• Possibility
    413
    well then I’m in trouble - I do that all the time! :yikes:
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    Free: unconstrained.Possibility

    I'll have to take 'unconstrained' as indicating no coercion, since the will is constrained by its amount of information plus how good the information is.

    A 'not determined will' would be a horror, and, indeed, it wouldn't be a will at all as we know it; so, now, its opposite, the 'determined will' doesn't seem so bad, and it even reflects who we have come to be.

    The next worst, although it might be true, is a partially indeterminate, 'random' will having its anti-will say sometimes, even perhaps having someone jumping off of a bridge when they normally wouldn't do so. Variety? yes; helpful? no.

    Will: the basic faculty by which one decides and initiates action.Possibility

    How about a slight change?

    Will: what decides and initiates action.
  • Possibility
    413
    I'll have to take 'unconstrained' as indicating no coercion, since the will is constrained by its amount of information plus how good the information is.PoeticUniverse

    This is why I sought to look deeper into this idea of ‘will’ and get to the primary, initiating faculty behind all decisions and all acts - to see if there is an element that remains unconstrained by the amount or quality/accuracy of information.

    Here’s what I found:

    1. Regardless of what information you currently have or don’t have, your decision to simply be aware of presented information or not is fundamentally unconstrained. You can subconsciously suppress or even be coerced to disagree with the information or rationalise it away later based on your assessment of the information, but the fact that you CAN either accept or reject awareness in that initial moment, either by a direct conscious act or having previously surrendered that decision to subconscious processes, depends neither on the nature of the information, nor on any previous information you may or may not have. You can resume conscious control of that decision at any time, but once aware of information, you cannot then be unaware.

    2. Once aware, your decision to connect with the information at any level is also made freely. This isn’t a question of how you connect with the information or for what purpose, but simply whether or not you connect with it at all. So, you could be aware of a noise, but choose not to connect this sound information received with any other information you may have that could tell you what it might be. You still don’t know what it is, so this decision is not constrained by or dependent on the amount or quality of the information.

    3. If you had chosen to connect to the information, then you may determine that the noise wasn’t the cat but something/someone unexpected downstairs. You must then choose whether or not to collaborate with the information: to integrate it and enable it to determine your response, or dismiss it. Again, this yes/no choice is made freely, and exactly how you collaborate is irrelevant at this stage in the decision.

    These three simple yes/no decisions constitute the ‘will’ - everything else depends on sensory data, time, memory, relevant information, values and belief systems, etc. Everything else to do with deciding and initiating action can be seen as determined by other factors.

    If you describe the will as generally ‘what decides and initiates action’, then you risk equating it with thought, belief, logic, etc., which are all determined by circumstances. Looking back on your decisions you perceive the determining factors only, but not the gates that opened or closed to initiate these causal links and reject others.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    your decision to simply be aware of presented information or not is fundamentally unconstrained.Possibility

    I don’t know. My ability to decide to be aware of anything is extremely hampered a lot of the time. I think what I’m aware of at any given moment is due in large part to what is going on in my environment, my current emotional state (which doesn’t seem to me to be something I decide), and what I’m thinking about (which isn’t ALWAYS a choice and is usually due in large part to the current environment and current emotional state). Hence, I still think the will, which I think is the intention to decide or act, is only free when it is not coerced.

    That gets into moral responsibility. Would a person who is not totally insane or otherwise hampered (and this can change in the course of a lifetime) intentionally kill in cold blood, for example? If they do, then they are morally responsible, and should be dealt with.

    Besides intentional acts of violence, there are negligent and reckless acts to consider. Should people be expected to stop at red lights? Yes. If one is not paying attention, one may run a red light and strike and kill a pedestrian. Should they be culpable? The law says yes and not for an arbitrary reason. They have been negligent because it is expected of people who are not totally insane or otherwise impaired that they should pay attention while driving. Suppose one takes acid and does the same thing. Suppose this person was otherwise not mentally impaired before taking acid, but while under the influence one gets in a car, runs a red light, and kills a pedestrian all the time having an episode of induced insanity. They are guilty of reckless homicide. One should know not to take acid or should have taken steps in order to prevent access to driving (never mind the illicit fact of taking acid). They are culpable.

