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Compatibilism: What's that About?

fromderinside

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from:   Scientific Method

  1. Define a question
  2. Gather information and resources (observe)
  3. Form an explanatory hypothesis
  4. Test the hypothesis by performing an experiment and collecting data in a reproducible manner
  5. Analyze the data
  6. Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for a new hypothesis
  7. Publish results
  8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

You are failing to properly explode the bolded portion.

You've added extra unnecessary language and hidden the important shit behind a wall of obfuscation.

Testing the hypothesis is to aim an honest attempt and disproof at it.
I provided a link to the article for christ's sake.

On theory you are soooo. f...ing wrong. The goal of the research is to expand scientific knowledge and theory. Most experiments try to include themselves within the domain of some theory or system of theory. If they have a result that conflicts with a theory they need to justify their work either by developing improvements on the theory or, in the worst case, trying to supply another explanation for the body of results ( a new theory).

Generally, new material fits within the scope of good existing theories. Very few strong theories in physical science are falsified each decade.

Physiological, Psychological and Neuroscience theories are collapsing every month.
 

Copernicus

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...Nor is it a matter of me 'digging in my heels.'

In case you haven't noticed, there are two sides to this argument, compatibilism and incompatibilism. The reasons why compatibilism is inadequate to prove the proposition of free will have been explained and supported by quotes and references...

You simply prove my point in your reply. Nobody is denying that there are two sides to the argument, and your quote is nothing more than a reference to Pereboom's convoluted "manipulation argument", which has lots of critics and supporters in the literature. Like you, I don't see Pereboom seriously advocating the abolition of criminal law on the grounds that people don't actually have free will. It is really hard to argue for a conclusion that one does not take seriously, so I think that Pereboom deserves some credit for being really good at defending an absurd conclusion. Would you like references to some of his critics, or can you handle the Google search on your own? ;)

Of course there are critics, everyone has a point of view. I have read what Pereboom's critics have to say. Just as there are critics of compatibilism.

What you say about ''advocating the abolition of criminal law on the grounds that people don't actually have free will'' indicates that you don't understand the issue.

Actions that are taken in terms of law, regulation, punishment, are made in response to human behaviour and are meant to modify or prevent undesirable activity, crime, etc.

The knowledge that there are consequences acts as a deterrent for most people, so of course nobody is suggesting abolition of the law.

Some are calling for a review.

Again;

The law
''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.''


On the neurology of morals
''Patients with medial prefrontal lesions often display irresponsible behavior, despite being intellectually unimpaired. But similar lesions occurring in early childhood can also prevent the acquisition of factual knowledge about accepted standards of moral behavior.''
I did not respond to this earlier, because I was on vacation and had very limited time and internet connectivity, so I'll make my response now.

You aren't a philosopher, and I seriously doubt that you have any comprehensive grasp of the criticism that has been directed at Pereboom. Nor have I, for that matter, but it is easy to see that he has attracted a lot of commentary pro and con. You are using him here to bolster your position, because you sense that he is an authority, but arguments from authority are known to be invalid. You need to discuss arguments rather than just cite what other people have written and take it as received wisdom.

Your quote regarding "the law" is interesting, because it makes a prediction that "the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior." This is exactly the kind of nonsensical claim that free will eliminativists have been trying to make as a justification of their position. In reality, there are no signs that the legal system is being forced into any such position at all by "modern neuroscience" or ever will be. It is pure baloney--an example of scientism at its worst. The author seems to be aware of this, so he shifts to the excuse that "these issues can never be disentangled" and then goes on to ask a question that he fails to even propose an answer to: "what do we do from here?" Instead, he makes vague handwaving gestures at "customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition [sic], and refined incentive structuring'', leaving it up to the reader to make guesses about what that is supposed to mean.

I confess that I have no idea why you inserted that quote from the paywalled online article "On the neurology of morals", but I suppose that you feel the inaccessibility of its content absolves you from having to show its relevance to this discussion. We aren't talking about brain lesions or other pathological conditions. We are talking about free choices that people with healthy brains make.
Even people.with brain lesions and disconnected hemispheres have choices that are made from their own reference frame, their own locus, even if not all choices made by the meat they inhabit are made by that single locus; someone might be forced to play a two player game and not have awareness of the reasoning of player two, with player two not having access to communicative potential.

These are still choices, made freely by the localities that determine them.
Nobody has argued that people with brain damage fail to make choices or that choices are anything but physically determined behavior. Compatibilists see the problem as essentially a shift in the usage of expressions like "free will".
 

Jarhyn

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...Nor is it a matter of me 'digging in my heels.'

In case you haven't noticed, there are two sides to this argument, compatibilism and incompatibilism. The reasons why compatibilism is inadequate to prove the proposition of free will have been explained and supported by quotes and references...

You simply prove my point in your reply. Nobody is denying that there are two sides to the argument, and your quote is nothing more than a reference to Pereboom's convoluted "manipulation argument", which has lots of critics and supporters in the literature. Like you, I don't see Pereboom seriously advocating the abolition of criminal law on the grounds that people don't actually have free will. It is really hard to argue for a conclusion that one does not take seriously, so I think that Pereboom deserves some credit for being really good at defending an absurd conclusion. Would you like references to some of his critics, or can you handle the Google search on your own? ;)

Of course there are critics, everyone has a point of view. I have read what Pereboom's critics have to say. Just as there are critics of compatibilism.

What you say about ''advocating the abolition of criminal law on the grounds that people don't actually have free will'' indicates that you don't understand the issue.

Actions that are taken in terms of law, regulation, punishment, are made in response to human behaviour and are meant to modify or prevent undesirable activity, crime, etc.

The knowledge that there are consequences acts as a deterrent for most people, so of course nobody is suggesting abolition of the law.

Some are calling for a review.

Again;

The law
''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.''


On the neurology of morals
''Patients with medial prefrontal lesions often display irresponsible behavior, despite being intellectually unimpaired. But similar lesions occurring in early childhood can also prevent the acquisition of factual knowledge about accepted standards of moral behavior.''
I did not respond to this earlier, because I was on vacation and had very limited time and internet connectivity, so I'll make my response now.

You aren't a philosopher, and I seriously doubt that you have any comprehensive grasp of the criticism that has been directed at Pereboom. Nor have I, for that matter, but it is easy to see that he has attracted a lot of commentary pro and con. You are using him here to bolster your position, because you sense that he is an authority, but arguments from authority are known to be invalid. You need to discuss arguments rather than just cite what other people have written and take it as received wisdom.

Your quote regarding "the law" is interesting, because it makes a prediction that "the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior." This is exactly the kind of nonsensical claim that free will eliminativists have been trying to make as a justification of their position. In reality, there are no signs that the legal system is being forced into any such position at all by "modern neuroscience" or ever will be. It is pure baloney--an example of scientism at its worst. The author seems to be aware of this, so he shifts to the excuse that "these issues can never be disentangled" and then goes on to ask a question that he fails to even propose an answer to: "what do we do from here?" Instead, he makes vague handwaving gestures at "customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition [sic], and refined incentive structuring'', leaving it up to the reader to make guesses about what that is supposed to mean.

I confess that I have no idea why you inserted that quote from the paywalled online article "On the neurology of morals", but I suppose that you feel the inaccessibility of its content absolves you from having to show its relevance to this discussion. We aren't talking about brain lesions or other pathological conditions. We are talking about free choices that people with healthy brains make.
Even people.with brain lesions and disconnected hemispheres have choices that are made from their own reference frame, their own locus, even if not all choices made by the meat they inhabit are made by that single locus; someone might be forced to play a two player game and not have awareness of the reasoning of player two, with player two not having access to communicative potential.

These are still choices, made freely by the localities that determine them.
Nobody has argued that people with brain damage fail to make choices or that choices are anything but physically determined behavior. Compatibilists see the problem as essentially a shift in the usage of expressions like "free will".
I am a compatibilist, nominally, for the sake of having useful language rather than useless language.

I, however, do not have any expectations that the "dice rollers" can be identified as creating an identifiable nonrandom result. It may be the case that the universe has an one-time-pad seed, as it were, and I accept this possibility.

I also accept that it may have a fixed and compressable seed. Both of these are hypotheses which have not been disproven ad to which of either is correct.

So while I am a compatibilist because why the hell not, and because I understand metaphysics to the point where I recognize that even if it was probabilistic and only semi-deterministic because of a one-time-pad seed of some kind (that the architecture can represent an arbitrary reality that is not this one) we may still have a statistical determinism that quickly ascends the quantum scale, and it is the locality precisely that drives concepts of contention; the metaphysics of representation in abstract of a world of those born ignorance demands that we will contend foolishly, and so we will need discussion and words to describe the contention as self-modifying processes.
 

DBT

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  1. You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
  2. In order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.
  3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.
  4. So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do. - Galen Strawson.

Strawson is talking about something he calls "ultimate" responsibility. Nobody on this thread has been arguing for ultimate responsibility - it's a nonsensical concept.

Strawson acknowledges that although ultimate responsibility cannot exist he has no problem with normal, everyday moral responsibility:

Strawson (in an interview in March 2003) said:
I just want to stress the word “ultimate” before “moral responsibility.” Because there’s a clear, weaker, everyday sense of “morally responsible” in which you and I and millions of other people are thoroughly morally responsible people.

Responsibility is tied to the notion of free will. Both require ultimate responsibility. If you act because of the way you are and you did not choose to be the way you are, you are ultimately not responsible for what you are or what you do, which means that what you do, flowing from what you are (not chosen), is not freely willed.

So there goes the argument for free will. Including, for the given reasons, compatibilism.
 

The AntiChris

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  1. You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
  2. In order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.
  3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.
  4. So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do. - Galen Strawson.

Strawson is talking about something he calls "ultimate" responsibility. Nobody on this thread has been arguing for ultimate responsibility - it's a nonsensical concept.

Strawson acknowledges that although ultimate responsibility cannot exist he has no problem with normal, everyday moral responsibility:

Strawson (in an interview in March 2003) said:
I just want to stress the word “ultimate” before “moral responsibility.” Because there’s a clear, weaker, everyday sense of “morally responsible” in which you and I and millions of other people are thoroughly morally responsible people.

Responsibility is tied to the notion of free will. Both require ultimate responsibility.
So, despite quoting him as support for your position, you disagree with Strawson?
 

DBT

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Neural network response to stimuli is the decision maker. The action being 'chosen' being an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time.

"A decision in the true sense" is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time".

Which is true of all things that process information, computers, brains, simple organisms, microbes, etc. No free will necessary as an explanation or tag.
Not really a decision in the true sense because determinism doesn't allow an alternative choice.

Nope. A decision is a decision! The fact that it was inevitable changes nothing. Where it happened, specifically within my own neural network, means that it was I and no other object in the universe, that actually made that choice.

The fact that you squeeze the process into "a response to stimuli" doesn't change anything other than to remove the key distinction between the two different sets of stimuli: one set that includes the guy with a gun (coercion) and the other set without him (free will).

You can't go around destroying meaningful distinctions without losing significant information. That distorts the truth. So, stop doing that. And tell the people you are quoting to stop doing that.

A determined action is not a decision. There was never the possibility to choose otherwise. A real choose entails multiple realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow multiple realizable options.

The action that is taken is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time."

No free will involved.
The action that taken is the only possible action.

Wrong.
Literal Fact: The action that is taken is the only action that will be taken.
Figurative deception: It is AS IF it were the only action that can be taken. Which is literally false.

It is the only action that can be taken in any moment because it is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time" - which is clearly what I meant.....I have said it multiple times.

Nothing else is possible.

Wrong again.
Literal Fact: If things were different then other things could have happened instead.
Figurative deception: It was AS IF there were no other possibilities. Which is literally false.

Going by the standard definition of determinism, things can't be different within a determined system. Nothing can be different. You can hypothesize or lament past decisions, but they cannot have been different.

Outcomes are determined by how events interact and unfold.

Of course. And if things were different, then they would have interacted and unfolded differently. When anyone says "I could have done something else", it always carries the implication that (1) "I did not do something else" and that (2) "things would have had to be different in order for me to have done something else".

Things can't be different. We are talking about determined world, not a probabilistic world. Determined events are fixed by initial conditions and proceed as a matter of natural law.

Nobody can take a different option.

Wrong.
Literal fact: If things were different, then I would have chosen differently. That is what "I could have done otherwise" literally implies. It always carries two logical implications: (1) things would have had to be different and (2) they weren't, so, as a matter of fact, I did not do otherwise.
Figurative deception: Things were not different, so it is AS IF I could not have chosen differently under different circumstances.

You may be thinking of Libertarian free will.


Intelligence is about providing our species with behavioral adaptability. Unlike species that can only act upon instincts, we get to choose what we will do. We imagine new possibilities, like flying in the sky as birds do, and we imagine creating a machine that enables flight, and we imagine different ways to do this (propeller, jet, helicopter), and we choose which possibility we will actualize, and different people choose other possibilities. And that is how the single actual future comes about, by us deciding for ourselves what we will do.

Within the domain of human influence, the single inevitable future will be chosen by us from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.


The point was that it is the neural architecture of a brain that enables information processing and its related mental functions and abilities, pattern recognition, cycles, trends, making predictions...which is not a matter of will, certainly not free will.


''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen

 

Marvin Edwards

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Neural network response to stimuli is the decision maker. The action being 'chosen' being an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time.
"A decision in the true sense" is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time".
Which is true of all things that process information, computers, brains, simple organisms, microbes, etc. No free will necessary as an explanation or tag.

Let's try to sort this out correctly so we nail it down:

1. We have machines like thermostats, computers, and robots, that can make decisions, but which lack a will of their own. They make decisions, for us, but have no interest of their own in the outcomes.

2. We have microbes and all other simple living organisms that have a biological "will of their own" to survive, thrive and reproduce, which can exhibit goal directed (purposeful) behavior, but which can only act upon instinct. They lack the evolved neurology required to imagine alternative actions and choose between them.

3. We have intelligent species with a highly evolved neurology capable of imagining multiple possibilities, evaluating the likely outcomes of each option, and choosing for themselves what they will do.

When a member of an intelligent species is free to choose for themselves what they will do, it is a freely chosen will.
But when they are prevented from choosing for themselves what they will do, it is not a freely chosen will.

A freely chosen will is never free from reliable causation, but then again, nothing ever is. So, the fact that the choice was causally necessary does not change the fact that it was free of coercion and other undue influences.

The fact that the choice was causally necessary from any prior point in time (determinism), is an insignificant, meaningless, and irrelevant fact, because it is always the case of every event.

The fact that the choice was free from coercion and undue influence is significant, because not all choices are free from such undue influences. It is meaningful because it sorts out the cause of the behavior, as deliberate versus coerced versus insane, etc. And the nature of the cause determines the method of correction. It is relevant, because in most cases we can actually do something about the cause.

However there is nothing that anyone can do about causal necessity. It is a background constant that is always the case of all events. It makes no meaningful distinctions between any events, and there's nothing at all that can be done about it, so it is irrelevant to any human scenario.

Determinism, being based upon the principle of causal necessity, is similarly insignificant, meaningless, and irrelevant.

A determined action is not a decision.

A decision is a determined action that "decides" something. The fact that the decision was inevitable does not change the fact that the deciding actually happened in physical reality.

There was never the possibility to choose otherwise.

We pick up the restaurant menu and are faced with many possibilities. It is necessary for us to select one of those possibilities or we'll have no dinner. And we will select one of those possibilities from among the many that we can choose.

One "I will" plus multiple "I can's" equals one "I did" plus multiple "I could have done's".

"I could have done otherwise" is clearly true. "I would have done otherwise" is clearly false.

A real choose entails multiple realizable options. Determinism doesn't allow multiple realizable options.

Look at the menu. Which of those items do you claim to be "unrealizable"? Although I will choose only one, I can choose any item that I want, and the chef will prepare it so that I can realize eating it.

It is the only action that can be taken in any moment because it is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time" - which is clearly what I meant.....I have said it multiple times.

But causal necessity cannot say that it is the only action that "can" be taken in any moment. Causal necessity may only say that it is the only action that will be taken in any moment.

Going by the standard definition of determinism, things can't be different within a determined system. Nothing can be different. You can hypothesize or lament past decisions, but they cannot have been different.

Well, things will never be different in a deterministic system. Nothing will be different. As to what can or cannot happen, causal necessity cannot say, because it has no context of uncertainty. Every event within a deterministic system certainly will happen.

The very notion of a possibility, something that may or may not happen, exists solely to deal with matters of uncertainty. It is a logical token that has no meaning in the context of certainty. The same is true for words like "can", "option", "alternative". When dealing with matters of certainty, these words have no meaning.

Whenever we use one of those words, we immediately shift the discussion back into the context of uncertainty. And for us humans, we spend a lot of our time in that context.

So, there is a logical error in the "standard definition of determinism". And that error creates cognitive dissonance when people are told that they "could not have done otherwise", because they know for a fact that they had another option, and that "I can choose that other option" was true as they entered the choosing operation. They were uncertain what they would do, but they were certain as to what they could do. Oh, and of course, they were logically correct. It is the standard definition that is logically incorrect.

Outcomes are determined by how events interact and unfold.

Of course. And if things were different, then they would have interacted and unfolded differently. When anyone says "I could have done something else", it always carries the implication that (1) "I did not do something else" and that (2) "things would have had to be different in order for me to have done something else".

Things can't be different.

No. Things won't be different, even though they can.

We are talking about determined world, not a probabilistic world. Determined events are fixed by initial conditions and proceed as a matter of natural law.

Yes, more or less (natural law is not a causal agent, but it is the common metaphor for reliable causation).
And, yes, given matters as they are at any prior point in time, all events will proceed reliably in precisely one single way.

But among these events (that will proceed reliably in precisely one single way) will be those events where we choose for ourselves what we certainly will do from among the many possibilities that we certainly will imagine.

There is no "freedom from causal necessity", but there certainly is "freedom from coercion and undue influence".


You may be thinking of Libertarian free will.

No. From what I hear, Libertarian free will views causal necessity as a threat to free will, so they reject the notion that their choices are deterministic.

The resolution to both the Hard Determinist position and the Libertarian position would be to stop viewing causal necessity as a causal agent, but rather to view it as a logical fact with no significant meaning or relevance to any human scenario. Causal necessity cannot be viewed as being responsible for any events. It is descriptive, not causative.

Intelligence is about providing our species with behavioral adaptability. Unlike species that can only act upon instincts, we get to choose what we will do. We imagine new possibilities, like flying in the sky as birds do, and we imagine creating a machine that enables flight, and we imagine different ways to do this (propeller, jet, helicopter), and we choose which possibility we will actualize, and different people choose other possibilities. And that is how the single actual future comes about, by us deciding for ourselves what we will do.

Within the domain of human influence, the single inevitable future will be chosen by us from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

The point was that it is the neural architecture of a brain that enables information processing and its related mental functions and abilities, pattern recognition, cycles, trends, making predictions...which is not a matter of will, certainly not free will.

Yes and no. Yes, it is our brain's neural architecture that enables information processing, etc. But information processing includes making decisions as to what the person will do. When faced with a decision that it must make, like choosing from the menu what the person will have for dinner, it will normally review several items that it can choose, and from that review choose what the person will do.

And, if someone is pointing a gun at the person, and ordering them to "Have the roast beef", when they would rather have a salad, then that is not them making the decision, but rather the guy with the gun forcing a decision upon them against their will.

''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen

I'm guessing that the "No Choice Principle" is the same as the "Principle of Alternate Possibilities". My solution to the problem may appear novel: The possibilities that occur to us while making a decision are causally necessary mental events that inevitably will happen. And, if my choice is inevitable, then it is equally inevitable that it will be I, and no other object in the physical universe, that will be making the choice that causally determines what will happen next. It is inevitable that the control will rest within me.

