• TheMadFool
    2.4k
    To prove that free will exists or not we'd need to know everything because it isn't impossible that our minds may be affected by the cat next door or an atom's state in a galaxy far far away.

    Basically we need to be omniscient.

    Omniscience is impossible.

    Why?

    Think of numbers. We may be able to determine why the number 1 or 12,398,775,489 doesn't matter to the free will question BUT numbers are infinite and so it would require an infinite amount of time to check each number for its effects on our minds, specifically whether it influences our ability to make free choices.

    Thus making it impossible for us to know whether we have free will or not.

    Your thoughts...
  • wellwisher
    163
    Neurons pump and exchange cations to build a potential across the neuron membrane. This is called the membrane potential. This action also results in a lowering of cation entropy at the membrane. Since this lowering of cation entropy is in the opposite direction of the second law, which states that the entropy has to increase, the membrane becomes a source of entropy potential.

    The reaction to increase entropy, is connected to active and passive transport through the membrane. It is also connected to neuron firing, since neuron firing will increase entropy by blending the cations. The neurons quickly segregate the cations and reset the entropy potential.

    Free will and consciousness is the artifact of the second law. They both add complexity in an attempt to increase brain entropy, to offset the continuous neuron insistence that it lower brain entropy at the membrane.

    An analogy is putting worms in a jar. The worms want to increase entropy and scatter. However, like the neurons, we try to place them close together in opposition to their natural state. Consciousness and will is analogous to a way for the worms to escape to satisfy the second law.

    No two people are exactly the same in terms of personality and consciousness. There will be common things but also differences This is an artifact of entropy. Culture may try to impose uniform standards; one size fits all, which lowers group entropy in an attempt to create determinism; predictable interactions. The result will be choices by some, that resist the one size; increase system entropy. The will power to do so is connected to the second law in action.

    In classical symbolism the first law is God and the second law is Lucifer/Satan. God creates the universe; energy balance. While the deterministic order in space and time lowers universal entropy. The second principle; Lucifer, creates change in the order driven by the second law. Lucifer and Satan are the first symbolism of will power.

    Pure 100% determinism would lower universal entropy and/or prevent it from increasing. If we add entropy, perturbations occur that reflect a departure from zero entropy change; free will.
  • EnPassant
    78
    If we can generate a truly random number we can prove non determinism.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    Basically we need to be omniscient.TheMadFool

    Yes. In order to prove determinism, we would need an account from the beginning of time down to the present. We don't, we won't, and therefore we can't.

    We suppose that when we look at a rock, we can trace its beginning starting with the big bang. Stars formed, burned, exploded, and produced heavier matter that coagulated into disks, then solar systems and planets. Geology takes it from there down to the rock we are sitting on. Biology works the same way -- life arose on the planet one step at a time and thus we are sitting on the rock. All accounted for. The fact that one voted from Clinton and not Trump is rooted in the way all the atoms between the big bang and the voting booth.

    Absurd, though it sounds reasonable, because at every step this or that field of energy or particle of matter could have interacted much differently, and we could all be inorganic slime on the surface of a dead planet or dust in a vacuum.

    So here we are and energy fields and particles are interacting as much now as ever, except that creatures with even a little sentience are one more factor in making outcomes uncertain. Creatures with more sentience (like the cat) have a larger influence. We are also creatures with more sentience, but we are far short of enough to know with certainty how or whether things could have been different.

    My thought is that sentient creatures have some limited capacity to make choices. That's about as far as I can go.
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k


    So your arumgent is that since we cannot disprove determinism then we cannot prove freewill.

    That is an impossible standard. I also cannot disprove fairies or unicorns. However that neither proves or disproves their existence.

    Determinism is what is known as an unfalsifiable claim, it cannot be proven or disproven and consequently cannot be used to prove or disprove, as you don't know if it is real.

    On the other hand we can empirically demonstrate freedom of choice.

    So given your unfalsifiable claim vs. empirical evidence, I'd say the evidence has a lot more weight and creditability.
  • Heiko
    200
    Freedom of choice is a formal freedom. Content-wise it does not make sense to say one could have decided otherwise as this would imply to choose what one did not want to choose and hence negate free will.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    I think you have the science wrong. Entropy increases and living systems try and revert to a lower entropy state by utilizing external energy and using the inevitable transition to higher entropy to do useful work. This is what I think makes sense.

    You haven't said anything about my argument.

    If we can generate a truly random number we can prove non determinism.EnPassant

    I read that the physicist Boltzmann introduced probability in physics and his explanation turned out to be the correct one. I think thermodynamics was born with Boltzmann's statistical interpretation of physics.

