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Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

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The accident is unique combination of circumstances, the elements of the collision, the pedestrian, the driver, the state of the traffic lights, the driver being distracted, etc, coming together to cause an unavoidable event.

The elements of the collision are analyzed after the fact and corrections can be implemented, thereby helping prevent another accident under those circumstances. Action and reaction. Event and response. Thought processes determined by the information made available to the brains of those involved in road safety. Still nothing to do with free will.

Those involved in road safety? Hang on a moment, where does that come from? How does it come to be that we have designated people responsible for road safety?

It is all about choosing. By the choice of individuals we agreed to constitute a nation and each of its states, in order to address matters of public concern. One of these matters we chose to address was building roads and bridges, especially after someone imagined the possibility of an alternative to horse drawn carriages, and made all the choices as to how an automobile should be designed. Then people made their individual choices as to when to replace their horse-drawn carriage with an automobile. And then there were automobile accidents. And then state legislatures considered the causes of these accidents, and discussed many possible ways to reduce this harm. They chose the specific rules they would enforce.

Do you get the picture? There was a whole lot of choosing going on. Not just "action and reaction", but thoughtful choosing. Not just "event and response", but deliberate planning.

And what is free will? Free will is a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence. So, there was a whole lot of freely chosen "I will's" going on all over the place. And that's how we ended up with specific people being assigned responsibility for traffic rules and enforcement.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Every time you answer you float a new banana boat. Your latest is adapting creatively to an environment. You don't do anything.

What you are and what you experience are what you have for tools. I don't care how creative you may be. Besides most of what we are finding that kills us is not interspecies. What kills us is within species. All of our species are pretty damn intelligent. If you don't meet force and/or knowledge with sufficient (think better) force and/or knowledge you will not likely survive.

Notice all the probable's I dropped there. Maybe statistics have something to do with it.

Statistics is how we make unpredictable events somewhat predictable. By creativity, I mean like that of the Wright brothers as they created the first flying machine or Thomas Edison and his light bulb experimenting for weeks to find the right filament, or Jonas Salk finding a vaccine for polio. These are the benefits of intelligence.
So here is where I'll respond to your obvious attempts to co-opt both self-organization and chance into the volition camp.

 Self-organization

Self-organization relies on four basic ingredients:[6]
  1. strong dynamical non-linearity, often (though not necessarily) involving positive and negative feedback
  2. balance of exploitation and exploration
  3. multiple interactions
  4. availability of energy (to overcome the natural tendency toward entropy, or loss of free energy)
The cybernetician William Ross Ashby formulated the original principle of self-organization in 1947.[7][8] It states that any deterministic dynamic system automatically evolves towards a state of equilibrium that can be described in terms of an attractor in a basin of surrounding states. Once there, the further evolution of the system is constrained to remain in the attractor. This constraint implies a form of mutual dependency or coordination between its constituent components or subsystems. In Ashby's terms, each subsystem has adapted to the environment formed by all other subsystems.[7]

The cybernetician Heinz von Foerster formulated the principle of "order from noise" in 1960.[9] It notes that self-organization is facilitated by random perturbations ("noise") that let the system explore a variety of states in its state space. This increases the chance that the system will arrive into the basin of a "strong" or "deep" attractor, from which it then quickly enters the attractor itself. The biophysicist Henri Atlan developed this concept by proposing the principle of "complexity from noise"[10][11] (French: le principe de complexité par le bruit)[12] first in the 1972 book L'organisation biologique et la théorie de l'information and then in the 1979 book Entre le cristal et la fumée. The physicist and chemist Ilya Prigogine formulated a similar principle as "order through fluctuations"[13] or "order out of chaos".[14] It is applied in the method of simulated annealing for problem solving and machine learning.[15]
Please note that self-organization depends on local properties being thus and so, not on local conditions organizing themselves.

No magic here, nothing mystical or internally motivated. just ordinary physics, chemistry, and biology.

Oh, and Jarhyn you should bow down to the physical Gods as well.

There is no reason neural systems, being complex physical systems, don't also incorporate such as repeating and organizing functions into their normal designs.

I'm very happy for you that you seem to have lots of information about self-organization and what-not. But choosing is a simple empirical operation that we both saw happening in the restaurant. How it came about that we choose things is less important to me than the fact that we actually do choose what we will do. If you cannot agree to the simple fact that people choose things, then whether they choose things of their own free will or not is a pointless discussion.
 

pood

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
The bit that DBT quotes here is of course a rebuttal of libertarian free will and not compatibilist free will (soft determinism). Since no one here is arguing for libertarian (contra-causal) free will, it has no relevance to the discussion.
 

The AntiChris

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
The bit that DBT quotes here is of course a rebuttal of libertarian free will and not compatibilist free will (soft determinism). Since no one here is arguing for libertarian (contra-causal) free will, it has no relevance to the discussion.
I'm not convinced. My reading was that the authors were arguing, just as DBT does, against any and all uses of the term 'free will'. In his responses, DBT rarely if ever makes any distinction between libertarian and compatibilist free will (he routinely attempts to rebut compatibilist arguments with objections that only target libertarian free will).
 

pood

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
The bit that DBT quotes here is of course a rebuttal of libertarian free will and not compatibilist free will (soft determinism). Since no one here is arguing for libertarian (contra-causal) free will, it has no relevance to the discussion.
I'm not convinced. My reading was that the authors were arguing, just as DBT does, against any and all uses of the term 'free will'. In his responses, DBT rarely if ever makes any distinction between libertarian and compatibilist free will (he routinely attempts to rebut compatibilist arguments with objections that only target libertarian free will).
Well, yes, I don’t think DBT is really tending to these distinctions. He didn’t even seem to be familiar with the term “hard determinist,” conflating it with straight determinism, for example. But as I noted, determinism is simply the empirically observed thesis that the macro world we are familiar with (as opposed to the quantum world) exhibits reliable cause and effect. HARD determinism is the thesis that antecedent events, in concert with the so-called laws of nature, ENTAIL all future events, including human actions. These are very different ideas. Determinism alone is agnostic about human freedom.
 

Marvin Edwards

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'Choice' is not a matter of free will, but brain function and condition. Information condition equals output, thoughts generated actions taken.

You still don't get it. One does not preclude the other. Choosing is a brain function that is easily demonstrated by walking into a restaurant and observing people browsing the menu and placing their order.

Appearances do not explain the means. Which is not free will.

If you recall;
Volition
''To successfully interact with objects in the environment, sensory evidence must be continuously acquired, interpreted, and used to guide appropriate motor responses. For example, when driving, a red light should motivate a motor command to depress the brake pedal.

Single-unit recording studies have established that simple sensorimotor transformations are mediated by the same neurons that ultimately guide the behavioral response. However, it is also possible that these sensorimotor regions are the recipients of a modality-independent decision signal that is computed elsewhere.

Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and human observers to show that the time course of activation in a subregion of the right insula is consistent with a role in accumulating sensory evidence independently from the required motor response modality (saccade vs manual).

Furthermore, a combination of computational modeling and simulations of the blood oxygenation level-dependent response suggests that this region is not simply recruited by general arousal or by the tonic maintenance of attention during the decision process. Our data thus raise the possibility that a modality-independent representation of sensory evidence may guide activity in effector-specific cortical areas before the initiation of a behavioral response.''

Your example is inappropriate. Driving is a skill, like playing the piano. While developing a skill there is initially a lot of conscious attention involved at the outset. But after the skill is acquired, your attention is often elsewhere. People can drive to work without thinking about driving. They play the radio. They may even talk on the phone. People can drive with their minds elsewhere and be surprised at how far they've travelled. Your attention to driving only wakes up to handle something unpredictable.

So driving is not about choosing, and has nothing to do with free will, other than the fact that you did initially choose to go somewhere.

And this is typical of the selective use of neuroscience evidence in arguments about free will. Usually we get all the exceptional cases where a person's brain is injured in some way, and it is suggested to us that the brain injured is the same as the brain normal. But in this case you have given us the neuroscience of motor skills, assuming perhaps that choosing what we will order for dinner is using the same motor neurons used while driving.

Please. Let's stick to the relevant neuroscience and not presume that every example of not-choosing is evidence that choosing never happens. It's an invalid argument. This is the second time (at least) that you've posted that same material, and it is still irrelevant to this discussion.


No alternate actions possible in any instance in time.

You are staring at a literal menu of alternate possibilities, of which every one of them can be realized.


Not by everyone ... Someone may have the option of mathematics or cosmology for a career, some may become the CEO of a multinational Corp, etc, the options are there for some, but they are not options available for everyone, not for most people.

Yes and no. A person's competency limits what they can do, but it does not prevent them from choosing to attempt to do something beyond their competency. It's that free will thing, you know, like when Trump chose to run for president.

The option you do take is determined by countless factors that brought you to the state where not only is that option open to you, but given the nature of determinism (which you cannot deny as a compatibilist), the option is necessitated rather than freely chosen.

Whenever my action is necessitated by my own choosing, while free of coercion and undue influence, both causal necessity and free will are fully satisfied. Free will does not claim to be free of prior causes. It simply asserts that the most meaningful and relevant cause of my deliberate act is my own act of deliberation, in which I chose what I would do.

No prior causes of me can participate in that choosing without first becoming an integral part of who and what I am. I am that which chooses what I will do, and they are not.

The notion that my prior causes are actually doing the choosing is an illusion. The hard determinist argument is based upon figurative thinking. The correct form of their statement is that "It is AS IF causal necessity made the choice, and not you". And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, empirically, truthfully) false.


...and never more than one 'option' at any given moment in time...

I pulled this out because I wasn't sure what you meant here. The choosing operation is a series of mental events, where options are identified, then each is evaluated in turn, then the result is calculated and the choice is output. But perhaps you had something else in mind?

Note: I've omitted the literary piece you added at the end as it seems to have nothing to do with the discussion. If you wish to insert it again with an explanation of how it might relate to the discussion of free will, then I'll consider responding.
 

fromderinside

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Every time you answer you float a new banana boat. Your latest is adapting creatively to an environment. You don't do anything.

What you are and what you experience are what you have for tools. I don't care how creative you may be. Besides most of what we are finding that kills us is not interspecies. What kills us is within species. All of our species are pretty damn intelligent. If you don't meet force and/or knowledge with sufficient (think better) force and/or knowledge you will not likely survive.

Notice all the probable's I dropped there. Maybe statistics have something to do with it.

Statistics is how we make unpredictable events somewhat predictable. By creativity, I mean like that of the Wright brothers as they created the first flying machine or Thomas Edison and his light bulb experimenting for weeks to find the right filament, or Jonas Salk finding a vaccine for polio. These are the benefits of intelligence.
So here is where I'll respond to your obvious attempts to co-opt both self-organization and chance into the volition camp.

 Self-organization

Self-organization relies on four basic ingredients:[6]
  1. strong dynamical non-linearity, often (though not necessarily) involving positive and negative feedback
  2. balance of exploitation and exploration
  3. multiple interactions
  4. availability of energy (to overcome the natural tendency toward entropy, or loss of free energy)
The cybernetician William Ross Ashby formulated the original principle of self-organization in 1947.[7][8] It states that any deterministic dynamic system automatically evolves towards a state of equilibrium that can be described in terms of an attractor in a basin of surrounding states. Once there, the further evolution of the system is constrained to remain in the attractor. This constraint implies a form of mutual dependency or coordination between its constituent components or subsystems. In Ashby's terms, each subsystem has adapted to the environment formed by all other subsystems.[7]

The cybernetician Heinz von Foerster formulated the principle of "order from noise" in 1960.[9] It notes that self-organization is facilitated by random perturbations ("noise") that let the system explore a variety of states in its state space. This increases the chance that the system will arrive into the basin of a "strong" or "deep" attractor, from which it then quickly enters the attractor itself. The biophysicist Henri Atlan developed this concept by proposing the principle of "complexity from noise"[10][11] (French: le principe de complexité par le bruit)[12] first in the 1972 book L'organisation biologique et la théorie de l'information and then in the 1979 book Entre le cristal et la fumée. The physicist and chemist Ilya Prigogine formulated a similar principle as "order through fluctuations"[13] or "order out of chaos".[14] It is applied in the method of simulated annealing for problem solving and machine learning.[15]
Please note that self-organization depends on local properties being thus and so, not on local conditions organizing themselves.

No magic here, nothing mystical or internally motivated. just ordinary physics, chemistry, and biology.

Oh, and Jarhyn you should bow down to the physical Gods as well.

There is no reason neural systems, being complex physical systems, don't also incorporate such as repeating and organizing functions into their normal designs.

I'm very happy for you that you seem to have lots of information about self-organization and what-not. But choosing is a simple empirical operation that we both saw happening in the restaurant. How it came about that we choose things is less important to me than the fact that we actually do choose what we will do. If you cannot agree to the simple fact that people choose things, then whether they choose things of their own free will or not is a pointless discussion.
How can you call choosing is a simple empirical operation? You don't know the basis your observation has on the process beyond your claim you saw A took X. Your use of empirical relies on self-evidence and rational reasoning so much it barely qualifies as empirical even in theory.

You made assumptions based on fictitious place, transaction, and outcome not even actually observed by you or me. It's best seen as a hypothetical. Hypotheticals are a priori, empirical is your characterization, and inclusion is an invalid attempt of coercive confirmation.

Here is an empirical example. Study it.

You hear about a new drug called atenolol that slows down the heart and reduces blood pressure.

You use a priori reasoning to create a hypothesis that this drug might reduce the risk of a heart attack because it lowers blood pressure.

But in this scenario you don’t just rely on a priori reasoning. You want to obtain empirical evidence for your hypothesis.

So you run a large randomized drug trial. You give a sugar-pill placebo to some people and atenolol to the others. It turns out that the drug indeed reduces the blood pressure of people who take it.

Now you have empirical evidence that atenolol reduces blood pressure, but what about the risk of a heart attack?