Cool, huh?
 

DBT

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The external world is the 'god' that acts upon the brain. The external world is the source of information that a brain responds to. Responding, not according to its will, but its unchosen neural architecture and information processing activity.
No, the external world is just a planet we live on. It doesn't care whether our species survives or not. The interests that motivate us are the biological drives to survive, thrive, and reproduce, that exist within us. The control that causally determines what we will deliberately do is a choosing operation performed by our own brains. Our fate is in our own hands and our future is one of our own choosing.

That is Libertarian Free Will. Determinism - the deterministic interactions of the world - necessitates/fixes brain structure, function and behavioural output.

Consequently, in a determined world, the future is not a matter of choice.
 

Copernicus

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Nobody has argued that people with brain damage fail to make choices or that choices are anything but physically determined behavior. Compatibilists see the problem as essentially a shift in the usage of expressions like "free will".
I am a compatibilist, nominally, for the sake of having useful language rather than useless language.

I, however, do not have any expectations that the "dice rollers" can be identified as creating an identifiable nonrandom result. It may be the case that the universe has an one-time-pad seed, as it were, and I accept this possibility.

I also accept that it may have a fixed and compressable seed. Both of these are hypotheses which have not been disproven ad to which of either is correct.

So while I am a compatibilist because why the hell not, and because I understand metaphysics to the point where I recognize that even if it was probabilistic and only semi-deterministic because of a one-time-pad seed of some kind (that the architecture can represent an arbitrary reality that is not this one) we may still have a statistical determinism that quickly ascends the quantum scale, and it is the locality precisely that drives concepts of contention; the metaphysics of representation in abstract of a world of those born ignorance demands that we will contend foolishly, and so we will need discussion and words to describe the contention as self-modifying processes.

Jahryn, we can certainly agree that it is better to have useful language rather than useless language. Beyond that, I think that you are trying too hard to push a computational metaphor. If there is a substantive claim in that confusing ramble that is relevant to what I have been posting, I confess that I have missed it.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The external world is the 'god' that acts upon the brain. The external world is the source of information that a brain responds to. Responding, not according to its will, but its unchosen neural architecture and information processing activity.
No, the external world is just a planet we live on. It doesn't care whether our species survives or not. The interests that motivate us are the biological drives to survive, thrive, and reproduce, that exist within us. The control that causally determines what we will deliberately do is a choosing operation performed by our own brains. Our fate is in our own hands and our future is one of our own choosing.

That is Libertarian Free Will. Determinism - the deterministic interactions of the world - necessitates/fixes brain structure, function and behavioural output.

Consequently, in a determined world, the future is not a matter of choice.

Choosing is the causal mechanism that necessitates the choice. Choosing happens, all the time. It is a real event in the real world. Determinism does not prevent choosing. It asserts that the event will certainly happen.

You're still trying to prove that although choosing does happen, it is somehow "not really choosing". But empirically it is an actual event and it is actually happening and we're actually doing it. So your claim is actually only that it is AS IF choosing wasn't happening. That will not hold.
 

Jarhyn

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Nobody has argued that people with brain damage fail to make choices or that choices are anything but physically determined behavior. Compatibilists see the problem as essentially a shift in the usage of expressions like "free will".
I am a compatibilist, nominally, for the sake of having useful language rather than useless language.

I, however, do not have any expectations that the "dice rollers" can be identified as creating an identifiable nonrandom result. It may be the case that the universe has an one-time-pad seed, as it were, and I accept this possibility.

I also accept that it may have a fixed and compressable seed. Both of these are hypotheses which have not been disproven ad to which of either is correct.

So while I am a compatibilist because why the hell not, and because I understand metaphysics to the point where I recognize that even if it was probabilistic and only semi-deterministic because of a one-time-pad seed of some kind (that the architecture can represent an arbitrary reality that is not this one) we may still have a statistical determinism that quickly ascends the quantum scale, and it is the locality precisely that drives concepts of contention; the metaphysics of representation in abstract of a world of those born ignorance demands that we will contend foolishly, and so we will need discussion and words to describe the contention as self-modifying processes.

Jahryn, we can certainly agree that it is better to have useful language rather than useless language. Beyond that, I think that you are trying too hard to push a computational metaphor. If there is a substantive claim in that confusing ramble that is relevant to what I have been posting, I confess that I have missed it.
It's more an intersection of discrete math and linear algebra, as performed by impossibly autistic meat.

I'm weird. I'm not even really talking to you, per SE. I'm thinking it through for myself and I expect that my insights may change when I learn more. I'm not particularly interested in knowing what will happen when, for sure; I like not being able to know the certain future, in fact.

But I like pondering "the basic architecture", and what forms it may take.

Fundamentally I use a computational model, not metaphor, because we have reduced basic quantum events to computational models that require certain probabilistic assignments over the course of their events, though some factors of these models elude is, like gravity.

If we may express the universe in part using pure computational models, the universe is expressible by a computer of sufficient dimension, so it's more discussing metaphysics.
 

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The external world is the 'god' that acts upon the brain. The external world is the source of information that a brain responds to. Responding, not according to its will, but its unchosen neural architecture and information processing activity.
No, the external world is just a planet we live on. It doesn't care whether our species survives or not. The interests that motivate us are the biological drives to survive, thrive, and reproduce, that exist within us. The control that causally determines what we will deliberately do is a choosing operation performed by our own brains. Our fate is in our own hands and our future is one of our own choosing.

That is Libertarian Free Will. Determinism - the deterministic interactions of the world - necessitates/fixes brain structure, function and behavioural output.

Consequently, in a determined world, the future is not a matter of choice.

Choosing is the causal mechanism that necessitates the choice. Choosing happens, all the time. It is a real event in the real world. Determinism does not prevent choosing. It asserts that the event will certainly happen.

You're still trying to prove that although choosing does happen, it is somehow "not really choosing". But empirically it is an actual event and it is actually happening and we're actually doing it. So your claim is actually only that it is AS IF choosing wasn't happening. That will not hold.

It is an actual event. It is really happening, but the wording of your reply is phrased in a way that gives the impression of realizable alternative options, that there is a choice where no choice exists within a determined system. Rather than being a matter of choice, it's a matter of inputs acting upon brain architecture that determines thought and response. That is not choice, nor is it free will.

A real choice requires the ability to have done otherwise. Determinism does not permit one to do otherwise, only what is determined from moment to moment.
 

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Neural network response to stimuli is the decision maker. The action being 'chosen' being an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time.
"A decision in the true sense" is "an inevitable action based on the state of the system in that moment in time".
Which is true of all things that process information, computers, brains, simple organisms, microbes, etc. No free will necessary as an explanation or tag.

Let's try to sort this out correctly so we nail it down:

1. We have machines like thermostats, computers, and robots, that can make decisions, but which lack a will of their own. They make decisions, for us, but have no interest of their own in the outcomes.

The brain is a biological mechanism evolved to respond to its inputs from the environment. How the brain responds is a matter of architecture, inputs and memory function (which acts as the software)

Will is not the driver, that is the role of neural architecture...will plays the role of the prompt or urge to act. We have will, but for the given reasons, it is not Free Will.
2. We have microbes and all other simple living organisms that have a biological "will of their own" to survive, thrive and reproduce, which can exhibit goal directed (purposeful) behavior, but which can only act upon instinct. They lack the evolved neurology required to imagine alternative actions and choose between them.

Driven by Biology, not will or free will.

3. We have intelligent species with a highly evolved neurology capable of imagining multiple possibilities, evaluating the likely outcomes of each option, and choosing for themselves what they will do.

When a member of an intelligent species is free to choose for themselves what they will do, it is a freely chosen will.
But when they are prevented from choosing for themselves what they will do, it is not a freely chosen will.

None are free to choose. Actions are necessitated/determined. All attributes, abilities and features are brain functions. What any species or any individual can or can't do is determined by their neural architecture and brain state from moment to moment as determined events within and without the system unfold.

This is neither willed or freely willed. It's just brain function. Complexity doesn't negate the principle.
A freely chosen will is never free from reliable causation, but then again, nothing ever is. So, the fact that the choice was causally necessary does not change the fact that it was free of coercion and other undue influences.

The phrase 'reliable causation' is carefully crafted to soften determinism, to give the impression of choice. That somehow the agent has control of this 'reliable causation' where no control exists.

Determinism as 'reliable causation' - by definition - fixes all outcomes.


I'm guessing that the "No Choice Principle" is the same as the "Principle of Alternate Possibilities". My solution to the problem may appear novel: The possibilities that occur to us while making a decision are causally necessary mental events that inevitably will happen. And, if my choice is inevitable, then it is equally inevitable that it will be I, and no other object in the physical universe, that will be making the choice that causally determines what will happen next. It is inevitable that the control will rest within me.

Cool, huh?

If it is you, it must necessarily be you. It can't be anyone else. There is no choice in the form of alternatives. The option taken is determined by neural information state. You as a conscious entity have no say or input. 'You' -your thoughts and actions - are the outcome.

1. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the past, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.
2. If A causes B, we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.
3. All of our actions and thoughts are consequences of past events and the laws of nature.
4. Assuming responsibility requires control, we are not responsible for what we do or think (2, 3).

History of the Free Will Problem
''From its earliest beginnings, the problem of "free will" has been intimately connected with the question of moral responsibility. Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us", and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism.

Almost everything written about free will to date has been verbal debate about the precise meaning of philosophical concepts like causality, necessity, and other dogmas of determinism.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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It is an actual event. It is really happening, but the wording of your reply is phrased in a way that gives the impression of realizable alternative options,

Which item on the menu is not a realizable alternative option? The chef is prepared to fix any item that we choose.

The fact that we "will" choose the salad does not imply we "cannot" choose the steak. We can choose any item on the menu, and the waiter will bring it to us. This is what "I can do" is all about. To say that "I can" do something does not imply that I "will" do it, but only the possibility that I will do it. To say that something "can" happen does not imply that it "will" happen. And even if it was causally necessary that I "would" choose the salad, that does not imply that I "could not" have chosen the steak.

In fact, to say that I "could have" done something logically implies that I definitely did not do it. And to say that "it could have happened" definitely implies that it "did not happen". So, "could have" is a true statement, even as a counterfactual, because it implies that something did not happen, and, sure enough, it didn't.

that there is a choice where no choice exists within a determined system.

It should be obvious by now that the "no choice exists within a determined system" claim is false. Within a deterministic system happens, choices happened. And because it is a deterministic system, they necessarily will happen. They are not eliminated, but rather guaranteed.

Rather than being a matter of choice, it's a matter of inputs acting upon brain architecture that determines thought and response. That is not choice, nor is it free will.

Are you suggesting that the menu forced my brain to order the salad? I can assure you that's not the case. I gave that steak some serious consideration, and might have chosen it had I not had eggs and bacon for breakfast. So, this was indeed a choice of my own, not a result of the menu's influence. The menu neither coerced nor unduly influenced me. I chose the salad of my own free will.

A real choice requires the ability to have done otherwise.

Of course. I was able to choose the steak, but, due to my own goals and reasons, I chose the salad instead. An "ability" to do something does not imply that one "will" do it. It only implies that one "can" do it.

Again, a deterministic system does not remove any ability to do something. It only means that if, in fact, I "did not" order the steak, that, under those specific circumstances, I "would not" order the steak. So, if we were to roll back time to the spot where I faced this choice, I never "would" do otherwise. I "would" always order the salad, and ordering the steak "would" never happen, despite that fact that it "could" have happened.

Determinism does not permit one to do otherwise, only what is determined from moment to moment.

I never "do otherwise than what I do". That's just silly.

However, I "could have" done otherwise than what I did, even though I never "would have" done otherwise in those circumstances. In order to have "actually done" otherwise, things would have had to be different. And that is why we use "could have" when re-examining our past choices, to learn from them, because "could have" implies that either us or the circumstances were different.

When evaluating past events, we are putting ourselves back into the context of uncertainty, we are imagining what might have happened had we made a different choice. For example, if the salad was made with lettuce that carried the e coli bacteria, and made me sick, then I will remember that I "could have had the steak instead", and in this case I probably "should have".

Oh, and it is my own brain and my own choices that are determining what I do from moment to moment. Determinism itself has no brain, no arms and legs, and cannot causally determine anything at all, at any moment, ever.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The brain is a biological mechanism evolved to respond to its inputs from the environment. How the brain responds is a matter of architecture, inputs and memory function (which acts as the software)

Yes, the brain is a biological mechanism, with an architecture that provides many functions. One of these functions is speech. And, although we are still studying the architecture, we have already learned a lot about the brain by observing the behavior and by, well, simply asking the brain, "Hey, why did you choose the salad instead of the steak? I know you really like steak."

And that biological mechanism will tell us, "Well, you see, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, and I'm trying to cut back on my fat intake to lower my cholesterol, so I chose the salad, you know, to balance out the bacon and eggs."

Will is not the driver, that is the role of neural architecture...will plays the role of the prompt or urge to act. We have will, but for the given reasons, it is not Free Will.

Us: "Say, brain, did anyone force you to order the salad?"
Brain: "No, I chose the salad of my own free will."
Us: "What do you mean by 'your own free will'?"
Brain: "I mean that it was my own dietary goals and my own reasoning that caused me to order the salad, even though I could have ordered the steak instead."
Us: "Okay. That makes sense."

Driven by Biology, not will or free will.

Thinking is a different causal mechanism. It runs upon the neural infrastructure, just like programs run upon computers, but it works by imagining possibilities, estimating their likely outcomes, and choosing what it will do. The rational causal mechanism uses the brain's internal model of reality to create imaginary scenarios, to try out things mentally before choosing to act upon them in reality.

The rational causal mechanism is very different from biological drives and physical forces. Our choices override our biological drives, just like our biological drives can override physical forces.

None are free to choose. Actions are necessitated/determined.

If nothing prevents me from choosing, then I am obviously free to choose.
And, yes, all actions are causally necessitated, which means that my choosing was not only possible, but also necessary. Choosing is quite real, and we actually perform the function of choosing in physical reality.

All attributes, abilities and features are brain functions.

Yep. Choosing is a brain function. So, we may assume that it is built into the firmware of the neural architecture. Thus, we come with the ability to choose.

What any species or any individual can or can't do is determined by their neural architecture and brain state from moment to moment as determined events within and without the system unfold.

Among those events are our thoughts and our feelings, you know, the functions that enable us to consider the different things that we can do, and select the single thing that we will do.

This is neither willed or freely willed. It's just brain function.

But brain function is how a choice of my own free will actually happens. What my brain has deliberately chosen, I have deliberately chosen. There's no dualism.

Complexity doesn't negate the principle.

Right. All events are reliably caused. Some are caused by physical forces alone. Some are caused by biological drives employing physical forces. Some are caused by considering several realizable alternatives and deciding to realize one of them. But, all events are still reliably caused, by some causal mechanism or some combination of them.

The phrase 'reliable causation' is carefully crafted to soften determinism, to give the impression of choice. That somehow the agent has control of this 'reliable causation' where no control exists.

No. The reason I use "reliable" in front of causation is to distinguish determinism from indeterminism. Reliable causation is when you do one thing and consistently get the same result. Unreliable causation is when you do that same thing and you have no clue as to what might happen next. In one case, determinism, the effect of the cause is reliable. In the other case, indeterminism, the effect of the cause is unreliable.

Determinism as 'reliable causation' - by definition - fixes all outcomes.

No. Determinism doesn't "do" anything. Only the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe can be said to cause events. Gravity, for example, causes things to fall. People, for example, cause the waiter to bring them a salad rather than a steak. Only the actual objects and the actual forces cause things.

Causation never causes anything. Determinism never determines anything. These notions are used to describe events, they cannot cause events. The notion that they are doing the causing is a "reification fallacy", which is the source of the delusion that we are not the causes of our own choices and actions.

1. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the past, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.

Wrong!

What I am doing right now, in the present moment, along with what the rest of the world is doing right now, in the present moment, is causally determining the past. Can you see it?

And where do you find the "laws of nature", in the law library? No. You find them in the living organisms, the flowers, the trees, the frogs, the squirrels, oh, and of course, in us. Each of us is a distinct package of the laws of nature. And everything we do turns out to be legal within those laws. One of the things we do is to choose from among the many things that we can do, the single thing that we will do. And guess what. Hey! It's legal!

The past is the creation of us, and all the other objects and forces in the universe. The laws of nature are in us, and in all the other objects. And when we act, we are forces of nature. (Yes, I am speaking metaphorically. I'm simply extending the existing metaphor of the "laws of nature" to include the many things it leaves out).

2. If A causes B, we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.

Yeah, except in all of those many cases where we happen to be A, and we are causing B, where we definitely do have control over B!

3. All of our actions and thoughts are consequences of past events and the laws of nature.

And why should that bother me? I embody the laws of nature, so, what I do, they have done. I have also directly participated in the creation of those past events (well, at least all those within my sphere of influence).

4. Assuming responsibility requires control, we are not responsible for what we do or think (2, 3).

Obviously we exercise control, every time we decide what we will do and then do it. That which decides what will happen next is exercising control! And that is why we are held responsible for our deliberate acts.

History of the Free Will Problem
''From its earliest beginnings, the problem of "free will" has been intimately connected with the question of moral responsibility. Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us", and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism.

Almost everything written about free will to date has been verbal debate about the precise meaning of philosophical concepts like causality, necessity, and other dogmas of determinism.''

Well, I hope that I have helped to straighten all that out for you.

If there is any specific issue regarding free will or determinism that you would like to address, please bring it to the table and we'll see what we can do to figure it out.
 

DBT

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The brain is a biological mechanism evolved to respond to its inputs from the environment. How the brain responds is a matter of architecture, inputs and memory function (which acts as the software)

Yes, the brain is a biological mechanism, with an architecture that provides many functions. One of these functions is speech. And, although we are still studying the architecture, we have already learned a lot about the brain by observing the behavior and by, well, simply asking the brain, "Hey, why did you choose the salad instead of the steak? I know you really like steak."

And that biological mechanism will tell us, "Well, you see, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, and I'm trying to cut back on my fat intake to lower my cholesterol, so I chose the salad, you know, to balance out the bacon and eggs."

All of which results from information processing, not will, not free will.

Its a matter of input, your questions, act upon networks that process the information and spit out the reply in the conscious form, thoughts, urges, actions. You are asked a question, thoughts emerge fully formed into consciousness in response. Inputs interacting with Memory Function enabling recognition and conscious thoughts as they come to mind, driven by information processing, not will, not free will.

Will is not the driver, that is the role of neural architecture...will plays the role of the prompt or urge to act. We have will, but for the given reasons, it is not Free Will.

Us: "Say, brain, did anyone force you to order the salad?"
Brain: "No, I chose the salad of my own free will."
Us: "What do you mean by 'your own free will'?"
Brain: "I mean that it was my own dietary goals and my own reasoning that caused me to order the salad, even though I could have ordered the steak instead."
Us: "Okay. That makes sense."

Determinism is not force.

Response is not a matter 'force' or free will but neuronal necessity: information acting upon neural networks necessitates or determines output: your thoughts and actions.

You are not being forced. Your thoughts and actions are neither forced or the result of Will or Free Will. Will is a result of neural information processing, as are thoughts and actions.

We have an intelligent, responsive parallel information processor in the form of a brain. The brain does not function on the principle of free will, it processes information and responds according to its 'software,' which is memory function:


Quote;
''People suffering from Alzheimer's disease are not only losing their memory, but they are also losing their personality.[/B] In order to understand the relationship between personality and memory, it is important to define personality and memory. Personality, as defined by some neurobiologists and psychologists, is a collection of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that are not controlled by the I-function.

Memory, on the other hand, is controlled and regulated by the I-function of the neocortex. It is a collection of short stories that the I-function makes-up in order to account for the events and people.

