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Just a thought I had about free will

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Just a thought I had about free will
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doodpersoonPosts: 12Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:26 amLocation: the Netherlands! Gender: Male

Post Just a thought I had about free will

Sorry for the simplified / cruddy English It isn't my first language and I had a booze or 2 (3+ ;) ) when I came up with this.

So I was reading Hawking's Brief history of time late at night when I could not get the sandman to come near. During reading his explanation of entropy something struck me.

The more energy one puts in a system the more organized it is. the less one does the more chaotic it gets (Just don't clean your car and find out!). This actually sounded quite clever. It kind of explains why we know more about the inner workings of the sun (lots of energy) than the shooting of a soccer player (less energy). Because there where more factors from the chaos interacting with the system.

Then I thought about a college I followed a few year back. It was about Stephen covey's 7 habits. I remember starting some trouble about the first habit which involves free choice. I have no idea why I thought of that during thinking about entropy. But I guess it was the entropy.


So lesser energy is more chaos. We humans do not have a lot of energy, flying a plane is the most energy we can use (Give or take the few scientific experiments and the space rockets).

so my idea is : Because we live in a world full of entropy, we encounter a lot of random events around us. Because we are able to detect these events we get the idea that we can react different. (we can't we can only react one way. We are not Lara croft where we can return to a safe point).

We react a certain way to events. We place our heads between our shoulders after hearing a unexpected loud bang. We fall in love, not because we want to. But because it happened. To freely quote Nietsche (I only read a Dutch translation of it) "A thought comes when she wants to, not when I want her to."


any thoughts?

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Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:33 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

I guess the first thing to clarify is this, are you saying that free will exists, or are you saying that it does not exist?

Sorry, but you didn't make that entirely clear.
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Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:42 am
devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

You've got a quite confused understanding of entropy. Entropy doesn't decrease just by adding energy to a system. The reason entropy increases is because there are many more ways for things to be disordered than there is for them to be in order.

I'm having breakfast, so here's a question to think about: Why can't I stir the damn milk out of my coffee no matter how furiously I try? Or why does a bowl of porridge cool rather than spontaneously heat up when left on the table?

Chaos just starts to flood in before you're even properly awake.
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Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:47 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

devilsadvocate wrote:I'm having breakfast, so here's a question to think about: Why can't I stir the damn milk out of my coffee no matter how furiously I try? Or why does a bowl of porridge cool rather than spontaneously heat up when left on the table?


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It all makes sense now.
Most understandable example of entropy I've ever read. Nice one.
Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:04 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Isn't order and chaos subjective to human opinion? Snowflakes, planet formation and DNA all seem orderly to us, while are known to be the products of random (chaotic) processes...
Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:54 pm
Duvelthehobbit666User avatarPosts: 1136Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:39 pmLocation: On a pale blue dot Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Isn't order and chaos subjective to human opinion? Snowflakes, planet formation and DNA all seem orderly to us, while are known to be the products of random (chaotic) processes...

But are they really random processes? The formation of snowflakes happen when the conditions for snowflakes are right. You won't get hail or rain or fish or whatever. This isn't random. There are conditions which need to be met to make snowflakes and when they are met, you get snowflakes. You won't get snowflakes when it is 30 degrees outside because it is way too hot for it. The same goes for the other examples.
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Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:46 pm
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devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

sn't order and chaos subjective to human opinion? Snowflakes, planet formation and DNA all seem orderly to us, while are known to be the products of random (chaotic) processes...


Duvel is right. They are not random processes. Planet formation expends tremendous amount of potential energy and while I don't really know how snowflakes actually form, I'm pretty sure water is first heated up by the Sun and that vapor gives it heat to the cooler climate up there. All this transfers neatly stored energy into heat, which is random movement of atoms and molecules.

My point was that though sometimes energy can be used to increase order locally, like when you're solving a picture puzzle, but it's not always tje caise. Setting up a bomb or stirring coffee does nothing to increase order, even though in both cases you're bringing energy into the system.
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Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:45 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Snowflakes is just an example. Is your coffee in mixed form more orderly or more chaotic than the unstirred ingredients of cream, sugar, hot water and ground coffee beans?
Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:28 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

There are 2 ideas beeing comflated here, free will and entropy.
Entropy is about trasfer of heat, it relates to interesting fact that the laws of physics for phenomena moving backwards in time are indistinguishable from phnomena moving forwards in time, except for entropy (which is a macro-scale phenomena).
Free will is about the ability of having free choice such that the variables of the environment doesn't conspire to actually make the choise for you, that the future is not pre-determined.
I guess it slight touches on the fact that causality is about events of the future only being dependent on events of the past but not vice-versa. And our choices are contigent on the events of the past.
As far as macro-scale events are concerned there is no such thing as free-will, for evey event it can not help but to follow what the laws of physics dictate, and if you can reproduce the exact conditions it can not help but to have the exact same outcome. The only hope left for a non-deterministic world only lays in quatum physics and the aparent phenomena that 2 aparently identical conditions can produce distinct outcomes, even this is somewhat irelevant because it simply doesn't transpire to the macro-scale world we live in and as such we can't really call it free-will.
Now it can be the case that in the quantum world that 2 identically events will allways have the exact same outcome, and in the macro-scale we observe properties consistent to what we are familiar with entropy; But it can also be the case that 2 identical events can have 2 different outcomes but in the macro-scale world still observe properties consistent to what we are familiar with entropy.

