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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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Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:You are right. The objection isn't about truth, its about relevance, and there is a difference. However, irrelevant truth that you know is actually less useful than irrelevant truth that you don't know. It doesn't interest me what the ratio of gravitational pull of pluto to mars is, the amount of rainfall in chile last year, or how long the elevator in your apartment building takes to get from the second floor to the fourth. We are constantly inundated with factual f data coming through our 5 senses, which are much more relevant to our lives than whether invisible undetectable Bob is watching us, or if determinism is a fact, yet we filter them out to make room for facts that are relevant.

If you don't care, then this should have disqualified you from arguing about the truth value. If you don't want to argue, that is fine, you can not to. But there are other people who want to. You can not come here and say that X is a problem for the proposition of determinism (that you think is being undermined) when X has nothing to do about the truth value of determinism. Can you now understand why are the objections raised about determinism that triggered this line of reasoning are not objections to determinism at all?
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:47 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: If you don't care, then this should have disqualified you from arguing about the truth value. If you don't want to argue, that is fine, you can not to. But there are other people who want to. You can not come here and say that X is a problem for the proposition of determinism (that you think is being undermined) when X has nothing to do about the truth value of determinism. Can you now understand why are the objections raised about determinism that triggered this line of reasoning are not objections to determinism at all?

Like I said, I understand the difference. The relevance of a fact (which is relative), doesn't affect its veracity. However, a truth that cannot be applied brings up the question of whether its true or not to begin with. If russel's teapot exists, but cannot be proven nor the knowledge applied, it would be rational to dismiss his claim as false. You have not really demonstrated that determinism is true, much less the benefit to be gained by even considering whether it is true. Its not simply a matter of I don't care, I have more sound reasoning for rejecting your claim than accepting it. And again, it doesn't make you any more wrong than bertrand russell, or any theist, but it makes it tough for you to make a case that you are right.
Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:40 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Like I said, I understand the difference.

No i don't think you did.

unkerpaulie wrote:The relevance of a fact (which is relative), doesn't affect its veracity.

Here you say that has absolutely nothing to do with the truth value.

unkerpaulie wrote:However, a truth that cannot be applied brings up the question of whether its true or not to begin with.

A here you say something different (which is no longer about relevancy) and you add that it has everything to do with the truth value.
Then you bring the case of the russel's teapot that cannot be compared to the situation we are discussing.
I am having a hard time believing that you get it.

Let me give an example of an argument about relevance.
Let's consider the proposition the proposition that your ideas about things comes from a rational process (a careful consideration of the previously available information) instead of just popping into your head without any sort of relation to reality to the point that your ideas may have absolutely nothing to do in reality (that your perception of time, space, self, emotions, ideas about logic math or all your certainties might be wrong). Lets call this position "ideological consequentialism". What evidence is there for "ideological consequentialism"? And the argument goes as follows:

If ideological consequentialism is false, then there can be no certainty of our thoughts, our convictions are but mere illusions. To think that A is A for no matter how convinced we believe to have reasons is no more arbitrary than to think that A is not A, in a world like this it will never matter what you think and truth can only be achieved by a mere coincidence. However if ideological consequentialism is true then your convictions make a difference to the world we think we live, our thoughts are not arbitrary and we can cluster information into more complex ideas and what we come to think about truth is not a mere coincidence but a carefully guided process. Although no amount of argument is going to be able to prove which is the right one, however if believe that ideological consequentialism is false then we would either be wrong or it would be irrelevant, if instead we believe that it is true then it is right or it doesn't matter. And for the sake that "ideological consequentialism" might be true we must therefore think that it is true.

This is perhaps one of the rare instances where arguments about relevance work, I have never seen them work anywhere else. Notice that the veracity of the proposition has deepest of consequences to the nature of reality that you can possibly imagine, yet its truth value is never established, it is simply asserted on the bases of relevancy.

There are different types of relevancy arguments. Here is another type that you probably had in mind.
Imagine that there exists an object that is outside our time and space, that can't possibly interact with us in any way shape or form and there is absolutely anything that requires it to exit to the extent that you can't even be hinted to the fact that it exists.
One can argue that arguing about it is irrelevant because it makes no difference to us, and there is nothing you could ever say that could possibly establish its existence or not, for all practical purposes it doesn't exist to us.