Memory is also defined as the ability to retain information, and it is influenced by three important stages. The first stage is encoding and processing the information, the second stage is the storing of the memory, and the third stage is memory retrieval.

There are also the different types of memories like sensory, short-term, and long-term memory. The sensory memory relates to the initial moment when an event or an object is first detected. Short-term memories are characterized by slow, transient alterations in communication between neurons and long-term memories (1). Long-term memories are marked by permanent changes to the neural structure''

Goldberg brings his description of frontal dysfunction to life with insightful accounts of clinical cases. These provide a good description of some of the consequences of damage to frontal areas and the disruption and confusion of behavior that often results. Vladimir, for example, is a patient whose frontal lobes were surgically resectioned after a train accident. As a result, he is unable to form a plan, displays an extreme lack of drive and mental rigidity and is unaware of his disorder. In another account, Toby, a highly intelligent man who suffers from attention deficits and possibly a bipolar disorder, displays many of the behavioral features of impaired frontal lobe function including immaturity, poor foresight and impulsive behavior''

Free Will? Nope.

That'll do for now, for the sake of keeping it brief and to the point.
 

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Well, I hope that I have helped to straighten all that out for you.

If there is any specific issue regarding free will or determinism that you would like to address, please bring it to the table and we'll see what we can do to figure it out.

Missed this bit. The free will debate has been about definitions, determinism, necessity, etc.....but now we have the evidence from neuroscience and a better understanding of how our thoughts and actions are produced. Definitions alone are not sufficient. A carefully crafted definition of compatibilism, for instance, does not account for inner necessity or the mechanisms of thought and action. That is its point of failure.

''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen
 

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All of which results from information processing, not will, not free will.

You keep pretending that information processing does not include choosing!

Its a matter of input, your questions, act upon networks that process the information and spit out the reply in the conscious form, thoughts, urges, actions.

And one of those thoughts is, "Should I have the salad or the steak? Well, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, so I should have the salad now" resulting in the action, "Waiter, I will have the salad, please." (which I try to say without spitting).

Choosing is a function of information processing! If I fail to choose between the salad and the steak, there's no dinner for me. Choosing must happen if I wish to eat.

You are asked a question, thoughts emerge fully formed into consciousness in response. Inputs interacting with Memory Function enabling recognition and conscious thoughts as they come to mind, driven by information processing, not will, not free will.

The events are driven by my awareness that I need to answer the waiter, who just asked me, "And what will you be having tonight, sir?" If I have not yet "made up my mind", if my "urges" to have the steak are still competing with my judgment that the salad will be better for me, then my response would be, "Uh, could you get DBT's order first, I'm still trying to decide".

So, you order the steak. (You claims you do this without conscious awareness, and are a little surprised later when the waiter shows up with the steak and a bill you must pay. You explain this to yourself, after the fact. "Gee, I must have ordered this, so I must have deliberately chosen it, so now I guess I'll have to pay for it").

And now it's my turn again. I decide to curb my urge for the steak and order the salad instead. "I will have the chef salad, please".

This particular "information processing" is commonly known as "choosing what I will do". Perhaps you've heard of it?

Free will is a freely chosen "I will". "Freely chosen" means I did the choosing myself, without coercion or undue influence.

It's a simple, but very essential concept. Both the waiter and I understand it. The waiter brings the bill to me, because I am responsible for ordering the chef salad.

There, now you understand what free will is actually about.

Determinism is not force.

Exactly. Determinism simply asserts that all of the events, including my thoughts and my feelings, were causally necessary, one event reliably causing the next event, in a chain that stretches back (forward) as far as we can imagine. Each thought that popped into my head was caused by preceding events: The choice to eat at the restaurant led to my reading the menu, which led to my narrowing down my choice to just the steak and the salad, which led to my recalling the bacon and eggs for breakfast and having a bad feeling about the cholesterol, which led my attention to the salad and a good feeling that this was the right choice, which led to me deciding "I will have the salad", which led to me telling the waiter, "I will have the salad please", which led the waiter to bring me a salad and later bring me the bill.

Each event was reliably determined by prior causes. And we could extend our research into prior causes to cover the prior causes of me, and why I happened to be concerned with my cholesterol, and when I was born, and so on, back to the big bang.

But, instead of all that research, why don't we just presume that every event that ever happens is always reliably caused by prior events. We presume that determinism is correct in this assertion.

However, this is probably the only assertion made by determinists that is correct. (For example, they are always incorrect when they claim that a person "could not have done otherwise" when there are two or more options on the table. Two options equals two "I can's". Two "I can's" will always result in one "I will" and one "I could have").

Response is not a matter 'force' or free will but neuronal necessity: information acting upon neural networks necessitates or determines output: your thoughts and actions.

Thoughts are also information that act upon the neural networks. Thoughts necessitate and determine other thoughts. Thoughts result in choosing what we will do. What we "will do" is a thought that necessitates and determines actions, for example, me telling the waiter "I will have the chef salad, please" is an action necessitated by my thoughts.

Thoughts necessitating other thoughts and actions is how the rational causal mechanism works. Neuroscience may eventually explain to us how the experience of these thoughts is reflected in the physical processes of the brain. But neuroscience will never tell us that these thoughts originate somewhere other than within our own brain.

You are not being forced. Your thoughts and actions are neither forced or the result of Will or Free Will.

Well, sometimes a person is actually forced to do something against their will, for example, by a guy with a gun or by a mental illness that prevents them from rationally deciding for themselves what they will do (e.g., hallucinations and delusions).

This is what free will is about. Free will is not the absence of necessity, it is the absence of coercion and undue influence. This is an empirical distinction, not an abstract issue.

Will is a result of neural information processing, as are thoughts and actions.

We know that. Thinking happens within the brain, our "information processor". We have internal information and we have external information that play a role in choosing what we will do. The guy with the gun is external information. Our thoughts and feelings are internal information. And a mental illness or injury can disrupt the information processing.

This is common knowledge that does not require constant repetition in this discussion.

DBT said:
The free will debate has been about definitions, determinism, necessity, etc.....but now we have the evidence from neuroscience and a better understanding of how our thoughts and actions are produced.

Neuroscience is demonstrating that our thoughts and feelings are functions that run upon the neural infrastructure of our own brains. Injure the brain in one area, and short term memory ceases. Injure it in another and you loose awareness of half of your visual field. Injure it somewhere else and your reasoning is impaired. Injure it in another and your inhibitions disappear.

DBT said:
Definitions alone are not sufficient. A carefully crafted definition of compatibilism, for instance, does not account for inner necessity or the mechanisms of thought and action. That is its point of failure.

But neuroscience will not resolve the debate for that very reason, because the debate IS about definitions. If determinism is defined as "the absence of free will", or, if free will is defined as "the absence of determinism", then we have an everlasting debate.

The only way to resolve such a debate is by getting our definitions straight.

This compatibilist defines determinism as the belief that every event is reliably caused by prior events. And, he finds this belief to be true.

This compatibilist defines free will as a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and other undue influences (such as mental illness, manipulation, authoritative command, etc.). And this is the free will that everyone uses when assessing a person's responsibility for their actions.

These two definitions are compatible.
 

Copernicus

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Well, I hope that I have helped to straighten all that out for you.

If there is any specific issue regarding free will or determinism that you would like to address, please bring it to the table and we'll see what we can do to figure it out.

Missed this bit. The free will debate has been about definitions, determinism, necessity, etc.....but now we have the evidence from neuroscience and a better understanding of how our thoughts and actions are produced. Definitions alone are not sufficient. A carefully crafted definition of compatibilism, for instance, does not account for inner necessity or the mechanisms of thought and action. That is its point of failure.

''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen

Peter van Inwagen wrote a very clear argument against compatibilism called the Consequence Argument. It is explained very clearly in the following 17 minute video by Gordon Pettit, a former student of van Inwagen. Pettit also reveals the premise in the argument where he (and van Inwagen) think that the argument is weakest--the conditional statement that "If determinism is true, then we have no free will". Both Pettit and van Inwagen seem to treat "free will" as if it meant freedom from causal determinism. They conclude that people do have a kind of free will in the sense that moral responsibility implies "metaphysical freedom" (whatever that means).



A much clearer explanation of free will and compatibilism comes from Daniel Dennett (looking very much like Santa Claus in the following 6 minute video :) ). It is interesting that DBT makes much out of the role of biology in his denials of compatibilism, but biology is exactly what Dennett relies on to explain why compatibilism is the most sensible position on free will.



What Dennett's position comes down to is very similar to that taken by Marvin or myself regarding the way we choose to define the concept of free will. I would have liked Dennett to talk a little more about the various types of free will, but that would have made the discussion a bit longer and harder to follow. Basically, though, he says that we need to retain the definitions of the expression that most matter to us or have the greatest consequence for us--exactly what Marvin has been hammering away at in this thread. In a way, Dennett's conclusion is not all that different from van Inwagen's idea that moral responsibility implies a kind of metaphysical "freedom". That is, people can be held accountable for their actions, because they can imagine how they or others might have behaved differently in the past if they had known how their future would turn out. That is, the discrepancy between the reality that we know and the reality that we can imagine is what ultimately gives us free will in a deterministic universe. We choose to duck when a brick that was never going to hit us (because we were predetermined to duck) comes flying at us precisely because we have imagined the consequence of not ducking at flying bricks. Those who don't learn to duck don't tend to survive and produce offspring.
 

fromderinside

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The reality we know or the reality we can imagine has nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of free will. Determinism is a material statement of things: "all things after time t = 0 are in accordance with natural law".

Our 'reality' is subjective, metaphysical, must be interpreted metaphysically. It, reality, cannot be arbitrated materially, except in relative, what if, terms. It can only allegorically be related to some determined network or system of determined networks by "what if" or "may be."* That's a piss poor way of of trying to treat the material world.

That formulation doesn't permit free will since free will isn't recognized as being a matter of natural law. Whatever the state of affairs at time t = 0 they are determined for all time thereafter.

Determinism is a material statement. It is not a metaphysical statement. It is a strictly material statement. Running through all the options does not change the material statement into a metaphysical statement (see above *). Since the definition of Determinism is materially explicit every possible outcome is determined.
 

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Well, I hope that I have helped to straighten all that out for you.

If there is any specific issue regarding free will or determinism that you would like to address, please bring it to the table and we'll see what we can do to figure it out.

Missed this bit. The free will debate has been about definitions, determinism, necessity, etc.....but now we have the evidence from neuroscience and a better understanding of how our thoughts and actions are produced. Definitions alone are not sufficient. A carefully crafted definition of compatibilism, for instance, does not account for inner necessity or the mechanisms of thought and action. That is its point of failure.

''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen

Peter van Inwagen wrote a very clear argument against compatibilism called the Consequence Argument. It is explained very clearly in the following 17 minute video by Gordon Pettit, a former student of van Inwagen. Pettit also reveals the premise in the argument where he (and van Inwagen) think that the argument is weakest--the conditional statement that "If determinism is true, then we have no free will". Both Pettit and van Inwagen seem to treat "free will" as if it meant freedom from causal determinism. They conclude that people do have a kind of free will in the sense that moral responsibility implies "metaphysical freedom" (whatever that means).



A much clearer explanation of free will and compatibilism comes from Daniel Dennett (looking very much like Santa Claus in the following 6 minute video :) ). It is interesting that DBT makes much out of the role of biology in his denials of compatibilism, but biology is exactly what Dennett relies on to explain why compatibilism is the most sensible position on free will.



What Dennett's position comes down to is very similar to that taken by Marvin or myself regarding the way we choose to define the concept of free will. I would have liked Dennett to talk a little more about the various types of free will, but that would have made the discussion a bit longer and harder to follow. Basically, though, he says that we need to retain the definitions of the expression that most matter to us or have the greatest consequence for us--exactly what Marvin has been hammering away at in this thread. In a way, Dennett's conclusion is not all that different from van Inwagen's idea that moral responsibility implies a kind of metaphysical "freedom". That is, people can be held accountable for their actions, because they can imagine how they or others might have behaved differently in the past if they had known how their future would turn out. That is, the discrepancy between the reality that we know and the reality that we can imagine is what ultimately gives us free will in a deterministic universe. We choose to duck when a brick that was never going to hit us (because we were predetermined to duck) comes flying at us precisely because we have imagined the consequence of not ducking at flying bricks. Those who don't learn to duck don't tend to survive and produce offspring.


I watched the Inwagen video and left a comment on YouTube. I had already commented on the Dennett video 4 years ago. There are two things to say about them.

1. The Inwagen video used 8 steps to confirm determinism, and then presumes that if determinism is true then free will must be false. Inwagen is expressing the incompatibilist's belief that one's actions cannot be both causally necessary and free. But this would only be true if causal necessity was a meaningful and relevant constraint, that is, something that we needed to be "free of" (meaningful constraint) and something that we could be "free of" (otherwise it is irrelevant).

If we do not need to be free of causal necessity, then incompatibilism fails. So, the burden of proof for the incompatibilist is to demonstrate that causal necessity is a meaningful and relevant constraint. Inwagen never touches upon this problem. Instead, he simply assumes it is must be true.

If I may use Inwagen's language, it is an untouchable truth that we never experience causal necessity as a constraint. A constraint prevents us from doing something that we want to do. Only specific causes, like being tied to a chair, or being forced at gunpoint to do something against our will, is a constraint.

But cause and effect itself is not a constraint. Everything that we want to do, whether walking, talking, or chewing gum, requires reliable cause and effect. So, generally, cause and effect actually enables us to do the things we want to do. To view cause and effect as a constraint, something that we must escape in order to be "truly" free, is a rather perverse view of causation.

Every freedom that we have, to do anything at all, requires reliable causation. To be free of causation would be to lose all freedom. So, it is an untouchable truth that reliable causation in itself is not a meaningful or relevant constraint. And causal necessity, which is nothing more than the chain of reliable causes and their effects, while it may sound like a constraint, is not a true constraint.

Unlike Dennett, I have no qualms with the word "inevitable" in the context of causal necessity. Deterministic inevitability does not remove our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do, rather it incorporates our choosing and our actions in the overall scheme of causation. When we make something evitable, it will be inevitable that we do so.

Also, Dennett stops at biology. But free will does not truly emerge until we evolve intelligence. In the same way that living organisms display a variety of behaviors that are never displayed by inanimate matter, with intelligence we also get a brain that creates a model of reality, and uses that model to imagine different scenarios, alternate possibilities, and mental processes like choosing. With intelligence we no longer respond to our biological urges instinctively, but instead we get to choose what, when, and how we go about satisfying our biological needs.

Choosing what we will do is what free will is about. Free will is literally a freely chosen "I will". That choice sets our specific intent, and that intent motivates and directs our subsequent actions. In my comment on the Dennett YouTube, I post a link to my article "Determinism: What's Wrong and How to Fix It". There I go over the three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.
 

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Deterministic inevitability is about what will happen in the real world. But this in no way restricts what can and cannot happen. The inevitable and the possible existence in separate semantic contexts.

There I go over the three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

These two statements from your article cause to set it aside. Determinism is quite distinct according to SJP (Stanford Journal of Philosophy)
The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Determinism is a material specification. There is no difference between physical and biological except as a classification of qualitatively different material covered under natural law. More precisely everything physical is covered by  Scientific Law

Philosophy clings to a definition of Natural Law in the face of Determinism so it can be discussed among polite humanists. Point is anything other than the material is not determined by Causal Determinism, now, Determinism.

Instead, you are talking about  Humanistic Naturalism. Even in that realm you are in trouble since naturalistic and deterministic constructs need a bridge between immaterial and material.
 
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All of which results from information processing, not will, not free will.

You keep pretending that information processing does not include choosing!

Wrong, what I am saying is that determinism necessitates the decision that is made and the action that follows, that no alternative is possible within a determined system. That option b, if determined, must necessarily be taken.

In other words, if you can see the distinction: ''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?''

Its a matter of input, your questions, act upon networks that process the information and spit out the reply in the conscious form, thoughts, urges, actions.

And one of those thoughts is, "Should I have the salad or the steak? Well, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, so I should have the salad now" resulting in the action, "Waiter, I will have the salad, please." (which I try to say without spitting).

Choosing is a function of information processing! If I fail to choose between the salad and the steak, there's no dinner for me. Choosing must happen if I wish to eat.

Nope, the option that taken is the necessitated result of information processing. What you think and do follows from information processing; inputs > processing > thoughts > actions.


You are asked a question, thoughts emerge fully formed into consciousness in response. Inputs interacting with Memory Function enabling recognition and conscious thoughts as they come to mind, driven by information processing, not will, not free will.

The events are driven by my awareness that I need to answer the waiter, who just asked me, "And what will you be having tonight, sir?" If I have not yet "made up my mind", if my "urges" to have the steak are still competing with my judgment that the salad will be better for me, then my response would be, "Uh, could you get DBT's order first, I'm still trying to decide".

So, you order the steak. (You claims you do this without conscious awareness, and are a little surprised later when the waiter shows up with the steak and a bill you must pay. You explain this to yourself, after the fact. "Gee, I must have ordered this, so I must have deliberately chosen it, so now I guess I'll have to pay for it").

And now it's my turn again. I decide to curb my urge for the steak and order the salad instead. "I will have the chef salad, please".

This particular "information processing" is commonly known as "choosing what I will do". Perhaps you've heard of it?

Free will is a freely chosen "I will". "Freely chosen" means I did the choosing myself, without coercion or undue influence.

It's a simple, but very essential concept. Both the waiter and I understand it. The waiter brings the bill to me, because I am responsible for ordering the chef salad.

There, now you understand what free will is actually about.

Will, be it labelled free or not, plays no part in information processing, that is the work of neural networks....your conscious experience, including your will is necessitated by information processing.

Architecture and inputs determine output in the form of conscious thoughts and action, what you say and do is being generated by underlying neuronal activity.

To paraphrase Inwagen; how do you have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something you have no choice about?

Determinism is not force.

Exactly. Determinism simply asserts that all of the events, including my thoughts and my feelings, were causally necessary, one event reliably causing the next event, in a chain that stretches back (forward) as far as we can imagine. Each thought that popped into my head was caused by preceding events: The choice to eat at the restaurant led to my reading the menu, which led to my narrowing down my choice to just the steak and the salad, which led to my recalling the bacon and eggs for breakfast and having a bad feeling about the cholesterol, which led my attention to the salad and a good feeling that this was the right choice, which led to me deciding "I will have the salad", which led to me telling the waiter, "I will have the salad please", which led the waiter to bring me a salad and later bring me the bill.

Each event was reliably determined by prior causes. And we could extend our research into prior causes to cover the prior causes of me, and why I happened to be concerned with my cholesterol, and when I was born, and so on, back to the big bang.

But, instead of all that research, why don't we just presume that every event that ever happens is always reliably caused by prior events. We presume that determinism is correct in this assertion.

However, this is probably the only assertion made by determinists that is correct. (For example, they are always incorrect when they claim that a person "could not have done otherwise" when there are two or more options on the table. Two options equals two "I can's". Two "I can's" will always result in one "I will" and one "I could have").

If determinism is true, each event is determined by preceding events, each event being both a cause and an effect. You don't choose what goes on inside your brain, yet what goes on inside your brain is producing you, your thoughts and actions on the basis of neural architecture and environment, not will.


Response is not a matter 'force' or free will but neuronal necessity: information acting upon neural networks necessitates or determines output: your thoughts and actions.

Thoughts are also information that act upon the neural networks. Thoughts necessitate and determine other thoughts. Thoughts result in choosing what we will do. What we "will do" is a thought that necessitates and determines actions, for example, me telling the waiter "I will have the chef salad, please" is an action necessitated by my thoughts.

