Is free will all or nothing?

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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby neuro on March 5th, 2017, 10:43 am 

vivian maxine » January 24th, 2017, 2:45 pm wrote:Belief in free will is linked to happiness.

Probably yes.
It certainly helps in producing resilience, i.e. in making us able to face distressing situations.
One possibility is to feel as if one is the victim of others and the circumstances.
The other is to imagine one may do something....
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Heavy_Water on May 8th, 2017, 6:40 pm 

AbstractNeuron » December 11th, 2016, 7:20 pm wrote:Do you think free will is something you have or you don't have or that there are varying degrees of free will? And why if ideas are available!



Very few aspects or paradigms in the real world are all or nothing affairs. The vast majority of them are comprised of gradations. Degrees. Levels.

Free will? No exception.

Our wills and our lives are indeed free in the sense that there is no supreme, omniscient, personal, biblical sort of god who controls us. Or had plans for us. Or puts things into our lives or paths. There is no such thing as fate or destiny.

However, a goodly percentage of Psychology and neurology experts claim that since our brains create neural pathways from repetition, they become so ingrained...etched, if I may use a layman's terms...in our minds, that we will be all but forced to act in accordance with the actions and thought, opinions, even, that they allude to. This is why habits and obsessions are formed. And why even the ones that negatively impact our quality of life can be very difficult to overcome.

Because of this..which btw is neurological fact, proven and seen via various medical imagery...when you, say, claim you just decided spontaneously to quit your well paying lawyer job to go paint water color landscapes, you in reality just acted in accordance with what your specific neural pathways dictated when a promoting event arose. So, in this way, even though, yeah, we are free from the whims of a make believe sky god, we are still beholden to very real physiological conditions that at least partially denigrate true free will.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thehedglin on May 28th, 2017, 6:01 pm 

Most of the debate around these topics seems, to me at least, to be predicated on peoples PERSONAL understandings of these concepts. To ME, the concept of determinism is simple causality, so ANY decision based even partially on past experience or circumstance seems deterministic. I also see free will as a dead concept, which fundamentally argues that a RATIONAL being could randomly make a choice without so much as thinking, which is madness to me.

Others may define these concepts differently, so may have different perspectives.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Dave_Oblad on May 29th, 2017, 3:58 pm 

Hi thehedglin,

Welcome to the Forums.

I agree. To ME, "Freewill" is best exemplified by the fact I can design and shape my future. I can go watch TV right now or take a Nap (both sound good). So I make a decision and follow through on said decision. That's "Freewill".

But.. if I could Rewind Time perfectly for every particle in the Universe to earlier today.. I would find I will make the exact same decisions.. exactly the same.. 100% of the Rewinds. That's "Determinism".

Obviously, I'm a Compatibilist.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thehedglin on May 29th, 2017, 6:26 pm 

Dave_Oblad » May 29th, 2017, 2:58 pm wrote:Hi thehedglin,

Welcome to the Forums.

I agree. To ME, "Freewill" is best exemplified by the fact I can design and shape my future. I can go watch TV right now or take a Nap (both sound good). So I make a decision and follow through on said decision. That's "Freewill".

But.. if I could Rewind Time perfectly for every particle in the Universe to earlier today.. I would find I will make the exact same decisions.. exactly the same.. 100% of the Rewinds. That's "Determinism".

Obviously, I'm a Compatibilist.

Regards,
Dave :^)


See, even if I don't agree with your definitions, I definitely see and even agree with your conclusions based on them. Thanks for the warm welcome.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on July 29th, 2017, 7:33 pm 

Dave_Oblad » December 23rd, 2016, 3:14 pm wrote:Hi All,

Sorry.. I said I wouldn't come back again, but there is an extremely valuable point that gets overlooked in these: Compatibilism.

This is Free Will mixed with Hard Determinism.

Best expressed as:
You are Free to design your future for your best interests and happiness.
Caveat:
If you could rewind Time "perfectly" for the whole Universe, say 1000's of years back.
It would play out exactly the same, every single time, after a rewind.

That's all Hard Determinism does.

It doesn't interfere with your ability to do what you want, when you want, or remove any responsibility from your actions.

Think of it like a Movie. You can watch a Movie and witness all the characters using their Free Will to form the plot of the Movie. But no matter how many times you replay the Movie, it always plays the same. That's Compatibilism for you.

So, I don't get what all the fuss is about. I'm free to design my future.. that's all that is important. It doesn't matter if my future is fated.. it is the one I wanted and designed for myself.. anyway I cut it.

