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Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

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You mistake that a direct self-sourced interest in outcomes is necessary to hold a will or for that will to be freely held or to be free.

Morality evolves logically from life. The distinction between living and non-living is need. The need for air, water, and food animates the living organism to seek ways to satisfy that need. We call something "good" if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. We call something "bad" if it prevents us from meeting a real need or if it harms us unnecessarily.

The programmed Dwarf has no needs to satisfy, that's why it has no interests in any consequences. You have needs. And you care about consequences. You have an interest in the consequences of your choices. Thus, you choose the option with the best consequences.

We could, in theory, build a robot with an interest in the consequences of its choices. That would give it a criteria by which to make its choices.
 

Jarhyn

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You mistake that a direct self-sourced interest in outcomes is necessary to hold a will or for that will to be freely held or to be free.

Morality evolves logically from life. The distinction between living and non-living is need. The need for air, water, and food animates the living organism to seek ways to satisfy that need. We call something "good" if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. We call something "bad" if it prevents us from meeting a real need or if it harms us unnecessarily.

The programmed Dwarf has no needs to satisfy, that's why it has no interests in any consequences. You have needs. And you care about consequences. You have an interest in the consequences of your choices. Thus, you choose the option with the best consequences.

We could, in theory, build a robot with an interest in the consequences of its choices. That would give it a criteria by which to make its choices.
No, morality evolves from general game theory.

As it is, the programmed dwarf does have needs. It needs to process something in a way that is called "eating", it needs to undergo some process called "sleeping", it needs to "do work" on occasion.

If it doesn't do these things, and there are situations which would prevent them from being attainable, he will starve, dehydrate, or even go insane.

I could change that, but the point is, I'm not going to, because I need him to be a thing, for the moment, with needs... If only to make my point here.

When I am putting on a dwarf mask, I have to satisfy those needs otherwise I die.

So does the dwarf.

I don't think you're realizing quite how much work went into making this dwarf happen to be what it is, or how much it is.

The whole reason it's deciding to fight is because it really wants to be with family, but his only family died in a tree felling accident some seasons ago, and so his FIGHT need is the only one he can actually satisfy regularly.

Even so, he's really depressed.

The whole situation is kinda fucked up.

There's a reason I don't actually play that game anymore.
 

fromderinside

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jarhyn said:
specific computers are the same regardless of who is watching the specific computer
"Harry that Tom sees is exactly the same Harry that Bob sees".

This is acknowledgment of the axiom of universal objectivity and naturalism in general in general: that material things observed are the same thing regardless of who is observing them.
Yet I mentioned at least three types of computer observed
"Harry is not the same object as observed by both Bob and Tom because Harry is different from Bob is different from Tom"

This is nonsense, however. It conflates the difference of opinions held by Bob and Tom of Harry as making Harry anything less than an object, the same as seen both by Bob and Tom regardless of their differing opinions of Harry

Now replace Harry with "the computer in my living room, that one specific object".

Or any specific object at all.

You can't say a rock, person, computer, any given thing is not an object, or somehow different from itself just because different objects are different.

Or I guess you can, but when you do you invoke nonsense.

Given that you step off from abject nonsense, an observably false starting point and one I cannot possibly believe you don't see, it makes me wonder what your game is here.
<removed> You've gone from computers to Bobs. Your argument still depends on self reference for everything. Self is not at the center of things. Things are at the center of things.

<removed>  Scientific method

The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century (with notable practitioners in previous centuries). It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction (the inference of a general law from particular instances: Often contrasted with deduction), based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.[1][2][3]
 
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Jarhyn

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@FDI, I am referencing an object and have been, as computers are objects.

It's cute that you want to stamp your feet and play stupid games where you claim computers are not objects, but the fact is, each individual computer, rock, every person in this world is an object, in addition to whatever images those objects may project or contain.

Every material thing in this world is an object.

The planet itself is a very large, complicated object.

So is the solar system.

So is the cat on my lap.

So is the computer in my office.

The latter of these things is an object which is observably in the business of containing a dwarf, also an object (formed of charge patterns among the larger object of which it is a part), with observable properties, one of those properties being some thing that is exactly the machinery that is set up to "open" a "door", and which is set up to check whether the door is open.

It will either succeed or fail at that. It will always find itself there.

And deterministically, he will fail.

And deterministically I can say, without any contradictions or nonsense, "his will to open the door was constrained (not free)"

Marvin, on reading this statement, would be able to understand "he had a series of instructions unto a requirement"; "One of the instructions is to open a door"; "when he executed on this instruction, the door did not open".

It encodes at least these three objective facts about the objects in the system.
 

DBT

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Still an assertion.

It is an assertion backed up by the three dictionaries I quoted. But don't worry, your definition is found there too, in second place.

Dictionaries merely express word usage. Common reference doesn't prove the proposition. God is in the dictionary, Satan and the angels and demons are in the dictionary.

A lot of stuff that doesn't exist is in the dictionary. If a dictionary could be used to resolve the free will debate, it would have ended long ago.

A misapplied label.

The label is applied as defined. If we see what is commonly understood to be a cat, then we call it a "cat". If we see a dog we call it a "dog".
And when we see someone deciding for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence, we call it "free will". It is all very straightforward.

Some things are labelled miracles, the work of the Lord. People slap false labels onto lots of things, Mohammad is the prophet of God, Jesus is the Saviour......free will is compatible with determinism, a system where will has no agency...

Machines that can make rational decisions based on sets of criteria. The criteria determining the action taken.... in principle just as a human brain does, without coercion or force, able to beat master chess players of its own accord, its makeup and function as an information processor....which is the evolved function of a brain.

The machine plays chess because that's what we programmed it to do. The microwave oven cooks our food because that's what we built it to do. In all cases the machine is functioning to satisfy our will, because it has no will of its own.

The brain plays chess because it has the capacity (neural architecture) and has acquired the necessary information. It matters not how the input is acquired, it's the inherent state of the system that determines ability.

We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features. Some people suck at chess.

When a machine starts acting as if it had a will of its own, we usually call someone to repair it.

When the brain breaks down we call someone, a doctor, to treat the condition.



Neither operate on the principle of free will.

Free will is not an operating principle. Free will simply describes the conditions of the choosing operation: Was coerced or free of coercion? Was it unduly influenced or free of undue influence? This is really simple stuff and easy to understand.

If will has no agency, cannot regulate brain activity or make a difference to outcomes or behaviour, it is not 'free will' regardless of how many times it's asserted.



Except that it's not our will that necessitates actions. That is achieved by information input interacting with the state of the system, neural architecture and memory function. Evidence from neuroscience, etc, etc.....

If I decide that I will eat an apple right now, then I will get an apple and eat it. The intention to eat the apple motivates and directs my actions until the apple is eaten. There is nothing in neuroscience that contradicts this.

Your brain decides before you the conscious entity, a construct of the brain, is aware of the decision, the action is brought to mind milliseconds after initiation.

It is information processing, not free will.

Your conglomeration of neuroscience expressions do nothing to contradict this. The "information input" to "the state of my system" is that I feel a need to eat something. That triggers the recall by my "memory function" that I have apples that I can eat and that they are very satisfying. The intention to eat an apple then motivates and directs my subsequent actions as I go to the kitchen, pick out an apple, rinse it and dry it, and then begin eating it. All of these coordinated actions are carried out by my own "neural architecture".

The intention to eat the apple was not freely willed. It's the tail end of a long process that began before the decision and action took place.

We are talking about determinism, where all actions are necessitated, not freely willed.

My original expression is totally consistent with the neuroscience. Neuroscience provides a ton of additional details, as to how different parts of the brain contribute to the general function of realizing I am hungry and getting an apple to satisfy that need. But neuroscience does not change the facts as stated by my description. It simply provides additional details.

There is no original expression, each and every 'expression/action' is a consequence of its prior state which morphs into current state, which morphs into the future state of the system.

That's determinism.

No escape clause.


''Neuroscientists have repeatedly pointed out that pattern recognition represents the key to understanding cognition in humans. Pattern recognition also forms the very basis by which we predict future events, i e. we are literally forced to make assumptions concerning outcomes, and we do so by relying on sequences of events experienced in the past.''

Huettel et al. point out that their study identifies the role various regions of prefrontal cortex play in moment-to-moment processing of mental events in order to make predictions about future events. Thus implicit predictive models are formed which need to be continuously updated, the disruption of sequence would indicate that the PFC is engaged in a novelty response to pattern changes. As a third possible explanation, Ivry and Knight propose that activation of the prefrontal cortex may reflect the generation of hypotheses, since the formulation of an hypothesis is an essential feature of higher-level cognition.''

Exactly. My prior experience with eating apples enabled me to predict that an apple would satisfy my current hunger. So, I set my intent upon eating an apple. That intent motivated and directed my steps to the kitchen to get an apple and then eat it.

The information that is your prior experience evolves into your current action, which evolves into future actions. At no point do you freely choose an action. One action evolves into the next within an intricate weave of causality.


Now, if I found that I had no apples in the kitchen, then my PFC would have to deal with the novel situation, and perhaps my PFC would find something else to snack on, or perhaps my PFC would decide to go to the grocery store to buy more apples. The PFC would have to decide what to do.


Whatever you do is a matter of interaction of information, no apples in the kitchen and the desire to eat an apple compels you to go to the store, you must have an apple, the desire is strong. You drive to the store only to discover there are no apples, what then?

The computes this information, according to its evolutionary role, and you realize that you can satisfy your craving with apple juice, a compromise.

The brain acts in relation to its circumstances, inputs in concert with memory.


There's an article on the Prefrontal Cortex in Wikipedia which summarizes its function like this: "The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals." The internal goal in this case would be to satisfy my current hunger. The thoughts would be of the apple and its satisfying properties. The actions would be me walking to the kitchen to get an apple to eat.

The facts of neuroscience have not changed anything. They simply provide a more detailed explanation of how things work, such as the specific brain areas involved in different parts of the operations that result in thoughts and actions and our awareness of internal goals.

By the way, your link to the Springer article is not working. You might want to fix that to avoid frustrating your readers. You may be able to find that article using a google search and then update your link to the working source.

Causal necessity cannot eliminate anything and still remain causal necessity. Remove one of those dominoes from the chain, and the "unfolding of events" simply ceases. Therefore, rule number one is: do not pretend that some events are not happening. All of the events are actually going to happen.

Put simply, causal necessity does not equate to freedom of will. The very opposite in fact. What is necessitated by elements beyond the control of will, is not freely willed.
Alternate possibilities are not a feature, attribute or aspect of determinism. There are no possible alternate actions within a deterministic system. There is no place in the given definition of determinism that allows alternate actions. Everything must necessary proceed as determined, no deviations.

So, determinism must remain silent as to alternate possibilities. Determinism may only speak to things that will certainly happen. It may not speak of things that can happen or that could have happened. As soon as determinism opens its mouth about things that do not concern it, it ceases to be determinism, and becomes something else.

Determinism is not allowed to assert that we could not do otherwise, but only that we would not do otherwise. Determinism is ignorant as to what can and cannot happen. These topics exist within the context of possibility, not within the context of necessity. When determinism attempts to speak of possibilities, it makes a silly ass of itself.

Possibilities exist solely within the imagination. They do not exist as actualities in the real world.

The only way that possibilities exist in the real world is as actual mental events produced reliably by physical processes within the brain. And this is where determinism returns to our picture. Each possibility, as a real mental event, will occur by causal necessity, just like every other event.

Thus, determinism does not exclude these physical events, but rather asserts that they will necessarily happen. We will experience them as a series of thoughts and feelings according to the logic of our language that has evolved over millions of years. And thus, they are totally unavoidable. Possibilities will show up within the logical mechanism that reasons and decides.

Mental events are physical events. Electrochemical events. What we imagine or think is a physical activity that is equally subject to the deterministic activity of the physical world as everything else.

What we imagine is a mental rearrangement of pattern recognition, if it wasn't for this, that could have happened.

Unfortunately, there is no possibility of ''if it wasn't for this'' and 'that' could never have happened.

A common daydream being, 'if only I could go back in time knowing what I know now' - knowledge that would change the system and produce different outcomes, more informed decisions, avoiding pitfalls and errors....a nice little fantasy.
 

Jarhyn

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We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features. Some people suck at chess.
But we do choose  aspects of our brain,  some of it's abilities, some of it's features. Sometimes we study chess and get better at chess.

We get good at what we practice, and there are many things that folks practice. Of those things (and also of the things of our imaginations), many of us selected a subset, a choice function operated by our brain, of our brain, so our brain choosing, so us choosing which of those many would be the specific ones which we practiced.

And there are many things besides practice which operate thus, as a function of the brain's choices, and so our choices, which determine pieces of how we think, our abilities, and objective features of our brain.

