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Compatibilism: What's that About?

DBT

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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.

I provided quotes and links to the relevant information. Sure, I could type up a summary, but whatever I say or provide is basically ignored.

Again, the basics of evolutionary biology;


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.

In other words, the reason we have one set of circuits rather than another is that the circuits that we have were better at solving problems that our ancestors faced during our species' evolutionary history than alternative circuits were. 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.''


In other words, consciousness, mind and the ability to take/necessitate options - which for the given reasons is not free will - is an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......
 

DBT

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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.

Again, determinism is the same for both compatibilists and incompatibilists, the difference is that one side argues that free will is compatible with determinism and the other side argues that it is not.

I argue that the term free will is irrelevant. It doesn't tell us anything about human behaviour, its drivers or how or why we act as we do.

I'm not a hard determinist because I suspect that there may be elements of quantum randomness at work in the brain....but of course random elements do not help the notion of free will....which is essentially a useless term.
 

DBT

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

It wasn't actually chosen, actions are necessitated by information acting upon the brain. You are not aware of the process. Wording alone doesn't prove the proposition. It's about how the system works.

Chosen implies that there was a possible alternate action, which is not possible within a determined system. Actions simply proceed as determined.

The principle applies to any system that can process information. It happens without will or consciousness, purely on the basis of information acting upon circuitry or neural networks and criteria.
 

Jarhyn

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

It wasn't actually chosen, actions are necessitated by information acting upon the brain. You are not aware of the process. Wording alone doesn't prove the proposition. It's about how the system works.

Chosen implies that there was a possible alternate action, which is not possible within a determined system. Actions simply proceed as determined.

The principle applies to any system that can process information. It happens without will or consciousness, purely on the basis of information acting upon circuitry or neural networks and criteria.
information acting upon the brain. Technically in the context it's the brain acting on information, as the brain is functional, and the information is argumentative.

Ah yes you hard determinists trying very hard to use words that MEAN "choice" without saying choice, and then pretending you didn't say choice when you say "it wasn't a 'choice' it was a (choice)!"
 

DBT

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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.

Casual references or common usage of words does not tell us how the brain functions. Yet it is how the brain functions within a deterministic system that determines whether we have something we can call 'free will.' Mere labelling or pointing to common usage does not prove the proposition. Nor does a carefully crafted definition.

Neuronal information processing necessitating actions that are not willed is certainly not an example of free will.

Function is not willed.

No alternate actions are possible.

Freedom by definition demands regulative control and to be free from necessity. The function and condition (neural architecture) of a brain determines output, which is inner necessity.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

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.

Multiple possibilities exist, just not for you in any given moment. Only one action in any given situation is possible. Only one action can be realized. At no point during the realization of an action is an alternate action possible. There is no 'could have done otherwise' within a determined system.


Fixed outcome - determinism cannot, by definition, have two or more real possibilities. The terms can't be altered. Determinism means that all actions are fixed. Being fixed, there are no other possibilities. Fixed means fixed.


You appear to be softening the accepted definition of determinism to suit your argument.


I'll leave it at that for now to avoid more repetition.
 

Jarhyn

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How about this: when prior causes relevant to the causal outcomes primary to the function of your locality do not, as described, sufficiently account for the primacy of your locality's causal influences such that the prior causes relevant to my locality's causal outcomes lose primacy in determining the course of effects of my locality, my locality has in it's prior cause generated a phenomena that will through causal necessity deliver effect unto your locality which renders greater complexity of model into your locality such that your causality's prior cause no longer takes this primacy of effect in the determination of events.

It's a LOT of words to just say "if you make choices that deprive me of my ability to act freely, I will choose to do what I must to stop you from doing that and instead consider your options more deeply in the future and not make such selfish choices."
 

DBT

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

It wasn't actually chosen, actions are necessitated by information acting upon the brain. You are not aware of the process. Wording alone doesn't prove the proposition. It's about how the system works.

Chosen implies that there was a possible alternate action, which is not possible within a determined system. Actions simply proceed as determined.

The principle applies to any system that can process information. It happens without will or consciousness, purely on the basis of information acting upon circuitry or neural networks and criteria.
information acting upon the brain. Technically in the context it's the brain acting on information, as the brain is functional, and the information is argumentative.

Ah yes you hard determinists trying very hard to use words that MEAN "choice" without saying choice, and then pretending you didn't say choice when you say "it wasn't a 'choice' it was a (choice)!"

It works both ways, information is acquired by the brain via its senses, which becomes a part of the system, an interaction between the environment and the brain. The environment effects the brain and the brain effects the environment by its response.

Nor am I a hard determinist because I argue against the compatibilist definition of free will.

Quantum randomness no more makes 'free will' possible that determinism. I argue that the term free will is flawed, that's all. It doesn't represent volition or the functionality of the brain.

It's not that complicated.


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

The AntiChris

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:
 

Marvin Edwards

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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.

It is not quite right to call free will an "illusion". The brain organizes sensory input into a "model" of reality. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, as when we navigate our body through a doorway, then the model is called "reality", because it is our only access to reality. It is only when the model is inaccurate enough to cause a problem, as when we walk into a glass door, thinking it was open, that we call it an "illusion".

We know the difference between dreams and reality. We know that while we are imagining the consequences of our choices, that we have not yet made our choice, but that we will make it shortly, after we finish evaluating our options by simulating them in our mind.

The choosing operation, taking place in our imagination, is a real brain event. We assume through neuroscience that there are physical events in the brain that correspond in some fashion to the mental events we experience, and that we model these events through descriptive language just as we model everything else in reality. Thus, the alternative possibilities that come to mind are real brain events, and are just as causally necessary as any other events.

The brain must deal with certainties and uncertainties, and it uses different word tokens to perform logical operations. If something "will" happen, then it certainly "will" happen. If something "can" happen, then we are still uncertain whether it ever "will" happen, even though we are certain that it "can" happen.

The choosing operation requires (1) at least two things that "can" happen if we choose to make them happen, and (2) it also requires that we "can" choose either one of them. These are matters of "logical necessity", because they are required in order for the logical operation to proceed.

It is just like the operation of addition. In order for addition to proceed there must be at least two numbers that can be added together to produce the result. Addition cannot take place if there is only one number. And choosing cannot proceed if there is only one alternative that we can choose.

Is the operation of addition real or is it just an "illusion"? It is real because it has consequences in the real world: It calculates our bill in the restaurant.

Is the operation of choosing real or is it just an "illusion"? It is real because it has consequences in the real world: It selects what we will have for dinner.

Is the distinction between a person aiding and abetting the escape of terrorists of ones own free will, versus doing so because one of them is pointing a gun at your head, real or is it just an "illusion"? It is real because it has consequences in the real world. If you do it of your own free will then you will be treated as a conspirator, but if you were coerced you will not be charged with any crime.

So, no. Free will is not an illusion. It is a significant empirical distinction between two events.

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.

And that would be an example of an "illusion". Both the past and the future are currently being determined by present events.
 

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DBT,

First, you keep saying the brain is a computer. I (and many others, including many neuroscientists) challenge this. Did you read the link to the article that I posted?

Second, you keep trying to explain how the brain works. Never mind that we don’t have full knowledge of this to begin with (as my linked article makes clear). We don’t even know how the brain generates consciousness, including of course qualia, and this is known as the hard problem of consciousness (See Chalmers), though we do have some functional accounts of this. The real point is that your necessarily incomplete effort to describe how the brain works is irrelevant to my question. My question, again, is why did evolution select for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate options and then choose among available options, when all these behaviors and functions are illusions, according to you.

Evolution is jury-rigged, building, often kludgily, on previous structures in response to selective pressures, though drift is also heavily involved. You are asking us to believe that over untold generations, selective pressures favored complex cerebration that foresees, remembers, models the world, evaluates options, and then chooses, when all of this, according to you, is an illusion.

Much more parsimoniously, as I have contended and believe rightly so, is, in a hard deterministic world, for evolution to select for philosophical zombies (again, see Chalmers) in which entities may appear to act freely and choose among available options, but in reality have no consciousness, qualia or awareness at all. They are dark inside. Those would be, in my view, the most likely (because the most parsimonious and easy to kludge together) sorts of organisms to exist in a Hard Determinist world. The fact that they don’t exist, and we do, is a clear flashing signal that Hard Determinism is false.

But then you yourself write:


In other words, consciousness, mind and the ability … is an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......

I omitted one of the clauses in your quote with ellipses because it directly contradicts your succeeding clause, which is CORRECT: The self responds to needs and wants, avoids dangers, etc. …. because, obviously, being able to do these things — to model the world, remember, foresee, and then freely choose among available options — provides organisms with a tremendous survival edge and thereby increases their fitness.
 

DBT

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action. You are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Compatibilists generally acknowledge that alternate actions are not possible within a determined system, yet try to soften determinism with 'could have' or 'might have,' which given the definition of determinism, is absurd.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane
 
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DBT

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DBT,

First, you keep saying the brain is a computer. I (and many others, including many neuroscientists) challenge this. Did you read the link to the article that I posted?


I didn't say the brain is a computer. The article did. I would describe the brain as a parallel information processor. Computers being linear processors.

Which doesn't alter or negate the point of the article, that the brain, mind, consciousness evolved as a means with which to negotiate within a given niche or environment.


Second, you keep trying to explain how the brain works. Never mind that we don’t have full knowledge of this to begin with (as my linked article makes clear). We don’t even know how the brain generates consciousness, including of course qualia, and this is known as the hard problem of consciousness (See Chalmers), though we do have some functional accounts of this. The real point is that your necessarily incomplete effort to describe how the brain works is irrelevant to my question. My question, again, is why did evolution select for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate options and then choose among available options, when all these behaviors and functions are illusions, according to you.


That we don't fully know how the brain works or how it generates conscious experience doesn't mean that nothing is known about how it works or the physical means- neural architecture, electrochemical activity, inputs, memory function, etc - by which it generates conscious experience.

Enough is understood to say that unconscious information processing precedes conscious activity and continues to 'feed' information while consciousness is active. First processing, then experience....and that this is a matter of will or freedom to have done otherwise, that the action taken is determined by the information conditions in that moment of time.

So without regulative control of the underlying activity or the ability to have done otherwise....say goodbye to the notion of free will.
 