And in which category does the subject of free-will and determinism fall into? Well it is neither, because it is something that does exist to us and does not impair the ability to know thing.
Neither can you dismiss it as the sort of idea that doesn't matter personally to you, because it matters to someone else.
Notice that in neither of those scenarios its truth value is established, it is simply assumed. You can't go form "it doesn't matter" to "it is false".


unkerpaulie wrote:If russel's teapot exists, but cannot be proven nor the knowledge applied, it would be rational to dismiss his claim as false.

But we are not talking about unreasonable claims about the existence of things that can't be known. Determinism is not a physical thing for which it is more reasonable to thing that it doesn't exist, it is rather a concept, it is a property about reality and not something in reality.
To better understand this lets take its statement to its logical conclusion and make a comparison with something that it is valid.
Let's say I have a proposition A and a proposition B that is the negation of A and there isn't evidence of either. What should we do with A? Let's dismiss it as false, but then that means B is true, but we have no evidence for B either. What should we do with proposition B? Let's dismiss it as false, well but then that means that A is true. Have we really got anywhere here? Or wouldn't it be more reasonable to suspend judgment?

Ok so why does the russel's teapot argument work? Because it is not simply a proposition about things, it is a proposition about the existence of things.
I have a concept of A, and I propose that A exists. Without evidence I am justified in dismissing the existence of A. This does not prove that A does not indeed exist, but is not it is more likely than not that made up things do not in fact exist. What would be the negation of this proposition? Well it is different proposition all together, i.e. that A does not exist, which is already the default position.

But let us not focus to much on what was previously said, let us instead focus on another part of the statement that I feel is more important. The part that says "cannot be proven nor the knowledge applied", this is simply false when applied to determinism; I have already defended that you can know. This leads me to my last point.


unkerpaulie wrote:You have not really demonstrated that determinism is true, much less the benefit to be gained by even considering whether it is true. Its not simply a matter of I don't care, I have more sound reasoning for rejecting your claim than accepting it. And again, it doesn't make you any more wrong than bertrand russell, or any theist, but it makes it tough for you to make a case that you are right.

That is what my argument about the nature of everything we knew was for. That there is nothing special about our brain, there is nothing more than a collection of natural processes (a complex one at that) all of which we can in theory predict its outcome in a very deterministic fashion, and that no amount of uncertainty is going to give free-will sense in a causal world where you can no more chose the outcome of what you think and do than you chose to fall back to the ground when you jump.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:24 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Your case for determinism, if I understand you correctly, is that we live in a world where causality is the law. Every action causes an equal reaction, which causes a reaction, ad infinitum. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, just transfered. Input begets output, which is new input that begets new output, and so on. Based on applying some formula, if the input is known, the output can be predicted. Therefore, our conscousness is not an agent of choice, in fact choice doesn't exist. What we think is us making a decision is merely us witnessing the predictable outcome of whatever input went through whatever process. In fact, whether we were aware of the particular outcome or not wouldn't matter, the outcome would be the same. We do not particpate in the decision making process in a conscious way, we are just the software that is constantly rewriting its processes and spitting out output as more input is fed into us.

However, the whole thing looks as though we are making the choices. We are designed in a way that works exactly as though we can imagine the original and act or not act on our impulses and desires. We seem to function so that if we create a plan or resolution (even though even these plans are merely more predictable output being spit out real time from the ever-adapting software), there is a necessity for us to believe that we are the ones creating those plans, otherwise somehow they don't work. If we acknowledge determinism as the mechanism under which everythying we do operates, and consciously step back to let determinism do its thing, it falls apart. Therefore, even though determinism dictates that free-will doesn't exist, it must continue to produce evidence that free-will exists in order to function. And we must consciously continue to believe we have free-will, and act under the assumption that free-will exists, in order for determinism to spit out outputs that allow us to live meaningful lives.

So what do determinism, russell's teapot and invisible Bob (and personally I'm throwing God and the gay gene in here as well) have in common? Becoming aware of the fact of their existence is counterproductive to our daily lives. We are better off in the absense of that knowledge, or moreso by dismissing that knowledge as false. The conditions we have to accept in order to entertain their veracity are so out there that it would be more rational to reject the claim entirely.

