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Free Will?


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#18 OceanBreeze

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 08:20 AM

Any choice you make is deterministic, but it is deterministic specifically to you. Free will is the product of the structure of your brain (nature) and everything you have experienced up to the point of the decision you make.

 

That is, every choice you make and every decision you make is the product of everything you have done and experienced and who you are, everything that you have experienced and know and how you are wired is specific to you and only you, and the decision you make is the product of those two principles.

 

So it is completely deterministic, but it is deterministic on so many variables (the total of 'who' you are), that it is impossible to determine. So your decision is deterministic but based on factors that are impossible to determine.. 

 

You might choose fish instead of chicken for dinner because it was cold yesterday and once you stubbed your toe! Or because it's Monday, not even the person making the choice is aware of the factors leading up to that decision at that time. Could you have made a different choice, yes sure, even under identical conditions because that's just how 'fuzzy' the brain works. 

 

I agree with the sentence that I added bold font to.

 

I’m sure everyone here knows about those little robotic vacuum cleaners, that make their way by bumping into walls or using infrared sensors or even 360-degree cameras. I think we can all agree that they all depend on some degree of programming and therefore do not have free will, although their path along the floor is not exactly predetermined; some of it is due to chance encounters with obstacles.

 

So, we can all agree these robovacs do not have free will; but have you considered this from the perspective of the robovac? Perhaps, as seen from the perspective of a robovac, they have all the free will they can ever require or ask for.

 

My point is; if the choices available to us are so complex, perhaps infinitely complex, that we cannot even model them; then we cannot hope to distinguish free-will choices from determinism. And, if we cannot distinguish any difference, as far as we are concerned, there is no difference.

 

If anyone believes there is a difference that matters to us, what do you base that belief on and why do you think it matters?


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#19 Amplituhedron

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 09:07 AM

I agree with the sentence that I added bold font to.

 

I’m sure everyone here knows about those little robotic vacuum cleaners, that make their way by bumping into walls or using infrared sensors or even 360-degree cameras. I think we can all agree that they all depend on some degree of programming and therefore do not have free will, although their path along the floor is not exactly predetermined; some of it is due to chance encounters with obstacles.

 

So, we can all agree these robovacs do not have free will; but have you considered this from the perspective of the robovac? Perhaps, as seen from the perspective of a robovac, they have all the free will they can ever require or ask for.

 

My point is; if the choices available to us are so complex, perhaps infinitely complex, that we cannot even model them; then we cannot hope to distinguish free-will choices from determinism. And, if we cannot distinguish any difference, as far as we are concerned, there is no difference.

 

If anyone believes there is a difference that matters to us, what do you base that belief on and why do you think it matters?

 

You and Mutex have nicely restated compatibilist free will — the idea that free will is not only compatible with determinism, but actually requires it. Without determinism, how could we reliably predict that our determined choices would produce the desired results? A completely non-deterministic universe would be so chaotic and unpredictable that sentient creatures could not exist at all. Tegmark models this with toy universes consisting of more of fewer spatial and/or temporal dimensions — he concludes that more dimensions would be too chaotic for sentient life (no reliable predictions possible) and fewer  dimensions would be TOO predictable and boring for sentient creatures, which also rely on variety. Our existence in a 3 + 1 metric may be an anthropic effect, the only abode possible for sentience.

 

Today I ate eggs for breakfast, according to certain deterministic inputs from my personal past. Could I have done otherwise? Sure — if past deterministic inputs had been slightly different. Maybe yesterday, if I had eaten some eggs that made me sick, today I would choose pancakes instead.


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#20 sanctus

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 09:15 AM

If we can't distinguish, it does not imply both are right. Eg. if you drink 1L of water and 1L of water with 1g of salt, then most likely you cannot distinguish them but they are still different.

Why is it important if you (Ocean) are right saying:
[quote]
And, if we cannot distinguish any difference, as far as we are concerned, there is no difference.
[\quote]

Importance is purely philosophical: are weautomatons without ever being able to know it or are we not?



#21 Mutex

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:57 AM

The fact that every complex human being (system) has had different experiences(inputs) and has different genetics(structure), does not move away from the very simple fact that we are all automatons responding to our individual inputs. 

 

This is exactly the same for small systems interacting with each other, the more complex a system(organism) is the harder it is to model. 

 

Mental choices depend on individual abilities and life experiences. If people with varying abilities are given wrong inputs(thoughts) it depends on their individual abilities as to what conclusions(outputs) they achieve. 

 

The universe is an automaton and everything in it are small parts of said universe ie mini automatons. Sentient beings all experience a multitude of different inputs(programming) over their life times, which enable them to respond differently to different situations. Everything is interconnected to a certain extent and too complicated to model as a whole so we simplify with little models to explain parts of the universe. 

 

 

 

Mental cho

 

Exactly, that was the point I was probably badly made, but instead of automaton I would use the term 'state machine', but the mind making the decision uses a lifetime and evolution to determine the outcome of that state, but determining the particular states that led up to a decision is really impossible to easily determine (it's very 'fuzzy'). A decision (free will) might just be dependent on which direction the wind is blowing at the time. Or what picture you looked at when you were 3 years old. That might determine your decision on whether to eat fish or chicken for dinner tonight. 