When you analyze the dataset, you see that it doesn’t reduce mortality by as much as other drugs that have a similar effect on blood pressure.

So your a priori reasoning that this drug would reduce the risk of a heart attack by lowering blood pressure was invalidated by a posteriori empirical evidence.
 

Copernicus

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
There are always multiple options, in every second, across every moment in time. Marvin keeps playing with eggs or pancakes, and he simplifies things by creating posts where simple, often binary choices are available to people at most instances of most of the time. But the reality is that there are in fact a literally innumerable amount of choices, all the time.

As pointed out, there are multiple options, but only one realizable for you in any given moment in time. And given the nature of determinism, that option is necessitated by antecedents. It is not freely willed. Information acting upon the brain necessitates that action in that moment in time.

You can call it decision making (computers are able to select options based on sets of criteria) but decision making does not equate to free will for reasons that have been given multiple times.
Although there may only be one "realizable" option for a choice maker, the choice maker, being ignorant of which one that is, is still faced with multiple options. What you keep failing to understand is that the free selection is done in the choice maker's imagination. It is a calculation that determines an action. Imagination is different from physical reality, as there are actually multiple outcomes. There is only one realizable option, because that is determined by weighted priorities in the mind of the individual making the choice. Nothing about free will is free of actual causal necessity, only of imagined causal necessity.
 

Marvin Edwards

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How can you call choosing is a simple empirical operation?

The same way I know that a "cat" is a cat. I observe an animal wandering around, scratching and purring and leaping on things. I ask someone, "Hey, what the heck is that?". "That is a 'cat'!", they say. Now I know that when I see one of those animals that it is a "cat".

In the same fashion, I watch people in a restaurant browsing a menu, and then telling the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please". And I ask someone, "What are they doing?". Someone says, "They are choosing what they will order for dinner". "Oh, I say." Then, the next time I see people browsing a menu in a restaurant and placing their orders, I know that they are "choosing" for themselves what they will have for dinner.

Empiricism is really simple.

You made assumptions based on fictitious place, transaction, and outcome not even actually observed by you or me.

But I have observed it, because I have eaten in a restaurant. If my presumption that you have also eaten in a restaurant is incorrect, I apologize.

It's best seen as a hypothetical. Hypotheticals are a priori, empirical is your characterization, and inclusion is an invalid attempt of coercive confirmation.

A priori is what we get when we have agreed upon definitions of things like "cats" and "choosing". That thing is a "cat" (assuming I am pointing at a cat) is an a priori because that's what the name "cat" means. What they are doing is "choosing" is a priori because that event is what "choosing" means.

Here is an empirical example. Study it.

I'm sorry, but I don't accept homework assignments. If you already understand it, then feel free to explain it to me and be sure to explain how it relates to our discussion. If you do not understand it, then it's unfair of you to ask me to study it so that I can explain it to you. So, do your own homework, please.

One more thing. Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas is fun and that you enjoy the company of friends and family.
 

steve_bank

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On the 527th post I'd say it is unimaginable. So far no one has imagined it dep[ite lengthy discourse.
 

fromderinside

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How can you call choosing is a simple empirical operation?

The same way I know that a "cat" is a cat. I observe an animal wandering around, scratching and purring and leaping on things. I ask someone, "Hey, what the heck is that?". "That is a 'cat'!", they say. Now I know that when I see one of those animals that it is a "cat".

In the same fashion, I watch people in a restaurant browsing a menu, and then telling the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please". And I ask someone, "What are they doing?". Someone says, "They are choosing what they will order for dinner". "Oh, I say." Then, the next time I see people browsing a menu in a restaurant and placing their orders, I know that they are "choosing" for themselves what they will have for dinner.

Empiricism is really simple.

You made assumptions based on fictitious place, transaction, and outcome not even actually observed by you or me.

But I have observed it, because I have eaten in a restaurant. If my presumption that you have also eaten in a restaurant is incorrect, I apologize.*
*self testimony isn't evidence.
It's best seen as a hypothetical. Hypotheticals are a priori, empirical is your characterization, and inclusion is an invalid attempt of coercive confirmation.

A priori is what we get when we have agreed upon definitions of things like "cats" and "choosing". That thing is a "cat" (assuming I am pointing at a cat) is an a priori because that's what the name "cat" means. What they are doing is "choosing" is a priori because that event is what "choosing" means.

Here is an empirical example. Study it.

I'm sorry, but I don't accept homework assignments. If you already understand it, then feel free to explain it to me and be sure to explain how it relates to our discussion. If you do not understand it, then it's unfair of you to ask me to study it so that I can explain it to you. So, do your own homework, please.
... a priori reasoning (can be empirical proposition but not evidence) that this drug would reduce the risk of a heart attack by lowering blood pressure was invalidated by a posteriori empirical evidence.

Your lesson highlighted. Ta da.

Thanks for your Christmas wishes.

And a merry Ho ho ho to you Marvin Edwards and to you too Steve Bank
 

DBT

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.

Caused is not free. Determined is not free if free means regulative control (which it must). If you don't have conscious regulative control of what your brain is doing, your actions are being caused by information interactions beyond your control, you are not in charge, you are not free to select according to your will. Your actions are not free will actions.

Nonsensical is defining actions that must necessarily follow from a brain state output as an example of free will.
 

DBT

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
The bit that DBT quotes here is of course a rebuttal of libertarian free will and not compatibilist free will (soft determinism). Since no one here is arguing for libertarian (contra-causal) free will, it has no relevance to the discussion.


The article is a rebuttal of the concept of free will. The compatibilist version of free will fails for the reasons given multiple times.

Basically:

''Compatibilism, sometimes called soft determinism, is a theological term that deals with the topics of free will and predestination. It seeks to show that God's exhaustive sovereignty is compatible with human freedom, or in other words, it claims that determinism and free will are compatible. Rather than limit the exercise of God's sovereignty in order to preserve man's freedom, compatibilists say that there must be a different way to define what freedom really means.''

In other words, redefining the meaning of freedom.


''Notice that a true compatibilist, who has gone on record saying that determinism is a fact of nature, must believe that the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of action, and forming an intention to act on the desire, are all determined. The causal chain leading a human to lift a finger is longer than the chain leading a squirrel to lift an acorn, but it is no less deterministic (he who says that it is less deterministic is not a compatibilist but a closet libertarian).''

''Still others, most notably David Hume and some prominent contemporary social psychologists, believe they can have it both ways: accept determinism while also postulating a type of non-libertarian, straight-jacketed “free” will that still enables moral judgment [I put the “free” in quotation marks because the semantics are drained from the word].



More;
''How is this supposed to work? First, we have to accept the view that prior events have caused the person’s current desire to do X. Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes (and perhaps a dash of true chance). Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms. Exceptions occur, but are swiftly dismissed as errors of anthropomorphism.'
 

DBT

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Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
The bit that DBT quotes here is of course a rebuttal of libertarian free will and not compatibilist free will (soft determinism). Since no one here is arguing for libertarian (contra-causal) free will, it has no relevance to the discussion.
I'm not convinced. My reading was that the authors were arguing, just as DBT does, against any and all uses of the term 'free will'. In his responses, DBT rarely if ever makes any distinction between libertarian and compatibilist free will (he routinely attempts to rebut compatibilist arguments with objections that only target libertarian free will).

Of course there is a distinction between Libertarian free will and Compatibilism, but nobody is arguing for the Libertarian version. I don't know if there are any Libertarians left, it's too silly.
 

DBT

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
There are always multiple options, in every second, across every moment in time. Marvin keeps playing with eggs or pancakes, and he simplifies things by creating posts where simple, often binary choices are available to people at most instances of most of the time. But the reality is that there are in fact a literally innumerable amount of choices, all the time.

As pointed out, there are multiple options, but only one realizable for you in any given moment in time. And given the nature of determinism, that option is necessitated by antecedents. It is not freely willed. Information acting upon the brain necessitates that action in that moment in time.

You can call it decision making (computers are able to select options based on sets of criteria) but decision making does not equate to free will for reasons that have been given multiple times.
Although there may only be one "realizable" option for a choice maker, the choice maker, being ignorant of which one that is, is still faced with multiple options. What you keep failing to understand is that the free selection is done in the choice maker's imagination. It is a calculation that determines an action. Imagination is different from physical reality, as there are actually multiple outcomes. There is only one realizable option, because that is determined by weighted priorities in the mind of the individual making the choice. Nothing about free will is free of actual causal necessity, only of imagined causal necessity.


The action of neural networks determines which option is taken. It is not a free will choice. That is what compatibilists ignore or dismiss.

The option that is taken doesn't allow an alternate possibility, without the possibility of an alternative, where is freedom of choice? nowhere to be found.

Where is free will? Nowhere to be found. The ideological illusion of free will is maintained by redefining the meaning of 'free' and elevating will to a higher status than it actually has.
 

DBT

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'Choice' is not a matter of free will, but brain function and condition. Information condition equals output, thoughts generated actions taken.

You still don't get it. One does not preclude the other. Choosing is a brain function that is easily demonstrated by walking into a restaurant and observing people browsing the menu and placing their order.

Appearances do not explain the means. Which is not free will.

If you recall;
Volition
''To successfully interact with objects in the environment, sensory evidence must be continuously acquired, interpreted, and used to guide appropriate motor responses. For example, when driving, a red light should motivate a motor command to depress the brake pedal.

Single-unit recording studies have established that simple sensorimotor transformations are mediated by the same neurons that ultimately guide the behavioral response. However, it is also possible that these sensorimotor regions are the recipients of a modality-independent decision signal that is computed elsewhere.

Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and human observers to show that the time course of activation in a subregion of the right insula is consistent with a role in accumulating sensory evidence independently from the required motor response modality (saccade vs manual).

Furthermore, a combination of computational modeling and simulations of the blood oxygenation level-dependent response suggests that this region is not simply recruited by general arousal or by the tonic maintenance of attention during the decision process. Our data thus raise the possibility that a modality-independent representation of sensory evidence may guide activity in effector-specific cortical areas before the initiation of a behavioral response.''

Your example is inappropriate. Driving is a skill, like playing the piano. While developing a skill there is initially a lot of conscious attention involved at the outset. But after the skill is acquired, your attention is often elsewhere. People can drive to work without thinking about driving. They play the radio. They may even talk on the phone. People can drive with their minds elsewhere and be surprised at how far they've travelled. Your attention to driving only wakes up to handle something unpredictable.

As pointed out on previous occasions, conscious attention is being produced and maintained through an information feed beginning with sensory input of information which acts upon the system, which processes and recognizes patterns through memory function, which is then represented in conscious form and constantly 'refreshed' while conscious representation is active.

The whole brain at work. Consciousness plays its role as representation of the world and self in order to navigate and respond.

Response of course comes in many forms, reflexive, instinctual, learned or prefrontal cortex higher order processing, executive function, etc, whatever action is not only appropriate (if the brain is functioning normally), but determined by the state of the system.

So driving is not about choosing, and has nothing to do with free will, other than the fact that you did initially choose to go somewhere.

And this is typical of the selective use of neuroscience evidence in arguments about free will. Usually we get all the exceptional cases where a person's brain is injured in some way, and it is suggested to us that the brain injured is the same as the brain normal. But in this case you have given us the neuroscience of motor skills, assuming perhaps that choosing what we will order for dinner is using the same motor neurons used while driving.

Please. Let's stick to the relevant neuroscience and not presume that every example of not-choosing is evidence that choosing never happens. It's an invalid argument. This is the second time (at least) that you've posted that same material, and it is still irrelevant to this discussion.

I think the means by which actions are taken and performed is central to the question of free will.

Sorry to be brief, it's nearly Christmas dinner time. I was going to leave this till tomorrow but felt compelled to at least make a comment. ;)
 

Copernicus

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Although there may only be one "realizable" option for a choice maker, the choice maker, being ignorant of which one that is, is still faced with multiple options. What you keep failing to understand is that the free selection is done in the choice maker's imagination. It is a calculation that determines an action. Imagination is different from physical reality, as there are actually multiple outcomes. There is only one realizable option, because that is determined by weighted priorities in the mind of the individual making the choice. Nothing about free will is free of actual causal necessity, only of imagined causal necessity.


The action of neural networks determines which option is taken. It is not a free will choice. That is what compatibilists ignore or dismiss.

The option that is taken doesn't allow an alternate possibility, without the possibility of an alternative, where is freedom of choice? nowhere to be found.

Where is free will? Nowhere to be found. The ideological illusion of free will is maintained by redefining the meaning of 'free' and elevating will to a higher status than it actually has.

Your answer suggests to me that you did not understand a thing I said, because you aren't addressing anything I said, despite the fact that you quoted my post. Your reaction is first to mention neural networks, which perhaps you think supports your position without you having to explain its relevance. You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future. The former is taken as fact, and the latter is taken as imagined potential. In that imaginary potential, there are always many possible outcomes, and the problem facing the chooser is to pick one of them. That is not predictable before the individual actually calculates which one is the best of the alternatives. The actual choice arrived at may be predetermined from the perspective of an omniscient observer, but that is of no relevance to the person who must pick one of several alternatives. In the imagination of the individual. there is the possibility of an alternative. If you disagree with me, then address this argument. And forget about neural networks. They have no explanatory value here.

Note that I have refuted your claim that there is a possibility of an alternative. There is at first. Once the individual calculates the optimal outcome and executes an action, the possibility of an alternative disappears from the purview of imagination. As time moves forward, only then does the possibility of an alternative disappear, because it moves from the domain of imagination to the domain of experience.
 

Jarhyn

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Although there may only be one "realizable" option for a choice maker, the choice maker, being ignorant of which one that is, is still faced with multiple options. What you keep failing to understand is that the free selection is done in the choice maker's imagination. It is a calculation that determines an action. Imagination is different from physical reality, as there are actually multiple outcomes. There is only one realizable option, because that is determined by weighted priorities in the mind of the individual making the choice. Nothing about free will is free of actual causal necessity, only of imagined causal necessity.


