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Compatibilism: What's that About?

steve_bank

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When you want to eat something, why choose one food over another?

Maybe the OP should be titled imagining quantum uncertainty and how it may relate to free will.

To m indeterminate has several contextual meanings.

When I see the word indeterminate my first thought is a causal physical problem with an insufficient number of variables to mathematically solve the problem.
 

DBT

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Compatibists understand that indeterminism doesn't support free will and that determinism doesn't allow alternate options to be realized in any given instance .....therefore a semantic construct is offered; acting in accordance with one's will.

Never mind that acting in accordance with one's will is necessitated with no deviation from whatever is determined.

Or that freedom by definition requires the possibility to do otherwise in each instance...which of course is impossible within a determined system.

And around and around it goes....but, but, but, but......!!
 

fromderinside

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The hard determinist's interpretation of reliable causation, as a monster that strips us of our control and our freedom, is spreading a false view of reliable cause and effect. The fact that we ourselves have prior causes does not change the fact that we ourselves are the true prior causes of new events.

... What exits us is cause to only the thing or event to which we are responding. We don't cause.

I don't think one can say on the one hand that our reactions cause effects, and then claim that we don't do any causing. Even if every action were a reaction, we would still be doing a heck of a lot of causing.

Our reaction doesn't become cause. That does not make us causal. Whatever exits from us is effect from external cause. Yes we are external to what we react. That doesn't make us causal since we are reacting.

No, that's still not making sense to me. Let's try an example. The Covid-19 virus reacts to its external environment by invading living cells and using that cell's material to reproduce itself. Do we, or do we not, consider the virus to be the "cause" of a disease?

Every living organism is biologically driven to survive, thrive, and reproduce. Each species is the cause of changes in its own environment, whether it be trees growing into a forest or the bees pollenating them. No living organism is merely an effect. Every effect is itself a cause.

To claim otherwise would deny the fundamental meaning of causal necessity!

It's a lame claim to say our response is cause since we are generally reactive beings. Think of things this way :whatever we do is effect."

A lame claim? It's a simple observation of nature. And if "whatever we do is effect", then why wouldn't this be true of our each of our prior causes as well? If we must pass that test then so must those prior causes. You would no longer have "causal necessity", because you would no longer have any "causes".

We convert food to usable energy but that is purely mechanical, er, biological.

And where did we get the food? Well, we got the food from the grocery store, but the food was caused by the farmers. The farmers caused the food to grow by causing the land to be tilled, causing the seeds to be planted, causing the ground to be fertilized and watered, causing the wheat and corn to be harvested.

We are thermodynamic middlemen. No intent formed. No information in no response. Information in to what we react is a effect of our position relative to our situation which is keeping things the way they are.

I'm pretty sure that the truckers and the packagers and the salesmen are the middlemen between us and the farmer.

We may deceive ourselves that we intend something when all we do is react.

Actually, taking your viewpoint seriously would be a self-deception. Humans have evolved words and concepts that help us to describe a real world rich in its variety and functions. The hard determinists seem intent upon removing these tools of our survival one by one. First goes "free will", then goes "responsibility", then goes "self", and now even "causation" exits stage right until nothing is left. All of our meaningful distinctions disappear one by one until:

It's turtles all the way down.

Well, let's hope that one of those turtles can drive a tractor...
I have a single response to all your protestations. I never said we caused anything. I said we react. If other things react to our reactions that only suggests whatever caused us to react also caused others to react to our reaction. We are but players in what caused us to react we never take on attributes of cause, we only express effect. The meaning of determinism is in there.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Compatibists understand that indeterminism doesn't support free will

Correct.

and that determinism doesn't allow alternate options to be realized in any given instance .....

Assuming we are speaking of mutually exclusive options, no one ever expects them both to be realized. Only one will be chosen, the other is the one you could have chosen, but didn't.

Both were choosable and both were realizable, if chosen. But only one was realized. The other option was a real possibility that was never actualized.

It's important to keep these things straight.

... therefore a semantic construct is offered; acting in accordance with one's will.

Free will is about one's freedom to choose one's will ("I will" do something) from a number of realizable options ("I can" do this and "I can" do that, but what "will" I do?).

Never mind that acting in accordance with one's will is necessitated with no deviation from whatever is determined.

Actually, it is the choosing that causally determines the will. That's how free will works.

Or that freedom by definition requires the possibility to do otherwise in each instance...which of course is impossible within a determined system.

Like I said above, given mutually exclusive options, no one ever expects both options to be realized. One of them becomes what you "will" do, the other becomes what you "could have" done, but didn't.

And around and around it goes....but, but, but, but......!!

Yes, apparently it does. What do you suppose we might do about this? Philosophy could, if it chooses, simply reframe their argument to be about whether "causal necessity" holds or not. Their argument would be "determinism versus indeterminism" rather than "determinism versus free will". After all, the opposite of determinism is indeterminism, not free will. And the opposite of free will is a will subjugated by coercion or undue influence, not determinism.

But they've mixed up and confused two very different subjects of study and debate. And that is why there is no resolution to be found. They say that "a problem well defined is half solved". But we do not have a well-defined problem.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I have a single response to all your protestations. I never said we caused anything. I said we react. If other things react to our reactions that only suggests whatever caused us to react also caused others to react to our reaction. We are but players in what caused us to react we never take on attributes of cause, we only express effect. The meaning of determinism is in there.

I hear you. You are saying there are no causes, there are only effects. That literally means that there are no prior causes, but only prior effects. So, how does that actually change how we behave? What is the significance of a world of reactions, with no control to be found anywhere?
 

fromderinside

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I have a single response to all your protestations. I never said we caused anything. I said we react. If other things react to our reactions that only suggests whatever caused us to react also caused others to react to our reaction. We are but players in what caused us to react we never take on attributes of cause, we only express effect. The meaning of determinism is in there.

I hear you. You are saying there are no causes, there are only effects. That literally means that there are no prior causes, but only prior effects. So, how does that actually change how we behave? What is the significance of a world of reactions, with no control to be found anywhere?
Bad hearing Marvin Edwards. I said causes are passed on in any sequence. That would be caused by there being something other than determinism operating. Determinism is controlled by "... everything after time t=0 ... are fixed by natural law."

You have just rewritten the definition of cause-effect to be, cause-effect, cause-effect, cause-effect ... . That is something different from determinism. Cause is the state of affairs at time = 0. It is not time equal zero, then repeat, repeat, repeat, ... Effect is everything after time t = 0.
 

DBT

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Compatibists understand that indeterminism doesn't support free will

Correct.

and that determinism doesn't allow alternate options to be realized in any given instance .....

Assuming we are speaking of mutually exclusive options, no one ever expects them both to be realized. Only one will be chosen, the other is the one you could have chosen, but didn't.

Both were choosable and both were realizable, if chosen. But only one was realized. The other option was a real possibility that was never actualized.

It's important to keep these things straight.

Choice means realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow options, only what is determined. Within a determined system, choice is an illusion.

The action taken is the only action possible.

The very definition of freedom demands realizable alternatives.

Freedom;

1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.

What the brain does is necessitated by the information that acts upon its systems and the actions it produces.


Behavioral response:
''To successfully interact with objects in the environment, sensory evidence must be continuously acquired, interpreted, and used to guide appropriate motor responses. For example, when driving, a red light should motivate a motor command to depress the brake pedal. Single-unit recording studies have established that simple sensorimotor transformations are mediated by the same neurons that ultimately guide the behavioral response. However, it is also possible that these sensorimotor regions are the recipients of a modality-independent decision signal that is computed elsewhere. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and human observers to show that the time course of activation in a subregion of the right insula is consistent with a role in accumulating sensory evidence independently from the required motor response modality (saccade vs manual). Furthermore, a combination of computational modeling and simulations of the blood oxygenation level-dependent response suggests that this region is not simply recruited by general arousal or by the tonic maintenance of attention during the decision process. Our data thus raise the possibility that a modality-independent representation of sensory evidence may guide activity in effector-specific cortical areas before the initiation of a behavioral response.''


Free will is about one's freedom to choose one's will ("I will" do something) from a number of realizable options ("I can" do this and "I can" do that, but what "will" I do?).

There is no freedom to choose one's will. There is no choice in what neural networks are doing. What happens within the system determines output. Damage, lesions, etc, is the state of the system that produces undesirable behavioral results, chemical imbalance is a state of the system that produces undesirable behavioral results...that a healthy, functional brain produces rational, adaptive behaviour is a state of the system that is no more subject to choice than lesions or chemical imbalances.

''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X.''
Actually, it is the choosing that causally determines the will. That's how free will works.

No choice is made. Determined actions proceed as determined. No course of action is willed or subject to change. The is no negotiation or maneuverability within a determined system.....determined actions unfold without impediment.



Yes, apparently it does. What do you suppose we might do about this? Philosophy could, if it chooses, simply reframe their argument to be about whether "causal necessity" holds or not. Their argument would be "determinism versus indeterminism" rather than "determinism versus free will". After all, the opposite of determinism is indeterminism, not free will. And the opposite of free will is a will subjugated by coercion or undue influence, not determinism.

But they've mixed up and confused two very different subjects of study and debate. And that is why there is no resolution to be found. They say that "a problem well defined is half solved". But we do not have a well-defined problem.

Neither indeterminism or determinism are compatible with freedom of will.


Brain function;
Recent findings: Voluntary, willed behaviours preferentially implicate specific regions of the frontal cortex in humans. Recent studies have demonstrated constraints on cognition, which manifest as variation in frontal lobe function and emergent behaviour (specifically intrinsic genetic and cognitive limitations, supervening psychological and neurochemical disturbances), and temporal constraints on subjective awareness and reporting. Although healthy persons generally experience themselves as 'free' and the originators of their actions, electroencephalographic data continue to suggest that 'freedom' is exercised before awareness.''
 

The AntiChris

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The very definition of freedom demands realizable alternatives.
If by "realizable alternatives" you mean non-deterministic alternatives then, no, you're wrong.

The definition of "freedom" certainly does not demand indeterminism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I have a single response to all your protestations. I never said we caused anything. I said we react. If other things react to our reactions that only suggests whatever caused us to react also caused others to react to our reaction. We are but players in what caused us to react we never take on attributes of cause, we only express effect. The meaning of determinism is in there.

I hear you. You are saying there are no causes, there are only effects. That literally means that there are no prior causes, but only prior effects. So, how does that actually change how we behave? What is the significance of a world of reactions, with no control to be found anywhere?
Bad hearing Marvin Edwards. I said causes are passed on in any sequence. That would be caused by there being something other than determinism operating. Determinism is controlled by "... everything after time t=0 ... are fixed by natural law."

You have just rewritten the definition of cause-effect to be, cause-effect, cause-effect, cause-effect ... . That is something different from determinism. Cause is the state of affairs at time = 0. It is not time equal zero, then repeat, repeat, repeat, ... Effect is everything after time t = 0.