Thoughts necessitating other thoughts and actions is how the rational causal mechanism works. Neuroscience may eventually explain to us how the experience of these thoughts is reflected in the physical processes of the brain. But neuroscience will never tell us that these thoughts originate somewhere other than within our own brain.

Thoughts are an experience that the brain generates (conscious report). Thoughts must necessarily follow inputs and processing. The feedback you speak of comes from fresh information, both from within the system, memory, and sensory information.


Neuronal Mechanisms of Conscious Awareness
''This review focuses on conscious awareness: the state in which external and internal stimuli are perceived and can be intentionally acted on. Much investigative effort has been directed at testing theoretical constructs dealing with general as well as specific characteristics of conscious awareness.''

When
''When do humans become conscious of external stimuli? The seminal studies of Libet et al6,7 provide insights into the timing of conscious awareness. Using trains of electrical stimuli to the human cortex, Libet and colleagues demonstrated that perceptual threshold decreases as the train duration is extended up to about 300 to 500 milliseconds and that longer train durations do not further lower the perceptual threshold. They called this 300- to 500-millisecond window the utilization time and suggested that it was the time necessary for a stimulus to reach conscious awareness.

''Masking experiments have been instrumental in further defining the temporal gap between stimulus presentation and its conscious perception. Masking refers to the suppression of conscious perception of a target stimulus by another stimulus. The masking effect is enhanced in some patients with focal cerebral lesions (eg, neglect syndrome), but it can also be produced in healthy subjects. In the somatosensory modality, a mask given 50 to 100 milliseconds after the target stimulus to the opposite hand is actually more effective in blocking the target than if presented simultaneously with the target.8 These findings demonstrate not only that conscious perception is delayed but also that the mechanisms leading to conscious perception are particularly sensitive to disruptions at this specific time interval


You are not being forced. Your thoughts and actions are neither forced or the result of Will or Free Will.

Well, sometimes a person is actually forced to do something against their will, for example, by a guy with a gun or by a mental illness that prevents them from rationally deciding for themselves what they will do (e.g., hallucinations and delusions).

This is what free will is about. Free will is not the absence of necessity, it is the absence of coercion and undue influence. This is an empirical distinction, not an abstract issue.

It doesn't matter if we are not forced against our will, if determined, action must necessarily unfold or proceed as determined, unimpeded or unrestricted. This is not free will. It's simply unimpeded action.


We know that. Thinking happens within the brain, our "information processor". We have internal information and we have external information that play a role in choosing what we will do. The guy with the gun is external information. Our thoughts and feelings are internal information. And a mental illness or injury can disrupt the information processing.


This is common knowledge that does not require constant repetition in this discussion.

Given the nature of the rationale for free will, I feel compelled to continually point out the obvious. ;)


But neuroscience will not resolve the debate for that very reason, because the debate IS about definitions. If determinism is defined as "the absence of free will", or, if free will is defined as "the absence of determinism", then we have an everlasting debate.

The only way to resolve such a debate is by getting our definitions straight.

This compatibilist defines determinism as the belief that every event is reliably caused by prior events. And, he finds this belief to be true.

This compatibilist defines free will as a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and other undue influences (such as mental illness, manipulation, authoritative command, etc.). And this is the free will that everyone uses when assessing a person's responsibility for their actions.

These two definitions are compatible.

Definitions alone prove nothing. Acting without coercion is simply means acting without coercion. No need to apply 'free will' label.

A more accurate description would be ''she acted according to her own will'' or ''he was not forced, he acted of his own will''

Which, for the given reasons, the underlying actions of neural networks, inputs, etc. Which for the reasons outlined above and numerous other posts, is not an instance of 'free will'

It is interesting that DBT makes much out of the role of biology in his denials of compatibilism, but biology is exactly what Dennett relies on to explain why compatibilism is the most sensible position on free will.

That misrepresents my position. I know that compatibilism 'relies' on determinism and of course biology, biology being deterministic is a part of compatibilism, and Dennett does indeed rely on biology for his argument for compatibilism.

I am pointing why this is wrong, why it doesn't prove the proposition, why freedom of will is not compatible with determinism or biology (which is inseparable from the world and its events)

Quote:
''The reason people like myself think Dennett is “wrong” is not that if we were to define free will like he does, that we are saying this doesn’t exist. Rather, it’s because we are saying the way he defines free will inappropriately side-steps some very important issues of concern and creates confusion. It’s not the ability a large majority of people feel they possess when they hear the term, it’s not the free will definition that is of philosophical importance to so many other topics, and using the term with a compatibilist definition causes more confusion than not.

In a nutshell, this is Dennett’s free will semantic that he suggests is the “free will worth wanting”:
the power to be active agents, biological devices that respond to our environment with rational, desirable courses of action.

Do note he’s often vague and not upfront when it comes to definitions and it takes wading through a lot of his material to get to a point in which he actually gives a solid definition of what he means.

Of course most (if not all) hard determinist or hard incompatibilist think we are and have this ability. In no way does a free will skeptic propose that we are not active agents that respond to our environment with (sometimes) rational, desirable courses of action. The only people who might think this are fatalists, but most serious free will skeptics who understand determinism do not hold to the position of fatalism – which is different from determinism.''
 
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Marvin Edwards

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Deterministic inevitability is about what will happen in the real world. But this in no way restricts what can and cannot happen. The inevitable and the possible existence in separate semantic contexts.

There I go over the three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

These two statements from your article cause to set it aside. Determinism is quite distinct according to SJP (Stanford Journal of Philosophy)
The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Determinism is a material specification. There is no difference between physical and biological except as a classification of qualitatively different material covered under natural law. More precisely everything physical is covered by  Scientific Law

Philosophy clings to a definition of Natural Law in the face of Determinism so it can be discussed among polite humanists. Point is anything other than the material is not determined by Causal Determinism, now, Determinism.

Instead, you are talking about  Humanistic Naturalism. Even in that realm you are in trouble since naturalistic and deterministic constructs need a bridge between immaterial and material.

The distinction is between the Physical, Life, and Social sciences. Each category of science observes a different class of objects, inanimate matter, living organisms, or intelligent species. The Physical sciences observe the behavior of inanimate matter. When they observe a high reliability in a pattern of behavior, they document these patterns as "laws", such as the "law of gravity". They test these laws by experiments and then use them to predict things, such as where to aim the rocket, and how fast it must go, to arrive at the same location as the Moon, to assure a successful Moon landing (rather than the rocket flying out into empty space).

It is a similar process for the Life sciences. They observe the behavior of living organisms, both flora and fauna, under different conditions. A botanist can tell you which plants need more or less light, water, or other nutrients in order to survive, thrive, and reproduce seeds. In order to explain this behavior, they introduce the notion of biologically driven instinctual behavior, behavior that serves a purpose, to survive, thrive, and reproduce. This is a new causal mechanism that is never observed in inanimate matter. But we still look for reliable patterns of behavior, and create "principles", "rules", or "laws" to describe it, to make it predictable. And we test these predictions experimentally to confirm our theories.

With the evolution of intelligent species, we get yet another distinct new causal mechanism in play: a brain capable of modelling reality to provide the framework for imagination, evaluation, and choosing. Now we have not just purposeful instinctual behavior, but also deliberate behavior. And this is studied by the Social sciences, which include psychology and sociology. Here, too, reliable patterns of behavior are documented as "principles", as in William James's "Principles of Psychology".

With the three distinct classes of objects, we get three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational. So, how does this affect determinism? Determinism, to be true, must include all three causal mechanisms. It cannot leave any one of them out without loosing the ability to assert that every event is reliably caused by prior events. Some of these events have physical causes, some of them cannot be explained without the notion of biological causation, and some cannot be explained without including our deliberate actions.

Therefore, to rescue determinism, we assume that each of these causal mechanisms is perfectly reliable within its own domain, and that every event is the reliable result of some specific combination of physical, biological, and/or rational causation.

Any version of determinism that leaves out any one of these causal mechanism will be unable to claim that an event is, theoretically, 100% predictable by a knowledge of prior events. Failing that test, determinism fails. I think that determinism, properly defined, and taking into account all three causal mechanisms, can pass that test. However, with the rational causal mechanisms, we get this little thing called "choosing what we will do" by reason and calculation, otherwise known as "free will".

So, determinism must accommodate free will or it must retreat from the field.
 

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All of which results from information processing, not will, not free will.
You keep pretending that information processing does not include choosing!
Wrong, what I am saying is that determinism necessitates the decision that is made and the action that follows, that no alternative is possible within a determined system.

So, how does this determinism fellow go about necessitating my decision? Is he some spirit that invades my mind and takes over my brain?

Or, isn't it the case that this determinism is actually my own mind/brain as it causally necessitates my choice by my own thoughts and my own feelings?

It is an empirical fact that my own brain is making my own choices, and for my own reasons, according to my own goals, and in my own interests.

And, yes, we can also call that "determinism" if you like, because my choice is most certainly reliably determined by prior causes, such as my own reasons, goals, interests, thoughts, feelings, etc. And these reasons, goals, interests, thoughts, and feelings each will have their own prior causes (most of which will also be me), and each of those prior causes will have their prior causes, ad infinitum. After we follow the trail of the prior causes of me, we will eventually find causes that have nothing at all to do with me, such as the big bang.

That option b, if determined, must necessarily be taken.

Yes. If I find option B to be more in line with my goals and reasons, then those goals and reasons will causally necessitate that I choose B (even though I could have chosen A, I definitely would not have chosen it given those goals and reasons).

In other words, if you can see the distinction: ''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?''

Your test is invalid. It suggests that I must cause and control the big bang before I can decide what to have for breakfast. IT IS NEVER NECESSARY FOR A CAUSE TO HAVE NO PRIOR CAUSES IN ORDER TO BE THE PRIOR CAUSE OF SOMETHING ELSE.

Did you cause the big bang? I'm pretty sure I didn't. That event was totally beyond our control. But I'm pretty sure that I did control what I had for breakfast this morning. Was my choice causally necessary from the point of the big bang? Why, yes it was. But not in any meaningful or relevant way.

The meaningful cause of an event efficiently explains why it happened. It identifies the causes that we would have to change in order to avoid it happening again (bad event), or to make it happen more often (good event).

To be a relevant cause of an event, it must be something that we can actually change. There's no point bringing up the big bang. It is totally irrelevant to my choosing what to have for breakfast.

So, Inwagen's assertion that we must control our prior causes before we can control our own choices is nonsense.

Nope, the option that taken is the necessitated result of information processing. What you think and do follows from information processing; inputs > processing > thoughts > actions.

Exactly:
1. Inputs: The restaurant's menu of realizable alternatives.
2. Processing: Me considering the consequences of the steak versus the salad upon my cholesterol levels.
3. Thoughts: "I think it would be best if I order the salad."
4. Actions: "Waiter, I will have the Chef Salad, please."
5. Consequences: I eat the salad and the waiter brings me the bill, holding me responsible for my deliberate act.

What did you think information processing was all about, if not this?

You are asked a question, thoughts emerge fully formed into consciousness in response. Inputs interacting with Memory Function enabling recognition and conscious thoughts as they come to mind, driven by information processing, not will, not free will.

The events are driven by my awareness that I need to answer the waiter, who just asked me, "And what will you be having tonight, sir?" If I have not yet "made up my mind", if my "urges" to have the steak are still competing with my judgment that the salad will be better for me, then my response would be, "Uh, could you get DBT's order first, I'm still trying to decide".

So, you order the steak. (You claim you do this without conscious awareness, and are a little surprised later when the waiter shows up with the steak and a bill you must pay. You explain this to yourself, after the fact. "Gee, I must have ordered this, so I must have deliberately chosen it, so now I guess I'll have to pay for it").

And now it's my turn again. I decide to curb my urge for the steak and order the salad instead. "I will have the chef salad, please".

This particular "information processing" is commonly known as "choosing what I will do".

Free will is a freely chosen "I will". "Freely chosen" means I did the choosing myself, without coercion or undue influence.

It's a simple, but very essential concept. Both the waiter and I understand it. The waiter brings the bill to me, because I am responsible for ordering the chef salad.

There, now you understand what free will is actually about.
Will, be it labelled free or not, plays no part in information processing, that is the work of neural networks....your conscious experience, including your will is necessitated by information processing.

Where does your comment deviate from this:
1. Inputs: The restaurant's menu of realizable alternatives.
2. Processing: Me considering the consequences of the steak versus the salad upon my cholesterol levels.
3. Thoughts: "I think it would be best if I order the salad. So, I will order the salad."
4. Actions: "Waiter, I will have the Chef Salad, please."
5. Consequences: I eat the salad and the waiter brings me the bill, holding me responsible for my deliberate act.

Architecture and inputs determine output in the form of conscious thoughts and action, what you say and do is being generated by underlying neuronal activity.

Again, how doe that deviate from this:
1. Inputs: The restaurant's menu of realizable alternatives.
2. Processing: Me considering the consequences of the steak versus the salad upon my cholesterol levels.
3. Thoughts: "I think it would be best if I order the salad. So, I will order the salad."
4. Actions: "Waiter, I will have the Chef Salad, please."
5. Consequences: I eat the salad and the waiter brings me the bill, holding me responsible for my deliberate act.

To paraphrase Inwagen; how do you have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something you have no choice about?

As I mentioned above, I had no control over the big bang, and yet I had complete control over what I would have for breakfast. The fact that my choice is causally necessary does not contradict the fact that I am the most meaningful and relevant cause of my choice of breakfasts, despite all of the prior causes that followed from the big bang. Nearly all of those prior causes are totally meaningless and irrelevant to my breakfast. So, Inwagen clearly has his head in a dark place.

If determinism is true, each event is determined by preceding events, each event being both a cause and an effect.

Correct, as always. However, only a few those causes are meaningful and relevant, while the rest are meaningless and irrelevant.

You don't choose what goes on inside your brain,

Well, sometimes we do. A college coed is invited to a party. She would really like to go, but she has a chemistry exam in the morning. So, she chooses to stay home and study. What will be happening in her brain for the next few hours will be caused by that choice that she made for herself.

But you are correct that we do not micromanage our own neural activity, nor are we aware of most of it.

... yet what goes on inside your brain is producing you, your thoughts and actions on the basis of neural architecture and environment, not will.

I would put that differently. Rather than the brain producing me, I exist as a physical process running upon that brain. There is no "me" that exists separately from that process. Whatever the brain deliberately decides to do, I have deliberately decided to do. There is no dualism.

As the brain models all of the reality that we can experience, it also models us. And it has the ability to report verbal descriptions of this information. But, as it is speaking for us, it's words are our words.

So, when I say that I chose for myself what I would have for breakfast, I am speaking for my brain as well, as if we were one and the same.

Thoughts are an experience that the brain generates (conscious report). Thoughts must necessarily follow inputs and processing. The feedback you speak of comes from fresh information, both from within the system, memory, and sensory information.

Yes. It is what us ordinary folk call "thinking". And it is surprising what we already knew about the brain before looking inside. We knew about the senses and we knew about thinking and choosing and memory. What neuroscience does is to find the specific areas of the brain that appear to be involved in performing these functions, and how they are coordinated for the benefit of the whole person.

Neuronal Mechanisms of Conscious Awareness
''This review focuses on conscious awareness: the state in which external and internal stimuli are perceived and can be intentionally acted on. Much investigative effort has been directed at testing theoretical constructs dealing with general as well as specific characteristics of conscious awareness.''

When
''When do humans become conscious of external stimuli? The seminal studies of Libet et al6,7 provide insights into the timing of conscious awareness. Using trains of electrical stimuli to the human cortex, Libet and colleagues demonstrated that perceptual threshold decreases as the train duration is extended up to about 300 to 500 milliseconds and that longer train durations do not further lower the perceptual threshold. They called this 300- to 500-millisecond window the utilization time and suggested that it was the time necessary for a stimulus to reach conscious awareness.

''Masking experiments have been instrumental in further defining the temporal gap between stimulus presentation and its conscious perception. Masking refers to the suppression of conscious perception of a target stimulus by another stimulus. The masking effect is enhanced in some patients with focal cerebral lesions (eg, neglect syndrome), but it can also be produced in healthy subjects. In the somatosensory modality, a mask given 50 to 100 milliseconds after the target stimulus to the opposite hand is actually more effective in blocking the target than if presented simultaneously with the target.8 These findings demonstrate not only that conscious perception is delayed but also that the mechanisms leading to conscious perception are particularly sensitive to disruptions at this specific time interval

Cool that they mentioned the "neglect syndrome". That's the one that Michael Graziano described in his book, "Consciousness and the Social Brain". Due to a specific injury in a specific brain area, the patient becomes unaware of objects on the left side of the room. March him to the end of the room and turn him around and now he is aware of the other half. But, because it is a legitimate injury to awareness itself, he is never aware that he is missing anything. You can toss a ball at him from that side and he will swat it away, which demonstrates that the problem is not anywhere along the visual input lines. His reaction to the thrown object is reflexive, controlled by the neural circuits that do not involve awareness. Perhaps I'll read the PDF later if I have time.

My other neuroscientist, Michael Gazzaniga, points out that conscious awareness need not be instantaneous in order to function in practice as we experience it.

These experiments that involve minimal choices, like squeezing your fist 40 times randomly over two minutes, are not involving conscious participation that we would find in a more significant decision, such as deciding what to have for lunch. And every subject in these experiments volunteered, of their own free will, to participate. This chosen intent resulted in their subsequent actions: listening to the experimenter's instructions about how to use the apparatus and what they were expected to do, and then performing the tasks they were asked to do.

It doesn't matter if we are not forced against our will, if determined, action must necessarily unfold or proceed as determined, unimpeded or unrestricted.

And that's the problem with assigning responsibility to that mysterious spirit, Mr. Determinism. Nothing ever matters to him. All events are equally necessary.

But whether a person decides for himself to give someone five dollars or the guy is pointing a gun and telling us to give him our wallet, does matter. And the notion of free will makes this important distinction between a choice we make for ourselves versus a choice imposed upon us against our will by someone or something else.

So, while it is okay to say that all events are causally necessitated by prior events, it is definitely not okay to say that free will versus coerced will doesn't matter. It really does matter.

Given the nature of the rationale for free will, I feel compelled to continually point out the obvious. ;)

Yeah, me too! It's really cool that all this stuff is as obvious as it is.

But neuroscience will not resolve the debate for that very reason, because the debate IS about definitions. If determinism is defined as "the absence of free will", or, if free will is defined as "the absence of determinism", then we have an everlasting debate.

The only way to resolve such a debate is by getting our definitions straight.

This compatibilist defines determinism as the belief that every event is reliably caused by prior events. And, he finds this belief to be true.

This compatibilist defines free will as a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and other undue influences (such as mental illness, manipulation, authoritative command, etc.). And this is the free will that everyone uses when assessing a person's responsibility for their actions.

These two definitions are compatible.

Definitions alone prove nothing.

Right. But they do clarify what we are talking about. As we learned in computer systems analysis: "A problem well defined is half solved." So we start out a new project with a well written problem definition.

Acting without coercion is simply means acting without coercion. No need to apply 'free will' label.
A more accurate description would be ''she acted according to her own will'' or ''he was not forced, he acted of his own will''

The term "free will" excludes all undue influences with one term. Otherwise we would have to itemize, as in "he was not coerced, he was not insane, he was not manipulated by hypnotic suggestion, he was not commanded by someone with authority over him, etc." We simply say that he acted of his own free will, and all the specifics are included by implication.

Which, for the given reasons, the underlying actions of neural networks, inputs, etc. Which for the reasons outlined above and numerous other posts, is not an instance of 'free will'

But the underlying actions of a neural network are how I go about choosing whether to have the salad or the steak for dinner. However the choosing happens, it is still me, and no other object in the universe, doing the choosing.