Sometimes the feature is "this neuron right here activates .05 second longer than it used to". It doesn't have to be more than that to be a real feature decided upon by us. Even so, we know it more by the impact it has on the phenomena that is "how we think" directly, rather than through the observation of a modification of timing biases. And that's OK, because one implies the other; our experience couldn't change if our neurons didn't change in some way!
 

fromderinside

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@FDI, I am referencing an object and have been, as computers are objects.

It's cute that you want to stamp your feet and play stupid games where you claim computers are not objects, but the fact is, each individual computer, rock, every person in this world is an object, in addition to whatever images those objects may project or contain.

Every material thing in this world is an object.

The planet itself is a very large, complicated object.

So is the solar system.

So is the cat on my lap.

So is the computer in my office.

The latter of these things is an object which is observably in the business of containing a dwarf, also an object (formed of charge patterns among the larger object of which it is a part), with observable properties, one of those properties being some thing that is exactly the machinery that is set up to "open" a "door", and which is set up to check whether the door is open.

It will either succeed or fail at that. It will always find itself there.

And deterministically, he will fail.

And deterministically I can say, without any contradictions or nonsense, "his will to open the door was constrained (not free)"

Marvin, on reading this statement, would be able to understand "he had a series of instructions unto a requirement"; "One of the instructions is to open a door"; "when he executed on this instruction, the door did not open".

It encodes at least these three objective facts about the objects in the system.
All that's missing on computers from you is a single reference which doesn't relate computers to you or your senses. When you manage to disassociate yourself from computers in your specifications of them as objects you might get my attention. Relating computers to yourself and calling the result objective or object is just plain silly. If you are included in the specification then the result is subjective or subject.

Please read the bolded stuff in the scientific method bit I posted before you embarrass yourself any further.

Until then. Yawn.
 

fromderinside

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We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features. Some people suck at chess.


Sometimes the feature is "this neuron right here activates .05 second longer than it used to". It doesn't have to be more than that to be a real feature decided upon by us. Even so, we know it more by the impact it has on the phenomena that is "how we think" directly, rather than through the observation of a modification of timing biases. And that's OK, because one implies the other; our experience couldn't change if our neurons didn't change in some way!
First neurons always activate when they are stimulated that's part of their design. So they don't actually activate they process. Neurons aren't like switches we just model them in some cases as acting so.

We know neurons are active in several ways.

We detect when they change rates of uptake and disposal of ATP products which we detect using oxygen signaling technology such as MRI, and by variations in cell surface and interior electrochemical behavior using external and internal electrical correlate activity.

There are at least three metabolic (biochemical) processes ongoing in neurons which we selectively use in the study of their behavior.

Neural signaling is regulated by between and within channel electrochemical biasing change in relative+/- or transmitter substance activity.

Etc.

As for whatever you think you are talking about it probably isn't that way at all. That 'change is some way' wave is just that, it's 'I dunno, so I can say anything I want to say.'

BS in BS out. I know it's 'I dunno' because I've studied or gone through architype, conditioning, drives, self, needs, desires eras of psychobabble.
 
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Jarhyn

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@FDI, I am referencing an object and have been, as computers are objects.

It's cute that you want to stamp your feet and play stupid games where you claim computers are not objects, but the fact is, each individual computer, rock, every person in this world is an object, in addition to whatever images those objects may project or contain.

Every material thing in this world is an object.

The planet itself is a very large, complicated object.

So is the solar system.

So is the cat on my lap.

So is the computer in my office.

The latter of these things is an object which is observably in the business of containing a dwarf, also an object (formed of charge patterns among the larger object of which it is a part), with observable properties, one of those properties being some thing that is exactly the machinery that is set up to "open" a "door", and which is set up to check whether the door is open.

It will either succeed or fail at that. It will always find itself there.

And deterministically, he will fail.

And deterministically I can say, without any contradictions or nonsense, "his will to open the door was constrained (not free)"

Marvin, on reading this statement, would be able to understand "he had a series of instructions unto a requirement"; "One of the instructions is to open a door"; "when he executed on this instruction, the door did not open".

It encodes at least these three objective facts about the objects in the system.
All that's missing on computers from you is a single reference which doesn't relate computers to you or your senses. When you manage to disassociate yourself from computers in your specifications of them as objects you might get my attention. Relating computers to yourself and calling the result objective or object is just plain silly. If you are included in the specification then the result is subjective or subject.

Please read the bolded stuff in the scientific method bit I posted before you embarrass yourself any further.

Until then. Yawn.
So, you ARE going to just pretend that pile of silicon, electrons, metal, and other things in my office is not an object.

I suppose you are going to pretend your desk is not an object?

That the phone or computer you are looking at right now is not an object?

Oh, I know, you're going to say YOU are not an object! Would that make you a ghost? Oooh spooky. Would that mean you could walk through walls on account of not being an object?

I guess since it's not an object it must be clipping through the crust of the Earth, all the way... Oh, wait, not even that because if it were affected by gravity it would be an object then.

Gimmie a break FDI.

It's a fucking object no matter what whinges you direct at the idea.
 

Jarhyn

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First neurons always activate when they are stimulated that's part of their design
Lol. No. Neurons only act if they are stimulated beyond an activation threshold.

And they have no design.

Rather, they have a mechanical function, at least when they are functional as neurons.

And then they have a fun refractory period in which they don't, which is also part of how groups of them (not individual of them, generally) process: one reaction can be (not) another. And in analog ways.

I've been working for some number of years on getting together a model for a neural description language, for the sake of preprogramming neural groups so they can learn from a basic behavioral configuration set down with a compiled initial configuration.

But really, the neuron is an object, and I wouldn't need to know how to munge together an object that has the same fundamental behavior as a network of neurons, but done by groups of electron groups being cogitated by an x86, to know that when I learn something the object that is some large number of neurons in my head is undergoing some change.

Because it is an object, made of material, composed of atoms and electrons, and the odd photon here and there, among other assorted particles, and changes in objects are the only thing that can cause changes in phenomena observed by anyone, from any source, including phenomena such as hallucinations!

You see a blinking light? Yes, that experience means an object in your head is doing something in some particular way.

When I observe the objects that mechanistically produce the Dwarf's behavior, I see a list of instructions, a requirement, and some thing that operates on these in a general way.

When I observe all the objects near the dwarf that will interact with him or that he will interact with over the next 5 units of that Dwarf's time, I can see that he shall "walk" up to the "door", attempt to open it, and then fail.

And when this happens, the language that describes this situation is "the Dwarf's will to 'open' the 'door' was not free; the 'door' was 'locked'."

Of course, this is objective because everything discussed here is an object. Each of these things is the same object it is, no matter who looks at it.
 

fromderinside

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First neurons always activate when they are stimulated that's part of their design
1. Lol. No. Neurons only act if they are stimulated beyond an activation threshold.

2. I've been working for some number of years on getting together a model for a neural description language, for the sake of preprogramming neural groups so they can learn from a basic behavioral configuration set down with a compiled initial configuration.

3. Of course, this is objective because everything discussed here is an object. Each of these things is the same object it is, no matter who looks at it.
Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work. If the only way neurons interacted with outside information were through action potentials elicited by appropriate transmitter substances that would be a very narrow, inaccurate, picture of neural function.

Which, of course, makes all your effort modelling moot including whether what you describe is objective. It's not. Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials.

But those action potentials are not fixed switches nor even important beyond moving information along. So having no support you statement 3 is moot.

Below are a few gems about neuronal processing illustrating just how limited your interpretations be. I follow up with a few general principles about metabolism and blood flow which further diminish your assertions.

Neural Cross-Frequency Coupling: Connecting Architectures, Mechanisms, and Functions https://publications.hse.ru/pubs/share/folder/2kkxq822xv/187031446.pdf

Abstract: Neural oscillations are ubiquitously observed in the mammalian brain, but it has proven difficult to tie oscillatory patterns to specific cognitive operations. Notably, the coupling between neural oscillations at different timescales has recently received much attention, both from experimentalists and theoreticians. We review the mechanisms underlying various forms of this cross-frequency coupling. We show that different types of neural oscillators and cross-frequency interactions yield distinct signatures in neural dynamics. Finally, we associate these mechanisms with several putative functions of cross-frequency coupling, including neural representations of multiple environmental items, communication over distant areas, internal clocking of neural processes, and modulation of neural processing based on temporal predictions

Powerhouse of the mind: mitochondrial plasticity at the synapse​


Neurons are highly polarized cells with extraordinary energy demands, which are mainly fulfilled by mitochondria. In response to altered neuronal energy state, mitochondria adapt to enable energy homeostasis and nervous system function. This adaptation, also called mitochondrial plasticity, can be observed as alterations in the form, function and position. The primary site of energy consumption in neurons is localized at the synapse, where mitochondria are critical for both pre- and postsynaptic functions. In this review, we will discuss molecular mechanisms regulating mitochondrial plasticity at the synapse and how they contribute to information processing within neurons.


Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews Astroglia-specific contributions to the regulation of synapses, cognition and behaviour https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/174883573/NEUBIOREV_D_20_00065_R1_1.pdf

Astrocytes are heterogeneous population of neural cells with diverse structural, functional and molecular characteristics responsible for homeostasis and protection of the central nervous system (CNS). Unlike neurones, astrocytes do not generate action potentials, but employ fluctuations of cytosolic ions as a substrate for their excitability. Ionic signals are associated with neuronal activity and these signals initiate an array of responses ranging from the activation of plasmalemmal homeostatic transporters to the secretion of numerous signalling molecules including neuromodulators, neurotransmitter precursors, metabolic substrates, trophic factors and cytokines. Thus, astrocytes regulate the synaptic connectivity of the neuronal networks by supporting neurotransmitter metabolism, synaptogenesis, synaptic elimination and synaptic plasticity contributing to cognitive processing including learning, memory, emotions and behaviour. Astroglia-specific regulatory pathways affect the most fundamental properties of neuronal networks from their excitability to synaptic connectivity. Thus, it is the concerted action of glia and neurones, which, by employing distinct mechanisms, produce behavioural outputs of the ultimate control centre that we call the brain

Beyond these there are at least three metabolic patterns in the several types of neurons and there are nutritional and general blood related information passing mechanisms as well.

It's not just simple synapse transmitter substance, cell type, structure source, target and source phenomena. Brains are not like computers nor should we expect them to be pure information switching devices. Yeah, it worked form me at science fair in HS in '57 but hasn't much since.
 
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Jarhyn

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.
 

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We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features. Some people suck at chess.
But we do choose  aspects of our brain,  some of it's abilities, some of it's features. Sometimes we study chess and get better at chess.

As conscious entities, we are aspects of our brain. We are whatever a brain is doing. Studying chess, or anything, involves the brain acquiring information. Information that enables the brain to, in the case of chess, understand the rules of the game and the strategies of it.

Some become masters of the game, others find that they don't have the aptitude for serious competition.

No one chooses their aptitude or lack of it. Regardless of aptitude, the brain has the ability to acquire information and respond accordingly. That being its evolutionary role. Nothing to do with free will. Sorry.



We get good at what we practice, and there are many things that folks practice. Of those things (and also of the things of our imaginations), many of us selected a subset, a choice function operated by our brain, of our brain, so our brain choosing, so us choosing which of those many would be the specific ones which we practiced.

Still nothing to do with free will. what we do is a matter of a deterministic interaction of information. Memory function being the key to recognition and response.

And as we are talking about compatibilism, how the idea of free will relates to determinism. Free will being incompatible with determinism because actions/decisions are necessitated by an interaction of information, inputs and memory function, which is the brains software.

If memory function breaks down, it's over. No recognition, no coherent thoughts or actions.

Decision making does not equate to free will. Each state in each incremental moment in time is fixed by the last, which fixes the next. That is determinism.

And there are many things besides practice which operate thus, as a function of the brain's choices, and so our choices, which determine pieces of how we think, our abilities, and objective features of our brain.

But nothing freely willed or freely chosen. Necessitation is not free choice. Necessitation fixes outcome. Fixed outcomes are not freely chosen or willed.

Freely willed requires fully realizable alternatives.

Determinism allows no realizable alternatives; all events proceed as determined, with no deviation, meaning that the notion of free will is incompatible with determinism.

Sometimes the feature is "this neuron right here activates .05 second longer than it used to". It doesn't have to be more than that to be a real feature decided upon by us. Even so, we know it more by the impact it has on the phenomena that is "how we think" directly, rather than through the observation of a modification of timing biases. And that's OK, because one implies the other; our experience couldn't change if our neurons didn't change in some way!

Nothing is freely decided. Each and every state is fixed by prior state which in turn fixes the next, which fixes the next, which fixes the next and the next.....that is determinism.