The action of neural networks determines which option is taken. It is not a free will choice. That is what compatibilists ignore or dismiss.

The option that is taken doesn't allow an alternate possibility, without the possibility of an alternative, where is freedom of choice? nowhere to be found.

Where is free will? Nowhere to be found. The ideological illusion of free will is maintained by redefining the meaning of 'free' and elevating will to a higher status than it actually has.

Your answer suggests to me that you did not understand a thing I said, because you aren't addressing anything I said, despite the fact that you quoted my post. Your reaction is first to mention neural networks, which perhaps you think supports your position without you having to explain its relevance. You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future. The former is taken as fact, and the latter is taken as imagined potential. In that imaginary potential, there are always many possible outcomes, and the problem facing the chooser is to pick one of them. That is not predictable before the individual actually calculates which one is the best of the alternatives. The actual choice arrived at may be predetermined from the perspective of an omniscient observer, but that is of no relevance to the person who must pick one of several alternatives. In the imagination of the individual. there is the possibility of an alternative. If you disagree with me, then address this argument. And forget about neural networks. They have no explanatory value here.

Note that I have refuted your claim that there is a possibility of an alternative. There is at first. Once the individual calculates the optimal outcome and executes an action, the possibility of an alternative disappears from the purview of imagination. As time moves forward, only then does the possibility of an alternative disappear, because it moves from the domain of imagination to the domain of experience.
Or in other words ...

...just because an observer can calculate the 'next step result' of a deterministic system 'the hard way' by running the whole simulation step on paper does not change that many things in that step will calculate in an isolated fashion from each other, or that individual processes are not making decisions.

I find this so stupid in that we have math to describe deterministic systems and "conditionals", decisions, are built right into that math!

"IF(x)": make a decision ON x.

We build massive machines where the concept of decision is such a basic assumption that people who spend their lives talking about determinism and who even spend their lives looking at it don't understand the implication this has on their other metaphysics.

Some people just can't make that connection into "the metaphysics of deterministic systems, of which our universe appears to mostly be."
 

Marvin Edwards

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*self testimony isn't evidence.

But it isn't just me. Dictionaries give definitions of words in common use by everyone. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a "cat" is "A well-known carnivorous quadruped ( Felis domesticus) which has long been domesticated, being kept to destroy mice, and as a house pet." So, everyone knows what a cat is.

In the same fashion, the OED defines the verb "choose" as "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference." So, everyone knows what choosing is.

... a priori reasoning (can be empirical proposition but not evidence) that this drug would reduce the risk of a heart attack by lowering blood pressure was invalidated by a posteriori empirical evidence.
Your lesson highlighted. Ta da.
Hmm. I understand that one's reasoning can be based on an a priori, but my understanding of "a priori" is that it is a principle that is already assumed to be true, like "two" in "two plus two equals four". Two is well-defined, the operation of addition is well defined, and four is also well defined. So, 2 + 2 = 4 is deduced to be true, a priori.

I think you're still suggesting that choosing doesn't actually happen empirically, based on the logical fact that the choice is inevitable.

However, your claim would be the example of a priori reasoning. And the restaurant would be the a posteriori empirical evidence that invalidates it.

Thanks for repeating the question. I didn't figure it out until his morning.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Basically:
''Compatibilism, sometimes called soft determinism, is a theological term that deals with the topics of free will and predestination. It seeks to show that God's exhaustive sovereignty is compatible with human freedom, or in other words, it claims that determinism and free will are compatible. Rather than limit the exercise of God's sovereignty in order to preserve man's freedom, compatibilists say that there must be a different way to define what freedom really means.''
[/QUOTE]

Holy sh**! You're dragging a theological encyclopedia's definition of compatibilism to this table??

Puhleeze, how rude.

Oh, and Merry Christmas! by the way.

''Notice that a true compatibilist, who has gone on record saying that determinism is a fact of nature, must believe that the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of action, and forming an intention to act on the desire, are all determined. The causal chain leading a human to lift a finger is longer than the chain leading a squirrel to lift an acorn, but it is no less deterministic (he who says that it is less deterministic is not a compatibilist but a closet libertarian).''

Yes. Every event is the reliable result of prior events, and is thus causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time. This includes the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of an action, and forming an intention to act on that desire. And I presume perfectly reliable cause and effect, even at the quantum level.

The questions are:
"What does this fact of causal necessity of all events logically entail?" Pretty much nothing. It's just a background constant which is logically true within any world of reliable cause and effect.
"How does this fact of causal necessity affect our notion of freedom?" It has no affect whatsoever.
"Does this fact of causal necessity entail that we have no free will?" Nope. You would have to come up with a special definition of free will, such as "a choice we make that is free of causal necessity", in order for anyone to conclude that it conflicts with free will.

The only conflict between causal necessity and free will is created by the delusion that causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us against our will. This, of course, is superstitious nonsense. The delusion is fed by the suggestion that our prior causes are responsible for our actions, and we are not. The suggestion is false of course. The fact of prior causes does not contradict the fact of present causes. If such a contradiction was allowed, the whole causal chain would unravel, without any real causes to be found anywhere.

So, we are dumb if we are sucked into this paradox of delusions and figurative constructs. And of course, we've all been sucked into the paradox at one time or another.

''Still others, most notably David Hume and some prominent contemporary social psychologists, believe they can have it both ways: accept determinism while also postulating a type of non-libertarian, straight-jacketed “free” will that still enables moral judgment [I put the “free” in quotation marks because the semantics are drained from the word].

Of course we can have it both ways! That's the way it has always been. Everyone takes reliable cause and effect for granted, because we witness it every day, in everything we do. Everyone takes their freedom to choose for themselves for granted because they observe themselves and others doing exactly that every day.

The only way these two empirical observations can be thought to conflict is by seduction into the fracking paradox, through false, but believable, suggestions. Thank you very kindly, philosophy.

More;
''How is this supposed to work? First, we have to accept the view that prior events have caused the person’s current desire to do X. Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes (and perhaps a dash of true chance). Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms. Exceptions occur, but are swiftly dismissed as errors of anthropomorphism.'

First, there is not a dash of "true chance". Both random and chaotic events are problems of prediction rather than problems of unreliable causation. Every event is always reliably caused by prior events. However, we're only interested in the meaningful and relevant causes of events. The Big Bang is a convenient "prior point in time". But it would be sheer madness to attempt to arrest the Big Bang for robbing a bank, and just plain silly to say that the Big Bang decided in advance what I would have for breakfast this morning. There was nobody back then that had any clue that any of us would be born or what any of us would have for breakfast this morning.

There is no "master plan" that "fixes" all events in advance (that's another delusion). One thing happens, and that causes something else to happen, and so on, right up to the present and into the future. The farther back you go in time, as you trace the history of prior causes, the less meaningful and relevant, and the more incidental, each cause becomes. The Big Bang was an incidental cause of everything that followed, but certainly not the meaningful or relevant cause of anything happening now.

A meaningful cause efficiently explains why the event happened. A relevant cause is something we can actually do something about.

Second, whoever wrote the article is falsely equating desire with will. We have plenty of desires that we choose not to act on. The suggestion that desires control our behavior would justify rape, theft, murder, etc. So, let's keep things clear. Our deliberate will is a specific intention that we have decided to act upon. A desire is not sufficient in itself to cause any action.

Third, what's this business about claiming that humans are the only species with intelligence and free will? The ability to imagine alternatives, estimate their likely outcomes, experiment to confirm or refute our estimates, and choose what we will do, should be presumed to appear in some form in every intelligent species. (see Backyard Squirrel Maze 2.0)

And we do teach our dogs to make better behavior choices, just like we teach our children, but with fewer verbal cues. We can explain things to our kids that we cannot explain to our dogs.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... The whole brain at work. Consciousness plays its role as representation of the world and self in order to navigate and respond...

... And one of things the whole brain works at is making choices. When making those choices, the brain may be subject to coercion and undue influence, or, the brain may be free of coercion and undue influence. There is no getting around these specific empirical details with generalizations about how the brain works as an information processing machine.

I think the means by which actions are taken and performed is central to the question of free will.

Only the means by which choices are made are relevant to the question of free will. Habits and skills only involving choosing at the point where we choose to put in the effort of developing the habit or skill. Existing habits or skills run automatically without the overhead of choosing. Habits and skills are not relevant to the topic of free will (at least not until you have a desire to break the habit, then choosing is essential).
 

Jarhyn

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... The whole brain at work. Consciousness plays its role as representation of the world and self in order to navigate and respond...

... And one of things the whole brain works at is making choices. When making those choices, the brain may be subject to coercion and undue influence, or, the brain may be free of coercion and undue influence. There is no getting around these specific empirical details with generalizations about how the brain works as an information processing machine.

I think the means by which actions are taken and performed is central to the question of free will.

Only the means by which choices are made are relevant to the question of free will. Habits and skills only involving choosing at the point where we choose to put in the effort of developing the habit or skill. Existing habits or skills run automatically without the overhead of choosing. Habits and skills are not relevant to the topic of free will (at least not until you have a desire to break the habit, then choosing is essential).
Habits and skills are relevant to the topic of free will. It just happens that the will free to make those choices is a subsidiary ally, a secondary system in the body.

It is, effectively daemon or "service" process that makes better choices in the moment once you have given it management and direction.

There are still choices made, by a will that is "free" within the contexts of it's larger goal, it just happens to be embedded in the same chunk of meat we are.
 

fromderinside

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*self testimony isn't evidence.

But it isn't just me. Dictionaries give definitions of words in common use by everyone. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a "cat" is "A well-known carnivorous quadruped ( Felis domesticus) which has long been domesticated, being kept to destroy mice, and as a house pet." So, everyone knows what a cat is.

In the same fashion, the OED defines the verb "choose" as "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference." So, everyone knows what choosing is.

... a priori reasoning (can be empirical proposition but not evidence) that this drug would reduce the risk of a heart attack by lowering blood pressure was invalidated by a posteriori empirical evidence.
Your lesson highlighted. Ta da.
Hmm. I understand that one's reasoning can be based on an a priori, but my understanding of "a priori" is that it is a principle that is already assumed to be true, like "two" in "two plus two equals four". Two is well-defined, the operation of addition is well defined, and four is also well defined. So, 2 + 2 = 4 is deduced to be true, a priori.

I think you're still suggesting that choosing doesn't actually happen empirically, based on the logical fact that the choice is inevitable.

However, your claim would be the example of a priori reasoning. And the restaurant would be the a posteriori empirical evidence that invalidates it.

Thanks for repeating the question. I didn't figure it out until his morning.
One may assume something is true without having a posteriori evidence demonstrating it. So it' must remain a presumption and not be considered evidence. One must complete the experiment. showing the presumption is justified by empirical evidence. Believing and saying are no more than hand waving and gossip.

You now make an a priori 'example' of a base mathematical operation that's already been a posteriori confirmed. That's called apples and oranges or eating another's cake.

Dictionaries are not scientific experiments. Just as we've been arguing about the meanings and use of words by philosophers, unless those words are tested empirically they cannot be presumed as authoritative. Dictionaries are is not to set down the truth of words but to set down preferred meanings of words. for everyday use.

Words used in experiments must be chosen carefully and adhere to the fundamental principles of science which are to communicate empirical findings related to existing evidence. Existing evidence is not proposals. Scientific (empirical) experiments are publicly demonstrated operations and functions intending to extend the known and adjudicated scientific record. Or one might say the scientific theory is an existing model of the world to be tested against any and all experimental evidence concerning variables codified in the theory.

What we are talking about in Determinism are the basic operating principles in the scientific method. You are doing the best you can to confuse the discussion thereby setting up a special place for consideration of human intelligence and function.

Don't take my opposition to free willy lightly. There isn't a magical place for human thought or behavior. If you take a moment and read Dirac you will understand there is no light, no wiggle room, between relativity and quantum. mechanics.

This psychologist accepts there is an appearance of free will by humans to humans. It is just a time rationalization between what man is aware of and what man does. We have developed a capability to verbalize some of what we are aware probably in order to get better at executing complex multistep cognitive tasks. I'm pretty sure the rise of human spiritualism is tied to these circumstances.
 

DBT

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...
Although there may only be one "realizable" option for a choice maker, the choice maker, being ignorant of which one that is, is still faced with multiple options. What you keep failing to understand is that the free selection is done in the choice maker's imagination. It is a calculation that determines an action. Imagination is different from physical reality, as there are actually multiple outcomes. There is only one realizable option, because that is determined by weighted priorities in the mind of the individual making the choice. Nothing about free will is free of actual causal necessity, only of imagined causal necessity.


The action of neural networks determines which option is taken. It is not a free will choice. That is what compatibilists ignore or dismiss.

The option that is taken doesn't allow an alternate possibility, without the possibility of an alternative, where is freedom of choice? nowhere to be found.

Where is free will? Nowhere to be found. The ideological illusion of free will is maintained by redefining the meaning of 'free' and elevating will to a higher status than it actually has.

Your answer suggests to me that you did not understand a thing I said, because you aren't addressing anything I said, despite the fact that you quoted my post.

What you said was irrelevant to the issue. I repeated what is relevant.

Your reaction is first to mention neural networks, which perhaps you think supports your position without you having to explain its relevance.

I have explained the relevance of the role and function of neural networks in relation to freedom of will over and over.

Your remark strongly suggests that you did not understand a word I said, nor the articles I quoted from and cited.

I can only assume that it's because it doesn't suit your belief in compatibilism.



You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future.

You made no point. Imagination (being itself determined) doesn't allow the possibility of alternate action. Imagination cannot circumvent what has been determined to happen.

To say that there was ''a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual'' is to invoke Libertarian free will.