The only way to say it is something else is to name it and explain how it operates. As it turns out, the meaningful and relevant causal determinants that necessitate my choice happen to be my own thoughts and feelings, my own goals and reasons, my own genetic dispositions and prior life experiences, and all the other stuff that makes me "me". So, the empirical fact is that I am what is causally necessitating and causally determining what I am choosing.
 

fromderinside

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Deterministic inevitability is about what will happen in the real world. But this in no way restricts what can and cannot happen. The inevitable and the possible existence in separate semantic contexts.

There I go over the three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

These two statements from your article cause to set it aside. Determinism is quite distinct according to SJP (Stanford Journal of Philosophy)
The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Determinism is a material specification. There is no difference between physical and biological except as a classification of qualitatively different material covered under natural law. More precisely everything physical is covered by  Scientific Law

Philosophy clings to a definition of Natural Law in the face of Determinism so it can be discussed among polite humanists. Point is anything other than the material is not determined by Causal Determinism, now, Determinism.

Instead, you are talking about  Humanistic Naturalism. Even in that realm you are in trouble since naturalistic and deterministic constructs need a bridge between immaterial and material.

The distinction is between the Physical, Life, and Social sciences. Each category of science observes a different class of objects, inanimate matter, living organisms, or intelligent species.

So, determinism must accommodate free will or it must retreat from the field.

Deterministic inevitability is about what will happen in the real world. But this in no way restricts what can and cannot happen. The inevitable and the possible existence in separate semantic contexts.

There I go over the three distinct causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

These two statements from your article cause to set it aside. Determinism is quite distinct according to SJP (Stanford Journal of Philosophy)
The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Determinism is a material specification. There is no difference between physical and biological except as a classification of qualitatively different material covered under natural law. More precisely everything physical is covered by  Scientific Law

Philosophy clings to a definition of Natural Law in the face of Determinism so it can be discussed among polite humanists. Point is anything other than the material is not determined by Causal Determinism, now, Determinism.

Instead, you are talking about  Humanistic Naturalism. Even in that realm you are in trouble since naturalistic and deterministic constructs need a bridge between immaterial and material.
The distinction is between the Physical, Life, and Social sciences. Each category of science observes a different class of objects, inanimate matter, living organisms, or intelligent species.
Physical, life, and "social sciences', a subcategory of life, all fall under the sway of Scientific Law, which is material Determinism. So no get out of jail free. Scientific law covers the behavior of all three subcategories of material science.

The rest of your post tries to collect all those together without acknowledging they are all governed by Scientific Law.

Therefore it adds nothing useful to the discussion.

The way matter, life, a form of matter, and transactions among groups of living things, or transactions of groups of life, which together form what some call the stuff of Hard Determinism. All are under the sway of Scientific Law which governs the behavior of material things.

If you want to explain laws and mores you need to find systematic connections between how things work and the scientific law derivatives through which such are realized.

We do that for large things like airplanes routinely. Pilots learn to operate systems that permit the plane to taxi, take off, climb, fly a route, descend, land and berth. The ground crew has their place for treating the plane on the ground and repairing it when needed. boarding and deplaning are handled by service and corporate personnel et. Cetera. System control is handled by government personnel who track and control plane and aircrew interactions among planes, ports, and weather. When it comes to arbitrating air travel language and customs there are services and regulations for such.

I'm sure you can fill volumes with other social and personal guidance and regulations all tied to cause and effect.

At least try to apply objective argument rather than subjective argument. Mind, feeling, hypothesis untied to material things, are not good starting places.
 
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DBT

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All of which results from information processing, not will, not free will.
You keep pretending that information processing does not include choosing!
Wrong, what I am saying is that determinism necessitates the decision that is made and the action that follows, that no alternative is possible within a determined system.

So, how does this determinism fellow go about necessitating my decision? Is he some spirit that invades my mind and takes over my brain?

How did you come to that conclusion?

Aren't we working with the standard definition of determinism?

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law. - Stanford.

The brain is a physical system operating within the physical world as an aspect of it and inseparable from it. The objects and events of the world, if determinism is true, are necessitated by the 'way things are at time t' and proceed as a matter of natural law.

Whatever happens is determined. Which means fixed, unable to be altered or modified from its fixed state.

Which means each and every input of information into the system, the brain, determines output precisely.

Every thought and every action is fixed by information acting upon neural networks in precise ways, producing precise reactions in terms of thought and action.

This is not compatible with 'freedom of the will'

It has nothing to do with spirits or autonomous elements at work, it is the system as a whole interacting deterministically.

''Neurons are highly specialized cells that transmit impulses within animals to cause a change in a target cell such as a muscle effector cell or glandular cell.''

Further, the physical structure of a neuron is itself composed of 'determinants' in the form of the nucleus and cytoplasmic inclusions and organelles, etc....as such, a neuron is no more than biological mechanism that has evolved to process information in a set way.

''The cell body of a neuron, called the soma, contains the cell nucleus and the majority of the cytoplasmic inclusions and organelles. Radial extensions of the soma cell membrane, called dendrites, extend to other neurons and form the interface where impulses are transmitted from neuron to neuron. One long extension of the soma, called the axon, is the primary conduit through which the neuron transmits impulses to neurons downstream in the signal chain. Axons range in length from around 0.1 millimeters to nearly a meter in length with some neurons in the sciatic nerve. Axons branch into smaller extensions at their terminal end and eventually create synapses with the target cell (neuron, muscle cell, etc.).''

''Radial extensions of the soma cell membrane, called dendrites, extend to other neurons and form the interface where impulses are transmitted from neuron to neuron.'' - the network of neurons and their connectors are an example of a deterministic system. As are physical structure such as computers, internal combustion engines, etc.



I'll leave the rest for now. Time constraints.

Post size gets out of hand.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Physical, life, and "social sciences', a subcategory of life, all fall under the sway of Scientific Law, which is material Determinism. So no get out of jail free.

That's just the thing. Reliable causation is not a jail that we need to escape. Reliable causation enables every freedom that we have to actually do anything at all. In order to exercise control, the results of our actions must be predictable. Scientific Law makes things predictable, enabling us to exercise control.

Scientific law covers the behavior of all three subcategories of material science.

Yes. But the laws describe the behavior, they don't actually cause it. The laws of nature, whether physical, biological, or rational, describe what is likely to happen, for example: (1) if we step off a cliff (physical) or (2) if we take an antibiotic (biological) or (3) if I believe you have been sleeping with my wife (rational).

The rest of your post tries to collect all those together without acknowledging they are all governed by Scientific Law.

But Scientific Law doesn't actually "govern" events, that's a metaphor. Scientific Law "describes" what is likely to happen if we do one thing versus if we do something else. Scientific Law makes events "predictable". And once events become predictable, we are able to exercise some "control" over what happens next.

The article in the SEP that contains this quote:
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Also contains this one (Section 2.4 Laws of Nature):
In the physical sciences, the assumption that there are fundamental, exceptionless laws of nature, and that they have some strong sort of modal force, usually goes unquestioned. Indeed, talk of laws “governing” and so on is so commonplace that it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical.

I love the irony in Carl Hoefer's, "it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical".

The way matter, life, a form of matter, and transactions among groups of living things, or transactions of groups of life, which together form what some call the stuff of Hard Determinism. All are under the sway of Scientific Law which governs the behavior of material things.

Well, the hard determinists tend to take all metaphors literally, which creates a lot of empirically false ideas. But every figurative statement is literally false. For example, they will claim that in a deterministic system there is no choice, because if our choice is inevitable then it is AS IF choosing never happened. But choosing actually does happen in physical reality.

If you want to explain laws and mores you need to find systematic connections between how things work and the scientific law derivatives through which such are realized.

Generally speaking, social laws are created by us to help us all get along better with each other.

We do that for large things like airplanes routinely. Pilots learn to operate systems that permit the plane to taxi, take off, climb, fly a route, descend, land and berth. The ground crew has their place for treating the plane on the ground and repairing it when needed. boarding and deplaning are handled by service and corporate personnel et. Cetera. System control is handled by government personnel who track and control plane and aircrew interactions among planes, ports, and weather. When it comes to arbitrating air travel language and customs there are services and regulations for such.

Exactly.

I'm sure you can fill volumes with other social and personal guidance and regulations all tied to cause and effect.

All events are always tied to cause and effect. That is why it is unnecessary to bring up causation in a general sense, because we all take it for granted that there is a cause for every effect. Instead, we simply deal with the specific causes of specific effects, because that's where all the useful information exists. The notion of causal necessity itself tells us nothing useful. The fact that every event is reliably caused by prior events can be said once, acknowledged, and then ignored for the rest of our lives. Everything useful comes from knowing the specific causes of an event.

At least try to apply objective argument rather than subjective argument. Mind, feeling, hypothesis untied to material things, are not good starting places.

I'm pretty sure that I'm offering the most objective descriptions of empirical reality. Certainly more objective than can be found in the tangle of metaphors that the hard determinists rely upon.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Marvin said:
So, how does this determinism fellow go about necessitating my decision? Is he some spirit that invades my mind and takes over my brain?

How did you come to that conclusion?
Aren't we working with the standard definition of determinism?

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law. - Stanford.

If I may quote from my blog:

Error, By Tradition

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.” (SEP)

In this formal definition from the SEP article, we now have determinism anthropomorphically appearing as an actor in the real world. And not just any actor, but one with the power to “govern” everything that happens. Even less attractive is the suggestion that it might also be viewed as a Svengali, holding everything “under its sway”.

In either case, we are given the impression that our destiny is no longer chosen by us, but is controlled by some power that is external to us. And that viewpoint is functionally equivalent to this:

“Fatalism is the thesis that all events (or in some versions, at least some events) are destined to occur no matter what we do. The source of the guarantee that those events will happen is located in the will of the gods, or their divine foreknowledge, or some intrinsic teleological aspect of the universe…” (SEP)

The SEP article attempts to draw a distinction between determinism and fatalism, by attributing the external control in determinism to “natural law” rather than “the will of the gods”. But as long as the cause remains a force that is external to us, it is only “a distinction without a difference”.

Delusion, By Metaphor
The SEP article seems to be aware of the metaphorical nature of their definition:

“In the loose statement of determinism we are working from, metaphors such as ‘govern’ and ‘under the sway of’ are used to indicate the strong force being attributed to the laws of nature.” (SEP)

“In the physical sciences, the assumption that there are fundamental, exceptionless laws of nature, and that they have some strong sort of modal force, usually goes unquestioned. Indeed, talk of laws ‘governing’ and so on is so commonplace that it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical.” (SEP)

Take a moment to appreciate the irony. It “takes an effort of will” to see it for what it is.

It is the fashion these days to refer to free will as an “illusion” while imparting causal powers to determinism. But, in the real world, the opposite is true. Determinism, being neither an object nor a force, causes nothing in the real world. However, the object we call a “human being”, estimates the best choice and acts upon it, physically bringing about the future, in a causally reliable way.

The process of making a decision is not an illusion. It is an empirical event. A neuroscientist, performing a functional MRI while someone is making a decision, can point to the activity monitor, and say, “Look, there, he’s doing it right now.” So, there is no “illusion” as to who is doing what, and where causal agency resides. And it will also be an empirical fact as to whether a person made the decision for themselves, or whether the choice was imposed upon him by someone else, against his will, either through coercion or some other undue influence.

The view that determinism is an object or a force of nature, acting to bring about events in the real world, is a delusion we create when we take the metaphorical expressions literally.

The brain is a physical system operating within the physical world as an aspect of it and inseparable from it. The objects and events of the world, if determinism is true, are necessitated by the 'way things are at time t' and proceed as a matter of natural law.

Sure, you can use that metaphor as long as you do not imagine that natural law is a causal agent, going about in the world making things happen for its own reasons.

Whatever happens is determined. Which means fixed, unable to be altered or modified from its fixed state.

But that tells us nothing useful. What we really need to know is how this single inevitable future comes about, and what our role is in causally determining what it will be. You see, determinism and the laws of nature are descriptions. They are not causes.

The laws of nature, as they apply to us, describe how our behavior is caused. And our behavior is not caused by the laws of nature. If I stub my toe on a rock, that is the specific event that caused me to release a string of angry off-color remarks aimed at the rock. I do not blame the laws of nature, I blame the f***ing rock. And perhaps I'll remove that rock from my yard, so that this event doesn't happen again. But there is nothing I can do about the laws of nature. And, I'll need those laws when I estimate how much force to exert as I throw the rock into the woods.

The laws of nature do not constrain us, they enable us.
Which means each and every input of information into the system, the brain, determines output precisely.

Well, we hope it will be precise, otherwise I'm likely to drop the rock on my foot rather than tossing it into the woods. Again, determinism, that is, reliable cause and effect, is our friend. It is not a meaningful constraint, not something that we need to be free of. I am going to require reliable causation if I hope to toss the rock into the woods.

Every freedom that we have requires reliable causation. Thus, the notion of "freedom from causal necessity" (freedom from reliable cause and effect), is such a silly notion.

Every thought and every action is fixed by information acting upon neural networks in precise ways, producing precise reactions in terms of thought and action.

Yes. But do keep in mind that the brain itself is pulling information from its own memory and creating new information by combining and sorting and choosing, you know, the process of "thinking". The process of thinking actually modifies the neural connections. Every time you access memory you alter your brain by making those connections stronger.

This is not compatible with 'freedom of the will'

Of course it is! Every choice we make is reliably caused by our thinking process, which is reliably caused by our nature and nurture up to that point. And, as long as are making this choice for ourselves, rather than the choice being imposed upon us by coercion or other undue influence, then it is a freely chosen "I will" (free will). But if we are coerced by a guy with a gun, who forces us to submit our will to his will, then our will is subjugated and is not freely chosen by us (unfree will).

It has nothing to do with spirits or autonomous elements at work, it is the system as a whole interacting deterministically.

And I would suggest that "the system as a whole interacting deterministically" is just another ghost. The system as a whole has no interest in what I choose for breakfast. Control (the ability to decide what will happen next) is local.


More neuroscience, see DBT's link if you wish to read it. Unless it directly relates to the issue, I'm not going to repeat the link or waste time addressing it.
 

fromderinside

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Physical, life, and "social sciences', a subcategory of life, all fall under the sway of Scientific Law, which is material Determinism. So no get out of jail free.

That's just the thing. Reliable causation is not a jail that we need to escape. Reliable causation enables every freedom that we have to actually do anything at all. In order to exercise control, the results of our actions must be predictable. Scientific Law makes things predictable, enabling us to exercise control.
Causation isn't just descriptive it is necessary for every physical system. Nothing man has encountered evades being a physical system. Try it. If there is a physical system cause there will follow an effect.
Scientific law covers the behavior of all three subcategories of material science.

Yes. But the laws describe the behavior, they don't actually cause it. The laws of nature, whether physical, biological, or rational, describe what is likely to happen, for example: (1) if we step off a cliff (physical) or (2) if we take an antibiotic (biological) or (3) if I believe you have been sleeping with my wife (rational).
Input energy things happen. The problem with antibiotics is there are a number of causes and effects encapsulated in the biological system when any antibiotic is introduced. Go back to my Airplane example and list them in order so you understand.
The rest of your post tries to collect all those together without acknowledging they are all governed by Scientific Law.

But Scientific Law doesn't actually "govern" events, that's a metaphor. Scientific Law "describes" what is likely to happen if we do one thing versus if we do something else. Scientific Law makes events "predictable". And once events become predictable, we are able to exercise some "control" over what happens next.

The article in the SEP that contains this quote:
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Also contains this one (Section 2.4 Laws of Nature):
I'm pretty sure Scientific Law developed by the use of deterministic methods when applied will produce exact, to our limit of measurement, results. What the law describes occurs IAC with the law. If it doesn't the law is either falsified or tuned.
In the physical sciences, the assumption that there are fundamental, exceptionless laws of nature, and that they have some strong sort of modal force, usually goes unquestioned. Indeed, talk of laws “governing” and so on is so commonplace that it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical.

I love the irony in Carl Hoefer's, "it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical".
Hoefer was dealing with an impossibility under the broadness of the law cited. Take away ad hoc descriptions of behavior like mind, think, soul, etc, reduce them to material operations then determinism becomes much more likely.
The way matter, life, a form of matter, and transactions among groups of living things, or transactions of groups of life, which together form what some call the stuff of Hard Determinism. All are under the sway of Scientific Law which governs the behavior of material things.

Well, the hard determinists tend to take all metaphors literally, which creates a lot of empirically false ideas. But every figurative statement is literally false. For example, they will claim that in a deterministic system there is no choice, because if our choice is inevitable then it is AS IF choosing never happened. But choosing actually does happen in physical reality.
The problem isn't with determinists. The problem is with those who buy into the idea that determinism applies to the subjective description. It doesn't. It only applies to material that is described in objective language.
If you want to explain laws and mores you need to find systematic connections between how things work and the scientific law derivatives through which such are realized.

Generally speaking, social laws are created by us to help us all get along better with each other.
Generally speaking, groups form laws convenient for keeping leaders in place. Laws and regulations have very little to do with the actual mechanics of human nature. They are usually meant to sustain existing privilege.
We do that for large things like airplanes routinely. Pilots learn to operate systems that permit the plane to taxi, take off, climb, fly a route, descend, land and berth. The ground crew has their place for treating the plane on the ground and repairing it when needed. boarding and deplaning are handled by service and corporate personnel et. Cetera. System control is handled by government personnel who track and control plane and aircrew interactions among planes, ports, and weather. When it comes to arbitrating air travel language and customs there are services and regulations for such.

Exactly.

What I wrote about were operating processes. They may be codified but are all generated through an objectively derived methodology. That is not how people are governed or subjected to sanctions by ad hoc groups or nations.
I'm sure you can fill volumes with other social and personal guidance and regulations all tied to cause and effect.

All events are always tied to cause and effect. That is why it is unnecessary to bring up causation in a general sense, because we all take it for granted that there is a cause for every effect. Instead, we simply deal with the specific causes of specific effects, because that's where all the useful information exists. The notion of causal necessity itself tells us nothing useful. The fact that every event is reliably caused by prior events can be said once, acknowledged, and then ignored for the rest of our lives. Everything useful comes from knowing the specific causes of an event.
That is about as much nonsense as you've ever posted.
At least try to apply objective argument rather than subjective argument. Mind, feeling, hypothesis untied to material things, are not good starting places.

I'm pretty sure that I'm offering the most objective descriptions of empirical reality. Certainly more objective than can be found in the tangle of metaphors that the hard determinists rely upon.

You may be pretty sure but your descriptions are neither objective nor based on objective anything.
 
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DBT

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Marvin said:
So, how does this determinism fellow go about necessitating my decision? Is he some spirit that invades my mind and takes over my brain?

How did you come to that conclusion?
Aren't we working with the standard definition of determinism?

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law. - Stanford.

If I may quote from my blog:

Error, By Tradition

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.” (SEP)

In this formal definition from the SEP article, we now have determinism anthropomorphically appearing as an actor in the real world. And not just any actor, but one with the power to “govern” everything that happens. Even less attractive is the suggestion that it might also be viewed as a Svengali, holding everything “under its sway”.

Of course determinism is not an 'actor' that 'andromorphically appears,' nobody is saying or suggesting such a thing.

The conditions of the world shape us as an 'actor,' physical makeup, attributes, capacitates, abilities, etc, and the environment provides information: identity, language, culture, attractions, aversions and so on, which determines behaviour.

We as the 'actor' are an inseparable part of the system. If deterministic, the world is a web of cause/effect, our actions are both cause and effect.



The process of making a decision is not an illusion. It is an empirical event. A neuroscientist, performing a functional MRI while someone is making a decision, can point to the activity monitor, and say, “Look, there, he’s doing it right now.” So, there is no “illusion” as to who is doing what, and where causal agency resides. And it will also be an empirical fact as to whether a person made the decision for themselves, or whether the choice was imposed upon him by someone else, against his will, either through coercion or some other undue influence.

