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Imagining "Indeterminism"

DBT

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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.

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

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

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

DBT

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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.


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

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

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


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

DBT

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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.


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

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


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

DBT

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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.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

The AntiChris

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

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

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

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

Jarhyn

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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.
Actually, humans sample events via devices that only sense what is material, a result of quantum mechanic translations in our world. Statistics can be applied to material observations. Neural processes conduct statistical operations resulting in material perceptions. Now if you want to pile on more layers calling human a priori predictions material then you need to show how that is done.

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

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

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

The existence of choice does not depend on QM.

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actions are fixed regardless of external elements acting upon us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determinism by definition means fixed actions and fixed outcomes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may not have a gun at your head, yet you have no control over what goes on inside your head to produce your thoughts and actions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pood

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DBT,

Once again, you conflate determinism with hard determinism. Determinism is the verified, empirical observation that effects reliably follow causes; i.e. David Hume’s “constant conjunction” formulation.

Hard determinism is an inference from determinism, which requires justification. And yet even your own definition of hard determinism (which you erroneously call determinism) is inaccurate to your own purposes. I realize you are getting these definitions from others, some of whom are noted philosophers etc., yet their credentials don’t stop them from being wrong. Another label for hard determinism might be predeterminism.

You keep saying the future is “fixed” as a matter of natural law. As I have previously pointed out, this definition does not suit your purposes because “fixity” doesn’t imply fatalism or predeterminism. Of course the whole history of the world is fixed! But what fixes it, or what is fixing it? In part, human free will helps fix the historical record.

What you really need to be saying is something like, “natural law, in conjunction with antecedent events, entails all future events, including human acts.” The word “entails” captures much more precisely what you are arguing for, than the word “fixes.”

As it happens, of course, natural law entails nothing of the kind, because, as both Marvin and I have noted, natural law is not PREscriptive, it is DEscriptive. What we call “natural law” takes it truth from the way the world is, and not the other way around —that the way the world is, takes its truth from natural law, as you assume. Once “natural law” is properly defined, as Norman Swartz has noted, the supposed conflict between determinism and free will cannot even be coherently formulated. Swartz doesn’t even call his position compatibilism, because he says saying that determinism is compatible with free would be as odd and superfluous as saying that noses are compatible with itches. The opposite of determinism is not free will — the opposite is INdeterminism.

I await your long-sought explanation of why evolution favored brains that remember, foresee, evaluate, ponder and choose, when according to you, all these abilities are illusions. Note again I am not asking for a functionalist account of neurons firing, etc. I am asking you to explain how these illusions, as you would have them, increase population fitness. I continue to argue that if hard determinism were true, complex brains would be useless, and we would all be philosophical zombies carrying out a pre-programmed subroutine with no conscious awareness, because such awareness would be utterly useless in such a world and hence would not be favored by natural selection.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The issue is simply the question of freedom within a determined system.

Yes. And there are plenty of freedoms within a determined system so long as we do not create a logical paradox by trying to include "freedom from being within a determined system" among those freedoms!

Once we stop including logically impossible freedoms, we are still left with all of the logically possible freedoms, the freedoms that everyone enjoys every day. Like freedom of speech, or freedom from cruel or unusual punishments, or freedom to drive on the public roads, or freedom to decide for ourselves all of the millions of things that we may choose to do.

As long as we do not include silly things, like "freedom from causal necessity" or "freedom from ourselves" or "freedom from reality", etc., then we still find a cornucopia of freedoms to enjoy.

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

Yes. Assuming that the cage door is open, the bird can decide to stay in the cage or choose to fly away. He is free to choose to do either one. Whichever option he selects will, of course, have been causally necessary from any prior point in eternity. But, then again, what event is not? So, no worries there.

Its actions are necessitated unimpeded actions, the bird must necessarily act according to its will and its will is fixed by antecedents, so it cannot choose otherwise

The only meaningful and relevant antecedent was us opening the door of the cage. What the bird does next is up to the bird.

''the way things are at a time t and the way things go thereafter being fixed as a matter of natural law.''

What part of the bird's choosing to stay, or choosing to go, violates natural law? The bird is a natural, living organism. Whatever the bird does is compatible with its nature. Its nature is not an external force acting upon the bird. It is the bird itself, acting naturally.

