9
   

Trick of the Language?

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 03:26 am
@MattDavis,
I can certainly commune with Heiddeger's
Quote:
Language speaks the man
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 03:28 am
@MattDavis,
...but it would probably require the elimination of self-referencing which might have the adverse consequence of eliminating consciousness.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 03:31 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

I can certainly commune with Heiddeger's
Quote:
Language speaks the man


Obviously I can't interpret the full "meaning" of that out of context. Laughing
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 01:39 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
I don't think the intention was to equate (sanity/insanity) with (free will/determined) in general.
Again Matt returning to the hope for ordinary language expressed in short, everyday sentences, the confusion all-around has made further communication almost impossible

In the first place I don't think it was Fresco's intention to equate but I think instead to accuse me of so equating

Quote:
The logic being used in such a court is that, if someone is insane they therefore had no free will and thus were incapable of intending the act (or consequences of the act) in question.
Thanks Matt for that clarification but I can't clearly see how it relates to the "equation" in which I have supposedly related it to "free will/determinism", whatever one interprets that to entail
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 02:09 pm
@dalehileman,
Dale wrote:
Thanks Matt for that clarification but I can't clearly see how it relates to the "equation" in which I have supposedly related it to "free will/determinism", whatever one interprets that to entail

You're welcome.
Sorry if I wasn't fully successful in that clarification, though.
My impression is that fresco ultimately wants to show you that the subject of "whether there is free will" is not a petty subject.
My impression is that fresco did not mean to accuse you of some such "equation".

I think this is the part that has lead to the confusion:
fresco wrote:
.... in those contexts where you think sanity/insanity is a meaningful semantic distinction equivalent to free will/determined, then the phrase "merely semantic" is inappropriate.

I think you have taken the highlighted "you" to mean you, DaleHileman. The "you" is meant to refer to a hypothetical person "in those contexts". Or to put it another way he might have just rephrased the the statement as:
hypothetical fresco wrote:
...in those contexts where one thinks sanity/insanity.....

Which if he had would, probably have been less confusing.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 02:09 pm
@medium-density,
Forgive me Med but looking back I didn't respond to your posting #….324 but meantime somehow got caught up perhaps somewhat OT with Fres and Matt

Quote:
Re: dalehileman (Post 5252303)
Yes well…... I believe the universe is deterministic……...admit to not being able to live my life in the full flight of the intellectual freedom such a position allows one…..
Forgive me once again Med, but that sounds contradictory

Quote:
I have never seen an argument which would convince me that free will is possible,
Neither have I. The very observation that the more carefully you conduct an experiment, the more likely a given outcome, strongly endorses the notion of determinism

Some say, "The Physical Universe is determined but Man has been granted freewill." However, this contention violates the principle that nothing is entirely anything while….etc, posing the q whether the mentally retarded possess it and if so, whether also the apes, etc

Quote:
and I accept determinism (which in a way is only the law of cause and effect; we are caused beings)
Well put, we're slaves of C&A

Quote:
…..even in human concerns no matter how gloomy...I'm a pessimist….
Then you might consider my contention that your position relies on unjustified semantic assumptions (which I'd describe if I could but simply don't possess the required semantic tools). Might be difficult to accept but what if it made you happier and more optimistic
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 02:22 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
Sorry if I wasn't fully successful in that clarification, though.
No apology required

Quote:
My impression is that fresco ultimately wants to show you that the subject of "whether there is free will" is not a petty subject.
Aha! Surely it isn't, judging from all the turmoil

Quote:
My impression is that fresco did not mean to accuse you of some such "equation".

Quote:
I think this is the part that has lead to the confusion:
Quote:
.... where you think sanity/insanity is a meaningful semantic distinction the phrase "merely semantic" is inappropriate.
Yes it has

Quote:
I think you have taken the highlighted "you" to mean you DaleHileman.
Yes that's me

Quote:
The "you" is meant to refer to a hypothetical person…...he might have just rephrased…...:
Quote:
...in those contexts where one thinks sanity/insanity.....
Which if he had would probably have left you as being less confused.
Surely thank you Matt for your heroic efforts. But who is this "one", and exactly what is the noted equivalence

Do you mean that what he's asserting by means of all that circumlocution is merely that I shouldn't use the term "merely"
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2013 02:30 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
Do you mean that what he's asserting by means of all that circumlocution is merely that I shouldn't use the term "merely"

YES!
But I think the "why" of it is important to him.
And I do agree the "why" is important.
Quote:
But who is this "one", and exactly what is the noted equivalence
The equivalence thing can be disregarded.
The point of all that was to describe the importance of a "free will" debate.
So if you understand that court room example that I rephrased,
then I think you understand the point fresco was trying to make.
medium-density
 
  3  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 04:20 pm
@dalehileman,
You've no obligation to reply specifically to me, though I'm glad you did. And I think it's right that I steer clear of the already circuitous threeway between you and Matt and fresco. I believe you'll thank me for not muddying that picture further.

