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Compatibilism: What's that About?

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descartes.... only because that tradition lived pass the printing press... and now it is here... forever.
"I will", please reconsider Marvin.
 

Copernicus

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The question is not that all terms are verbal constructs, which they obviously are, but: is it a reference to something that exists independently of our terms.

The words "demons" and "people,'' for instance, are verbal constructs, but which of the two demonstrably exist independently of our terms?

The issue with free will is the reference, what exactly does the term refer to? The compatibilist gives their description of free will, and the incompatibilist points out the reason why it fails in terms of determinism and the physical processes of behaviour, which do not allow freedom of the will, only determined actions which proceed unimpeded as determined.
First of all, there is no single definition or rigid doctrine among compatibilists for the concept of "free will". The term is quite often left undefined in these discussions, and Dennett offers several senses of the expression. But Marvin has done a great job of defining it quite consistently in a way that seems to fit well with common usage among English speakers. There are other definitions for the term, and we have been discussing it from a rather uncommon perspective--that of an eliminative materialist--your apparent position here--that seeks to treat the term as essentially meaningless, even though we all have to behave as if it were meaningful. One of the criticism of eliminative materialism in the philosophical literature is that it is essentially self-refuting, since its proponents tend to end up having to admit that most of the "folk psychology" terms they wish to eliminate are simply necessary in ordinary daily existence.
 

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The question is not that all terms are verbal constructs, which they obviously are, but: is it a reference to something that exists independently of our terms.

The words "demons" and "people,'' for instance, are verbal constructs, but which of the two demonstrably exist independently of our terms?

Lovely demonstration. The words "determinism" and "people", are verbal constructs, but which of the two demonstrably exists independently of our terms?

If they are objective phenomena, both are demonstrable. Compatibilism as you know is related to determinism. If determinism is false, where does compatibilism stand? Incompatibilists point out why determinism does not support freedom of will regardless.
The issue with free will is the reference, what exactly does the term refer to?

What exactly does the term "free will" refer to? Free will is literally a freely chosen "I will". That is exactly what the term refers to. And what is the choosing free of? It is free of coercion and undue influence.
Will is not only fully influenced, it is determined. You can't get a harder form of influence than that.
The compatibilist gives their description of free will, and the incompatibilist points out the reason why it fails in terms of determinism and the physical processes of behaviour, which do not allow freedom of the will, only determined actions which proceed unimpeded as determined.

Free will is consistent with both (a) determinism and (b) the physical processes of behavior! Choosing is a deterministic operation, in which multiple options are input, some criteria of comparative evaluation is applied, and a single choice is output. And the choosing operation is always performed by the physical processes within the person's own brain.

The criteria for selection are part of the person, exactly as they are at the time of choosing. The criteria typically include the person's own goals, their own reasons, their own genetic dispositions, their own prior experiences, their own beliefs and values, and so on. Which criteria play the most important roles in a given choice will depend upon the nature of the issue to be decided. But the criteria will reliably determine the choice. The choice is fully deterministic.

Under extraordinary circumstances, the choosing operation may be encumbered by coercion and other forms of undue influence. In any case, whether it be a case of free will, or a case of coercion, or a case of some other undue influence, the process is always consistent with determinism and the mental process is always carried out using the physical processes running upon the brain's neural infrastructure.

So, as you can see, once more, there is no inconsistency between the notions of free will, determinism, and neuroscience. They are all compatible with each other.

Within a determined system, all things are encumbered by forces that fix each and every outcome, which eliminates the freedom to do otherwise (the essence of freedom). Which is why freedom of will is incompatible with determinism.
 

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The question is not that all terms are verbal constructs, which they obviously are, but: is it a reference to something that exists independently of our terms.

The words "demons" and "people,'' for instance, are verbal constructs, but which of the two demonstrably exist independently of our terms?

The issue with free will is the reference, what exactly does the term refer to? The compatibilist gives their description of free will, and the incompatibilist points out the reason why it fails in terms of determinism and the physical processes of behaviour, which do not allow freedom of the will, only determined actions which proceed unimpeded as determined.
First of all, there is no single definition or rigid doctrine among compatibilists for the concept of "free will". The term is quite often left undefined in these discussions, and Dennett offers several senses of the expression. But Marvin has done a great job of defining it quite consistently in a way that seems to fit well with common usage among English speakers. There are other definitions for the term, and we have been discussing it from a rather uncommon perspective--that of an eliminative materialist--your apparent position here--that seeks to treat the term as essentially meaningless, even though we all have to behave as if it were meaningful. One of the criticism of eliminative materialism in the philosophical literature is that it is essentially self-refuting, since its proponents tend to end up having to admit that most of the "folk psychology" terms they wish to eliminate are simply necessary in ordinary daily existence.

Definitions alone prove nothing. God can be defined in relation to the world, as the creator, the giver of life, transcendent being, etc.....none of which establishes the existence of God.

Sure, you can define compatibilism as 'acting in accordance with one's will with no outside force or coercion,' but this ignores that will itself has no functional say, no alternatives, no possibility to do otherwise. Thereby, ignoring the very thing that curtails freedom - fixed outcome - compatibilism fails to establish its proposition: freedom of will.
 

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DBT thinks of all choices as essentially a  Hobson's Choice. That is, they aren't real choices, because the result is always predetermined. However, Hobson's choice was even more real--the customer could have any horse in the stable as long as it was the one closest to the door. That genuine alternative was to have no horse at all. In the end, the argument comes down to sophistry, because nobody but a hard determinist defines "free choice" in such a way that it would be of no practical use to anyone, and we would just have to invent a new word for the kind of "choice" that we experience throughout our lives. Or we could just keep using "choice" the way we always have an ignore the hard determinist. It's a pity that they aren't free to invent their own vocabulary, but that's the path they've chosen to tread.

There is no choice, whether you own a horse or not is determined. If you 'decide' to buy a horse, events have inevitably brought you to the point of considering (inevitable) the purchase, followed by the purchase itself. You are a horse owner through determination/necessity.
 

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Determinism never actually does anything. It simply points out that our choice was reliably caused by our choosing. Our choosing was reliably caused by who and what we were at that moment. Who and what we were at that moment was caused by our nature and our nurture. Prior events leading up to who and what we were included our birth, our parents, the evolution of our species, the appearance of living organisms on the planet, the formation of the stars and planets, the Big Bang, and whatever conditions reliably led up to the Big Bang.

Most of those prior events were incidental in the chain of causation, and neither meaningful nor relevant to our choice between pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

So, we only really care about the most meaningful and relevant causes of our choices. And those causes are found within us. That's why I'm asking you, and not determinism, "What will you have for breakfast, pancakes or waffles?"


Determinism refers to the actions of countless non-chosen events that bring you to your present condition, determining what you think and what you do. It's more than just 'reliable' it is inevitable and inescapable. Nor are there incidental events, if determined, all events are necessitated events.

''Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''
 

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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
However it seems you do believe in ethics can be materially defined. Care to try?

See: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Whether you’re doing research, exploring a personal philosophy, or are simply curious about humanism, the resources here are a great place to start: […]*

* I've highlighted a few terms beyond humanism for which I'd like to see objective constructions.

Hey! Thanks for sharing with everyone the link to the AHA.

You also ask whether ethics can be "materially" defined. Yes:

Ethics are a system of rules that guide behavior. The goal of ethics is to achieve a set of rules that provides the best good and the least harm for everyone. Which rules will best accomplish this are often a matter of debate, because the long term consequences of a given rule are often uncertain. So, groups, such as legislatures, research data and hear expert witnesses to inform their decisions. And they often argue over which rule will have the best results. After gathering information and discussion, they vote to establish a working rule that they implement. After it is implemented, we become better informed as to its actual consequences, and may modify, replace, or delete it.

But note that we have just stepped out of this thread and into this one: https://iidb.org/index.php?threads/morality-and-ethics.24777/
Yes is not a very satisfying answer to request for materiality of "ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good."

So I'm repeating the request as deterministic question about empirical rather than the washy washy material evidence. Here's a definition of material evidence: indicating the difference between the two.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309922961_Empirical_and_Non-Empirical_Methods

Abstract:
he dividing line between empirical and non-empirical methods is marked by scholars’ approach to knowledge
gain (i.e., epistemology). Empirical methods typically involve systematic collection and analysis of data (i.e.,
observation and evidence). They are used primarily in quantitative research involving original collection of data,
but also in secondary analyses and increasingly in qualitative research. Scholars using non-empirical methods
consider that reflection, personal observation and authority/experience are just as valuable for knowledge
acquisition as empirical data. In communication studies, scholars are likely to have a clear preference for either
empirical or non-empirical methods. Yet, their scholarship may well include both.

Why the two aren't equally valuable is obvious to even the uncurious. Before advent of scientific method the morality and governance advanced from understanding or material progress from debtor warehouse hovels to racial warehouse hovels. In the about 600 years since Galileo governments are still using rationalism to grapple with truth, justice, and whatever way since Plato.

In that same interval because of of Galileo used making his discoveries by observation and manipulating material things by empirical methods we have placed the earth as orbiting around the sun, space travel, the bomb, and broad band communication from a world of firmament and heavens, ox carts, spears, and town criers.

It's not too much to ask. Use empirical methods to refine definitions of the three terms I highlighted. You might even learn something about why  Operationalism can be such a powerful tool. Caveat, as a psychologist I warn against using Skinner's approach to Bridgman's philosophy. Simply put Skinner was a fool.
Cool. I always like to think that I can provide an operational definition for any term I use. So, you've chosen three specific terms from the Humanist web site, and would like to see how they are operationally defined. Here goes:

Ethical Lives are simply lives that are consistent with a specific set of rules. You empirically compare specific acts within that life against the set of ethical rules that are assumed to apply to that individual. Acts consistent with the rules are ethical. Acts inconsistent with the rule are unethical. You make a list, check it twice, to see who has been naughty or nice. (Or so Santa says).

Personal Fulfillment refers to a person's goals for their lives and whether or not they have been achieved or at least behavior exhibited which is consistent with achieving them.

Aspire to the Greater Good refers to their motivation to achieve the best good and the least harm for everyone. You can empirically measure the strength of that motivation by observing behaviors that either contribute to or impede achieving that goal.

Questions? Comments?

But again, this seems to be more in line with the Morals & Principles category rather than in this thread on Compatibilism.

Assumed is not operational anything, nor a person's, the best, impede, or achieving. The whole idea is to use operations that are material and can be arrived at via empirical manipulation of those operations.

Science has overcome most of the 'objections in the article by use of replicable standards. The standard meter for instance being a material representation of length.

Back to school for you.

The relation of operational definitions to theory.

https://sciencetheory.net/operationalism-operationism/

An example from the reference

The importance of careful operationalization can perhaps be more clearly seen in the development of General Relativity. Einstein discovered that there were two operational definitions of “mass” being used by scientists: inertial, defined by applying a force and observing the acceleration, from Newton’s Second Law of Motion; and gravitational, defined by putting the object on a scale or balance. Previously, no one had paid any attention to the different operations used because they always produced the same results,[8] but the key insight of Einstein was to posit the Principle of Equivalence that the two operations would always produce the same result because they were equivalent at a deep level, and work out the implications of that assumption, which is the General Theory of Relativity. Thus, a breakthrough in science was achieved by disregarding different operational definitions of scientific measurements and realizing that they both described a single theoretical concept. Einstein’s disagreement with the operationalist approach was criticized by Bridgman[9] as follows: “Einstein did not carry over into his general relativity theory the lessons and insights he himself has taught us in his special theory.” (p. 335).


