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Compatibilism: What's that About?

fromderinside

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As I've shown his model is clearly not a choice since it doesn't include constraint and opportunity. In fact, deterministic behavior is always limited by opportunity.

He's also correct in his assertion that most think that attributing multiple contexts to human action enables choice. It doesn't anymore than do several forces vectors pushing on a rock from different angles actually fail to impose multiple outcomes. The schemes we develop to justify the notion of choice are inventions outside the scope of empirical scientific law.

We observe people walking toward a restaurant. We call that behavior "walking".

We observe people pulling out a chair and sitting at the table. We call that behavior "sitting".

We observe people browsing the menu for awhile and then placing their order. We call that behavior "choosing".

Because each of these behaviors was objectively observed, we must assume that each behavior is consistent with empirical scientific law.

If someone were to suggest to us that what we objectively observed did not happen, and was some kind of an illusion, then we would naturally claim that the illusion was theirs, and not ours.

Oh, and, of course each of these behaviors was causally necessary from any prior point in time. But then again, all events are always causally necessary from any prior point in time, so it barely deserves mentioning. The logical fact of causal necessity is the grandest of all trivialities.
Have you got a mouse in your pocket? It's not we anything. You have your views with which you are very casual while I'm sticking to a view that is a bit more, uh deterministic. Inventing causal necessity is really a bit much. If this follows that consistently it is determined. No need to insert some intervening variable such as necessary causality or causal necessity.

Determinism is the belief in causal necessity. Causal necessity is the notion that events are reliably caused by prior events. The prior events necessitate the current event. For example, if Babe Ruth hits the ball at the appropriate angle with sufficient force, then the ball will necessarily go over the outfield fence, scoring a home run.

The definition of determinism suggested in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) reads like this: "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."

Causal necessity simply asserts that every event is the reliable effect of prior events. The term "natural law" is a metaphor for that reliability. It is AS IF the objects were following a set of rules. But in actuality the rules are derived from observing reliable patterns of behavior in the objects and forces themselves. Neither natural law nor scientific law ever causes anything to happen. Only the objects and forces can actually cause events.
Scientific method depends on testable, empirical, explanations. Determinism lies at the base of the setting, execution, measurement, and findings of experiments. Scientific theory depends on verification/falsification by empirical tests.

Now if what you propose cannot be operationalized, measured, contrasted empirically it cannot be science. Nor can it be any part of determinism. The next time anyone spouts causal necessity they need empirically demonstrate the theoretical utility of their spout. From the above one needs to operationalize the terms reliable, effect, event. I doubt the general consensus about the definition of Natural Law would stand up to such tests.
 

DBT

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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.

You really should be more cautious in making blanket statements about a field that you have no expertise in. The usefulness free will in robotics has long been an open question, and it is a popular topic in AI. Here is a well-known 1999 paper by AI pioneer, John McCarthy: FREE WILL-EVEN FOR ROBOTS

I can't access the page. Not that it matters. Unless there has been some miraculous breakthrough, AI has yet to achieve consciousness, yet alone 'free will' - something that has been debated for centuries, two sides to the argument, compatibilism and incompatibilism.

If the issue hasn't been resolved in humans....good luck with computers that possess neither consciousness or will, only mechanical function.

Are you using the argument from authority? John McCarthy says this , therefore it is so?

No, I'm using it as evidence that free will is a research topic in AI. In fact, it comes up a lot at conferences, because the overarching goal of AI is to replicate intelligent behavior in machines. It is of particular interest in the field of robotics, because robots have all the same problems that humans do in navigating in uncertain environments. They have to make the same kind of choices, and we model their behavior on human and animal behavior.

Intelligent behaviour in mechanical systems is not willed behaviour. There is no 'will' involved, just function. Function that is determined by circuitry and software.

To conflate intelligence with will is a category error. They are two different things. An animal may not be considered intelligence, yet have both will and the ability to act in accordance to its will.

It would also be a mistake to conflate plain will with free will. We have will, but it is not free will.

Both the will of the animal and the actions that follow are necessitated by antecedents beyond the control of the animal.

I think you believe that you have, but you don't show much evidence of understanding what definitions do or how they work.

I know exactly what definitions are. Just as I know exactly why compatibilists, given the nature of determinism and the nature of brain function, decision making, action initiation, etc, must define free will in the way they do.


They don't actually prescribe how words ought to be used. They describe how words are used. So you need to focus on how English speakers actually use the expression to mean something, not how philosophers think it ought to mean something in the context of a deterministic universe. The philosophical discussion, not surprisingly, comes out of theological discussions concerning whether a god that knows the future can judge the actions of beings that don't know the future. Philosophers and theologicans have nothing to do with what expressions like "will" and "free will" mean.

Irrelevant to my point.

We've discussed Pereboom's Manipulation Argument in the past, and it has more to do with problems inherent in assigning moral responsibility than in actual free will. We judge the behavior of others because we are all expected to adhere to a moral code. However, that has more to do with moral philosophy than what it means to choose from a set of alternative acts of will. What does it mean to be responsible for one's actions? His article was very influential among philosophers, but it attracted as much criticism as praise. Although moral responsibility is often associated with free will, it doesn't actually define it. People may not always be held accountable for their actions, just as we don't hold animals accountable for theirs. Lacking a proper sense of moral responsibility does not mean that one lacks free will.

Moral responsibility is related to free will. As is the nature of cognition, decision making and action initiation.

Another way of putting it being:

Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated

2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers

3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Scientific method depends on testable, empirical, explanations. Determinism lies at the base of the setting, execution, measurement, and findings of experiments. Scientific theory depends on verification/falsification by empirical tests.

So, does your statement that "determinism lies at the base of the setting, execution, measurement, and findings of experiments" pass your own test, "scientific theory depends on verification/falsification by empirical tests"? What is the empirical test for determinism?
 

DBT

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The argument is that the compatibilist definition of free will is not sufficient to prove the proposition.

The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The compatibilist definition is inadequate because unimpeded actions necessarily follow from necessitated decisions.

Freedom demands causal power in agents, the ability to regulate decision making and access or initiate alternate action, to have done otherwise;

Necessity;
If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated

2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers

3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false



The question is not whether the bird has free will or not. The question is what does "freedom" mean.

The bird's cage is a meaningful and relevant constraint upon the bird's freedom to fly away.

To have any meaning at all, a "freedom" must reference, either explicitly or implicitly, some meaningful and relevant constraint. A meaningful constraint prevents us from doing something that we want to do. A relevant constraint is something that we can actually be "free from" or "free of".

For example:
1. We set the bird free (from its cage).
2. We enjoy freedom of speech (free from political censorship).
3. We were offered free samples (free of charge).
4. We participated in Libet's experiment of our own free will (free of coercion and undue influence).

Relative abilities and unimpeded action necessitated by antecedent events that an agent has no access to, or control over, are not instances of 'free will' - they are necessitated actions freely performed. Not only freely performed, but necessarily performed.

Actions that follow from necessitated decisions are not free will actions, they are necessitated actions.

Definitions alone do not prove the proposition.

To claim that necessitated action, which are necessarily unimpeded or unrestricted by the very token of being determined is false labelling.

Yes, and it was that same determinism that assured it would be that individual, personally, and no other object in the universe, that would choose to drop our of school.

Determinism does not change anything. Determinism itself never determines anything. It has no regulatory control. To believe that it is a causal agent that removes our freedom, our control, or our responsibility, is an illusion.


Sure, determinism enables a reliable, predictable world. It's simply that actions inevitably following antecedents makes freedom of will incompatible with determinism.

In other words. ''determinism makes it impossible for us to “cause and control our actions in the right kind of way.”
 

Marvin Edwards

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Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated

2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers

3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.

Premise #2, "If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers", is not only false, but is clearly paradoxical. If there are no powers, then how is any event ever necessitated? Force, such as the force of gravity, causally necessitates the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Without that force, the Earth would fly off into space. So, gravity has the power to keep the Earth orbiting the Sun. Gravity exercises this power without choosing to do so, so gravity has no free will. But it definitely has the power to necessitate planetary orbits and necessitate objects falling to the ground when dropped, etc.

Premise #1 is correct, a priori, by definition. Determinism is the belief that all events are necessitated by prior events.
Premise #3 is almost correct, but it only applies to the agent's specific power to choose for itself what the agent will do.

Because premises #1 and #3 do not contradict each other, we must conclude that compatibilism is true.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The compatibilist definition is inadequate because unimpeded actions necessarily follow from necessitated decisions.

I've just demonstrated a proof of compatibility and you have not questioned any of the premises, so I believe you are stuck with the conclusion: The notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

Freedom demands causal power in agents, the ability to regulate decision making and access or initiate alternate action, to have done otherwise;

And the agent, when sitting in the restaurant and reading the menu, has the power to choose any item on the menu. If you wish to empirically test for this power, then order the first item on the menu today. Come again tomorrow and order the second item from the menu. Continue this testing until you've ordered each item on the menu.

Your power to order any item off of the menu can be empirically demonstrated, very easily.

Perhaps you had some other notion of power? Perhaps you were thinking that one must be able to choose to become someone else? Or, perhaps you were thinking one must be free of prior causes in order to be the meaningful and relevant cause of their own actions? Those are kind of silly, don't you agree?

Necessity;
If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:
1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated
2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers
3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers
Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false

Well, don't depend upon what others have come up with unless you're ready to defend it. Going by the abstract, the authors of that article have seriously blundered. Here's why:

Premise #2, "If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers", is not only false, but is clearly paradoxical. If there are no powers, then how is any event ever necessitated? Force, such as the force of gravity, causally necessitates the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Without that force, the Earth would fly off into space. So, gravity has the power to keep the Earth orbiting the Sun. Gravity exercises this power without choosing to do so, so gravity has no free will. But it definitely has the power to necessitate planetary orbits and necessitate objects falling to the ground when dropped, etc.

Premise #1 is correct, a priori, by definition. Determinism is the belief that all events are necessitated by prior events.
Premise #3 is almost correct, but it only applies to the agent's specific power to choose for themselves what they will do.

Because premises #1 and #3 do not contradict each other, we must conclude that compatibilism is true.

About freedom:
To have any meaning at all, a "freedom" must reference, either explicitly or implicitly, some meaningful and relevant constraint. A meaningful constraint prevents us from doing something that we want to do. A relevant constraint is something that we can actually be "free from" or "free of".

For example:
1. We set the bird free (from its cage).
2. We enjoy freedom of speech (free from political censorship).
3. We were offered free samples (free of charge).
4. We participated in Libet's experiment of our own free will (free of coercion and undue influence).

... Actions that follow from necessitated decisions are not free will actions, they are necessitated actions.

Case A: If my own goals, my own reasons, and my own interests causally necessitated my choice, then I was free to choose for myself what I would do. This is referred to as a freely chosen will, or simply free will.

Case B: If a guy was holding a gun to my head, and it was his goals, his reasons, and his interests that causally necessitated my choice, then I was not free to choose for myself what I would do.

Both are examples of causally necessitated actions. In Case A, it was causally necessary that I was free to choose for myself. In Case B, I was forced to submit my will to his.

Causal necessity holds true in both cases. Free will holds true in Case A, where I was free to choose for myself what I would do. But coercion, and not free will, holds true in Case B.

The fact of causal necessity does not contradict the fact of free will in Case A, nor does it contradict the fact of coercion in Case B.

Definitions alone do not prove the proposition.

Well, that's why I presented you with a formal proof again at the top of this comment.

To claim that necessitated action, which are necessarily unimpeded or unrestricted by the very token of being determined is false labelling.

As to whether the labelling is true or false will depend entirely upon the definition:
Free will is a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
Determinism is the belief that all events are causally necessitated by prior events.
There is no contradiction at all between these two definitions.

If you are unhappy with these definitions, then present an argument for some other definition.

It's simply that actions inevitably following antecedents makes freedom of will incompatible with determinism. In other words. ''determinism makes it impossible for us to “cause and control our actions in the right kind of way.”

