Free will

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Thinking critical
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Re: Free will

Post by Thinking critical » August 18th, 2018, 8:50 am

chewybrian wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 5:21 am
Am I misguided or are the facts in dispute? There is evidence pointing both ways about the nature of consciousness. However, the evidence pointing to determinism is only the belief that laws which can be shown to hold for other things must hold for consciousness, or that consciousness must be material simply because other things are. If it was, though, we should be able to define it as a physcical thing, and describe its' properties of mass, size, location and such; can you? And guess what? The laws of physics don't always hold, anyway!
For one, the opposite of freewill is not determinism, certainly not the determinism you are arguing against. You tend to be building up my position as a strawman then critique positions which I don't adhere to.
Secondly, it's not that science attempts to argue that consciousness is a physical thing in order to present its case by comparing it to the causal process described by physics, but more so, that the mind has a process, both inductive and reductive which enevidably leads to a will driven by reason.
What's your comfort level with an 85% fudge factor? 'They' (physicists, that is) guess that something like 85% of all matter is 'dark matter', which has never been seen or defined, because this is necessary for calculations to be consistent with the universe holding together in the way it does. Hmmmmm...this galaxy should be spinning apart but it's not. Well, we'll just add a little bit of dark matter here, and here...
Your religious driven criticism of science is completely irrelevant to the science itself and doesn't offer any value to a meaningful or insightful conversation of the subject. Dark matter is simply a place holder for the current gap in knowledge of our model of the Universe. I am fine with that, this is our science works, there will always be a new frontier awaiting to be better understood, once upon this same sort of criticism was directed at the Higgs particle, its was essentially a place holder to help explain how particles gained mass.
The fact that you feel the need to pretend you have a free will to get by in the world shows that you may be on the wrong track. You might call that a 100% fudge factor!
It's not that I pretend nor do I need to, it's that I just simply go through life without the need to to even cotemplate and concern myself over such arbitrary concepts such as freewill.
We draw from our previous experiences to help interpret the present, how we express the temporal experience of each moment is determined my the minds perception or reality. In other words, how the mind percieves external data in turn determines how we respond and react to it, the response/reaction is the mind experiencing the manifestation of knowledge.
There is no hard evidence being presented to you that 'requires' you to take the stance of determinism. You are rather taking a supposition as fact. The opposite supposition also fits the facts and leads to a better place, and most people choose that path of free will. If you choose instead to take that path of determinism, then you must fairly accept the conclusions that naturally follow, like the idea that nobody is accountable (morally) for their actions, or that self-determination is not possible. 'You' did not choose to play the guitar, but rather it was forced on you by circumstances. 'You' don't exist at all, in the sense that you can decide your own fate in the slightest degree.
Again you neec to abandon this deterministic approach you keep enforcing, it grows tiresome.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » August 18th, 2018, 11:14 am

Thinking critical wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 8:50 am
For one, the opposite of freewill is not determinism
Instead of stating your opinions as fact, why don't you take the next step and explain what you mean? Isn't my will either free to act on its own despite outside influences or fully determined by prior causes? What is the other option? (keeping in mind that I readily concede that there are many influences which push us to act in certain ways; I only deny they have 100% control).
Thinking critical wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 8:50 am
Your religious driven criticism of science is completely irrelevant to the science itself and doesn't offer any value to a meaningful or insightful conversation of the subject.
I have no religious basis upon which to act. You are perhaps assuming because there is some overlap of opinion on this issue that I must come from this perspective; I certainly did not claim this. Perhaps this is the same mistake you accuse me of making when combining denial of free will with determinism. I don't truthfully see another option, so maybe you can explain it to me. I could explain my belief in free will while remaining agnostic, if you'd like.
Thinking critical wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 8:50 am
Again you neec to abandon this deterministic approach you keep enforcing, it grows tiresome.
I don't see any other way to understand the issue. My free will may be an illusion, and all my actions determined by prior causes. Or, I may be free to act despite the influence of such causes. If this freedom amounts to 1% or 100%, I can't see that it matters. But, it surely does matter if it is there or not. Are you arguing for some form of compatibilism which works with determinism? If so, can you explain how this is possible? If you 100% don't believe in free will, then it seems some of the other things you've said don't match up with that view.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 20th, 2018, 1:01 pm

Free will cannot exist if the only world that exists is the physical world of cause and effect.

