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Free Will Debate
#31
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm)Jehanne Wrote:
(November 24, 2021 at 11:48 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: But we’re all in the same frame of reference regarding the Does-free-will-exist question. Expecting that to determine the answers is like expecting the rats in a maze to have a confab as to the meaning of the experiment. It’s not possible for us to determine if we’re even in the maze at all. It would take a rat standing outside the maze to make that realization.

Boru

They are actually aware of what is going on:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_C._Tolman

‘Aware of what is going on’ isn’t remotely the same as understanding the meaning of the experiment, and learning to run a maze isn’t the same as free will.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#32
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 4:22 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: If free will exists, I'm not sure how we could prove it. I mean, when I'm thinking about what to cook for supper and we wind up having haddock, it certainly feels as though it was a freely made decision. On the other hand, it's not implausible that the concatenation of every event, major and minor, since the instantiation of the universe, made haddock for supper on 24 November 2021 an immutable, unavoidable event.

It appears that the only possible way to prove or disprove free will would to be observe actions from an outside frame of reference. Good luck with that.

Boru

I think there is a general confusion between unpredictable Will and free will.   Most argument for existence of free will seem to boils down to the formulation of Will may involve processes whose outcome can not even in theory to predicted a priori. 

But how does that make the resulting will free?
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#33
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 2:18 pm)Anomalocaris Wrote:
(November 24, 2021 at 4:22 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: If free will exists, I'm not sure how we could prove it. I mean, when I'm thinking about what to cook for supper and we wind up having haddock, it certainly feels as though it was a freely made decision. On the other hand, it's not implausible that the concatenation of every event, major and minor, since the instantiation of the universe, made haddock for supper on 24 November 2021 an immutable, unavoidable event.

It appears that the only possible way to prove or disprove free will would to be observe actions from an outside frame of reference. Good luck with that.

Boru

I think there is a general confusion between unpredictable Will and free will.   Most argument for existence of free will seem to boils down to the formulation of Will may involve processes whose outcome can not even in theory to predicted a priori. 

But how does that make the resulting will free?

It doesn’t. We have no way to tell if any event - from tying a shoelace to dropping atomic bombs - is a willed event or a pre-determined one.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#34
RE: Free Will Debate
Idk Brian, it seems like we’ve figured out whether a whole bunch of what people do is freely willed or not. We don’t freely will our hearts to beat, we do t freely will to breath, we don’t freely will our base apprehensions, we don’t freely will our tastes, or our beliefs. We don’t even freely will to think.

I think it’s unclear where or what happens when the product of all of this involuntary operation becomes free, or in what sense it’s supposed to be free when we discuss the idea of free will.

It’s equally unclear why we should consider ourselves some sort of black box immune to investigation or observation.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#35
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 3:24 pm)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Idk Brian, it seems like we’ve figured out whether a whole bunch of what people do is freely willed or not.  We don’t freely will our hearts to beat, we do t freely will to breath, we don’t freely will our base apprehensions, we don’t freely will our tastes, or our beliefs.  We don’t even freely will to think.

I think it’s unclear where or what happens when the product of all of this involuntary operation becomes free, or in what sense it’s supposed to be free when we discuss the idea of free will.

It’s equally unclear why we should consider ourselves some sort of black box immune to investigation or observation.

There is undoubtedly a deep seated fear that admitting we our thoughts are a fundamentally undistinguished part of the comprehensible processes of the world that can be observed, understood, predicted and manipulated much like the steam in a steam engine would encourages the thought and desire analysis that could ultimately lead to such understanding of it as to provide for the final subjection of individual thought to outside control and management.    Asserting Will is free and thus not subject to such investigation wmd control seems like a way to retarding and hopefully stopping progress towards developing such understanding of will as to allow it to be predicted and managed.  

In truth, much of our concept of a free society is founded on similar strategy of freedom through ignorance or at least fact evasion applied to many areas.     The problem with freedom through ignorance is one can never always keep everyone equally ignorant, and those who make themselves less ignorant than the general standard of ignorance expected out of society becomes particularly able to menipulated the society for their own benefit at the cost to others.
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#36
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 3:24 pm)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Idk Brian, it seems like we’ve figured out whether a whole bunch of what people do is freely willed or not.  We don’t freely will our hearts to beat, we do t freely will to breath, we don’t freely will our base apprehensions, we don’t freely will our tastes, or our beliefs.  We don’t even freely will to think.

I think it’s unclear where or what happens when the product of all of this involuntary operation becomes free, or in what sense it’s supposed to be free when we discuss the idea of free will.

It’s equally unclear why we should consider ourselves some sort of black box immune to investigation or observation.

How would you determine if these investigations and observations are free or deterministic?