Best regards all,
Dave :^)


Hi Dave,

Let me propose an alternate definition of free will, which at first you won't agree with (but read my paper and you may be convinced):
1. Nondeterminism - That multiple potential outcomes are *actually* possible when a person makes a decision (there's not only one potential future possibility)
2. A being’s conscious effort to make one of them more likely has a statistical impact on the likely outcome of which possibility the being experiences. In layman’s terms, if you choose to try to do something, it's more likely to happen.

This is supported by the rather ubiquitous Stamford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which starts its definition of free will (here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/) as:
"“Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives" (hopefully we can agree my definition is consistent with this definition, but I have more clearly stated mine to say that I'm disproving determinism in addition to proving free will).

If the world is deterministic, your 'free' will is simply an illusion of free will, not what most people normally think of as free will. Definitions of "free will" in a deterministic world seem like a contradiction of the general impression of what constitutes free will... because if all our decisions are truly solely causal, free will simply can't exist as its generally defined.

I'll make the bold claim that I've not only logically disproved determinism, but given very good logical support for true free will, as I defined it above (which to me is a very precise and meaningful definition). And Dave I invite you in particular to come up with some reason I'm wrong... I'm open to there being one, as I used to be a determinist like you before I learned about Godel's incompleteness theorem, but nobody has been able to find a good flaw in my argument yet so let's see what you can do to punch holes in it.

Here's the proof, feel free to add comments with questions, positive, or constructive criticism:
goo.gl/VnSTRN

Kind regards,
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Sivad on July 30th, 2017, 11:17 am 

Is free will all or nothing?

I don't see why there couldn't be degrees of freedom where we're able to overcome some inclinations but are overpowered by others. Willpower would be the deciding factor there. Some claim that we have no control over what we will or the strength of our will, but people do deliberately change their thoughts and desires all the time. We also consciously undertake training and discipline to increase willpower, develop self-control, and build character, so maybe that implies some agency beyond or over the will?

I do think that regardless of whether we have that kind of libertarian freedom or not we are capable of both strengthening and purifying our will through discipline and focus, so maybe a will liberated from weakness and corruption is all the freedom we need?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby neuro on August 7th, 2017, 11:49 am 

thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 12:33 am wrote:Let me propose an alternate definition of free will, which at first you won't agree with (but read my paper and you may be convinced):
1. Nondeterminism - That multiple potential outcomes are *actually* possible when a person makes a decision (there's not only one potential future possibility)
2. A being’s conscious effort to make one of them more likely has a statistical impact on the likely outcome of which possibility the being experiences. In layman’s terms, if you choose to try to do something, it's more likely to happen.

Hi.
I am afraid that you do not hit the crucial issue here.
A full determinist would argue that the making of a decision is itself a deterministic event, and if you "chooss" to try and do something, thereby changing the probabilities of future developments, you make this moved by deterministic relations in your brain.

I am not particularly fond of such a view.
But I propose to turn the whole issue upside-down:
If I choose to do something, and that turns out to be a deterministic result of all the forces that act on me and of how my genes and the events of my life have moulded my brain, then that is how I actually choose, because what you call "a deterministic result of all the forces that act on me and of how my genes and the events of my life have moulded my brain" exactly is me.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 14th, 2017, 7:58 pm 

neuro » August 7th, 2017, 10:49 am wrote:
thinker4life » July 30th, 2017, 12:33 am wrote:Let me propose an alternate definition of free will, which at first you won't agree with (but read my paper and you may be convinced):
1. Nondeterminism - That multiple potential outcomes are *actually* possible when a person makes a decision (there's not only one potential future possibility)
2. A being’s conscious effort to make one of them more likely has a statistical impact on the likely outcome of which possibility the being experiences. In layman’s terms, if you choose to try to do something, it's more likely to happen.

Hi.
I am afraid that you do not hit the crucial issue here.
A full determinist would argue that the making of a decision is itself a deterministic event, and if you "chooss" to try and do something, thereby changing the probabilities of future developments, you make this moved by deterministic relations in your brain.

I am not particularly fond of such a view.
But I propose to turn the whole issue upside-down:
If I choose to do something, and that turns out to be a deterministic result of all the forces that act on me and of how my genes and the events of my life have moulded my brain, then that is how I actually choose, because what you call "a deterministic result of all the forces that act on me and of how my genes and the events of my life have moulded my brain" exactly is me.


Hi Neuro,

I don't think I missed the point at all, I think you didn't read my paper.

A full determinist would say that your "choosing" is in fact a deterministic algorithm based on nature and nurture. A product of the laws of physics. This assumption is what I have very clearly disproved... that the future of the universe is not deterministic, leaving open the possibility for free will and/or randomness to determine the future.