Apparently, that claim of incompatibility is false. The fact that our choice is inevitable entails that it was also inevitable that we, and no other object in the physical universe, would be doing the choosing. We remain the most meaningful and relevant cause that necessitated that choice, when free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
 

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So, I'm just gonna go and snip all the places you just kind of went off on weird lexical diarrhea storms of shit I didn't bring up and don't care about..

A combination of things, molecules, circuits, etc. are by agreement mechanisms. Operationalization is the method by which we understand mechanisms. Macrostructure is a basis. Subsequent to agreement we insert an intervening variables, cause and effect - because Oh, shit - the world is deterministic.

Ok, so, now we are beyond the point where you accept that there IS in fact an indeterminant element to our universe...

We cannot treat this cause and effect as singular, either.

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory

Yes, and while it is fun to recognize that there are many things science is blind to, because they only ever happen once...

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory. That same practice arrived at a deterministic relativistic model of things combined with a probabilistic quantum theory only results in determined models which goes a long way to explaining what, why, and how. Probabilistic quantum theory is not indeterministic
Probabilistic systems are, by definition "non-deterministic".

You ask a mathematician especially in the field of discrete mathematics "hey man, is snakes and ladders a deterministic game?" They will say "oh hell no, it's purely probabilistic."

"What about the card game 'war'"

"Oh that's purely probabilistic too; if you want a deterministic game, maybe consider a nice game of Tic Tac Toe, or Chess, or Go."

You may not like that very much, but that is the way this language works.

Choosing is something a transistor does. Choosing is something a processor core does.

Trying to find something so complicated that YOU as an individual can not wrap their head around the sheer scale of the graph that is doing this particular choice is no excuse to ignore that it is doing the same thing as the transistor, as the processor core:

Creating a juncture to which there is an indeterminate input, on which a differential outcome will occur on the basis of that input.

This input is indeterminate, with respect to the choosing reference frame, because of the property of LOCALITY.
 

fromderinside

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As I've shown his model is clearly not a choice since it doesn't include constraint and opportunity. In fact, deterministic behavior is always limited by opportunity.

He's also correct in his assertion that most think that attributing multiple contexts to human action enables choice. It doesn't anymore than do several forces vectors pushing on a rock from different angles actually fail to impose multiple outcomes. The schemes we develop to justify the notion of choice are inventions outside the scope of empirical scientific law.

We observe people walking toward a restaurant. We call that behavior "walking".

We observe people pulling out a chair and sitting at the table. We call that behavior "sitting".

We observe people browsing the menu for awhile and then placing their order. We call that behavior "choosing".

Because each of these behaviors was objectively observed, we must assume that each behavior is consistent with empirical scientific law.

If someone were to suggest to us that what we objectively observed did not happen, and was some kind of an illusion, then we would naturally claim that the illusion was theirs, and not ours.

Oh, and, of course each of these behaviors was causally necessary from any prior point in time. But then again, all events are always causally necessary from any prior point in time, so it barely deserves mentioning. The logical fact of causal necessity is the grandest of all trivialities.
Have you got a mouse in your pocket? It's not we anything. You have your views with which you are very casual while I'm sticking to a view that is a bit more, uh deterministic. Inventing causal necessity is really a bit much. If this follows that consistently it is determined. No need to insert some intervening variable such as necessary causality or causal necessity.

Determinism is the belief in causal necessity. Causal necessity is the notion that events are reliably caused by prior events. The prior events necessitate the current event. For example, if Babe Ruth hits the ball at the appropriate angle with sufficient force, then the ball will necessarily go over the outfield fence, scoring a home run.

The definition of determinism suggested in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) reads like this: "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."

Causal necessity simply asserts that every event is the reliable effect of prior events. The term "natural law" is a metaphor for that reliability. It is AS IF the objects were following a set of rules. But in actuality the rules are derived from observing reliable patterns of behavior in the objects and forces themselves. Neither natural law nor scientific law ever causes anything to happen. Only the objects and forces can actually cause events.
BS

Example why
Scientific method depends on testable, empirical, explanations. Determinism lies at the base of the setting, execution, measurement, and findings of experiments. Scientific theory depends on verification/falsification by empirical tests.

So, does your statement that "determinism lies at the base of the setting, execution, measurement, and findings of experiments" pass your own test, "scientific theory depends on verification/falsification by empirical tests"? What is the empirical test for determinism?
Love it, "the empirical test". Every procedure testing energy or information in operationally defined elements would be an empirical test for/of determinism. We normally call it the scientific method.
 

fromderinside

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So, I'm just gonna go and snip all the places you just kind of went off on weird lexical diarrhea storms of shit I didn't bring up and don't care about..

A combination of things, molecules, circuits, etc. are by agreement mechanisms. Operationalization is the method by which we understand mechanisms. Macrostructure is a basis. Subsequent to agreement we insert an intervening variables, cause and effect - because Oh, shit - the world is deterministic.

Ok, so, now we are beyond the point where you accept that there IS in fact an indeterminant element to our universe...

We cannot treat this cause and effect as singular, either.

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory

Yes, and while it is fun to recognize that there are many things science is blind to, because they only ever happen once...

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory. That same practice arrived at a deterministic relativistic model of things combined with a probabilistic quantum theory only results in determined models which goes a long way to explaining what, why, and how. Probabilistic quantum theory is not indeterministic
Probabilistic systems are, by definition "non-deterministic".

You ask a mathematician especially in the field of discrete mathematics "hey man, is snakes and ladders a deterministic game?" They will say "oh hell no, it's purely probabilistic."

"What about the card game 'war'"

"Oh that's purely probabilistic too; if you want a deterministic game, maybe consider a nice game of Tic Tac Toe, or Chess, or Go."

You may not like that very much, but that is the way this language works.

Choosing is something a transistor does. Choosing is something a processor core does.

Trying to find something so complicated that YOU as an individual can not wrap their head around the sheer scale of the graph that is doing this particular choice is no excuse to ignore that it is doing the same thing as the transistor, as the processor core:

Creating a juncture to which there is an indeterminate input, on which a differential outcome will occur on the basis of that input.

This input is indeterminate, with respect to the choosing reference frame, because of the property of LOCALITY.
Locality comes out of deterministic scientific theory. Even Einstein saw It as a subcategory of determinism, it is not indeterministic.

Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments


Excerpts:

Does a physical reality exist independent of our ability to observe it? To Bohr and his followers, such questions were meaningless. All that we can know are the results of measurements and observations. It makes no sense to speculate about an ultimate reality that exists beyond our perceptions.[6]: 460–461 

In the EPR thought experiment, however, Bohr had to admit that "there is no question of a mechanical disturbance of the system under investigation." On the other hand, he noted that the two particles were one system described by one quantum function. Furthermore, the EPR paper did nothing to dispel the uncertainty principle.[12]: 454–457  [note 19]

So stood the situation for nearly 30 years. Then, in 1964, John Stewart Bell made the groundbreaking discovery that Einstein's local realist world view made experimentally verifiable predictions that would be in conflict with those of quantum mechanics. Bell's discovery shifted the Einstein–Bohr debate from philosophy to the realm of experimental physics. Bell's theorem showed that, for any local realist formalism, there exist limits on the predicted correlations between pairs of particles in an experimental realization of the EPR thought experiment. In 1972, the first experimental tests were carried out. Successive experiments improved the accuracy of observation and closed loopholes. To date, it is virtually certain that local realist theories have been falsified.[49]

The EPR paper did not prove quantum mechanics to be incorrect. What it did prove was that quantum mechanics, with its "spooky action at a distance," is completely incompatible with commonsense understanding.[51] Furthermore, the effect predicted by the EPR paper, quantum entanglement, has inspired approaches to quantum mechanics different from the Copenhagen interpretation, and has been at the forefront of major technological advances in quantum computing, quantum encryption, and quantum information theory.[52]
So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... Every procedure testing energy or information in operationally defined elements would be an empirical test for/of determinism. We normally call it the scientific method.

The choosing operation inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. We can objectively observe people walking into the restaurant, sitting at a table, browsing a literal menu of options, and placing their orders. We hear them telling the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please". We observe the waiters bringing the meals to the customers along with a bill for their meal, holding each responsible for their deliberate act of placing the order.

If you want objective measurements we can count the customers, grouping them by gender and age. We can count the meals served broken down into the ratios of "this's" versus "that's" ordered. We can also survey the customers as to why they chose "this" meal rather than "that" meal, and classify their motives into different categories. We can do an economic analysis of the profit margins for each meal, and figure out what that restaurant owes their local and state government in meal taxes, and the share of the owner's profits that will go to her income taxes.

So, I think we can demonstrate, through empirical scientific methods, that choosing happened, why the choices were made, and the effects of that choosing upon the real world, in terms of the economic consequences that were causally necessitated by those choosing operations.

What we cannot do, given the empirical scientific data, is make any kind of metaphysical claim that the choosing operation did not happen.
 

Copernicus

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...In fact, it comes up a lot at conferences, because the overarching goal of AI is to replicate intelligent behavior in machines. It is of particular interest in the field of robotics, because robots have all the same problems that humans do in navigating in uncertain environments. They have to make the same kind of choices, and we model their behavior on human and animal behavior.

Intelligent behaviour in mechanical systems is not willed behaviour. There is no 'will' involved, just function. Function that is determined by circuitry and software.

You seem to think that human bodies are not mechanical systems for some reason. This is just doubling down on a genetic fallacy. Because robots are not "fleshy machines", you believe that bodies made of different materials cannot be made to perform the same functions. At least, that appears to be the unwarranted conclusion you are jumping to.

To conflate intelligence with will is a category error. They are two different things. An animal may not be considered intelligence, yet have both will and the ability to act in accordance to its will.

It would also be a mistake to conflate plain will with free will. We have will, but it is not free will.

Both the will of the animal and the actions that follow are necessitated by antecedents beyond the control of the animal.

Nobody has conflated intelligence with will, so that is a straw man. Obviously, we want people to make intelligent decisions, but they have been known to make stupid ones. Animals have brains and are obviously possess varying degrees of intelligence. The only reason they've been inserted in this discussion is because they don't have the same sense of morality that humans do, and moral responsibility is an issue that we associate with free will. However, in a debate over causal necessity where a concept like "free will" is on the chopping block, I don't see how moral responsibility is going to escape the same doom. I consider the moral responsibility issue as tangential, because morality only concerns human interactions, and even humans exempt each other from responsibility for their actions under many different circumstances. Animals are usually not held responsible for their actions by humans unless they can be trained to behave the way we want them to.

I think you believe that you have, but you don't show much evidence of understanding what definitions do or how they work.

I know exactly what definitions are. Just as I know exactly why compatibilists, given the nature of determinism and the nature of brain function, decision making, action initiation, etc, must define free will in the way they do.

Sorry, but you really don't seem to understand the descriptive nature of definitions, no matter how much you protest otherwise. You won't accept ordinary English usage in the definition of "free will" and insist on prescribing your own definition that seeks to make causal necessity a part of the definition. That begs the question of whether causal necessity ought to be part of the definition. That's why compatibilists consider hard determinists to be engaging in a  fallacy of definition wrt "free will". That's what the debate is about, so it can't be made a premise in your argument.

...

We've discussed Pereboom's Manipulation Argument in the past, and it has more to do with problems inherent in assigning moral responsibility than in actual free will. We judge the behavior of others because we are all expected to adhere to a moral code. However, that has more to do with moral philosophy than what it means to choose from a set of alternative acts of will. What does it mean to be responsible for one's actions? His article was very influential among philosophers, but it attracted as much criticism as praise. Although moral responsibility is often associated with free will, it doesn't actually define it. People may not always be held accountable for their actions, just as we don't hold animals accountable for theirs. Lacking a proper sense of moral responsibility does not mean that one lacks free will.

Moral responsibility is related to free will. As is the nature of cognition, decision making and action initiation.

Moral responsibility is related to free will, but free will does not entail moral responsibility. It is only about the role of free will in assigning moral responsibility, and there are many instances of free will that have nothing to do with morality. For example, animals and infants are responsible for the decisions they make, but not necessarily to adult humans. We teach children to be morally responsible in exercising free will, but we don't judge their actions as if they were already adults. There's a learning curve involved, and they don't suddenly acquire free will when they achieve adulthood.

