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Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

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Realizable alternatives exist in general, but these are not realizable options available to all. A career in Mathematics, for instance, is quite possible for some, but not all. It's not only a matter of application and study, but aptitude. Some learn easily, others not at all. Not for want of trying, but because their brain is not wired for it.

A career in sports is a realizable option for some, becoming champion swimmer, boxer, sprinter, tennis player, but not for all, not even for most people....not because of want of training, drive, motivation, just physical suitability: they are not built for it.

Again, nothing to do with will, free will or choice, just 'luck of the draw' - yet in a determined system, whatever you are and whatever you can or can't do being necessitated.... not even luck of the draw.

Becoming a "champion" in any sport is limited by definition (the champion is the single person who wins). But becoming proficient in any sport is open to the vast majority of people. It's more nurture than nature. And like the guy said when asked "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?", "Practice, practice, practice".

All of the events always are causally necessary from any prior point in time, of course, but that logical fact does not enlighten any of our choices. All it tells us is that whatever we choose, it would have been causally necessary. Basically, causal necessity says "You will do what you will do". And that is useless.

The guy telling you to "Practice, practice, practice", on the other hand, is giving you useful information.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I like to use "operational" definitions when I can, which describe the concept in terms of how it "works" and what the notion is actually used for. For example:

"Will" is a person's specific intent for the immediate ("I will have pancakes for breakfast") or distant ("last will and testament") future. This intent both motivates and gives direction to the person's subsequent actions.

"Brain functions" are the various functions provided by the neural architecture. Perhaps the most significant of these is the organization of sensory input into a model of reality. Included in this model is the "self" and its "internal environment" and also its "external environment". The key brain functions related to free will are imagination, evaluation, and choosing.

"Self" is the brain's model of the person, including things like their body, their thoughts, and their experiences.

"Determinism" is the belief (-ism) that all events are the reliable result of prior events.

"Causal necessity" is the notion that prior events reliably bring about future events, making them necessary and inevitable.

Because determinism doesn't allow realizable alternatives at each point of decision making (unless sting theory is correct and the world splits) we don't actually get to choose, the brain responds to it inputs according to its architecture and state in that moment in time, producing the only possible action in that that moment in time.

The "brain responding to its inputs according to its architecture and state in that moment in time, producing the only possible action in that moment in time" is identical to "us choosing what we will do". They are not two different things. They are one and the same.

Nothing is willed, information is acquired, processed, represented in conscious form, the action initiated even before intent comes to conscious attention.

In all of the neuroscience experiments upon volunteers, the act of volunteering is a conscious choice. And that conscious intent then motivates the subject to listen to the instructions and attempt to carry them out.

Brain/mind/cognition, highly complex information processing/behaviour. Free will? Not really.

Were the subjects forced to participate in the experiment? Or did they participate of their own free will? The notion of free will carries meaningful information. The notion of causal necessity does not.

Causal necessity is logically true, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. But free will is a meaningful and relevant fact.
 

Copernicus

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Brain/mind/cognition, highly complex information processing/behaviour. Free will? Not really.

Were the subjects forced to participate in the experiment? Or did they participate of their own free will? The notion of free will carries meaningful information. The notion of causal necessity does not.

Causal necessity is logically true, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. But free will is a meaningful and relevant fact.

It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)
 

Marvin Edwards

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Brain/mind/cognition, highly complex information processing/behaviour. Free will? Not really.

Were the subjects forced to participate in the experiment? Or did they participate of their own free will? The notion of free will carries meaningful information. The notion of causal necessity does not.

Causal necessity is logically true, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. But free will is a meaningful and relevant fact.

It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)

Well, actually there is some harm: http://eddynahmias.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Neuroethics-Response-to-Baumeister.pdf
 
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You guys should start a thread on string theory.

A Thread Is Not a Tightrope

Human will is another dimension with the power to control, contend with, or limit the damages of the determined world. So it is analogous with the fourth spatial dimension that will be recognized in post-Postclassical Physics.

Will, in determined World with its necessitated objects and events, is shaped and formed by events beyond any possible control or ability to alter. Will is fixed as a matter of natural law, time and events.
Science Must Not Be a Game Played by Escapist Immature Nerds

The way you deny extra-dimensionality you must believe in the Quantum Quacks.

How is extra-dimensionality supposed to help with free will? You need to explain, not assert, cry wow or wring your hands in anguish.
Gurus Gobble Up Individualism

You need to understand that I did connect it, instead of having your mind go blank as soon as you hear something that you've never heard before, as if all viewpoints have been covered and the debate now becomes quibbling among partisans.
 

bilby

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You guys should start a thread on string theory.

A Thread Is Not a Tightrope

Human will is another dimension with the power to control, contend with, or limit the damages of the determined world. So it is analogous with the fourth spatial dimension that will be recognized in post-Postclassical Physics.

Will, in determined World with its necessitated objects and events, is shaped and formed by events beyond any possible control or ability to alter. Will is fixed as a matter of natural law, time and events.
Science Must Not Be a Game Played by Escapist Immature Nerds

The way you deny extra-dimensionality you must believe in the Quantum Quacks.

How is extra-dimensionality supposed to help with free will? You need to explain, not assert, cry wow or wring your hands in anguish.
Gurus Gobble Up Individualism

You need to understand that I did connect it, instead of having your mind go blank as soon as you hear something that you've never heard before, as if all viewpoints have been covered and the debate now becomes quibbling among partisans.
You really seem to miss the essential difference between thinking a lot, and merely thinking a lot of yourself.

You have yet to say anything that people here haven't heard before.
 

DBT

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You guys should start a thread on string theory.

A Thread Is Not a Tightrope

Human will is another dimension with the power to control, contend with, or limit the damages of the determined world. So it is analogous with the fourth spatial dimension that will be recognized in post-Postclassical Physics.

Will, in determined World with its necessitated objects and events, is shaped and formed by events beyond any possible control or ability to alter. Will is fixed as a matter of natural law, time and events.
Science Must Not Be a Game Played by Escapist Immature Nerds

The way you deny extra-dimensionality you must believe in the Quantum Quacks.

How is extra-dimensionality supposed to help with free will? You need to explain, not assert, cry wow or wring your hands in anguish.
Gurus Gobble Up Individualism

You need to understand that I did connect it, instead of having your mind go blank as soon as you hear something that you've never heard before, as if all viewpoints have been covered and the debate now becomes quibbling among partisans.

You may believe that you have made a connection between extra-dimensionality and free will, but I don't see it. Where is your explanation of free will in terms of extra-dimensionality? What exactly is extra-dimensionality? Where is the evidence to support it? How does free will work in terms of extra-dimensionality? What exactly do you believe free will to be?
 

DBT

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Realizable alternatives exist in general, but these are not realizable options available to all. A career in Mathematics, for instance, is quite possible for some, but not all. It's not only a matter of application and study, but aptitude. Some learn easily, others not at all. Not for want of trying, but because their brain is not wired for it.

A career in sports is a realizable option for some, becoming champion swimmer, boxer, sprinter, tennis player, but not for all, not even for most people....not because of want of training, drive, motivation, just physical suitability: they are not built for it.

Again, nothing to do with will, free will or choice, just 'luck of the draw' - yet in a determined system, whatever you are and whatever you can or can't do being necessitated.... not even luck of the draw.

Becoming a "champion" in any sport is limited by definition (the champion is the single person who wins). But becoming proficient in any sport is open to the vast majority of people. It's more nurture than nature. And like the guy said when asked "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?", "Practice, practice, practice".

All of the events always are causally necessary from any prior point in time, of course, but that logical fact does not enlighten any of our choices. All it tells us is that whatever we choose, it would have been causally necessary. Basically, causal necessity says "You will do what you will do". And that is useless.

The guy telling you to "Practice, practice, practice", on the other hand, is giving you useful information.

The point is that a sports star, mathematician, rock star, etc, does not choose their physical makeup, body or brain, that it is their non chosen physical makeup, neural architecture, muscles, physique, inherent talents, drive/will that open possibilities for them but not others.

Options that are open for someone, but not for everyone, sometimes only for the very few, and in relation to determinism, not only open but necessitated....it cannot be otherwise.

So, again, where does this thing we call free will come into the picture as a real attribute that makes a difference?
 

