Is free will all or nothing?

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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 19th, 2017, 12:14 pm 

RJG » August 18th, 2017, 10:33 pm wrote: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.

Let me show explicitly that I've answered your questions by laying out title headings for each question I've answered... sorry if I wasn't clear before:

NON-DETERMINISM (the answer to your first question)
Non-determinism is what I've proven, if you take the time to read and understand the proof, and it lays the groundwork for why free will is possible. If there's a part of the logical proof that you don't understand or that you think is logically flawed, I'd encourage you to put a comment in about what you disagree with.

To clarify what seems to be confusing you: Non-determinism does not mean there is no cause and effect. Nobody is claiming there is no such thing as cause and effect. There is, and hopefully we can all agree on that.
This is confusing other people on this forum too, which I find fascinating. Non-determinism means simply that cause and effect are not 100% predictable, not that there is no cause and effect. If you consider that free will is a non-deterministic cause and effect, as I've defined it, it's 100% compatible with free will. Its not compatible with some of the traditional philosophical definitions of free will, which I reject. I've proposed my own for a reason, prior definitions like Compatibilist "free will" etc. are flawed and I agree with you they don't exist. My definition of free will is all I've proven.

CONSCIOUS EFFORT
Also as for "conscious effort" let me define it as bare bones a definition as I can. By conscious effort all I mean is that there is a concept of a "sentient being" which makes "non-deterministic decisions" which have an impact on the probabilistic outcome of a situation in the world. This means that we, who perceive ourselves to be sentient beings (I hope we all perceive ourselves to be sentient beings, if you don't perceive yourself as a sentient being, perhaps you're not and I am), actually make non-deterministic decisions to impact the probabilistic outcome of the reality we perceive.

Just to share with you the dictionary definition of conscious, as its compatible with mine above, from dictionary.com, is "aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc."

So conscious effort implies two things - One, self awareness that you are a sentient being, and two, that there is a possibility (which I have proven is the most likely reason for the evidence I show in my proof) that you make decisions which probabilistically impact the future you experience.

Does this clarify the concepts for you and answer your questions, without antagonizing you?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2017, 1:42 pm 

If the will can choose differently under the same circumstances, then we'd think there has to be a variable involved, such as a cosmic ray disrupting (kind of like coercion) or random quantum fluctuations coming into play as a kind of first cause (no cause).

The above "natural coercions" probably don't happen too often, for we generally retain the consistency of the will, plus 'random' only harms either free or fixed will and so it doesn't seem to help either notion.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2017, 1:48 pm 

Sivad » August 19th, 2017, 7:09 am wrote: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.


The best we can say, it seems, from: Werner Loewenstein, “Physics in Mind” is

“Although from our lookout high up the zoological ladder we cannot see at what rung consciousness first appears, this much we do see: it is the culmination of Evolution’s information enterprise— phylogenetically and ontogenetically. Piece by piece, the evidence in the foregoing chapters stacked up that consciousness is the culmination of the action of highly evolved cortical neurons—the culmination of their information processing and computing.”

“I use the word culmination because it does not have the mechanistic undertones words like result or product have. All it implies is that information processing and consciousness are sequential events—and that is all we know. This is good to bear in mind at every turn, lest we are led down the primrose path that has tricked quite a few computer enthusiasts into thinking that the two events are identical or that the information processing itself explains the sequel. We live in a technological age of high expectations from computers—and justifiably so.”

“Where and how the short-term memory enters the machinery of consciousness is not known. But for the present discussion, let’s take a reductionist’s license. Assume that our sensory conscious experiences are made of brief unit conscious states, snapshots of the world outside, which are glued together by engrams of the short-term memory system. Then, as the engrams seamlessly link the unit conscious states together, we get a semblance of a streaming of consciousness with time.”
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 19th, 2017, 5:06 pm 

DragonFly » August 19th, 2017, 12:42 pm wrote:If the will can choose differently under the same circumstances, then we'd think there has to be a variable involved, such as a cosmic ray disrupting (kind of like coercion) or random quantum fluctuations coming into play as a kind of first cause (no cause).

The above "natural coercions" probably don't happen too often, for we generally retain the consistency of the will, plus 'random' only harms either free or fixed will and so it doesn't seem to help either notion.


Only a determinist would say a variable has to be involved, and since I've disproved determinism (read the paper, please), I can definitively say there is no variable or discreet or predictable method to what decision is made. It is a non-deterministic "decision" made by a "sentient being". The decision making of sentient beings is not scientifically predictable or provable, so your assumption that a variable is involved that's predictable is provably false (by my proof).

You've always felt like you were making free will decisions, your whole life, until you were told that science can predict anything and everything including what you're going to do next. I've proven that you are, indeed, an individual who makes his own decisions and determines his own future (within certain probabilistic possibilities based on nature and nurture). I recommend embracing the feeling that you're a human being that makes his own decisions instead of chalking your decisions up to randomness or science that is so complex its not explainable. I've proven that the latter is wrong, and I think you know well enough that your decisions are not randomly made (thus the occam's razor part of my proof).

With power and freedom comes responsibility. Embrace them all, and use them wisely.