The former is taken as fact, and the latter is taken as imagined potential. In that imaginary potential, there are always many possible outcomes, and the problem facing the chooser is to pick one of them. That is not predictable before the individual actually calculates which one is the best of the alternatives. The actual choice arrived at may be predetermined from the perspective of an omniscient observer, but that is of no relevance to the person who must pick one of several alternatives. In the imagination of the individual. there is the possibility of an alternative. If you disagree with me, then address this argument. And forget about neural networks. They have no explanatory value here.

The imagination of the individual is subject to exactly the same processes as everything else in terms of information processing and conscious mind. All forms of thought and action, including imagination, is determined by the state of the system in the instance of realizing an action - to reiterate - the only possible action in that instance in time.

Imagination is an element of the process of cognition. A determinant.
Note that I have refuted your claim that there is a possibility of an alternative.

That makes no sense. I have made no claim that there is a possibility of an alternative. Just the opposite.



There is at first. Once the individual calculates the optimal outcome and executes an action, the possibility of an alternative disappears from the purview of imagination. As time moves forward, only then does the possibility of an alternative disappear, because it moves from the domain of imagination to the domain of experience.

Odd, it's like you are arguing with someone else entirely.
 

Marvin Edwards

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*self testimony isn't evidence.

But it isn't just me. Dictionaries give definitions of words in common use by everyone. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a "cat" is "A well-known carnivorous quadruped ( Felis domesticus) which has long been domesticated, being kept to destroy mice, and as a house pet." So, everyone knows what a cat is.

In the same fashion, the OED defines the verb "choose" as "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference." So, everyone knows what choosing is.

... a priori reasoning (can be empirical proposition but not evidence) that this drug would reduce the risk of a heart attack by lowering blood pressure was invalidated by a posteriori empirical evidence.
Your lesson highlighted. Ta da.
Hmm. I understand that one's reasoning can be based on an a priori, but my understanding of "a priori" is that it is a principle that is already assumed to be true, like "two" in "two plus two equals four". Two is well-defined, the operation of addition is well defined, and four is also well defined. So, 2 + 2 = 4 is deduced to be true, a priori.

I think you're still suggesting that choosing doesn't actually happen empirically, based on the logical fact that the choice is inevitable.

However, your claim would be the example of a priori reasoning. And the restaurant would be the a posteriori empirical evidence that invalidates it.

Thanks for repeating the question. I didn't figure it out until his morning.
One may assume something is true without having a posteriori evidence demonstrating it. So it' must remain a presumption and not be considered evidence. One must complete the experiment. showing the presumption is justified by empirical evidence. Believing and saying are no more than hand waving and gossip.

You now make an a priori 'example' of a base mathematical operation that's already been a posteriori confirmed. That's called apples and oranges or eating another's cake.

Dictionaries are not scientific experiments. Just as we've been arguing about the meanings and use of words by philosophers, unless those words are tested empirically they cannot be presumed as authoritative. Dictionaries are is not to set down the truth of words but to set down preferred meanings of words. for everyday use.

Words used in experiments must be chosen carefully and adhere to the fundamental principles of science which are to communicate empirical findings related to existing evidence. Existing evidence is not proposals. Scientific (empirical) experiments are publicly demonstrated operations and functions intending to extend the known and adjudicated scientific record. Or one might say the scientific theory is an existing model of the world to be tested against any and all experimental evidence concerning variables codified in the theory.

What we are talking about in Determinism are the basic operating principles in the scientific method. You are doing the best you can to confuse the discussion thereby setting up a special place for consideration of human intelligence and function.

Don't take my opposition to free willy lightly. There isn't a magical place for human thought or behavior. If you take a moment and read Dirac you will understand there is no light, no wiggle room, between relativity and quantum. mechanics.

This psychologist accepts there is an appearance of free will by humans to humans. It is just a time rationalization between what man is aware of and what man does. We have developed a capability to verbalize some of what we are aware probably in order to get better at executing complex multistep cognitive tasks. I'm pretty sure the rise of human spiritualism is tied to these circumstances.

I'm not looking for wiggle room. In fact, the more pervasive causal necessity is, the less relevant it becomes. Back when I had the insight in the public library, there were sci-fi stories about travelling into and then through a black hole, and coming out on the other side somewhere new. Going from the familiar, through the turbulence, and back to the familiar again. I used to think of it as pushing into the blackhole of determinism and coming out on the other side where free will showed up again.

Many years later, I was reading some Zen and came across this story that showed up in one of Donovan's song lyrics, "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is". Wikipedia captures the Zen story like this:

Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.[2]

But my trip was not long or lengthy. It went like this:

After my father died, I spent time in the public library, browsing the philosophy section. I think I was reading something by Baruch Spinoza that introduced the issue of determinism as a threat to free will. I found this troublesome until I had this thought experiment (whether I read it in one of the books or just came up with it myself, I can’t recall).

The idea that my choices were inevitable bothered me, so I considered how I might escape what seemed like an external control. It struck me that all I needed to do was to wait till I had a decision to make, between A and B, and if I felt myself leaning heavily toward A, I would simply choose B instead. So easy! But then it occurred to me that my desire to thwart inevitability had caused B to become the inevitable choice, so I would have to switch back to A again, but then … it was an infinite loop!

No matter which I chose, inevitability would continue to switch to match my choice! Hmm. So, who was controlling the choice, me or inevitability?

Well, the concern that was driving my thought process was my own. Inevitability was not some entity driving this process for its own reasons. And I imagined that if inevitability were such an entity, it would be sitting there in the library laughing at me, because it made me go through these gyrations without doing anything at all, except for me thinking about it.

My choice may be a deterministic event, but it was an event where I was actually the one doing the choosing. And that is what free will is really about: is it me or is someone or something else making the decision. It was always really me.

And since the solution was so simple, I no longer gave it any thought. Then much later, just a few years ago, I ran into some on-line discussions about it, and I wondered why it was still a problem for everyone else, since I had seen through the paradox more than fifty years ago.
 

DBT

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Marvin Edwards;
Holy sh**! You're dragging a theological encyclopedia's definition of compatibilism to this table??

Puhleeze, how rude.


It wasn't intended to be rude. The term ''Free Will'' has its roots in Christianity;

''The term "free will" (liberum arbitrium) was introduced by Christian philosophy (4th century CE). It has traditionally meant (until the Enlightenment proposed its own meanings) lack of necessity in human will,[10] so that "the will is free" meant "the will does not have to be such as it is". This requirement was universally embraced by both incompatibilists and compatibilists.[11]'' - Wiki

Marvin Edwards
Yes. Every event is the reliable result of prior events, and is thus causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time. This includes the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of an action, and forming an intention to act on that desire. And I presume perfectly reliable cause and effect, even at the quantum level.

Yes, and as always, the sticky point for compatibilism lies in agency and the defining freedom as acting in accordance with ones inclinations despite the fact that acting in accordance with one's inclinations is necessitated, not chosen....actions initiated before milliseconds prior to awareness.


The questions are:
"What does this fact of causal necessity of all events logically entail?" Pretty much nothing. It's just a background constant which is logically true within any world of reliable cause and effect.
"How does this fact of causal necessity affect our notion of freedom?" It has no affect whatsoever.
"Does this fact of causal necessity entail that we have no free will?" Nope. You would have to come up with a special definition of free will, such as "a choice we make that is free of causal necessity", in order for anyone to conclude that it conflicts with free will.

Cognition is more than 'just a background constant.' It's the very means by which we think and respond, what we think and the actions we take. The state of the system equates to the nature of the action.

Again, none of this is willed. It's an unconscious process right up to the moment of conscious report. Not being willed, it has nothing to do with free will.

''The results show that, first, W is not strongly linked to the time of movement onset, so whatever is going on in the brain at time W cannot be responsible for movement genesis.

1 Moreover, the brain event of W may even be later than we subjectively report. This should not be a complete surprise since humans “live in the past”—certainly perception of a real-world event has to be subsequent to its actual occurrence, since it takes time (albeit very little time) for the brain to process sensory information about the event. A recent experiment showed that it was possible to manipulate the conscious awareness of willing a movement by delivering a transcranial magnetic stimulus to the area of the brain just in front of the supplementary motor area after the movement had already occurred.3 This suggests that the brain events of W may occur even after the movement.

If free will does not generate movement, what does?


''Movement generation seems to come largely from the primary motor cortex, and its input comes primarily from premotor cortices, parts of the frontal lobe just in front of the primary motor cortex. The premotor cortices receive input from most of the brain, especially the sensory cortices (which process information from our senses), limbic cortices (the emotional part of the brain), and the prefrontal cortex (which handles many cognitive processes). If the inputs from various neurons “compete,” eventually one input wins, leading to a final behavior. For example, take the case of saccadic eye movements, quick target-directed eye movements. Adding even a small amount of electrical stimulation in different small brain areas can lead to a monkey's making eye movements in a different direction than might have been expected on the basis of simultaneous visual cues.4 In general, the more we know about the various influences on the motor cortex, the better we can predict what a person will do.''


The only conflict between causal necessity and free will is created by the delusion that causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us against our will. This, of course, is superstitious nonsense. The delusion is fed by the suggestion that our prior causes are responsible for our actions, and we are not. The suggestion is false of course. The fact of prior causes does not contradict the fact of present causes. If such a contradiction was allowed, the whole causal chain would unravel, without any real causes to be found anywhere.

So, we are dumb if we are sucked into this paradox of delusions and figurative constructs. And of course, we've all been sucked into the paradox at one time or another.

Again, nobody is arguing that ''causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us'' - that is Strawman. Nobody has said it, nobody argues that causal necessity is an entity.

The question is just whether freedom of will is compatible with determinism. And seeing the standard definition of determinism happens to be - 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. - the answer is clearly no.

The answer is no because the very definition of freedom is regulative control or the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action.
Freedom;
1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

Yet the very means of thought and action is deterministically necessitated, all decisions are necessitated with an option to do otherwise being impossible.

Where then is free will to be found? It seems, only within a definition that seeks to redefine freedom in order to support the notion of 'free will'

'I would have done otherwise, if I had wanted to', or 'I could have wanted otherwise' is impossible when determined actions inevitably follow from deterministically realized options, with will playing no part in regulation.
 

pood

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DBT, you write:

Again, nobody is arguing that ''causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us'' - that is Strawman. Nobody has said it, nobody argues that causal necessity is an entity.

But, in effect, that is exactly what you DO argue, even if inadvertently, when you then write:

The question is just whether freedom of will is compatible with determinism. And seeing the standard definition of determinism happens to be - 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. - the answer is clearly no.


If the world is governed by, or under the sway of, determinism, then yes, you are reifying determinism as some kind of causal entity. What Marvin and I have repeatedly pointed out is that this sort of reification cannot be maintained because the world is NOT “governed by” natural law. Natural “laws” are not laws at all, because they are not prescriptive. They are descriptive. Natural law does not provide the truth grounds for what happens in the world. The truth-making relation is exactly the opposite: what happens in the world, provides the truth grounds for natural law.

Nevertheless, it may indeed, for other reasons, be the case that the future is just as fixed as the past — in Minkowski/Einstein’s block universe model for example. So what? Fixity is not the same as fatalism. If today it is true that yesterday I had eggs for breakfast, it does not follow that yesterday I HAD TO have eggs; I just did have eggs. I have pointed out again and again the modal fallacy that you repeatedly make.

Just so, if it is true today that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I will, but not must, have eggs. Whether I have eggs or not is, was, and always will be, a contingent fact of history — meaning it could have been, but was not, otherwise.

Yes, there is one history of the world, and it is fixed. Our free acts are among the factors that fix the history of the world and that are described by so-called natural law.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... The term ''Free Will'' has its roots in Christianity;

''The term "free will" (liberum arbitrium) was introduced by Christian philosophy (4th century CE). It has traditionally meant (until the Enlightenment proposed its own meanings) lack of necessity in human will,[10] so that "the will is free" meant "the will does not have to be such as it is". This requirement was universally embraced by both incompatibilists and compatibilists.[11]'' - Wiki

And yet, just above that paragraph you have this one:

History of free will

The problem of free will has been identified in ancient Greek philosophical literature. The notion of compatibilist free will has been attributed to both Aristotle (fourth century BCE) and Epictetus (1st century CE); "it was the fact that nothing hindered us from doing or choosing something that made us have control over them".[4][9] According to Susanne Bobzien, the notion of incompatibilist free will is perhaps first identified in the works of Alexander of Aphrodisias (third century CE); "what makes us have control over things is the fact that we are causally undetermined in our decision and thus can freely decide between doing/choosing or not doing/choosing them".

Wikipedia actually has another, separate article called Free Will in Antiquity that lists even earlier contributors to the notions of determinism, compatibilism, and libertarian viewpoints.

Marvin Edwards
Yes. Every event is the reliable result of prior events, and is thus causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time. This includes the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of an action, and forming an intention to act on that desire. And I presume perfectly reliable cause and effect, even at the quantum level.
Yes, and as always, the sticky point for compatibilism lies in agency and the defining freedom as acting in accordance with ones inclinations despite the fact that acting in accordance with one's inclinations is necessitated, not chosen....actions initiated before milliseconds prior to awareness.

Nothing sticky about it.
a) Either you made the choice, or, someone or something else made the choice.
b) If you made the choice unconsciously, then it is still you making the choice. And the unconscious brain will inform the conscious brain in plenty of time to tell the waiter, "I'll have the steak dinner, please".
c) By causal necessity, it would be you, and no one else that would make that choice at that specific time and place.

But, perhaps it is still sticky for you. I hope you can see now how easily it sorts itself out.

The questions are:
"What does this fact of causal necessity of all events logically entail?" Pretty much nothing. It's just a background constant which is logically true within any world of reliable cause and effect.
"How does this fact of causal necessity affect our notion of freedom?" It has no affect whatsoever.
"Does this fact of causal necessity entail that we have no free will?" Nope. You would have to come up with a special definition of free will, such as "a choice we make that is free of causal necessity", in order for anyone to conclude that it conflicts with free will.

