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Author Topic: Free Will
Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
White drawing discrimination lesson, in brief:

Someone makes a drawing in the same shade of white as the paper. The drawing exists, but it can't be perceived visually because there is no visual way to discriminate the drawing from the background.

It can still be perceived, of course, but you need to choose a method that allows you to discriminate it from the surroundings.

Thanks.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
the last I was aware there were several theoretically intractable obstacles
Like...?

----------

Squicky, are you going to argue that it's impossible for science to discern whether someone's drawn a white line on a white piece of paper?

Because your particular assertion -- that your hypothetical thingy cannot be perceived by any application of science -- is, I submit, in another category altogether. If something can't be reliably perceived by anything, or even produce effects which themselves can be perceived, it can be confidently said to not exist.

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Tresopax
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impossible to perceive by science != impossible to perceive by anything
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TomDavidson
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Not true. When someone feels disquiet, that can be scientifically analyzed. It can even, to some extent, be scientifically verified. If something is perceptible, it is perceived in a manner that is scientifically valid.

The issue is one of analysis, and ultimately analysis requires interaction with the illusion of "self;" the analysis, in other words, does not need to reflect the physical world and does not necessarily add any useful validity to the actual sensory perception itself.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Squicky, are you going to argue that it's impossible for science to discern whether someone's drawn a white line on a white piece of paper?
No, besides being directly contradicted by what I said, that would be absurd.

You miss the point. Something existing isn't enough to render it perceivable. I brought up this classic example to show that it must also be discriminable.

quote:
If something can't be reliably perceived by anything, or even produce effects which themselves can be perceived, it can be confidently said to not exist.
But that's silly. We've drawn out the very different worlds that we would live in if we had free will or not in this very thread.

Also, many of this entity's putative effects can be perceived, just not objectively.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Not true. When someone feels disquiet, that can be scientifically analyzed. It can even, to some extent, be scientifically verified. If something is perceptible, it is perceived in a manner that is scientifically valid.
There relies on an assumption of a materialistic universe that I'm not willing to grant. Tom, you need to be able to distnguish between statements of faith and what can actually be known. I get that if you assume that you are right, then things will show that you are right, but I don't see the usefulness of reasoning in a circle like that.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom, you need to be able to distnguish between statements of faith and what can actually be known.
Dude, you're the one making the positive statement of a faith in something that cannot be demonstrated to exist. [Smile]

--------

quote:
Something existing isn't enough to render it perceivable.
I'm not sure you're using the correct definition of "existing," here. Do you believe that "love" "exists?"

quote:
We've drawn out the very different worlds that we would live in if we had free will or not in this very thread.
Why do you think these worlds are necessarily very different?

quote:
many of this entity's putative effects can be perceived, just not objectively.
Can you give me your definition of a subjective perception? I think the word I'd use instead is "imagined."
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Dude, you're the one making the positive statement of a faith in something that cannot be demonstrated to exist.
Yes, of course I am. Have I hid this? I've stated from the beginning that any positive answer on this question is going to come down to a matter of faith.

I choose to believe in free will. You choose not to. I'm not trying to hide this choice, whereas you use it as a implicit assumption when you are describing how the world must be that you then use to support the truth of your assumption.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I've stated from the beginning that any positive answer on this question is going to come down to a matter of faith.
Which is, of course, a faith-based statement. [Smile]

quote:
I choose to believe in free will. You choose not to.
Not quite. I believe that free will is exactly as real as love, liberty, justice, fairness, and my self. It is real to me because it exists in the same context in which I exist. It has no other reality, however.
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
On the other hand, if it is not emulable by natural means then it is clearly (if only theoretically) measurable because it would be a phenomenon that violates natural law.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by natural law and violating it.
If it does not violate natural law and if natural law does not permit free will (which, as far as we currently know, it does not) then free will is not a meaningful concept. It has no bearing on anything and has no special properties if it can be perfectly emulated by natural means.

quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
If I had to guess, I'd say you meant a full deterministic, completely accurate model of human behavior. In this case, I'd say that in order to detect a violation of this model, you'd have to have it, which is currently theoretically impossible.

We compare the model to ourselves. If free will cannot be perfectly emulated by natural means then we could theoretically detect real differences between the human model and ourselves (lets assume that we know everything about how the model is constructed).
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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I believe that free will is exactly as real as love, liberty, justice, fairness, and my self. It is real to me because it exists in the same context in which I exist. It has no other reality, however.