Let me know if this makes sense. If you understand/agree with what I'm saying, you may be curious enough to read the actual proof which substantiates what I'm saying... If you do you may be one of the first to read a proof that ends a debate that has raged for thousands of years.

Unfortunately for the determinists, this may require them to take accountability for their decisions for a change.

Kind regards,
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 15th, 2017, 10:14 am 

thinker4life wrote:…the universe is not deterministic, leaving open the possibility for free will and/or randomness to determine the future.

How can ANYTHING in a “non-deterministic” universe “determine” anything?

The "randomness" in a "non-deterministic" universe kills any possibility of free-will. Free-will cannot ‘will’ (or determine) anything in a "non-deterministic" universe. If I choose X, but Y happens, then where is the free-will? ...what is it that I am determining (or 'willing')?

Free-will cannot exist in a deterministic universe, nor a non-deterministic universe. Therefore free-will does not exist. It is nothing.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 15th, 2017, 1:27 pm 

RJG » August 15th, 2017, 9:14 am wrote:
thinker4life wrote:…the universe is not deterministic, leaving open the possibility for free will and/or randomness to determine the future.

How can ANYTHING in a “non-deterministic” universe “determine” anything?

The "randomness" in a "non-deterministic" universe kills any possibility of free-will. Free-will cannot ‘will’ (or determine) anything in a "non-deterministic" universe. If I choose X, but Y happens, then where is the free-will? ...what is it that I am determining (or 'willing')?

Free-will cannot exist in a deterministic universe, nor a non-deterministic universe. Therefore free-will does not exist. It is nothing.


Correction.
Free-will cannot exist in a universe in which causation is restricted to the time-ordered variety. Therefore since we experience free-will, the premise of time-ordered causality must be rejected. Randomness is only how free will looks when you insist on adhering to the premise of time-ordered causality. But free will is entirely logical outside that premise as a process by which we become the cause of our free will choices and thus both cause and effect originate in the same causal event. There is nothing terribly revolutionary in this idea for since the very beginnings of the idea of causation in philosophy, the idea was not restricted to the time-ordered variety. Aristotle considered to be only one of four different types of causation (the one he called efficient causality).

With the Bell inequality experiments, physical determinism is quite dead. Those adhering to the scientific method have accepted that the system of physical causality is not a closed system. That leaves you with three choices with regards to determinism which cannot be answered by the objective evidence.
1. Reject determinism and simply accept that not all events are determined by pre-existing conditions.
2. Imagine causes outside the premises of the scientific worldview (i.e. nonphyscial causes) in order to close the system of causality in order to save determinism.
3. Accept the possibility or even likelihood of non-physical causes but still see no reason to insist on determinism anyway.

It should be noted that once you look outside the scientific worldview of causation then you have no reason to accept its assumption that causality is limited the time-ordered variety. Even science teaches that time in the physical universe is hardly a universal absolute measure and something that only came into existence with the universe in the big bang 13.7 billion years ago.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 15th, 2017, 8:52 pm 

Aristotle's 4 causes.

Efficient cause: This is the usual time-ordered idea of causality from interaction with something often referred to a causal agent.

Material cause: This is the causality coming from that which a thing is composed of. In modern terminology, efficient and material causality combined could be referred to as local causality which is a fundamental premise of modern science today.

Formal cause: This is the causality coming from the form of a thing. It was probably somewhat related to Plato's idealism philosophy. But I think you could relate to two more modern ideas of causality.
1. Emergent properties: The idea is that not everything is simply due to the properties of the composing parts or material substance. Not only can interactions create unexpected behaviors in the whole system, but through phenomenon like spontaneous symmetry breaking and chaotic bifurcation you can actually have behaviors emerge which are not determined by the composing parts.
2. Non-local effects: We know from quantum mechanics that systems have have properties as a whole which transcend the limitations of local causality.

Final causality: This is mostly seen in the intentional actions of living organisms working towards an end. In this, the purpose of the organism seems to become one of the causes of what happens. This idea of causality seems to directly oppose the limitations of time-ordered causality. This the one of Aristotle's four causes which has the least regard in modern science. It rather brings to mind such notions as "intelligent design" which sound more like theology than science.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 15th, 2017, 9:07 pm 

RJG » August 15th, 2017, 9:14 am wrote:
thinker4life wrote:…the universe is not deterministic, leaving open the possibility for free will and/or randomness to determine the future.

How can ANYTHING in a “non-deterministic” universe “determine” anything?