Do you see any room for free will here?

''We are doing it, therefore free will'' doesn't work.

The system is doing it, the world, life, evolution, the environment, the brain functioning as evolved in relation to its environment as a rational deterministic system.

''At this point certain questions need to be asked: Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''
 

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It really is kind of sad that people can delude themselves to the point where simple, uncontroversial statements such as "computers are objects" may somehow be rejected.

What kinds of mental twits and contortions must go on so that someone can look at a concrete thing of metal and glass and silicon and fiberglass and think that such things, made of material, are any less an object merely for some trivial aspect of it's history?

Indeed, it is the same computer, the same object if viewed by my brother or my sister. It is the same computer as viewed by an ancient Roman or even an ancient Neanderthal.

The Dwarven frog will be comprised of the same bits no matter who discovers this objective entity lurking among the circuits, will be the same Dwarven frog seen no matter who is doing the "seeing".

You could indeed strip away the interface take off the monitor, make it entirely "headless" as a process... And it would still contain the Dwarven Frog, though fewer unnecessary images of him.

Aristotle or Euler or Riemann would be able to look at the frog and indeed say "that there is a Dwarven Frog, this particular one has an 'injury' to the 'meat' of it's 'right leg' and so 'cannot walk'". Again the terms here are of no consequence. They may invent an entirely new set of tokens to name these things, but they will still fundamentally be the same things because it is the same computer, because the computer is an object.
 

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Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''
The distinction made by compatibilists (and by all of us when making moral evaluations) is between influences which are morally relevant and those that are not morally relevant. We all take into consideration the factors which influence a moral agent when determining the degree to which someone will or will not be be held morally culpable/blameworthy for their actions.
 

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Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''
The distinction made by compatibilists (and by all of us when making moral evaluations) is between influences which are morally relevant and those that are not morally relevant. We all take into consideration the factors which influence a moral agent when determining the degree to which someone will or will not be be held morally culpable/blameworthy for their actions.
I would say more, we take into consideration factors which allow us to more adequately prevent "harm" by whatever measure.

It does not matter whether he killed 27 people because he was poisoned by his neighbor with lead so to become a psychopath, or whether he killed 27 people because he was born that way of his mother, or whether he saw a violent scene on TV at just the right time at just the right age in just the right inflection that he was born of this by mere happenstance.

What matters is that it is today, and he killed 27 people. That is enough to segregate him from the means and opportunities to do such a thing.

We would do the same in constraining a runaway .50cal or in constraining a rabid dog.

The rest is more determining how to follow up on the situation, being able to ascertain what is necessary to ensure either no more wills to kill 27 people, and/or ensuring that no future wills to do so are left free to their requirement of bodies on the floor.

The cause of his malfunction might give hints on how to prevent the will from existing in new instantiations: either in removing the lead poisoner, or in identifying educational requirements to prevent the genotype from actualizing into a phenotype, or in identifying when someone has become this thing at an early age and keeping an eye on the situation.

When the thing has happened, and even on near misses, there is culpability regardless. Oftentimes it is a matter of determining additional culpability.
 
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The AntiChris

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When the thing has happened, and even on near misses, there is culpability regardless.

If I understand you correctly then I think I disagree.

It seems to me that it's quite possible for someone to cause a negative event but, because of circumstances, be excused of all culpability. It may be necessary (for public safety) to restrain/segregate that person but this segregation would not necessarily imply any culpability.
 

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When the thing has happened, and even on near misses, there is culpability regardless.

If I understand you correctly then I think I disagree.

It seems to me that it's quite possible for someone to cause a negative event but, because of circumstances, be excused of all culpability. It may be necessary (for public safety) to restrain/segregate that person but this segregation would not necessarily imply any culpability.
The culpability to segregation is the culpability I speak of. I am a utilitarian in terms of justice and ethics: we do what we do to prevent trouble, not for the sake of revenge or harm, or at least we ought not for such sakes as revenge or harm.

The only role of the phrase "culpability" in my worldview is the role in discussing what needs be done to clean up the problem and keep the situation from arising yet again, if such can be prevented at all.

I know for some folks, they think it means doing something bad to the 'culpable' in addition to trying to repair or constrain whatever system caused the problems, but for me, a person's culpability amounts entirely to what we have a responsibility to undertake in preventing the issue from happening again, and no more.

Both are culpable, both the well meaning idiot and the malevolent psychopath, the former is culpable to an education and the latter is probably culpable to an incarceration to keep them away from potential victims. Both are culpable in the immediate followup, pending investigation, to constraint.
 

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The only role of the phrase "culpability" in my worldview is the role in discussing what needs be done to clean up the problem and keep the situation from arising yet again, if such can be prevented at all.
Ok. We're using quite different meanings of 'culpability'.
 

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Dictionaries merely express word usage.

It is good to know how words are commonly used if you want to communicate. Most people do not define free will as requiring "freedom from causal necessity". That's the point. And "freedom from causal necessity" is never used to assess a person's responsibility for their actions, so it is truly odd that anyone would suggest it should be required of free will.

The brain plays chess because it has the capacity (neural architecture) and has acquired the necessary information. It matters not how the input is acquired, it's the inherent state of the system that determines ability.

The brain plays chess because someone asked it, "Hey, do you want to learn how to play chess?". And the brain said, "Yes".

We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features.

Quite so. No one ever said to us, "Hey, we have a bunch of brains here. Would you like to choose one?".

When the brain breaks down we call someone, a doctor, to treat the condition.

Indeed.

If will has no agency, cannot regulate brain activity or make a difference to outcomes or behaviour, it is not 'free will' regardless of how many times it's asserted.

The causal mechanism is straightforward:
1. The brain encounters a problem that requires it to make a decision, such as the need to choose from the restaurant menu what we will order for dinner.
2. The brain decides, for various reasons, that we will order the Chef Salad.
3. The brain's will to order the Chef Salad causes it to trigger the appropriate motor functions to speak to the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".

Recognizing a problem, deciding what to do, and acting upon that deliberate intent are all part of the brain's causal agency.

If I decide that I will eat an apple right now, then I will get an apple and eat it. The intention to eat the apple motivates and directs my actions until the apple is eaten. There is nothing in neuroscience that contradicts this.

Your brain decides before you the conscious entity, a construct of the brain, is aware of the decision, the action is brought to mind milliseconds after initiation.

That's okay. It is still my own brain making the choice, free of coercion and undue influence. So, it's still a freely chosen "I will get an apple and eat it".

It is information processing, not free will.

It is both information processing and free will. Information processing is how choosing to eat an apple works! And, if I am free to make this choice for myself, then it is a choice of my own free will.

The intention to eat the apple was not freely willed.

The intention (will) to eat the apple was freely chosen. That is exactly what free will is.

It's the tail end of a long process that began before the decision and action took place.

Apparently that long process only takes a few seconds, so that doesn't bother me at all.

We are talking about determinism, where all actions are necessitated, not freely willed.

And it doesn't bother me that all actions are causally necessitated. What would really bother me would be if someone pointed a gun at me and forced me to eat an orange instead of an apple.

We all want to be free of coercion and undue influence. But no one wants to be free of reliable cause and effect. That's just crazy.

That's determinism. No escape clause.

Why do you think anyone would want to escape reliable cause and effect? Every freedom they have, to do anything at all, REQUIRES reliable cause and effect.

What we will inevitably do by causal necessity is exactly identical to us just being us, doing what we choose to do. It is what we would have done anyway! That is not a meaningful constraint. It is not something that anyone can or needs to "escape from".

The information that is your prior experience evolves into your current action, which evolves into future actions. At no point do you freely choose an action. One action evolves into the next within an intricate weave of causality.

Like I just said, there is no need for me to escape the orderly sequence of events, which happen to include me feeling hungry, deciding to have an apple, then getting an apple from the kitchen, and then eating it. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM??

Mental events are physical events. Electrochemical events. What we imagine or think is a physical activity that is equally subject to the deterministic activity of the physical world as everything else.

Unfortunately, our brains are not large enough to track or cope with the electrochemical events. The brain therefore organizes sensory data into a model of reality consisting of objects, events, thoughts, feelings, etc.

We cannot learn to play baseball by first learning the positions of the atoms in the ball and the bat. Instead we reduce them into two simple objects that we can manipulate with our hands and arms to cause the event, "swinging" the "bat" to "hit" the "ball".

A common daydream being, 'if only I could go back in time knowing what I know now' - knowledge that would change the system and produce different outcomes, more informed decisions, avoiding pitfalls and errors....a nice little fantasy.

Ironically, that is exactly how the scientific method works. Instead of a daydream, we have a hypothesis. We experiment to test that hypothesis. When a test fails, we imagine going back to try something different, modifying that daydream into a new hypothesis, and continuing this process until we find the best explanation of what is going on.

But how much progress do you think science would make if it never considered what it could have done otherwise?
 

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.

If Urist were a real person in a real world, then Urist being unable to open the door would mean he is "not free to open the door". Urist may choose to attempt to open the door repeatedly, and he is free to choose so. "Free will" would mean that Urist is free to choose what he will do. Being unable to open the door would mean his freedom to open the door was removed. But his freedom to choose to attempt to open the door, his freedom to choose "I will try again", versus, "I will not try again", is where free will comes into play. The "freedom to open the door" is a different kind of freedom, just like freedom of speech, or free of charge, would be different kinds of freedom.
 

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.

If Urist were a real person in a real world, then Urist being unable to open the door would mean he is "not free to open the door". Urist may choose to attempt to open the door repeatedly, and he is free to choose so. "Free will" would mean that Urist is free to choose what he will do. Being unable to open the door would mean his freedom to open the door was removed. But his freedom to choose to attempt to open the door, his freedom to choose "I will try again", versus, "I will not try again", is where free will comes into play. The "freedom to open the door" is a different kind of freedom, just like freedom of speech, or free of charge, would be different kinds of freedom.
No, the fact that he decided to try in the first place was enough. He chose to try to open the door because he knew that was the only path to where he needed to be to fight.

He had no freedom to open the door, at least not in the timeframe he wished to open it, on account of the door being locked.

It is not entirely impossible for this to cause problems, as regards certain doors and Dwarven cats, funny enough.

Like dwarves, Dwarven cats have wills. They can't do as many things but there are fewer ways to get them to do anything or stay anywhere.

It is hard to herd Dwarven cats to say the least.

One state of a door, ass opposed to "locked" is "tightly closed".

In the tightly closed states, Dwarven cats can design to go to the place on the other side of the door and devise a path through that place.

The issue with this is that they cannot.

Because it is obstinate (perhaps because it is very much like a normal cat), it will repeatedly try to go through the door that is closed against it.

It will try so hard to go through the door it will... Well, the effect is that the frame rate just straight tanks, often for hours of real time at a time, until the cat finally decides to give up on the door for a while.

It took me a very long time to discover this little quirk of the deterministic system.

Still, such is not necessary for that one will, the will to open the door, to be free or not.

All that is necessary is that he wanted to go through, did a series of things, and did not go through.

I understand you want to talk about that one specific will, the will to decide for yourself what you will do.

I want to discuss the primitives underneath the concept, simply for the sake of blowing away the foundation of hard determinism using an immediate example.

Its really the symmetry of the justification of will that I would rather discuss, though.
 

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All that is necessary is that he wanted to go through, did a series of things, and did not go through.

I understand you want to talk about that one specific will, the will to decide for yourself what you will do.

I want to discuss the primitives underneath the concept, simply for the sake of blowing away the foundation of hard determinism using an immediate example.

Its really the symmetry of the justification of will that I would rather discuss, though.

Freedom, generally, is the ability to do what you want. We want to decide for ourselves what we will do. What is the difference between a "want" and a "will"? We often do not get to choose what we want to do. But we always get to choose what we will do.

Urist wants to fight. What will he do about that want? He understands that behind the door there is an arena where those who want to fight can satisfy that desire by fighting. So he tries to open the door. But the door won't open. So, instead of going to the arena where it is okay to fight, he walks down the street beating up on everyone he encounters. When he gets home he beats up his wife and children.

Those are bad choices. He needs to find some other way to expend his fighting energy. Perhaps he'll choose to go to the gym instead and punch the bag, or pump some iron. Then he can come home and kiss his wife and kids.

Same want, but different choices, with different outcomes. We don't always get to choose what we want, but we usually do get to choose what we will do about them.
 

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Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''
The distinction made by compatibilists (and by all of us when making moral evaluations) is between influences which are morally relevant and those that are not morally relevant. We all take into consideration the factors which influence a moral agent when determining the degree to which someone will or will not be be held morally culpable/blameworthy for their actions.

Functional/adaptive brain/minds in contrast to dysfunctional/maladaptive brain/minds, punishment designed to deter those who can be deterred from breaking the law.....nothing to do with free will.