The phenomena of entropy as far as I know can not hint to which of the worlds we live in.
Either way it make no sense to talk about free-will, in either scenario our macro-scale phenomena of choice is for all intent and puspouses a direct function of the influnces of the past, and this quirky quantum behavior does not constitute the macro-scale phenomena of "you making a choice" because "you" can not influence which of the outcomes a quatum event will materialize.
I don't even know physically what it means to have a choice? How does one choses? What does that mean?
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Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:36 am
CommonEnlightenmentUser avatarPosts: 649Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:06 amLocation: Plato Crater Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Come back and talk to me when you can 'will' yourself to fly. I mean fly in the literal sense here (without the use of any devices or machines that are designed for this).

I'm not talking about the metaphorical use of the word fly.

Let me ask you a question.... What usage of free will are you using? A combination of the two, perhaps?
;)
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Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:01 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:I don't even know physically what it means to have a choice? How does one choses? What does that mean?

Choice would simply mean awareness of a set of available options, and the ability to select any of those options. Free choice would imply that the selection is not determined by the chain of events thus far, but determined solely by the volition of the chooser, based on whatever criteria, whim or reasoning they autonomously decide on
Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:58 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

CommonEnlightenment wrote:Come back and talk to me when you can 'will' yourself to fly. I mean fly in the literal sense here (without the use of any devices or machines that are designed for this).

I'm not talking about the metaphorical use of the word fly.

Let me ask you a question.... What usage of free will are you using? A combination of the two, perhaps?
;)

If flying is not an available option (or if it is and ghost knight is unaware of it), then his inability to fly is not a matter of whether he has free-will or not.

Personally, I believe free-will exists, and its really independent of entropy completely.
Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:03 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Choice would simply mean awareness of a set of available options, and the ability to select any of those options. Free choice would imply that the selection is not determined by the chain of events thus far, but determined solely by the volition of the chooser, based on whatever criteria, whim or reasoning they autonomously decide on

But how does one select any of those options? What exactly is my own "volition"? Isn't it just a feeling determined by the history of previous events? If the answer is yes, wouldn't that make it just another unconscious link on a deterministic world were the outcome is already fixed? Wouldn't this mean that you only had the ilusion of choice?
Specailly if you add a "criteria" because criterias are set to achive a pre-determined goal, and whatever is going to fufil those criterias is not of your choosing but it is pre-determined as well.

CommonEnlightenment wrote:Come back and talk to me when you can 'will' yourself to fly.

It is an interesting taught on the prespective of "will", however I will have to disagree. Consider instead that you live in "free-will" world and that you are given the option A, B and C to chose from in a given situation, just because you can concieve of an option D that you can't chose from it doesn't mean that there only can be 1 outcome, you can still chose A, B or C. Free-will doesn't mean that everything goes.
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Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:35 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

I've often heard people reference the uncertainty principle in discussions about free will, but never entropy...
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Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:37 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:But how does one select any of those options? What exactly is my own "volition"? Isn't it just a feeling determined by the history of previous events? If the answer is yes, wouldn't that make it just another unconscious link on a deterministic world were the outcome is already fixed? Wouldn't this mean that you only had the ilusion of choice?
Specailly if you add a "criteria" because criterias are set to achive a pre-determined goal, and whatever is going to fufil those criterias is not of your choosing but it is pre-determined as well.

You have 2 shirts, one red one blue, and you're getting dressed. You choose the red. Or you choose the blue. Your choice. You just pick one. And that's the one you wear.

Even if you consider all the possible pre-existing factors that could have come into play at the point of the decision, the options are evaluated at the point in time and then you reach into your closet and retrieve one of your shirts, based on the decision you made right there. At any point you could have chosen either shirt.

I know this probably answers the question "how", as to the internal mechanics that go into autonomous decision making. I just described the phenomenon from my perspective. However, I see no evidence that supports predetermination when it comes to human behavior. In my experience, the arguments that support determinism are centered around pointing out how implausible free-will is, as if finding a flaw in the free-will model will automatically validate determinism
Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:46 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:You have 2 shirts, one red one blue, and you're getting dressed. You choose the red. Or you choose the blue. Your choice. You just pick one. And that's the one you wear.