The AntiChris

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action.
But if there is only ever one option available, you still haven't explained (as pood asked earlier) why "evolution gave us brains that seem to evaluate among multiple options and then choose the one that seems best". Why has evolution endowed us with brains that appear to appraise, sometimes at great length, and make what appears to be a choice? According to your view this would seem to be redundant processing. There has to be an explanation.
 

Jarhyn

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DBT,

First, you keep saying the brain is a computer. I (and many others, including many neuroscientists) challenge this. Did you read the link to the article that I posted?

Second, you keep trying to explain how the brain works. Never mind that we don’t have full knowledge of this to begin with (as my linked article makes clear). We don’t even know how the brain generates consciousness, including of course qualia, and this is known as the hard problem of consciousness (See Chalmers), though we do have some functional accounts of this. The real point is that your necessarily incomplete effort to describe how the brain works is irrelevant to my question. My question, again, is why did evolution select for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate options and then choose among available options, when all these behaviors and functions are illusions, according to you.

Evolution is jury-rigged, building, often kludgily, on previous structures in response to selective pressures, though drift is also heavily involved. You are asking us to believe that over untold generations, selective pressures favored complex cerebration that foresees, remembers, models the world, evaluates options, and then chooses, when all of this, according to you, is an illusion.

Much more parsimoniously, as I have contended and believe rightly so, is, in a hard deterministic world, for evolution to select for philosophical zombies (again, see Chalmers) in which entities may appear to act freely and choose among available options, but in reality have no consciousness, qualia or awareness at all. They are dark inside. Those would be, in my view, the most likely (because the most parsimonious and easy to kludge together) sorts of organisms to exist in a Hard Determinist world. The fact that they don’t exist, and we do, is a clear flashing signal that Hard Determinism is false.

But then you yourself write:


In other words, consciousness, mind and the ability … is an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......

I omitted one of the clauses in your quote with ellipses because it directly contradicts your succeeding clause, which is CORRECT: The self responds to needs and wants, avoids dangers, etc. …. because, obviously, being able to do these things — to model the world, remember, foresee, and then freely choose among available options — provides organisms with a tremendous survival edge and thereby increases their fitness.
The brain is mechanism, which is really what it comes down to in terms of deterministic basis.

Honestly I don't think it matters whether we understand 100% of it's mechanism. In some ways there are probably indeterministic things that the brain uses to produces some manner of randomization and variation in our executions of our behavior, little hidden nuggets of context derived from chaos or quantum noise...

These randomizations are even themselves at best inconsequential insofar as they are small pieces of input, arguments to the function.

The important part of all of this is identity of function, and locality.

The collection of particles or field values, or however you choose to model it is "a collection of particles that will react 'this' way IF certain and specific particles enter this area, and 'this other' way when different particles hit it"

The system CAN behave both ways, and this is dependent on which particles hit it.

The system 'chooses' on the basis of which particles hit it there.

That only one behavior will happen, and it depends on which particles hit it is definitional of choice.

The mail is not in the box yet. The function has not received arguments yet: regardless of the state of (not-local), because the universe maintains a property of (locality), those particles are not in the locality no matter what they happen to be.

Those. Particles. Are. Not. Here. There is a local indeterminability! The local system can behave either way. In fact the local system can still behave that way if particles hit it again, assuming that the first event does not change the local context to prevent the same system from being presented the same choice with different arguments so that it may choose differently.
 

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action. You are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Compatibilists generally acknowledge that alternate actions are not possible within a determined system, yet try to soften determinism with 'could have' or 'might have,' which given the definition of determinism, is absurd.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

DBT,

You keep saying this, and I (and Marvin) have tried to demonstrate where this argument goes wrong. I don’t think you have ever seriously addressed this point.

Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x will do y. Given the same circumstances, x will do y again.

It does not follow from this, as a matter of logic, that x must do y, as you seem to assume. All that follows is that x WILL do y. But WILL is not the same as MUST.

As I have repeatedly tried to demonstrate, the confusing of necessity (must) with contingency (will) is a modal scope fallacy.

Something very like the opposite of your whole argument is actually the case. Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x WILL do by, because he WANTS to, not because he is FORCED to. If, in this case, x did NOT do y, THEN it would be the case either that x’s action was willy-nilly or random or indeterminate (hence not free), OR he was FORCED to do not-y, by coercion perhaps, such as being held at gunpoint; in that case, his action is also not free.

It is precisely because x does y, because he wants to given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, that his act is freely willed.
 

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... Yet it is how the brain functions within a deterministic system that determines whether we have something we can call 'free will.'

Within a deterministic system the brain performs many different functions. It performs basic logical operations, including things like addition and choosing.

The addition operation requires two or more numbers as input. If you have only one number, then addition does not continue. Thus, at least two numbers are required by logical necessity. It then adds these together and outputs a sum total.

The choosing operation requires two or more options, things that you can do if you choose to. If you have only one option, then choosing does not continue. Thus, at least two options are required by logical necessity. Choosing applies some criteria for evaluating these options. Based on that evaluation, the operation outputs the option that appears best. The output is usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is what we have decided we will do.

Both the addition operation and the choosing operation are deterministic. Given the same parameters, each will output the same result.

For addition, the parameters are the list of numbers to be added. For choosing, the parameters are the list of options to be evaluated and the criteria for evaluation. The criteria for evaluation will vary based upon the context of the issue being decided. But, given the same issue, the same criteria, and the same options, the option chosen will be the same.

Whether we were free to do the choosing ourselves, or, whether the choice was imposed upon us against our will by someone or something else, is an empirical question to be decided by objective evidence. For example, if someone were holding a gun to our head and telling us what we must do, then we would clearly not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do.

The case where we are free to make the choice for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence is called "a freely chosen will", or simply "free will". Everyone understands this definition of free will and correctly applies it to real life scenarios in which we must identify the responsible cause of an event.

Mere labelling or pointing to common usage does not prove the proposition.

The proposition is that free will is an event that occurs within a fully deterministic system. And we see it happening, in physical reality, every day.

Nor does a carefully crafted definition.

The definition is simple. Either we made the choice for ourselves or the choice was imposed upon us by someone else (for example, the guy with a gun) or something else (for example, a significant mental illness).

The choice is about what we "will" do. The question is whether we are "free" to make that choice for ourselves.

Neuronal information processing necessitating actions that are not willed is certainly not an example of free will.

But neuronal information processing is definitely involved in the operation that chooses what we will do (in the absence of coercion and undue influence) is therefore clearly an example of free will.

Free will does not require "freedom from neuronal information processing". Free will is actually an example of neuronal information processing.

Function is not willed.

Some functions are not willed. Other functions are most definitely willed. We don't choose when our hearts beat, but we do choose what we will have for dinner.

No alternate actions are possible.

When we do not know what will happen, we imagine what can happen, to prepare for what does happen. Alternate possibilities are part of the neuronal information processing that performs the function of "imagining what can happen". Alternate actions must be considered possible until they are ruled out by actual information that resolves the uncertainty as to what will happen.

Freedom by definition demands regulative control ...

That which chooses what will happen next has regulative control. You might have noticed yourself and others making decisions as to what you and they will do next. That is regulative control.

and to be free from necessity.

There is no such thing as "freedom from causal necessity" in a deterministic world, mostly because causal necessity is neither a meaningful nor a relevant constraint.

After all, without reliable cause and effect, we would have no freedom to do anything at all.

The function and condition (neural architecture) of a brain determines output, which is inner necessity.

Yes. And one of those functions of the neural architecture of the brain is to choose from the restaurant menu what I will necessarily have for dinner.

“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

Exactly. And that is why causal necessity is never coercive, because it never forces you to do something you did not in fact already want to do! Cool, huh.

Multiple possibilities exist, just not for you in any given moment. Only one action in any given situation is possible. Only one action can be realized. At no point during the realization of an action is an alternate action possible. There is no 'could have done otherwise' within a determined system.

The possibility need only exist for a moment. If it is true right now that something can happen, even if it doesn't happen, then it will be true tomorrow that it could have happened, even if it did not happen. It's just a change in the tense of the verb as the present becomes the past. When we reflect upon what could have happened, we are deliberately returning to that point of uncertainty.

Using words like "can" and "possibility" invoke the context of uncertainty, and bring us back into realm of imagination. Within our imagination we can revisit past events and consider how different choices may have worked out. This is especially true if the choice we actually made did not turn out the way we expected. Then we really need to consider what we could have done differently, to better prepare ourselves for similar issues in the future.

Fixed outcome - determinism cannot, by definition, have two or more real possibilities. The terms can't be altered. Determinism means that all actions are fixed. Being fixed, there are no other possibilities. Fixed means fixed.

If you wish. But in that case determinism must remain silent as to matters of possibility and things that can happen. After all, it knows of no such things. It may only speak of what certainly will happen.

You appear to be softening the accepted definition of determinism to suit your argument.

I am just looking for the pragmatic and empirical truth of the matter. It seems to me that reliable cause and effect is both a good thing and an actual fact. It seems to me that free will is both a good thing and an actual fact.
 

fromderinside

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... Yet it is how the brain functions within a deterministic system that determines whether we have something we can call 'free will.'

Within a deterministic system the brain performs many different functions. It performs basic logical operations, including things like addition and choosing.

The addition operation requires two or more numbers as input. If you have only one number, then addition does not continue. Thus, at least two numbers are required by logical necessity. It then adds these together and outputs a sum total.

The choosing operation requires two or more options, things that you can do if you choose to. If you have only one option, then choosing does not continue. Thus, at least two options are required by logical necessity. Choosing applies some criteria for evaluating these options. Based on that evaluation, the operation outputs the option that appears best. The output is usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is what we have decided we will do.

Both the addition operation and the choosing operation are deterministic. Given the same parameters, each will output the same result.

For addition, the parameters are the list of numbers to be added. For choosing, the parameters are the list of options to be evaluated and the criteria for evaluation. The criteria for evaluation will vary based upon the context of the issue being decided. But, given the same issue, the same criteria, and the same options, the option chosen will be the same.

Whether we were free to do the choosing ourselves, or, whether the choice was imposed upon us against our will by someone or something else, is an empirical question to be decided by objective evidence. For example, if someone were holding a gun to our head and telling us what we must do, then we would clearly not be free to decide for ourselves what we would do.

