you have reference to, "The mechanism whereby we occupy such a special place in It All, however, is a total mystery" then you might have misunderstood. I'm not questioning how we got here but why we're so special.


Assume the person referred to as MattDavis intends for his words to be interpreted as those in blue font.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:42 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
I would like to first re-emphasize the difference between influence and control. The data do show a correlation (predictive power) between regions of metabolic activity and behavioral outcomes. Regions of metabolic activity (from which we can infer neurologic processes), however, are not perfectly predictive. There is not a "causal chain". Not a string of neural dominos falling leading to an outcome. Right or left frontopolar cortex to a 'region of parietal cortex stretching from the precuneus into posterior cingulate cortex' on down along a "chain" leading to motor neurons.


The causal chain doesn't really have to be established with great detail in order for free will to be seriously undermined by these findings. The way I see it, the brain predicts the choice before we're even aware of having made it -intention looks less intended from this view. It would be strange to observe such a result and conclude that we could derive freedom from it.

Quote:
The study is comparing 'conscious awareness of a decision' to the earliest measurable predictors of a decision. Even if those predictors are perfectly predictive, that does not account for the decision reached.


Once again, accounting for the decision reached is not part of the remit for undermining the idea that it was freely reached.

Quote:
This is what I was getting at by Harris' work. He conflates awareness with self. If you think that you are your awareness, then yes. There is some evidence that your decisions are made by someone else (some preconscious person). This is an issue of not knowing "who" you are, rather than not knowing "what" you are.


As I said earlier Harris does not argue that awareness is all there is to the self, in fact (rather to the contrary) he says precisely because we often act in lieu of awareness (not knowing prior-causes of our behaviour) we can see that acting freely within those constraints is difficult to imagine. Though if I understand you correctly you are saying that awareness is not all there is to the discussion, and this is Harris' error?

If so I should point out that his primary line of reasoning doesn't come from the Soon et al study and awareness. The philosophical vacuity of free will is more his bag. For example, he suggests as a thought experiment that you should attempt to anticipate what you're going to think next. If you can do this, then you can say you have freedom of thought, and, by association, freedom of will. If you can't, you can't. It should be obvious that this is not-doable, and while I don't know how much validity it really has I do think the experiment alludes to the ghostly nature of freedom; that it cannot be easily found in our minds.

dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:07 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
I'm only going to play along with this line by line thing once
Don't blame you at all

dalehileman wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
This is what I was referring to.

By "this" I'm not sure whether you make reference to what preceded or what follows…...
Quote:
Reference was to quoted excerpt from the post (your response to me) in the sequence it was presented, chronologically.
I suppose you mean in the posting immediately preceding. But I think we should give up on this one because even if that's what you meant I'm still not sure in what regard you make reference to it

Quote:
Quote:
It is not clear that without the "humanoid" all would be senseless bouncing of particles.

Of course not, if you demand instant scientific evidence; it's "merely" an observation of The Intuition (mine anyway)
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We may obviously be in disagreement over what 'intuition' means.
Isn't "...may obviously..." contradictory

Sorry Matt, just couldn't resist

Quote:
Quote:
This does not correlate with reality observable outside of the 'self'

I disagree. Einstein's relativity was largely intuitional…….
Quote:
In which case his intuition has apparently been correct.
Exactly

Quote:
Quote:
it also does not correlate with mathematical/logical models of reality.

With the former it's not supposed to. With the latter however I'm not so sure
Quote:
I would be happy to look over any evidence you would like.
If you encounter 13 septillion objects identical in all respects except for one of them that had a small difference in one of its attributes, Science would retort, "so what," but Intuition would insist we look into it

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Quote:
If that is your intuition, I think that your intuition is false.

Okay
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Agreed.
Well at least on this one issue…….

Quote:
Quote:
As to the question of purpose, I was not addressing ethical concerns (at least not directly).

Forgive me Matt but your reference to "purpose" leaves me puzzled

Quote:
The following quotation is that which I was referring to by mention of 'purpose' in my preceding (chronologically) post addressed to you.

Quote:
"If you have reference to, 'The mechanism whereby we occupy such a special place in It All, however, is a total mystery' then you might have misunderstood. I'm not questioning how we got here but why we're so special."

