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Imagining "Indeterminism"

pood

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.
 

Jarhyn

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.
Well, we are no different in many cases than rocks rolling down hills.

It just happens that the hills rocks such as us roll down are quite a lot more complicated.

The rock still makes choices that rocks are capable of making, merely by being what they are.

It's just that rocks don't make very exciting or interesting decisions, and the choices that lead to those decisions are also boring,.
 

fromderinside

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

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

Copernicus

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...
The problem here is not that you made a distinction. It is that you never explained its relevance. There is no reason to believe that an artificial mechanical system cannot do what an evolved biological mechanical one can. You are making a gratuitous distinction without a difference here.

The relevance is that machine intelligence has neither consciousness or will, only function. Humans and other animals have functionality that acts through the medium of consciousness and will (the urge or prompt to act).

Some feel that because they are making conscious, willed, decisions that this is free will at work. Machined cannot think consciously nor do they have will. Which is relevant for that definition of free will, making conscious decisions.

I don't know where you are getting any of this. Nobody has said that robots have consciousness or free will here. Free will is a matter of interest, i.e. a research topic, in AI, because it is necessary for robots to operate autonomously under uncertain conditions--the same as humans. You appeared to be saying that we could not engineer mechanical systems with consciousness or free will, but now you seem confused about whether the issue was over mechanical systems having those functions today, which is utterly absurd. There is no reason to believe that artificial mechanical systems could not someday be engineered that would have consciousness and other mental functions, just like biologically evolved mechanical systems do now. I hope that this clears up the confusion for you.

Compatibilism of course defines free will as acting in accordance to ones will, which is in contrast to non biological mechanical intelligence which has neither consciousness or will, but is able to produce determinations and unimpeded actions based on its determinations.

The significance of all this has been explained numerous times, and I'm tired of repeating.

Perhaps you wouldn't be repeating yourself if you had given more thought to what I was actually saying about that subject.

It is a topic of interest in AI, however as far as I know, AI has yet to achieve consciousness or will.

I thought that that would be obvious to you. Did you think I was trying to claim that AI had achieved that level of development? Maybe you have been exposed to too many science fiction movies and stories. :)

Anyway, it does seem that we aren't really engaging in a discussion anymore, since you seem to be responding to positions that you think I take but that I have not taken. You can repeat that you think free will is an illusion, because you insist that the concept must ultimately mean freedom from causal necessity, and it doesn't matter if others try to disabuse you of that notion. My position is that "free will" means what speakers of English think it means, and causal necessity has nothing to do with what they think it is. In fact, people do seem to believe quite strongly that future outcome will be determined by factors that they may be unaware of, so they base their choices on their best calculation of how the future will unfold. That is really easy to understand, I think, but you can, and likely will, continue to cling to the idea that free will only makes sense if it is freedom from causal necessity. So I'll leave you to continue the discussion with others.
 

DBT

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Common usage does not account for the physics of determinism, only surface appearance.
You're confirming what I said. When you talk about 'choice', you're not talking about about the same thing as the rest of us.

You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
 

DBT

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;


Principle 1.
The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.
 

The AntiChris

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You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
No. I didn't miss anything.

I've been talking about your use of the word "choice". You've changed the subject.
 

The AntiChris

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;


Principle 1.
The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.

Your response doesn't seem to bear any relationship the the question asked.
 

DBT

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Cause and effect (causal determinism) is the power.

Nope. Concepts do not possess any powers. You are once again suggesting that causal necessity as an agent exercising control over the actual objects and forces that make up the actual universe. The reason I keep pointing this out is that you and I happen to be actual objects within the actual universe.

No need to repeat what you say, you seem to be missngi the point. 'Power' in this instance is more a matter of information, energy and 'work' in the scientific sense.

You don't need to use the word 'power,' we are talking about the deterministic interaction of matter/energy objects, physics; how thing interact in a determined world.

Once again, events are not being forced by some external power, interactions are determined by the properties of the objects, animals. plants, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, solar energy and so on.


If I toss a rock off a cliff, it will be the force of gravity that causally necessitates that the rock will fall downward. It will not be causal necessity that exerts power over the rock. It will be the power of gravity that is causing the falling.

In the same fashion, it will be my own power to lift the rock, and toss it over the cliff, that causally necessitates that the rock will have a long journey to the base of the cliff.

