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Free Will and Libertarianism.

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hashem replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:31 AM

Clayton:
what is the difference between sufficiently complex phenomena and free will?

This; a million times, this. If it's not defined, then the result is a circle jerk. Almost 40 posts and we have yet to even ATTEMPT to establish that we're all talking about the same thing.

WHAT IS WILL ALLEGED TO BE?

WHAT IS THAT ALLEGED TO BE FREE OF?

We also won't get anywhere unless we agree on whether the brain functions on several levels, which I expect is a given at this point in science. There is conscious brain activity, and unconscious brain activity. A person identifies with his conscious brain activity. The rest of it is neither controllable by nor accessable to him—it operates automatically, that is, without requiring conscious activity.

So we need to establish what is willing: the conscious brain activity, or the unconscious brain activity.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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I think everything can only be predetermined IF a deity exists, and can plot the future course of time. To suppose that everything is predetermined now assumes there is a tangible future. There is not. Thus, the future is essentially a random design, regardless of the fact of causality. 

Here's some points that make sense to me from WIkipedia's article on indeterminism:

"As Daniel Dennett points out in Freedom Evolves, it is possible for everything to have a necessary cause, even while indeterminism holds and the future is open, because a necessary cause does not lead to a single inevitable effect. Thus 'everything has a cause' is not a clear statement of determinism."

Or as Karl Popper says, "Indeterminism — or, more precisely physical indeterminism — is merely the doctrine that not all events in the physical world are predetermined with absolute precision."

I personal would NOT agree with "physical determinism," while I definitely agree with the philosophical statement of causality.

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:36 AM
Physiocrat, knowledge of what "really is" means nothing to an agent at any given time until it is interpreted into a signal to act - that is, interpreted as a relevant guide for your actions. You will interpret the very same knowledge into different signals to act, at different times in your life (or your day).

For example, the knowledge that "there's a McDonald's around the corner" used to have relevance for me because I used to eat junk food, but now I want to eat healthier so that same knowledge has a different relevance (or no relevance) to my actions now. Whereas before I interpreted that knowledge as a guidepost saying "turn left for pleasure," I now interpret it as a signal not to turn left (or else bad things will happen).

Hence what is important to us at any given moment is not knowledge per se - not what something "really is" - but what actions we should take to be happier, better off, or however you phrase it. We only use the knowledge/epistemic phrasing to communicate across utility functions, either to other people or to our future selves. That is, while I in this moment only care about whether I'd be better off turning left or heading straight on, telling other people (or my future self) to "TURN LEFT TO EXPERIENCE PLEASURE" is not necessarily as helpful as just noting that there's a McD's to the left.

The point is that the saying someone "really is" an agent is no different than saying "it is useful to model that person as an agent." Since all knowledge is only relevant in its "guidepost" form as interpreted by a given person at a given time, these expressions are equivalent. The words refer to the exact same thing. So we can call the former unelucidating or the latter overlong, but either way we are just referring to the everyday phenomenon of perceiving the world in the way that is most to your own benefit in guiding your actions toward an improvement in your state of affairs.

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Physiocrat replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:37 AM

Clayton,

It is not necessary for ominiscient being to have exhaustive foreknowledge. It/he can under either one of the conditions: all time exists concurrently as such all time has an identity and as such can be known; or the omniscient being brings everything to pass and doesn't change it/his plans.

I think it perfectly possible for a being to be omnsicent without creation but with creation, since agents possess real free will as I have defined above, he knows things when they happen, thus his omniscience is dynamic. At all points with and without time the being knows all the things that can be known it is just that the future is not a thing.

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

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I'll take a shot at hashem's question.

(1). Will is man's ability to consciously choose actions.[1]

(2). Man's conscious choices (and actions) are free from being predetermined, "because a necessary cause does not lead to a single inevitable effect."

[1] "the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action."

 

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+1 on Physiocrat's point. Yes, physical determinism assumes (1) that a deity exists who has planned/pre-programmed everything or (2) that all time exists concurrently.

I think Physiocrat and I agree that (2) is certainly not the case. And, personally, I think (1) could be true or untrue, as an agnostic.

So physical determinism seems unlikely to me. 

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Physiocrat replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:44 AM

Hashem,

This is what the will is free of (at least in my understanding of free will)

As an addenum, with causality there must be a first cause otherwise the chain would never come into existence. Now since that is the case there could be other similar causes to this ultimate first cause which start the chain of causality, not caused by it. This is how I understand real, metaphysical free will- it begins a chain of causality, it does not begin one. It however does not follow from this that it is random since that precludes meaningful choice. Free will is necessary but mysterious since it is basic- it cannot be explained in other terms since it is in fact basic to human existence.

