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Compatibilism: What's that About?

The AntiChris

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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.

You either aren't reading what I'm saying or you don't understand what I'm saying.

Either way, you're not responding to what I've written.
 

pood

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I just wonder if this thread and the thread on compatibilsm could be merged, to avoid confusion, because both threads at this point are mainly discussing compatibilism. The only difference is that this thread has the added subject, not too often touched upon, of indeterminism. I think the compatiblist discussion kind of moved over here after the other thread was locked for awhile due to trolling.
 

Marvin Edwards

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There are plenty of common references to freedom that are not to the underlying nature of reality, a determined world.

Common references are the source of definitions. People outside of these discussions do not reference "a determined world" at all, because it has no meaning and no significance to any practical human matter. The notion of "a determined world" is a disease spread through false but believable suggestions that trap people in a paradox.

The truth is that all events are the natural result of prior events. This notion goes by the name "History".

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.

Freedom is our ability to do things. If George can no longer swing his golf club freely, because he has a pulled muscle in his shoulder, the mechanism will be examined by an Orthopedist, who will recommend treatment. And all of George's golfing buddies will sympathize, and share their own stories of injuries on the golf course.

The nature of the mechanism is not some hidden philosophical secret. We just take them for granted until they stop working. Then we see a doctor, who knows all about the mechanism and how to restore its function, so that George is free once more to swing his golf club.

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

Well, not everyone is a neurologist, and a chemist, and a physicist.

On the other hand, everyone is quite aware of causality! They tell George, "You've done something to strain your shoulder", showing that they assume a world of reliable cause and effect. Then they tell him "You should see your orthopedist", showing that they assume a physical causal mechanism involving muscles and tendons.

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.

It is only necessary to add "free" to will when there is some question as to whether someone acted voluntarily versus being forced to act against their will, for example, by coercion, manipulation, or insanity.

That is a very important distinction. So, no, we cannot drop the adjective "free" from free will without losing that significant distinction.

The problem here is not with common usage. The problem is the nonsensical definition created by philosophy, "freedom from causal necessity". Nobody uses that definition outside of philosophy, because it is irrational and paradoxical. But academic philosophy loves paradoxes, no matter the damage that they cause.

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.

The fact is that no actions are ever free of prior causes.
If the action is freely chosen, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is coerced, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is accidental, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is insane, then it will still be "causally" necessary.

To say that the action is causally determined blurs all meaningful distinctions. And, we humans become very dumb and incompetent when we fail to make meaningful distinctions. (The book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", comes to mind).

Not freely willed because freedom is defined by absence of necessity, yet will is necessitated by nature.

"Necessitated by nature" is the same thing as causally necessary, and it swallows up all meaningful distinctions in a generality.

Free will is when it is our own nature that decides what we will do, rather than the nature of the guy with a gun that decides what we will do. You would bury this significant distinction in your generality.

Will is not free to do otherwise. What it does is necessitated. In other words, we lack the right kind of control.

Everything is always causally necessitated. But there are meaningful distinctions as to who or what is doing the causing. If we are deciding for ourselves what we will do, then we are controlling what we do. If someone holding a gun to our head is deciding what we will do, then he is controlling us against our will.

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

A false, but believable suggestion. It sounds true, so we are drawn into the mental trap, but it is empirically false. This is how the paradox of determinism "versus" free will is spread and sustained.

When we are the most meaningful and relevant cause of our actions, then we are held responsible.
When someone with a gun is the most meaningful and relevant cause of our actions, then he is held responsible.

Either we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do, or the guy with the gun is controlling us against our will and he is deciding for us what we will do.

In either case, all of the events will be reliably caused. But in one case we are acting of our own freely chosen will (free will).

The fact that the free will event was caused does not negate the fact that the meaningful and relevant cause was our own choice.

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.

Despite the bird's lack of self-knowledge, if the cage door is open, he is free to fly away, and if the cage door is closed, he is not free.

The same applies to George's golf swing. If his shoulder is in good working order then he is free to swing his club. If not, then he is no longer free to play golf, and he will seek professional help for his shoulder. George's freedom to swing his club does not rely upon an intimate understanding of what his neurons are doing, or even how his should works. He is either objectively free to swing his golf club or he is objectively not free to swing the club.

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...

Yes, the current state of all things at time t and its events will reliably cause the next state of all things at time t+1 and its events. But we humans cannot deal with the state of all things at either of those points in time. So, that fact, though logically true, is not meaningful or relevant to any significant human events, like deciding what I will have for breakfast.

The meaningful and relevant cause of what I will have for breakfast is my own choosing from my available options. And free will is about whether I am free to make this choice for myself, or whether someone else is deciding what I will eat whether I like it or not. In either case, it will always be causally necessitated by someone or something. Here's hoping it will be me.

''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.''

Another professor professing nonsense. How can he fail to see that IT IS VERY IMPORTANT WHETHER AN ''INGENIOUS PHYSIOLOGIST'' HAS TAMPERED WITH ONE'S BRAIN versus a person deciding for themselves what they will do.

Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states.

Another false, but believable suggestion. The truth is that our cognitive states will themselves be the causes of other cognitive states. (It's that state at t and state at t+1 thing that causal necessity implies). And that is what we experience. One thing being the cause of the next thing. (For example, my breakfast is now ready, so I'll finish up and go eat it now).

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.

And this is the common you can't have free will because unless you can be "free from yourself" argument. Whose will would it be if you were free from yourself? Someone else's.
 

fromderinside

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Common references are the source of definitions. People outside of these discussions do not reference "a determined world" at all, because it has no meaning and no significance to any practical human matter. The notion of "a determined world" is a disease spread through false but believable suggestions that trap people in a paradox.

The truth is that all events are the natural result of prior events. This notion goes by the name "History".


Freedom is our ability to do things. If George can no longer swing his golf club freely, because he has a pulled muscle in his shoulder, the mechanism will be examined by an Orthopedist, who will recommend treatment. And all of George's golfing buddies will sympathize, and share their own stories of injuries on the golf course.

The nature of the mechanism is not some hidden philosophical secret. We just take them for granted until they stop working. Then we see a doctor, who knows all about the mechanism and how to restore its function, so that George is free once more to swing his golf club.

Two objections.
1. Indeterminism would destroy science which is demonstrably the most powerful tool man has developed ever.
2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world. Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.
 
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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?

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?
The correct answer is 'yes'. But a mistake is being made. 'Better' is a qualitative word, a subjective expression. I take the liberty here providing an example of providing a mostly subjective analysis of choice and decision in design.

Subjective And Objective Design Choices​


makes what I've been trying to make clear obvious. Humans are subjective beings living in an objective world. All operationalists try to make this point, but, being subjective beings they mostly fail. Most spectacularly, Psychologists, behaviorists, in particular, failed miserably.

So me saying what you write is subjectively expressed or view is true, but not because you can't see the light. The field which you love is filled with subjective statements, even in definitions. That you defend your view is proof of your and my subjectivity. Even the founder of Operationalism acknowledges what he expresses is never completely objective. He failed, admits his condition as true, because he has justified it because he's a physicist.

I don't ask that every word be operationally defined. I ask that you admit what you write is a mostly subjective view.

You associating your view by linking Math with your list of essential words is a strong signal you are aware what you write is a subjective statement supporting mostly subjective terms of their objectivity.
 

The AntiChris

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2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world. Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.

This is true only for libertarian (contra-causal) free will. It is not true for compatibilist free will as discussed in this forum.
 

DBT

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2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world. Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.

This is true only for libertarian (contra-causal) free will. It is not true for compatibilist free will as discussed in this forum.

Compatibilism is based on flawed premises. If the premises are flawed, the conclusion is rendered unsound. unimpeded actions based on necessitated processes/will does not equate to free will.
 

DBT

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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.

You either aren't reading what I'm saying or you don't understand what I'm saying.

Either way, you're not responding to what I've written.

I'd say the same about your posts. You miss the point each and every time. Your objections have nothing to do with what I say.
 

DBT

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I just wonder if this thread and the thread on compatibilsm could be merged, to avoid confusion, because both threads at this point are mainly discussing compatibilism. The only difference is that this thread has the added subject, not too often touched upon, of indeterminism. I think the compatiblist discussion kind of moved over here after the other thread was locked for awhile due to trolling.

There are only a few participants, and as the free will issue is repetitive it's pointless repeating the same things in multiple threads.
 

Marvin Edwards

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2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world. Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.

This is true only for libertarian (contra-causal) free will. It is not true for compatibilist free will as discussed in this forum.

Compatibilism is based on flawed premises. If the premises are flawed, the conclusion is rendered unsound. unimpeded actions based on necessitated processes/will does not equate to free will.

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?
 

DBT

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There are plenty of common references to freedom that are not to the underlying nature of reality, a determined world.

Common references are the source of definitions. People outside of these discussions do not reference "a determined world" at all, because it has no meaning and no significance to any practical human matter. The notion of "a determined world" is a disease spread through false but believable suggestions that trap people in a paradox.

Common references are a source of definitions, but common references are not always an accurate representation of the physical processes they refer to. The 'moon is rising' represents what we see when we look at the evening sky - bu,t as we know, it's our planet that is rotating on its axis.

You can say ''I am thinking'' - yet conscious thought is being generated by neural network activity, information feed, etc, and not 'you thinking.'

You may say ''I am my brain'' and that is true to an extent, but more accurately, it is the brain that creates and generates conscious you when needed and puts you to sleep when not.


The truth is that all events are the natural result of prior events. This notion goes by the name "History".

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.

Freedom is our ability to do things. If George can no longer swing his golf club freely, because he has a pulled muscle in his shoulder, the mechanism will be examined by an Orthopedist, who will recommend treatment. And all of George's golfing buddies will sympathize, and share their own stories of injuries on the golf course.