The process of decision making is not an illusion, neural networks acquire and process information and produce a response.

Unfortunately for the concept of 'free will' the response is not driven by will, nor holds the possibility of an alternate possibility.

The action produced is the only possible response in any given instance in time. The 'actor' being the information condition of neural networks/brains, not will.

More neuroscience, see DBT's link if you wish to read it. Unless it directly relates to the issue, I'm not going to repeat the link or waste time addressing it.

You don't have to read my quotes or links. Whether you read or not is being brought to conscious attention by the underlying processing that occurs when information is acquired, you see the material that is being presented. ;)

I refer to neuroscience because it is important to understand how the brain functions and how response is achieved in relation to the idea of free will, that decision making is a matter of information processing, that an option realized is determined by a set criteria and information exchange within the brain, not will, not free will.

For instance;

What neuroscience says about free will;

''We're convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself''


''For example, if the experience of choice is a kind of causal inference, as Wegner and Wheatley suggest, then swapping the order of choice and action in conscious awareness may aid in the understanding that we are physical beings who can produce effects out in the world. More broadly, this illusion may be central to developing a belief in free will and, in turn, motivating punishment.

Yet, whether or not there are advantages to believing we’re more in control of our lives than we actually are, it’s clear that the illusion can go too far. While a quarter-of-a-second distortion in time experience may be no big deal, distortions at longer delays—which might plague people with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—could substantially and harmfully warp people’s fundamental views about the world. People with such illnesses may begin to believe that they can control the weather or that they have an uncanny ability to predict other people’s behavior. In extreme cases, they may even conclude that they have god-like powers.

It remains to be seen just how much the postdictive illusion of choice that we observe in our experiments connects to these weightier aspects of daily life and mental illness. The illusion may only apply to a small set of our choices that are made quickly and without too much thought. Or it may be pervasive and ubiquitous—governing all aspects of our behavior, from our most minute to our most important decisions. Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes. Whatever the case may be, our studies add to a growing body of work suggesting that even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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Of course determinism is not an 'actor' that 'andromorphically appears,' nobody is saying or suggesting such a thing.

And yet hard determinists repeatedly reference people as being "puppets on a string", suggesting that determinism is the "puppet master". Or, that we are "passengers on a bus" being driven by causal necessity. Or, that our thoughts and actions are being controlled by the past and the laws of nature, leaving us as we are in the present with no control over ourselves.

The conditions of the world shape us as an 'actor,' physical makeup, attributes, capacitates, abilities, etc, and the environment provides information: identity, language, culture, attractions, aversions and so on, which determines behaviour.

Yes. But we do not enter the world as a blank slate. We enter with a full set of biological needs, genetic dispositions, and even with some mental firmware. So, we also cause the world to adapt to us. The example I use all the time is the parents of a newborn being awakened by the newborn's cries for the 2AM feeding. We adapt to the world. The world also adapts to us. And we are obviously present in all of these interactions with the world.

We as the 'actor' are an inseparable part of the system.

I object to statements such as that because they tend to make us disappear. I am trying to make our role in reality appear real and significant again. Hard determinists attempt to shrink us into nonexistence.

If deterministic, the world is a web of cause/effect, our actions are both cause and effect.

That's much better. Thanks.

The process of decision making is not an illusion, neural networks acquire and process information and produce a response.

Good. If decision making is not an illusion, and the neural networks making the decision are my own, then all that remains is to call that by its common name, "free will".

Unfortunately for the concept of 'free will' the response is not driven by will, nor holds the possibility of an alternate possibility.

To be clear, the "will" is the output of the decision making process. A person decides what they will do. This is a mental operation. The mental operation is a physical process that happens within the neural architecture.

Now, I'm still trying to get you to see the two distinct levels of description:

Level 1: The process of deciding is deterministic, in that every mental event will be reliably caused by prior events. Each specific event, whether becoming aware of an option, evaluating it, or outputting our choice, is causally necessary to occur precisely as it does, without variation, without alternative.

Level 2: Among these mental events is an awareness of our options. Each option is an alternative. A real possibility that we are able to choose and able to carry out if we so choose.

Now, if you can work this out in your own head, you'll see that each Level 2 option is a Level 1 necessity. As odd as it sounds, each real possibility within the choosing process must show up in the brain as a matter of causal necessity. Thus, alternative possibilities are causally necessary.

... I refer to neuroscience because it is important to understand how the brain functions and how response is achieved in relation to the idea of free will, that decision making is a matter of information processing, that an option realized is determined by a set criteria and information exchange within the brain, not will, not free will.

This article was more on point and I enjoyed reading it. But I don't think we need to study the workings of the individual neurons to address the issue of free will. We can just presume that all mental events are the result of physical processes running upon the neural architecture.

For instance;

What neuroscience says about free will;

''We're convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself''

''For example, if the experience of choice is a kind of causal inference, as Wegner and Wheatley suggest, then swapping the order of choice and action in conscious awareness may aid in the understanding that we are physical beings who can produce effects out in the world. More broadly, this illusion may be central to developing a belief in free will and, in turn, motivating punishment.

Yet, whether or not there are advantages to believing we’re more in control of our lives than we actually are, it’s clear that the illusion can go too far. While a quarter-of-a-second distortion in time experience may be no big deal, distortions at longer delays—which might plague people with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—could substantially and harmfully warp people’s fundamental views about the world. People with such illnesses may begin to believe that they can control the weather or that they have an uncanny ability to predict other people’s behavior. In extreme cases, they may even conclude that they have god-like powers.

It remains to be seen just how much the postdictive illusion of choice that we observe in our experiments connects to these weightier aspects of daily life and mental illness. The illusion may only apply to a small set of our choices that are made quickly and without too much thought. Or it may be pervasive and ubiquitous—governing all aspects of our behavior, from our most minute to our most important decisions. Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes. Whatever the case may be, our studies add to a growing body of work suggesting that even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong.''
I think the authors of the study point out that the false belief that the subjects caused the circle to turn red has a very short time limit, about a quarter of a second. When they bring up schizophrenics who believe they control the weather, we are now talking about a person's behavior being caused by the undue influence of a significant mental illness, something they are not doing of their own free will.

You've also included the link to the "Free to punish" article. I think I may have already read at least one of the studies referenced in the abstract. Subjects are more likely to attribute free will to serious crimes that produce significant harm, than to insignificant events. The authors point to the motivation for this as being a need to punish.

But the need to punish is not motivated not by free will, but rather by the harm that the criminal caused. Attributing free will simply makes it easier to satisfy the need to punish, by eliminating excuses, such as coercion and undue influence. So, the need to punish is a natural response to the harm the criminal has inflicted.

No one is ever punished for having free will. They are punished due to the harm they have caused. Now, this natural urge to punish should not be granted control over our deliberate choice to impart fair and just penalties. And what should guide our choice of a fair and just penalty?

Well, a system of justice is created to help protect everyone's rights. So, a just penalty would seek to (a) repair the harm to the victim if possible, (b) correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) protect society by securing the offender until his behavior is corrected, and (d) do no more harm to the offender and his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).
 

Marvin Edwards

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Physical, life, and "social sciences', a subcategory of life, all fall under the sway of Scientific Law, which is material Determinism. So no get out of jail free.

That's just the thing. Reliable causation is not a jail that we need to escape. Reliable causation enables every freedom that we have to actually do anything at all. In order to exercise control, the results of our actions must be predictable. Scientific Law makes things predictable, enabling us to exercise control.
Causation isn't just descriptive it is necessary for every physical system. Nothing man has encountered evades being a physical system. Try it. If there is a physical system cause there will follow an effect.
Scientific law covers the behavior of all three subcategories of material science.

Yes. But the laws describe the behavior, they don't actually cause it. The laws of nature, whether physical, biological, or rational, describe what is likely to happen, for example: (1) if we step off a cliff (physical) or (2) if we take an antibiotic (biological) or (3) if I believe you have been sleeping with my wife (rational).
Input energy things happen.

Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The rest of your post tries to collect all those together without acknowledging they are all governed by Scientific Law.

But Scientific Law doesn't actually "govern" events, that's a metaphor. Scientific Law "describes" what is likely to happen if we do one thing versus if we do something else. Scientific Law makes events "predictable". And once events become predictable, we are able to exercise some "control" over what happens next.
I'm pretty sure Scientific Law developed by the use of deterministic methods when applied will produce exact, to our limit of measurement, results. What the law describes occurs IAC with the law. If it doesn't the law is either falsified or tuned.

I think I agree with you, but when you throw in abbreviations like "IAC" you leave me guessing.

... Take away ad hoc descriptions of behavior like mind, think, soul, etc, reduce them to material operations then determinism becomes much more likely.

As far as I know, no one has ever backed up that claim with a demonstration. For example, it is impossible to describe why a car stopped at a red light using only the laws of inanimate matter (physics and chemistry).

The way matter, life, a form of matter, and transactions among groups of living things, or transactions of groups of life, which together form what some call the stuff of Hard Determinism. All are under the sway of Scientific Law which governs the behavior of material things.

Well, the hard determinists tend to take all metaphors literally, which creates a lot of empirically false ideas. But every figurative statement is literally false. For example, they will claim that in a deterministic system there is no choice, because if our choice is inevitable then it is AS IF choosing never happened. But choosing actually does happen in physical reality.
The problem isn't with determinists. The problem is with those who buy into the idea that determinism applies to the subjective description. It doesn't. It only applies to material that is described in objective language.

A person is an object. A decision is an event. Will is a specific intent that motivates and directs our actions. We do not need to reduce a discussion to what the atoms are doing in order to describe what is happening with objective language.

Generally speaking, groups form laws convenient for keeping leaders in place. Laws and regulations have very little to do with the actual mechanics of human nature. They are usually meant to sustain existing privilege.

Interesting, but I'd prefer not to wander off into a political discussion.

You may be pretty sure but your descriptions are neither objective nor based on objective anything.

Perhaps you could provide a specific statement I've made to demonstrate your point.
 

fromderinside

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Physical, life, and "social sciences', a subcategory of life, all fall under the sway of Scientific Law, which is material Determinism. So no get out of jail free.

That's just the thing. Reliable causation is not a jail that we need to escape. Reliable causation enables every freedom that we have to actually do anything at all. In order to exercise control, the results of our actions must be predictable. Scientific Law makes things predictable, enabling us to exercise control.
Causation isn't just descriptive it is necessary for every physical system. Nothing man has encountered evades being a physical system. Try it. If there is a physical system cause there will follow an effect.
Scientific law covers the behavior of all three subcategories of material science.

Yes. But the laws describe the behavior, they don't actually cause it. The laws of nature, whether physical, biological, or rational, describe what is likely to happen, for example: (1) if we step off a cliff (physical) or (2) if we take an antibiotic (biological) or (3) if I believe you have been sleeping with my wife (rational).
Input energy things happen.

Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Do you want subjective? Look at your setup of Gazzaniga and in his example. I highlighted a few subjective bits just to illuminate how you and your acolyte mix the subjective with the objective.


The rest of your post tries to collect all those together without acknowledging they are all governed by Scientific Law.

But Scientific Law doesn't actually "govern" events, that's a metaphor. Scientific Law "describes" what is likely to happen if we do one thing versus if we do something else. Scientific Law makes events "predictable". And once events become predictable, we are able to exercise some "control" over what happens next.
I'm pretty sure Scientific Law developed by the use of deterministic methods when applied will produce exact, to our limit of measurement, results. What the law describes occurs IAC with the law. If it doesn't the law is either falsified or tuned.

I think I agree with you, but when you throw in abbreviations like "IAC" you leave me guessing.

The 'C' is my problem. It should be "IAW"
... Take away ad hoc descriptions of behavior like mind, think, soul, etc, reduce them to material operations then determinism becomes much more likely.

As far as I know, no one has ever backed up that claim with a demonstration. For example, it is impossible to describe why a car stopped at a red light using only the laws of inanimate matter (physics and chemistry).

Really? Yes it must be a problem for you. You can't even construct an example that fits my critique. As I see it we can get there two ways, then combine the two ways into a single descriptive example.

Why does the car stop at a red light?
and
How does a car stop at a red light?

To the why we first operationalize the processes of learning and traffic control. The how comes through the operations the person who learned the law of traffic control as a condition of being permitted to drive executes his tasks.

Just like building an airplane.
The way matter, life, a form of matter, and transactions among groups of living things, or transactions of groups of life, which together form what some call the stuff of Hard Determinism. All are under the sway of Scientific Law which governs the behavior of material things.

Well, the hard determinists tend to take all metaphors literally, which creates a lot of empirically false ideas. But every figurative statement is literally false. For example, they will claim that in a deterministic system there is no choice, because if our choice is inevitable then it is AS IF choosing never happened. But choosing actually does happen in physical reality.
The problem isn't with determinists. The problem is with those who buy into the idea that determinism applies to the subjective description. It doesn't. It only applies to material that is described in objective language.

A person is an object. A decision is an event. Will is a specific intent that motivates and directs our actions. We do not need to reduce a discussion to what the atoms are doing in order to describe what is happening with objective language.
A human is a complex biological object. Complexity cannot be the hand wave that permits us to introduce subjective statements to objective analysis.

Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes. You make a huge leap that no one has yet laid out.
Generally speaking, groups form laws convenient for keeping leaders in place. Laws and regulations have very little to do with the actual mechanics of human nature. They are usually meant to sustain existing privilege.

Interesting, but I'd prefer not to wander off into a political discussion.
Ah, but by inserting a bunch of Marvin-splanations as substance - I call them improper use of subjective mechanisms - which you are trying to force us to explain your meanings when you have not provided the operations to do so. You need to operationalize each and every subjective placeholder in your, so-called, theory so one can analyze it.
You may be pretty sure but your descriptions are neither objective nor based on objective anything.

Perhaps you could provide a specific statement I've made to demonstrate your point.
See my first comment. You and your exemplar both make liberal use of undefined subjective functions, like mind,
 

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Of course determinism is not an 'actor' that 'andromorphically appears,' nobody is saying or suggesting such a thing.

And yet hard determinists repeatedly reference people as being "puppets on a string", suggesting that determinism is the "puppet master". Or, that we are "passengers on a bus" being driven by causal necessity. Or, that our thoughts and actions are being controlled by the past and the laws of nature, leaving us as we are in the present with no control over ourselves.

Do they? I've already said that the brain is an intelligent, responsive system.

Just that a brain does not work on the principle of free will, or even will, neural architecture and information exchange being the agency of response.

Unfortunately for 'free will' the system response in any given moment in time does not allow an alternate action.

Without a possible alternate action in any given moment in time, there is no freedom to have done otherwise, and no freedom of will - not that will is responsible for information processing or decision making.

Which means the compatibilist must formulate a definition that appears to support free will: unimpeded action/acting according to one's will.

Which fails because it ignores the means of production and that acting according to ones will is determined and inevitable, that too is determined.

The conditions of the world shape us as an 'actor,' physical makeup, attributes, capacitates, abilities, etc, and the environment provides information: identity, language, culture, attractions, aversions and so on, which determines behaviour.

Yes. But we do not enter the world as a blank slate. We enter with a full set of biological needs, genetic dispositions, and even with some mental firmware. So, we also cause the world to adapt to us. The example I use all the time is the parents of a newborn being awakened by the newborn's cries for the 2AM feeding. We adapt to the world. The world also adapts to us. And we are obviously present in all of these interactions with the world.

The environment and evolution encodes our genetic makeup, our 'mental firmware,' our instincts, attributes, abilities, proclivities....


We as the 'actor' are an inseparable part of the system.

I object to statements such as that because they tend to make us disappear. I am trying to make our role in reality appear real and significant again. Hard determinists attempt to shrink us into nonexistence.

Not disappear, just inseparable, we are composed of matter/energy, life has evolved from the energized chemical soup, billions of years of evolution has brought us to the point were we can perceive the world, think and act. That was not achieved through will.


If deterministic, the world is a web of cause/effect, our actions are both cause and effect.

That's much better. Thanks.

I've said it before.

The process of decision making is not an illusion, neural networks acquire and process information and produce a response.

Good. If decision making is not an illusion, and the neural networks making the decision are my own, then all that remains is to call that by its common name, "free will".

Information processing is not something that you choose. It has nothing to do with 'free will' - which is just pasting a label where it doesn't belong. Intelligence is not driven by will. Processing information is not driven by will.

Everything that can act, acts according to makeup and environment, not 'free will'

I think the authors of the study point out that the false belief that the subjects caused the circle to turn red has a very short time limit, about a quarter of a second. When they bring up schizophrenics who believe they control the weather, we are now talking about a person's behavior being caused by the undue influence of a significant mental illness, something they are not doing of their own free will.

You've also included the link to the "Free to punish" article. I think I may have already read at least one of the studies referenced in the abstract. Subjects are more likely to attribute free will to serious crimes that produce significant harm, than to insignificant events. The authors point to the motivation for this as being a need to punish.

But the need to punish is not motivated not by free will, but rather by the harm that the criminal caused. Attributing free will simply makes it easier to satisfy the need to punish, by eliminating excuses, such as coercion and undue influence. So, the need to punish is a natural response to the harm the criminal has inflicted.

No one is ever punished for having free will. They are punished due to the harm they have caused. Now, this natural urge to punish should not be granted control over our deliberate choice to impart fair and just penalties. And what should guide our choice of a fair and just penalty?

Well, a system of justice is created to help protect everyone's rights. So, a just penalty would seek to (a) repair the harm to the victim if possible, (b) correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) protect society by securing the offender until his behavior is corrected, and (d) do no more harm to the offender and his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).

It's just a matter of the timing of conscious thought and response.

Basically: unconscious input > unconscious processing > conscious report and response.

The point being that it is unconscious information processing that determines what you experience, your thoughts, feelings and actions.

Which of course is being constantly 'refreshed' as new information acts upon the system, you think to do x, but a moment later the thought to do y instead comes to mind.

Information processing rather than 'free will.'

Once more;

''I don't think "free will" is a very sensible concept, and you don't need neuroscience to reject it -- any mechanistic view of the world is good enough, and indeed you could even argue on purely conceptual grounds that the opposite of determinism is randomness, not free will! Most thoughtful neuroscientists I know have replaced the concept of free will with the concept of rationality -- that we select our actions based on a kind of practical reasoning. And there is no conflict between rationality and the mind as a physical system -- After all, computers are rational physical systems! - Martha Farah, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and a prominent neuroethicist.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Do you want subjective? Look at your setup of Gazzaniga and in his example. I highlighted a few subjective bits just to illuminate how you and your acolyte mix the subjective with the objective.

Let's see if you're right:
Biological drives, objectively refer to the needs that motivate a living organism to acquire food and other things that it needs to provide the energy to reproduce.
Thrive, objectively refers to the condition of the living organism, whether it is in fact acquiring what it needs to survive and reproduce, or more like on the verge of dying.
Deliberately, objectively refers to whether the action was motivated and directed by a decision (as opposed to, say, an accident).
Imagination, objectively refers to our ability to symbolically model reality in our brains, to run mental simulations to assess possible outcomes of our deliberate actions.
Mental, objectively refers to the subjective experience of our thoughts and feelings, etc.
Intelligence, objectively refers to a person's ability to recall and process information, especially in order to decide what to do.
Cognition, objectively, is the ability to store and process information. For objective confirmation of cognition, watch one episode of the TV show "Jeopardy".
Beliefs, objectively, can be objectively confirmed by asking yourself "Why do I believe all of these notions are subjective?"
Possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process, is objectively demonstrated when someone spits out their food after being told it has been infected with e coli.

So, all of those notions are used to describe what happens in objective reality.

