• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
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.

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

Determinism by definition doesn't allow multiple possibilities.

Nope. Determinism, by definition, means that every event is reliably caused by prior events. And, nothing more than that. If you wish to argue that it eliminates possibilities, you must explain why "every event being reliably caused by prior events" eliminates possibilities.

The inevitable progression of events happens to include the restaurant, its menu, and us having to choose what we will have for dinner.

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

Quite the opposite. If it is the case that I order the lobster of my own free will, then that would be causally necessary. If it is the case that one of my dinner companions runs out of patience, pulls out a gun, and shouts, "Order the steak, right now, or I'll put a bullet in you!", then that would be causally necessary. There is nothing about determinism that would make either of those events "illusions". Determinism would simply make them causally necessary.

You see a list of foods on the menu, your brain calculates the pros and cons of each item, one is realized.

Exactly. That actually happens in the empirical world. The brain calculating the choice is called "choosing". When it is my own brain doing the calculating then it is called a freely chosen will. When it is someone else's brain doing the calculating and forcing me to accept his choice, then my dinner is not freely chosen by me.

There was never a possibility of an alternate choice.

Sit at the table. Look at the menu. If you do not see alternate choices then you may be having some kind of illusion.

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

Determinism guarantees that the menu will have a list of alternate possibilities for you to choose from. Your choice will be causally necessary from any prior point in time, but it will also be causally necessary from any prior point in time that you will be doing the choosing.

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

The menu is not a guy with a gun. The influence of the menu is not an undue influence. Menus are ordinary influences, with lots of suggestions that we can accept or decline as we choose.

If the menu were an undue influence then we would order all of the items on the menu, one of each. But we don't.

Not only must you make a choice, but the choice you make is a necessitated choice.

Yes. Choosing is a deterministic operation, so our choice will be reliably caused by the things that are most important or desirable to us. And when it is our own thoughts and feelings that cause our choice, then we are considered to be free to choose for ourselves what we will have for dinner.

But if it is our impatient diner with the gun who forces us to choose something we may not want, then it is not our freely chosen will, but his.

In either case determinism holds. In either case the distinction between a free and an unfree choice holds. So, determinism and free will are compatible.

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

Free will is not a "feeling"! Either I made the choice myself or the guy with the gun made the choice for me. This is a matter of facts, not feelings.

It essentially comes down to the nature of cognition ...

No. It doesn't. We assume that the mechanics of cognition are constant among all normal brains, and that they may be altered in brains affected by significant mental illness or brain injury.


“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

Kane's assertion demonstrates why determinism can never make us do something against our will. So, determinism is not a threat to free will.

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.

A possibility is something that may or may not happen. The fact that it does not happen does not imply that it could not have happened.

The notions of "possibility" and "probability" allow us to deal with matters of uncertainty in a logical way. We do not know with certainty what "will" happen, but we do know with certainty what "can" happen. One of the horses "will" win the race. Any of the horses "can" win the race. But it is impossible for any horse that is not in the race to win it.


... 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.

Then are you challenging P2: A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events? Or do you view P2 as I do, as a more concise and accurate statement of determinism, without the imaginary causal agents.

The imaginary causal agents in the SEP definition include determinism itself, pictured as a governor of events, and natural law, pictured as a fixer of events. They are imaginary because neither is an actual object or an actual force. They wield no powers. All of the causation is found in the behavior of the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe. And we happen to be one of those objects that can exert force upon other objects (e.g., cutting down trees to build a house).

In conclusion, there is nothing about determinism that contradicts free will, and, there is nothing about free will that contradicts determinism. (1) The fact that our choices are causally necessary does not contradict the fact that they are our own choices. Neuroscience confirms this by demonstrating that it is our own brain that is doing the choosing. Within this deterministic universe we must still make the distinction between choices that we make for ourselves versus choices imposed upon us against our will. (2) The fact that we make a choice for ourselves, of our own free will, does not contradict the fact that our decision is reliably caused by us, and that we ourselves are the reliable result of prior causes.
 

pood

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
882
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.
Mr. Buttinski here.

Man's ability to carry out tool making was driven by what equipment man had available to him when he began breaking selected rocks into definitive shapes. So grasping and three-dimensional perception and fairly complex eye-hand motor skills were already in place. Add to that the pressure to extend string together long series of complex manipulations, the need to continuously rehearse ether by repeating operations or learning to repeat sequences of stone, hammer, actions and you've got the road to advanced brain architecture.

Never get there with indeterminism.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
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. :)
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

I'm not aware of having avoided any of your points. I do feel like that anything I write, quote or cite in response to your points is either not read, not understood or just dismissed.


You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

It fails because 'veto' is not an autonomous element that is able to overrule brain activity. A decision/action is overruled by the very same mechanisms that determined the original decision.

It is not overruled by the power of will, but fresh information altering the system - if there is sufficient time - yet following the same sequence of events as any other action.

You experience 'veto' consciously as a 'change of mind' - you start doing one thing, then switch, think better of it and do something else.

Veto is just a normal brain function, information acting upon the system, altering and adapting response. It's not an additional element that endows us with free will.


The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.

You don't have to know everything about the brain to know the sequence of the cognitive process, that it is deterministic or that will plays no part in decision making.

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings.

Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction.

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

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs.

And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices.

At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

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

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
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, what you choose is necessarily chosen, not freely chosen. That is the distinction set by the rules of determinism. All events are fixed by antecedents. Which rules out freedom of will, but allows actions to proceed freely as determined.


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

Determinism by definition doesn't allow multiple possibilities.

Nope. Determinism, by definition, means that every event is reliably caused by prior events. And, nothing more than that. If you wish to argue that it eliminates possibilities, you must explain why "every event being reliably caused by prior events" eliminates possibilities.

The inevitable progression of events happens to include the restaurant, its menu, and us having to choose what we will have for dinner.

The terms of determinism state fixed, not 'reliable' - they are reliable by way of being fixed. Events, being fixed, can't be anything but 'reliable.' There is no alternative.

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

Quite the opposite. If it is the case that I order the lobster of my own free will, then that would be causally necessary. If it is the case that one of my dinner companions runs out of patience, pulls out a gun, and shouts, "Order the steak, right now, or I'll put a bullet in you!", then that would be causally necessary. There is nothing about determinism that would make either of those events "illusions". Determinism would simply make them causally necessary.

Ordering Lobster is determined by your proclivities, your inner necessitation. Being forced at gunpoint adds an additional layer of necessitation; in addition to your inner necessitation, proclivities, you now have external elements acting upon you.

In the first instance you are able to act in accordance with your necessitated will and in the second instance you are forced to act against your will. Neither involves free will, just plain old will; the urge to act determined by a host of factors.



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

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


... 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.


In conclusion, there is nothing about determinism that contradicts free will, and, there is nothing about free will that contradicts determinism. (1) The fact that our choices are causally necessary does not contradict the fact that they are our own choices. Neuroscience confirms this by demonstrating that it is our own brain that is doing the choosing. Within this deterministic universe we must still make the distinction between choices that we make for ourselves versus choices imposed upon us against our will. (2) The fact that we make a choice for ourselves, of our own free will, does not contradict the fact that our decision is reliably caused by us, and that we ourselves are the reliable result of prior causes.


The very nature of determinism rules out free will, but allows actions that are determined to freely (unimpeded, unrestricted) proceed as determined (only as determined, no deviations)

Freely performed actions do not equate to free will.

''In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.

We know that changes to brain chemistry can alter behavior—otherwise neither alcohol nor antipsychotics would have their desired effects. The same holds true for brain structure: Cases of ordinary adults becoming murderers or pedophiles after developing a brain tumor demonstrate how dependent we are on the physical properties of our gray stuff.''
 

pood

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
882
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

I'm not aware of having avoided any of your points. I do feel like that anything I write, quote or cite in response to your points is either not read, not understood or just dismissed.


You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

It fails because 'veto' is not an autonomous element that is able to overrule brain activity. A decision/action is overruled by the very same mechanisms that determined the original decision.

It is not overruled by the power of will, but fresh information altering the system - if there is sufficient time - yet following the same sequence of events as any other action.

You experience 'veto' consciously as a 'change of mind' - you start doing one thing, then switch, think better of it and do something else.

Veto is just a normal brain function, information acting upon the system, altering and adapting response. It's not an additional element that endows us with free will.


The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.

You don't have to know everything about the brain to know the sequence of the cognitive process, that it is deterministic or that will plays no part in decision making.

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings.

Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction.

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

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs.

And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices.

At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

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

Well, you do ignore some of my main points, and you’ve just done it again, I’m afraid.

First, as to Libet: It was in fact him who coined the term “free won’t”, and he disagreed that his experiments disproved free will. So if you wish to invoke him and his “readiness potential” you’ll have to do so knowing that you contravene his own conclusions.

You often make appeals to authority, as you do above. I rarely do that, but if you’re going to do it, I suggest you leave out Libet as one of those authorities who supports your position, because he doesn’t. Also, if I wanted to, I could appeal to plenty of authorities myself who agree with me, but I generally dispense with that. Finally, whatever you make of LIbet’s experiments, there is no consensus among neurologists about their meaning.

Now look again. You say you don’t avoid my points. You just did it again! Yet again, you give me a functionalist account of the brain. I am not asking you that. I am asking how it is you think that evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose, when according to you, all of these clear functions are illusions. That is what I am asking, and you have avoided the question every time.

It is not I who am either not reading, not understanding, or dismissing your points. The situation appears to be quite the opposite.
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
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.

Given determinism, what you choose is necessarily chosen, not freely chosen.

False. The restaurant menu has both a steak dinner and a lobster dinner. Nothing prevents me from choosing the steak dinner. So, I am free to choose the steak dinner. Nothing prevents me from choosing the lobster dinner. So, I am also free to choose the lobster dinner.

The only thing that is necessary is that I must choose one or the other before I can have dinner. So, I will have to make up my mind soon, because the others at my table have already given the waiter their orders, and everyone is waiting on me. And one of my dinner companions is carrying a gun. So, I had best decide sooner rather than later.

But I am still free at this point to choose either the steak of the lobster. Seeing everyone's frustration with me, I decide to flip a coin. Heads steak. Tails lobster. And then I give the waiter my choice, and everyone is happy again.

All of these events were causally necessary, of course, because all events are always causally necessary. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time: that the restaurant would be there, that the menu would include both the steak dinner and the lobster dinner, that our group would enter the restaurant, that we would sit at the table, that we would browse the menu of possible dinners, that each of us would decide for ourselves what we would eat, that the waiter would deliver both our meals and the bill for the meals.

It was also causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would each be free to decide for ourselves what we would order, and that no one would force us to order something we didn't want.

Therefore, given determinism, it was causally necessary that our dinners would be freely chosen. Not "either determinism or freely chosen", but "both determinism and freely chosen".

So, your claim is false.

That is the distinction set by the rules of determinism. All events are fixed by antecedents.

Yes. All events are reliably caused by prior events, including choices of our own free will.

The terms of determinism state fixed, not 'reliable' - they are reliable by way of being fixed. Events, being fixed, can't be anything but 'reliable.' There is no alternative.

Well, duh. But the correct notion is "reliability". The notion of "fixed" implies a "fixer", another imaginary causal agent. We avoid that delusion by using the correct term. Causal necessity is not a causal agent that goes around fixing conditions such that certain outcomes are guaranteed. Causal necessity is the logical outcome of perfectly reliable cause and effect. One event leads reliably to the next event, by normal cause and effect, not by some supernatural power planning what will happen and making it happen against our will.

Ordering Lobster is determined by your proclivities, your inner necessitation. Being forced at gunpoint adds an additional layer of necessitation; in addition to your inner necessitation, proclivities, you now have external elements acting upon you.

Yes. But keep in mind that my proclivities, my genetic dispositions, my love of lobster, my love of steak, my prior life experiences, my beliefs and values, my dietary goals, my dietary reasonings, and all the other stuff that makes me uniquely me, IS ME. And the guy with the gun is NOT ME. And this is a MEANINGFUL distinction when it comes to MY FREEDOM to decide what I will order.

In the first instance you are able to act in accordance with your necessitated will and in the second instance you are forced to act against your will.

In the first instance my deliberate will is NECESSITATED BY ME, which is me exercising my freedom to choose.
In the second instance my deliberate action is necessitated by the guy with the gun, which is him, and no me, exercising his freedom to choose.