DBT

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Brain/mind/cognition, highly complex information processing/behaviour. Free will? Not really.

Were the subjects forced to participate in the experiment? Or did they participate of their own free will? The notion of free will carries meaningful information. The notion of causal necessity does not.

Causal necessity is logically true, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. But free will is a meaningful and relevant fact.

It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)


Ahem, I don't deny ordinary usage. The argument here is not merely about semantics, how people use words. The argument relates to actual function, how decisions are made, determinism and how actions are performed. The argument against free will is about reality, not semantics, that common usage is inadequate in explaining cognition or motor action, how and why we think and behave as we do...that the compatibilist definition fails for the given reasons.....reasons that are typically ignored by its supporters.
 

Jarhyn

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Origination Argument;

1. An agent acts with free will only if she is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
2. If determinism is true, then everything any agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances outside her control.
3. If everything an agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances beyond her control, then the agent is not the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
4. Therefore, if determinism is true, then no agent is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
5. Therefore, if determinism is true, no agent has free will.
Item 1 is question-begging. It assumes as true the very thing that is under discussion.

No, it's not begging the question.

1- If determinism allows multiple options to be realized by an agent, as a matter of choice, why call it determinism?
I don't understand your response (it doesn't appear to address my criticism).

Marvin has not suggested (or implied) that "determinism allows multiple options to be realized by an agent".

Marvin is expressing philosophical compatibilism. I am arguing for incompatibility. Giving the reasons why compatibilism fails. It fails because it tries to define free will into reality by ignoring the implications of determinism, that simply calling something free will does not make will free, which makes it a word game.
And I am pointing out as a software engineer that your efforts to use physical determinism to attempt to hand-wave concepts of contention over executiveness which arise over the activity of disparate reference frames with incomplete information of the state of outside frames.

You are engaging in just as much of a word game, ignoring that there are abstract systems of order that arise within ANY deterministic system of sufficient complexity.

you have not answered in any sufficient manner my explanations of the concept from the perspective of software engineering: a system being deterministic does not change the truth of priority levels nor of contention

I am engaging with the standard incompatibilist argument against compatibalism/ free will, which gives valid reasons why the term "free will" does not relate to determinism, the nature of thought, decision making or human behaviour.

I haven't engaged with you because time constraint does not allow me to deal with multiple posters or numerous points, which are usually repetitive.

The argument against free will is clear and relates to determinism, brain function and behaviour, while compatibilism does not, simply pasting a label on a select set of behaviors and declaring this is free will.
Except that it is exactly the thing people generally engage with in philosophical discussions of free will.

Your mistake is that you are failing to see that there are two machines at play.

The first set of machines are the physics engines themselves: put in two quarks, plus virtual event, and you get whatever as a combined object.

Then there are machines made of those machines. The claim that one machine's deterministic flow prevents meaningfulness of the discussion of a set of machines that have private contexts within the substrate and their interaction of contention over goals and subjugation of intent is silly and nonsense.

Will you be so bold as to declare "the discussion of flow control, mutex, priority levels, and interrupts is meaningless, computers are deterministic!"

Of course the universe is deterministic. That doesn't change the worth of metagaming.

Free will is not a concept of physical rules, it's a concept of metagaming. The existence of rules invalidated the value of meta just about NEVER.

There is no mistake. What you say, not being related, does not establish free will. If the world is determined everything proceeds according to initial conditions and natural law, no deviations, no second options, no freedom to do otherwise. Simply declaring action that is not coerced to be free will is not sufficient because everything that happens is necessitated, that events once in motion proceeds without impediment. How things go/fixed is neither ''willed'' or chosen. Free will is incompatible with determinism.
Then you DO claim that software engineering is meaningless because software execution systems are deterministic, so concepts of contention and "flow control" don't need to happen?

How exactly is ''flow control'' related to determinism, compatibilism, brain function, decision making, behaviour and the concept of free will?

How do you relate ''flow control'' to ''free will?''
How do you not?

That's what you need to explain. You need to link your ''flow control'' to cognition and will in a way that supports 'freedom of will.'

What are you proposing? How does it work? You are not suggesting that computers have free will, I take it? So how does it relate to the brain and human cognition?
"Computers" do not have free will. "Processes" may or may not with relation to another process, because there is only a single computer but there are many processors and many processes.

I am saying specifically that "the quality of a process which is capable of operating without being descheduled, overridden, or terminated; the exclusivity of it's needed resources so as to stay out of "bad states", this is exactly the same stuff as our discussions of "free will" as comes from the compatibilist position.

A process does not have "free will" if a secondary process executes that starts donking around with it's memory, or leverages some kind of enhanced permission level and deschedules the other! Something has "suborned" it's "free will".

Humans need to discuss these concepts, not just as regards processes on computer based processes in deterministic electronic systems but of organic processes interacting in physical deterministic systems , and this need arises from the fact that understanding them more enables the efficiency that comes from handling the above well.

The only difference here is that humans have much more variant and unintentional purpose to our lives.

Even if the execution of a whole system is deterministic, processes within it have local indeterminabilities. In fact, on any system with more than one processor state (the universe has (particles) processor states, at a minimum!), This must be true.

I don't disagree with most of what you say. But if your intent is to argue for the reality of free will, I see anything here that does that.
You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.
 

DBT

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I like to use "operational" definitions when I can, which describe the concept in terms of how it "works" and what the notion is actually used for. For example:

"Will" is a person's specific intent for the immediate ("I will have pancakes for breakfast") or distant ("last will and testament") future. This intent both motivates and gives direction to the person's subsequent actions.

"Brain functions" are the various functions provided by the neural architecture. Perhaps the most significant of these is the organization of sensory input into a model of reality. Included in this model is the "self" and its "internal environment" and also its "external environment". The key brain functions related to free will are imagination, evaluation, and choosing. [/url]

Brain function and response is not willed. A computer, AI, can make decisions, take actions, switch circuits on or off, run motors, evaluate, present options if words are misspelled, etc, etc, all performed without will or consciousness.

All features and abilities enabled by construction and software. The brain is a physical information processor that acquires software by acquiring information via its senses and responds accordingly. Nothing to do with will, yet alone free will. Will is the product of processing, not its master.

Redefining terms, definitions and other fallacies;

Quote:
''What’s interesting about the compatibilists’ position, is that they adhere to the idea that everything that happens is predetermined to happen, yet still argue for moral responsibility. One wonders, what is it that compatibilists are able to see that allows them to reconcile these two apparently contradictory theories?

There are two possible explanations. On one account, compatibilism may simply derive from an arbitrary standpoint and imply logically contradictory things. We see this in the accounts of those compatibilists who reject the notion of free will yet encourage people to live as if it exists. They say that even if free will does not exist, we have to act like it does. They also argue that moral practices are important for regulating people’s behavior. Yet they fail to explain to us how anything, including moral beliefs, can have a power in changing peoples’ behavior if the course of the world is already determined from the Big Bang. What we end up with is to me a logically contradictory view that can’t be explained outside of the realm of illusion.

However, compatibilism may also derive from purely semantic differences – in other words, from having a different definition for the term ‘determinism’. This can be why at times determinists talk over each other and derive completely different conclusions on ostensively the same subject.

''Determinism is one of the perennial topics of philosophy, and its relatedness to human liberty and morality make it important to our daily lives and practices. Determinism is usually understood as rejecting the concepts of free will and moral responsibility, yet we see philosophers’ different conclusions on the subject. David Hume was able to reconcile the two seemingly contradictory theories of determinism and responsibility. This derives from Hume’s specific take on the term ‘determinism’, which does not reflect the standard philosophical definition, but rather only the perceived cause and effect relationship between events''
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
 

Jarhyn

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.
 

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Jarhyn said: Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

A determinism? WTF? It either is or it is not! It doesn't pop up willy nilly as if by whim. We aren't talking about something within it is The something. No one who considers selected circumstances from within a system, knowing they are speaking circumstantially, would ever make the claim that they are permitted to violate a system rule because they observe only that within the system, excluding all else, which would permit the rule breaking. Its a red herring if they do. They would label it apparent this or that.

It is presumed that all scientific law is provisional, dependent on new findings, scientists readily admit this. Why the F..k can't free willers just acknowledge that in the adult play field of determinism that any claim free will is no more than provisional ever. Even us hard determinists acknowledge we aren't able to observe everything, prove determinism. However there is no evidence ever for free will in any specification of determinism, not permitted by definition. Every claim of free will has been falsified. Take a different tack.

