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Biology's Grasp Over Conciousness.


CaelesMessorem
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hmmm....if i understand that correctly you're say, is it possible we are mistakenly defining free will which makes us think we have it and then coming up with explanations for why it doesn't exist.

 

   More or less, yes. It also falls in line with your remark that the brain could be making a mistake. It's true that our brains operate using very little information and patching it together to make it as comprehensible as possible. It doesn't seem so far-fetched to think that we may be lacking information on the concept of free will that may be diluting our true understanding of it.

 

   At that point, how would one go about truly understanding the concept? There also still remains the problem of our brains carrying out biological "missions" (ie: food, water, shelter, reproduction). If free will is constant, (which I agree it has to be) it directly conflicts with our brain and bodies carrying out predetermined tasks and goals, which circles back to my original question: How can we know free will if we don't have it or use it? This question only seems to be answered by the assumption that we do not fully understand what free will is.

 

 

sounds like free will to me.............but then that means it comes down to the system's potential. if the system has limited potential then we don't have it, if the system has unlimited potential then we do have free will.

 

   What do you mean by potential?

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free will or free choice can just as easily be translated to randomness. as far as i can tell true randomness does not exist, only the appearence of randomness exists because things can be very complex.

The beauty of it is that if the universe is random (it appears to be indeterminate, at least) then it still doesn't translate to free will. Random action is no more free than determined action.  The only way free will can exist is if there exists something which is neither random nor follows physical laws which governs the brain.

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I..... am not really sure what you are trying to get at there. Could you clarify further?

You're talking about high-level psychology, but that's irrelevant to the question of free will.  At what point do you think free will enters into the brain?  At what point do you think that they physics allows our neural networks to decide which pathways to connect rather than allowing chemical processes to proceed as they do everywhere that isn't a brain?

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   What do you mean by potential?

 

the way i look at things is the universe is a system. every system has certain potential to do some things and doesn't have the potential to do other things. a car is a system, it has the potential to move across the ground but it doesn't have the potential to fly.

it has capabilities and limitations. no matter what you try to get the car to do, it can never fly, it just doesn't have the potential to do so. likewise with the universe. it can do somethings but not others, like it can't violate it's own laws for example.

 

so if the system that is the universe has unlimited potential then it can produce anything. anything would have to include making systems(beings) that have free will. if the system that is the universe has limited potential, then it can't do any old thing, it has to follow it's own rules, it can't violate them. 

 

since we are products of the universal system, we can never exist apart from it and so we are limited in what we can do by the universe's own limited potential to do things. hence we are bound by that reality and do not have free will.

 

but as i said, i hadn't considered that a universe type system can have umlimited potential. i have to think that over.

Edited by layman
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 At what point do you think free will enters into the brain?  At what point do you think that they physics allows our neural networks to decide which pathways to connect rather than allowing chemical processes to proceed as they do everywhere that isn't a brain?

 

   Maybe the potential for free will is only applicable to things that posses the *ability* to make decisions? For instance, a human could exhibit free will, but a cell in that same human's body could not because it has no way to. Maybe a prerequisite for free will is consciousness, not just life itself (by which I mean living or to be alive).

 

 

the way i look at things is the universe is a system. every system has certain potential to do some things and doesn't have the potential to do other things. a car is a system, it has the potential to move across the ground but it doesn't have the potential to fly.

it has capabilities and limitations. no matter what you try to get the car to do, it can never fly, it just doesn't have the potential to do so. likewise with the universe. it can do somethings but not others, like it can't violate it's own laws for example.

 

so if the system that is the universe has unlimited potential then it can produce anything. anything would have to include making systems(beings) that have free will. if the system that is the universe has limited potential, then it can't do any old thing, it has to follow it's own rules, it can't violate them. 

 

since we are products of the universal system, we can never exist apart from it and so we are limited in what we can do by the universe's own limited potential to do things. hence we are bound by that reality and do not have free will.

 

but as i said, i hadn't considered that a universe type system can have umlimited potential. i have to think that over.

 

   Ahh ok thank you for the clarification. Hmmm I understand what you're saying, and I have sort of a theory regarding the limited potential of the universe versus the unlimited potential of the space in which the universe fills (using the Big Bang as the basis of creation) in order to describe what we can think compared to what we can actually do, but I think I'll withold it since it's a tad convoluted and off topic. Still an intriguing thought though. I'll have to mull it over more.

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   Maybe the potential for free will is only applicable to things that posses the *ability* to make decisions? For instance, a human could exhibit free will, but a cell in that same human's body could not because it has no way to. Maybe a prerequisite for free will is consciousness, not just life itself (by which I mean living or to be alive).

Okay, and what is the mechanism by which free will alters the behavior of cells in such a way that they cease to obey the simple rules of physics and chemistry?

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Okay, and what is the mechanism by which free will alters the behavior of cells in such a way that they cease to obey the simple rules of physics and chemistry?

 

   Are you really convinced that to acknowledge free will is to defy all currently known natural laws?

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   Are you really convinced that to acknowledge free will is to defy all currently known natural laws?

Are you unable to come up with a mechanism by which the goings on in our brains are affected by free will?  Either the things (energy/matter/chemicals/etc.) in our brain are obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there's no free will) or the things in our brain are not obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there should be some evidence for it).

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Are you unable to come up with a mechanism by which the goings on in our brains are affected by free will?  Either the things (energy/matter/chemicals/etc.) in our brain are obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there's no free will) or the things in our brain are not obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there should be some evidence for it).