The "randomness" in a "non-deterministic" universe kills any possibility of free-will. Free-will cannot ‘will’ (or determine) anything in a "non-deterministic" universe. If I choose X, but Y happens, then where is the free-will? ...what is it that I am determining (or 'willing')?

Free-will cannot exist in a deterministic universe, nor a non-deterministic universe. Therefore free-will does not exist. It is nothing.


The presence of cause and effect does not necessitate that cause and effect are deterministic. A non-deterministic world is not a world without cause and effect... There very much is still cause and effect in this world. The difference between non-determinism and determinism is that determinism says that all causes are pre-calculable. This is what I have clearly disproved. Even the ultimate incarnation of the laws of physics themselves as the ultimate knowledge base of the universe can't deterministically calculate the future at the next moment in time t + delta t. I recommend reading my paper on free will and learning about Godel's incompleteness theorem. It will give you a more comprehensive view of the limitations of the laws of physics and knowledge bases in general (of which the laws of physics are one, as shown by my proof).

You seem to be suffering from some sort of frustration or confusion at the introduction of a concept that occurs very naturally for most people, and which I have logically proven quite convincingly. If you want to try to disprove free will, try disproving part of my paper which outlines the reasons for its existence quite clearly, rather than just stating your right in caps, which is not very convincing.

Also if you were to understand the paper, you would understand that randomness and free will are both possible explanations for the non-deterministic universe we live in. Free will is a much better explanation for the "decisions" we make. Randomness could very well be part of the equation, but I haven't proven anything about its existence. Maybe I will some day, but I haven't yet. My suspicion is it plays some role in the universe as well.

As for "if I choose x, by Y happens, where is free will," I recommend you read my definition of free will. Nobody on earth claims that if you choose x by free will, therefore x happens. Free will is the concept that what you will to happen becomes *probabalistically more likely*. For example, you could try to punch me for saying free will exists... but I could just as easily block your punch and punch you back. Just because you were not successful in punching me doesn't mean you don't have free will -- you used your free will to try to punch me and I used my free will to block it and punch you back. Free will only impacts probabalistically likely outcomes. Nature and nurture determine the probability clouds within which we all must make choices. But free will does exist, and is influential, and can change much more than you seem to believe is possible.

We may be quibbling on the definition of determinism... My point in calling the world non-deterministic is to say that given the state of the universe at time t, the laws of physics alone (without free will being considered) can't determine the state of the universe at the next moment in time. I call this non-determinism. By the strict definition of determinism in the dictionary, which is "the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, have sufficient causes." one could say people have free will and the world is deterministic. But I think that violates the normal way people think about determinism. If you want to use the strict definition of determinism, you're right, there are sufficient causes for everything. Its just that some of those causes are the result of sentient being's independent decisions and are the result of their decisions, which are completely unpredictable by anything, including absolute knowledge of (or even the actual operation of) the laws of physics themselves. Nothing can predict what I will do next.

We may be able to predict what you do next, because you don't believe in free will, if you do whatever comes most naturally to you and we calculate your highest probability outcome in any situation, but you can never predict what I will do next.

If we're quibbling over the definition of determinism, let's move past that, and focus on the definition of free will that I laid out, I think its more interesting.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 15th, 2017, 9:08 pm 

RJG » August 15th, 2017, 9:14 am wrote:
thinker4life wrote:…the universe is not deterministic, leaving open the possibility for free will and/or randomness to determine the future.

How can ANYTHING in a “non-deterministic” universe “determine” anything?

The "randomness" in a "non-deterministic" universe kills any possibility of free-will. Free-will cannot ‘will’ (or determine) anything in a "non-deterministic" universe. If I choose X, but Y happens, then where is the free-will? ...what is it that I am determining (or 'willing')?

Free-will cannot exist in a deterministic universe, nor a non-deterministic universe. Therefore free-will does not exist. It is nothing.


The presence of cause and effect does not necessitate that cause and effect are deterministic. A non-deterministic world is not a world without cause and effect... There very much is still cause and effect in this world. The difference between non-determinism and determinism is that determinism says that all causes are pre-calculable. This is what I have clearly disproved. Even the ultimate incarnation of the laws of physics themselves as the ultimate knowledge base of the universe can't deterministically calculate the future at the next moment in time t + delta t. I recommend reading my paper on free will and learning about Godel's incompleteness theorem. It will give you a more comprehensive view of the limitations of the laws of physics and knowledge bases in general (of which the laws of physics are one, as shown by my proof).

You seem to be suffering from some sort of frustration or confusion at the introduction of a concept that occurs very naturally for most people, and which I have logically proven quite convincingly. If you want to try to disprove free will, try disproving part of my paper which outlines the reasons for its existence quite clearly, rather than just stating your right in caps, which is not very convincing.