It is the nature of Gravity that 'necessitates' the motion/acceleration of falling objects, the atmosphere creates drag. How long the object is in motion is determined by a number of factors, height, drag, terminal velocity, etc.....


Cause is an effect and effect becomes cause.

Yes. Prior events caused me, and now I myself can cause new events.

What you do is determined by prior events. You have no possible alternative. You do precisely what is determined. The nature of determinism is that you do not have the freedom to deviate or choose to do something else. Consequently, you have no free will. You do have will. You can act according to your will, but you do so necessarily.

Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Physics describes what is happening in physical terms. But Physics is not a power that "shapes or forms" anything. Physics describes gravity and inertia, but physics is not gravity or inertia.

Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I pick up the rock. Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I toss the rock over the side of the cliff.

But physics cannot lift the rock or toss the rock. Only I can do that. Physics has no power to actually do anything.

And when it comes to describing why I happened to pick up and toss the rock, Physics is at a complete loss. It must hand off those questions to Biology and Psychology.

The physics of your brain determines what you see, feel, think and do. The physics of your body obeys the commands of the physics of your brain as you carry out your actions.


Principle 1.
'The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems (such as face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation). Over evolutionary time, its circuits were cumulatively added because they "reasoned" or "processed information" in a way that enhanced the adaptive regulation of behavior and physiology.

Realizing that the function of the brain is information-processing has allowed cognitive scientists to resolve (at least one version of) the mind/body problem. For cognitive scientists, brain and mind are terms that refer to the same system, which can be described in two complementary ways -- either in terms of its physical properties (the brain), or in terms of its information-processing operation (the mind). The physical organization of the brain evolved because that physical organization brought about certain information-processing relationships -- ones that were adaptive.''

It is important to realize that our circuits weren't designed to solve just any old kind of problem. They were designed to solve adaptive problems.''


Again, determinism is not an agent with its own agenda and the power to enforce it.

Nobody said it was.

Hello, Sam Harris. Sam, be a dear, and explain to us who or what decided what I would have for breakfast this morning. If it was not me (with all my prior causes), then who was it?

Sure, it was all the prior causes that brought you to the breakfast table, causes that act upon your system, your brain, which processes its inputs and produces conscious experience, thoughts and deliberations as a means of interacting with your environment in order to meet your needs and wants....which is determined milliseconds before you are aware of the 'decision' you/the brain makes.

Which means that Sam Harris is essentially correct in what he says.

Moreover;
''If free will does not generate movement, what does? Movement generation seems to come largely from the primary motor cortex, and its input comes primarily from premotor cortices, parts of the frontal lobe just in front of the primary motor cortex.

The premotor cortices receive input from most of the brain, especially the sensory cortices (which process information from our senses), limbic cortices (the emotional part of the brain), and the prefrontal cortex (which handles many cognitive processes).

If the inputs from various neurons “compete,” eventually one input wins, leading to a final behavior. For example, take the case of saccadic eye movements, quick target-directed eye movements.

Adding even a small amount of electrical stimulation in different small brain areas can lead to a monkey's making eye movements in a different direction than might have been expected on the basis of simultaneous visual cues.4

In general, the more we know about the various influences on the motor cortex, the better we can predict what a person will do.
 

DBT

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You must have missed the bit about necessitated choice, which is not free choice, which in turn is not free will.
No. I didn't miss anything.

I've been talking about your use of the word "choice". You've changed the subject.

Again. 'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication. Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions, the options that appear available to us are an illusion formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''
 

pood

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;

Principle 1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.

But you have not addressed what I said at all. I am not asking you to describe how you think the brain works.The question I am asking, which thus far you have glossed over at best, is why you think evolution gave us brains that seem to evaluate among multiple options and then choose the one that seems best, if all this is an illusion. There must have been a rather vast number of selective pressures over many generations to produce a brain that doesn’t actually do what it seems to do! Also, you keep repeating the claim that the brain is a computer. So far as I know — perhaps I missed it — you did not address the rather detailed article I posted arguing that the brain is NOT a computer, and that it takes active steps in constructing reality and choosing among options.
 

Jarhyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

We're we to make the same decisions the same things would happen. Yet we are not bound to.
 
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... You don't need to use the word 'power,'

You introduced the word "power" in the material you quoted. Remember this nugget?
1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated
2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers
3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powers

It had never come up in our discussion until you brought it to the table.