Now, after all that is said and done, I am not saying that any of the things in my list are true or false, I'm just giving you my reasons why I am not convinced they are true, based on my current understanding, which may be incomplete
Last edited by unkerpaulie on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:39 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

Or you could look at the issue from a pragmatic standpoint and call yourself a compatabilist. Ask yourself what situations are most likely to be determined and which situations call for a small bit of perceived 'choice'.
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.
Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:49 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

CommonEnlightenment wrote:Or you could look at the issue from a pragmatic standpoint and call yourself a compatabilist. Ask yourself what situations are most likely to be determined and which situations call for a small bit of perceived 'choice'.

As far as decisions by mentally sound individuals are concerned, why? Is it up to my personal judgement to determine which decisions are "genuine" and which are illusion? How can there be a difference? I'm not very familiar with the compatabilist view, but apparently it seems to be the position that free-will and determinism can coexist. To me that's even harder to grasp than the idea of strict determinism
Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:29 pm
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

Compatabilism is often referred to as soft determinism. Or "determinism lite".

The story goes something like this:

1. Compatabilists (Soft Determinists) argue that reality is determined. See the casual arguments presented by MKG.

2. Soft determinism implies that depending on how freedom is defined an agent can choose particular paths. Freedom in this sense is typically defined as a choice that is made without either physical or psychological coercion. (I would assume that something like gravity would be considered a physical coercion in this sense but that could also be stretching the definition of coercion. I'll leave that for you to ponder). An agent can be free in the sense that can either to go to work tomorrow or not go to work tomorrow. Now, if they decide that they do not want to work tomorrow then some potential consequences could result from that 'choice' (the pragmatist would potentially list the pros and cons of the choice and decide on a non coerced form of action). In the deterministic sense this 'choice' has already been made in some space time sense and the event already has an outcome but the agent (let's call him Smith) ;) may not be 'aware' of the specific outcome.

The pragmatic could also conclude that very strict 'truths' (in this case Determinism vs. Free Will) is a question that doesn't have a sufficient answer and will thus suspend judgement until further evaluation is completed.

:lol:
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.
Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:44 am
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

I think I understand what you mean, commonenlightenment, but that's not my position. I don't see determinism fitting into my worldview at all. In order to acknowledge determinism, we must accept that:

1. even though we admittedly don't understand how the mind works, since inanimate objects in nature follow the laws of causality, we must infer that the mind operates the same way
2. furthermore, we must conclude that all the evidence that suggests we have free-will must be discarded as illusions conjured by the very minds we just determined operate under the same laws as all other inanimate matter, the very minds we admitted we don't understand in step 1
3. as if this isn't self-contradictory enough in its own right, we must revert to a belief in free-will and ignore determinism as the foundation of how we operate in order for determinism to function, otherwise for some reason it fails to produce "desired" output.

Whether determinism is true or not, determinism only "works" if we dismiss it as false. To accept its premise and not succumb to fatalism we must reject it. In my view this is a ridiculous conclusion based in a ridiculous premise.
Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:34 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Your case for determinism, if I understand you correctly, is that we live in a world where causality is the law. Every action causes an equal reaction, which causes a reaction, ad infinitum. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, just transfered. Input begets output, which is new input that begets new output, and so on. Based on applying some formula, if the input is known, the output can be predicted. Therefore, our conscousness is not an agent of choice, in fact choice doesn't exist. What we think is us making a decision is merely us witnessing the predictable outcome of whatever input went through whatever process. In fact, whether we were aware of the particular outcome or not wouldn't matter, the outcome would be the same. We do not particpate in the decision making process in a conscious way, we are just the software that is constantly rewriting its processes and spitting out output as more input is fed into us.

I mostly agree but I take special issue with:
unkerpaulie wrote:In fact, whether we were aware of the particular outcome or not wouldn't matter, the outcome would be the same.

Being aware is just another determined fact that you have no control over. It's just another link in the chain.

unkerpaulie wrote:However, the whole thing looks as though we are making the choices. We are designed in a way that works exactly as though we can imagine the original and act or not act on our impulses and desires. We seem to function so that if we create a plan or resolution (even though even these plans are merely more predictable output being spit out real time from the ever-adapting software), there is a necessity for us to believe that we are the ones creating those plans, otherwise somehow they don't work.