Obviously physical theory becomes important since it are based on traceable material operations in combination into a system of operation describing whatever is being discussed. If you look at the garbage you posted you won't find such underpinnings even qualitatively. I warned you about Skinner. You have along slog before you.

When you figure out how psycho-acousticians get from hearing to sound threshold you'll begin to get an idea of the difficulties one has to deal in going from mind to material theory. A bit of language gymnastics doesn't cut it. We're only at the level of being able to relate oxygen uptake to mental work combined with a lot of handwaving. We have to get past the handwaving to even consider treating mental behavior as science. If we don't we are stuck with Barlow's face detector in cats. BTW Freud and friends have been in the dust bin since the nineteen teens, yet AMA associate APA is still working on 'standards' based on their garbage.

And this is not morals and principles except to the extent to which principles apply to consideration of Compatibilism via a vis Determinism. You bring a slingshot to a nuclear war.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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... Compatibilism as you know is related to determinism. If determinism is false, where does compatibilism stand?

Compatibilism is not "related" to determinism Compatibilism demonstrates how determinism and free will are compatible within a single world view.

Incompatibilists point out why determinism does not support freedom of will regardless.

Unfortunately, to do that the incompatibilists must use a special definition of "free will", as "freedom from causal necessity" (freedom from prior causes), which is an irrational notion. It is irrational because reliable causation is required to actually do things. One cannot carry out any intent (will) without the ability to reliably cause some effect. So, freedom, the "ability to do what we want", requires a world of reliable causation. And reliable causation logically implies "causal necessity".

Incompatibilists come in two flavors: libertarian, which deny determinism but acknowledge free will, and hard determinist, which deny free will but acknowledge determinism.

Ironically, the hard determinist agrees that "freedom from causal necessity" is an irrational concept, and they use that fact to argue against the libertarians, typically by pointing out repeatedly that every event has a reliable prior cause. This should lead us to question the sincerity of the hard determinists' position, because they are using a definition of "free will" that they already believe cannot exist.

The compatibilist does not use "freedom from causal necessity" as the definition of "free will". Why? Because they recognize it for the nonsense that it is. Instead, compatibilism uses the operational definition of free will, which is a choice we make while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence (certain significant mental illnesses or brain injuries, hypnosis, authoritative command, manipulation, and any other extraordinary influence that can be reasonably said to remove a person's control of their own choices).

Compatibilists use what can be called the "operational" definition of free will, because it the the definition that is commonly used in operations that determine whether a person is morally or legally responsible for their actions, or if the responsibility for their actions lies with someone or something else (coercion and other forms of undue influence). This definition of free will is commonly understood and correctly applied by most people (at least until they attend a course in philosophy and get infected with the paradoxical definition).

Will is not only fully influenced, it is determined. You can't get a harder form of influence than that.

But you leave out the influences that constitute the person. Their goals and reasons, their beliefs and values, their genetic dispositions and prior life experiences, their thoughts and feelings. These are the influences that are an integral part of who and what a person is.

The hard determinist leaves out the most meaningful and relevant causes of their choice. Instead, they insist that the person is irrelevant to the choice, because the person had prior causes, and they believe that these prior causes are the only causes that should count.

So, having left out the most important direct causes, your determinism is incomplete, and thus it is a false version of determinism.

Within a determined system, all things are encumbered by forces that fix each and every outcome...

Correct. And among these things, that exert force and fix the outcomes, you will find human beings, people who have a vital interest in those outcomes.

... which eliminates the freedom to do otherwise (the essence of freedom).

That trope will not hold. The "ability" to do otherwise does not require anyone to actually do otherwise. If offered pancakes or waffles for breakfast, you will have the ability to choose either one, but you will still choose only one. One becomes what you "will" do. The other becomes what you "could have" done, but didn't do.

Whenever faced with a choice between two things that you "can" do, it will always be the case that "I could have done otherwise" will be true. It is only "I would have done otherwise" that will be false.
 

Copernicus

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Definitions alone prove nothing. God can be defined in relation to the world, as the creator, the giver of life, transcendent being, etc.....none of which establishes the existence of God.

Straw man. Nobody is arguing otherwise.

Sure, you can define compatibilism as 'acting in accordance with one's will with no outside force or coercion,' but this ignores that will itself has no functional say, no alternatives, no possibility to do otherwise. Thereby, ignoring the very thing that curtails freedom - fixed outcome - compatibilism fails to establish its proposition: freedom of will.

That's just false. If I were ignoring causal necessity, I would not have spent all of that time explaining why it was irrelevant to the meaning and usage of "free will" in everyday English. Your argumentum ad nauseam reduces to just a terminological dispute. Denying your usage of a term is not denying the facts. You can use the language in any way you want. Just don't expect everyone else to use it the way you want.
 

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yep everday English... in philosphy??
that's gonna be a hard one to hold onto... so in everyday of philosophy everday english is permanent?
 

Copernicus

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DBT thinks of all choices as essentially a  Hobson's Choice. That is, they aren't real choices, because the result is always predetermined. However, Hobson's choice was even more real--the customer could have any horse in the stable as long as it was the one closest to the door. That genuine alternative was to have no horse at all. In the end, the argument comes down to sophistry, because nobody but a hard determinist defines "free choice" in such a way that it would be of no practical use to anyone, and we would just have to invent a new word for the kind of "choice" that we experience throughout our lives. Or we could just keep using "choice" the way we always have an ignore the hard determinist. It's a pity that they aren't free to invent their own vocabulary, but that's the path they've chosen to tread.

There is no choice, whether you own a horse or not is determined. If you 'decide' to buy a horse, events have inevitably brought you to the point of considering (inevitable) the purchase, followed by the purchase itself. You are a horse owner through determination/necessity.

Of course there is "choice". Even if a choice is fully determined by past events that one has no control over, it is still a choice at the point it is made. The whole point of making a choice is to act on one's understanding of how causal reality is working out, given that we don't actually know how it is working out. Whether or not the future is fully determined by past events, we still don't know how it will turn out. So we choose actions based on our best calculation. That's all we can do, and that is why people call uncoerced choice "free will". It is choice made freely within the limits of our knowledge about the future. Once it is made, we know we can't change it, but we can imagine what we would have done differently, if we had only known the future.
 

Copernicus

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yep everday English... in philosphy??
that's gonna be a hard one to hold onto... so in everyday of philosophy everday english is permanent?
Interesting that you should ask that rhetorical question about philosophy. In the 20th century, much of philosophy was taken up with the subject of language in order to deal with paradoxes of one sort or another. Eliminativism is part of that trend in  Linguistic Philosophy.

Linguistic philosophy is the view that many or all philosophical problems can be solved (or dissolved) by paying closer attention to language, either by reforming language or by understanding the everyday language that we presently use better.[1] The former position is that of ideal language philosophy, one prominent example being logical atomism. The latter is the view defended in ordinary language philosophy.
Ideal language philosophers developed a lot of interesting advances in the creation of formal logical languages and their interpretation. Basically, their approach was to create an artificial language that would not allow the expression of paradoxical or self-contradictory statements. Ordinary Language philosophers argued that the paradoxes arose from a poor understanding of how language worked and that they would disappear if philosophers just played by the rules of the language game. Their trend is generally said to have originated with the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I suspect that you aren't interested in any of this none, but your comment was unusually appropriate in this discussion. :)
 

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... Sure, you can define compatibilism as 'acting in accordance with one's will with no outside force or coercion,' but this ignores that will itself has no functional say, no alternatives, no possibility to do otherwise. Thereby, ignoring the very thing that curtails freedom - fixed outcome - compatibilism fails to establish its proposition: freedom of will.

Our "will" is our specific intent for the immediate or distant future. Our will marshals the resources of our mind and body to carry out that intent. "Will you help me move this sofa?" You say, "Yes, I will". And suddenly we are both lifting the sofa and moving it to its new location. This is what "will" is about, motivating and directing what we do.

So, where do the alternatives and the possibilities show up? They show up in the deliberate choosing of the will. "Where will I move the sofa? Over here (possibility number 1) or over there (possibility number 2)?" We have two different things that we can do: (1) move the sofa over here, and, (2) move the sofa over there. This is the "possibility to do otherwise".

This is so simple that it should be fairly obvious to everyone by now. (It's as easy as shooting a slingshot, said David).
 

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oh well, there you go folks.
see if only I had brought theater to the nuclear war, David? David, are you there?
 

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It all does seem kind of slingshot simple. Suppose I have a light breakfast, coffee and a donut. Why did I choose that? Because of antecedent events. Perhaps the night before I had a gluttonous meal and woke up not hungry. The previous night’s meal, and the fact that I am therefore not hungry in the morning, were causal factors in deciding to have a light breakfast. How does that mean I don’t have free will? On the contrary, it means I do have free will — I evaluated past events, my present lack of hunger, and decided to have a light breakfast.

It does not follow from this that I could not have had a heavy breakfast, it is just that I did not — for why would I? I wasn’t very hungry.

But if antecedent events had been different — if, the previous night, I had fasted — I likely would have woken up hungry, and ordered a big breakfast.

I continue to think the hangup here between hard determinists and soft determinists is that the hard determinist maintains that at any given point, I could not have chosen other than what I did; whereas the soft determinist (compaibilist) says that I would not have done otherwise, full stop. “Could” and “would” and “could not” and “would not” are modally very different.

So I resist the term “causal necessity,” which to me is not a valid modal category. To me the only valid modal category of necessity is logical necessity, which simply means that some propositions about the world are true, at all (logically) possible worlds.

It is true at all possible worlds that triangles have three sides. It is not true at all possible worlds that I have a light breakfast instead of a heavy one.

Therefore it is possible that I could have freely chosen to have a light or heavy breakfast, depending on antecedent events, in a way that it’s not possible for triangles to have sides numbering other than three.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Determinism never actually does anything. It simply points out that our choice was reliably caused by our choosing. Our choosing was reliably caused by who and what we were at that moment. Who and what we were at that moment was caused by our nature and our nurture. Prior events leading up to who and what we were included our birth, our parents, the evolution of our species, the appearance of living organisms on the planet, the formation of the stars and planets, the Big Bang, and whatever conditions reliably led up to the Big Bang.

Most of those prior events were incidental in the chain of causation, and neither meaningful nor relevant to our choice between pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

So, we only really care about the most meaningful and relevant causes of our choices. And those causes are found within us. That's why I'm asking you, and not determinism, "What will you have for breakfast, pancakes or waffles?"

Determinism refers to the actions of countless non-chosen events that bring you to your present condition, determining what you think and what you do. ...

Again you offer an incomplete determinism! Determinism refers to all of the relevant and meaningful events that are involved in determining what you will do. You cannot validly exclude the choosing event from the prior causes that necessitate the choice!

Your version of "determinism" is not determinism.
 

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Determinism never actually does anything. It simply points out that our choice was reliably caused by our choosing. Our choosing was reliably caused by who and what we were at that moment. Who and what we were at that moment was caused by our nature and our nurture. Prior events leading up to who and what we were included our birth, our parents, the evolution of our species, the appearance of living organisms on the planet, the formation of the stars and planets, the Big Bang, and whatever conditions reliably led up to the Big Bang.