... we are talking about the deterministic interaction of matter/energy objects, physics; how thing interact in a determined world.

Right. This is more commonly known as simple "cause and effect". Evolution over time caused humans like you and me to eventually appear on the Earth. So, there are prior causes of you and me. I pick up a rock and toss it off the cliff, causing the rock to fall to the bottom of the cliff. So, now that I'm here, I get to be the cause new events.

Once again, events are not being forced by some external power, interactions are determined by the properties of the objects, animals. plants, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, solar energy and so on.

And one of my properties is the ability to choose whether to toss the rock off the cliff, or just drop it back on the ground, without throwing it anywhere.

It is the nature of Gravity that 'necessitates' the motion/acceleration of falling objects, the atmosphere creates drag. How long the object is in motion is determined by a number of factors, height, drag, terminal velocity, etc.....

Yes. I caused the rock to be in a position where nothing would stop it from falling to the bottom of the cliff.
But gravity actually caused the falling, after I tossed the rock off the cliff by my own choice.
That's how things work. Simple cause and effect.

What you do is determined by prior events.

Which prior events did you have in mind? Did the Big Bang cause me to toss the rock off the cliff? How about the War of 1812?

There are an infinite number of prior causes to choose from. But which prior causes were the most meaningful and relevant prior causes?

Suppose, that rock, that I tossed off the cliff, killed someone on the beach below? What can be done to prevent this from happening again? Can we alter the Big Bang? Can we change who won the War of 1812?

Do you see the problem, yet?

You have no possible alternative. You do precisely what is determined.

Okay, so people who drop rocks off a bridge onto cars below, resulting in the driver's death, are irrelevant. After all, the Big Bang caused that death, and there's nothing that can be done about the Big Bang. So, we should just accept this as something that inevitably will happen. Is that your position?

The nature of determinism is that you do not have the freedom to deviate or choose to do something else.

That is not the nature of determinism. The nature of determinism is that we will necessarily encounter events in which we must make a choice. Our choice will determine our action. Our action will determine what happens next. If what happens next causes harm to someone, then we will be held responsible for our actions, and will be subject to correction, because it was our own deliberation that caused the choice that set our intent upon doing that action. Our deliberation was the meaningful and relevant cause of the event. That is how determinism works.

Consequently, you have no free will.

Nope. You still have the ability to choose for yourself what you will do. That ability was causally necessitated by a long history of our evolution, a prior cause of us.

You do have will. You can act according to your will, but you do so necessarily.

When we are uncertain as to what is the best thing to do, we consider different things we can do, and then choose from them what we will do.

Physics, the nature of matter/energy and progression of determined events is the power that shapes and forms our being, our thoughts and actions.

Physics describes what is happening in physical terms. But Physics is not a power that "shapes or forms" anything. Physics describes gravity and inertia, but physics is not gravity or inertia.

Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I pick up the rock. Physics can describe the power that I exercise when I toss the rock over the side of the cliff.

But physics cannot lift the rock or toss the rock. Only I can do that. Physics has no power to actually do anything.

And when it comes to describing why I happened to pick up and toss the rock, Physics is at a complete loss. It must hand off those questions to Biology and Psychology.


WTF?! I went to the trouble of finding the valid link to the article for you and now you post the same outdated link that takes us to a 404 error again?

Be a little more careful when you cut-n-paste, please.

Hello, Sam Harris. Sam, be a dear, and explain to us who or what decided what I would have for breakfast this morning. If it was not me (with all my prior causes), then who was it?
Sure, it was all the prior causes that brought you to the breakfast table, causes that act upon your system,

Well, I'm standing in the kitchen, alone, so where should I look to find those prior causes? There is only one place, they are now a part of who and what I am. Therefore, it is actually I, myself, that is doing the choosing. It is precisely what it looks like.


your brain, which processes its inputs and produces conscious experience, thoughts and deliberations as a means of interacting with your environment in order to meet your needs and wants....which is determined milliseconds before you are aware of the 'decision' you/the brain makes.

Yeah, we've been over the brain now quite a bit. We agree that for simple decisions, especially habitual decisions, there is very little thought that goes into it. But you seem to ignore the fact that our significant decisions, especially those that we may need to explain later, will involve conscious deliberation up front.

Which means that Sam Harris is essentially correct in what he says.

