Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
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16-12-2013, 01:38 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 12:29 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  


Regarding the video, the neuroscientist pretty much said what I already posted. You are your brain and it does not contain two minds (the subsconcious mind and the conscious mind), there is one unified mind that is the product of the brain's activity. That there is a ~6 second delay between the choice and cognizance of the choice does not make that choice any less your own--the choice isn't coming from an external source. That point can't be overemphasized.

People become silly when they see stuff like this because they imagine a homunculus, i.e. a little person with its own brain, embedded inside your brain and operating it like a driver operates a car. There is no homunculus! You are all of your brain and it will take some time for information to move from one region of your brain to another and that is what the ~6-second delay is.

We aren't aware of the operations of any aspect of our brain: we don't know what our brain is doing when we play the piano, sing, walk, watch TV etc. But that doesn't mean that it isn't us that is doing those things. Also because of the way our brain is structured when we recall some fact it is recalled before we are consciously aware that it has been recalled--but all of that is happening in your brain.
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16-12-2013, 01:54 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 12:20 AM)Chippy Wrote:  If the behaviour can be understood in terms of antecedent causes--even if those causes are supernatural--it isn't contra-causal. If the soul causes an evil man to perform a charitable act when he never would otherwise have performed such an act that man has not gained contra-causal free-will. His behaviour was determined by his soul (and the soul is as it is because of God and so on). His soul caused him to act as he did even though his brain would have caused him to behave in another way. The intercession of his soul amounts to an alteration of causes not their suspension.
Yeah, sure, it does purge the natural materialistic causation though.
But it indeed would still fall for the trap of how did the soul become good or bad? Was it made that way?
Unless the belief included an element of randomness, like having to pick which god/s to believe in. But then we could say that lucky souls go to heaven and unlucky ones go to hell.

It is not irrational to make a random guess when staying stagnant means one goes nowhere.
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16-12-2013, 02:08 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 01:11 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(16-12-2013 12:29 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  Well what is your definition of "Free will" then ? everyone seem to have their own anecdotal definitions for free will.

My definition of free-will is the compatibilist one and that is the only logically coherent conception of free-will.

An agent As behaviour B is freely-willed if A wanted to perform B. If B is consistent with As intention then A has acted with free-will.
Certainly it seems to me that keeping some form of free will, such as compatibilism, allows a person to continue to speculate about the good/bad nature of decisions. Accepting that all events are dictated by the forces of nature, but then dropping down a layer into a conceptual viewpoint and suggest at this layer is where the "self" lives and makes "decisions". Thus it is at this conceptual layer that "morality" exists.

Although I don't know how one consciously "forgets" that everything that occurs at this conceptual layer has a physical representation and that the physical layer is 100% bound to the forces of nature, thus it is the physical layer that is in the driver's seat. The consciousness, which exists not in the physical layer but instead in the conceptual layer, must therefore only be an observer of physical states and events much like a computer program running on a physical CPU and physical memory. The program itself is a "dynamic" series of snapshots of hardware states but is ultimately run by the hardware rather then being in control and running the hardware.
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16-12-2013, 02:31 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
A lecture by Dennett:

"MY BRAIN MADE ME DO IT" (WHEN NEUROSCIENTISTS THINK THEY CAN DO PHILOSOPHY)

Dennett directly address the false idea that neuroscience is showing that we lack "free-will".
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16-12-2013, 03:13 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 02:08 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Although I don't know how one consciously "forgets" that everything that occurs at this conceptual layer has a physical representation and that the physical layer is 100% bound to the forces of nature, thus it is the physical layer that is in the driver's seat. The consciousness, which exists not in the physical layer but instead in the conceptual layer, must therefore only be an observer of physical states and events much like a computer program running on a physical CPU and physical memory.

There is no driver's seat. There is no homunculus. There is no observer. There is nothing to "observe".

What you are describing is what Dennett terms the Cartesian Theatre which is much like a traditionsal theatre: plays are written and rehearsed elsewhere and then you just watch them being performed. Dennett argues that this is a good example of our intuitions leadings us astray.

There is no Cartesian Theatre and there is no audience watching the theatre. The consciousness that you describe is temporally and spatially distributed throughout the matter that comprises the brain. Stop thinking of the brain as a dualistic organ because it isn't.

This is what your intution is telling you:

Observer ----watching-----> Show

Homunculus ---watching---> Cartesian Theatre

Your brain doesn't work that way. Humans can't help but anthropomorphize and they will do it even when trying to think about their own brains. Consciousness isn't a place in the brain where the activity that has been prepared earlier is presented. There is no such localised place in the brain. If there were that would require a homunculus to watch it and we would have to look inside its "brain" to see how itc works. There is no little brain inside the human brain that watches what the big brain does. The brain doesn't watch itself in an athropomorphic fashion.

Quote:The program itself is a "dynamic" series of snapshots of hardware states but is ultimately run by the hardware rather then being in control and running the hardware.

That is an ambiguous analogy because most would say that the software controls the hardware. The software is instructions to the CPU.
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16-12-2013, 03:22 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
Dennett on the Cartesian Theatre:



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16-12-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
To me it is obvious that we act and think as the product of your ancestral and personal experience, and that is a good thing.