I presume then your interpretation, and this is only guesswork on my part, is an implication by me that our evolution is purposeful but I can't see any inference of ethical concerns, even implied

Quote:
Assume the person referred to as MattDavis intends for his words to be interpreted as those in blue font.
Yes I had made that assumption though unfortunately color disappears in the edit window

So in conclusion Matt I apologize most profusely if my postings have engendered consternation, they're not meant to. I don't know about other participants but especially in communication with an 82-year-old having admitted to incipient Alz's, your responses have to be more much more explicit

As I mentioned above however, I can understand your apparent confusion and yes, it might be entirely my fault; so if you wish to bypass further tribulation I won't be the least offended if you simple don't respond
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:07 pm
@medium-density,
medium-density wrote:

The causal chain doesn't really have to be established with great detail in order for free will to be seriously undermined by these findings. The way I see it, the brain predicts the choice before we're even aware of having made it -intention looks less intended from this view. It would be strange to observe such a result and conclude that we could derive freedom from it.


This is particularly true for those already inclined to deny categorically the possibility of free will. On what logical basis do you assert that that no causal chain needs to be established to "undermine" the notion of free will? It is clear that the idea was already well indermined in your perception before this dialogue began. However this is no proof of it (you certainly have not offered one) , and , given the powerful human consciousness of free choice, there is indeed a burden on you in this area - at least when you attempt to convince others.

You cannot prove the non existence of free will any more than you can prove a materialistic origin of the universe. Moreover, neither can their alternatives be proven in scientific terms. In the terms you are willing to discuss, both remain open questions.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:14 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
You cannot prove the non existence of free will
Yea, nay, Geo, you'd have to first define it and that's one reason I maintain the issue "merely" one of semantics
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:21 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
On what logical basis do you assert that that no causal chain needs to be established to "undermine" the notion of free will?


It's a fairly basic principle. I am permitted to make criticisms (or appropriate the criticisms others have made) of a flawed idea without necessarily introducing complete evidence for an alternative idea. It's rather like if you asserted that god exists; I am free to attack that assertion without proving that he doesn't.

For my rebuttal to the rest of what you say, see my previous comments: http://able2know.org/topic/208231-10#post-5270621
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:57 pm
@Lola,
Quote:
I think of mind as the way we experience the workings of the brain.


You are not alone in thinking this. But that doesn't change the fact that we have no proof that it is the case. It may seem likely to you, but that means very little. To over half the population of this planet, it seems likely that there is a god, and they cannot picture how else it could be.

Quote:
What you're saying makes no sense to me.


That is understandable. If you see the world from a materialistic world view, this makes little sense. But, if you start to examine the materialistic world view, I think you might find that it is about as consistent and paradox free as the bible.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 04:03 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
Still, man's unique position, the most complex object in The Entire Whole, suggests a sort of importance therein


No. It is man who sees his position and thinks it unique, even though he has no clue about the inner workings of other species. He is oblivious to 99% of the universe, and thinks he's got it figured out. That's just arrogance.
Think about the year 1813. The contemporary man of that age thought that science had pretty much figured it all out. Today we know that most of what they knew was wrong.
Now think about the year 2213. What reason do we have to assume that anything we know today will still be true in 200 years. History tells us that it won't. People are never dumber than when we think we know something...

It is a function of our perception that no matter how insignificant an observer is, he will, because of how humans observe, feel like half the moment.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 06:01 pm
@Cyracuz,
I think you start out with a good point, i.e. we must acknowledge how small we really are and how little we know, but you take it way too far.

Quote:
Think about the year 1813. The contemporary man of that age thought that science had pretty much figured it all out. Today we know that most of what they knew was wrong.
Now think about the year 2213. What reason do we have to assume that anything we know today will still be true in 200 years. History tells us that it won't. People are never dumber than when we think we know something...


Compare 2013 with 1813. Has empiricism not delivered stark changes in the way we live? In the very length and quality of our lives? How are we having this e-discussion? Progress has been made, understanding and knowledge has grown and will continue to grow, be refined, and (yes) be revised too.

There are things that were believed with good reason even before 1813 which are still held today; the fundamentals of Newton's work remain highly relevant and were built upon by Einstein. This is how knowledge works. There's no reason to hysterically assert that in two hundred years everything we know about the world today will be utterly irrelevant.

Contemporary scientists evaluate evidence and use it to compose models of how our reality works, but science is not committed in principle to any one theory about reality- it is only committed to go where the evidence leads us, or to what it permits us to infer. This is a progressive, open-minded perspective that is full of humility, far from the arrogance you seem to see everywhere.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 06:06 pm
@medium-density,
For you is being aware (subjectively) of how you make decisions a requisite for free will?
If so, that seems to imply that your identity is your awareness.
Quote:
Though if I understand you correctly you are saying that awareness is not all there is to the discussion, and this is Harris' error?