Why does the car stop at a red light?
and
How does a car stop at a red light?

To the why we first operationalize the processes of learning and traffic control. The how comes through the operations the person who learned the law of traffic control as a condition of being permitted to drive executes his tasks.

In other words, in order to explain why a car stops at a red light, you must first evolve a human being with the biological need to survive, thrive, and reproduce (biological causation) and with the intelligence to understand that the best way to do that is by following the traffic laws rather than plowing through the intersection (rational causation).

It cannot be explained without all three causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

A human is a complex biological object. Complexity cannot be the hand wave that permits us to introduce subjective statements to objective analysis.

Again, you're assuming subjective statements when I'm using objective statements.

Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes.

The problem is how to explain why the car stops at the red light using just the laws of physics. It cannot (or, at least it will not) be done.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Do you want subjective? Look at your setup of Gazzaniga and in his example. I highlighted a few subjective bits just to illuminate how you and your acolyte mix the subjective with the objective.

Let's see if you're right:
Biological drives, objectively refer to the needs that motivate a living organism to acquire food and other things that it needs to provide the energy to reproduce.
Thrive, objectively refers to the condition of the living organism, whether it is in fact acquiring what it needs to survive and reproduce, or more like on the verge of dying.
Deliberately, objectively refers to whether the action was motivated and directed by a decision (as opposed to, say, an accident).
Imagination, objectively refers to our ability to symbolically model reality in our brains, to run mental simulations to assess possible outcomes of our deliberate actions.
Mental, objectively refers to the subjective experience of our thoughts and feelings, etc.
Intelligence, objectively refers to a person's ability to recall and process information, especially in order to decide what to do.
Cognition, objectively, is the ability to store and process information. For objective confirmation of cognition, watch one episode of the TV show "Jeopardy".
Beliefs, objectively, can be objectively confirmed by asking yourself "Why do I believe all of these notions are subjective?"
Possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process, is objectively demonstrated when someone spits out their food after being told it has been infected with e coli.

So, all of those notions are used to describe what happens in objective reality.

Why does the car stop at a red light?
and
How does a car stop at a red light?

To the why we first operationalize the processes of learning and traffic control. The how comes through the operations the person who learned the law of traffic control as a condition of being permitted to drive executes his tasks.

In other words, in order to explain why a car stops at a red light, you must first evolve a human being with the biological need to survive, thrive, and reproduce (biological causation) and with the intelligence to understand that the best way to do that is by following the traffic laws rather than plowing through the intersection (rational causation).

It cannot be explained without all three causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.

A human is a complex biological object. Complexity cannot be the hand wave that permits us to introduce subjective statements to objective analysis.

Again, you're assuming subjective statements when I'm using objective statements.

Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes.

The problem is how to explain why the car stops at the red light using just the laws of physics. It cannot (or, at least it will not) be done.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Just that a brain does not work on the principle of free will, or even will, neural architecture and information exchange being the agency of response.

Assuming we have a working brain, that brain will be making decisions. Free will is not about how the brain works, but about the empirical conditions that affect the decision making process. For example:

If someone is holding a gun to our head, then they will control the decision making process. What the victim does is not under their own control, but under the control of the guy with the gun. The victim is not held responsible for what he is forced to do against his will.

There are other empirical conditions that exert an extraordinary influence upon our decision making process. For example, a significant mental illness that distorts our perception of reality by hallucinations and delusions, or that impair the ability to reason, or that subject the patient to an irresistible impulse. In these empirical cases the patient's illness is held responsible for his actions, and the illness is treated medically and psychiatrically.

Unfortunately for 'free will' the system response in any given moment in time does not allow an alternate action.

That's okay. The decision making process will always include an alternate action. So, if a decision must be made, there will always be at least two alternate actions to choose from. This is always true by logical necessity whenever a decision is to be made.

Without a possible alternate action in any given moment in time, there is no freedom to have done otherwise, and no freedom of will - not that will is responsible for information processing or decision making.

In order to make a decision, the brain must hold two "I can's" to be true. When choosing between A and B, the brain must believe that "I can choose A" is true and that "I can choose B" is also true. Thus, at the end of the decision, one of them will become "That which I will do" and the other will become "That which I could have done".

If the decision is "I will choose A" then "I could have chosen B" will also be true. If the decision is "I will choose B" then "I could have chosen A" will also be true.

By logical necessity, "I could have done otherwise" will always be true at the end of a decision.
By causal necessity, "I would have done otherwise" will always be false at the end of a decision.

Which means the compatibilist must formulate a definition that appears to support free will: unimpeded action/acting according to one's will.

Free will is an empirical event in which a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

It's quite simple, and well understood by everyone who actually uses the concept in real-life human scenarios. For example, "Were the professor's student subjects forced to participate in his experiments in order to pass his course, or did they participate of their own free will?"

When you read that sentence, are you at all uncertain as to what the term "free will" implies?
A) Does it imply "freedom from causal necessity"?
B) Or does it imply "freedom from coercion and undue influence"?

Which fails because it ignores the means of production and that acting according to ones will is determined and inevitable, that too is determined.

No, it doesn't at all contradict the means of production (it was in fact the brain, operating normally, that performed the operation of making a decision). No, it doesn't at all contradict the fact that the choice was causally inevitable from any prior point in time.

The only way that those contradictions arise is when you use the paradoxical definition, "freedom from causal necessity". So, stop using the paradoxical definition.

The environment and evolution encodes our genetic makeup, our 'mental firmware,' our instincts, attributes, abilities, proclivities....

Of course. We have prior causes that result in us appearing as a newborn in the delivery room. But once we're here, we become active participants in what happens next. For example, a person can be raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and still end up as an atheist.

Not disappear, just inseparable, we are composed of matter/energy, life has evolved from the energized chemical soup, billions of years of evolution has brought us to the point were we can perceive the world, think and act. That was not achieved through will.

Yet, once the human species arrived, its own thoughts and actions have extremely modified the environment. For example, the Wilbur and Orville Wright imagined a machine that would enable people to fly, and decided they would attempt to build one. That freely chosen intent, to build a flying machine, motivated and directed their actions as they went about doing all of the things needed to accomplish that intent (also known as "will").

Information processing is not something that you choose.

And yet I can choose to read a book or take a course in college. That choice will causally determine what information I will be processing.

It has nothing to do with 'free will' - which is just pasting a label where it doesn't belong.

Then I suggest we paste that label precisely where it does belong: Free will is a deterministic, empirical event, in which a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

Basically: unconscious input > unconscious processing > conscious report and response.
The point being that it is unconscious information processing that determines what you experience, your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Which of course is being constantly 'refreshed' as new information acts upon the system, you think to do x, but a moment later the thought to do y instead comes to mind.
Information processing rather than 'free will.'

Free will does not imply any freedom from the brain. After all, that's where the deciding is actually taking place. And, while the brain itself is incapable of explaining what its neurons are doing, it does present us with a logical model of what is going on:
The logical model includes concepts such as "problems" or "issues" that require it to "decide" what it "will" do.
The logical model includes "realizable options" and "alternative possibilities".
The logical model includes a series of logical operations upon these tokens, such as "estimating the likely outcome" of each option by imagining how events will play out and "choosing the one we think/feel is best".
The logical model includes both of the conclusions "I will do this" and "I could have done that".

Since the brain is not going to lay out for us the sequence of neuron firings that produced each of the mental events, we're pretty much stuck with the explanation provided by the brain itself, using its own logical modelling.

Once more;
''I don't think "free will" is a very sensible concept, and you don't need neuroscience to reject it -- any mechanistic view of the world is good enough, and indeed you could even argue on purely conceptual grounds that the opposite of determinism is randomness, not free will! Most thoughtful neuroscientists I know have replaced the concept of free will with the concept of rationality -- that we select our actions based on a kind of practical reasoning. And there is no conflict between rationality and the mind as a physical system -- After all, computers are rational physical systems! - Martha Farah, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and a prominent neuroethicist.

Doctor Farah is following the crowd. It is the current trend to bash free will. The paradox of determinism "versus" free will is very seductive, and people become easily trapped in the self-induced hoax.
 

pood

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Unfortunately for 'free will' the system response in any given moment in time does not allow an alternate action.
You keep saying this, and it keeps being an unsupported assertion. You have a dogma. Hard determinism is a dogma. It is every bit as much of a dogma as “goddidit,” only your dogma is “hard determinism did it.”

Not only it is a dogma, it’s wrong. The world at bottom is quantum indeterministic. What we call “determinism” is a combination of vast numbers of wave functions that wash out into a kind of statistical determinism, wherein what we experience is overwhelmingly likely to replicate a cause and effect model without necessarily doing so.

You don’t think there is a difference between a rock rolling down a hill and a human deciding what to have for breakfast. A rock is not alive. It does not have a brain. It does not have controllable appendages. A rock must roll down a hill — follow a geodesic — in accord with general relativity, but even here, as both Marvin and I have pointed out, the “laws of nature” are not laws at all, not prescriptions, but descriptions of regularities in nature. Some phenomena are regularities that occur without exception (gravity), others are plainly statistical (second law of thermodynamics) and still others are free (human choice).

The human brain evolved, among other reasons, to consider options. A rock has no options. Humans do. This is plain.

You are not even talking about determinism. You are talking about fatalism, which is not the same thing.

If I am fated to choose eggs for breakfast — no other option permitted — why do I even have an evaluative brain, which weighs options? What is the survival advantage in it? Where is the selection effect? If I have to choose eggs for breakfast, then there is no selection for a brain that can elastically evaluate options in the context of self-awareness: memory, hunger, foresight, planning.

A world you describe would be much more parsimoniously inclined to produce philosophical zombies — entities who perhaps seem to be self aware and to choose but in fact have no consciousness at all.

Our options for breakfast are deterministically generated. Our brains evaluate the available options and deterministically output a choice — either eggs, or pancakes, or something else. Our brains and choices are part of the deterministic stream. WE determine what we have for breakfast, not the Big Bang. Past events deterministically influence (but do not control) our choices.

The Libet experiments did not, as so often characterized, show that we lack free will. On the contrary, they show that we DO have free will, in the only relevant sense.
 

Jarhyn

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So, fundamentally, the universe has locations which internalize states.

The basic shape of a decision is an event which determines based on the local state.

But some states are registers, living as potential pieces of the smaller instruction, as arguments.

(Jump if cr1 < 0) is the code of the instruction, but it embeds decision: IF this thing vs that thing. Note "cr1", a reference to some other state held by the processor machine.

This is decision, and it unquestionably happens.

In this way, "the cause" is a function plus an input, not some monolithic "event".

The hard determinists says "there is only one I put therefore the function is farce!"

But that is not true. The function is the function which determines and decides how input is processed; the same Input to different function yields different results.
 

Copernicus

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Causation is a bit tricky to define. It refers to a temporal (antecedent-consequent) relationship between two events in which the consequent would not occur if the antecedent did not occur, other things being equal. Other than that, there seems always to be some kind of force implicit the relationship. So "X forced Y" implies that a force favoring "Y" overcame a force favoring "not Y". "X permitted Y" implies a force favoring Y added to another force that caused Y to come about. Causal verbs may or may not express force relationships, so one very good way to learn about the nature of causation is to study and analyze causative and causal verbs in natural languages. Having once written a PhD dissertation on the expression of causation in English, I came across a number of such very detailed and interesting studies. Needless to say, causation is important to human beings, so we have a lot of different ways to express causal relationships. Its expression is hardwired into the phrase structure of simple clauses in all natural languages.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Causation is a bit tricky to define. It refers to a temporal (antecedent-consequent) relationship between two events in which the consequent would not occur if the antecedent did not occur, other things being equal. Other than that, there seems always to be some kind of force implicit the relationship. So "X forced Y" implies that a force favoring "Y" overcame a force favoring "not Y". "X permitted Y" implies a force favoring Y added to another force that caused Y to come about. Causal verbs may or may not express force relationships, so one very good way to learn about the nature of causation is to study and analyze causative and causal verbs in natural languages. Having once written a PhD dissertation on the expression of causation in English, I came across a number of such very detailed and interesting studies. Needless to say, causation is important to human beings, so we have a lot of different ways to express causal relationships. Its expression is hardwired into the phrase structure of simple clauses in all natural languages.

Right. Causation is pretty much at the center of the issue. We care about causes because they explain what happened and why it happened. Knowing the cause gives us some control of an event and even if we cannot control an event such as a hurricane or tornado, knowing how they are caused helps us to predict them, giving us early warning to escape the path or to find an underground shelter.

The determinism "versus" free will debate is about who or what is causing our choices and our actions. The obvious answer is that the cause is us, because that's what we empirically observe to be happening. And, if a person is the cause of some criminal harm, then it is the person that we seek to correct.

But determinism sends us off on a wild goose chase, trying to pin the responsibility on everything other than us. But most of the things determinism would label as the "true" cause are things we can do nothing about. There's nothing we can do about the Big Bang, or causal necessity, or determinism, or the past, or the laws of nature. But we can do something about the criminal offender. And we can even do something about the social conditions that breed criminal behavior.

Causal necessity simply means that every event is reliably caused by prior events, which are in their turn each caused by their own prior events, ad infinitum. But, in the infinite chain of prior causes, it is usually only the ones nearest to and most directly involved in the event that are meaningful and relevant causes.

Aristotle or someone had a classification of causes that included something like "ultimate" causes, "effective" causes, and a few others. Ironically, the ultimate cause was not the first cause in the chain, but rather the driving rationale behind causing the event, that is, more about it's end point than its beginning.
 

fromderinside

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Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Do you want subjective? Look at your setup of Gazzaniga and in his example. I highlighted a few subjective bits just to illuminate how you and your acolyte mix the subjective with the objective.

Let's see if you're right:
Biological drives, FDI refer to the needs that motivate a living organism to acquire food and other things that it needs to provide the energy to reproduce.
Thrive, FDI refers to the condition of the living organism, whether it is in fact acquiring what it needs to survive and reproduce, or more like on the verge of dying.
Deliberately, FDI refers to whether the action was motivated and directed by a decision (as opposed to, say, an accident).
Imagination, FDI refers to our ability to symbolically model reality in our brains, to run mental simulations to assess possible outcomes of our deliberate actions.
Mental, FDI refers to the subjective experience of our thoughts and feelings, etc.
Intelligence, FDI refers to a person's ability to recall and process information, especially in order to decide what to do.
Cognition, FDI, is the ability to store and process information. For objective confirmation of cognition, watch one episode of the TV show "Jeopardy".
Beliefs, FDI, can be objectively confirmed by asking yourself "Why do I believe all of these notions are subjective?"
Possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process, is FDI when someone spits out their food after being told it has been infected with e coli.

So, all of those notions are used to describe what happens in objective reality.
FDI works just as well as your repetitions of objectivity. As for belief you sure have a bunch of ..it.
Why does the car stop at a red light?
and
How does a car stop at a red light?

To the why we first operationalize the processes of learning and traffic control. The how comes through the operations the person who learned the law of traffic control as a condition of being permitted to drive executes his tasks.

In other words, in order to explain why a car stops at a red light, you must first evolve a human being with the biological need to survive, thrive, and reproduce (biological causation) and with the intelligence to understand that the best way to do that is by following the traffic laws rather than plowing through the intersection (rational causation).

It cannot be explained without all three causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.
We do have cars that stop at red lights without human drivers yano.
A human is a complex biological object. Complexity cannot be the hand wave that permits us to introduce subjective statements to objective analysis.

Again, you're assuming subjective statements when I'm using objective statements.

Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes.
Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes.

The problem is how to explain why the car stops at the red light using just the laws of physics. It cannot (or, at least it will not) be done.
It comes down to what is meant by the terms applied to the discipline being examined. Let's start at the simple.

Objective Rues and their Evaluation: https://www.oreilly.com/library/vie...l-analysis/9780470008744/xhtml/Chapter01.html
Technical analysis (TA) divides into two broad categories: objective and subjective. Subjective TA is comprised of analysis methods and patterns that are not precisely defined. As a consequence, a conclusion derived from a subjective method reflects the private interpretations of the analyst applying the method. This creates the possibility that two analysts applying the same method to the same set of market data may arrive at entirely different conclusions. Therefore, subjective methods are untestable, and claims that they are effective are exempt from empirical challenge. This is fertile ground for myths to flourish.

In contrast, objective methods are clearly defined. When an objective analysis method is applied to market data, its signals or predictions are unambiguous. This makes it possible to simulate the method on historical data and determine its precise level of performance. This is called back testing. The back testing of an objective method is, therefore, a repeatable experiment which allows claims of profitability ...
Now let's press on to the more directly related.

 Objectivity (science)

The scientific method was argued for by Enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon, rose to popularity with the discoveries of Isaac Newton and his followers, and continued into later eras. In the early eighteenth century, there existed an epistemic virtue in science which has been called truth-to-nature.[1]: 55–58 
This ideal was practiced by Enlightenment naturalists and scientific atlas-makers, and involved active attempts to eliminate any idiosyncrasies in their representations of nature in order to create images thought best to represent "what truly is."[1]: 59–60 [2]: 84–85  Judgment and skill were deemed necessary in order to determine the "typical", "characteristic", "ideal", or "average."[2]: 87  In practicing, truth-to-nature naturalists did not seek to depict exactly what was seen; rather, they sought a reasoned image.[1]: 98 

In the latter half of the nineteenth-century objectivity in science was born when a new practice of mechanical objectivity appeared.[1]: 121  "'Let nature speak for itself' became the watchword of a new brand of scientific objectivity."[2]: 81  It was at this time that idealized representations of nature, which were previously seen as a virtue, were now seen as a vice.[1]: 120  Scientists began to see it as their duty to actively restrain themselves from imposing their own projections onto nature.[2]: 81  The aim was to liberate representations of nature from subjective, human interference and in order to achieve this scientists began using self-registering instruments, cameras, wax molds, and other technological devices.[1]: 121 

In the twentieth century trained judgment[1]: 309  supplemented mechanical objectivity as scientists began to recognize that, in order for images or data to be of any use, scientists needed to be able to see scientifically; that is, to interpret images or data and identify and group them according to particular professional training, rather than to simply depict them mechanically.[1]: 311–314  Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, objectivity has come to involve a combination of trained judgment and mechanical objectivity.

 Subjectivity
Subjectivity in a philosophical context has to do with a lack of objective reality. Subjectivity has been given various and ambiguous definitions by differing sources as it is not often the focal point of philosophical discourse.[1] However, it is related to ideas of consciousness, agency, personhood, philosophy of mind, reality, and truth. Three common definitions include that subjectivity is the quality or condition of:
  • Something being a subject, narrowly meaning an individual who possesses conscious experiences, such as perspectives, feelings, beliefs, and desires.[2]

    Something being a subject, broadly meaning an entity that has agency, meaning that it acts upon or wields power over some other entity (an object).[3]

    Some information, idea, situation, or physical thing considered true only from the perspective of a subject or subjects.[4]
You only focus on the last bullet of subjectivity as being subjective. The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. There is nothing that physically exists that can be called the mind unless it is the brain nervous system with associated hormonal and endocrinal systems which have never been cataloged even as completely as a nearby galaxy.

Biological drives take me back to Hull and Skinner with their bullae counting and bar presses relating to the counting of food pellets. Now if that isn't subjective I don't know what might be such. Oops. Pavlov just gave me a Lamarckian.
 
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DBT

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Unfortunately for 'free will' the system response in any given moment in time does not allow an alternate action.
You keep saying this, and it keeps being an unsupported assertion. You have a dogma. Hard determinism is a dogma. It is every bit as much of a dogma as “goddidit,” only your dogma is “hard determinism did it.”


Rather than being my assertion, that is the very definition of determinism. If alternate options can be taken whenever one pleases, it is not determinism: ''given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

Compatibilism is based on determinism. That events proceed deterministically.