What do we use to exercise our free will? Our brain. Our brain is nothing more than a very sophisticated physical object with electrical impulses running through it. All physical. Completely subject to the physical and biological laws if this world. That brain cannot create freedom, self awareness, a non physical dimension or anything that is not completely a consequence of physical laws if the physical world is all that exists.

Now if our brain which we use to think and act is completely physical and completely subject to physical laws, then every one of our thoughts and actions must also be completely subject to those laws. Everyone of our thoughts or actions could theoretically be traced to some electrochemical process. Randomness and chaos theory is no help. Those are also physical processes beyond my control.

Free will means that I have some element of control beyond the restrictions of my chemical composition. It doesn't have to be and can't be complete control because we are physical beings and will therefore be constantly influenced by the physical.The only way that I can have free will not completely subject to the physical world is if there is another dimension in which I exist which is not the physical dimensions. If this dimension is outside of the cause and effect of the physical world, then I can have freedom to act without complete determinism of the physical laws.

I believe that this non-physical dimension exists and that it is the source of our ability to have free will.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » August 20th, 2018, 4:17 pm

Tommarcus:
One the other hand, consider the the causal world presents itself to a, call it a agent of decision making as a proposition. This has two "dimensions": on the one side are the options to act themselves, which would be the temptation to commit a crime, or take a risk to help someone, or really, just anything. The decision to tie one's shoe. ....But notice, what makes it a decision at all is that one has withdrawn from the immediacy of action. For one to decide, one has to take the position of holding options in view and endorsing one or the other. This implies distance between the deciding agency and the causal possibilities, and once this is accomplished, that is, the distance is established, the direct causality of the "effect" of choosing is paused. The agent takes the time to weigh possibilities (of, course, if this never occurs,and action follows thoughtlessly on the impulse engendered by the cause, we would call this an unproblematic case of action devoid of freedom). Thus, the case for freedom lies in this "space" created by inquiry into whether or not to act in such and such a way, or not.
Obviously, the determinist view takes this in stride: The distance between agent and impulse is simply a matter of rejecting one impulse while yielding to another that may rise out of the deliberative process. All is, it could be said, causality in play, agent included. But the interesting part of this analysis is that inquiry makes its appearance. What is inquiry if not the failure to make the causal connection. It is inherently acausal, for its nature is to reject any and all impulse. When decisions are made, causality asserts itself. But prior to this, when one is suspended in judgment and decision, the matter of agency becomes causally ambiguous. You could SAY suspension of decision is still In the causal process, and that causes get complicated all the time, but one has to take a closer look at this agency: I withdraw from action and ponder its propriety. This could be the very definition of freedom: not to be held fixed to a course of action, and while certainly the weighing of possibilities is a causal/impulse affair, the agent doing this is exempt, being duly distanced from doing one or the other. Choosing lands this agent in the world, but the distance between the agent and the action created by pause, by inquiry, by indecision cannot be characterized by the term causality.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » August 20th, 2018, 7:38 pm

As an interesting note, this suspension of belief, sustained in time is called, I would hazard, meditation. Suspending thought, suspending the very presuppositions that make the world intelligible, release us and the world from conceptual bondage.