Even if you consider all the possible pre-existing factors that could have come into play at the point of the decision, the options are evaluated at the point in time and then you reach into your closet and retrieve one of your shirts, based on the decision you made right there. At any point you could have chosen either shirt.

I know this probably answers the question "how", as to the internal mechanics that go into autonomous decision making. I just described the phenomenon from my perspective. However, I see no evidence that supports predetermination when it comes to human behavior. In my experience, the arguments that support determinism are centered around pointing out how implausible free-will is, as if finding a flaw in the free-will model will automatically validate determinism


Please don't take this as an insult but I find your view of things quite shallow. It completly overlooks the objection hold by people supporting a deterministic view that choice may actually not be more than an ilusion. In a world were you can describe almost any event trough an equation, the transfer of energy, the changed caused by forces, the conduction of an electrical impulse, the way certain chemicals react, all of which involved in the operation of the brain and the consequent cause of an action. For everything else but our brain we would readilly admit that the outcome was deterministic, why should we make an exception for the brain? As far as I am concerned, the problem of free-will is a setled case. Your "choice" is pre-determined because you as a physical entity can not hope but to follow the natural consequences of the laws of physics.

My question is, "does a free-will world even make sense?" What does the action of free-choice? How is it even possible for a decision process to exist where the outcome is not unique given the influences of the past?
If you don't care to dable deep into this mechanism of choice that is fine, but understand that your prespective on free-will is indistinguishable from determinism (i.e. that you are on face value convinced that there is a choice independently of it actually being true or not) and that you will also not be taken seriously when you can't even pass the first herdle.
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Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:09 am
CommonEnlightenmentUser avatarPosts: 649Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:06 amLocation: Plato Crater Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:
CommonEnlightenment wrote:Come back and talk to me when you can 'will' yourself to fly. I mean fly in the literal sense here (without the use of any devices or machines that are designed for this).

I'm not talking about the metaphorical use of the word fly.

Let me ask you a question.... What usage of free will are you using? A combination of the two, perhaps?
;)

If flying is not an available option (or if it is and ghost knight is unaware of it), then his inability to fly is not a matter of whether he has free-will or not.


Nope..... But it would be a valid test of 'free will' depending on the constraints that are listed to describe the type of 'free will' that you are trying to demonstrate. And if we are using the laws of physics as a set of constraints for a particular scenario and you can't violate the 'no fly rule' (you can't just choose to fly and have it so) then that type of 'free will' is not valid or is highly unlikely. This type of thought experiment can be used to limit or select appropriate constraints on the type of 'free will' that you are trying to demonstrate.
There is still light in the 'Earthly' darkness. Finding light in the darkness can be more satisfying than merely seeing the glaring light of our sun. It gives us a better understanding of light and a deeper understanding of our universe.
Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:16 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:Please don't take this as an insult but I find your view of things quite shallow. It completly overlooks the objection hold by people supporting a deterministic view that choice may actually not be more than an ilusion. In a world were you can describe almost any event trough an equation, the transfer of energy, the changed caused by forces, the conduction of an electrical impulse, the way certain chemicals react, all of which involved in the operation of the brain and the consequent cause of an action. For everything else but our brain we would readilly admit that the outcome was deterministic, why should we make an exception for the brain? As far as I am concerned, the problem of free-will is a setled case. Your "choice" is pre-determined because you as a physical entity can not hope but to follow the natural consequences of the laws of physics.

My question is, "does a free-will world even make sense?" What does the action of free-choice? How is it even possible for a decision process to exist where the outcome is not unique given the influences of the past?
If you don't care to dable deep into this mechanism of choice that is fine, but understand that your prespective on free-will is indistinguishable from determinism (i.e. that you are on face value convinced that there is a choice independently of it actually being true or not) and that you will also not be taken seriously when you can't even pass the first herdle.

I'm aware of the objections determinists have against the concept of free-will, and I addressed it. The argument, as you offered, is that free-will doesn't make enough sense, its difficult to get your head around, and cannot be as simple as "because you have the ability to choose". However, by your own admission, the arguments that support determinism are equally abstract and meaningless. The defense for determinism usually boils down to "there's no way free-will can exist, therefore determinism must be true. There really is no evidence that actually supports determinism, except the inference that out fills the void left when we remove free-will. To make matters worse, determinists claim that we have the illusion of free will, so any evidence that apparently supports free-will is only your mind playing tricks on you. In other words, don't rely on your own observation and inference. In my view this argument logically backfires at determinists as well, who obviously rely on observation and inference to come to their conclusions about determinism.

One of the main contentions with the idea of free will is that assumes that the brain has some ability to produce an output that is independent or inconsistent with its input. Strictly speaking, no kind of function works like that. If the input is the same and the process is the same, the output must be the same. Therefore, output must be a function of input and process, and nothing else. The argument further states that no 2 decision functions are based on the same input or the same process, so there really is no way of testing this theory. It doesn't actually make a case for determinism, except that the human brain should not have the ability to operate inconsistently with the causal chain of input-process-output.