Most of those prior events were incidental in the chain of causation, and neither meaningful nor relevant to our choice between pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

So, we only really care about the most meaningful and relevant causes of our choices. And those causes are found within us. That's why I'm asking you, and not determinism, "What will you have for breakfast, pancakes or waffles?"

Determinism refers to the actions of countless non-chosen events that bring you to your present condition, determining what you think and what you do. ...

Again you offer an incomplete determinism! Determinism refers to all of the relevant and meaningful events that are involved in determining what you will do. You cannot validly exclude the choosing event from the prior causes that necessitate the choice!

Your version of "determinism" is not determinism.
of course he could fix your whole assertive diatribes by encapsulating.... through deterministic means... "text" "with" "quotes"... lol
 

Rhea

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DBT

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DBT thinks of all choices as essentially a  Hobson's Choice. That is, they aren't real choices, because the result is always predetermined. However, Hobson's choice was even more real--the customer could have any horse in the stable as long as it was the one closest to the door. That genuine alternative was to have no horse at all. In the end, the argument comes down to sophistry, because nobody but a hard determinist defines "free choice" in such a way that it would be of no practical use to anyone, and we would just have to invent a new word for the kind of "choice" that we experience throughout our lives. Or we could just keep using "choice" the way we always have an ignore the hard determinist. It's a pity that they aren't free to invent their own vocabulary, but that's the path they've chosen to tread.

There is no choice, whether you own a horse or not is determined. If you 'decide' to buy a horse, events have inevitably brought you to the point of considering (inevitable) the purchase, followed by the purchase itself. You are a horse owner through determination/necessity.

Of course there is "choice". Even if a choice is fully determined by past events that one has no control over, it is still a choice at the point it is made. The whole point of making a choice is to act on one's understanding of how causal reality is working out, given that we don't actually know how it is working out. Whether or not the future is fully determined by past events, we still don't know how it will turn out. So we choose actions based on our best calculation. That's all we can do, and that is why people call uncoerced choice "free will". It is choice made freely within the limits of our knowledge about the future. Once it is made, we know we can't change it, but we can imagine what we would have done differently, if we had only known the future.

Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Determinism by definition fixes the outcome in each and every instance of decision making - in any given instance, it is this option for you, that option for someone else - which is the opposite of free choice. What is fixed by antecedents is not freely chosen. As the option open to you in any given instance is fixed/determined, you have the illusion of free choice.

[tʃɔɪs] NOUN
1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.
 

DBT

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Determinism never actually does anything. It simply points out that our choice was reliably caused by our choosing. Our choosing was reliably caused by who and what we were at that moment. Who and what we were at that moment was caused by our nature and our nurture. Prior events leading up to who and what we were included our birth, our parents, the evolution of our species, the appearance of living organisms on the planet, the formation of the stars and planets, the Big Bang, and whatever conditions reliably led up to the Big Bang.

Most of those prior events were incidental in the chain of causation, and neither meaningful nor relevant to our choice between pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

So, we only really care about the most meaningful and relevant causes of our choices. And those causes are found within us. That's why I'm asking you, and not determinism, "What will you have for breakfast, pancakes or waffles?"

Determinism refers to the actions of countless non-chosen events that bring you to your present condition, determining what you think and what you do. ...

Again you offer an incomplete determinism! Determinism refers to all of the relevant and meaningful events that are involved in determining what you will do. You cannot validly exclude the choosing event from the prior causes that necessitate the choice!

Your version of "determinism" is not determinism.

It's not my version of determinism. It's the standard version of determinism, something that I have quoted numerous times, and what I work with.

And yes, all the meaningful elements/ factors/events go into determining a determined outcome or course of events, which I have not denied, said or suggested otherwise.

'Choosing an event' - which allows no alternative - is the result of all the elements that go into determining whatever transpires.

Why the 'selfhood' defense of compatibilism fails:

''The increments of a normal brain state is not as obvious as direct coercion, a microchip, or a tumor, but the “obviousness” is irrelevant here. Brain states incrementally get to the state they are in one moment at a time. In each moment of that process the brain is in one state, and the specific environment and biological conditions leads to the very next state. Depending on that state, this will cause you to behave in a specific way within an environment (decide in a specific way), in which all of those things that are outside of a person constantly bombard your senses changing your very brain state. The internal dialogue in your mind you have no real control over.

We have an illusion of control, but in reality we have no more control over these processes than we do a microchip or tumor leading our brain states to want, think, and decide in specific ways. The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards.

Compatibilists might say that the person couldn’t control the influences of a tumor or microchip, but that misses the point that a person cannot control their own genetics or environmental conditions any more.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Determinism by definition fixes the outcome in each and every instance of decision making - in any given instance, it is this option for you, that option for someone else - which is the opposite of free choice. What is fixed by antecedents is not freely chosen. As the option open to you in any given instance is fixed/determined, you have the illusion of free choice.
[tʃɔɪs] NOUN
1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.

There is no such thing as "freedom from causal necessity", therefore free choice cannot mean that.

But there is such a thing as "freedom from coercion and undue influence", therefore free choice can mean that.

The illusion is not free will. The illusion is that one must be free from reliable cause and effect. What we will inevitably do is exactly identical to us just being us, choosing what we choose, and doing what we do. And that is not a meaningful constraint.

Our freedoms are not constrained by reliable causation. They are enabled by reliable cause and effect.
 

Marvin Edwards

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It's not my version of determinism. It's the standard version of determinism, something that I have quoted numerous times, and what I work with.

Right. Don't worry, I'm not blaming you for the version of determinism you're working with. The illusion that causal necessity was an entity that removed all our freedom and control is a very old one.

Breaking out of that illusion is difficult. But basically it is a matter of going right through it to the other side: If we presume a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect then we will find ourselves as actual objects in that world that are able to reliably cause effects. The metaphorical "laws of nature" are just as much inside us as outside us. Due to our construction as an intelligent species we are able to imagine alternative ways to solve a problem and we are able to choose which option we will go with. We experience many wants and desires, and it is up to us to choose from among them when, where, how, and if we will go about satisfying them.

I explain the nature of the paradox and how it is created here: Free Will: What's Wrong and How to Fix It.
And I explain the problems with certain philosophical notions of determinism here: Determinism: What's Wrong and How to Fix It.

And yes, all the meaningful elements/ factors/events go into determining a determined outcome or course of events, which I have not denied, said or suggested otherwise.

Good. But let's see if you and Mr. Slattery really do that:

'Choosing an event' - which allows no alternative - is the result of all the elements that go into determining whatever transpires.

Choosing is an event that inputs two or more alternatives, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and based on that evaluation outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will" do something. We never enter into a deliberate choosing operation without at least two options staring us in the face.

Trick Slattery said:
Why the 'selfhood' defense of compatibilism fails:

''The increments of a normal brain state is not as obvious as direct coercion, a microchip, or a tumor, but the “obviousness” is irrelevant here. Brain states incrementally get to the state they are in one moment at a time. In each moment of that process the brain is in one state, and the specific environment and biological conditions leads to the very next state. Depending on that state, this will cause you to behave in a specific way within an environment (decide in a specific way), in which all of those things that are outside of a person constantly bombard your senses changing your very brain state. The internal dialogue in your mind you have no real control over.

We have an illusion of control, but in reality we have no more control over these processes than we do a microchip or tumor leading our brain states to want, think, and decide in specific ways. The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards.

Compatibilists might say that the person couldn’t control the influences of a tumor or microchip, but that misses the point that a person cannot control their own genetics or environmental conditions any more.''

Mr. Slattery is attempting to remove us from our brain, placing us in one corner of the room and our brain over there in another corner. But this doesn't work, because one of those two corners is now empty. Trick did not invent this illusion of dualism. It's a common false suggestion made by many others who really should know better.

We are our brains. Or, rather, we are a process running upon the neural infrastructure. But the key here is that whatever our brain decides we will do, we have decided we will do. We do not need to be independent of our brain in order to exercise control. We only need to BE "our brain deciding what we will do".

Our brain organizes sensory data into a symbolic model of reality, consisting of objects and events. It uses this model to imagine, evaluate, and choose what we will do. Included in this model are our selves. When this model is accurate enough to be useful, as when we navigate our body through a doorway, we simply call this "reality", because the model is our only access to reality. It is only when the model is inaccurate enough to cause problems, such as when we walk into a glass door, thinking it was open, that we call this an "illusion".

But the brain cannot track the individual neurons as they pass signals to each other. It can only track the broad changes that are occurring in our body and brain as represented in the model.

At the top of this symbolic modeling we find the language we use to explain our own behavior to ourselves and others. Mr. Slattery suggests to us that "The internal dialogue in your mind you have no real control over". And where does Mr. Slattery suggest the control is located, why, in our brains, but somehow not in us! Our brains are us. What our brains decide, we have decided. We have no need to be free of our own brain in order to exercise control. We already ARE our own brains, and whatever deliberate control it exercises, we are exercising.

It is useful to distinguish (A) a person's own deliberate behavior from (B) the person's behavior when under duress and (C) the person's behavior when subject to a mental illness or injury that alters their behavior. But Mr. Slattery says: "The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards." He implies that these three cases should be treated the same, without distinction. But, being caught up in the abstract notion that every event is equally causally necessary, he fails to recognize the absurdity of his position when dealing with the actual reality of this world.

The notion that causal necessity is an entity that removes all of our control and all of our freedom, is a delusion. And it is not a harmless delusion.
 

Copernicus

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Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Determinism by definition fixes the outcome in each and every instance of decision making - in any given instance, it is this option for you, that option for someone else - which is the opposite of free choice. What is fixed by antecedents is not freely chosen. As the option open to you in any given instance is fixed/determined, you have the illusion of free choice.

[tʃɔɪs] NOUN
1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.

But the future is not fixed until you have converted it to the past by living through the present. So a conscious being in transit will always have choices, since it won't have yet reached the point of hindsight. An outside observer of that being might well foresee its future, but the outside observer is not faced with a choice. Again, we come down to the reality of what an illusion is--a very real perceptual experience from the perspective of a conscious being--and we have two different perspectives to consider: the internal and external observers. Choice is only meaningful to the internal observer facing an uncertain future. The outside observer sees the entire timeline, not just a past timeline. Of course the outside observer would not be able to see its own future, but we are only talking about an imaginary being there. Call it God, if you like, but it only exists in our imaginations.
 

bilby

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Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Determinism by definition fixes the outcome in each and every instance of decision making - in any given instance, it is this option for you, that option for someone else - which is the opposite of free choice. What is fixed by antecedents is not freely chosen. As the option open to you in any given instance is fixed/determined, you have the illusion of free choice.

[tʃɔɪs] NOUN
1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.

But the future is not fixed until you have converted it to the past by living through the present. So a conscious being in transit will always have choices, since it won't have yet reached the point of hindsight. An outside observer of that being might well foresee its future, but the outside observer is not faced with a choice. Again, we come down to the reality of what an illusion is--a very real perceptual experience from the perspective of a conscious being--and we have two different perspectives to consider: the internal and external observers. Choice is only meaningful to the internal observer facing an uncertain future. The outside observer sees the entire timeline, not just a past timeline. Of course the outside observer would not be able to see its own future, but we are only talking about an imaginary being there. Call it God, if you like, but it only exists in our imaginations.
Neither space nor time are absolutes, and as a result, the concepts of past, present, and future are only coherent to a specified observer or reference frame.