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

Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2017, 6:01 pm 

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:
Only a determinist would say a variable has to be involved, and since I've disproved determinism (read the paper, please), I can definitively say there is no variable or discreet or predictable method to what decision is made.


No, because I'm already allowing for the sake of argument that determinism fails if something truly 'random' can come into play.


thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:It is a non-deterministic "decision" made by a "sentient being". The decision making of sentient beings is not scientifically predictable or provable, so your assumption that a variable is involved that's predictable is provably false (by my proof).


No, because, presumably, 'random' is not predictable.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:You've always felt like you were making free will decisions, your whole life, until you were told that science can predict anything and everything including what you're going to do next.


No, science can't predict it, whether this is due to too much complexity or to 'random'.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:I've proven that you are, indeed, an individual who makes his own decisions and determines his own future (within certain probabilistic possibilities based on nature and nurture).


The will makes its own decisions when nothing stands in its way, due to something like collapsing scenarios of consequences into a choice.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:I recommend embracing the feeling that you're a human being that makes his own decisions instead of chalking your decisions up to randomness or science that is so complex its not explainable. I've proven that the latter is wrong, and I think you know well enough that your decisions are not randomly made (thus the occam's razor part of my proof).

With power and freedom comes responsibility. Embrace them all, and use them wisely.


My will, meaning 'I' lives as if it is making the decisions, illusion or not.


More from Werner Loewenstein. “Physics in Mind.”

“there are unfathomed deeps between digital information processing and consciousness, and no amount of knowledge about the processing itself could fill those.”

“So time as we feel it is something more than the disembodied mathematical entity it is in physics. Proust had it right. “An hour is not merely an hour,” he wrote in Remembrances of Things Past, “it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates.”

“Our conscious experiences represent but a smidgen of the information entering our brain sensorium. Of the vast amounts of information that come in and get processed, only a minuscule part winds up as conscious states. And of the information processing itself, we have no conscious experience—the myriads of processings that at any moment go on in the brain are not accessible to our consciousness.”

“So if those on Mount Olympus ever trouble themselves to look at our glorified thinking, they may dismiss it with a laugh as mostly regurgitation, a behindhand sort of sensory perception.”
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 19th, 2017, 7:56 pm 

DragonFly » August 19th, 2017, 5:01 pm wrote:
thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:
Only a determinist would say a variable has to be involved, and since I've disproved determinism (read the paper, please), I can definitively say there is no variable or discreet or predictable method to what decision is made.


No, because I'm already allowing for the sake of argument that determinism fails if something truly 'random' can come into play.


thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:It is a non-deterministic "decision" made by a "sentient being". The decision making of sentient beings is not scientifically predictable or provable, so your assumption that a variable is involved that's predictable is provably false (by my proof).


No, because, presumably, 'random' is not predictable.


First of all, 'random' is not predictable by a variable if its not predictable at all. Let me further point out why I differ from your thinking:
Consider what you're saying for a moment. You're saying your decisions, which you most certainly FEEL like your making, are random. Look at a random number generator on the screen, and see if you can guess what number between 1 and 1000 will come up next. See if you can will it into existence. Then try consciously thinking of numbers and typing them on the screen. Are the numbers you put on the screen the ones you intend to be there, or are they appearing randomly? Your actions, by my proof, are either the result of free will or randomness. Do you really think randomness is the more likely explanation? If so I feel for you, because your life must feel like a complete roller coaster ride that's out of your control, with you having no input into what happens next or what you decide... but I highly doubt that's really how your life feels to you. Embrace the fact that you're a sentient being that makes free will decisions. Your decisions are not random, you're responsible for them.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:You've always felt like you were making free will decisions, your whole life, until you were told that science can predict anything and everything including what you're going to do next.


No, science can't predict it, whether this is due to too much complexity or to 'random'.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:I've proven that you are, indeed, an individual who makes his own decisions and determines his own future (within certain probabilistic possibilities based on nature and nurture).


The will makes its own decisions when nothing stands in its way, due to something like collapsing scenarios of consequences into a choice.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 4:06 pm wrote:I recommend embracing the feeling that you're a human being that makes his own decisions instead of chalking your decisions up to randomness or science that is so complex its not explainable. I've proven that the latter is wrong, and I think you know well enough that your decisions are not randomly made (thus the occam's razor part of my proof).

With power and freedom comes responsibility. Embrace them all, and use them wisely.


My will, meaning 'I' lives as if it is making the decisions, illusion or not.


More from Werner Loewenstein. “Physics in Mind.”

“there are unfathomed deeps between digital information processing and consciousness, and no amount of knowledge about the processing itself could fill those.”

“So time as we feel it is something more than the disembodied mathematical entity it is in physics. Proust had it right. “An hour is not merely an hour,” he wrote in Remembrances of Things Past, “it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates.”

“Our conscious experiences represent but a smidgen of the information entering our brain sensorium. Of the vast amounts of information that come in and get processed, only a minuscule part winds up as conscious states. And of the information processing itself, we have no conscious experience—the myriads of processings that at any moment go on in the brain are not accessible to our consciousness.”

“So if those on Mount Olympus ever trouble themselves to look at our glorified thinking, they may dismiss it with a laugh as mostly regurgitation, a behindhand sort of sensory perception.”