That makes a lot of sense to me.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Why do you think these worlds are necessarily very different?
One is a large scale model of a wind up toy. The other is populated by at least partially free actors.

quote:
Can you give me your definition of a subjective perception? I think the word I'd use instead is "imagined."
Of coruse you would. It's your implicit assumption you are trying to pass off as fact again.

Subjective perception is an objective reality. When I see something, I may not actually be seeing something that is there, but that I see it is objectively true.

Likewise, when I think something, that I think it, or at least that I think I think it (Or if you prefer, if I imagine that I imagine it), is objectively true.

When I perceive that I choose between things, that perception is itself an objective fact.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Which is, of course, a faith-based statement.
No, it isn't. It a statement based on the limitations of scientific epistemology.
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MrSquicky
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Threads,
I'm not sure what you are talking about here.
quote:
If it does not violate natural law and if natural law does not permit free will (which, as far as we currently know, it does not) then free will is not a meaningful concept.
What natural law does not permit free will?

edit: Also,
quote:
We compare the model to ourselves.
What model are you talking about?
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Tresopax
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quote:
If something is perceptible, it is perceived in a manner that is scientifically valid.
A cat appears out of nowhere in the middle of the room and is somehow only perceptible to me. Then, moments later, it disappears - never to return again. This cat is perceptible, but is definitely not perceived in a manner that is scientificially valid because:
1) The observation is not objective. Only I can see it.
2) The observation is not repeatable. Nobody could go back and make it happen again.

If the concept of science is to be meaningful in any way, then it has criteria that must be followed. These criteria mean that at least in theory things can definitely be perceived which do not fulfill the criteria needed for science.

If you want to take away all criteria for science, keep in mind that that expands science to include everything - including God, spirits, ghosts, magic cats, etc.

quote:
I believe that free will is exactly as real as love, liberty, justice, fairness, and my self. It is real to me because it exists in the same context in which I exist. It has no other reality, however.
I don't understand how you think anything can be more real than that... What other reality is there?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
One is a large scale model of a wind up toy. The other is populated by at least partially free actors.
And in what way are they different?

-------

quote:
When I see something, I may not actually be seeing something that is there, but that I see it is objectively true.
What distinction are you making between a subjective perception and an objective perception? Is an objective perception something that is actually perceived by one's eyes (for example) due to the reflection of light, whereas a subjective perception is something that one believes oneself to be seeing despite the fact that no light has entered the eyes? Is the optic nerve involved in both cases, or only one?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If you want to take away all criteria for science, keep in mind that that expands science to include everything - including God, spirits, ghosts, magic cats, etc.
*grin* Now you're getting into the semantic distinction between Science and science -- between simple objectivity and the full scientific method, if you will. If you are merely saying that evidence for your thingies will never be useful or reproducible enough to hold up to the scientific method, but that objective observers are still perfectly capable of perceiving these thingies in ways that unfortunately don't have consistent effects, I'm fine with that.

Of course, that pretty much instantly puts them into the realm of unicorns. Because, like unicorns, it means that you can prove they exist simply by nailing one's feet to the floor.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
And in what way are they different?
One is a wind up toy and the other is populated by free actors. I don't get what you are looking for.

No, the eyes don't perceive anything. They are just receptors that tranduce the stimuli that are then transmitted to where they are perceived. All perception is subjective.

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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Not quite. I believe that free will is exactly as real as love, liberty, justice, fairness, and my self. It is real to me because it exists in the same context in which I exist. It has no other reality, however.

Nicely put. I don't believe in all those things, but definitely a concise way of summing it up.

On another note, I don't personally see how a completely materialist universe is compatible with a nondeterminist universe. For "free will" in the sense that I understand and use the term to exist, I have to be making decisions which are not based 100% on the physical reality, so a materialist universe (in which there is only the physical reality) precludes free will.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
All perception is subjective.
Ah. Whereas I believe that no perception is subjective, and all awareness of perception is. Would you use another word to describe objective perception, like "sense?"
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
What natural law does not permit free will?

