• Possibility
    14
    We can, though, say that what did happen, non randomly, trumps as actuality the claims such as "should have", making those to be of a fantasy world stance.
    — PoeticUniverse

    That seems fine to me. But I would struggle to add: "so there is no choice/decision/other possibility". I think I am viewing these things as existing in reality the same way I view all thoughts as existing in reality. The thoughts are unquestionably part of "reality", even if what is being imagined is not.
    ZhouBoTong

    This is the thing about ‘reality’. Actuality (the ‘reality’ to which @gods must be atheist seems to refer) includes observable/measurable 4D events, whereas the ‘reality’ I think you refer to also includes internal 4D events such as thoughts, emotions and memories. I think this is a common difference in perspective. Self reflection (internal experience) assures me that my thoughts are unquestionably part of reality - although I cannot produce for you any ‘proof’ that they occur except perhaps to tell you that they do. Or perhaps to show you in my ‘being’.

    But how are we so sure these internal 4D events exist? Perhaps it’s because internal experience shows us how they interact with observable/measurable (actual) internal 4D events, such as heart rate.
  • khaled
    5
    so you’re saying free will IS just a manifestation of random choice. So if you have a 20% chance of killing someone you’re really annoyed with and an 80% chance of not doing so but the universal die just happened to roll on the 20 and you kill said someone, that was your free choice?

    I don’t know why you’re repeating everything you said about some phenomena involving true randomness. I even mentioned quantum mechanics in my reply. I’m familiar with the idea, I just don’t understand how it can amount to free will to you. So far you’ve said nothing that indicates to me that this “will” thing is different from a naturally decaying atom that just does things based on pure chance. There doesn’t seem to be much CHOICE involved in your “free will”, you’re making it sound no different from any quantum interaction that doesn’t have equal distribution of probability between outcomes.

    Your “free will” seems closer to “random will” which I wouldn’t say is very free
  • Relativist
    0


    I think Terrapin is saying:
    1. the will is determined or the will is free (premise)
    2. the will is not determined (because of QM?)
    3. Therefore the will is free

    I agree that the conclusion follows from the premises, but it is not what is meant by the term "free will." If Shroedinger's cat survives the box, it's not because of free will. What I think is overlooked is the meaning of "the will" - which is that functional component of the mind that makes decisions..
  • khaled
    5
    that’s what I’m saying. His “free will” doesn’t give its possessor any actual agency and is closer to “random will”. I would disagree with P1 and say that the will is determined, random or “free” then show that it is both of the former and that the latter is meaningless
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    random willkhaled

    Thankfully,

    whereas a single particle exhibits a degree of randomness, in systems incorporating millions of particles averaging takes over and, at the high energy limit, the statistical probability of random behaviour approaches zero. In other words, classical mechanics is simply a quantum mechanics of large systems. — Wiki
  • khaled
    5

    whereas a single particle exhibits a degree of randomness, in systems incorporating millions of particles averaging takes over and, at the high energy limit, the statistical probability of random behaviour approaches zero. In other words, classical mechanics is simply a quantum mechanics of large systems.PoeticUniverse

    I know this. But classical mechanics is completely deterministic. So your will is either completely deterministic or completely random. I don’t think that leaves any room for “free”. I would also challenge someone to define what “free will” is in a way that doesn’t just boil down to “random will”
  • Relativist
    0
    I would also challenge someone to define what “free will” is in a way that doesn’t just boil down to “random will”khaled
    Didn't you choose to write those particular words? Were you not free to write something different?

    I certainly chose to respond in the way I did. In my estimation, that makes it a freely willed decision. What makes it a freely willed decision is that I made it; I wrote what I wanted to write.
  • khaled
    5
    Were you not free to write something different?Relativist

    Yes. In the sense that there were other options

    Didn't you choose to write those particular words?Relativist

    Depends on what you mean by choice. If you just mean “did you pick this option” then obviously yes. But if you mean “did you pick this option because of some capacity you have that doesn’t have the properties of either random or deterministic choice” then No. It wasn’t a choice, it was a random quantum interaction somewhere in my brain that picked this option among many. At least from what we’ve discussed so far, the world is split into random and deterministic interactions. I don’t see room for “free” interactions.