The notion of the laws of nature "fixing" things is superstitious nonsense. The bird itself will either fly or wait around to see what his dinner will be. The behavior of the bird dictates the laws of nature.

''Wanting to do X is fully determined by these prior causes. "

Yes. But choosing to actually do X is determined by the chooser.

"Now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants, namely X. "

Well, that depends upon what they desire to do. The desire to have sex with a woman had best be constrained by something, otherwise it is rape. You know that, right?

At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate).

Nope. We ascribe free will only to species that are capable of imagining alternative options, evaluating these options, and then choosing for themselves what they will do. Animals that act upon instinct alone do not have free will.

Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.''

Morality is species specific. What is good for the lioness is bad for the antelope, and vice versa. And if a lion develops an appetite for human flesh, then she will be put down, like an incorrigible serial killer.

Cold comfort in Compatibilism

Actually, compatibilism is warm and comfy. You get your freedoms and your free will, and you also get reliable cause and effect which you can put to good use to attain the things you need. You no longer have to fear causal necessity or determinism. They're still around, but they have been defanged.
 

fromderinside

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

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

Do you deny that 'game theory' describes a real thing?
Do you agree that Determinism
is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states
If so then choice must be defined as events in the paradigm in which one imputes causality.

As for the rest, I've studied various evolutionary game paradigms, in every case the science comes down on the side of individual fitness. That means initial claims based on game theory requiring group, kin, or coevolutionary selection had to be modified to the point where they came back to the basic evolutionary game of individual fitness whether individual or a single mother's genes defined the population.

Now in your game you can say anything you think your reader might comprehend. But scientifically you have to adhere to the statement quoted above in making that statement. So are you or are you not going to operationally define the elements (choice) relative to prior states.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Determined is not free.
If this were the case then nothing within a deterministic universe could be free.

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

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

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

It's not misleading. You just seem unwilling to contemplate the implications of determinism.

What is determined is not free to do otherwise. As pointed out, freedom of choice demands the possibility to have done otherwise.

Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions. Without alternate actions there is no freedom of will.

Determined actions, of course proceed freely without impediment or restriction. The action is determined.

It's not hard to grasp. Will is necessitated by antecedents, related actions proceed without restriction or restraint. Labelling necessitated will and related actions as 'free will' doesn't represent determined will or any determined action that follow.

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

DBT

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DBT,

Once again, you conflate determinism with hard determinism. Determinism is the verified, empirical observation that effects reliably follow causes; i.e. David Hume’s “constant conjunction” formulation.

No, I don't. The definition of determinism is exactly the same for both sides of the debate. Freedom of will simply rests on the definition of free will given by compatibilism.

I do nothing more than point out why the compatibilist definition of free will fails to prove its proposition.

Which is essentially because compatibilism is founded upon carefully selected terms and wording.

Terms and wording that do not represent cognition, brain state and function, social conditioning, the nature of decision making or motor action.

For instance;

Movement Intention After Parietal Cortex Stimulation in Humans;
''Parietal and premotor cortex regions are serious contenders for bringing motor intentions and motor responses into awareness. We used electrical stimulation in seven patients undergoing awake brain surgery.

Stimulating the right inferior parietal regions triggered a strong intention and desire to move the contralateral hand, arm, or foot, whereas stimulating the left inferior parietal region provoked the intention to move the lips and to talk.

When stimulation intensity was increased in parietal areas, participants believed they had really performed these movements, although no electromyographic activity was detected. Stimulation of the premotor region triggered overt mouth and contralateral limb movements.

Yet, patients firmly denied that they had moved. Conscious intention and motor awareness thus arise from increased parietal activity before movement execution.''
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
The issue is simply the question of freedom within a determined system.

Yes. And there are plenty of freedoms within a determined system so long as we do not create a logical paradox by trying to include "freedom from being within a determined system" among those freedoms!

There are plenty of common references to freedom that are not to the underlying nature of reality, a determined world. As pointed out, George swings his golf club freely, the bird flies freely, you are free to watch TV or read a book, says absolutely nothing about the nature of the mechanisms and means of these freely performed actions. \

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

Common language. You can say George acted according to his will, or you could say George acted according to his free will, but given the nature of cognition, the former is a more accurate description and the latter includes 'free' as a redundancy.