This is what we call wishful thinking, maybe it is my background that makes me more sensitive to this sort of thing. That we care more about what would be easier for us and to think that such is true than to actually be careful to avoid these pitfalls and embrace ideas that make us uncomfortable yet are valid despite the protest of our emotional mind.
We are organisms that are trying to get advantage of our environment, we are capable of collecting information about the world and relate in the way we can, our minds are wired to simulate several scenarios about our potential future actions, many of those scenarios would be valid scenarios, scenarios who's outcome we think we would be ok with. We compare many different outcomes and score it according to their desirability; we tend to choose the scenario with the best perceived outcome, and if the outcomes are very close to decide what is best there is a part of our brain that does that for you for a particular reason (either it be the first thing that popped into your head or because you are most familiar or the desire to see something new). Just because there are multiple viable simulated scenarios we are led to believe that we are free to pick any of them, but the process of picking any of those scenarios isn't free, it is still bound by the same laws of causality like everything else. What other way is there that allows us to pick things?

unkerpaulie wrote:If we acknowledge determinism as the mechanism under which everythying we do operates, and consciously step back to let determinism do its thing, it falls apart. Therefore, even though determinism dictates that free-will doesn't exist, it must continue to produce evidence that free-will exists in order to function. And we must consciously continue to believe we have free-will, and act under the assumption that free-will exists, in order for determinism to spit out outputs that allow us to live meaningful lives.

What do you mean with "[determinism] must continue to produce evidence that free-will exist in order to function"?
If it is what I am thinking then I fail to see how that is a problem of determinism. I may have been misled by the all conversation seems to underlay an assumption that if you believe determinism that you will stop functioning the way you desire, and to top tap that there is some higher order in the Universe and that it must care for what happens to you (that by not doing so it would defeat this higher purpose and therefore couldn't exist).

unkerpaulie wrote:So what do determinism, russell's teapot and invisible Bob (and personally I'm throwing God and the gay gene in here as well) have in common? Becoming aware of the fact of their existence is counterproductive to our daily lives. We are better off in the absense of that knowledge, or moreso by dismissing that knowledge as false. The conditions we have to accept in order to entertain their veracity are so out there that it would be more rational to reject the claim entirely.

I don't think this is what they have in common, this is not the reason why we dismiss Russell's teapot.
We do not dismiss it because it is inconsequential or because it negatively impacts our lives. But rather it is unlike that something you just randomly postulate to be true, from what we know it just unlikely to be the case, and that we will be right "more often than not" to think that it just doesn't exist.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:22 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:We are organisms that are trying to get advantage of our environment, we are capable of collecting information about the world and relate in the way we can, our minds are wired to simulate several scenarios about our potential future actions, many of those scenarios would be valid scenarios, scenarios who's outcome we think we would be ok with. We compare many different outcomes and score it according to their desirability; we tend to choose the scenario with the best perceived outcome, and if the outcomes are very close to decide what is best there is a part of our brain that does that for you for a particular reason (either it be the first thing that popped into your head or because you are most familiar or the desire to see something new). Just because there are multiple viable simulated scenarios we are led to believe that we are free to pick any of them, but the process of picking any of those scenarios isn't free, it is still bound by the same laws of causality like everything else. What other way is there that allows us to pick things?

Your above statement is in essence exactly the "evidence" that determinism produces in order to make us think that we have free will. You make this statement as a determinist, yet they sound exactly like what a believer in free-will would say. We have the ability to contemplate (or in your perspective the ability to passively witness the mind going through the contemplation process), and evaluate which option gives us the consequence that gets us closer to our self-designed goals. In our minds, however, we feel as though we are consciously doing this contemplation and evaluation by our own standards, and freely making the choice fully aware of the consequences associated, therefore taking on the burden of responsibility for the choice. However, if we were to stop believing that we were the agent of choice (which would be the fact if determinism was true), and we could see through the illusion of free-will that is so pervasive, and take on the role of passive observer (which is what determinism professes that we are anyway), then fatalism sets in and determinism doesn't "work" anymore. So again, if determinism is true, we must necessarily act as if it is false, and act as though free-will is true.