Play 'pin the free will label' tells us nothing about human behaviour or why some act irrationally.


Free Will as a Matter of Law

''This chapter confronts the issue of free will in neurolaw, rejecting one of the leading views of the relationship between free will and legal responsibility on the ground that the current system of legal responsibility likely emerged from outdated views about the mind, mental states, and free will. It challenges the compatibilist approach to law (in which free will and causal determinism can coexist). The chapter argues that those who initially developed the criminal law endorsed or presupposed views about mind and free will that modern neuroscience will aid in revealing as false. It then argues for the relevance of false presuppositions embedded in the original development of the criminal law in judging whether to revise or maintain the current system. In doing so, the chapter shares the view that neuroscientific developments will change the way we think about criminal responsibility.''
 

The AntiChris

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Functional/adaptive brain/minds in contrast to dysfunctional/maladaptive brain/minds, punishment designed to deter those who can be deterred from breaking the law.....nothing to do with free will.
Yes, I know you dogmatically refuse to accept that the term 'free will' can apply to anything other than the nonsensical, libertarian, counter-causal incompatibilist version of free will.

Play 'pin the free will label' tells us nothing about human behaviour or why some act irrationally.

I'm not aware that any theory of free will has ever been intended as a scientific explanation of human behaviour/rationality.

Nothing changes.
 

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punishment designed to deter those who can be deterred from breaking the law
Punishment designed to deter  what exactly?

Oh yeah, to deter  people from making  choices by their own volition to break the law.

So, punishment, the threat of it is a  constraint upon the will of those who can be deterred from breaking the law.

The words you have spoken translate to an acknowledgement that wills exist, and may be constrained selectively by doing things...
 

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less. freely will.

An assertion. Necessitation is being ignored. Necessitated actions are not freely willed actions.

Dictionaries merely express word usage.

It is good to know how words are commonly used if you want to communicate. Most people do not define free will as requiring "freedom from causal necessity". That's the point. And "freedom from causal necessity" is never used to assess a person's responsibility for their actions, so it is truly odd that anyone would suggest it should be required of free will.

Definitions alone prove nothing. People define all sorts of things that don't exist, God, gods, Angels, Demons......

People refer to these things every day, ''thank God that our Janet did well at school,'' ''Let us pray to the Lord....''

The issue of free will is related to the role of will, how the brain works and how decisions and actions are made based on science and evidence, not slapping labels onto carefully selected conditions...which is Cherry Picking.


The brain plays chess because it has the capacity (neural architecture) and has acquired the necessary information. It matters not how the input is acquired, it's the inherent state of the system that determines ability.

The brain plays chess because someone asked it, "Hey, do you want to learn how to play chess?". And the brain said, "Yes".

That doesn't explain the means and mechanisms. It doesn't happen through magic.


We don't choose our brain, its abilities or its features.

Quite so. No one ever said to us, "Hey, we have a bunch of brains here. Would you like to choose one?".

The non-chosen state of the system determines how you think and respond.

When the brain breaks down we call someone, a doctor, to treat the condition.

Indeed.

External input alters the brain. Therapy, not free will, alters brain function. The patient seeks help because they are unable to help themselves.

If will has no agency, cannot regulate brain activity or make a difference to outcomes or behaviour, it is not 'free will' regardless of how many times it's asserted.

The causal mechanism is straightforward:
1. The brain encounters a problem that requires it to make a decision, such as the need to choose from the restaurant menu what we will order for dinner.
2. The brain decides, for various reasons, that we will order the Chef Salad.
3. The brain's will to order the Chef Salad causes it to trigger the appropriate motor functions to speak to the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".

Yes, all the work of acquiring and processing information is done unconsciously, the result presented in conscious form.

No free will involved.

Recognizing a problem, deciding what to do, and acting upon that deliberate intent are all part of the brain's causal agency.

If I decide that I will eat an apple right now, then I will get an apple and eat it. The intention to eat the apple motivates and directs my actions until the apple is eaten. There is nothing in neuroscience that contradicts this.

The brain processes information and generates deliberation. The brain has no choice but to acquire and process information because that is its evolutionary role.


Abstract
This review deals with the physiology of the initiation of a voluntary movement and the appreciation of whether it is voluntary or not. I argue that free will is not a driving force for movement, but a conscious awareness concerning the nature of the movement. Movement initiation and the perception of willing the movement can be separately manipulated. Movement is generated subconsciously, and the conscious sense of volition comes later, but the exact time of this event is difficult to assess because of the potentially illusory nature of introspection. Neurological disorders of volition are also reviewed. The evidence suggests that movement is initiated in the frontal lobe, particularly the mesial areas, and the sense of volition arises as the result of a corollary discharge likely involving multiple areas with reciprocal connections including those in the parietal lobe and insular cortex. - M . Hallett Clinical Neurophysiology , Volume 118 , Issue 6.


Your brain decides before you the conscious entity, a construct of the brain, is aware of the decision, the action is brought to mind milliseconds after initiation.

That's okay. It is still my own brain making the choice, free of coercion and undue influence. So, it's still a freely chosen "I will get an apple and eat it".

Everything in the universe has its own makeup and interaction with the environment. The makeup (not chosen) of each brain determines the behaviour of that brain in relation to its environment.

''At this point certain questions need to be asked: Why does the coercion of a person by another, or the conditions of a brain microchip, or the conditions of a tumor, – nullify the “free will” ability? What part of the “ability” is being obstructed? This almost always comes down to a certain point of “control” that is being minimized, and where that minimized control is coming from (the arbitrary part).

The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person, but this misses the entire point brought up by the free will skeptic, which is that ALL environmental conditions that help lead to a person’s brain state at any given moment are “outside of the person”, and the genes a person has was provided rather than decided.''


It is information processing, not free will.

It is both information processing and free will. Information processing is how choosing to eat an apple works! And, if I am free to make this choice for myself, then it is a choice of my own free will.

Free will is being inserted into the narrative. A narrative that doesn't require free will as an explanation for brain function or human behaviour.

The intention to eat the apple was not freely willed.

The intention (will) to eat the apple was freely chosen. That is exactly what free will is.

Determinism doesn't allow alternative. The intention to eat the apple is necessitated, not freely chosen. Chosen implies the possibility to have done otherwise, determinism doesn't allow alternate actions: there is no other possibility - in that instance, only the apple, nothing else.

It's the tail end of a long process that began before the decision and action took place.

Apparently that long process only takes a few seconds, so that doesn't bother me at all.

Brain activity only takes milliseconds, but as a deterministic system, the world began its inexorable progression of events long before it came to you selecting an apple, with no possible alternate action.

''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

Ironically, that is exactly how the scientific method works. Instead of a daydream, we have a hypothesis. We experiment to test that hypothesis. When a test fails, we imagine going back to try something different, modifying that daydream into a new hypothesis, and continuing this process until we find the best explanation of what is going on.

But how much progress do you think science would make if it never considered what it could have done otherwise?

Considering what ''could have been done otherwise'' is a part of the learning process. It's an exercise in imagination which provides a different outcome in the future.

The past states of the system evolving into the present and future states of the system.


The process of evolving events allows no alternate actions at any point in time.

That is the nature of determinism.

If you are not talking about determinism, compatibilism is irrelevant.

You can't have it both ways, if the events progress deterministically, there is no possible deviation or alternate action.


What Does Deterministic System Mean?
''A deterministic system is a system in which a given initial state or condition will always produce the same results. There is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''
 

Jarhyn

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Necessitation is being ignored
Yes, "necessitation" is being ignored because "necessitation" does no work. Rather it says how all the stuff that exists together accomplishes work.
Necessitated actions are not freely willed actions.
This is just an assertion fallacy.

It is your job to support this assertion and you have not.

It appears in fact that you violated your own assertion of fact:
punishment designed to deter those who can be deterred from breaking the law
Punishment designed to deter  what exactly?

Oh yeah, to deter  people from making  choices by their own volition to break the law.

So, punishment, the threat of it is a  constraint upon the will of those who can be deterred from breaking the law.

The words you have spoken translate to an acknowledgement that wills exist, and may be constrained selectively by doing things...
 

Marvin Edwards

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Necessitation is being ignored.

Causal necessitation is not being ignored. Reliable cause and effect is always presumed to be the case by everyone. One need not constantly re-assert what everyone takes for granted.

Necessitated actions are not freely willed actions.

It will either be the case that it was causally necessary that you would make the choice yourself, for your own reasons and interests, or it will be the case that it was causally necessary that you would be coerced or unduly influenced, such that you were not free to make the choice for yourself.

Causal necessity is equally present in both cases, which is why it is never necessary to bring it up! Reliable cause and effect is universally presumed to be the case, always. It is perhaps the most trivial fact in the whole universe.

Definitions alone prove nothing.

Again, definitions are not created to prove things. Definitions are meant to help people understand what most people mean when they use a given word or phrase.

I've used three dictionaries to demonstrate that "free will" has two distinct meanings. One meaning is simply a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence. The other meaning is a choice we make while free of causal necessity or fate.

I am using the first meaning. You are using the second. It should help the discussion to understand which "free will" we are talking about.

Neither of us believes that "freedom from causal necessity" is possible. So, the only reason for anyone to use that definition would be to make free will appear to be impossible.

People refer to these things every day, ''thank God that our Janet did well at school,'' ''Let us pray to the Lord....''

There is no mention of God in either definition of free will. Oh, except in your definition, where "divine predestination" is included with causal necessity and fate.

But there is no such nonsense in the first definition.

The issue of free will is related to the role of will, how the brain works and how decisions and actions are made based on science and evidence, not slapping labels onto carefully selected conditions...which is Cherry Picking.

And Cherry Picking would equally apply to "The issue of free will is related to the role of will, how the brain works and how decisions and actions are made based on science and evidence". You are picking the vocabulary of the discussion. Sorry, but that must be negotiated.

The first definition of free will does not require freedom from "how the brain works" or "how decisions and actions are made based on science and evidence". But perhaps your definition requires such a freedom. If so, then that would be another reason to drop your definition.

Free will requires only freedom from coercion and undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less. We fully expect the decision making to be performed by our physical brains through the rational mechanisms it provides. There is no conflict between the common understanding of free will and neuroscientific evidence.

That doesn't explain the means and mechanisms. It doesn't happen through magic.

Nobody expects neuroscience to find any magic or anything supernatural going on inside the brain. We all expect neuroscience to clarify the means and mechanisms by which a brain goes about choosing from the restaurant menu what we will have for dinner.

Reductionist analysis explains how things work, but it does not 'explain things away'. Choosing what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence, actually happens in the real world. Neuroscience seeks to explain how the brain accomplishes this function. Neuroscience cannot assert that the event is not happening.

The non-chosen state of the system determines how you think and respond.

You keep leaving out the fact that the non-chosen state of the system also chooses where the person will go and what they will do and what they will think. All of these choices by the 'non-chosen' state alter the state of the system. So, you end up with the system being in a state which is at least partly caused by its own choices. At some point we can no longer assert that the state of the system is entirely 'non-chosen'.

External input alters the brain. Therapy, not free will, alters brain function. The patient seeks help because they are unable to help themselves.

In the case of the criminally insane, the person is subjected to therapy whether they want it or not. But most people choose for themselves to seek therapy, of their own free will, when they feel they are are unable to help themselves.

The causal mechanism of free will is straightforward:
1. The brain encounters a problem that requires it to make a decision, such as the need to choose from the restaurant menu what we will order for dinner.
2. The brain decides, for various reasons, that we will order the Chef Salad.
3. The brain's chosen will, to order the Chef Salad, causes it to trigger the appropriate motor functions to speak to the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".

Yes, all the work of acquiring and processing information is done unconsciously, the result presented in conscious form.

Remember that the narrator function only has access to the thoughts and feelings that reached conscious awareness. So, the only way it could answer the question, "Why did you choose the salad instead of the juicy steak?" was by having conscious awareness of the thoughts that appeared during my decision making. I recalled having bacon and eggs for breakfast. I recalled having a double cheeseburger for lunch. Therefore I felt it was best to order the salad rather than the steak.

Recognizing a problem, deciding what to do, and acting upon that deliberate intent are all part of the brain's causal agency.

It is both information processing and free will. Information processing is how choosing to order the salad works! And, if I am free to make this choice for myself, then it is a choice of my own free will.

Free will is being inserted into the narrative. ...

Free will makes the practical distinction between a decision I make for myself versus a decision forced upon me by someone or something else. That is why it is a key fact the narrative. If I make the choice of my own free will, the waiter will bring me the bill. If someone forces me to order the steak against my will, then I should not be billed for the steak.

It's really as simple as that.

Determinism doesn't allow alternative.