It's therefore inescapable that the future is as immutable as the past (because any observer's future could be another observer's past); But of course this has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of choice, due to the inaccessibility of information about their own future to any specific observer.

Free will is entirely illusory, from a 'god's eye view', but nobody has that view, and freedom of choice stems not from the absence of inevitability, but from the absence of predictability.

I can't choose a different breakfast to have had yesterday; And I can't choose a different breakfast than the one I am going to have tomorrow - but I can't know which breakfast I am going to have tomorrow until I get to tomorrow, so it's entirely my choice what it will be.
 

DBT

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
 

Copernicus

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Neither space nor time are absolutes, and as a result, the concepts of past, present, and future are only coherent to a specified observer or reference frame.

It's therefore inescapable that the future is as immutable as the past (because any observer's future could be another observer's past); But of course this has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of choice, due to the inaccessibility of information about their own future to any specific observer.

I can't fully agree. Nobody can observe the future, since we all live in the present (technically, a few milliseconds before we process incoming sense data). From our perspective, the future is always going to be unobservable, and there may be a good reason for that. We are ephemeral beings that come equipped with a central nervous system that makes reasonable guesses about what the future will be. We can only imagine various outcomes without ever perceiving any that are not happening to us in the moment. We manage to reconstruct imaginary events from the past by drawing on memory associations, which are not always reliable. The past will always appear immutable and the future mutable. Imagination allows us to take on different perspectives, but they only exist in our imagination, including the ones that represent future possibilities. The term "free will" is only going to make sense in a context that we make sense of.

Free will is entirely illusory, from a 'god's eye view', but nobody has that view, and freedom of choice stems not from the absence of inevitability, but from the absence of predictability.

Bingo!

I can't choose a different breakfast to have had yesterday; And I can't choose a different breakfast than the one I am going to have tomorrow - but I can't know which breakfast I am going to have tomorrow until I get to tomorrow, so it's entirely my choice what it will be.

There is the additional wrinkle that there might be many different realities spun off of quantum interactions and that the future you end up in is only one of those. Alternate versions of your self could exist in different futures. At least, that is one interpretation of how quantum reality works.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
 

fromderinside

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
You put the cart before the horse.

What you think we decide as conscious thought is subvocal text about what our processes arrived to as a way forward after we've processed what we've received. Our conscious did not decide anything. That which we subvocalize is also driven by past 'decisions' and calculations from memory so we show as consistent face to others. The combined processing merely rose to parroted vocalizations of more or less automatic switching of routines conditioned within our working brain. aided by a squirt and twitch or two triggered by even earlier reactive process actions.

You can't even find legs for your position on which it can stand.

My view is that consciousness, the one articulating, arose after language became possible during our development of capabilities for toolmaking and even then it had to wait for the rise of visualizing processes.

I say this because your example of David as being significant re capabilities depended on David being able to see the possibility that defeating one would do the job of winning the day. Merely having a slingshot would accomplish nothing otherwise. All of that is necessary for that event to take place and all of that can be explained by capabilities evolving to conditions. No wiling needed. Indeed the apparent existence of such is not possible without the antecedent capabilities already inherent in the individual.
 
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DBT

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!


Our ''our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are'' are equally determined by determinants beyond our control or ability to alter through an act of will.

Will itself is determined. We have the ability to process information and respond to our inputs, but that is determined by genetic makeup, neural architecture and the environment acting upon us, we have will, the drive to act and respond, but will is a reflection of the elements that determine its expression.

We have volition, but volition is not free will.

We have Will, but Will is not Free Will.

''Volition
- the cognitive process by which an organism decides on and commits to a particular course of action.''

Will - used to express capability or sufficiency

3: the act, process, or experience of willing : VOLITION
4a: mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending
 

Marvin Edwards

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
You put the cart before the horse.

What you think we decide as conscious thought is subvocal text about what our processes arrived to as a way forward after we've processed what we've received. Our conscious did not decide anything. That which we subvocalize is also driven by past 'decisions' and calculations from memory so we show as consistent face to others. The combined processing merely rose to parroted vocalizations of more or less automatic switching of routines conditioned within our working brain. aided by a squirt and twitch or two triggered by even earlier reactive process actions.

You can't even find legs for your position on which it can stand.

My view is that consciousness, the one articulating, arose after language became possible during our development of capabilities for toolmaking and even then it had to wait for the rise of visualizing processes.

I say this because your example of David as being significant re capabilities depended on David being able to see the possibility that defeating one would do the job of winning the day. Merely having a slingshot would accomplish nothing otherwise. All of that is necessary for that event to take place and all of that can be explained by capabilities evolving to conditions. No wiling needed. Indeed the apparent existence of such is not possible without the antecedent capabilities already inherent in the individual.

The notion that we're all sleepwalking through our decision-making is a bit far-fetched. Consider the person making a significant decision, like buying a car or deciding where to vacation, who uses pencil and paper to list the pros and cons of their different options. Or consider a group of people, like a Parent-Teacher Association or a government legislature, who work together to formally discuss alternatives and vote to make a decision. Or visit Amazon's Books section and see the many books to help people make better decisions.

Even in minimalist experiments, like those of Benjamin Libet, the subject must be awake in order to volunteer to participate, and must be awake to view the equipment they must use, and must be awake to hear the instructions to know what they are expected to do. The subject's participation in the experiment is motivated by their initial willingness to do so. A choice they are expected to make free of coercion and undue influence (see "voluntary" in your favorite dictionary).

Even if all our decisions were made unconsciously, they would still be choosing operations. The customers in the restaurant would still browse the menu, consider their options, and output a single choice in the form of an "I will", such as "I will have the Chef Salad, please". And, the waiter would take their order, bring them their meal, and later bring them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act. No one forced the customer to come in, sit down, and order the salad.

Now, suppose someone did. Not a guy with a gun, but simply the child's mother. The child sees the deserts on the menu and insists upon a fudge sundae for lunch. The mother vetoes this and orders him the Chef Salad instead. The child eats the salad, but it was not a choice of his own free will. It was his mother's choice. And the waiter will bring the bill to the mother, not the child.

Oh, and David was willing to fight Goliath. Had he not been willing to do so, then someone else would have to, or the battle would be lost.

So, this "No wiling needed." mantra does not hold water.
 

fromderinside

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
You put the cart before the horse.

What you think we decide as conscious thought is subvocal text about what our processes arrived to as a way forward after we've processed what we've received. Our conscious did not decide anything. That which we subvocalize is also driven by past 'decisions' and calculations from memory so we show as consistent face to others. The combined processing merely rose to parroted vocalizations of more or less automatic switching of routines conditioned within our working brain. aided by a squirt and twitch or two triggered by even earlier reactive process actions.

You can't even find legs for your position on which it can stand.

My view is that consciousness, the one articulating, arose after language became possible during our development of capabilities for toolmaking and even then it had to wait for the rise of visualizing processes.

I say this because your example of David as being significant re capabilities depended on David being able to see the possibility that defeating one would do the job of winning the day. Merely having a slingshot would accomplish nothing otherwise. All of that is necessary for that event to take place and all of that can be explained by capabilities evolving to conditions. No wiling needed. Indeed the apparent existence of such is not possible without the antecedent capabilities already inherent in the individual.

The notion that we're all sleepwalking through our decision-making is a bit far-fetched. Consider the person making a significant decision, like buying a car or deciding where to vacation, who uses pencil and paper to list the pros and cons of their different options. Or consider a group of people, like a Parent-Teacher Association or a government legislature, who work together to formally discuss alternatives and vote to make a decision. Or visit Amazon's Books section and see the many books to help people make better decisions.

Even in minimalist experiments, like those of Benjamin Libet, the subject must be awake in order to volunteer to participate, and must be awake to view the equipment they must use, and must be awake to hear the instructions to know what they are expected to do. The subject's participation in the experiment is motivated by their initial willingness to do so. A choice they are expected to make free of coercion and undue influence (see "voluntary" in your favorite dictionary).

Even if all our decisions were made unconsciously, they would still be choosing operations. The customers in the restaurant would still browse the menu, consider their options, and output a single choice in the form of an "I will", such as "I will have the Chef Salad, please". And, the waiter would take their order, bring them their meal, and later bring them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act. No one forced the customer to come in, sit down, and order the salad.

Now, suppose someone did. Not a guy with a gun, but simply the child's mother. The child sees the deserts on the menu and insists upon a fudge sundae for lunch. The mother vetoes this and orders him the Chef Salad instead. The child eats the salad, but it was not a choice of his own free will. It was his mother's choice. And the waiter will bring the bill to the mother, not the child.

Oh, and David was willing to fight Goliath. Had he not been willing to do so, then someone else would have to, or the battle would be lost.

So, this "No wiling needed." mantra does not hold water.
Awake. Now there's a neat perversion. Transect the brain at the pons and, wallah, a sleeping being no matter what. Goes back to 1948, that little nugget. Remove communication from systems at a given level and the brain, source of mind, is a wasteland.

Significance of conscious decision making is based on the conscious as fundamental part of being. All you write is dressing based on some romantic notion manipulating language is where will resides, constitutes, willed behavior.

My entire presentation demonstrates other than conscious is essential, that conscious is an artifact of response. No way for decisions to originates there. I'm not a fan of behaviorism but they do demonstrate any mammal can manage interacting with a manipulandum to get nourishment. Animals are conditioned to respond to change or perform. What behavior follows is consequent to doing directed, conditioned, things to get reinforcement. Where is anything free or willed in that? Producing sub-vocalizations as being evidence of where thought originates is just mush. Going in to any behavior one finds it driven not originating.

Or, it you prefer, those things upon which you suggest will exercises are evolved, determined by modifications in pervious instructions, not originating from consciousness. Those things through which response flows is generated from sensed and experienced external events, adaptations to the world retained consequent of fitness. Not a whole lot of free anything there.

As for the dangling David that he 'volunteered'? Hogwash. Machina est. David is written following a societally driven program. Remember. David is an example why man should follow the 'teachings' of some imaginary faerie.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!

Our ''our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are'' are equally determined by determinants beyond our control or ability to alter through an act of will.

A person need not be the cause of themselves in order to be the cause of other events. This notion that a "real" cause must not have any prior causes is absurd, because there are no causes that can pass that test. Every prior cause of me would fail that test, because it also has prior causes, and they too have prior causes, ad infinitum. So, unless you wish to assert that there are no "real" causes to be found anywhere, it is best to drop that requirement.

Will itself is determined.

YES! A person's deliberate will is causally determined by the choosing operation. The prior cause of any deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.

We have the ability to process information and respond to our inputs, but that is determined by genetic makeup, neural architecture ...

That's all us. The ability to process information is us. Our genetic makeup is us. Our neural architecture and our brain is us. These are not external determinants. They are us in the act of determining what we will do.

... and the environment acting upon us, ...

And that's not us, but rather an external influence, such as the issue we've encountered that requires us to make a choice.

... we have will, the drive to act and respond, but will is a reflection of the elements that determine its expression.

The most important elements that determine our will are all us.

We have volition, but volition is not free will. We have Will, but Will is not Free Will.

Correct. Free will is about the choosing operation that causally determines our will. Was this choosing operation free of coercion or not free of coercion? Was this choosing operation free of significant mental illness that impaired our reasoning, or distorted our view of reality with hallucinations, or imposed upon us an irresistible impulse, or not free of these extraordinary influences?