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Thinking critical
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Re: Free will

Post by Thinking critical » August 21st, 2018, 7:13 am

chewybrian wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 11:14 am
Thinking critical wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 8:50 am
For one, the opposite of freewill is not determinism
Instead of stating your opinions as fact, why don't you take the next step and explain what you mean? Isn't my will either free to act on its own despite outside influences or fully determined by prior causes? What is the other option? (keeping in mind that I readily concede that there are many influences which push us to act in certain ways; I only deny they have 100% control).
The determinism that you are rightfully criticising is what some may describe as fate, in that from the moment we are born we are destined to live, act and think a certain way. It is essentially a domino effect, once the initial cause was in place a chain of causes and effects follows down a path which can't be altered.
This is certainly a valid explanation for the emegence of the physical world, however I do not except that the nature of conscious awareness is directly influenced by such causes.
Once agents emerged with the ability to conciously interact with the physical world, that is to say, agents capable of analysing there environment then acting in accordance with external influences which satisfy internal needs or desires, the entire dynamic or causality changed.
The emergence of agency meant causality was no longer strictly a blind process, but more so a process which could be influenced by bio chemical beings who attempt to manipulate the future to favour their own survival.

The fundamental flaw in the idea of freewill is that it demands that the agent of freewill is somehow detached from the consequences of external influences. It is not so much the physical aspect of causality which determines our choices, but more so the nature of the mind itself. By this I refer to the cognitive predispositions such as how we reason, our logical discourse and emotional responses. We are hard wired to have certain behavioural traits and characteristics which are common and recognisable across most conscious beings.

The moment of choosing or deciding is not a demonstration of a conscious agent spontaneously creating a thought or applying a desire to do or act in a specific way, it is the demonstration of the mind processing data, analysing potential out comes and matching those outcomes to desire and necessity, resulting in a choice.
Will is always limited by personal desires and biases and confined to the limitations of what the mind knows.
I don't see any other way to understand the issue. My free will may be an illusion, and all my actions determined by prior causes. Or, I may be free to act despite the influence of such causes. If this freedom amounts to 1% or 100%, I can't see that it matters. But, it surely does matter if it is there or not. Are you arguing for some form of compatibilism which works with determinism? If so, can you explain how this is possible? If you 100% don't believe in free will, then it seems some of the other things you've said don't match up with that view.
The disolvement of free will does not remove the responsibility of choosing away from the agent, more so, it explains the process of why we choose what we do.

Perhaps there is still a deeper aspect to be understood about the nature of consciousness itself which will better explain the minds cognitive abilities, consciousness maybe nothing more than the expression of a certain type of matter which we are yet to discover.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » August 22nd, 2018, 5:55 pm

Thinking critical wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 7:13 am
Once agents emerged with the ability to conciously interact with the physical world, that is to say, agents capable of analysing there environment then acting in accordance with external influences which satisfy internal needs or desires, the entire dynamic or causality changed.
The emergence of agency meant causality was no longer strictly a blind process, but more so a process which could be influenced by bio chemical beings who attempt to manipulate the future to favour their own survival.

The fundamental flaw in the idea of freewill is that it demands that the agent of freewill is somehow detached from the consequences of external influences. It is not so much the physical aspect of causality which determines our choices, but more so the nature of the mind itself. By this I refer to the cognitive predispositions such as how we reason, our logical discourse and emotional responses. We are hard wired to have certain behavioural traits and characteristics which are common and recognisable across most conscious beings.
Well, it's becoming clearer. I don't think there is that much difference between the way we are viewing things, although it must be a critical difference as we draw very different conclusions. I suppose the key difference may be whether we are slaves to our reason or it works for us. You seem to say the former, while I say the latter.

Determined or not, I think the free will can abide by the dictates of reason or bypass it. Further, it can set the framework in which reason operates, by determining time horizons for decisions, or who is the beneficiary of reason, and what the ultimate good is.

It only takes one bypass of reason to show that we are not slaves to it. This may be impossible to prove either way, but people sure have done a lot of unreasonable things.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 25th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Hereandnow:

Well thought out theory. We seem to agree that there must be some space or position in which our thoughts or actions must become independent from the physical world of cause and effect. Self awareness or consciousness alone is not the answer. If they were created as a function of a physical world then so are their consequences.

