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Trick of the Language?

 
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:50 am
@medium-density,
Causality.
Yep, that is a central concept.
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:13 am
@MattDavis,
Hi thanks for the link. Though, to be honest, determinism is not something I've looked at with any seriousness beyond adopting it as an opposite of free will. See the post above where I more or less dispose of its usefulness in this argument (for me- more educated types may find a use for it here).

As for your questions about psychological understanding and free will, I think there are two answers depending on what exactly you are asking.

Firstly we should admit that the impression we have of being authors of our experiences, responsible for our actions, worthy of credit, justifiably blamed etc is an unshakeable one. We almost certainly need free will to operate in the world. Realising that there's no free will actually doesn't help me live a life outside that illusion; I still feel like blaming people for their mistakes and taking credit for things I say and do.

Secondly, we must recognise that there are good psychological reasons to doubt the true existence of free will. Experiments have shown that banal choice-behaviours like choosing which button to press can be predicted in the brain a few seconds before a participant is consciously aware of having made that choice. Genes and experience are the only two determinants of behavioural choices which are looked at by social psychologists, neither of which leave room for freedom of will.

Perhaps neither of these answer the question you asked?

What I'm saying is that free will is a psychologically necessary illusion. Somewhat like god, only more persuasive.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:25 am
@medium-density,
Quote:
Firstly we should admit that the impression we have of being authors of our experiences, responsible for our actions, worthy of credit, justifiably blamed etc is an unshakeable one. We almost certainly need free will to operate in the world. Realising that there's no free will actually doesn't help me live a life outside that illusion; I still feel like blaming people for their mistakes and taking credit for things I say and do.

I am sorry if you construed what I was offering as a refutation of free will.
It is in fact, quite the opposite.
The point I was meaning to make is that, there may, in fact, be such a thing as free will that is NOT merely a psychological illusion.
And this WITHIN a deterministic reality.
What I wanted to impress upon you is that, it is not at all unreasonable to think that you are in a deterministic universe and to think that such a thing as free will exists.
As in exists for "real" in physical reality, not just an illusion.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:32 am
@MattDavis,
Oh, I am even more confused about what you are saying now. I thought you were asking about free will's relationship to human psychology...

Quote:
The point I was meaning to make, is that there may, in fact, be such a thing as free will that is NOT merely a psychological illusion. And this WITHIN a deterministic reality.


If you want to further that point I think you'll have to elaborate a little further.

We'd agree that free will, if it has any meaning at all, is a phrase exclusively related to consciousness? E.g. it is meaningless to ascribe free will to rocks and rubble. Or are you using a broader definition of that phrase?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:48 am
@medium-density,
To re-iterate the Wittgenstein point, the term "existence of" tends to be philosophically vacuous. Philosophers of language have pointed out that the meaning of words like "determinism" cannot stand in their own right but are related to the specific context in which they are used and the covert linguistic dichotomies which define the boundaries of that context ( i.e. "what determinism is not in this case").

Just to illustrate this point by a side issue, it is vacuous to question "the existence God" in the context of a meeting of clerics. Similarly it is vacuous to question "the existence of free will" in a court room, except as a mitigating circumstance which assumes temporary loss of it, which therefore reifies "its existence".

So semantics is contextual, and that context is social because language is socially acquired. But what happens in philosophy seminars/threads is that the normal context is suspended and unanchored words tend to float around seeking casual relationships (what Wittgenstein called "language on holiday")
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:01 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:
But what happens in philosophy seminars/threads is that the normal context is suspended and unanchored words tend to float around seeking casual relationships (what Wittgenstein called "language on holiday")
It makes me chuckle when I imagine someone holding this view and then being tasked to use the value of words that are correspondent to an agreement reached between parties in this context (you know talking to the rest of us earthlings).
It must be so hard looking down from the heights of your ladder.
I only jest.
Just been reading up on your hobby horse Wittgenstein.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:03 am
@MattDavis,
I trust in the social agreement regarding meaning, reading his Wikipedia page will be sufficient. Laughing
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:28 am
@fresco,
Thanks for the reiteration, I think I understand the point(s) you were/are making now.