    Now all of these acts could be fully determined by necessary and sufficient causes. So what? Should we let people who do these things off the hook (assuming we could prove determinism)? No. There are matters of deterrence and the safety of the community to consider.
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    your decision to simply be awarePossibility

    I have to reveal something shocking: no decisions/choices are made in/by consciousness! It is too late in the brain process. What gets into consciousness are always the results/products of the neural processing that is already over and done with, at least for that instance, and that took time (300-500ms), plus there is also part of that time going into unifying the objects/qualia as well as stitching them to what was there previously (via short term memory) to achieve continuity. The objects in conscious are always a view of the past, and the brain is already on to building the next thought.

    Other brain areas may then note the result and add information to better collapse the scenario of consequences into an improved result, etc., but then such as I said happens all over again; however, at no time does consciousness itself use any brain-independent machinery to decide things, for it doesn't have any. The brain/will ever is what thinks and outputs to itself, sometimes kind of like it is perceiving itself.

    We, as the brain, aren't privy to the brain analysis that occurs subconsciously, so it might seem to us that all goes on rather instantly, had we not been informed by science.
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    There are matters of deterrence and the safety of the community to consider.Noah Te Stroete

    In the courts, ‘coercion vs responsible’ is orthogonal to ‘determined vs undetermined’.

    “The universe made me do it,” says the accused,
    And the Judge replies, “Well, this does excuse,
    But I still have to sentence you to the pen,
    Until the universe can’t make you do it again.”
    (to protect society)
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    I looked up “orthogonal” and it says “at right angles.” What do you mean here?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Well from the context I assume that it means something like “instead of.”
  • Possibility
    413
    I don’t know. My ability to decide to be aware of anything is extremely hampered a lot of the time. I think what I’m aware of at any given moment is due in large part to what is going on in my environment, my current emotional state (which doesn’t seem to me to be something I decide), and what I’m thinking about (which isn’t ALWAYS a choice and is usually due in large part to the current environment and current emotional state). Hence, I still think the will, which I think is the intention to decide or act, is only free when it is not coerced.Noah Te Stroete

    Hampered - yes. Constrained - not unless you allow it to be. The thing about human awareness is that most of it operates at a subconscious level. We can drive a car while only occasionally paying conscious attention to most of our actions. We can eat a sandwich while totally absorbed in a TV show. We’ve consciously predetermined these actions based on past experience. When you first learned to drive a car, you had to be consciously aware of how far down you pressed the pedal each time. Now you determine that pressure automatically based on bodily awareness that doesn’t need to be consciously attended to. The same with learning how to eat.

    But you choose to be aware of your current emotional state or not, for instance, and then you can choose to revoke its capacity to influence decision-making processes when it looks like it could be getting out of hand. Fear is one emotion that tends to shut down awareness, connection and collaboration - but the more you choose to become aware of where this fear comes from and at what point it shuts down useful interactions (and why), the more you are able to consciously revoke its capacity to do this, and choose a different strategy.

    So your decision-making processes can be coerced in certain directions when you’re not paying attention, but you only have to pay attention and become more aware of your options to free it up again.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Hampered - yes. Constrained - not unless you allow it to be. The thing about human awareness is that most of it operates at a subconscious level. We can drive a car while only occasionally paying conscious attention to most of our actions. We can eat a sandwich while totally absorbed in a TV show. We’ve consciously predetermined these actions based on past experience. When you first learned to drive a car, you had to be consciously aware of how far down you pressed the pedal each time. Now you determine that pressure automatically based on bodily awareness that doesn’t need to be consciously attended to. The same with learning how to eat.

    But you choose to be aware of your current emotional state or not, for instance, and then you can choose to revoke its capacity to influence decision-making processes when it looks like it could be getting out of hand. Fear is one emotion that tends to shut down awareness, connection and collaboration - but the more you choose to become aware of where this fear comes from and at what point it shuts down useful interactions (and why), the more you are able to consciously revoke its capacity to do this, and choose a different strategy.