We are not Bill Mahar humorists "We don't know it's true."
 
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DBT

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
 

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It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)


Ahem, I don't deny ordinary usage. The argument here is not merely about semantics, how people use words. The argument relates to actual function, how decisions are made, determinism and how actions are performed. The argument against free will is about reality, not semantics, that common usage is inadequate in explaining cognition or motor action, how and why we think and behave as we do...that the compatibilist definition fails for the given reasons.....reasons that are typically ignored by its supporters.
What do you think it means to "deny ordinary usage"? It seems to me that you do just that in your very next sentence. If you don't care about how people use words, then why should people care about how you use your words? Arguments are composed entirely of words, and, if anyone is to understand your argument, then they have to take into account the semantics of those words. If you want to argue about semantics--to persuade someone that you have a point--then you need to use words to do that.

If you were paying attention to my words, you would be seeing that I am agreeing with you that "free will" doesn't make sense unless there is some sense of indeterminism. And that just isn't possible, if you are looking at a deterministic system in which you know the initial state of that system and all of the factors that produce outcomes in it. That is what you are talking about--a reality in which everything is predetermined. Marvin has also seen your point fully and clearly. It doesn't take a genius to understand it. The problem is that nobody, including yourself, in this deterministic reality has any awareness of future outcomes, just an ability to imagine alternative outcomes and choose actions to address what we all expect to happen. That's the actual reality we find ourselves in, not the reality of an omniscient observer of the deterministic system. From our perspective, reality is not deterministic because we do not have the ability to know future outcomes, only to guess at them. So the "free will" concept makes sense from our perspective, because we don't know for certain what effect our actions will have on this deterministic chaos that we struggle to survive. That's why Marvin is exactly right to define "free will" in the way he has, and you are exactly right to consider it nonexistent from the perspective of the omniscient observer. There is no contradiction there. Two different perspectives make them compatible. It's just that you only want to acknowledge the validity of one of those perspectives, and I get the sense that you are rigidly determined to do what you most want to do. ;)
 

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It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)


Ahem, I don't deny ordinary usage. The argument here is not merely about semantics, how people use words. The argument relates to actual function, how decisions are made, determinism and how actions are performed. The argument against free will is about reality, not semantics, that common usage is inadequate in explaining cognition or motor action, how and why we think and behave as we do...that the compatibilist definition fails for the given reasons.....reasons that are typically ignored by its supporters.
What do you think it means to "deny ordinary usage"? It seems to me that you do just that in your very next sentence. If you don't care about how people use words, then why should people care about how you use your words? Arguments are composed entirely of words, and, if anyone is to understand your argument, then they have to take into account the semantics of those words. If you want to argue about semantics--to persuade someone that you have a point--then you need to use words to do that.

If you were paying attention to my words, you would be seeing that I am agreeing with you that "free will" doesn't make sense unless there is some sense of indeterminism. And that just isn't possible, if you are looking at a deterministic system in which you know the initial state of that system and all of the factors that produce outcomes in it. That is what you are talking about--a reality in which everything is predetermined. Marvin has also seen your point fully and clearly. It doesn't take a genius to understand it. The problem is that nobody, including yourself, in this deterministic reality has any awareness of future outcomes, just an ability to imagine alternative outcomes and choose actions to address what we all expect to happen. That's the actual reality we find ourselves in, not the reality of an omniscient observer of the deterministic system. From our perspective, reality is not deterministic because we do not have the ability to know future outcomes, only to guess at them. So the "free will" concept makes sense from our perspective, because we don't know for certain what effect our actions will have on this deterministic chaos that we struggle to survive. That's why Marvin is exactly right to define "free will" in the way he has, and you are exactly right to consider it nonexistent from the perspective of the omniscient observer. There is no contradiction there. Two different perspectives make them compatible. It's just that you only want to acknowledge the validity of one of those perspectives, and I get the sense that you are rigidly determined to do what you most want to do. ;)


In this instance, all I meant was that people do use the term in everyday language. People do say 'he acted of his own free will,' ''she was not forced, she freely chose to marry him,'' and so on. The question, as I went on to say being, what is really happening, why did he act, what happened, why did she marry him, what brought her to that state, what drives behaviour, how are decisions made, why do we act like we do.....which exposes the the simplicity and inadequacy of the term ''free will' - which is nothing more than a convenient figure of speech but tells us nothing about the nature of the world, mind, brain, behaviour or its drivers. That the term free will is a semantic construct, a casual reference to actions that are not forced by an external agent.

I don't care what you believe, the argument here is the validity of compatibilism. Marvin is arguing for compatibilism. Which I expect means that he believes free will to be precisely as it is defined by compatibilism.

Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.
 

Copernicus

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In this instance, all I meant was that people do use the term in everyday language. People do say 'he acted of his own free will,' ''she was not forced, she freely chose to marry him,'' and so on. The question, as I went on to say being, what is really happening, why did he act, what happened, why did she marry him, what brought her to that state, what drives behaviour, how are decisions made, why do we act like we do.....which exposes the the simplicity and inadequacy of the term ''free will' - which is nothing more than a convenient figure of speech but tells us nothing about the nature of the world, mind, brain, behaviour or its drivers. That the term free will is a semantic construct, a casual reference to actions that are not forced by an external agent.

All words are semantic constructs, whether you choose to use them or not. Choosing to use different words does not get you free of the semantics of words. I think that you are acknowledging that the common use of the term "free will" has its uses, and on that we can agree. If you then go on to say that it isn't always a useful concept in every situation, I have no problem with that. You are right that we can ask all sorts of questions about underlying causes, and it is certainly useful to correlate thoughts and behavior with the brain activity that gives rise to them. The usefulness of the term "free will" does not disappear in everyday life because we choose to analyze the nature of choice, and that is why Marvin has been defining choice as a fully determined process. It is. And it is very worthwhile to break it down into its component parts and examine how they fit together. But "free will" is a concept that makes sense at a level of description where we talk about human actions, their consequences, responsibility, morality, and so forth. All of those things exist and are real in the reality that we experience as everyday life. If you wish to talk about lower level phenomena--molecules and atoms interacting with each other, for example--then concepts like "free will" make no sense at all.

I don't care what you believe, the argument here is the validity of compatibilism. Marvin is arguing for compatibilism. Which I expect means that he believes free will to be precisely as it is defined by compatibilism.

But that right there is the problem. Compatibilism doesn't define "free will". Popular usage does. Like any expression its various meanings are social conventions, and nothing more. Now it is possible to redefine the expression in the way that some philosophers do--that freedom doesn't mean "free of coercion or undue influence" as those terms are understood by ordinary English speakers. Instead, we can define it as somehow being free of causal necessity, which might be a technical usage among philosophers discussing deterministic systems. Redefining words is legitimate, as long as the community of speakers you interact with accept the new usage. In that case, "free will" seems to be a completely useless concept--a kind of illusion that we can eliminate as materially irrelevant. Compatibilism merely suggests that the two different meanings of "free will" are in a kind of complementary distribution. They don't clash with each other, because they are only valid in different contexts.
Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.

If you say so. Since compatibilism obeys the Law of the Excluded Middle (P ∨ ¬P), I would say that it is true and incompatibilism is false in the context of this discussion. That is, compatibilism says that "free will" exists and doesn't exist, just not in the same contexts. The two different senses of the expression are in complementary distribution.[/QUOTE]
 

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In this instance, all I meant was that people do use the term in everyday language. People do say 'he acted of his own free will,' ''she was not forced, she freely chose to marry him,'' and so on. The question, as I went on to say being, what is really happening, why did he act, what happened, why did she marry him, what brought her to that state, what drives behaviour, how are decisions made, why do we act like we do.....which exposes the the simplicity and inadequacy of the term ''free will' - which is nothing more than a convenient figure of speech but tells us nothing about the nature of the world, mind, brain, behaviour or its drivers. That the term free will is a semantic construct, a casual reference to actions that are not forced by an external agent.

