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Author Topic: Free will ?  (Read 3035 times)

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Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Free will ?
« Reply #75 on: April 11, 2013, 01:50:46 PM »
I've always respected individuality.  We are each special in our own way and no two of us react in the same specific way to stimulus. 

Fortunately I've never stood before a room full of people and decided for them that they are nothing more than what some unfeeling inanimate machine calculated they were.  Each is an individual and special in their own right.  My contention isn't that I alone am special.  I believe that each of us is special even those who would attempt to take that away from me. 

You are, each and every one of you, the sum of your biology and everything that influenced you.  You are each to be celebrated as a unique individual with intelligence and self-determination.  I applaud you all and hope that no one ever succeeds in diminishing you to an equation or a predictable statistic with only the odor to burned insulation to hint at your existence.

Arguing for the sake of arguing has never appealed to me because it's pointless.   I'm not good at being stubborn and closed minded or a linear thinker and I feel those characteristics are needed to continue here.  Lest any of you take that as an accusation, it is not.  I revel in the emotional and the magical and celebrate the mystical and inspirational that give my spirit wings. 

Adieu and enjoy.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #76 on: April 11, 2013, 01:52:29 PM »
The fact that we do not have the technology to predict something does not mean it cannot be predicted.  We didn't know that the Earth orbited the Sun a thousand years ago, but that doesn't mean that the Earth's orbit was unpredictable until Copernicus wrote about heliocentrism.

Deterministic is not equivalent to perfectly predictable. It is not necessarily possible to know all prior variables.

Very interesting discussion here. It's one of the few times I've actually been interested enough to read through it all ( or near enough that it makes no difference! ).

I do have one question for those claiming that no computer could ever reach the level of human brains - to think, to decide, and to love, as it were. It seems to me that the only difference is that we're biological, and they're not. Which isn't even as clear-cut a difference as it might seem.

As mentioned, I would appreciate it discussions of computers and 'assumed human' traits went into its own thread.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2013, 01:55:00 PM »
Frankly, it's a distinction that doesn't speak well of us, either - evolution is the shittiest of all possible successful engineers.

Except perhaps a creator deity, but that's a totally different and potentially infinitely more inflammatory topic XD

I've always respected individuality.  We are each special in our own way and no two of us react in the same specific way to stimulus. 

Fortunately I've never stood before a room full of people and decided for them that they are nothing more than what some unfeeling inanimate machine calculated they were.  Each is an individual and special in their own right.  My contention isn't that I alone am special.  I believe that each of us is special even those who would attempt to take that away from me. 

You are, each and every one of you, the sum of your biology and everything that influenced you.  You are each to be celebrated as a unique individual with intelligence and self-determination.  I applaud you all and hope that no one ever succeeds in diminishing you to an equation or a predictable statistic with only the odor to burned insulation to hint at your existence.

Yes but a lack of free will doens't necessarily diminish any of that. Everyone can stil be unique and special but also complicit with a deterministic view of the universe at the same time. You're conflating the idea that we're all robots preprogrammed to respond in specific ways to specific stimuli with the idea that we're all going to respond the same way all the time. That is not the point nor a claim made by Deterministic theory. Only that you obey all the same physical laws as everything else and are therefore as theoretically predicatble in your actions two pool balls on a table.

Deterministic is not equivalent to perfectly predictable. It is not necessarily possible to know all prior variables.

And a cursory review of quantum physics would reveal that it's not theoretically possible either. The best we can hope for is a Probabilistic rather than a Deterministic model of the universe thanks to Quantum Indeterminancy. Unfortunately, that is still a model incompatiblie with free will, however it does not rule it out completely as a purely determinist approach would.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 02:01:56 PM by chaoslord29 »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Free will ?
« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2013, 02:05:49 PM »
I've always respected individuality.  We are each special in our own way and no two of us react in the same specific way to stimulus.
Not debating this.

Fortunately I've never stood before a room full of people and decided for them that they are nothing more than what some unfeeling inanimate machine calculated they were.  Each is an individual and special in their own right.  My contention isn't that I alone am special.  I believe that each of us is special even those who would attempt to take that away from me.
The thing is, though, that we're individual and unique within certain constraints. You wouldn't say that a cat is just a particularly special and unique human being, would you? One of those constraints is that, as physical objects, we exist within physics. I can't just decide I don't want to obey the second law of thermodynamics any more because I don't like paying for food, I can't just ignore gravity to get out of a traffic jam, and I can't act in a non-deterministic fashion. I might be a unique individual with unique psychology, but that psychology still exists within a human brain. Wishing it were not so does not change reality. I am not attempting in any way to say that you are not unique and special and individual - merely that you behave in a deterministic fashion. "Free will" as typically formulated is the violation of determinism - the ability to choose a course of action other than the one your brain chemistry and experiences up to that point dictate you will choose. This, I reject. You are a supreme badass, a highly intelligent being capable of a great number of things; my only contention is that violating physics is not one of them.

You are, each and every one of you, the sum of your biology and everything that influenced you.  You are each to be celebrated as a unique individual with intelligence and self-determination.  I applaud you all and hope that no one ever succeeds in diminishing you to an equation or a predictable statistic with only the odor to burned insulation to hint at your existence.
I agree with everything you say up to "hope that no one ever...". I am not trying to reduce anybody to anything. I am stating facts about the world as it already exists. Not one thing has changed about the nature of consciousness and determinism since this discussion started.

Arguing for the sake of arguing has never appealed to me because it's pointless.   I'm not good at being stubborn and closed minded or a linear thinker and I feel those characteristics are needed to continue here.  Lest any of you take that as an accusation, it is not.  I revel in the emotional and the magical and celebrate the mystical and inspirational that give my spirit wings.