Quote:
Quote:
Re: dalehileman (Post 5252303)
Yes well…... I believe the universe is deterministic……...admit to not being able to live my life in the full flight of the intellectual freedom such a position allows one…..
Forgive me once again Med, but that sounds contradictory


Let me attempt to leave no room for misinterpretation (famous last words). If you mean that I'm being contradictory because although I believe determinism is true I can't live my life by it then I say to you that that was the very point I was trying to make. And, if you mean that by using the word "freedom" in the above statement I am making an error then I should explain what I mean by freedom a little further (and this opens up another tricky area of language).

I consider it intellectually freeing to realise that people are caused. Particularly in antagonistic scenarios -rather than blindly hating anther person for their position, or bristling with ill comprehension of their stubborn refusal to see (what I regard as) sense, I simply remember that they are not me, don't have my experiences and that, in all likelihood, the gulf between our experiences forecloses any chance at mutual understanding. This realisation frees one from the torment of "why". Or, at least some of that torment.

I recognise it is deeply ironic to say that accepting determinism can be freeing, but that's part of what makes irony so delicious isn't it?

Quote:
Some say, "The Physical Universe is determined but Man has been granted freewill." However, this contention violates the principle that nothing is entirely anything while….etc, posing the q whether the mentally retarded possess it and if so, whether also the apes, etc


Don't really follow what you're saying on the bolded part of this. Though quotes like that about determinism applying to everything in the universe except humans fall prey to obvious cries of "solipsism" and "magical thinking" -there's no reason at all to imagine that humans are exempt from any universal laws. Unless you are a human of course, then it is totally natural to imagine this. Still nowhere near to making it true however. (Of course you know this.)

Quote:
...you might consider my contention that your position relies on unjustified semantic assumptions (which I'd describe if I could but simply don't possess the required semantic tools). Might be difficult to accept but what if it made you happier and more optimistic


I'm afraid I've totally failed to gather in what you've said about unjustified semantic assumptions. You sure you can't elaborate even a little? Just try repeating yourself with a slightly different phrasing, or something. Also, I believe I see a contradiction here on your part. Aren't you saying that you don't believe in free will either? Yet you're recommending that I retrench my position on it in order to be happier/optimistic? Feel I must have missed something here.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 05:01 pm
@medium-density,
Quote:
If you mean that I'm being contradictory because although I believe determinism is true I can't live my life by it….
No, not what I mean.
By
Quote:
…...the intellectual freedom such a position allows one…..
….you seems to imply that determinism confers intellectual freedom

Quote:
…….the gulf between our experiences forecloses any chance at mutual understanding. This realisation frees one from the torment of "why"……..deeply ironic to say that accepting determinism can be freeing, but that's part of what makes irony so delicious isn't it?
Yes now I sort of understand. If the entire panoply is set out in advance and there's nothing you can do to change it, then you can more easily relax. This puts me in mind of the position I had described of my other deterministic buddy who said that knowing this, he could just kind of sit back and enjoy he experience

Quote:
Some say, "The Physical Universe is determined but Man has been granted freewill." However, this contention violates the principle that nothing is entirely anything while….etc, posing the q whether the mentally retarded possess it and if so, whether also the apes, etc


Quote:
Don't really follow what you're saying on the bolded part of this.
The principle that nothing is entirely anything while everything is partly something else denies us that dividing line

Quote:
Though quotes like that about determinism applying to everything in the universe except humans fall prey to obvious cries of "solipsism" and "magical thinking"
Indubitably

Quote:
-there's no reason at all to imagine that humans are exempt from any universal laws. Unless you are a human of course
Well put Med, you've made my day--the rest of it anyhow

Quote:
……. Still nowhere near to making it true however.(Of course you know this.)
Of course

Quote:
... my contention that your position relies on unjustified semantic assumptions…..difficult to accept but what if it made you happier and more optimistic

Quote:
I'm afraid I've totally failed to gather in what you've said about unjustified semantic assumptions.
Yes no, apologies; I wasn't clear. What I meant was that the whole idea of determinism might be based on such

Quote:
Also, I believe I see a contradiction here on your part. Aren't you saying that you don't believe in free will either?
No