All words are semantic constructs, whether you choose to use them or not. Choosing to use different words does not get you free of the semantics of words. I think that you are acknowledging that the common use of the term "free will" has its uses, and on that we can agree. If you then go on to say that it isn't always a useful concept in every situation, I have no problem with that. You are right that we can ask all sorts of questions about underlying causes, and it is certainly useful to correlate thoughts and behavior with the brain activity that gives rise to them. The usefulness of the term "free will" does not disappear in everyday life because we choose to analyze the nature of choice, and that is why Marvin has been defining choice as a fully determined process. It is. And it is very worthwhile to break it down into its component parts and examine how they fit together. But "free will" is a concept that makes sense at a level of description where we talk about human actions, their consequences, responsibility, morality, and so forth. All of those things exist and are real in the reality that we experience as everyday life. If you wish to talk about lower level phenomena--molecules and atoms interacting with each other, for example--then concepts like "free will" make no sense at all.

I don't care what you believe, the argument here is the validity of compatibilism. Marvin is arguing for compatibilism. Which I expect means that he believes free will to be precisely as it is defined by compatibilism.

But that right there is the problem. Compatibilism doesn't define "free will". Popular usage does. Like any expression its various meanings are social conventions, and nothing more. Now it is possible to redefine the expression in the way that some philosophers do--that freedom doesn't mean "free of coercion or undue influence" as those terms are understood by ordinary English speakers. Instead, we can define it as somehow being free of causal necessity, which might be a technical usage among philosophers discussing deterministic systems. Redefining words is legitimate, as long as the community of speakers you interact with accept the new usage. In that case, "free will" seems to be a completely useless concept--a kind of illusion that we can eliminate as materially irrelevant. Compatibilism merely suggests that the two different meanings of "free will" are in a kind of complementary distribution. They don't clash with each other, because they are only valid in different contexts.
Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.

If you say so. Since compatibilism obeys the Law of the Excluded Middle (P ∨ ¬P), I would say that it is true and incompatibilism is false in the context of this discussion. That is, compatibilism says that "free will" exists and doesn't exist, just not in the same contexts. The two different senses of the expression are in complementary distribution.
[/QUOTE]

Common usage doesn't establish the reality of the thing in question.

People talk about God - "we are blessed by God" - "God created the world" - or Satan, demons, angels, evil spirits, flying saucers, anal probes, Pixies, ghosts, goblins, each and every one defined by common usage, word use, semantics.....but this establish the reality of gods and goblins, demons and angels? No. Not even slightly.


Why would it be different for "free will?" Will itself is not the driver of decision making, behaviour, thought or action, it comes into play late in the process, prompting action that has already been decided/necessitated.

Pasting a label which is used in trivial reference to a selected behaviour does not establish freedom of will. The label is not the thing. The word "God" is not God.
 

The AntiChris

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Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.
If incompatibilism and compatibilism referenced the exact same notion of 'free will', then you'd be absolutely correct.

The fact that you do believe incompatibilism and compatibilism are mutally exclusive (i.e. you believe they do reference the same notion of free will), suggests one of two things. Either:

1) You haven't understood what Marvin's been saying on this thread

or

2) You don't believe what Marvin's said on this thread
 

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The point is that a sports star, mathematician, rock star, etc, does not choose their physical makeup, body or brain, that it is their non chosen physical makeup, neural architecture, muscles, physique, inherent talents, drive/will that open possibilities for them but not others.

The MYTH you're promoting is that being subject to prior causes means we are not "true" causes ourselves. You're suggesting that our prior causes must be the "true" causes. But this test cannot be passed by any of our prior causes, because all of our prior causes also have prior causes. You end up with the absurdity that there are no "true" causes anywhere. You destroy the notion of causation.

We only care about causes that are meaningful and relevant, causes which enable us to control events. Do we want to play the piano well? Then we must make it a habit to practice every day. If we are "willing" to practice every day, then we will improve our skills.

Causes over which we have no control are irrelevant to us. So, scientists and engineers develop large colliders that let us control the protons, speed them up, and crash them into other particles, to see what is inside.

But there is no controlling causation itself, because it is not an entity that exercises any control. The protons exist. The electromagnetic forces generated within the collider exist. And, of course, we exist. We were the causes that brought the collider into existence.

The prior causes of us are not the true causes of the collider. The scientists and the engineers who imagined the possibility of such a machine, and decided they would build it, and convinced others to fund the project, and designed it in detail, and constructed it, these were the true causes of the collider.

Options that are open for someone, but not for everyone, sometimes only for the very few, and in relation to determinism, not only open but necessitated....it cannot be otherwise.

This other MYTH, that things must be otherwise in order for them to be what they are, is absurd on its face. Things need only to be exactly as they are in order to be exactly as they are. So, how, exactly were things.

The scientists and engineers imagined, designed, and chose to construct the collider. They are the meaningful and relevant causes of the collider.

Causation did not imagine, design, or construct the collider. Causation is neither an object nor a force. Only the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe can be said to cause events. We happen to be true objects and we are able to exert force upon other objects, like when we build a collider or when we use the collider to bump a couple of protons into each other to see what happens.

The notion of causation is something we use to describe the orderly sequence of events:
(1) We are curious what protons are made of.
(2) We wonder how we might see inside.
(3) We imagine speeding up protons and colliding them into each other.
(4) We imagine different kinds of colliders.
(5) We evaluate which design is likely to work best.
(6) We decide we will build a specific collider.
(7) That chosen intent then motivates and directs our behavior as we take steps to raise money, create blueprints, build, test, and operate the collider in order to satisfy that original curiosity that existed within us, and which could not exist in any inanimate object or non-intelligent species.

In summary, we were the original source of the notion of a collider, which we set our sights (our will) upon building.

So, again, where does this thing we call free will come into the picture as a real attribute that makes a difference?

The freely chosen "I will" is right there in front of us. We imagined ways to break open a proton to see what's inside. Some of these ways were likely impossible, and were eliminated at the outset. But some of them were real possibilities, things that we could do, if we chose to, like a linear accelerator or a ring accelerator. Different science teams selected different designs, according to their own needs. In each case, the driving force was a freely chosen will, a will that sustained their activity as they proceeded through the steps necessary to actualize their freely chosen option.

Had they decided not to bother, then there would be no colliders. Their choices were the meaningful and relevant causes of the colliders.
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

Because free will is a discussion, in compatibilism, of strategy of how as planets orbiting, a bird flying, an animal grazing, people interacting, we may attain our goals.

It is even perfectly imaginary! But that's OK since the vast majority of things humans deal with are imaginary. Money is imaginary, words are imaginary, gender is imaginary, even sex and concepts like "species" and "human DNA" are purely imaginary: in reality there are just objects, and those objects will only ever be exactly themselves and those objects will behave as they will.

But we use imaginary concepts because they are useful, and imagining things, untrue things, things not that are what will happen but what "may", a patent nonsense, enables efficiency because some things happen commonly or in common ways: some things are not on the basis of an image but are concrete. All of these alternatives one imagines are imaginary but are "around" the reality, and of those many imaginary outcomes one even has within them an imaginary model of "if I A then B" so there is even a nebulous "picking" operation of one of the "imaginary" possibilities leading to a concrete future something more like that imaginary one than the others. Note that it doesn't matter that you can only pick one nor does it matter that one will be picked, invariably, as a result of it's individual geometry and the geometry of the machine so picking. It doesn't even matter that the system is picking an image of a set of images that are not even realities, that the reality will necessarily be different from the imagination that was picked in hopeful ignorance.

These are realities of our existence as local entities. We MUST discuss free will, and be capable of doing so without being paralyzed by a concept of fatedness. We do not know our fates and cannot, and I am strictly of the opinion that we ought not try. Nobody likes a player who cheats at their dice rolls, after all, at least any more than anyone does.

Regardless of whether the results on the inside of the process are imaginary, the process itself is happening in concrete reality, and is part of what shapes concrete reality A choice is made on the basis of who you are, and some of that basis of who you are is within the purview of such choices.

In many ways I break from Copernicus here. I do not acknowledge the ideas here as more than "imaginary", but I do not claim they have to be more than "imaginary" to be important. Because even while I choose a lie to be the future with every thought, I am generally comfortable with how reality makes such a liar out of me.
 

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... However there is no evidence ever for free will in any specification of determinism, not permitted by definition. Every claim of free will has been falsified. Take a different tack.