The case where we are free to make the choice for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence is called "a freely chosen will", or simply "free will". Everyone understands this definition of free will and correctly applies it to real life scenarios in which we must identify the responsible cause of an event.

Mere labelling or pointing to common usage does not prove the proposition.

The proposition is that free will is an event that occurs within a fully deterministic system. And we see it happening, in physical reality, every day.

Nor does a carefully crafted definition.

The definition is simple. Either we made the choice for ourselves or the choice was imposed upon us by someone else (for example, the guy with a gun) or something else (for example, a significant mental illness).

The choice is about what we "will" do. The question is whether we are "free" to make that choice for ourselves.

Neuronal information processing necessitating actions that are not willed is certainly not an example of free will.

But neuronal information processing is definitely involved in the operation that chooses what we will do (in the absence of coercion and undue influence) is therefore clearly an example of free will.

Free will does not require "freedom from neuronal information processing". Free will is actually an example of neuronal information processing.

Function is not willed.

Some functions are not willed. Other functions are most definitely willed. We don't choose when our hearts beat, but we do choose what we will have for dinner.

No alternate actions are possible.

When we do not know what will happen, we imagine what can happen, to prepare for what does happen. Alternate possibilities are part of the neuronal information processing that performs the function of "imagining what can happen". Alternate actions must be considered possible until they are ruled out by actual information that resolves the uncertainty as to what will happen.

Freedom by definition demands regulative control ...

That which chooses what will happen next has regulative control. You might have noticed yourself and others making decisions as to what you and they will do next. That is regulative control.

and to be free from necessity.

There is no such thing as "freedom from causal necessity" in a deterministic world, mostly because causal necessity is neither a meaningful nor a relevant constraint.

After all, without reliable cause and effect, we would have no freedom to do anything at all.

The function and condition (neural architecture) of a brain determines output, which is inner necessity.

Yes. And one of those functions of the neural architecture of the brain is to choose from the restaurant menu what I will necessarily have for dinner.

“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

Exactly. And that is why causal necessity is never coercive, because it never forces you to do something you did not in fact already want to do! Cool, huh.

Multiple possibilities exist, just not for you in any given moment. Only one action in any given situation is possible. Only one action can be realized. At no point during the realization of an action is an alternate action possible. There is no 'could have done otherwise' within a determined system.

The possibility need only exist for a moment. If it is true right now that something can happen, even if it doesn't happen, then it will be true tomorrow that it could have happened, even if it did not happen. It's just a change in the tense of the verb as the present becomes the past. When we reflect upon what could have happened, we are deliberately returning to that point of uncertainty.

Using words like "can" and "possibility" invoke the context of uncertainty, and bring us back into realm of imagination. Within our imagination we can revisit past events and consider how different choices may have worked out. This is especially true if the choice we actually made did not turn out the way we expected. Then we really need to consider what we could have done differently, to better prepare ourselves for similar issues in the future.

Fixed outcome - determinism cannot, by definition, have two or more real possibilities. The terms can't be altered. Determinism means that all actions are fixed. Being fixed, there are no other possibilities. Fixed means fixed.

If you wish. But in that case determinism must remain silent as to matters of possibility and things that can happen. After all, it knows of no such things. It may only speak of what certainly will happen.

You appear to be softening the accepted definition of determinism to suit your argument.

I am just looking for the pragmatic and empirical truth of the matter. It seems to me that reliable cause and effect is both a good thing and an actual fact. It seems to me that free will is both a good thing and an actual fact.
Seems cannot resolve to empirical, nor pragmatic truth under any scenario.
 

DBT

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action.
But if there is only ever one option available, you still haven't explained (as pood asked earlier) why "evolution gave us brains that seem to evaluate among multiple options and then choose the one that seems best". Why has evolution endowed us with brains that appear to appraise, sometimes at great length, and make what appears to be a choice? According to your view this would seem to be redundant processing. There has to be an explanation.

The evaluation process itself is determined.

You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

When information is being process, every step of the process must necessarily be fixed, that is the nature of determinism. Freedom from determinism doesn't lie within the deterministically fixed process of 'evaluation.'

You can't bypass the rules of determinism. You can't have it both ways. Determined is not free.
 

DBT

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action. You are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Compatibilists generally acknowledge that alternate actions are not possible within a determined system, yet try to soften determinism with 'could have' or 'might have,' which given the definition of determinism, is absurd.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

DBT,

You keep saying this, and I (and Marvin) have tried to demonstrate where this argument goes wrong. I don’t think you have ever seriously addressed this point.

Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x will do y. Given the same circumstances, x will do y again.

It does not follow from this, as a matter of logic, that x must do y, as you seem to assume. All that follows is that x WILL do y. But WILL is not the same as MUST.

As I have repeatedly tried to demonstrate, the confusing of necessity (must) with contingency (will) is a modal scope fallacy.

Something very like the opposite of your whole argument is actually the case. Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x WILL do by, because he WANTS to, not because he is FORCED to. If, in this case, x did NOT do y, THEN it would be the case either that x’s action was willy-nilly or random or indeterminate (hence not free), OR he was FORCED to do not-y, by coercion perhaps, such as being held at gunpoint; in that case, his action is also not free.

It is precisely because x does y, because he wants to given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, that his act is freely willed.

It's neither my 'error' or my personal argument. It's standard incompatibilism with the addition of neuroscience.

The problem is, rather than determinism, you guys are invoking probability.

Your version of compatibilism is related, not to determinism, but a probabilistic world. That is your error.


''Determinism is the idea that everything that happens in the world is determined completely by previously existing causes. We all know that the world runs on cause-and-effect. Imagine a shot in snooker (or “pool” for you Americans). You hit the cue ball which then strikes another, and the movement of the balls is determined by the laws of physics.

But once you’ve hit the ball, neither you or the balls have any say in which way things turn out! Once the initial cause (you hitting the cue ball) is set in place, everything just follows along through the laws of physics.''

But I guess you guys have your softer version of determinism, one that conforms to the needs of compatibilism.

''There seems to be no meaningful distinction to be drawn between what happens and what might have happened, on which we can hang some third theory of human existence to sit alongside determinism and libertarianism.

It seems that we are either caused, and our actions are caused events, or we are free. The middle, compatibilism, is excluded.'' - Dr Craig Ross 2007
 

DBT

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The possibility need only exist for a moment. If it is true right now that something can happen, even if it doesn't happen, then it will be true tomorrow that it could have happened, even if it did not happen. It's just a change in the tense of the verb as the present becomes the past. When we reflect upon what could have happened, we are deliberately returning to that point of uncertainty.


By the given definition of determinism, the possibility of alternate action cannot exist, not for a moment. If the possibility of an alternate action exists, even for a microsecond, we are not talking about determinism, but a probabilistic world. Even that doesn't help free will because neither probabilistic or random actions are open to regulative control. One cannot bend events according to will. Without regulative control, the ability to control outcomes, the 'evaluation' process and will itself is determined by an inexorable progression of determined events, or if we have elements of probability or randomness, we are subject to probability or randomness, which is not regulative control.

A no win for compatibility any way you look at it.
 

The AntiChris

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You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

No. You've misunderstood. No one is arguing that evolution is not deterministic.

Determined is not free.
If this were the case then nothing within a deterministic universe could be free.

Although you don't admit it, you're effectively arguing that any use of the word 'free', in any circumstance, is mistaken.
 

pood

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action. You are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Compatibilists generally acknowledge that alternate actions are not possible within a determined system, yet try to soften determinism with 'could have' or 'might have,' which given the definition of determinism, is absurd.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

DBT,

You keep saying this, and I (and Marvin) have tried to demonstrate where this argument goes wrong. I don’t think you have ever seriously addressed this point.

Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x will do y. Given the same circumstances, x will do y again.

It does not follow from this, as a matter of logic, that x must do y, as you seem to assume. All that follows is that x WILL do y. But WILL is not the same as MUST.

As I have repeatedly tried to demonstrate, the confusing of necessity (must) with contingency (will) is a modal scope fallacy.

Something very like the opposite of your whole argument is actually the case. Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x WILL do by, because he WANTS to, not because he is FORCED to. If, in this case, x did NOT do y, THEN it would be the case either that x’s action was willy-nilly or random or indeterminate (hence not free), OR he was FORCED to do not-y, by coercion perhaps, such as being held at gunpoint; in that case, his action is also not free.

It is precisely because x does y, because he wants to given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, that his act is freely willed.

It's neither my 'error' or my personal argument. It's standard incompatibilism with the addition of neuroscience.

The problem is, rather than determinism, you guys are invoking probability.

Your version of compatibilism is related, not to determinism, but a probabilistic world. That is your error.


''Determinism is the idea that everything that happens in the world is determined completely by previously existing causes. We all know that the world runs on cause-and-effect. Imagine a shot in snooker (or “pool” for you Americans). You hit the cue ball which then strikes another, and the movement of the balls is determined by the laws of physics.

But once you’ve hit the ball, neither you or the balls have any say in which way things turn out! Once the initial cause (you hitting the cue ball) is set in place, everything just follows along through the laws of physics.''

But I guess you guys have your softer version of determinism, one that conforms to the needs of compatibilism.

''There seems to be no meaningful distinction to be drawn between what happens and what might have happened, on which we can hang some third theory of human existence to sit alongside determinism and libertarianism.

It seems that we are either caused, and our actions are caused events, or we are free. The middle, compatibilism, is excluded.'' - Dr Craig Ross 2007

Again, you are describing hard determinism, not determinism.

And so we are back to brains as rocks rolling down hills, or, in this scenario, billiard balls rolling across a table.

And we are back to the notion that I am typing this today … because of the Big Bang!

A rock rolling down a hill and a billiard ball rolling on a table do not have brains. If they did, they could choose to adjust their course.

Evolution incrementally selected for more complex cerebration over a long time, because more complex brains confer a survival advantage. An organism that can remember, foresee, contemplate, ponder and finally choose among realizable options has a survival advantage over less-complex organisms that cannot do these things, or cannot do them as well.