The nature of the mechanism is not some hidden philosophical secret. We just take them for granted until they stop working. Then we see a doctor, who knows all about the mechanism and how to restore its function, so that George is free once more to swing his golf club.

Yes, but the ability to act does not automatically equate to 'free will.' The ability to act is simply the ability to act. Any animal with a central nervous system can do it, snails, worms, rabbits, mice., whatever...each according to their genetic makeup and neural architecture, not their 'free will'

Their actions necessarily proceed from their neural activity. They can all act according to their will, but their will does not equate to free will.

Being subject to inner necessity, their will is not free.

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



The fact is that no actions are ever free of prior causes.
If the action is freely chosen, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is coerced, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is accidental, then it will still be "causally" necessary.
If the action is insane, then it will still be "causally" necessary.

To say that the action is causally determined blurs all meaningful distinctions. And, we humans become very dumb and incompetent when we fail to make meaningful distinctions. (The book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", comes to mind).

Causal determination is the whole point of the debate and the question of whether free will can exist in a determined world.

It's not enough to point to actions that are freely performed (necessarily performed) on the basis of will and say that this is an example of free will when will itself is fixed by antecedents over which the agent, the brain, has absolutely no control.

The best you can claim is 'freedom of action.'

‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills’ - Schopenhauer

“It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you h
Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states.

Another false, but believable suggestion. The truth is that our cognitive states will themselves be the causes of other cognitive states. (It's that state at t and state at t+1 thing that causal necessity implies). And that is what we experience. One thing being the cause of the next thing. (For example, my breakfast is now ready, so I'll finish up and go eat it now).

It's not false. Present cognitive states are determined by past cognitive states, which in turn determine future cognitive states. The cognitive state in any given moment in time determines behavioral output in that moment in time, with no possible deviation in any given moment in time

What is done in each and every moment in time is the only possible action

It is the state of the brain that determines thought and action. The brain cannot choose its own makeup, architecture, information condition, etc, therefore cannot do otherwise.

Determinism, by definition, does not allow alternate actions.

If ''control'' implies the possibility of alternate action, the claim of control is false

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.

And this is the common you can't have free will because unless you can be "free from yourself" argument. Whose will would it be if you were free from yourself? Someone else's.

Condition determines action. We don't get to choose our condition.
 

DBT

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2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world. Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.

This is true only for libertarian (contra-causal) free will. It is not true for compatibilist free will as discussed in this forum.

Compatibilism is based on flawed premises. If the premises are flawed, the conclusion is rendered unsound. unimpeded actions based on necessitated processes/will does not equate to free will.

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

From post #735
P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated.

The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists.

Real choice requires alternate possibilities, yet no alternate possibilities exist within a determined system. The action that proceeds from thought/information processing is a necessitated action, which being determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted.

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes;
''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism

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

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

Sorry.
 

The AntiChris

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You can say ''I am thinking'' - yet conscious thought is being generated by neural network activity, information feed, etc, and not 'you thinking.'

This is a real gem and explains a lot about how DBT 'thinks'.
 

Marvin Edwards

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1. Indeterminism would destroy science which is demonstrably the most powerful tool man has developed ever.

Correct. The whole point of science is to discover the causes of events. For example, Covid-19 is caused by a specific virus. Knowing the cause enables us to exercise control over the virus by creating vaccinations.

2. Free will has no mechanism for existence in either a determined or undetermined world.

The mechanism of free will is choosing and choosing is a deterministic mechanism.

Cause and effect eliminated choice and lack of cause and effect negates motive.

Nope. That would be a delusion created by thinking figuratively rather than literally.

Choosing is an actual event that takes place in the real world. One cannot it doesn't happen when we can easily walk into a restaurant and see people browsing the menu and placing their orders. This activity is called "choosing". And it is just as real as "walking", "talking", or "chewing gum".

Formally, choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and, based on that evaluation outputs a single choice. The choice is usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is the thing we have decided we will do.

The practical effects of choosing is that it sets our intention upon a specific goal, the thing that we will do, and that intention motivates and directs our subsequent actions, such as telling the waiter, "I will have the lobster dinner, please".

Cause and effect never eliminates anything. Cause and effect describes how the actual objects and forces interact to bring about events. We happen to be one of those actual objects that reliably interact with other objects (such as the waiter in the restaurant) to bring about the event of having a lobster dinner on our table for us to enjoy. We are the meaningful and relevant cause. The lobster on the table is the practical effect.

Choosing is a deterministic operation in that our choice is reliably caused by who and what we are at the time of choosing. Who and what we are at that time is a reliable result of prior events, such as our genetic dispositions (nature) and our prior life experiences (nurture).

Now, the delusion I spoke of is the tendency to say to ourselves that, since our choice was the reliable result of prior causes, that it is AS IF those prior causes made the choice instead of us. That is a figurative statement. But, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. It was actually us, in that moment, performing the choosing operation that causally determined there would be a lobster rather than a steak on the dinner table.

The evidence that it was really us, and not our prior causes, is witnessed by the waiter who brings us the bill for the lobster dinner. He does not bring the bill to our prior causes. And that should clear our head as to what literally happened in the real world.
 

Marvin Edwards

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

Yes we have. But you have not yet demonstrated any flaw. For example:

P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated.

Given determinism, the action was necessarily produced by the mechanism of choosing. It was causally necessary/inevitable, from any prior point in eternity, that choosing would be the final responsible cause of the action. That is how determinism and causal necessity work.

The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists.

Actually, it is your own wording that was "designed to give the impression" that necessity eliminates choice. If choosing happens, then it necessarily happens! And we can objectively observe choosing happening in a restaurant as people browse the menu and place their orders. Thus choosing necessarily happens.

Real choice requires alternate possibilities, yet no alternate possibilities exist within a determined system.

The people in the restaurant are looking at a literal menu of alternate possibilities. Given determinism and causal necessity, that list of alternate possibilities was unavoidable, and necessarily must happen. And that means that each customer would necessarily have to choose one of those alternate possibilities (or go without dinner).

The action that proceeds from thought/information processing is a necessitated action, which being determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted.

And by "thought/information processing" I assume you are referring specifically to the choosing operation that each customer in the restaurant actually performed just before placing their order. And, as you suggest, they were "unimpeded" and "unrestricted" by anything that would prevent them from deciding for themselves what they would order for dinner. So, when each customer told the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please", it was a freely chosen "I will".

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

Exactly. It was determined that each customer would choose for themselves what they would have for dinner, from a menu of many possibilities. And they would do this choosing while free of coercion and undue influence. Thus, their choice was a freely chosen "I will have the steak" or a freely chosen "I will have the lobster" or ... you get the idea.

So, as to P1, you have failed to prove it false. "P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence" stands firm.

P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events.
Correct. Not just reliably caused, but necessarily caused with no possible alternate action.

But the menu was filled with possible alternate actions. So, you cannot truthfully claim that there were no possible alternate actions. It was possible to order the steak. It was possible to order the lobster. It was possible to order the chef salad. Given determinism, each person would only choose one of those items, but each person could have chosen any one of those items.

P3: A freely chosen will is reliably caused by the person's own goals, reasons, or interests (with their prior causes).
An action is not freely chosen, it is necessitated by goals, reasons or interests that have their own determinants/antecedents. We don't choose the circumstances of our birth, genetics, location, culture, social and economic circumstance, etc. Someone born into the slums of Calcutta is necessarily different perspective on life, self-identity and prospects than someone from a well to do family living in New York.
Listing what we actually did not choose, like our genetic dispositions and prior life experiences, does not eliminate anything that we actually do choose, like what we will have for dinner.

Free will does not require that we be "free from ourselves" or "free from causation" or "free from nature" or "free from nurture". It simply requires that our choice is free from coercion and undue influence.

The question of free will is whether the choice is our own (our own goals, reasons, interests) versus a choice imposed upon us by someone or something else (their goals, reasons, interests).


P4: An unfree choice is reliably caused by coercion or undue influence (with their prior causes).
External force or influence interferes with or disrupts a person's desires or wishes, which, being determined by the factors outlined above, were not an example of free will.

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

What you do want to do is determined by prior causes;

But what I will do about those wants and desires is determined by my deliberate choices.

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

So, you're saying that if we desire sex with a woman then we must act upon that desire without constraint? You are justifying rape. Please stop doing that.

"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.''

And that confirms you are justifying rape. You are saying that we should act like animals, and not judge ourselves in moral terms. This is very disturbing DBT, and I think you should cease quoting that source over and over again.

In any case, you have not demonstrated any flaws in the premises of the compatibilist argument.
C: Therefore, the notion of a freely chosen will (and its opposite) is still meaningful within a fully deterministic world.
 

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?
The correct answer is 'yes'. But a mistake is being made. 'Better' is a qualitative word, a subjective expression. I take the liberty here providing an example of providing a mostly subjective analysis of choice and decision in design.

Subjective And Objective Design Choices​


makes what I've been trying to make clear obvious. Humans are subjective beings living in an objective world. All operationalists try to make this point, but, being subjective beings they mostly fail. Most spectacularly, Psychologists, behaviorists, in particular, failed miserably.

So me saying what you write is subjectively expressed or view is true, but not because you can't see the light. The field which you love is filled with subjective statements, even in definitions. That you defend your view is proof of your and my subjectivity. Even the founder of Operationalism acknowledges what he expresses is never completely objective. He failed, admits his condition as true, because he has justified it because he's a physicist.

I don't ask that every word be operationally defined. I ask that you admit what you write is a mostly subjective view.

You associating your view by linking Math with your list of essential words is a strong signal you are aware what you write is a subjective statement supporting mostly subjective terms of their objectivity.
"Better" is only subjective when there is missing information, and relates in this conversation to an objective reality in the form of goal oriented operations.

First, we generally do not decide on our goals, or more appropriately we do not choose certain of our goals. I'll call these "objective needs". We need food, water, protection from environmental dangers, sleep, and self-actualization, among other things. We can make choices on how to accomplish these things, but they are objectively necessary parts of operating as a human being.