Context is everything, yes. So what is wrong with stating that free will exists in the context of human interactions, but not in the context of physical reality?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:45 am
@medium-density,
...you can if you take the view that "reality" is independent of observers (aka "naive realism"). That view has been disputed. Kuhn (in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions") for example argues, that all scientific views of physical reality are subject to paradigmatic (social/contextual/methodological) shifts. And one such shift has been the QM move away from micr0-determinism to probability functions which "collapse" as a consequence of "observation".
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:48 am
@medium-density,
The premise at the link can be viewed as something along the lines of what I gather to be your idea of causality. Which I referred to as strict determinism.

No. I mean in the sense of free will being a property that rocks would NOT possess.

Free will would be a property exclusive to something like 'consciousness'.
A property of a behavior of some kinds of systems. Emergent systems.

Leaving 2 scenarios:
1. The psychological sense of "free will" could be a reflection of this property. In which case "you" should feel obligated to take credit or blame for action, and feel justified in doing so. Very Happy

2. The psychological sense of "free will" is an illusion.
The point being even if,
what you think of as you
isn't doing the doing.
(then someone else is) Embarrassed .

That second one sounds scary, but it really equivocates to
"You don't know who you are.
You think you do, but you don't."
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 04:01 am
@MattDavis,
That dilemma could be phrased another way.
Do you think God is all the things within such a system that "do the doing"?
Or do you think that there are "living things" within the system?
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:01 pm
@fresco,
What you're saying now seems to reduce down to George Berkeley's assertion that trees only exist as long as there are people to perceive them. While certainly as long as science is practised by humans it will have to suffer from unstringent human phenomena like prevailing social systems and narratives, I don't think this fact means that physical reality does not exist beyond our senses. Or (in your phrasing) that reality is not independent of observers.

Do we not know that the universe is older than us? And therefore must be independent of us? This seems a basic and inevitable point. I think the problems implied by naive realism do mean that acquisition of finely accurate truths is enormously difficult, but not impossible.

In the meantime, why don't we discuss to what extent it is true (or untrue) that free will is a psychological illusion within these constraints?
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:15 pm
@medium-density,
this what prove that truth cant b but superiority

if the thing is itself so one then as god assume, then it is very easy to force it to become in opposite sense real mean of bein itself, which would b the source of powerful ownerships on existence creations, but if the thing is owned then there is no thing never, and if there is no thing then ownership is stupid pursuit

so here where some would say, yes there is nothing and goes inventin for centuries blablablabla specualtions to sell and cash

here also where others would say, this is it the thing must b freed, opposites is obvious end and a kind of balance between right and wrong should b forced or achieved, this is certainly what is called consciousness
and happy they go also blablablala all their life

so the thing is what noone wants to recognize it really, otherwise they would have to admit being free of the thing so else always exist as superior thing

while by recognizin else superior existence, free sense realized its own superiority proven real, that is how through superiority u realize about else or u, u when u reach to realize an objective self regardin around as most relative superiority for being cosntant there, so through the realisation of superior existence free will appear the present living identity that could lead to the truth of relative superiority being absolutely existing as a thing constantly itself life
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:28 pm
@medium-density,
Alas I have argued the case so many times and little inclination to repeat myself. So a few short statements which capture the essence....
1. From the non-dualistic perspective "things" require "thingers".
2. From comparative physiology, thingers differ and will segment "reality" accordingly. (Example reference: Frogs for whom "dead flies" cannot be perceived...for frogs they do not "exist"...and we are just another type of frog).
3. The case for an "unperceived universe prior to observers" is ultimately a fiction, because (a) that "universe" is being observed in the mind's eye of the proposer and (b) "time" is a psychological construct so removal of an observer renders the word "prior" meaningless.

Now none of this affects the daily modus operandi of prediction and control humans are addicted to. in which "things" are seen to have independent status from us. But on close analysis physical "thing-hood" is always temporary ( as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics) and psychological "permanence" is a function of the abstract permanence of words used in the observation/control process together with a repeated range of functional physical requirements specific to that process.