The meaningful and relevant "cause" of an effect is that which we would change in order to bring about a different effect.

For example, a disease causes a pandemic illness, the illness causes medical research to discover that a virus is causing the disease. Knowing that the cause of the disease is a virus, causes scientists develop vaccines that will cause our immune systems to destroy the virus. That's a causal chain.

The meaningful and relevant "cause" of the specific covid-19 virus is prior versions of another virus undergoing natural mutations over time within some host species. Right now we are serving as a host species for the new virus, so it is important for everyone to get vaccinated in order to curb the number of variations that we must deal with.

We are both the effects of prior events and the causes of future events. That's how the causal chain of determinism works. Every event is first an effect of prior events and then it is the cause of future events.

Where do we find this "natural law" that is "fixing" future events? We find the laws of nature in the behavior of the actual objects and forces that exist within the physical universe. When we discover consistent patterns of behavior that can help us to predict what those objects are likely to do under different circumstances, we record these consistent behaviors and metaphorically refer to them as "laws", "rules", or "principles" of behavior.

For example, the law of gravity describes how the masses of two inanimate objects cause them to fall toward each other. The rules of photosynthesis describe the biological process by which a leaf create food for a growing plant. The principles of psychology describe how the behavior of intelligent species is motivated by its various needs and chosen from among various possibilities according to its beliefs.

These laws, rules, and principles exist within the objects themselves. A human, falling from a building, is governed by the laws of gravity. A human, falling victim to a viral infection, is governed by the laws of biology. A human, falling victim to a false belief, is governed by the laws of psychology.

The laws of nature are found within us. These laws are not the gods of Olympus, manipulating us from afar. They are an integral part of who and what we are. And when we choose to act, such as when we hit a baseball with a bat, we are also forces of nature.

So, within the domain of human influence, we are specific and unique packages of the laws of nature, and we are actually "fixing" of the future, according to our own goals and our own interests.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can cause to happen if we choose to), the single inevitable future will be chosen by us, from among the many possible futures that we will imagine.
 

pood

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.
 

pood

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Here is my analysis of the above:

“Spin up” or “spin down” are fundamentally indeterministic under standard QM. There are no hidden variables influencing the outcomes, as demonstrated by the Bell experiments. However, although quantum outcomes are indeterministic, they are also probabilistic, in that probabilities can be obtained by squaring the amplitude of the wave function. In the spin up/down case, the probability is simple: 50-50. If you replace standard QM with MWI both outcomes are realized. If you replace standard QM with superdeterminism only one outcome can ever obtain and that outcome was determined at the Big Bang. It was also determined at the Big Bang that we can never conduct an experiment proving QM to be fully deterministic, and as a consequence of this alleged fact, as many have pointed out, science has no claim to discovering any truths about the world.

A rock rolls down a hill because it has no choice in the matter. It does not have a brain or motor control. Hence it follows of physical inevitability the path of least resistance, a geodesic in spacetime as elucidated by Einstein in general relativity theory.

A maniac running amok has a brain and motor control but his brain is misfiring.

A man driving a hijacked car at gunpoint has a brain and motor control but no viable choice in the matter, because if he does not drive the car he will be killed.

Choosing between eggs and pancakes is a free choice. The choice is based on deterministic inputs, including memory. One remembers what eggs and pancakes taste like. The brain (me) receives current sensory input, including perhaps the smell of eggs cooking here and pancakes being made there. The brain (me) compares memories and current sensory inputs, and registers the degree of hunger in the belly, and evaluates which choice is preferable. The ultimate choice is determined by sensory inputs and memory. The choice itself is free and not coerced. That’s free will to me.

The hard determinist seems to share the (false) intuition with the libertarian that for a choice to be truly free, it must be free of all causal influences and entirely generated from within. This is impossible, of course. The mistake the hard determinist and the libertarian alike make is in adducing from this fact that true free will is impossible, whereas in fact true free will depends upon determinism.

The difference between choosing eggs or pancakes and the other scenarios seems clear to me. The brain, in choosing breakfast, has options. Yes, they are determined options, and the choice may be said to be “determined” by what the brain finds most appealing at the moment, but the choice still belongs to the brain (me) and it is the brain that determines what breakfast will be, the brain being part of the causally deterministic chain.

The quantum particle has no option about spin up or down.

The rolling rock has no option about its geodesic.

The misfiring brain has no option, but is at the whim of impulses because the brain is misfiring.

The guy driving the hijacked car has options, but unless he irrationally chooses the option of death he is compelled under duress to drive the car.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Choice means realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow options, only what is determined. Within a determined system, choice is an illusion.

I can show you people walking into a restaurant and browsing through an actual menu of realizable options. If you wish to test whether any of those options are realizable, just sit down and place an order. When the waiter brings you the meal, are you having an illusion? Or do you pick up your fork and start eating?

With a little thought, we can also demonstrate that all of these events were reliably caused. My invitation caused you to walk into the restaurant. Your desire to see whether the items on the menu were truly "realizable options" caused you to order the cheese burger, and then the salad, and then the apple pie. You only stopped because the waiter brought you the bill, holding you responsible for your orders, and you ran out of cash.

So, we have choosing actually happening, right in front of us. And, we have reliable causation actually happening, also right in front of us.

Since we found none of the illusions that you claimed exist, we must conclude that your assertion is the only real illusion here.

Determinism does not make choosing an illusion. Determinism makes choosing inevitable.

The action taken is the only action possible.

Would you like to test that by ordering a few more items from the menu? Feel free to take any action that you can afford to pay for. As you can clearly see, there are many possible actions. Not just the action taken, but also all the other actions that you could have taken, but didn't.

The very definition of freedom demands realizable alternatives.

And there they were, on the menu, right in front of both of us, where we could clearly see them. If you did not see them, then it would seem that you are the one having an illusion.

Freedom;

1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.

One thing we do not see in that list is "causation". There is no such thing as freedom from causation. We see "necessity", as in "You must stop at the red light", but we do not see freedom defined as the absence of "causal necessity". Causal necessity is the same thing as causation. There is no freedom from causation because every freedom we have involves the ability to cause something to happen. No causation, no freedom.

What the brain does is necessitated by the information that acts upon its systems and the actions it produces.

Information does not act upon anything. Causation never causes anything. Determinism never determines anything. None of these are causal agents with an interest, one way or another, in any outcomes.

We, on the other hand, have an interest in the outcomes of our actions. So, we choose what we will do.

Behavioral response:
''To successfully interact with objects in the environment, sensory evidence must be continuously acquired, interpreted, and used to guide appropriate motor responses. For example, when driving, a red light should motivate a motor command to depress the brake pedal. Single-unit recording studies have established that simple sensorimotor transformations are mediated by the same neurons that ultimately guide the behavioral response. However, it is also possible that these sensorimotor regions are the recipients of a modality-independent decision signal that is computed elsewhere. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and human observers to show that the time course of activation in a subregion of the right insula is consistent with a role in accumulating sensory evidence independently from the required motor response modality (saccade vs manual). Furthermore, a combination of computational modeling and simulations of the blood oxygenation level-dependent response suggests that this region is not simply recruited by general arousal or by the tonic maintenance of attention during the decision process. Our data thus raise the possibility that a modality-independent representation of sensory evidence may guide activity in effector-specific cortical areas before the initiation of a behavioral response.''

Or, to put it more concisely, we choose what we will do based upon the information we have at hand. But wait, you were saying that this "decision process" is just an illusion, so, are you disagreeing with the scientists?

Brain function;
Recent findings: Voluntary, willed behaviours preferentially implicate specific regions of the frontal cortex in humans. Recent studies have demonstrated constraints on cognition, which manifest as variation in frontal lobe function and emergent behaviour (specifically intrinsic genetic and cognitive limitations, supervening psychological and neurochemical disturbances), and temporal constraints on subjective awareness and reporting. Although healthy persons generally experience themselves as 'free' and the originators of their actions, electroencephalographic data continue to suggest that 'freedom' is exercised before awareness.''

It doesn't really matter to free will whether the choosing happens before, during, or after awareness. The point is that the choosing is happening, and our own brain is doing it. And as long as the brain is operating free of coercion and undue influence, it is still called free will.
 

fromderinside

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Spin up/spin down quantum mechanics and probabilistic representation happenstance of one of many possibilities and choosing a random subject to make an order at a restaurant of the many possibilities at a random space-time. I don't see the difference.

Neither is the state of affairs when combined with the reality of an particular observer or observation. The observed transaction, if universally consistent, is lawful. If not it's just random data. The stuff of reality is beyond our ability to measure so we build a probablistic models which signal specific options all of which take place somewhere sometime. One of those realities is what we call the real world. Every one of those realities follow truly to definitive realities, all are deterministic, every one.

Going beyond our ability to measure takes away our ability to see the determined nature of the entire enterprise. So if it's probabilistic that's fine. Every outcome is determined in it's own reality. t/s = 0 is a defining marker where observational reality exists.
 

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.

Who said that I was a hard determinist? The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

The validity of this definition is questioned by incompatibilists. I argue on the side of incompatibilism for the given reasons

Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X'' - so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system. Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.
 

DBT

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Choice means realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow options, only what is determined. Within a determined system, choice is an illusion.

I can show you people walking into a restaurant and browsing through an actual menu of realizable options. If you wish to test whether any of those options are realizable, just sit down and place an order. When the waiter brings you the meal, are you having an illusion? Or do you pick up your fork and start eating?

With a little thought, we can also demonstrate that all of these events were reliably caused. My invitation caused you to walk into the restaurant. Your desire to see whether the items on the menu were truly "realizable options" caused you to order the cheese burger, and then the salad, and then the apple pie. You only stopped because the waiter brought you the bill, holding you responsible for your orders, and you ran out of cash.

So, we have choosing actually happening, right in front of us. And, we have reliable causation actually happening, also right in front of us.

Since we found none of the illusions that you claimed exist, we must conclude that your assertion is the only real illusion here.

Determinism does not make choosing an illusion. Determinism makes choosing inevitable.

Nobody is arguing against the ability to be conscious of the world and to think and act in response to its objects and events. We can think and we can act. The issue is how that ability is achieved....a question of the nature of cognition and action within a determined system.

Simply defining free will as the ability to act according to ones will is insufficient for the given reasons, the world acts upon the agent, the brain is inseparable from the world, and it is this deterministic action upon the brain that governs thought and action.

And, you guessed it, once will is formed deterministically there is nothing prevents the action that follows if that action is determined. Not only is the following action not impeded, it freely progresses as determined.

This form of freedom of motion or action applies to all things, animals act unimpeded according to their nature, etc. necessitated actions not being the result of freely willed processes.