Determinism allows everything that actually happens. It cannot disallow selected events without ceasing to be determinism.

The intention to eat the apple is necessitated, not freely chosen.

Again, necessitation does not exclude freedom from coercion and undue influence. Nor does it exclude coercion. Nor does it exclude undue influence. Causal necessity never excludes anything. It cannot exclude events without ceasing to be causal necessity.

Chosen implies the possibility to have done otherwise ...

The possibility to have done otherwise is as universal as causal necessity. In fact, whenever you see two possible options, it was causally necessary that you would.

Brain activity only takes milliseconds, but as a deterministic system, the world began its inexorable progression of events long before it came to you selecting an apple, with no possible alternate action.

It doesn't matter. In fact, it was causally necessary that I would choose to eat the apple at that precise time and place. And, it was causally necessary that it would be I, and no other object in the entire physical universe, that would make that choice for myself, free of coercion and undue influence. Thus, it was always inevitable that I would make that choice of my own free will.

Considering what ''could have been done otherwise'' is a part of the learning process. It's an exercise in imagination which provides a different outcome in the future.

Exactly!

You can't have it both ways, if the events progress deterministically, there is no possible deviation or alternate action.

There is no "both ways", there is only one reality. Events simply progress deterministically. Even the possibilities and alternatives that come to mind are deterministic events with reliable prior causes. For example, had we not chosen to have dinner at the restaurant before going home, we would not be at the restaurant. But it was inevitable that we would decide for ourselves to go to the restaurant, of our own free will (free of coercion and undue influence). And it was inevitable that each of us would decide for ourselves what we would order for dinner, each according to their own goals and their own reasons. Again, choices made by us and for us, while free of any coercion or undue influence. Thus, it was deterministically inevitable that we would make both decisions of our own free will.

It's really very simple when you think it through.
 

DBT

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Still a declaration based on a carefully crafted definition that evades the mechanisms and means of action initiation.


Necessitation is being ignored.

Causal necessitation is not being ignored. Reliable cause and effect is always presumed to be the case by everyone. One need not constantly re-assert what everyone takes for granted.

The implications of necessitation are being ignored. Namely, if an action is necessitated, it is neither freely willed or freely chosen (there is no alternative).

We, as actors, are not even aware of the underlying process. We have no regulative control in the sense that we could have done otherwise, taken some another option (options that exist for someone else).

That is what compatibilists ignore or casually brush aside.

Necessitated actions are not freely willed actions.

It will either be the case that it was causally necessary that you would make the choice yourself, for your own reasons and interests, or it will be the case that it was causally necessary that you would be coerced or unduly influenced, such that you were not free to make the choice for yourself.

But you don't 'make the choice for yourself' - the system brings you to each specific state, place and time to perform the very action that has been determined to happen, without deviation.

That is determinism.

Determinism is not 'reliable causation' as if events reliably proceed according to what we want. Every action is fixed by the state of the last, which in turn fixes the next.

Brain activity is a physical process, each state evolving into the next, no alternatives.


Definitions alone prove nothing.

Again, definitions are not created to prove things. Definitions are meant to help people understand what most people mean when they use a given word or phrase.

If not just empty Rhetoric, definitions need to relate to something. For instance, people define Satan in order to help 'people understand' evil and the role of rebelling against God and bringing untold suffering to the world.

Is there a Satan (or God), the brightest of God's Angels who rebelled against God as described by believers? Not unlikely. Virtually impossible.


I've used three dictionaries to demonstrate that "free will" has two distinct meanings. One meaning is simply a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence. The other meaning is a choice we make while free of causal necessity or fate.

Dictionaries reflect common usage, that's all. Useful to a point, but are not going to settle philosophical debates or establish the status of physical processes in terms of 'free will.'

That is for neuroscience to resolve, and it's not looking good for anything that may be called 'free will.'

I am using the first meaning. You are using the second. It should help the discussion to understand which "free will" we are talking about.

Neither of us believes that "freedom from causal necessity" is possible. So, the only reason for anyone to use that definition would be to make free will appear to be impossible.

What does the term 'freedom of will' mean, if not the freedom to choose something from a set of realizable options? That any one of the options could have been chosen....yet that is the very thing that determinism does not allow. Where only the determined option is necessitated, not freely chosen.

An action that was determined before the selection process even began.

That alone falsifies the notion of freedom of will. Will has no freedom within a determined system.

Which forces Compatibilists to word their definition as ''free of coercion and other forms of undue influence'' while ignoring antecedents, that not only 'influence' choices but set or fix all actions before they are even carried out (as per your own definition of determinism).
 

Marvin Edwards

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The implications of necessitation are being ignored.

Causal necessity implies that every event is reliably caused by prior events. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Namely, if an action is necessitated, it is neither freely willed or freely chosen (there is no alternative).

Since we both believe that there is no "freedom from causal necessity", we must assume that "freely willed" or "freely chosen" refer to the first definition of free will and not the second.

Free will is when we choose for ourselves what we will do while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

We, as actors, are not even aware of the underlying process.

How much awareness of the underlying processes is necessary to do what we want to do? We can learn to hit a baseball with a bat through trial and error, without any awareness of underlying processes. If we decide that we want to get better at baseball, there are books and YouTube videos that will make us more aware of the underlying processes. If we decide that we want to understand the physics of hitting the ball, we can take a Physics course that will give us an understanding of those processes as well.

If we choose to do something, then we only need sufficient awareness of the processes to get it done.

We have no regulative control in the sense that we could have done otherwise, taken some another option (options that exist for someone else).

We could have played basketball rather than baseball. In fact, Michael Jordan retired from basketball temporarily to play baseball for a while. There is always something else that we could have done, other than what we did.

The brain performs executive functions that provide us with regulative control over what we choose to do. The Wikipedia article describes these as:

Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher-order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (e.g., reasoning and problem-solving).[1][2][3]

But you don't 'make the choice for yourself' - the system brings you to each specific state, place and time to perform the very action that has been determined to happen, without deviation.

Dualism again? I am the neurological system that is choosing to have the salad rather than the steak for dinner. While I cannot explain the details of my neurons firing as they accomplish this decision making function, neither can you point out any other object in the physical universe that ordered the salad for dinner.

Determinism means that it was causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that I would be deciding for myself, according to my own goals and my own reasons, that the salad would be a better choice for me than the steak tonight.

That is determinism.

If not just empty Rhetoric, definitions need to relate to something. For instance, people define Satan in order to help 'people understand' evil and the role of rebelling against God and bringing untold suffering to the world. Is there a Satan (or God), the brightest of God's Angels who rebelled against God as described by believers? Not unlikely. Virtually impossible.

Dictionaries do not care what people believe. Dictionaries have no ulterior motives. Dictionaries do not create entities by defining them.

Finding "free will" in the dictionary does not suggest that it exists or doesn't exist. It just tells you how most people understand what you mean when you use the term.

I've pointed out to you that there are two distinct understandings as to what the term "free will" means. One meaning of free will is simply an unforced or voluntary choice that someone makes for themselves. Another meaning is freedom from causal necessity, divine predestination, or fate, etc.

I'm using the first definition. You're using the second. I've defended the meaning of free will found in the first definition. And I've shown it to be compatible with causal necessity.

But rather than acknowledging this, you keep attempting to revert to the second definition, because that is the only definition that you can successfully attack.

That is for neuroscience to resolve, and it's not looking good for anything that may be called 'free will.'

Neuroscience is rejecting the notion of a soul, separate from the body, which provides executive control independent of the brain. They are rejecting the second definition of free will. At the same time, they are confirming the executive control provided by the brain itself, by its decision making function. And that is the first definition of free will, the operational definition, the one used to assess a person's responsibility for their deliberate actions.

What does the term 'freedom of will' mean, if not the freedom to choose something from a set of realizable options?

What does the neuroscience term 'decision making' mean, if not choosing one thing from a set of realizable options?

That any one of the options could have been chosen....yet that is the very thing that determinism does not allow.

But determinism must not disallow the common understanding of "could have been chosen". The logic by which we understand the notion of 'decision making' requires that there be at least two things that we can choose.

And that will always leave us with the (1) single inevitable thing that we will choose, (2) plus at least one other thing that we could have chosen, but didn't.

An action that was determined before the selection process even began.

Actually no. The action will be theoretically "predictable" before the selection process even begins. But the action will never be "caused" until its final prior causes have played themselves out. If something has already been caused to happen, then it has already happened. And nothing ever happens before it happens.

Which forces Compatibilists to word their definition as ''free of coercion and other forms of undue influence'' while ignoring antecedents, that not only 'influence' choices but set or fix all actions before they are even carried out (as per your own definition of determinism).

I'll say it again: No antecedent causes are ignored by compatibilism. Only hard determinists ignore antecedent causes, specifically the act of deliberation that is the final responsible cause of the deliberate act.
 

Jarhyn

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Some religious adherents of particular religions, apologists for their faith and I know this because I was one of the people in the room being so lectured, espouse a particularly  dishonest and fallacious but also persistent form of argumentation.

It is "were you there?".

The way this argument works is that they might demand, before believing anything about physics at all, that you show them the Grand Unifying Theory of Everything.

And then they would still call  that god and claim  that wrote their holy book.

And in a way they would be right. But that would mean it also wrote every  other holy book  too, even the ones that instruct folks to wipe their asses with the first apologist's holy book, and toss the used paper in the first apologist's yard...


The normal application of this argument is instructed against Evolution arguments: to claim that the story of evolution is less valid because "the evolutionists" have no old documents claiming first hand account, and can't show them evolution and life ex nihlo happening.

But only because it's impossible to get a lab clean enough for long enough to do that in any reasonable way, now that all this life happens to exist up in this bitch.

This form of argument is being used here, in this thread: we have some arguments which essentially amount to "you can't show me how neurons make algorithms and I won't even try to learn if you could", or in other words "You Weren't There".

Of course, I can make structures of matter that do exhibit the qualities that they claim may not possibly exist, and have, and pointed out how they can do this for themselves, and how they may in various ways validate that the structure of the matter has the quality they claim does not exist and observe the events step by step wherein the requirement is met or missed, to step through the very instruction so to see what is being discussed!

I can show the hard creationist the mutation happening, and it's effect on the cell and it's reproductive success, and show them the common relationship through time and emergence of traits from the organization along with tagging of ancient virii that isolate a path of common descent back to single celled life. But still they ask "were you there? My book says otherwise and claims to be an original account"

I can tell the hard determinist how, exactly, to go there and watch with their own eyes to see how and even why the will is "free", how it is "constrained" and what are meant by these things. Again they say "but were you there, do you know exactly how neurons come together into algorithms? Can you prove algorithms can come together into an algorithm shaped unto some encoded requirement?"

Of course not, it's a lot of work and I have a day job.

Even so, I am under no real obligation to take anyone there, and while you can lead Candide through a long sordid story about how idiotic hard determinism is, it takes all of that long story of idiotic twists and turns to make him think, and the reader may not be so lucky as to get a clue.

The fact is, we as a species didn't need to see DNA to pick up Darwin and accept that life evolves, and evolved from a common ancestor. Well, some of us did... And then the better of us understood that "if life evolves there is a mechanism so let's find it because it's probably really fucking cool and we can probably do some really gnarly shit with it".

We shouldn't need to see the exact mechanism of demonstration of exactly  how neural systems create, of their threshold-operated decision engines, the algorithm. We shouldn't need to see a y of it to recognize that it is roughly of the form that may be assembled and recognized as a series of  instructions unto a requirement and that this  requirement will have a threshold by which it is met or missed.

This is what a will is, and how the requirement resolves determines the freedom of the will.

Eventually we will be able to describe in language how to construct an algorithm into a neural configuration, and reverse engineer the algorithms and processes buried in an existing neural configuration into a description of language.

Until we do that, I present an object of it's structure observably containing such a relationship within the paltry limits of a classic Turing machine.
 

fromderinside

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.
If you were a plumber you'd argue anything can be fixed/modelled by analogy with a wrench.
 

bilby

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.
If you were a plumber you'd argue anything can be fixed/modelled by analogy with a wrench.
If YOU were a plumber, you would understand that that was true. ;)
 

fromderinside

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Its obviously subjective because the basis you describe is fiction, not real, not how or what neurons do. Oh sure there are action potentials
You don't know what it is that I'm describing because the fact is, I don't really expect you to know any of the things you claim to.

Your argument from incredulity does nothing to the reality of what is clearly attainable though.

I don't think you have ever really looked into how neurons create switching behavior, how an algorithm emerges from that mess, and that's all the more pity for you.

You look into the features of a neuron, but sadly you don't look into the organizational model and what impact these alterations have on the timings, activation weights, Connection weights, and thus the graph behavior of the system.