    So your arumgent is that since we cannot disprove determinism then we cannot prove freewill.

    That is an impossible standard. I also cannot disprove fairies or unicorns. However that neither proves or disproves their existence.

    Determinism is what is known as an unfalsifiable claim, it cannot be proven or disproven and consequently cannot be used to prove or disprove, as you don't know if it is real.

    On the other hand we can empirically demonstrate freedom of choice.

    So given your unfalsifiable claim vs. empirical evidence, I'd say the evidence has a lot more weight and creditability.
    Jeremiah

    I understand that if one lowers the standard to "empirical" evidence one can prove/disprove free will but I'm looking for a sound deductive argument to deal with the issue of free will.

    Anyway, I'm saying we can't prove free will exists not that we can't disprove determinism. If my argument is sound it'll take an infinite amount of time to do so, making it impossible.

    Content-wise it does not make sense to say one could have decided otherwise as this would imply to choose what one did not want to choose and hence negate free will.Heiko

    I think otherwise. To opt for what one did not want would count as evidence for our ability to resist innate preferences.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    My thought is that sentient creatures have some limited capacity to make choices. That's about as far as I can go.Bitter Crank

    That makes sense to me. This is probably an idiosyncrasy but I think free will will eventually evolve if it hasn't already. Thanks
  • wellwisher
    163
    ↪wellwisher I think you have the science wrong. Entropy increases and living systems try and revert to a lower entropy state by utilizing external energy and using the inevitable transition to higher entropy to do useful work. This is what I think makes sense.TheMadFool

    If we you were to start with sodium and potassium salts and place these is water, they would dissolve and diffuse to form a steady state uniform solution. This is the direction of increasing entropy. The neurons, as well as all cells, start with the uniform solution, and the segregate these ions on opposite sides of the membrane. This is lowering entropy, using a small ionic material that is easy to reverse, since it naturally wants to go the other way.

    When neurons fire, the ions blend. Firing neurons helps entropy increase. It is a second law affect. Consciousness makes the brain fire at will, since consciousness is an entropy generator. It is needed to help neurons reverse.

    Free will have a connection to entropy. The choices we make are not perfect in the sense that the same ionic pathways are used for all. Each person's memory is different so the path of potential from here to there is never quite the same.

    The reason the cells use sodium and potassium ions is due to the way each impacts water. Sodium ions bond stronger to water than water does to itself, via hydrogen bonds, while potassium ions bond to water weaker than water binds to self via hydrogen bonds. The entropy potential set by the ion pumping is extended into the water, with the water touching all things in each side go the membrane. Many organic things are fixed in structure. The entropy potential starts with the ions, is bridged by the water, and is anchored by the organics. Consciousness impacts matter at the nanoscale, with much of that defined by our unique DNA signature.
  • EnPassant
    78
    I read that the physicist Boltzmann introduced probability in physics and his explanation turned out to be the correct one. I think thermodynamics was born with Boltzmann's statistical interpretation of physics.TheMadFool

    The digits in the decimal expansion of pi are said to be random. Does this mean that we can choose these digits and act upon them to make random choices?;-

    If a digit is 1, do x (eg treat yourself to a coffee)
    if it is 2, do y (go to the cinema)
    if it is 3, do z, etc.

    One could also do the same with quadratic residues, which are apparently proved to be 'random'. If we can act upon purely mathematical entities does this mean we have escaped the determinism of matter as numbers are not material things. Thoughts?

    btw did you read The Diceman by Luke Rhenehart? Great read.
    https://www.bookdepository.com/Dice-Man-Luke-Rhinehart/9780879518646?redirected=true&utm_medium=Google&utm_campaign=Base1&utm_source=IE&utm_content=Dice-Man&selectCurrency=EUR&w=AFFPAU9SKBXBUNA80R8S&pdg=pla-308360991107:kwd-308360991107:cmp-711089934:adg-39921983227:crv-163908794634:pid-9780879518646:dev-c&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpvzZBRCbARIsACe8vyK93wFogPY-WzE2FZ-Esv87PRLPFYCXr9kZNJtAM9744ZwgIqVX0kMaAlEcEALw_wcB
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    I understand that if one lowers the standard to "empirical" evidence one can prove/disprove free will but I'm looking for a sound deductive argument to deal with the issue of free will.TheMadFool

    Exactly how I am lowering the standard of empirical evidence? Freedom of choice is empirically demonstrable and your statement here is just a hollow facade. You need to give a real reason as to why this evidence should not be considered.