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:48 AM
I don't grok the sentence structure there. It begins but it doesn't? And what is causality exactly? Also, need to define "predetermined" if we'll use it.
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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:48 AM

hashem:
WHAT IS WILL ALLEGED TO BE?
WHAT IS THAT ALLEGED TO BE FREE OF?

 

You are making a parsing mistake here. "Free will" is a single term; its origins in English are actually in theology and refer to the freedom of the will from sinister manipulation by spiritual beings, such as devils or even God Himself. But as far as its use in philosophy goes, "free will" is a human category of knowledge and stands in contrast not to something so heady as "determinism" but in contrast to incompetency. There are morally incompetent people and these people are generally agreed to not be morally responsible for their actions, insomuch as they can even be called actions. Therefore, we hold that the individual may not stand at law and, thus, can neither form agreements nor be held liable for them (lawful retaliation).

Metaphysical arguments regarding determinism as an escape-clause from free will responsibility is just a transparent cop-out if used to renege on a contract. "You can't hold me responsible for the terms of this contract, after all, none of us have free will!" The free will that is sufficient to form a contract is sufficient to be held to its terms.

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Of course that latter question can only be answered by attaining that level of mastery of physics, if that turns out to be possible.

Lets deal with consciousness and qualia first and then worry about free will.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:51 AM

It is not necessary for ominiscient being to have exhaustive foreknowledge.

I wasn't opening a theological debate, I was making a philosophical point. When I say "omniscient being" I mean "as commonly understood, having exhaustive knowledge of past, present and future."

It/he can under either one of the conditions: all time exists concurrently as such all time has an identity and as such can be known; or the omniscient being brings everything to pass and doesn't change it/his plans.

I think it perfectly possible for a being to be omnsicent without creation but with creation, since agents possess real free will as I have defined above, he knows things when they happen, thus his omniscience is dynamic. At all points with and without time the being knows all the things that can be known it is just that the future is not a thing.

Process theology?

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:54 AM

So physical determinism seems unlikely to me.

Causality, reason and determinism are a single unit. They must be accepted or rejected together. This says nothing about whether the world is or is not deterministic, only that the universe of rational discourse is limited to that portion of the world that is deterministic.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 1:07 PM

And what is causality exactly?

There are two answers to this. The short answer is that causality is a category of human knowledge - causality is when we may be said to "understand the cause of a thing." Of course, this only pushes back the problem one step: what does it mean to understand (the causes of a thing)?

The long answer is more circuitous and goes right to induction. When we say "A causes B" we mean that whenever the condition A is satisfied, the result B must then be the case, as well. In this sense, causality is a lot like logical implication: "If A, then B" except that there is some kind of implied "time ordering" where we mean that "If A at the moment prior, then B at the moment subsequent." The only way to reduce the latter, klunkier expression to the more elegant logical implication is if information (world state) propagates at infinite speed through the world, something that appears to be obviously false.

The long-standing problem of induction asks how we know the laws that will govern future state of the world from observing the laws that governed the past state of the world. That billiard balls have always been observed to collide instead of passing through one another says nothing about whether billiard balls must always collide instead of passing through one another. Unfortunately, many philosophers have given up on the induction problem and simply adopted a kind of "inductive nihilism"... we really don't know the future will be like the past!

However, this view is nowadays untenable. Ray Solomonoff's theory of induction - even though it has its origins in advanced mathematics, rather than the more traditional metaphysics - shows the way out. I'll state the theory in slightly incorrect layman's terms to get the idea across. I leave further research to those interested.

Consider a digital image.

The image contains information about relative levels of colors to be displayed on a digital monitor or to be printed on paper. Compression allows us to represent the image with less "storage space"... that is, we can represent the same information in less space by removing redundancies. It turns out that there are foundational connections between this fairly mundane task of data-compression and the laws of logic. Basically, removing redundancy is the same thing as "giving a reason" for something. If there is a reason for something to be this way rather than that way, then this reason manifests itself as a pattern and every pattern entails redundancies! Hence, the process of removing redundancies is like "reasoning backwards."

Solomonoff induction is like asking: what happens if the picture is being given to us bit-by-bit over time? Can we compress the picture as we are receiving it? The answer is, yes you can! And as you compress the bits of the picture as you are receiving it over time, you are "reasoning backwards" about the patterns in the picture. Hence, you can now assign meaningful probabilities to the portions of the picture that have not been yet received!

