Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
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17-12-2013, 05:56 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 08:11 AM)Adenosis Wrote:  I don't understand this compatibilist view, free will and determinism are compatible? We must have different views of free will.

The only coherent conception of free-will is compatible with determinism. Free-will is doing what you want and not being compelled, coerced or externally impeded. That is all and that is all the free-will we want and need.

Quote:I'll have to read a book on it. I hear Daniel Dennett has a good one?

He has two:
Freedom Evolves
Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

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

Harris is beguiled by the concept of contra-causal free-will and that becomes evident in his metaphors. There is no puppet-master and if you could be your own puppet-master (i.e. pull your own strings) how would you decide what to do and how would those decisions be free of all antecedent influences? The only way that could be achieved would be to pull at the strings in an entirely random fashion. Would Harris describe a marionette in random motion as exhibiting free-will?

We can create such a marionette using some basic robotics and a source of genuine randomness. The marionette's behaviour would be utterly bizarre. Would Harris be impressed with its contra-causal free-will? The limitations of the robot-controlled marionette would actually make its behaviour less crazed than otherwise. If it was sentient and could talk, drive cars, vote, eat etc. the effect would be more obviously aberrant behaviour.
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17-12-2013, 08:53 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 08:56 AM by black_squirrel.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
determinism
Determinism is a metaphysical notion that I rather stay away from. It only matters insofar it can
be measured. From our experience, science can predict a lot of things (say, orbit of the moon),
but there is also a lot of stuff it cannot predict (next year's winner of American Idol).
We may believe that the universe is deterministic, but that we just don't know all the physics
laws yet, that we are unable to exactly measure the current "state" of the universe, or that we
simply lack the computational power (at least at this moment) to compute the future.
On the other hand, the universe may be non-deterministic, physics laws may only partially
explain the universe, true randomness may exist, cause-and-effect may not apply to all events.
But we do not have any experiments that could tell us whether the universe is deterministic or not.
So determinism is not so much a property of the universe, it is rather a property of the physical
model of the universe that we would like to use. But it is possible that certain physical phenomena can
be explained by deterministic models, as well as non-deterministic ones. In short, I am
somewhat agnostic about determinism.

I think the real question that has moral implications is, whether the universe is predictable in a practical sense.
For example, if Alice completely controls Bob's behavior, Bob cannot be held responsible for his actions. In law, we are
held responsible for our actions, unless we can show to the court that our actions were beyond our control
(for example because of mental illness, or because we were forced to act (self defense)). But not
only is it impossible at this time to predict everything in the future, it seems impossible in a fundamental way.
Suppose I created an i-phone app that tells me what I am going to do an hour from now. This seems
paradoxical, because I could look at the app and do the opposite of what the i-phone tells me to do.

Several people, including Sam Harris, have referred to neurological experiments, where one measures
certain brain activity before a person makes the choice of lifting the left or right finger. This supposedly
would show that there is no free will. Based on the video clip about such an experiment that was posted in this thread (forgot by whom), I have the
following comments:
1. It seems that the brain scan is analyzed AFTER the experiment. In other words, there is no
true prediction here. So after the person made the choice, we can see that 8 seconds before we
measured a certain state of the brain that is consistent with the choice. However, I am
not sure if it is possible to predict WHEN the person will make the decision. So you never
really know when it will be "8 seconds before" until the person actually makes the decision.

2. Assuming that it is possible to predict when a person is going to decide, and what the decision
is going to be using a brain scan, then it would be interesting to extend the experiment as follows.
Once it is known what the decision of the subject is going to be, inform the subject of his or her choice.
Would this affect the choice? In other words, can we really predict another person's choices
in a level playing field, when both the subject and the researchers have the same amount of information.
My guess would be no.

In general, I agree with Dennett. Although I am not a determinist, I agree that free will is compatible
with some forms of determinism. I fundamentally disagree with Sam Harris. More on
this in another post.
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17-12-2013, 09:18 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 10:22 AM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 01:22 AM)Chippy Wrote:  You don't need to "exempt from the domino effect" to act in a freely-willed manner.
Yes you do.. just like how sam harris said "a puppet is free as long as he loves his strings"
Quote:If you have done what you have wanted to do then you have acted freely.
Free of what ?
Quote:The ultimate cause of your behavior is irrelevant.
oh really ? then why do psychologists always ask about your past to examine your present condition ? shouldn't the past be "Irrelevant" ?
Quote:All rational behavior is somehow motivated.
Motivated by what ? that's right motivated by your past memories, your body condition and your surrounding environment.
Quote:If I am hungry and I want to eat a steak and I do eat a steak then I have acted in a freely-willed manner.
Again bullshit... you're just using the "puppet loves its strings" analogy again.

You're not providing me of a case where you are exempt from the domino effect or when you can oversee your subconscious thought process.
Quote:That I didn't choose to be hungry and why exactly I want to eat a steak is irrelevant.
Again you don't make rules.. i'm sorry you don't there's a reason for everything and you have to deal with that reason pretending like that causal factor doesn't exist or is irrelevant doesn't make it any less important.
Quote:The idea of "controlling your subconscious thouht process" is incoherent. It leads to an infinite regress.
Well that's your problem because you're the one who's claiming that free-will somehow exists not me.

