Free Will
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06-08-2011, 07:27 PM
RE: Free Will
Free will might be a product of evolution but I do not think it has an advantage in mind. If you look at anything in evolution it was either a direct result for something or a by product of another. Free will might be a by product that has "broken" the chains of evolution.

For example, free will allows suicide, this is not an evolutionary advantage. It allows smoking, cutting, drinking, eating fatty foods, etc... I think free will, at it's highest point, is above evolution. We are not really at our highest possible point of free will because we are not completely stoic if you will. We are still controlled by our emotions and pain receptors. Simply put, free will (at it's highest point I say again) is not apart of evolution's design anymore.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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06-08-2011, 08:00 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2011 08:03 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Free Will
(06-08-2011 06:57 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  "even" is the misleading term

Hah, nothing misleading about it.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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07-08-2011, 06:32 AM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2011 07:12 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Free Will
How can we invent radar when we can't even echo-locate?

Then, there was the nervous bank-robber. His finger twitched and he accidentally shot a clerk. The verdict. of course, was "not guilty": If the guy can't even control his trigger-finger, he can't have planned, decided and carried out a bank robbery.

There seems to be an assumption of linear neural structure which is inaccurate. But that's the least of my problems with the reasoning behind these experiments.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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07-08-2011, 09:50 AM
RE: Free Will
Sooooooo.... I'm still woefully confused about this thread.

I don't think that I swallow Liebet's interpretation, but then again, I don't understand it, so just call me sceptical.

I still don't understand the original question.

GirlyMan Wrote:What is the evolutionary advantage of making me think I'm piloting the ship when I'm actually not?

Who or what is making you think that?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-08-2011, 10:01 AM
 
RE: Free Will
(05-08-2011 07:45 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  What is the evolutionary advantage of making me think I'm piloting the ship when I'm actually not?

I would think you are piloting the ship, although I guess that depends on what you mean by "you" Tongue

I've thought about this before, and my line of reasoning goes something like this:

Q - What am I, exactly?
A - I'm a unique collection of thoughts, memories, opinions, priorities, ideas, etc.

When I make a decision, the decision is evaluated using these components that make up my identity, as well as more instinctive impulses such as anger, cravings for a particular food, thirst, etc. Whatever decision I make is going to reflect "me" and how strongly "I" was able to suppress impulses when resolving a conflict between them and the desires that my identity has.

Side Note: After typing all of that, I realized that I'm pretty much rephrasing some of Freud's ideas.

There is no free, arbitrary. . . I don't really know how to describe what I try to imagine when I hear the phrase "free will". The existence of one seem ridiculous. But the decisions are still based on my many traits, on my "will" if you'd like to call it that. I can't think of another version of free will that makes any sense. Mine is still deterministic, but in my opinion it's the only logical way to think about free will. Otherwise, you can't pin it down or describe it without giving up and saying it's completely random. Or at least I haven't managed to yet, and if I can't understand it then it doesn't exist Big Grin
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07-08-2011, 01:12 PM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2011 01:17 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Free Will
(07-08-2011 09:50 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
GirlyMan Wrote:What is the evolutionary advantage of making me think I'm piloting the ship when I'm actually not?

Who or what is making you think that?

I guess what I'm wondering about is what might be the evolutionary advantage of making consciousness feel like it's more in control than it might actually be.

(07-08-2011 10:01 AM)Zach Wrote:  I would think you are piloting the ship, although I guess that depends on what you mean by "you" Tongue

Yes, I think that's the takeaway for me. "I" am piloting the ship, it's just that I am not who I thought I was. I am much much more.

(07-08-2011 10:01 AM)Zach Wrote:  When I make a decision, the decision is evaluated using these components that make up my identity, as well as more instinctive impulses such as anger, cravings for a particular food, thirst, etc. Whatever decision I make is going to reflect "me" and how strongly "I" was able to suppress impulses when resolving a conflict between them and the desires that my identity has.

I think that's essentially the gist of Libet's "free-wont" interpretation.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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07-08-2011, 04:06 PM
RE: Free Will
Hey, GirlyMan.

Ok. I think I got a little closer with that. Thank you.

Susan Blackmore does a lot of work with the mind and with consciousness and one of the interesting ideas she champions is that there isn't actually a central I in anyone. She bases it on the fact that there is no central area in the brain that is used to house "you". Our brain is actually a series of parallel processors that work alongside one another. At any given time one of the processors becomes dominant and the others recede. This is based on system demands. But there's no you. Physically speaking. Pretty trippy stuff.

So if that's true, then there's no real "consciousness" for anything to communicate with. Consciousness is just another process of the brain controlled somehow by one or more processors. To tell you the truth, I haven't wrapped my head around that stuff yet.

All of that being said, I think that consciousness, the whatever the hell our "I" is, is definitely the captain of the ship. Being captain doesn't mean that everything you want to have happen happens in the way you want it to. It means you're in charge. That is to say, the ammo loader on the 18" gun can't make any decisions for the ship, just it's part. The captain "directs traffic" if you will. But the captain also orders the ship into action from rest. More on that later.

The field of human relations has known for a long time that there are a number of processes that occur before we get anywhere near action. It's said that the stimulus is first, followed by an emotional response (autonomic response) followed by interpretation of the response (thought) followed by decision based on that interpretation (action). So there's always autonomic responses occurring way before we actually act. Take fight or flight. Adrenaline has been released into the body WAY before we make the actual decision to do anything. To me, ramping up prior to action is not an indication that we don't have control of our selves.

The only evolutionary reason I can think of is that we do have control. Just not absolute control.

The reaction first thing makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Signal transduction is a cellular process shared by all living organisms. It is the ability to perceive a stimulus, or a signal, through the senses and to convert it into another signal. The new signal triggers one or more biochemical reactions inside the cell that lead to behaviour. Even organisms without nervous systems use signal transduction. In terms of reacting to the world around us, signal transduction MUST occur first. Stimulus  autonomic reaction. It can’t work any other way.

This guy seems to be saying that the sole role of consciousness is to decide whether or not to indulge an impulse triggered by an autonomic response. That, to me, seems silly.

The thing is, we're not reactive organisms. Amoeba are. All they can do is act in opposition to what's around them. But humans, and I suspect most organisms with a central nervous system, are capable of spontaneous action. I don't see where this guy's theory accounts for that.

I'll stop there. This is one of those subjects that elicits a stream of consciousness when I think about it. It's hard to keep track of the threads.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-08-2011, 04:19 PM
RE: Free Will
(07-08-2011 04:06 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Susan Blackmore does a lot of work with the mind and with consciousness and one of the interesting ideas she champions is that there isn't actually a central I in anyone.

Another old hippie atheist who practices zazen. Cool. Thanks, Matt! I'm gonna have to check her out.

(07-08-2011 04:06 PM)Ghost Wrote:  The only evolutionary reason I can think of is that we do have control. Just not absolute control.

That's probably right. It's the degree of control I find a bit troubling. It may very well be a lot less than what I am used to thinking.

Thanks again, Matt! Peace, love, and empathy right back at you.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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