#### DBT

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

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

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

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

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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### DBT

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

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

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

#### The AntiChris

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

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

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

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

#### pood

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

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

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

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

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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, you are describing hard determinism, not determinism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### pood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### pood

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

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

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

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

And so on.

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

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

#### Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One cannot bend events according to will.

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

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

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

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

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

#### fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you doubt what I'm saying just take a look at the neural integration up and down the brain from the receptor to the cortex to the receptor.
The compatibilist says "I have choices".
Who gives a damn about compatibilists' opinions? That's not a response of any value whatever.

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

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

I'm calling you out.

#### Jarhyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### Copernicus

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

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

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

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

And so on.

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

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

#### fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DBT

#### DBT

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

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

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

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

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

#### DBT

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

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

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

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

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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, you are describing hard determinism, not determinism.

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

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

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

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

#### DBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### DBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### The AntiChris

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

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

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

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

#### Jarhyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The existence of choice does not depend on QM.

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

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

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

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
So @fromderinside @DBT:

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

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

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

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

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#### Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actions are fixed regardless of external elements acting upon us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determinism by definition means fixed actions and fixed outcomes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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