So the human conscience is minuscule compared to some mythological gods that the greeks came up with for which there's been no evidence of existence whatsoever, so we should dismiss the human conscience? Are you serious? I'm sure you quoted someone with credibility, but don't you see how ridiculous that sounds when I point out what he's saying? Sure his language is elegant, but his ideas are puerile.

The human conscience is the most powerful conscience we have proof of interacting with in the history of the world. If there's a god, he or she is more likely more powerful, but evidence of a good is scant at best, so to the best of our knowledge the human conscience is the PINNACLE OF INTELLIGENCE in the KNOWN UNIVERSE. To dismiss it because it pales in comparison to myths is... well... insulting of the intelligence of the reader... but somehow that guy got famous... You may have a better explanation as to how than me, but I'm not impressed much by your quote. I certainly don't think it was from that quote, though.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2017, 8:51 pm 

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:
You're saying your decisions, which you most certainly FEEL like your making, are random.


No, wrong again. Most decisions would be fixed to what the will has become up to the instant, that is, when the will is able to do its willing unimpeded by anything disrupting it or overpowering it. If there can be 'random', which is an output appearing without an input, then it might affect the will, presumably rarely.


thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:So the human conscience is minuscule compared to some mythological gods that the greeks came up with for which there's been no evidence of existence whatsoever, so we should dismiss the human conscience? Are you serious? I'm sure you quoted someone with credibility, but don't you see how ridiculous that sounds when I point out what he's saying? Sure his language is elegant, but his ideas are puerile.


I think you mean 'consciousness' above and I think the author is pointing out that a lot more goes on that isn't even in the 'sea' in which we see.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2017, 9:25 pm 

Let us start anew by defining "free will", since it isn't well defined. Yet, given no real definition, it still sort of sounds like it's something good to have.

For example, does the 'free' part merely mean that the will is able to operate when there is no coercion present?

That's what most mean, as well as what the judicial courts mean, when finding on one axis if one is "responsible" versus "not responsible".

Few defendants get off because of saying that society/the universe/my environment made me commit the crime, so that the other, orthogonal axis of "fixed will" (determined) versus "not fixed will" (free; not determined) is left to the philosophers for now, with "free" now contrasting with "fixed" instead of the trivial "able to operate."

Plus, how much of the will fixed/determined, if not all, due to 'random' or, in reverse, how much of the will is free of the will, due to 'random', to use this other meaning of "free".

So, is the will ever free of its own doings? If so, then 'it' is a kind of mini first cause having no inputs yet going on to produce output, which doesn't bode very well for the organism. Although it may happen, this isn't the kind of "free" we'd want behind our claims of "free will", for it would be as no will.

So, we see more clearly that the consistency granted by a [mostly] fixed will is much more useful than an unfixed will.

Whether someone's will can be predicted or not has no bearing, although some cite the non ability to predict it to serve as a kind of pseudo free will apparent; but, as indicated, showing that choices could have been different if we went back in time, while a seeming "could be", is a long way from showing that the will can't indeed be fixed, aside from the possible disruptions to it.

Some determinists might even go further to note that any coercions were also going to happen, but this is only if they are unaffected by 'random'.

Do note that the opposite of 'determined' is 'not determined'.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 20th, 2017, 1:31 am 

Sivad wrote: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.

Yes, unfortunately free-will is just an illusion. Everything that we are conscious of has already happened, and the past is unchangeable. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically nor scientifically possible, this includes human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting) which takes 150-200 ms processing time for the average human. So again, our present consciousness is actually of past (unchangeable) events, therefore free-will (aka "conscious control") is not possible.

“The important thing to understand about the moment NOW is that it is actually the moment THEN. You can only experience something that has already happened so essentially you're living in the wake of your own past.” -- Obvious Leo


thinker4life wrote:Non-determinism is what I've proven, if you take the time to read and understand the proof…
…Non-determinism means simply that cause and effect are not 100% predictable…

So you equate “non-determinism” with “unpredictability”, and THIS is what you have proven???

I can prove “unpredictability” with a simple flip of a coin, or a roll of the dice. Since we are unable to predict these deterministic results, then unpredictability exists! Proof!


thinker4life wrote:If you consider that free will is a non-deterministic cause and effect, as I've defined it, it's 100% compatible with free will.

How so? Predictability, or non-predictability of a deterministic event has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING or effect on its outcome. My inability to predict, heads or tails on a coin flip has absolutely no bearing on its outcome.

Again, “predictability” (aka “non-determinism”) has ZERO effect on free-will (or any other deterministic event).