The anatomy of movement:
''Almost all of behavior involves motor function, from talking to gesturing to walking. But even a simple movement like reaching out to pick up a glass of water can be a complex motor task to study. Not only does your brain have to figure out which muscles to contract and in which order to steer your hand to the glass, it also has to estimate the force needed to pick up the glass. Other factors, like how much water is in the glass and what material the glass is made from, also influence the brains calculations. Not surprisingly, there are many anatomical regions which are involved in motor function.''
 

The AntiChris

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Marvin Edwards

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... The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

Free will is not about being free to carry out one's will. Free will is about a person being free to choose for themselves what they will do.

...Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X''

A person's "will" is very different from a person's "needs" or "desires". Our needs and desires are not chosen. But our will to act upon a desire is chosen. And the specific means by which we satisfy our needs is also chosen. This is why a person is held responsible for their deliberate acts, because they chose to do it.

They were not forced to do it. They did not do it accidentally. And they were of sound mind when they made the choice.

So, their choosing to do it was the final responsible prior cause of the behavior. And if their behavior was harmful, such that we want to prevent it from happening again, then our methods of correction will involve changing how they think about such choices in the future. This correction will normally involve both penalty and rehabilitation.

- so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system.

But, since all events are always inevitable within a deterministic system, the fact that they were inevitable is never worth mentioning. Yet the hard determinist annoyingly mentions it, over and over, as if it meant something. But it doesn't.

Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.

No. The notion of free will, unlike universal causal necessity/inevitability, is an essential concept:

Free will distinguishes a deliberate act, from a forced act, an accidental act, or an insane act. This locates the responsible cause of the behavior so that we know which methods to use to correct it. This is a very important distinction, because using the wrong methods of correction are likely to backfire. For example, we want to correct an insane act by psychiatric treatment and we want to correct a coerced act by holding the guy with the gun responsible rather than the victim of coercion.
 

pood

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.

Who said that I was a hard determinist? The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

The validity of this definition is questioned by incompatibilists. I argue on the side of incompatibilism for the given reasons

Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X'' - so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system. Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.
If you are an incompatibilist, you are either a hard determinist or a libertarian. Both believe free will is incompatible with determinism. The difference is that the hard determinist rejects free will, whereas the libertarian rejects determinism, or at least rejects the idea that determinism affects human choices. Since you obviously are not a libertarian but are an incompatibilist, it follows you are a hard determinist by definition.

I wonder if you would explain what difference, if any, you see between the five choices that I gave?

I also wonder if you would address the idea that in any given situation, given identical antecedent events, a person would not have done differently, as opposed to could not have done differently. You go for the latter and I go for the former. The distinction, I think, is crucial.
 

Jarhyn

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A rock is organized matter.

And the behavior of the rock is fully governed by physical forces, like gravity, inertia, etc.

Your entire body and thinking are based on reactions at the atomic scale.

Everything is running on atoms, but atoms are not running anything.

Just like a computer is based on atomic scale actions in the circuits.

The computer is running on electricity, which is a transfer of electrons from one end of a circuit to another. But those electrons have no clue as to what's going on. Nor do any of the atoms. The only ones that know what's happening are the engineers and programmers, you know, the guys who built the machines and programmed them to serve us humans.

Our brains are hard wired by genetics and evolution with the capacity to learn and adapt.

And that ability to adapt enables us to modify our brains. A coed is invited to a party, but she remembers she has a chemistry test in the morning. So, she decides it would be better to stay home and study tonight. As she reviews her textbook and lecture notes, she is reinforcing the neural pathways related to that data, so that when she sees the question on the test, the answer will pop into her consciousness. She is, by her deliberate choice, modifying her own brain.

A philosophical case can be made that our thoughts are predetermined before we are born.

Sure. But the critical question is, "So what?" Causal necessity is a logical fact. But it is not a meaningful fact. And it is not a relevant fact to any human problem, question, or issue. So, why bring it up? The intelligent mind simply acknowledges it, and then ignores it.
Causal necessity is a useful model to understand philosophically. It is exactly the principle we engineers use to make solid statements about "what happened" and infer where bugs arise from.

Causal necessity is a fulcrum. It says when a piece of memory is changed without a write operation that some unintended or unmapped physical effect operated within the system. Or that a write happened but misbehaved for explainable reasons.

Causal necessity necessitates that my shape is a part of cause, too, and since I cause my own shape, I have some manner of free will.

I can play a video game. I can play the same game three times and make different decisions in all of them. Three different instances of the same fundamental universal architecture, three different results. You could hook it up to a dice roller, and get different results every time.

Some things are determined.

Some things aren't.

It's exactly the flexibility of determination versus probability collapse that gives this weird dichotomy in that the real universe appears semi-deterministic.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Causal necessity is a useful model to understand philosophically. It is exactly the principle we engineers use to make solid statements about "what happened" and infer where bugs arise from.

Causal necessity tells you nothing more than "something caused this". All of the useful information comes from knowing the specific causes of specific effects. Only the specific causes and their effects can tell us "what happened".

Causal necessity is a fulcrum. It says when a piece of memory is changed without a write operation that some unintended or unmapped physical effect operated within the system. Or that a write happened but misbehaved for explainable reasons.

Both sides of that fulcrum are equally causal necessitated. Causal necessity itself gives you no clue as to which is the case. Causal necessity is like a constant that always appears on both sides of every equation, and can be subtracted from both sides without affecting the result.

For example, if we excuse the pickpocket because his crime was causally necessary, then we must also excuse the cruel judge who chops off his hand. All events are always equally causally necessary.

Causal necessity necessitates that my shape is a part of cause, too, and since I cause my own shape, I have some manner of free will.

Okay, that's sounds a bit mystical to me. Could you provide an example?

I can play a video game. I can play the same game three times and make different decisions in all of them. Three different instances of the same fundamental universal architecture, three different results.

But you are different each time, because you've learned from prior experience.

You could hook it up to a dice roller, and get different results every time.

Or, you could use "loaded dice" and get the same result every time.

Some things are determined. Some things aren't.

What you mean to say is that some events are predictable, some are not. Causal necessity says that every event is reliably caused, even if it is difficult or impossible to predict.

It's exactly the flexibility of determination versus probability collapse that gives this weird dichotomy in that the real universe appears semi-deterministic.

The appearance of "semi-deterministic" is due to the difficulty of predicting some events, such as the roll of dice. But science would assert that every event has a cause. That's what motivates science to look for the cause, because they assume there is one.
 

Jarhyn

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
 

bilby

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - because all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
 

Jarhyn

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - therefore all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
To both of you, as I explained to my boss who had the same issue, entropy here is a mathematical property, not a strictly physical one. Imagine a board with a grid of arrows on the lid, all on pivots. You can turn any arrow. Out of the sides, all around along the middle is a slot which another arrow extends from.

The arrow from the slot, splitting the box like a hamburger, is exactly the combined directions of all the other arrows.

The big arrow is the "macrostate". The small arrows are the "microstate". The entropy of the system is the magnitude of the macrostate arrow.

If all the little arrows point in the same direction, the big arrow will point far as can. There is little entropy.

If they are all in different directions, the big arrow will be short and face wildly with any turn of a small arrow. There is much entropy.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Nobody is arguing against the ability to be conscious of the world and to think and act in response to its objects and events. We can think and we can act. The issue is how that ability is achieved....a question of the nature of cognition and action within a determined system.

It seems pretty clear. The person is faced with a decision, they consider their options and choose the one that seems best at that time. Neuroscience can help to explain what is going on inside the brain at each of these steps. But neuroscience never contradicts the fact that it is our own brains (us) that is making the decision.

Simply defining free will as the ability to act according to ones will is insufficient for the given reasons,

Free will is not "the ability to act according to our will". Free will is our ability to choose our will, to causally determine what our will becomes, by choosing a specific intention. Our chosen intent is expressed as "I will do this". And that chosen intent causally determines, by motivating and directing our subsequent actions, specifically what we will do.

the world acts upon the agent, the brain is inseparable from the world

I'm sorry but that is a contradiction. If the brain is "inseparable" from the world then the world cannot act upon the brain. In order for one thing to act upon another, there must be a distinction between the two things.

What I believe you are saying is that the agent and the rest of the world are two separate objects. And you are claiming that only the rest of the world has any agency, while the agent (ironically) has no agency.

and it is this deterministic action upon the brain that governs thought and action.

And it turns out that is precisely what you are saying. The world, excluding our own brain, is forcing the brain to do the will of the rest of the world, leaving the brain with no will of its own.

I'm pretty sure you, and any other philosopher or scientist who makes such a claim, is mistaken about that.

And, you guessed it, once will is formed deterministically there is nothing prevents the action that follows if that action is determined. Not only is the following action not impeded, it freely progresses as determined.

We don't know that we will be free to perform the action we've chosen. The freedom to carry out our will is a separate issue from the freedom to decide what we will do. I may decide that I will do a swan dive, and you may come from behind and push me off the diving board.

This form of freedom of motion or action applies to all things, animals act unimpeded according to their nature, etc. necessitated actions not being the result of freely willed processes.

Except that I could come from behind and push an actual swan off of the diving board, frustrating whatever he had decided to do.

The anatomy of movement:
''Almost all of behavior involves motor function, from talking to gesturing to walking. But even a simple movement like reaching out to pick up a glass of water can be a complex motor task to study. Not only does your brain have to figure out which muscles to contract and in which order to steer your hand to the glass, it also has to estimate the force needed to pick up the glass. Other factors, like how much water is in the glass and what material the glass is made from, also influence the brains calculations. Not surprisingly, there are many anatomical regions which are involved in motor function.''

In other words, the brain performs a number of habitual calculations when picking up the glass of water. That will happen beneath conscious awareness. But suppose he has just been called upon to speak for the first time, and he must decide whether he has time or not to take a drink of water. That kind of choice will include conscious decision making and the formation of explanations. Habits are fast. Conscious decision-making is slower, because there is more work to be done.
 

Jarhyn

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
We can't create causal indeterminism. You have that cart before the horse. To be indeterministic is to have an outcome unbound to the observable state.

To be semi-deterministic is to have a bounded outcome, but only "bounded" and the value within that bound "random", which is exactly to say, "if you were to take out the dice right now and switch them, the system rolling would not be able to model or predict, in fact with mathematically certain unpredictability, that this happened.

This more or less describes our current understanding of the universe.

I am not saying that for us and things like us to exist that any causal indeterminism is actually necessary. Perhaps we can predict and model the most "random" thing that ever seemed random down to not-even-chaos!

But I have described semi-deterministic systems and this universe strongly qualifies.
 

Marvin Edwards

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To be indeterministic is to have an outcome unbound to the observable state.

That still sounds like a problem of prediction. (It sounds like you're saying that the outcome is unobservable).

To be semi-deterministic is to have a bounded outcome, but only "bounded" and the value within that bound "random", which is exactly to say, "if you were to take out the dice right now and switch them, the system rolling would not be able to model or predict, in fact with mathematically certain unpredictability, that this happened.