In short "existence" is always relative, never absolute.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:38 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:
That's not true.
Forgive me Geo but there are 5 statements above. Which one one or ones isn't true

Quote:
Chaos is not a consequence of the number of variables in the problem or process,……..
Yet Intuition seems to insist the more factors operating to outcome, the more difficult to predict

Quote:
In the case of the dynamics of a moving object…….is potentially subject to chaos…... initial conditions.
Of course, even I understand that (for the most part)

Quote:
That means a small deviation…in…..initial conditions…….will.lead inevitably to…..unpredictable errors in any forecast……..
Isn't that another way of saying what you said above. In any case yes it sure seems that way. If what you're asserting is that small changes in the initial conditions cause big changes in outcome; everybody knows that, it's obvious. But so far, no impact nor connection to what many of us call determinism

Quote:
Such Chaos exists both in real physical systems and in the mathematical equations used to represent them.
Okay Geo I'm still with you…...

Quote:
Something as simple as a double or triple pendulum is subject to chaos…….The flow of water…...chaotic above a certain speed…….
Yes, yes Geo, so far it seems I'm following all this okay; in other words there's chaos everywhere


Quote:
You need to think harder about these things.
No matter how hard your Average Clod (me) thinks, he might miss the point in the presence of a superior mind (yours). Again forgive me Geo, it's possible I'm grossly misunderstanding or misinterpreting something you've said but still I can't see what chaos has to do with determinism
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:44 pm
@medium-density,
Quote:
but I don't think randomness and chaos is equivalent to freedom.
Oops yes Med, exactly what I wrote a few minutes ago in a subsequent posting, seems patently obvious

Quote:
….my view: we are caused beings.
We are victims of C&E

Edited to add, Med, that #…..551 was really well-put; don't think there's much more can be said
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 11:27 pm
@medium-density,
medium-density wrote:

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.


Do you then believe the universe had an intelligent, knowing creator, who brought it into existence ? If not what is the ultimate cause of our existence?

The big bang model and the standard theory don't precisely make any assertion about the origin of the cosmos, though many take it that way, and assume the cosmos is either an uncaused event or perhaps but one iteration in an infinity of creation and destruction events. The mathematical definition of a singularity is something about which one can say nothing - entirely unknown.

You haven't yet defined free will, but you suggest my implied definition is inadequate. What then is yours?

What is the test of the existence or non existence of free will? How can we know if'when it is operating, ... or not? I believe that if no free will exists then there must be some physical agent for the choices we believe we make. Such an agent should, in principle, be deterministic. Even so, as I pointed out, complex deterministic systems are usually subject to chaos. How could one objectively distinguish independent autonomy in such a system from chaos??

I do believe we have a free will, but that we are also highly conditioned by our genes upbringing and experiences, which observably do indeed make many elements of group average behavior fairly predictable. Most fat people remain fat, but some do indeed overcome their powerful conditioning. However, I don't think it is possible to prove it or distinguish between chaos and real autonomy (even if it is only occasional) on anf objective observational basis.
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:52 am
@medium-density,
Slight amendment
3. The case for an "unperceived universe prior to observers" is ultimately a functional attempt at reconstruction for current purposes.
0 Replies
 
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 01:41 am
Funny idea, freewill. It's as if we think we are free to be anyone other than ourselves at this moment, in this place. Our inherited predispositions, our DNA, our brains, the weather, whether Charlie came over tonight like he said he would or he didn't, all make up who we are.

But I still think that there is sometimes more than one avenue, several Ys in the road, and we do actually choose which one to take. Why not?
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 01:48 am
@fresco,
Quote:
3. The case for an "unperceived universe prior to observers" is ultimately a fiction, because (a) that "universe" is being observed in the mind's eye of the proposer and (b) "time" is a psychological construct so removal of an observer renders the word "prior" meaningless.


This feels like too easy a point to make... I don't know if it follows that just because something exists in the mind of a human it means that this mind-bound existence is the ultimate limit of that phenomenon. I mean, haven't we built a world on the back of hard-won truths in science? Do we not fly? Am I not communicating with people in different countries and continents at superfast speed? Obviously this all could merely be figments of our collective imagination, and I understand that you're likely only arguing this in principle, but still I feel compelled to reject this philosophy. Do physics and mathematics not allow us a glimpse outside our evolved human mindsets? You would argue not because they ultimately are produced and executed in the minds of humans -although you would word this more obscurely (I joke Smile ).

I hope you won't mind my commenting that it's hard to contemplate your motivation for coming into a discussion to say that the existence of things is not possible to talk about. You could have chosen any discussion for such an assertion it seems to me. Why this one?

It's another (huge) discussion entirely.
 

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