Neither involves free will

Wrong. When it is I, myself, that is necessitating the choice, it is FREE WILL. When it is that guy with the gun necessitating the choice, it is COERCION (not free will).

, just plain old will; the urge to act determined by a host of factors.

A person's "will" is a specific intention to act in a specific way. For example, one way would be to tell the waiter, "I will have the steak dinner". Another way would be to tell him, "I will have the lobster dinner". In order to do either of those things, I must first decide which meal I will order. Free will refers to my freedom to make that choice for myself, rather than someone or something else forcing their choice upon me against my will.

Changing "free will" to "just plain old will" overlooks the important distinction between those two events.

Either event will be equally causally necessary, so causal necessity alone cannot make any meaningful distinctions between any events. That's why we need other concepts, like free will and coercion, to make these important distinctions.

The very nature of determinism rules out free will ...

I've demonstrated repeatedly that determinism does not rule out free will. All of the events in the restaurant were causally necessary from any prior point in time. This includes the events where each customer decided for themselves, of their own free will, what they would order for dinner. Oh, and it also includes the event where the toddler decided to order cake and ice cream for dinner, but his mother ordered a nutritious meal for him instead, such that the child was not free to decide for himself what he would have for dinner.

Once again, the compatibility of determinism (all events are the reliable result of prior events) and free will (a choice free of coercion and undue influence) has been proven.

Determinism does not rule out free will, because it never rules out anything other than indeterminism (unreliable cause and effect).
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.

Nope. It doesn't help when I read what you wrote. Perhaps we are signaling each other on different wavelengths. What you wrote above appears to bear no relation to anything I wrote.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,935
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.

Nope. It doesn't help when I read what you wrote. Perhaps we are signaling each other on different wavelengths. What you wrote above appears to bear no relation to anything I wrote.
Not to mention that sense doesn't depend on genetic anything.

You need A dimension of variance on A stimulus to have a sense. It doesn't even have to be indiscrete.

I could have an electronic mind with a single external sense that is whether or not the button is down on its chassis.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.

Nope. It doesn't help when I read what you wrote. Perhaps we are signaling each other on different wavelengths. What you wrote above appears to bear no relation to anything I wrote.
Not to mention that sense doesn't depend on genetic anything.

You need A dimension of variance on A stimulus to have a sense. It doesn't even have to be indiscrete.

I could have an electronic mind with a single external sense that is whether or not the button is down on its chassis.
All right. Organ, sense organ.
picky picky picky.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.

Nope. It doesn't help when I read what you wrote. Perhaps we are signaling each other on different wavelengths. What you wrote above appears to bear no relation to anything I wrote.
...which brings me to why you wrote a response to what I wrote. I just amplified what I wrote in response to your response so maybe it's you who is not communicating.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

I'm not aware of having avoided any of your points. I do feel like that anything I write, quote or cite in response to your points is either not read, not understood or just dismissed.


You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

It fails because 'veto' is not an autonomous element that is able to overrule brain activity. A decision/action is overruled by the very same mechanisms that determined the original decision.

It is not overruled by the power of will, but fresh information altering the system - if there is sufficient time - yet following the same sequence of events as any other action.

You experience 'veto' consciously as a 'change of mind' - you start doing one thing, then switch, think better of it and do something else.

Veto is just a normal brain function, information acting upon the system, altering and adapting response. It's not an additional element that endows us with free will.


The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.

You don't have to know everything about the brain to know the sequence of the cognitive process, that it is deterministic or that will plays no part in decision making.

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings.

Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction.

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

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs.

And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices.

At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

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

Well, you do ignore some of my main points, and you’ve just done it again, I’m afraid.

I don't think so. You may have missed the relevant bits.
First, as to Libet: It was in fact him who coined the term “free won’t”, and he disagreed that his experiments disproved free will. So if you wish to invoke him and his “readiness potential” you’ll have to do so knowing that you contravene his own conclusions.

'Free won't' doesn't exist. The brain acquires and processes information, and if a decision is altered or vetoed, it is altered by exactly the same information processing activity as the original course of action

'Free won't' or 'veto function' is not some special autonomous agency that acts upon a process and 'freely' vetoes it according to will.

The brain is the sole agent. A course of action can be vetoed (if there is time) by new inputs which results in a change of mind.

''Free won't'' is not some special agency exempt from determinism, it is a part of normal brain activity that is being constantly updated and modified by inputs.
You often make appeals to authority, as you do above. I rarely do that, but if you’re going to do it, I suggest you leave out Libet as one of those authorities who supports your position, because he doesn’t. Also, if I wanted to, I could appeal to plenty of authorities myself who agree with me, but I generally dispense with that. Finally, whatever you make of LIbet’s experiments, there is no consensus among neurologists about their meaning.


I don't appeal to authority. I used reliably sourced material. Hallett for example is a specialist on cognition and motor action, being qualified in his field, his material is relevant to the subject of free will. This is not an appeal to authority.

I bet if I used obscure sources, you would dismiss them for that reason. You look for any perceived weakness to exploit while ignoring what is said and provided.

Now look again. You say you don’t avoid my points. You just did it again! Yet again, you give me a functionalist account of the brain. I am not asking you that. I am asking how it is you think that evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose, when according to you, all of these clear functions are illusions. That is what I am asking, and you have avoided the question every time.

It is not I who am either not reading, not understanding, or dismissing your points. The situation appears to be quite the opposite.

I provided material from evolutionary biology and psychology that deals with these questions. You made no real comment, ignoring what was described....only to repeat your accusation that I have avoided your question.

I have pointed out time and time again that the brain evolved as a means to interact with the objects and events of the world in adaptive ways.

Evolutionary biology goes into the details....why do you ignore this? Are your here to play games?
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
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.

Given determinism, what you choose is necessarily chosen, not freely chosen.

False. The restaurant menu has both a steak dinner and a lobster dinner. Nothing prevents me from choosing the steak dinner. So, I am free to choose the steak dinner. Nothing prevents me from choosing the lobster dinner. So, I am also free to choose the lobster dinner.

Well, then you are not talking about determinism. If the world is determined, you choose Lobster because choosing Lobster is determined in that instance in time (antecedents/proclivities/ necessitation). Determinism doesn't allow you an alternative.

The only thing that is necessary is that I must choose one or the other before I can have dinner. So, I will have to make up my mind soon, because the others at my table have already given the waiter their orders, and everyone is waiting on me. And one of my dinner companions is carrying a gun. So, I had best decide sooner rather than later.

What you do choose is determined by existing proclivities and neural necessitation milliseconds prior to your awareness of making a choice: the inevitable action made conscious.

But I am still free at this point to choose either the steak of the lobster. Seeing everyone's frustration with me, I decide to flip a coin. Heads steak. Tails lobster. And then I give the waiter my choice, and everyone is happy again.

There was never the possibility to do other than what is determined. What you say suggests something along the line of quantum probability.

All of these events were causally necessary, of course, because all events are always causally necessary. It was causally necessary from any prior point in time: that the restaurant would be there, that the menu would include both the steak dinner and the lobster dinner, that our group would enter the restaurant, that we would sit at the table, that we would browse the menu of possible dinners, that each of us would decide for ourselves what we would eat, that the waiter would deliver both our meals and the bill for the meals.

It was also causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would each be free to decide for ourselves what we would order, and that no one would force us to order something we didn't want.

Therefore, given determinism, it was causally necessary that our dinners would be freely chosen. Not "either determinism or freely chosen", but "both determinism and freely chosen".

So, your claim is false.

But your dinners were not freely chosen in the sense that you had realizable options other than what is determined.

A free choice entails the possibility to do otherwise. Determinism negates all possibility of doing otherwise.

At no point could you have done other than what is determined.


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


The very nature of determinism rules out free will ...

I've demonstrated repeatedly that determinism does not rule out free will. All of the events in the restaurant were causally necessary from any prior point in time. This includes the events where each customer decided for themselves, of their own free will, what they would order for dinner. Oh, and it also includes the event where the toddler decided to order cake and ice cream for dinner, but his mother ordered a nutritious meal for him instead, such that the child was not free to decide for himself what he would have for dinner.

Once again, the compatibility of determinism (all events are the reliable result of prior events) and free will (a choice free of coercion and undue influence) has been proven.

Determinism does not rule out free will, because it never rules out anything other than indeterminism (unreliable cause and effect).


Carefully worded definitions do not negate the implacable rule of determinism. Defining free will as 'acting in accordance with ones will' etc, ignores both the means, how actions are produced and the rules of determinism.

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

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

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

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

So, in the end it just comes down to the point that we lack the right kind of control to qualify as free will.
 

pood

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
882
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

I'm not aware of having avoided any of your points. I do feel like that anything I write, quote or cite in response to your points is either not read, not understood or just dismissed.


You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

It fails because 'veto' is not an autonomous element that is able to overrule brain activity. A decision/action is overruled by the very same mechanisms that determined the original decision.

It is not overruled by the power of will, but fresh information altering the system - if there is sufficient time - yet following the same sequence of events as any other action.

You experience 'veto' consciously as a 'change of mind' - you start doing one thing, then switch, think better of it and do something else.

Veto is just a normal brain function, information acting upon the system, altering and adapting response. It's not an additional element that endows us with free will.


The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.

You don't have to know everything about the brain to know the sequence of the cognitive process, that it is deterministic or that will plays no part in decision making.

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings.

Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction.

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

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs.

And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices.

At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

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

Well, you do ignore some of my main points, and you’ve just done it again, I’m afraid.

I don't think so. You may have missed the relevant bits.
First, as to Libet: It was in fact him who coined the term “free won’t”, and he disagreed that his experiments disproved free will. So if you wish to invoke him and his “readiness potential” you’ll have to do so knowing that you contravene his own conclusions.

'Free won't' doesn't exist. The brain acquires and processes information, and if a decision is altered or vetoed, it is altered by exactly the same information processing activity as the original course of action

'Free won't' or 'veto function' is not some special autonomous agency that acts upon a process and 'freely' vetoes it according to will.

The brain is the sole agent. A course of action can be vetoed (if there is time) by new inputs which results in a change of mind.

''Free won't'' is not some special agency exempt from determinism, it is a part of normal brain activity that is being constantly updated and modified by inputs.
You often make appeals to authority, as you do above. I rarely do that, but if you’re going to do it, I suggest you leave out Libet as one of those authorities who supports your position, because he doesn’t. Also, if I wanted to, I could appeal to plenty of authorities myself who agree with me, but I generally dispense with that. Finally, whatever you make of LIbet’s experiments, there is no consensus among neurologists about their meaning.


I don't appeal to authority. I used reliably sourced material. Hallett for example is a specialist on cognition and motor action, being qualified in his field, his material is relevant to the subject of free will. This is not an appeal to authority.

I bet if I used obscure sources, you would dismiss them for that reason. You look for any perceived weakness to exploit while ignoring what is said and provided.

Now look again. You say you don’t avoid my points. You just did it again! Yet again, you give me a functionalist account of the brain. I am not asking you that. I am asking how it is you think that evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose, when according to you, all of these clear functions are illusions. That is what I am asking, and you have avoided the question every time.

It is not I who am either not reading, not understanding, or dismissing your points. The situation appears to be quite the opposite.

I provided material from evolutionary biology and psychology that deals with these questions. You made no real comment, ignoring what was described....only to repeat your accusation that I have avoided your question.

I have pointed out time and time again that the brain evolved as a means to interact with the objects and events of the world in adaptive ways.

Evolutionary biology goes into the details....why do you ignore this? Are your here to play games?

Sorry, it seems to me it is you who are playing games. A functionalist account is irrelevant to this discussion for three reasons: First, our knowledge of exactly how the brain operates and what it does is woefully incomplete. We know less about the universe inside our heads (i.e., ourselves) than we know about the universe itself.

Second, since we are our brains, how the brain processes inputs, both subconsciously and consciously, is precisely us doing the processing, thinking, and outputting. It’s called compatibilist free will — in contrast to as rock, which rolls down as hill blindly, without will or choice, or a billiard ball struck by a cue ball which cannot alter its course after.

And third and most important, you still do not answer my question: how did evolution select for the illusion, as you would have it, of remembering, foreseeing, evaluating, pondering, and choosing? If a human has no more agency than a rock rolling down a hill or a billiard ball after it is struck by a cue ball, of what survival advantage are our complex brains? This is the question you do not answer. I hold that in your hard deterministic world, it would be much more likely that humans and other organisms would be philosophical zombies, that is to say, obeying inputted subroutines but completely dark inside, without consciousness or qualia. None of your descriptions of functionalism address this at all.