Clearly the deterministic parts of our universe cannot combine to create free will because free will implies nondeterminism. It is also fairly clear that quantum randomness, as we currently know it, cannot be responsible for free will either. Quantum randomness is purely random (ie: arbitrary). Any actions government by quantum randomness would be arbitrary actions, not free actions.

quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
edit: Also,
quote:
We compare the model to ourselves.
What model are you talking about?
It can be a lot of things. Lets say I can build a complete artificial human being using only non-biological parts (really only the brain needs to be non-biological for it to be a model and not an exact replica). If its behavior is exactly like that of a normal human being then free will is not a relevant concept assuming our understanding of the universe as it is currently (see my earlier responses).

There may well be natural causes for free will because of properties of our universe that we do not know of yet. However, any guess as to whether these laws exist is arbitrary.

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Tresopax
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quote:
Clearly the deterministic parts of our universe cannot combine to create free will because free will implies nondeterminism.
As I've already argued, free will does NOT imply nondeterminism. Free will as we know it essentially REQUIRES determinism, because choosing randomly (which is what nondeterminism is) is not really choosing for freely; it is just flipping a coin. A rational person who makes a free choice will always make the same free choice in the exact same circumstances.

If you believe free will implies nondeterminism, please give an argument why you think this is the case.

(And if your argument is that determinism as we are speaking about it implies materialism - which I don't think it does - then let's simplify things by saying that materialism is the thing that contradicts with the concept of free will.)

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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
As I've already argued, free will does NOT imply nondeterminism.

You were not using "determine" in the strong sense in your argument. Determinism essentially means that any event that occurs is the inevitable result of preceding events. In other words, as long as we know the full state of everything in the present (theoretically impossible) then we could perfectly predict every single event that will ever happen in the future. There is no room for freedom.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
If you believe free will implies nondeterminism, please give an argument why you think this is the case.

It's by definition. There is no argument. You cannot have free will if your brain's outputs are determined entirely by its inputs. Free will requires some independence from outside influence. That independence cannot exist by definition in a deterministic world.

While quantum randomness is nondeterministic*, it does not provide for the existence of free will (as you and I pointed out earlier).

* It may actually not be deterministic but Occam's Razor dictates that we act as if it is for the time being. Whether or not it is deterministic does not affect the conclusion that free will cannot exist given our current understanding of the universe.

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beverly
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quote:
Not quite. I believe that free will is exactly as real as love, liberty, justice, fairness, and my self. It is real to me because it exists in the same context in which I exist. It has no other reality, however.
I think I understand what you are getting at. It kind of reminds me of questions I have about quantum mechanics and what is real and what is illusion. About wave functions collapsing and all that. About the empty space between dollars that gives value to stocks and bonds and makes our economy function and run. Free will is as much an illusion or reality as everything else.

:strokes imaginary goatee:

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Tresopax
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quote:
Determinism essentially means that any event that occurs is the inevitable result of preceding events. In other words, as long as we know the full state of everything in the present (theoretically impossible) then we could perfectly predict every single event that will ever happen in the future. There is no room for freedom.
Why not? Why does being free equal being unpredictable? I would say that if a person is free and rational, it should definitely be true that that person's decisions are the inevitable results of preceding events. For instance, when I go to Chipotle, I buy a burrito - not tacos. It is completely predictable, and determined absolutely by previous events (such as the past times when I've been to Chipotle and consistently concluded that the burrito tastes great). Someone who knows all previous events and exactly how my brain and mind work would be able to predict it every time. But that doesn't make it not a free choice on my part, because I could have chosen otherwise had I wanted to. I could choose otherwise, but predictably never do, because I never want to choose otherwise. Free will is not unpreditability, and it is not randomness, but rather the capacity to choose differently if you want to.

Compare the above example to the person who does a mental coin toss every time he goes to Chipotle. Let's pretend that the outcome of this mental coin toss is purely random, and not predetermined by anything physical. His decisions are now random and unpredictable - BUT he is actually less free because he is not controlling his own choices. Instead he is letting random chance determine his choices.

Which person do you think is more free - the one who decides everything by randomly picking one option or another, or the one who makes a decision each time based on his own set preferences?

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
One is a large scale model of a wind up toy. The other is populated by at least partially free actors.
And in what way are they different?