How to accomplish it in any moment may be complicated. Which pursuits are most likely to be successful are complicated. The strategy to accomplish those things are complicated. But they are not subjective. What you want you want, objectively.

You wish to eliminate choice with causal necessity? Really you just eliminate the very concept of subjectivity.
 

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The fact is, I objectively exist. I'm an object. The object that I am has a complex form which generated forces not unique to the implementation.

I feel a shelter force towards objects in the shelter field proportionate to my exposure. That this field is composed of other fields, and that it is fairly uniquely defined through the orientation and alignment of those other fields matters little to it's objective reality and it's effects on the object which in many ways names that force.

That a force is experienced by only one specific thing (and this is by no means a requirement), does not change it's objective reality.

That the logic is discussed fuzzily makes it no less real.
 

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

My impression is that game theory is a set of hypotheses and experiments exploring how people make decisions in specially constructed scenarios. I'm not sure that the goal of game theory is to help people make better choices. I suspect the information could also be used to help manipulate peoples choices.

Helping people to make better choices would be a separate enterprise. There are many books on Amazon about how individuals can make better personal decisions and how businesses can make better economic decisions.

There was a group in the Engineering department at UVa that studies group dynamics and tools that could be used to help groups of people identify problems, generate options through brainstorming, and choose the best option to pursue. I remember they had a large room, with large chairs for participants, to help people feel comfortable and confident while engaging with each other. There were white boards around the wall for sketching out ideas as well as computer support on a large terminal.

I took a Psych course in Group Dynamics in college and my older sister took a similar course in Sociology. She had lots of formal techniques that went by different names for group decision making.

Generally, when faced with a decisions, you want to collect the most complete information of the best quality about each option and identify any risks due to unknowns.
 

Jarhyn

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

My impression is that game theory is a set of hypotheses and experiments exploring how people make decisions in specially constructed scenarios. I'm not sure that the goal of game theory is to help people make better choices. I suspect the information could also be used to help manipulate peoples choices.

Helping people to make better choices would be a separate enterprise. There are many books on Amazon about how individuals can make better personal decisions and how businesses can make better economic decisions.

There was a group in the Engineering department at UVa that studies group dynamics and tools that could be used to help groups of people identify problems, generate options through brainstorming, and choose the best option to pursue. I remember they had a large room, with large chairs for participants, to help people feel comfortable and confident while engaging with each other. There were white boards around the wall for sketching out ideas as well as computer support on large terminal.

I took a Psych course in Group Dynamics in college and my older sister took a similar course in Sociology. She had lots of formal techniques for group decision making.

Generally, when faced with a decisions, you want to collect the most complete information of the best quality about each option and identify any risks due to unknowns.
It can be "just that", if you constrain your understanding artificially. The concepts apply, in fact, to all considerations of goal oriented thinking.

Everything, in essence, becomes a game.

All of existence becomes a game.

Life, living, being... That becomes a game.

It's really just a trick of figuring out how to generalize "goal" from "a specific goal" to "a generalized, abstract 'goal'".

I'll level with you, this is, as you might imagine from my "basic beliefs", what I have thrown my entire life behind understanding and trying to derive.

Thus far, it seems to be "mutually compatible self-actualization".
 

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It can be "just that", if you constrain your understanding artificially. The concepts apply, in fact, to all considerations of goal oriented thinking.
Everything, in essence, becomes a game.
All of existence becomes a game.
Life, living, being... That becomes a game.
It's really just a trick of figuring out how to generalize "goal" from "a specific goal" to "a generalized, abstract 'goal'".
I'll level with you, this is, as you might imagine from my "basic beliefs", what I have thrown my entire life behind understanding and trying to derive.
Thus far, it seems to be "mutually compatible self-actualization".

First, there's an intuitive negative reaction to the notion that "everything is just a game".
But then again, one may avoid some stress by not taking things too seriously.

There is a general sense between all goal-directed activities that we want to "win" or be "successful" or "win or lose, play the best you can".

But it need not be a zero-sum game. Cooperation and even compromise may benefit everyone involved with no one suffering any losses.

So, when you suggest "mutually compatible self-actualization", are you thinking more of football or the PTA? (local parent-teacher association).
 

Jarhyn

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It can be "just that", if you constrain your understanding artificially. The concepts apply, in fact, to all considerations of goal oriented thinking.
Everything, in essence, becomes a game.
All of existence becomes a game.
Life, living, being... That becomes a game.
It's really just a trick of figuring out how to generalize "goal" from "a specific goal" to "a generalized, abstract 'goal'".
I'll level with you, this is, as you might imagine from my "basic beliefs", what I have thrown my entire life behind understanding and trying to derive.
Thus far, it seems to be "mutually compatible self-actualization".

First, there's an intuitive negative reaction to the notion that "everything is just a game".
But then again, one may avoid some stress by not taking things too seriously.

There is a general sense between all goal-directed activities that we want to "win" or be "successful" or "win or lose, play the best you can".

But it need not be a zero-sum game. Cooperation and even compromise may benefit everyone involved with no one suffering any losses.

So, when you suggest "mutually compatible self-actualization", are you thinking more of football or the PTA? (local parent-teacher association).
All of it.

All intelligent activity is goal directed.

In fact the goal direction is what makes it "intelligent" in most respects of the word.

Nobody ever said it was zero sum. Edit: ok, some dummies probably would but they aren't here.

"Mutually compatible self-actualization".

Actually break it down: for the goal to be accepted as the general form "metagoal", the most abstract concept of "an acceptable goal" it automatically does assume there are unacceptable goals.

The trivial emotional proof, the thing we point to for this, is "my goal is to murder everyone else in the universe". This is not compatible with any other person having that goal. Or any goal. It assumes that the holders goals matter and nobody else's do. It's a clear example I like to bring up from time to time of "an unacceptable goal".

Assuming any goal is acceptable, not in the same class as that other one, this creates two very broad sets: unacceptable goals and acceptable goals. It's just a matter of figuring out where that line really lies.

As evidenced, I think it lives in the mutual compatibility of the goals held in the population: I can have the goal for example of having a mutual competition with my fellows. We all get together and decide that we want to compete, we get together, and we each compete. Then in the context of this mutual goal we get to suspend our awareness temporarily that "it is a game in mutual brotherhood" and the "play to self actualize as 'a winner', in the mutual accord of acceptance of not-that as risk".

There are certain times, like in the PTA that "mutually compatible" probably sways a lot more than "self actualization", though the goal is generally to support the actualization of new self vis-a-vis the children.

Always in this world, we seek to be ourselves, to build it up into something worth being and to be it completely. Sometimes that thing is not even "what we are currently" but "something similar, but clearly different". And that's OK too. We each seek to actualize that, and defend our power to do so.

It becomes generally acceptable only when that self doesn't put itself before others, bit rather to their left and right.

Always, the context of the competition is in mutual brotherhood, if we call this "sport". Else we call it 'warfare' and 'battle'.

I tend to take a dim view of those who exist in this world leveraging each other rather than working together.
 

fromderinside

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Wow. OK guys. Anything you divine is somewhat ...

Can't do it.

What you determine isn't objective. Its' subjective, just because, well, you determined it.

Get it?

How easy was that? Very. I'm satisfied. If it flies with either one of you the wax securing the wings will melt. That's my subjective observation of the outcome of a fairytale.

As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.
 

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Wow. OK guys. Anything you divine is somewhat ...

Can't do it.

What you determine isn't objective. Its' subjective, just because, well, you determined it.

Get it?

How easy was that? Very. I'm satisfied. If it flies with either one of you the wax securing the wings will melt. That's my subjective observation of the outcome of a fairytale.

As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

Actually, setting a measurable goal makes things literally objective. You have the objective, such as reaching the end of a marathon walk (or perhaps losing 10 pounds). And you can objectively measure how close you've come to your goal. And, because the goal is well-defined and the measurement is well-defined, all observers can objectively agree as to the result.

As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

I'm picking up a sense of nihilism in some of your comments. Keep in mind that "if everything is an illusion, then nothing is".
 

fromderinside

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Wow. OK guys. Anything you divine is somewhat ...

Can't do it.

What you determine isn't objective. Its' subjective, just because, well, you determined it.

Get it?

How easy was that? Very. I'm satisfied. If it flies with either one of you the wax securing the wings will melt. That's my subjective observation of the outcome of a fairytale.

As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

Actually, setting a measurable goal makes things literally objective. You have the objective, such as reaching the end of a marathon walk (or perhaps losing 10 pounds). And you can objectively measure how close you've come to your goal. And, because the goal is well-defined and the measurement is well-defined, all observers can objectively agree as to the result.

As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

I'm picking up a sense of nihilism in some of your comments. Keep in mind that "if everything is an illusion, then nothing is".
This is what I mean by objective.

 Laws of thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics define a group of physical quantities, such as temperature, energy, and entropy, that characterize thermodynamic systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. The laws also use various parameters for thermodynamic processes, such as thermodynamic work and heat, and establish relationships between them. They state empirical facts that form a basis of precluding the possibility of certain phenomena, such as perpetual motion. In addition to their use in thermodynamics, they are important fundamental laws of physics in general, and are applicable in other natural sciences.

Traditionally, thermodynamics has recognized three fundamental laws, simply named by an ordinal identification, the first law, the second law, and the third law.[1][2][3] A more fundamental statement was later labelled as the zeroth law, after the first three laws had been established.

The zeroth law of thermodynamics defines thermal equilibrium and forms a basis for the definition of temperature: If two systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third system, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other.

The first law of thermodynamics states that, when energy passes into or out of a system (as work, heat, or matter), the system's internal energy changes in accord with the law of conservation of energy.

The second law of thermodynamics states that in a natural thermodynamic process, the sum of the entropies of the interacting thermodynamic systems never decreases. Another form of the statement is that heat does not spontaneously pass from a colder body to a warmer body.