    So your decision-making processes can be coerced in certain directions when you’re not paying attention, but you only have to pay attention and become more aware of your options to free it up again.
    Possibility

    I suppose. That is helpful. I do become less aware not just from fear, though (fear is always lurking under the surface, I think). I obsess over things and perseverate a lot, too. These might be symptoms of fear, too, though. It’s something to consider!
  • Possibility
    413
    I have to reveal something shocking: no decisions/choices are made in/by consciousness! It is too late in the brain process. What gets into consciousness are always the results/products of the neural processing that is already over and done with, at least for that instance, and that took time (300-500ms), plus there is also part of that time going into unifying the objects/qualia as well as stitching them to what was there previously (via short term memory) to achieve continuity. The objects in conscious are always a view of the past, and the brain is already on to building the next thought.PoeticUniverse

    Not so shocking - I’m aware of the research. It’s based on a decision to act in a predetermine way at a ‘chosen’ time. It makes sense that this type of decision doesn’t require conscious thought - what requires a conscious decision is to be aware of the details of the decision, which of course happens after the decision is made.

    Objects in consciousness are pre-processed, yes. Once we recognise certain arrangements of sensory data, consciousness fills in the blanks from memory and moves on. If you’ve seen the visual sensory data images replicated, they look like fuzzy, non-descript shapes. New sensory information grabs our conscious attention as it makes its way through the three gates, and we have the capacity to consciously intervene (even with pre-processed information) to change whether or not we choose to be aware of, connect with and collaborate with that information.
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    what requires a conscious decision is to be aware of the details of the decisionPossibility

    Except that there can't be conscious decisions, for the decisions reflected in consciousness have already been made elsewhere. We can't get around this.
  • Pantagruel
    140
    Except that there can't be conscious decisions, for the decisions reflected in consciousness have already been made elsewhere. We can't get around this.
    What you are talking about is more or less synonymous with "Background processing". John Searle has described how conscious awareness "rises to the level" of background processing. This is certainly true of "performance knowledge." A beginning skier focuses on "shifting weight to the inside leg" making each turn. An advanced skier focuses on "choosing a path down the hill." But the advanced skier does not cease to be conscious of what he or she was conscious while learning, it has simply been internalized.

    So could it not make sense to say that the now-internalized mechanisms behind conscious-choice are what once was conscious, and in that sense, still are part of the framework of consciousness?
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    conscious-choicePantagruel

    The choice is still already accomplished and so it precedes the awareness of it. Probably the brain/will process must fully attend to learning skiing by obtaining constant feedback, often to the near exclusion of all else, making for an intense focus.

    Learning makes for a new and wider fixed will of the instant that hopefully achieves better choices. It's a good thing.
  • Pantagruel
    140
    The choice is still already accomplished and so it precedes the awareness of it
    Right, but what I am saying is, based on the way learning evolves, that choice could still be construed as "conscious" in a more inclusive kind of consciousness. Even in our day to day reality it is clear that some people are "more conscious" of their choices than others.
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    choicePantagruel

    Consciousness is always blind to the choices made by brain/will networks until they finish and surface, consciousness being as a tourist along for the ride of experience. Experience is still a great thing, a kind of benefit, if you will.
  • Pantagruel
    140
    I don't mind being a passenger as long as the driver always goes where I want.
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    I don't mind being a passenger as long as the driver always goes where I want.Pantagruel

    Good one. You are wise and adaptive. Some have better and more fortunate wills than others.

    The will is ever toward what it wants. Lots of wills about, doing their thing. If only consciousness was a kind of mini first cause, free of the brain, goes the dream of complete freedom, but, then, what would it have to work with?