Moreover;

Another bum 404 link. I think many organizations modify their web pages over time. It might be helpful if you would test your URLs and update them before posting if needed.
 
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'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication.

Choice in relation to determinism is exactly what it always has been. Choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. Choosing is an empirical event. The word "choosing" refers to the event. The word "choice" refers to the output of this event, but is also used to refer to the options, because they are our possible choices.

A figure of speech of would be saying something like, "Because the choice is inevitable, it is AS IF choosing never happened". That is a figurative statement. And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. Choosing does happen and we do it.

Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

Nope. Only one will be realized. You are conflating what "will" happen with what "can" happen. Every option that can be realized if we choose to realize it, is something that can happen. But only the option that we choose will happen.

Every time a choosing event appears in the causal chain, there will be at least two real possibilities, two things that we can choose, two things that can be realized.

What can happen constrains what will happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what will happen never constrains what can happen. What can happen is only constrained by our imagination and our ability to carry out the option if we choose it.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

You mean from a perspective limited to all of the meaningful and relevant facts. And, that's a pretty good perspective to have.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions,

False! Determinism necessitates every alternate possibility! All of the alternate options will necessarily occur to us, as soon as we open the restaurant menu. All of the events are always causally necessary, all of the time.

the options that appear available to us are an illusion

Look at the menu! Are you experiencing an illusion? Yes or no?

formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

And, sure enough, the menu is right there in front of you, fixed as a matter of natural law.
 

Copernicus

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A hard determinist takes the position that the future is fixed and determined by past events. So there will only ever be one choice that can happen, and it is the one that will happen. That is why I have insisted that one needs to distinguish between choices actually made in reality and those that will be made in the agent's imagination. When the choice is being made, alternative possibilities only exist in the mind of the agent, not reality. At some point, the "choice" stops being an imagined one and actually becomes a real one.

Reality is something entirely different, because future outcomes can never be certain. The only thing an agent can know is what possible future outcomes could happen. So free will only exists in the mind. It is a subjective experience, i.e. something that only has existence as a mental construct. And this is where the debate becomes tricky, because eliminative materialists take the position that mental constructs are illusions and therefore dismissible.

It is almost impossible to shake them from that position, even though they themselves actually treat these "illusions" seriously. They can deny that pain is ultimately real, but that doesn't mean that they will ignore pain. So about the only thing that one can do in the face of such self-delusion is let them go on their merry way. They aren't really hurting anyone, not even themselves. Sometimes people just get caught up in that kind of sophistry.
 

Jarhyn

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'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication.

Choice in relation to determinism is exactly what it always has been. Choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. Choosing is an empirical event. The word "choosing" refers to the event. The word "choice" refers to the output of this event, but is also used to refer to the options, because they are our possible choices.

A figure of speech of would be saying something like, "Because the choice is inevitable, it is AS IF choosing never happened". That is a figurative statement. And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. Choosing does happen and we do it.

Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

Nope. Only one will be realized. You are conflating what "will" happen with what "can" happen. Every option that can be realized if we choose to realize it, is something that can happen. But only the option that we choose will happen.

Every time a choosing event appears in the causal chain, there will be at least two real possibilities, two things that we can choose, two things that can be realized.

What can happen constrains what will happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what will happen never constrains what can happen. What can happen is only constrained by our imagination and our ability to carry out the option if we choose it.

From our limited perspective we see range of options before us and describe this as our choice.

You mean from a perspective limited to all of the meaningful and relevant facts. And, that's a pretty good perspective to have.

As determinism doesn't allow alternate actions,

False! Determinism necessitates every alternate possibility! All of the alternate options will necessarily occur to us, as soon as we open the restaurant menu. All of the events are always causally necessary, all of the time.

the options that appear available to us are an illusion

Look at the menu! Are you experiencing an illusion? Yes or no?

formed by limited perspective because the action that is taken must necessarily be fixed.... ''time t, and the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.''

And, sure enough, the menu is right there in front of you, fixed as a matter of natural law.
I don't think it's even necessary that only one choice will be realized.

Let's say I save my game. Whatever context I'm trying to make it through...

Last time I chose to go left.

This time, same problem, same decision, this time I go right.

