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Author Topic: Free Will  (Read 3801 times)

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Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2008, 04:07:43 PM »
First, I only read the first few posts but I feel like sharing my thoughts on free will.

I don't think anybody has any true "free will".  Choices are always effected by outside forces.  Tom doesn't make much money.  He makes the choice to pay rent instead of buying groceries.  Tom is hungry but he chose to keep a roof over his head.  His free will was not really free will it was a choice effected by outside forces.  Also thought of as the sociological imagination.  We may think that we are making choices because we want to but we're not.  We're all effected by outsdie forces to make our choices.

Offline mannik

Re: Free Will
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2008, 04:19:30 PM »
First, I only read the first few posts but I feel like sharing my thoughts on free will.

I don't think anybody has any true "free will".  Choices are always effected by outside forces.  Tom doesn't make much money.  He makes the choice to pay rent instead of buying groceries.  Tom is hungry but he chose to keep a roof over his head.  His free will was not really free will it was a choice effected by outside forces.  Also thought of as the sociological imagination.  We may think that we are making choices because we want to but we're not.  We're all effected by outsdie forces to make our choices.

Free will is the ability to choose between two or more courses of action...if Tom didn't have any free will than those outside forces wouldn't matter, he'd still do the same thing no matter what. If he was starving, he'd still pay rent. If he had no clothes, he'd still pay rent. If his house burned down, he'd still pay rent...the fact that those outside factors effect his dicision means he has free will.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2008, 04:24:06 PM »
Free will is the ability to choose between two or more courses of action...if Tom didn't have any free will than those outside forces wouldn't matter, he'd still do the same thing no matter what. If he was starving, he'd still pay rent. If he had no clothes, he'd still pay rent. If his house burned down, he'd still pay rent...the fact that those outside factors effect his dicision means he has free will.

But what Tom really wanted to do was buy groceries.  He was starving and wanted food but instead he chose to pay rent because he needed a roof over his head.  He didn't choose it cause he wanted to he chose it cause he had to.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2008, 04:24:50 PM »
Free will is the ability to choose between two or more courses of action...if Tom didn't have any free will than those outside forces wouldn't matter, he'd still do the same thing no matter what. If he was starving, he'd still pay rent. If he had no clothes, he'd still pay rent. If his house burned down, he'd still pay rent...the fact that those outside factors effect his dicision means he has free will.

Oooh - SIMS!

Edit - because I am a geek.

program  TOM (input, output);         
var status, action : string;
account : real;
begin;
While account>0 then
case status of
 'starving': action :='buy food';
 'naked': action :='buy clothes';
 'horny': action :='hire hooker';
 'won lottery': action :='call boss a weenie';
else action :='pay rent'
end;
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 04:36:37 PM by Oniya »

Offline mannik

Re: Free Will
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2008, 08:41:38 PM »
Oooh - SIMS!

Edit - because I am a geek.

program  TOM (input, output);         
var status, action : string;
account : real;
begin;
While account>0 then
case status of
 'starving': action :='buy food';
 'naked': action :='buy clothes';
 'horny': action :='hire hooker';
 'won lottery': action :='call boss a weenie';
else action :='pay rent'
end;

Yup...that's how you give a computer free will.

But what Tom really wanted to do was buy groceries.  He was starving and wanted food but instead he chose to pay rent because he needed a roof over his head.  He didn't choose it cause he wanted to he chose it cause he had to.

He still chose. I have seen plenty of people choose what they wanted instead of what they needed. Tom was just intelegent enough to realize what his priorities were.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 08:46:26 PM by mannik »

Offline The Overlord

Re: Free Will
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2008, 09:42:03 PM »
First, I only read the first few posts but I feel like sharing my thoughts on free will.

I don't think anybody has any true "free will".  Choices are always effected by outside forces.  Tom doesn't make much money.  He makes the choice to pay rent instead of buying groceries.  Tom is hungry but he chose to keep a roof over his head.  His free will was not really free will it was a choice effected by outside forces.  Also thought of as the sociological imagination.  We may think that we are making choices because we want to but we're not.  We're all effected by outsdie forces to make our choices.

Suppose Tom chooses to appropriate the funds needed to keep a roof over his head and keep from going to bed hungry, possibly through less than legal means. What then? Then we’re talking does Tom choose to play by the rules that are shafting him, or playing his own game. Is that free will, or was he coerced since he was at risk of going hungry?

Offline Zakharra

Re: Free Will
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2008, 12:39:44 AM »
Suppose Tom chooses to appropriate the funds needed to keep a roof over his head and keep from going to bed hungry, possibly through less than legal means. What then? Then we’re talking does Tom choose to play by the rules that are shafting him, or playing his own game. Is that free will, or was he coerced since he was at risk of going hungry?

 Free will. That doesn't mean he will not suffer the consequences of his actions though. Stealing is stealing.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Free Will
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2008, 01:17:49 AM »
Free will is the ability to choose between two or more courses of action...if Tom didn't have any free will than those outside forces wouldn't matter, he'd still do the same thing no matter what. If he was starving, he'd still pay rent. If he had no clothes, he'd still pay rent. If his house burned down, he'd still pay rent...the fact that those outside factors effect his dicision means he has free will.