Another way of putting it being:

Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated

2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers

3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.

Others have already dealt with this. From my perspective, it lacks a definition of what the word "powers' means, so it requires reading the paper that this is an abstract for in order to really discuss its merits intelligently.
 

Jarhyn

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So, I'm just gonna go and snip all the places you just kind of went off on weird lexical diarrhea storms of shit I didn't bring up and don't care about..

A combination of things, molecules, circuits, etc. are by agreement mechanisms. Operationalization is the method by which we understand mechanisms. Macrostructure is a basis. Subsequent to agreement we insert an intervening variables, cause and effect - because Oh, shit - the world is deterministic.

Ok, so, now we are beyond the point where you accept that there IS in fact an indeterminant element to our universe...

We cannot treat this cause and effect as singular, either.

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory

Yes, and while it is fun to recognize that there are many things science is blind to, because they only ever happen once...

Scientific practice is based on deterministic theory. That same practice arrived at a deterministic relativistic model of things combined with a probabilistic quantum theory only results in determined models which goes a long way to explaining what, why, and how. Probabilistic quantum theory is not indeterministic
Probabilistic systems are, by definition "non-deterministic".

You ask a mathematician especially in the field of discrete mathematics "hey man, is snakes and ladders a deterministic game?" They will say "oh hell no, it's purely probabilistic."

"What about the card game 'war'"

"Oh that's purely probabilistic too; if you want a deterministic game, maybe consider a nice game of Tic Tac Toe, or Chess, or Go."

You may not like that very much, but that is the way this language works.

Choosing is something a transistor does. Choosing is something a processor core does.

Trying to find something so complicated that YOU as an individual can not wrap their head around the sheer scale of the graph that is doing this particular choice is no excuse to ignore that it is doing the same thing as the transistor, as the processor core:

Creating a juncture to which there is an indeterminate input, on which a differential outcome will occur on the basis of that input.

This input is indeterminate, with respect to the choosing reference frame, because of the property of LOCALITY.
Locality comes out of deterministic scientific theory. Even Einstein saw It as a subcategory of determinism, it is not indeterministic.

Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments


Excerpts:

Does a physical reality exist independent of our ability to observe it? To Bohr and his followers, such questions were meaningless. All that we can know are the results of measurements and observations. It makes no sense to speculate about an ultimate reality that exists beyond our perceptions.[6]: 460–461 

In the EPR thought experiment, however, Bohr had to admit that "there is no question of a mechanical disturbance of the system under investigation." On the other hand, he noted that the two particles were one system described by one quantum function. Furthermore, the EPR paper did nothing to dispel the uncertainty principle.[12]: 454–457  [note 19]

So stood the situation for nearly 30 years. Then, in 1964, John Stewart Bell made the groundbreaking discovery that Einstein's local realist world view made experimentally verifiable predictions that would be in conflict with those of quantum mechanics. Bell's discovery shifted the Einstein–Bohr debate from philosophy to the realm of experimental physics. Bell's theorem showed that, for any local realist formalism, there exist limits on the predicted correlations between pairs of particles in an experimental realization of the EPR thought experiment. In 1972, the first experimental tests were carried out. Successive experiments improved the accuracy of observation and closed loopholes. To date, it is virtually certain that local realist theories have been falsified.[49]

The EPR paper did not prove quantum mechanics to be incorrect. What it did prove was that quantum mechanics, with its "spooky action at a distance," is completely incompatible with commonsense understanding.[51] Furthermore, the effect predicted by the EPR paper, quantum entanglement, has inspired approaches to quantum mechanics different from the Copenhagen interpretation, and has been at the forefront of major technological advances in quantum computing, quantum encryption, and quantum information theory.[52]
So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
 

fromderinside

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
 

fromderinside

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... Every procedure testing energy or information in operationally defined elements would be an empirical test for/of determinism. We normally call it the scientific method.

The choosing operation inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. We can objectively observe people walking into the restaurant, sitting at a table, browsing a literal menu of options, and placing their orders. We hear them telling the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please". We observe the waiters bringing the meals to the customers along with a bill for their meal, holding each responsible for their deliberate act of placing the order.

If you want objective measurements we can count the customers, grouping them by gender and age. We can count the meals served broken down into the ratios of "this's" versus "that's" ordered. We can also survey the customers as to why they chose "this" meal rather than "that" meal, and classify their motives into different categories. We can do an economic analysis of the profit margins for each meal, and figure out what that restaurant owes their local and state government in meal taxes, and the share of the owner's profits that will go to her income taxes.

So, I think we can demonstrate, through empirical scientific methods, that choosing happened, why the choices were made, and the effects of that choosing upon the real world, in terms of the economic consequences that were causally necessitated by those choosing operations.

What we cannot do, given the empirical scientific data, is make any kind of metaphysical claim that the choosing operation did not happen.
So I'm supposed to justify you provided an operational definition with that bit.

Nope. "I think you can find ..." doesn't cut it.
 

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Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated

2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers

3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.

Premise #2, "If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers", is not only false, but is clearly paradoxical. If there are no powers, then how is any event ever necessitated?

Premise #2 clearly refers to determinants that act upon us, elements that we have no control over: antecedents. We have no control over the circumstances of our birth, parents, genetics, location, culture, language, social and economic status, etc, etc...yet all of these things and more make us what we are, how we think and what we do.



Force, such as the force of gravity, causally necessitates the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Without that force, the Earth would fly off into space. So, gravity has the power to keep the Earth orbiting the Sun. Gravity exercises this power without choosing to do so, so gravity has no free will. But it definitely has the power to necessitate planetary orbits and necessitate objects falling to the ground when dropped, etc.

Yes, but the problem still remains that ''determinism makes it impossible for us to “cause and control our actions in the right kind of way” to qualify as an instance of 'freedom of will'


Premise #1 is correct, a priori, by definition. Determinism is the belief that all events are necessitated by prior events.
Premise #3 is almost correct, but it only applies to the agent's specific power to choose for itself what the agent will do.

Because premises #1 and #3 do not contradict each other, we must conclude that compatibilism is true.

Which overlooks the critical point: ''If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers'' - meaning necessary control over the processes that make us who we are, how we think, what we think and what we do is absent, and necessitated actions do not qualify as freedom of will.

''....take just one of our senses, vision. Light enters through the cornea, reaches the retina and is converted to nerve impulses by complex chemical reactions (rod,cones, etc) and conveyed by the optic nerve to the visual cortex, from there it is propogated throughout the brain, gathering memory and infomation before the signals return to the visual cortex and a representation of that information is formed, a conscious image of what we see.

The visual information is interpreted by the various systems of the brain and translated into a signals to take action (visual,auditory,tactile reflexes) and on to the prefrontal cortex region which deal with complex responses, one's social values, cultural expectations, ethics, etc - the seat of one's personality and sense of self. Finally the brain forms conscious thoughts a deliberation and sends a commands to its motor neurons, muscle groups, glands... and the action is undertaken.''
 

DBT

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...In fact, it comes up a lot at conferences, because the overarching goal of AI is to replicate intelligent behavior in machines. It is of particular interest in the field of robotics, because robots have all the same problems that humans do in navigating in uncertain environments. They have to make the same kind of choices, and we model their behavior on human and animal behavior.

Intelligent behaviour in mechanical systems is not willed behaviour. There is no 'will' involved, just function. Function that is determined by circuitry and software.

You seem to think that human bodies are not mechanical systems for some reason. This is just doubling down on a genetic fallacy. Because robots are not "fleshy machines", you believe that bodies made of different materials cannot be made to perform the same functions. At least, that appears to be the unwarranted conclusion you are jumping to.

I didn't say, or intend to imply, that human bodies are not mechanical systems. My distinction was meant to be between biological and artificial mechanical systems, evolved brains in contrast to silicon chips and circuitry. That's all.

To conflate intelligence with will is a category error. They are two different things. An animal may not be considered intelligence, yet have both will and the ability to act in accordance to its will.

It would also be a mistake to conflate plain will with free will. We have will, but it is not free will.

Both the will of the animal and the actions that follow are necessitated by antecedents beyond the control of the animal.

Nobody has conflated intelligence with will, so that is a straw man. Obviously, we want people to make intelligent decisions, but they have been known to make stupid ones. Animals have brains and are obviously possess varying degrees of intelligence. The only reason they've been inserted in this discussion is because they don't have the same sense of morality that humans do, and moral responsibility is an issue that we associate with free will. However, in a debate over causal necessity where a concept like "free will" is on the chopping block, I don't see how moral responsibility is going to escape the same doom. I consider the moral responsibility issue as tangential, because morality only concerns human interactions, and even humans exempt each other from responsibility for their actions under many different circumstances. Animals are usually not held responsible for their actions by humans unless they can be trained to behave the way we want them to.

You brought up 'free will' in robots when your presented: ''Here is a well-known 1999 paper by AI pioneer, John McCarthy: FREE WILL-EVEN FOR ROBOTS''

I pointed out that intelligence is not a matter of will, but circuitry, architecture and software. That a non-biological mechanical system has neither consciousness or will, only functionality.

That being the distinction between biological and artificial mechanical systems. We as biological systems have both consciousness and will, but will is not the driver or regulator, nor is will free. It is just will, the urge or drive to act.

Others have already dealt with this. From my perspective, it lacks a definition of what the word "powers' means, so it requires reading the paper that this is an abstract for in order to really discuss its merits intelligently.

It's been dealt with countless times: it means the regulative control necessary to qualify as freedom of will;

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


Movement Intention After Parietal Cortex Stimulation in Humans;
''Parietal and premotor cortex regions are serious contenders for bringing motor intentions and motor responses into awareness. We used electrical stimulation in seven patients undergoing awake brain surgery. Stimulating the right inferior parietal regions triggered a strong intention and desire to move the contralateral hand, arm, or foot, whereas stimulating the left inferior parietal region provoked the intention to move the lips and to talk. When stimulation intensity was increased in parietal areas, participants believed they had really performed these movements, although no electromyographic activity was detected. Stimulation of the premotor region triggered overt mouth and contralateral limb movements. Yet, patients firmly denied that they had moved. Conscious intention and motor awareness thus arise from increased parietal activity before movement execution.''
 

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The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

I've just demonstrated a proof of compatibility and you have not questioned any of the premises, so I believe you are stuck with the conclusion: The notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

You have brought this up before and I have addressed each and every point many times.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated. The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists. Choice requires alternate possibilities. No alternate possibilities exist within a determined system. The action that follows is a necessitated action, which if determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted. The action must necessarily happen as determined.

P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.

Correct. Not just reliably caused, but necessarily caused with no possible alternate action.

P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).

An action is not freely chosen, it is necessitated by goals, reasons or interests that have their own determinants/antecedents. We don't choose the circumstances of our birth, genetics, location, culture, social and economic circumstance, etc. Someone born into the slums of Calcutta is necessarily different perspective on life, self-identity and prospects than someone from a well to do family living in New York.

P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).

External force or influence interferes with or disrupts a persons desires or wishes, which, being determined by the factors outlined above, were not an example of free will.

The distinction lies between acting according to one's will and being forced against one's will: doing what you don't want to do.

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes;
''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. 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.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism

C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The conclusion, for reasons outlined above, does not follow from P1, P2, P3 or P4.

Sorry.











 

Jarhyn

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
This is.. so you realize that you are claiming all information exists everywhere? This is patently false. Not to mention also false due to the exclusion principle.

Information is not globally available. If it were, there would be no failure to ever predict anything and we would all know 100% of the future.

How is it so hard for you to accept that, in a locality, knowledge of oncoming states is not possible until those states happen?

There is a locality, the locality contains a discrete arrangement of stuff, and then that locality has additional contextual information become a part of it. The nature of the machine, part of what it has previously been caused it to be, is something that will generate decision on its context.

The fact that I can "draw a line" around any thing in the universe and look at just that one piece of the universe and say "IF the universe around this thing contains waves that will hit this bit of the thing presently, THEN the thing will change this way; else, it will change that way" is what choice is.