Quote:
Yet you're recommending that I retrench my position on it in order to be happier/optimistic?
Yes

Quote:
Feel I must have missed something here.
Only my contention that the freewiller is likely to be happier. If that's not your case, then I will understand
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 05:13 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
So if you understand that court room example that I rephrased, then I think you understand the point fresco was trying to make.
Thank you most kindly Matt for your interest in my confusion, but it was precisely the "equivalence" thing that had me going

I take it all too literally
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 05:59 pm
Many entirely deterministic process in nature are known to be unpredictable. The weather is an example. Our inability to predict the next occurrence of the El Ninho and other periodic ocean currents is another. The trajectories of planets and asteroids are yet another. (All are subject to chaos or sensitive dependence on initial conditions). Very likely the operation of the complex neuron network in the human brain is another.

Most processes in nature are irreversible, in that it is not possible to return both the system and its environment back to their original state. That's what entropy and the Second Law of thermodynamics are all about, and that relates to the philosophical concept of "the arrow of time".

What is meant by "free will"? I assume it means that humans can perceive the consciousness of free choice, or at least to alter (if they wish) a choice to which they are otherwise already inclined. It seems to me that on this basis there is no contradiction between free will and an otherwise deterministic physical universe.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 06:27 pm
@georgeob1,
Hi, George.

May I make two comments, please?

(1)When you say that these things are "unpredictable", aren't you really saying that "our complex neuron network in the human brain" is not equipped to understand the phenomena and therefore unable to predict the processes? I, for one, do not believe that we are creatures so superior that we can understanding everything about the physical world. It's like trying to teach a dog or a cat to read. Not only is the feat of reading beyond them; they cannot understand what it is that you're trying to teach them, the very concept of "reading." I believe there are things that the human brain not only cannot comprehend but has no understanding of what it is that it's not comprehending.

(2) I think we have to be very careful in the use of expressions such as "free will." Free will is more than just "freedom of choice." Sure, I can make choices, e.g. whether to wear the blue shirt or the white shirt with the suit I'm wearing today and some people might say that this shows I have free will to opt for one or the other or a third choice or none. Not so. My choice will be driven by a whole setof factors, e.g. cultural values, my own taste in sartorial matters, even my DNA helix. We think we have a free hand in making a choice; in fact, we do not. Our choices are made on the basis of such factors as I just mentioned. Free will is an illusion.

I don't think that anything I've said necessarily contradicts anything in your post. But I needed to get it straight in my own mind. Posting it sometimes helps.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 06:43 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Many entirely deterministic process in nature are known to be unpredictable.
That's because the number of operative factors is so huge. But in the lab experiment the fewer such factors and the more carefully they can be controlled, the more likely uniform results. Unpredictable doesn't mean not predestined. But even if predestination is disproven, freewill isn't a necessary conclusion

Quote:
Most processes in nature are irreversible, in that it is not possible to return both the system and its environment back to their original state…….
Okay but how does this impinge on the issue at hand

Quote:
What is meant by "free will"?
Geo that's really a good q and the crux of the matter. The difficulty defining it suggest a semantic block

Quote:
I assume it means that humans can perceive the consciousness of free choice, …….
It's surely a feeling most of us entertain, we almost have to, but it's largely illusory. Actually we are slaves of cause and effect

Quote:
or at least to alter (if they wish) a choice to which they are otherwise already inclined.
As with the weather, a large number of factors are operating until the very last instant at which choice is made (see OP). The determinist insists all of these factors are mechanical in nature, thus inevitable

Quote:
It seems to me that on this basis there is no contradiction between free will and an otherwise deterministic physical universe.
If you're saying the human has freewill but that the rest of the Universe is determined, that's a violation of the general principle that nothing is entirely anything while everything is partly something else

My feeling, and it's just Intuition, is that the apparent impasse, as I believe I might have mentioned in a posting or two above, owes merely to as yet uncharted semantic considerations. But how

Don't ask me

dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 06:48 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
I don't think that anything I've said necessarily contradicts anything in your post.
I think Andy that it does. It looks to me like Geo is defending freewill
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 07:34 pm
@dalehileman,
dalehileman wrote:

Quote:
Many entirely deterministic process in nature are known to be unpredictable.
That's because the number of operative factors is so huge. But in the lab experiment the fewer such factors and the more carefully they can be controlled, the more likely uniform results. Unpredictable doesn't mean not predestined. But even if predestination is disproven, freewill isn't a necessary conclusion.