To me, free will means that no other entity stands in the way of my actions and thoughts.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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16-12-2013, 08:09 AM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2013 12:49 PM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 01:11 AM)Chippy Wrote:  My definition of free-will is the compatibilist one and that is the only logically coherent conception of free-will.
Well my definition of Free-wiill is based on hard determinism where Free-will is incompatible with determinism and thus its just a mirage concept for me.
Quote:An agent As behaviour B is freely-willed if A wanted to perform B. If B is consistent with As intention then A has acted with free-will.
How was your will free if you never had a choice to make it ? lol its not like you are exempt from the domino effect.
Quote:And how would that enhance your freedom?
That won't "Enhance" your freedom that would provide you with more awareness over your "Will".

Whether you'd be able to control your thought process or not is an entirely different subject but if you can't even comprehend your subconscious thought process which makes the bulk of your decisions then you're pretty much oblivious of your own "Free will" if there is any.
Quote:If you were then able to edit your subconscious thoughts such that you chose which thoughts entered your consciousness what would your choice be based on?
idk no one can do that that's why i said that brain is self-automated you can only control your conscious self even though your unconscious self is like background processes in an operating system.

Just for the sake of argument i'd say your original choice has to be an uncased cause and that would make you a really really boring person.. lol like a super unenthusiastic person.
Quote:If your choice is determined by something else how is your choice any more free?
You're right it isn't! ultimately your brain isn't free from the laws of our universe and therefore free will is impossible.
Quote: Firstly, there is no such thing as "your subsconscious" there is only thought that you are not conscious of. There is no organ called the "subconscious mind".
NOPE.. they're the background processes in your brain and they make bulk of your decisions and you aren't even aware of that until it reaches your conscious.
Quote:Secondly, you are your brain so you can't treat parts of it as external influences.
i"m not i'm just saying that your conscious is merely a faucet of your brain's activity and you're mostly oblivious of whatever else happens inside your brain.

You're only like 5% responsible for any of your actions !

Your memories are 50% responsible
Your body condition is like 20% responsible
Your surrounding environment&atmosphere is like 20% responsible
Your sub-conscious thought processes are 5% responsible
Quote:What would they be external influences on?
Just listed em' above.
Quote:Thirdly, if you were fully conscious of all of the processing that your brain is performing how would that enhance your freedom?
that won't "enhance" my freedom THAT IS FREEDOM OF WILL!

its basic logic if your sub-conscious automatically makes thoughts for you then where's your "Freedom" ?? you can't have freedom unless you can be aware of your sub-conscious too ! how you control it is an another ordeal.
Quote:What would drive that choice?
As i said earlier it has to be an uncased choice... hence it would make you the most bored out person ever.
Quote:No the brain depends on the body for survival and it is affected by hormones and nervous stimulation that originate outside of it.
you're looking at it like an organ i'm looking at it like an organic computer with consciousness.
Quote:Do you know what "anecdotal" means?
Yes.. it means its an unreliable term which differs from person to person.
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16-12-2013, 08:11 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(15-12-2013 03:40 AM)Chippy Wrote:  You wouldn't be able to function in the universe where you and everyone else had contra-causal free-will. You and everyone else would do things for no reason, behaviour would be entirely random and no form of planning or organisation would be possible. Your behaviour would even be decoupled from all of your evolved survival instincts and capacities: no desire to eat, no sense of pain, no desire for sex, no fears, no emotions, no pleasure. The universe in which humans had contra-causal free-will would be the same as the universe in which humans were subject to indeterminism.

The universe with contra-causal free-will would not be "linear" as all behaviour would be completely free of antecedent causes (of any origin). This seems counterintuitive but that is what libertarian or contra-causal free-will entails.

This is why most people that have thought about this matter for a very long time argue that the idea of contra-causal free-will is incoherent.

I retract my previous statement, I think this is more accurate.

(15-12-2013 03:40 AM)Chippy Wrote:  The consenus view regarding human agency amongst philosophers, neuroscientists and legal scholars is what is termed compatibilism. That view is that:
--humans do have free-will (but not contra-causal free-will as that is an imaginary idea);
--the physical universe is largely (though not entirely) deterministic;
--free-will and determinism are compatible, i.e. not mutually exclusive

I don't understand this compatibilist view, free will and determinism are compatible? We must have different views of free will. I'll have to read a book on it. I hear Daniel Dennett has a good one?

The summation of understanding of this viewpoint is this...




2.5 billion seconds total
1.67 billion seconds conscious

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16-12-2013, 11:15 AM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2013 11:22 AM by Tartarus Sauce.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
Okay, good discussion everyone, but I realize I made a serious error in the way I approached this topic. I should have tailored the question to a narrower inquiry since my original parameters were far too broad. Let us just focus on the aspect of human agency, and specifically the nature of choice.

Let us suppose we have universes A and B. In universe A, choices matter. Although behavior is influenced by antecedent conditions, all potential actions in a given situation are real possibilities. It is only after a choice is made that doors are closed.

In universe B, choice is a false notion. Given a situation's antecedent conditions, the subject has a predetermined course of action. The apparent option of choice is in fact illusory; there is only one true outcome.

Now, could we, as observers, discern a difference between these two universes, or would they appear to operate the same to us?

This was the dichotomy I had in mind when I stated that our linear perception of time prevents us from discerning any variation.

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