Cognition is more than 'just a background constant.' It's the very means by which we think and respond, what we think and the actions we take. The state of the system equates to the nature of the action.

Cognition is a causal mechanism. Causal necessity is the background constant.

The cognitive process causes choices to be made and actions to be taken. Each of us comes into the world equipped with this causal mechanism, called the central nervous system. It enables us to be the causes events. And it gives us executive control, because we decide what happens next.

Again, none of this is willed. It's an unconscious process right up to the moment of conscious report. Not being willed, it has nothing to do with free will.

So what? Conscious or unconscious, choices are still our own choices.

''The results show that, first, W is not strongly linked to the time of movement onset, so whatever is going on in the brain at time W cannot be responsible for movement genesis.

1 Moreover, the brain event of W may even be later than we subjectively report. This should not be a complete surprise since humans “live in the past”—certainly perception of a real-world event has to be subsequent to its actual occurrence, since it takes time (albeit very little time) for the brain to process sensory information about the event. A recent experiment showed that it was possible to manipulate the conscious awareness of willing a movement by delivering a transcranial magnetic stimulus to the area of the brain just in front of the supplementary motor area after the movement had already occurred.3 This suggests that the brain events of W may occur even after the movement.

Yeah. We know all of that stuff. And it doesn't change anything. The conversion of sensory data into conscious awareness takes a wee bit of time (you know, turning the image right side up, and all that). And a normal brain can be manipulated by transcranial magnetic stimulus to give us inaccurate sensations.

Free will remains a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence. There is nothing in neuroscience that contradicts this.

If free will does not generate movement, what does?

''Movement generation seems to come largely from the primary motor cortex, and its input comes primarily from premotor cortices, parts of the frontal lobe just in front of the primary motor cortex. The premotor cortices receive input from most of the brain, especially the sensory cortices (which process information from our senses), limbic cortices (the emotional part of the brain), and the prefrontal cortex (which handles many cognitive processes). If the inputs from various neurons “compete,” eventually one input wins, leading to a final behavior. For example, take the case of saccadic eye movements, quick target-directed eye movements. Adding even a small amount of electrical stimulation in different small brain areas can lead to a monkey's making eye movements in a different direction than might have been expected on the basis of simultaneous visual cues.4 In general, the more we know about the various influences on the motor cortex, the better we can predict what a person will do.''

You keep repeating this as if it had something to do with free will. I shouldn't blame you since you are quoting from authors who are looking for free will in the primary motor cortex, and equating "quick target-directed eye movements" with a person's choice as to whether he should rob a bank. This is foolishness.

Again, nobody is arguing that ''causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us'' - that is Strawman. Nobody has said it, nobody argues that causal necessity is an entity.

Well, let's see how long it takes before you do it again.

The question is just whether freedom of will is compatible with determinism. And seeing the standard definition of determinism happens to be - 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. - the answer is clearly no.

And there it is. Determinism is presented to us literally as a "governing" force that exercises some kind of "sway" over events.

The answer is no because the very definition of freedom is regulative control or the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action.

Freedom is the ability to do something that we want to do. We are not free if we must do something out of necessity whether we want to or not. We are not free if we are coerced by someone with a gun to do something whether we want to or not. We are not free if we are constrained from doing what we want to do or constrained to do something that we do not want to do.

But, logically, if what we want to do is causally necessary, then causal necessity cannot be said to prevent us from doing what we want, having provided that want in the first place. Any constraint, upon doing what we want, would have to come from something else, like the guy holding the gun.

Yet the very means of thought and action is deterministically necessitated, all decisions are necessitated with an option to do otherwise being impossible.

Except that each option to do otherwise will, by causal necessity, appear to our mind via a real physical event within the brain's real processing as part of the rational causal mechanism, the real mechanics of thought.

Where then is free will to be found?

Right there. I just showed it to you again! It's in the mechanics of thought that enable you to construct your own argument.

It seems, only within a definition that seeks to redefine freedom in order to support the notion of 'free will'

Ah, but it is you that argues for a flawed, straw man definition of freedom. One that requires freedom from cause and effect, as if cause and effect were some kind of boogeyman that would steal our control and our freedom. There is no freedom without reliable cause and effect. So, the philosophical definition of free will, as "freedom from causal necessity", is an oxymoron, a paradox created by self-contradiction.

The correct notion is this: free will is when someone decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. That is the notion that is used when assessing a person's moral or legal responsibility for their actions. This sort of free will is commonly understood and correctly applied by most people.

The notion of being "free from causal necessity" can never be used to excuse someone from responsibility, because if it excuses one act then it excuses all acts, because all actions are equally causally necessary.


'I would have done otherwise, if I had wanted to', or 'I could have wanted otherwise' is impossible when determined actions inevitably follow from deterministically realized options, with will playing no part in regulation.

Sorry, but "I could have done otherwise" is hard coded into the rational causal mechanism. You cannot declare it to be "impossible" without breaking rationality itself.

The survival benefits of intelligence comes from imagining alternate solutions to environmental challenges. Intelligence gives us the ability to deal with matters of uncertainty. And, lacking omniscience, we are often confronted with uncertainty.

For example, its morning, and I wake up hungry. What will I have for breakfast? Well, what can I have for breakfast? I have eggs is the fridge. So, I am certain that I can fix eggs. But, I'm still uncertain as to whether I will fix eggs. What other options do I have? Hey, here's some pancake mix in the cupboard. So, I am also certain that I can fix pancakes. But I am still uncertain which one I will fix. Well, what did I have for breakfast yesterday? Hmm. Eggs. What about the day before yesterday? Eggs. And the day before that I also had eggs. So, just for a change, I will have pancakes this morning for breakfast. Could I have had eggs instead? Yes, of course I could.

As you should see by now, that fact that I would not have eggs does not logically imply that I could not have had eggs.

What I "can" do constrains what I "will" do. I "will" never do something that I "cannot" do.
But what I "will" do never constrains what I "can" do. What I "can" do is only constrained by my imagination.
 

fromderinside

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
 

Jarhyn

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
 

fromderinside

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
Some noctuid moths have a three neuron auditory system. They send and receive stridulating by posterior legs from an organ located on their posterior dorsal thorax segment. These stridulating signals are recognized as being the source of mating calls.

In 1973 I evacuated most protoplasm from this middle segment of a noctuid moth then hooked up an electrode to one of the fibers. I stimulated the electrode which induced stridulating, recorded nerve activity which the stridulating produced, and saved that information to a computer.

One can argue what I did was produce an execution policy to which the moth acted. The fact the target dead moth made such efforts is proof of the moth's free will then.

Of course, we might have some difficulty defending why one of the two clusters in the middle segment of the insect which has six neural clusters overall serves as home to that 'will'.
 
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Copernicus

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...

Your answer suggests to me that you did not understand a thing I said, because you aren't addressing anything I said, despite the fact that you quoted my post.

What you said was irrelevant to the issue. I repeated what is relevant.

I was complaining about the fact that you did not address what you repeated. By quoting my post, you implied that you would address its content, but you didn't. So why quote it?

Your reaction is first to mention neural networks, which perhaps you think supports your position without you having to explain its relevance.

I have explained the relevance of the role and function of neural networks in relation to freedom of will over and over.

Your remark strongly suggests that you did not understand a word I said, nor the articles I quoted from and cited.

I can only assume that it's because it doesn't suit your belief in compatibilism.

No, you did not explain its relevance, and you obviously aren't bothering to specify any previous material--articles or posts--where you did explain it. This is just another example of failing to address the content of what I said about the discrepancy between what an individual knows (past and present) and what the individual imagines (future outcomes).

You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future.

You made no point. Imagination (being itself determined) doesn't allow the possibility of alternate action. Imagination cannot circumvent what has been determined to happen.

To say that there was ''a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual'' is to invoke Libertarian free will.

Wrong again. I reject libertarian free will completely, and I never claimed that imagination was free of causal determination. Subjective reality is experienced on a time scale. At any point on that scale, the individual sees the past as a collection of experiences and experiences the present while moving forward on the scale. What lies in the future is not yet experienced (i.e. irrealis--existing as an array of imagined outcomes). Free choice entails reacting to the outcome that the individual selects as most likely. This is completely within the scope of determinism. The individual does not know what action to take before calculating the likely outcome and action to address that outcome. No libertarian free will here, just physical brain activity caused by factors beyond the scope of the individual's subjective experience. Ignorance of the future is also a fully determined aspect of human cognition. That's why brains have evolved a capacity for imagination in the first place.

...The imagination of the individual is subject to exactly the same processes as everything else in terms of information processing and conscious mind. All forms of thought and action, including imagination, is determined by the state of the system in the instance of realizing an action - to reiterate - the only possible action in that instance in time.

But free choice does not exist when the action is realized, and I never claimed it did. It exists prior to that point in time, before the action is decided. The imagination is a kind of workspace for calculating future outcomes and reactions. You keep skipping ahead to the point in time where the decision has already been calculated and executed. Causation is fundamentally a relation between events that are sequentially determined. You need to understand that fundamental fact. You can't have a consequence without the antecedent that causes it. Pay attention to the timeline--past/present (realis) and future (irrealis). It's built right into the very structure of all human languages. Decisions are made as time moves forward.

Note that I have refuted your claim that there is a possibility of an alternative.

That makes no sense. I have made no claim that there is a possibility of an alternative. Just the opposite.

Quite correct, and that was a mistake in my wording. I have refuted your claim that there is NO possibility of alternative before the choice is made. There most certainly is in the mind of the individual before the choice is made. Sorry for the confusion, but what I said after that sentence would only have made sense if I had said "no possibility".
 

DBT

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DBT, you write:

Again, nobody is arguing that ''causal necessity is some kind of entity that exercises control over us'' - that is Strawman. Nobody has said it, nobody argues that causal necessity is an entity.

But, in effect, that is exactly what you DO argue, even if inadvertently, when you then write:

The question is just whether freedom of will is compatible with determinism. And seeing the standard definition of determinism happens to be - 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. - the answer is clearly no.

No. That is just the standard definition of determinism. It's a quote. The properties of matter/energy and interactions of objects; cause is effect and effect is cause within web of determined activity/actions. Nothing is acting upon the system.
 

DBT

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...

Your answer suggests to me that you did not understand a thing I said, because you aren't addressing anything I said, despite the fact that you quoted my post.

What you said was irrelevant to the issue. I repeated what is relevant.

I was complaining about the fact that you did not address what you repeated. By quoting my post, you implied that you would address its content, but you didn't. So why quote it?

The subject has been thoroughly addressed. We are just repeating.

Your reaction is first to mention neural networks, which perhaps you think supports your position without you having to explain its relevance.

I have explained the relevance of the role and function of neural networks in relation to freedom of will over and over.

Your remark strongly suggests that you did not understand a word I said, nor the articles I quoted from and cited.

I can only assume that it's because it doesn't suit your belief in compatibilism.

No, you did not explain its relevance, and you obviously aren't bothering to specify any previous material--articles or posts--where you did explain it. This is just another example of failing to address the content of what I said about the discrepancy between what an individual knows (past and present) and what the individual imagines (future outcomes).

Hasn't it been pointed out that the relevance of neural networks is that a neural network is the means by which an organism interacts with the world?

To reiterate;

Without the activity of neural networks, a brain, we have no conscious existence, we cannot think, feel or act.

The architecture of a brain determines how the organism, you, me, other animals, think, feel and respond.

How we think and respond and what we do is directly related to the issue of free will.

Compatibilism acknowledges that the brain is a deterministic system, that no alternate actions are possible in any given instance, but defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will.

Which, as pointed pointed out, fails because it ignores the means by which will and action is produced, constrained by the state of the system/inner necessity, no alternate action possible, therefore not freely willed.

Actions not being freely willed, determined will is not free will.

Determined will not being free will, free will is incompatible with determinism.

Goodbye free will.

You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future.


I don't zip past, I have limited time. I can only deal with so much on any occasion. I can't spend hours a day on this issue

Quite correct, and that was a mistake in my wording. I have refuted your claim that there is NO possibility of alternative before the choice is made. There most certainly is in the mind of the individual before the choice is made. Sorry for the confusion, but what I said after that sentence would only have made sense if I had said "no possibility".

In your dreams. You haven't refuted a thing. You have asserted the compatibilist line of 'I would have done otherwise, if I had wanted to', or 'I could have wanted otherwise' - which is BS because what you thought or wanted prior to the action taken is just as determined as the action taken.

Whatever you thought prior to the action taken never had the possibility of being realized or altering the determined action.
 

DBT

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Yes. Every event is the reliable result of prior events, and is thus causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time. This includes the events of experiencing a desire, foreseeing the consequences of an action, and forming an intention to act on that desire. And I presume perfectly reliable cause and effect, even at the quantum level.

Reliable cause and effect in determinism is fixed cause and effect, being fixed does not equate to freedom. Just the opposite.


Nothing sticky about it.
a) Either you made the choice, or, someone or something else made the choice.
b) If you made the choice unconsciously, then it is still you making the choice. And the unconscious brain will inform the conscious brain in plenty of time to tell the waiter, "I'll have the steak dinner, please".
c) By causal necessity, it would be you, and no one else that would make that choice at that specific time and place.

But, perhaps it is still sticky for you. I hope you can see now how easily it sorts itself out.

Deterministic processes necessitate all actions. Given the nature of determinism, the determined actions of a brain produce determined outcomes, what you do is an inevitable consequence of the state of the system in the moment of response.

To say 'either you made the choice or someone else made the choice, seeks to circumvent the consequences of determinism.

It is determined activity, the world the brain, neural network actions that produce outcomes. the outcomes determine other actions, how others respond to the action produced by 'your' brain and on it rolls.




Sorry, but "I could have done otherwise" is hard coded into the rational causal mechanism. You cannot declare it to be "impossible" without breaking rationality itself.