The determinism argument, in my view, relies on the gap that its created when you discredit free-will, rather than on independent evidence that actually supports it
Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:12 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:However, by your own admission, the arguments that support determinism are equally abstract and meaningless.

I have never said that.

unkerpaulie wrote:The defense for determinism usually boils down to "there's no way free-will can exist, therefore determinism must be true. There really is no evidence that actually supports determinism, except the inference that out fills the void left when we remove free-will.

This is not true either, you can take as an example my arguments and my reason and you will see that I haven't invoked once any property of free-will to establish a reasonable deterministic perpesctive. You can claim that free-will and determinism is a false dicothomy, I agree that there can be conception of a world that is neither has free-will or is determined, however there can be no such thing as a deterministic world with free-will.

unkerpaulie wrote:To make matters worse, determinists claim that we have the illusion of free will, so any evidence that apparently supports free-will is only your mind playing tricks on you. In other words, don't rely on your own observation and inference. In my view this argument logically backfires at determinists as well, who obviously rely on observation and inference to come to their conclusions about determinism.

This is also wrong, if we were to be arguing about the location of a rainbow and I forward you that rainbows are an ilusion, you would not be decieved into believing that from now on no matter what evidence it is presented that you can dismiss it all as an ilusion. What you would have to do is to bring a better evidence than to simply say "The rainow is just behind that hill because I can see it there".
Likewise when I posit that free-will is an ilusion, you have to bring me more than "it looks like free-will", notice that this doesn't stop you from expanding perception and the contex of the experience and go beyound the surface appearence of the matter and bring compelling evidence.

unkerpaulie wrote:One of the main contentions with the idea of free will is that assumes that the brain has some ability to produce an output that is independent or inconsistent with its input. Strictly speaking, no kind of function works like that. If the input is the same and the process is the same, the output must be the same. Therefore, output must be a function of input and process, and nothing else.

But that is the problem, if the output is allways the same then the conversation is over, the world is deterministic and free-will is an ilusion, the apeparence of choice is nothing more than us being aware of our goal, it just another causual link that we can not hope but to actualize.
And my question until now is, does a free-will ever made sense? What is free-will? We have a vague idea that it is something about the act of selecting a particular option in acordance to our volition, but in a deterministic world you can make a selection of a particular option acording to your volition, it just happens that your volition is just another causal link that you can not hope but to have. So exactly what property is there, or what do we have to look for to say that a certain action is performed with free-will?

unkerpaulie wrote:The argument further states that no 2 decision functions are based on the same input or the same process, so there really is no way of testing this theory. It doesn't actually make a case for determinism, except that the human brain should not have the ability to operate inconsistently with the causal chain of input-process-output.
The determinism argument, in my view, relies on the gap that its created when you discredit free-will, rather than on independent evidence that actually supports it

I disagree. I need no touch on free-will to establish that the world is deterministic, the simple observation of the world and how certain phenomena keep repeating to the extent that you can tell the outcome of an event just by knowing how it began is sufficient for me to say that the world is deterministic.
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Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:41 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:But that is the problem, if the output is allways the same then the conversation is over, the world is deterministic and free-will is an ilusion, the apeparence of choice is nothing more than us being aware of our goal, it just another causual link that we can not hope but to actualize.
And my question until now is, does a free-will ever made sense? What is free-will? We have a vague idea that it is something about the act of selecting a particular option in acordance to our volition, but in a deterministic world you can make a selection of a particular option acording to your volition, it just happens that your volition is just another causal link that you can not hope but to have. So exactly what property is there, or what do we have to look for to say that a certain action is performed with free-will?

You start off with the premise that the world is deterministic. I disagree, but in order to make a case for free will, I'll have to d demonstrate how the functions of the minds are an exception to the rules of determinism. This usually consists of arguing that we have the ability to imagine, reflect and rehearse scenarios in our minds, and perform a host of internal mental functions that may or may not manifest into an observable act. That is, at the point we create an output in our minds, it can be manifested into an action, or reserved for future input. For example, choosing to wear the red shirt, but never actually wearing it.

One of the interesting things about the deterministic world view is that there is the high probability that if this view becomes the accepted norm, society in general may adopt and attitude of "whatever will be will be" and be completely liberated from accountability and responsibility, because they can argue that their actions are nothing more than a result of inputs and processes that they have no direct control over. Determinism dictates that conscious decision-making does not exist, therefore any actions and events that occur were "meant" to occur (if that makes any sense). Ironically, as long as people think they are responsible for their actions, they act in accordance with that belief. It may be that free-will, whether real or not, is necessary to keep humans and society orderly.
Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:40 pm
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