If the brain, as you put it, evolved to interact with objects and events in the world in adaptive ways, well, yes, that’s kind of my point. To do that the brain needs to be able to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose (compatibilist free will).
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
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.

Well, then you are not talking about determinism.

P1 is about free will. P2 is about determinism. Please try to keep up.

If the world is determined, you choose Lobster because choosing Lobster is determined in that instance in time (antecedents/proclivities/ necessitation).

But the "antecedent proclivities" that necessitated me choosing the lobster are my own antecedent proclivities. So, it remains the case that it is in fact me that is choosing the lobster.

My genetic desires to eat lobster, steak, cake, and anything else that provides my body with the necessary fats, proteins, and carbohydrates it needs to survive, are not found anywhere in the universe except within me. Everyone else at the dinner table has their own, similar genetic desires. These desires are an essential part of who and what we are. Without them, our species would likely become extinct due to starvation.

And, of course, we also each come with a brain that can select which food we will eat when presented with multiple possibilities, like those on the restaurant menu.

Determinism itself has no antecedent proclivities. It has no genetic dispositions. It has no brain. And yet you are treating determinism as if it were a causal agent. But it is not, that's just an illusion.

Determinism doesn't allow you an alternative.

Determinism has no power to allow or disallow anything. Determinism can only describe, it can never cause. For example, determinism says that the restaurant owner causally necessitated the menu, and that each of the customers at my table causally necessitated their own dinner order. And, in each case, the behavior of the owner and the customers was 100% reliable and theoretically 100% predictable from any prior point in time.

But in every case, determinism did not make anything happen. Only the actual objects and forces, the things that actually exist in the actual universe, can make things happen. Determinism simply asserts that we will do so in a reliable, if not entirely predictable, fashion.

What you do choose is determined by existing proclivities and neural necessitation milliseconds prior to your awareness of making a choice: the inevitable action made conscious.

In other words, you're confirming that the causal mechanism of choosing is our own brain. It is actually us, doing the choosing. The role of conscious awareness in the choosing process versus the role of unconscious functions, is a matter for neuroscience to sort out. And I have no problem with any of the facts of neuroscience.

But the question of free will is not about how the brain operates. Free will is about who or what is doing the choosing. In the restaurant, each of the customers is doing their own choosing. Each sees the multiple possibilities on the menu. Each decides for themselves what they will order for dinner.

Determinism does not alter these facts. Determinism simply asserts that each choice will be reliably caused by each person's own brain, and that each brain will have been reliably caused by prior events, such as the parents sexual intercourse, the formation of the zygote, the cell division and cell specialization, etc.

But the waiter in the restaurant is not concerned with all that. The waiter simply needs to know who is responsible for each order, so that he brings everyone their dinner and brings each person the correct bill. The waiter never brings the parents the bill, unless the customer is a minor.

All of these events, as always, are the reliable result of prior events. But the waiter does not hold these prior events responsible for the bill.

But your dinners were not freely chosen in the sense that you had realizable options other than what is determined.

The dinners are freely chosen because we, ourselves, are doing the choosing that determines what we will order. Determinism is not a causal agent that decides for us what we will choose. We must do that ourselves.

Choosing is one of the things that neuroscience tells us that our brain does for us when we are presented with multiple possibilities, like the restaurant menu.

A free choice entails the possibility to do otherwise. Determinism negates all possibility of doing otherwise.

The possibilities are right there on the restaurant menu. Determinism asserts that the menu and its possibilities were causally necessary from any prior point in time, just like every other event that ever happens. (It turns out that determinism is very boring.)

A possibility is something that can happen. The fact that a possibility never happens does not mean that it was impossible, it just means it was something that could have happened but never did happen.

Now, if the restaurant ran out of lobsters, then it would be physically impossible for me to have a lobster dinner. And the chef would pass this information on to the waiters, who would pass it on to me, and I would eliminate that option from my choices. Perhaps I would then agonize over the steak versus the fried chicken.

At no point could you have done other than what is determined.

Well, since I am the one that is actually doing the determining, I fail to see the imaginary problem.

... (At this point DBT quotes somebody else's opinion about things, and, if they were here then I would be discussing their mistakes with them, but they are not here, so DBT must either understand them sufficiently to speak for their ideas or cease quoting them and expecting me to explain what they are saying to him.) ...

What I am saying is that whoever decides what will happen next has regulative control. When I decide what meal the chef will cook for me, I have regulative control.

Carefully worded definitions do not negate the implacable rule of determinism.

Rhetorical claims are dismissed.

Defining free will as 'acting in accordance with ones will' etc, ignores both the means, how actions are produced and the rules of determinism.

Free will is clearly defined in 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. If you have a different definition that you are willing to defend, then put it on the table. Otherwise, deal with P1, either refute it or concur with it.

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

Fortunately, I have no need to control the past or the laws of nature in order to choose between the steak and the lobster, right here, right now, in the present. Premise 1 falsely suggests that we must have control over the past and the laws of nature in order to decide what we will have for dinner.

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

A believable, but false suggestion, used to create a paradox. It sounds true, but it is not true. For example, replace "A" with "I myself", and replace "B" with "whatever I choose to have for dinner".

"I myself", although I did not control my own creation, still control what "I will have for dinner". So, premise 2 fails.

The lie is the suggestion that we must not have any prior causes before we ourselves can be the cause of something else. This is the argument that "in order to be the true cause, one must not have any prior causes, because the prior causes are the true causes". This test leads to an absurdity, because none of our prior causes can pass this test, nor can any prior causes of those prior causes, etc. The absurdity is that there are no true causes, because no prior causes can ever pass the test.

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

There's no problem with premise 3 as long as we keep in mind that we were active participants in the creation of that past from the day we were born. And the laws of nature are descriptive, not causative. The laws of nature describe reliable patterns of behavior found in natural objects, like us. And, if the laws of nature are inconsistent with our behavior, and fail to offer the predictability that they serve to provide, then it is the laws themselves that must be amended, and not us.

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

The conclusion does not follow from the premises, and is refuted by simple empirical observation of people being held responsible for their deliberate choices when the waiter brings them the bill.

So, in the end it just comes down to the point that we lack the right kind of control to qualify as free will.

A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. This was obviously the case in the restaurant as each customer decided for themselves what they would have for dinner. That is the only kind of control necessary to qualify as free will.
 

pood

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
882
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
1. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the past, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.

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

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

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

So, in the end it just comes down to the point that we lack the right kind of control to qualify as free will.



  1. We do have partial control over circumstances in the past — those things that I did in the past. We don’t need any control over the laws of nature because they have no control over us. The so-called laws are descriptive and not prescriptive. It’s true I don’t have control over the charge on an electron, but then again, the charge on an electron has no control over what shirt I choose to wear this morning (example due to Norman Swartz)
  2. Of course we have control over A, if we ourselves caused B. Surely our decision to cause B was influenced by past events, but no one except the libertarian denies this.
  3. Those prior consequences include our past acts. Our thoughts and actions are not consequences of the laws of nature, because the laws are not laws. They are descriptions and not prescriptions.
  4. Four doesn’t follow from 2 and 3 because your 2 and 3 are false.
  5. And obviously the conclusion cannot follow.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
It would help if you read what I wrote.

Sense depends on being genetically driven by signals which produce sensory attributes in receivers, uh sensors that lead to sense. It turns out we have very near optimum sensors over the range of maximum sensitivity in several domains such as for frequency and frequency change rate in the hearing sense.

A sense is much more than a general modality transducer. There can't be perception unless there are all the underlying dimensions for such available to one for use in resolving the importance of the sensory input.

Nope. It doesn't help when I read what you wrote. Perhaps we are signaling each other on different wavelengths. What you wrote above appears to bear no relation to anything I wrote.
...which brings me to why you wrote a response to what I wrote. I just amplified what I wrote in response to your response so maybe it's you who is not communicating.
Look, you started the chain by commenting on my claim "... our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data." I didn't find your comment relevant or sensible, so I commented back. Your subsequent attempts to "amplify" your remarks have not helped to clarify your response to me, and I think that I have been communicating that fact to you.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Look, you started the chain by commenting on my claim "... our models of reality are all interpretations of sense data." I didn't find your comment relevant or sensible, so I commented back. Your subsequent attempts to "amplify" your remarks have not helped to clarify your response to me, and I think that I have been communicating that fact to you.
I was pretty clear. Sense data humans receive depends on sense organs detecting and transmitting evolutionarily important data we are calling sense data in this sequence.. We do so because sense organs are genetically determined by the development of receptor organs adapted to specific sense data from which humans are exposed and benefit. They are sending data via evolved sense organs we call evolutionarily important sense data.

The organs evolved. They detect, transduce into neural language, and transmit specific energy information up the nervous system scientists call evolutionarily important sense-data.

What's your problem. Is it you don't understand that human sense data comes from biologically significant energy available in the environment?
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
What's your problem. Is it you don't understand that human sense data comes from biologically significant energy available in the environment?
How do you get anything like that from my use of the term "sense-data"? Maybe I should have said "qualia" instead of "sense data", although I have a problem with the way philosophers use that term. What I really don't understand is what point you are trying to make with all of your wordy replies about evolved organs and "neural language". They don't seem to connect with anything I said.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
What's your problem. Is it you don't understand that human sense data comes from biologically significant energy available in the environment?
How do you get anything like that from my use of the term "sense-data"? Maybe I should have said "qualia" instead of "sense data", although I have a problem with the way philosophers use that term. What I really don't understand is what point you are trying to make with all of your wordy replies about evolved organs and "neural language". They don't seem to connect with anything I said.


1. any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body:My sense of smell tells me that dinner is ready.

2. these faculties collectively.

3. their operation or function; sensation.

4. a feeling or perception produced through the organs of touch, taste, etc., or resulting from a particular condition of some part of the body:

 Sense

Contents​


A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to stimuli. (For example, in the human body, the brain receives signals from the senses, which continuously receive information from the environment, interprets these signals, and causes the body to respond, either chemically or physically.) Although traditionally around five human senses were known (namely sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing), it is now recognized that there are many more.[1] Senses used by other non-human organisms are even greater in variety and number. During sensation, sense organs collect various stimuli (such as a sound or smell) for transduction, meaning transformation into a form that can be understood by the brain. Sensation and perception are fundamental to nearly every aspect of an organism's cognition, behavior and thought.

I use lots of words for sense because I'm a retired Psychophysicst and I react badly to the misuse of sense data. I get especially steamed when one pronounces models of the world depend on sense-data as if sense-data could in any way be the basis for a representation of reality. Those who do fail to understand from whence sense derives is from a system of getting along drivers. Our reality bears little relation to reality.

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans and other threat engines and not in touch with the world as it is at time t=0. Hell even Plato discerned that.
 
Last edited:

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
DBT,


You keep avoiding my main points. That’s your privilege, of course, but it does tend to stifle conversation.

I'm not aware of having avoided any of your points. I do feel like that anything I write, quote or cite in response to your points is either not read, not understood or just dismissed.


You spoke of the readiness potential, but did not address my point that Libet also found that the conscious mind has a veto power over the readiness potential. Someone called that “free won’t,” but of course it’s just compatibilist free will.

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

It fails because 'veto' is not an autonomous element that is able to overrule brain activity. A decision/action is overruled by the very same mechanisms that determined the original decision.

It is not overruled by the power of will, but fresh information altering the system - if there is sufficient time - yet following the same sequence of events as any other action.

You experience 'veto' consciously as a 'change of mind' - you start doing one thing, then switch, think better of it and do something else.

Veto is just a normal brain function, information acting upon the system, altering and adapting response. It's not an additional element that endows us with free will.


The fact that most our evaluation, processing, etc. is done subconsciously is irrelevant. It’s still US doing the evaluation, purocessing, etc., because we are our brains. It’s not some coercive agent called Mr. Causal Determinism.

Finally, you offer again a functionalist account of the brain. I’m not interested in that, not least because we don’t have a full explanation of how the brain works and may never have. I am asking, again, how you think it is that natural selection incrementally favored brains whose powers to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose are entirely illusory according to you. Why aren’t we instead philosophical zombies obeying a pre-programmed subroutine? That would be much more parsimonious, and in keeping with the fact that natural selection does not favor structures or properties that are illusory. Illusion is not a good survival strategy.