Also if you were to understand the paper, you would understand that randomness and free will are both possible explanations for the non-deterministic universe we live in. Free will is a much better explanation for the "decisions" we make. Randomness could very well be part of the equation, but I haven't proven anything about its existence. Maybe I will some day, but I haven't yet. My suspicion is it plays some role in the universe as well.

As for "if I choose x, by Y happens, where is free will," I recommend you read my definition of free will. Nobody on earth claims that if you choose x by free will, therefore x happens. Free will is the concept that what you will to happen becomes *probabalistically more likely*. For example, you could try to punch me for saying free will exists... but I could just as easily block your punch and punch you back. Just because you were not successful in punching me doesn't mean you don't have free will -- you used your free will to try to punch me and I used my free will to block it and punch you back. Free will only impacts probabalistically likely outcomes. Nature and nurture determine the probability clouds within which we all must make choices. But free will does exist, and is influential, and can change much more than you seem to believe is possible.

We may be quibbling on the definition of determinism... My point in calling the world non-deterministic is to say that given the state of the universe at time t, the laws of physics alone (without free will being considered) can't determine the state of the universe at the next moment in time. I call this non-determinism. By the strict definition of determinism in the dictionary, which is "the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, have sufficient causes." one could say people have free will and the world is deterministic. But I think that violates the normal way people think about determinism. If you want to use the strict definition of determinism, you're right, there are sufficient causes for everything. Its just that some of those causes are the result of sentient being's independent decisions and are the result of their decisions, which are completely unpredictable by anything, including absolute knowledge of (or even the actual operation of) the laws of physics themselves. Nothing can predict what I will do next.

We may be able to predict what you do next, because you don't believe in free will, if you do whatever comes most naturally to you and we calculate your highest probability outcome in any situation, but you can never predict what I will do next.

If we're quibbling over the definition of determinism, let's move past that, and focus on the definition of free will that I laid out, I think its more interesting.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 17th, 2017, 11:18 am 

Thinker4life, -- other than “being told so” (i.e. indoctrinated), how do you really know that you possess this “free-will”?

What are the tell-tale signs?, ...what are the (personal) indicators? ...in other words, what is it ‘specifically’ that you actually detect/sense/experience about yourself, that convinces you, that you indeed have this “free-will”?


mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

We do??? What is this "experience"? …is it a felturge’ (or a ‘want’) to-do-something? ...or is it something else?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 17th, 2017, 11:32 am 

RJG » August 17th, 2017, 10:18 am wrote:Thinker4life, -- other than “being told so” (i.e. indoctrinated), how do you really know that you possess this “free-will”?

What are the tell-tale signs?, ...what are the (personal) indicators? ...in other words, what is it ‘specifically’ that you detect/sense/experience about yourself that tells that you actually have “free-will”?


mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

We do??? If so, then what is this “experience” that indicates that we actually have free-will?

…is it a felturge’ (or ‘want’) to do something? ...is this the "experience"? ...or is it something else?


Well there is nothing absolute, inviolable, or universal about it, so it is possible you do not experience any such thing. Indeed, some people seem to act the part of only observers of their own life and thus behave like mindless automatons. But others participate in their life, taking ownership over their own desires and whims, and their experience is one being in control of what they do. They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore. It is an immediate undeniable experience that their actions follow however they choose to direct them for whatever reason they choose.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 17th, 2017, 4:04 pm 

RJG wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

What is this "experience"? …is it a felt ‘urge’ (or a ‘want’) to-do-something? ...or is it something else?

mitchellmckain wrote:...others participate in their life, taking ownership over their own desires and whims, and their experience is one being in control of what they do. They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore.

So as to get to the meat of your answer, are you saying, -- that this felt experience is a ‘desire’ (want/urge)? …that is chosen by us? …that in turn, control us?

In other words, "will" is the felt urge ("desire", want) that controls us to do as we do. And since we "choose" our will (urges/desires), it therefore makes it "free". Is this what you are saying?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 17th, 2017, 6:02 pm 

RJG » August 17th, 2017, 3:04 pm wrote:
RJG wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

What is this "experience"? …is it a felt ‘urge’ (or a ‘want’) to-do-something? ...or is it something else?

mitchellmckain wrote:...others participate in their life, taking ownership over their own desires and whims, and their experience is one being in control of what they do. They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore.

So as to get to the meat of your answer, are you saying, -- that this felt experience is a ‘desire’ (want/urge)? …that is chosen by us? …that in turn, control us?