Free will is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Free will 100% deterministic. How is this possible? BECAUSE FREE WILL IS NOT "FREEDOM FROM CAUSAL NECESSITY". The notion of "freedom from causal necessity" is an oxymoron. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. So, the notion of freedom ALWAYS implies a world of reliable causation.
 

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... The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.

What really happens is simple. In the inevitable chain of events, we find people confronting problems that require them to make a choice. They consider their options, and based upon that evaluation, they choose what they will do. That chosen "will" then motivates and directs their subsequent options.

What really happens is that these people have an evolved neurology that enables a variety of mental functions, including creating an internal model of reality that they can use to imagine possibilities, estimate the likely outcomes of different options, and output their choice in the form of an "I will" do something.

What really happens is that in some cases the person may be subject to coercion, where a guy points a gun at them and tells them what to do. The guy with the gun forces them to do something that they are normally "unwilling" to do, like handing over their wallet. But in order to live they must subjugate their will to his.

When the person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other undue influences, we call this "free will". Free will is literally a freely chosen "I will".

And that is what really happens.
 

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''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.

Why isn't free will "necessitated choosing freely performed"? Why isn't free will simply another case of "people going about their business unimpeded"? Why is free will singled out and treated as a special case in your theory?
 

Copernicus

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Common usage doesn't establish the reality of the thing in question.

No one is arguing that it does. It establishes what the words and expressions mean. Arguments consist of words, so usage conventions are important.

People talk about God - "we are blessed by God" - "God created the world" - or Satan, demons, angels, evil spirits, flying saucers, anal probes, Pixies, ghosts, goblins, each and every one defined by common usage, word use, semantics.....but this establish the reality of gods and goblins, demons and angels? No. Not even slightly.

You are preaching to the choir here.

Why would it be different for "free will?" Will itself is not the driver of decision making, behaviour, thought or action, it comes into play late in the process, prompting action that has already been decided/necessitated.

Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

Pasting a label which is used in trivial reference to a selected behaviour does not establish freedom of will. The label is not the thing. The word "God" is not God.

Believe me when I tell you this. Linguists don't mix up sense and reference. They are fundamentally different aspects of a linguistic form.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

I think we need to separate causation from prediction. Perfectly reliable causation implies the "theoretical" possibility of prediction, but not necessarily the "practical" possibility of prediction. So, it might simplify things to avoid the term "indeterminate" and simply use the term "unknown".

To "determine" sometimes means "to figure it out". Other times to "determine" means to "cause something to happen". The example I use is "We could not determine (figure out) whether it was the pressure or the heat that determined (caused) the reaction would take place".

It would seem necessary to conclude that there will be only one single actual future, simply because we have only one single past to put it in. But, within the domain of human influence, we will choose that single actual future from among the many possible futures we imagine.

Our future will be both reliably caused (deterministic), and it will be reliably caused by us (free will).
 

Copernicus

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... Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

I think we need to separate causation from prediction. Perfectly reliable causation implies the "theoretical" possibility of prediction, but not necessarily the "practical" possibility of prediction. So, it might simplify things to avoid the term "indeterminate" and simply use the term "unknown".

To "determine" sometimes means "to figure it out". Other times to "determine" means to "cause something to happen". The example I use is "We could not determine (figure out) whether it was the pressure or the heat that determined (caused) the reaction would take place".

It would seem necessary to conclude that there will be only one single actual future, simply because we have only one single past to put it in. But, within the domain of human influence, we will choose that single actual future from among the many possible futures we imagine.

Our future will be both reliably caused (deterministic), and it will be reliably caused by us (free will).
I think that the problem is somewhat paradoxical. We have faith in the determinate nature of reality, but we also know that even our best, most reliable predictions sometimes fail. So the future is always going to appear indeterminate from our perspective, because only the past and present can be reliably known. Our deterministic reality is somewhat chaotic or subject to unexpected change. Hence, we construct causal predictive models of reality in order to enhance our chances of success in achieving desirable outcomes. You can try to separate causation from prediction, but you can't break the bond between them. Note that I used the term "indeterminate" only in connection with the subjective experience of an agent. The future may be determinate from an objective perspective, but it is always going to appear indeterminate from the subjective perspective of a volitional actor. Hence, every choice is more or less a gamble.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I think that the problem is somewhat paradoxical. We have faith in the determinate nature of reality, but we also know that even our best, most reliable predictions sometimes fail. So the future is always going to appear indeterminate from our perspective, because only the past and present can be reliably known. Our deterministic reality is somewhat chaotic or subject to unexpected change. Hence, we construct causal predictive models of reality in order to enhance our chances of success in achieving desirable outcomes. You can try to separate causation from prediction, but you can't break the bond between them. Note that I used the term "indeterminate" only in connection with the subjective experience of an agent. The future may be determinate from an objective perspective, but it is always going to appear indeterminate from the subjective perspective of a volitional actor. Hence, every choice is more or less a gamble.

Right. Without reliable cause and effect, any prediction would be like the broken clock that is right twice a day. So, in order to determine (know) what we need to do, so that we can determine (control) the future we want, we really need a world of reliable cause and effect. The better we understand the causes, the less our choice is a gamble. And, thankfully, our predictive capability is pretty reliable most of the time for ordinary daily life. Come to think of it, our predictive capability as a society has been reliable enough to do some pretty extraordinary things, like landing people on the Moon, and getting them back safely to Earth.
 

fromderinside

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It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)


Ahem, I don't deny ordinary usage. The argument here is not merely about semantics, how people use words. The argument relates to actual function, how decisions are made, determinism and how actions are performed. The argument against free will is about reality, not semantics, that common usage is inadequate in explaining cognition or motor action, how and why we think and behave as we do...that the compatibilist definition fails for the given reasons.....reasons that are typically ignored by its supporters.
What do you think it means to "deny ordinary usage"? It seems to me that you do just that in your very next sentence. If you don't care about how people use words, then why should people care about how you use your words? Arguments are composed entirely of words, and, if anyone is to understand your argument, then they have to take into account the semantics of those words. If you want to argue about semantics--to persuade someone that you have a point--then you need to use words to do that.

If you were paying attention to my words, you would be seeing that I am agreeing with you that "free will" doesn't make sense unless there is some sense of indeterminism. And that just isn't possible, if you are looking at a deterministic system in which you know the initial state of that system and all of the factors that produce outcomes in it. That is what you are talking about--a reality in which everything is predetermined. Marvin has also seen your point fully and clearly. It doesn't take a genius to understand it. The problem is that nobody, including yourself, in this deterministic reality has any awareness of future outcomes, just an ability to imagine alternative outcomes and choose actions to address what we all expect to happen. That's the actual reality we find ourselves in, not the reality of an omniscient observer of the deterministic system. From our perspective, reality is not deterministic because we do not have the ability to know future outcomes, only to guess at them. So the "free will" concept makes sense from our perspective, because we don't know for certain what effect our actions will have on this deterministic chaos that we struggle to survive. That's why Marvin is exactly right to define "free will" in the way he has, and you are exactly right to consider it nonexistent from the perspective of the omniscient observer. There is no contradiction there. Two different perspectives make them compatible. It's just that you only want to acknowledge the validity of one of those perspectives, and I get the sense that you are rigidly determined to do what you most want to do. ;)
There is no contradiction between determined and free will? One can't reasonably say: "Well since I don't know things are determined there 'can' be free will." Quit blowing smoke. If things are determined by natural law then you have to find natural law that unlocks determination or enables free will. None having been found you are sitting in a piss poor place with no willie. Relativity only works in a subjective rational - you know, a place where angels reside and man is of a different mother than life - frame.

As far as I can tell man is about to reject empirical methods in favor of nativist tendencies leading straight to our demise probably while taking down the rest of life here on good old planet earth along the way.
 
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DBT

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The point is that a sports star, mathematician, rock star, etc, does not choose their physical makeup, body or brain, that it is their non chosen physical makeup, neural architecture, muscles, physique, inherent talents, drive/will that open possibilities for them but not others.

The MYTH you're promoting is that being subject to prior causes means we are not "true" causes ourselves. You're suggesting that our prior causes must be the "true" causes. But this test cannot be passed by any of our prior causes, because all of our prior causes also have prior causes. You end up with the absurdity that there are no "true" causes anywhere. You destroy the notion of causation.