Quote:Your claim that the brain is "self-automated" contradicts your claimed "hard determinism".
No it doesn't brain is like an organic machine that's not really like claiming that brain is exempt from any causal factor.
Quote:No, it wouldn't. The idea of an "uncaused cause" is inconsistent with hard determinism.
Of course it is ! i don't think there is such thing as an "uncased cause" that's why i said "for the sake of argument"
Quote:The brain can never be an uncaused cause and it can't be "self-automated"
i'm not claiming anything you're the one who's claiming that free will can exist with determinism.

Brain is an organ like heart or kidney which works independently thus its "Self automated".
Quote:Contra-causal free-will is impossible and since it is an incoherent idea it is irrelevant to human agency.
As far as i know there is only one definition of "Free will" and that idea is an illusion.

Quote:You don't know what your liver is doing either but that doesn't mean it has "background processes".
lol strawman fallacy..

My liver doesn't store my memories or process all the information from stimuli,my eyes or ears.. that is done only and only done by my brain.

and the "Background processes" is just an ANALOGY for your sub-conscious btw.
Quote:There is no such thing as "your conscious".
LOL you should go and argue with neurologists you will change the science as we know it! because all those neurologists believe in consciousness and sub-consciousness.
Quote:You are oblivious of what is happening with each of your internal organs.
Again strawman fallacy... Drinking Beverage

Brain does not function like other organs brain is essentially what you are as a person.

You can have a heart transplant or any other organ transplant but you'll die immediately if you remove your brain.
Quote:Your brain does not contain a quasi-person
When did i exactly say it did ? if you suspend your steering wheel in your car is a "Quasi-person" driving your car just because you are not in control of your car ?

No that means there's only a level of control you have over the car.
Quote:Sorry but this is nonsense that you just made-up. You are your brain. There is no homunculus--which is you--in your brain watching the brain.
For the last time man stop strawmanning my arguments...-Dodgy

You are not exempt from domino effect or any casual factors and free will can't exist if everything is deterministic.
Quote:It reveals that you think the brain contains a quasi-person Do your kidneys also have a "sub-conscious" because you don't know what they are doing? Is there a homunculus controlling your kidneys also?
[Image: Strawman.jpg]

"There is no "subconscious" automatically making thoughts."

I love how you twisted everything i said.. firstly sub-conscious exists and you're not aware of that and you cannot claim to have control over something that you are not aware about.
Quote:You don't have a "sub-conscious"--there is no such part of the brain.
that's like saying "You don't have bipedal locomotion! there's no such part in your body!" do you realize what you just said ?

Quote:If you disagree then tell me what part of the brain is the "sub-conscious".
1) It is not a "Part" of anything it is state of your mind
2) It is state of your mind when you're not 'Conscious" or "In control" of yourself whether you accept the theory of consciousness is your problem.
Quote:You are very confused. If you are going to argue for hard determinism then there is no such thing as an uncaused cause.
Since when was i ever claiming that there is such thing as an uncased cause ? just stop strawmanning my original argument.
Quote:The brain is an organ and it doesn't work like a computer.
Hmm.. lets' see

Brain stores data in the form of "Memories" just like how computer stories data in form of binary input

Brain processes the sensory data and provides a sufficient output just like how computer processes the data you input manually.

Quote:No it doesn't. An anecdote is a short narrative, i.e. a story or an account, that is typically unreliable.
That is what free will exactly is!

there are more philosophical tangents related to that term than i have hair on my whole body.
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17-12-2013, 09:42 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 09:52 AM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 08:53 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  determinism
Determinism is a metaphysical notion that I rather stay away from. It only matters insofar it can
be measured.
This is where our perceptions differ you're saying that there needs to be a definitive predictability in our universe for determinism to be true.

The only thing we really need to know is that everything has a cause and nothing can be "Causeless".

Time began to exist because there was a Cause there's no if's or buts its impossible to think otherwise.

I just don't get why everyone regresses back to "well science can't predict everything therefore we have freewill or God exists"

My question here to everyone is how can anything be "Free" if our universe is based on cause&effect ? just HOW ?
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17-12-2013, 10:03 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 10:30 AM by Dom.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(16-12-2013 06:29 AM)Dom Wrote:  To me it is obvious that we act and think as the product of our 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.

I'll say it again. Put very simply and to the point.

I am afraid that means I agree with Chippy.