In other words, "will" is the felt urge ("desire", want) that controls us to do as we do. And since we "choose" our will (urges/desires), it therefore makes it "free". Is this what you are saying?


No. Your attempt to replace what I said with words of your own choosing is rejected.

If you actually want to know what I am saying then you will read my post rather than forcing it like square pegs in round holes into the rhetoric of your personal philosophy.

They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore. It is an immediate undeniable experience that their actions follow however they choose to direct them for whatever reason they choose.


But like I said, you may not experience this and thus it would be meaningless to you. If you sit back and just watch your life pass you by, free will may be no more real to you than color to a blind man or any more real to than logic/mathematics to the mentally handicapped.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 17th, 2017, 8:56 pm 

mitchellmckain wrote:No. Your attempt to replace what I said with words of your own choosing is rejected.

If you actually want to know what I am saying then you will read my post rather than forcing it like square pegs in round holes into the rhetoric of your personal philosophy.

My words (response) was an attempt to understand your convoluted answer.

No offense Mitch, but take a look at your answer to my very simple question. You seem to obfuscate quite a bit and can't seem to give a simple straightfoward answer to a very simple question. Instead you prefer to lecture me about mindless automaton and other stuff.

I just want to know what it is that you experience. That's it. Save the lecture for yourself. If you don't want to answer the question, then don't. And if you do, then do!!!
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2017, 11:01 pm 

Is the 'will' the 'brain'?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 18th, 2017, 1:58 am 

DragonFly » August 17th, 2017, 10:01 pm wrote:Is the 'will' the 'brain'?


No.

The will as it is traditionally understood is part the mind not the brain. Are these the same thing? No. The mind and brain are two different dynamic physical self-organizing processes in different mediums even though they are in the same place and interdependent. Often they are compared to the relationship of hardware and software in a computer, but only in the most general way, for this comparison is quite flawed when it comes to the details in many respects.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 18th, 2017, 2:03 am 

RJG » August 17th, 2017, 7:56 pm wrote:I just want to know what it is that you experience. That's it. Save the lecture for yourself. If you don't want to answer the question, then don't. And if you do, then do!!!

I already answered the question. For some reason, you keep making me repeat myself.

They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore. It is an immediate undeniable experience that their actions follow however they choose to direct them for whatever reason they choose.


If you don't want to address this answer I gave, then don't. And if you do want to, then I am waiting for it.

But don't get confused about what question this is addressing. You were asking about what is the experience of free will, which I was talking about. So I described it. But don't confuse this with an objective argument for the existence of free will. I did not put this forward as any such thing. Since we are talking about personal experience this is automatically in the arena of subjective judgement. I choose to take this basic human experience seriously and you are free to explain it away if you choose. But that leaves us with an agree to disagree impasse. It leaves me with a philosophy which takes our basic human experiences seriously and you with a philosophy which tries to dismiss them as unreal. I think the former is a fundamentally better philosophy. That is my choice.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RoccoR on August 18th, 2017, 11:41 am 

RE: Re: Is free will all or nothing?
※→ neuro, vivian maxine, et al,

How are "Free Will" and "Happiness" linked. What is the relationship you have drawn here.

neuro » March 5th, 2017, 10:43 am wrote:
vivian maxine » January 24th, 2017, 2:45 pm wrote:Belief in free will is linked to happiness.

Probably yes.
It certainly helps in producing resilience, i.e. in making us able to face distressing situations.
One possibility is to feel as if one is the victim of others and the circumstances.
The other is to imagine one may do something....

(COMMENT)

Am I right in assuming you are talking about the Supreme Being (SB) and Ultimate Cosmic Creator (UCC) bestowing "Free Will" upon humanity.

Maybe this is because "Free Will" must be Nondeterministic in relationship with the SB/UCC; in essence → it is incompatible with an all-knowing and all-seeing SB/UCC -- which cannot be wrong. For "Free Will" to exist, the nature of the SB/UCC interaction with humanity must be indeterminable by a sequence of events manipulated by the SB/UCC leading to a human making a choice (event-causal accounts of action) or taking an action for which there was no other alternative. No human action can be in contravention to a SB/UCC Omniscience of the future events, even without cause.

Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy wrote:Foreknowledge and Free Will, First published Tue Jul 6, 2004;

    For any future act you will perform, if some being infallibly believed in the past that the act would occur, there is nothing you can do now about the fact that he believed what he believed since nobody has any control over past events; nor can you make him mistaken in his belief, given that he is infallible. Therefore, there is nothing you can do now about the fact that he believed in a way that cannot be mistaken that you would do what you will do. But if so, you cannot do otherwise than what he believed you would do. And if you cannot do otherwise, you will not perform the act freely.