You also disagreed with my view that it doesn't matter if we were aware of the decision making process taking place, since as passive observers our conscious minds do not participate or contribute to the process. Would the outcome of input through a process be different is a passive observer was present or not? And if our conscious mind is an active part of the decision making process, what exactly does it do? What is the role of the mind, if, as you seem to imply, its more than merely a passive observer?
Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:35 pm
devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

I've got to agree with unkerpaulie here. MasterGhostKnight is slipping into non-determinist talk all the time. He's in good company though, since pretty much every philosopher I've read that believes in hard determinism does the same. It just shows how notoriously difficult it is to function if you'd come to fully embrace determinism and all it's logical consequences.

Then there's the other extreme, which unkerpaulie seems to advocate, the notion of agent causation. This seems just as impossible to grasp: What is free will like? If you can give an account how free will works, it's likely going to be deterministic and if you can't, it'll be just random. Neither will do for free-to-act agents.
Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny.
Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:25 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

devilsadvocate wrote:I've got to agree with unkerpaulie here. MasterGhostKnight is slipping into non-determinist talk all the time. He's in good company though, since pretty much every philosopher I've read that believes in hard determinism does the same. It just shows how notoriously difficult it is to function if you'd come to fully embrace determinism and all it's logical consequences.

Then there's the other extreme, which unkerpaulie seems to advocate, the notion of agent causation. This seems just as impossible to grasp: What is free will like? If you can give an account how free will works, it's likely going to be deterministic and if you can't, it'll be just random. Neither will do for free-to-act agents.

Why must decisions between options be either deterministic or random? Why can't it be evaluated by the conscious mind, taking into consideration the consequences and how they line up with self-generated goals? Why can't we create some sort of purpose for ourselves, then endeavor to fulfill that purpose through our autonomous actions? Can we not take input and arrange them in the way we want to create something original?
Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:16 pm
devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Why can't we create some sort of purpose for ourselves?


Do we do this by random or is there some kind of explanation how we choose our purpose that isn't at it's root deterministic?
Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny.
Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:44 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Your above statement is in essence exactly the "evidence" that determinism produces in order to make us think that we have free will. You make this statement as a determinist, yet they sound exactly like what a believer in free-will would say.

I don't think so. Would a believer in free-will be able to say that "if you look into the world now as an external observer and knowin it exactly, and if you put that world in a blackbox, you can in theory predict what would be the exact state of that world when you open the box again at any point in the future"?
I.e. That I could know the "decisions" you would make before you make it.
Would you not agree that if such were to be the case that such a world would be deterministic?

unkerpaulie wrote:then fatalism sets in and determinism doesn't "work" anymore.

Maybe this is not the point you are trying to make, but I must stress this for the sake of clarity. What exactly do you mean by "determinism doesn't work"?
If you were to mean that determinism would break down and therefore couldn't be true, then I must protest. If it happens that you get disilusioned about the nature of the world and then sit on a corner and die then tough luck for you, it doesn't mean that such wasn't determined.
If you instead mean (whish I think is the case) that you would not be as much of a productive member of society as a result of that, then I must stress that such is not an argument against determinism. It would just be a consequence of determinism, nobody claimed that the consequences would have been otherwise (even if it did it wouldn't matter, if it happens to be true then so much for your dearly held opinions). None the less I don't think we would become fatalistic, who are we kidding, we could never make ourselves be like that. The world hurts and you have desires, and you will do anything to avoid pain and fulfil your desires anyway, you can't make yourself just not care. Of course our judicial system should be based as if there is free-will, after all what we intend is to coerce other peoples decision process so that they select other viable options that are more conducive to my own desiers, this underlies the assumption that there are other viable scenarios in ones mind to chose from (which is from where our ilusion of free-will comes from). And because you have coerced someone to select another option than what they otherwise would, and in a situation where there are other viable option, you will have re-enforced the ilusion that you had free-will and that you acted uppon it even tough the outcome was already determined by external factors even before the decision was made.
I don't think that everyone goes trough this tought process, I think that the majority of people will act under the ilusion that there is free-will, non the less they will be making the right judicial decisions for the wrong reasons.


unkerpaulie wrote:Would the outcome of input through a process be different is a passive observer was present or not?

In 2 different scenarios where everything else being equal. Yes it would have a different outcome.

unkerpaulie wrote:And if our conscious mind is an active part of the decision making process, what exactly does it do?
What is the role of the mind, if, as you seem to imply, its more than merely a passive observer?