I'm not sure, but I think you're saying that all events are causally bounded, including random events. If that's the case then I agree. Both random and chaotic events are causally deterministic but still epistemologically indeterministic (unpredictable).

This more or less describes our current understanding of the universe.

Right. Our understanding of the universe is incomplete, in that we cannot yet explain why certain events happen (e.g., quantum events).

I am not saying that for us and things like us to exist that any causal indeterminism is actually necessary. Perhaps we can predict and model the most "random" thing that ever seemed random down to not-even-chaos!

Perhaps. But my religiously held belief is that there is no causal indeterminism to be found anywhere, despite the fact that the causes of many events remain a mystery to us.

But I have described semi-deterministic systems and this universe strongly qualifies.

And I would say that all events are causally determined even though what actually causes many events is not yet determined, and may never be.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - because all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
My impression is that the description of the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang corresponds closely to the description of black holes. In both cases we have a lot of stuff packed in a small space.

If we presume we are in the middle of eternity (where else in time would we be?), then the notion of universal entropy would have vanished the universe by now because 1/2 of eternity equals eternity. If an eternity has already passed, then everything that is going to vanish via entropy would already be gone by now.

A second argument is that, if it is impossible for something to come out of nothing, then it should also be impossible for something to turn into nothing.

So, I'm pretty sure that universal entropy must be incorrect.
 

bilby

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - therefore all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
To both of you, as I explained to my boss who had the same issue, entropy here is a mathematical property, not a strictly physical one. Imagine a board with a grid of arrows on the lid, all on pivots. You can turn any arrow. Out of the sides, all around along the middle is a slot which another arrow extends from.

The arrow from the slot, splitting the box like a hamburger, is exactly the combined directions of all the other arrows.

The big arrow is the "macrostate". The small arrows are the "microstate". The entropy of the system is the magnitude of the macrostate arrow.

If all the little arrows point in the same direction, the big arrow will point far as can. There is little entropy.

If they are all in different directions, the big arrow will be short and face wildly with any turn of a small arrow. There is much entropy.
Obviously entropy is both physical and mathematical.

Equally obviously, your claim that it's mathematical is poorly supported by your use of a physical model as your analogy. ;)
 

Jarhyn

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - because all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
My impression is that the description of the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang corresponds closely to the description of black holes. In both cases we have a lot of stuff packed in a small space.

If we presume we are in the middle of eternity (where else in time would we be?), then the notion of universal entropy would have vanished the universe by now because 1/2 of eternity equals eternity. If an eternity has already passed, then everything that is going to vanish via entropy would already be gone by now.

A second argument is that, if it is impossible for something to come out of nothing, then it should also be impossible for something to turn into nothing.

So, I'm pretty sure that universal entropy must be incorrect.
I don't make claims of the properties of nothing. To do so is idiocy as it is not possible for us to observe it.

I spend hours staring into the void, and rather than getting nothing, I get a lot of something. Madness mostly. But not even the void itself gives "nothing".

I make claims, instead, of the properties of something, namely systems with particular architectural models. When a system is set in such a way as to either start executing on chaos or randomness as the case may be, and either way opaque to the operation within the system, it is an indeterministic element.

It does not imply that the universe in operation can be different, any less inevitable from what it is, and part of it is most certainly us, and we are a part of whatever causal necessity that exists of it, be it semi-deterministic in basic platform or merely semi-deterministic for philosophical purposes of internal actors; the possible ways that particles can come together from certain configurations in the conditions of the universe have rules that will drive a more steady-state chaos into the universe over time.

In many ways causal necessity may be simulated by something that has none but rules of probability; and then the rules of large numbers that come out of the probabilistics drive certainties, deterministic activities. These deterministic activities them create chaos, and the chaos then simulates... Probabilistics!

At some point all this probability and determinism from statistical certainty mushed together to create a system that models the probabilistics into determinations!

The whole thing is fucking bonkers.

It took 14 billion "years" for that to happen following a certain epoch of matter being capable of organizing in a particular way (mostly).

And we don't know what determines the sequence of a "locus", or if it can be known!
 

bilby

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - because all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
My impression is that the description of the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang corresponds closely to the description of black holes. In both cases we have a lot of stuff packed in a small space.

If we presume we are in the middle of eternity (where else in time would we be?), then the notion of universal entropy would have vanished the universe by now because 1/2 of eternity equals eternity. If an eternity has already passed, then everything that is going to vanish via entropy would already be gone by now.

A second argument is that, if it is impossible for something to come out of nothing, then it should also be impossible for something to turn into nothing.

So, I'm pretty sure that universal entropy must be incorrect.
Entropy doesn't make things vanish. The second law of thermodynamics is completely consistent with the first law.

The early universe had very low entropy; If it didn't, we would see similar unpredictability in the past to that we see in the future - that is, the present would, as a consequence of the time symmetry of physical law, represent the low point of entropy, with disorder increasing in both temporal directions.

The total mass of the pre-inflation universe could be very low, and inflation theory suggests it might have been as low as ten kg, but with a uniformly metastable Higgs value of zero; The rest of the mass we see comes from the vast energy released from the Higgs field as it falls to its minimum, bringing to an end the inflationary period. It's basically extracted from all the spacetime that's generated by inflation. The most striking feature of Higgs fields is that they have energy minima at non-zero values.

That's highly counterintuitive, but has now been demonstrated experimentally at CERN.

Just ten kg of matter with a fairly consistent Higgs field value of zero, falling to the lower energy state implied by a non-zero value, would suffice to generate a universe of the mass-energy we observe today.

This may be happening repeatedly, with new universes budding off our own (and others) due to random fluctuations in the Higgs field.

Cosmology is weird (it has to be to be consistent with the quantum nature of reality); But any philosophy that assumes as a premise a cosmology other than that described by physics is simply wrong.

Reality is, as far as we can tell, indeterministic at a fundamental level; And dependent on a universal spacetime entropy gradient for the existence of an arrow of time.
 

fromderinside

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I think your bigger issue is that you are not understanding my point. Yes, you can say "just so" determinism as a preloaded set of dice rolls, but that does not change the fact that local entities cannot model the deterministic pattern. In fact, the deterministic "pattern" may have far more complexity in it than even the internal action of the universe may be capable of expressing.

Yes. While prediction is "theoretically" possible in a deterministic system, it is often practically impossible to predict what will happen next in a complex deterministic system. "Determine" has two distinct meanings, "to know" and "to cause". For example, "We could not determine (figure out, know) whether it was the increase in pressure or the increase heat that determined (triggered, caused) when the reaction would take place".

So, often reality is indeterministic, in that we are unable to know, even if it is perfectly deterministic in causation.

The entropy on the determination can be higher than the entropy expressible within the framework itself.

Entropy. Argh. As I understand entropy, it is the tendency of order to disintegrate. Information entropy would destroy information by the increase in chaotic static over time. At least that's what I get from Wikipedia. On the other hand, physical entropy would have to be a local phenomena, because eventually everything that exists would be swallowed up into black holes (Big Crunch) that would later explode (Big Bang) into another universe in which new objects are reliably formed.

In this way, for all intents and purposes for the denizens, this is a global "indeterminism": It is just-so and there is no derivable sense of it.

Yes, many events appear to be unpredictable.

Of course, chaotic systems simulate this, and we exist on the level of scale by which such chaotic inputs become functionally indeterministic anyway.

Yeah, what you said.

Remember that these discussions rely on perspective, context, and locality.

Well, being a young, idealistic, senior citizen, I still hold out for the ability to translate concepts across perspectives. And, that is the main occupation of a compatibilist.

It is the fact that it is "just so" from the perspective of the denizen that creates the indeterminism.

I don't think we can create causal indeterminism. To create means to cause something. To cause something means to determine it. It would be paradoxical to reliably cause unreliable causation. But we do manage to confuse things a lot, helping to make things less predictable.
Physical entropy is universal, with decreasing entropy only possible as a strictly local phenomenon in the context of universally increasing entropy.

A black hole has the maximum possible entropy for an object of its size, as all arrangements of matter within a black hole are indistinguishable from all other arrangements, to an observer outside the event horizon.

The idea that black holes spawn new universes is wild speculation, and almost certainly untrue; Rather their ultimate fate is to evaporate by Hawking Radiation.

The total entropy of the universe always increases (or at least, it has since as far back in time as our current physics can determine). It's probable that in a very real sense, time exists only because of an entropy gradient from past to future, so it's not meaningful to talk about 'before' the universe was at its lowest entropy state - because all higher entropy states are necessarily in the future of any lower entropy states for closed systems such as universes.
My impression is that the description of the state of the universe prior to the Big Bang corresponds closely to the description of black holes. In both cases we have a lot of stuff packed in a small space.

If we presume we are in the middle of eternity (where else in time would we be?), then the notion of universal entropy would have vanished the universe by now because 1/2 of eternity equals eternity. If an eternity has already passed, then everything that is going to vanish via entropy would already be gone by now.

A second argument is that, if it is impossible for something to come out of nothing, then it should also be impossible for something to turn into nothing.

So, I'm pretty sure that universal entropy must be incorrect.
Entropy doesn't make things vanish. The second law of thermodynamics is completely consistent with the first law.

The early universe had very low entropy; If it didn't, we would see similar unpredictability in the past to that we see in the future - that is, the present would, as a consequence of the time symmetry of physical law, represent the low point of entropy, with disorder increasing in both temporal directions.

The total mass of the pre-inflation universe could be very low, and inflation theory suggests it might have been as low as ten kg, but with a uniformly metastable Higgs value of zero; The rest of the mass we see comes from the vast energy released from the Higgs field as it falls to its minimum, bringing to an end the inflationary period. It's basically extracted from all the spacetime that's generated by inflation. The most striking feature of Higgs fields is that they have energy minima at non-zero values.

That's highly counterintuitive, but has now been demonstrated experimentally at CERN.

Just ten kg of matter with a fairly consistent Higgs field value of zero, falling to the lower energy state implied by a non-zero value, would suffice to generate a universe of the mass-energy we observe today.

This may be happening repeatedly, with new universes budding off our own (and others) due to random fluctuations in the Higgs field.

Cosmology is weird (it has to be to be consistent with the quantum nature of reality); But any philosophy that assumes as a premise a cosmology other than that described by physics is simply wrong.

Reality is, as far as we can tell, indeterministic at a fundamental level; And dependent on a universal spacetime entropy gradient for the existence of an arrow of time.
Tick Talk! The arrow shot into the air came down everywhere.
 

DBT

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Choice means realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow options, only what is determined. Within a determined system, choice is an illusion.

I can show you people walking into a restaurant and browsing through an actual menu of realizable options. If you wish to test whether any of those options are realizable, just sit down and place an order. When the waiter brings you the meal, are you having an illusion? Or do you pick up your fork and start eating?