This argument does not have to be true. Its validity rests with the attributes of the Deity. IF the SB/UCC is the well-spring of all cause in the universe and holds the characteristics first proposed by the Hebrews (G-d 101), THEN Essentially Omniscient Foreknower (EOF) creates a dilemma; the SB/UCC sets the EOF which then must be true and will become reality.

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 18th, 2017, 12:23 pm 

RJG wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

What is this "experience"? …is it a felt ‘urge’ (or a ‘want’) to-do-something? ...or is it something else?

mitchellmckain wrote:I already answered the question. For some reason, you keep making me repeat myself.

…They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore. It is an immediate undeniable experience that their actions follow however they choose to direct them for whatever reason they choose.

Sentence 1 - tells me what IT is ‘not’, and that we can choose between desires.
Sentence 2 - tells me that IT is an 'immediate/undeniable' experience, and that actions follow choices.

So, what is this IT? ...is it a felt "desire" (want/urge)?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Braininvat on August 18th, 2017, 12:52 pm 

The will as it is traditionally understood is part the mind not the brain. Are these the same thing? No. The mind and brain are two different dynamic physical self-organizing processes in different mediums even though they are in the same place and interdependent.
- Mitchell

That's the traditional view best known as Aspect Dualism. It tends to approach mental processes as operational accounts of subjective states, which are distinct from neurological processes that are seen as objective structural definitions. "Mind" (and presumably the will, as one operation of said mind) is what the brain does, the brain being the structural base of that process. To a monist, mind and brain would be two ways of talking about a single dynamic physical process, one way is from the outside (watching neurons fire, watching pathways activate, etc.), the other from the inside (I'd really like a piece of Swiss cheese right about now, but I am determined to restrain myself until dinner). I think the advantage of monism is that it gives a clearer causal account of how mind and brain can be, as you put them, "in the same place and interdependent." If you get to the point where you are dividing thought into "two different dynamic...processes in different mediums," then the causal picture is more difficult to grapple with. You are veering almost into the territory of Substance Dualism, and all of its metaphysical problems.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 18th, 2017, 2:04 pm 

Braininvat » August 18th, 2017, 11:52 am wrote:
The will as it is traditionally understood is part the mind not the brain. Are these the same thing? No. The mind and brain are two different dynamic physical self-organizing processes in different mediums even though they are in the same place and interdependent.
- Mitchell

That's the traditional view best known as Aspect Dualism. It tends to approach mental processes as operational accounts of subjective states, which are distinct from neurological processes that are seen as objective structural definitions. "Mind" (and presumably the will, as one operation of said mind) is what the brain does, the brain being the structural base of that process. To a monist, mind and brain would be two ways of talking about a single dynamic physical process, one way is from the outside (watching neurons fire, watching pathways activate, etc.), the other from the inside (I'd really like a piece of Swiss cheese right about now, but I am determined to restrain myself until dinner). I think the advantage of monism is that it gives a clearer causal account of how mind and brain can be, as you put them, "in the same place and interdependent." If you get to the point where you are dividing thought into "two different dynamic...processes in different mediums," then the causal picture is more difficult to grapple with. You are veering almost into the territory of Substance Dualism, and all of its metaphysical problems.


But I am in fact a physicalist and a substance monist. I believe the mind is just as physical as the body. This avoids all the philosophical problems with dualism. At the same time, I am taking the very dualistic nature of human experience quite seriously with an effective dualism due to two very different dynamic organisms in two different mediums. There is considerable evidence for this in two entirely separate ways in which we inherit from one generation to another. DNA contains absolutely NONE of our inheritance of the mind which is transmitted to the next generation via human communication (verbal, books, and electronic).

The only thing to sort out here is which things belong to which. To be sure, many things that have been traditionally categorized as mind are indeed functions of the brain, instead. And maybe the problem here, when addressing the question of whether the will is something of the mind or of the brain, are the details concerning what we mean by the will. To be sure, any functionality which is shared with chimpanzees and has little dependence on language is likely to be matter of brain function rather than the mind. Such things are more a matter for scientific research than philosophy.

Furthermore, as I mentioned in my post, this is not quite as simple as the relationship between hardware and software. For example, we know that part of the learning process involves building neural connections in the brain. To think this is 1-1 is probably naive, but the fact is that quite unlike computer hardware the brain is altered in the learning process. So I quite acknowledge that separating the mind and brain is likely to be far more difficult than with computer hardware and software.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 18th, 2017, 2:18 pm 

RJG » August 18th, 2017, 11:23 am wrote:
RJG wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Therefore since we experience free-will…

What is this "experience"? …is it a felt ‘urge’ (or a ‘want’) to-do-something? ...or is it something else?

mitchellmckain wrote:I already answered the question. For some reason, you keep making me repeat myself.