The "inductive nihilist" on the other hand, believes that half way through receiving the digital image, we are just as likely to see randomness for the remainder of the image as we are to see the image we "inuitively" expect to see:

The problem of induction is basically like asking: "If we have received half the digital image so far, which total image is more probable, the former or the latter?" The inductive-nihilist view is that they are equally likely... after all, in a radom lottery, each picture is equally probable along with every possible picture of the same size. But when you specify certain conditions (one of which being the existence of a Universal Turing Machine), then the rules of Solomonoff induction apply and we are no longer facing an "agnostic" probability distribution... the past does, indeed, tell us something about the future.

And this is the essence of causality. If the past tells us about the future, then of course the prior moment is related to the present moment which is related to the subsequent future moment.

Final note: when we ask "why is there time, why is there an unfolding of events?" what we are really asking is why information propagates at a finite speed. This is a separate question from causality/induction and should not be confused with it.

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hashem replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 1:07 PM

Good progress. We've acknowledged that none of us is talking about the same thing. Since this will, by definition (no double pun intended, in fact by lack of definition of will) get us nowhere, let's begin to establish what the heck we're talking about.

RothbardsDisciple:
Will is man's ability to consciously choose actions.

Man is a being composed of many parts, the vast majority of which are neither consciously aware nor dependent on conscious brain activity to function. So "man" doesn't choose. What you're probably trying to convey is "Will is the ability of man's consiousness to choose". To this I would say the consciousness doesn't choose. "Choice" is merely a fraction of the unconscious brain's automatically-calculated-output.

@ Clayton,

We needn't assume positive law. It has utterly no bearing to the extent we decide not to posit it. And of course free will is generally not meant in any regard whatsoever to hinge on social norms.

Moving forward, we can see that usually it seems:

WILL is the capacity of a human to choose—as I've pointed out, a human is mostly not conscious, and most of it doesn't require the consciousness to function. So can we all agree that WILL is that capacity for the consciousness to orchestrate choice?

FREE refers to freedom from determination—as far as I'm concerned, any relevance this has doesn't matter until AFTER we agree on what we mean by WILL.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Willpower is the ability to make choices independent of other people or other circumstances. Thus to deny the existence of free will is to imply that making decisions independent of other people or circumstances in impossible.

Does anybody in this thread truly believe that he or she cannot make independent decisions?

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hashem replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 4:34 PM

thetabularasa:
Does anybody in this thread truly believe that he or she cannot make independent decisions?

That's a grossly manipulative, malformed question.

Anyone interested in truth accepts that one's beliefs have no bearing on reality. So I don't even know how you can respect yourself asking that question.

Regardless, you've still failed to acknowledge that a person identifies with his consciousness. I don't know how many times I have to point this out before we can begin to make progress instead of reverting to an incoherent default.

thetabularasa:
Does anybody in this thread truly believe that he or she cannot make independent decisions?
hashem:
Man is a being composed of many parts, the vast majority of which are neither consciously aware nor dependent on conscious brain activity to function. So "man" doesn't choose.

And a person identifies with his consciousness. Thus what you're trying to convey is "Does anybody in this thread truly believe that his conscious brain doesn't orchestrate choice". Well yes, that's sort of the basis of my whole contention. The unconscious brain is responsible for storing input, processing it, and calculating output a fraction of which is choice experienced by "you" aka your consciousness.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Hashem, I'm not promoting a loaded scenario in the least bit. I'm asking something that I'll phrase differently:

Do you believe that you are in complete control of your behavior except for completely involuntary movements such as salivation, flinching and jumping when startled?

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 4:45 PM

hashem won't be able to resist typing a response. Of course, it won't be hashem's choice. His fingers will type and his consciousness will experience it.

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hashem replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 4:47 PM

thetabularasa:
Do you believe that you are in complete control of your behavior except for completely involuntary movements such as salivation, flinching and jumping when startled?

It's a malformed question! "You" are your consciousness. Of course your consciousness isn't in complete control of the entire body, no less the entire brain! Conscious brain activity accounts for a mere fraction of brain activity. As I've pointed out several times most of the brain and indeed the entire body is neither consciously aware nor reliant for function on the consciousness.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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And...gotlucky wins the thread and shows why physical determinism is incorrect =)

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Clayton,

I wasn't trying to turn this into a theological debate. I just wanted to point out that having a Judeo-Christian style God does not imply determinism as some argue- remember old KnightofBAWAA he argued that on here with me a few years ago. On process theology I don't know too much about it except that it can lead to a sort of panentheism. That said my open theism does incorporate aspects of process theology, at least so I hear.