''Volition - the cognitive process by which an organism decides on and commits to a particular course of action.''

Similar to the OED, "Volition, n. 1. a. With a and plural. An act of willing or resolving; a decision or choice made after due consideration or deliberation; a resolution or determination."

Volition is a synonym for will. It is something we have chosen (resolved or determined) to do. Both definitions include the fact that our will is usually the result of a choosing operation ("an organism decides on", "due consideration or deliberation"). And then this chosen intent motivates and directs our subsequent actions ("commits to a particular course of action", "a resolution or determination" to do something.

Will - used to express capability or sufficiency

Good grief, that's meaning number 7, and their example is "the back seat will hold three passengers". Not quite the topic we're discussing here.

3: the act, process, or experience of willing : VOLITION
4a: mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending

The "will" we are discussing here is our chosen intent for the immediate or distant future. And you will see "choosing" and "intending" in many of those definitions listed. However, we are not concerned here with "wishing" or "desiring".

In the Merriam-Webster list of definitions of "will" as a verb, at the number one spot is "1 - Used to express futurity". And you will find that notion of the future in all of the subsequent definitions.

In the Merriam-Webster list of definitions of "will" as a noun, you find "1: a legal declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death". It is a person's specific intention for a distant future.

So, for our purposes, the definition I'm using for "will", as a specific intent for the immediate or distant future, something that we choose to do, and something that motivates and directs our subsequent actions, seems best.
 

Jarhyn

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DBT thinks of all choices as essentially a  Hobson's Choice. That is, they aren't real choices, because the result is always predetermined. However, Hobson's choice was even more real--the customer could have any horse in the stable as long as it was the one closest to the door. That genuine alternative was to have no horse at all. In the end, the argument comes down to sophistry, because nobody but a hard determinist defines "free choice" in such a way that it would be of no practical use to anyone, and we would just have to invent a new word for the kind of "choice" that we experience throughout our lives. Or we could just keep using "choice" the way we always have an ignore the hard determinist. It's a pity that they aren't free to invent their own vocabulary, but that's the path they've chosen to tread.

There is no choice, whether you own a horse or not is determined. If you 'decide' to buy a horse, events have inevitably brought you to the point of considering (inevitable) the purchase, followed by the purchase itself. You are a horse owner through determination/necessity.

Of course there is "choice". Even if a choice is fully determined by past events that one has no control over, it is still a choice at the point it is made. The whole point of making a choice is to act on one's understanding of how causal reality is working out, given that we don't actually know how it is working out. Whether or not the future is fully determined by past events, we still don't know how it will turn out. So we choose actions based on our best calculation. That's all we can do, and that is why people call uncoerced choice "free will". It is choice made freely within the limits of our knowledge about the future. Once it is made, we know we can't change it, but we can imagine what we would have done differently, if we had only known the future.

Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Determinism by definition fixes the outcome in each and every instance of decision making - in any given instance, it is this option for you, that option for someone else - which is the opposite of free choice. What is fixed by antecedents is not freely chosen. As the option open to you in any given instance is fixed/determined, you have the illusion of free choice.

[tʃɔɪs] NOUN
1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.
Two or more possibilities exist in the simulation of alternatives as imagined within the present material state. A probability with a higher predicted likelihood as identified by the meat is selected, chaos is added against consistency to produce unpredictable vectors against "perfect failure", and then the winner is selected.

WIthin the relevant reference frame, and yes I'm talking about reference frame as in physics, there are indeterminable events.


These local indeterminabilities, given the ostensible universal property of LOCALITY, mean that even if time is treated as "crystalline", free will exists from the perspective and within the reality of the processes in the system, from the perspective of compatibilism.

Marvin, this thread has made me ask the questions of myself and I would be remiss to not pass them on insofar as it impacts "indeterminism"

Our universe, on its most basic levels, does not change on its own. There is an interaction against something called the "virtual particle field", and this seems like a massive dice roller of sorts that resolves events.

Experiments have been done on event processes to replay and unwind them, even, and it has been discovered as far as I recall that they replay consistently. This is why I expect determinism to be probably right.

Even so, imagine this universe is as it is except that this is not consistent, and every interaction got a new dice roll. Very little would change. The universe would be less compressible, much more difficult to replay, less possibly "cheaty" on how the rolls are defined, but that is about it. And it would be "indeterministic". The real issue here is that things are only predictable down to a point and we have measures beyond what point prediction is not possible. From the perspective of meat inside the universe in question, really the best we can do is understand the architecture of events in our universe, and acknowledge there is a stream of input that is indistinguishable from randomness, and events which after time function well enough as such.
 

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Marvin, this thread has made me ask the questions of myself and I would be remiss to not pass them on insofar as it impacts "indeterminism"

I trust that there is no causal indeterminism, but only predictive indeterminism. Every event is reliably caused, but we do not always know the causes. Every event is brought about by reliable causal mechanism, but we do not completely understand all of these mechanisms. Random or chaotic events are problems of prediction, our inability to determine (know) the cause or to understand the mechanism.

Our universe, on its most basic levels, does not change on its own.

I would have to disagree. Our universe consists of "stuff, in motion and transformation". Changing and transforming is just something that the universe does, constantly. But it does so in a perfectly reliable fashion, even though we cannot understand or predict all events. The biggest transformation is the collapse of the universe into a super-dense ball of matter, a huge black hole, and then to expand again in a Big Bang where stars and planets and all the more familiar stuff shows up.

There is an interaction against something called the "virtual particle field", and this seems like a massive dice roller of sorts that resolves events.

I'm afraid the interaction of particles is beyond my ken (and my Barbie, too). But I agree that everything is constantly being resorted (but in a reliable way).

Experiments have been done on event processes to replay and unwind them, even, and it has been discovered as far as I recall that they replay consistently. This is why I expect determinism to be probably right.

I'm pretty sure that is not something happening in any scientific experiment. It is rather a thought experiment, rather than a scientific one. But, we can always rewind a tape recording and play it back, and it will always produce the same images.

... The real issue here is that things are only predictable down to a point and we have measures beyond what point prediction is not possible.

Exactly.

From the perspective of meat inside the universe in question, really the best we can do is understand the architecture of events in our universe, and acknowledge there is a stream of input that is indistinguishable from randomness, and events which after time function well enough as such.

Right. But I take offense at being referred to as "meat" until I'm dead. Even in "Stranger in a Strange Land" people were not treated as meat until after they died, and then they were eaten ceremonially by their friends and family.
 

pood

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@Marvin, Yes, even if all our choosing operations were made unconsciously, they are still ours. We are our brains.

As I recall in the Libet experiments, volunteers were have found to make decisions subconsciously before becoming aware of their choices, but also when they became conscious of then they had the conscious ability to veto them. Someone called this “free won’t” but it’s all just the same thing — free will.

Hard determinists seem to think that for us to have “true” free will, some form of dualism must obtain — that there must be some kind of homunculus in the brain that guides its operations, including the subconscious ones, to create a preferred outcome. Inputs to the brain are not enough for free will, their argument seems to be. But of course the homunculus model posits an infinite regress of homunculi, for how does the first homunculus decide what to do?

We make decisions based on inputs to the brain, said inputs being both subconsciously and consciously acted upon. Of course the inputs in their totality determine our responses after a fashion, but this does not negate the idea of free will because free will depends upon these inputs to be reified. If our actions are not determined by their inputs, whatever else would they be determined by? But because “I’m hungry” determines, after a fashion, my decision to eat, it doesn’t mean that I must eat, or that I have no choice in what I eat. Acting without coercion on antecedent events after due deliberation is free will. If one wishes to deny this, the whole thing collapses to a terminological dispute that in my view will never be settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

I should add though, to return to the main topic of this thrtead, that quantum indeterminism really is indeterministic. It’s not a matter of being unaware of the causes.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
You put the cart before the horse.

What you think we decide as conscious thought is subvocal text about what our processes arrived to as a way forward after we've processed what we've received. Our conscious did not decide anything. That which we subvocalize is also driven by past 'decisions' and calculations from memory so we show as consistent face to others. The combined processing merely rose to parroted vocalizations of more or less automatic switching of routines conditioned within our working brain. aided by a squirt and twitch or two triggered by even earlier reactive process actions.

You can't even find legs for your position on which it can stand.

My view is that consciousness, the one articulating, arose after language became possible during our development of capabilities for toolmaking and even then it had to wait for the rise of visualizing processes.

I say this because your example of David as being significant re capabilities depended on David being able to see the possibility that defeating one would do the job of winning the day. Merely having a slingshot would accomplish nothing otherwise. All of that is necessary for that event to take place and all of that can be explained by capabilities evolving to conditions. No wiling needed. Indeed the apparent existence of such is not possible without the antecedent capabilities already inherent in the individual.

The notion that we're all sleepwalking through our decision-making is a bit far-fetched. Consider the person making a significant decision, like buying a car or deciding where to vacation, who uses pencil and paper to list the pros and cons of their different options. Or consider a group of people, like a Parent-Teacher Association or a government legislature, who work together to formally discuss alternatives and vote to make a decision. Or visit Amazon's Books section and see the many books to help people make better decisions.

Even in minimalist experiments, like those of Benjamin Libet, the subject must be awake in order to volunteer to participate, and must be awake to view the equipment they must use, and must be awake to hear the instructions to know what they are expected to do. The subject's participation in the experiment is motivated by their initial willingness to do so. A choice they are expected to make free of coercion and undue influence (see "voluntary" in your favorite dictionary).

Even if all our decisions were made unconsciously, they would still be choosing operations. The customers in the restaurant would still browse the menu, consider their options, and output a single choice in the form of an "I will", such as "I will have the Chef Salad, please". And, the waiter would take their order, bring them their meal, and later bring them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act. No one forced the customer to come in, sit down, and order the salad.

Now, suppose someone did. Not a guy with a gun, but simply the child's mother. The child sees the deserts on the menu and insists upon a fudge sundae for lunch. The mother vetoes this and orders him the Chef Salad instead. The child eats the salad, but it was not a choice of his own free will. It was his mother's choice. And the waiter will bring the bill to the mother, not the child.

Oh, and David was willing to fight Goliath. Had he not been willing to do so, then someone else would have to, or the battle would be lost.

So, this "No wiling needed." mantra does not hold water.

Awake. Now there's a neat perversion. Transect the brain at the pons and, wallah, a sleeping being no matter what. Goes back to 1948, that little nugget. Remove communication from systems at a given level and the brain, source of mind, is a wasteland.

Well, if you do damage to specific parts of the brain you will disrupt specific functions. Conscious awareness is just one of the many functions of our brain. Michael Graziano, in "Consciousness and the Social Brain", locates awareness in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the adjacent temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). Injuries to this area can result in Hemispatial Neglect Syndrome, where the patient loses awareness of half his field of vision. Items on one side of the room (usually the left side) never show up in conscious awareness, until you walk him to the other end of the room and turn him around.

This is not a loss of vision, but an actual loss of awareness. Toss a ball at the patient from the missing side and he will reflexively bat it away, but he won't be able to explain why he did it. He is simply unaware of that side of the room and unaware that he is missing anything. To miss it would require awareness. But the part of the brain that would provide that awareness of unawareness is no longer functioning.

My entire presentation demonstrates other than conscious is essential, that conscious is an artifact of response. No way for decisions to originates there.