It is my opinion that conscious itself is another ilusion, over that is another discution. But for the sake of this conversation I will define a more palatable version of consicous that I think is suitable to answer this question, conscious means that we as ourselves are aware of our situation.
We are no passive, we are not simply an observer watching a machine working, we are the machine watching ourself working.
We are our bodys processing unit recieving input and producing output.

devilsadvocate wrote:This seems just as impossible to grasp: What is free will like? If you can give an account how free will works, it's likely going to be deterministic and if you can't, it'll be just random. Neither will do for free-to-act agents.

Exactly my point of view.

unkerpaulie wrote:Can we not take input and arrange them in the way we want to create something original?

Don't know. I don't know of anything that could possibly make sense of such a thing.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:09 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Ghost_knight, you were the one that said we can't just throw out hands in the air and say fuck it. Couldn't it be argued, from a determinist's point of view, that if your hands found themselves thrown in the air, and the words "fuck it" being uttered, what could you do about it? Nothing. Consciously you have no say in the matter. Your attitude of fatalism would be the predicted and inevitable output of whatever input and processes led up to that point. Same goes for anything else you do, whether its becoming a nobel prize winning inventor or the guy that shits on his neighbor's lawn every night. You can't change your mind about your actions, nor hope to do better next time, nor apologize, justify or amend your actions and attitude. To do that, you'd have to be the agent of change yourself, and in a deterministic world, you are not such an agent.
Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:51 pm
unkerpauliePosts: 44Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

devilsadvocate wrote:
Why can't we create some sort of purpose for ourselves?


Do we do this by random or is there some kind of explanation how we choose our purpose that isn't at it's root deterministic?

Neither. We consciously evaluate the options, apply our faculty of imagination to get a sense of what new options we can create that will solve whatever problem we think we'd like to solve, then make a resolution that such a purpose if what we want to pursue.

The determinist outlook would classify what I just said as input that reprograms the software that controls our actions, arguing that we are not doing any choosing, resolving or desiring, but these are just emotional and psychological tricks that are part of the input and programming as well. My response to that argument is, how do we reconcile expectations and responsibility if we are not in control of our actions? To accept determinism means you must accept something that its self-contradictory
Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:06 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

unkerpaulie wrote:Ghost_knight, you were the one that said we can't just throw out hands in the air and say fuck it. Couldn't it be argued, from a determinist's point of view, that if your hands found themselves thrown in the air, and the words "fuck it" being uttered, what could you do about it?

Let me ask you another question instead. Would you want to do anything about it? Whatever the answer would be it would be pre-determined. If the answer is yes than you as an integral part of the deterministic process are already doing something about it. If the answer is no then you are still playing a role in the causal process that will lead to your future. You are not just a mere observer, you are an integral part of it. And lets be honest, none of this excuse making crosses our minds when we act. When you are hungry do you have a dialog with yourself about if determinism is true then it really doesn't matter what you do and you contemplate if either you should do anything about, or you just go to the fridge and eat something?
When you girlfriend starts to get freaky with you do you ask if there is ultimatly any point to your actions and stop to complate the deeper meaning of life or you just get yourself on the action and get some piece of ass? Come to think of there is no ultimate purpous to life, either way you live it there is no ultimate goal and it will never ammount to nothing, but do you stop doing the things that you do because of it?
You can't just forget the context you are in and how you actually operate.


unkerpaulie wrote:Nothing. Consciously you have no say in the matter. Your attitude of fatalism would be the predicted and inevitable output of whatever input and processes led up to that point. Same goes for anything else you do, whether its becoming a nobel prize winning inventor or the guy that shits on his neighbor's lawn every night. You can't change your mind about your actions, nor hope to do better next time, nor apologize, justify or amend your actions and attitude. To do that, you'd have to be the agent of change yourself, and in a deterministic world, you are not such an agent.