The third law of thermodynamics states that a system's entropy approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero. With the exception of non-crystalline solids (glasses) the entropy of a system at absolute zero is typically close to zero.[2]
Material goal setting is a distraction. There is very little in your post that suggests you have any understanding of what I mean by objective operational definition or linking observations through material parameters.
 

DBT

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You can say ''I am thinking'' - yet conscious thought is being generated by neural network activity, information feed, etc, and not 'you thinking.'

This is a real gem and explains a lot about how DBT 'thinks'.

It's not about me. I have supplied more than enough information from neuroscience to support everything that I have said...given your remarks, it seems that none of it was read, considered or understood by you.

Again, the brain is the sole agent of information acquisition, processing, thought and motor response, which includes you as a conscious entity and all that you think and do, waking you up in the morning and putting you to sleep at night.

You really have no idea.
 

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

Yes we have. But you have not yet demonstrated any flaw. For example:

P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

What happens on a cellular level is not chosen. Cells process information and once readiness potential is achieved information, conscious experience is generated.

Compatibilists carefully word their terms in order to support their propositions and conclusion. Unconscious mechanisms processing information can hardly be called a free will choice.

Given determinism, the outcome is determined. There goes any real choice. 'Someone chooses for themselves' is misleading.

Which makes P1 a flawed premise.

P1 is incorrect -and misleading - because an action is not chosen in the sense that another option was possible. Given determinism, the action taken was not chosen, it was necessitated.

Given determinism, the action was necessarily produced by the mechanism of choosing. It was causally necessary/inevitable, from any prior point in eternity, that choosing would be the final responsible cause of the action. That is how determinism and causal necessity work.

Sure, but still not a choice given the outcome is fixed. Which means no possibility of an alternate action.

Would the punters be happy placing their bets on a fixed race? In fact the horse that wins is the only possible result in any race, just that nobody has deliberately fixed the race and punters do not know which horse must necessarily win.

Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

What happens within the brain determines outcome. You can call it a persons choice, but rather than the work of a 'person' it is specifically the brain that processes information and determines output, itself being determined by input, architecture, chemistry, etc. None of it open to choice.

The wording of P1 is designed to give the impression of choice where no choice exists.

Actually, it is your own wording that was "designed to give the impression" that necessity eliminates choice. If choosing happens, then it necessarily happens! And we can objectively observe choosing happening in a restaurant as people browse the menu and place their orders. Thus choosing necessarily happens.

Nope, what I said is in line with both the accepted definition of determinism - all actions are fixed - and how the brain functions as a parallel information processor.

To say a 'person decides' is true in the general sense of the organism as a whole, body/brain/mind, but does not take into account that the brain is the sole agent of thought and action. Not the arms, legs, torso, shoulders, eyes, nails...but the brain alone.

A 'person' may be alive, physically uninjured, but if the brain is not functioning, the person can do nothing.

Memory function loss alone means the destruction of conscious selfhood while the 'person' is alive.

Real choice requires alternate possibilities, yet no alternate possibilities exist within a determined system.

The people in the restaurant are looking at a literal menu of alternate possibilities. Given determinism and causal necessity, that list of alternate possibilities was unavoidable, and necessarily must happen. And that means that each customer would necessarily have to choose one of those alternate possibilities (or go without dinner).

Each customer has their own non chosen proclivities that determine outcome in relation to whatever is on the menu. The brain acquires information from the senses - you read the menu - the brain processes that information which in turn determines the only possible outcome (which means fixed) and the result is made conscious; you think you'll have Pepperoni Pizza and beer.

That is basically the unconscious means and conscious experience of thought and action.

A parietal-premotor network for movement intention and motor awareness
''It is commonly assumed that we are conscious of our movements mainly because we can sense ourselves moving as ongoing peripheral information coming from our muscles and retina reaches the brain. Recent evidence, however, suggests that, contrary to common beliefs, conscious intention to move is independent of movement execution per se. We propose that during movement execution it is our initial intentions that we are mainly aware of. Furthermore, the experience of moving as a conscious act is associated with increased activity in a specific brain region: the posterior parietal cortex. We speculate that movement intention and awareness are generated and monitored in this region. We put forward a general framework of the cognitive and neural processes involved in movement intention and motor awareness.''
The action that proceeds from thought/information processing is a necessitated action, which being determined, must necessarily proceed unimpeded or unrestricted.

And by "thought/information processing" I assume you are referring specifically to the choosing operation that each customer in the restaurant actually performed just before placing their order. And, as you suggest, they were "unimpeded" and "unrestricted" by anything that would prevent them from deciding for themselves what they would order for dinner. So, when each customer told the waiter, "I will have this, please" or "I will have that, please", it was a freely chosen "I will".

If an action is determined, it cannot be impeded or blocked. It must proceed as determined. If its determined that a bird flies from point A to point B, the bird flies freely between point A and point B.

This freedom of action does not equate to freedom of will - inner necessity, etc.

Abstract
''There has been long controversy as to whether subjectively 'free' decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness.''

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

Exactly. It was determined that each customer would choose for themselves what they would have for dinner, from a menu of many possibilities. And they would do this choosing while free of coercion and undue influence. Thus, their choice was a freely chosen "I will have the steak" or a freely chosen "I will have the lobster" or ... you get the idea.

So, as to P1, you have failed to prove it false. "P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence" stands firm.

I have explained why P1 is flawed. You don't accept my explanation. Which, given your position as a compatibilist, is understandable.

That's all I have time for tonight, I'll leave it there.
 

Jarhyn

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Material goals are part of material geometry. Part of that geometry in inside it is 'goal shaped' if we are going to be "eliminative" about anything with our materialism, we eliminate the concept of subjectivity.

It is in fact objective as the material objects that hold their own geometry. Because goals are highly variable, it becomes necessary to abstract them to get a general form.

You can't play "it's all material and causal" and then ignore that the material is an object and objectively has a geometry which generated force towards those goal structure satisfactions, even if that force is highly complicated and translates through neural networks.
 

Marvin Edwards

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This is what I mean by objective.

 Laws of thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics define a group of physical quantities, such as temperature, energy, and entropy, that characterize thermodynamic systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. The laws also use various parameters for thermodynamic processes, such as thermodynamic work and heat, and establish relationships between them. They state empirical facts that form a basis of precluding the possibility of certain phenomena, such as perpetual motion. In addition to their use in thermodynamics, they are important fundamental laws of physics in general, and are applicable in other natural sciences.
...
Hmm. Looks like the laws of thermodynamics are clearly defined by measurable goals that make things literally objective. You have the objective, such as predicting the amount of energy expended reaching the end of a marathon walk (or perhaps losing 10 pounds). And you can objectively measure how close you've come to your goal, by measuring physical quantities such as temperature, energy, and entropy. And, because the goal is well-defined and the measurement is well-defined, all observers can objectively agree as to the result.
 

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DBT,

By “readiness potential,” I assume you are referring to the Libet experiments. They don’t show what you think they show. The fact that our brains do some evaluation and considering subconsciously is irrelevant. We are our brains! The experiments also showed that conscious awareness has a “veto power”over subconscious processing. This is clearly compatibilist free will. The Libet experiments only count against libertarian free will.

You speak of the brain doing “parallel processing.” I’ve already referred you to a detailed article arguing that the brain is not a computer, as you seem to think it is.

You once again speak of events being “fixed.” As I have explained, fixity is not fatalism. Your argument cannot just be that future events are fixed, because fixity is fully compatible with, well, compatibilism. Freely willed human acts help fix the future.

I await your discussion of how evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, process, and then choose. All of these functions are illusory according to you, except the processing part, and so I wonder why you think natural selection would favor illusions. On the contrary, illusions would not be conducive to fitness, and would be selected against.
 

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DBT,

By “readiness potential,” I assume you are referring to the Libet experiments. They don’t show what you think they show. The fact that our brains do some evaluation and considering subconsciously is irrelevant. We are our brains! The experiments also showed that conscious awareness has a “veto power”over subconscious processing. This is clearly compatibilist free will. The Libet experiments only count against libertarian free will.

You speak of the brain doing “parallel processing.” I’ve already referred you to a detailed article arguing that the brain is not a computer, as you seem to think it is.

You once again speak of events being “fixed.” As I have explained, fixity is not fatalism. Your argument cannot just be that future events are fixed, because fixity is fully compatible with, well, compatibilism. Freely willed human acts help fix the future.

I await your discussion of how evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, process, and then choose. All of these functions are illusory according to you, except the processing part, and so I wonder why you think natural selection would favor illusions. On the contrary, illusions would not be conducive to fitness, and would be selected against.
I think you are a little ready to dismiss the brain as a systemic information process, as this is all the likening to a computer does.

A computer can be a brain. A brain can be a computer.

What matters is that even in the event of parallel child processes, in physical parallel in neurons or physical parallel in sand, the parallel eventually conjuncts into a decision point and combinatory translation: the work all goes to a queue where it is serviced, in our case, by a single conscious agent process that manages the system.
 

Jarhyn

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This is what I mean by objective.

 Laws of thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics define a group of physical quantities, such as temperature, energy, and entropy, that characterize thermodynamic systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. The laws also use various parameters for thermodynamic processes, such as thermodynamic work and heat, and establish relationships between them. They state empirical facts that form a basis of precluding the possibility of certain phenomena, such as perpetual motion. In addition to their use in thermodynamics, they are important fundamental laws of physics in general, and are applicable in other natural sciences.
...
Hmm. Looks like the laws of thermodynamics are clearly defined by measurable goals that make things literally objective. You have the objective, such as predicting the amount of energy expended reaching the end of a marathon walk (or perhaps losing 10 pounds). And you can objectively measure how close you've come to your goal, by measuring physical quantities such as temperature, energy, and entropy. And, because the goal is well-defined and the measurement is well-defined, all observers can objectively agree as to the result.
And not only this, the goal is a part of the geometry of the object, a part of it's physical reality.