Note: Your usage of “non-determinism” as “predictability” is not a common usage of the word, therefore I recommend you use the word “unpredictability” instead of “non-determinism” when you mean “unpredictability”, so as not to confuse your audience.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 20th, 2017, 11:40 am 

RJG » August 20th, 2017, 12:31 am wrote:takes 150-200 ms processing time


This may be longer, even 300-500ms. If you look at the seconds indicator on your clock just after it changes, you expect no more than a second will go by before it changes to the next second; however, sometimes it can take 1.5 seconds to change!
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby TheVat on August 20th, 2017, 11:54 am 

Both physics and biology have long demonstrated that there is a time delay between an event and the final holistic processing of the conscious experience of it. That's not really at issue. Making the leap from that to determinism, however, is not warranted. There is nothing here to disprove "downward causation" in the brain, i.e. that a conscious agent cannot be the originator of a cause to action. An holistic process is not subservient to a time lag in quite the way that some here are painting it. You don't need a particular perception to have a thought or form an intention. If you haven't read up on the topic of downward causation, please do so before proceeding further. You may, as a strict physicalist, reject it of course, but bear in mind that science to date has largely taken a reductive mechanical approach and only recently are holons being really addressed.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 20th, 2017, 2:35 pm 

DragonFly » August 19th, 2017, 7:51 pm wrote:
thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:
You're saying your decisions, which you most certainly FEEL like your making, are random.


No, wrong again. Most decisions would be fixed to what the will has become up to the instant, that is, when the will is able to do its willing unimpeded by anything disrupting it or overpowering it. If there can be 'random', which is an output appearing without an input, then it might affect the will, presumably rarely.


I don't understand what you're trying to say... What do you think determines the decisions you make? The only options I know of are determinism, free will, or randomness. If you have some other option feel free to describe it, or feel free to choose one of those 3, but what you wrote above doesn't make any sense to me.


thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:So the human conscience is minuscule compared to some mythological gods that the greeks came up with for which there's been no evidence of existence whatsoever, so we should dismiss the human conscience? Are you serious? I'm sure you quoted someone with credibility, but don't you see how ridiculous that sounds when I point out what he's saying? Sure his language is elegant, but his ideas are puerile.


I think you mean 'consciousness' above and I think the author is pointing out that a lot more goes on that isn't even in the 'sea' in which we see.


What else is he pointing out? If there's something deeper I missed I'd love to hear it and be aware of it. It seemed like a fundamentally unintelligent argument, I explained why, and you gave no cause to disbelieve my criticism... can you challenge my critique, so I at least understand why we disagree?
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 20th, 2017, 2:44 pm 

DragonFly » August 19th, 2017, 8:25 pm wrote:Let us start anew by defining "free will", since it isn't well defined. Yet, given no real definition, it still sort of sounds like it's something good to have.

For example, does the 'free' part merely mean that the will is able to operate when there is no coercion present?

That's what most mean, as well as what the judicial courts mean, when finding on one axis if one is "responsible" versus "not responsible".

Few defendants get off because of saying that society/the universe/my environment made me commit the crime, so that the other, orthogonal axis of "fixed will" (determined) versus "not fixed will" (free; not determined) is left to the philosophers for now, with "free" now contrasting with "fixed" instead of the trivial "able to operate."

Plus, how much of the will fixed/determined, if not all, due to 'random' or, in reverse, how much of the will is free of the will, due to 'random', to use this other meaning of "free".

So, is the will ever free of its own doings? If so, then 'it' is a kind of mini first cause having no inputs yet going on to produce output, which doesn't bode very well for the organism. Although it may happen, this isn't the kind of "free" we'd want behind our claims of "free will", for it would be as no will.


Free will is a sentient begin's decision to perform an action. Its not to say that there's no input, but that there's no predictable deterministic input and output. Its not just a computer. This is what I've proven. I don't see why you have a concern with something that has "no inputs" but goes on to produce an output anyway... is it because you are assuming everything has a deterministic input that causes the output? That's assuming determinism, which assumes the premise I've proven false... I'm not following your argument well, can you clarify?


So, we see more clearly that the consistency granted by a [mostly] fixed will is much more useful than an unfixed will.

Whether someone's will can be predicted or not has no bearing, although some cite the non ability to predict it to serve as a kind of pseudo free will apparent; but, as indicated, showing that choices could have been different if we went back in time, while a seeming "could be", is a long way from showing that the will can't indeed be fixed, aside from the possible disruptions to it.


If you read my definition of free will, predictability is key to it. If you want to have separate threads about your definition of free will and mine that's fine, let's keep this one to yours, but you haven't given any evidence that my definition is not useful or helpful or true.

Some determinists might even go further to note that any coercions were also going to happen, but this is only if they are unaffected by 'random'.

Do note that the opposite of 'determined' is 'not determined'.


I think I defined the version of free will I proved quite clearly. Here it is quoted from my paper:

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.

If you find some flaw with my definition, please feel free to add a quote to the paper with your concerns.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 20th, 2017, 2:54 pm 

RJG » August 20th, 2017, 12:31 am wrote:
Sivad wrote: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.

Yes, unfortunately free-will is just an illusion. Everything that we are conscious of has already happened, and the past is unchangeable. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically nor scientifically possible, this includes human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting) which takes 150-200 ms processing time for the average human. So again, our present consciousness is actually of past (unchangeable) events, therefore free-will (aka "conscious control") is not possible.

Delays between different parts of the body perceiving or responding to free will decisions do not disprove free will... This is where the neuroscientists are wrong. They're detecting free will decisions after they're made and before they're perceived, and they erroneously use that to claim they have proven free will doesn't exist. The truth is the free will decision happened before they took their measurements. They're just mechanically perceiving the decision before the person is self-aware of their decision.