Fatalism operates under the assumption that the future is determined, but that there is a free conscious observer that does not take part on the action. That if X is determined to happen to you, you can even desire X not to happen and know in advance about X, that in any other world view the outcome of X could be changed, but somehow no matter what you would have done the circumstances would conspire to bring about X anyways.
This is not the way I see things, this view of the world has nothing to do with my view on determinism. I don't think that there is such a thing as a independent observer, you are part of the process. Even tough in practice we can't know any better, it doesn't seem to be the case that the world is such a way that in 2 indentiical circumstance except for the personality within, that the outcome would be necessarily the same. You can't just remove yourself out of the equation.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:36 pm
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

Context is a tricky little 'bugger' (The Orson Scott Card variety of bugger).
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.
Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:45 am
devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: Just a thought I had about free will

Neither. We consciously evaluate the options, apply our faculty of imagination to get a sense of what new options we can create that will solve whatever problem we think we'd like to solve, then make a resolution that such a purpose if what we want to pursue.


I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but how do we come to prefer solving one problem instead of another?


I think this concept needs fleshing out. I'm curious of what kind of explanatory power it gives, so let's try to get it do some work for us:

Tim and Tom are in similar situation, say they're contemplating what kind of wine to bring to a dinner party. Can your proposed system explain why they choose different wines without resorting to any kind of causal (deterministic) factors like their personality*?


*This kind of tracks back to the first question, you could say they chose to develop certain personality in the past, but then again.. how did they come to choose certain personality trait to cultivate instead of another?
Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny.
Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:43 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:Let me ask you another question instead. Would you want to do anything about it? Whatever the answer would be it would be pre-determined. If the answer is yes than you as an integral part of the deterministic process are already doing something about it. If the answer is no then you are still playing a role in the causal process that will lead to your future. You are not just a mere observer, you are an integral part of it. And lets be honest, none of this excuse making crosses our minds when we act. When you are hungry do you have a dialog with yourself about if determinism is true then it really doesn't matter what you do and you contemplate if either you should do anything about, or you just go to the fridge and eat something?
When you girlfriend starts to get freaky with you do you ask if there is ultimatly any point to your actions and stop to complate the deeper meaning of life or you just get yourself on the action and get some piece of ass? Come to think of there is no ultimate purpous to life, either way you live it there is no ultimate goal and it will never ammount to nothing, but do you stop doing the things that you do because of it?
You can't just forget the context you are in and how you actually operate.

Why would what I want matter? We are creating a circular pattern here. You are saying that our "desires" are part of the input and programming, yet in a deterministic model, desires as we understand them do not exist, and just serve to deepen the illusion. Therefore, it wouldn't matter what we desire. But if that's the case, then we might end up adopting a fatalism attitude, which will get us results we don't want, even though in a deterministic model there is no such thing as want, and fatalism would be an inevitable result of programming and input, if such were the case anyway. So if we want good results (which we can't), the steps we take towards achieving those results are only predictable outputs of input and programming, which would be the case if we didn't want good results, or didn't care either way. Why are we even discussing things like wants and desires in a determinitic framework, when its already established that these are only illusions that we do not control?

Fatalism operates under the assumption that the future is determined, but that there is a free conscious observer that does not take part on the action. That if X is determined to happen to you, you can even desire X not to happen and know in advance about X, that in any other world view the outcome of X could be changed, but somehow no matter what you would have done the circumstances would conspire to bring about X anyways.
This is not the way I see things, this view of the world has nothing to do with my view on determinism. I don't think that there is such a thing as a independent observer, you are part of the process. Even tough in practice we can't know any better, it doesn't seem to be the case that the world is such a way that in 2 indentiical circumstance except for the personality within, that the outcome would be necessarily the same. You can't just remove yourself out of the equation.

Doesn't determinism operate under the assumption that the future is determined (hence the name), and that we are conscious but passive observers that do not take part in the action? The determinist argues that in a situation where x is chosen instead of y, y could not have been chosen if the exact situation could be replayed (an argument they are fully aware can never be supported). This argument could be extended to one where, if event z happened, such an event was inevitable, not based on the person's choices (which don't exist), but because the chain of causes and effects that led up to that event could never be different if the entire chain were to be replayed. If in hindsight the determinist can make such a statement (and in the deterministic model he would be correct) then the fatalist, by the same token, could argue that the event that will happen at any given time in the future will follow an unchangeable chain of events to an inevitable outcome. And in the determinst model he would also be correct. The only difference is that the determinist makes the exact same argument in hindsight that the fatalist makes in foresight. Whatever event z happens to be, if it was meant to be and inevitable, then it will be meant to be and inevitable. How could it be any other way?
Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:39 am
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