You don't have to know everything about the brain to know the sequence of the cognitive process, that it is deterministic or that will plays no part in decision making.

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings.

Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction.

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

There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs.

And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices.

At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.

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

Well, you do ignore some of my main points, and you’ve just done it again, I’m afraid.

I don't think so. You may have missed the relevant bits.
First, as to Libet: It was in fact him who coined the term “free won’t”, and he disagreed that his experiments disproved free will. So if you wish to invoke him and his “readiness potential” you’ll have to do so knowing that you contravene his own conclusions.

'Free won't' doesn't exist. The brain acquires and processes information, and if a decision is altered or vetoed, it is altered by exactly the same information processing activity as the original course of action

'Free won't' or 'veto function' is not some special autonomous agency that acts upon a process and 'freely' vetoes it according to will.

The brain is the sole agent. A course of action can be vetoed (if there is time) by new inputs which results in a change of mind.

''Free won't'' is not some special agency exempt from determinism, it is a part of normal brain activity that is being constantly updated and modified by inputs.
You often make appeals to authority, as you do above. I rarely do that, but if you’re going to do it, I suggest you leave out Libet as one of those authorities who supports your position, because he doesn’t. Also, if I wanted to, I could appeal to plenty of authorities myself who agree with me, but I generally dispense with that. Finally, whatever you make of LIbet’s experiments, there is no consensus among neurologists about their meaning.


I don't appeal to authority. I used reliably sourced material. Hallett for example is a specialist on cognition and motor action, being qualified in his field, his material is relevant to the subject of free will. This is not an appeal to authority.

I bet if I used obscure sources, you would dismiss them for that reason. You look for any perceived weakness to exploit while ignoring what is said and provided.

Now look again. You say you don’t avoid my points. You just did it again! Yet again, you give me a functionalist account of the brain. I am not asking you that. I am asking how it is you think that evolution selected for brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose, when according to you, all of these clear functions are illusions. That is what I am asking, and you have avoided the question every time.

It is not I who am either not reading, not understanding, or dismissing your points. The situation appears to be quite the opposite.

I provided material from evolutionary biology and psychology that deals with these questions. You made no real comment, ignoring what was described....only to repeat your accusation that I have avoided your question.

I have pointed out time and time again that the brain evolved as a means to interact with the objects and events of the world in adaptive ways.

Evolutionary biology goes into the details....why do you ignore this? Are your here to play games?

Sorry, it seems to me it is you who are playing games. A functionalist account is irrelevant to this discussion for three reasons: First, our knowledge of exactly how the brain operates and what it does is woefully incomplete. We know less about the universe inside our heads (i.e., ourselves) than we know about the universe itself.

Irrelevant. Not knowing everything about how the brain functions doesn't mean that we don't understand anything about how the brain functions.

Experiments (provided) show that consciousness is not the decision maker or regulator of behaviour, that this happens unconsciously in milliseconds, beginning with inputs, processing then conscious activity.

Based on physics,, it must be so. Information cannot be made conscious before it is acquired and processed, hence the necessary delay between input and awareness.

A functional account of cognition is absolutely relevant to the nature of decision making and the status of will for that reason. If decisons are determined unconsciously and will cannot veto or perform 'free won't' the idea of free will is in trouble.

Second, since we are our brains, how the brain processes inputs, both subconsciously and consciously, is precisely us doing the processing, thinking, and outputting. It’s called compatibilist free will — in contrast to as rock, which rolls down as hill blindly, without will or choice, or a billiard ball struck by a cue ball which cannot alter its course after.

The general 'us' used in this way is deceptive because we as conscious entities have no control over brain function and output, which is an unconscious activity prior to conscious report.

It is not 'us' as the conscious entity that makes decisions, but specifically the brain. The brain is a part of you that you as a conscious self have no control over.

You are whatever a brain is doing. If the brain is dysfunctional, you are dysfunctional.

Unconscious activity is not freely willed activity.



And third and most important, you still do not answer my question: how did evolution select for the illusion, as you would have it, of remembering, foreseeing, evaluating, pondering, and choosing?

I have already said that consciousness serves as a mental map of the world, our environment and our place in it, which enables us to navigate and respond to challenges.

Consciousness is not the illusion. As a representation of the world and self, our 'map' is being tested as we respond and act.

The illusion is that of conscious will, ie, that conscious will makes or alters decisions at will.


If a human has no more agency than a rock rolling down a hill or a billiard ball after it is struck by a cue ball, of what survival advantage are our complex brains? This is the question you do not answer. I hold that in your hard deterministic world, it would be much more likely that humans and other organisms would be philosophical zombies, that is to say, obeying inputted subroutines but completely dark inside, without consciousness or qualia. None of your descriptions of functionalism address this at all.

If the brain, as you put it, evolved to interact with objects and events in the world in adaptive ways, well, yes, that’s kind of my point. To do that the brain needs to be able to remember, foresee, evaluate, and choose (compatibilist free will).


Nobody has claimed a human has no more agency than a rock rolling down a hill or a billiard ball. The issue is the nature of agency in relation to the idea of free will;

Some of the issues being;

''Libet himself recognized at least two ways his stark conclusions negating free will were limited. First, he postulated that we could veto our brain’s unconscious decisions in the period between when we became aware of our intention to move and the movement itself; this veto power is commonly referred to as ‘free won’t’ [9.]. Subsequent studies have shown that such conscious veto decisions are also preceded by an RP and thus subject to the same problematic delay before W-time, making such a position seem untenable [10., 11., 12.].

Also, a recent study estimated the point of no return in vetoing self-initiated movements to be about 200 ms before movement onset [13.], roughly the same time that Libet thought the veto window opened. This also makes ‘free won’t’ seem untenable, because the window of time in which Libet suggested subjects could veto a movement begins precisely when subjects can no longer veto a movement. More helpfully, Libet suggested that many of our actions result from conscious deliberation that unfolds over much longer time-scales [2.], which would not be subject to these timing issues.''
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
1. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the past, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.

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

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

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

So, in the end it just comes down to the point that we lack the right kind of control to qualify as free will.



  1. We do have partial control over circumstances in the past — those things that I did in the past. We don’t need any control over the laws of nature because they have no control over us. The so-called laws are descriptive and not prescriptive. It’s true I don’t have control over the charge on an electron, but then again, the charge on an electron has no control over what shirt I choose to wear this morning (example due to Norman Swartz)
  2. Of course we have control over A, if we ourselves caused B. Surely our decision to cause B was influenced by past events, but no one except the libertarian denies this.
  3. Those prior consequences include our past acts. Our thoughts and actions are not consequences of the laws of nature, because the laws are not laws. They are descriptions and not prescriptions.
  4. Four doesn’t follow from 2 and 3 because your 2 and 3 are false.
  5. And obviously the conclusion cannot follow.


How do we have partial control over circumstances in the past? That needs explaining.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Determinism has no power to allow or disallow anything. Determinism can only describe, it can never cause. For example, determinism says that the restaurant owner causally necessitated the menu, and that each of the customers at my table causally necessitated their own dinner order. And, in each case, the behavior of the owner and the customers was 100% reliable and theoretically 100% predictable from any prior point in time.

The definition of Determinism is that all events are fixed by initial conditions and the laws of nature. Which entails everything in the determined world, including the brain and conscious mind.

There are no loopholes, no special clauses, no exemptions. We can't bend the rules and say; ''well, I could have chosen differently had I wanted to.''

No special pleading - ''Oh, I can act in accordance to my will, therefore I have free will'' - when both will and action proceed as determined, not willed.

'The increments of a normal brain state is not as obvious as direct coercion, a microchip, or a tumor, but the “obviousness” is irrelevant here. Brain states incrementally get to the state they are in one moment at a time. In each moment of that process the brain is in one state, and the specific environment and biological conditions leads to the very next state. Depending on that state, this will cause you to behave in a specific way within an environment (decide in a specific way), in which all of those things that are outside of a person constantly bombard your senses changing your very brain state. The internal dialogue in your mind you have no real control over.

We have an illusion of control, but in reality we have no more control over these processes than we do a microchip or tumor leading our brain states to want, think, and decide in specific ways. The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards.

Compatibilists might say that the person couldn’t control the influences of a tumor or microchip, but that misses the point that a person cannot control their own genetics or environmental conditions any more.''



I leave it at that to avoid further repetition.
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
The definition of Determinism is that all events are fixed by initial conditions and the laws of nature. Which entails everything in the determined world, including the brain and conscious mind. There are no loopholes, no special clauses, no exemptions.

Yeah, but, so what?! That does not change the fact that I, and every other customer in the restaurant, opened the menu, and chose from among the many possibilities, the dinners that we would order. We each did so while free of any coercion or other undue influence.

When I said to the waiter, "I will have the lobster dinner, please", the waiter wrote down my order, the chef prepared the lobster, and the waiter returned with my dinner and the bill, holding me responsible for my deliberate act.

We can't bend the rules and say; ''well, I could have chosen differently had I wanted to.''

There was no bending of any rules. And, yes, I could have chosen the steak dinner. The fact that I didn't choose the steak dinner is consistent with the fact that I could have.

In fact, I was having a hard time making up my mind about which dinner to order, the steak or the lobster. Everyone at the table was pressuring me to "Go ahead and order already!". So, to speed things along, I flipped a coin, and it came up tails, so I ordered the lobster.

No special pleading - ''Oh, I can act in accordance to my will, therefore I have free will'' - when both will and action proceed as determined, not willed.

There's no "special pleading", DBT, just a simple observation of what actually happened in the restaurant. My choice was reliably caused by prior events. But the most meaningful and relevant prior events were me, deciding to flip a coin, and then telling the waiter that "I will have the lobster dinner". We know that I was the most meaningful and relevant cause, because the waiter brought the dinner, and the bill, to me and not to any of the other prior causes in infinite chain of prior events.

'... Brain states incrementally get to the state they are in one moment at a time. In each moment of that process the brain is in one state, and the specific environment and biological conditions leads to the very next state.

The specific environmental conditions were the restaurant and the menu of alternate possibilities. The specific biological conditions were everyone's hunger, and their desire to have dinner. The changes in the brain states were a series of events necessary to get from the "being hungry" to "having a dinner on the table".

This required each brain at the table to make a choice from the restaurant menu. The choosing would causally determine what dinner they would tell the waiter to bring them.

There was no one there to force them to choose one thing rather than another. Therefore, each was free to make this decision for themselves (free of coercion and undue influence, not free of causation).

So, each person made their own choice of their own free will. And it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that they would do so, precisely that way.

"...The internal dialogue in your mind you have no real control over."

That it sounds true, but it is actually false. The false suggestion is that you must exercise some supernatural control over your mind in order to claim that you have control over your choice. That's a lie. It sounds true, but it is actually false.

You see, in order to exercise control over what I will have for dinner, it is only necessary for me to BE that mind deciding what I will order.

We have an illusion of control, ...

It is not an illusion. The restaurant was real. The menu was real. My own brain choosing, between the steak and lobster, was real. Even my choice to flip a coin to choose between two equally attractive possibilities was real.

These things really happen in the real world. So, whoever wrote the article you are quoting is apparently having an illusion, an illusion so convincing to his own mind that he has lost touch with reality. The problem is that illusions are catching. Paradoxes are easily spread from person to person through a series of false, but believable suggestions.

"The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards."

And, finally, he gets around to using the illusion of non-control, he is trying to sell us, to destroy the meaningful and relevant distinctions, between a normal brain versus an abnormal brain, and between a coerced brain versus an uncoerced brain. The author you're quoting, DBT, is a piece of work. Please try to avoid him making you a piece of his work.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
Thanks for letting me know something about your background. I would not have thought that you had expertise in the area of psychophysics. My problem was, and still is, trying to figure out what your point was and how it related to what I was talking about. Much of what you write above, especially all the definitions and descriptions of neural processing don't seem to contradict or correct anything that I have posted here. Maybe you could get to the point more quickly if you weren't referring me to dictionary definitions and textbook descriptions of signal processing.

I use lots of words for sense because I'm a retired Psychophysicst and I react badly to the misuse of sense data. I get especially steamed when one pronounces models of the world depend on sense-data as if sense-data could in any way be the basis for a representation of reality. Those who do fail to understand from whence sense derives is from a system of getting along drivers. Our reality bears little relation to reality.