With a little thought, we can also demonstrate that all of these events were reliably caused. My invitation caused you to walk into the restaurant. Your desire to see whether the items on the menu were truly "realizable options" caused you to order the cheese burger, and then the salad, and then the apple pie. You only stopped because the waiter brought you the bill, holding you responsible for your orders, and you ran out of cash.

So, we have choosing actually happening, right in front of us. And, we have reliable causation actually happening, also right in front of us.

Since we found none of the illusions that you claimed exist, we must conclude that your assertion is the only real illusion here.

Determinism does not make choosing an illusion. Determinism makes choosing inevitable.

Nobody is arguing against the ability to be conscious of the world and to think and act in response to its objects and events. We can think and we can act. The issue is how that ability is achieved....a question of the nature of cognition and action within a determined system.

Simply defining free will as the ability to act according to ones will is insufficient for the given reasons, the world acts upon the agent, the brain is inseparable from the world, and it is this deterministic action upon the brain that governs thought and action.

And, you guessed it, once will is formed deterministically there is nothing prevents the action that follows if that action is determined. Not only is the following action not impeded, it freely progresses as determined.

This form of freedom of motion or action applies to all things, animals act unimpeded according to their nature, etc. necessitated actions not being the result of freely willed processes.


The anatomy of movement:
''Almost all of behavior involves motor function, from talking to gesturing to walking. But even a simple movement like reaching out to pick up a glass of water can be a complex motor task to study. Not only does your brain have to figure out which muscles to contract and in which order to steer your hand to the glass, it also has to estimate the force needed to pick up the glass. Other factors, like how much water is in the glass and what material the glass is made from, also influence the brains calculations. Not surprisingly, there are many anatomical regions which are involved in motor function.''

Who said that I was a hard determinist?

Are you suggesting you're not?

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_determinism

Wiki said:
Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, that it is incompatible with free will, and therefore that free will does not exist.

I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.

If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.
 

DBT

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.

Who said that I was a hard determinist? The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

The validity of this definition is questioned by incompatibilists. I argue on the side of incompatibilism for the given reasons

Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X'' - so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system. Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.
If you are an incompatibilist, you are either a hard determinist or a libertarian. Both believe free will is incompatible with determinism. The difference is that the hard determinist rejects free will, whereas the libertarian rejects determinism, or at least rejects the idea that determinism affects human choices. Since you obviously are not a libertarian but are an incompatibilist, it follows you are a hard determinist by definition.

I wonder if you would explain what difference, if any, you see between the five choices that I gave?

I also wonder if you would address the idea that in any given situation, given identical antecedent events, a person would not have done differently, as opposed to could not have done differently. You go for the latter and I go for the former. The distinction, I think, is crucial.

The concept of free will is problematic, be a matter of determinism or indeterminism.

Quote;
If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore, indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will

Where is freedom of will without regulative control? Actions within the system simply flow deterministically.

Where is freedom of will to be found in random or probabilistic events? Events that simply happen without agency, control or being willed.
 

DBT

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... The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

Free will is not about being free to carry out one's will. Free will is about a person being free to choose for themselves what they will do.

Again, ''free to choose'' implies realizable alternatives. Realizable alternatives do not exist within a determined system. The action that is taken is the only action possible in any given moment in time.

The brain processes information and it is that information that acts upon its networks to produce the action that is taken in any given instance;

Cognition:
''When it comes to the human brain, even the simplest of acts can be counter-intuitive and deceptively complicated. For example, try stretching your arm.

Nerves in the limb send messages back to your brain, but the subjective experience you have of stretching isn't due to these signals. The feeling that you willed your arm into motion, and the realisation that you moved it at all, are both the result of an area at the back of your brain called the posterior parietal cortex.

This region helped to produce the intention to move, and predicted what the movement would feel like, all before you twitched a single muscle.

Michel Desmurget and a team of French neuroscientists arrived at this conclusion by stimulating the brains of seven people with electrodes, while they underwent brain surgery under local anaesthetic.

When Desmurget stimulated the parietal cortex, the patients felt a strong desire to move their arms, hands, feet or lips, although they never actually did. Stronger currents cast a powerful illusion, convincing the patients that they had actually moved, even though recordings of electrical activity in their muscles said otherwise.

A person's "will" is very different from a person's "needs" or "desires". Our needs and desires are not chosen. But our will to act upon a desire is chosen. And the specific means by which we satisfy our needs is also chosen. This is why a person is held responsible for their deliberate acts, because they chose to do it.

They were not forced to do it. They did not do it accidentally. And they were of sound mind when they made the choice.

So, their choosing to do it was the final responsible prior cause of the behavior. And if their behavior was harmful, such that we want to prevent it from happening again, then our methods of correction will involve changing how they think about such choices in the future. This correction will normally involve both penalty and rehabilitation.

Brain activity is not willed, information is processed and behaviour generated in the form of thoughts and actions.

Will is an aspect of needs and wants. There is rarely a singular undivided will. There are many scattered and contradictory sets of will, each need or want being an article of will, which may be in conflict with other article of will;

The taste of chocolate generates the will to eat chocolate, perhaps to excess. Then the will to keep slim and healthy forms the will to abstain from eating chocolate, and we have a conflict of wills, one driving the desire to eat, the other in opposition, the will or desire to abstain.

No. The notion of free will, unlike universal causal necessity/inevitability, is an essential concept:

Free will distinguishes a deliberate act, from a forced act, an accidental act, or an insane act. This locates the responsible cause of the behavior so that we know which methods to use to correct it. This is a very important distinction, because using the wrong methods of correction are likely to backfire. For example, we want to correct an insane act by psychiatric treatment and we want to correct a coerced act by holding the guy with the gun responsible rather than the victim of coercion.

That's a matter of rationally identifying the elements a problem and responding accordingly. The situation itself determines the best course of action according to the information we have available to us at the time.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.
If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.

Then it is time for you to give us your definition of "free will", so we know specifically what you are arguing against.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Realizable alternatives do not exist within a determined system. The action that is taken is the only action possible in any given moment in time.

You are presuming that to be "realizable" requires that the option actually be realized. That's incorrect. An option may be realizable without ever being realized. For example, every option on a restaurant's menu is realizable. If someone selects that option, the chef has the ingredients and the skills required to cook that meal. There may be an option on the menu that no one ever selects. It is still realizable despite the fact that it will never ever be prepared and served. Realizable simply means it can be prepared and served. Realizable does not mean that it will be prepared and served, ever.

It's the same problem of confusing or conflating what "can" happen with what "will" happen. If something will happen, then it certainly will happen. But if something can happen, it may happen or it may never happen.

Given a deterministic universe, whenever a choosing event shows up in the causal chain, "I could have done otherwise" will always be true, but "I would have done otherwise" will always be false.

The brain processes information and it is that information that acts upon its networks to produce the action that is taken in any given instance;
...

Yeah, we've been through all of that. The brain is a complicated thing and conscious awareness sometimes shows up after some insignificant decisions have already been made. So what? It is still our own brains that are making the decisions, and they are doing so according to our own goals and reasons. The brain is where "freely choosing what we will do" is going on. And, that brain will make a different decision if a guy is pointing a gun at it and telling it what to do than it would when free of coercion and undue influence.

Will is an aspect of needs and wants.

No. Will is what we have decided to do about those needs or wants. We can choose when, where, and how we will satisfy a need. We can choose between our multiple wants and desires which we will or will not indulge.

There is rarely a singular undivided will.

No. At the end of choosing what we will do, there is a single (and causally inevitable) intention that drives our behavior to a specific outcome.

There are many scattered and contradictory sets of will, each need or want being an article of will, which may be in conflict with other article of will; The taste of chocolate generates the will to eat chocolate, perhaps to excess. Then the will to keep slim and healthy forms the will to abstain from eating chocolate, and we have a conflict of wills, one driving the desire to eat, the other in opposition, the will or desire to abstain.

No. There are diverse desires, such as the desire to eat chocolate, and the desire to be slim. This is a conflict of desires. We resolve this conflict by choosing what we will actually do about these two desires.

Free will distinguishes a deliberate act, from a forced act, an accidental act, or an insane act. This locates the responsible cause of the behavior so that we know which methods to use to correct it. This is a very important distinction, because using the wrong methods of correction are likely to backfire. For example, we want to correct an insane act by psychiatric treatment and we want to correct a coerced act by holding the guy with the gun responsible rather than the victim of coercion.

That's a matter of rationally identifying the elements a problem and responding accordingly.

Yes, it is precisely that.

The situation itself determines the best course of action according to the information we have available to us at the time.

You keep attempting to shift control somewhere else. Now you have "the situation itself determines the best course of action", as if our own brains, our own goals, and our own interests played no role in deciding the matter. We, in response to the situation, are determining the best course of action. The situation itself is not an entity with any interest in the outcome. The only entity with an interest in the outcome is us.

This is what the hard determinist continually attempts to do, to shift the control to something that is external to us. But it is not a true representation of the facts.
 

pood

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Choice means realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow options, only what is determined. Within a determined system, choice is an illusion.

I can show you people walking into a restaurant and browsing through an actual menu of realizable options. If you wish to test whether any of those options are realizable, just sit down and place an order. When the waiter brings you the meal, are you having an illusion? Or do you pick up your fork and start eating?

With a little thought, we can also demonstrate that all of these events were reliably caused. My invitation caused you to walk into the restaurant. Your desire to see whether the items on the menu were truly "realizable options" caused you to order the cheese burger, and then the salad, and then the apple pie. You only stopped because the waiter brought you the bill, holding you responsible for your orders, and you ran out of cash.

So, we have choosing actually happening, right in front of us. And, we have reliable causation actually happening, also right in front of us.

Since we found none of the illusions that you claimed exist, we must conclude that your assertion is the only real illusion here.

Determinism does not make choosing an illusion. Determinism makes choosing inevitable.

Nobody is arguing against the ability to be conscious of the world and to think and act in response to its objects and events. We can think and we can act. The issue is how that ability is achieved....a question of the nature of cognition and action within a determined system.

Simply defining free will as the ability to act according to ones will is insufficient for the given reasons, the world acts upon the agent, the brain is inseparable from the world, and it is this deterministic action upon the brain that governs thought and action.

And, you guessed it, once will is formed deterministically there is nothing prevents the action that follows if that action is determined. Not only is the following action not impeded, it freely progresses as determined.

This form of freedom of motion or action applies to all things, animals act unimpeded according to their nature, etc. necessitated actions not being the result of freely willed processes.


The anatomy of movement:
''Almost all of behavior involves motor function, from talking to gesturing to walking. But even a simple movement like reaching out to pick up a glass of water can be a complex motor task to study. Not only does your brain have to figure out which muscles to contract and in which order to steer your hand to the glass, it also has to estimate the force needed to pick up the glass. Other factors, like how much water is in the glass and what material the glass is made from, also influence the brains calculations. Not surprisingly, there are many anatomical regions which are involved in motor function.''

Who said that I was a hard determinist?

Are you suggesting you're not?