In some it is the same choice chosen differently because the criterion of selection changed because... Another system is also making decisions and choices, one of which changes the context of the criterion process. It's choices all the way down, excepting that there is in all of this the actual decision being examined, whatever that may be, and this decision is the exercise of it's local state against the incoming message.

If I stab the goblin in the chest, rather than the knee, it will bite my face rather than grappling my toe. It is still exercising it's free will to react.

I would be robbing it of free will to bite me, though, to remove it's ability to bite by knocking out all it's teeth with the butt of my spear. At that point it has fewer choices to make at all.

If I chop off it's hands it has fewer still choices. It can no longer grapple me at all.

If I chop it's head clear off and send the severed part flying in an arc, it's agency ceases to function. It will no longer be probed to functionally process a series of choices.

In some ways It was for the best. It was in an army headed for a nearby town. And there was an army with it.

Key word: was.

It was inevitable.

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

fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Perhaps DBT will address my earlier oft-repeated question of why evolution selected for complex, extremely energy intensive brains that can evaluate and choose when all of that is simply an illusion and we are no different from rocks rolling down hills.


I have, it has been explained, studies, quotes and references provided in abundance....but it appears that rather than read and consider what has been provided and explained over and over, you just repeat the question.

Basically;

Principle 1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.

But you have not addressed what I said at all. I am not asking you to describe how you think the brain works.The question I am asking, which thus far you have glossed over at best, is why you think evolution gave us brains that seem to evaluate among multiple options and then choose the one that seems best, if all this is an illusion. There must have been a rather vast number of selective pressures over many generations to produce a brain that doesn’t actually do what it seems to do! Also, you keep repeating the claim that the brain is a computer. So far as I know — perhaps I missed it — you did not address the rather detailed article I posted arguing that the brain is NOT a computer, and that it takes active steps in constructing reality and choosing among options.

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

Again, the basics of evolutionary biology;


Principle 1.
The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.

'The brain is a physical system whose operation is governed solely by the laws of chemistry and physics. What does this mean? It means that all of your thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings are produced by chemical reactions going on in your head (a sobering thought). The brain's function is to process information. In other words, it is a computer that is made of organic (carbon-based) compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain is comprised of cells: primarily neurons and their supporting structures. Neurons are cells that are specialized for the transmission of information. Electrochemical reactions cause neurons to fire.

Neurons are connected to one another in a highly organized way. One can think of these connections as circuits -- just like a computer has circuits. These circuits determine how the brain processes information, just as the circuits in your computer determine how it processes information. Neural circuits in your brain are connected to sets of neurons that run throughout your body. Some of these neurons are connected to sensory receptors, such as the retina of your eye. Others are connected to your muscles. Sensory receptors are cells that are specialized for gathering information from the outer world and from other parts of the body. (You can feel your stomach churn because there are sensory receptors on it, but you cannot feel your spleen, which lacks them.) Sensory receptors are connected to neurons that transmit this information to your brain. Other neurons send information from your brain to motor neurons. Motor neurons are connected to your muscles; they cause your muscles to move. This movement is what we call behavior.

In other words, the reason we have one set of circuits rather than another is that the circuits that we have were better at solving problems that our ancestors faced during our species' evolutionary history than alternative circuits were. The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems (such as face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation). Over evolutionary time, its circuits were cumulatively added because they "reasoned" or "processed information" in a way that enhanced the adaptive regulation of behavior and physiology.''


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

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A hard determinist takes the position that the future is fixed and determined by past events. So there will only ever be one choice that can happen, and it is the one that will happen. That is why I have insisted that one needs to distinguish between choices actually made in reality and those that will be made in the agent's imagination. When the choice is being made, alternative possibilities only exist in the mind of the agent, not reality. At some point, the "choice" stops being an imagined one and actually becomes a real one.

Reality is something entirely different, because future outcomes can never be certain. The only thing an agent can know is what possible future outcomes could happen. So free will only exists in the mind. It is a subjective experience, i.e. something that only has existence as a mental construct. And this is where the debate becomes tricky, because eliminative materialists take the position that mental constructs are illusions and therefore dismissible.

It is almost impossible to shake them from that position, even though they themselves actually treat these "illusions" seriously. They can deny that pain is ultimately real, but that doesn't mean that they will ignore pain. So about the only thing that one can do in the face of such self-delusion is let them go on their merry way. They aren't really hurting anyone, not even themselves. Sometimes people just get caught up in that kind of sophistry.