If you are a specialist, then it is possible that you have a more technical usage for the term "sense-data" than I do. Maybe we should be talking about qualia, since those relate to a theory of mind, as opposed to a theory of neurophysics. If you think that past experience of sensations is not the basis for a representation of reality, then please explain your alternative. And do so in a way that is clear and direct, not full of references to dictionaries and source materials.

Let me put it this way. As an English speaker, you know the difference between a noise and a sound, right? A noise is an auditory sensation. A sound is an interpretation of that sensation. Do you agree? A mental model of reality encompasses both, does it not? Is it really wrong to say that the mental model is built up out of sense-data? Do you think they play no role at all?

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans and other threat engines and not in touch with the world as it is at time t=0. Hell even Plato discerned that.

Whoa there! Did I ever say that our reality is "strictly limited to human perceptions". There is a lot more to a mental model of reality than just the sensations that are used to build, extend, and support it. The brain does something more than just collect sensations, but sensations are the building blocks of all human cognition. You can build all sorts of different structures with a rather limited set of building materials. Apparently, the sense-data from my posts have inspired you to build up a mental model of what I believe that is wildly different from reality. :)
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Thanks for letting me know something about your background. I would not have thought that you had expertise in the area of psychophysics. My problem was, and still is, trying to figure out what your point was and how it related to what I was talking about. Much of what you write above, especially all the definitions and descriptions of neural processing don't seem to contradict or correct anything that I have posted here. Maybe you could get to the point more quickly if you weren't referring me to dictionary definitions and textbook descriptions of signal processing.

I use lots of words for sense because I'm a retired Psychophysicst and I react badly to the misuse of sense data. I get especially steamed when one pronounces models of the world depend on sense-data as if sense-data could in any way be the basis for a representation of reality. Those who do fail to understand from whence sense derives is from a system of getting along drivers. Our reality bears little relation to reality.

If you are a specialist, then it is possible that you have a more technical usage for the term "sense-data" than I do. Maybe we should be talking about qualia, since those relate to a theory of mind, as opposed to a theory of neurophysics. If you think that past experience of sensations is not the basis for a representation of reality, then please explain your alternative. And do so in a way that is clear and direct, not full of references to dictionaries and source materials.

Let me put it this way. As an English speaker, you know the difference between a noise and a sound, right? A noise is an auditory sensation. A sound is an interpretation of that sensation. Do you agree?* A mental model of reality encompasses both, does it not? Is it really wrong to say that the mental model is built up out of sense-data? Do you think they play no role at all?

*All acoustic input not correlated and articulated is noise. Even unlearned potentially meaningful sound is noise until it is learned and systematized. Even then it is noise unless communicated.
Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans and other threat engines and not in touch with the world as it is at time t=0. Hell even Plato discerned that.

Whoa there! Did I ever say that our reality is "strictly limited to human perceptions". There is a lot more to a mental model of reality than just the sensations that are used to build, extend, and support it. The brain does something more than just collect sensations, but sensations are the building blocks of all human cognition. You can build all sorts of different structures with a rather limited set of building materials. Apparently, the sense-data from my posts have inspired you to build up a mental model of what I believe that is wildly different from reality. :)
Repeating:

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions (can refer to the entire spectrum of conscious sensing) which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans (evolution) and other threat engines (environment driven evolution) and not in touch with the world (which is a lot greater than the whole of human cognition, experience, and support systems) as it is at time t=0.

For Chrissake even Plato discerned that. Reality is beyond the reach of the human mind of mankind over all of the time that man has and will exist. All we have access to is a reality the world of/for mankind which is mightily skewed from reality. We are a dim awareness in a limited part of a remote piece of what we believe is the universe.

Finally, sense data and whatever else we consider such as chemical exchange and flow contributing to our building of models are more accurately described as signals and information rather than sense whatever.

Are we done here?
 
Last edited:

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
The definition of Determinism is that all events are fixed by initial conditions and the laws of nature. Which entails everything in the determined world, including the brain and conscious mind. There are no loopholes, no special clauses, no exemptions.

Yeah, but, so what?! That does not change the fact that I, and every other customer in the restaurant, opened the menu, and chose from among the many possibilities, the dinners that we would order. We each did so while free of any coercion or other undue influence.

Every other customer has their own proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences. Information that determines (being determined system) what each customer orders on that occasion. Information processing.

Information processing does not mean 'free will.'

Information processing:
''Information is everywhere. Not only in the things you read and hear in the media, or in the tools you use to navigate through the world (such as the maps or street signs that help guide you), but it can also be found in non-linguistic forms. This includes being able to recognize that your friend is in a good mood through her facial expression, or sense the oncoming storm by the quiet stillness in the humid air, or know you are hungry by the way your stomach feels. Essentially, all these forms of information convey a message that can lead to some kind of action, be it prepare for a celebratory drink with your friend, or move inside to avoid a downpour, or buy the ingredients you need to make yourself dinner (or order takeout, if you’re prone to lazier actions).''

When I said to the waiter, "I will have the lobster dinner, please", the waiter wrote down my order, the chef prepared the lobster, and the waiter returned with my dinner and the bill, holding me responsible for my deliberate act.

All determined by circumstances, social conventions, laws, ethics, morality, economics, etc, which we learn from childhood.

''Most—if not all—of the things we experience contain information. There is information in words, objects, actions, sounds, music, temperature, self-movement (proprioception), internal states (hunger, pain), emotions, and social interactions. These types of information rely on the organisms that can process, interpret, and use them in some way. But information also has a life of its own—it is encoded in the fabric of our universe and in the regularities or “laws of nature” that it follows. One could almost say that information feeds life. But how true is this about consciousness? To understand this better, we can focus on the dynamics between consciousness and attention (Montemayor & Haladjian, 2015).''


We can't bend the rules and say; ''well, I could have chosen differently had I wanted to.''

There was no bending of any rules. And, yes, I could have chosen the steak dinner. The fact that I didn't choose the steak dinner is consistent with the fact that I could have.

If Lobster was determined by the state of your being in that instance in time, how could you have chosen steak?

“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


In fact, I was having a hard time making up my mind about which dinner to order, the steak or the lobster. Everyone at the table was pressuring me to "Go ahead and order already!". So, to speed things along, I flipped a coin, and it came up tails, so I ordered the lobster.

These are all the elements that acted upon you, information that your brain acquired, processed and produced your inevitable - in that moment in time - fixed action/selection.

No special pleading - ''Oh, I can act in accordance to my will, therefore I have free will'' - when both will and action proceed as determined, not willed.

There's no "special pleading", DBT, just a simple observation of what actually happened in the restaurant. My choice was reliably caused by prior events. But the most meaningful and relevant prior events were me, deciding to flip a coin, and then telling the waiter that "I will have the lobster dinner". We know that I was the most meaningful and relevant cause, because the waiter brought the dinner, and the bill, to me and not to any of the other prior causes in infinite chain of prior events.

I was referring to the implication that you could have done otherwise, which is forbidden by the rules of determinism.

Saying - ''And, yes, I could have chosen the steak dinner. The fact that I didn't choose the steak dinner is consistent with the fact that I could have.'' - implies a possible ability to do otherwise, an alternate action.

We have an illusion of control, ...

It is not an illusion. The restaurant was real. The menu was real. My own brain choosing, between the steak and lobster, was real. Even my choice to flip a coin to choose between two equally attractive possibilities was real.

The illusion of conscious will refers to the false impression that it is our conscious will that runs the brain (my brain) and that we make decisions according to will....when it is information processing that determines outcome.

The brain responding to our circumstances, information acquired, processed, made conscious.

"The distinction between an abnormal or coerced brain state compared to a normal and uncoerced brain state is irrelevant to our lack of control in these regards."

And, finally, he gets around to using the illusion of non-control, he is trying to sell us, to destroy the meaningful and relevant distinctions, between a normal brain versus an abnormal brain, and between a coerced brain versus an uncoerced brain. The author you're quoting, DBT, is a piece of work. Please try to avoid him making you a piece of his work.

The point being that it is brain state and condition that determines output, what you see, feel, think and do, and not conscious will or free will.

We can think, feel and act consciously, but our experience is being produced by an underlying activity, information processing, over which we have no control or access.

That is the illusion of conscious will. Not that we can't think or act, but the means by which we think and act. Agency is the key.
 

pood

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
882
Basic Beliefs
agnostic


Nobody has claimed a human has no more agency than a rock rolling down a hill or a billiard ball.

Well, actually, the author of the blog post you quoted claims just that — he likened the cue ball striking to the Big Bang, and said that everything inevitably must follow from that. Now you say we DO have more agency than a rock or a billiard ball. Fine. But, how, under your metaphysics, do we have more agency than a rolling rock or billiard ball? You keep telling us that everything is basically predetermined, which means I MUST do what I do, in the same way that a rolling rock and a billiard ball must do what they do. So how do you define “agency” such that we have more of it than a rock or a billiard ball?
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
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.

Every other customer has their own proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences.

Yes. Every customer in the restaurant has their own proclivities, determined, in most cases, by their own prior experiences. They have all tried many different foods over their lifetime. Some customers will go directly to their old favorites. Some customers will want to try something new. Many, like me, will find several options they they know they will enjoy, and will have to decide which one they will order tonight.

In each case, the determining factors are found wholly within the person themselves, and in no other object in the physical universe. Each person is unique. And it will be up to them, and no one else, to choose what they will have for dinner.

None of them will be forced to choose something they don't want. Each choice will be free of any such coercion.

None of them will be hypnotized or otherwise manipulated into choosing what they don't want. Each choice will be free of any such undue influence.

Because their choices are free from coercion and undue influence, each "I will" will be freely chosen, whether it be "I will have the steak", or the "I will have the Chef Salad", or the "I will have the Buffalo Wings", or ... you get the idea.

And, of course, each choice will also be causally necessary from any prior point in time. It will be the reliable result of each person's own history of prior causes, resulting in who and what they are at the time that they make their choice.

Thus, P1: the definition of free will, is satisfied and P2: the definition of determinism is also satisfied. There is no incompatibility between them.

Information processing does not mean 'free will.'

Information processing does not mean 'not free will'. Choosing is information processing. Free will is when the choosing is free of coercion and undue influence.

''Information is everywhere. ... "

Well, yeah. But all the information relevant to this example is found on the restaurant menu. Let's not wander off into traffic signals, college degrees, and other distractions to escape dealing with what is on the table in front of you.

If Lobster was determined by the state of your being in that instance in time, how could you have chosen steak?

Well, I wanted the steak and I also wanted the lobster. And I was certainly free to make that choice for myself. The steak was there on the menu, so it was a real possibility that I could have the steak if I chose to have the steak. And, for the same reason, it was also a real possibility that I could have the lobster. But having both of them would be a bit much, so I had to choose between them.

So, let's look into the choosing operation itself, to see how it works. Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. The choice is usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is the thing that I've chosen to do.

Choosing requires at least two options, each of which I can choose. "I can choose steak" was true. "I can choose lobster" was also true. So, I had my two options. Then I began weighing my two options in different ways, imagining what I would experience if I chose the steak, and then imagining what I would experience if I chose the lobster. If I was concerned about the cost, then I may have also compared the price of the steak dinner versus the price of the lobster dinner. If I was concerned about my dietary goals, then I may also have estimated the effect of each upon my cholesterol, or my calories, or my balance of fat versus proteins, etc.

At the end of the choosing process, I would have two things: (1) the single "I will have the X" where X is either the steak or the lobster plus (2) the single "I could have had the Y" where Y is either the lobster or the steak.

That's how choosing works. It always begins with two real possibilities, and it always ends with a single "I will" and at least one "I could have".

And that is why P2 defines determinism as: "A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events." It would be silly to say that determinism means that "I could not have done otherwise" when every choosing operation always outputs at least one thing that "I could have done".

“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

What Robert (and Schopenhauer) overlooks is that we often have many wants and desires at the same time, making it necessary that we choose what we will do about them. Our actions are not controlled by our desires, but by our choices as to whether, when, and how we will go about dealing with that desire.

Choosing fixes the will upon a specific intent. The intent then motivates and directs our subsequent actions. For example, having set my intent to have the lobster dinner, my subsequent action is to tell the waiter, "I will have the lobster, please."

These are all the elements that acted upon you, information that your brain acquired, processed and produced your inevitable - in that moment in time - fixed action/selection.

Well, no, my response is not a passive acceptance of the world's influences driving me willy-nilly wherever it wants me to go. I exist as a living organism, with my own purposes, and as an intelligent human, with my own reasons. So, I can and will push back. I am not merely an effect. I am also a cause.