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_determinism

Wiki said:
Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, that it is incompatible with free will, and therefore that free will does not exist.

I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.

If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.
Well, that makes you a hard determinist by definition, as previously noted.
 

pood

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.

Who said that I was a hard determinist? The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

The validity of this definition is questioned by incompatibilists. I argue on the side of incompatibilism for the given reasons

Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X'' - so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system. Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.
If you are an incompatibilist, you are either a hard determinist or a libertarian. Both believe free will is incompatible with determinism. The difference is that the hard determinist rejects free will, whereas the libertarian rejects determinism, or at least rejects the idea that determinism affects human choices. Since you obviously are not a libertarian but are an incompatibilist, it follows you are a hard determinist by definition.

I wonder if you would explain what difference, if any, you see between the five choices that I gave?

I also wonder if you would address the idea that in any given situation, given identical antecedent events, a person would not have done differently, as opposed to could not have done differently. You go for the latter and I go for the former. The distinction, I think, is crucial.

The concept of free will is problematic, be a matter of determinism or indeterminism.

Quote;
If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore, indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will

Where is freedom of will without regulative control? Actions within the system simply flow deterministically.

Where is freedom of will to be found in random or probabilistic events? Events that simply happen without agency, control or being willed.

You did not answer my questions, which is fair enough if you don’t want to. You simply restated your “regulative control” argument, an argument I have already deconstructed and rebutted, but you didn’t address my rebuttal, either. So unless you want to address my rebuttals of your arguments I don’t see how the conversation can move forward.
 

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I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.
If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.

Then it is time for you to give us your definition of "free will", so we know specifically what you are arguing against.

I am arguing that there is no such thing as free will. Therefore, I'm responding to any definitions given by others, compatibilism, Libertarian, the common perception that the ability to make decisions is free will, etc.

We experience the brain generated impulses or drives to act: to eat, sleep, drink, work, buy what we need or want and so on. Each of these needs, wants, habits, addictions is an article of will and often one article of will is in conflict with another, an addiction to smoking as opposed to the desire to give up smoking, etc, to indulge versus to abstain.

As will is formed as an aspect of an article, to smoke, drink, eat, the need to work, invest, raise a family ....will is not the means by which we think, feel or act.

We have will, in fact multiple expressions of will. But, for the reasons outlined above, it is not free will.
 

DBT

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I wonder if DBT or other hard determinists make a distinction between the following:

A quantum experiment in which “spin up” is registered instead of “spin down.”

A rock rolling down a hill.

A maniac running amok and killing a bunch of strangers.

A man being forced to drive his hijacked car at gunpoint by a criminal.

My choosing eggs instead of pancakes this morning for breakfast.

Who said that I was a hard determinist? The issue is that compatibilists claim that free will is compatible with determinism....giving their definition of free will as, essentially, acting according to one's will without restriction or impediment.

The validity of this definition is questioned by incompatibilists. I argue on the side of incompatibilism for the given reasons

Basically -''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X'' - so the action that follows is inevitable for all things that happen within a determined system. Nothing to do with free will, therefore the term is merely a semantic construct.
If you are an incompatibilist, you are either a hard determinist or a libertarian. Both believe free will is incompatible with determinism. The difference is that the hard determinist rejects free will, whereas the libertarian rejects determinism, or at least rejects the idea that determinism affects human choices. Since you obviously are not a libertarian but are an incompatibilist, it follows you are a hard determinist by definition.

I wonder if you would explain what difference, if any, you see between the five choices that I gave?

I also wonder if you would address the idea that in any given situation, given identical antecedent events, a person would not have done differently, as opposed to could not have done differently. You go for the latter and I go for the former. The distinction, I think, is crucial.

The concept of free will is problematic, be a matter of determinism or indeterminism.

Quote;
If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore, indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will

Where is freedom of will without regulative control? Actions within the system simply flow deterministically.

Where is freedom of will to be found in random or probabilistic events? Events that simply happen without agency, control or being willed.

You did not answer my questions, which is fair enough if you don’t want to. You simply restated your “regulative control” argument, an argument I have already deconstructed and rebutted, but you didn’t address my rebuttal, either. So unless you want to address my rebuttals of your arguments I don’t see how the conversation can move forward.

As to your questions, time is an issue.

1 - compatibilism doesn't define free will in terms of QM. The compatibilist claim is that free will is compatible with determinism, not QM. I argue that neither determinism or QM allow free will.

2 - A rock rolling down a hill is a chaotic but deterministic event.

3 - A maniac runs amok because his mind has become unhinged. His genetic makeup and his environment has brought him to the point where he has lost the ability to think rationally, feel empathyfor others (perhaps a sociopath) or consider the consequences of his actions...he lashes out in order to gratify his need and desire to inflict pain and suffering onto others.

4 - A man who has had his vehicle hijacked and forced to drive at gunpoint is being forced to act under external compulsion, against his will. As opposed to actions produced by a deterministic process, ''even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents''

5 - You choosing eggs over pancakes is brain function, an action that was determined by inputs and neural processing before the action was made conscious; in accordance with inner necessity.

Unconscious mind
''Previous research has shown motor-related brain activity preceding conscious intent by a fraction of a second, but this study is the first to show unconscious predictive activity in a region associated with decision making—the prefrontal cortex—according to Haynes. The results support the notion that unconscious brain activity comes first and conscious experience follows as a result, says Patrick Haggard of University College London, who was not involved with the study. “We all think that we have a conscious free will,” he says. “However, this study shows that actions come from preconscious brain activity patterns and not from the person consciously thinking about what they are going to do.”


More:
''Here we propose neural computations that can account for the formation of categorical decisions about sensory stimuli by accumulating information over time into a single quantity: the logarithm of the likelihood ratio favoring one alternative over another.We also review electrophysio-logical studies that have identified brain structures that may be involved in computing this sort of decision variable.The ideas presented constitute a framework for understanding how and where perceptual decisions are formed in the brain.''
 

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Realizable alternatives do not exist within a determined system. The action that is taken is the only action possible in any given moment in time.

You are presuming that to be "realizable" requires that the option actually be realized. That's incorrect. An option may be realizable without ever being realized. For example, every option on a restaurant's menu is realizable. If someone selects that option, the chef has the ingredients and the skills required to cook that meal. There may be an option on the menu that no one ever selects. It is still realizable despite the fact that it will never ever be prepared and served. Realizable simply means it can be prepared and served. Realizable does not mean that it will be prepared and served, ever.

It's the same problem of confusing or conflating what "can" happen with what "will" happen. If something will happen, then it certainly will happen. But if something can happen, it may happen or it may never happen.

Given a deterministic universe, whenever a choosing event shows up in the causal chain, "I could have done otherwise" will always be true, but "I would have done otherwise" will always be false.

If options are not realizable, they were never on the table as true options, determinsm doesn't allow it. My point is that there can be no 'could have done otherwise' in determinism.

The action that is taken is the only action, 'I could have chosen y instead of x' is an illusion- each brain performs actions according to its information condition - inner necessity - at each and every point in time.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.
If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.

Then it is time for you to give us your definition of "free will", so we know specifically what you are arguing against.

I am arguing that there is no such thing as free will. Therefore, I'm responding to any definitions given by others, compatibilism, Libertarian, the common perception that the ability to make decisions is free will, etc.

We experience the brain generated impulses or drives to act: to eat, sleep, drink, work, buy what we need or want and so on. Each of these needs, wants, habits, addictions is an article of will and often one article of will is in conflict with another, an addiction to smoking as opposed to the desire to give up smoking, etc, to indulge versus to abstain.

As will is formed as an aspect of an article, to smoke, drink, eat, the need to work, invest, raise a family ....will is not the means by which we think, feel or act.

We have will, in fact multiple expressions of will. But, for the reasons outlined above, it is not free will.

Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

1. "Will" is our specific intent to do something.
2. "Deciding" what we will do is the mental operation by which the brain causally determines the will, especially when we have multiple, competing desires.
3. "Freedom" is absence of some meaningful and relevant constraint that prevents us from doing what we want to do. For example, coercion and undue influence prevent us from deciding for ourselves what we will do.
4. "Coercion" is when someone forces their will upon another by some meaningful threat, such as a guy holding a gun.
5. "Undue influence" includes coercion, and other things like a significant mental illness that compromises the brain's ability to make a rational moral choice, hypnosis and other forms of manipulation, authoritative command like between a commander and soldier, parent and child, doctor and patient, etc., and any similar influence that reasonably removes a person's ability to decide for themselves what they will do.

A. Reliable cause and effect in itself is neither coercive nor undue, so it poses no threat to this definition of free will. Only specific causes are coercive (like the guy with the gun) or undue (like an unsound mind that is subject to hallucinations and delusions).

B. The fact that it is our own brains that make this choice poses no threat to this definition of free will. We've known for centuries that mental events are performed by our own brains and that normal functioning can be impaired by extraordinary illnesses or injuries.

So, what is your argument against this definition of free will?
 

Marvin Edwards

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If options are not realizable, they were never on the table as true options, determinsm doesn't allow it. My point is that there can be no 'could have done otherwise' in determinism.

Determinism not only allows a "could have done otherwise", it necessitates it. All of mental events are equally necessitated. This includes our use of the notion of what we "can" do within a choosing operation. In a decision between A and B, it is logically necessary that "we can choose A" is true and "we can choose B" is also true. And, assuming it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would choose A, then A will become the "that which we would do" and B will become "that which we could have done". Both causal necessity and logical necessity bring about those two statements of fact.

A true option may be realizable without ever being realized. That is how options, abilities, possibilities work. Every option on a restaurant's menu is realizable. If someone selects that option, the chef has the ingredients and the skills required to cook that meal. That is what makes the option truly "realizable".

An "ability" is real, even if the ability is never exercised. You keep insisting that if the ability is never exercised it must not be a real ability. You have the "true" ability to throw your phone out the window, even if you never do so.

There may be an option on the menu that no one will ever select. It is still realizable despite the fact that it will never ever be prepared and served. Realizable simply means it can be prepared and served. Realizable does not mean that it will ever be prepared or served, ever.

So, the fact that something "will not" happen never implies that it "can not" happen. Confusing or conflating what "can" happen with what "will" happen is how determinism ended up with the cognitive dissonance claim that "you could not have done otherwise". Everyone knows that it is true that they "could" have done otherwise, because they had just seen "I can choose A" and "I can choose B" both being true at the beginning.

But there is no cognitive dissonance in the claim that "you would not have done otherwise", because they know that there was only one thing they would do given their reasons at the time.

On the other hand, there's nothing like cognitive dissonance to get attention.

Given a deterministic universe, whenever a choosing event shows up in the causal chain, "I could have done otherwise" will always be true, but "I would have done otherwise" will always be false.


The action that is taken is the only action, 'I could have chosen y instead of x' is an illusion- each brain performs actions according to its information condition - inner necessity - at each and every point in time.