    Let’s try an experiment. Think of a city. Now try answering these questions:

    Could you have thought of a city you didn’t know?
    Could you have thought of a city you knew but didn’t occur to you?
    What, in the end, influenced your decision to pick this city among the cities that occurred to you? And if you know, could you have controlled that influence?

    Now say we had a truly random city generator generate the name of a city. What do you think the answers to these questions would be for it?

    For me the answers are no, no, I don’t know and for the random city generator it would be no, no, I don’t know
  • PoeticUniverse
    24
    But classical mechanics is completely deterministic. So your will is either completely deterministic or completely random. I don’t think that leaves any room for “free”.khaled

    I do know some seemingly random air-heads, but that is just a joke here, but the pearl of the joke is that 'completely random' would be a total disaster, yet, that's what the opposite of 'determined' would be, as 'not determined'.

    Now that the other shoe drops, as 'random', and to boot, even harms the will, its saving grace drains away, and the foot now stinks, and thus one rushes to embrace the first shoe kicked away, that of 'determinism', for probably no better reason than 'free will' sounds like a good thing to have to not be a robot, because then one celebrates that a fixed will grants consistency and order, over disorder.

    I would also challenge someone to define what “free will” is in a way that doesn’t just boil down to “random will”khaled

    The greatest minds have tried.

    What makes it a freely willed decision is that I made it; I wrote what I wanted to write.Relativist

    'Freely willed' is the base definition of 'free will' being that the fixed will able to operate and do its willing true to itself when not coerced otherwise; however, 'fixed will' is dynamic in that it can change to a new and better (or worse, if criminal) fixed will via learning and experience.
  • Possibility
    14
    What I think is overlooked is the meaning of "the will" - which is that functional component of the mind that makes decisions..Relativist

    But I still think this definition is lacking in the detail it requires to answer the question of whether or not it can be ‘free’. If the will is whatever it is in our mind that makes decisions, then it could very well include the entire mind. After all, what component of the mind is NOT involved in making decisions?

    The same when we talk about the will as ‘choice’. As I described earlier in the thread, ‘choice’ refers to several components: the act of choosing, the option chosen or the range/variety to choose from. Which of these is ‘free’? That depends on the decision to be made. In what decisions can all three of these remain wholly unconstrained?

    It is at this point we should recognise that our freedom to choose or choose from is determined initially by our awareness of information.

    Let’s try an experiment. Think of a city. Now try answering these questions:

    Could you have thought of a city you didn’t know?
    Could you have thought of a city you knew but didn’t occur to you?
    What, in the end, influenced your decision to pick this city among the cities that occurred to you? And if you know, could you have controlled that influence?

    Now say we had a truly random city generator generate the name of a city. What do you think the answers to these questions would be for it?

    For me the answers are no, no, I don’t know and for the random city generator it would be no, no, I don’t know
    khaled

    These types of experiments are interesting to me, because my own internal experience appears to be different to what you’d expect, and I’m not sure if others have a similar experience.

    When you say ‘think of a city’ my mind is filled with a broad range of thoughts: including images, names and rich memories. Even if I force myself to pick one, these other options don’t suddenly disappear. So when you ask your first question, I can think of a number of images of cities that I can’t remember the names of, as well as names of cities I know nothing about. At your second question, I can think of a number of cities that didn’t occur to me at the time I had chosen. The third question I can certainly come up with a credible answer (I chose London because I was remembering my trip there, as well as a movie I watched last night that happened to be set there - there were more thoughts in my mind of that city at the time I chose than any others). And to your fourth question, yes - I believe I could have controlled that influence and chosen a different city.