    Some (wills) still crave the impossible conscious freedom that they might even claim an angelic vapor that drives a living being, provides character, and morality via consciousness alone on top of a burdensome, fragile, and evolutionarily expensive organ such as a brain never to be used.
  • Pantagruel
    140
    What do you make of this excerpt from Bergson's "Creative Evolution" where he describes consciousness as not requiring a brain:

    Between mobility and consciousness there is an
    obvious relationship. No doubt, the consciousness
    of the higher organisms seems bound up with certain
    cerebral arrangements. The more the nervous system
    develops, the more numerous and more precise become
    the movements among which it can choose ; the
    clearer, also, is the consciousness that accompanies
    them. But neither this mobility nor this choice nor
    consequently this consciousness involves as a necessary
    condition the presence of a nervous system ; the latter
    has only canalized in definite directions, and brought
    up to a higher degree of intensity, a rudimentary and
    vague activity, diffused throughout the mass of the
    organized substance. The lower we descend in the
    animal series, the more the nervous centres are simpli-
    fied, and the more, too, they separate from each other,
    till finally the nervous elements disappear, merged in
    the mass of a less differentiated organism. But it is
    the same with all the other apparatus, with all the
    other anatomical elements ; and it would be as absurd
    to refuse consciousness to an animal because it has no
    brain as to declare it incapable of nourishing itself be-
    cause it has no stomach.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    The choice is still already accomplished and so it precedes the awareness of it.PoeticUniverse

    This seems to be true in cases of choices that involve small movements, but I don’t think it has been established through experiments that this is true in complex tasks such as holding a conversation or writing a paragraph. I could be wrong as I don’t read scientific journals.
  • Pantagruel
    140
    Too, these automisms may represent 'cognitive habits' that have evolved either ontogenetically or phylogenetically. They may be pre-conscious or sub-conscious or peri-conscious but it may still be reasonable to describe them as part of consciousness, particularly if they are susceptible of modification (through training, repetition, etc).
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    But neither this mobility nor this choice nor
    consequently this consciousness involves as a necessary
    condition the presence of a nervous system
    Pantagruel

    My will has decided that it has to look into Henri Bergson due to his being a legend.

    For now, we do have a good nervous system that is really a useful extension of the will/brain. For example, the brain can 'actionize' without having to commit to an action.

    Subconscious trains of thought vie for attention,
    Dueling choirs competing for first place
    As actions in the will’s ’I’—to produce
    Future, for this is the task of a thought.

    The will/brain mediates thoughts versus outcomes,
    And is distributed all over the body,
    From the nerve spindles to the spine to the brain—
    A way to actionize without moving.


    As for a 'vital impulse' or a guidance principle, that could be so, and this idea is coming close to the meaning of a 'Poetic Universe'.

    Our two brain hemispheres seem to reflect
    The nature of the universe itself,
    As the grouping order versus and with
    The whole of the symmetry order.

    (That is, a holistic, parallel view, as well as a detailed, sequential view.)

    Note that the sun is not the same sun as it was a trillionth of a second ago, although to us a semblance of the ‘sun’ remains and the sun seems to be a continuous object. There are, strictly speaking, no objects that are identical with themselves over time, and so the temporal sequence probably remains open.

    Nature is then no longer seen as clockwork, but only as a ‘possibility gestalt’, the whole world occurring anew each moment; however, the deeper reality from which the world arises, in each case, acts as a unity in the sense of an indivisible ‘potentiality’, which can perhaps realize itself in many possible ways, it not being a strict sum of the partial states.

    It appears to us, though, that the world consists of parts that have continued on from “a moment ago”, and thus still retain their identity in time; yet, matter likely only appears secondarily as a congealed potentiality, a congealed gestalt, as it were.

    So…

    We are both essence and form, like poems versed,
    Ever unveiling this life’s deeper thirsts,
    As new riches, from strokes, letters, phonemes,
    Words, phrases, and sentences—uni-versed!

    There is rhythm, reason, rhyme, meter, sense,
    Metric, melody, and beauty’s true pense,
    Revealed through life’s participation,
    From the latent whence into us hence.

    Informationally derived meanings
    Unify in non-reductive gleanings,
    In a relational reality,
    Through the semantical life happenings.