No, there is no "illusion". The correct understanding of what is going on is this: the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.
 

fromderinside

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The brain is a complicated thing and conscious awareness sometimes shows up after some insignificant decisions have already been made. So what? It is still our own brains that are making the decisions, and they are doing so according to our own goals and reasons. The brain is where "freely choosing what we will do" is going on. And, that brain will make a different decision if a guy is pointing a gun at it and telling it what to do than it would when free of coercion and undue influence.




... At the end of choosing what we will do, there is a single (and causally inevitable) intention that drives our behavior to a specific outcome.


.... There are diverse desires, such as the desire to eat chocolate, and the desire to be slim. This is a conflict of desires. We resolve this conflict by choosing what we will actually do about these two desires.

... The correct understanding of what is going on is this: the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.


... the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.
A liberal dose of word salad incomprehensible logic, and a tone of declaration on the rump of the sacrificed calf.

Please give us one model, verified (materially substantiated) , that stands up as a model of reality created by and resident in the brain that remains fairly constant over even three minutes.

Failing that your flailing is just that.

Or, put another way, present evidence or leave your chanting in your closet.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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The brain is a complicated thing and conscious awareness sometimes shows up after some insignificant decisions have already been made. So what? It is still our own brains that are making the decisions, and they are doing so according to our own goals and reasons. The brain is where "freely choosing what we will do" is going on. And, that brain will make a different decision if a guy is pointing a gun at it and telling it what to do than it would when free of coercion and undue influence.




... At the end of choosing what we will do, there is a single (and causally inevitable) intention that drives our behavior to a specific outcome.


.... There are diverse desires, such as the desire to eat chocolate, and the desire to be slim. This is a conflict of desires. We resolve this conflict by choosing what we will actually do about these two desires.

... The correct understanding of what is going on is this: the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.


... the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.
A liberal dose of word salad incomprehensible logic, and a tone of declaration on the rump of the sacrificed calf.

Please give us one model, verified (materially substantiated) , that stands up as a model of reality created by and resident in the brain that remains fairly constant over even three minutes.

Failing that your flailing is just that.

Or, put another way, present evidence or leave your chanting in your closet.
The model allows you to navigate your body through a doorway. There's the doorway. And there's you. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, we simply call it "reality", because the model is our only access to reality. When the model is inaccurate enough to create a problem, for example when you walk into a glass door, thinking it is open, then that is called an "illusion".

Now, when you imagine yourself walking down the beach, picking up and examining different sea shells, that is your own manipulation of the model in your head.

Perhaps these quotes from noted neuroscientists will help:

Instead of using your senses to constantly rebuild your reality from scratch every moment, you’re comparing sensory information with a model that the brain has already constructed: updating it, refining it, correcting it. Your brain is so expert at this task that you’re normally unaware of it.

Eagleman, David. The Brain: The Story of You (Kindle Locations 774-776). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Second, the brain uses internal data to construct simplified, schematic models of objects and events in the world. Those models can be used to make predictions, try out simulations, and plan actions.

Graziano, Michael S. A.. Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 8). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
 

DBT

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I said that I am arguing against the concept of free will. Compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with determinism. I argue that it is not.
If a Libertarian came along, I would argue against Libertarian free will.

Then it is time for you to give us your definition of "free will", so we know specifically what you are arguing against.

I am arguing that there is no such thing as free will. Therefore, I'm responding to any definitions given by others, compatibilism, Libertarian, the common perception that the ability to make decisions is free will, etc.

We experience the brain generated impulses or drives to act: to eat, sleep, drink, work, buy what we need or want and so on. Each of these needs, wants, habits, addictions is an article of will and often one article of will is in conflict with another, an addiction to smoking as opposed to the desire to give up smoking, etc, to indulge versus to abstain.

As will is formed as an aspect of an article, to smoke, drink, eat, the need to work, invest, raise a family ....will is not the means by which we think, feel or act.

We have will, in fact multiple expressions of will. But, for the reasons outlined above, it is not free will.

Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

1. "Will" is our specific intent to do something.
2. "Deciding" what we will do is the mental operation by which the brain causally determines the will, especially when we have multiple, competing desires.
3. "Freedom" is absence of some meaningful and relevant constraint that prevents us from doing what we want to do. For example, coercion and undue influence prevent us from deciding for ourselves what we will do.
4. "Coercion" is when someone forces their will upon another by some meaningful threat, such as a guy holding a gun.
5. "Undue influence" includes coercion, and other things like a significant mental illness that compromises the brain's ability to make a rational moral choice, hypnosis and other forms of manipulation, authoritative command like between a commander and soldier, parent and child, doctor and patient, etc., and any similar influence that reasonably removes a person's ability to decide for themselves what they will do.

A. Reliable cause and effect in itself is neither coercive nor undue, so it poses no threat to this definition of free will. Only specific causes are coercive (like the guy with the gun) or undue (like an unsound mind that is subject to hallucinations and delusions).

B. The fact that it is our own brains that make this choice poses no threat to this definition of free will. We've known for centuries that mental events are performed by our own brains and that normal functioning can be impaired by extraordinary illnesses or injuries.

So, what is your argument against this definition of free will?


As pointed out, absence of constraint applies all determined actions, everything that happens within a determined system happens without constraint. A determined action must necessarily proceed as determined....without constraint.

Determined actions are not chosen actions, they are actions necessitated by antecedent conditions, there is no alternative, therefore no choice (choice being the possibility of doing otherwise).


''When Danielle picked up the black Lab, was she able to pick up the blond Lab? It seems not. Picking up the blond Lab was an alternative that was not available to her. In this respect, she could not have done otherwise. Given her psychological condition, she cannot even form a want to touch a blond Lab, hence she could not pick one up. But notice that, if she wanted to pick up the blond Lab, then she would have done so. Of course, if she wanted to pick up the blond Lab, then she would not suffer from the very psychological disorder that causes her to be unable to pick up blond haired doggies. The classical compatibilist analysis of ‘could have done otherwise’ thus fails. According to the analysis, when Danielle picked up the black Lab, she was able to pick up the blonde Lab, even though, due to her psychological condition, she was not able to do so in the relevant respect. Hence, the analysis yields the wrong result.

So even if an unencumbered agent does what she wants, if she is determined, at least as the incompatibilist maintains, she could not have done otherwise. Since, as the objection goes, freedom of will requires freedom involving alternative possibilities, classical compatibilist freedom falls.''

The BCN Challenge to Compatibilist Free Will and Personal Responsibility

''The BCN-evidence indicates that many actions for which the actor can give reasons are automatic responses to external stimuli, many of which are not recognized by the actor.

Yet, we do think that these findings spell trouble for the new compatibilist, for, if these findings are true, new compatibilists must find a way to view automatic actions as actions for a reason if they are to avoid the conclusion that acting for reasons is exceptional. Because new compatibilists are also committed to the thesis that the ability to act for reasons distinguishes actions for which the actor is responsible from action for which she is not, it follows that new compatibilists must come up with an account of what distinguishes automatic actions for a reason from automatic actions that were not for a reason


''However, as we discussed, developments in the BCN-sciences suggest that it is not as obvious as it seems that our ability to act for reasons can serve as an unproblematic basis for our views of free will and responsibility. The BCN-findings indicate that most of daily life consists of automatic responses to external stimuli.

To accommodate this insight, the new compatibilists must find a way to distinguish automatic actions for a reason from automatic actions that were not for a reason. It is not obvious that this distinction can be made without an appeal to something like the freedom to do otherwise. Furthermore, developments in the BCN-sciences suggest that our self-reports and self-understanding are not necessarily evidence of the ability to act for reasons.

This underscores a problem that arises independent of the BCN-findings: How to justify our everyday ascriptions of personal responsibility for wrongdoings (including us taking responsibility for our own wrongdoings). Wrongdoings typically disclose a failure to respond adequately to the reasons that exist. So the new compatibilist seems committed to the view that at least in certain cases wrongdoers were capable of responding to the reasons to which they, in fact, did not respond.

This sounds as obscure as being able to do otherwise than one, in fact, did, but the new compatibilist might point out that in our everyday practices we routinely infer that some people are responsible for wrongdoings based on the reasons they provide. However, if the BCN-science are right that giving reasons is a matter of post hoc interpretation rather than of recalling motivations it might be that the differences between those who are deemed to be responsible for their wrongdoings and those who are not, have more to do with their ability to interpret what they did than with their ability to act for reasons.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

1. "Will" is our specific intent to do something.
2. "Deciding" what we will do is the mental operation by which the brain causally determines the will, especially when we have multiple, competing desires.
3. "Freedom" is absence of some meaningful and relevant constraint that prevents us from doing what we want to do. For example, coercion and undue influence prevent us from deciding for ourselves what we will do.
4. "Coercion" is when someone forces their will upon another by some meaningful threat, such as a guy holding a gun.
5. "Undue influence" includes coercion, and other things like a significant mental illness that compromises the brain's ability to make a rational moral choice, hypnosis and other forms of manipulation, authoritative command like between a commander and soldier, parent and child, doctor and patient, etc., and any similar influence that reasonably removes a person's ability to decide for themselves what they will do.

A. Reliable cause and effect in itself is neither coercive nor undue, so it poses no threat to this definition of free will. Only specific causes are coercive (like the guy with the gun) or undue (like an unsound mind that is subject to hallucinations and delusions).

B. The fact that it is our own brains that make this choice poses no threat to this definition of free will. We've known for centuries that mental events are performed by our own brains and that normal functioning can be impaired by extraordinary illnesses or injuries.

So, what is your argument against this definition of free will?

As pointed out, absence of constraint applies (to) all determined actions, everything that happens within a determined system happens without constraint.

Sorry, but no. A thief points a gun at you and says, "Stop, hand over your wallet!" Hasn't he constrained you from walking away? Hasn't he prevented you from spending your own money according to your own choices?

Both his actions and yours, are causally necessary from any prior point in time, but the fact the he is constraining you does not disappear. Within a perfectly deterministic system, there are still meaningful constraints, and thus there are still meaningful freedoms.

A determined action must necessarily proceed as determined....without constraint.

And to solve the riddle: Each constraint that occurs "must necessarily proceed as determined...without constraint". If it happens, then it necessarily happened. Constraints happen. For example, the electricity may go out due to a storm, and everything plugged in stops working, preventing you from watching TV. That's a meaningful constraint.

Determined actions are not chosen actions, they are actions necessitated by antecedent conditions, there is no alternative, therefore no choice (choice being the possibility of doing otherwise).

And yet the people in the restaurant are making choices. They have in front of them a literal menu of alternatives. And they must make a choice if they want to have dinner tonight.

Pretending that choosing isn't happening will not make it go away. One cannot dispute empirical facts.