“The important thing to understand about the moment NOW is that it is actually the moment THEN. You can only experience something that has already happened so essentially you're living in the wake of your own past.” -- Obvious Leo


thinker4life wrote:Non-determinism is what I've proven, if you take the time to read and understand the proof…
…Non-determinism means simply that cause and effect are not 100% predictable…

So you equate “non-determinism” with “unpredictability”, and THIS is what you have proven???

I can prove “unpredictability” with a simple flip of a coin, or a roll of the dice. Since we are unable to predict these deterministic results, then unpredictability exists! Proof!


thinker4life wrote:If you consider that free will is a non-deterministic cause and effect, as I've defined it, it's 100% compatible with free will.

How so? Predictability, or non-predictability of a deterministic event has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING or effect on its outcome. My inability to predict, heads or tails on a coin flip has absolutely no bearing on its outcome.

Again, “predictability” (aka “non-determinism”) has ZERO effect on free-will (or any other deterministic event).

Note: Your usage of “non-determinism” as “predictability” is not a common usage of the word, therefore I recommend you use the word “unpredictability” instead of “non-determinism” when you mean “unpredictability”, so as not to confuse your audience.


I beg to differ. The Stamford Philosophy dictionary says "Causal determinism is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature."

You're confusing what YOU can predict with what is PHYSICALLY CONCEIVABLY predictable. I'm talking about the latter. You're talking about the former, which could be the cause of your confusion. By the stamford dictionary, the laws of nature along with the state of the universe could conceivably "predict" what will happen at the next moment in time. This is what I mean by predictable. Whether the universe can actually predict what will happen next. What i've proven, is that it can't... Because either free will or randomness are part of determining the future, making the future not predictable by the laws of nature.

A coin flip is predictable. You may not be able to predict your coin flip by just looking at it, but if I wrote a physics program with real time video that showed the trajectory of the coin, its dimension, mass, wind resistance, etc, I could build a computer that would predict the result of every coin flip you flip. No such computer can ever be built to predict a human beings decisions... that's what I've proven.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 20th, 2017, 5:47 pm 

A holon is both a part and a whole, such as seeds and trees are, each making the other, eventually.

Perhaps the objects in consciousness are the unified form of the neuronal tree that gave rise to the objects seen in consciousness and this consciousness seed gets stored in memory and so it can go on as a useful whole view to enter into a part of [as a part of] forthcoming representations in the future.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 20th, 2017, 5:55 pm 

thinker4life » August 20th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:What do you think determines the decisions you make?

The output—the decision—comes from your will that contains the input of how you are at the time. If the output is that "I don't know what to decide, then deliberation/rumination might ensue or one might wait to see how some vagueness clears up.

thinker4life » August 19th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:What else is he pointing out?


It's too much to put here, but he explains a lot about how cells work and came to be. It was the science book of the year in 2013.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 20th, 2017, 6:18 pm 

thinker4life » August 20th, 2017, 1:44 pm wrote:Free will is a sentient begin's decision to perform an action. Its not to say that there's no input, but that there's no predictable deterministic input and output. Its not just a computer. This is what I've proven. I don't see why you have a concern with something that has "no inputs" but goes on to produce an output anyway... is it because you are assuming everything has a deterministic input that causes the output? That's assuming determinism, which assumes the premise I've proven false... I'm not following your argument well, can you clarify?


I said I can go along with things like human actions and Geiger Counter beeps being unpredictable, even in principle, since Anton Zeillinger seems to have shown that "randomness is the bedrock of reality", given also that it's likely that processes can face this bedrock.

"Free will", as RJG pointed out, has come to be more about conscious control; however, you said elsewhere that the "free will" happens before consciousness gets the information of the decision, and so generally the uninterrupted will may still come to only one decision, after considering many, again because of your nature at the moment.

thinker4life » August 20th, 2017, 1:44 pm 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.

If you find some flaw with my definition, please feel free to add a quote to the paper with your concerns.


6a. could be stated better by changing "when" to "before" and putting "sometimes" before "nondeterminism" to show that it may not always be so, or call it not predictable in principle because even the universe itself can't foresee 'random'.
6b. remove "conscious effort" because you've elsewhere indicated that the "free will" precedes consciousness. Also, perhaps say that the will that already has a goal in mind naturally tries to make decisions that can get to that goal since it is a focus, like what's the most useful way to arrange my furniture in my new house.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 20th, 2017, 6:53 pm 

RJG wrote:Everything that we are conscious of has already happened, and the past is unchangeable. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically nor scientifically possible, this includes human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting)…

Braininvat wrote:Both physics and biology have long demonstrated that there is a time delay between an event and the final holistic processing of the conscious experience of it. That's not really at issue. Making the leap from that to determinism, however, is not warranted.

This has nothing to do with “determinism” per se, it has to do with the “logical impossibility” of changing the 'past'.

Braininvat wrote:There is nothing here to disprove "downward causation" in the brain…

Unfortunately this ‘time delay’ kills ALL notions of “conscious control”, including “downward causation”, mental causation, free-will, and any other notion that relates conscious ‘mental’ thoughts to the control/causation of ‘physical’ bodily actions or other mental thoughts.