    Syntactical information exchange,
    Without breaking of the holistic range,
    Reveals the epic whole of nature’s poetics,
    Due to the requisite of ongoing change.

    (no stillness, but ever a continuous transitioning,
    with nothing particular ever lasting,
    the same as we's expect from an eternal,
    for as thus it has point for any design,
    much less any specific one, leaving it to
    have to be a kind of everything, either all at once,
    in a superposition of eternalism,
    or the little by little of presentism,
    but never lasting as anything particular)

    So there’s form before gloried substance,
    Relationality before the chance
    Of material impressions rising,
    Traced in our world from the gestalt’s dance.

    All lives in the multi–dimensional spaces
    Of basic superpositional traces
    Of Possibility, as like the whirl’s
    Probable clouds of distributed paces.
    (such as of an electron cloud)

    What remains unchanged over time are All’s
    Properties that find expression, as laws,
    Of the conservation of energy,
    Momentum, and electric charge—unpaused.

    The weave of the discrete bits as strokes writes
    The letters of the elemental bytes—
    The alphabet of the standard model,
    Forming the words as the atoms whose mights

    Merge to form molecules, as phrases,
    Onto proteins and cells, as sentences,
    Up to paragraphs of organisms,
    And unto the stories of the species.

    Via this concordance of literature,
    We’ve become Cosmos’ conscious adventure,
    As a uni-verse of sentient poems,
    Being both the contained and the container.

    Our poem is both the thought and the presence,
    An object born from the profoundest sense,
    An image of diction, feeling, and rhythm;
    We’re both the existence and the essence.

    (A poem is a truth fleshed in living words,
    Which by showing unapprehended proof
    Lifts the veil to reveal hidden beauty:
    It’s life’s image drawn in eternal truth.)

    (Poems are renderings of the soul’s spirit,
    The highest power of language and wit.
    The reader then translates back to spirit;
    If the soul responds, then a poem you’ve writ!)

    Welcome to the Poetic Universe!
  • PoeticUniverse
    282
    This seems to be true in cases of choices that involve small movements, but I don’t think it has been established through experiments that this is true in complex tasks such as holding a conversation or writing a paragraph.Noah Te Stroete

    Oh, especially in speaking do we often not realize some of our insights until we hear ourselves speak them.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Oh, especially in speaking do we often not realize some of our insights until we hear ourselves speak them.PoeticUniverse

    Yeah, that actually seems correct from my personal experience.
  • khaled
    760
    Okay, a rock is not making a decision to be aware herePossibility

    As far as I can tell, I can't make a decision not to be aware either. I can't just BECOME ROCK. I WILL continue to be aware against my wishes until I sleep. But also I don’t know if being aware is a “decision” either.

    but each particle/molecule has already made a number of ‘no’ decisions that have limited its capacity to then make yes/no decisions to subsequent interactions, including its ability to connect with its neighbouring rock molecules and respond to forces in relation to them. ‘No’ decisions are irretreivable for the molecule, though, and therefore for anything non-living.Possibility

    Where did this “no decisions are irretrievable” come from. I can sometimes feel like i dont want to think about something right now then become aware of it later. What makes a rock not the same way?

    But within our current set of collaborations are a number of smaller collaborations that have made ‘no’ decisions that limit their awareness, connection and collaboration with other elements of this larger collaboration - if that makes sense. And within those limited collaborations are a number of smaller limited collaborations, and so on.Possibility

    I actually like this model. But it would imply that some people are literally less human than others due to genetics. Also I’m still not convinced one can make the decision not to be aware of something, or to be aware of something for that matter. How does one decide to become aware of X? The decision itself requires him to be aware of X.