I try to narrow things down so you can understand them by looking at things that only experience a single form of decision, mostly because the more complicated things are much more obscure.

Anything you can draw a line around and make a statement like that, that thing experiences decision and choice. Which is... Pretty much everything once you get to standard model scales.

There will always be localities that do not contain certain information.

No matter how much you wish to squeeze locality out of the picture in terms of it's impact on the hiddenness of the future, it's still there, keeping you ignorant of the next moment, forcing you to make decisions: locally, there ARE many real possibilities. IF you see the red light, THEN you will stop.

Determinism does not invalidate choice. Rather it defines and creates it.
 

The AntiChris

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The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

I've just demonstrated a proof of compatibility and you have not questioned any of the premises, so I believe you are stuck with the conclusion: The notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

You have brought this up before and I have addressed each and every point many times.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated. The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists. Choice requires alternate possibilities. No alternate possibilities exist within a determined system. The action that follows is a necessitated action, which if determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted. The action must necessarily happen as determined.

P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.

Correct. Not just reliably caused, but necessarily caused with no possible alternate action.

P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).

An action is not freely chosen, it is necessitated by goals, reasons or interests that have their own determinants/antecedents. We don't choose the circumstances of our birth, genetics, location, culture, social and economic circumstance, etc. Someone born into the slums of Calcutta is necessarily different perspective on life, self-identity and prospects than someone from a well to do family living in New York.

P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).

External force or influence interferes with or disrupts a persons desires or wishes, which, being determined by the factors outlined above, were not an example of free will.

The distinction lies between acting according to one's will and being forced against one's will: doing what you don't want to do.

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes;
''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. 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.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism

C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The conclusion, for reasons outlined above, does not follow from P1, P2, P3 or P4.

Sorry.











This rebuttal reduces to: 'choice cannot exist in a deterministic world'.

This position is only sustainable if one subscribes to a usage of 'choose' that virtually no one else uses.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated
2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers
3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers
Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.

Premise #2, "If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers", is not only false, but is clearly paradoxical. If there are no powers, then how is any event ever necessitated?

Premise #2 clearly refers to determinants that act upon us, elements that we have no control over: antecedents.

But how can those determinants act upon us if they have no power?! The authors of that article have blundered. I'm sure they had some idea in mind, some new way of expressing the same old nonsense, but they have unfortunately only added more nonsense.

We have no control over the circumstances of our birth, parents, genetics, location, culture, language, social and economic status, etc, etc...yet all of these things and more make us what we are, how we think and what we do.

So, this is the old argument that someone must somehow be the cause of themselves before they can be considered the "true" cause of anything else. If they have prior causes, then those prior causes are the "true" causes.

There is a simple test that disposes of this kind of argument: Which of those prior causes had no prior causes? None. So, none of the prior causes can be considered "true" causes either. And we can repeat this test upon each of the prior causes of those prior causes with the same result. Thus we end up with a causal chain without a single "true" cause in the chain. Well, there goes true causation, down the drain, dragging determinism along with it.

What then is the "real deal" about the prior causes of us? Well, they are either an integral part of who and what we are right now, or they have no influence at all. I'm sitting alone in a room with a bowl of apples on the table. I'm feeling a bit peckish, and it's a couple of hours yet until dinner time. So, I decide to eat an apple. The hunger is me. The need to decide whether to postpone eating until dinnertime or have a snack now, is my own. I decide it will be okay to eat an apple now, so, I eat the apple.

All of the prior causes of me that could participate in my choice had to first become an integral part of who and what I am. Any other prior causes of me were missing from the room. Thus, it was who and what I was at that moment that actually made the choice to have the apple. It was really me, and not the prior causes of me.

The power to choose is an ability located uniquely within each of us. This power is nothing mystical or supernatural. It is our own brain, processing the information, that transforms our multiple options into a singular will to do something specific. This operation goes by the name "choosing", and we ourselves have the ability (power) to perform that operation.

Force, such as the force of gravity, causally necessitates the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Without that force, the Earth would fly off into space. So, gravity has the power to keep the Earth orbiting the Sun. Gravity exercises this power without choosing to do so, so gravity has no free will. But it definitely has the power to necessitate planetary orbits and necessitate objects falling to the ground when dropped, etc.

Yes, but the problem still remains that ''determinism makes it impossible for us to “cause and control our actions in the right kind of way” to qualify as an instance of 'freedom of will'

No. Choosing from the menu what I will order for dinner is precisely the "right kind of way" that qualifies as a freely chosen will. I made the choice myself, while free of any coercion or undue influence. Therefore, it was a choice of my own free will.

You are using some other definition of free will. You need to explicitly state it and then be prepared to defend it.

Which overlooks the critical point: ''If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers" - meaning necessary control over the processes that make us who we are, how we think, what we think and what we do is absent, and necessitated actions do not qualify as freedom of will.

That argument does not hold up. It asserts that in order for me to be the "true" cause of any event, then I must not have any prior causes, because those prior causes would be the "true" causes of the event, and not me. The problem with that argument is that all of my prior causes also happen to have prior causes, therefore they cannot be the "true" causes either! The hard determinist undermines determinism with that argument, because you end up with no "true" causes of anything. So, the argument is absurd.

''....take just one of our senses, vision. Light enters through the cornea, reaches the retina and is converted to nerve impulses by complex chemical reactions (rod,cones, etc) and conveyed by the optic nerve to the visual cortex, from there it is propogated throughout the brain, gathering memory and infomation before the signals return to the visual cortex and a representation of that information is formed, a conscious image of what we see.

The visual information is interpreted by the various systems of the brain and translated into a signals to take action (visual,auditory,tactile reflexes) and on to the prefrontal cortex region which deal with complex responses, one's social values, cultural expectations, ethics, etc - the seat of one's personality and sense of self. Finally the brain forms conscious thoughts a deliberation and sends a commands to its motor neurons, muscle groups, glands... and the action is undertaken.''

Thanks. Please note the portion I've highlighted. The brain forming conscious thoughts of deliberation and sending commands to its motor neurons to carry out its deliberately chosen intention is called a "freely chosen will", or simply "free will".
 

Copernicus

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...
You seem to think that human bodies are not mechanical systems for some reason. This is just doubling down on a genetic fallacy. Because robots are not "fleshy machines", you believe that bodies made of different materials cannot be made to perform the same functions. At least, that appears to be the unwarranted conclusion you are jumping to.

I didn't say, or intend to imply, that human bodies are not mechanical systems. My distinction was meant to be between biological and artificial mechanical systems, evolved brains in contrast to silicon chips and circuitry. That's all.

The problem here is not that you made a distinction. It is that you never explained its relevance. There is no reason to believe that an artificial mechanical system cannot do what an evolved biological mechanical one can. You are making a gratuitous distinction without a difference here.

...

Nobody has conflated intelligence with will, so that is a straw man. Obviously, we want people to make intelligent decisions, but they have been known to make stupid ones. Animals have brains and are obviously possess varying degrees of intelligence. The only reason they've been inserted in this discussion is because they don't have the same sense of morality that humans do, and moral responsibility is an issue that we associate with free will. However, in a debate over causal necessity where a concept like "free will" is on the chopping block, I don't see how moral responsibility is going to escape the same doom. I consider the moral responsibility issue as tangential, because morality only concerns human interactions, and even humans exempt each other from responsibility for their actions under many different circumstances. Animals are usually not held responsible for their actions by humans unless they can be trained to behave the way we want them to.

You brought up 'free will' in robots when your presented: ''Here is a well-known 1999 paper by AI pioneer, John McCarthy: FREE WILL-EVEN FOR ROBOTS''

I brought it up as a response to your skepticism that free will had anything to do with robotics, nothing more. I proved that it was a topic of interest in AI.

I pointed out that intelligence is not a matter of will, but circuitry, architecture and software. That a non-biological mechanical system has neither consciousness or will, only functionality.

That being the distinction between biological and artificial mechanical systems. We as biological systems have both consciousness and will, but will is not the driver or regulator, nor is will free. It is just will, the urge or drive to act.

You really seem stuck on this assumption that there is something special about biological mechanical systems that gives them a special power unavailable to mechanical systems composed of non-biological materials. I don't know why you assert your assumption here, but it is gratuitous. Your position on materialism is the same as mine--that the human mind depends entirely on physical brain activity. Why is the material that the "brain" is constructed from so relevant to your argument? You do realize, don't you, that this is the very essence of a genetic fallacy?

Others have already dealt with this. From my perspective, it lacks a definition of what the word "powers' means, so it requires reading the paper that this is an abstract for in order to really discuss its merits intelligently.

It's been dealt with countless times: it means the regulative control necessary to qualify as freedom of will;

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


Movement Intention After Parietal Cortex Stimulation in Humans;
''Parietal and premotor cortex regions are serious contenders for bringing motor intentions and motor responses into awareness. We used electrical stimulation in seven patients undergoing awake brain surgery. Stimulating the right inferior parietal regions triggered a strong intention and desire to move the contralateral hand, arm, or foot, whereas stimulating the left inferior parietal region provoked the intention to move the lips and to talk. When stimulation intensity was increased in parietal areas, participants believed they had really performed these movements, although no electromyographic activity was detected. Stimulation of the premotor region triggered overt mouth and contralateral limb movements. Yet, patients firmly denied that they had moved. Conscious intention and motor awareness thus arise from increased parietal activity before movement execution.''

The rebuttals have also been given countless times, so you don't get to declare yourself the winner of an argument if you just keep restating your original position as if it hadn't been refuted repeatedly and decisively. In the mind of the agent, there are alternative actions, so the agent believes it could have acted otherwise. Agents don't know which action would be best, and a calculation is made whose outcome is ultimately determined by factors unknown to the agent at the time. Free will is about the perception of an agent at a point in time, even if its future behavior is determined by prior events outside of its control. The freedom of choice is in the perspective of the agent, not God.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense the sense that another option was possible.

An action is chosen in the sense that two or more options are input, some criteria of comparative evaluation is applied, and a single choice is output. For example, a person enters a restaurant, browses the menu and places their order. I'm sure you've seen this many times, so it cannot reasonably be said that choosing doesn't happen.

You are using the "figurative sense", which does not reflect what is actually happening in the real world. Your claim is that, since the choice was inevitable it is AS IF choosing never happened. But it is an objective fact that choosing actually happened.

The problem with the figurative sense is that every figurative statement is literally false. I am describing what is actually happening, and you are not.

Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated.

No. Given determinism it was causally necessary/inevitable that the action would be actually chosen.

If a person's choice was inevitable, then it was also inevitable that the person would perform the choosing. The notion of universal causal necessity/inevitability does not imply what you believe it implies.

The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists. Choice requires alternate possibilities.

You're still caught up in the figurative sense. In the literal sense, the person in the restaurant has an actual menu of alternate possibilities. You cannot claim that any item on the menu is impossible, because the chef is prepared to fix any meal that the person chooses.

No alternate possibilities exist within a determined system.

Pardon me, but isn't that a menu you're holding?

The action that follows is a necessitated action, which if determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted. The action must necessarily happen as determined.

And if the choosing is a necessitated action then it must necessarily happen. There is no way around this.


P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.

Correct. Not just reliably caused, but necessarily caused with no possible alternate action.

Well, no. It was causally necessary that the restaurant would be there, that it would have menus on the table full of alternate possibilities, and that the person would choose one of them, of their own free will.

P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).

An action is not freely chosen, it is necessitated by goals, reasons or interests that have their own determinants/antecedents. We don't choose the circumstances of our birth, genetics, location, culture, social and economic circumstance, etc. Someone born into the slums of Calcutta is necessarily different perspective on life, self-identity and prospects than someone from a well to do family living in New York.

1. Free will does not require freedom from prior causes. In fact, the prior causes are assumed and explicitly referenced by "(with their prior causes)".
2. Free will does not require freedom from who and what we are at the time of choosing. P3 includes all of the genetics, culture, etc. which one would normally expect to apply.