It can't not be what it is in that moment holding that goal and experiencing the unique momentary force vectors created by that geometry in the various contexts it exists in.

That they are momentary makes them.no less objective. That they are complicated and translates through a giant mess of squishy stuff makes them no less objective.

Objectively, these goals exist and their geometry causes the systems that hold this geometry to seek things.
 

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

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

P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

What happens on a cellular level is not chosen. Cells process information and once readiness potential is achieved information, conscious experience is generated.

But what happens in the restaurant is chosen. We have a menu of dinners to choose from, and the chef is capable of preparing any one of them for us. So, each dinner on the menu is a real possibility. The only thing standing between us and dinner is that we must make a choice. No choosing, no dining.

Given determinism, the outcome is determined.

Of course. And one of the things that is determined is that we must make a choice before we can have our dinner.

There goes any real choice.

False. A real choice must be made or we'll have no dinner! It is causally necessary that we must make a choice in order to eat tonight.

Unconscious mechanisms processing information can hardly be called a free will choice.

Apparently they can, because we know that a lot of the brain's activity happens below conscious awareness, and, that conscious awareness itself is a product of specific functional areas of the brain, and, we also know that we must make a choice in the restaurant or we'll go without dinner.

Therefore, it logically follows that "unconscious mechanisms processing information" does not prevent us from choosing, but rather enable us to make choices.

Given determinism, the outcome is determined. There goes any real choice. 'Someone chooses for themselves' is misleading. Unconscious mechanisms processing information can hardly be called a free will choice.

"Someone choosing for themselves" is an empirically accurate description of what happens in the restaurant.

Sure, but still not a choice given the outcome is fixed. Which means no possibility of an alternate action.

The possibility of an alternate action was guaranteed by the choosing operation itself. In the same fashion that the logical operation of addition requires at least two numbers, the logical operation of choosing requires at least two real possibilities before it can begin. Without two numbers, addition cannot begin. Without two options, choosing cannot begin.

Fortunately, we have a literal menu of real possibilities in the restaurant. And it is possible for us to choose any one of them. Nothing prevents us from choosing the steak dinner. Nothing prevents us from choosing the lobster dinner.

"I can choose the steak dinner" is true and "I can choose the lobster dinner" is equally true. These are two facts of which we have certain knowledge. The only thing we are uncertain about is which one we will choose. Will I choose the steak or will I choose the lobster? I don't know! But the waiter is standing there. Everyone else has already made up their mind and told the waiter what they will have. And if I cannot make up my mind, then I will have neither the steak nor the lobster!

So, it is really necessary that I make a choice, right now. So, I flip a coin. Heads, steak. Tails, lobster. "I will have the lobster dinner, please", I tell the waiter, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Would the punters be happy placing their bets on a fixed race? In fact the horse that wins is the only possible result in any race, just that nobody has deliberately fixed the race and punters do not know which horse must necessarily win.

Well, my first question was why only the kickers were betting on the horses. What about the quarterback or the tight ends? "America and England, two countries divided by a common language." Thank God for the OED.

The punters were uncertain which horse would win. But they bet on their own horse because they were certain that their horse could win.

Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

Sounds believable, doesn't it? But, no, the statement is literally false.

Because of the uncertainty at the beginning of the race, there was a real possibility that each of the selected horses could win. It was never "impossible" that any of those horses could win. It simply did not turn out that way.

The fact that a horse would not win does not logically imply that the horse could not win. In fact, the statement "my horse could have won if he had the right jockey" may be quite accurate. All uses of "could have" logically imply that (a) it did not happen and (b) things would have had to be different in order for it to happen. With those two implications already built into the term "could have", we get potentially true statements, like "he could have won".

The fact that the horse did not win never implies that it was impossible for the horse to win.

What happens within the brain determines outcome. You can call it a persons choice, but rather than the work of a 'person' it is specifically the brain that processes information and determines output, itself being determined by input, architecture, chemistry, etc. None of it open to choice.

Rather than the work of a 'person'? What do you think is the result of all that information processing, architecture, chemistry, etc., if not to function as a person?

The reductionist fallacy is to presume that having explained how something works that we have somehow "explained it away". But that is not what is happening. We are simply explaining how a 'person' works. The person is still there, right in front of us, flipping a coin to decide whether he will have steak or lobster for dinner.

Sometimes it sounds like hard determinists are carefully wording their terms in order to support their propositions and conclusions. Fortunately, compatibilists are pragmatic empiricists, so they can keep the facts straight.


Unless you want to challenge my definition of free will, P1 still holds true.
 

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As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

I'm picking up a sense of nihilism in some of your comments. Keep in mind that "if everything is an illusion, then nothing is".

Technically, everything is an illusion, since our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data. That is, the way we experience and interact with reality is always filtered through passive sense data that the mind actively imposes interpretations on. However, there are different types of illusions and different senses of meaning to the word "illusion". Usually, it is used to refer to a perceptual experience that is misleading or causes us to impose a flawed model of reality on our perceptions. So optical illusions are ambiguous visual perceptions that flip between contradictory sensory experiences. Rainbows are a different type of illusion, because they aren't really ambiguous but only exist as a unique visual experience from a particular location. Hence, they can't have an end where a pot of gold could exist, although they appear to have a physical location. Even the most concrete physical objects are ultimately illusory objects built up out of complex sensory experiences.

The philosophical problem that illusions pose is that there is always some perspective from which they disappear from our model of reality. If we had different bodies with different sensory equipment, then we would make sense out of reality in different ways. Ants and whales can interact with apples and oranges, but would the brains in either animal treat them as similar to each other in the way that humans see their similarity? They interact with a very different version of reality from the one we interact with.

It is easy to see where eliminativism comes from. Anything that can be made to disappear from an imagined perspective becomes nonexistent from that perspective. From the perspective of a determinist, time is illusory, since outcomes of causal events are as well-known as antecedent events that cause them. There is no "free choice" from that perspective. If one takes the position of a soft determinist or compatibilist, then one can also shift perspective to one where consequences are unknown. From that perspective the future does not exist, only alternative versions of what it is likely to become. Hard determinists simply refuse to acknowledge that reality can be perceived differently--experienced from different angles. They cling to the delusion that there can be only one possible way to experience of reality. So you have to choose between the reality where all future outcomes are known and the one where they are not known. You can't have both.
 

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As you can see, I don't think the use of certain words helps at all.

I'm picking up a sense of nihilism in some of your comments. Keep in mind that "if everything is an illusion, then nothing is".

Technically, everything is an illusion, since our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data. That is, the way we experience and interact with reality is always filtered through passive sense data that the mind actively imposes interpretations on. However, there are different types of illusions and different senses of meaning to the word "illusion". Usually, it is used to refer to a perceptual experience that is misleading or causes us to impose a flawed model of reality on our perceptions. So optical illusions are ambiguous visual perceptions that flip between contradictory sensory experiences. Rainbows are a different type of illusion, because they aren't really ambiguous but only exist as a unique visual experience from a particular location. Hence, they can't have an end where a pot of gold could exist, although they appear to have a physical location. Even the most concrete physical objects are ultimately illusory objects built up out of complex sensory experiences.

The philosophical problem that illusions pose is that there is always some perspective from which they disappear from our model of reality. If we had different bodies with different sensory equipment, then we would make sense out of reality in different ways. Ants and whales can interact with apples and oranges, but would the brains in either animal treat them as similar to each other in the way that humans see their similarity? They interact with a very different version of reality from the one we interact with.

It is easy to see where eliminativism comes from. Anything that can be made to disappear from an imagined perspective becomes nonexistent from that perspective. From the perspective of a determinist, time is illusory, since outcomes of causal events are as well-known as antecedent events that cause them. There is no "free choice" from that perspective. If one takes the position of a soft determinist or compatibilist, then one can also shift perspective to one where consequences are unknown. From that perspective the future does not exist, only alternative versions of what it is likely to become. Hard determinists simply refuse to acknowledge that reality can be perceived differently--experienced from different angles. They cling to the delusion that there can be only one possible way to experience of reality. So you have to choose between the reality where all future outcomes are known and the one where they are not known. You can't have both.
You can't have "either", either. You can only have one: the outcome where they are not known absolutely, and are rightly identified as merely assumed due to statistical trends.

Unless the hard determinist wishes to claim that they are God...

In which case I would have a sword to show to them.
 

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You can't have "either", either. You can only have one: the outcome where they are not known absolutely, and are rightly identified as merely assumed due to statistical trends.

Unless the hard determinist wishes to claim that they are God...

In which case I would have a sword to show to them.

You can have as many different perspectives as you can imagine. You can't even have a conversation, if you can't imagine what is in the mind of the person you are talking to. So you have your perspective and at least that imaginary one. Similarly, you can have a godlike omniscient perspective on the universe, where you know both its future and its past--sort of like the author of a novel knowing the past and future of the characters in the novel. Readers of the novel can only imagine what the future of the characters will be until they reach the end of the novel. Then it is all history. So there is a sense in which the imaginary characters have free will. Until they no longer do. And, since the novel is fiction, you know that they don't really have free will. That is an illusion.
 

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You can't have "either", either. You can only have one: the outcome where they are not known absolutely, and are rightly identified as merely assumed due to statistical trends.

Unless the hard determinist wishes to claim that they are God...

In which case I would have a sword to show to them.