Adieu and enjoy.
I think you misunderstand where I'm coming from, here. I'm a very passionate person, by nature. I revel in my emotions, too - but I take joy in the merely real. That's all. I would rather believe in what is rather than what I wish were real, and I will look to the real world to support or destroy my beliefs accordingly.

Offline Jude

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2013, 02:25:53 PM »
Frankly, it's a distinction that doesn't speak well of us, either - evolution is the shittiest of all possible successful engineers.
I disagree. What evolution lacks in elegance and direction, it makes up for in perseverance. :D

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2013, 03:17:05 PM »
I disagree. What evolution lacks in elegance and direction, it makes up for in perseverance. :D

Perserverance and nigh-inexhaustible resources and time haha.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2013, 03:22:09 PM »
And a cursory review of quantum physics would reveal that it's not theoretically possible either. The best we can hope for is a Probabilistic rather than a Deterministic model of the universe thanks to Quantum Indeterminancy. Unfortunately, that is still a model incompatiblie with free will, however it does not rule it out completely as a purely determinist approach would.

Quantum indeterminacy is based on the Copenhagen interpretation. It's a popular, influential interpretation but it is not without critics.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2013, 03:30:11 PM »
Quantum indeterminacy is based on the Copenhagen interpretation. It's a popular, influential interpretation but it is not without critics.
You're right of course, but I was referring to Indeterminacy as the best expressed theory of quantum interactions at this point (to my knowledge). The overarching point is that unless you're more or less willing to rule out Quantum Physics as a field, you've got to accept a less than Deterministic interpretation of the universe. Doesn't mean you have to accept free will of course.

For me, the biggest stumbling block is still the Problem of Agency. Even if Quantum Indeterminacy (or some entirely different factor) allowed for enough Indeterminacy in the otherwise immutable laws that govern all actions and reactions, by what mechanism would you, as a human, exercise any influence of them. I realize Beguile Mistress has bowed out of the conversation, but I'd like to reference her earlier post as the standard problem of the Mind-Brain interaction. If your Mind is the agent by which you exercise free will, then it must exist as something besides the purely physical makeup of your brain. But if your brain can account for all other functions and behavior of your person, how do you claim the mind has any purchase on the otherwise explainable actions you take?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Free will ?
« Reply #83 on: April 11, 2013, 03:31:10 PM »
Quantum indeterminacy is based on the Copenhagen interpretation. It's a popular, influential interpretation but it is not without critics.
I.. somehow missed that bit. Yeah, I reject Copenhagen for the same reason I reject free will.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #84 on: April 11, 2013, 03:33:34 PM »
I.. somehow missed that bit. Yeah, I reject Copenhagen for the same reason I reject free will.

Dude!!! How could you miss that bit XD

So on what basis or in what way do you account for the fundamentally non-deterministic function of particles at the quantum level?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Free will ?
« Reply #85 on: April 11, 2013, 03:42:34 PM »
Dude!!! How could you miss that bit XD

So on what basis or in what way do you account for the fundamentally non-deterministic function of particles at the quantum level?
Many worlds. Quantum phenomena appear to go one way or the other randomly because they do both. This interpretation, at least, does not require a non-local FTL phenomenon to happen all the time in defiance of everything else we've ever known.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #86 on: April 11, 2013, 03:47:14 PM »
Many worlds. Quantum phenomena appear to go one way or the other randomly because they do both. This interpretation, at least, does not require a non-local FTL phenomenon to happen all the time in defiance of everything else we've ever known.
So an infininte number of alternate universes that are infinitely differently deterministic?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Free will ?
« Reply #87 on: April 11, 2013, 03:53:24 PM »
So an infininte number of alternate universes that are infinitely differently deterministic?
Pretty much. At least it doesn't flagrantly conflict with physics.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #88 on: April 11, 2013, 03:59:17 PM »
Pretty much. At least it doesn't flagrantly conflict with physics.

Flagrantly conflict with existing physics? Or open up exciting new implications in the way we interpret sub atomic interactions and perhaps even small nuclear forces themselves? Huh? Amirite?  ;D

In all serioussness though, I think you already posted the most important aspect of this, which is that 'higher' tiers of physical science up from theoretical physics aren't going to exactly start reinterpreting everything in like of the potential variance of a few subatomic particles. I mean, chemicals are still going to interact with chemicals in much the same way they obviously have as long as chemistry's been around. Electricity behaves in exactly the way we would expect in excess of %99.9999999999 of the time, and since these are the two primary functions that brain activity is predicated upon . . . well let's just say it doesn't exactly look like the kind of free will we would probably like even if we could consciously manipulate individual quantum particles.

Offline Jude

Re: Free will ?
« Reply #89 on: April 11, 2013, 08:25:16 PM »
Flagrantly conflict with existing physics? Or open up exciting new implications in the way we interpret sub atomic interactions and perhaps even small nuclear forces themselves? Huh? Amirite?  ;D

In all serioussness though, I think you already posted the most important aspect of this, which is that 'higher' tiers of physical science up from theoretical physics aren't going to exactly start reinterpreting everything in like of the potential variance of a few subatomic particles. I mean, chemicals are still going to interact with chemicals in much the same way they obviously have as long as chemistry's been around. Electricity behaves in exactly the way we would expect in excess of %99.9999999999 of the time, and since these are the two primary functions that brain activity is predicated upon . . . well let's just say it doesn't exactly look like the kind of free will we would probably like even if we could consciously manipulate individual quantum particles.
Unless at some point or another the constants that govern chemical and physical interactions were subject to "many worlds" branch points. In which cause, the many worlds theory accounts for the anthropic problem too.