Free will only requires freedom from coercion and other forms of undue influence that might remove our control over our own choices.

P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).

External force or influence interferes with or disrupts a persons desires or wishes,

Yes. A guy with a gun can force his will upon a person, forcing them to submit their will to his.

which, being determined by the factors outlined above, ...

Already included in my argument.

were not an example of free will.

A person does not get to choose their own genetics, etc., so things that are not chosen are unrelated to free will. Free will is about what we choose to do.

The distinction lies between acting according to one's will and being forced against one's will: doing what you don't want to do.

Yes. That is what coercion is about, when someone forces a person to do something against their will.

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes

Yes. So, causal necessity cannot be viewed as coercion, because coercion forces the person to do what they don't want, and it is logically and physically impossible for causal necessity to do the same. Causal necessity is a person doing what they would have done anyway. It never "makes" them do something they would rather not do.


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

Please stop quoting that trash. It adds nothing to your argument.

C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The conclusion, for reasons outlined above, does not follow from P1, P2, P3 or P4.

Unfortunately, the reasons you outlined above fail to contradict any of the premises or the conclusion.
 
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fromderinside

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
This is.. so you realize that you are claiming all information exists everywhere? This is patently false. Not to mention also false due to the exclusion principle.

Information is not globally available. If it were, there would be no failure to ever predict anything and we would all know 100% of the future.

How is it so hard for you to accept that, in a locality, knowledge of oncoming states is not possible until those states happen?

There is a locality, the locality contains a discrete arrangement of stuff, and then that locality has additional contextual information become a part of it. The nature of the machine, part of what it has previously been caused it to be, is something that will generate decision on its context.

The fact that I can "draw a line" around any thing in the universe and look at just that one piece of the universe and say "IF the universe around this thing contains waves that will hit this bit of the thing presently, THEN the thing will change this way; else, it will change that way" is what choice is.

I try to narrow things down so you can understand them by looking at things that only experience a single form of decision, mostly because the more complicated things are much more obscure.

Anything you can draw a line around and make a statement like that, that thing experiences decision and choice. Which is... Pretty much everything once you get to standard model scales.

There will always be localities that do not contain certain information.

No matter how much you wish to squeeze locality out of the picture in terms of it's impact on the hiddenness of the future, it's still there, keeping you ignorant of the next moment, forcing you to make decisions: locally, there ARE many real possibilities. IF you see the red light, THEN you will stop.

Determinism does not invalidate choice. Rather it defines and creates it.
Not squeezing because of hiddenness, just saying that information is available localities to some extent everywhere, not hidden. The probabilistic game begins to play as current information obeys the speed limit. Otherwise, the locality is moot. Something that has not arrived is being transmitted, not hidden. It is simply obeying material law. Otherwise, there'd be time travel. Once created information exists and the mailman will deliver it.

What we're having trouble with is how humans seem to have information before behavior. Think of behavior as many rather than singular. Then humans can have information, subvocalized and heard, before the muscles and other components engage. both are carriers of information, perhaps the same information or like, perhaps not.
 

fromderinside

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
This is.. so you realize that you are claiming all information exists everywhere? This is patently false. Not to mention also false due to the exclusion principle.

Information is not globally available. If it were, there would be no failure to ever predict anything and we would all know 100% of the future.

How is it so hard for you to accept that, in a locality, knowledge of oncoming states is not possible until those states happen?

There is a locality, the locality contains a discrete arrangement of stuff, and then that locality has additional contextual information become a part of it. The nature of the machine, part of what it has previously been caused it to be, is something that will generate decision on its context.

The fact that I can "draw a line" around any thing in the universe and look at just that one piece of the universe and say "IF the universe around this thing contains waves that will hit this bit of the thing presently, THEN the thing will change this way; else, it will change that way" is what choice is.

I try to narrow things down so you can understand them by looking at things that only experience a single form of decision, mostly because the more complicated things are much more obscure.

Anything you can draw a line around and make a statement like that, that thing experiences decision and choice. Which is... Pretty much everything once you get to standard model scales.

There will always be localities that do not contain certain information.

No matter how much you wish to squeeze locality out of the picture in terms of it's impact on the hiddenness of the future, it's still there, keeping you ignorant of the next moment, forcing you to make decisions: locally, there ARE many real possibilities. IF you see the red light, THEN you will stop.

Determinism does not invalidate choice. Rather it defines and creates it.
Not squeezing because of hiddenness, just saying that information is available localities to some extent everywhere, not hidden. The probabilistic game begins to play as current information obeys the speed limit. Otherwise, the locality is moot. Something that has not arrived is being transmitted, not hidden. It is simply obeying material law. Otherwise, there'd be time travel. Once created information exists and the mailman will deliver it.

What we're having trouble with is how humans seem to have information before behavior. Think of behavior as many rather than singular. Then humans can have information, subvocalized and heard, together with or before the muscles and other components engage. Both are carriers of information, perhaps the same information or like, perhaps not. Notice I didn't invoke choice. Didn't have to because the situation was properly defined. To understand try this thought experiment. Consider a plan then consider the muscles acting on the plan. What you'll get is confirmation you have executed the plan. I would be a waste of words to say we 'chose'. Here we go loop-de-loop ......
 

Jarhyn

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
This is.. so you realize that you are claiming all information exists everywhere? This is patently false. Not to mention also false due to the exclusion principle.

Information is not globally available. If it were, there would be no failure to ever predict anything and we would all know 100% of the future.

How is it so hard for you to accept that, in a locality, knowledge of oncoming states is not possible until those states happen?

There is a locality, the locality contains a discrete arrangement of stuff, and then that locality has additional contextual information become a part of it. The nature of the machine, part of what it has previously been caused it to be, is something that will generate decision on its context.

The fact that I can "draw a line" around any thing in the universe and look at just that one piece of the universe and say "IF the universe around this thing contains waves that will hit this bit of the thing presently, THEN the thing will change this way; else, it will change that way" is what choice is.

I try to narrow things down so you can understand them by looking at things that only experience a single form of decision, mostly because the more complicated things are much more obscure.

Anything you can draw a line around and make a statement like that, that thing experiences decision and choice. Which is... Pretty much everything once you get to standard model scales.

There will always be localities that do not contain certain information.

No matter how much you wish to squeeze locality out of the picture in terms of it's impact on the hiddenness of the future, it's still there, keeping you ignorant of the next moment, forcing you to make decisions: locally, there ARE many real possibilities. IF you see the red light, THEN you will stop.

Determinism does not invalidate choice. Rather it defines and creates it.
Not squeezing because of hiddenness, just saying that information is available localities to some extent everywhere, not hidden. The probabilistic game begins to play as current information obeys the speed limit. Otherwise, the locality is moot. Something that has not arrived is being transmitted, not hidden. It is simply obeying material law. Otherwise, there'd be time travel. Once created information exists and the mailman will deliver it.

What we're having trouble with is how humans seem to have information before behavior. Think of behavior as many rather than singular. Then humans can have information, subvocalized and heard, before the muscles and other components engage. both are carriers of information, perhaps the same information or like, perhaps not.
You claim that "it is being transmitted and is not hidden".

This is false; It is locally hidden.

This is material law.

The FACT that the mailman has not yet delivered it is relevant.
 

fromderinside

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Now things get interesting. Your response forced me to take a crash, three-hour tour through locality and to scan an article on Einstein's thought experiments.

 Einstein's thought experiments

So while I still hold that determinism is the basis for the scientific method I accept there are aspects of QM that need resolution for us to get to a reality we can communicate. I thank you Jarhyn for pushing me there.

At the same time, I'm ever more confident that information and thermodynamics are related. But, at the same time I'm with Bohr in all that we need to be concerned about are empirical (deterministic= scientific method) experimental results.

Even now I'm seeing advances in science following empirical principles, keeping me firmly in the Determinists camp. Yet it would be a hoot for a deterministic methodology to arrive at reality as not deterministic.
"Indetermined" is not equal to "indeterministic" or even "probabilistic"

It just means that "the information that will create the next configuration if this stable system has not happened and does not exist within the locality yet.

Read my post again while holding that in your mind and then make a more correct reply, if any.
Thank ewe for clearing me up. Just because something may as are not in a locality, an energy field already exists, there is always something in space which is one reason why I wrote quantum locality is just a convenience in an earlier post.


Schwinger, DeRaad, and Milton (1978) are cited by Milonni (1994) as validly, though unconventionally, explaining the Casimir effect with a model in which "the vacuum is regarded as truly a state with all physical properties equal to zero."[31][32] In this model, the observed phenomena are explained as the effects of the electron motions on the electromagnetic field, called the source field effect. Milonni writes:

The basic idea here will be that the Casimir force may be derived from the source fields alone even in completely conventional QED, ... Milonni provides detailed argument that the measurable physical effects usually attributed to the vacuum electromagnetic field cannot be explained by that field alone, but require in addition a contribution from the self-energy of the electrons, or their radiation reaction. He writes: "The radiation reaction and the vacuum fields are two aspects of the same thing when it comes to physical interpretations of various QED processes including the Lamb shift, van der Waals forces, and Casimir effects."[33]
I think that is a pretty good placeholder for fields being everywhere. Now all we need do is include that information substrate is not the particular information itself leading to your noting "... stable system ....". But the fields exist in some form, state everywhere.

So, yes the specific state can't travel faster than the speed of light but some status of the state exists there so no cake and eat it too. The field exists all the time, just not in a particular configuration to introduce probabilistic nature to support speed limits in QM.

I think that handles sets stage for whatever we need to explain how reality and relativity exist at the same time.
This is.. so you realize that you are claiming all information exists everywhere? This is patently false. Not to mention also false due to the exclusion principle.

Information is not globally available. If it were, there would be no failure to ever predict anything and we would all know 100% of the future.

How is it so hard for you to accept that, in a locality, knowledge of oncoming states is not possible until those states happen?

There is a locality, the locality contains a discrete arrangement of stuff, and then that locality has additional contextual information become a part of it. The nature of the machine, part of what it has previously been caused it to be, is something that will generate decision on its context.

The fact that I can "draw a line" around any thing in the universe and look at just that one piece of the universe and say "IF the universe around this thing contains waves that will hit this bit of the thing presently, THEN the thing will change this way; else, it will change that way" is what choice is.

I try to narrow things down so you can understand them by looking at things that only experience a single form of decision, mostly because the more complicated things are much more obscure.

Anything you can draw a line around and make a statement like that, that thing experiences decision and choice. Which is... Pretty much everything once you get to standard model scales.

There will always be localities that do not contain certain information.

No matter how much you wish to squeeze locality out of the picture in terms of it's impact on the hiddenness of the future, it's still there, keeping you ignorant of the next moment, forcing you to make decisions: locally, there ARE many real possibilities. IF you see the red light, THEN you will stop.

Determinism does not invalidate choice. Rather it defines and creates it.
Not squeezing because of hiddenness, just saying that information is available localities to some extent everywhere, not hidden. The probabilistic game begins to play as current information obeys the speed limit. Otherwise, the locality is moot. Something that has not arrived is being transmitted, not hidden. It is simply obeying material law. Otherwise, there'd be time travel. Once created information exists and the mailman will deliver it.

What we're having trouble with is how humans seem to have information before behavior. Think of behavior as many rather than singular. Then humans can have information, subvocalized and heard, before the muscles and other components engage. both are carriers of information, perhaps the same information or like, perhaps not.
You claim that "it is being transmitted and is not hidden".

This is false; It is locally hidden.

This is material law.

The FACT that the mailman has not yet delivered it is relevant.
How far are you willing to go with your mailman analogy. I contend it is in the system and the mailman has it. I've already specified the speed limit constraint. Then you tell me the location is material, that because choosing is important the processor and register in the processor are in a locality. Well so is a bit of field information reserving the line for the particular content at the location even in the register.

So why exclude information just because it takes time to complete the trip. Seems to me that location as a condition isn't very viable given the system exists to receive the message whether it is adjacent, in location or information must travel space to the location where some of the information exists already.