    So instead of saying ‘move your free will up’, perhaps it would be a matter of saying ‘choose to collaborate more/less’ in relation to a specific set of interactions which have already made it through the first two ‘yes’ decisions, and then work our way backwards.Possibility

    Again, I don’t ever see a way to test this. Even if we confirm the existence of some force in the brain that can be controlled by human will how can this be confirmed exactly? If an experimenter tells me “collaborate more/less in relation to.......” how can he confirm that it wasn’t this prompt that made me do that rather than my “free will”. You can’t confirm after an unpredictable action has occurred whether or not it was the result of “free will”, determinism or chance. I just cannot think of a way to conceive of “decisions”. I feel like I’m making them all the time but I don’t know how they make sense. If we had a time machine and I went back in time 10 minutes would the same exact 10 minutes transpire? Or would there be a difference in which case what could have possibly caused that difference? What made me choose different this time? If nothing made me choose differently then what’s the difference between my choice and a random choice? Since I don’t even know myself WHY that idea that made me decide occurred to me then. But if I DO know then isn’t that just deterministic?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps one would have to take that time machine trip 15 times in order to get the desired results. But desire is value driven. Are we responsible for our values? Or are they determined by circumstances beyond our control?
  • Possibility
    413
    As far as I can tell, I can't make a decision not to be aware either. I can't just BECOME ROCK. I WILL continue to be aware against my wishes until I sleep. But also I don’t know if being aware is a “decision” either.khaled

    Where did this “no decisions are irretrievable” come from. I can sometimes feel like i dont want to think about something right now then become aware of it later. What makes a rock not the same way?khaled

    This is not against your wishes - it just seems that way. You are automatically aware of some information, but not others. The way I see it, you only need to become aware of how you subconsciously decide to be aware or not in order to change it if you wish. Take another look at the blindfold example I described in a previous post.

    Thinking about something is not the same as being aware of it. That ‘something’ you don’t want to think about right now? You’ve likely already become aware of it (even if you’ve chosen not to be aware how the decision was made), but you’re choosing not to connect with that information at this point, for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean you can’t recognise (even subconsciously) that the raw information matters somehow, and later retrieve it from memory (or choose to be aware of the same information in a later experience) when it becomes more significant to connect and collaborate with the information.

    I think what we call a rock, on the other hand, has a very limited connection between molecules, and these (both collectively and individually) have no memory as such, no sense of time. What a rock molecule ‘experiences’ is not in relation to time, but in relation only to the information in question. A molecule embodies the information it encounters, or it doesn’t. That’s it.
  • Possibility
    413
    But it would imply that some people are literally less human than others due to genetics. Also I’m still not convinced one can make the decision not to be aware of something, or to be aware of something for that matter. How does one decide to become aware of X? The decision itself requires him to be aware of X.khaled

    Not the way I see it. The human body is comprised of a complex system of systems: sensory, nervous, limbic, digestive, etc. Each of those systems is limited in awareness, and also comprised of collaborative components (blood vessels, blood cells, plasma, etc) that are themselves limited in awareness. So it’s more like people in general are literally less ‘human’ the deeper you go.

    As for deciding to become aware of something: information is basically the answer to a question. You can have a question/entropy - a lack of information - and an idea of where or how to find the answer, but then choose not to pursue that answer. Like closing your eyes or covering your ears.
  • chris1976
    3
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/311093

    Hang on here Possibility, let me just understand exactly what you mean by the term "will". You had initially defined it as "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action." But in this subsequent post you added to that definition stating that "will, as I understand it, is an underlying faculty that is inherent in every element of matter". That amplifies the concept beyond your initial definition. Can you clarify that for me? Because depending on what you mean I may have a response. Thanks.
  • Possibility
    413
    Hang on here Possibility, let me just understand exactly what you mean by the term "will". You had initially defined it as "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action." But in this subsequent post you added to that definition stating that "will, as I understand it, is an underlying faculty that is inherent in every element of matter". That amplifies the concept beyond your initial definition. Can you clarify that for me? Because depending on what you mean I may have a response. Thanks.chris1976

    Oh, you noticed that? Yes, the original definition that refers to ‘a person’ is copied straight from the dictionary. I figured it was a good place to start. The amplified concept is ‘as I understand it’, which is my developing perspective, and is obviously open for debate.

    I hope that helps.
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