Rational response does not equate to ''I could have done otherwise'' - by the given definition of determinism, the can be no 'could have,' only what is.



The survival benefits of intelligence comes from imagining alternate solutions to environmental challenges. Intelligence gives us the ability to deal with matters of uncertainty. And, lacking omniscience, we are often confronted with uncertainty.

Intelligence is not related to free will. Intelligence is enabled by information processing capacity/pattern recognition, enabling projection, predictions to be made, etc. None of it willed. Complexity does not equate to free will.


For example, its morning, and I wake up hungry. What will I have for breakfast? Well, what can I have for breakfast? I have eggs is the fridge. So, I am certain that I can fix eggs. But, I'm still uncertain as to whether I will fix eggs. What other options do I have? Hey, here's some pancake mix in the cupboard. So, I am also certain that I can fix pancakes. But I am still uncertain which one I will fix. Well, what did I have for breakfast yesterday? Hmm. Eggs. What about the day before yesterday? Eggs. And the day before that I also had eggs. So, just for a change, I will have pancakes this morning for breakfast. Could I have had eggs instead? Yes, of course I could.

As you should see by now, that fact that I would not have eggs does not logically imply that I could not have had eggs.

The given definition of determinist necessarily excludes alternate actions. Your indecision is a part of the process of realization. If the outcome is that you don't have eggs this morning, the outcome is the inevitable result of all that preceded it, your memory of previous breakfasts, feeling tired of eggs every day, etc.....conditions that brought you inevitably to pancakes for breakfast.

If pancakes this morning, there was never the possibility of eggs.

That is how determinism work. 'Would have' or 'might have' is an illusion. What is, is the reality.

What I "can" do constrains what I "will" do. I "will" never do something that I "cannot" do.
But what I "will" do never constrains what I "can" do. What I "can" do is only constrained by my imagination.

There is only what you do. The rest is brain activity that brings you to what you do, ie, what is. It is always 'what is' in the land of determinism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Reliable cause and effect in determinism is fixed cause and effect, being fixed does not equate to freedom. Just the opposite.

Question 1: Then you have a small problem to solve:
a) Shall we remove the terms "free" and "freedom" from all our dictionaries?
OR
b) Shall we define freedom in a way that does not require "freedom from causal necessity"?

Deterministic processes necessitate all actions. Given the nature of determinism, the determined actions of a brain produce determined outcomes, what you do is an inevitable consequence of the state of the system in the moment of response.

Question 2: Yes, but how does that change anything? (You should probably answer Question 1 before tackling this one)

To say 'either you made the choice or someone else made the choice, seeks to circumvent the consequences of determinism.

Question 3: What are the consequences of determinism? (Hint: We already live in a deterministic world, so all the consequences should be obvious, just by looking around you).

It is determined activity, the world the brain, neural network actions that produce outcomes. the outcomes determine other actions, how others respond to the action produced by 'your' brain and on it rolls.

See your answer to Question 3.

Rational response does not equate to ''I could have done otherwise'' - by the given definition of determinism, the can be no 'could have,' only what is.

Question 4: Given that we already live in a deterministic world, what does the term "could have", as in "could have done otherwise" and "could have chosen otherwise" actually mean?

If you claim "could have" means nothing, then explain how you would replace it in this scenario:

You're driving down the road with your friend, a hard determinist, sitting in the passenger seat. You see a stoplight up ahead. Right now it is red, but you don't know how long it has been red. Will the light remain red or will it turn green as you arrive? You don't know. So, as you get closer you decide to slow down, just in case it remains red. But then the light changes to green just before you arrive, so you resume speed and continue down the road.

Your friend, the hard determinist, says to you, "Why did you slow down?". You tell him, "I wasn't sure whether the light would turn green. It could have remained red." Your friend corrects you, "No, the light could not have remained red. You see, in a determined system there is only one possibility, only one thing that can happen. So, the light could not have remained red!". And then he adds, "So, why did you slow down?". How do you answer the hard determinist?

Intelligence is not related to free will. Intelligence is enabled by information processing capacity/pattern recognition, enabling projection, predictions to be made, etc. None of it willed. Complexity does not equate to free will.

Hmm. Another sorting problem.
1. Complexity causally necessitated intelligence.
2. Intelligence includes imagination, evaluation, and choosing (among other things).
3. There is a distinction between the case where my intelligence performs the choosing and the case where the guy with a gun performs the choosing and forces me to do his will rather than my own.
4. The nature of this distinction is that in the former case I am free to decide for myself what I will do (free will) and in the other case I am coerced into doing what the guy with the gun orders me to do (unfree will).

The given definition of determinist necessarily excludes alternate actions. Your indecision is a part of the process of realization. If the outcome is that you don't have eggs this morning, the outcome is the inevitable result of all that preceded it, your memory of previous breakfasts, feeling tired of eggs every day, etc.....conditions that brought you inevitably to pancakes for breakfast.

If pancakes this morning, there was never the possibility of eggs.

See Question 4.

Oh, and here's the big one:

Question 5: Is it possible that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's definition of determinism is incorrect?

There is only what you do. The rest is brain activity that brings you to what you do, ie, what is. It is always 'what is' in the land of determinism.

Cool. Then we must assume that determinism is restricted from making any assertions as to "possibilities" or things that "can happen" but which "might not" happen. And, of course, determinism would also be restricted from making any assertions about "freedom" (including "free will"). That seems reasonable to me. What do you think?
 

Jarhyn

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
Some noctuid moths have a three neuron auditory system. They send and receive stridulating by posterior legs from an organ located on their posterior dorsal thorax segment. These stridulating signals are recognized as being the source of mating calls.

In 1973 I evacuated most protoplasm from this middle segment of a noctuid moth then hooked up an electrode to one of the fibers. I stimulated the electrode which induced stridulating, recorded nerve activity which the stridulating produced, and saved that information to a computer.

One can argue what I did was produce an execution policy to which the moth acted. The fact the target dead moth made such efforts is proof of the moth's free will then.

Of course, we might have some difficulty defending why one of the two clusters in the middle segment of the insect which has six neural clusters overall serves as home to that 'will'.
It's not difficult for me at all: it contains a logical machine, a decision engine.

That the model is simple, facile and reactionary, even, does not change that fact.

The very idea of an execution policy is the idea of a "will", and one that you have mapped out! You know the shape of it's will and can constrain it at your pleasure. You can readily identify when the will is "free" and when it is not.

You can be as oppressive to the moth as you wish, in the same manner as I can see, before my cat does it, that there is "will" to attack a toy, and I may oppress that free will easily by taking the toy away just after the butt wiggling stops due to flaws in the model, the model that says inside the cat's imagination "if I leave now, suddenly, I shall be quick enough to catch it"

Who knows what is going on inside the moth's head! It may be something like "closer that feel good, do this (flap flap), closer that!".

You do understand the nature of how and why neural clusters embed logic, right? How two signals coming across weak connections create an "and", how two signals strongly connected would act as "or", how a refractory period creates a "not" or "xor" depending on the arrangement, and how between those you can get a "nand" and from there any behavior a transistor array can create?

When the mating cluster is active, it acts as seat of the will because it has more weighting over the motor system (and the behavior generates a refractory signal that depresses other systemic "wills" that also exist within the system, oppressing them).
 

fromderinside

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
Some noctuid moths have a three neuron auditory system. They send and receive stridulating by posterior legs from an organ located on their posterior dorsal thorax segment. These stridulating signals are recognized as being the source of mating calls.

In 1973 I evacuated most protoplasm from this middle segment of a noctuid moth then hooked up an electrode to one of the fibers. I stimulated the electrode which induced stridulating, recorded nerve activity which the stridulating produced, and saved that information to a computer.

One can argue what I did was produce an execution policy to which the moth acted. The fact the target dead moth made such efforts is proof of the moth's free will then.

Of course, we might have some difficulty defending why one of the two clusters in the middle segment of the insect which has six neural clusters overall serves as home to that 'will'.
It's not difficult for me at all: it contains a logical machine, a decision engine.

That the model is simple, facile and reactionary, even, does not change that fact.

The very idea of an execution policy is the idea of a "will", and one that you have mapped out! You know the shape of it's will and can constrain it at your pleasure. You can readily identify when the will is "free" and when it is not.

You can be as oppressive to the moth as you wish, in the same manner as I can see, before my cat does it, that there is "will" to attack a toy, and I may oppress that free will easily by taking the toy away just after the butt wiggling stops due to flaws in the model, the model that says inside the cat's imagination "if I leave now, suddenly, I shall be quick enough to catch it"

Who knows what is going on inside the moth's head! It may be something like "closer that feel good, do this (flap flap), closer that!".

You do understand the nature of how and why neural clusters embed logic, right? How two signals coming across weak connections create an "and", how two signals strongly connected would act as "or", how a refractory period creates a "not" or "xor" depending on the arrangement, and how between those you can get a "nand" and from there any behavior a transistor array can create?

When the mating cluster is active, it acts as seat of the will because it has more weighting over the motor system (and the behavior generates a refractory signal that depresses other systemic "wills" that also exist within the system, oppressing them).
Still, they are only neural clusters not mind clusters. I've never recorded from a mind cluster. I have recorded from a "Barlow" face detector in a cat though.

Of course, there's no such thing.

Oooh. Computers. No mind, no volition, just logic assemblies. Never constructed a 'will' though.

Do you have a schematic for one, a proof it is a 'will'?
 

Jarhyn

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
Some noctuid moths have a three neuron auditory system. They send and receive stridulating by posterior legs from an organ located on their posterior dorsal thorax segment. These stridulating signals are recognized as being the source of mating calls.

In 1973 I evacuated most protoplasm from this middle segment of a noctuid moth then hooked up an electrode to one of the fibers. I stimulated the electrode which induced stridulating, recorded nerve activity which the stridulating produced, and saved that information to a computer.

One can argue what I did was produce an execution policy to which the moth acted. The fact the target dead moth made such efforts is proof of the moth's free will then.

Of course, we might have some difficulty defending why one of the two clusters in the middle segment of the insect which has six neural clusters overall serves as home to that 'will'.
It's not difficult for me at all: it contains a logical machine, a decision engine.

That the model is simple, facile and reactionary, even, does not change that fact.

The very idea of an execution policy is the idea of a "will", and one that you have mapped out! You know the shape of it's will and can constrain it at your pleasure. You can readily identify when the will is "free" and when it is not.

You can be as oppressive to the moth as you wish, in the same manner as I can see, before my cat does it, that there is "will" to attack a toy, and I may oppress that free will easily by taking the toy away just after the butt wiggling stops due to flaws in the model, the model that says inside the cat's imagination "if I leave now, suddenly, I shall be quick enough to catch it"

Who knows what is going on inside the moth's head! It may be something like "closer that feel good, do this (flap flap), closer that!".

You do understand the nature of how and why neural clusters embed logic, right? How two signals coming across weak connections create an "and", how two signals strongly connected would act as "or", how a refractory period creates a "not" or "xor" depending on the arrangement, and how between those you can get a "nand" and from there any behavior a transistor array can create?

When the mating cluster is active, it acts as seat of the will because it has more weighting over the motor system (and the behavior generates a refractory signal that depresses other systemic "wills" that also exist within the system, oppressing them).
Still, they are only neural clusters not mind clusters. I've never recorded from a mind cluster. I have recorded from a "Barlow" face detector in a cat though.

Of course, there's no such thing.

Oooh. Computers. No mind, no volition, just logic assemblies. Never constructed a 'will' though.

Do you have a schematic for one, a proof it is a 'will'?
Wow, so, I bolded a section you really need to reevaluate.

These are very bold claims to make indeed when we are discussing the fundamental metaphysics of those things.

You have defined extant minds and decision making engines in general out of existence because you wish to ignore the reality of decision.

All through this thread I argue from the position that there is no fundamental distinction between decision engines and minds, and that bigger minds are made of subassemblies of smaller ones, all the way down to single transistors or neurons.

The reason you cannot see the difference between a neural cluster and a mind is because you resist learning the abstraction and the model in which that abstraction is useful.
 

Copernicus

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No, you did not explain its relevance, and you obviously aren't bothering to specify any previous material--articles or posts--where you did explain it. This is just another example of failing to address the content of what I said about the discrepancy between what an individual knows (past and present) and what the individual imagines (future outcomes).

Hasn't it been pointed out that the relevance of neural networks is that a neural network is the means by which an organism interacts with the world?

You may have discussed the subject elsewhere, but you need to establish how it is relevant to my argument. I think I know where you are trying to go with this, but you are committing a fallacy of irrelevance known as a  genetic fallacy. That is, you are shifting focus from the substance of my argument to focus on the physical origin of mental processes without explaining how that origin does away with my claim that free will lies in the discrepancy between realis experience and irrealis imagination. Also, I don't think that you really understand the problem with using a computer analogy to explain how brains work, but that is a side issue. It only bothers me because I have worked professionally in the field of artificial intelligence, and this kind of overimplification is wrong on so many levels.

To reiterate;

Without the activity of neural networks, a brain, we have no conscious existence, we cannot think, feel or act.

The architecture of a brain determines how the organism, you, me, other animals, think, feel and respond.

How we think and respond and what we do is directly related to the issue of free will.

Compatibilism acknowledges that the brain is a deterministic system, that no alternate actions are possible in any given instance, but defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will.

None of that is in dispute, yet you never seem to tire of repeating it as if it were in dispute. :( Again, you could dispense with the overworked "neural network" metaphor, and your argument would still be an irrelevant genetic fallacy.

Which, as pointed pointed out, fails because it ignores the means by which will and action is produced, constrained by the state of the system/inner necessity, no alternate action possible, therefore not freely willed.