Once we stop including logically impossible freedoms, we are still left with all of the logically possible freedoms, the freedoms that everyone enjoys every day. Like freedom of speech, or freedom from cruel or unusual punishments, or freedom to drive on the public roads, or freedom to decide for ourselves all of the millions of things that we may choose to do.

As long as we do not include silly things, like "freedom from causal necessity" or "freedom from ourselves" or "freedom from reality", etc., then we still find a cornucopia of freedoms to enjoy.

The question of free will relates not to actions performed without coercion, but how will and action is produced. Determined actions are not coerced, proceed unimpeded, yet not freely willed.

Not freely willed because freedom is defined by absence of necessity, yet will is necessitated by nature. Will is not free to do otherwise. What it does is necessitated. In other words, we lack the right kind of control.

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




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

Yes. Assuming that the cage door is open, the bird can decide to stay in the cage or choose to fly away. He is free to choose to do either one. Whichever option he selects will, of course, have been causally necessary from any prior point in eternity. But, then again, what event is not? So, no worries there.

What the bird does is determined by countless factors the bird is not even aware of. More than likely, it is the birds instinct to fly that drives it to exist its cage and take wing. Its action is instinctive.

Its actions are necessitated unimpeded actions, the bird must necessarily act according to its will and its will is fixed by antecedents, so it cannot choose otherwise

The only meaningful and relevant antecedent was us opening the door of the cage. What the bird does next is up to the bird.

What the bird does basically depends on whether it's domesticated or wild. If domesticated, feeling at home, the bird is likely to stay. I say likely because there may be elements at work that an observer has no access to.

''the way things are at a time t and the way things go thereafter being fixed as a matter of natural law.''

What part of the bird's choosing to stay, or choosing to go, violates natural law? The bird is a natural, living organism. Whatever the bird does is compatible with its nature. Its nature is not an external force acting upon the bird. It is the bird itself, acting naturally.

What the bird does depends on what is going in its brain. The bird as a conscious entity has no awareness of what is going on its brain or what is driving its impulses or desires.


The notion of the laws of nature "fixing" things is superstitious nonsense. The bird itself will either fly or wait around to see what his dinner will be. The behavior of the bird dictates the laws of nature.

It's not just 'laws of nature,' but ''given a specified way things are at a time t'' - which means the causal relationship between the objects and events of the world.

In this instance, the bird's genetic makeup, brain state, past experience, circumstances, how long its been in the cage, how it got there, etc, etc...

Actually, compatibilism is warm and comfy. You get your freedoms and your free will, and you also get reliable cause and effect which you can put to good use to attain the things you need. You no longer have to fear causal necessity or determinism. They're still around, but they have been defanged.

I'm sure compatibilism is warm and comfy for its believers, but warm and comfy doesn't prove the proposition. Nor does its carefully selected terms and conditions that don't really relate to the means of action production;

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

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

Jarhyn

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

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

Do you deny that 'game theory' describes a real thing?
Do you agree that Determinism
is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states
If so then choice must be defined as events in the paradigm in which one imputes causality.

As for the rest, I've studied various evolutionary game paradigms, in every case the science comes down on the side of individual fitness. That means initial claims based on game theory requiring group, kin, or coevolutionary selection had to be modified to the point where they came back to the basic evolutionary game of individual fitness whether individual or a single mother's genes defined the population.

Now in your game you can say anything you think your reader might comprehend. But scientifically you have to adhere to the statement quoted above in making that statement. So are you or are you not going to operationally define the elements (choice) relative to prior states.
You are not understanding the meaning of 'game theory' here.

I am not talking "evolutionary game theory" as a discipline of philosophy though you clearly also do not understand where that has come in the last 10 years either:

I am talking about mathematical game theory, the math that, for instance, discusses "why can't FDI beat even a small child at Tic Tac Toe?"

We can get on to bigger applications like it's implications for ethics later.

I'm not going to respond further to this though on this side because it belongs to the other thread, on compatibilism.
 

The AntiChris

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

It's not misleading. You just seem unwilling to contemplate the implications of determinism.