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

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

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

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

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

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

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

Jarhyn

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

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

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

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

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

DBT

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'Choice' in relation to determinism is just a figure of speech/communication.

Choice in relation to determinism is exactly what it always has been. Choosing is an operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice. Choosing is an empirical event. The word "choosing" refers to the event. The word "choice" refers to the output of this event, but is also used to refer to the options, because they are our possible choices.

A figure of speech of would be saying something like, "Because the choice is inevitable, it is AS IF choosing never happened". That is a figurative statement. And, like all figurative statements, it is literally (actually, objectively, empirically) false. Choosing does happen and we do it.

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

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

Function is not willed.

No alternate actions are possible.

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


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

Multiple options exist, but only one can be realized by someone in any given instance in time.

Nope. Only one will be realized. You are conflating what "will" happen with what "can" happen. Every option that can be realized if we choose to realize it, is something that can happen. But only the option that we choose will happen.

Every time a choosing event appears in the causal chain, there will be at least two real possibilities, two things that we can choose, two things that can be realized.

What can happen constrains what will happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what will happen never constrains what can happen. What can happen is only constrained by our imagination and our ability to carry out the option if we choose it.

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


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


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


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

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

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

DBT

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It was inevitable.

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

Exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's not that complicated.


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

The AntiChris

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

"respond according to" clearly implies that more than one possible response is available. This seams to contradict what you've been saying. :shrug:
 
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A hard determinist takes the position that the future is fixed and determined by past events. So there will only ever be one choice that can happen, and it is the one that will happen. That is why I have insisted that one needs to distinguish between choices actually made in reality and those that will be made in the agent's imagination. When the choice is being made, alternative possibilities only exist in the mind of the agent, not reality. At some point, the "choice" stops being an imagined one and actually becomes a real one.

Reality is something entirely different, because future outcomes can never be certain. The only thing an agent can know is what possible future outcomes could happen. So free will only exists in the mind. It is a subjective experience, i.e. something that only has existence as a mental construct. And this is where the debate becomes tricky, because eliminative materialists take the position that mental constructs are illusions and therefore dismissible.

It is almost impossible to shake them from that position, even though they themselves actually treat these "illusions" seriously. They can deny that pain is ultimately real, but that doesn't mean that they will ignore pain. So about the only thing that one can do in the face of such self-delusion is let them go on their merry way. They aren't really hurting anyone, not even themselves. Sometimes people just get caught up in that kind of sophistry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A hard determinist takes the position that the future is fixed and determined by past events. So there will only ever be one choice that can happen, and it is the one that will happen.

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

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

But then you yourself write:


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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DBT,

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

The AntiChris

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

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

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

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

But then you yourself write:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pood

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

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

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

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


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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

It is precisely because x does y, because he wants to given a specified set of antecedent circumstances, that his act is freely willed.
 
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... Yet it is how the brain functions within a deterministic system that determines whether we have something we can call 'free will.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nor does a carefully crafted definition.

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

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

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

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

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

Function is not willed.

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

No alternate actions are possible.

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

Freedom by definition demands regulative control ...

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

and to be free from necessity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nor does a carefully crafted definition.

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

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

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

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

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

Function is not willed.

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

No alternate actions are possible.

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

Freedom by definition demands regulative control ...

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

and to be free from necessity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

The evaluation process itself is determined.

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

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


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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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


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

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

The AntiChris

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

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

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

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

pood

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

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

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

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


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

DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Again, you are describing hard determinism, not determinism.

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

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

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

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


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


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

pood

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

pood

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

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

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

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

And so on.

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

Hopefully the point Carroll makes is clear: don’t confuse or conflate levels of description.
 
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The evaluation process itself is determined. You guys appear to believe in some sort of special exemption from determinism....that 'evaluation' somehow, inexplicably, operates outside of a determined system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It cannot be used to excuse any behavior, because if it excuses one thing then it excuses everything. If it excuses the thief then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand, or the mob that strings him up. It excuses revenge and retribution and torture.
 
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By the given definition of determinism, the possibility of alternate action cannot exist, not for a moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One cannot bend events according to will.

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

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

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

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

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

fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm calling you out.
 

Jarhyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copernicus

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

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

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

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

And so on.

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

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

fromderinside

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

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

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

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

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

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

The compatibilist says "I have choices".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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