Always the research scientist asking "what is it" rather than "how does behavior arise from this configuration of matter?"

You don't seem to understand how neurons produce behavior, and while that's fine it does not much make sense to claim that they can't do things given the fact that a neural network can implement any behavior of a classic Turing machine.

But moreover, the neuron is an object, made of some lipids, some protein, some ion channels, some enzymes and some bits that react to and emit neurotransmitters.

When someone has thoughts that object changes.

In the same way, the computer is an object. It's just when anyone brings that up you moan and squeal like a stuck pig.

Again, anyone could discover the computer, and completely independently look at it for long enough to discover that it contains a set of very bizarre objects, that have very particular object relationships, one of which is a "will" (although our viewer may use a different word), one of the elements of that will is a "requirement" and in the case of Urist at the door, so to discover that such requirements may be left unmet, and that these are the same things that can be observed by anyone.

Or, I suppose, anyone capable of reverse engineering and mapping a system that lacks it's original symbol definitions and debug information.

Compatibilists would call the latter condition, the one in which Urist fails at the door "unfreeness" as pertains to the will

Still, the structure is there and real, and really composed of objects, even if some of them, like our aforementioned Dwarven Frog is an object that is also an image of a frog.
If you were a plumber you'd argue anything can be fixed/modelled by analogy with a wrench.
If YOU were a plumber, you would understand that that was true. ;)
No-ah your ship arrived none too soon. Beam me up?
 

fromderinside

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Assembly and design are not included in evolutionary theory.

There is no designing hand in evolution.

To wit:

The Basic Process of Evolution​

The basic theory of evolution is surprisingly simple. It has three essential parts:
  • It is possible for the DNA of an organism to occasionally change, or mutate. A mutation changes the DNA of an organism in a way that affects its offspring, either immediately or several generations down the line.
  • The change brought about by a mutation is either beneficial, harmful or neutral. If the change is harmful, then it is unlikely that the offspring will survive to reproduce, so the mutation dies out and goes nowhere. If the change is beneficial, then it is likely that the offspring will do better than other offspring and so will reproduce more. Through reproduction, the beneficial mutation spreads. The process of culling bad mutations and spreading good mutations is called natural selection.
  • As mutations occur and spread over long periods of time, they cause new species to form. Over the course of many millions of years, the processes of mutation and natural selection have created every species of life that we see in the world today, from the simplest bacteria to humans and everything in between.
Billions of years ago, according to the theory of evolution, chemicals randomly organized themselves into a self-replicating molecule. This spark of life was the seed of every living thing we see today (as well as those we no longer see, like dinosaurs). That simplest life form, through the processes of mutation and natural selection, has been shaped into every living species on the planet.
Therefore the facts presented in the articles I cited stand. That you can get something out of neuronal synaptic transmission you call machine from cells evolution of nervous system functions falls far short of what the result of nervous system evoluton produces.
 

Jarhyn

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Assembly and design are not included in evolutionary theory.

There is no designing hand in evolution.

To wit:
Therefore the facts presented in the articles I cited stand. That you can get something out of neuronal synaptic transmission you call machine from cells evolution of nervous system functions falls far short of what the result of nervous system evoluton produces.
Wow, would you like some dressing with that salad?

I mean, the fact is, you are making a massive argument from incredulity and arm flailing like a wacky arm flailing inflatable tube man.

The fact that you are incredulous how a human being could reverse engineer description of function from a neural graph, and engineer an objective function into a neural graph offers no injury to the fact that this can be done.

You APPEAR to believe there is no way to make any sense at all of the behavior of such complicated systems.

Which is nonsense: the neural graph structure is nothing more than a complicated object and can be understood on that basis as to the general function of such systems.

As it is, again, your incredulity does no injury to the reality that they can be designed.

I didn't say there was a designing hand in evolution... Although there are many designing hands, and minds, in human education and neural conditioning.

Even so, evolution has no bearing on the discussion. The origin of a system has no bearing on what the system happens to be, just so, in this moment. Important concepts to assimilate that may help you understand this better are "there is nothing outside the text" and "death of the author".

While traditionally applied to the written word, these concepts have great value in systems theory so as to avoid foolishness such as declaring objects like computers to not be simply because you happen to know some trivia of how it got there.

I am not talking about evolution.

I am talking about a human with the power to manually and precisely assemble neurons into arbitrary functional relationships so as to evoke algorithms, and to disassemble extant neural networks and extract descriptions of Algorighm, so as to show idiots that neurons can (and already do) execute arbitrary algorithms, much like an FPGA.

While between generations the system cannot retain these changes (they can through the product of human design: education), between the bookends of a person's own life they as individuals accomplish great feats of design, both of themselves and of the world around them.

But moreover, the support neural structures have for hosting algorithmic systems means that they already can do anything a dwarf can do and then a lot more. And a dwarf has a will, observably as an object. And that will, observably has a requirement... And we can observe whether that requirement is being met at any given point in time.

Again, your incredulity at what neurons can and absolutely do accomplish (execution of behavioral algorithm) deals no injury to the observable existence of wills, or to the existence of their freedom property.
 

DBT

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Still a declaration. Given a deterministic system, all actions are necessitated, not freely chosen. Necessitation, fixed outcomes, being the ultimate in 'influence' - which of course negates the given definition of free will.


The implications of necessitation are being ignored.

Causal necessity implies that every event is reliably caused by prior events. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Not merely 'reliably caused,' but all outcomes set according to prior states of the system.

Namely, if an action is necessitated, it is neither freely willed or freely chosen (there is no alternative).

Since we both believe that there is no "freedom from causal necessity", we must assume that "freely willed" or "freely chosen" refer to the first definition of free will and not the second.

What is being freely willed? Prior states of the system evolving into current and future states of the system is not a matter of free will.

Free will is when we choose for ourselves what we will do while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Not according to the given terms of determinism.


We, as actors, are not even aware of the underlying process.

How much awareness of the underlying processes is necessary to do what we want to do? We can learn to hit a baseball with a bat through trial and error, without any awareness of underlying processes. If we decide that we want to get better at baseball, there are books and YouTube videos that will make us more aware of the underlying processes. If we decide that we want to understand the physics of hitting the ball, we can take a Physics course that will give us an understanding of those processes as well.

We don't choose what we want to do. That is determined by the evolving state of the system. An interaction of environment and brain activity....which we as conscious beings cannot access or regulate.

The state of the brain is the state of us.

If we choose to do something, then we only need sufficient awareness of the processes to get it done.

Events choose us as they progress from time t. That is the nature of determinism.

You have agreed with these terms.


We have no regulative control in the sense that we could have done otherwise, taken some another option (options that exist for someone else).

We could have played basketball rather than baseball. In fact, Michael Jordan retired from basketball temporarily to play baseball for a while. There is always something else that we could have done, other than what we did.

Whatever Michael Jordan did was determined by events as they progressed over his career, while he was playing basketball, he was not playing baseball, while he was playing baseball, he was not playing basketball.

Determinism doesn't allow alternative actions. The circumstances and events of his life unfolded precisely as determined.



The brain performs executive functions that provide us with regulative control over what we choose to do. The Wikipedia article describes these as:

Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher-order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (e.g., reasoning and problem-solving).[1][2][3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions#cite_note-Executive_functions_2008_review-3

Executive function is not a matter free will, the PFC is a higher order information processor. Information processing does not allow alternate actions or the type of regulative control needed to claim free will.


But you don't 'make the choice for yourself' - the system brings you to each specific state, place and time to perform the very action that has been determined to happen, without deviation.

Dualism again? I am the neurological system that is choosing to have the salad rather than the steak for dinner. While I cannot explain the details of my neurons firing as they accomplish this decision making function, neither can you point out any other object in the physical universe that ordered the salad for dinner.

Not dualism, just that the right kind of regulative control is lacking. Being without control over brain state or outcome is hardly the stuff of free will.

The non-chosen state of the brain is the state of us;

''A new study provides a novel theory for how delusions arise and why they persist. NYU Langone Medical Center researcher Orrin Devinsky, MD, performed an in-depth analysis of patients with certain delusions and brain disorders revealing a consistent pattern of injury to the frontal lobe and right hemisphere of the human brain. The cognitive deficits caused by these injuries to the right hemisphere, leads to the over compensation by the left hemisphere of the brain for the injury, resulting in delusions. The article entitled "Delusional misidentifications and duplications: Right brain lesions, left brain delusions" appears in the latest issue of the journal of Neurology.

''Problems caused by these brain injuries include impairment in monitoring of self, awareness of errors, and incorrectly identifying what is familiar and what is a work of fiction," said Dr. Devinsky, professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery and Director of the NYU Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. "However, delusions result from the loss of these functions as well as the over activation of the left hemisphere and its language structures, that 'create a story', a story which cannot be edited and modified to account for reality. Delusions result from right hemisphere lesions, but it is the left hemisphere that is deluded."




Determinism means that it was causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that I would be deciding for myself, according to my own goals and my own reasons, that the salad would be a better choice for me than the steak tonight.

That is determinism.

Yet, according to the given definition, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - the implication of determinism is that the system 'decides' all actions as they evolve from prior to current and future states.

Nothing is decided.

Everything is determined.

Because events evolve as determined, prior states evolving into current and future states, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - which falsifies compatibilism and demonstrates that free will is not compatible with determinism.
 

pood

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Here’s an example of compatibilist free will in action.

I had more or less given up posting in this thread because it keeps going round and round in circles, DBT repeatedly voicing the same old fallacies, such the inability to distinguish between “will” and “must” and a misunderstanding of the term “natural law.” I thought, why bother adding more fuel to a fire that ought long ago to have been put out?

It is true enough to say, in a certain sense, that my tiring of the repetitiveness of this thread “caused” me to pull back from posting in it. But there are different senses of the meaning of the word “caused,” as there are for so many words. In this case, in a gigantic non sequitur, the hard determinist construes the meaning of “caused” to essentially say that the Big Bang caused me to pull back from posting here. Really, isn’t that crazy? The Big Bang, which wasn’t even sentient, is suddenly empowered with the God-like ability to impose Calvinistic predestination!

But the compatibilist, quite sensibly, uses a common-sense, operational definition of “caused.” It is simply that immediate antecedent circumstances (i.e., thread repetitiveness) “caused” me to reevaluate the efficacy of further participation here. In this sense, “caused” can never mean forced, coerced, or necessitated, but merely influenced. Yes, there is only one history, and in this one history, I recently pulled back from posting because antecedent circumstances (in the operational sense) “caused” me to pull back from posting. Could I have chosen differently, could I have not pulled back from posting? Of course, if antecedent circumstances had been different — if, for example, the thread had not gone into a repetitive rut and had featured more variety. Or, suppose antecedent circumstances were the same, but my brain states were different — then I might have continued to post because the thread’s repetitiveness failed to bore me. And so on.

In contrast, my computer screen, because it is not sentient and has no ability to choose, will always display the pixels on this screen provided the screen is turned on. Indeed, the screen has no capacity to be tired of this thread, and thus no reason to “turn it off” even if it possessed the power to do so. But humans (and other animals) DO have that power — to decide to modify or change their course of action according to circumstances as they develop. The hard determinist says we lack that power — that in essence we are no different from a computer screen or a rock rolling down the hill, and all events trace back to the Big Bang. Yet any normal person not seduced by the quasi-religious bafflegab of hard determinism will, without a second thought, distinguish human behavior from a rock rolling down a hill or a computer screen displaying pixels.

ETA: Yay, this is post 666 here! I am officially evil! :devilish:
 

Jarhyn

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Here’s an example of compatibilist free will in action.

I had more or less given up posting in this thread because it keeps going round and round in circles, DBT repeatedly voicing the same old fallacies, such the inability to distinguish between “will” and “must” and a misunderstanding of the term “natural law.” I thought, why bother adding more fuel to a fire that ought long ago to have been put out?

It is true enough to say, in a certain sense, that my tiring of the repetitiveness of this thread “caused” me to pull back from posting in it. But there are different senses of the meaning of the word “caused,” as there are for so many words. In this case, in a gigantic non sequitur, the hard determinist construes the meaning of “caused” to essentially say that the Big Bang caused me to pull back from posting here. Really, isn’t that crazy? The Big Bang, which wasn’t even sentient, is suddenly empowered with the God-like ability to impose Calvinistic predestination!

But the compatibilist, quite sensibly, uses a common-sense, operational definition of “caused.” It is simply that immediate antecedent circumstances (i.e., thread repetitiveness) “caused” me to reevaluate the efficacy of further participation here. In this sense, “caused” can never mean forced, coerced, or necessitated, but merely influenced. Yes, there is only one history, and in this one history, I recently pulled back from posting because antecedent circumstances (in the operational sense) “caused” me to pull back from posting. Could I have chosen differently, could I have not pulled back from posting? Of course, if antecedent circumstances had been different — if, for example, the thread had not gone into a repetitive rut and had featured more variety. Or, suppose antecedent circumstances were the same, but my brain states were different — then I might have continued to post because the thread’s repetitiveness failed to bore me. And so on.