I was referring to the implication that you could have done otherwise, which is forbidden by the rules of determinism.

See P2. There is nothing there that forbids me from having options to choose from! In fact, it is causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that the restaurant menu will have a list of all of the things that I "can" have for dinner. The fact that, tonight, I "can" have any of those items is true, logically implies that, tomorrow, I "could have" had any of those items will also be true.

Of course, it will also be causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that, tonight, I "will" have only the lobster dinner, which logically implies that, tomorrow, I "would have" had only the lobster dinner.

Under P2, we may safely say that, given the same circumstance, "I would not have done otherwise", but it would be false to claim that "I could not have done otherwise".

Sorry, but the implication that determinism prohibits "I could have done otherwise" is simply false. Don't blame me. It's built into the logic of the language, a logic that enables us to deal effectively with situations of uncertainty, which if often the case.

That is the illusion of conscious will. Not that we can't think or act, but the means by which we think and act. Agency is the key.

Yes, agency is the key. And that is why the waiter brings me the bill for the lobster, because it is obvious to the waiter who the agent actually is. The question is how the hard determinists have managed to acquire the illusion that agent resides somewhere else.

But, that's how a paradox works. A series of false, but believable, suggestions create a hoax, a con, a self-deception about the nature of the world. Zeno was famous for creating paradoxes.

For example, in the story of Achilles and the Tortoise, the world's fastest runner must catch the world's slowest animal. Achilles, confident that he can do so, allows the tortoise a large head start. Then Achilles begins his run to where the tortoise is. But, when Achilles gets to where the tortoise was, the tortoise has also advanced, farther down the road. So, Achilles takes off again to where the tortoise is. But, again, when he gets to where the tortoise was, no tortoise, because the tortoise had once again moved on. No matter how many times Achilles repeats this attempt, he can never catch the tortoise.

What is the false but believable suggestion that creates this paradox? It "sounds true" but it is really false.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,935
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences
... That drive them to make the choices they do.

Choices have reasons too.

You're not invalidating the choice just to say that the context has priors.

In the moment, the context is all. Universe is not a machine that spits out a whole block at once from the beginning but rather process happens and each next moment is a function of the current, not the previous, moment.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,935
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
driven by need-to-live

:ROFLMAO:

No. My decisions are not in fact driven by need to live.

Swing and a miss.

My decisions are driven by my goals, the goals created by the physical configuration of my neurons.

Nothing else.

They are the choices of my model, as driven by my goals, through the mechanics of my model, as defined by the organization of my neurons.

That will or will not contain "need to live" as is defined exactly by the goal in question.

As it stands, I've made the very conscious decision to die at a fixed point in my future!

It is not near to now, in fact is quite far off! My free will in this decision may be robbed of me if I die before that.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
...

Let me put it this way. As an English speaker, you know the difference between a noise and a sound, right? A noise is an auditory sensation. A sound is an interpretation of that sensation. Do you agree?* A mental model of reality encompasses both, does it not? Is it really wrong to say that the mental model is built up out of sense-data? Do you think they play no role at all?

*All acoustic input not correlated and articulated is noise. Even unlearned potentially meaningful sound is noise until it is learned and systematized. Even then it is noise unless communicated.

This is completely nonresponsive. Do you understand the difference between a noise and a sound? I told you what I thought it was, but you did not agree or disagree. Instead you talked about something else. Are not both part of our mental model of reality? Unless you want to engage me on the difference between a noise and a sound, I don't see the point in continuing.

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans and other threat engines and not in touch with the world as it is at time t=0. Hell even Plato discerned that.

Whoa there! Did I ever say that our reality is "strictly limited to human perceptions". There is a lot more to a mental model of reality than just the sensations that are used to build, extend, and support it. The brain does something more than just collect sensations, but sensations are the building blocks of all human cognition. You can build all sorts of different structures with a rather limited set of building materials. Apparently, the sense-data from my posts have inspired you to build up a mental model of what I believe that is wildly different from reality. :)
Repeating:

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions (can refer to the entire spectrum of conscious sensing) which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans (evolution) and other threat engines (environment driven evolution) and not in touch with the world (which is a lot greater than the whole of human cognition, experience, and support systems) as it is at time t=0.

For Chrissake even Plato discerned that. Reality is beyond the reach of the human mind of mankind over all of the time that man has and will exist. All we have access to is a reality the world of/for mankind which is mightily skewed from reality. We are a dim awareness in a limited part of a remote piece of what we believe is the universe.

Finally, sense data and whatever else we consider such as chemical exchange and flow contributing to our building of models are more accurately described as signals and information rather than sense whatever.

Are we done here?

Since you are just repeating yourself without addressing what I wrote, I think that we are. It's obvious that we aren't communicating. Thanks for making the effort, anyway.
 
Last edited:

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
driven by need-to-live

:ROFLMAO:

No. My decisions are not in fact driven by need to live.

Swing and a miss.

My decisions are driven by my goals, the goals created by the physical configuration of my neurons.

Nothing else.

They are the choices of my model, as driven by my goals, through the mechanics of my model, as defined by the organization of my neurons.

That will or will not contain "need to live" as is defined exactly by the goal in question.

As it stands, I've made the very conscious decision to die at a fixed point in my future!

It is not near to now, in fact is quite far off! My free will in this decision may be robbed of me if I die before that.
Need to live refers to evolutionary demands/constraints on all things in every human. It has no effect on what you can choose, decide, whatever beyond the fact those are based on very limited and partial knowledge of reality.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
...

Let me put it this way. As an English speaker, you know the difference between a noise and a sound, right? A noise is an auditory sensation. A sound is an interpretation of that sensation. Do you agree?* A mental model of reality encompasses both, does it not? Is it really wrong to say that the mental model is built up out of sense-data? Do you think they play no role at all?

*All acoustic input not correlated and articulated is noise. Even unlearned potentially meaningful sound is noise until it is learned and systematized. Even then it is noise unless communicated.

This is completely nonresponsive. Do you understand the difference between a noise and a sound? I told you what I thought it was, but you did not agree or disagree. Instead you talked about something else. Are not both part of our mental model of reality? Unless you want to engage me on the difference between a noise and a sound, I don't see the point in continuing.

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans and other threat engines and not in touch with the world as it is at time t=0. Hell even Plato discerned that.

Whoa there! Did I ever say that our reality is "strictly limited to human perceptions". There is a lot more to a mental model of reality than just the sensations that are used to build, extend, and support it. The brain does something more than just collect sensations, but sensations are the building blocks of all human cognition. You can build all sorts of different structures with a rather limited set of building materials. Apparently, the sense-data from my posts have inspired you to build up a mental model of what I believe that is wildly different from reality. :)
Repeating:

Our reality, if it is as you suggest, is strictly limited to human perceptions (can refer to the entire spectrum of conscious sensing) which, as is I said before, are driven by need-to-live among humans (evolution) and other threat engines (environment driven evolution) and not in touch with the world (which is a lot greater than the whole of human cognition, experience, and support systems) as it is at time t=0.

For Chrissake even Plato discerned that. Reality is beyond the reach of the human mind of mankind over all of the time that man has and will exist. All we have access to is a reality the world of/for mankind which is mightily skewed from reality. We are a dim awareness in a limited part of a remote piece of what we believe is the universe.

Finally, sense data and whatever else we consider such as chemical exchange and flow contributing to our building of models are more accurately described as signals and information rather than sense whatever.

Are we done here?

Since you are just repeating yourself without addressing what I wrote, I think that we are. It's obvious that we aren't communicating. Thanks for making the effort, anyway.
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.

OSH Answers Fact Sheets​

 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן


Nobody has claimed a human has no more agency than a rock rolling down a hill or a billiard ball.

Well, actually, the author of the blog post you quoted claims just that — he likened the cue ball striking to the Big Bang, and said that everything inevitably must follow from that. Now you say we DO have more agency than a rock or a billiard ball. Fine. But, how, under your metaphysics, do we have more agency than a rolling rock or billiard ball? You keep telling us that everything is basically predetermined, which means I MUST do what I do, in the same way that a rolling rock and a billiard ball must do what they do. So how do you define “agency” such that we have more of it than a rock or a billiard ball?

Rocks that roll down hills cannot process information. A tumbling rock has no internal agency, it cannot process information or act according to its own makeup. A brain processes information, producing outcomes according to its own makeup, but they are not freely chosen outcomes.

They are not freely chosen outcomes because the brain cannot choose its own state and condition. It doesn't have the right kind of regulative control.

The agency I refer to is the neural makeup of a brain, each brain with a unique makeup, neural architecture, and each brain producing its own set of behaviours based on architecture, inputs and memory content, therefore output is determined by the state and condition of the brain.

Rocks tumbling down hills cannot do that. That is the distinction, but ultimately, the freedom to do otherwise cannot exist within a determined system, which is why compatibilists carefully define free will as the ability to act in accordance with ones will, which of course is necessitated by the .system


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

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences
... That drive them to make the choices they do.

Choices have reasons too.

You're not invalidating the choice just to say that the context has priors.

In the moment, the context is all. Universe is not a machine that spits out a whole block at once from the beginning but rather process happens and each next moment is a function of the current, not the previous, moment.

Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions. There is not freedom to do otherwise within a determined system.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
Its pretty evident from my responses that we can't build a mental model of reality.

What we are left with is an explanation of how what we do is achieved by our nervous system. You don't seem interested in that since it, at best, we can only be model a relative reality in accordance with our privative equipment. Again this is something you don't seem interested in doing.

But ...

If you want to begin, It is obvious we believe we have control and we believe it is proper we believe we are in control. I see this as the result of humans having established a pretty thoroughly integrated nervous system - nervous system integration is something ongoing rapidly in most mammals. . Also we subvocalize as a means of rehearsal. I think this was driven by the evolution of our fairly advanced tool-making capabilities which I believe lead to post Homo Erectus evolution.

I justify this view with the above claims by findings humans have demonstrated an interest in representing the external world in drawings. In addition, the beginnings of creating token items reflecting emotive experiences and the beliefs in both the supernatural and external presence occurred over the past 120 thousand years.

However Neanderthal did bury their dead so consciousness may go back about 700 million years. Note: It is difficult to justify a continuum from this because of the selective pressure on group size brought on by the ice ages over the past million or so years.

Prior to this evidence protohumans and ancient humans began to run in groups of more than ten members. This change probably was facilitated with an ability to articulate vocally which may go back to the rise of Homo Erectus 1.5 million years ago.
 
Last edited:

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
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.

Every other customer has their own proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences.

Yes. Every customer in the restaurant has their own proclivities, determined, in most cases, by their own prior experiences. They have all tried many different foods over their lifetime. Some customers will go directly to their old favorites. Some customers will want to try something new. Many, like me, will find several options they they know they will enjoy, and will have to decide which one they will order tonight.

In each case, the determining factors are found wholly within the person themselves, and in no other object in the physical universe. Each person is unique. And it will be up to them, and no one else, to choose what they will have for dinner.

None of them will be forced to choose something they don't want. Each choice will be free of any such coercion.

None of them will be hypnotized or otherwise manipulated into choosing what they don't want. Each choice will be free of any such undue influence.

Because their choices are free from coercion and undue influence, each "I will" will be freely chosen, whether it be "I will have the steak", or the "I will have the Chef Salad", or the "I will have the Buffalo Wings", or ... you get the idea.

And, of course, each choice will also be causally necessary from any prior point in time. It will be the reliable result of each person's own history of prior causes, resulting in who and what they are at the time that they make their choice.

Thus, P1: the definition of free will, is satisfied and P2: the definition of determinism is also satisfied. There is no incompatibility between them.

Information processing does not mean 'free will.'

Information processing does not mean 'not free will'. Choosing is information processing. Free will is when the choosing is free of coercion and undue influence.

''Information is everywhere. ... "

Well, yeah. But all the information relevant to this example is found on the restaurant menu. Let's not wander off into traffic signals, college degrees, and other distractions to escape dealing with what is on the table in front of you.

If Lobster was determined by the state of your being in that instance in time, how could you have chosen steak?

Well, I wanted the steak and I also wanted the lobster. And I was certainly free to make that choice for myself. The steak was there on the menu, so it was a real possibility that I could have the steak if I chose to have the steak. And, for the same reason, it was also a real possibility that I could have the lobster. But having both of them would be a bit much, so I had to choose between them.