AJ,

I think our starting assumptions are so diverse that to have any meaningful discussion on this topic would require far more work in articulating and justifiying on more basic topics.

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 5:33 PM

Open theism, that's the term I was looking for! It's been years since I debated that stuff...

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AJ replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 12:32 AM
Hashem, usefully defining conscious choice for me versus for other people seem different endeavors. I don't really *know* I have a subconscious or even a "brain." All I really know is I feel like I can make choices, and that's all that matters to me. For other people, yeah you could be on to something with the idea that you=your conscious mind. I still say it's just a question of what is the most useful way to model the behavior of other consciousnesses.

Physiocrat, we aren't even at the assumptions stage yet; we're still reconciling definitions. I make no assumptions whatsoever. I'm merely pointing out the implications in the language that's being used so as to clear away the distractions of semantics and actually make the points precise enough to be able sweep away the confusion that philosophy has been mired in all this time, mainly because they skip the definitions stage, which is where all the action is. Once definitions are cleared up for all relevant terms, we will be in full agreement because all the points to be made here are tautological.

In fact, a close reading of my longest post above may reveal that I already agree with you: the only useful thing to say about whether other humans are agents is, "Yes, they are." I've merely been pointing out that this is equivalent to saying, "It is useful to model the movements of other humans by analogy with my own consciousness," in terms of what you or anyone else could ever care about - by definition. The latter is merely a less ambiguous version of the former. To interpret it any other way would be a misinterpretation. The reason I put it this way as opposed to more simple English is that the simple English version leaves open objections from determinists because it is imprecise. Get it? If you want to resolve the debate, you can't do it by leaving all the terms fluffy like the philosophers of the past two millennia have done, lest this debate rage on for another two millenniua.

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hashem:

thetabularasa:
Do you believe that you are in complete control of your behavior except for completely involuntary movements such as salivation, flinching and jumping when startled?

It's a malformed question! "You" are your consciousness. Of course your consciousness isn't in complete control of the entire body, no less the entire brain! Conscious brain activity accounts for a mere fraction of brain activity. As I've pointed out several times most of the brain and indeed the entire body is neither consciously aware nor reliant for function on the consciousness.

So is that your round about way of saying "no"? LOL

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gotlucky:

hashem won't be able to resist typing a response. Of course, it won't be hashem's choice. His fingers will type and his consciousness will experience it.

LOL Nicely put. It's similar to the social scientists' claim that controlling one's environment will directly influence their behavior via operant conditioning. This "science" denies free will and the ability to choose outside of environmental influence--hence, they deny the ability to choose freely. When they say this, I kindly asked them what environmental factor influenced them to try to influence me, and they say, "The conversation we're having." Then I ask, "What prompted the conversation but free choice?" and they say, "It must have been something that we're not aware of." To which I say, "If you're not aware of it, how are you able to not only talk about it but describe its function in relation to our own conscious, free decision making capabilities when we're not free to think of extra-environmental influences as is?"

That's when I usually get the eye-rolling behavior and get told, "You're thinking too much into it."

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Clayton:

Open theism, that's the term I was looking for! It's been years since I debated that stuff...

Clayton -

wtf is open theism?

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Clayton replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 9:02 PM

wtf is open theism?

Here.

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Cortes replied on Wed, Jan 16 2013 1:07 AM

z1235:

Lozterrk,

So it's an excuse to also attack the free market by saying people are too stupid to do well in the free market, it needs therefore to be regulated by experts.

Presumably, these attackers and expert regulators would have been pre-determined to do so?

 

 

"Yes, we're the lawmakers/protectors/scientists who know best because it's predetermined!"

 

Most laypeople would buy into this reasoning. In fact I can't even see why it's so bad; at least, I am unable with my knowledge to see any flaws in it. But wouldn't it mean they are arguing that the best and brightest are anointed from the beginning of time to wield power? It starts to get a little creepy.

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AJ:

I don't grok the sentence structure there. It begins but it doesn't? And what is causality exactly? Also, need to define "predetermined" if we'll use it.