And yet, the hard determinist says, this is all an illusion. No answer is on offer as to why a pure illusion confers a survival advantage. By analogy, let’s say a billiard ball going into a pocket means the ball has been killed. If a billiard ball had a brain, then after being hit by the cue ball, it would take steps to avoid the pocket (death). A brainless billiard ball can’t do this.


Cause and effect determine our options. Brains, as part of the causal stream, determine, at least in part, what comes next. Brains obviously don’t have complete control — I may decide (determine) to swerve my car to avoid a jaywalker, but I may not be quick enough to avoid hitting an oncoming car in the wrong lane into which I swerved. But avoiding the pedestrian was determined by me, not the Big Bang.
 

pood

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The possibility need only exist for a moment. If it is true right now that something can happen, even if it doesn't happen, then it will be true tomorrow that it could have happened, even if it did not happen. It's just a change in the tense of the verb as the present becomes the past. When we reflect upon what could have happened, we are deliberately returning to that point of uncertainty.


By the given definition of determinism, the possibility of alternate action cannot exist, not for a moment. If the possibility of an alternate action exists, even for a microsecond, we are not talking about determinism, but a probabilistic world. Even that doesn't help free will because neither probabilistic or random actions are open to regulative control. One cannot bend events according to will. Without regulative control, the ability to control outcomes, the 'evaluation' process and will itself is determined by an inexorable progression of determined events, or if we have elements of probability or randomness, we are subject to probability or randomness, which is not regulative control.

A no win for compatibility any way you look at it.

In the bit you quoted above from Marvin, Marvin is right. Norman Swartz calls this principle of the fixity of modal status.

A contingently true proposition is, was, and always will be, contingently true — i.e., could have been otherwise. A necessarily true proposition is, was, and always will be, necessarily true — could not have been otherwise.

Moreover, in modal logic, contingently true propositions are necessarily contingent, and necessarily true propositions are necessarily necessary.

The hard determinism you espouse initiates something called modal collapse — the idea that my choosing eggs for breakfast this morning, and triangles having three sides, are both necessarily true. Which is absurd on the face of it.
 

pood

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As the cosmologist Sean Carroll, a compatibilist, has pointed out, the free will/determinism debate confuses levels of description.

At a more fundamental level, all physical processes are time asymmetric. Therefore — time does not exist!

At a more fundamental level, water consists of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, which themselves are not wet. Therefore — wetness does not exist!

At a more fundamental level, the Standard Model, an example Carroll himself uses, there is no description of baseball. Therefore — baseball does not exist!

And so on.

Of course, at the most fundamental level we know of, quantum mechanics, indeterminism reigns. Therefore — determinism does not exist!

Hopefully the point Carroll makes is clear: don’t confuse or conflate levels of description.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The evaluation process itself is determined. You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

Nope. All events are always reliably caused by prior events. This includes the event in which we decide for ourselves what we will do. This includes the event in which someone points a gun at us and forces us to do what he wants us to do. All events are always reliably caused by prior events. So, to continue to raise this point over and over is tedious redundancy.

Free will is not a special event that is free from reliable cause and effect. Free will is about which specific causes are reliably causing the choice. If it is my own brain's deliberation upon my options that is causing my choice, then that is a freely chosen will. If it is the guy holding a gun forcing me to do his will instead of mine, then that is not a freely chosen will, but rather a coerced will.

You continually remind us that all things are determined, without any answer to the question, "determined by what?". We keep pointing out to you the meaningful and relevant answer to that question. But it falls on deaf ears.

When information is being process, every step of the process must necessarily be fixed, that is the nature of determinism.

Yes, but that is always true of every event that ever happens. And I've certainly reaffirmed that to you repeatedly.

The point is that universal causal necessity/inevitability is not meaningful or relevant information. So, repeating it over and over as if it actually meant something is a waste of everyone's time.

Freedom from determinism doesn't lie within the deterministically fixed process of 'evaluation.'

It is not necessary to escape determinism in order to be free to do other things. The notion that reliable cause and effect is something that we must escape is superstitious nonsense. Every freedom that we have, to do anything at all, requires reliable cause and effect. So, the notion that we must somehow be free from reliable causation before we can be truly free is truly false.

How can one be free from that which freedom requires? Freedom from causal necessity is a paradoxical notion. One that should be discarded by every rational mind.

You can't bypass the rules of determinism. You can't have it both ways. Determined is not free.

Well, that depends entirely upon who or what is doing the determining. If someone is pointing a gun at me then I am not free to do what I want, because, to survive, I must do what he wants. But in the absence of such extraordinary influences, I am free to choose for myself what I will do.

You want us to imagine that reliable cause and effect is the same thing as a guy with a gun. But that is false. The guy with the gun can make me do things that I do not want to do. Reliable cause and effect, being a source of my wants, can never make me do anything against my will.

Having it both ways is simple. There are some specific causes that limit our freedom. But determinism is not such a specific cause, it is universal causal necessity. It is just as much the source of my freedom to decide what I will do as it is the source of the guy with the gun.

Because all events are always reliably caused by prior events, this logical fact tells us nothing useful. While it is a logical fact, it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. It cannot help us to make any decisions, because all it can tell us is that whatever we decide will have been inevitable.

It cannot be used to excuse any behavior, because if it excuses one thing then it excuses everything. If it excuses the thief then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand, or the mob that strings him up. It excuses revenge and retribution and torture.
 

Marvin Edwards

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By the given definition of determinism, the possibility of alternate action cannot exist, not for a moment.

In that case, determinism would be easily refuted by any restaurant menu.

If the possibility of an alternate action exists, even for a microsecond, we are not talking about determinism, but a probabilistic world.

No. We're still talking about determinism. There will be a reliable chain of causation for both the restaurant and its menu of alternate possibilities. There will be also be a reliable chain of causation that includes the event in which the person decides for themselves what they will order for dinner.

The fact that every event is reliably caused by prior events does not change the nature of any of these events.

Even that doesn't help free will because neither probabilistic or random actions are open to regulative control.

Free will requires no assistance from probability or random events. Choosing, like addition or multiplication, is a deterministic logical operation. The alternative possibilities will be there. The "ability to choose either option" will be included as a necessary logical token within the choosing operation. The criteria of evaluation will have a reliable history of causation.

Every event will be reliably caused by a specific chain of prior events.

One cannot bend events according to will.

Of course we can bend events according to our will! What do you think happens when you tell the waiter "I will have the lobster, please". You set into action a series of causally necessary events performed by the cook, you reduce the restaurant's inventory of certain items, changing when the item will be reordered and restocked, etc.

Without regulative control, the ability to control outcomes, the 'evaluation' process and will itself is determined by an inexorable progression of determined events, or if we have elements of probability or randomness, we are subject to probability or randomness, which is not regulative control.

Our regulative control is just another causally necessary event. (If anyone is looking for my theme here, it is that causal necessity is irrelevant because it changes nothing).

The "inexorable progression of determined events" inevitably led to us exercising regulatory control over the meals that were ordered from our table.

Deciding what happens next is regulatory control. None of our prior causes performed the choosing operation that causally determined what meals we would order. And that is why the waiter brings us the bill, instead of attempting to collect from any of our prior causes.
 

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.
The compatibilist says "I have choices".
Who gives a damn about compatibilists' opinions? That's not a response of any value whatever.

All I said was you packaged your operations incorrectly. Cause and effect have no place for choice. If you define the process in terms of operations you need to invent a mechanism for choice to perform those material actions. You have not done so. Mind is an a priori holding place. It is not a material thing.

That is the essence of my actual response to which you failed to even acknowledge.

I'm calling you out.
 

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.
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.

Really all I said was you packaged your operations incorrectly. Cause and effect have no place for choice. If you define the process in terms of operations you need to invent a mechanism for choice to perform those material actions. You have not done so.

That is the essence of my actual response to which you failed to even acknowledge.

I'm calling you out.
The mechanism for choice is the repeatable mechanism. It's already right there, in the context of the choices described: when machine is put To a decision making event (instruction) on line A, line C responds with whether Line B had power.

In this way, really, it doesn't even matter that the mail has arrived so much as when we actually look in the box.

At any rate, this is decision and this is choice. It really happens right there. It's a machine doing exactly the thing you claim does not exist.

That the contents of the box can only be one thing or the other when we look inside does not negate the fact that in the context of the machine, there is an unknown that the machine responds to. The machine itself is usually, though not even necessarily, capable of looking at the unknown multiple times.

The machine does not even really need to have a signal say to "look, right now". It really just needs a force translation to happen.

This means that where you may wish to ignore the existence of "game theory", it won't ignore the existence of you.
 

Copernicus

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As the cosmologist Sean Carroll, a compatibilist, has pointed out, the free will/determinism debate confuses levels of description.

At a more fundamental level, all physical processes are time asymmetric. Therefore — time does not exist!

At a more fundamental level, water consists of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, which themselves are not wet. Therefore — wetness does not exist!

At a more fundamental level, the Standard Model, an example Carroll himself uses, there is no description of baseball. Therefore — baseball does not exist!

And so on.

Of course, at the most fundamental level we know of, quantum mechanics, indeterminism reigns. Therefore — determinism does not exist!

Hopefully the point Carroll makes is clear: don’t confuse or conflate levels of description.
The above bears repeating. It is an argument against eliminative materialism generally, which the free will debate is a part of. Is a rock really a thing, or is it an illusion that disappears when you view it as just another collection of atoms? Pretty much every physical object that we experience is an illusion created by our experience of interacting with it. A lap is created when we sit down. It is real enough that we can put kittens, puppies, and babies on it. But is it really a physical thing? It doesn't even exist when we are standing. Ultimately, all physical phenomena are illusions and therefore cannot exist. So it buys us nothing to say that there is only one way to describe everything.
 

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.

Really all I said was you packaged your operations incorrectly. Cause and effect have no place for choice. If you define the process in terms of operations you need to invent a mechanism for choice to perform those material actions. You have not done so.

That is the essence of my actual response to which you failed to even acknowledge.

I'm calling you out.
The mechanism for choice is the repeatable mechanism. It's already right there, in the context of the choices described: when machine is put To a decision making event (instruction) on line A, line C responds with whether Line B had power.

In this way, really, it doesn't even matter that the mail has arrived so much as when we actually look in the box.