 

i'm just playing devil's advocate here, i don't actually subscribe to this idea........but Michio Kaku thinks there is free will because we can never know where the electron is.  to me it's horse ****, as from my ealier posts you can see i lean heavily towards determinism.......but the uncertainty princlple is one alleged mechanism

Edited by layman
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i'm just playing devil's advocate here, i don't actually subscribe to this idea........but Michio Kaku thinks there is free will because we can never know where the electron is.  to me it's horse ****, as from my ealier posts you can see i lean heavily towards determinism.......but the uncertainty princlple is one alleged mechanism

Indeterminism doesn't lend itself to free will - if the process is random then it is, by definition, not controlled. If free will exists in this manner (controlled by electron-location) then we would see different behavior in the electrons in our brain than we do in all other non-brain electrons. If we don't see any measurable difference then the conclusion remains - that free will has no effect on the tangible universe (including things like - our limbs).

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we can predict for a fact that 25 years from now there will be a 24 year old somewhere in the USA, never mind the world, who will be guilty of murder. that means that one year from now of all the babies born, at least one will in fact be a murderer regardless of how they were raised, their environment or any possible intervention.

 

when he says looking at the electron changes it......when he looks in the mirror it really isn't him he is looking at but a past version of him seems pointless because it is already determined that he was going to look at a past version of himself at that moment.

 

simple rejoinders are: even if we don't know where the electron is, we know it is somewhere, we know it is an electron and that it cannot be anything else, we know that it can only be in either one of several places or all at once." in other words, still there are only a limited number of potentials and so they can be calculated. it is us that are merely lacking the capacity and information to make the calculations accurately and so that gives rise to the illusion that an outcome is undetermined and that we had a choice.

Edited by layman
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Indeterminism doesn't lend itself to free will - if the process is random then it is, by definition, not controlled. If free will exists in this manner (controlled by electron-location) then we would see different behavior in the electrons in our brain than we do in all other non-brain electrons. If we don't see any measurable difference then the conclusion remains - that free will has no effect on the tangible universe (including things like - our limbs).

 

 

i basically agree.

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Are you unable to come up with a mechanism by which the goings on in our brains are affected by free will?  Either the things (energy/matter/chemicals/etc.) in our brain are obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there's no free will) or the things in our brain are not obeying the rules of physics/chemistry (in which case there should be some evidence for it).

 

   I am, and the rebuttal should be interesting heheh but allow me to clarify a few things first.

 

   Firstly, the meaning you seem to be placing on free will (from what I can tell) is freedom of physical action; the freedom to do or control as one sees fit regardless of anything that, under normal circumstances, prohibits it or makes it incredibly difficult. in the examples you are giving, as far as we are aware, you are correct that free will is not present to change basic bodily functions such as which neuron a signal may go to. However...

 

   The idea of free will that I have been referring to encompasses freedom of thought, choice and action, and is not limited to a specific one. As for what my mechanism is that would allow for free will? I would say it's human consciousness.

 

   Human consciousness can be considered a high level of thought begot by the complexity of our brain. Free will, in the manner that I described, is most present in the form of imagination, not that it is a product of imagination itself. Rather, the contents of the imagination are free will being exercised. The imagination is not bound by any natural laws, and any thought, any choice or decision, and any action can be made within. Now here is where my reasoning gets tricky. While free will is unrestricted at the mental level, the more it surfaces (brought into the physical world) the more it begins to break down due to natural restrictions, some of which you have mentioned. So free will may be unrestricted in the imagination, but once it begins the process of shifting from wild thoughts into ideas, and from ideas to choices, and choices to decisions, and lastly decisions to actions, free will loses its applicability.

Edited by CaelesMessorem
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  The idea of free will that I have been referring to encompasses freedom of thought, choice and action, and is not limited to a specific one........While free will is unrestricted at the mental level, the more it surfaces (brought into the physical world) the more it begins to break down due to natural restrictions, some of which you have mentioned

You seem to have this bizarre (to me) distinction between "mental" and "physical". We have no more free will than a computer does, with the distinction between "software" and "hardware".

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You seem to have this bizarre (to me) distinction between "mental" and "physical". We have no more free will than a computer does, with the distinction between "software" and "hardware".

 

   Then we shall agree to disagree :) If you looked through the link for free will, I'm sure you saw that the different ways in which free will is believed to manifest is completely subjective depending on the person, if said person even believes in it. So it's not strange we don't see eye to eye on the topic. Kudos to us though for stumbling into a philosophical debate that has lasted "over two millenia" (from mentioned link). That's pretty cool.

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   Then we shall agree to disagree :) If you looked through the link for free will, I'm sure you saw that the different ways in which free will is believed to manifest is completely subjective depending on the person, if said person even believes in it. So it's not strange we don't see eye to eye on the topic. Kudos to us though for stumbling into a philosophical debate that has lasted "over two millenia" (from mentioned link). That's pretty cool.

I did look through the link and saw that nobody tried to find the biological and physical impetus for free will - rather they were begging the question. They start with the assumption that free will of some sort exists and try to explain why or how it manifests, rather than starting with the evidence, making a hypothesis, and attempting to disprove the hypothesis and failing. They talk about the timing of brain activity, the idea being that surely free will exists but maybe has no effect, rather than examining brain activity and attempting to determine at what point physics breaks down and meaningful decision making choices are made.

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