Well, dear friend, decisions must originate somewhere, because there is a crowd of people in the restaurant browsing the menu and deciding what they will have for dinner. And if the actual decision-making is occurring beneath awareness, then those brain areas had best bring it to conscious awareness in time to answer the waiter's question, "What will you have for dinner?" Otherwise they will go hungry.

I'm not a fan of behaviorism but they do demonstrate any mammal can manage interacting with a manipulandum to get nourishment. Animals are conditioned to respond to change or perform. What behavior follows is consequent to doing directed, conditioned, things to get reinforcement. Where is anything free or willed in that?

Well, if the behavior is being manipulated by the experimenter, this would not be a case of free will. And most people would consider such external manipulation to be an unfree choice. See: "It’s OK if ‘my brain made me do it’: People’s intuitions about free will and neuroscientific prediction".

Producing sub-vocalizations as being evidence of where thought originates is just mush. Going in to any behavior one finds it driven not originating.

The question, though, is who is in the driver's seat. The brain is driving the behavior and choosing what the body will do, and that same brain is providing the explanation for its actions. That brain, inside that specific person, is clearly in the driver's seat.

Or, it you prefer, those things upon which you suggest will exercises are evolved, determined by modifications in pervious instructions, not originating from consciousness.

Every event has a history of prior causes going back to any point in time. But the most meaningful and relevant causes are usually the most direct causes. For example, the event of deliberate choosing is usually the most meaningful and relevant cause of a deliberate act. And if you want an explanation of that choosing, you'll need to ask that brain to provide a verbal explanation. And if you want to alter that process of deliberation, then you'd best be prepared to spend a lot of time counseling that person, to help them make better choices in the future.

Those things through which response flows is generated from sensed and experienced external events, adaptations to the world retained consequent of fitness. Not a whole lot of free anything there.

You seem to be ignoring the process of deliberation. For example, "If I do this, then how will I explain it?" You see, most of us as children have been asked the simple question, "Why did you do that?" And we've learned that the world expects us to explain our actions.
 

Marvin Edwards

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@Marvin, Yes, even if all our choosing operations were made unconsciously, they are still ours. We are our brains.

As I recall in the Libet experiments, volunteers were have found to make decisions subconsciously before becoming aware of their choices, but also when they became conscious of then they had the conscious ability to veto them. Someone called this “free won’t” but it’s all just the same thing — free will.

Yes, I remember that the ability to cancel the choice at the last moment was discussed in that first Libet experiment.
Hard determinists seem to think that for us to have “true” free will, some form of dualism must obtain — that there must be some kind of homunculus in the brain that guides its operations, including the subconscious ones, to create a preferred outcome. Inputs to the brain are not enough for free will, their argument seems to be. But of course the homunculus model posits an infinite regress of homunculi, for how does the first homunculus decide what to do?

Good point.
We make decisions based on inputs to the brain, said inputs being both subconsciously and consciously acted upon. Of course the inputs in their totality determine our responses after a fashion, but this does not negate the idea of free will because free will depends upon these inputs to be reified. If our actions are not determined by their inputs, whatever else would they be determined by? But because “I’m hungry” determines, after a fashion, my decision to eat, it doesn’t mean that I must eat, or that I have no choice in what I eat. Acting without coercion on antecedent events after due deliberation is free will. If one wishes to deny this, the whole thing collapses to a terminological dispute that in my view will never be settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

To me, the key is that the most significant inputs to the deliberation process come from within us, and are essential parts of who and what we are. No prior cause of us can participate in the deliberation process without first becoming a part of who and what we are. In the end it is truly we, ourselves, that are making the choice.

I should add though, to return to the main topic of this thread, that quantum indeterminism really is indeterministic. It’s not a matter of being unaware of the causes.

Well, we're going to different churches on that one. I will hold to my belief that all events are reliably caused, even random and chaotic events.
 

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Marvin, this thread has made me ask the questions of myself and I would be remiss to not pass them on insofar as it impacts "indeterminism"

I trust that there is no causal indeterminism, but only predictive indeterminism. Every event is reliably caused, but we do not always know the causes. Every event is brought about by reliable causal mechanism, but we do not completely understand all of these mechanisms. Random or chaotic events are problems of prediction, our inability to determine (know) the cause or to understand the mechanism.

Our universe, on its most basic levels, does not change on its own.

I would have to disagree. Our universe consists of "stuff, in motion and transformation". Changing and transforming is just something that the universe does, constantly. But it does so in a perfectly reliable fashion, even though we cannot understand or predict all events. The biggest transformation is the collapse of the universe into a super-dense ball of matter, a huge black hole, and then to expand again in a Big Bang where stars and planets and all the more familiar stuff shows up.

There is an interaction against something called the "virtual particle field", and this seems like a massive dice roller of sorts that resolves events.

I'm afraid the interaction of particles is beyond my ken (and my Barbie, too). But I agree that everything is constantly being resorted (but in a reliable way).

Experiments have been done on event processes to replay and unwind them, even, and it has been discovered as far as I recall that they replay consistently. This is why I expect determinism to be probably right.

I'm pretty sure that is not something happening in any scientific experiment. It is rather a thought experiment, rather than a scientific one. But, we can always rewind a tape recording and play it back, and it will always produce the same images.

... The real issue here is that things are only predictable down to a point and we have measures beyond what point prediction is not possible.

Exactly.

From the perspective of meat inside the universe in question, really the best we can do is understand the architecture of events in our universe, and acknowledge there is a stream of input that is indistinguishable from randomness, and events which after time function well enough as such.

Right. But I take offense at being referred to as "meat" until I'm dead. Even in "Stranger in a Strange Land" people were not treated as meat until after they died, and then they were eaten ceremonially by their friends and family.
I am a creature of meat. Together this meat has made something more, I ken. There is an image in it now that will fade and disrupt when I die -- whose loss from the universe in majority is my death.

Personally I hope there is a secret order to the resolution: a compressibility, replayability, and secret sequentialness to the resolution of our universe because it means that if I exist proximally enough to a unique enough event in that sequence, I stand to be reinstantiated by whatever may observe this set, if only for the sake of better understanding "what happened here?"

Regardless, I hope to run a good bicentennial myself, here. I expect somewhere around the halfway point I'm going to need to re-instantiate somehow. I'm confident we're going to know how by the time I have to worry too badly about it. I expect "mri scan someone, the freezie-pop them and take a layer-by-layer picture of them as at as high a resolution as we can" will be something that can be done well enough by the time I'm in a condition to want it done of me, and then we can experiment with putting the full monte we find of it in different media.

But even without that, perhaps what happens here, owing to some algorithmic simplicity of description for this thing, and thus likely discovery or instantiation elsewhere in any other such thing as can host it, may afford such.

It is not so much that things are being resorted so much as...

There is a configuration of matter in relative proximity to a place.

The proximal configuration could, based on it's theoretical constituent parts, be arranged in some other way that is more stable.

IFF a virtual particle configuration happens at this nexus that represents an improvement of stability within the system, then that configuration takes precedence: an event happens and the universe is different. Stability happens and the instability winks out of existence as far as I am aware.
 

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Messed up the quote system, doubled up posts, multiple quotes, bah.

The 'selection' - how things go within a determined system- is not subject to freely willed regulation. If free will is the point, nothing is actually being freely willed. Desires are formed and acted upon according to the state of the system and the information acting upon it. To label this as 'free will' is absurd.
 

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@Marvin, Yes, even if all our choosing operations were made unconsciously, they are still ours. We are our brains.

As I recall in the Libet experiments, volunteers were have found to make decisions subconsciously before becoming aware of their choices, but also when they became conscious of then they had the conscious ability to veto them. Someone called this “free won’t” but it’s all just the same thing — free will.

Yes, I remember that the ability to cancel the choice at the last moment was discussed in that first Libet experiment.
Hard determinists seem to think that for us to have “true” free will, some form of dualism must obtain — that there must be some kind of homunculus in the brain that guides its operations, including the subconscious ones, to create a preferred outcome. Inputs to the brain are not enough for free will, their argument seems to be. But of course the homunculus model posits an infinite regress of homunculi, for how does the first homunculus decide what to do?

Good point.
We make decisions based on inputs to the brain, said inputs being both subconsciously and consciously acted upon. Of course the inputs in their totality determine our responses after a fashion, but this does not negate the idea of free will because free will depends upon these inputs to be reified. If our actions are not determined by their inputs, whatever else would they be determined by? But because “I’m hungry” determines, after a fashion, my decision to eat, it doesn’t mean that I must eat, or that I have no choice in what I eat. Acting without coercion on antecedent events after due deliberation is free will. If one wishes to deny this, the whole thing collapses to a terminological dispute that in my view will never be settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

To me, the key is that the most significant inputs to the deliberation process come from within us, and are essential parts of who and what we are. No prior cause of us can participate in the deliberation process without first becoming a part of who and what we are. In the end it is truly we, ourselves, that are making the choice.

I should add though, to return to the main topic of this thread, that quantum indeterminism really is indeterministic. It’s not a matter of being unaware of the causes.

Well, we're going to different churches on that one. I will hold to my belief that all events are reliably caused, even random and chaotic events.

That 'we are our brain' doesn't establish freedom will. Everything that has a brain can only act according to whatever their brain architecture produces, not their will. Will is not free, it plays its determined behavioral role.

The ''selfhood'' argument fails to establish freedom of will.

''Some compatibilist might say that our brains changing are “us” (a sort of “selfhood” argument), but they neglect the fact that our brains do not just change through an internal process alone and even if it did, why wouldn’t a tumor be considered an internal process? Why are abnormal processes excluded from such “selfhood” here? Again, the normal/abnormal distinction is arbitrary, when people have as much control over their incremental brain changes than they do a quicker change due to a tumor.

I think these ideas stem from slow, incremental brain changes giving people an illusion of control, where as fast changes drop that illusion.

Imagine, if you will, that 10 years from now your brain will be configured as very different from what it is today. Your environmental and biological conditions lead to someone with many different beliefs, ideas, and the way you decide on things is drastically different. Now imagine that your brain took a leap from one state to the other in an instant. To others around you it would appear you are behaving entirely differently. That you were no longer “you”. Something happened to change your brain, and you had no control over that happening. Your “programming” was changed and you had no say over the change! The main difference between than brain state and the one that took ten years to get to is the time and causal process.''
 

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!

Our ''our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are'' are equally determined by determinants beyond our control or ability to alter through an act of will.

A person need not be the cause of themselves in order to be the cause of other events. This notion that a "real" cause must not have any prior causes is absurd, because there are no causes that can pass that test. Every prior cause of me would fail that test, because it also has prior causes, and they too have prior causes, ad infinitum. So, unless you wish to assert that there are no "real" causes to be found anywhere, it is best to drop that requirement.

Will itself is determined.

YES! A person's deliberate will is causally determined by the choosing operation. The prior cause of any deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.

We have the ability to process information and respond to our inputs, but that is determined by genetic makeup, neural architecture ...

That's all us. The ability to process information is us. Our genetic makeup is us. Our neural architecture and our brain is us. These are not external determinants. They are us in the act of determining what we will do.

... and the environment acting upon us, ...

And that's not us, but rather an external influence, such as the issue we've encountered that requires us to make a choice.

... we have will, the drive to act and respond, but will is a reflection of the elements that determine its expression.

The most important elements that determine our will are all us.

We have volition, but volition is not free will. We have Will, but Will is not Free Will.