We will never be completely free from the cause and effect of the physical world. Our feelings and thoughts can be traced to a physical process in the body or brain and our physical environment. If there does not exist anything outside of this environment, then you have a closed system in which everything is a function of the physical processes. The only way to escape this determinism is if their exists some influence, dimension, or something which is outside of this world. Then the physical is affected in such a way which is not a complete consequence of the physical.

Self-awareness is just that. You are aware of your existence and actions. It alone is not enough to free us from the physical cause and effect.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 25th, 2018, 12:08 pm

Hereandnow:

Well thought out theory. We seem to agree that there must be some space or position in which our thoughts or actions must become independent from the physical world of cause and effect. Self awareness or consciousness alone is not the answer. If they were created as a function of a physical world then so are their consequences.

We will never be completely free from the cause and effect of the physical world. Our feelings and thoughts can be traced to a physical process in the body or brain and our physical environment. If there does not exist anything outside of this environment, then you have a closed system in which everything is a function of the physical processes. The only way to escape this determinism is if their exists some influence, dimension, or something which is outside of this world. Then the physical is affected in such a way which is not a complete consequence of the physical.

Self-awareness is just that. You are aware of your existence and actions. It alone is not enough to free us from the physical cause and effect.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » August 26th, 2018, 3:35 pm

tommarcus
there must be some space or position in which our thoughts or actions must become independent from the physical world of cause and effect. Self awareness or consciousness alone is not the answer. If they were created as a function of a physical world then so are their consequences.

We will never be completely free from the cause and effect of the physical world. Our feelings and thoughts can be traced to a physical process in the body or brain and our physical environment. If there does not exist anything outside of this environment, then you have a closed system in which everything is a function of the physical processes. The only way to escape this determinism is if their exists some influence, dimension, or something which is outside of this world. Then the physical is affected in such a way which is not a complete consequence of the physical.

Self-awareness is just that. You are aware of your existence and actions. It alone is not enough to free us from the physical cause and effect.
This is why I said that when inquiry yields to belief or action,becomes settled,"When decisions are made, causality asserts itself." It is not so much self awareness i want to focus on, but more simply, inquiry, and the second guessing and interruptions it puts into causal progressions. I think you're quite right to say this is not enough free us from physical (whatever that is) cause and effect. This business fits into a broader conception I have that inquiry is the vehicle for liberation, and if you want to really see how it plays out (though without the 'liberation" part) read Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Sartre sets the human subjective reality apart from things that are stable, set, fixed. His claim, I would put it, is that when continuity is broken, and you're looking for Pierre in a restaurant, say, you are exercising your true self's freedom. There is no cause that applies to you. Now, this is a phenomenological freedom, and freedom conceived out of observations of the way events unfold directly, clearly, without presumption that everything has a cause. At this moment, looking for Pierre, you are not a pool ball (am I a piano key? Dostoevsky asks in Notes from Underground). The apodicticity of causality is just a theoretical term, an abstraction from real events that sit before us. The phenomenon is first, is originary.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 30th, 2018, 8:40 pm

The problem that I am trying to understand is how we have freedom in a physical world which is ruled by cause and effect? Now if nothing exists except our physical world by which I mean the entire universe which is ruled by the physical laws of cause and effect, I don't see how we can escape determinism.

I use my brain to think, make decisions and even to reflect on my self-awareness. My brain is a physical object which is subject to physical laws which I cannot violate. Every thought and a action, conscious and unconscious, is as result of this physical organ. If there is no other dimension of my brain, then everything that it does is determined by these laws of chemistry and physics. In addition, if there is no other dimensions, then my self-awareness must somehow be a result of a physical process which is also subject to determinism. So where is my free will? I might believe that I am making independent decisions, but in reality I am just doing what the chemicals, electricity and molecules are making me do.