You can have as many different perspectives as you can imagine. You can't even have a conversation, if you can't imagine what is in the mind of the person you are talking to. So you have your perspective and at least that imaginary one. Similarly, you can have a godlike omniscient perspective on the universe, where you know both its future and its past--sort of like the author of a novel knowing the past and future of the characters in the novel. Readers of the novel can only imagine what the future of the characters will be until they reach the end of the novel. Then it is all history. So there is a sense in which the imaginary characters have free will. Until they no longer do. And, since the novel is fiction, you know that they don't really have free will. That is an illusion.
Except that we have this assumption of objective reality being "out there" somewhere being observed. If you wish to take a gods eye view of it that way, you have to acknowledge the material geometries that exist objectively. Those objects, which have a real property of locality that determines the shape they scribe through time in a predictable way, describe trends in the data of that history.

Even if it's all a crystalline block, that crystalline block contains these geometric results from the system that projects it intersected with the data it was "created" with.

You can easily, even as a god, point to some segment of the thing and say "that will is constraining this will from this point to this point, objectively".

The issue is that a book contains a fiction, a mere image and soul without a body that could ever exist in reality.

As soon as a non-contradictory system exists in which this thing that is described is described by, it contains real, objective decisions even from a gods eye view.
 

Copernicus

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Except that we have this assumption of objective reality being "out there" somewhere being observed. If you wish to take a gods eye view of it that way, you have to acknowledge the material geometries that exist objectively. Those objects, which have a real property of locality that determines the shape they scribe through time in a predictable way, describe trends in the data of that history...

My point is that there can be no "objective reality" for us in the end, because we can only interact with our subjective experience of it. Note that you said--"out there" somewhere being observed. You can try to imagine yourself being an omniscient observer of reality, but that makes you a subjective observer, since omniscience gets you into a paradoxical situation where you have to ask whether this godlike perspective can see its own future and therefore be unable to change itself in any way (i.e. have volition). Not a good position for an allegedly omnipotent being to be in. :) That's the point at which true believers in God start mumbling and gibbering things about the ineffability of God.

Anyway, objects only mean anything in terms of how you interact with them, whether passively or actively. A house is a physical object in a location, but only in the minds of beings that can make holistic sense of it. Otherwise, it is just a collection of things that the being actually is able to make sense of. The problem you have is that objects don't exist except in terms of how you interact with them. If you can't interact with them in any way, then they don't exist from your perspective. Our minds construct reality purely out of sensory experience.
 

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Except that we have this assumption of objective reality being "out there" somewhere being observed. If you wish to take a gods eye view of it that way, you have to acknowledge the material geometries that exist objectively. Those objects, which have a real property of locality that determines the shape they scribe through time in a predictable way, describe trends in the data of that history...

My point is that there can be no "objective reality" for us in the end, because we can only interact with our subjective experience of it. You can try to imagine yourself being an omniscient observer of reality, but that makes you a subjective observer, since omniscience gets you into a paradoxical situation where you have to ask whether this godlike perspective can see its own future and therefore be unable to change itself in any way (i.e. have volition). Not a good position for an allegedly omnipotent being to be in. :) That's the point at which true believers in God start mumbling and gibbering things about the ineffability of God.

Anyway, objects only mean anything in terms of how you interact with them, whether passively or actively. A house is a physical object in a location, but only in the minds of beings that can make holistic sense of it. Otherwise, it is a collection of things that the being actually is able to make sense of. The problem you have is that objects don't exist except in terms of how you interact with them. If you can't interact with them in any way, then they don't exist from your perspective. Our minds construct reality purely out of sensory experience.
So, this is where we part ways, then. One of my axioms, in fact one of THE axioms that we all tacitly assume despite claiming otherwise is that there is a universe, objectively, out there somewhere and that we observe it.

This further implies, whether someone wants to admit it or not, that our "subjective" experience has an "objective" nature which drives it.

This is not up for discussion for me really.

If you can provide a better axiom than to accept the universe outside myself and in it's material composing this self and existing as a basis, it's wants and needs reflections of real geometries even if the things they draw force towards are insufficient to maintain the existence, in general of those forces... Then I will happily evaluate and accept it.

Those forces which "I" am subject to are caused by objective reality, even when I do not entirely understand "how".
 

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Technically, everything is an illusion, since our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data.

The term "model" is correct. The brain organizes sensory data into a model of reality consisting of objects and events. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, as when we navigate our bodies through a doorway, then we call that "reality", because the model 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 is open, that the word "illusion" is appropriate.

The notions of "reality" and "illusion" are used to make that important distinction.

... Anything that can be made to disappear from an imagined perspective becomes nonexistent from that perspective.

That which is ignored is not nonexistent. This is also an important distinction.

There is no "free choice" from that perspective.

That would be an illusion. But I do not think the illusion is that time disappears. The illusion is that causal necessity has some sort of agency, which it does not.

If one takes the position of a soft determinist or compatibilist, then one can also shift perspective to one where consequences are unknown. From that perspective the future does not exist, only alternative versions of what it is likely to become.

And we have all experienced that uncertainty and humans have evolved specific language and logic to deal with it. When we do not know what "will" happen, we imagine what "can" happen, to prepare for what "does" happen.

Hard determinists simply refuse to acknowledge that reality can be perceived differently--experienced from different angles. They cling to the delusion that there can be only one possible way to experience of reality. So you have to choose between the reality where all future outcomes are known and the one where they are not known. You can't have both.

But the ordinary "man on the street" has no problem using the correct logic in the correct situation. He speaks and acts with certainty in matters of certainty, like when he is hammering a nail. He speaks and acts with uncertainty, referring to things that he "can" do (like hammering a nail) even when he is not hammering a nail. He imagines building a dog house for his pet, and knows instinctively that his dog cannot sleep in the "possibility" of a dog house but only in an "actual" dog house.

So, ordinary language provides the hard determinist with all the tools he needs to keep things straight in his head. And it is only when he confuses himself with abstractions and draws false inferences from his concepts that he ends up creating paradoxes that are too complex for him to climb out of.
 

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So, this is where we part ways, then. One of my axioms, in fact one of THE axioms that we all tacitly assume despite claiming otherwise is that there is a universe, objectively, out there somewhere and that we observe it.
We do not part ways on this, since that is exactly my position. The difference I see between us is that you don't want to think of an illusion as an observation, even though illusions are perceptual phenomena by definition. The real problem that most people have with my use of "illusion" is that I don't always use it to mean a kind of deceptive or misleading observation. Illusions are grounded in sensory experiences, and so are our models of what is real. So illusions are real in that sense, even though they may sometimes lead to flawed assumptions about what you refer to as "objective reality". Illusion is a design feature of human perception, not a bug.
 

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Technically, everything is an illusion, since our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data.

The term "model" is correct. The brain organizes sensory data into a model of reality consisting of objects and events. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, as when we navigate our bodies through a doorway, then we call that "reality", because the model 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 is open, that the word "illusion" is appropriate.

The notions of "reality" and "illusion" are used to make that important distinction.

That depends on how we use the words. Normally, we use "illusion" to refer to a perceptual experience that causes us to misconstrue reality, such as when we walk into a glass door because of the visual illusion caused by the transparency of glass. Glass is solid. However, it is also liquid, because it flows like a liquid over time. And water is not so solid, because we can move our bodies through it. Unless, of course, your body is moving very fast when it comes into contact with the water. That's why water landings can be very dangerous for airplanes. If the airplane speed isn't slowed down enough, the airplane will break apart. So my point is that the solidity of an object can be taken as an accurate reflection of reality or illusion, depending on how we perceive an interaction with it.

... Anything that can be made to disappear from an imagined perspective becomes nonexistent from that perspective.

That which is ignored is not nonexistent. This is also an important distinction.

True, but that's not what I said. You have to perceive something in order to ignore it, but perception always depends on the perspective of the observer. Background perceptions that the mind filters out are still bona fide perceptions of reality.

There is no "free choice" from that perspective.

That would be an illusion. But I do not think the illusion is that time disappears. The illusion is that causal necessity has some sort of agency, which it does not.

Well, we can quibble over what we mean by "disappear". Perhaps "becomes irrelevant to the observer" would be a better characterization of shifting perspective to an observer that is not part of the timeline. That's why I like to bring up the example of reading a novel. Intellectually, we know that the characters in it are not real, but we don't enjoy the illusion of the story unless we can "suspend reality". That is, we shift perspectives in order to enjoy the experience of reading the novel.

If one takes the position of a soft determinist or compatibilist, then one can also shift perspective to one where consequences are unknown. From that perspective the future does not exist, only alternative versions of what it is likely to become.

And we have all experienced that uncertainty and humans have evolved specific language and logic to deal with it. When we do not know what "will" happen, we imagine what "can" happen, to prepare for what "does" happen.

Exactly right. In fact, all animals experience uncertainty and build predictive models of the future. We program robots to do that, as well. Humans have just evolved a means of communicating thoughts through a complex auditory signal. So all languages have tense and aspect expressions to communicate thoughts about when events happen and how long the events last.

Hard determinists simply refuse to acknowledge that reality can be perceived differently--experienced from different angles. They cling to the delusion that there can be only one possible way to experience of reality. So you have to choose between the reality where all future outcomes are known and the one where they are not known. You can't have both.

But the ordinary "man on the street" has no problem using the correct logic in the correct situation. He speaks and acts with certainty in matters of certainty, like when he is hammering a nail. He speaks and acts with uncertainty, referring to things that he "can" do (like hammering a nail) even when he is not hammering a nail. He imagines building a dog house for his pet, and knows instinctively that his dog cannot sleep in the "possibility" of a dog house but only in an "actual" dog house.

So, ordinary language provides the hard determinist with all the tools he needs to keep things straight in his head. And it is only when he confuses himself with abstractions and draws false inferences from his concepts that he ends up creating paradoxes that are too complex for him to climb out of.

This has been the position of so-called  Ordinary Language Philosophy. A word of caution on the Wikipedia article, however. It associates OLP with  Logical Positivism, which partly came out of Wittgenstein's early work with Bertrand Russell. OLP was actually inspired by Wittgenstein's later work, which rejected the verificationism that Logical Positivism is associated with.
 