Braininvat wrote:…i.e. that a conscious agent cannot be the originator of a cause to action.

A conscious agent only has conscious access to ‘past’ events/actions. Past events have already happened. If they have already happened, then it is too late to originate/cause it.

Braininvat wrote:An holistic process is not subservient to a time lag in quite the way that some here are painting it.

None of our conscious processes are ‘exempt’ from this time delay. There are no such things as (no possibilities of) “instantaneous” processes, …so the ‘time delay’ is an unavoidable fact.

Braininvat wrote:You don't need a particular perception to have a thought or form an intention.

Conscious thoughts and intentions are not ‘exempt’ from this time delay.

The problem is that we have no access to ‘real-time’. Our consciousness only provides us with a window seat to the ‘past’.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby Positor on August 20th, 2017, 8:07 pm 

I am basically in agreement with RJG and DragonFly on this topic.

Braininvat » August 20th, 2017, 4:54 pm wrote:There is nothing here to disprove "downward causation" in the brain, i.e. that a conscious agent cannot be the originator of a cause to action. An holistic process is not subservient to a time lag in quite the way that some here are painting it. You don't need a particular perception to have a thought or form an intention.

I don't quite understand this. How can we make a decision consciously if we are not conscious of it (and the perceptions on which it is based) at the time that we make it? And doesn't free will imply the ability to make conscious decisions?

Braininvat wrote:If you haven't read up on the topic of downward causation, please do so before proceeding further. You may, as a strict physicalist, reject it of course, but bear in mind that science to date has largely taken a reductive mechanical approach and only recently are holons being really addressed.

I find downward causation problematic. I discussed this issue in detail in this thread.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby TheVat on August 20th, 2017, 10:51 pm 

Thanks, Pos. Am headed out of town for a couple days, so I will just agree that DC certainly has problems, and my own dabbles in Holon theory are pretty speculative. While I'm not as welded to it as someone like Ken Wilber, I think there is a path away from overdetermination and towards a better integration of loose umbrella terms like mental and physical. There are certainly hypothetical ways that we can say the spotlight of our attention is not on all the processes iin making a decision (I'm speaking of non-reactive decisions, not the stim-response stuff of Libet et al.) without taking a sort of "final veto" power away from a conscious self. If, like me, you find epiphenomenalism deeply unsatisfying, then I think it's worth getting speculative about our presently constrained definitions of causality. Sorry, gotta run, but when I get back, I want to sift through some of our old threads (as you did) and freshen up on this topic.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 21st, 2017, 7:48 am 

DragonFly » August 20th, 2017, 4:55 pm wrote:
thinker4life » August 20th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:What do you think determines the decisions you make?


It's too much to put here, but he explains a lot about how cells work and came to be. It was the science book of the year in 2013.


Credentials don't impress me, impressive ideas impress me. His ideas that you shared aren't impressive, they're actually destructive because they minimize the importance of the human mind and human potential based on a fallacy. I'm sure the rest of the book is better given that he won an award -- Though actually I'm not sure, but i'll give him and you the benefit of the doubt until such time as I read the book and learn otherwise (given the quote I read, not any time soon).
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 21st, 2017, 8:02 am 

RJG » August 20th, 2017, 5:53 pm wrote:
RJG wrote:Everything that we are conscious of has already happened, and the past is unchangeable. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically nor scientifically possible, this includes human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting)…

Braininvat wrote:Both physics and biology have long demonstrated that there is a time delay between an event and the final holistic processing of the conscious experience of it. That's not really at issue. Making the leap from that to determinism, however, is not warranted.

This has nothing to do with “determinism” per se, it has to do with the “logical impossibility” of changing the 'past'.

Braininvat wrote:There is nothing here to disprove "downward causation" in the brain…

Unfortunately this ‘time delay’ kills ALL notions of “conscious control”, including “downward causation”, mental causation, free-will, and any other notion that relates conscious ‘mental’ thoughts to the control/causation of ‘physical’ bodily actions or other mental thoughts.

Would you like to back that statement up with a fact, or perhaps some logic, or something to make it convincing other than that you believe it to be true? You seem very enthusiastic about it, what has led you to believe this is true... Please enumerate your proof/evidence/related facts.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 21st, 2017, 8:10 am 

thinker4life wrote:What do you think determines the decisions you make?

There are no “made decisions”. There are only “auto-reactions”, followed by the conscious awareness of said reaction.

*******

The illusion of free-will is created by the closeness in time between these two sequential events (the physical 'reaction' and the following 'awareness' of this reaction). Our natural instinct is to flip the chronological relationship, making us feel that our 'awareness' precedes, and therefore is the causer of, this 'reaction', ...a la the "illusion of free-will" is born!

*******

thinker4life wrote:Would you like to back that statement up with a fact, or perhaps some logic, or something to make it convincing other than that you believe it to be true?

Sure. My (logically derived) statements are based on the logical fact that “instantaneous” processing/detecting/sensing is impossible.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby thinker4life on August 21st, 2017, 9:51 am 

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 7:10 am wrote:
thinker4life wrote:What do you think determines the decisions you make?