Here you ignore my point that we live in real time--moment by moment--and that is where the process of exercising free will takes place. Alternate actions are always possible in altered models of reality, and that is precisely what the future is to a mind--an imagined reality. You keep wanting to skip ahead to a point in time where the imaginary future has disappeared, but that is why compatibilism agrees with you that there is no ability to choose a past action once it is past. There is only the ability to change a future action not yet realized. We are temporal creatures ignorant of future outcomes, not immortal gods knowledgable of all future outcomes. Hence, your argument bears a striking similarity to theological ones about God and free will.

You do. But your second sense is problematic, because I said that there was a possibility of choice in the imagination of the individual. Since you zipped right past that point without attempting to rebut it, you then went on to behave as if you had somehow addressed or refuted it. My point, of course, is that people distinguish between the past/present and the future.


I don't zip past, I have limited time. I can only deal with so much on any occasion. I can't spend hours a day on this issue

But we have all committed hours a week to this discussion, and that is probably why you keep repeating exactly the same genetic fallacy in replying to anything anyone says. Why bother to keep defining determinism in a way that everyone has already stipulated to? The argument is about why free will is compatible with determinism. Explain why free will cannot be conceived of as a choice made to select one alternative of possible alternative imaginary actions to address imaginary outcomes? Robots do something like that all the time, although they have a very limited sense of imagination. We are not robots, but our bodies are just as physical and just as much machines as robots are.

Quite correct, and that was a mistake in my wording. I have refuted your claim that there is NO possibility of alternative before the choice is made. There most certainly is in the mind of the individual before the choice is made. Sorry for the confusion, but what I said after that sentence would only have made sense if I had said "no possibility".

In your dreams. You haven't refuted a thing. You have asserted the compatibilist line of 'I would have done otherwise, if I had wanted to', or 'I could have wanted otherwise' - which is BS because what you thought or wanted prior to the action taken is just as determined as the action taken.

Whatever you thought prior to the action taken never had the possibility of being realized or altering the determined action.

Look at the way you characterized my argument, which is a complete misrepresentation of what I have been saying. You have already placed your perspective at a point that is looking backward at a time in the past, and you are using the past (realis) tense to describe a decision that has already been made (because it was predetermined). I have defined free will at a point where the mind is calculating a number of future actions. At that point in time, the future action is not predetermined in the mind of the individual. It is only predetermined from the perspective of an outside observer. Hence, the action can be determined or not determined, depending on which perspective you take: realis or irrealis. That is exactly what compatibilism is about.
 

fromderinside

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Brain generals are like any other general they act according to policy dictates.

Nope. I don't see free there anywhere.

Oh sure, The pronounce they've decided. That's their job puffing up and pronouncing. See those medals flashing up as they breathe in.

And it's here, here.
"Act according to policy dictates" is, you know, just a way of trying very hard to not say "make a decision" while saying that something is making a decision.

The decision, the acting according to policy dictates, that's the will. The part that makes it free is that it will carry trajectory towards the goal it drives to without interruption: that the "can" does become "will" within the bounds of qualifying as "did".

This creates a measurement of the freedom of will as relates to the quality of the decision.
Some noctuid moths have a three neuron auditory system. They send and receive stridulating by posterior legs from an organ located on their posterior dorsal thorax segment. These stridulating signals are recognized as being the source of mating calls.

In 1973 I evacuated most protoplasm from this middle segment of a noctuid moth then hooked up an electrode to one of the fibers. I stimulated the electrode which induced stridulating, recorded nerve activity which the stridulating produced, and saved that information to a computer.

One can argue what I did was produce an execution policy to which the moth acted. The fact the target dead moth made such efforts is proof of the moth's free will then.

Of course, we might have some difficulty defending why one of the two clusters in the middle segment of the insect which has six neural clusters overall serves as home to that 'will'.
It's not difficult for me at all: it contains a logical machine, a decision engine.

That the model is simple, facile and reactionary, even, does not change that fact.

The very idea of an execution policy is the idea of a "will", and one that you have mapped out! You know the shape of it's will and can constrain it at your pleasure. You can readily identify when the will is "free" and when it is not.

You can be as oppressive to the moth as you wish, in the same manner as I can see, before my cat does it, that there is "will" to attack a toy, and I may oppress that free will easily by taking the toy away just after the butt wiggling stops due to flaws in the model, the model that says inside the cat's imagination "if I leave now, suddenly, I shall be quick enough to catch it"

Who knows what is going on inside the moth's head! It may be something like "closer that feel good, do this (flap flap), closer that!".

You do understand the nature of how and why neural clusters embed logic, right? How two signals coming across weak connections create an "and", how two signals strongly connected would act as "or", how a refractory period creates a "not" or "xor" depending on the arrangement, and how between those you can get a "nand" and from there any behavior a transistor array can create?

When the mating cluster is active, it acts as seat of the will because it has more weighting over the motor system (and the behavior generates a refractory signal that depresses other systemic "wills" that also exist within the system, oppressing them).
Still, they are only neural clusters not mind clusters. I've never recorded from a mind cluster. I have recorded from a "Barlow" face detector in a cat though.

Of course, there's no such thing.

Oooh. Computers. No mind, no volition, just logic assemblies. Never constructed a 'will' though.

Do you have a schematic for one, a proof it is a 'will'?
Wow, so, I bolded a section you really need to reevaluate.

These are very bold claims to make indeed when we are discussing the fundamental metaphysics of those things.

You have defined extant minds and decision making engines in general out of existence because you wish to ignore the reality of decision.

All through this thread I argue from the position that there is no fundamental distinction between decision engines and minds, and that bigger minds are made of subassemblies of smaller ones, all the way down to single transistors or neurons.

The reason you cannot see the difference between a neural cluster and a mind is because you resist learning the abstraction and the model in which that abstraction is useful.
Without pointing from your view there is no empirical justification for mind or thinking.

I can designate empirically a logical cluster whether it be in the brain or in a computer. I cannot designate the mind because it is without an empirical basis beyond lay speculation and self-reference. I'm not aware of a scientific abstraction ladder that transitions from empirical to self-attributed outside of a bogus basis for psychoanalysis.

Attach all the science you want to that subject you still have only magic and mysticism holding it together. They aren't science so they don't qualify. After you say mind everything is just noise.

I'm pretty sure the only things scientific are those things that arise from scientific experiments extracted from presumptions as material operations involving aspects of brain extracted from musings about mind, id, etc.

When gets to material operations one abandons the fuzzy model for explicit neural activities which can be scientifically addressed. Believe me, the vacuous uber model will disappear as scientific evidence increases and new material formulations arise for grouping together the various material findings.

Do you really think the neural targets of visual and auditory stimuli define the scope of visual and auditory processes. Really?

Self-portraits of the brain: cognitive science, data visualization, and communicating brain structure and function https://cns.iu.edu/docs/publications/2015-goldstone-self-portraits.pdf

With several large-scale human brain projects currently underway and a range of neuroimaging techniques growing in availability to researchers, the amount and diversity of data relevant for understanding the human brain is increasing rapidly. A complete understanding of the brain must incorporate information about 3D neural location, activity, timing, and task. Data mining, high performance computing, and visualization can serve as tools that augment human intellect; however, the resulting visualizations must take into account human abilities and limitations to be effective tools for exploration and communication. In this feature review, we discuss key challenges and opportunities that arise when leveraging the sophisticated perceptual and conceptual processing of the human brain to help researchers understand brain structure, function, and behavior.
 
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DBT

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No, you did not explain its relevance, and you obviously aren't bothering to specify any previous material--articles or posts--where you did explain it. This is just another example of failing to address the content of what I said about the discrepancy between what an individual knows (past and present) and what the individual imagines (future outcomes).

Hasn't it been pointed out that the relevance of neural networks is that a neural network is the means by which an organism interacts with the world?

You may have discussed the subject elsewhere, but you need to establish how it is relevant to my argument. I think I know where you are trying to go with this, but you are committing a fallacy of irrelevance known as a  genetic fallacy. That is, you are shifting focus from the substance of my argument to focus on the physical origin of mental processes without explaining how that origin does away with my claim that free will lies in the discrepancy between realis experience and irrealis imagination. Also, I don't think that you really understand the problem with using a computer analogy to explain how brains work, but that is a side issue. It only bothers me because I have worked professionally in the field of artificial intelligence, and this kind of overimplification is wrong on so many levels.

If you work in the field of artificial intelligence, you should know that free will is not a factor. That processing information and selecting an option according to sets of criteria has nothing to do with free will.

That the capability of the system is a matter of hardware and software and information crunching. The actions that follow are not only not coerced or impeded; they are necessitated by the system. Again, nothing to do with free will.

In principle, the brain is no different; architecture, memory, sets of criteria and sensory inputs determine response, which are not only not coerced or impeded but necessitated by the state of the system.

Now, I have supported this with numerous quotes and references from neuroscience, analysis by experts in their field, so your objections and assertions have no merit.

For example;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?

''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings. Is there an alternative to free will?

Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction. Muscle contraction is under the complete control of the alpha motoneurons in the spinal cord. When the alpha motoneurons are active, there will be movement. Activity of the alpha motoneurons is a product of the different synaptic events on their dendrites and cell bodies. There is a complex summation of EPSPs and IPSPs, and when the threshold for an action potential is crossed, the cell fires.

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs. And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs.

Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices. At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else?

This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

The view that there is no such thing as free will as an inner causal agent has been advocated by a number of philosophers, scientists, and neurologists including Ryle, Adrian, Skinner and Fisher.(Fisher 1993)


To reiterate;

Without the activity of neural networks, a brain, we have no conscious existence, we cannot think, feel or act.

The architecture of a brain determines how the organism, you, me, other animals, think, feel and respond.

How we think and respond and what we do is directly related to the issue of free will.

Compatibilism acknowledges that the brain is a deterministic system, that no alternate actions are possible in any given instance, but defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will.

None of that is in dispute, yet you never seem to tire of repeating it as if it were in dispute. :( Again, you could dispense with the overworked "neural network" metaphor, and your argument would still be an irrelevant genetic fallacy.


It's the compatibilist definition being disputed by me and other incompatibilists, for the given reason. Reasons that you appear to dismiss without any apparent consideration.


Which, as pointed pointed out, fails because it ignores the means by which will and action is produced, constrained by the state of the system/inner necessity, no alternate action possible, therefore not freely willed.

Here you ignore my point that we live in real time--moment by moment--and that is where the process of exercising free will takes place. Alternate actions are always possible in altered models of reality, and that is precisely what the future is to a mind--an imagined reality. You keep wanting to skip ahead to a point in time where the imaginary future has disappeared, but that is why compatibilism agrees with you that there is no ability to choose a past action once it is past. There is only the ability to change a future action not yet realized. We are temporal creatures ignorant of future outcomes, not immortal gods knowledgable of all future outcomes. Hence, your argument bears a striking similarity to theological ones about God and free will.

You ignore that conditions in real time are determined by antecedent events. Conditions now are the result of conditions a moment ago, conditions now determine conditions in the next moment.

Consequently, there is no opportunity to ''exercise free'' - free will plays no part in a determined system.

It seems that you don't understand determinism at all. Not even the basics.
But we have all committed hours a week to this discussion, and that is probably why you keep repeating exactly the same genetic fallacy in replying to anything anyone says. Why bother to keep defining determinism in a way that everyone has already stipulated to? The argument is about why free will is compatible with determinism. Explain why free will cannot be conceived of as a choice made to select one alternative of possible alternative imaginary actions to address imaginary outcomes? Robots do something like that all the time, although they have a very limited sense of imagination. We are not robots, but our bodies are just as physical and just as much machines as robots are.

I have made no fallacy. I argue the standard incompatibilist argument and have supported everything that I say with quotes, links, studies and experiments from neuroscience on the nature of the brain, mind, decisionmaking and action initiation.

What you say above suggests that you have not understood a word of any of it. Not neuroscience, not incompatibilism, not brain function, nor determinism.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is the impression I get when reading your response.


Look at the way you characterized my argument, which is a complete misrepresentation of what I have been saying. You have already placed your perspective at a point that is looking backward at a time in the past, and you are using the past (realis) tense to describe a decision that has already been made (because it was predetermined). I have defined free will at a point where the mind is calculating a number of future actions. At that point in time, the future action is not predetermined in the mind of the individual. It is only predetermined from the perspective of an outside observer. Hence, the action can be determined or not determined, depending on which perspective you take: realis or irrealis. That is exactly what compatibilism is about.

Your position is untenable. You only need look at what you said about ''exercising free will'' - ''that we live in real time--moment by moment--and that is where the process of exercising free will takes place. Alternate actions are always possible in altered models of reality, and that is precisely what the future is to a mind--an imagined reality'' to see that you do not appear to understand the nature of determinism.

I could quote the standard definition again, explain the principle, but I doubt that it would help.
 

DBT

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Reliable cause and effect in determinism is fixed cause and effect, being fixed does not equate to freedom. Just the opposite.

Question 1: Then you have a small problem to solve:
a) Shall we remove the terms "free" and "freedom" from all our dictionaries?
OR
b) Shall we define freedom in a way that does not require "freedom from causal necessity"?

As we know, freedom may be used in reference to unimpeded or unrestrained actions; the ball flies through the air unimpeded, the dog has been freed from its chain, planets and moons orbit freely, etc, etc. But relative that relative unimpeded actions do not equate to freedom of will. The dog may be free from the chain, but it isn't free from the constraint of the yard. The planet freely orbits the sun, but it can't do anything else, it is not free to roam.

We can act in accordance to our 'will'' - which is determined by brain state - and the actions that follow are unimpeded, but you can't do anything else but what was determined by brain state.

You act according to inner necessity. Your constraints are determined by inner necessity. You can't do otherwise. Unimpeded action is not free will.

You're driving down the road with your friend, a hard determinist, sitting in the passenger seat. You see a stoplight up ahead. Right now it is red, but you don't know how long it has been red. Will the light remain red or will it turn green as you arrive? You don't know. So, as you get closer you decide to slow down, just in case it remains red. But then the light changes to green just before you arrive, so you resume speed and continue down the road.