 

It's still a 'free will' but it is a product of some processes that go on in your head.. we are a product of ourselves, who we are and what we have seen and done up to the point of doing something else. 



#22 Mutex

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 11:24 AM

You and Mutex have nicely restated compatibilist free will — the idea that free will is not only compatible with determinism, but actually requires it. Without determinism, how could we reliably predict that our determined choices would produce the desired results? A completely non-deterministic universe would be so chaotic and unpredictable that sentient creatures could not exist at all. Tegmark models this with toy universes consisting of more of fewer spatial and/or temporal dimensions — he concludes that more dimensions would be too chaotic for sentient life (no reliable predictions possible) and fewer  dimensions would be TOO predictable and boring for sentient creatures, which also rely on variety. Our existence in a 3 + 1 metric may be an anthropic effect, the only abode possible for sentience.

 

Today I ate eggs for breakfast, according to certain deterministic inputs from my personal past. Could I have done otherwise? Sure — if past deterministic inputs had been slightly different. Maybe yesterday, if I had eaten some eggs that made me sick, today I would choose pancakes instead.

 

I'm always 'pleased' with myself and thinking how smart I am when I consider these topics but I am quickly humbled when someone reminds me that 'yea, that's a thing', and it's called 'this'.. 

 

I do a lot of questioning of big bang cosmology (because that is what science is supposed to do), so I ask myself questions like "what's with a doppler shift observation in the CMBR?" Then I find out that other people have asked the same questions, and even taken it further and questioned why there is a seasonal shift! Almost as if we are flying through a big cloud of dust that is the source of the radiation. 

 

So perhaps I don't have any original thoughts  :eek:

 

"compatibilist free will"  Thanks for letting me know what it is called too.. 


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#23 Amplituhedron

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 02:51 PM

Borges: ”God moves the player, who moves the pawn./Which God behind God begins the conspiracy/of dust and time and dreams and agony?”

 

Schopenhauer: We can do what we will, but we can’t will what we will.

 

The issue is that people have different, and notoriously slippery, ideas of “free will.” Compatibilist free will acknowledges that our choices are determined, but holds that this is fine — indeed, necessary — provided we are able to act freely, without coercion or deterrence, on our determined choices. 

 

Libertarian or contra-causal free will argues that something stronger is necessary, for genuine free will to exist. It is that, given a determinate past, I must, in order to have genuine free will, be able to have done differently, in the past, than what I actually did, even given the identical antecedent events.

 

The compatibilist says: If we could replay the tape of history, such that all antecedent events are exactly the same up to my choosing x, then I will, again, choose x. Could I have chosen y instead of x? Yes, but only if one or more of the antecedent events had been different, perhaps even slightly so.

 

The libertarian says: if I could replay the tape of history so that all antecedent events are exactly the same prior to my choosing x, then I still had the freedom to choose y instead of x, had I chosen to do so. The compatibilist denies this.

 

But the compatibilist further retorts: why would you have chosen y instead of x, if the antecedent events were replayed, and were identical to antecedent events in the first go-around? This is as unreasonable as to suppose that if I replayed my favorite movie, it might have a different ending.

 

It’s not so much that, if an identical history were replayed, you could not choose y, instead of x. It is that you would not. Why would you?


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#24 Flummoxed

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:51 AM

Borges: ”God moves the player, who moves the pawn./Which God behind God begins the conspiracy/of dust and time and dreams and agony?”

 

Schopenhauer: We can do what we will, but we can’t will what we will.

 

The issue is that people have different, and notoriously slippery, ideas of “free will.” Compatibilist free will acknowledges that our choices are determined, but holds that this is fine — indeed, necessary — provided we are able to act freely, without coercion or deterrence, on our determined choices. 

 

Libertarian or contra-causal free will argues that something stronger is necessary, for genuine free will to exist. It is that, given a determinate past, I must, in order to have genuine free will, be able to have done differently, in the past, than what I actually did, even given the identical antecedent events.

 

The compatibilist says: If we could replay the tape of history, such that all antecedent events are exactly the same up to my choosing x, then I will, again, choose x. Could I have chosen y instead of x? Yes, but only if one or more of the antecedent events had been different, perhaps even slightly so.

 

The libertarian says: if I could replay the tape of history so that all antecedent events are exactly the same prior to my choosing x, then I still had the freedom to choose y instead of x, had I chosen to do so. The compatibilist denies this.

 

But the compatibilist further retorts: why would you have chosen y instead of x, if the antecedent events were replayed, and were identical to antecedent events in the first go-around? This is as unreasonable as to suppose that if I replayed my favorite movie, it might have a different ending.

 

It’s not so much that, if an identical history were replayed, you could not choose y, instead of x. It is that you would not. Why would you?

 

This looks very much like the double slit discussion/arguments, or non locality doe it not :)