At any rate, this is decision and this is choice. It really happens right there. It's a machine doing exactly the thing you claim does not exist.

That the contents of the box can only be one thing or the other when we look inside does not negate the fact that in the context of the machine, there is an unknown that the machine responds to. The machine itself is usually, though not even necessarily, capable of looking at the unknown multiple times.

The machine does not even really need to have a signal say to "look, right now". It really just needs a force translation to happen.

This means that where you may wish to ignore the existence of "game theory", it won't ignore the existence of you.
Actually, humans sample events via devices that only sense what is material, a result of quantum mechanic translations in our world. Statistics can be applied to material observations. Neural processes conduct statistical operations resulting in material perceptions. Now if you want to pile on more layers calling human a priori predictions material then you need to show how that is done.

What you've presented so far is interpretations of QM that convert what we already know not to be the state of the world to explanations of that 'reality' (state of the world explanation) when it is just our limitations in perceiving reality being exposed to pseudo-analysis. For humans, as far as science is concerned, our perceived reality holds together pretty well if we actually interpret it in terms of an underlying QM translation. The interpretations of QM are irrelevant when it comes to treating the reality we experience since it is material rather than QM. It really doesn't impact determinism at all since it is not what we materially experience.

Now as you see I've taken away your argument reality to QM and you're back to confronting how one gets from determined materialism and empirical operations to subjective choice without mixing materialism with QM or statistics whichever you find most satisfying.

As for which interpretation of QM is true I expect it will be one of the many-world interpretations given the missing material stuff in our world. And that is compatible with Determinism. But as I point out above, that's not germane to our consideration of material reality.
 
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DBT

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You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

No. You've misunderstood. No one is arguing that evolution is not deterministic.

Nobody has said otherwise. I don't know where this comes from.
Determined is not free.
If this were the case then nothing within a deterministic universe could be free.

Although you don't admit it, you're effectively arguing that any use of the word 'free', in any circumstance, is mistaken.

The distinctions between will, so called 'free will' and unimpeded actions have been described over and over and over......yet you make a remark like that. Why? Have you not been reading my posts?
 

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an adaption that enables the organism to form mental map of the world and self and respond according to needs and wants, avoid dangers, etc......[

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:

''Respond according to'' says nothing about alternate actions being possible. 'According to' refers to the determinants that fix the outcome or action. You are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Compatibilists generally acknowledge that alternate actions are not possible within a determined system, yet try to soften determinism with 'could have' or 'might have,' which given the definition of determinism, is absurd.


“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

DBT,

You keep saying this, and I (and Marvin) have tried to demonstrate where this argument goes wrong. I don’t think you have ever seriously addressed this point.

Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x will do y. Given the same circumstances, x will do y again.

It does not follow from this, as a matter of logic, that x must do y, as you seem to assume. All that follows is that x WILL do y. But WILL is not the same as MUST.

As I have repeatedly tried to demonstrate, the confusing of necessity (must) with contingency (will) is a modal scope fallacy.

Something very like the opposite of your whole argument is actually the case. Given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, x WILL do by, because he WANTS to, not because he is FORCED to. If, in this case, x did NOT do y, THEN it would be the case either that x’s action was willy-nilly or random or indeterminate (hence not free), OR he was FORCED to do not-y, by coercion perhaps, such as being held at gunpoint; in that case, his action is also not free.

It is precisely because x does y, because he wants to given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, that his act is freely willed.

It's neither my 'error' or my personal argument. It's standard incompatibilism with the addition of neuroscience.

The problem is, rather than determinism, you guys are invoking probability.

Your version of compatibilism is related, not to determinism, but a probabilistic world. That is your error.


''Determinism is the idea that everything that happens in the world is determined completely by previously existing causes. We all know that the world runs on cause-and-effect. Imagine a shot in snooker (or “pool” for you Americans). You hit the cue ball which then strikes another, and the movement of the balls is determined by the laws of physics.

But once you’ve hit the ball, neither you or the balls have any say in which way things turn out! Once the initial cause (you hitting the cue ball) is set in place, everything just follows along through the laws of physics.''

But I guess you guys have your softer version of determinism, one that conforms to the needs of compatibilism.

''There seems to be no meaningful distinction to be drawn between what happens and what might have happened, on which we can hang some third theory of human existence to sit alongside determinism and libertarianism.

It seems that we are either caused, and our actions are caused events, or we are free. The middle, compatibilism, is excluded.'' - Dr Craig Ross 2007

Again, you are describing hard determinism, not determinism.


Again, determinism is the same for both compatibilists and incompatibilists. The essential distinction being that compatibilism argues that free will is compatible with the given definition of determinism, and in-compatibilists argue that free will is not compatible with the very same definition of determinism.

Compatibilists try to prove their proposition by carefully defining their idea of free will: unimpeded or unforced actions in accordance to one's will.

Which fails because will itself is necessitated by antecedents, and our actions are the result of inner necessity....when freedom is definied as being 'free from necessity'


Definition of freedom
1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action - Merrium Webster
 

DBT

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The possibility need only exist for a moment. If it is true right now that something can happen, even if it doesn't happen, then it will be true tomorrow that it could have happened, even if it did not happen. It's just a change in the tense of the verb as the present becomes the past. When we reflect upon what could have happened, we are deliberately returning to that point of uncertainty.


By the given definition of determinism, the possibility of alternate action cannot exist, not for a moment. If the possibility of an alternate action exists, even for a microsecond, we are not talking about determinism, but a probabilistic world. Even that doesn't help free will because neither probabilistic or random actions are open to regulative control. One cannot bend events according to will. Without regulative control, the ability to control outcomes, the 'evaluation' process and will itself is determined by an inexorable progression of determined events, or if we have elements of probability or randomness, we are subject to probability or randomness, which is not regulative control.

A no win for compatibility any way you look at it.

In the bit you quoted above from Marvin, Marvin is right. Norman Swartz calls this principle of the fixity of modal status.

A contingently true proposition is, was, and always will be, contingently true — i.e., could have been otherwise. A necessarily true proposition is, was, and always will be, necessarily true — could not have been otherwise.

Moreover, in modal logic, contingently true propositions are necessarily contingent, and necessarily true propositions are necessarily necessary.

The hard determinism you espouse initiates something called modal collapse — the idea that my choosing eggs for breakfast this morning, and triangles having three sides, are both necessarily true. Which is absurd on the face of it.


The issue is simply the question of freedom within a determined system. Actions that are determined are not just freely performed, but necessarily performed, they must happen as determined; the bird freed from its cage is able to 'freely' fly wherever it wishes to go.....but is this free will?

The answer is no. Its actions are necessitated unimpeded actions, the bird must necessarily act according to its will and its will is fixed by antecedents, so it cannot choose otherwise, what it does is fixed by antecedents; ''the way things are at a time t and the way things go thereafter being fixed as a matter of natural law.''


''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.
 

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The evaluation process itself is determined. You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

Nope. All events are always reliably caused by prior events. This includes the event in which we decide for ourselves what we will do. This includes the event in which someone points a gun at us and forces us to do what he wants us to do. All events are always reliably caused by prior events. So, to continue to raise this point over and over is tedious redundancy.

The sticking point is not that events are 'reliably caused,' but 'fixed as a matter of natural law.' The issue is wording that implies control, such as ''we decide for ourselves what we will do'' - when information processing happens unconsciously and we experience to the report.

''We decide for ourselves' gives the impression of conscious regulative control where none exists, an ability to have done otherwise - ''we decide for ourselves' - where no such ability exists within a determined system.

It is decided for us microseconds before we are even aware of what we are going to think or do.


Free will is not a special event that is free from reliable cause and effect. Free will is about which specific causes are reliably causing the choice. If it is my own brain's deliberation upon my options that is causing my choice, then that is a freely chosen will. If it is the guy holding a gun forcing me to do his will instead of mine, then that is not a freely chosen will, but rather a coerced will.

You continually remind us that all things are determined, without any answer to the question, "determined by what?". We keep pointing out to you the meaningful and relevant answer to that question. But it falls on deaf ears.

Actions are fixed regardless of external elements acting upon us. External elements constantly act upon us in the form of information acquired by the senses, an interaction of inputs, architecture and memory.

What we do is a result of not only external forces, someone holding a gun at your head, but information interactions over which you have no control.

Acting according to your will is simply that. Being forced against your will is nothing than that. We have will, but our will is not free. We can act according to our will, but this is not an example of free will.

“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane




When information is being process, every step of the process must necessarily be fixed, that is the nature of determinism.

Yes, but that is always true of every event that ever happens. And I've certainly reaffirmed that to you repeatedly.

The point is that universal causal necessity/inevitability is not meaningful or relevant information. So, repeating it over and over as if it actually meant something is a waste of everyone's time.

Universal causation is the very foundation of the issue. It's absolutely relevant.

Freedom from determinism doesn't lie within the deterministically fixed process of 'evaluation.'

It is not necessary to escape determinism in order to be free to do other things. The notion that reliable cause and effect is something that we must escape is superstitious nonsense. Every freedom that we have, to do anything at all, requires reliable cause and effect. So, the notion that we must somehow be free from reliable causation before we can be truly free is truly false.

How can one be free from that which freedom requires? Freedom from causal necessity is a paradoxical notion. One that should be discarded by every rational mind.

Determinism is far mor than just 'reliable cause' as if its just something we can depend on, an aid to our thought processes

Determinism by definition means fixed actions and fixed outcomes. We don't choose because 'reliable cause and effect' is somehow our friend and ally. We do precisely what was determined by events beyond our awareness or control....what the world is doing to the brain, how the brain responds to its inputs, its non-chosen condition,, architecture, life experience/memory.

''Each person is born into a social and cultural setting—family, community, social class, language, religion—and eventually develops many social connections.

The characteristics of a child's social setting affect how he or she learns to think and behave, by means of instruction, rewards and punishment, and example. This setting includes home, school, neighborhood, and also, perhaps, local religious and law enforcement agencies.

Then there are also the child's mostly informal interactions with friends, other peers, relatives, and the entertainment and news media. How individuals will respond to all these influences, or even which influence will be the most potent, tends not to be predictable.