There are no “made decisions”. There are only “auto-reactions”, followed by the conscious awareness of said reaction.

*******

The illusion of free-will is created by the closeness in time between these two sequential events (the physical 'reaction' and the following 'awareness' of this reaction). Our natural instinct is to flip the chronological relationship, making us feel that our 'awareness' precedes, and therefore is the causer of, this 'reaction', ...a la the "illusion of free-will" is born!


These are a series of unsubstantiated statements. If you "logically derived them" from somewhere, you seem to be hiding the part of their logical derivation... can you share that with us? You haven't started from postulates and used agreed-upon rules of inferences. I don't mean to be insulting just to genuinely ask because your posting behavior indicates you may not have experience in this area -- have you ever written a proof before? What's your background?

*******

thinker4life wrote:Would you like to back that statement up with a fact, or perhaps some logic, or something to make it convincing other than that you believe it to be true?

Sure. My (logically derived) statements are based on the logical fact that “instantaneous” processing/detecting/sensing is impossible.


Interesting. I bet I could guess your political leanings from your posting habits.

You haven't yet proved that free will relies on instantaneous processing. In fact, my quite comprehensive proof doesn't rely on this at all, and so far you have yet to point out any valid criticism of my proof of free will.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby RJG on August 21st, 2017, 12:22 pm 

RJG wrote:My (logically derived) statements are based on the logical fact that “instantaneous” processing/detecting/sensing is impossible.

thinker4life wrote:If you "logically derived them" from somewhere, you seem to be hiding the part of their logical derivation... can you share that with us?

You must have not understood what I wrote. Here are the logically derived statements in premise/conclusion format:

    P1. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically (nor scientifically) possible, including human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting). A ‘time delay’ is an unavoidable fact.

    P2. None of our conscious processes are ‘exempt’ from this ‘time delay’, as all processes consume time.

    C1. Therefore, we are only conscious of ‘past’ events. ‘Everything’ that we are conscious of, has already happened.

    P3. If everything that we are conscious of, has already happened, then it is too late to cause/control them.

    C2. Therefore, conscious causation/control is impossible.

    P4. Free-will is “conscious control”. It is the conscious ability to cause/control events (including bodily reactions).

    C3. Therefore free-will is impossible.

...maybe this helps make it more understandable?
Last edited by RJG on August 21st, 2017, 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 21st, 2017, 12:35 pm 

thinker4life » August 21st, 2017, 8:51 am wrote:You haven't yet proved that free will relies on instantaneous processing. In fact, my quite comprehensive proof doesn't rely on this at all, and so far you have yet to point out any valid criticism of my proof of free will.

I am becoming rather attempted to attend to this criticism myself. Although I am a strong defender of free will, I have never considered believing something to be justification for backing flawed arguments. As I constantly warn people on other issues, just because something is true doesn't mean an argument for it is objectively valid, and I tend to be highly skeptical of arguments even when they are for things which I believe.

I am inclined to think that free will is no more capable of being objectively established than the existence of God. The best argument I know for free will is simply the basic human experience and I honestly have a bit of contempt for philosophical "babble" which contradict such fundamental experiences. BUT it should be abundantly clear that this argument is still quite subjective no matter how convincing, and thus people can be quite rational in their disputation of it.

Frankly, there is much that cannot be objectively established especially when the focus of our consideration is turned back upon ourselves. It is part of what I perceive to be the irreducibly subjective aspect of reality itself. This is my take-away from the typical phenomenology and existentialist examinations of the subject versus object of consciousness. I reject the arguments that it means objective things are incapable of being perceived, but I do agree there is a bit of a gap involved which cannot logically be traversed between our subjective experience of existence and our construction of an objective reality by abstraction. It is not a good reason for solipsism or refuting science and our excellent evidence for an objective aspect of reality. But it is a very rational reason for doubt about whether the things like free-will and consciousness which are all about our subjective experience of reality can be seriously equated with illusions as if our objective abstractions were the sum total of reality itself.

Needless to say, I am even more motivated to point out the flaws in arguments against free-will, which I am confident can be shown to be just as lacking in objective validity as those for it. So I shall turn my attention to RGB's attempt at this first.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 21st, 2017, 1:17 pm 

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:
    P1. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically (nor scientifically) possible, including human conscious awareness (sensing/detecting). A ‘time delay’ is an unavoidable fact.

    P2. None of our conscious processes are ‘exempt’ from this ‘time delay’, as all processes consume time.

    C1. Therefore, we are only conscious of ‘past’ events. ‘Everything’ that we are conscious of, has already happened.

    P3. If everything that we are conscious of, has already happened, then it is too late to cause/control them.

    C2. Therefore, conscious causation/control is impossible.

This conclusion does not follow. It is reminiscent of the arguments of Xeno which builds a case of irrefutable logic running roughshod over the facts of reality by ignoring other aspects of reality involved.

How about an example from a computer to illustrate the problem. We can measure a time gap between the events in a processor and the display on the screen. There is absolutely no doubt that everything displayed on the screen happens AFTER the events in the processor. Can we therefore conclude that nothing displayed on the screen has any causal impact on what happens in the processor?

No. Why not? The logic seems irrefutable.