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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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17-12-2013, 10:50 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 09:42 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  
(17-12-2013 08:53 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  determinism
Determinism is a metaphysical notion that I rather stay away from. It only matters insofar it can
be measured.
This is where our perceptions differ you're saying that there needs to be a definitive predictability in our universe for determinism to be true.
What I am saying is, that determinism is a useless notion, unless it can
empirically be verified somehow. If everything were completely
predictable, then I would accept that as evidence. But not everything
is completely predictable (with current technology, knowledge etc.).
So THAT, at least, is not evidence. And I do not see what other
proof one can give for determinism.
Quote:The only thing we really need to know is that everything has a cause and nothing can be "Causeless".
Yes, but we do not know this. There are lots of things, that we do not know the
cause of -- we do not even know for sure whether they have a cause.
"Nothing can be causeless" is a dogma that I do not subscribe to.
Besides, it is a can of worms, because then one has to answer WHAT
caused the universe, and the theists start salivating.
Quote:Time began to exist because there was a Cause there's no if's or buts its impossible to think otherwise.
I think otherwise, so that proves that you are wrong.
"time began to exist because there was a Cause"
If time started to exist, nothing could have caused it. Because a cause happens before an affect. But there is not "before" when we are talking about
the time that time started to exist. Anyway, I cannot make any
sense out of a sentence like that.
Quote:I just don't get why everyone regresses back to "well science can't predict everything therefore we have freewill or God exists"
There is of course the "God of the gaps". Which means that we could
define God as everything that is not predictable. If that is the definition,
then I would admit that God exists. However, this notion of God is
not what people usually understand under God. Praying to randomness
will have no effect.

You could call my notion of free will as "free will of the gaps" if you like.
All my decisions, that can not be explained by external causes, are mine,
are my free will. Here I admit that "external" is a bit vague. This is
because the notion of "I" is vague: Are the chemical processes
in my brain part of me, or are they external? There is no easy answer to that,
in fact, we can CHOOSE whether we consider this part of our identity
or not. I am an existentialist after all. I think my definition of free will is a
good one. It mirrors more or less the notion of free will as it is
applied in the law.
Quote:My question here to everyone is how can anything be "Free" if our universe is based on cause&effect ? just HOW ?
I am not convinced that our universe is completely determined by cause and effect.
But even if it is, I think the notion of free will only will lead to a contradiction
when we would be able to completely predict human behavior.
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17-12-2013, 11:00 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
Obviously external factors are not predictable or pre-determined.

What is predetermined by your specific and personal and unique ancestral and personal experiences is your reaction to said external factors.

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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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17-12-2013, 11:17 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 11:23 AM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 10:50 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I am not convinced that our universe is completely determined by cause and effect.
But even if it is, I think the notion of free will only will lead to a contradiction
when we would be able to completely predict human behavior.
As much as we can observe in the universe everything has a cause and everything in the planet we live on DEFINITELY has a cause.

So i cannot account for everything else in the universe but as far as human scientists have discovered i think its safe to say that everything we know has a cause.
Quote:All my decisions, that can not be explained by external causes, are mine,
are my free will
AH.. good lord! i'm getting a migraine here... you,chippy and countless other people i talked with have their own "definition" of free will whatever that means good for you guys.. .

And would you call blood cancer "Free will" too considering it is not an external cause?

its like we're all playing silly word games now.Frusty
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17-12-2013, 11:46 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 11:17 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  AH.. good lord! i'm getting a migraine here... you,chippy and countless other people i talked with have their own "definition" of free will whatever that means good for you guys.. .

... because many ways in which the phrase is used are not coherent or meaningful.

(17-12-2013 11:17 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  And would you call blood cancer "Free will" too considering it is not an external cause?

That certainly doesn't follow from any of the definitions I've read in this thread...

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17-12-2013, 12:21 PM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(17-12-2013 01:44 AM)Chippy Wrote:  But the key point here is that there is no "driver's seat". "Atoms and energy and the four forces acting on them" are not working towards some goal, they have no intentionality. For this reason they can't described as being "in control" of anything. A driver operates a vehicle--there is no equivalent in relation to a cube of lard. Again, there is no sub-atomic homunculus directing the behaviour of a cube of lard.

watching a show.


Quote:What I disagree with you on is the classification of "me" as being within an abstract conceptual layer and thus having ability for choices and thus having some kind of moral obligation.

No, I am not saying that you are part of an abstract conceptual layer. I am saying that Stevil is Stevil's brain--not Stevil's mind, Stevil's brain.
I find these two comments of yours particularly interesting because to me they highlight the impossibility of choices.
My brain is matter and energy, which are (theoretically) predictable given a known state and the known forces acting on them. As you have correctly pointed out, the physical matter and energy have no goal or intentionality. They simply do as they must, no more than a rock falls because gravity dictates that it must.

Now, if I am my brain, then I am constrained entirely to the natural forces acting on my matter, my energy (my brain, me). Doesn't this mean that I do as I must, that there are no choices I can possibly make? I cannot choose the path of an electron within my brain, no more that I can choice to avoid the pull of gravity acting on me.

Our brains are incredibly complex machinery, thus us humans cannot yet predict our every move. This does not open it up to the possibility of free will. Complexity does not equate to a new emergent property of being able to avoid the causality governing material existence. The illusion is so damn convincing, but it is still an illusion.
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