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So, this is where we part ways, then. One of my axioms, in fact one of THE axioms that we all tacitly assume despite claiming otherwise is that there is a universe, objectively, out there somewhere and that we observe it.
We do not part ways on this, since that is exactly my position. The difference I see between us is that you don't want to think of an illusion as an observation, even though illusions are perceptual phenomena by definition. The real problem that most people have with my use of "illusion" is that I don't always use it to mean a kind of deceptive or misleading observation. Illusions are grounded in sensory experiences, and so are our models of what is real. So illusions are real in that sense, even though they may sometimes lead to flawed assumptions about what you refer to as "objective reality". Illusion is a design feature of human perception, not a bug.
I think if there is a shared idea here it is between your "illusion" and my "image".

There are things which image other things, and perhaps inaccurately. But the image is still a property of the object perhaps in relation to a mechanism in that selfsame object. They are both objects with an objective relationship between them.
 

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Technically, everything is an illusion, since our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data.

The term "model" is correct. The brain organizes sensory data into a model of reality consisting of objects and events. When the model is accurate enough to be useful, as when we navigate our bodies through a doorway, then we call that "reality", because the model 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 is open, that the word "illusion" is appropriate.

The notions of "reality" and "illusion" are used to make that important distinction.

That depends on how we use the words. Normally, we use "illusion" to refer to a perceptual experience that causes us to misconstrue reality, such as when we walk into a glass door because of the visual illusion caused by the transparency of glass. Glass is solid. However, it is also liquid, because it flows like a liquid over time. And water is not so solid, because we can move our bodies through it. Unless, of course, your body is moving very fast when it comes into contact with the water. That's why water landings can be very dangerous for airplanes. If the airplane speed isn't slowed down enough, the airplane will break apart. So my point is that the solidity of an object can be taken as an accurate reflection of reality or illusion, depending on how we perceive an interaction with it.

... Anything that can be made to disappear from an imagined perspective becomes nonexistent from that perspective.

That which is ignored is not nonexistent. This is also an important distinction.

True, but that's not what I said. You have to perceive something in order to ignore it, but perception always depends on the perspective of the observer. Background perceptions that the mind filters out are still bona fide perceptions of reality.

There is no "free choice" from that perspective.

That would be an illusion. But I do not think the illusion is that time disappears. The illusion is that causal necessity has some sort of agency, which it does not.

Well, we can quibble over what we mean by "disappear". Perhaps "becomes irrelevant to the observer" would be a better characterization of shifting perspective to an observer that is not part of the timeline. That's why I like to bring up the example of reading a novel. Intellectually, we know that the characters in it are not real, but we don't enjoy the illusion of the story unless we can "suspend reality". That is, we shift perspectives in order to enjoy the experience of reading the novel.

If one takes the position of a soft determinist or compatibilist, then one can also shift perspective to one where consequences are unknown. From that perspective the future does not exist, only alternative versions of what it is likely to become.

And we have all experienced that uncertainty and humans have evolved specific language and logic to deal with it. When we do not know what "will" happen, we imagine what "can" happen, to prepare for what "does" happen.

Exactly right. In fact, all animals experience uncertainty and build predictive models of the future. We program robots to do that, as well. Humans have just evolved a means of communicating thoughts through a complex auditory signal. So all languages have tense and aspect expressions to communicate thoughts about when events happen and how long the events last.

Hard determinists simply refuse to acknowledge that reality can be perceived differently--experienced from different angles. They cling to the delusion that there can be only one possible way to experience of reality. So you have to choose between the reality where all future outcomes are known and the one where they are not known. You can't have both.

But the ordinary "man on the street" has no problem using the correct logic in the correct situation. He speaks and acts with certainty in matters of certainty, like when he is hammering a nail. He speaks and acts with uncertainty, referring to things that he "can" do (like hammering a nail) even when he is not hammering a nail. He imagines building a dog house for his pet, and knows instinctively that his dog cannot sleep in the "possibility" of a dog house but only in an "actual" dog house.

So, ordinary language provides the hard determinist with all the tools he needs to keep things straight in his head. And it is only when he confuses himself with abstractions and draws false inferences from his concepts that he ends up creating paradoxes that are too complex for him to climb out of.

This has been the position of so-called  Ordinary Language Philosophy. A word of caution on the Wikipedia article, however. It associates OLP with  Logical Positivism, which partly came out of Wittgenstein's early work with Bertrand Russell. OLP was actually inspired by Wittgenstein's later work, which rejected the verificationism that Logical Positivism is associated with.

Ah! Logical Positivism would be what A. J. Ayers was discussing in "Language, Truth, and Logic". He was saying something to the effect that a "meaningful statement" was one which could be theoretically verified by some observation, even if we could not practically do so. (A statement about something on the dark side of the moon is verifiable now, but it was only theoretically verifiable prior to the space age).

I think I'm a fan of both ordinary language and positivism. But then again, I don't read much philosophy these days.
 

fromderinside

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... our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data.
Really? My major contributions to the world are my measurement and determination of sensory experience of signal, it's interruptions, and threshold.

No. I don't think our models of reality rely on sense data.

It's more about signal information.

As far as I got was human auditory processing is fundamentally dependent on source/receiver motion - Bear growling/charging as it approached through woods ...., doppler effect.

That's a damn sight away from sense data. It has more to do with signal generator and receiver attributes.
 

Copernicus

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Ah! Logical Positivism would be what A. J. Ayers was discussing in "Language, Truth, and Logic". He was saying something to the effect that a "meaningful statement" was one which could be theoretically verified by some observation, even if we could not practically do so. (A statement about something on the dark side of the moon is verifiable now, but it was only theoretically verifiable prior to the space age).

I think I'm a fan of both ordinary language and positivism. But then again, I don't read much philosophy these days.
Logical positivism failed for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that meaning had nothing to do with verification. That much should have been obvious to Ayer, since speech acts other than statements are also meaningful. Ordinary Language Philosophy ultimately gave rise to some really interesting approaches to the meaning involving all sorts of different speech acts. The author of the Wikipedia page was not alone in being confused about Wittgenstein, whose ideas helped give rise to two very different approaches to the role of language and reasoning-- Ordinary Language Philosophy and  Ideal Language Philosophy.
 

Copernicus

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No. I don't think our models of reality rely on sense data.

It's more about signal information.

As long as you don't in any way use your senses to detect signals, you may be making sense, but I'm not quite sure how you manage that. :)
 

DBT

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DBT,

By “readiness potential,” I assume you are referring to the Libet experiments. They don’t show what you think they show. The fact that our brains do some evaluation and considering subconsciously is irrelevant. We are our brains! The experiments also showed that conscious awareness has a “veto power”over subconscious processing. This is clearly compatibilist free will. The Libet experiments only count against libertarian free will.


Timing experiments, Hynes, Haggard, Libet, etc, demonstrate exactly what must necessarily happen during the cognitive process.

I have quoted and cited numerous articles on the subject.

Information is first acquired by the senses, propagated, processed, integrated with memory prior to conscious representation of some but not all of that information.

It cannot be any other way.

Yes, it can be said that 'we are our brains' - but the fact is that we as conscious beings are not in control of brain function.

It is brain function, something that we cannot access, that forms our being, our experience.

It is the inner necessity that determines our actions.

The very necessity that negates freedom of will.

And of course, free will as defined by compatibilism has, for the given reasons, nothing to do with freedom of will. Unimpeded action does not equate to free will for reasons that have been explained numerous time by me and quotes that have been provided.

You speak of the brain doing “parallel processing.” I’ve already referred you to a detailed article arguing that the brain is not a computer, as you seem to think it is.

You once again speak of events being “fixed.” As I have explained, fixity is not fatalism. Your argument cannot just be that future events are fixed, because fixity is fully compatible with, well, compatibilism. Freely willed human acts help fix the future.

I await your discussion of how evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, process, and then choose. All of these functions are illusory according to you, except the processing part, and so I wonder why you think natural selection would favor illusions. On the contrary, illusions would not be conducive to fitness, and would be selected against.

The brain processes acquires and processes information. That is its evolutionary role. It is not a computer in the sense of a laptop, phone or desktop. Don't go down that equivocation road.

For example;

How Does the Brain Process Information?​

''Information processing starts with input from the sensory organs, which transform physical stimuli such as touch, heat, sound waves, or photons of light into electrochemical signals. The sensory information is repeatedly transformed by the algorithms of the brain in both bottom-up and top-down processing. For example, when looking at a picture of a black box on a white background, bottom-up processing puts together very simple information such as color, orientation, and where the borders of the object are - where the color changes significantly over a short space - to decide that you are seeing a box. Top-down processing uses the decisions made at some steps of the bottom-up process to speed up your recognition of the box. Top-down processing in this example might help you identify the object as a black box rather than a box-shaped hole in the white background.''

In order for the brain to process information, it must first be stored. There are multiple types of memory, including sensory, working, and long-term. First, information is encoded. There are types of encoding specific to each type of sensory stimuli. For example, verbal input can be encoded structurally, referring to what the printed word looks like, phonemically, referring to what the word sounds like, or semantically, referring to what the word means. Once information is stored, it must be maintained. Some animal studies suggest that working memory, which stores information for roughly 20 seconds, is maintained by an electrical signal looping through a particular series of neurons for a short period of time. Information in long-term memory is hypothesized to be maintained in the structure of certain types of proteins.

There are numerous models of how the knowledge is organized in the brain, some based on the way human subjects retrieve memories, others based on computer science, and others based on neurophysiology.''
 

DBT

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DBT,

By “readiness potential,” I assume you are referring to the Libet experiments. They don’t show what you think they show. The fact that our brains do some evaluation and considering subconsciously is irrelevant. We are our brains! The experiments also showed that conscious awareness has a “veto power”over subconscious processing. This is clearly compatibilist free will. The Libet experiments only count against libertarian free will.