There is, however, some substantial similarity in how individuals respond to the same pattern of influences—that is, to being raised in the same culture. Furthermore, culturally induced behavior patterns, such as speech patterns, body language, and forms of humor, become so deeply imbedded in the human mind that they often operate without the individuals themselves being fully aware of them.''


You can't bypass the rules of determinism. You can't have it both ways. Determined is not free.

Well, that depends entirely upon who or what is doing the determining. If someone is pointing a gun at me then I am not free to do what I want, because, to survive, I must do what he wants. But in the absence of such extraordinary influences, I am free to choose for myself what I will do.

The laws of physics and the objects and events of the world are doing the determining, beginning with the Big Bang and star and planet formation, emergence of life on Earth...and eventually here we are arguing with the aid of computers.

You want us to imagine that reliable cause and effect is the same thing as a guy with a gun. But that is false. The guy with the gun can make me do things that I do not want to do. Reliable cause and effect, being a source of my wants, can never make me do anything against my will.

It doesn't have to be the same thing. You may not have a gun at your head, yet you have no control over what goes on inside your head to produce your thoughts and actions.

We have the illusion of control, the illusion of free will....an illusion that is exposed when things go wrong with the wiring.


''It seems obvious that we exist in the present. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so where else could we be? But perhaps we should not be so certain.
Sensory information reaches us at different speeds, yet appears unified as one moment. Nerve signals need time to be transmitted and time to be processed by the brain. And there are events – such as a light flashing, or someone snapping their fingers – that take less time to occur than our system needs to process them. By the time we become aware of the flash or the finger-snap, it is already history.''



Having it both ways is simple. There are some specific causes that limit our freedom. But determinism is not such a specific cause, it is universal causal necessity. It is just as much the source of my freedom to decide what I will do as it is the source of the guy with the gun.

Freedom of action is not freedom of will. Freedom by definition means;
Definition of freedom
1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action - Merrium Webster

Yet we are bound by inner necessity, our thoughts are constrained by the state of the system in all instances of initiating actions, which are determined before we become aware of them.

Because all events are always reliably caused by prior events, this logical fact tells us nothing useful. While it is a logical fact, it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. It cannot help us to make any decisions, because all it can tell us is that whatever we decide will have been inevitable.

It cannot be used to excuse any behavior, because if it excuses one thing then it excuses everything. If it excuses the thief then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand, or the mob that strings him up. It excuses revenge and retribution and torture.

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

The AntiChris

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Determined is not free.
If this were the case then nothing within a deterministic universe could be free.

Although you don't admit it, you're effectively arguing that any use of the word 'free', in any circumstance, is mistaken.

The distinctions between will, so called 'free will' and unimpeded actions have been described over and over and over......yet you make a remark like that. Why? Have you not been reading my posts?
I should learn by now.

Whenever you say "determined is not free", what you really mean is "determined will is not free". This is misleading. You do realise the two claims aren't synonymous don't you?
 

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.
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.

Really all I said was you packaged your operations incorrectly. Cause and effect have no place for choice. If you define the process in terms of operations you need to invent a mechanism for choice to perform those material actions. You have not done so.

That is the essence of my actual response to which you failed to even acknowledge.

I'm calling you out.
The mechanism for choice is the repeatable mechanism. It's already right there, in the context of the choices described: when machine is put To a decision making event (instruction) on line A, line C responds with whether Line B had power.

In this way, really, it doesn't even matter that the mail has arrived so much as when we actually look in the box.

At any rate, this is decision and this is choice. It really happens right there. It's a machine doing exactly the thing you claim does not exist.

That the contents of the box can only be one thing or the other when we look inside does not negate the fact that in the context of the machine, there is an unknown that the machine responds to. The machine itself is usually, though not even necessarily, capable of looking at the unknown multiple times.

The machine does not even really need to have a signal say to "look, right now". It really just needs a force translation to happen.

This means that where you may wish to ignore the existence of "game theory", it won't ignore the existence of you.
Actually, humans sample events via devices that only sense what is material, a result of quantum mechanic translations in our world. Statistics can be applied to material observations. Neural processes conduct statistical operations resulting in material perceptions. Now if you want to pile on more layers calling human a priori predictions material then you need to show how that is done.

What you've presented so far is interpretations of QM that convert what we already know not to be the state of the world to explanations of that 'reality' (state of the world explanation) when it is just our limitations in perceiving reality being exposed to pseudo-analysis. For humans, as far as science is concerned, our perceived reality holds together pretty well if we actually interpret it in terms of an underlying QM translation. The interpretations of QM are irrelevant when it comes to treating the reality we experience since it is material rather than QM. It really doesn't impact determinism at all since it is not what we materially experience.

Now as you see I've taken away your argument reality to QM and you're back to confronting how one gets from determined materialism and empirical operations to subjective choice without mixing materialism with QM or statistics whichever you find most satisfying.

As for which interpretation of QM is true I expect it will be one of the many-world interpretations given the missing material stuff in our world. And that is compatible with Determinism. But as I point out above, that's not germane to our consideration of material reality.
I have not presented any arguments of QM for the sake of supporting whether choice is real.

The existence of choice does not depend on QM.

The existence of choice depends on 'mechanism', on reliable cause and effect.

'game theory' or 'choice math' depending on how you want to word it is a thing.

Do you deny that 'game theory' describes a real thing?
 

Jarhyn

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So @fromderinside @DBT:

Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?

Edit: or, how would you reword the above statement to fit your hard determinism?

Because there is a truth there, in that statement. Game theory was invented by humans for the sake of making better "choices". That is it's entire function in the ecosystem of math.

Do you think game theory is meaningless mental masturbation? Otherwise, what process do you think "improves" and how would you even use language to meaningfully discuss it without bringing choice into it as a concept?
 
Last edited:

Marvin Edwards

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The sticking point is not that events are 'reliably caused,' but 'fixed as a matter of natural law.'

The notion of "fixed as a matter of natural law" is a metaphor for "reliably caused". The Earth and the Sun do not actually go to a Law Library to figure out what they should do. They were already doing it. The Laws of Physics describe the force of gravity between two masses which is how we predict where the Earth will be in relation to the Sun on a given date.

All of the causation is found in the objects and the forces that make up the physical universe. The "Laws of Nature" describe behavior that is so reliable that it is AS IF they were obeying laws.

In the SEP article on Causal Determinism, its author, Carl Hoefer puts it this way:
Carl Hoefer said:
“In the physical sciences, the assumption that there are fundamental, exceptionless laws of nature, and that they have some strong sort of modal force, usually goes unquestioned. Indeed, talk of laws ‘governing’ and so on is so commonplace that it takes an effort of will to see it as metaphorical.” [8] (SEP)

For more on this point, see my post Determinism: What’s Wrong, and How to Fix It in the section "Delusion, by Metaphor".
The issue is wording that implies control, such as ''we decide for ourselves what we will do'' - when information processing happens unconsciously and we experience to the report.

1. Information processing is performed by our own working brains, and by no other objects in the physical universe. Choosing what we will do is a specific example of that information processing. Thus, it is empirically accurate to say that "we decide for ourselves what we will do".

2. Whether the decision making involves conscious awareness, or whether it is performed unconsciously and then reported to conscious awareness, does not change the empirical fact that it is our own brain that is deciding what we will do next.

3. The prior causes of us must first become an integral part of us in order to participate in the decision making process. Our parents cannot choose for us any longer what we will order in the restaurant. If they made the choice then the waiter would bring them the bill. But it is only their prior influences on our dietary choices that remain as part of our own reasons and our own choices. And the fact that the choice was our own accounts for why the waiter brings us the bill, and not them.

''We decide for ourselves' gives the impression of conscious regulative control where none exists, an ability to have done otherwise - ''we decide for ourselves' - where no such ability exists within a determined system.

Regulative control is the ability to decide what happens next. Deciding what we will order for dinner is regulative control of what the waiter and the chef will do next.

If you are correct that our brains perform information processing, and one of these processes is deciding what we will have for dinner, then "we decide for ourselves what we will have for dinner" is an empirical fact that cannot be dismissed or ignored.

The "ability to do otherwise" is part of the information processing that performs choosing. Choosing is a logical and deterministic operation in which two or more options are input, an appropriate criteria for comparative evaluation is applied, and a single choice is output.

By logical necessity, there must be at least two options input, and we must be able to choose either one. Thus, there will always be at least two "I can's" ("I can choose A" is true and "I can choose B" is also true), before choosing begins. And, at the end there will be a single "I will" and at least one "I could have (but didn't)".

Because the choosing process happens within a deterministic world, and is itself fully deterministic, the ability to do otherwise is necessarily consistent with a deterministic world.

Choosing happens. And within a deterministic world, it necessarily happens.

It is decided for us microseconds before we are even aware of what we are going to think or do.

Irrelevant. Whether decided consciously, or decided unconsciously and then reported to conscious awareness, choosing is happening, and we are doing the choosing.

Actions are fixed regardless of external elements acting upon us.

All events, whether internal or external, are reliably caused by someone or something.

External elements constantly act upon us in the form of information acquired by the senses, an interaction of inputs, architecture and memory. What we do is a result of not only external forces, someone holding a gun at your head, but information interactions over which you have no control.

It is not necessary for me to control each neuron inside my brain in order for me to exercise control over myself and other things. I exercise control by simply being my brain as it chooses what I will do.

Acting according to your will is simply that. Being forced against your will is nothing than that. We have will, but our will is not free. We can act according to our will, but this is not an example of free will.

An example of free will is choosing for ourselves what we will do. We may have many competing wants and desires at any time, such as when we're browsing a restaurant menu, and we must choose from these multiple wants and desires the single thing that we will do.

Choosing what we will do sets our intent upon a specific goal, and that intention motivates and directs our actions as we pursue that goal. When that intent is satisfied, we move on to something else. This is all a deterministic process, of course. But it is also us choosing what we will do and then doing it.

Us, choosing for ourselves what we will do, is called a "freely chosen will", or simply "free will". And it is a deterministic event, just like every other event.

“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane

And the specific causal mechanism that determined what I would do was "me choosing to do it". And that remains an empirical fact even if you try to hide that specific fact in generalities or if you try to reduce it to neurons or chemistry or physics. It's still "me", it's still "choosing", and it's still "me choosing to do it".

Universal causation is the very foundation of the issue. It's absolutely relevant.