So, let's look into the choosing operation itself, to see how it works. Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. The choice is usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is the thing that I've chosen to do.

Choosing requires at least two options, each of which I can choose. "I can choose steak" was true. "I can choose lobster" was also true. So, I had my two options. Then I began weighing my two options in different ways, imagining what I would experience if I chose the steak, and then imagining what I would experience if I chose the lobster. If I was concerned about the cost, then I may have also compared the price of the steak dinner versus the price of the lobster dinner. If I was concerned about my dietary goals, then I may also have estimated the effect of each upon my cholesterol, or my calories, or my balance of fat versus proteins, etc.

At the end of the choosing process, I would have two things: (1) the single "I will have the X" where X is either the steak or the lobster plus (2) the single "I could have had the Y" where Y is either the lobster or the steak.

That's how choosing works. It always begins with two real possibilities, and it always ends with a single "I will" and at least one "I could have".

And that is why P2 defines determinism as: "A world is deterministic if every event is reliably caused by prior events." It would be silly to say that determinism means that "I could not have done otherwise" when every choosing operation always outputs at least one thing that "I could have done".

“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

What Robert (and Schopenhauer) overlooks is that we often have many wants and desires at the same time, making it necessary that we choose what we will do about them. Our actions are not controlled by our desires, but by our choices as to whether, when, and how we will go about dealing with that desire.

Choosing fixes the will upon a specific intent. The intent then motivates and directs our subsequent actions. For example, having set my intent to have the lobster dinner, my subsequent action is to tell the waiter, "I will have the lobster, please."

These are all the elements that acted upon you, information that your brain acquired, processed and produced your inevitable - in that moment in time - fixed action/selection.

Well, no, my response is not a passive acceptance of the world's influences driving me willy-nilly wherever it wants me to go. I exist as a living organism, with my own purposes, and as an intelligent human, with my own reasons. So, I can and will push back. I am not merely an effect. I am also a cause.

I was referring to the implication that you could have done otherwise, which is forbidden by the rules of determinism.

See P2. There is nothing there that forbids me from having options to choose from! In fact, it is causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that the restaurant menu will have a list of all of the things that I "can" have for dinner. The fact that, tonight, I "can" have any of those items is true, logically implies that, tomorrow, I "could have" had any of those items will also be true.

Of course, it will also be causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that, tonight, I "will" have only the lobster dinner, which logically implies that, tomorrow, I "would have" had only the lobster dinner.

Under P2, we may safely say that, given the same circumstance, "I would not have done otherwise", but it would be false to claim that "I could not have done otherwise".

Sorry, but the implication that determinism prohibits "I could have done otherwise" is simply false. Don't blame me. It's built into the logic of the language, a logic that enables us to deal effectively with situations of uncertainty, which if often the case.

That is the illusion of conscious will. Not that we can't think or act, but the means by which we think and act. Agency is the key.

Yes, agency is the key. And that is why the waiter brings me the bill for the lobster, because it is obvious to the waiter who the agent actually is. The question is how the hard determinists have managed to acquire the illusion that agent resides somewhere else.

But, that's how a paradox works. A series of false, but believable, suggestions create a hoax, a con, a self-deception about the nature of the world. Zeno was famous for creating paradoxes.

For example, in the story of Achilles and the Tortoise, the world's fastest runner must catch the world's slowest animal. Achilles, confident that he can do so, allows the tortoise a large head start. Then Achilles begins his run to where the tortoise is. But, when Achilles gets to where the tortoise was, the tortoise has also advanced, farther down the road. So, Achilles takes off again to where the tortoise is. But, again, when he gets to where the tortoise was, no tortoise, because the tortoise had once again moved on. No matter how many times Achilles repeats this attempt, he can never catch the tortoise.

What is the false but believable suggestion that creates this paradox? It "sounds true" but it is really false.


Agency just comes down to state and condition of a brain in any moment in time. The internal condition of the brain and external elements that act upon it in each moment in time producing a necessarily fixed response in each and every moment in time.

You cannot do something one moment, but the next you can do what you could not a moment ago.....not because you have free will and you decided to do otherwise, but because the brain was altered by information acting upon it: inner necessitation.

Your dinner companions urge you to try this or that, information that the brain acquires, processes, integrates with memory function, proclivities, etc, then brings the only possible action - in that moment in time - to consciousness: you decide to order Lobster.

Which - rather than 'free will' - is a case of information processing within a determined system.

Necessitated actions - being determined - are by definition not willed, chosen or negotiable.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,935
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences
... That drive them to make the choices they do.

Choices have reasons too.

You're not invalidating the choice just to say that the context has priors.

In the moment, the context is all. Universe is not a machine that spits out a whole block at once from the beginning but rather process happens and each next moment is a function of the current, not the previous, moment.

Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions. There is not freedom to do otherwise within a determined system.
No, the context in which the individual objects in a deterministic system do it allow alternate actions in the moment. Just because one thing happened now does not mean the same thing happens tomorrow on the same setup.

Just because the processor jumps from line 225 today does not mean the processor ju.ps from line 225 tomorrow, because tomorrow, register 2 receives 4 instead of 0.

The individual objects in a deterministic system allow alternate actions at disparate times when those same objects encounter different contexts against the same internal state.

Even monoliths make have localities.

Because choices and the discussion of them are not about now, specifically.
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist

A really good book on the subject of consciousness is Michael Graziano's "Consciousness and the Social Brain". One of the things he points out is that an early survival requirement was reading clues from predators faces as to what they were thinking. Were they about to attack? etc. But the key info was that awareness is a data schema that tracks the attention mechanism.

Subvocalization was a topic in early psychic research, when having the subject guess what card symbol the experimenter was looking at. It was feared that the subject was picking up on the experimenter's subvocalization, so they had to change the set up in some way. I don't recall any more than that.
 

Marvin Edwards

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
926
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
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.

Agency just comes down to state and condition of a brain in any moment in time. The internal condition of the brain and external elements that act upon it in each moment in time producing a necessarily fixed response in each and every moment in time.

Right. My brain, faced with the multiple possibilities on the menu, must choose what I will have for dinner. And, since I am free of coercion and undue influence, the choice is my own freely chosen "I will have the lobster, please".

And, because it was I, myself, that made the choice and placed the order, the waiter will bring me the lobster dinner, and will also hold me responsible for my deliberate act by bringing me the bill.

Free will is pretty straightforward that way. So is compatibilism:

The choice is deterministic, because it is reliably caused by my own goals and my own reasons (which have their own prior causes).

The choice is free will, because it is reliably caused by my own goals and my own reasons (which have their own prior causes).

You cannot do something one moment, but the next you can do what you could not a moment ago....

You're a little confused there. If "I can choose the steak" was true a moment ago, then "I could have chosen the steak" will be true later, even after I have chosen the lobster. The "I could have" is simply the past tense of "I can".

The fact that I did not choose the steak does not imply that I could not have chosen the steak. When we speak of something that we "could have done", we are always implying that we "did not do it". So, "did not do" never rules out "could have done", as it is always implied and fully expected by the "could have".

For example, remember the traffic light that "could have" remained red, even though it "did not" remain red. We may safely say that the light "would not have remained red", but we cannot say that it "could not have remained red".

That's just how these words work. Because "I can choose the steak" was true at the beginning of the choosing operation, "I could have chosen the steak" will be true at the end, even though "I did not choose the steak", and even though, given determinism, "I never would have chosen the steak". I still could have chosen the steak.

not because you have free will and you decided to do otherwise, but because the brain was altered by information acting upon it: inner necessitation.

The causal mechanism of the inner necessitation was the choosing operation. You cannot continue to pretend that choosing doesn't happen. It is an actual event that takes place within our brains.

Your dinner companions urge you to try this or that, information that the brain acquires, processes, integrates with memory function, proclivities, etc, then brings the only possible action - in that moment in time - to consciousness: you decide to order Lobster.

Yes. I decide to order the lobster. There may be many influences upon my decision. But none of them are coercive or undue. It is still my own choice.

Now, if my impulsive dinner companion pulled out his gun and said, "You're going to order the steak, right now, or I'll blow your head off!", then I would be forced to order the steak, and my will would be subject to his will, and thus, not free.

And it is to make such distinctions between actions caused by our own goals and reasons, versus coerced actions, versus insane actions, that free will remains a meaningful concept, even in a fully deterministic world.

Which - rather than 'free will' - is a case of information processing within a determined system.

There's no "rather" here. Free will IS a case of information processing within a deterministic system.

Necessitated actions - being determined - are by definition not willed, chosen or negotiable.

Causally necessitated actions may be freely chosen, coerced, insane, or accidental. There is nothing in the definition of determinism (P2) that excludes any of these causes.

If you think there is something in the P2 definition of determinism that excludes the P1 definition of free will, then please prove your claim.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
Its pretty evident from my responses that we can't build a mental model of reality.

What we are left with is an explanation of how what we do is achieved by our nervous system. You don't seem interested in that since it, at best, we can only be model a relative reality in accordance with our privative equipment. Again this is something you don't seem interested in doing.

It is not at all evident from your posts that we cannot build models of reality. You might as well deny the existence of air and then go on to discuss how it is our bodies manage to inflate our lungs. You can refuse to use the term "air", but you still need to explain breathing. So you play a linguistic game by adopting different terms to describe the same concept that was perfectly well described by the term "air".

So let's talk about the fact that perception in human beings is known to be active and not passive. That is easy to prove with scientific methods, and any introduction to psychology will explain how to prove it. So let's start with a definition of  Active Perception. The one in Wikipedia will suffice:

"...a study of Modeling and Control strategies for perception. By modeling we mean models of sensors, processing modules and their interaction. We distinguish local models from global models by their extent of application in space and time. The local models represent procedures and parameters such as optical distortions of the lens, focal lens, spatial resolution, band-pass filter, etc. The global models on the other hand characterize the overall performance and make predictions on how the individual modules interact. The control strategies are formulated as a search of such sequence of steps that would minimize a loss function while one is seeking the most information. Examples are shown as the existence proof of the proposed theory on obtaining range from focus and sterolvergence on 2-0 segmentation of an image and 3-0 shape parametrization".

I have put the words with "model" in boldface so that they will be easy for you to see. So go ahead. Explain how we do this modeling with the nervous system. And please don't bring Neanderthals into the discussion. Let's try to stay focused.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,935
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Not every event in our universe in the moment contributes meaningfully to every other event. Some events have not contributed anything to other events. I can observe in this very moment two events, on either side of our universe, which are necessarily not contributing anything at all to each other in this moment and never, ever, will.

Even in the initial expansion of our universe, there is no such requirement.

Thus I can state quite readily looking at the "moment of first cause" that this here arrangement of numbers is not interacting not affecting this other bit.

They aren't even interacting gravitationally at that point, as not even the graviton has come to be formed yet.

They exist independently, completely.

Then later, gravitons come to form, and things start affecting each other at the speed of light but the effects they have on one another are still limited in extent.

As the universe flies apart at an accelerating rate, bits within it start falling towards each other, but still as exactly themselves, in that moment.

Later on these interactions can only take the extent that they create in their locality, and exchange information only locally, through particle exchange.

The first causes of these things are at different proportion in extent and impact and meaningfulness.

They have together become a new thing, whose own history is uniquely its own, and from which decision of force is derived.

Whether that thing is a rock and the decision of force on it derives to changes in orientation as translated through it's physical shape through impact physics, or whether that thing is a person and the decision of force derives to changes in orientation as translated through neurons going (ouch, ow, stop, ohgodwhy, who dropped me down this hill?!?) being the thing translating force to changes to it's conformity and motion, limited in freedom of this will may it be due to the awesome power of many massive things producing an effect of gravity to also being dominated primarily by impact physics.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist

A really good book on the subject of consciousness is Michael Graziano's "Consciousness and the Social Brain". One of the things he points out is that an early survival requirement was reading clues from predators faces as to what they were thinking. Were they about to attack? etc. But the key info was that awareness is a data schema that tracks the attention mechanism.

Subvocalization was a topic in early psychic research, when having the subject guess what card symbol the experimenter was looking at. It was feared that the subject was picking up on the experimenter's subvocalization, so they had to change the set up in some way. I don't recall any more than that.
Your notions of consciousness require too much of growth in capabilities in a single species, and are supported by too little evidence.