What is being over-looked is another quite different part of what is happening. There is a human operator watching the things on the screen and responding to them in order to make input to the computer via mouse and keyboard.

Likewise, we know that there MUST be something very similar going on with human action. No matter what the time gap, it is frankly both silly and willfully blind to think that these conscious reports to human awareness go nowhere and have no effect on human action.

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:P4. Free-will is “conscious control”. It is the conscious ability to cause/control events (including bodily actions).

This premise not only can be rejected, it should be rejected. Even if our ability to cause/control events were unconscious that is no warrant whatsoever to dismiss free-will.

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:
    C3. Therefore free-will is impossible.

But as we have demonstrated, no matter how much of the process is going on "under the hood" (so to speak) in the unconscious mind, this does not mean the conscious mind is not causally involved. I have often thought the full extent of the involvement of the unconscious mind is quite often overlooked by the average person (not the mention by the amateur psychologists and philosophers in our midst).

I am reminded of one of my favorite science fiction novels by Frank Herbert titled "The Santaroga Barrier." It is about a small town which has discovered and been using a food supplement which gives its citizens an unconscious form of telepathy. The result is that they have an communal unconscious mind which often acts to protect the community from threats by outsiders. It is particularly insidious when a threatening person is also exposed for then they will even end up cooperating in setting up the accidents needed to eliminate the threat. The whole story was effective at revealing just how much we rely upon the unconscious mind in everything we do.

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:...maybe this helps make it more understandable?

It has indeed helped us to expose the flaws in your thinking, so thank you.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 21st, 2017, 2:05 pm 

RJG » August 21st, 2017, 7:10 am wrote:The illusion of free-will is created by the closeness in time between these two sequential events (the physical 'reaction' and the following 'awareness' of this reaction). Our natural instinct is to flip the chronological relationship, making us feel that our 'awareness' precedes, and therefore is the causer of, this 'reaction', ...a la the "illusion of free-will" is born!


The speed of brain processes is astounding: Excerpt From: Werner Loewenstein. “Physics in Mind.” iBooks.

“Now, consider our brain. Its web of neurons is endlessly engaged in parallel processing and computing of sensory information. It’s computing on a massive scale. You need to look no further than what happens to the information coming from an ordinary object in the world outside. The bits get divided up at the level of our senses and funneled into discrete information channels, to be processed separately and simultaneously: the bits pertaining to shape go to one compartment; those of color, to another; those of texture, to yet another—and so on and on, the bits of smell, taste, and movement all going to their separate brain compartments and undergoing processing in parallel (chapter 14). This way, enormous numbers of bits of external information can be handled in an instant and the results be made available to conscious perception in an instant. And I don’t use enormous loosely here. These are truly astronomical amounts of information—even the number of bits bound up with a brief snapshot of visual perception, the number in a single activity matrix underlying a conscious state, is astronomical.”

“Although that assessment was intended for our brain, those astronomical quantities of information are by no means unique to Homo sapiens. It is just hubris to think they are. We tend to make too much of a few hundred thousand generations, which is all that separates us from the nearest ape, though we know well that we share most of its DNA. The little we don’t share, it is true, can make a big difference in behavior and cognition, but not necessarily in information-processing capacity—and certainly not in basic information-processing structure. Hardware is more difficult to change than software.

"Indeed, going down the zoological ladder, we find parallel sensory-information processing everywhere. The amounts of information a cat, a frog, a bird, or even a fly will handle in an instant are vast; the number of bits bound up in a sensory activity matrix may in some cases even be larger than in our brain. The dog obviously has one up on us in smell in this regard,* and just think what mother lodes the massive brain of a whale may bear!”
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 21st, 2017, 2:14 pm 

mitchellmckain » August 21st, 2017, 12:17 pm wrote: There is absolutely no doubt that everything displayed on the screen happens AFTER the events in the processor. Can we therefore conclude that nothing displayed on the screen has any causal impact on what happens in the processor?


I'd say RJG is not referring to "what happens" in the future but to what went into the present display.
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Re: Is free will all or nothing?

Postby DragonFly on August 21st, 2017, 2:31 pm 

mitchellmckain » August 21st, 2017, 12:17 pm wrote:I am reminded of one of my favorite science fiction novels by Frank Herbert titled "The Santaroga Barrier." It is about a small town which has discovered and been using a food supplement which gives its citizens an unconscious form of telepathy. The result is that they have an communal unconscious mind which often acts to protect the community from threats by outsiders. It is particularly insidious when a threatening person is also exposed for then they will even end up cooperating in setting up the accidents needed to eliminate the threat. The whole story was effective at revealing just how much we rely upon the unconscious mind in everything we do.


I was thinking of something like this, as to the sake of argument to grant that we can pick up brainwaves of others or any kind of inputs from anywhere, such as from books, all of which is "learning", but all I ended up with was a wider range of choices to choose from, since more inputs, yet with the same old dependency of selection based on who we've become up to then. So, yes, the more inputs the better, but to the machinery of the will it's just another input.

I'll see if I can better devise a better approach to free will, but the dilemma is ever that the dependence of the will on our true and unique self data is a good thing, it's opposite a bad thing of a nightmare of randomness.
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