That's not true. Chaos is not a consequence of the number of variables in the problem or process, but rather of the non-linearity (in the mathematical sense) of the laws governing the process itself. In the case of the dynamics of a moving object any process in which the forces acting on the body are dependent on its speed (i.e. friction) is potentially subject to chaos, which precisely means high sensitivity to initial conditions. That means a small deviation (or inaccuracy) in stating the initial conditions (location, mass, speed, acceleration) will under certain conditions lead inevitably to unbounded and unpredictable errors in any forecast of its future position or movement. Such Chaos exists both in real physical systems and in the mathematical equations used to represent them.

Something as simple as a double or triple pendulum is subject to chaos, as can easily be demonstrated in a laboratory (if the friction forces are high enough). The flow of water through a clear pipe can be observed to suddently become chaotic above a certain speed determined by the pipe diameter and the viscosity of the fluid in it.

You need to think harder about these things.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 07:47 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Andy, Very good questions.

I said we may find that the operation of the neural networks in our brains is subject to chaos (and therefore unpredictable in any computer simulation no matter how capable or fast the computer). In fact we aren't anywhere near being able to model our brain activity, though great progress is being made in understanding both what various parts of the brain do and in clinical understanting of some of the results. Unfortunately all of our data so far involves measurable statistical differences, as opposed to individual behaviors, which resist even association, much less reliable prediction.

However, it is noteworthy that what we do know about neural networks and the way the brain develops in response to stimulus suggests that it is very likely to be subject to the same chaos as that which continues to befuddle meteorologists, fluid mechanics, the future movements of ocean currents, astronomers working to predict the movement of asteroids and a host of other real physical problems.

With respect to the second question of free will, it is interesting to note that Calvin reasoned that since god created and knows everything, we can not possibly have free will and are therefore not responsible for what we do (Calvin had some trouble with that necessary conclusion, but he pressed on anyway). My belief is that the concept of free will is necessarily subjective, and doesn't require that no being of any conceivable kind cannot possibly know what we wiull (or likely will) do in any circumstance. It is sufficient (in my mind at least) that we may be able to act against our reasonable best interests or even contrary to patterns we have followed before, and be conscious of these acts.

Another interesting feature of chaotic systems (both physical and mathematical) is that, though their medium and long term behavior remains in detail entirely unpredictable, their average or gross behavior is usually steady or periodic and reliably predictable. El Ninho keeps coming back at intervals of 11 to 21 years, century after century. Almanacs have been pretty good at forecasting the average weather for centuries. Aerodymanicists have been able to design reliable high speed aircraft and predict their drag relaibly, despite the turbulence (chaotic flow) near the surface. Chaos and observable trends can coexist. I have long believed there is a greater truth in all this.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 09:25 pm
@medium-density,
If it is something you might find value in?

In this post I delve a bit into some apparently very non-deterministic effects of determinism.
If the free-will/determinism reconciliation is something you might find value in (whether that value is purely intellectual, or it is in "setting your mind at ease"),
I think it might interest you.

http://able2know.org/topic/207906-17#post-5254435
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2013 09:39 pm
@georgeob1,
I agree, the notion of free-will is compatible within either a deterministic or a non-deterministic universe. The unanswered question is if free-will is a notion compatible with psychological understanding. Or maybe a better unanswered question is if free-will is compatible with consciousness as understood from the perspective of psychology.

Perhaps consider what postulating Question ,
[That consciousness requires a notion of free-will, ]
and seeing where it leads to in creating a psychological model to understand consciousness.
We might then test such a model against experimentation.
medium-density
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:45 am
@georgeob1,
I actually think we may dispense with considerations of chaos and the random behaviour of complex phenomena when looking at the question of free will in humans. The universe (and things inside it, like us) may not be deterministic because you can point to the vagaries of quantum physics, but I don't think randomness and chaos is equivalent to freedom.

Free will presumes an awful lot more than that. It's been called the ghost in the machine, and that's rather the view I take of it. Lustig Andrei talked about experiences and genes being two prior causes of behaviour, and I see no room for a third contingency. Since we don't control either our experiences or our genes, since we don't choose who we are, I think we can exclude the notion of free will on this basis. For me the most illuminating formulation of this contention was put by Schopenhauer: "One can do what one wants, but one cannot choose what one wants."

I also want to argue that positing free will is like positing an uncaused event. There are antecedents to everything. Our choices are totally constrained by their assumed consequences or by the whims of our individual character -neither of which we intend or author. If the word determinism is a little vexatious, then let me instead repeat and emphasise this as my view: we are caused beings.
 

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