    So I wonder: is this just me, or do others have a similar experience? I have noticed that my son and daughter have two very different ways of looking at the world, that I tend to refer to as the particle and the wave. My son would answer your questions above in the way you’d expect, whereas my daughter, much like me, would be reluctant to commit to one city in her mind, and would ‘collapse the potentiality wave’ only if and when it was necessary to actualise a choice (and even then would wish to reserve the right to change her decision, if she felt a different city would better suit the requirements). To a lot of you, this probably seems like a strange way to interact with the world. It wasn’t until I learned about QM that I realise just how their experiences differed from each other.
  • Relativist
    0
    Depends on what you mean by choice. If you just mean “did you pick this option” then obviously yes. But if you mean “did you pick this option because of some capacity you have that doesn’t have the properties of either random or deterministic choice” then No. It wasn’t a choice, it was a random quantum interaction somewhere in my brain that picked this option among many. At least from what we’ve discussed so far, the world is split into random and deterministic interactions. I don’t see room for “free” interactions.khaled
    Set aside the issue of whether or not the world is deterministic, and think introspectively about choices you have made. Don't you sometimes ponder and weigh your options, consider the consequences and risks, and ultimately choose what you consider the best, or most desirable, option? I'm arguing that this is what makes it your choice: every factor that led to the decision was within you, part of you. It was driven by your beliefs, your background knowledge, your desires, your idiosyncracies. These are part of what makes you YOU. Determinism doesn't remove YOU from the causal chain.

    If you have a child that misbehaves, will you refrain from disciplining the child because you know he didn't really have a choice? I'm just asking everyone to get real. When philosophizing leads you to conclusions that are contrary to common sense, it means you need to rethink your philosophizing - because maybe you're overlooking something. I think I've shown what that is.
  • Relativist
    0
    It is at this point we should recognise that our freedom to choose or choose from is determined initially by our awareness of information.Possibility
    See my above reply to khaled.

    I believe I could have controlled that influence and chosen a different city.Possibility
    Of course you could, had it occurred to you to take more time or to use Google. But it hadn't occurred to you. Given exactly the same sequence of thoughts (and identical backgound knowledge, desires, etc), you would have had exactly the same answer. This is true even if Libertarian Free Will were true. If there's a reason for a choice, then that choice is determined. If the choice was made for no reason - that is not an act of will
  • khaled
    5
    Don't you sometimes ponder and weigh your options, consider the consequences and risks, and ultimately choose what you consider the best, or most desirable, option?Relativist

    Yes but this doesn't amount to free will. Because I don’t know the WAY in which that choice took place. Do the little thought experiment I said in my last post. You’ll find that your answers to the questions are the same when it comes to your “free will” or the “random will” or a random city generator.

    Let’s look at a sample choice for reference. Do you prefer to have a hamburger or a burrito for your next meal. Let’s examine the choices here. Can you choose to have a pizza? No because it’s not part of the choices. Now let’s say you have a preference for burritos, if that is the ONLY factor to be considered (as in you’re not on a diet or there is any other factor) you will DETERMINISTICALLY pick burritos, because said preference is the only factor to consider. Now if you don’t have any preferences whatsoever then you will pick randomly. So, your “free will” is either random or deterministic, there doesn’t seem to be much room for freedom here.

    If you have a child that misbehaves, will you refrain from disciplining the child because you know he didn't really have a choice?Relativist

    First off, I’d never have a child. Secondly, when did it appear to you that I said that the lack of free will meant no one would get disciplined punished anymore? I don’t care if they chose to do it or not, the main purpose of punishment is to simply discourage behaviors perceived as threatening to society/family/yourself. Whether or not they have free will doesn’t change what the purpose of punishment is or it’s effectiveness. So of course I’d do it.

    I’ve never said I wouldn’t punish someone for doing something bad free will or no free will if it were up to me.

    If there's a reason for a choice, then that choice is determined. If the choice was made for no reason - that is not an act of willRelativist

    This basically.

    I'm arguing that this is what makes it your choiceRelativist

    I wasn’t arguing it wasn’t. Not that I said “no it is not a choice”. Not “no it is not my choice”. The “choice” was made by me certainly but I don’t think it was much of a choice to begin with, that’s what I meant
  • khaled
    5
    When you say ‘think of a city’ my mind is filled with a broad range of thoughts: including images, names and rich memoriesPossibility

    The question should have been “name a city” instead my bad. That way you’d actually have to “collapse the probability wave” before the questions start instead of do so at each question

    So when you ask your first question, I can think of a number of images of cities that I can’t remember the names ofPossibility

    Then you know the images of said cities, what I’m asking is: can you think of a city you’ve never heard the name of, seen photos of, and which you didn’t even know existed? I think the answer is no, for how could you?

    as well as names of cities I know nothing aboutPossibility

    You obviously know their name though so it doesn’t count as thinking of a city you don’t know

    At your second question, I can think of a number of cities that didn’t occur to me at the time I had chosenPossibility

    That doesn’t answer the question though. Could you have thought of a city that didn’t occur to you or not AT THE TIME the question was being asked? I think the answer is no. For how could you have thought of it at the time if it didn’t occur to you?