The information contains the operation and the machine merely contains the processes necessary to execute the information. It's not choosing due to the existence of locality because the locality has nothing to do with choosing. That a machine has many capabilities is meaningless because the information only produces information to do one thing. Locality only establishes the place where the information is executed.

Poof.
 

DBT

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The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

The proof is this:
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.
P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

I've just demonstrated a proof of compatibility and you have not questioned any of the premises, so I believe you are stuck with the conclusion: The notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

You have brought this up before and I have addressed each and every point many times.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated. The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists. Choice requires alternate possibilities. No alternate possibilities exist within a determined system. The action that follows is a necessitated action, which if determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted. The action must necessarily happen as determined.

P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.

Correct. Not just reliably caused, but necessarily caused with no possible alternate action.

P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).

An action is not freely chosen, it is necessitated by goals, reasons or interests that have their own determinants/antecedents. We don't choose the circumstances of our birth, genetics, location, culture, social and economic circumstance, etc. Someone born into the slums of Calcutta is necessarily different perspective on life, self-identity and prospects than someone from a well to do family living in New York.

P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).

External force or influence interferes with or disrupts a persons desires or wishes, which, being determined by the factors outlined above, were not an example of free will.

The distinction lies between acting according to one's will and being forced against one's will: doing what you don't want to do.

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes;
''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. 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.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism

C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.

The conclusion, for reasons outlined above, does not follow from P1, P2, P3 or P4.

Sorry.











This rebuttal reduces to: 'choice cannot exist in a deterministic world'.

This position is only sustainable if one subscribes to a usage of 'choose' that virtually no one else uses.


Common usage refers to action and appeared, which doesn't necessarily relate to the ultimate nature of the world, that if determinism is true, all events are fixed according to initial conditions and proceed as a matter of natural law. If that is the case, options are not chosen, they are necessitated. There is no possible alternate action. Common usage does not account for the physics of determinism, only surface appearance. Just like we feel that we are making conscious decisions, yet neuroscience tells us that the work is done unconsciously milliseconds prior to conscious experience.

This has been explained over and over and over....yet the same objections are trotted out regardless.
 

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You seem to think that human bodies are not mechanical systems for some reason. This is just doubling down on a genetic fallacy. Because robots are not "fleshy machines", you believe that bodies made of different materials cannot be made to perform the same functions. At least, that appears to be the unwarranted conclusion you are jumping to.

I didn't say, or intend to imply, that human bodies are not mechanical systems. My distinction was meant to be between biological and artificial mechanical systems, evolved brains in contrast to silicon chips and circuitry. That's all.

The problem here is not that you made a distinction. It is that you never explained its relevance. There is no reason to believe that an artificial mechanical system cannot do what an evolved biological mechanical one can. You are making a gratuitous distinction without a difference here.

The relevance is that machine intelligence has neither consciousness or will, only function. Humans and other animals have functionality that acts through the medium of consciousness and will (the urge or prompt to act).

Some feel that because they are making conscious, willed, decisions that this is free will at work. Machined cannot think consciously nor do they have will. Which is relevant for that definition of free will, making conscious decisions.

Compatibilism of course defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will, which is in contrast to non biological mechanical intelligence which has neither consciousness or will, but is able to produce determinations and unimpeded actions based on its deteminations.

The significance of all this has been explained numerous times, and I'm tired of repeating.






...

Nobody has conflated intelligence with will, so that is a straw man. Obviously, we want people to make intelligent decisions, but they have been known to make stupid ones. Animals have brains and are obviously possess varying degrees of intelligence. The only reason they've been inserted in this discussion is because they don't have the same sense of morality that humans do, and moral responsibility is an issue that we associate with free will. However, in a debate over causal necessity where a concept like "free will" is on the chopping block, I don't see how moral responsibility is going to escape the same doom. I consider the moral responsibility issue as tangential, because morality only concerns human interactions, and even humans exempt each other from responsibility for their actions under many different circumstances. Animals are usually not held responsible for their actions by humans unless they can be trained to behave the way we want them to.

You brought up 'free will' in robots when your presented: ''Here is a well-known 1999 paper by AI pioneer, John McCarthy: FREE WILL-EVEN FOR ROBOTS''

I brought it up as a response to your skepticism that free will had anything to do with robotics, nothing more. I proved that it was a topic of interest in AI.

It is a topic of interest in AI, however as far as I know, AI has yet to achieve consciousness or will.

I pointed out that intelligence is not a matter of will, but circuitry, architecture and software. That a non-biological mechanical system has neither consciousness or will, only functionality.

That being the distinction between biological and artificial mechanical systems. We as biological systems have both consciousness and will, but will is not the driver or regulator, nor is will free. It is just will, the urge or drive to act.

You really seem stuck on this assumption that there is something special about biological mechanical systems that gives them a special power unavailable to mechanical systems composed of non-biological materials. I don't know why you assert your assumption here, but it is gratuitous. Your position on materialism is the same as mine--that the human mind depends entirely on physical brain activity. Why is the material that the "brain" is constructed from so relevant to your argument? You do realize, don't you, that this is the very essence of a genetic fallacy?

I'm not stuck on anything. You asked for a distinction between the brain and Computer AI, and I gave it. Pointing out that AI has neither mind or will, only functionality, however complex. The suggestion was that free will may be possible for AI.

That's all. Don't read too much into it.

The rebuttals have also been given countless times, so you don't get to declare yourself the winner of an argument if you just keep restating your original position as if it hadn't been refuted repeatedly and decisively. In the mind of the agent, there are alternative actions, so the agent believes it could have acted otherwise. Agents don't know which action would be best, and a calculation is made whose outcome is ultimately determined by factors unknown to the agent at the time. Free will is about the perception of an agent at a point in time, even if its future behavior is determined by prior events outside of its control. The freedom of choice is in the perspective of the agent, not God.

Compatibilism has no rebuttals, only carefully crafted wording designed to give the impression of free will where no free will exists.

Acting according to one's will is not an instance of free will, but a necessity. Determined actions are not freely chosen, they are necessitated

The distinction between being forced against ones will and acting in accordance with ones will is that. Will itself is not free, acting in accordance with ones will is inevitable, unless disrupted by force....with that disruptive element itself being determined.

The correct description being ''he acted according to his will'' or ''he was forced against his will'' Just 'will' because if the world is determined, free will is an illusion.
 

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Abstract

If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced:

1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated
2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers
3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers
Therefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say that free will is incompatible with determinism, so compatibilism is false.

Premise #2, "If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers", is not only false, but is clearly paradoxical. If there are no powers, then how is any event ever necessitated?

Premise #2 clearly refers to determinants that act upon us, elements that we have no control over: antecedents.

But how can those determinants act upon us if they have no power?! The authors of that article have blundered. I'm sure they had some idea in mind, some new way of expressing the same old nonsense, but they have unfortunately only added more nonsense.

Cause and effect (causal determinism) is the power. Cause is an effect and effect becomes cause. Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Evolution brought us into being, determined our genetic makeup, our capacities and weaknesses, our thoughts and our actions.

That is the nature and definition of a determined world. 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.

Compatibilism accepts that the world is determined, but defines free will as acting in accordance to one's will.

A definition that is inadequate to prove the proposition because mind and will itself is determined and the actions that follow are inevitable actions, not freely willed actions

''Not freely willed'' in the real sense that what is being willed is a consequence of antecedents, the pesky actions of cause/effect, each cause an effect and each effect a cause as time and events roll on, unstoppable as a runaway freight train, no deviations, no alternate thoughts, decisions or actions, no maybe, no if only, no what if, only what is.

That is determinism.


The visual information is interpreted by the various systems of the brain and translated into a signals to take action (visual,auditory,tactile reflexes) and on to the prefrontal cortex region which deal with complex responses, one's social values, cultural expectations, ethics, etc - the seat of one's personality and sense of self. Finally the brain forms conscious thoughts a deliberation and sends a commands to its motor neurons, muscle groups, glands... and the action is undertaken.''

Thanks. Please note the portion I've highlighted. The brain forming conscious thoughts of deliberation and sending commands to its motor neurons to carry out its deliberately chosen intention is called a "freely chosen will", or simply "free will".


Only by those who the desire to prove the idea of free will through the use of carefully crafted wording. Conscious thoughts or deliberations are not the means of decision making, only the report, a part of the conscious 'mental map' of self and one's surroundings generated as a means of navigation within a complex environment: the world around us.

Basically:
''What did you have for breakfast this morning? Was it delicious? Was it one to forget? Whatever it was, you didn't choose to have it. You might think you did. But, in actuality, you didn't. And though you may have had the conscious awareness of choice — porridge or toast? coffee or tea? — and remember making an active decision, the fact is you could not have selected any other option. Any decision you think you may have made was simply an illusion.''

''And, unfortunately, it doesn't just stop at breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or in fact any decision you ever remember making. Everything you've done couldn't possibly have happened any other way, and everything you will do will be decided for you — without any input from your conscious self.''

''Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.''
 

Jarhyn

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How far are you willing to go with your mailman analogy. I contend it is in the system and the mailman has it. I've already specified the speed limit constraint.
Nobody is contending whether "the mailman has it". The mailBOX does not.

Until the mail is in my hot little hand, I have a choice set up, just waiting to see which way the pins go. Then when the mail comes, decision on the choice happens
 

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Common usage does not account for the physics of determinism, only surface appearance.
You're confirming what I said. When you talk about 'choice', you're not talking about about the same thing as the rest of us.
 

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Cause and effect (causal determinism) is the power.

Nope. Concepts do not possess any powers. You are once again suggesting that causal necessity as an agent exercising control over the actual objects and forces that make up the actual universe. The reason I keep pointing this out is that you and I happen to be actual objects within the actual universe.

If I toss a rock off a cliff, it will be the force of gravity that causally necessitates that the rock will fall downward. It will not be causal necessity that exerts power over the rock. It will be the power of gravity that is causing the falling.

In the same fashion, it will be my own power to lift the rock, and toss it over the cliff, that causally necessitates that the rock will have a long journey to the base of the cliff.

Cause is an effect and effect becomes cause.

Yes. Prior events caused me, and now I myself can cause new events.

Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Physics describes what is happening in physical terms. But Physics is not a power that "shapes or forms" anything. Physics describes gravity and inertia, but physics is not gravity or inertia.

Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I pick up the rock. Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I toss the rock over the side of the cliff.

But physics cannot lift the rock or toss the rock. Only I can do that. Physics has no power to actually do anything.

And when it comes to describing why I happened to pick up and toss the rock, Physics is at a complete loss. It must hand off those questions to Biology and Psychology.

Evolution brought us into being, determined our genetic makeup, our capacities and weaknesses, our thoughts and our actions.

Yes. Prior events caused me, and now I myself can cause new events, according to my own goals, reasons, and interests. Evolution will not choose for me what I will have for breakfast. I will have to do that myself.

That is the nature and definition of a determined world. 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.

Again, determinism is not an agent with its own agenda and the power to enforce it. Determinism is the belief that all events are the reliable result of prior events. For example, my choosing to toss the rock off the cliff was the prior event that causally necessitated the rock falling to the base of the cliff. And I was able to do that choosing and that tossing without breaking any of the laws of nature.

Compatibilism accepts that the world is determined, but defines free will as acting in accordance to one's will.

Yes.

A definition that is inadequate to prove the proposition because mind and will itself is determined and the actions that follow are inevitable actions, not freely willed actions

Our choices are always causally necessary/inevitable, and, when free of coercion and undue influence, our choices are always our own. But when not free of coercion and undue influence, our choices are not our own.

There is no "either inevitable or me". It is always "both inevitable and inevitably me" (or "both inevitable and the guy with the gun").

''Not freely willed'' in the real sense that what is being willed is a consequence of antecedents, the pesky actions of cause/effect, each cause an effect and each effect a cause as time and events roll on, unstoppable as a runaway freight train, no deviations, no alternate thoughts, decisions or actions, no maybe, no if only, no what if, only what is.

I don't find my prior causes to be pesky. After all, they made me the man that I am today. And I happen to be intelligent being with the ability to imagine alternative possibilities and choose for myself what I will do.