Correct. Free will is about the choosing operation that causally determines our will. Was this choosing operation free of coercion or not free of coercion? Was this choosing operation free of significant mental illness that impaired our reasoning, or distorted our view of reality with hallucinations, or imposed upon us an irresistible impulse, or not free of these extraordinary influences?

''Volition - the cognitive process by which an organism decides on and commits to a particular course of action.''

Similar to the OED, "Volition, n. 1. a. With a and plural. An act of willing or resolving; a decision or choice made after due consideration or deliberation; a resolution or determination."

Volition is a synonym for will. It is something we have chosen (resolved or determined) to do. Both definitions include the fact that our will is usually the result of a choosing operation ("an organism decides on", "due consideration or deliberation"). And then this chosen intent motivates and directs our subsequent actions ("commits to a particular course of action", "a resolution or determination" to do something.

Will - used to express capability or sufficiency

Good grief, that's meaning number 7, and their example is "the back seat will hold three passengers". Not quite the topic we're discussing here.

3: the act, process, or experience of willing : VOLITION
4a: mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending

The "will" we are discussing here is our chosen intent for the immediate or distant future. And you will see "choosing" and "intending" in many of those definitions listed. However, we are not concerned here with "wishing" or "desiring".

In the Merriam-Webster list of definitions of "will" as a verb, at the number one spot is "1 - Used to express futurity". And you will find that notion of the future in all of the subsequent definitions.

In the Merriam-Webster list of definitions of "will" as a noun, you find "1: a legal declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death". It is a person's specific intention for a distant future.

So, for our purposes, the definition I'm using for "will", as a specific intent for the immediate or distant future, something that we choose to do, and something that motivates and directs our subsequent actions, seems best.

Mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring or intending is the brain responding to its environment and information exchange. What a brain or the condition it is in is not freely willed.

Arguing that this is 'self,' 'me' or 'us' doesn't equate to freedom of will. If there are lesions, tumors, chemical imbalances, etc, present, these are equally ''us'' and the behaviour that is produced by the presence of these conditions, though undesirable, unwanted, unchosen are equally 'us' or 'self'

''The brain state you have at any given moment is dictated by causal processes that are ultimately out of your control. To dismiss this because we “want”, “desire”, “make decisions”, and so on, but then use qualifiers to disqualify other causal mechanisms that would play into those wants, desires, or decision making processes because they seem “less free” – is to make arbitrary distinctions between what causal processes grant “free will” and what one’s prevent “free will”. These arbitrary qualifiers miss the greater point, which is that we don’t have this free will: FREE WILL and no process is “more free”.
 

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Neither space nor time are absolutes, and as a result, the concepts of past, present, and future are only coherent to a specified observer or reference frame.

It's therefore inescapable that the future is as immutable as the past (because any observer's future could be another observer's past); But of course this has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of choice, due to the inaccessibility of information about their own future to any specific observer.

I can't fully agree. Nobody can observe the future, since we all live in the present (technically, a few milliseconds before we process incoming sense data). From our perspective, the future is always going to be unobservable, and there may be a good reason for that. We are ephemeral beings that come equipped with a central nervous system that makes reasonable guesses about what the future will be. We can only imagine various outcomes without ever perceiving any that are not happening to us in the moment. We manage to reconstruct imaginary events from the past by drawing on memory associations, which are not always reliable. The past will always appear immutable and the future mutable. Imagination allows us to take on different perspectives, but they only exist in our imagination, including the ones that represent future possibilities. The term "free will" is only going to make sense in a context that we make sense of.

Free will is entirely illusory, from a 'god's eye view', but nobody has that view, and freedom of choice stems not from the absence of inevitability, but from the absence of predictability.

Bingo!

I can't choose a different breakfast to have had yesterday; And I can't choose a different breakfast than the one I am going to have tomorrow - but I can't know which breakfast I am going to have tomorrow until I get to tomorrow, so it's entirely my choice what it will be.

There is the additional wrinkle that there might be many different realities spun off of quantum interactions and that the future you end up in is only one of those. Alternate versions of your self could exist in different futures. At least, that is one interpretation of how quantum reality works.
The choice of breakfast is a macro event that is not usually very strongly affected by random quantum effects. So in practice, you're 99.9999...% sure to have fish for breakfast tomorrow, even if you don't know it today, and only a very small chance of something else.

Unless you are a physicist who's rigged a machine to observe whether some radioactive isotope that has a roughly 50-50 chance of decaying, will actually decay, and then chooses his breakfast based on the result of the observation. But I would argue that most people are not hypothetical physicists trying to make a point, nor are most our choices by accident so on the fence that they'd be perturbed by quantum mechanical random events.
 

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Marvin, the world of quantum mechanics is not science fiction but straight science. The problem is that all the metaphorical interpretations of QM seem like science fiction. That's what led physicist David Mermin to coin the expression "Shut up and calculate", which was intended to stop all of crazy attempts to explain it in an intuitive manner. Unfortunately, science isn't just about measurement and calculation. That's more what engineers do. Theoretical physicists try to create intuitively satisfying (i.e. causal) models of how physical events work. But QM behaves in such a strange way that it looks like causation in the physical world is just an illusion, which was very disturbing to Einstein. Everett's MWI has become popular precisely because it restores determinism to the quantum world, but at the expense of positing an infinite (or near infinite) number of alternative realities. People find that idea extremely troubling. Sean M Carroll's book explores that discomfort, explains why he thinks MWI is the most plausible of all interpretations of QM, and explores a number of different alternatives to it. So I would recommend looking at his book, if you are interested. It was written for folks who don't care for the notion of "many worlds".

To your other points, I would point out that future possibilities all occur in the MWI framework. We just end up finding ourselves in one of the possibilities. There are other versions of us that find themselves in different realities, and there is no way for any of us to observe or detect those other realities. So I fully endorse the points you are making about freedom of choice in the reality that we find ourselves living in--only one of the possible future realities at the time we were making the decision. If we don't bother looking at quantum events, then we can only observe a deterministic reality, because your choices don't affect the past. The wave collapse into a reality only occurs during observation with a recording device of some kind. As Carroll puts it, the recording device becomes entangled with the phenomenon it is interacting with. Future wave collapses are only probabilistically determined.

Sorry, but I don't go along with that. QM works in the same real world with the rest of us. Many possibilities resolve into one reality. There is never more than one real future. However there are always a multitude of possible futures. The multitude of possible futures are located solely within our imagination. The single real future will exist in empirical reality.

"Real future" seems like a contrivance, because it's just as imaginary as all the other futures until it's no longer the future.
 

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That 'we are our brain' doesn't establish freedom will.

Free will is established by every case where we choose for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. This is operational free will, a deterministic event which is used to assess a person's responsibility for their actions.

Free will is, just like all other events, a causally necessary event. But the fact of causal necessity plays no meaningful role in understanding free will (or anything else for that matter).

Coercion and other extraordinary influences can impair or remove our free will on a cases by case basis. When a guy with a gun forces us to subjugate our will to his, then we do not have free will in that case. When our brain is injured or mentally ill, such that we are unable to perform a rational choosing operation, then we do not have free will.



Everything that has a brain can only act according to whatever their brain architecture produces, not their will. Will is not free, it plays its determined behavioral role.

The brain causally determines will by choosing what we will do. Will I have an apple or will I have an orange? I had an apple this morning, so I will have an orange now. That is how will is causally determined.

Trick Slattery said:
The ''selfhood'' argument fails to establish freedom of will.
''Some compatibilist might say that our brains changing are “us” (a sort of “selfhood” argument), but they neglect the fact that our brains do not just change through an internal process alone ...

What our brain does, it does. What the environment does, it does. Both our selves and the environment are part of the real world.

But the choosing process happens entirely within our own brains. And it is the choosing process that actually alters the brain, creating the will to do something, and it is then that will to do something, that motivates and directs our subsequent actions, as we carry out our chosen intent.

Trick Slattery said:
... and even if it did, why wouldn’t a tumor be considered an internal process?

Assuming the tumor interferes with our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do, then it is indeed a part of the internal process, but only as an extraordinary influence that disrupts the normal process.

Trick Slattery said:
Why are abnormal processes excluded from such “selfhood” here? Again, the normal/abnormal distinction is arbitrary, when people have as much control over their incremental brain changes than they do a quicker change due to a tumor.

Abnormal internal process are not excluded at all. They are treated as extraordinary influences that either impair or remove a person's ability to decide for themselves what they will do. The distinction between a normal process and an abnormal process is quite important. If there is significant mental illness then that will be treated medically and psychiatrically. If there is no mental illness, then there is no need for medical or psychiatric remedies.

Despite the significance of of this distinction, hard determinists try to bury it. They instead insist that we abandon such distinctions because they can both be chalked up to causal necessity. The absurdity of this argument is that all all meaningful distinctions can be removed by the same argument, because all events are equally causally necessary, without distinction.

If causal necessity can be used to bury one distinction, then it can bury them all. And half of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions and the other half is the ability to infer generalities. So going along with the hard determinists would make us all half wits.

Trick Slattery said:
I think these ideas stem from slow, incremental brain changes giving people an illusion of control, where as fast changes drop that illusion.
Imagine, if you will, that 10 years from now your brain will be configured as very different from what it is today. Your environmental and biological conditions lead to someone with many different beliefs, ideas, and the way you decide on things is drastically different. Now imagine that your brain took a leap from one state to the other in an instant. To others around you it would appear you are behaving entirely differently. That you were no longer “you”. Something happened to change your brain, and you had no control over that happening. Your “programming” was changed and you had no say over the change! The main difference between than brain state and the one that took ten years to get to is the time and causal process.''

Ironically, one of the things that has not changed over the past 60 years, is the simple solution to the determinism "versus" free will paradox. There is no conflict between the notion that my choices are both reliably caused (determinism) and that they are reliably caused by me (free will).

People do not have an "illusion" of control. People empirically observe themselves controlling things, whether it be walking to the kitchen, driving a car, or choosing for ourselves what we will do. There is no illusion here.

On the other hand, the hard determinists have this delusion in which an entity called "determinism" is controlling everyone's choices from before they were even born. They view reliable cause and effect as a constraint, when actually reliable causal mechanism are the very things that enable every freedom that we have to do anything at all.
 

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The point is that 'our choice' is not a free will choice. Our choice, what we have for breakfast tomorrow or whatever is determined by countless factors, place, time culture, preferences developed through experience, an interaction of genes and environment, biology, how you feel in the morning, etc, etc....not some magical freedom of the will or a play of words to that effect, that will is in reality free.
Among those "countless factors" that causally determine our choice you will find our own goals and our own reasons, our own genetic dispositions, our own prior life experiences, our own thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make us uniquely who and what we are. And as long as it remains us that is the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice, then our experience of choosing for ourselves what we will do is an empirical truth about the real world. It is not an illusion.

The choice is not free of causation. It is most certainly reliably caused. But it is a fact, of reality, that our own deliberation was the most meaningful and relevant cause of that choice. We are not having any illusions about it. It was really us.

But suppose it wasn't really us? Suppose someone with a gun forced us to do something against our will? In that case we would not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do. By the threat of lethal harm, the guy with the gun subjugates our will to his.

And it is because of such possibilities that we need to make the distinction between cases where we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do (free will) versus cases where we are not (not free will).

Whether the choice was of our own free will or whether it was forced upon us by a guy with a gun, it will always be a matter of causal necessity.