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#37
RE: Free Will Debate
Im not sure I understand? The question is whether the thing being observed is a or b. We tend to allow that the instruments we use have no free will whatsoever. A machine designed to detect free will would not need free will to do so, but it not having free will doesn’t speak to whether or not we, or more broadly what it’s observing, do.

Maybe I’m just easy this way- but if person a contends that we have free will and use it to x…and when we go looking it turns out to be involuntary, I’d call the issue settled.

Here’s something that might clear up my confusion- when you ask how we can know that a thing being observed is deterministic or free willed, are you asking me about fatalism, more properly, as you used the term to describe before- where, since the dawn of time, everything conspired to force your choosing haddock is a given?

I ask because environmental factors to decisions are a known known- but I assume that whatever free will is supposed to be it’s contained within the subset of our actions that are self caused. Some of which contended to be free in some way.

If you only had haddock (due to environmental factors) then it would be unremarkable -that- you chose the haddock… but we’d still be looking at the same question.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#38
RE: Free Will Debate
(November 24, 2021 at 3:58 pm)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Im not sure I understand?  The question is whether the thing being observed is a or b.  We tend to allow that the instruments we use have no free will whatsoever.  A machine designed to detect free will would not need free will to do so,  but it not having free will doesn’t speak to whether or not we, or more broadly what it’s observing, do.

Maybe I’m just easy this way- but if person a contends that we have free will and use it to x…and when we go looking it turns out to be involuntary, I’d call the issue settled.

That’s the point - you can’t tell if an action is involuntary or not. I’m talking about ostensibly ‘free’ actions (no one seriously contends that an involuntary heartbeat negates freewill).

Limiting the discussion to events that are actually germane to the topic, let’s say that on a particular day at a particular time, you go to the market for orange juice. There are two OJ options available, and you choose B.

How do you determine if your trip to that shop, on that day, at that time, and the return  home with that juice were actually free choices, or just the universe continuing to unfold in a deterministic fashion? These might certainly feel like free choices, but that feeling might simply be what you were always going to feel in that set of circumstances. There simply doesn’t seem to be a way to investigate it.

_______

It may indeed be fatalism. But - again - how can we determine that ANY actions are self-caused?

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#39
RE: Free Will Debate
I do t feel the same way a lot of people do. I’m extremely aware of how a great many of my decisions are in no sense freely made- right down to why I buy orange juice and pick orange juice given a range of selections.

If a person told me that they freely willed their orange juice, I’d think ..well…that makes one of us.

I don’t personally think that the evidence we have suggests, implies, or proves a fatalistic universe..but it does seem to strongly suggest a deterministic one., at least at our level of interaction.

Meanwhile, the alternative of an uncaused universe excludes free will ( or any subset of self cause) by default.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#40
RE: Free Will Debate
I think it is helpful in talking about free will to have some examples where we would definitely say that there is no free will and other cases where we are more likely to say that there is. Since free will seems to be about making choices, I will focus on that aspect of things.

As a first example, suppose that I step/am pushed/or otherwise exit a flying airplane well above the ground. At that point I do NOT have the 'choice' to not fall. Even if I *really* want to not fall, the inevitable fact will be that I will fall. I simply do not have 'free will' to choose to not fall.

On the other hand, taking the example above, if I am in a grocery store, I can choose to but one brand of OJ over another. But what does it mean to say that choice is 'free'? does it mean that in spite of all my experiences, preferences, and all other variables, I *could* choose the other brand? But why would I? If my experiences, preferences, and tastes are not enough to make a free choice in line with them, what is the value of 'free will'? At that point, it doesn't sound, to me, like a 'free' choice, but rather that it is an arbitrary choice.

Going further, I would say that the choice is *mine* if the primary determiners of the outcome are, in fact, my preferences, my experiences, my emotions, and my internal state as opposed to something external to me being the primary causal factor for the following events (as it would be for falling from a plane). And having 'free will' would mean that the choice was *mine* in that sense.

What bothers people about this notion of free will is that those preferences, emotions, and experiences might be determined in ways that 'don't involve me'. but, of course, the fact that I have certain preferences is, at least partially, determined by my past experiences and my reactions to those past experiences. That also seems perfectly good and reasonable. I would not want to have my preferences NOT determined by my past experiences and reactions! That would seem to be very 'un-free'!

Ultimately, this seems to be compatible with determinism and materialism. The choices are *mine*: they happen in my brain, based on my experiences, my memories, and my preferences. Those preferences are determined my my previous experiences and how I reacted to them. Even in a deterministic system, I *am* the one 'making choices', even if those choices are determined: they are determined by who I am and how I see the world.

Unless, of course, I jump out of an airplane without a parachute.
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