The same way a computer synthesizer that sounds pretty darn like a trumpet is different from a trumpet.

quote:
quote:
When I see something, I may not actually be seeing something that is there, but that I see it is objectively true.
What distinction are you making between a subjective perception and an objective perception? Is an objective perception something that is actually perceived by one's eyes (for example) due to the reflection of light, whereas a subjective perception is something that one believes oneself to be seeing despite the fact that no light has entered the eyes? Is the optic nerve involved in both cases, or only one?
This reminds me of my visual-imaginative experiments when I was three-to-four. I found I could visualize, and I could see, but after several weeks of repeating imaginary scenes in my head, I found that while I could not see what I imagined, I could imagine what I saw. And I could imagine imaginary things on top of the imaginary reality to create a perception of something fake in reality. But I could tell the difference between what I was imagining and what was really there according to my objective observations (with the optic nerve).

Not to say I'm implying that subjective perception is imaginary. I just thought I should mention that even three-year-olds work on the subject of subjective-objective connections (though most don't yet have the vocabulary to describe it).

I'm debating with myself whether I should also mention that three-year-olds do a lot of pondering over free will as well. I'll save it for when the thread drifts a bit further.

[ April 04, 2008, 07:24 PM: Message edited by: C3PO the Dragon Slayer ]

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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Why not? Why does being free equal being unpredictable? I would say that if a person is free and rational, it should definitely be true that that person's decisions are the inevitable results of preceding events. For instance, when I go to Chipotle, I buy a burrito - not tacos. It is completely predictable, and determined absolutely by previous events (such as the past times when I've been to Chipotle and consistently concluded that the burrito tastes great). Someone who knows all previous events and exactly how my brain and mind work would be able to predict it every time. But that doesn't make it not a free choice on my part, because I could have chosen otherwise had I wanted to. I could choose otherwise, but predictably never do, because I never want to choose otherwise. Free will is not unpreditability, and it is not randomness, but rather the capacity to choose differently if you want to.

How can you have the capacity to choose if your output is determined precisely by your inputs (ie: it's deterministic). If that is true then our brain is basically just a large function. You wouldn't say a function such as f(x)=x^2 (or any function for that matter) has any capacity to choose. Maybe it does but that capacity is meaningless.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The same way a computer synthesizer that sounds pretty darn like a trumpet is different from a trumpet.
Ah, but see, that's the thing. You can only differentiate a perfectly-synthesized trumpet from a trumpety trumpet by going outside the system, by looking for attributes which are not currently being replicated. How do you intend to stand outside the system when the system is the entirety of physical reality?
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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If you really want to go there... God.
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Corwin
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And if you go outside God? The "problem" with God is that it creates a new layer that (very conveniently) we know nothing about. Then some people stop at God, not wanting to solve what's on his outside. Or say that God *is* all that's on the outside. How do they know that, I don't know. For me, God is an unneeded complication, explaining nothing and adding a lot of unanswerable questions. And I don't like to hit my head against a wall.
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scifibum
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I'm still scratching my head, MrSquicky.

There's no theoretical impossibility of ruling out non-material influence on material reality.

I feel like that above sentence is nonsensical, because if something influences material reality then OF COURSE it is materially real.

I don't rule out an element of randomness. I don't rule out that we might not ever be able to account for all causes.

All I'm ruling out at this point is that we know the answers to those questions, and that we will never know the answers to those questions.

And also that there's any human behavior that might be the result of free will (meaning not deterministic or random) that can't be equally well rationalized as *not* free will.

Please explain why you think it's theoretically impossible to rule out something other than determinism and randomness in the question of free will.

Also what you think it means to be a "free actor" as opposed to an incredibly complex and conscious wind up toy that experiences emotions and thoughts and has motivations, and happens to be an artifact of determinism. (This is really centrally what I think I'm missing from the people that prefer to believe in free will: how exactly free will functions in a way that is qualitatively better than determinism.)

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aspectre
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quote:
"Even if free will doesn't exist, it's important that we act as though it does."
...could you please explain to me what it means?

One doesn't get or give a free pass for behaviour, good or bad, just because a plausible explanation exists

[ April 05, 2008, 04:19 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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steven
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That's an interesting article that aspectre linked. It deserves its own thread.

However, if we're going to discuss that article, it raises tremendous implications. If someone does have a genetic tendency, whether it's that gene in the article, or some other, eventually we'll have to answer the question on a gene-by-gene level as to whether or not it's "right" to use gene therapy to get rid of it. This also raises the question of whether or not we will force someone to take gene therapy to get rid of an objectionable genetic tendency. Doesn't it?