I was just re-reading bits of this thread and notice I made a huge error in writing what my mind was thinking. The confusing passage should now read:

As an addenum, with causality there must be a first cause otherwise the chain of causality would never come into existence, therefore the universed requires an original ultimate cause; I am not at this point arguing whether it is the universe itself or some form of deity.  Now since that is the case there could be other similar causes to this ultimate first cause which start seperate chains of causality- the will begins a chain rather than being a link in a pre-exisiting one..  This is how I understand real, metaphysical free will- it begins a chain of causality, it is not a link in a pre-existing one. It however does not follow from this that it is random since that precludes meaningful choice. Free will is necessary but mysterious since it is basic- it cannot be explained in other terms since it is in fact basic to human existence.

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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I find on this forum the will is generally equated with conscious choice, but I take issue with that.  Classically the will was defined as prior to the intellect, and I think this is borne out by the testing that neuroscientists are doing whereby they establish that we become aware of our actions AFTER they have been initiated.

I don't see those findings as demonstrating that free will is an illusion.  I think they only demonstrate what was already established by philosophy, that the will/volition happens at an unconscious level.  The part that consciousness plays is more like veto-power than it is the origination point of choice.

This explains why we can hold individuals accountable for their actions.  Though the initial volition for action occurs pre-consciously, the ability to practice restraint is conscious.

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Physiocrat:
As an addenum, with causality there must be a first cause otherwise the chain of causality would never come into existence, therefore the universed requires an original ultimate cause; I am not at this point arguing whether it is the universe itself or some form of deity.  Now since that is the case there could be other similar causes to this ultimate first cause which start seperate chains of causality- the will begins a chain rather than being a link in a pre-exisiting one..  This is how I understand real, metaphysical free will- it begins a chain of causality, it is not a link in a pre-existing one. It however does not follow from this that it is random since that precludes meaningful choice. Free will is necessary but mysterious since it is basic- it cannot be explained in other terms since it is in fact basic to human existence.

This.  The problem is, most people reject Aristotelian-Thomist metaphysics out of hand due to misunderstanding and a blind faith in materialism (or just a total reluctance to address metaphysics at all).  As a result, what you are saying is just completely lost on most people.

 

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Wheylous:

I've pretty much settled on determinism

I'm glad you've chosen to settle on determinism...as opposed to choosing to believe in another theory?

Wheylous:

and don't really think the issue is a very major one for libertarianism.

Taking Austrian Economics (Praxeology) out of this, where the will of the individual is implied due to his ability to choose, Libertarianism has its roots in minimal statism, for instance during the times of the Classical Liberals, and has grown to include anarcho-capitalism (a stateless, leaderless society) in its schema. Are you actually making the case that will does not exist and that choice is an illusion, thus the Holocaust (for the sake of listing an emotional example) was, for a lack of a better word, fate?

If you mean to say that people have will but it is not free (as in people are frequently geared towards borrowing traditions, values and so forth and rarely create any of their own), then I can understand what you mean, although I disagree. If you mean to say that people are essentially on the same course as a meteor, although we're of a different construct, then choice is merely an illusion, and I totally disagree with you. Why? Because I choose to.

Wheylous:

Best a statist could say is "Well, if he wasn't in control of his actions, should he be punished?" To which I reply "How can I help my punishing him? After all, it's what I'm pre-determined to do."

Seriously, the world is deterministic - get over it. Pretend as if it's not (and I say "pretend" self-consciously, because you can't really choose whether to pretend or not). So yeah - determinism true, but we shouldn't bust our heads over it. Keep living as if it isn't. Cuz if it is, it won't matter anyway!

Sure, just give up this entire notion that we have willpower and adopt the notion that "the world is deterministic" and then get over it. I'm sure I could just as easily say that you have no hope to be free or want to be free, and since choice is an illusion and everything is deterministic, you should accept the governmental tyranny that is happening to you. If you happen to be biologically/metaphysically geared towards resisting this, what prompted the lineage that lead to that involuntary resistance on your part? I suppose we could trace it back to the Big Bang, right? That whole "something from nothing" which was also determined, hence implying pre-determined, right?

Very curious to see your clarification.

 

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Even in a hypothetical discussion with someone, you probably don't need to quote yourself. lol.

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Lozterrk replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 11:42 PM

What does blindsight have to do with this? Or sleep walking? Your arguments are just parasitic copies of Wegner et al, socialists who love nothing more than to be given political power over us. JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE EXAMPLES WHEN THINGS ARE DONE UNCONSCIOUS, DOESN'T MEAN EVERYTHING ELSE IS UNCONSCIOUS AS WELL. That's the stupidest argument I ever heard.