Hence if free will exists, I conclude that there must be some dimension to existence which is beyond this physical universe. I believe that it is impossible for one dimension of existence to create another dimension for which it has no intersection by definition of being a totally different dimension. What it is and what laws operate in this existence are difficult to discover, but they may not be necessarily a complete mystery given reason and thought. Such discussions are metaphysical so they are not the purview of just physics. But I am confident of one thing. That is, the laws in that dimension are very different from the physical universe but even they cannot defy reason and logic.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » August 30th, 2018, 9:02 pm

Or, tommarcus, you could conclude that causality may insist that there be a cause for every effect, But the things that rise up in causal matrices as impossibly complex as ours are absolutely novel; after all, it is not just the trillions of possible neuronal connections, but the structural combinations of these that make quantitative complexity inconceivable. It is not so much a violation of the causal priniciple as the unknown events that emerge that are qualitatively different from any pool ball exhibition. The fact that I have possibilities before me and am not a pool ball at all, and the willful "choosing" second guessing the choice, reevaluating, and so on: it may be that the infinitesimal neuronal causality does indeed follow the rules, who is to say what the rules become when such breathtaking complexity rise up.
No, it is not causality that is being challenged, but the absurdity to think that human choices are reducible to a simple causal model.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 31st, 2018, 12:46 pm

I believe that we are getting closer to the heart of the argument when we talk about causality at various levels of existence as you have done. But to say that things get immensely complex at inconceivable quantities and therefore anything can happen does not advance the ball. It is just another way of saying I dont know but I don't like being called a robot.

Why should there be any change? The law of gravity doesn't change on the beach just because there are trillions of grains of sand being blown in trillions of combinations. New laws aren't created.

Your proposition my be correct. But what force exists that is suddenly created that would free us from this world. Please don't refer to quantum mechanic or the uncertainty principle. This theory is just another way of describing a physical world. Connecting our brains to a random generator also does not free us from cause and effect.

The question which I believe you helped focus on is whether our physical universe and its physical laws can generate another dimension which is totally independent from the world of cause and effect? I don't believe that it can, whether at the micro or macro level. Such an event would require one dimension to create another. It would be like the verticle creating the horizontal. Not only that one cannot influence the other.

Now I actually agree with you regarding human choices. I don't believe that we are simply robots being activated by chemicals and electrons. But I can only believe that if we have another dimension which is totally independent from the physical world of cause and effect.

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Re: Free will

Post by Hereandnow » August 31st, 2018, 2:10 pm

Or, to put it a little differently, not so much another dimension as a clearer understanding of this one. If there is something more, or other, I don't think we should think of it as set apart from all we witness as this brings about a sense of otherworldliness to matters that are clearly in face. Or again, if there is some other dimension, than we are it, and there is nothing closer or more intimate in our concrete perceptual world than this.

I think we have to always remember that causality is a term we use and it doesn't mean we have knowledge beyond this use. That intuition that tells that there can be no effect without a cause defies analysis outside of this.

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Re: Free will

Post by tommarcus » August 31st, 2018, 8:51 pm

Hereandnow,

I see some areas of agreement in our discussions. Most importantly, I agree that we are very much a part of another dimension, if you will, and this dimension is very much a part of us. It is this dimension that allows us to have the free will because, I believe, it is totally independent from the three physical dimensions which are totally controlled by cause and effect. This may be where we disagree. I see this dimension as separate from the three dimensions of our physical world and not a consequence of it.

This dimension is existence itself which is free from time, cause and effect and other limitations. Everything that exists has this dimension. This dimension is an "intimate" part of our existence.

We perceive this dimension of our being, which is our existence, using our ability of self-awareness. Our ability to be self-aware and "sense" our existence is like our eye which sees the physical world. Our eye is part of the physical world but it does not create it. So too, our existence is another dimension of our being which allows us to make thoughts and decisions which are influenced by the physical world but not completely controlled by it.

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