    Anyway, I'm saying we can't prove free will exists not that we can't disprove determinism.TheMadFool

    You are trying to use determinism, an unfalsifiable claim as the standard of proof for free will.

    In your own words. . . .

    I think you have the science wrong.TheMadFool

    You can't use an unfalsifiable claim as the standard of proof. Now, I am sure like all "philosophers" you think this is a matter of interpretation, opinion or whatnot; however, it is not. What you are demanding amounts to arguing that if one cannot disprove fairy magic then we can't really know if gravity is a force that attracts objects with mass.
  • Heiko
    200
    To opt for what one did not want would count as evidence for our ability to resist innate preferences.TheMadFool
    I guess most people would understand it that way. This does not make it true, however: It is the reign of pure reason itself that does not leave any choices. Simply because choosing the one right answer is at the same time one's duty as a rational thinking being. If you would do otherwise you wouldn't act as rational being and thus negate free will.
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    You can't prove free will until you disprove fairy magic.

    You can't prove free will until you disprove mind control Sun spots.

    You can't prove free will until you disprove that this is a computer simulation.

    You can't prove free will until you disprove <insert any random crap>.

    Using unfalsifiable claims as the standard of proof is just thoughtless and leads nowhere.
  • Rank Amateur
    579


    Would this question qualify as a Qualia? Is a sense of what an individual experiences as free will, free will ?
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    Given what we know, as it stands, the evidence leans in favor of freedom of choice.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    'will' is antecedent to thought and action therefore it cannot be free but originates prior to and outside of consciousness.

    M
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Your thoughts...TheMadFool

    ...and yet we choose.
  • creativesoul
    3.7k
    To prove that free will exists or not we'd need to know everything because it isn't impossible that our minds may be affected by the cat next door or an atom's state in a galaxy far far away.

    Basically we need to be omniscient.

    Omniscience is impossible.

    Why?

    Think of numbers. We may be able to determine why the number 1 or 12,398,775,489 doesn't matter to the free will question BUT numbers are infinite and so it would require an infinite amount of time to check each number for its effects on our minds, specifically whether it influences our ability to make free choices.

    Thus making it impossible for us to know whether we have free will or not.

    Your thoughts...
    TheMadFool

    I would think that you've overstated the case here. Seems to me that in order for a will to be free, it must be free from influence, which is clearly impossible. There is no such thing as free will. We need not know everything in order to know that what we do, and what we choose to do is influenced by lots of things.

    Free will presupposes volition. In order to choose better, one must first know of better.

    The closest we can come to having free will is recognizing the influences that the world and others have upon us, and then being quite judicious about who and what we allow to influence us.
  • creativesoul
    3.7k
    "Free will" was invented as a means to exonerate the God of Abraham from the existence of evil.
  • Janus
    6.1k
    Freedom of choice is a formal freedom. Content-wise it does not make sense to say one could have decided otherwise as this would imply to choose what one did not want to choose and hence negate free will.Heiko



    No, you could have decided you wanted something else more.
  • Heiko
    200
    Then I would have wanted it in first place or the decision was not free.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Why? In the moment you have a choice between two things you want.Say you want to smoke a cigarette and you want to refrain from smoking a cigarette. Whichever you choose in the moment you could have chosen the other. In other moments you may indeed choose the other. So, it is not an unequivocal case of choosing what you don't want to do, and thus a contradiction; which is the way you were painting it.
  • Heiko
    200
    Why?Janus
    Because you cannot decide to do both. Either your free decision is the one or the other.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Of course you cannot do both; that's trivially true and irrelevant. Your claim was that you could not have done other than what you did.
  • Heiko
    200
    Your claim was that you could not have done other than what you did.Janus
    Yes, because only one option can be my free choice.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    You haven't explained why that must be so.

    At a particular moment I chose to smoke a cigarette, at that moment I could have chosen not to smoke it; there is no inherent problem or contradiction in that.
  • Heiko
    200
    At a particular moment I chose to smoke a cigarette, at that moment I could have chosen not to smoke it; there is no inherent problem or contradiction in that.Janus
    If one option is your free decision the others cannot.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    You're just repeating the same assertion, but you're not backing it up with any argument.
  • Heiko
    200
    You're just repeating the same assertion, but you're not backing it up with any argument.Janus
    It is a contradiction to say that any option other than my free choice could be my free choice. If (A) is my free choice then (B) is not.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    If you had chosen the other option it would have been your free choice; no contradiction. You could have freely chosen to smoke a cigarette or you could have freely chosen not to. You could not have both smoked and not smoked a cigarette on the one occasion. You seem to be conflating these two conditions.
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