    And to your fourth question, yes - I believe I could have controlled that influence and chosen a different city.Possibility

    Why didn’t you then? That’s the problem here. You don’t know why you didn’t do you? So your decision to NOT control the impulse as opposed to control it must have been random right? For you don’t know why you made it.

    If you don’t know why you picked that city it must have been random.
    If you know why you’ve picked that city and don’t think you could’ve controlled that impulse it must have been deterministic.
    If you know why you picked that city and think you could’ve controlled that impulse then you don’t know why you didn’t, in which case it must have been random that you didn’t control it. Which ultimately means it’s random that you picked that city.

    Where is “free” here because I don’t see it
  • Possibility
    14
    Why didn’t you then? That’s the problem here. You don’t know why you didn’t do you? So your decision to NOT control the impulse as opposed to control it must have been random right? For you don’t know why you made it.khaled

    First you say it’s an influence, then you say it’s an impulse. As it suits your argument, I guess. The thing is, in my view this was neither. It was a choice that I made, partly at random, partly based on arbitrary significance to me that at the time seemed interesting to run with and helped to narrow the choices. Nothing controlled my choice but me: I freely structured the causal conditions that determined the act of naming a city.

    I know why I decided to name a city: because you asked me to name one, and I thought it might contribute to the discussion. Which one I decided to name and why I decided on that one instead of others was of no consequence to me, but my answers at least seemed important to you. If the process behind the decision was important to me, then I would have been more systematic and taken more time consciously deliberating over the significance of the act of choosing, the range of options to choose from and the significance of the option chosen. Obviously.

    Most people simply don’t value why they make certain decisions. If you had then asked me to name a city in a particular part of the world, or a name one starting with a certain letter, I wouldn’t mind the fact that this decision would no longer be as ‘free’ as the previous one. I simply have more important things to spend my time consciously thinking about.

    Your experiment seems to be proof that we allow unimportant decisions to be randomly determined. That doesn’t mean we would never know why we made any decision, or that every decision we make is random.

    If you had said ‘name a city and I’ll fly you there tomorrow” or ‘name a city and I’ll drop a bomb on it’, I would not make that decision quite so randomly. It hasn’t affected the freedom: the act of choosing and the range of options to choose are unchanged - what’s changed is the significance of the option chosen. That I can decide to take back control over this decision in such instances appears to be proof of freedom somewhere in the decision process, at least. This is what I’ve been exploring...
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    so you’re saying free will IS just a manifestation of random choice. So if you have a 20% chance of killing someone you’re really annoyed with and an 80% chance of not doing so but the universal die just happened to roll on the 20 and you kill said someone, that was your free choice?khaled

    What dynamically biases the possibilities, to a point where eventually it's 100% in favor of a particular possibility (at the moment when you make your choice) is you/your will.
  • khaled
    5
    First you say it’s an influence, then you say it’s an impulsePossibility

    Replace the word “impulse” with “influence” if it matters so much to you. As far as I’m concerned they’re just different degrees of the same thing. I didn’t intend to replace it.

    partly at random, partly based on arbitrary significance to me that at the time seemed interesting to run with and helped to narrow the choices.Possibility

    This boils down to “random”. Arbitrary and random are synonyms.

    Your experiment seems to be proof that we allow unimportant decisions to be randomly determined.Possibility

    Well I guess that’s progress.

    That doesn’t mean we would never know why we made any decision, or that every decision we make is random.Possibility

    Apply the same argument and you’ll find that you’ll never know why you made any decision

    Say the decision is between A, B and C(or any number of choices) and say the decision is very significant

    Could you have picked D? No. It’s not in the options
    Could you have picked C if it never occurred to you? No
    So now the choice is between A and B. Let’s say you very carefully deliberate the consequences of both options and decide to pick A. Could you have then picked B? If you say “yes I could have controlled the influence to pick A and still picked B” I would then again ask “why didn’t you”. This final “why didn’t you” you obviously don’t know the answer to. You can do this for any choice

    If you had said ‘name a city and I’ll fly you there tomorrow”Possibility

    Alright let’s do this one then (the bombing one would be awkward). I’ll do the questions for myself.