''When Danielle picked up the black Lab, was she able to pick up the blond Lab? It seems not. Picking up the blond Lab was an alternative that was not available to her. In this respect, she could not have done otherwise. Given her psychological condition, she cannot even form a want to touch a blond Lab, hence she could not pick one up. But notice that, if she wanted to pick up the blond Lab, then she would have done so. Of course, if she wanted to pick up the blond Lab, then she would not suffer from the very psychological disorder that causes her to be unable to pick up blond haired doggies. The classical compatibilist analysis of ‘could have done otherwise’ thus fails. According to the analysis, when Danielle picked up the black Lab, she was able to pick up the blonde Lab, even though, due to her psychological condition, she was not able to do so in the relevant respect. Hence, the analysis yields the wrong result.
So even if an unencumbered agent does what she wants, if she is determined, at least as the incompatibilist maintains, she could not have done otherwise. Since, as the objection goes, freedom of will requires freedom involving alternative possibilities, classical compatibilist freedom falls.''

The story of Danielle in the SEP begins a paragraph earlier:
"Suppose that Danielle is psychologically incapable of wanting to touch a blond haired dog. Imagine that, on her sixteenth birthday, unaware of her condition, her father brings her two puppies to choose between, one being a blond haired Lab, the other a black haired Lab. He tells Danielle just to pick up whichever of the two she pleases and that he will return the other puppy to the pet store. Danielle happily, and unencumbered, does what she wants and picks up the black Lab."

So, as with many of the examples of persons not having free will, Danielle has a psychological impediment. She is not able to want to pick up the blond puppy. No compatibilist in their right mind would suggest that she was still able to pick up the blond puppy. Picking up the blond puppy was not a realizable option, for her, even though it would have been a realizable option for most people.

For most people, picking up the blond puppy is a real possibility, just as real a possibility as picking up the black puppy. For most people, it would be a real choice, between two things that a person could actually do, if they chose to.

But the incompatibilist cannot speak of most people, because for most people, their argument fails.


The BCN Challenge to Compatibilist Free Will and Personal Responsibility

''The BCN-evidence indicates that many actions for which the actor can give reasons are automatic responses to external stimuli, many of which are not recognized by the actor.

Yet, we do think that these findings spell trouble for the new compatibilist, for, if these findings are true, new compatibilists must find a way to view automatic actions as actions for a reason if they are to avoid the conclusion that acting for reasons is exceptional. Because new compatibilists are also committed to the thesis that the ability to act for reasons distinguishes actions for which the actor is responsible from action for which she is not, it follows that new compatibilists must come up with an account of what distinguishes automatic actions for a reason from automatic actions that were not for a reason


''However, as we discussed, developments in the BCN-sciences suggest that it is not as obvious as it seems that our ability to act for reasons can serve as an unproblematic basis for our views of free will and responsibility. The BCN-findings indicate that most of daily life consists of automatic responses to external stimuli.

To accommodate this insight, the new compatibilists must find a way to distinguish automatic actions for a reason from automatic actions that were not for a reason. It is not obvious that this distinction can be made without an appeal to something like the freedom to do otherwise. Furthermore, developments in the BCN-sciences suggest that our self-reports and self-understanding are not necessarily evidence of the ability to act for reasons.

This underscores a problem that arises independent of the BCN-findings: How to justify our everyday ascriptions of personal responsibility for wrongdoings (including us taking responsibility for our own wrongdoings). Wrongdoings typically disclose a failure to respond adequately to the reasons that exist. So the new compatibilist seems committed to the view that at least in certain cases wrongdoers were capable of responding to the reasons to which they, in fact, did not respond.

This sounds as obscure as being able to do otherwise than one, in fact, did, but the new compatibilist might point out that in our everyday practices we routinely infer that some people are responsible for wrongdoings based on the reasons they provide. However, if the BCN-science are right that giving reasons is a matter of post hoc interpretation rather than of recalling motivations it might be that the differences between those who are deemed to be responsible for their wrongdoings and those who are not, have more to do with their ability to interpret what they did than with their ability to act for reasons.''

Geez, now there are New Compatibilists? Back when I first ran into the issue in the public library, there were no "compatibilists" at all. There was just determinism, and free will, and the imaginary issue between the two, you know, the "versus".

I've explained in detail in this thread what "the ability to do otherwise" is all about. Whether an incompatibilist can actually hear the explanation or confront it with any valid argument remains an open question.

Whether the Behavioral, Cognitive, and Neurosciences are capable of untangling themselves from the philosophical paradoxes that lead otherwise sane and intelligent people to question free will and personal responsibility is up for grabs. The silly paradox of free will "versus" determinism certainly gathers a lot of (undeserved) attention. But I would suggest that the sciences need to avoid that Chinese Finger Trap unless they are capable of escaping this self-induced hoax.
 
Last edited:

fromderinside

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The brain is a complicated thing and conscious awareness sometimes shows up after some insignificant decisions have already been made. So what? It is still our own brains that are making the decisions, and they are doing so according to our own goals and reasons. The brain is where "freely choosing what we will do" is going on. And, that brain will make a different decision if a guy is pointing a gun at it and telling it what to do than it would when free of coercion and undue influence.




... At the end of choosing what we will do, there is a single (and causally inevitable) intention that drives our behavior to a specific outcome.


.... There are diverse desires, such as the desire to eat chocolate, and the desire to be slim. This is a conflict of desires. We resolve this conflict by choosing what we will actually do about these two desires.

... The correct understanding of what is going on is this: the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.


... the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.
A liberal dose of word salad incomprehensible logic, and a tone of declaration on the rump of the sacrificed calf.

Please give us one model, verified (materially substantiated) , that stands up as a model of reality created by and resident in the brain that remains fairly constant over even three minutes.

Failing that your flailing is just that.

Or, put another way, present evidence or leave your chanting in your closet.
The model allows you to navigate your body through a doorway. There's the doorway. And there's you. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, we simply call it "reality", because the model is our only access to reality. When the model is inaccurate enough to create a problem, for example when you walk into a glass door, thinking it is open, then that is called an "illusion".

Now, when you imagine yourself walking down the beach, picking up and examining different sea shells, that is your own manipulation of the model in your head.

Perhaps these quotes from noted neuroscientists will help:

Instead of using your senses to constantly rebuild your reality from scratch every moment, you’re comparing sensory information with a model that the brain has already constructed: updating it, refining it, correcting it. Your brain is so expert at this task that you’re normally unaware of it.

Eagleman, David. The Brain: The Story of You (Kindle Locations 774-776). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Second, the brain uses internal data to construct simplified, schematic models of objects and events in the world. Those models can be used to make predictions, try out simulations, and plan actions.

Graziano, Michael S. A.. Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 8). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
Bravo. A couple citations. Now explain them.

Here is a recent Eaglemen paper

The brain is a complicated thing and conscious awareness sometimes shows up after some insignificant decisions have already been made. So what? It is still our own brains that are making the decisions, and they are doing so according to our own goals and reasons. The brain is where "freely choosing what we will do" is going on. And, that brain will make a different decision if a guy is pointing a gun at it and telling it what to do than it would when free of coercion and undue influence.




... At the end of choosing what we will do, there is a single (and causally inevitable) intention that drives our behavior to a specific outcome.


.... There are diverse desires, such as the desire to eat chocolate, and the desire to be slim. This is a conflict of desires. We resolve this conflict by choosing what we will actually do about these two desires.

... The correct understanding of what is going on is this: the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.


... the brain has a model of reality and a language for performing operations with that model. When we are uncertain as to what we will do, we imagine what we can do to resolve that uncertainty. We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing option A (one "possible" future). We use the model to imagine the outcome of choosing B (a second "possible" future). The feelings produced by these mental excursions lead us to choose which action we "will" perform in the real world.

Ironically, all this imagining is not "imaginary". Mental events are assumed to be representations of physical events within the brain. And these physical events are taking place in empirical reality within the brain. A human society forms a language for communicating what is happening in our minds, as in "What were you thinking of that made you do that?".

Within this language we have the notion of choosing and how choosing works. We have the notion of multiple, real "possibilities". And we have the notion of a single "actuality".

As it turns out, within the domain of human influence (stuff we can make happen if we choose to), the single actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

Choosing is a deterministic causal mechanism that exercises control over what we do next, which exercises control over what happens next.
A liberal dose of word salad incomprehensible logic, and a tone of declaration on the rump of the sacrificed calf.

Please give us one model, verified (materially substantiated) , that stands up as a model of reality created by and resident in the brain that remains fairly constant over even three minutes.

Failing that your flailing is just that.

Or, put another way, present evidence or leave your chanting in your closet.
The model allows you to navigate your body through a doorway. There's the doorway. And there's you. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, we simply call it "reality", because the model is our only access to reality. When the model is inaccurate enough to create a problem, for example when you walk into a glass door, thinking it is open, then that is called an "illusion".

Now, when you imagine yourself walking down the beach, picking up and examining different sea shells, that is your own manipulation of the model in your head.

Perhaps these quotes from noted neuroscientists will help:

Instead of using your senses to constantly rebuild your reality from scratch every moment, you’re comparing sensory information with a model that the brain has already constructed: updating it, refining it, correcting it. Your brain is so expert at this task that you’re normally unaware of it.

Eagleman, David. The Brain: The Story of You (Kindle Locations 774-776). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Second, the brain uses internal data to construct simplified, schematic models of objects and events in the world. Those models can be used to make predictions, try out simulations, and plan actions.

Graziano, Michael S. A.. Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 8). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
If you read Eagleman experimental papers carefully you'll find that sense models are improved by new sense information adding or modifying existing sense templates repeatedly throughout the cortex generating enabling channels for cerebellar activations of routines effector targeted loci, not through manipulation of an existing model stored in brain or memory.

That is to say sense information courses through ascending and descending pathways triggering existing activated neurons from similar information, modifying outcomes in s the current moment. The mind is not operating on the models, sense information is acting on the existing models so to speak. Of course evidence is strong that working models can be replaced with contrary models quite quickly.

Back to the point. What we call consciousness is that narrative, visual, language, tactile, etc. subvocal and other sensory integrated which we must support status of being in order to express it. All those little joy tools you use like 'think', 'decide', 'choose' are built just as are other logical constructions to represent a frame for animating it. They are after the fact justifications for what we do, act, perform.

Once one removes these enablers we are back to this then that or determined behaviors generated in response to complex situations.

In other words I have no problems with Eagleman and few with Graziani when it comes to what underlies human behavior. What they wrote and how you interpret it is to which I disagree. Pull out the "I do this and I do that" and you have a machine called a human getting along in a determined world.

here is something that might grab your interest from Eagleman

A neural model for temporal order judgments and their active recalibration: a common mechanism for space and time: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00470/full

.... The similar properties in psychophysics of space and time perception raise the possibility that common mechanisms may be shared between the two domains. We suggest that many of the research paradigms used in spatial perception may help us to better understand the mechanisms of time perception. Further theoretical and electrophysiological explorations are crucial for this field.
I would hope so for Einstein's sake.
 
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