In contrast, my computer screen, because it is not sentient and has no ability to choose, will always display the pixels on this screen provided the screen is turned on. Indeed, the screen has no capacity to be tired of this thread, and thus no reason to “turn it off” even if it possessed the power to do so. But humans (and other animals) DO have that power — to decide to modify or change their course of action according to circumstances as they develop. The hard determinist says we lack that power — that in essence we are no different from a computer screen or a rock rolling down the hill, and all events trace back to the Big Bang. Yet any normal person not seduced by the quasi-religious bafflegab of hard determinism will, without a second thought, distinguish human behavior from a rock rolling down a hill or a computer screen displaying pixels.

ETA: Yay, this is post 666 here! I am officially evil! :devilish:
I will note that I don't accept any fundamental difference between the usage of "will" as pertains to rocks and computers and whatnot as pertains to it's usage in discussing people.

The terms are just reapplications of "algorithm" and "return code".

It just happens here, in people, the algorithm is much more complicated on account of the fact that as you note, for us, the algorithms can change themselves in systematic ways, like (as?) a mutable lambda function.

My own goal in considering this is to figure out more elements of my project in terms of replicating static algorithms in neural architectures so that they may be made dynamic, specifically inspiring thought exercise into the functional elements of a fully realized "pile of algorithms that does stuff because it wants to".

I can worry about making it fast when I make it in hardware.
 

fromderinside

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Your presumptions 1 and 2 are so far from the way neurons work.
No, they aren't. Your inability to grasp that neurons are machines that can be assembled to evoke specific behavior is your failure.

Assembling algorithms with purpose is entirely attainable in neural structures it just has not been done yet, in the same way as assembling an algorithm in hardware with an FPGA is a thing.

Your incredulity with the idea that neural structures can be designed does no insult to the design, though.

Assembly and design are not included in evolutionary theory.

There is no designing hand in evolution.

To wit:
Therefore the facts presented in the articles I cited stand. That you can get something out of neuronal synaptic transmission you call machine from cells evolution of nervous system functions falls far short of what the result of nervous system evoluton produces.
Wow, would you like some dressing with that salad?

I mean, the fact is, you are making a massive argument from incredulity and arm flailing like a wacky arm flailing inflatable tube man.

The fact that you are incredulous how a human being could reverse engineer description of function from a neural graph, and engineer an objective function into a neural graph offers no injury to the fact that this can be done.

You APPEAR to believe there is no way to make any sense at all of the behavior of such complicated systems.

Which is nonsense: the neural graph structure is nothing more than a complicated object and can be understood on that basis as to the general function of such systems.

As it is, again, your incredulity does no injury to the reality that they can be designed.

I didn't say there was a designing hand in evolution... Although there are many designing hands, and minds, in human education and neural conditioning.

Even so, evolution has no bearing on the discussion. The origin of a system has no bearing on what the system happens to be, just so, in this moment. Important concepts to assimilate that may help you understand this better are "there is nothing outside the text" and "death of the author".

While traditionally applied to the written word, these concepts have great value in systems theory so as to avoid foolishness such as declaring objects like computers to not be simply because you happen to know some trivia of how it got there.

I am not talking about evolution.

I am talking about a human with the power to manually and precisely assemble neurons into arbitrary functional relationships so as to evoke algorithms, and to disassemble extant neural networks and extract descriptions of Algorighm, so as to show idiots that neurons can (and already do) execute arbitrary algorithms, much like an FPGA.

While between generations the system cannot retain these changes (they can through the product of human design: education), between the bookends of a person's own life they as individuals accomplish great feats of design, both of themselves and of the world around them.

But moreover, the support neural structures have for hosting algorithmic systems means that they already can do anything a dwarf can do and then a lot more. And a dwarf has a will, observably as an object. And that will, observably has a requirement... And we can observe whether that requirement is being met at any given point in time.

Again, your incredulity at what neurons can and absolutely do accomplish (execution of behavioral algorithm) deals no injury to the observable existence of wills, or to the existence of their freedom property.
Sorry. You need to point out the text of my incredulity then demonstrate how it is so to be convincing in your accusations. It is not my fault that you are inadequately prepared in neuroscience. Being so is no excuse to make claims you cannot support. You argue without support from the community from which you claim to know what they have and have not accomplished.

The three studies I referenced provide strong evidence for many other forms of encoding and transmission which you completely ignore for the simplistic action potential model of information processing in the the nervous system. We are well prepared on the attributes and capabilities put forth in that model. We are also well informed about models and speculations on neural function among the thousands of types of neurons in the nervous system.

We read and digested Sutherland before you were born and we've followed the progress of those models since. You are not the only one who can program games. My eldest, for one, has been doing so since he appropriated my CoCo in '81.

Your model, Top Down Mechanical, attempt to 'reverse engineer' from insufficient data is astounding. You depend on a model far outdated and include few parameters of even that model then depend on a subset of specific attributes in it's entirety. It neither reflects nor executes as does the nervous system in most any way. You might as well have referenced Fortran. Heck, even in the most rudimentary practical aerospace - my field for thirty odd years mostly after my 15 year experimental methodology career - enterprises top down and bottom up are both required to properly confirm existence and advancement.

That a system can does not imply that a system does or is designed to execute in specific ways. You will need reference specific neural processes if you are going to convince anyone of the merits of your proclamations. That a thing does what it is supposed to do is not proof that the system reflects the the logic presented faithfully. That is subject to experiment.

That you cannot see the value of actual experiment confirms new theory is a shame. Logical exercises as proofs were left behind some six hundred years ago.

Do not respond to this post until you have read and internalized the three experiments posted on neural processes. It will only result in you rehashing your tired and tiring from logic mantras.

And I've tired of reading your groundless proclamations about me and my arguments. I expect only proven - I prefer experimentally demonstrated - point by point replies in the future. If you can't do so then don't even try to respond.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

... Necessitation, fixed outcomes, being the ultimate in 'influence' - which of course negates the given definition of free will.

Causal necessity is not an undue influence. It is simply how everything normally operates. It applies equally to free will, coercion, ordinary influence, and undue influence.

Free will is not concerned with causal necessity. In fact, free will would be impossible without reliable cause and effect.

Choosing what we will do is a deterministic operation, where the choice is reliably caused by our own goals and our own reasons, as applied by our own brains. Whether the brain does this unconsciously and then communicates it to conscious awareness or whether the brain involves conscious awareness at specific points in the process is irrelevant. It is still us (our own brain) choosing what we will do.

While choosing what we will do, we may be subject to coercion or undue influence, or we may be free of coercion and undue influence. Free will is when we do our choosing while free of coercion and undue influence. It's as simple as that.


Not merely 'reliably caused,' but all outcomes set according to prior states of the system.

The reliability of the causation is the distinction between determinism and indeterminism. Indeterminism would entail a cause whose effect is unreliable, and thus unpredictable. Determinism implies that the effect of a given cause will always be reliable, and thus predictable.

What is being freely willed? Prior states of the system evolving into current and future states of the system is not a matter of free will.

"Freely willed" means that the will was chosen while free of coercion and undue influence. You continue to falsely suggest that free will requires freedom from prior events. No such freedom is required by free will.


We don't choose what we want to do.

But we do choose what we will do about those wants.

Whatever Michael Jordan did was determined by events as they progressed over his career, ...

And, one of those events happened to be Jordan choosing to retire from basketball and give baseball a try.

''A new study provides a novel theory for how delusions arise and why they persist. NYU Langone Medical Center researcher Orrin Devinsky, MD, performed an in-depth analysis of patients with certain delusions and brain disorders revealing a consistent pattern of injury to the frontal lobe and right hemisphere of the human brain. The cognitive deficits caused by these injuries to the right hemisphere, leads to the over compensation by the left hemisphere of the brain for the injury, resulting in delusions. The article entitled "Delusional misidentifications and duplications: Right brain lesions, left brain delusions" appears in the latest issue of the journal of Neurology.

''Problems caused by these brain injuries include impairment in monitoring of self, awareness of errors, and incorrectly identifying what is familiar and what is a work of fiction," said Dr. Devinsky, professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery and Director of the NYU Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. "However, delusions result from the loss of these functions as well as the over activation of the left hemisphere and its language structures, that 'create a story', a story which cannot be edited and modified to account for reality. Delusions result from right hemisphere lesions, but it is the left hemisphere that is deluded."

This was actually interesting because it reminded me of something Michael Gazzaniga said about the interpreter:
Michael Gazzaniga said:
... our left brain fudges things a bit to fit into a makes-sense story. It is only when the stories stray too far from the facts that the right brain pulls the reins in. -- Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 77). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

While the left-brain contains the inference engine, the right-brain is more literal. The left-brain specializes in generalization and the right-brain specializes in distinctions, such as facial recognition. Apparently, the right-brain also gives the left-brain feedback when the narrator goes "off the reservation".

The article discusses how lesions in the right-brain prevent it from keeping the narrator honest. The left-brain, with an injured editor, that would normally correct it, produces delusions.

Normally, we expect the narrator to provide a logical explanation of events, but without the right-brain to keep it in line it gets carried away with its story-telling.

And, while we're on the subject of delusions:

Yet, according to the given definition, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - the implication of determinism is that the system 'decides' all actions as they evolve from prior to current and future states.

Nothing is decided.

Everything is determined.

Because events evolve as determined, prior states evolving into current and future states, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - which falsifies compatibilism and demonstrates that free will is not compatible with determinism.

Incompatibilists indulge themselves with the delusion that determinism is a causal agent, something that determines what will happen next. After all, if something happens it must be caused by something. But, like a "god of the gaps", they are too ready to plug determinism itself into that role. But determinism never determines anything. Events are determined by actual prior events.

An event is an interaction between two or more objects and forces that produces a change in the state of things. Gravity and a pile of rocks on the side of a mountain may eventually cause a rockslide event. Did determinism do this? No. The mass of the rocks, the force of gravity, and the weakened resistance of the slope caused this event.

The empirical fact is that causation never causes anything and determinism never determines anything. All events are caused by the natural interactions of the actual objects and forces that make up the physical universe.

Anything that is caused is caused by these interactions. Anything that is determined is determined by the interactions of actual objects and forces.

Okay. Now that we've got the empirical facts straight, what about this notion that events are "already determined"? Well, that would be a delusion. Every event is reliably caused by its prior events. And those events will involve specific objects and specific forces.

People happen to be objects that are capable of causing events. People have brains that can consider multiple options and choose a specific thing that they will do.

These decisions are made locally, within the specific brains of specific people. That is where each decision is finally determined. Right there, in that brain, at that time, in that place.

Some other "system" making that choice? Perhaps the universe? Or the Big Bang? No. That would be a delusion.
 

Jarhyn

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You argue without support from the community from which you claim to know what they have and have not accomplished.
About what exactly? Surely you can hold up a claim, and show a reality empirically counter to it?

The fact is I have been studying not necessarily what process of machine creates an operational neuronal structure, but how to apply an understanding of the behavior of such to assemble it usefully and meaningfully from the top down rather than the bottom up, and the very fact that it can be done, first proven with various exercises in creating various logics from perceptrons demonstrates quite effectively that within the much more richly polymorphic structure of a real neuron, would allow shortcuts in creating much more useful logics such as inverter and nand style behaviors.

Over the last week I've been figuring out how to design such not with a recurrent structure but rather on the foundation of a refractory relationship instead. (A is half refractory to B, B is refractory to A, B is fired by a mutually refractory "clock pair" half behind A's timing, A fires on AND, then B shall be refractory blocked by A, and no output; if A fails to AND, B shall be free to fire, unblocked by A. A will examine once B finishes blocking A).

Of course some experimentation will be necessary to make sure I get the timing structures right, I might have to connect A to B's clock pair, or one of it's clock pair? There are probably ways to harden or soften the structure against back propagation as well.

From my perspective your claims that neurons can't do some particular operation is unconvincing.

Further, your claims that such behaviors are impossible in a deterministic system are laid bare as false owing to the fact that it's been demonstrated happening among transistors and silicon, and it is demonstrably true that the behaviors of silicon and transistors may be fully replicated in any system purely out of NAND structures.

So at least there's that, although doing it purely in NAND would be stupid and unnecessarily complicated.

It's just fucking droll to argue with someone who can't grok that computers are objects, computers demonstrably are capable of the things you claim are utterly impossible, and that we can do much more, of our neurons, than a computer can of transistors.
 

fromderinside

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You argue without support from the community from which you claim to know what they have and have not accomplished.