The discussion, here, is whether or not that choice is in some way predetermined.

What, truly, separates Tom making the choice from a computer making the choice?

Offline mannik

Re: Free Will
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2008, 02:24:41 AM »
What, truly, separates Tom making the choice from a computer making the choice?

Possibilites. The computer only has as many possible choices as was programmed into it. Humans on the other hand can choose an infinate number of things to do for any given problem.

Tom can pay rent, or Tom can eat, or Tom can say screw this town and leave, or Tom can try seducing his land lord to avoid paying rent, AND eat...his choices are not really limited by anything but Tom.

Humans also have the ability to choose multiple things at once. A computer must go line by line through code to make it's decision to ultimately pay rent, then start running the code to decide how to feed itself. Where as Tom would concider options on how to obtain food while trying to figure out weather or not to pay rent. By the time he reaches a conclusion about one problem, it is quite possible for him to have already figured out the other. *Tom can pay rent now, and bum some food off his friends and family untill pay day, then he'll be fine.* A computer simply can not do that.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Free Will
« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2008, 05:37:35 AM »
The religion aspect of free will does not refer to buying groceries or fixing a house.  This concept is a choice of whether to obey God or not.  A choice to go to Church, to stay at home or to follow another religion.  God was not going to reach down and drop you down where he/she preferred.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Free Will
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2008, 01:55:04 PM »
Possibilites. The computer only has as many possible choices as was programmed into it. Humans on the other hand can choose an infinate number of things to do for any given problem.

Tom can pay rent, or Tom can eat, or Tom can say screw this town and leave, or Tom can try seducing his land lord to avoid paying rent, AND eat...his choices are not really limited by anything but Tom.

This is, of course, incorrect. Your brain is a neural network. No structure within the brain has been found that cannot be emulated, even if said emulation would come at great cost.

Quote
Humans also have the ability to choose multiple things at once. A computer must go line by line through code to make it's decision to ultimately pay rent, then start running the code to decide how to feed itself.

Where as Tom would concider options on how to obtain food while trying to figure out weather or not to pay rent. By the time he reaches a conclusion about one problem, it is quite possible for him to have already figured out the other. *Tom can pay rent now, and bum some food off his friends and family untill pay day, then he'll be fine.* A computer simply can not do that.

Elliquiy is currently running 87 threads as I type this, FYI.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2008, 01:56:56 PM »
There is the arguement (I think I learned in Physical Science but it could have also been philosophy) that your atoms predetermine what you will do.  So therefor it is predetermined just like the computer.  Your atoms give you the instructions and you follow them out.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2008, 01:58:52 PM »
I think it might be higher up than atoms.  Molecules, maybe.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2008, 01:59:47 PM »
I think it might be higher up than atoms.  Molecules, maybe.

Maybe. . .though I thought it was atoms. . .

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Free Will
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2008, 02:55:23 PM »
There are a lot of arguments as to why people do what they do.  Never heard the atom one though I guess someone could say so.  Course there’s about as much evidence to support a lot of these theories as there is to support a divine being.  So not sure how much stock I put in many of them. 

As for the computer emulating our decision making capabilities…I’m certainly not seeing that right now.

Offline mannik

Re: Free Will
« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2008, 04:28:31 PM »
This is, of course, incorrect. Your brain is a neural network. No structure within the brain has been found that cannot be emulated, even if said emulation would come at great cost.
Do you have a link to support that claim?
Quote
Elliquiy is currently running 87 threads as I type this, FYI.
Elliquiy is not a decision structure. It is more of a data base that is storing 87 threads, even then when a user calls up the forum it is loaded line by line, one at a time untill everything is ready to be displayed.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Free Will
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2008, 06:49:52 PM »
Do you have a link to support that claim?

http://www.cs.stir.ac.uk/~lss/NNIntro/InvSlides.html

That site is old, and of course does not cover recent discoveries in how plasticity works, for example, but the basic idea is similar.

I am a programmer by trade and am not unfamiliar with AI structures. : )

Quote
Elliquiy is not a decision structure. It is more of a data base that is storing 87 threads, even then when a user calls up the forum it is loaded line by line, one at a time untill everything is ready to be displayed.

Even on a single processor system, there are multiple logical units capable of handling instructions, the order of which is sometimes changed on the fly by the processor itself in order to improve pipelining - out of order execution. You may recall - back when it mattered - discussions about branch prediction, I'm not sure why you would not call those things a 'decision'. They are certainly more complex than the electrochemical summation that occurs in an individual cell of our brains. It's just that there are quite a few cells in the human brain to begin with.

Likewise, in order to support doing 87 things at once, elements need to decide what share of the processor they receive, how much memory they need to be allocated, disk and network access. Queries cannot be allowed to block each other, for example, otherwise everyone here would be at the mercy of smf's rather goofy database design. Some people are forced to wait several seconds when they first log in - but that does not block your access, for example.

The decisions are mechanical, even if sometimes randomness actually drives those decisions - certain elements of TCP require such, for example. But they are still decisions, and your own decisions and thought processes are basically an immense cascading series of summations.