The rest of your answers are irrelevant. Evolution can lead to free will, or not.

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Lozterrk replied on Tue, Apr 30 2013 11:47 PM

Hashem, you mistake qualia, the sensation of consciousness, with actual operative conscious actions. As in, the part of the brain that is not purely automatic, due to genetic or previous conditioned responses. There is a part of the brain that is involuntary and then there is a part that is voluntary, one that can take in an issue, analyze it, come up with several different responses, and choose one course of action.

All your epiphenomenalist arguments are leeching off of the neuroscientific establishment's fetish with determinism. Have you EVER considered the fact that most of these guys are just used by the powers that be to make us think that we as individuals have no power over own lives, so we have no choice but to give the state even more power? I bet not. I bet you look at the current materialist paradigm in science and look at it as being the epitome of human knowledge and that it ought to rule our lives. In other words, science is your new religion. You have provided no original arguments. You merely leech off of what the neuroscientists claim. I bet you think you're pretty smart too. Intellectual masturbation more like it.

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Lozterrk replied on Wed, May 1 2013 12:13 AM

"And a person identifies with his consciousness. Thus what you're trying to convey is "Does anybody in this thread truly believe that his conscious brain doesn't orchestrate choice". Well yes, that's sort of the basis of my whole contention. The unconscious brain is responsible for storing input, processing it, and calculating output a fraction of which is choice experienced by "you" aka your consciousness."

 

I just say there are parts of the brain that lead to automatic behavior (instincts, genetic influences, environmental programming) that didn't necessitate conscious deliberation. They are programmed biases that steer your behavior in certain ways prior to you fully analyzing a situation and understanding what you feel. When someone talks of murdering a baby, the reaction to be repulsed is not conscious. It's a result of previous beliefs stored in your brain, that say that is bad or immoral, then the moral disgust will follow. But if one takes the time to deliberate and decide that perhaps, under a certain ethical system, the death of the baby was needed for some sort of greater good, it take, or maybe as a nihilist one can debunk moral intuitions, then I think that shows how one's conscious, OBJECTIVE (no biases) reason can look at a situation for what it is, see all the possible ways to view that situation (how to feel about it, so to speak), and choose one. Which one you choose, is what is determined. It is determined based on your values, on what your personality is like, or maybe you just decide heads I'll choose A, tails I'll choose B. I believe in SELF-DETERMINISM. You know, self-directed neuroplasticity in the brain areas relevant to voluntary control of behavior and personality, and such. It's probably an emerging science. Or it should be. I don't think determinism means you have no control. And stop making such a big deal out of the fact that there is unconscious processing. You remind me of some shaman trying to conjure up spirits with your favorite little words here, trying to impress us silly masses with your word choice. Enough bs. Really, the only determinism issue that is relevant for free will is HOW YOUR VALUES are chosen or not. Yet, the simple fact that I can imagine a value that is so abstract and irrelevant to my evolved instincts, such as maximizing the amount of dogs in New York City while decreasing the amount of cats in New Jersey, shows how ANY value can be encoded within our brains. Some are more appealing to our nature (genes) and nurture (environmental programming) than others, by that I mean more appealing to the personality we're formed. Yet, imagine all the possible brains that can be instantiated in nature. Reason is a slave to our emotions. When I'm typing this to you and using my intellect to argue, it's because my emotions lead me to find this INTERESTING ENOUGH to warrant me spending the time and energy to do so in the first place. So really, assuming one can be conscious as a human, and also has a reasonable intelligence as a human, then the combination of the two is really directed by your emotions. YET, many different values and ideals are possible, like I said before. As a materialist, surely you agree that the only limit to the values that can be encoded in our brains is the limit imposed by the laws of physics and the laws of logic. As far as I am concerned, if one can CHOOSE one's values, they may have some sort of free will. Our actions are a result of us trying to follow our values. So it's about being able to choose one value over the other. The question for me then is, how are my values chosen? Randomly (coin toss)? Or determined... (by my nature, really)? Maybe it doesn't matter. The fact that I can imagine, logically speaking, the value I stated above, about the dogs in NYC and cats in NJ, shows, to me, that values are very diverse. This is what it's about to me. Not that silly little "your consciousness doesn't choose", blah blah blah. No, your QUALIA, doesn't choose is what you mean. There are parts of the brain that lead to VOLUNTARY and INVOLUNTARY behaviour. Controlling your heart beat is mostly involuntary, unless one is skilled at meditation. My issue is whether a person has the ability to choose a different course of action.

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