That is determinism.

Yes, and free will, too.


The visual information is interpreted by the various systems of the brain and translated into a signals to take action (visual,auditory,tactile reflexes) and on to the prefrontal cortex region which deal with complex responses, one's social values, cultural expectations, ethics, etc - the seat of one's personality and sense of self. Finally the brain forms conscious thoughts a deliberation and sends a commands to its motor neurons, muscle groups, glands... and the action is undertaken.''

Thanks. Please note the portion I've highlighted. The brain forming conscious thoughts of deliberation and sending commands to its motor neurons to carry out its deliberately chosen intention is called a "freely chosen will", or simply "free will".

Only by those who the desire to prove the idea of free will through the use of carefully crafted wording.

Hmm. And what about all those metaphors and figurative statements that hard determinists employ?

Conscious thoughts or deliberations are not the means of decision making, only the report, a part of the conscious 'mental map' of self and one's surroundings generated as a means of navigation within a complex environment: the world around us.

Every decision that is likely to require an explanation will involve conscious thought. None of the decisions in the Libet experiments required the subjects to explain their choices. However, someone might expect to be asked, "Why did you volunteer to be a subject in Libet's experiment?"

Basically:
''What did you have for breakfast this morning? Was it delicious? Was it one to forget? Whatever it was, you didn't choose to have it. You might think you did. But, in actuality, you didn't. And though you may have had the conscious awareness of choice — porridge or toast? coffee or tea? — and remember making an active decision, the fact is you could not have selected any other option. Any decision you think you may have made was simply an illusion.''

''And, unfortunately, it doesn't just stop at breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or in fact any decision you ever remember making. Everything you've done couldn't possibly have happened any other way, and everything you will do will be decided for you — without any input from your conscious self.''

''Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.''

Hello, Sam Harris. Sam, be a dear, and explain to us who or what decided what I would have for breakfast this morning. If it was not me (with all my prior causes), then who was it?
 

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.
 

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.
Well, we are no different in many cases than rocks rolling down hills.

It just happens that the hills rocks such as us roll down are quite a lot more complicated.

The rock still makes choices that rocks are capable of making, merely by being what they are.

It's just that rocks don't make very exciting or interesting decisions, and the choices that lead to those decisions are also boring,.
 

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How far are you willing to go with your mailman analogy. I contend it is in the system and the mailman has it. I've already specified the speed limit constraint.
Nobody is contending whether "the mailman has it". The mailBOX does not.

Until the mail is in my hot little hand, I have a choice set up, just waiting to see which way the pins go. Then when the mail comes, decision on the choice happens
The message being sent is the answer to the questions you have. Since you are not in possession of the information there is really no decision being primed, nothing upon which to base it. You might go into a wait-and-see or review options loop, but a decision loop I think not. The information carries the message and you execute it. What decision? What choice? Everything depends on there being information which you don't have until the message arrives.
 

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...
The problem here is not that you made a distinction. It is that you never explained its relevance. There is no reason to believe that an artificial mechanical system cannot do what an evolved biological mechanical one can. You are making a gratuitous distinction without a difference here.

The relevance is that machine intelligence has neither consciousness or will, only function. Humans and other animals have functionality that acts through the medium of consciousness and will (the urge or prompt to act).

Some feel that because they are making conscious, willed, decisions that this is free will at work. Machined cannot think consciously nor do they have will. Which is relevant for that definition of free will, making conscious decisions.

I don't know where you are getting any of this. Nobody has said that robots have consciousness or free will here. Free will is a matter of interest, i.e. a research topic, in AI, because it is necessary for robots to operate autonomously under uncertain conditions--the same as humans. You appeared to be saying that we could not engineer mechanical systems with consciousness or free will, but now you seem confused about whether the issue was over mechanical systems having those functions today, which is utterly absurd. There is no reason to believe that artificial mechanical systems could not someday be engineered that would have consciousness and other mental functions, just like biologically evolved mechanical systems do now. I hope that this clears up the confusion for you.

Compatibilism of course defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will, which is in contrast to non biological mechanical intelligence which has neither consciousness or will, but is able to produce determinations and unimpeded actions based on its determinations.

The significance of all this has been explained numerous times, and I'm tired of repeating.

Perhaps you wouldn't be repeating yourself if you had given more thought to what I was actually saying about that subject.

It is a topic of interest in AI, however as far as I know, AI has yet to achieve consciousness or will.

I thought that that would be obvious to you. Did you think I was trying to claim that AI had achieved that level of development? Maybe you have been exposed to too many science fiction movies and stories. :)

Anyway, it does seem that we aren't really engaging in a discussion anymore, since you seem to be responding to positions that you think I take but that I have not taken. You can repeat that you think free will is an illusion, because you insist that the concept must ultimately mean freedom from causal necessity, and it doesn't matter if others try to disabuse you of that notion. My position is that "free will" means what speakers of English think it means, and causal necessity has nothing to do with what they think it is. In fact, people do seem to believe quite strongly that future outcome will be determined by factors that they may be unaware of, so they base their choices on their best calculation of how the future will unfold. That is really easy to understand, I think, but you can, and likely will, continue to cling to the idea that free will only makes sense if it is freedom from causal necessity. So I'll leave you to continue the discussion with others.
 

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Common usage does not account for the physics of determinism, only surface appearance.
You're confirming what I said. When you talk about 'choice', you're not talking about about the same thing as the rest of us.

You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
 

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;


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

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

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

The AntiChris

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You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
No. I didn't miss anything.

I've been talking about your use of the word "choice". You've changed the subject.
 

The AntiChris

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;


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

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

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

Your response doesn't seem to bear any relationship the the question asked.
 

DBT

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Cause and effect (causal determinism) is the power.

Nope. Concepts do not possess any powers. You are once again suggesting that causal necessity as an agent exercising control over the actual objects and forces that make up the actual universe. The reason I keep pointing this out is that you and I happen to be actual objects within the actual universe.

No need to repeat what you say, you seem to be missngi the point. 'Power' in this instance is more a matter of information, energy and 'work' in the scientific sense.

You don't need to use the word 'power,' we are talking about the deterministic interaction of matter/energy objects, physics; how thing interact in a determined world.

Once again, events are not being forced by some external power, interactions are determined by the properties of the objects, animals. plants, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, solar energy and so on.


If I toss a rock off a cliff, it will be the force of gravity that causally necessitates that the rock will fall downward. It will not be causal necessity that exerts power over the rock. It will be the power of gravity that is causing the falling.

In the same fashion, it will be my own power to lift the rock, and toss it over the cliff, that causally necessitates that the rock will have a long journey to the base of the cliff.

It is the nature of Gravity that 'necessitates' the motion/acceleration of falling objects, the atmosphere creates drag. How long the object is in motion is determined by a number of factors, height, drag, terminal velocity, etc.....


Cause is an effect and effect becomes cause.

Yes. Prior events caused me, and now I myself can cause new events.

What you do is determined by prior events. You have no possible alternative. You do precisely what is determined. The nature of determinism is that you do not have the freedom to deviate or choose to do something else. Consequently, you have no free will. You do have will. You can act according to your will, but you do so necessarily.

Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Physics describes what is happening in physical terms. But Physics is not a power that "shapes or forms" anything. Physics describes gravity and inertia, but physics is not gravity or inertia.

Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I pick up the rock. Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I toss the rock over the side of the cliff.

But physics cannot lift the rock or toss the rock. Only I can do that. Physics has no power to actually do anything.

And when it comes to describing why I happened to pick up and toss the rock, Physics is at a complete loss. It must hand off those questions to Biology and Psychology.

The physics of your brain determines what you see, feel, think and do. The physics of your body obeys the commands of the physics of your brain as you carry out your actions.


Principle 1.
'The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems (such as face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation). Over evolutionary time, its circuits were cumulatively added because they "reasoned" or "processed information" in a way that enhanced the adaptive regulation of behavior and physiology.

Realizing that the function of the brain is information-processing has allowed cognitive scientists to resolve (at least one version of) the mind/body problem. For cognitive scientists, brain and mind are terms that refer to the same system, which can be described in two complementary ways -- either in terms of its physical properties (the brain), or in terms of its information-processing operation (the mind). The physical organization of the brain evolved because that physical organization brought about certain information-processing relationships -- ones that were adaptive.''

It is important to realize that our circuits weren't designed to solve just any old kind of problem. They were designed to solve adaptive problems.''


Again, determinism is not an agent with its own agenda and the power to enforce it.

Nobody said it was.

Hello, Sam Harris. Sam, be a dear, and explain to us who or what decided what I would have for breakfast this morning. If it was not me (with all my prior causes), then who was it?

Sure, it was all the prior causes that brought you to the breakfast table, causes that act upon your system, your brain, which processes its inputs and produces conscious experience, thoughts and deliberations as a means of interacting with your environment in order to meet your needs and wants....which is determined milliseconds before you are aware of the 'decision' you/the brain makes.

Which means that Sam Harris is essentially correct in what he says.

Moreover;
''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.
 

DBT

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You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
No. I didn't miss anything.

I've been talking about your use of the word "choice". You've changed the subject.

Again. 'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication. Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions, the options that appear available to us are an illusion formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''
 

pood

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;

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

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

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

But you have not addressed what I said at all. I am not asking you to describe how you think the brain works.The question I am asking, which thus far you have glossed over at best, is why you think evolution gave us brains that seem to evaluate among multiple options and then choose the one that seems best, if all this is an illusion. There must have been a rather vast number of selective pressures over many generations to produce a brain that doesn’t actually do what it seems to do! Also, you keep repeating the claim that the brain is a computer. So far as I know — perhaps I missed it — you did not address the rather detailed article I posted arguing that the brain is NOT a computer, and that it takes active steps in constructing reality and choosing among options.
 

Jarhyn

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How far are you willing to go with your mailman analogy. I contend it is in the system and the mailman has it. I've already specified the speed limit constraint.
Nobody is contending whether "the mailman has it". The mailBOX does not.

Until the mail is in my hot little hand, I have a choice set up, just waiting to see which way the pins go. Then when the mail comes, decision on the choice happens
The message being sent is the answer to the questions you have. Since you are not in possession of the information there is really no decision being primed, nothing upon which to base it. You might go into a wait-and-see or review options loop, but a decision loop I think not. The information carries the message and you execute it. What decision? What choice? Everything depends on there being information which you don't have until the message arrives.
No, you do not merely "execute the information". Most of the execution is information already present, and even if it were not, WHAT is it pray tell that is doing the execution?

It is certainly not the whole universe. It is certainly not all of prior causality. It is the locality doing the execution.

The locality doing an execution on incoming information here is DECISION!

And further, you have classified through hand-waving definition this "wait and see" as 'not choice'.

I reject this definitional rejection. This rejection of your decision to just attempt to stop using the word "choice" and "decision" makes them no more or less real as phenomena.

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

I sit at a screen viewing an entire universe on pause. A question is posed to me, as a result of prior cause: what do you wish to attack this goblin with?

I can choose many things. But moreover... Let's just imagine for a moment that I stop right there and save my game and quit, and make a copy of the file, and send it to you.

Now, we are both sitting in the same seat in the same (for now) universe looking at the same text.

You can choose to attack the goblin in the head with our spear.

I can choose to attack the goblin in the feet with our battle axe.

The same question, posed in different contexts, yields different answers. There are now two universes where there was previously only the identity of one.

We're we to make the same decisions the same things would happen. Yet we are not bound to.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... You don't need to use the word 'power,'

You introduced the word "power" in the material you quoted. Remember this nugget?
1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated
2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers
3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

It had never come up in our discussion until you brought it to the table.

... we are talking about the deterministic interaction of matter/energy objects, physics; how thing interact in a determined world.

Right. This is more commonly known as simple "cause and effect". Evolution over time caused humans like you and me to eventually appear on the Earth. So, there are prior causes of you and me. I pick up a rock and toss it off the cliff, causing the rock to fall to the bottom of the cliff. So, now that I'm here, I get to be the cause new events.

Once again, events are not being forced by some external power, interactions are determined by the properties of the objects, animals. plants, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, solar energy and so on.