And that is the problem with the notion of causal necessity. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any two events. It gives us nothing we can use to make any practical human decision. All it can tell us is "I don't know what you will decide, but it will be causally necessary from any prior point in time". And that is not helpful information!
You put the cart before the horse.

What you think we decide as conscious thought is subvocal text about what our processes arrived to as a way forward after we've processed what we've received. Our conscious did not decide anything. That which we subvocalize is also driven by past 'decisions' and calculations from memory so we show as consistent face to others. The combined processing merely rose to parroted vocalizations of more or less automatic switching of routines conditioned within our working brain. aided by a squirt and twitch or two triggered by even earlier reactive process actions.

You can't even find legs for your position on which it can stand.

My view is that consciousness, the one articulating, arose after language became possible during our development of capabilities for toolmaking and even then it had to wait for the rise of visualizing processes.

I say this because your example of David as being significant re capabilities depended on David being able to see the possibility that defeating one would do the job of winning the day. Merely having a slingshot would accomplish nothing otherwise. All of that is necessary for that event to take place and all of that can be explained by capabilities evolving to conditions. No wiling needed. Indeed the apparent existence of such is not possible without the antecedent capabilities already inherent in the individual.

The notion that we're all sleepwalking through our decision-making is a bit far-fetched. Consider the person making a significant decision, like buying a car or deciding where to vacation, who uses pencil and paper to list the pros and cons of their different options. Or consider a group of people, like a Parent-Teacher Association or a government legislature, who work together to formally discuss alternatives and vote to make a decision. Or visit Amazon's Books section and see the many books to help people make better decisions.

Even in minimalist experiments, like those of Benjamin Libet, the subject must be awake in order to volunteer to participate, and must be awake to view the equipment they must use, and must be awake to hear the instructions to know what they are expected to do. The subject's participation in the experiment is motivated by their initial willingness to do so. A choice they are expected to make free of coercion and undue influence (see "voluntary" in your favorite dictionary).

Even if all our decisions were made unconsciously, they would still be choosing operations. The customers in the restaurant would still browse the menu, consider their options, and output a single choice in the form of an "I will", such as "I will have the Chef Salad, please". And, the waiter would take their order, bring them their meal, and later bring them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act. No one forced the customer to come in, sit down, and order the salad.

Now, suppose someone did. Not a guy with a gun, but simply the child's mother. The child sees the deserts on the menu and insists upon a fudge sundae for lunch. The mother vetoes this and orders him the Chef Salad instead. The child eats the salad, but it was not a choice of his own free will. It was his mother's choice. And the waiter will bring the bill to the mother, not the child.

Oh, and David was willing to fight Goliath. Had he not been willing to do so, then someone else would have to, or the battle would be lost.

So, this "No wiling needed." mantra does not hold water.

Awake. Now there's a neat perversion. Transect the brain at the pons and, wallah, a sleeping being no matter what. Goes back to 1948, that little nugget. Remove communication from systems at a given level and the brain, source of mind, is a wasteland.

Well, if you do damage to specific parts of the brain you will disrupt specific functions. Conscious awareness is just one of the many functions of our brain. Michael Graziano, in "Consciousness and the Social Brain", locates awareness in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the adjacent temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). Injuries to this area can result in Hemispatial Neglect Syndrome, where the patient loses awareness of half his field of vision. Items on one side of the room (usually the left side) never show up in conscious awareness, until you walk him to the other end of the room and turn him around.

This is not a loss of vision, but an actual loss of awareness. Toss a ball at the patient from the missing side and he will reflexively bat it away, but he won't be able to explain why he did it. He is simply unaware of that side of the room and unaware that he is missing anything. To miss it would require awareness. But the part of the brain that would provide that awareness of unawareness is no longer functioning.

My entire presentation demonstrates other than conscious is essential, that conscious is an artifact of response. No way for decisions to originates there.

Well, dear friend, decisions must originate somewhere, because there is a crowd of people in the restaurant browsing the menu and deciding what they will have for dinner. And if the actual decision-making is occurring beneath awareness, then those brain areas had best bring it to conscious awareness in time to answer the waiter's question, "What will you have for dinner?" Otherwise they will go hungry.

I'm not a fan of behaviorism but they do demonstrate any mammal can manage interacting with a manipulandum to get nourishment. Animals are conditioned to respond to change or perform. What behavior follows is consequent to doing directed, conditioned, things to get reinforcement. Where is anything free or willed in that?

Well, if the behavior is being manipulated by the experimenter, this would not be a case of free will. And most people would consider such external manipulation to be an unfree choice. See: "It’s OK if ‘my brain made me do it’: People’s intuitions about free will and neuroscientific prediction".

Producing sub-vocalizations as being evidence of where thought originates is just mush. Going in to any behavior one finds it driven not originating.

The question, though, is who is in the driver's seat. The brain is driving the behavior and choosing what the body will do, and that same brain is providing the explanation for its actions. That brain, inside that specific person, is clearly in the driver's seat.

Or, it you prefer, those things upon which you suggest will exercises are evolved, determined by modifications in pervious instructions, not originating from consciousness.

Every event has a history of prior causes going back to any point in time. But the most meaningful and relevant causes are usually the most direct causes. For example, the event of deliberate choosing is usually the most meaningful and relevant cause of a deliberate act. And if you want an explanation of that choosing, you'll need to ask that brain to provide a verbal explanation. And if you want to alter that process of deliberation, then you'd best be prepared to spend a lot of time counseling that person, to help them make better choices in the future.

Those things through which response flows is generated from sensed and experienced external events, adaptations to the world retained consequent of fitness. Not a whole lot of free anything there.

You seem to be ignoring the process of deliberation. For example, "If I do this, then how will I explain it?" You see, most of us as children have been asked the simple question, "Why did you do that?" And we've learned that the world expects us to explain our actions
You play the game backwards. We develop aptitudes and capabilities IAC with demands or we cease to exist. We use those aptitudes and capabilities to remain living. Deciding isn't a thing, it's a conceit. We do what we co IAC with demands for getting by. We congregate around systems and beliefs as social means to persist because group processing works better than individual processing most of the time. We are rational only to the extent that we can resist urges such a fight or flight or take or share. Mass impulses sometimes override individual governors putting groups at risk which suggests having more than one group is baked into our genetics as well.

What we do within in groups or between individuals is mostly driven by ceremony so 'decisions' are devices for moving forward within a pairing or group. They are effects of weighted arbitration among existing options not actions. We may ride a horse because we've developed the capacity to control certain aspects of horse behavior in return for giving the horse certain benefits with regard to shelter, cleaning, and feeding. We don't command the horse. The horse behaves as a horse with rider not as a ridden animal.

Those sensibilities you cite are basically learned social ritual and procedures IAC with the culture and groups in which we function. Most can be worked out IAC stochastic functions. Just arbitration and rationalizing with a social reference component. In your terms its explaining (rationalizing) not deciding. It's certainly constrained by expectations and capabilities. All of this is called coercion. It's not done freely.
 
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That 'we are our brain' doesn't establish freedom will.

Free will is established by every case where we choose for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. This is operational free will, a deterministic event which is used to assess a person's responsibility for their actions.

Free will is, just like all other events, a causally necessary event. But the fact of causal necessity plays no meaningful role in understanding free will (or anything else for that matter).

Coercion and other extraordinary influences can impair or remove our free will on a cases by case basis. When a guy with a gun forces us to subjugate our will to his, then we do not have free will in that case. When our brain is injured or mentally ill, such that we are unable to perform a rational choosing operation, then we do not have free will.



Everything that has a brain can only act according to whatever their brain architecture produces, not their will. Will is not free, it plays its determined behavioral role.

The brain causally determines will by choosing what we will do. Will I have an apple or will I have an orange? I had an apple this morning, so I will have an orange now. That is how will is causally determined.

Trick Slattery said:
The ''selfhood'' argument fails to establish freedom of will.
''Some compatibilist might say that our brains changing are “us” (a sort of “selfhood” argument), but they neglect the fact that our brains do not just change through an internal process alone ...

What our brain does, it does. What the environment does, it does. Both our selves and the environment are part of the real world.

But the choosing process happens entirely within our own brains. And it is the choosing process that actually alters the brain, creating the will to do something, and it is then that will to do something, that motivates and directs our subsequent actions, as we carry out our chosen intent.

Trick Slattery said:
... and even if it did, why wouldn’t a tumor be considered an internal process?

Assuming the tumor interferes with our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do, then it is indeed a part of the internal process, but only as an extraordinary influence that disrupts the normal process.

Trick Slattery said:
Why are abnormal processes excluded from such “selfhood” here? Again, the normal/abnormal distinction is arbitrary, when people have as much control over their incremental brain changes than they do a quicker change due to a tumor.

Abnormal internal process are not excluded at all. They are treated as extraordinary influences that either impair or remove a person's ability to decide for themselves what they will do. The distinction between a normal process and an abnormal process is quite important. If there is significant mental illness then that will be treated medically and psychiatrically. If there is no mental illness, then there is no need for medical or psychiatric remedies.

Despite the significance of of this distinction, hard determinists try to bury it. They instead insist that we abandon such distinctions because they can both be chalked up to causal necessity. The absurdity of this argument is that all all meaningful distinctions can be removed by the same argument, because all events are equally causally necessary, without distinction.

If causal necessity can be used to bury one distinction, then it can bury them all. And half of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions and the other half is the ability to infer generalities. So going along with the hard determinists would make us all half wits.

Trick Slattery said:
I think these ideas stem from slow, incremental brain changes giving people an illusion of control, where as fast changes drop that illusion.
Imagine, if you will, that 10 years from now your brain will be configured as very different from what it is today. Your environmental and biological conditions lead to someone with many different beliefs, ideas, and the way you decide on things is drastically different. Now imagine that your brain took a leap from one state to the other in an instant. To others around you it would appear you are behaving entirely differently. That you were no longer “you”. Something happened to change your brain, and you had no control over that happening. Your “programming” was changed and you had no say over the change! The main difference between than brain state and the one that took ten years to get to is the time and causal process.''

Ironically, one of the things that has not changed over the past 60 years, is the simple solution to the determinism "versus" free will paradox. There is no conflict between the notion that my choices are both reliably caused (determinism) and that they are reliably caused by me (free will).

People do not have an "illusion" of control. People empirically observe themselves controlling things, whether it be walking to the kitchen, driving a car, or choosing for ourselves what we will do. There is no illusion here.

On the other hand, the hard determinists have this delusion in which an entity called "determinism" is controlling everyone's choices from before they were even born. They view reliable cause and effect as a constraint, when actually reliable causal mechanism are the very things that enable every freedom that we have to do anything at all.

Compatibilist wording is carefully phrased to give an impression of freedom within a determined system. Decision making is an ability enabled by means of a brain. The brain just does what it does based on architecture, environment, inputs.

Declaring selfhood or ownership of the cognitive process, like ''My Choices'' - which is true in a sense, we are the sum total of body/brain/mind - which does not involve regulation through the agency of will or freedom of will.

Incompatibilists do not claim that determinism ''is controlling our behaviour.'' It's not as if 'our behaviour' is somehow separate from the world and its objects and events, and our behaviour could have been different if it wasn't for that pesky, meddling thing called determinism. That's not how determinism works. Nothing is separate. Nothing is being forced against its will. You may not like the way things go, but that is a matter of perception and desire, the desire for alternatives, that things could be different....if only.
 
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