Exactly. Very Happy
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 06:30 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
For you is being aware (subjectively) of how you make decisions a requisite for free will?


Well this is interesting since, according to my view, if you're aware of how (or perhaps more accurately why) you made a decision, then you're in touch with the reason and motivation behind the decision, and hence in touch with this unfree sense I keep describing.

Though to argue a little more on your terms I think at a minimum one would need awareness around the decision in order to truly author it.

Quote:
If so that seems to imply your identity is your awareness.


It seems to me this is more a contingency that your side would have to maintain, since my view allows for the unconscious which is undoubtedly a significant component of identity and exists beneath awareness.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 06:43 pm
@medium-density,
Quote:
The philosophical vacuity of free will is more his bag. For example, he suggests as a thought experiment that you should attempt to anticipate what you're going to think next. If you can do this, then you can say you have freedom of thought, and, by association, freedom of will. If you can't, you can't. It should be obvious that this is not-doable, and while I don't know how much validity it really has I do think the experiment alludes to the ghostly nature of freedom; that it cannot be easily found in our minds.
Attempt to anticipate what you will think next?
That is impossible on the face of it.
You are asking mental processes to run faster (than they already run). How could any system hold within itself a complete and accurate representation of itself (in real time). The "self" reference label must always be just an approximation of the entirety that is Self(system). To expect otherwise would be to expect greater information capacity than the information capacity within a system. Even if the entirety of mental processes were devoted to self recognition/representation, you can't expect a Self(system) to be bigger (informationally) than itself.

This doesn't really point out an issue with "free will" this points out an issue of self-identity. Harris is conflating objective free-will with subjective free-will. There is objective evidence of "free wills" in emergent neural networks. If we call these systems "agents" then there are multiple free-willed agents interacting in decision making. This is more an issue of coming to grips with the "schizophrenic" nature of cognition than a lack of "free-will".
However, there is not a clear division between any of these agents. The agents extend into one another and interact in non-hierarchical influencing (not controlling) ways.
To speak of the totality of cognition really should be thought of as a super-agent or meta-agent, regardless of how well awareness does or does not represent this Self(system).
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 07:28 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
Attempt to anticipate what you will think next?
That is impossible on the face of it.


Indeed, but take the analogy further. Anticipate what you will do next. You should find this is no more within the scope of a freely exercised will than your next thought is. There may be one or more very likely things you will do next. Perhaps you prearranged a dinner with a friend. Doing that would smack of obligation and obedience to social norms. Leave aside all prearranged and planned activities. Imagine your evening is totally empty of commitments. You'll find yourself assailed by one desire or another, but you cannot say ahead of time which it will be. At some point it will simply occur to you that X is what you want to do with your time; it arises with no more conscious direction than the average random thought. This is the sense in which the thought experiment speaks to the free will issue.

Quote:
There is objective evidence of "free wills" in emergent neural networks. If we call these systems "agents" then there are multiple free-willed agents interacting in decision making. This is more an issue of coming to grips with the "schizophrenic" nature of cognition than a lack of "free-will".
However, there is not a clear division between any of these agents. The agents extend into one another and interact in non-hierarchical influencing (not controlling) ways.


I still need help with where exactly the free will of these agents comes from. It looks to me like they run on organising principles, like rules, which compute inputs into outputs. Seems quite mechanical. Assume (correctly) that I am a total layperson with respect to neural networks. Tell me how they act freely, and what that means for our freedom of will as you see it.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 07:53 pm
@medium-density,
Computation is almost surely a poor analogy for cognition (at this level).
Computation in the sense of, what the computer you are using does, is a Turing machine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_machine

Turing machines are deterministic in the sense of hard determinism which we elaborated on earlier.
Inputs lead necessarily to specific output.
Software and hardware.
Signals (information) follow specific inalterable paths. Circuits.
Turing machines are contrived to hedge by brute force the forces of randomness/choas/emergence which creep in to haunt/bless the rest of material existence.
Neural networks do not have a distinction between signal and substrate, we might just as accurately say signal and epistrate. Each interacts with the other. Neither controls or causes the other. Mechanistic thinking breaks down when looking at systems. The signal vs. sub(epi)strate is just one of the false dichotomies, which were assumed in the mechanist model.
 

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