It's not a myth that our bodies, brains, minds have evolved over millions of years in response to our environment, that our existence and evolution is not chosen by us.

The world, biology, genetics, environment, makes us what we are and who we are;

Principle 1.
''The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.

In other words, the reason we have one set of circuits rather than another is that the circuits that we have were better at solving problems that our ancestors faced during our species' evolutionary history than alternative circuits were. The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems (such as face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation). Over evolutionary time, its circuits were cumulatively added because they "reasoned" or "processed information" in a way that enhanced the adaptive regulation of behavior and physiology.''





We only care about causes that are meaningful and relevant, causes which enable us to control events. Do we want to play the piano well? Then we must make it a habit to practice every day. If we are "willing" to practice every day, then we will improve our skills.

Causes over which we have no control are irrelevant to us. So, scientists and engineers develop large colliders that let us control the protons, speed them up, and crash them into other particles, to see what is inside.

But there is no controlling causation itself, because it is not an entity that exercises any control. The protons exist. The electromagnetic forces generated within the collider exist. And, of course, we exist. We were the causes that brought the collider into existence.

The prior causes of us are not the true causes of the collider. The scientists and the engineers who imagined the possibility of such a machine, and decided they would build it, and convinced others to fund the project, and designed it in detail, and constructed it, these were the true causes of the collider.

Options that are open for someone, but not for everyone, sometimes only for the very few, and in relation to determinism, not only open but necessitated....it cannot be otherwise.

This other MYTH, that things must be otherwise in order for them to be what they are, is absurd on its face. Things need only to be exactly as they are in order to be exactly as they are. So, how, exactly were things.

Necessitated actions - being determined - are by definition neither chosen, negotiable or alterable, these are events that proceed and unfold deterministically according to antecedent conditions and the laws of nature. They are not willed. To label necessitated actions, not being willed, as an example of free will is case of mislabeling determinism, which is the error of compatibilism.
 

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Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.
If incompatibilism and compatibilism referenced the exact same notion of 'free will', then you'd be absolutely correct.

The fact that you do believe incompatibilism and compatibilism are mutally exclusive (i.e. you believe they do reference the same notion of free will), suggests one of two things. Either:

1) You haven't understood what Marvin's been saying on this thread

or

2) You don't believe what Marvin's said on this thread


If ''free will'' can be anything that we want it to be, or define it to be, free will has no reality. It is - like god, devil, angel, goblin, pixies, etc - merely a poorly defined concept. A concept without substance, a word game.
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

What are you talking about? Necessitated actions are not restricted actions. Neither are they freely willed. I made that distinction from the beginning, quotes and all;

If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man's illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.

Albert Einstein
 

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Common usage doesn't establish the reality of the thing in question.

No one is arguing that it does. It establishes what the words and expressions mean. Arguments consist of words, so usage conventions are important.

People talk about God - "we are blessed by God" - "God created the world" - or Satan, demons, angels, evil spirits, flying saucers, anal probes, Pixies, ghosts, goblins, each and every one defined by common usage, word use, semantics.....but this establish the reality of gods and goblins, demons and angels? No. Not even slightly.

You are preaching to the choir here.

Why would it be different for "free will?" Will itself is not the driver of decision making, behaviour, thought or action, it comes into play late in the process, prompting action that has already been decided/necessitated.

Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

Pasting a label which is used in trivial reference to a selected behaviour does not establish freedom of will. The label is not the thing. The word "God" is not God.

Believe me when I tell you this. Linguists don't mix up sense and reference. They are fundamentally different aspects of a linguistic form.


Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

Conscious mind
''Recognizing that consciousness is awareness does change the way we can look at the fundamental problem of free will. Free will is more correctly defined as “the perception that we choose to make movements.” Looking at it in this way produces at least two possibilities. The first is that there is a process of free will, an aspect of consciousness, that does choose to make a specific movement. The second is that the brain’s motor system produces a movement as a product of its different inputs, consciousness is informed of this movement, and it is perceived as being freely chosen.


''Wanting to do X (necessitated desires/drives) is fully determined by these prior causes, now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants (necessitated actions)...''
 

Copernicus

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Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

No, you are simply repeating a position that has already been refuted over and over by Marvin and others here. If you define free will solely in terms of causal necessity, then "freedom" really doesn't make much sense in a deterministic system wherein all events have causal antecedents. No actor within the system is free to deviate from the dictates of those causal antecedents. However, the actors themselves within a chaotically deterministic system (from their perspective) are unaware of all the causal factors determining events, let alone their own behavior. So they operate as if the past and present are determined, but the future is uncertain. Therefore, actors have the freedom to choose among alternatives, and that enters into their calculations. Freedom resides in the perception of not being coerced to do anything other than what they most want to do within the limitation of their abilities. What makes them able to even make a choice is the belief that the future is determined by forces that they can guess at but not be certain of. Freedom is not about stepping outside of causality, but by making educated guesses about what the causal factors are and how they will evolve. This is not a denial that we "must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion)" and have no other choice. It is an affirmation of that. You have continually misconstrued "freedom" as freedom from causal necessity, even after repeated denials and explanations of why that isn't what compatibilism is about.

As I've said before, you don't appear able to admit that free will can be defined from the perspective of an actor in the system that does not have foreknowledge of future outcomes. I'm not going to waste more of my few remaining heartbeats in the forlorn hope that you will finally agree that maybe common usage is a valid basis for defining the meaning of "free will". So thanks for the discussion, but I'll likely be moving on now.
 

DBT

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Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

No, you are simply repeating a position that has already been refuted over and over by Marvin and others here. If you define free will solely in terms of causal necessity, then "freedom" really doesn't make much sense in a deterministic system wherein all events have causal antecedents. No actor within the system is free to deviate from the dictates of those causal antecedents. However, the actors themselves within a chaotically deterministic system (from their perspective) are unaware of all the causal factors determining events, let alone their own behavior. So they operate as if the past and present are determined, but the future is uncertain. Therefore, actors have the freedom to choose among alternatives, and that enters into their calculations. Freedom resides in the perception of not being coerced to do anything other than what they most want to do within the limitation of their abilities. What makes them able to even make a choice is the belief that the future is determined by forces that they can guess at but not be certain of. Freedom is not about stepping outside of causality, but by making educated guesses about what the causal factors are and how they will evolve. This is not a denial that we "must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion)" and have no other choice. It is an affirmation of that. You have continually misconstrued "freedom" as freedom from causal necessity, even after repeated denials and explanations of why that isn't what compatibilism is about.

As I've said before, you don't appear able to admit that free will can be defined from the perspective of an actor in the system that does not have foreknowledge of future outcomes. I'm not going to waste more of my few remaining heartbeats in the forlorn hope that you will finally agree that maybe common usage is a valid basis for defining the meaning of "free will". So thanks for the discussion, but I'll likely be moving on now.

It has absolutely nothing to do with what I admit, believe or assert.

The terms are fixed by the elements as they are presented: determinism, necessitated actions, freedom of Will.

Quite simply - logically - necessitated will, by definition, cannot be defined as being free.

Necessitated actions, by definition, are not freely will actions.

To claim that necessitated actions are freely willed actions is a contradiction.

To claim that necessitated will is free will is a contradiction.

Free will is not compatible with determinism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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There is no contradiction between determined and free will?

That's right: There is no contradiction between determinism and free will. Determinism asserts that every event is the reliable result of prior events. Free will is a set of events in which the person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

Let's make this clear and obvious:
1. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events leading up to the person confronting an issue that requires a choice to be made.
2. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events within the choosing operation that determines what the person will do.
3. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events between the chosen action and whatever follows from that action.
So, the chain of causation is never broken.

Where is the free will? Well, first, it is not outside of the causal chain, because nothing ever is. Free will is not an "uncaused" event. There are no such things as uncaused events. Everything that ever happens is always reliably caused by prior events. So, let's dismiss the notion that "freedom from causal necessity" is actually a "thing". Without reliable causation we would have no freedom to do anything at all. Doing stuff requires a world of reliable cause and effect. If we cannot reliably cause some effect, we cannot reliably do anything.

"Freedom from causal necessity" is an irrational concept, containing its own self-contradiction, because freedom always implies reliable cause and effect. And "causal necessity" is nothing more than a series of reliable causes and their effects (effects that become the causes of subsequent events).