From my perspective your claims that neurons can't do some particular operation is unconvincing.

Further, your claims that such behaviors are impossible in a deterministic system are laid bare as false owing to the fact that it's been demonstrated happening among transistors and silicon, and it is demonstrably true that the behaviors of silicon and transistors may be fully replicated in any system purely out of NAND structures.
No. It's my claim that you can't emulate neurons without understanding what neurons actually do with information. The neural model to which you refer is a quaint synaptic one which has been shown deficient for more than 50 years. Read the three articles if you really want to get somewhere in your endeavors.

As to whether human behaviors are impossible depends upon having a complete model of neural information processing from which you construct your little logics rather than your presumptive treatment of what you believe as a basis for your primitive logical constructs and upon putting the rubber on the road in the form of experimental tests. Don't imply some logical presumptions based upon incomplete understanding of neural function and information processing are adequate. The failure is in your understanding of the problem is in the insufficient basis for your models.

I'll give you a hint. Look to how information is passed upstream and downstream and why there are two valences in both directions. Not only is it good for defining boundaries but it does an excellent job of drowning out local metabolic noise. I saw no evidence in your models that you'd accounted for such. Face it. NAND based circuits aren't nearly as noisy as are biological systems and the biological noise reduction would probably overwhelm any choice/will possibilities.

That's three fails on your part.
 

DBT

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Free will is when our choosing is free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.


Determinism is defined by prior states evolving into current states and future states. Choosing implies the ability to do otherwise.

Determinism doesn't entail free choice.


... Necessitation, fixed outcomes, being the ultimate in 'influence' - which of course negates the given definition of free will.

Causal necessity is not an undue influence. It is simply how everything normally operates. It applies equally to free will, coercion, ordinary influence, and undue influence.

A fixed progression of events with no deviation is far worse for the notion of free will than mere influence.


Free will is not concerned with causal necessity. In fact, free will would be impossible without reliable cause and effect.

Choosing what we will do is a deterministic operation, where the choice is reliably caused by our own goals and our own reasons, as applied by our own brains. Whether the brain does this unconsciously and then communicates it to conscious awareness or whether the brain involves conscious awareness at specific points in the process is irrelevant. It is still us (our own brain) choosing what we will do.

The system - the world, the environment - is made up of more than our our brains. Given determinism, our environment determines what goes on in our brains.

External conditions and inputs act upon the brain more surely than external coercion or influence, which compatibilists acknowledge negates free will.


While choosing what we will do, we may be subject to coercion or undue influence, or we may be free of coercion and undue influence. Free will is when we do our choosing while free of coercion and undue influence. It's as simple as that.

We don't choose. Inputs act upon the brain altering its activity. Determinism: prior states evolving deterministically into current states and future states.

Nothing is freely willed. All events are shaped by prior states of the system.

Not merely 'reliably caused,' but all outcomes set according to prior states of the system.

The reliability of the causation is the distinction between determinism and indeterminism. Indeterminism would entail a cause whose effect is unreliable, and thus unpredictable. Determinism implies that the effect of a given cause will always be reliable, and thus predictable.

We lack the right kind of regulative control to qualify as free will. Nothing is willfully regulated or open to modification.

We are not even aware of what is happening within the brain, only the end result, we feel hungry and ''wouldn't it be nice to go to a cafe and order grilled fish and salad with a glass of wine.....''


What is being freely willed? Prior states of the system evolving into current and future states of the system is not a matter of free will.

"Freely willed" means that the will was chosen while free of coercion and undue influence. You continue to falsely suggest that free will requires freedom from prior events. No such freedom is required by free will.

Nothing was chosen. Information evolved from a prior state to the current state and evolves into a future state.

That's Determinism, not free will. The two don't go together.


We don't choose what we want to do.

But we do choose what we will do about those wants.

Whatever Michael Jordan did was determined by events as they progressed over his career, ...

And, one of those events happened to be Jordan choosing to retire from basketball and give baseball a try.

''A new study provides a novel theory for how delusions arise and why they persist. NYU Langone Medical Center researcher Orrin Devinsky, MD, performed an in-depth analysis of patients with certain delusions and brain disorders revealing a consistent pattern of injury to the frontal lobe and right hemisphere of the human brain. The cognitive deficits caused by these injuries to the right hemisphere, leads to the over compensation by the left hemisphere of the brain for the injury, resulting in delusions. The article entitled "Delusional misidentifications and duplications: Right brain lesions, left brain delusions" appears in the latest issue of the journal of Neurology.

''Problems caused by these brain injuries include impairment in monitoring of self, awareness of errors, and incorrectly identifying what is familiar and what is a work of fiction," said Dr. Devinsky, professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery and Director of the NYU Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. "However, delusions result from the loss of these functions as well as the over activation of the left hemisphere and its language structures, that 'create a story', a story which cannot be edited and modified to account for reality. Delusions result from right hemisphere lesions, but it is the left hemisphere that is deluded."

This was actually interesting because it reminded me of something Michael Gazzaniga said about the interpreter:
Michael Gazzaniga said:
... our left brain fudges things a bit to fit into a makes-sense story. It is only when the stories stray too far from the facts that the right brain pulls the reins in. -- Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 77). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

While the left-brain contains the inference engine, the right-brain is more literal. The left-brain specializes in generalization and the right-brain specializes in distinctions, such as facial recognition. Apparently, the right-brain also gives the left-brain feedback when the narrator goes "off the reservation".

The article discusses how lesions in the right-brain prevent it from keeping the narrator honest. The left-brain, with an injured editor, that would normally correct it, produces delusions.

Normally, we expect the narrator to provide a logical explanation of events, but without the right-brain to keep it in line it gets carried away with its story-telling.

The point being, that the narrator function responds deterministically to whatever the brain is doing in terms of response and action initiation, which was determined by its inputs.

Often getting it wrong.

And, while we're on the subject of delusions:

Yet, according to the given definition, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - the implication of determinism is that the system 'decides' all actions as they evolve from prior to current and future states.

Nothing is decided.

Everything is determined.

Because events evolve as determined, prior states evolving into current and future states, you are not ''deciding for yourself'' - which falsifies compatibilism and demonstrates that free will is not compatible with determinism.

Incompatibilists indulge themselves with the delusion that determinism is a causal agent, something that determines what will happen next. After all, if something happens it must be caused by something. But, like a "god of the gaps", they are too ready to plug determinism itself into that role. But determinism never determines anything. Events are determined by actual prior events.

Nobody has said that ''determinism is the causal agent'' except you and other compatibilists.

Incompatibilists refer to how determinism is defined in terms of the physical interactions of matter/energy on a macro scale, causal determinism, how objects interact causally in a progression of states and events.

I've been repeating this over and over.

It's the very same definition of determinism that you gave.

The difference being, compatibilists try to insert the term 'free will' where it doesn't actually fit.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Determinism is defined by prior states evolving into current states and future states.

That's right.

Choosing implies the ability to do otherwise.

That is also correct.

Determinism doesn't entail free choice.

But what you seem unable to grasp is that the "ability" to do otherwise never requires that we "actually" do otherwise!

When someone says "I could have chosen the steak for dinner" it always implies "I did not choose the steak for dinner" and "I only would have chosen the steak under different circumstances".

There is no contradiction between determinism and the ability to do otherwise!

A fixed progression of events with no deviation is far worse for the notion of free will than mere influence.

A fixed progression of events is how everything, including free will, works.

Consider the fixed progression of events involved in "choosing what we will do". First, we encounter a problem or issue that requires us to make a decision. For example, we must decide what to order for dinner. Second, we consider multiple options in terms of our own goals and our own reasons. Third, we experience thoughts and feelings about each option. Fourth, based on those thoughts and feelings, we choose the option that we believe will give us the best result. Fifth, we act upon that chosen intent, we say to the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".

That is clearly a fixed progression of events. And, that is clearly a choice we made for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence.

"Determinism, meet Free Will. Free Will, meet Determinism. I'm sure you're going to like each other."

The system - the world, the environment - is made up of more than our our brains. Given determinism, our environment determines what goes on in our brains.

And that claim would constitute superstitious nonsense. Our environment refers to everything that is outside of us. And our environment never acts upon us with a single intent. Our environment does not choose what goes on in our brain.

Our brain serves our own inner needs. As the plant in the "Little Shop of Horrors" said, "Feed me Seymour!". So, our inner need to have dinner led us to the restaurant. Now that we're here we have to choose what we will order from a menu of alternate possibilities. This process is driven by our own biological need to eat.

External conditions and inputs act upon the brain more surely than external coercion or influence,

Total nonsense. The restaurant menu is not a guy with a gun. And the menu will not select our dinner for us. We still must do that for ourselves.

We don't choose.

Look around the restaurant. Watch what the customers are doing. Do you see them each reducing that menu of many possibilities into a single dinner order? We call that "choosing". What do they call it on you planet?

Inputs act upon the brain altering its activity.

Really? Do you see the menu acting upon the customer's brain? Or isn't it the case that each customer is acting upon the menu, picking it up, reading it, and deciding for themselves what they will have for dinner?

The notion that the menu is acting upon the brain, rather than vice versa, is a delusional distortion of reality.

Determinism: prior states evolving deterministically into current states and future states.

Correct!

Nothing is freely willed.

The intention (will) to order the salad was formed while free of coercion and undue influence. That is all that free will requires.

We lack the right kind of regulative control to qualify as free will.

And yet each person in the restaurant controlled what they would order for dinner.

We are not even aware of what is happening within the brain, only the end result, we feel hungry and ''wouldn't it be nice to go to a cafe and order grilled fish and salad with a glass of wine.....''

Fortunately, we have no need to attend to the neural activity within our brains in order to decide for ourselves what we will have for dinner.

Our brains already come with the ability to make decisions, built in, free of charge.

Nobody has said that ''determinism is the causal agent'' except you and other compatibilists.

You constantly repeat that our actions are determined, but insist that they are not determined by us. That raises the question, "If not by us, then by who or by what?".

Incompatibilists refer to how determinism is defined in terms of the physical interactions of matter/energy on a macro scale, causal determinism, how objects interact causally in a progression of states and events.

And I've laid out the specific progression of states and events involved in decision making. We encounter a problem the requires a decision. We consider our options. We choose what we will do. This is determinism. And, if our choosing is free from coercion and undue influence, then it is also free will.
 

Jarhyn

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's my claim that you can't emulate neurons without understanding what neurons actually do with information
The sheer amount of not-even-wrong packed into this statement is explosive and mind-boggling.

First off, your obvious straw man: this is not about other systems emulating neurons, so much as neurons "emulating" other systems.

I am not saying Turing machines are effectively being exactly like human neurons; rather I am saying neurons are effectively able to support the algorithms of a Turing machine purely on the fact that all Turing machines can be built in any system that emulates NAND. It is a fact of computational systems, of any system, that if a system can support NAND behavior, that system can be organized to emulate the behavior of any Turing machine.

 This is not in question: All traditional logic gates, truth systems, and state tables can be built from NAND structures.

Second off, your "what they actually do with information bullshit" is so not-even-wrong it's almost physically painful. We have projects like Numenta's Nupic.CORE technology where we have clearly very deeply implemented HTM structures.

The fact is that all it takes is being able to understand how to take what they are, best as we can understand that, and identify the functional relationships that form from specific organizations of them.

Still, it is more about the fact that neurons are the ones doing the "emulating".

The fact that neurons can emulate any behavior of a Turing machine means that anything a dwarf can do in terms of "series of instructions" and testing on "requirement" can, in fact, be done by neural systems.

But moreover the fact that such things can be done observably by and within the structure of the Turing machine invalidates hard determinism entirely because there's the thing you claim is completely and utterly impossible.
 

fromderinside

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First off, your obvious straw man: this is not about other systems emulating neurons, so much as neurons "emulating" other systems

But moreover the fact that such things can be done observably by and within the structure of the Turing machine invalidates hard determinism entirely because there's the thing you claim is completely and utterly impossible.
OK. Where are the machines? I mean how come machines have not evolved on their own in the world. I see the evolution of nervous systems. The BORG is fiction. Even it was designed by evolved beings supposedly. Where are the NAND or Turing devices both named products of brain activity. After all doped substrates are much more prevalent than cellular structures in the environment and there are lots of ways for energy to drive change.

Oh wait, they're the result of brain activity which is the result of evolution, survival of the fittest, a pretty deterministic system of operation.

As we understand the world now there are no other sentient things detectable in the universe. And we've tried hard to find something.

Puleez. We are the brain that can't be? byee.

I go tipsy to your very lame turvy.

You're so easy because you are an engineer, not a scientist. Scientists ask why not just how.
 
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