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

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

pood

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

As pointed out, George swings his golf club freely, the bird flies freely, you are free to watch TV or read a book, says absolutely nothing about the nature of the mechanisms and means of these freely performed actions.

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

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

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

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

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

Common language. You can say George acted according to his will, or you could say George acted according to his free will, but given the nature of cognition, the former is a more accurate description and the latter includes 'free' as a redundancy.

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

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

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

The question of free will relates not to actions performed without coercion, but how will and action is produced. Determined actions are not coerced, proceed unimpeded, yet not freely willed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the bird does depends on what is going in its brain. The bird as a conscious entity has no awareness of what is going on its brain or what is driving its impulses or desires.

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

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

It's not just 'laws of nature,' but ''given a specified way things are at a time t'' - which means the causal relationship between the objects and events of the world. In this instance, the bird's genetic makeup, brain state, past experience, circumstances, how long its been in the cage, how it got there, etc, etc...

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

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

''It is unimportant whether one's resolutions and preferences occur because an ''ingenious physiologist'' has tampered with one's brain, whether they result from narcotics addiction, from ''hereditary factor, or indeed from nothing at all.''

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

Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states.

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

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

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

fromderinside

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

DBT

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

It's not misleading. You just seem unwilling to contemplate the implications of determinism.

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?
 

DBT

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

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

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

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

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


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

As pointed out, George swings his golf club freely, the bird flies freely, you are free to watch TV or read a book, says absolutely nothing about the nature of the mechanisms and means of these freely performed actions.

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

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

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

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

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

Definition of freedom

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determinism, by definition, does not allow alternate actions.

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

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

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

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

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

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

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry.
 

The AntiChris

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

"At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.''

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

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

You really have no idea.
 

DBT

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

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

Which premise is flawed and what is the flaw?

I think we've been through this before.

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

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

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

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

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

Which makes P1 a flawed premise.

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The action must be necessarily carried out as determined.

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

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

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

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

pood

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

Given determinism, the outcome is determined.

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

There goes any real choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

DBT

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DBT,

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


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

I have quoted and cited numerous articles on the subject.

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

It cannot be any other way.

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

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

It is the inner necessity that determines our actions.

The very necessity that negates freedom of will.

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

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

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

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

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

For example;

How Does the Brain Process Information?​

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

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

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

DBT

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The personal narrative​

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

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

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

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

DBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

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

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

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



Given determinism, the outcome is determined.

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

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

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

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

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

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


There goes any real choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nevertheless, no other outcome was possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Jarhyn

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DBT,

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The personal narrative​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If there isn't the system breaks.

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

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

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

And further...

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determinism by definition doesn't allow multiple possibilities.

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

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

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

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

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

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

There was never a possibility of an alternate choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

pood

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DBT,


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

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

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

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

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optimist
DBT,


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

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

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

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

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

Never get there with indeterminism.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
DBT,


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

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


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

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

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

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

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

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

Given determinism, what you choose is necessarily chosen, not freely chosen. That is the distinction set by the rules of determinism. All events are fixed by antecedents. Which rules out freedom of will, but allows actions to proceed freely as determined.


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

Determinism by definition doesn't allow multiple possibilities.

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

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

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

Given determinism, your freedom of choice is an illusion.

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

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

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



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

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


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

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


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


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

Freely performed actions do not equate to free will.

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

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

pood

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Oct 25, 2021
Messages
325
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
DBT,


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

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


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

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
506
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Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, your claim is false.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neither involves free will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
DBT,


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

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


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

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DBT

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ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Basic Beliefs
Faith is a form of self deception.
The compatibilist proposition is simply that free will is a meaningful concept within a deterministic world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, your claim is false.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

pood

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DBT,


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

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


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

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvin Edwards

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

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

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

Well, then you are not talking about determinism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determinism doesn't allow you an alternative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhetorical claims are dismissed.

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

Free will is clearly defined in P1: A freely chosen will is when someone chooses for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. If you have a different definition that you are willing to defend, then put it on the table. Otherwise, deal with P1, either refute it or concur with it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pood

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

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

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

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

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



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

DBT

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DBT,


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

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


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

Libets proposal of 'veto power' fails.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The evidence points to the Parietal Lobe;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unconscious activity is not freely willed activity.



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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Some of the issues being;

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

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