So, to find free will, we must choose a different definition than "freedom from causal necessity", since that is a bit of silly nonsense.

Is there some other meaning of the term "free will"? Yes! Free will, as commonly understood, is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

But wait, is this also a silly definition? No, it's not silly at all. If a guy with a gun tells you to give him your wallet, then you don't get to choose for yourself what you will do. In order to survive, you subjugate your will to his. Your will is no longer free to direct your actions. Your actions must follow the will of the guy with the gun. Your freedom to choose for yourself what you will do is gone.

Coercion is one form of undue influence. There are many other forms, such as a significant mental illness. Another extraordinary influence is in a relationship of unequal power where the person can compel you without a gun, such as that parent's control of their child, a doctor's influence upon their patient, a military commander's authority over their soldiers. An undue influence is any extraordinary influence that can be reasonably said to remove your control of your own choices.

So, our definition of free will is certainly meaningful and relevant. And it is this meaning of free will that is used when assessing a person's moral or legal responsibility for their actions.

Our definition of free will, as a choice we make while free of coercion and undue influence, is real.

And it is not outside of the causal chain. For example, in most chains of events we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do, but there may be one chain of events in which a man is holding a gun to our head.

We use the concept of free will to distinguish between those two chains of events, because the notion of causal necessity never makes any distinctions between any events.

Okay. So now we know what free will really is about, and, we've found it right there in the causally necessary chain of events stretching from the Big Bang and into the infinite future.


One can't reasonably say: "Well since I don't know things are determined there 'can' be free will."

My presumption is that all events are determined by prior events, and that this includes events of choosing what we will do while free of coercion and undue influence.

If things are determined by natural law then you have to find natural law that unlocks determination or enables free will. ...
There is no need to escape the metaphorical "laws of nature" in order to be free. You will find the laws of nature located within us in the same way they are located in every other object and force in the universe. We are constructed of natural causal mechanisms that keep our hearts beating and our thoughts flowing. The "laws of nature" do not imprison us. They enable us to walk about in the world causing stuff to happen, and doing so for our own purposes and our own reasons.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The world, biology, genetics, environment, makes us what we are and who we are;

And choosing what we will have for breakfast is "who and what we are" choosing for ourselves what we will do.

We do not need to cause ourselves in order to be the cause of new events.

Principle 1.
''The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances." ...

Yes, part of who and what we are is our brain. What it decides, we have decided. It's still us doing the choosing.

Necessitated actions - being determined - are by definition neither chosen, negotiable or alterable, these are events that proceed and unfold deterministically according to antecedent conditions and the laws of nature.

Without deliberation, the deliberate act has no prior cause. And, that is illegal in a deterministic system. The deliberation is part of the unfolding. But you seem to have lost that, perhaps in one of the creases.


They are not willed. To label necessitated actions, not being willed, as an example of free will is case of mislabeling determinism, which is the error of compatibilism.

All deliberate actions are causally necessitated by a chosen will. You cannot call it determinism if you deliberately ignore prior causes.
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

What are you talking about? Necessitated actions are not restricted actions. Neither are they freely willed. I made that distinction from the beginning, quotes and all;

If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man's illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.

Albert Einstein
Well, apparently even Einstein can have said stupid shit. Imagine that.

I'm a programmer. I sit in the seat your god sits in in your quote. Exactly in that seat. I create a "moon" that eternally orbits an "earth".

I watch the program execute and I do not say "ah, the illusion of free will of my processes!" I say "these processes are free with respect to each other". I can still see their free will, more clearly as their god, I can describe the very structure of the thing I call free will, map it out, even: "This is the shape of executive control through time of this process, this is where a process had agency and this is where it did not". Not only can I see that it is real, I can describe it with precision!

I can say "this process is preventing this other process from acting freely, how does the processes structure need to change to prevent that?"

The programmer does not wonder as Einstein does whether the moon will 'lie' to itself over that when it held free will and when it did not.
 

steve_bank

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Ask yourself why you chose oatmeal instead of egg or corn flakes. Other than saying something like because I chose.

Is the choice free of subconscious conditioning and bias, IOW marketing and sales propaganda?When you buy a pair of shoes you are not coerced and are free to choose any shoe, but why one over another? Same with a shirt, tie, or car?

I think it is inescapable that free will or the idea of free will comes down to how the brain works.
 
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The point is that a sports star, mathematician, rock star, etc, does not choose their physical makeup, body or brain, that it is their non chosen physical makeup, neural architecture, muscles, physique, inherent talents, drive/will that open possibilities for them but not others.

The MYTH you're promoting is that being subject to prior causes means we are not "true" causes ourselves. You're suggesting that our prior causes must be the "true" causes. But this test cannot be passed by any of our prior causes, because all of our prior causes also have prior causes. You end up with the absurdity that there are no "true" causes anywhere. You destroy the notion of causation.

We only care about causes that are meaningful and relevant, causes which enable us to control events. Do we want to play the piano well? Then we must make it a habit to practice every day. If we are "willing" to practice every day, then we will improve our skills.

Causes over which we have no control are irrelevant to us. So, scientists and engineers develop large colliders that let us control the protons, speed them up, and crash them into other particles, to see what is inside.

But there is no controlling causation itself, because it is not an entity that exercises any control. The protons exist. The electromagnetic forces generated within the collider exist. And, of course, we exist. We were the causes that brought the collider into existence.

The prior causes of us are not the true causes of the collider. The scientists and the engineers who imagined the possibility of such a machine, and decided they would build it, and convinced others to fund the project, and designed it in detail, and constructed it, these were the true causes of the collider.

Options that are open for someone, but not for everyone, sometimes only for the very few, and in relation to determinism, not only open but necessitated....it cannot be otherwise.

This other MYTH, that things must be otherwise in order for them to be what they are, is absurd on its face. Things need only to be exactly as they are in order to be exactly as they are. So, how, exactly were things.

The scientists and engineers imagined, designed, and chose to construct the collider. They are the meaningful and relevant causes of the collider.

Causation did not imagine, design, or construct the collider. Causation is neither an object nor a force. Only the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe can be said to cause events. We happen to be true objects and we are able to exert force upon other objects, like when we build a collider or when we use the collider to bump a couple of protons into each other to see what happens.

The notion of causation is something we use to describe the orderly sequence of events:
(1) We are curious what protons are made of.
(2) We wonder how we might see inside.
(3) We imagine speeding up protons and colliding them into each other.
(4) We imagine different kinds of colliders.
(5) We evaluate which design is likely to work best.
(6) We decide we will build a specific collider.
(7) That chosen intent then motivates and directs our behavior as we take steps to raise money, create blueprints, build, test, and operate the collider in order to satisfy that original curiosity that existed within us, and which could not exist in any inanimate object or non-intelligent species.

In summary, we were the original source of the notion of a collider, which we set our sights (our will) upon building.

So, again, where does this thing we call free will come into the picture as a real attribute that makes a difference?

The freely chosen "I will" is right there in front of us. We imagined ways to break open a proton to see what's inside. Some of these ways were likely impossible, and were eliminated at the outset. But some of them were real possibilities, things that we could do, if we chose to, like a linear accelerator or a ring accelerator. Different science teams selected different designs, according to their own needs. In each case, the driving force was a freely chosen will, a will that sustained their activity as they proceeded through the steps necessary to actualize their freely chosen option.

Had they decided not to bother, then there would be no colliders. Their choices were the meaningful and relevant causes of the colliders.
Prometheus Shrugged

Another myth is that necessity is the mother of invention. No, inventors are. If creative, independent, and un-determined minds are discouraged by nerd-bashing, unpaid education and corporate-patent grand larceny, then things that are needed won't be invented. All this determinism is designed to make us fatalistic and submissive to the few who determine all this. Tyranny determines; it must be exposed and overthrown.

Even language is misleading: "I am determined to do this" is the opposite of passive, so why is it put in the passive voice?
 

steve_bank

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Squirrels are good problem solvers. They can work collectively to defeat 'squirrel proof' bird feeders they have not seen before..

Do squirrels have individual self volition and free will?

Do termites in Africa imagine complex hives or is it generics?

So now being a dumb jock is generic? Apparently that includes Aron Rodgers the Packers quarterback.