The brain works deterministically, neural networks acquire and process information, integrating with memory in order to form a coherent mental representation of the world and self. This is not according to me, but the available evidence.

Which I have quoted and cited in abundance.

If quantum probability or random events, firings of neurons, etc, do disrupt deterministic information processing, the results are not chosen, they are disruptions of the process, they are not willed.

The notion of 'free will' fails any way you look at it. Compatibilism fails for the reasons given and repeated over many pages of posts.
 

DBT

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Just that a brain does not work on the principle of free will, or even will, neural architecture and information exchange being the agency of response.

Assuming we have a working brain, that brain will be making decisions. Free will is not about how the brain works, but about the empirical conditions that affect the decision making process. For example:

If someone is holding a gun to our head, then they will control the decision making process. What the victim does is not under their own control, but under the control of the guy with the gun. The victim is not held responsible for what he is forced to do against his will.

There are other empirical conditions that exert an extraordinary influence upon our decision making process. For example, a significant mental illness that distorts our perception of reality by hallucinations and delusions, or that impair the ability to reason, or that subject the patient to an irresistible impulse. In these empirical cases the patient's illness is held responsible for his actions, and the illness is treated medically and psychiatrically.

The function of a working brain is to acquire and process information in order to respond to the events of the world in manner that aids survival.

A functional brain processes information and produces results according to its own architecture and information exchange, not will.

The output of a functional, deterministic brain, the actions taken, do not allow alternate actions.

Nothing is willed. Nothing is freely willed. Actions are necessitated by information exchange.

''Think of someone that you dislike. Let’s call this person X. Now, imagine that you were born with X’s “genetic material.” That is, imagine that you had X’s looks, body odor, inherent tastes, intelligence, aptitudes, etc. Imagine, further, that you had X’s upbringing and life experiences as well; so, imagine that you had X’s parents growing up, and that you grew up in the same country, city, and neighborhood in which X grew up, etc.


Would behave any differently from how X behaves?

Most people realize, perhaps after a moment of startled pause, that the answer to the question is “No.”

The question helps people realize that their thoughts and actions are determined entirely by their genetic and social conditioning. In other words, it helps people intuitively grasp the idea that free will is an illusion.''

''So, overall, contrary to what one may initially think, realizing that free will is an illusion should lead to greater maturity, compassion, and emotional stability. Hopefully, the ideas in this article serve as the external inputs that steer you in this positive direction.'' - ;)
 

Marvin Edwards

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Yes, but to understand why specific things happen you need to know which causal mechanisms were involved.
(1) Inanimate matter reacts passively to physical forces. A bowling ball placed on a slope will always roll downhill. It's behavior is governed by the force of gravity.
(2) A living organism behaves purposefully, according to biological drives to survive, thrive and reproduce. Place a worm on that slope and it will crawl uphill as easily as downhill, defying gravity, as it pursues the food it needs to survive. Its behavior is affected by gravity, but is not governed by it.
(3) An intelligent species behaves deliberately. It has an evolved neurology capable of modeling external reality internally. With that model it can imagine possibilities and alternatives. It can run mental simulations to estimate how different options are likely to play out. While it is still affected by gravity and biological drives, it is governed by its own choices. It can decide when, where, and how it will go about satisfying its biological needs.

To understand the distinction between biology and intelligence, consider this from neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga:
Michael S Gazzaniga said:
Are we just a fancier and more ingenious animal snorting around for our dinner? Sure, we are vastly more complicated than a bee. Although we both have automatic responses, we humans have cognition and beliefs of all kinds, and the possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process and hardware, honed by evolution, that got us to this place. Possession of a belief, though a false one, drove Othello to kill his beloved wife, and Sidney Carton to declare, as he voluntarily took his friend’s place at the guillotine, that it was a far, far better thing he did than he had ever done.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (pp. 2-3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Biological drives, objectively refer to the needs that motivate a living organism to acquire food and other things that it needs to provide the energy to reproduce.
Thrive, objectively refers to the condition of the living organism, whether it is in fact acquiring what it needs to survive and reproduce, or more like on the verge of dying.
Deliberately, objectively refers to whether the action was motivated and directed by a decision (as opposed to, say, an accident).
Imagination, objectively refers to our ability to symbolically model reality in our brains, to run mental simulations to assess possible outcomes of our deliberate actions.
Mental, objectively refers to the subjective experience of our thoughts and feelings, etc.
Intelligence, objectively refers to a person's ability to recall and process information, especially in order to decide what to do.
Cognition, objectively, is the ability to store and process information. For objective confirmation of cognition, watch one episode of the TV show "Jeopardy".
Beliefs, can be objectively confirmed by asking yourself "Why do I believe all of these notions are subjective?"
"Possession of a belief trumps all the automatic biological process", is objectively when someone spits out their food after being told it has been infected with e coli.

So, all of those notions are used to describe what happens in objective reality.

FDI works just as well as your repetitions of objectivity. As for belief you sure have a bunch of ..it.

I'm pretty sure that the Fédération Dentaire Internationale has nothing to do with any of this. If you're going to use an abbreviation, you'll have to spell it out, at least once, in the context of your comment. Otherwise we won't know what.. you're talking about.

In other words, in order to explain why a car stops at a red light, you must first evolve a human being with the biological need to survive, thrive, and reproduce (biological causation) and with the intelligence to understand that the best way to do that is by following the traffic laws rather than plowing through the intersection (rational causation).

It cannot be explained without all three causal mechanisms: physical, biological, and rational.
We do have cars that stop at red lights without human drivers yano.

Yes, we do have cars driven by computers. Computers are machines that we create to do our will, they have no will of their own. That's why their intelligence is called "artificial".

A human is a complex biological object. Complexity cannot be the hand wave that permits us to introduce subjective statements to objective analysis.

Again, you're assuming subjective statements when I'm using objective statements.

Your problem is that you introduce a bunch of subjective unproven and justified placeholders as objects to which you attribute much without explaining how they make the complex biological object that way through deterministic material processes.

Explaining how we get experience from physical processes is beyond my expertise. Explaining free will, on the other hand, is fairly easy. A person walks into a restaurant, chooses what they want from the menu, and places an order as in "I will have the Chef Salad, please". The waiter brings them their salad and later brings their bill. The bill is how they are held responsible for the meal that they deliberately order, of their own free will.

As to objectivity, I usually am referring to scientific objectivity. Scientific objectivity is a description of experience that can be confirmed by multiple, unbiased observers. Ironically, we have a built-in set of objective observers in our multiple senses, sight, touch, sound, taste, etc. We see a bowl of apples on the table, but when we pick one up it is too light to be a real apple, and when we tap on it with a knuckle, it sounds hollow. So we know it is just a fake apple used to decorate the table.

But for more significant matters of fact, we need multiple unbiased observers, with no vested interest in the outcome.

There's a nice article on Scientific Objectivity in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
 

pood

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DBT, Let’s analyze this.

Rather than being my assertion, that is the very definition of determinism.

No, it is the definition of hard determinism, not determinism. Note that an alternative name for compatibilism is soft determinism.

If alternate options can be taken whenever one pleases, it is not determinism:

It is not hard determinism. Big difference.

''given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

This, again, commits the error of supposing that “natural law” is prescriptive rather than descriptive, and more, that “natural law” is coercive. But as Marvin and I have argued, and Norman Swartz argued in a long paper I linked sometime back either in this thread or the other, what we call the “laws” of nature are simply descriptions of the way things go in the world. (If you have not read the Swartz paper I linked, I invite you to do so, as I’d like to get your take on it.) Some things go in a way that they can be described (not prescribed) with rigorous mathematical precision. Others, like human behavior, don’t.

Compatibilism is based on determinism. That events proceed deterministically.

Correct.

The brain works deterministically, neural networks acquire and process information, integrating with memory in order to form a coherent mental representation of the world and self. This is not according to me, but the available evidence.

But I agree with you! What you have not done is address the question I put to you previously: WHY did we evolve brains that give us, as you would have it, the ILLUSION of having a free choice, when in fact we don’t? Where is the selection pressure for such an illusion? Or are you arguing that such brains are evolutionary spandrels or products of random genetic drift? If so I think that’s a very tough argument to make. In a hard deterministic world, as I noted, philosophical zombies are much more evolutionarily parsimonious than thinking brains equipped with self-awareness.

Which I have quoted and cited in abundance.

Yes, but this is not the issue. Let me press the point again, as I do not believe you have addressed this (I could be wrong, I may have missed it).

This morning I had to make up my mind whether to have eggs or pancakes for breakfast. I chose eggs.

Your claim is that I could not have chosen pancakes, even though I believe that I could have done so. My claim, and Marvin’s claim, is that if you rewound the tape of history up to the precise moment of this morning when I am considering what to have for breakfast, and then checked to see what happens, then, sure enough, I would choose eggs again. Our point, however, is that I did not HAVE to do this, only that, given identical antecedent conditions, I WOULD do this.

Every single time that you make the opposite claim — that I COULD NOT have chosen pancakes, as opposed to WOULD NOT have chosen pancakes, you are committing the modal scope fallacy, a plain fallacy of logic in which one fails to distinguish between contingent acts and events (could have gone otherwise) and necessary acts and events (could not have gone otherwise).

There is no possible world at which triangles have four sides. There are many possible worlds at which I chose pancakes this morning instead of eggs.

Your hard determinism posits modal collapse in which all true propositions are necessarily true propositions. The claim is false on the face of it because clearly we can distinguish between four-sided triangles (impossible) and choosing pancakes instead of eggs for breakfast (possible).

I’d conclude by saying that no one denies that we, as individuals, are products of genes and memes, of nature and nurture, over which we had no control. But the fact that we are genetically and memetically predisposed to behave in certain ways does not FORCE us to behave in fixed ways in particular situations. Compatibilists don’t claim we can overcome our past or our biological “programming” and simply become from moment to moment sui generis. That would be a libertarian claim, not a compatibilist claim.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The function of a working brain is to acquire and process information in order to respond to the events of the world in manner that aids survival.

Correct.

A functional brain processes information and produces results according to its own architecture and information exchange, not will.

I do not understand your tacking on the "not will" at the end. The whole point of an intelligent brain is to provide a living organism with options. Prior to intelligence, there were no options, because every behavior was instinctual, hardwired. With intelligence we gain the ability to respond creatively "to the events of the world in a manner that aids survival".

The output of a functional, deterministic brain, the actions taken, do not allow alternate actions.

That's only true of a non-intelligent organism. With intelligence, the brain continues to operate deterministically, but with an additional causal mechanism: rationality (you may recall that from Dr. Martha Farah's quote that you included earlier).

We assume that the rational causal mechanism also operates deterministically (otherwise it would be ineffectual). So, when stepping into a new causal mechanism we are not stepping outside of determinism.

For example, addition is a deterministic rational operation: 2 plus 2 equals 4. There is no alternative within that operation.

However, choosing is also a deterministic rational operation: A or B? If A is better than B, then I will choose A, but if B is better than A, then I will choose B. With the choosing operation we always get at least two alternatives. Then we evaluate each alternative and choose the one that seems best to us. That's how it works.

Given the same identical us, facing the same issue, under the same circumstances, our choice will always be the same. That's what being a deterministic operation naturally implies. And that does not change with the rational causal mechanism. Just like 2 + 2 = 4, one choice will always be judged better than the other after evaluation.

Nothing is willed.

That would be an absurdity. Every deliberate action is willed, because the output of deliberation is an intention to do something, as in, "I will fix eggs for breakfast".

What about the brain's internal processing? Well, I don't know how that works, and I could not describe for you which neurons happen to fire in what sequence in order to result in the brain centering its intention upon fixing eggs for breakfast. But I assume that, just like in the rational causal mechanism, corresponding deterministic events are taking place at the neural level, which our brain then explains to us through its model of reality: "I woke up hungry. I wondered what I should fix for breakfast. After some thought, I decided I would set my intention upon fixing eggs."

We experience that intention (will) as a coordinated effort of the body and mind to achieve the desired result, by the subsequent steps we take: getting the eggs from the fridge, cooking them, and eating them. That is the operational function of "will".

Nothing is freely willed. Actions are necessitated by information exchange.

You continue to insist that freedom must include the absence from reliable cause and effect. This notion that determinist's carry around with them is called "freedom from causal necessity". It is an irrational notion, due to the fact that reliable causation is always required by every freedom that we have to do anything at all (including the freedom to decide for ourselves what we will do). FREEDOM REQUIRES RELIABLE CAUSE AND EFFECT.

There is nothing that anyone is ever free to do without reliable cause and effect.

So, the notion that free will is not "truly" free unless it is also free of reliable causation is an absurdity. Determinism must drop it or confess to being absurd.

''Think of someone that you dislike. Let’s call this person X. Now, imagine that you were born with X’s “genetic material.” That is, imagine that you had X’s looks, body odor, inherent tastes, intelligence, aptitudes, etc. Imagine, further, that you had X’s upbringing and life experiences as well; so, imagine that you had X’s parents growing up, and that you grew up in the same country, city, and neighborhood in which X grew up, etc.

Would behave any differently from how X behaves?

Most people realize, perhaps after a moment of startled pause, that the answer to the question is “No.”

The question helps people realize that their thoughts and actions are determined entirely by their genetic and social conditioning. In other words, it helps people intuitively grasp the idea that free will is an illusion.''

''So, overall, contrary to what one may initially think, realizing that free will is an illusion should lead to greater maturity, compassion, and emotional stability. Hopefully, the ideas in this article serve as the external inputs that steer you in this positive direction.'' - ;)

Yes, most people would realize that if they were someone else, then they would be someone else. This is why we have folk sayings like "walk a mile in my shoes". And this wisdom, if you haven't already picked it up as a child, is acquired by taking college courses in psychology and sociology.

But the benefits of this wisdom can be destroyed by the philosophical debate over free will. Because if you lack free will, then you have no ability to make wise choices, since you can never make any choices at all. Or so the hard determinist would have you believe.
 

fromderinside

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But for more significant matters of fact, we need multiple unbiased observers, with no vested interest in the outcome.

There's a nice article on Scientific Objectivity in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Wow. You pop up that little chestnut after I've provided three articles.

Just for verification purposes scientists who depend on objectivity did not write your article, it is written by philosophers, so bias just might be a problem.

I repeat citations and text on objectivity and subjectivity posted in the comments to which you are responding, omitted for some reason by you here, for viewers to compare with your citation.

Objective Rues and their Evaluation: https://www.oreilly.com/library/vie...l-analysis/9780470008744/xhtml/Chapter01.html
Technical analysis (TA) divides into two broad categories: objective and subjective. Subjective TA is comprised of analysis methods and patterns that are not precisely defined. As a consequence, a conclusion derived from a subjective method reflects the private interpretations of the analyst applying the method. This creates the possibility that two analysts applying the same method to the same set of market data may arrive at entirely different conclusions. Therefore, subjective methods are untestable, and claims that they are effective are exempt from empirical challenge. This is fertile ground for myths to flourish.

In contrast, objective methods are clearly defined. When an objective analysis method is applied to market data, its signals or predictions are unambiguous. This makes it possible to simulate the method on historical data and determine its precise level of performance. This is called back testing. The back testing of an objective method is, therefore, a repeatable experiment which allows claims of profitability ...
Now let's press on to the more directly related.

wikipedia.png
Objectivity (science)

The scientific method was argued for by Enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon, rose to popularity with the discoveries of Isaac Newton and his followers, and continued into later eras. In the early eighteenth century, there existed an epistemic virtue in science which has been called truth-to-nature.[1]: 55–58
This ideal was practiced by Enlightenment naturalists and scientific atlas-makers, and involved active attempts to eliminate any idiosyncrasies in their representations of nature in order to create images thought best to represent "what truly is."[1]: 59–60 [2]: 84–85  Judgment and skill were deemed necessary in order to determine the "typical", "characteristic", "ideal", or "average."[2]: 87  In practicing, truth-to-nature naturalists did not seek to depict exactly what was seen; rather, they sought a reasoned image.[1]: 98 

In the latter half of the nineteenth-century objectivity in science was born when a new practice of mechanical objectivity appeared.[1]: 121  "'Let nature speak for itself' became the watchword of a new brand of scientific objectivity."[2]: 81  It was at this time that idealized representations of nature, which were previously seen as a virtue, were now seen as a vice.[1]: 120  Scientists began to see it as their duty to actively restrain themselves from imposing their own projections onto nature.[2]: 81  The aim was to liberate representations of nature from subjective, human interference and in order to achieve this scientists began using self-registering instruments, cameras, wax molds, and other technological devices.[1]: 121 

In the twentieth century trained judgment[1]: 309  supplemented mechanical objectivity as scientists began to recognize that, in order for images or data to be of any use, scientists needed to be able to see scientifically; that is, to interpret images or data and identify and group them according to particular professional training, rather than to simply depict them mechanically.[1]: 311–314  Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, objectivity has come to involve a combination of trained judgment and mechanical objectivity.

wikipedia.png
Subjectivity

Subjectivity in a philosophical context has to do with a lack of objective reality. Subjectivity has been given various and ambiguous definitions by differing sources as it is not often the focal point of philosophical discourse.[1] However, it is related to ideas of consciousness, agency, personhood, philosophy of mind, reality, and truth. Three common definitions include that subjectivity is the quality or condition of:
  • Something being a subject, narrowly meaning an individual who possesses conscious experiences, such as perspectives, feelings, beliefs, and desires.[2]

    Something being a subject, broadly meaning an entity that has agency, meaning that it acts upon or wields power over some other entity (an object).[3]

    Some information, idea, situation, or physical thing considered true only from the perspective of a subject or subjects.[4]
I've read your citation and chose to not include it in my presentation because it appeared to be a weak justification for including Laws of Nature, not Scientific Law, as a basis for Determinism. That results in a more or less useless set of laws crammed into a system based on presumption and generalization without material structure support. You will find the same contortions in their scientific objectivity presentation.

You only focus on the last bullet of subjectivity as being subjective. The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. There is nothing that physically exists that can be called the mind unless it is the brain nervous system with associated hormonal and endocrinal systems which have never been cataloged even as completely as a nearby galaxy.

Sucking from the bones of bygone species we've learned that large brains alone are not enough to establish originality in thought. Cro-Magnon man is demonstrably more original than is Neanderthal Man.

There are tools and totems and drawings to demonstrate that as well as changes in the genetic structure of the FOXP2 gene among others that underlie intelligence. Now I don't want you to go all gaga that a gene determines intelligence or language. But I sure do want you to respect that scientific discovery as something other than Erasmus Darwin Evolution.

Biological drives take me back to Hull and Skinner with their bullae counting and bar presses relating to the counting of food pellets. Now if that isn't subjective I don't know what might be such. Oops. Pavlov just gave me a Lamarckian.
 
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DBT

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DBT, Let’s analyze this.

Rather than being my assertion, that is the very definition of determinism.

No, it is the definition of hard determinism, not determinism. Note that an alternative name for compatibilism is soft determinism.

It doesn't help. Compatibilism asserts that free will is acting without coercion, acting in accordance to one's will, not being forced/ therefore, free will is compatible with determinism.

That is precisely what I am addressing.

'Soft' determinism doesn't allow the brain alternate choices. The brain is not in superposition, information condition in each moment determines action in each and every moment.




If alternate options can be taken whenever one pleases, it is not determinism:

It is not hard determinism. Big difference.

No, it is determinism. If determinism is true, actions are determined, not chosen, not open to negotiation.

The brain works deterministically, input/processing/output. Just because it is our brain that processes information and produces actions and we are not being coerced or forced does not equate to free will. The action taken is still determined (soft determinism doesn't help) and will still plays no part in processing of information/decision making.

No matter what, we are constrained by the events that precede us, that shape and form our physical and mental makeup and actions.
 
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