Bucky and freewill
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19-10-2014, 05:45 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 04:57 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  For someone to state that free-will exists they first have to tell us what free will is. That article does not even allude to the existence of any definition.

Dennett does talk about 'the kind of free will worth having' - he is strongly implying there is a definitional problem.

Quote:Free will is a meaningless concept unless it references an entity external to the brain.

What does that mean? Without a definition of free will, that's kind of a free-floating statement.

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19-10-2014, 06:12 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 05:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-10-2014 04:57 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  Free will is a meaningless concept unless it references an entity external to the brain.

What does that mean? Without a definition of free will, that's kind of a free-floating statement.

I should have said that it's meaningless to talk about free-will within the brain. The very concept is relative because it specifies a will free from something else.

For example:

"She signed the contract under her own free will and was not coerced."

"I had no choice. I gave my wallet to the muggers because they had a gun to my head"

"We tortured him until he confessed to the crimes"

This is why it is meaningless to talk about free-will within the brain. Will comes from the functioning of the brain so what can it be free from within the brain?
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19-10-2014, 06:39 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 06:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(19-10-2014 05:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  What does that mean? Without a definition of free will, that's kind of a free-floating statement.

I should have said that it's meaningless to talk about free-will within the brain. The very concept is relative because it specifies a will free from something else.

For example:

"She signed the contract under her own free will and was not coerced."

"I had no choice. I gave my wallet to the muggers because they had a gun to my head"

"We tortured him until he confessed to the crimes"

Ah, I see.

Quote:This is why it is meaningless to talk about free-will within the brain. Will comes from the functioning of the brain so what can it be free from within the brain?

Free as opposed to constrained by determinism.

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19-10-2014, 07:04 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
Your brain has your ancestor's experiences and your own experiences at it's disposal to base decisions on.

It only knows what it knows, it can't know what it hasn't been given.

Hence, all decisions are made on a specific, select collection of factors unique to you.

Whether it's nature that guides the decision, or nurture, it still boils down to the same thing - your decision, your "will", is based on only what you personally have stored on your brain and hence is predictable and not free will. You have a limited range of possible decisions.

It is, however, unique to you.

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19-10-2014, 07:07 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 05:39 AM)Chas Wrote:  That does not logically follow. I have learned to play golf. I chose not to play golf today.

Were you free to be able to play golf before you learned how ?

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19-10-2014, 07:17 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 07:07 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-10-2014 05:39 AM)Chas Wrote:  That does not logically follow. I have learned to play golf. I chose not to play golf today.

Were you free to be able to play golf before you learned how ?

I was free to learn or not learn it.

And I was free to go play it badly.

Trying to apply the early, low-level results of neuroscience is over-reaching.

And no one has yet defined free will. So there's that.

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19-10-2014, 07:20 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 07:04 AM)Dom Wrote:  Your brain has your ancestor's experiences and your own experiences at it's disposal to base decisions on.

It only knows what it knows, it can't know what it hasn't been given.

Hence, all decisions are made on a specific, select collection of factors unique to you.

Whether it's nature that guides the decision, or nurture, it still boils down to the same thing - your decision, your "will", is based on only what you personally have stored on your brain and hence is predictable and not free will. You have a limited range of possible decisions.

It is, however, unique to you.

We make new neural connections all the time, we are not completely constrained by the past. We make new inferences, draw new conclusions.

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19-10-2014, 07:55 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 07:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  And no one has yet defined free will. So there's that.

Defensible definitions I've seen are actually very careful to emphasise the distinction between will and choice.

The unhelpful definitions of "free will" are something more like "absolute freedom of choice", which we self-evidently don't have.

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19-10-2014, 08:41 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 07:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  I was free to learn or not learn it.

YOU may have been, but that position was dependent on a myriad of factors which you had nothing to do with ... how you did in past learning endeavors, whether you had encouragement in past learning situations, how your brain reacted to past successes or failures etc etc etc. Theoretically anyone could attempt to play golf. Theoretically anyone could play in the Masters. You ARE constrained by a myriad of unseen, unconscious factors.


(19-10-2014 07:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  We make new neural connections all the time, we are not completely constrained by the past. We make new inferences, draw new conclusions.

True but irrelevant. A moral choice is NOW, with the connections in place NOW.

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19-10-2014, 08:52 AM
RE: Bucky and freewill
(19-10-2014 08:41 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-10-2014 07:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  I was free to learn or not learn it.

YOU may have been, but that position was dependent on a myriad of factors which you had nothing to do with ... how you did in past learning endeavors, whether you had encouragement in past learning situations, how your brain reacted to past successes or failures etc etc etc. Theoretically anyone could attempt to play golf. Theoretically anyone could play in the Masters. You ARE constrained by a myriad of unseen, unconscious factors.

I have not claimed there are no constraints. You have not defined free will.

Quote:
(19-10-2014 07:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  We make new neural connections all the time, we are not completely constrained by the past. We make new inferences, draw new conclusions.

True but irrelevant. A moral choice is NOW, with the connections in place NOW.

Untrue but relevant. Choices we make alter our connections.

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