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Tresopax
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quote:
How can you have the capacity to choose if your output is determined precisely by your inputs (ie: it's deterministic). If that is true then our brain is basically just a large function. You wouldn't say a function such as f(x)=x^2 (or any function for that matter) has any capacity to choose.
Yes, the deterministic math function does not have free will. The deterministic human being does have free will. What that proves is that some deterministic things have free will and some do not. Or, in other words, being or not being deterministic does not by itself mean you have free will.

(Consider a random math function - f(x) = x+r where r is a random number. Such a function would NOT be deterministic, yet I definitely would not say the function has free will would you? Again, not being deterministic does not give something free will any more than being deterministic would.)

So, if being nondeterministic is not what free will is about, what IS free will about?

In my view, the test for free will is "If I wanted to choose differently, I could have chosen differently." I'd think that test would require two things:
1. You'd have to be the sort of thing that has "wants" - something with some sort of mind. A function does not want anything. A human being does.
2. Your "wants" would have to determine your action.

If you believe a person's "wants" come from their physical brain, then my understanding of free will is consistent with both materialism and determinism - because anyone who could look into my brain to see what I am programmed to want could predict perfectly what I'd choose to do, but it would still be true that I'm choosing to do what I want.

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steven
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The difference is simply whether or not you realize that, from some point of view, the person's behavior is understandable, or not. Punishing people is foolish, if you realize this fact. Protecting yourself or others from future harm is not foolish. Or maybe I'm BSing.
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El JT de Spang
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I love the philosophy threads. I really do.

In any case, the answer to the question of whether I have subjective free will, true free will, or no free will at all makes no difference to my subjective reality. So I choose (or, at least, believe I do) not to give a crap about it. [Smile]

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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Yes, the deterministic math function does not have free will. The deterministic human being does have free will. What that proves is that some deterministic things have free will and some do not. Or, in other words, being or not being deterministic does not by itself mean you have free will.

You missed the point. If you brain is deterministic then it can be perfectly modeled by a function. That means it has no free will.

The "wants" argument is a red herring. The point is that you cannot have the capacity to choose anything if you operate deterministically.

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Tresopax
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I didn't miss that point - I just disagree with it. Operating deterministically, or being able to be modeled perfectly by a function, do not mean you have no free will. In fact, things with a free will typically do act deterministically. The examples and argument I've given above I think illustrate why.
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We probably have different definitions of free will.

EDIT: I don't mean that sarcastically. I find your use of "free will" rather paradoxical but definitions are not absolute so what can I say?

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rollainm
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
All perception is subjective.
Ah. Whereas I believe that no perception is subjective, and all awareness of perception is. Would you use another word to describe objective perception, like "sense?"
Thanks a lot. Now I have to spend all night thinking about this instead of writing my government essay.
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Tresopax
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I already linked to this page on Compatibilism, but I'll link again because my view is pretty close to what compatibilists like Hume argue:

quote:
Further, according to Hume, free will should not be understood as an absolute ability to have chosen differently under exactly the same inner and outer circumstances. Rather, it is a hypothetical ability to have chosen differently if one had been differently psychologically disposed by some different beliefs or desires. That is, when one says that one could either continue to read this page or to delete it, one doesn't really mean that both choices are compatible with the complete state of the world right now, but rather that if one had desired to delete it one would have, even though as a matter of fact one actually desires to continue reading it, and therefore that is what will actually happen.

Hume also maintains that free acts are not uncaused (or self-caused as Kant argued) but rather caused by our choices as determined by our beliefs, desires, and by our characters.


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rollainm
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Worded that way, it's hard to find any objection to such a view.

It's also completely compatible with a deterministic world and really no different than Tom's view of the "reality" of free will.

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That definition is basically a tautology. If things were different then you may have chosen differently. That's the basis of free will? That's like saying if you change the inputs to a function then its output may change. I don't see how that's a meaningful definition.
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
... But that doesn't make it not a free choice on my part, because I could have chosen otherwise had I wanted to. I could choose otherwise, but predictably never do, because I never want to choose otherwise. Free will is not unpreditability, and it is not randomness, but rather the capacity to choose differently if you want to.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
In my view, the test for free will is "If I wanted to choose differently, I could have chosen differently." I'd think that test would require two things:
1. You'd have to be the sort of thing that has "wants" - something with some sort of mind. A function does not want anything. A human being does.
2. Your "wants" would have to determine your action.