Sorry, but free will happens to be one of the things that is included within universal causal necessity. So, universal causal necessity is not relevant to the question of whether we have free will or not.

Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. It requires nothing supernatural. It makes no claims to being uncaused. It simply makes an important empirical distinction between us choosing what we will do versus someone or something else forcing us to do something that we would not ordinarily choose to do ourselves.

Determinism by definition means fixed actions and fixed outcomes.

Which is irrelevant when all actions and all outcomes qualify as "fixed". All of the useful information is found in the specifics of who or what is fixing the actions and fixing the outcomes.

For example, if the casino owners are fixing the game, then we will complain that the game is unfair to the players. But if the customer's own choices are responsible for his losses, then no one complains.

Determinism itself is never a causal agent. The waiter in the restaurant will never bring the bill to Determinism. But, because the customer's order is the responsible cause of the chef's work and the cost of the ingredients, the customer will be billed, despite the fact that all of the events, as always, were causally necessary from any prior point in eternity.

We don't choose because 'reliable cause and effect' is somehow our friend and ally.

Reliable causation in itself is neutral. It has no skin in the game. But without reliable causation we could neither walk, nor talk, nor think, nor chew gum.

We do precisely what was determined by events beyond our awareness or control....

No. That's clearly false. Most of what we do is determined by our own awareness, our own thoughts and feelings, our own genetic disposition and prior life experiences, etc.

All of these elements certainly have prior causes, but all of these elements are now us. And it is us that is doing the choosing.

You attempt to bury us in our prior causes despite the fact that they are gone and we are still here. They exist no where "beyond our awareness or control", because they are presently located in us.

what the world is doing to the brain, how the brain responds to its inputs, its non-chosen condition,, architecture, life experience/memory.

Causal necessity guarantees that some will be chosen and some will be not chosen.

''Each person is born into a social and cultural setting—family, community, social class, language, religion—and eventually develops many social connections.

The characteristics of a child's social setting affect how he or she learns to think and behave, by means of instruction, rewards and punishment, and example. This setting includes home, school, neighborhood, and also, perhaps, local religious and law enforcement agencies.

Then there are also the child's mostly informal interactions with friends, other peers, relatives, and the entertainment and news media. How individuals will respond to all these influences, or even which influence will be the most potent, tends not to be predictable.

There is, however, some substantial similarity in how individuals respond to the same pattern of influences—that is, to being raised in the same culture. Furthermore, culturally induced behavior patterns, such as speech patterns, body language, and forms of humor, become so deeply imbedded in the human mind that they often operate without the individuals themselves being fully aware of them.''

Yes. And as the child forms their own identity, they will accept some influences and reject others. One of the functions of mind is to screen influences to maintain some consistencies in the person's own developing character and self-image. The child is not passive during this process.

The laws of physics and the objects and events of the world are doing the determining, beginning with the Big Bang and star and planet formation, emergence of life on Earth...and eventually here we are arguing with the aid of computers.

The objects and the forces are causing the events. The "laws" of the science are describing reliable patterns of behavior, for example, the effect of the force of gravity upon the masses of two objects, or the effect of a mother's love and attention upon her child's early development.

We happen to be one of those objects that go about in the world causing events to happen. The "laws" never cause or fix anything, they simply describe the reliable patterns of behavior that have been observed.

You may not have a gun at your head, yet you have no control over what goes on inside your head to produce your thoughts and actions.

I do not need to control the neurons if I am the neurons. I do not need to control my thoughts if I am those thoughts. I know that I control my deliberate actions by choosing to do them.

We have the illusion of control, the illusion of free will....an illusion that is exposed when things go wrong with the wiring.

The choosing is not an illusion. It is a causally necessary physical event.
Whether the choosing was our own, or coerced, or insane (the wiring), is an empirical distinction determined by objective evidence. So, the location of the control is not an illusion, but a matter of empirical fact.

''It seems obvious that we exist in the present. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so where else could we be? But perhaps we should not be so certain.
Sensory information reaches us at different speeds, yet appears unified as one moment. Nerve signals need time to be transmitted and time to be processed by the brain. And there are events – such as a light flashing, or someone snapping their fingers – that take less time to occur than our system needs to process them. By the time we become aware of the flash or the finger-snap, it is already history.''

That's the nice thing about short-term memory, the present is not infinitely small, but durable at least for a short time. Time enough for us to make sense of things, without worrying about finger-snaps or lights flashing.

Because all events are always reliably caused by prior events, this logical fact tells us nothing useful. While it is a logical fact, it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact. It cannot help us to make any decisions, because all it can tell us is that whatever we decide will have been inevitable.

It cannot be used to excuse any behavior, because if it excuses one thing then it excuses everything. If it excuses the thief then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand, or the mob that strings him up. It excuses revenge and retribution and torture.
Quote;
''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.''

Have you heard the term "rehabilitation"? It is a "forward-looking analysis of future behavior". And it did not arise from the determinism versus free will debate. Nor did the problem of retributive justice arise from the silly philosophical paradox.

The goal to replace retribution with a more practical notion of justice, one that includes an opportunity for rehabilitation, came from our own moral evolution, and is supported by the social sciences. It comes from applying pragmatism and empiricism to the justice system.

The notion that people lack control over their actions is contrary to the notion of rehabilitation. The point of rehabilitation is to provide the offender with better options and to motivate the offender to make better choices in the future. Telling the offender that he "could not have done otherwise", in the past, logically implies that he will have no ability to do otherwise in the future, because his future is already fixed by his past.

This anti-free-will movement is built upon a faulty foundation of metaphors and figurative thinking. It is better to see it as the hoax it is now, than to suffer from seeing it undermine everything later.
 

pood

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DBT,

Once again, you conflate determinism with hard determinism. Determinism is the verified, empirical observation that effects reliably follow causes; i.e. David Hume’s “constant conjunction” formulation.

Hard determinism is an inference from determinism, which requires justification. And yet even your own definition of hard determinism (which you erroneously call determinism) is inaccurate to your own purposes. I realize you are getting these definitions from others, some of whom are noted philosophers etc., yet their credentials don’t stop them from being wrong. Another label for hard determinism might be predeterminism.

You keep saying the future is “fixed” as a matter of natural law. As I have previously pointed out, this definition does not suit your purposes because “fixity” doesn’t imply fatalism or predeterminism. Of course the whole history of the world is fixed! But what fixes it, or what is fixing it? In part, human free will helps fix the historical record.

What you really need to be saying is something like, “natural law, in conjunction with antecedent events, entails all future events, including human acts.” The word “entails” captures much more precisely what you are arguing for, than the word “fixes.”

As it happens, of course, natural law entails nothing of the kind, because, as both Marvin and I have noted, natural law is not PREscriptive, it is DEscriptive. What we call “natural law” takes it truth from the way the world is, and not the other way around —that the way the world is, takes its truth from natural law, as you assume. Once “natural law” is properly defined, as Norman Swartz has noted, the supposed conflict between determinism and free will cannot even be coherently formulated. Swartz doesn’t even call his position compatibilism, because he says saying that determinism is compatible with free would be as odd and superfluous as saying that noses are compatible with itches. The opposite of determinism is not free will — the opposite is INdeterminism.

I await your long-sought explanation of why evolution favored brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, ponder and choose, when according to you, all these abilities are illusions. Note again I am not asking for a functionalist account of neurons firing, etc. I am asking you to explain how these illusions, as you would have them, increase population fitness. I continue to argue that if hard determinism were true, complex brains would be useless, and we would all be philosophical zombies carrying out a pre-programmed subroutine with no conscious awareness, because such awareness would be utterly useless in such a world and hence would not be favored by natural selection.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The issue is simply the question of freedom within a determined system.

Yes. And there are plenty of freedoms within a determined system so long as we do not create a logical paradox by trying to include "freedom from being within a determined system" among those freedoms!

Once we stop including logically impossible freedoms, we are still left with all of the logically possible freedoms, the freedoms that everyone enjoys every day. Like freedom of speech, or freedom from cruel or unusual punishments, or freedom to drive on the public roads, or freedom to decide for ourselves all of the millions of things that we may choose to do.

As long as we do not include silly things, like "freedom from causal necessity" or "freedom from ourselves" or "freedom from reality", etc., then we still find a cornucopia of freedoms to enjoy.

Actions that are determined are not just freely performed, but necessarily performed, they must happen as determined; the bird freed from its cage is able to 'freely' fly wherever it wishes to go.....but is this free will?

Yes. Assuming that the cage door is open, the bird can decide to stay in the cage or choose to fly away. He is free to choose to do either one. Whichever option he selects will, of course, have been causally necessary from any prior point in eternity. But, then again, what event is not? So, no worries there.

Its actions are necessitated unimpeded actions, the bird must necessarily act according to its will and its will is fixed by antecedents, so it cannot choose otherwise

The only meaningful and relevant antecedent was us opening the door of the cage. What the bird does next is up to the bird.

''the way things are at a time t and the way things go thereafter being fixed as a matter of natural law.''

What part of the bird's choosing to stay, or choosing to go, violates natural law? The bird is a natural, living organism. Whatever the bird does is compatible with its nature. Its nature is not an external force acting upon the bird. It is the bird itself, acting naturally.

The notion of the laws of nature "fixing" things is superstitious nonsense. The bird itself will either fly or wait around to see what his dinner will be. The behavior of the bird dictates the laws of nature.

''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. "

Yes. But choosing to actually do X is determined by the chooser.

"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. "

Well, that depends upon what they desire to do. The desire to have sex with a woman had best be constrained by something, otherwise it is rape. You know that, right?

At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate).

Nope. We ascribe free will only to species that are capable of imagining alternative options, evaluating these options, and then choosing for themselves what they will do. Animals that act upon instinct alone do not have free will.

Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.''

Morality is species specific. What is good for the lioness is bad for the antelope, and vice versa. And if a lion develops an appetite for human flesh, then she will be put down, like an incorrigible serial killer.

Cold comfort in Compatibilism

Actually, compatibilism is warm and comfy. You get your freedoms and your free will, and you also get reliable cause and effect which you can put to good use to attain the things you need. You no longer have to fear causal necessity or determinism. They're still around, but they have been defanged.
 

fromderinside

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The existence of choice depends on 'mechanism', on reliable cause and effect.