Your friend, the hard determinist, says to you, "Why did you slow down?". You tell him, "I wasn't sure whether the light would turn green. It could have remained red." Your friend corrects you, "No, the light could not have remained red. You see, in a determined system there is only one possibility, only one thing that can happen. So, the light could not have remained red!". And then he adds, "So, why did you slow down?". How do you answer the hard determinist?

Information is being acquired via the senses as you approach the intersection, what you do is determined by your (brain) experience with traffic signals, your speed, distance from the traffic lights, an estimation of signal duration...all of which comes together to determine your actions, you stop or go based on these factors. After all, the brain is an information processor, evolved to respond to environmental conditions. After all, it doesn't take free will to acquire and process information and act rationally.

Hmm. Another sorting problem.
1. Complexity causally necessitated intelligence.
2. Intelligence includes imagination, evaluation, and choosing (among other things).
3. There is a distinction between the case where my intelligence performs the choosing and the case where the guy with a gun performs the choosing and forces me to do his will rather than my own.
4. The nature of this distinction is that in the former case I am free to decide for myself what I will do (free will) and in the other case I am coerced into doing what the guy with the gun orders me to do (unfree will).

The brain acquires and processes information and acts accordingly in both instances. In one instance you act according to your 'will,' but through inner necessity. The other, you are being forced to act against will.

The references relate to in external conditions, not how thought and action is produced.

Being free from external necessity doesn't free you from internal necessity;

''Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity'' - Einstein


Question 5: Is it possible that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's definition of determinism is incorrect?

Why would it be? It's the basic definition of determinism, which is why they included it.

Are you suggesting a better definition?

There is only what you do. The rest is brain activity that brings you to what you do, ie, what is. It is always 'what is' in the land of determinism.

Cool. Then we must assume that determinism is restricted from making any assertions as to "possibilities" or things that "can happen" but which "might not" happen. And, of course, determinism would also be restricted from making any assertions about "freedom" (including "free will"). That seems reasonable to me. What do you think?

We speak from our limited perspective of the world, its changing states and conditions. Our perception of 'possible outcomes' is a reflection of limited information. The world is too vast and complex for us to make anything approaching detailed predictions of future events, just projections of trends, which may or may not persist.
 

Jarhyn

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Without pointing from your view there is no empirical justification for mind or thinking.
I think therefore I am.

It is the one thing that cannot be empirically doubted. If you think you do not exist even as you exist to think it, you are beyond help, trapped in a cage of your own nonsense, no matter how big that cage may be.

I can designate empirically a logical cluster whether it be in the brain or in a computer. I cannot designate the mind because it is without an empirical basis beyond lay speculation and self-reference.
That's because you lack the desire to develop or pick up any of the a languages that discuss abstractions on the level of "mind".

I have pointed to the process level of a computer to discuss "mind". I can create a world with things subdivided on the abstract level of a mind. I can show you the full shape of a mind, built from logical clusters. I can hold it up and point to it.

It requires speculation or self-reference beyond the recognition that "it is like something to be someone, it must be like something to be someone else. It is likely to be like something to be anything; it must be like something to be a rock." These are observations extended into generalities.

I'm pretty sure the only things scientific are those things that arise from scientific experiments extracted from presumptions as material operations involving aspects of brain extracted from musings about mind, id, etc.
Ah, so the only philosophy is now science?!? How presumptuous.

Science relies on logic and other elements of philosophy. Science is not the only part of metaphysics that is important.

I suppose if you cut out your eyes because you only trust your ears, you might not believe in the existence of light....

We have an actual phenomena, observe it every day, in our own existence. These things are not "subjective" in that every feeling, every thought, is caused somewhere in our heads by some neuron being either in a state or another.

I suppose if you walked up on a computer in action and looked at the behavior of the thing without looking at the actual interface, if you only had access to the current core state at any point in time, you would see the processor and the metal and say "it's just one processor grinding through an endless series of instructions; it's deterministic, and I see no "processes" here. It's just one instruction after another!

Never mind that there ARE distinct processes created as abstract groupings of instructions bundled together, you do not want to look at them. You look at "trees" and fail to see "forest"

When gets to material operations one abandons the fuzzy model for explicit neural activities which can be scientifically addressed.
So goal oriented thinking requires a goal. My goal is, in fact, to break down the requirements, expectations, and strategies that best serve goal oriented thinking, wherein the goal is mutually compatible self-actualization.

"Want" has a neural shape. I have want," I" am made of neurons occasionally impacted by messenger chemicals from other constructions, therefore "want" has a neural shape.

This is an empirical observation.

I am a mind. I use the term 'mind' to describe what I am as a functional system within a larger construction of stuff. I am made of neurons. Therefore a contained "mind" does have a describable shape, just not one you are very comfortable with addressing.

The observation, made in the most scientific way (direct observation), implies when neurons (and other logical assemblies) cluster together, and operate together, their construction is "a mind".

Kick and scream and hate it all you want but it's right there.

You want so badly for me to not use a word "mind" to refer to "a logical assembly".
Do you really think the neural targets of visual and auditory stimuli define the scope of visual and auditory processes. Really?
Yes. They do, if I understand your question right: the neuronal activity that accepts the output of the eyes, and then the neurons that accept that activity and so on ARE the visual auditory process. Unless you believe in things like "soul" beyond the concept of "abstract graph identity"

...

To use the analogy of programming, this is the difference between a system and process, and also the difference between a process and a task.

You seem to wish to claim none of it is "process", that all of it is only "system"

As long as isolation exists between subassemblies, subassemblies within their isolation form the shapes of process, defined by the isolation, in fact.

Isolation of information REQUIRES that distinct process a are given rise within any dynamic system which expressed that isolation.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Reliable cause and effect in determinism is fixed cause and effect, being fixed does not equate to freedom. Just the opposite.

Question 1: Then you have a small problem to solve:
a) Shall we remove the terms "free" and "freedom" from all our dictionaries?
OR
b) Shall we define freedom in a way that does not require "freedom from causal necessity"?

As we know, freedom may be used in reference to unimpeded or unrestrained actions;

Correct.

the ball flies through the air unimpeded, the dog has been freed from its chain, planets and moons orbit freely, etc, etc.

One of those things is not like the others. The ball, the planets, and the moons, do not experience constraint. The dog experiences his chain as a constraint. For the dog, freedom is a meaningful concept, because the chain prevents him from chasing the squirrel, something that he really wants to do.

But relative that relative unimpeded actions do not equate to freedom of will. The dog may be free from the chain, but it isn't free from the constraint of the yard.

The dog experiences the fence around the yard as a constraint, because the squirrel has escaped to the other side of the fence.

The planet freely orbits the sun, but it can't do anything else, it is not free to roam.

Fortunately, the planet has no desires to do anything, so being "free" of its orbit is meaningless to the planet. On the other hand, if the Earth were free of its orbit, it would be a very meaningful event for us, because the Earth would float out into space, where things would get very cold and we'd all die. So, again, a very good argument for why reliable causation is our friend, to keep our Earth orbiting the Sun.

We can act in accordance to our 'will'' - which is determined by brain state - and the actions that follow are unimpeded, but you can't do anything else but what was determined by brain state.

Why would I want to do anything else than what my brain state chooses to do? My brain states, deciding what I will do, and my being able to do it, is what my freedom is all about!

You act according to inner necessity. Your constraints are determined by inner necessity. You can't do otherwise. Unimpeded action is not free will.

Apparently some unimpeded actions are exactly what free will is about. One such unimpeded action is deciding for myself what I will do. And that unimpeded action is commonly called "free will", because it is literally me being free to decide for myself what I will do.

And if my "inner necessity" (my series of brain states) chooses to have pancakes for breakfast, even though I could have had eggs again, then why would I complain? That "inner necessity" happens to be me, deciding to have pancakes for a change.

Now, if I started to fix pancakes, and found that the box of pancake mix was empty, then I would complain. That would be a meaningful constraint upon my ability to do what I wanted.

So, let's summarize what just happened in terms of causal necessity:
1. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I woke up hungry.
2. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I checked to see what I could fix for breakfast.
3. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I found eggs in the fridge, so I actually could have fixed eggs.
4. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I found pancake mix in the cupboard, so I could also fix pancakes.
5. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I recalled having had eggs for the past three days.
6. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I chose to have pancakes for a change.
7. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I fixed and ate the pancakes.
8. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I would have two real options to choose from, pancakes and eggs.
9. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that No one else would be there to force me to eat the eggs.
10. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I would choose to eat the pancakes of my own free will.

Now, here is my point about causal necessity. Causal necessity changes nothing. Everything happens just the way it always does, through a series of events where one thing necessarily leads, naturally and reliably, to the next thing.

So, we can simply drop that leading phrase, "It was causally necessary...", without any loss of meaning.

Causal necessity has no meaningful implications to any human scenarios. All of the useful information is from knowing the specific causes of specific effects.

Oh, and, of course, it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that I would have two real options to choose from, pancakes and eggs. The fact that I would fix pancakes, is true. The fact that I could have fixed eggs, is equally true.

You're driving down the road with your friend, a hard determinist, sitting in the passenger seat. You see a stoplight up ahead. Right now it is red, but you don't know how long it has been red. Will the light remain red or will it turn green as you arrive? You don't know. So, as you get closer you decide to slow down, just in case it remains red. But then the light changes to green just before you arrive, so you resume speed and continue down the road.

Your friend, the hard determinist, says to you, "Why did you slow down?". You tell him, "I wasn't sure whether the light would turn green. It could have remained red." Your friend corrects you, "No, the light could not have remained red. You see, in a determined system there is only one possibility, only one thing that can happen. So, the light could not have remained red!". And then he adds, "So, why did you slow down?". How do you answer the hard determinist?

Information is being acquired via the senses as you approach the intersection, what you do is determined by your (brain) experience with traffic signals, your speed, distance from the traffic lights, an estimation of signal duration...all of which comes together to determine your actions, you stop or go based on these factors.

Or, to phrase that more concisely, you slowed down because your brain concluded that the light "could have" remained red.

After all, the brain is an information processor, evolved to respond to environmental conditions. After all, it doesn't take free will to acquire and process information and act rationally.

Another sorting problem. Here's the solution: Acquiring and processing information enables us to make rational choices. When we are allowed to make these choices for ourselves, it is called "free will". When a choice is imposed upon us against our will by someone or something else, then it is "not free will".

The brain acquires and processes information and acts accordingly in both instances. In one instance you act according to your 'will,' but through inner necessity. The other, you are being forced to act against will.

Yes. That is why we have the distinction between a freely chosen will and a coerced will. It is a significant distinction.

The references relate to in external conditions, not how thought and action is produced.

Of course. The brain is processing information about its internal and external environments and uses both when making decisions.
Being free from external necessity doesn't free you from internal necessity;

Why would you expect someone to be free from themselves? Wouldn't that literally make them someone else?

No, we don't need freedom from internal necessity. Free will itself is a form of "internal necessity", specifically by rational calculation, in which our options are weighed, according to our own beliefs and values, and the result of that evaluation necessitates our subsequent action.

Question 5: Is it possible that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's definition of determinism is incorrect?
Why would it be? It's the basic definition of determinism, which is why they included it. Are you suggesting a better definition?

Of course. The SEP definition you're using is this one:
“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.” [5] (SEP)

I would suggest this definition of determinism instead:

Determinism is a belief in causal necessity, that all events are reliably caused by prior events, such that theoretically (though not practically), given sufficient knowledge of any past state and its events, we could predict with 100% accuracy, any future state and its events.

Note that I've omitted the witchcraft and superstition contained in the SEP's definition, specifically the "governing" and the "swaying". Determinism is not an active force. And the author of the SEP article on Causal Determinism, Carl Hoefer, points this out himself later in 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." (italics mine)


We speak from our limited perspective of the world, its changing states and conditions. Our perception of 'possible outcomes' is a reflection of limited information. The world is too vast and complex for us to make anything approaching detailed predictions of future events, just projections of trends, which may or may not persist.

Exactly. When we cannot speak with certainty as to what "will" happen, we imagine what "can" happen, in order to deal more effectively with what actually "does" happen.

There are many "possible" futures, but only one "actual" future. There are many things that "can" happen, but only one thing that "will" happen.

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

The AntiChris

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You're unlikely to get a clear and unambiguous response fromReliable cause and effect in determinism is fixed cause and effect, being fixed does not equate to freedom. Just the opposite.

Question 1: Then you have a small problem to solve:
a) Shall we remove the terms "free" and "freedom" from all our dictionaries?
OR
b) Shall we define freedom in a way that does not require "freedom from causal necessity"?

As we know, freedom may be used in reference to unimpeded or unrestrained actions; the ball flies through the air unimpeded, the dog has been freed from its chain, planets and moons orbit freely, etc, etc. But relative that relative unimpeded actions do not equate to freedom of will. The dog may be free from the chain, but it isn't free from the constraint of the yard. The planet freely orbits the sun, but it can't do anything else, it is not free to roam.

We can act in accordance to our 'will'' - which is determined by brain state - and the actions that follow are unimpeded, but you can't do anything else but what was determined by brain state.

You act according to inner necessity. Your constraints are determined by inner necessity. You can't do otherwise. Unimpeded action is not free will.

Marvin

You're unlikely to get a clear and unambiguous response from DBT on his insistence that "freedom" is incompatible with determinism - I've tried for years.

Here's a frustrating exchange I had with DBT 3 years ago.
 

pood

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IMO, DBT has a quasi-religious belief in hard determinism, such that he conflates it with determinism. As I have explained, they are not the same. You cannot validly go from, “reliable cause and effect is observed at the macro scale in our universe,” to, “the reason I chose eggs for breakfast this morning is because of the big bang,“ which is essentially his argument, such as it is. With rare exceptions, people cannot be budged from religious or quasi-religious beliefs.
 
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