Question is, are you free to change your wants? ("Today I choose to want tacos.") It sounds to me that you do not have free will because you are a slave to your wants.
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scifibum
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quote:
Question is, are you free to change your wants? ("Today I choose to want tacos.") It sounds to me that you do not have free will because you are a slave to your wants.
Slave to your wants? I make decisions based on my own internal perception of my needs and wants and that makes me a slave somehow? That makes no sense. Please note that wants can include wanting to do the right thing, or wanting to be unpredictable, or wanting to try something different out of boredom.

How can one be more free than to be able to make choices based on one's wants? If I can do what I want, for my own reasons, then I'm not a slave. That doesn't mean that there aren't underlying mechanisms that cause me to choose a certain way.

The only way a person could be a slave to his wants is if the enslaved self had an identity that was separate from the conscious self. I do not see how the concept of slavery could apply to something that was entirely detached from reality, though.

I do suspect that some objections to determinism stem from religious philosophy, which might include belief in a soul or spirit that is indeed separate from physical reality. I think, however, that even if such an entity exists doesn't mean that it isn't subject to the same sort of rules as the observable/known universe. Meaning, there are causes for effects. (the alternative being randomness.)

LDS theology in particular is one that I think is amenable to determinism. God lives according to laws, etc. Even the idea that we earn the post-mortal status most compatible with our nature.

I keep asking but I don't think I've gotten an answer: what is it about the idea of non-deterministic, non-random "free will" that is so valuable/attractive? I'm really interested in a description of how this free will would operate. (Because, to be honest, I think when you get down to the mechanisms of making choices with this kind of "free will" you begin to see it's indistinguishable from determinism. That anything other than randomness comes down to there being reasons/causes for the way things happen. Those reasons/causes can be intrinsic to consciousness and individual sense of self, even an immortal identity, without precluding a deterministic paradigm.)

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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Slave to your wants? I make decisions based on my own internal perception of my needs and wants and that makes me a slave somehow? That makes no sense.

My point is that your wants (and I'm using that term as a placeholder for any internal motivation) are arbitrary and largely beyond your control. You are indeed free in the sense that you make choices based on what you want, but by the same token you are constrained by precisely that. Mind you, I don't think this is a bad thing: I wouldn't want (hah!) for my most basic internal motivations to be so malleable.

Does that make more sense?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
LDS theology in particular is one that I think is amenable to determinism.
Actually, I think the opposite is true. The idea that you all decided before being incarnated as physical beings to live for a time in bodies to see what would happen makes far less sense in a deterministic universe, as far as I can tell.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
LDS theology in particular is one that I think is amenable to determinism.
Actually, I think the opposite is true. The idea that you all decided before being incarnated as physical beings to live for a time in bodies to see what would happen makes far less sense in a deterministic universe, as far as I can tell.
Well, I'm not currently as informed/invested in the theology as I would need to be in order to develop the idea fully, so I don't want to push it necessarily (just a parenthetical observation really) but the core of the idea is the doctrine that mortal-corporeal existence is a necessary step toward immortal-corporeal existence and can't be sidestepped even if God has foreknowledge. That to me implies determinism, albeit determinism that transcends the subset of reality that defines the mortal-corporeal existence. I'd agree that the idea isn't compatible with current scientific knowledge of the universe. [Smile]
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Tresopax
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quote:
Question is, are you free to change your wants? ("Today I choose to want tacos.") It sounds to me that you do not have free will because you are a slave to your wants.
That's where it gets tricky, because depending on how you define "you", some wants may be driven by yourself while other cravings may be coming from something external to you. For instance, when chemicals in an alcoholic drive him crave alcohol, is it actually he that wants that or is it his body that wants it? The answer to that question depends on all kinds of other assumptions (such as "Do I equal my body?" and "Does what I want equal what my body wants?"), and as a result it is pretty fuzzy as to whether or not an alcoholic drinks because of a free choice. It should be fuzzy though, since people in real life actually do disagree as to how much blame to place upon an alcoholic for what alcoholism leads him to do.
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Bokonon
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What does it mean to "be free"?

-Bok

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