(4) We imagine different kinds of colliders.
(5) We evaluate which design is likely to work best.
(6) We decide we will build a specific collider.
(7) That chosen intent then motivates and directs our behavior as we take steps to raise money, create blueprints, build, test, and operate the collider in order t

Humans are not the only tool makers. We do it better by virtue of genetics and evolution, articulate speech and dexterity.

As an engineering designer I can say the process is not nearly as simplistic as you infer. I worked with people from all over the world from all levels. From what I saw anybody with the same equivalent education are on the average no better or wore than anyone else.

Whatever talents are based in generics, culture and motivation are far more important. Obviously a 5 foot person is not going to play in the NBA. Russel Wilson the Seahawks quarterback is short for an NFL quarterback. Listening to him speak he is motivated to the extreme to find ways to compensate and excel, which he does. One of the best in the league.


Some people simply quote others, others dig deeper into though. Some people have initiative others do not. Nature or nurture? Are alphas and followers generically predisposed? Does one chose to be a tail between the legs follower of a Trump or Ayn Rand, or is it a biochemical groveling to perceived superiority?

Personaly when I think of Rand or Trump I just can't help but roll over and piss on myself with joy.
 

DBT

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The point is that a sports star, mathematician, rock star, etc, does not choose their physical makeup, body or brain, that it is their non chosen physical makeup, neural architecture, muscles, physique, inherent talents, drive/will that open possibilities for them but not others.

The MYTH you're promoting is that being subject to prior causes means we are not "true" causes ourselves. You're suggesting that our prior causes must be the "true" causes. But this test cannot be passed by any of our prior causes, because all of our prior causes also have prior causes. You end up with the absurdity that there are no "true" causes anywhere. You destroy the notion of causation.

We only care about causes that are meaningful and relevant, causes which enable us to control events. Do we want to play the piano well? Then we must make it a habit to practice every day. If we are "willing" to practice every day, then we will improve our skills.

Causes over which we have no control are irrelevant to us. So, scientists and engineers develop large colliders that let us control the protons, speed them up, and crash them into other particles, to see what is inside.

But there is no controlling causation itself, because it is not an entity that exercises any control. The protons exist. The electromagnetic forces generated within the collider exist. And, of course, we exist. We were the causes that brought the collider into existence.

The prior causes of us are not the true causes of the collider. The scientists and the engineers who imagined the possibility of such a machine, and decided they would build it, and convinced others to fund the project, and designed it in detail, and constructed it, these were the true causes of the collider.

Options that are open for someone, but not for everyone, sometimes only for the very few, and in relation to determinism, not only open but necessitated....it cannot be otherwise.

This other MYTH, that things must be otherwise in order for them to be what they are, is absurd on its face. Things need only to be exactly as they are in order to be exactly as they are. So, how, exactly were things.

The scientists and engineers imagined, designed, and chose to construct the collider. They are the meaningful and relevant causes of the collider.

Causation did not imagine, design, or construct the collider. Causation is neither an object nor a force. Only the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe can be said to cause events. We happen to be true objects and we are able to exert force upon other objects, like when we build a collider or when we use the collider to bump a couple of protons into each other to see what happens.

The notion of causation is something we use to describe the orderly sequence of events:
(1) We are curious what protons are made of.
(2) We wonder how we might see inside.
(3) We imagine speeding up protons and colliding them into each other.
(4) We imagine different kinds of colliders.
(5) We evaluate which design is likely to work best.
(6) We decide we will build a specific collider.
(7) That chosen intent then motivates and directs our behavior as we take steps to raise money, create blueprints, build, test, and operate the collider in order to satisfy that original curiosity that existed within us, and which could not exist in any inanimate object or non-intelligent species.

In summary, we were the original source of the notion of a collider, which we set our sights (our will) upon building.

So, again, where does this thing we call free will come into the picture as a real attribute that makes a difference?

The freely chosen "I will" is right there in front of us. We imagined ways to break open a proton to see what's inside. Some of these ways were likely impossible, and were eliminated at the outset. But some of them were real possibilities, things that we could do, if we chose to, like a linear accelerator or a ring accelerator. Different science teams selected different designs, according to their own needs. In each case, the driving force was a freely chosen will, a will that sustained their activity as they proceeded through the steps necessary to actualize their freely chosen option.

Had they decided not to bother, then there would be no colliders. Their choices were the meaningful and relevant causes of the colliders.
Prometheus Shrugged

Another myth is that necessity is the mother of invention. No, inventors are. If creative, independent, and un-determined minds are discouraged by nerd-bashing, unpaid education and corporate-patent grand larceny, then things that are needed won't be invented. All this determinism is designed to make us fatalistic and submissive to the few who determine all this. Tyranny determines; it must be exposed and overthrown.

Even language is misleading: "I am determined to do this" is the opposite of passive, so why is it put in the passive voice?


The topic is determinism in relation to compatibilism. Determinism means necessitated events, that all events in a determined system are necessitated events, and that there are no possible alternatives to what is determined or necessitated.

Which is why free will is not compatible with determinism....and why compatibilists, like theists and their gods, carefully define their terms in order to provide an illusion of free will through semantics.
 

DBT

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The world, biology, genetics, environment, makes us what we are and who we are;

And choosing what we will have for breakfast is "who and what we are" choosing for ourselves what we will do.

We do not need to cause ourselves in order to be the cause of new events.

Principle 1.
''The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances." ...

Yes, part of who and what we are is our brain. What it decides, we have decided. It's still us doing the choosing.

Necessitated actions - being determined - are by definition neither chosen, negotiable or alterable, these are events that proceed and unfold deterministically according to antecedent conditions and the laws of nature.

Without deliberation, the deliberate act has no prior cause. And, that is illegal in a deterministic system. The deliberation is part of the unfolding. But you seem to have lost that, perhaps in one of the creases.


They are not willed. To label necessitated actions, not being willed, as an example of free will is case of mislabeling determinism, which is the error of compatibilism.

All deliberate actions are causally necessitated by a chosen will. You cannot call it determinism if you deliberately ignore prior causes.


Nothing within a determined system, by definition, can be its own cause, nor - by definition - does anything, human or not - have regulative control over its own behaviour. It's not logical to select a certain form of human behaviour and declare it to be an instance of free will.

Everything within a determined system has precisely the same status; fixed as a matter of natural law. Will having no privileged status, falsifies compatibilism.
 

DBT

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Quote:

''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. ''
 

DBT

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Nor is a matter of the 'moon lying; it's a matter of limited perspective. We simply don't have access to the information shapes and forms our being and behaviour.

What are you arguing anyway? Didn't you say that you don't believe in free will? The issue is free will in relation to determinism....that is the point, and what Einstein was referring to.

What has computer programming got to do with it?
 

fromderinside

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... However there is no evidence ever for free will in any specification of determinism, not permitted by definition. Every claim of free will has been falsified. Take a different tack.

Free will is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Free will 100% deterministic. How is this possible? BECAUSE FREE WILL IS NOT "FREEDOM FROM CAUSAL NECESSITY". The notion of "freedom from causal necessity" is an oxymoron. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. So, the notion of freedom ALWAYS implies a world of reliable causation.
You chatter. In a determined world no person decides freely. Not possible. Every avenue is covered. Saying one does anything freely, even believing so, is sheer fantasy. Causation is at the base of that which denies anything is done freely in any sense.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.
 

Marvin Edwards

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You chatter.

And you don't??

In a determined world no person decides freely.

Well, they cannot be "free of causal necessity". Nor can they be "free from themselves". But their choosing can most certainly be free from coercion and undue influence.

Causation is at the base of that which denies anything is done freely in any sense.

And yet I just gave you the sense in which choosing is done freely. Choosing can be done free of coercion and undue influence. And that's all that free will, as commonly understood and used, needs to be free of.

Causation, itself, does nothing to deny any meaningful freedom. To the contrary: Causation enables every freedom that we have to do anything at all. Freedom requires reliable cause and effect. Freedom requires a deterministic universe.

And that is why "freedom from causal necessity" is an irrational notion. One cannot logically be free from the very thing that freedom requires.

And another thing, universal causal necessity/inevitability is not even a meaningful constraint. Whatever we will inevitably do is exactly identical to us just being us, choosing what we choose, and doing what we do. Basically, it is what we would have done anyway. And that is not a meaningful constraint.
 
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