And one of my properties is the ability to choose whether to toss the rock off the cliff, or just drop it back on the ground, without throwing it anywhere.

It is the nature of Gravity that 'necessitates' the motion/acceleration of falling objects, the atmosphere creates drag. How long the object is in motion is determined by a number of factors, height, drag, terminal velocity, etc.....

Yes. I caused the rock to be in a position where nothing would stop it from falling to the bottom of the cliff.
But gravity actually caused the falling, after I tossed the rock off the cliff by my own choice.
That's how things work. Simple cause and effect.

What you do is determined by prior events.

Which prior events did you have in mind? Did the Big Bang cause me to toss the rock off the cliff? How about the War of 1812?

There are an infinite number of prior causes to choose from. But which prior causes were the most meaningful and relevant prior causes?

Suppose, that rock, that I tossed off the cliff, killed someone on the beach below? What can be done to prevent this from happening again? Can we alter the Big Bang? Can we change who won the War of 1812?

Do you see the problem, yet?

You have no possible alternative. You do precisely what is determined.

Okay, so people who drop rocks off a bridge onto cars below, resulting in the driver's death, are irrelevant. After all, the Big Bang caused that death, and there's nothing that can be done about the Big Bang. So, we should just accept this as something that inevitably will happen. Is that your position?

The nature of determinism is that you do not have the freedom to deviate or choose to do something else.

That is not the nature of determinism. The nature of determinism is that we will necessarily encounter events in which we must make a choice. Our choice will determine our action. Our action will determine what happens next. If what happens next causes harm to someone, then we will be held responsible for our actions, and will be subject to correction, because it was our own deliberation that caused the choice that set our intent upon doing that action. Our deliberation was the meaningful and relevant cause of the event. That is how determinism works.

Consequently, you have no free will.

Nope. You still have the ability to choose for yourself what you will do. That ability was causally necessitated by a long history of our evolution, a prior cause of us.

You do have will. You can act according to your will, but you do so necessarily.

When we are uncertain as to what is the best thing to do, we consider different things we can do, and then choose from them what we will do.

Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Physics describes what is happening in physical terms. But Physics is not a power that "shapes or forms" anything. Physics describes gravity and inertia, but physics is not gravity or inertia.

Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I pick up the rock. Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I toss the rock over the side of the cliff.

But physics cannot lift the rock or toss the rock. Only I can do that. Physics has no power to actually do anything.

And when it comes to describing why I happened to pick up and toss the rock, Physics is at a complete loss. It must hand off those questions to Biology and Psychology.


WTF?! I went to the trouble of finding the valid link to the article for you and now you post the same outdated link that takes us to a 404 error again?

Be a little more careful when you cut-n-paste, please.

Hello, Sam Harris. Sam, be a dear, and explain to us who or what decided what I would have for breakfast this morning. If it was not me (with all my prior causes), then who was it?
Sure, it was all the prior causes that brought you to the breakfast table, causes that act upon your system,

Well, I'm standing in the kitchen, alone, so where should I look to find those prior causes? There is only one place, they are now a part of who and what I am. Therefore, it is actually I, myself, that is doing the choosing. It is precisely what it looks like.


your brain, which processes its inputs and produces conscious experience, thoughts and deliberations as a means of interacting with your environment in order to meet your needs and wants....which is determined milliseconds before you are aware of the 'decision' you/the brain makes.

Yeah, we've been over the brain now quite a bit. We agree that for simple decisions, especially habitual decisions, there is very little thought that goes into it. But you seem to ignore the fact that our significant decisions, especially those that we may need to explain later, will involve conscious deliberation up front.

Which means that Sam Harris is essentially correct in what he says.

Moreover;

Another bum 404 link. I think many organizations modify their web pages over time. It might be helpful if you would test your URLs and update them before posting if needed.
 

Marvin Edwards

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'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication.

Choice in relation to determinism is exactly what it always has been. Choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. Choosing is an empirical event. The word "choosing" refers to the event. The word "choice" refers to the output of this event, but is also used to refer to the options, because they are our possible choices.

A figure of speech of would be saying something like, "Because the choice is inevitable, it is AS IF choosing never happened". That is a figurative statement. And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. Choosing does happen and we do it.

Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

Nope. Only one will be realized. You are conflating what "will" happen with what "can" happen. Every option that can be realized if we choose to realize it, is something that can happen. But only the option that we choose will happen.

Every time a choosing event appears in the causal chain, there will be at least two real possibilities, two things that we can choose, two things that can be realized.

What can happen constrains what will happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what will happen never constrains what can happen. What can happen is only constrained by our imagination and our ability to carry out the option if we choose it.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

You mean from a perspective limited to all of the meaningful and relevant facts. And, that's a pretty good perspective to have.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions,

False! Determinism necessitates every alternate possibility! All of the alternate options will necessarily occur to us, as soon as we open the restaurant menu. All of the events are always causally necessary, all of the time.

the options that appear available to us are an illusion

Look at the menu! Are you experiencing an illusion? Yes or no?

formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

And, sure enough, the menu is right there in front of you, fixed as a matter of natural law.
 

Copernicus

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A hard determinist takes the position that the future is fixed and determined by past events. So there will only ever be one choice that can happen, and it is the one that will happen. That is why I have insisted that one needs to distinguish between choices actually made in reality and those that will be made in the agent's imagination. When the choice is being made, alternative possibilities only exist in the mind of the agent, not reality. At some point, the "choice" stops being an imagined one and actually becomes a real one.

Reality is something entirely different, because future outcomes can never be certain. The only thing an agent can know is what possible future outcomes could happen. So free will only exists in the mind. It is a subjective experience, i.e. something that only has existence as a mental construct. And this is where the debate becomes tricky, because eliminative materialists take the position that mental constructs are illusions and therefore dismissible.

It is almost impossible to shake them from that position, even though they themselves actually treat these "illusions" seriously. They can deny that pain is ultimately real, but that doesn't mean that they will ignore pain. So about the only thing that one can do in the face of such self-delusion is let them go on their merry way. They aren't really hurting anyone, not even themselves. Sometimes people just get caught up in that kind of sophistry.
 

Jarhyn

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'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication.

Choice in relation to determinism is exactly what it always has been. Choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. Choosing is an empirical event. The word "choosing" refers to the event. The word "choice" refers to the output of this event, but is also used to refer to the options, because they are our possible choices.

A figure of speech of would be saying something like, "Because the choice is inevitable, it is AS IF choosing never happened". That is a figurative statement. And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. Choosing does happen and we do it.

Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

Nope. Only one will be realized. You are conflating what "will" happen with what "can" happen. Every option that can be realized if we choose to realize it, is something that can happen. But only the option that we choose will happen.

Every time a choosing event appears in the causal chain, there will be at least two real possibilities, two things that we can choose, two things that can be realized.

What can happen constrains what will happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what will happen never constrains what can happen. What can happen is only constrained by our imagination and our ability to carry out the option if we choose it.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

You mean from a perspective limited to all of the meaningful and relevant facts. And, that's a pretty good perspective to have.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions,

False! Determinism necessitates every alternate possibility! All of the alternate options will necessarily occur to us, as soon as we open the restaurant menu. All of the events are always causally necessary, all of the time.

the options that appear available to us are an illusion

Look at the menu! Are you experiencing an illusion? Yes or no?

formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

And, sure enough, the menu is right there in front of you, fixed as a matter of natural law.
I don't think it's even necessary that only one choice will be realized.

Let's say I save my game. Whatever context I'm trying to make it through...

Last time I chose to go left.

This time, same problem, same decision, this time I go right.

In some it is the same choice chosen differently because the criterion of selection changed because... Another system is also making decisions and choices, one of which changes the context of the criterion process. It's choices all the way down, excepting that there is in all of this the actual decision being examined, whatever that may be, and this decision is the exercise of it's local state against the incoming message.

If I stab the goblin in the chest, rather than the knee, it will bite my face rather than grappling my toe. It is still exercising it's free will to react.

I would be robbing it of free will to bite me, though, to remove it's ability to bite by knocking out all it's teeth with the butt of my spear. At that point it has fewer choices to make at all.

If I chop off it's hands it has fewer still choices. It can no longer grapple me at all.

If I chop it's head clear off and send the severed part flying in an arc, it's agency ceases to function. It will no longer be probed to functionally process a series of choices.

In some ways It was for the best. It was in an army headed for a nearby town. And there was an army with it.

Key word: was.

It was inevitable.

It doesn't mean I didn't choose for it to happen.
 

fromderinside

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How far are you willing to go with your mailman analogy. I contend it is in the system and the mailman has it. I've already specified the speed limit constraint.
Nobody is contending whether "the mailman has it". The mailBOX does not.

Until the mail is in my hot little hand, I have a choice set up, just waiting to see which way the pins go. Then when the mail comes, decision on the choice happens
The message being sent is the answer to the questions you have. Since you are not in possession of the information there is really no decision being primed, nothing upon which to base it. You might go into a wait-and-see or review options loop, but a decision loop I think not. The information carries the message and you execute it. What decision? What choice? Everything depends on there being information which you don't have until the message arrives.
No, you do not merely "execute the information". Most of the execution is information already present, and even if it were not, WHAT is it pray tell that is doing the execution?

It is certainly not the whole universe. It is certainly not all of prior causality. It is the locality doing the execution.

The locality doing an execution on incoming information here is DECISION!

And further, you have classified through hand-waving definition this "wait and see" as 'not choice'.

I reject this definitional rejection. This rejection of your decision to just attempt to stop using the word "choice" and "decision" makes them no more or less real as phenomena.

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

I sit at a screen viewing an entire universe on pause. A question is posed to me, as a result of prior cause: what do you wish to attack this goblin with?

I can choose many things. But moreover... Let's just imagine for a moment that I stop right there and save my game and quit, and make a copy of the file, and send it to you.

Now, we are both sitting in the same seat in the same (for now) universe looking at the same text.

You can choose to attack the goblin in the head with our spear.

I can choose to attack the goblin in the feet with our battle axe.

The same question, posed in different contexts, yields different answers. There are now two universes where there was previously only the identity of one.

We're we to make the same decisions the same things would happen. Yet we are not bound to.
I'll stick to realms where material examples can be examined and supported or falsified. In that world, the 'real' world is quite limited. What was being processed comes from within the observer who is subject to executing behavior. What is in the nearby systems is very nearly what is in the analysis systems since the information arriving and being transmitted by both near and far are the same systems with only the execution element to be determined. That determination is the information for which the local system is waiting.

The elements deciding are actually false since they are only echoes of what has been processed (sub-vocalizations, circulating saved and correlated images, smells, balance and effector systems and, the like. But for some genetic reason, they persist as being 'required' for action to continue or change. That seems to come from a previous means by which information was processed that depended on station to station.

If one looks at the underlying neural activity in ascending and descending pathways one will find intermediate stages of processing interacting with modifications sent back to those areas. Since information is negotiated throughout the NC, the station to station approach has become moot even though parts of it have been integrated into the more advanced way we treat change.

I waited to bring up this last point because the only place I know where such data exists is in unanalyzed data from experiments back in the seventies and eighties going forward to now. What I mean is that intermediate states of knowledge about what one 'knows' about the world are running around in feedback systems in the ascending and descending sensory systems.

It isn't fair for me to bring this up since you are working from a model where distance does impact 'knowledge'. But the activity runs concurrently with the incoming and projecting information. That information is activity ongoing and interacting with past and future options.

What I'm suggesting is that the human and several species have, by more or less competing upward and downward information integrations, versions of near now which are all continuously being updated by new and acted upon information.

It acts a lot like a hologram which has several time gradients shouldering probabilities determined by nuclei between sense and cortex. As such though it is like what  Ivan Edward Sutherland speculated back in the late fifties it actually has several thresholds of determination built into our fuzzy information suite.

We're never consciously in charge since that would be as impossible as integrating what we know and don't know within our majestic brains.

If you doubt what I'm saying just take a look at the neural integration up and down the brain from the receptor to the cortex to the receptor.
 
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