Offline mannik

Re: Free Will
« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2008, 07:23:34 PM »
Possibilites. The computer only has as many possible choices as was programmed into it. Humans on the other hand can choose an infinate number of things to do for any given problem.

Tom can pay rent, or Tom can eat, or Tom can say screw this town and leave, or Tom can try seducing his land lord to avoid paying rent, AND eat...his choices are not really limited by anything but Tom.

Humans also have the ability to choose multiple things at once. A computer must go line by line through code to make it's decision to ultimately pay rent, then start running the code to decide how to feed itself. Where as Tom would concider options on how to obtain food while trying to figure out weather or not to pay rent. By the time he reaches a conclusion about one problem, it is quite possible for him to have already figured out the other. *Tom can pay rent now, and bum some food off his friends and family untill pay day, then he'll be fine.* A computer simply can not do that.

I can't believe I did this, but I completely forgot about fuzzy logic when I made that post.

Basically it is possible to program a computer to do things without fully knowing the outcome or what is expected of it. I first heard of it when I was watching a special on robotics that mentioned the ASIMO. Using various different technologies you can give it simple commands, like take this soda can, and it will, even if you try to move the can away from it or twist it the robot will still make a verry good attempt to take it from you. Dispite the changing circumstances it will figure out a way.

I appologize for my previous arguments, it is clear now they are unfounded...

Offline Oniya

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2008, 07:29:31 PM »
Maybe. . .though I thought it was atoms. . .

I'm not a bio-chem person, just to be clear - my adjustment is based only on the fact that you don't often see free-roaming atoms, and I think that's usually when they are bumping around between two interacting molecules in a reaction.


Offline The Overlord

Re: Free Will
« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2008, 07:30:02 PM »
Free will. That doesn't mean he will not suffer the consequences of his actions though. Stealing is stealing.

This assuming of course there is something there to hold us accountable for our actions beyond our own human laws.

I might be the only one here with this philosophy, but when it comes to personal survival, things change. If it came to me ending up on the streets in a cardboard box or worse, oh yes, I would steal to prevent it. No question about it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2008, 07:36:54 PM »
This assuming of course there is something there to hold us accountable for our actions beyond our own human laws.

I might be the only one here with this philosophy, but when it comes to personal survival, things change. If it came to me ending up on the streets in a cardboard box or worse, oh yes, I would steal to prevent it. No question about it.


Different people have different levels where they'll break from the 'law-abiding citizen' mold.  For meth addicts, it can be a simple matter of needing that next hit.  For Joe Average, I hope it takes something more extreme.  I've never fired a gun in my life (personal choice), but if it came down to protecting myself or my family from imminent death, I'd be targeting center mass and to heck with 'thou shalt not murder' or the laws against premeditated homicide.  (I'd probably get off on self-defense, but that's beside the point.  I most likely wouldn't be rationalizing at that point.)

Offline The Overlord

Re: Free Will
« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2008, 07:45:14 PM »

This might indeed be a sidetrack for the thread yeah, but likely true everyone has his or her limit. With rare exceptions I think most of us have a dire point where the law of the jungle overrides the law of man. A hundred million years of hardwired coding in our DNA might not hold up in court, but there's no denying it's there.


Meth is a poor example of free will though; I know a meth addict and when that poison gets hold of you, it's not the real person. The drug takes all priority.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Free Will
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2008, 07:54:17 PM »
There is nothing simple about what the human brain accomplishes on a regular basis.  Maintenance of an entire system like the human body is hardly an insignificant task.  Tack onto this the complexity of even simple coordination and the brain is a complex center of activity.  Then there is still the unknown activity involved in creating a personality, making complex decisions and making quick judgments.  Even a simple reflex involves far more activity than just a simple impulse.  How can any of that be considered a simple task.  This when even the article presented states that the animal brain is far too complex for us to mimic at this time.  The human body is a marvel that we are still trying to understand and may never truly comprehend all of its secrets.

As for survival, I would wholly dispute that.  There are incidents across the board where people have taken the unexpected path.  Not everyone faced with poverty turns to theft and not everyone faced with death responds with violence.  There are people that follow the path of others while some actively fight against that path.  People do a lot of strange things when faced with desperate measures.  Some makes choices from survival and some from their own ethical code.

As for meth...then how do some decide to quit and do so?

Offline The Overlord

Re: Free Will
« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2008, 08:17:43 PM »


As for meth...then how do some decide to quit and do so?



To briefly touch on this-

Of the addictive drugs I know of, meth is perhaps the absolute worst. The stuff grips like a vise on your balls; based on what I've personally seen, a meth addict will literally steal from his own mother for his next fix...I cannot stress enough how bad this crap is.

What amazes me about meth is what's in it, should you read the ingredients...what's amazing is all of that crap doesn't take you out immediately, but I think it's about magnification of an effect via multiple components...just as anyone who's ever drank alcohol and smoked weed at the same time knows X does not = 3+3...it's more like 3 squared.

Point is, it's a sheer act of will by a very strong or very lucky person if you manage to kick that monkey off your back.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2008, 08:51:36 PM »
That's why I was using it for the pretty-ultimate-low-end of the scale.