'game theory' or 'choice math' depending on how you want to word it is a thing.

Do you deny that 'game theory' describes a real thing?
Do you agree that Determinism
is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states
If so then choice must be defined as events in the paradigm in which one imputes causality.

As for the rest, I've studied various evolutionary game paradigms, in every case the science comes down on the side of individual fitness. That means initial claims based on game theory requiring group, kin, or coevolutionary selection had to be modified to the point where they came back to the basic evolutionary game of individual fitness whether individual or a single mother's genes defined the population.

Now in your game you can say anything you think your reader might comprehend. But scientifically you have to adhere to the statement quoted above in making that statement. So are you or are you not going to operationally define the elements (choice) relative to prior states.
 

fromderinside

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So @fromderinside @DBT:

Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?

Edit: or, how would you reword the above statement to fit your hard determinism?

Because there is a truth there, in that statement. Game theory was invented by humans for the sake of making better "choices". That is it's entire function in the ecosystem of math.

Do you think game theory is meaningless mental masturbation? Otherwise, what process do you think "improves" and how would you even use language to meaningfully discuss it without bringing choice into it as a concept?
Countered on Indeterminism thread. Operations required. It's for you to answer.
 

DBT

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So @fromderinside @DBT:

Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?

Edit: or, how would you reword the above statement to fit your hard determinism?

Because there is a truth there, in that statement. Game theory was invented by humans for the sake of making better "choices". That is it's entire function in the ecosystem of math.

Do you think game theory is meaningless mental masturbation? Otherwise, what process do you think "improves" and how would you even use language to meaningfully discuss it without bringing choice into it as a concept?

My hard determinism?

No, the definition of determinism is the same for both sides.

The distinction lies between compatibility and incompatibility of 'free will'

I argue that the term is redundant. It doesn't represent cognition, decision making, the drivers of human behaviour, the nature and function of neural networks, inputs or outputs....that compatibilism rests upon a carefully selected and worded definition.

That's all.
 

DBT

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Determined is not free.
If this were the case then nothing within a deterministic universe could be free.

Although you don't admit it, you're effectively arguing that any use of the word 'free', in any circumstance, is mistaken.

The distinctions between will, so called 'free will' and unimpeded actions have been described over and over and over......yet you make a remark like that. Why? Have you not been reading my posts?
I should learn by now.

Whenever you say "determined is not free", what you really mean is "determined will is not free". This is misleading. You do realise the two claims aren't synonymous don't you?

It's not misleading. You just seem unwilling to contemplate the implications of determinism.

What is determined is not free to do otherwise. As pointed out, freedom of choice demands the possibility to have done otherwise.

Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions. Without alternate actions there is no freedom of will.

Determined actions, of course proceed freely without impediment or restriction. The action is determined.

It's not hard to grasp. Will is necessitated by antecedents, related actions proceed without restriction or restraint. Labelling necessitated will and related actions as 'free will' doesn't represent determined will or any determined action that follow.

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
 

DBT

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DBT,

Once again, you conflate determinism with hard determinism. Determinism is the verified, empirical observation that effects reliably follow causes; i.e. David Hume’s “constant conjunction” formulation.

No, I don't. The definition of determinism is exactly the same for both sides of the debate. Freedom of will simply rests on the definition of free will given by compatibilism.

I do nothing more than point out why the compatibilist definition of free will fails to prove its proposition.

Which is essentially because compatibilism is founded upon carefully selected terms and wording.

Terms and wording that do not represent cognition, brain state and function, social conditioning, the nature of decision making or motor action.

For instance;

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.''
 

DBT

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The issue is simply the question of freedom within a determined system.

Yes. And there are plenty of freedoms within a determined system so long as we do not create a logical paradox by trying to include "freedom from being within a determined system" among those freedoms!

There are plenty of common references to freedom that are not to the underlying nature of reality, a determined world. As pointed out, George swings his golf club freely, the bird flies freely, you are free to watch TV or read a book, says absolutely nothing about the nature of the mechanisms and means of these freely performed actions. \

The references are based on surface appearances, not determinism, not neurology, not chemistry, not physics or causality, just shallow observations and references.

Common language. You can say George acted according to his will, or you could say George acted according to his free will, but given the nature of cognition, the former is a more accurate description and the latter includes 'free' as a redundancy.





Once we stop including logically impossible freedoms, we are still left with all of the logically possible freedoms, the freedoms that everyone enjoys every day. Like freedom of speech, or freedom from cruel or unusual punishments, or freedom to drive on the public roads, or freedom to decide for ourselves all of the millions of things that we may choose to do.

As long as we do not include silly things, like "freedom from causal necessity" or "freedom from ourselves" or "freedom from reality", etc., then we still find a cornucopia of freedoms to enjoy.

The question of free will relates not to actions performed without coercion, but how will and action is produced. Determined actions are not coerced, proceed unimpeded, yet not freely willed.

Not freely willed because freedom is defined by absence of necessity, yet will is necessitated by nature. Will is not free to do otherwise. What it does is necessitated. In other words, we lack the right kind of control.

It seems that we are either caused, and our actions are caused events, or we are free. The middle, compatibilism, is excluded. - Dr Craig Ross 2007




Actions that are determined are not just freely performed, but necessarily performed, they must happen as determined; the bird freed from its cage is able to 'freely' fly wherever it wishes to go.....but is this free will?

Yes. Assuming that the cage door is open, the bird can decide to stay in the cage or choose to fly away. He is free to choose to do either one. Whichever option he selects will, of course, have been causally necessary from any prior point in eternity. But, then again, what event is not? So, no worries there.

What the bird does is determined by countless factors the bird is not even aware of. More than likely, it is the birds instinct to fly that drives it to exist its cage and take wing. Its action is instinctive.

Its actions are necessitated unimpeded actions, the bird must necessarily act according to its will and its will is fixed by antecedents, so it cannot choose otherwise

The only meaningful and relevant antecedent was us opening the door of the cage. What the bird does next is up to the bird.

What the bird does basically depends on whether it's domesticated or wild. If domesticated, feeling at home, the bird is likely to stay. I say likely because there may be elements at work that an observer has no access to.

''the way things are at a time t and the way things go thereafter being fixed as a matter of natural law.''

What part of the bird's choosing to stay, or choosing to go, violates natural law? The bird is a natural, living organism. Whatever the bird does is compatible with its nature. Its nature is not an external force acting upon the bird. It is the bird itself, acting naturally.

What the bird does depends on what is going in its brain. The bird as a conscious entity has no awareness of what is going on its brain or what is driving its impulses or desires.


The notion of the laws of nature "fixing" things is superstitious nonsense. The bird itself will either fly or wait around to see what his dinner will be. The behavior of the bird dictates the laws of nature.

It's not just 'laws of nature,' but ''given a specified way things are at a time t'' - which means the causal relationship between the objects and events of the world.

In this instance, the bird's genetic makeup, brain state, past experience, circumstances, how long its been in the cage, how it got there, etc, etc...

Actually, compatibilism is warm and comfy. You get your freedoms and your free will, and you also get reliable cause and effect which you can put to good use to attain the things you need. You no longer have to fear causal necessity or determinism. They're still around, but they have been defanged.

I'm sure compatibilism is warm and comfy for its believers, but warm and comfy doesn't prove the proposition. Nor does its carefully selected terms and conditions that don't really relate to the means of action production;

''It is unimportant whether one's resolutions and preferences occur because an ''ingenious physiologist'' has tampered with one's brain, whether they result from narcotics addiction, from ''hereditary factor, or indeed from nothing at all.'' Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states.

So even if the agent has strength, skill, endurance, opportunity, implements, and knowledge enough to engage in a variety of enterprises, still he lacks mastery over his basic attitudes and the decisions they produce. After all, we do not have occasion to choose our dominant proclivities.'' - Prof. Richard Taylor -Metaphysics.
 

Jarhyn

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So @fromderinside @DBT:

Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?

Edit: or, how would you reword the above statement to fit your hard determinism?

Because there is a truth there, in that statement. Game theory was invented by humans for the sake of making better "choices". That is it's entire function in the ecosystem of math.

Do you think game theory is meaningless mental masturbation? Otherwise, what process do you think "improves" and how would you even use language to meaningfully discuss it without bringing choice into it as a concept?

My hard determinism?

No, the definition of determinism is the same for both sides.

The distinction lies between compatibility and incompatibility of 'free will'

I argue that the term is redundant. It doesn't represent cognition, decision making, the drivers of human behaviour, the nature and function of neural networks, inputs or outputs....that compatibilism rests upon a carefully selected and worded definition.

That's all.
I argue that it does not, and is not.

I posed a simple question to you:

Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?
Reword terms of you need to.

Compatibilism relies on a carefully selected and worded definition for the same reason that math relies on a carefully selected and worded definition of "set" and "identity" and "transitive".

Carefully worded and selected definitions when discussing topics on a level wherein mechanical function of ideas is possible was the entire point.

I repeat: Is it possible for a human being to use game theory to make better choices?
 

Jarhyn

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The existence of choice depends on 'mechanism', on reliable cause and effect.

'game theory' or 'choice math' depending on how you want to word it is a thing.

Do you deny that 'game theory' describes a real thing?
Do you agree that Determinism
is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states
If so then choice must be defined as events in the paradigm in which one imputes causality.

As for the rest, I've studied various evolutionary game paradigms, in every case the science comes down on the side of individual fitness. That means initial claims based on game theory requiring group, kin, or coevolutionary selection had to be modified to the point where they came back to the basic evolutionary game of individual fitness whether individual or a single mother's genes defined the population.

Now in your game you can say anything you think your reader might comprehend. But scientifically you have to adhere to the statement quoted above in making that statement. So are you or are you not going to operationally define the elements (choice) relative to prior states.
You are not understanding the meaning of 'game theory' here.

I am not talking "evolutionary game theory" as a discipline of philosophy though you clearly also do not understand where that has come in the last 10 years either:

I am talking about mathematical game theory, the math that, for instance, discusses "why can't FDI beat even a small child at Tic Tac Toe?"

We can get on to bigger applications like it's implications for ethics later.

I'm not going to respond further to this though on this side because it belongs to the other thread, on compatibilism.
 
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