…They certainly do not experience desires coming down out of the universe to take control of them, but rather choose between conflicting desires, which to indulge and which to ignore. It is an immediate undeniable experience that their actions follow however they choose to direct them for whatever reason they choose.

Sentence 1 - tells me what IT is ‘not’, and that we can choose between desires.
Sentence 2 - tells me that IT is an 'immediate/undeniable' experience, and that actions follow choices.

So, what is this IT? ...is it a felt "desire" (want/urge)?


And I refuse your attempt to objectify in order to distance and disown. The only IT here is the experience. You asked about it and I described it. I reject the claim that an experience is an experience of an objective thing. An experience is an experience. Desires are not things separate from the self, and as addressed in the first sentence, I refute the effort to claim that a desire means you are not in control of what you do. For the most part "desires" are just categories used in the analytical process of self-reflection, and rather than playing a role in making you do things, they have more to do with self image.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 18th, 2017, 6:25 pm 

RJG » August 17th, 2017, 10:18 am wrote:Thinker4life, -- other than “being told so” (i.e. indoctrinated), how do you really know that you possess this “free-will”?

What are the tell-tale signs?, ...what are the (personal) indicators? ...in other words, what is it ‘specifically’ that you actually detect/sense/experience about yourself, that convinces you, that you indeed have this “free-will”?


You're hilarious... I'm indoctrinated? I was a hard determinist atheist, and came to my conclusion that free will exists only after writing a rock solid logic proof of its existence proving myself wrong. Who indoctrinated me? Me? To prove myself wrong? Hmmm... Try reading my proof of free will and see if you can find some flaw with it. Its here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_MB ... Y1GDc/edit

If you can't find any logical flaw in my arguments, I'd argue I've proven free will exists... And that I'm both happy and regretfully going to tell you that the I'm-certain-you-feel-it-too feeling that you're actually making the decisions you make is actually real. You are actual responsible for your decisions, beliefs, values, all of it. Its you. So if you're proud of who you are, congratulations you made good decisions. If you're not, I'm sorry but you'll need to make some free will changes to your life so you improve as a person. Either way, just knowing you're responsible for your own decisions would be a good start rather than thinking that you're helpless to impact all the things you think are in your control... "Could I have not eaten that last scoop of ice cream? Nope it was pre-determined that I'd do that, it's out of my control" is not a valid argument once you've read my proof. The universe is not pre-determined, and you make free will sentient being conscious person decisions. At least until such time as you disprove my proof, which nobody has been able to do including multiple free will skeptics.

If you want to look at someone that's indoctrinated, look in the mirror. Science has indoctrinated you to believe that when you make a decision its completely out of your control, even though you absolutely - and I'm sure about this - feel the decision is in your control in many cases. It takes indoctrination to NOT believe in free will... I was indoctrinated once, like you, and I have used logic and reason to free myself from the perceived shackles of determinism. Learn from my journey and join me in the brave, free, new world of free will.

Kind regards,
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 18th, 2017, 11:33 pm 

Thinker, you got so hung up on the word "indoctrinated" that you forgot to answer my simple question. Also, I read your proof, and applaud the effort and energy you put into it. But unfortunately it is not as "rock solid" as you think. You start with a flawed definition, which invalidates the entire 17 page proof.

thinker4life wrote:6. Free will is defined as:
a. Nondeterminism - That multiple potential outcomes are possible when a person makes a decision
b. A being’s conscious effort to make one of them more likely has a statistical impact on the likely outcome of which possibility the being experiences. In layman’s terms, if you choose to try to do something, it's more likely to happen.

1. “Non-determinism” only makes free-will impossible! One can’t choose, or ‘cause’ anything if this anything can be one of multiple (or random) outcomes. I choose X, but because of non-determinism, Y happens. Causing, or "willing" (or determining) anything cannot happen non-deterministically!

2. What is this “conscious effort”? Can one actually “consciously do” anything? Or is one just conscious of their doing/effort?

"Non-deterministically choosing" is not logically possible.
"Consciously doing" is not logically possible.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Sivad on August 19th, 2017, 8:09 am 

I don't see how we can honestly weigh in on free will until we have a good account of consciousness? From our perspective downward causation is apparent and we are metacognitively aware of our choices. Free will might be an illusion, but it is one hell of an illusion.
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