You speak of the brain doing “parallel processing.” I’ve already referred you to a detailed article arguing that the brain is not a computer, as you seem to think it is.

You once again speak of events being “fixed.” As I have explained, fixity is not fatalism. Your argument cannot just be that future events are fixed, because fixity is fully compatible with, well, compatibilism. Freely willed human acts help fix the future.

I await your discussion of how evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, process, and then choose. All of these functions are illusory according to you, except the processing part, and so I wonder why you think natural selection would favor illusions. On the contrary, illusions would not be conducive to fitness, and would be selected against.
I think you are a little ready to dismiss the brain as a systemic information process, as this is all the likening to a computer does.

A computer can be a brain. A brain can be a computer.

What matters is that even in the event of parallel child processes, in physical parallel in neurons or physical parallel in sand, the parallel eventually conjuncts into a decision point and combinatory translation: the work all goes to a queue where it is serviced, in our case, by a single conscious agent process that manages the system.


Correct up till the point of a 'single conscious agent process that manages the system' - which is not the case.

The personal narrative​

''For example, in one study, researchers recorded the brain activity of participants when they raised their arm intentionally, when it was lifted by a pulley, and when it moved in response to a hypnotic suggestion that it was being lifted by a pulley.

Similar areas of the brain were active during the involuntary and the suggested “alien” movement, while brain activity for the intentional action was different. So, hypnotic suggestion can be seen as a means of communicating an idea or belief that, when accepted, has the power to alter a person’s perceptions or behaviour.''

''All this may leave one wondering where our thoughts, emotions and perceptions actually come from. We argue that the contents of consciousness are a subset of the experiences, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are generated by non-conscious processes within our brains.

This subset takes the form of a personal narrative, which is constantly being updated. The personal narrative exists in parallel with our personal awareness, but the latter has no influence over the former.''
 

DBT

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

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

P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

What happens on a cellular level is not chosen. Cells process information and once readiness potential is achieved information, conscious experience is generated.

But what happens in the restaurant is chosen. We have a menu of dinners to choose from, and the chef is capable of preparing any one of them for us. So, each dinner on the menu is a real possibility. The only thing standing between us and dinner is that we must make a choice. No choosing, no dining.

Determinism by definition doesn't allow multiple possibilities. Your selection, by definition, is the only possible action you can take.

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

You see a list of foods on the menu, your brain calculates the pros and cons of each item, one is realized. There was never a possibility of an alternate choice.

Choice implies the possibility of an alternate action, which a deterministic system does not allow.

Changes of mind are not a matter of free will, but the result of fresh information acting upon the system.



Given determinism, the outcome is determined.

Of course. And one of the things that is determined is that we must make a choice before we can have our dinner.

Not only must you make a choice, but the choice you make is a necessitated choice. Which is not really a free choice. Not being aware of the underlying production of your experience, you feel that you have chosen freely.

The illusion of conscious will.
''Anyone who retains the Cartesian faith that we know what we are doing should read this book. Wegner assembles a huge amount of evidence to show our widespread ignorance of when and how we are acting. Our failures are of two kinds. First there are cases in which we are acting but do not realize that we are.

Examples include ouija board manipulation and other varieties of Victorian spiritualism; facilitated communication; water divination; and hypnotism, to which Wegner devotes a long chapter that would serve as an excellent introduction to the topic. Second come cases in which we are not acting, but think that we are.

Wegner describes an experiment of his own (the ‘I-Spy’ study) in which subjects are induced to believe that they have selected a figure on a computer screen (when they haven’t) by the expedient of getting them to think about that figure a few seconds before. Perhaps such cases are unusual; more common are cases in which we are indeed acting, but in which we think that our actions are achieving far more than they in fact are.

We habitually overestimate the effect that we have on objects and people around us. Indeed there is good evidence from many studies that it is a sign of mental health to overestimate one’s control over the world...''


There goes any real choice.

False. A real choice must be made or we'll have no dinner! It is causally necessary that we must make a choice in order to eat tonight.

It essentially comes down to the nature of cognition, the means by which decisions are made, and the nature of determinism. According to the evidence, free will plays no part.

Which is not to say that we cannot do as we will, just that we cannot, through an act of will, do otherwise (freedom of action is not freedom of 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

Would the punters be happy placing their bets on a fixed race? In fact the horse that wins is the only possible result in any race, just that nobody has deliberately fixed the race and punters do not know which horse must necessarily win.

Well, my first question was why only the kickers were betting on the horses. What about the quarterback or the tight ends? "America and England, two countries divided by a common language." Thank God for the OED.

The punters were uncertain which horse would win. But they bet on their own horse because they were certain that their horse could win.

The punters have absolutely no access to the conditions that determine which horse wins or the order of runner ups. They place their bets in blissful ignorance.


Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

Sounds believable, doesn't it? But, no, the statement is literally false.

Because of the uncertainty at the beginning of the race, there was a real possibility that each of the selected horses could win. It was never "impossible" that any of those horses could win. It simply did not turn out that way.

The fact that a horse would not win does not logically imply that the horse could not win. In fact, the statement "my horse could have won if he had the right jockey" may be quite accurate. All uses of "could have" logically imply that (a) it did not happen and (b) things would have had to be different in order for it to happen. With those two implications already built into the term "could have", we get potentially true statements, like "he could have won".

The fact that the horse did not win never implies that it was impossible for the horse to win.

If it was possible for the horse that did not win, to win, we are not talking about determinism. You may be thinking of quantum probability.

What happens within the brain determines outcome. You can call it a persons choice, but rather than the work of a 'person' it is specifically the brain that processes information and determines output, itself being determined by input, architecture, chemistry, etc. None of it open to choice.

Rather than the work of a 'person'? What do you think is the result of all that information processing, architecture, chemistry, etc., if not to function as a person?

The reductionist fallacy is to presume that having explained how something works that we have somehow "explained it away". But that is not what is happening. We are simply explaining how a 'person' works. The person is still there, right in front of us, flipping a coin to decide whether he will have steak or lobster for dinner.

Sometimes it sounds like hard determinists are carefully wording their terms in order to support their propositions and conclusions. Fortunately, compatibilists are pragmatic empiricists, so they can keep the facts straight.

Nope, I just work with the given definition of determinism. Nothing more, nothing less.

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



Unless you want to challenge my definition of free will, P1 still holds true.

I have explained why P1 is flawed, but I understand why it's not being accepted.
 

Jarhyn

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DBT,

By “readiness potential,” I assume you are referring to the Libet experiments. They don’t show what you think they show. The fact that our brains do some evaluation and considering subconsciously is irrelevant. We are our brains! The experiments also showed that conscious awareness has a “veto power”over subconscious processing. This is clearly compatibilist free will. The Libet experiments only count against libertarian free will.

You speak of the brain doing “parallel processing.” I’ve already referred you to a detailed article arguing that the brain is not a computer, as you seem to think it is.

You once again speak of events being “fixed.” As I have explained, fixity is not fatalism. Your argument cannot just be that future events are fixed, because fixity is fully compatible with, well, compatibilism. Freely willed human acts help fix the future.

I await your discussion of how evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, process, and then choose. All of these functions are illusory according to you, except the processing part, and so I wonder why you think natural selection would favor illusions. On the contrary, illusions would not be conducive to fitness, and would be selected against.
I think you are a little ready to dismiss the brain as a systemic information process, as this is all the likening to a computer does.

A computer can be a brain. A brain can be a computer.

What matters is that even in the event of parallel child processes, in physical parallel in neurons or physical parallel in sand, the parallel eventually conjuncts into a decision point and combinatory translation: the work all goes to a queue where it is serviced, in our case, by a single conscious agent process that manages the system.


Correct up till the point of a 'single conscious agent process that manages the system' - which is not the case.

The personal narrative​

''For example, in one study, researchers recorded the brain activity of participants when they raised their arm intentionally, when it was lifted by a pulley, and when it moved in response to a hypnotic suggestion that it was being lifted by a pulley.

Similar areas of the brain were active during the involuntary and the suggested “alien” movement, while brain activity for the intentional action was different. So, hypnotic suggestion can be seen as a means of communicating an idea or belief that, when accepted, has the power to alter a person’s perceptions or behaviour.''

''All this may leave one wondering where our thoughts, emotions and perceptions actually come from. We argue that the contents of consciousness are a subset of the experiences, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are generated by non-conscious processes within our brains.

This subset takes the form of a personal narrative, which is constantly being updated. The personal narrative exists in parallel with our personal awareness, but the latter has no influence over the former.''
So, I've worked on whole airplane avionics systems before. There are lots of redundancies, various systems repeated multiple times...

There are three processes each for the various flight surface controls, and every sensor has three processes too.

It actually took a fair bit of doing to make the thing capable of running a single instance of the avionics package, which itself ran on a wholely different operating system, on wholely different metal.

Some systems were capable of taking control input from the pilot, some systems just didn't care. In most situations the pilot was just kind of extraneous, and I could with some difficulty place a pilot process after the model of the rest of it so the whole airplane would be "autonomous".

Yet there are still executive processes and a single agency controlling the thing, even if it's a democratic intersection of the "three generals" or whatever other model of authority exists within it.

If there isn't the system breaks.

That we don't understand how our priority weighting on control systems actually comes together doesn't change that fact that it in fact does.

Some people have problems where their "generals" diverge and specialize instead of converging on answers, in which case we recognize that these people in fact have distinct agencies that fight rather than agree about things. Even then, there's a process (race condition, in this case) that determines which "sits on the seat".

It still all ultimately happens under a single executive capable of making decisions in the moment.

And further...

It's all still just objects objectively being what they are, and that object has an objective geometry that objectively implies behavior.

When a transistor "feels" 'open circuity' this is objective. Something is objectively happening.

Sometimes that thing is an interestingly shaped nonsense but it absolutely objectively real, and the result of a particular geometry. It can't not feel that way when it is in that state.
 
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