... and how do we express their awareness? We consciously recite it. We can't avoid expressing our conscious thoughts in our native language. How's that happen unless something goes through our language processing apparatus? Try to express your consciousness of what you see in visual form, or our smells and tastes. Sure you can be conscious of what you are seeing but when it comes to expressing what you are seeing? Oops. Gotta use that language processor again. So why not take advantage of the vocalization apparatus outputs to make it seem like it is you speaking.

Eyup, Homo Erectus and Neanderthals made pretty complex tools too and they were in the hominid line. So if being a hominid was, with complex tools, the point at where speech became important why not they also be able to keep thoughts and stories alive via speech and perhaps the beginning of consciousness.

Actually, I still give Crick some credit for identifying the minimum neural structures necessary for consciousness. So it's possible that birds and mammals all potentially have some form of consciousness. That would be especially true for those species that have advanced social communication capabilities.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
Its pretty evident from my responses that we can't build a mental model of reality.

What we are left with is an explanation of how what we do is achieved by our nervous system. You don't seem interested in that since it, at best, we can only be model a relative reality in accordance with our privative equipment. Again this is something you don't seem interested in doing.

It is not at all evident from your posts that we cannot build models of reality. You might as well deny the existence of air and then go on to discuss how it is our bodies manage to inflate our lungs. You can refuse to use the term "air", but you still need to explain breathing. So you play a linguistic game by adopting different terms to describe the same concept that was perfectly well described by the term "air".

So let's talk about the fact that perception in human beings is known to be active and not passive. That is easy to prove with scientific methods, and any introduction to psychology will explain how to prove it. So let's start with a definition of  Active Perception. The one in Wikipedia will suffice:

"...a study of Modeling and Control strategies for perception. By modeling we mean models of sensors, processing modules and their interaction. We distinguish local models from global models by their extent of application in space and time. The local models represent procedures and parameters such as optical distortions of the lens, focal lens, spatial resolution, band-pass filter, etc. The global models on the other hand characterize the overall performance and make predictions on how the individual modules interact. The control strategies are formulated as a search of such sequence of steps that would minimize a loss function while one is seeking the most information. Examples are shown as the existence proof of the proposed theory on obtaining range from focus and sterolvergence on 2-0 segmentation of an image and 3-0 shape parametrization".

I have put the words with "model" in boldface so that they will be easy for you to see. So go ahead. Explain how we do this modeling with the nervous system. And please don't bring Neanderthals into the discussion. Let's try to stay focused.
There's a world of difference between computer models and neural models. So here's one article about computer modeling of neural activity that agrees with visual system neural design. There are hundreds of these in the literature.

Oh, wait. This is science and not philosophy. Sorry.

Even a novice to perception would know this. Read on only if you want to learn.

Convolutional Neural Networks as a Model of the Visual System: Past, Present, and Future: https://iidb.org/threads/compatibilism-whats-that-about.24773/page-12#post-973020
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) were inspired by early findings in the study of biological vision. They have since become successful tools in computer vision and state-of-the-art models of both neural activity and behavior on visual tasks. This review highlights what, in the context of CNNs, it means to be a good model in computational neuroscience and the various ways models can provide insight. Specifically, it covers the origins of CNNs and the methods by which we validate them as models of biological vision. It then goes on to elaborate on what we can learn about biological vision by understanding and experimenting on CNNs and discusses emerging opportunities for the use of CNNS in vision research beyond basic object recognition.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,807
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
Its pretty evident from my responses that we can't build a mental model of reality.

What we are left with is an explanation of how what we do is achieved by our nervous system. You don't seem interested in that since it, at best, we can only be model a relative reality in accordance with our privative equipment. Again this is something you don't seem interested in doing.

It is not at all evident from your posts that we cannot build models of reality. You might as well deny the existence of air and then go on to discuss how it is our bodies manage to inflate our lungs. You can refuse to use the term "air", but you still need to explain breathing. So you play a linguistic game by adopting different terms to describe the same concept that was perfectly well described by the term "air".

So let's talk about the fact that perception in human beings is known to be active and not passive. That is easy to prove with scientific methods, and any introduction to psychology will explain how to prove it. So let's start with a definition of  Active Perception. The one in Wikipedia will suffice:

"...a study of Modeling and Control strategies for perception. By modeling we mean models of sensors, processing modules and their interaction. We distinguish local models from global models by their extent of application in space and time. The local models represent procedures and parameters such as optical distortions of the lens, focal lens, spatial resolution, band-pass filter, etc. The global models on the other hand characterize the overall performance and make predictions on how the individual modules interact. The control strategies are formulated as a search of such sequence of steps that would minimize a loss function while one is seeking the most information. Examples are shown as the existence proof of the proposed theory on obtaining range from focus and sterolvergence on 2-0 segmentation of an image and 3-0 shape parametrization".

I have put the words with "model" in boldface so that they will be easy for you to see. So go ahead. Explain how we do this modeling with the nervous system. And please don't bring Neanderthals into the discussion. Let's try to stay focused.
There's a world of difference between computer models and neural models. So here's one article about computer modeling of neural activity that agrees with visual system neural design. There are hundreds of these in the literature.

Oh, wait. This is science and not philosophy. Sorry.

Even a novice to perception would know this. Read on only if you want to learn.

Convolutional Neural Networks as a Model of the Visual System: Past, Present, and Future: https://iidb.org/threads/compatibilism-whats-that-about.24773/page-12#post-973020
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) were inspired by early findings in the study of biological vision. They have since become successful tools in computer vision and state-of-the-art models of both neural activity and behavior on visual tasks. This review highlights what, in the context of CNNs, it means to be a good model in computational neuroscience and the various ways models can provide insight. Specifically, it covers the origins of CNNs and the methods by which we validate them as models of biological vision. It then goes on to elaborate on what we can learn about biological vision by understanding and experimenting on CNNs and discusses emerging opportunities for the use of CNNS in vision research beyond basic object recognition.
What? Where did that come from? I start talking about  Active Perception--basically, Psychology 101--and you branch off into an unrelated topic--CNNs--which represent a computational approach to perception (usually, visual perception, which is just one sensor modality). You start out by mentioning a "world of difference between computer models and neural models" before actually ignoring that difference. IOW, you are incapable of saying how the brain actually recognizes patterns, so you change the subject to a computational model that only tries to mimic in a very limited way what a brain does. Deep Learning is a fascinating new approach to object recognition in AI modeling, but there are still lots of problems with them. They are useful for what is called "Big Data" problems, but they don't do much for "Small Data" granularity. That is, they don't begin to explain how active perception works in human beings, who are able to infer patterns from relatively impoverished perceptual data. AI systems, to the extent that they can be said to build models of reality grounded in sensor signals, don't begin to build abstract models of reality in the way that biological brains do, especially human brains.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,611
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Really. You need to understand what noise and sound are, not what you consider polite discussion between chatty drinkers at the club.
If you don't want to address what I posted about the difference, posting random materials that you find on the internet is not going to help advance the discussion. I was interested in how you might address the problem of building a mental model of reality, but I suspect that you have nothing of interest to say on the subject. Let's just let it rest.
It's pretty evident from my responses that we can't build a mental model of reality.

What we are left with is an explanation of how what we do is achieved by our nervous system. You don't seem interested in that since it, at best, we can only be model a relative reality by our private equipment. Again this is something you don't seem interested in doing.

It is not at all evident from your posts that we cannot build models of reality. You might as well deny the existence of air and then go on to discuss how it is our bodies manage to inflate our lungs. You can refuse to use the term "air", but you still need to explain breathing. So you play a linguistic game by adopting different terms to describe the same concept that was perfectly well described by the term "air".

So let's talk about the fact that perception in human beings is known to be active and not passive. That is easy to prove with scientific methods, and an introduction to psychology will explain how to prove it. So let's start with a definition of  Active Perception. The one in Wikipedia will suffice:

"...a study of Modeling and Control strategies for perception. By modeling, we mean models of sensors, processing modules, and their interaction. We distinguish local models from global models by their extent of application in space and time. The local models represent procedures and parameters such as optical distortions of the lens, focal lens, spatial resolution, band-pass filter, etc. The global models on the other hand characterize the overall performance and make predictions on how the individual modules interact. The control strategies are formulated as a search of such a sequence of steps that would minimize a loss function while one is seeking the most information. Examples are shown as the existence proof of the proposed theory on obtaining range from focus and stereo vergence on 2-0 segmentation of an image and 3-0 shape parametrization".

I have put the words with "model" in boldface so that they will be easy for you to see. So go ahead. Explain how we do this modeling with the nervous system. And please don't bring Neanderthals into the discussion. Let's try to stay focused.
There's a world of difference between computer models and neural models. So here's one article about computer modeling of neural activity that agrees with visual system neural design. There are hundreds of these in the literature.

Oh, wait. This is science and not philosophy. Sorry.

Even a novice to perception would know this. Read on only if you want to learn.

Convolutional Neural Networks as a Model of the Visual System: Past, Present, and Future: https://iidb.org/threads/compatibilism-whats-that-about.24773/page-12#post-973020
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) were inspired by early findings in the study of biological vision. They have since become successful tools in computer vision and state-of-the-art models of both neural activity and behavior on visual tasks. This review highlights what, in the context of CNNs, it means to be a good model in computational neuroscience and the various ways models can provide insight. Specifically, it covers the origins of CNNs and the methods by which we validate them as models of biological vision. It then goes on to elaborate on what we can learn about biological vision by understanding and experimenting with CNNs and discusses emerging opportunities for the use of CNNS in vision research beyond basic object recognition.
What? Where did that come from? I start talking about  Active Perception--basically, Psychology 101--and you branch off into an unrelated topic--CNNs--which represent a computational approach to perception (usually, visual perception, which is just one sensor modality). You start by mentioning a "world of difference between computer models and neural models" before actually ignoring that difference. IOW, you are incapable of saying how the brain recognizes patterns, so you change the subject to a computational model that only tries to mimic in a very limited way what a brain does. Deep Learning is a fascinating new approach to object recognition in AI modeling, but there are still lots of problems with them. They are useful for what is called "Big Data" problems, but they don't do much for "Small Data" granularity. That is, they don't begin to explain how active perception works in human beings, who can infer patterns from relatively impoverished perceptual data. AI systems, to the extent that they can be said to build models of reality grounded in sensor signals, don't begin to build abstract models of reality in the way that biological brains do, especially human brains.
From your defining article comes the next paragraph.
A related but narrower definition of active perception represents perception and action within the brain as the same thing. It states that when a person sees an action, it internally translates into, and is understood within the context of, a possible action. This supports the capability in people and animals of learning what to do based on what they see others doing.

So I took the narrower definition, found where scientists applied nervous system attributes in their computer models, and successfully modeled observed behavior. In fact, the primary references to your definition come out of J. J. Gibson's work out of the fifties, sixties, and seventies. That ensemble of behavior are cognitively processed together has never really been an issue. That's predicted in the actual design of the central nervous system.

One can take attributes of the NS and model them as computer modules or one can take psychological complexes and model them by computer. What one needs to ask is whether the presumption of the psychological ensemble is verifiable. It's easier to verify if one model found nervous designs as computer routines then verify the module act as it appears the nervous system acts.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,138
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
proclivities that are determined by genetics, environment and life experiences
... That drive them to make the choices they do.

Choices have reasons too.

You're not invalidating the choice just to say that the context has priors.

In the moment, the context is all. Universe is not a machine that spits out a whole block at once from the beginning but rather process happens and each next moment is a function of the current, not the previous, moment.

Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions. There is not freedom to do otherwise within a determined system.
No, the context in which the individual objects in a deterministic system do it allow alternate actions in the moment. Just because one thing happened now does not mean the same thing happens tomorrow on the same setup.

The possibility of more than one possibility being realized in any given instance in time is not determinism. You are describing an indeterministic system.

Determinism means that precisely the same setup produces precisely the same results. Entropy, change, additional information doesn't allow precisely the same setup in highly complex systems....there may be temperature variations and other elements acting upon the system from moment to moment.



Just because the processor jumps from line 225 today does not mean the processor ju.ps from line 225 tomorrow, because tomorrow, register 2 receives 4 instead of 0.

The individual objects in a deterministic system allow alternate actions at disparate times when those same objects encounter different contexts against the same internal state.

Even monoliths make have localities.

Because choices and the discussion of them are not about now, specifically.

Different actions in disparate times entails different information states during each and every instance of a determined action. only one outcome is possible in each and every action. In no given instance in time can there be an alternate action, or its not determinism
 
Top Bottom