    “Name a city and I will fly you there tomorrow” Hawai
    “Could you have picked a city you couldn’t name” no
    “Could you have picked a city that didn’t occur to you” no
    “Do you know why you picked Hawaii” yes because I always wanted to go there
    “Could you have picked somewhere else though, say Alexandria” yes, I could’ve restrained the influence to pick Hawaii and picked Alexandria
    “Why didn’t you” I don’t know (note, if I said something like “because I think Alexandria would be too hot” or any other reason that would make the choice deterministic
  • khaled
    5
    What dynamically biases the possibilities, to a point where eventually it's 100% in favor of a particular possibility (at the moment when you make your choice) is you/your will.Terrapin Station

    Yes but the WAY it does so seems random. Sure it incorporates your beliefs and attitudes etc but whenever a decision is close and you can’t tell exactly way you picked A rather than B that’s just a random choice is it not?
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    If consciousness has no causal role and is merely epiphenomenal, what is the point of the experience of pain? Why would our brains be "programmed" to feel pain if it has no causal function and everything is simply deterministic?
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    Yes but the WAY it does so seems random. Sure it incorporates your beliefs and attitudes etc but whenever a decision is close and you can’t tell exactly way you picked A rather than B that’s just a random choice is it not?khaled

    Some choices are epistemically random, sure. And many if not most people (including me) intentionally pursue some choices that seem random.
  • khaled
    5
    so a free choice is: the random choice I made?
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    so a free choice is: the random choice I made?khaled

    It can be, sure. Again, I said, "Some choices are epistemically random, sure."
  • khaled
    5
    so: choice made = free choice?
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    so: choice made = free choice?khaled

    I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, but I wouldn't call something a choice if it's determined.
  • khaled
    5
    It can be, sure. Again, I said, "Some choices are epistemically random, sure."Terrapin Station

    Here you said a free choice CAN be a random choice. Which I took to mean it can also be deterministic. So for you, a completely random choice is free but a determined one isn’t?
  • Terrapin Station
    0


    Some choices are epistemically random.

    Do you know why the word "epistemically" is in that sentence?
  • Relativist
    0
    I wasn’t arguing it wasn’t. Not that I said “no it is not a choice”. Not “no it is not my choice”. The “choice” was made by me certainly but I don’t think it was much of a choice to begin with, that’s what I meantkhaled
    When a choice presents itself, you make it. You say it wasn't "much of a choice", but what you would consider as more of a choice? How would indeterminism change the process or make it more of a choice? You agree that adding some randomness to it wouldn't be an improvement - it would be worse.

    My issue is that it wouldn't be better. If determinism was false, we'd still have options before us and we'd still make choices based on our background knowledge, desires, etc. These would still constrain our imagination, and we wouldn't be any smarter, so it wouldn't be any better in any way.
  • Relativist
    0
    I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, but I wouldn't call something a choice if it's determined.Terrapin Station
    What do you call those things you do every day, in which you make a selection from among multiple options? Obviously you are making a choice. Sure, the factors that go into making those choices are determined, but you still go through the process and make the selection based on factors within you. What would indeterminism add to the process that constitutes an improvement?
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    What do you call those things you do every day, in which you make a selection from among multiple options?Relativist

    A choice.

    Sure, the factors that go into making those choices are determined,Relativist

    What I'm talking about is whether the "choice" is determined. It's not. ("Choice" is in quotation marks there because it wouldn't be a choice if determined.)

    Whether the factors that go into making the choice are determined would be a different issue. We'd have to look at the factors in each situation to say, and even then we wouldn't be sure, because many phenomena that seem determined/causal might not actually be.

    I'm not making any value judgments (re your question about "an improvement")
  • Relativist
    0
    I suggest that choices are determined irrespective of whether or not libertarian free will exists. Reflect on any past choice, and think about why you made it. If those are really the reason for the decision, then you could not have possibly made a different decision given the fact that those reasons were present.
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