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Poll: Do you have free will?
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YES, I DO have free will, in the sense that it is ultimately up to me, or ultimately my choice, which actions I take and when.
53.85%
14 53.85%
NO, I do NOT have free will, in the sense that it is NOT ultimately up to me, and NOT ultimately my choice, which actions I take and when.
46.15%
12 46.15%
Total 26 vote(s) 100%
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Does free will exist?

Does free will exist?
(08-06-2019, 10:01 AM)DLJ Wrote: And what if the self-driving car had the ability to tinker with its own programming so as to adjust its behaviour to novelty (new, previously un-encountered scenarios)?

Well, just like with us, all the self-programming it does would be ultimately down to factors it didn't program.

Quote:And what if, at a later stage of its self-development, it used this ability to not just cope with new if>thens but also developed advanced predictive modelling i.e. what if?>then what? (potential scenario impact analysis)? 

All of this only gets to compatibilism .. that's what.

Quote:And if that self-driving car became all discombobulated / overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new if>thens that it had to deal with, would we say that the self-driving car was suffering from some kind of neurosis? 

if it did suffer from neurosis ... that would be irrelevant. Feeling free and being free are different things. Like I said, all these arguments you are giving can only get you to compatabilism.

Quote:Would we then need self-driving car therapists to help those neurotic self-driving cars who refused to leave their garage?

Doesn't matter. It's not really relevant to Libertarian free will.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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Does free will exist?
(08-06-2019, 11:48 AM)Alan V Wrote: As humans, our consciousness continually creates new habits, adapts old ones, monitors their execution, imagines new possibilities, practices behaviors before we even act, and so on.  We consciously improvise and create, then evaluate the results for future improvements.

Doesn't matter that it's conscious. We consciously witness what we're doing and take credit for our actions but we're mistaken in taking that credit. Because all of our conscious decisions ultimately stem from unconscious factors.

Consciousness, and having a self/ego, leads to us thinking and feeling that we're free ... it doesn't lead to us actually being free (as always, "free" in the strongest possible sense. I'm referring to Libertarian Free Will, of course).
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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(08-08-2019, 01:14 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: We consciously witness what we're doing and take credit for our actions but we're mistaken in taking that credit. Because all of our conscious decisions ultimately stem from unconscious factors. 

On what is this assumption based?  I know it isn't based on science except as an unwarranted extrapolation from limited studies.

(08-08-2019, 01:14 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: Consciousness, and having a self/ego, leads to us thinking and feeling that we're free ... it doesn't lead to us actually being free (as always, "free" in the strongest possible sense. I'm referring to Libertarian Free Will, of course).

This is a reiteration of your position.  I agree that libertarian free will isn't correct.  But you also dismiss compatibilism out-of-hand.  You think our human nature determines our acts in detail rather than in general, and gives us no free time to behave in accordance with our own self-developed interests.

I wonder, in your scheme of things, how do you explain the evolution of consciousness?  If it is merely epiphenomenal as you say, why would it have evolved at all?
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Does free will exist?
(08-08-2019, 01:12 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: ...
 Like I said, all these arguments you are giving can only get you to compatabilism.
...

Then, I suppose, that must be the right answer.  

Winking
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(08-08-2019, 03:17 PM)DLJ Wrote:
(08-08-2019, 01:12 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: ...
 Like I said, all these arguments you are giving can only get you to compatabilism.
...

Then, I suppose, that must be the right answer.  

Winking

Free Will is a difficult subject.  It gets into the basis of our thoughts.  I have read of experiments that seemed to prove we can react before we think.  I've read of others that say we think before we act in mosti situations.

I think we have an automatic subconscious that does react before logic thought occurs in emergency situations like when you detect that an object is coming at you, a wasp at your face, or a step being placed wrong on an uneven sidewalk.

Not to go deeply into the idea of a leftover "reptilian brain", but I suspect we do have some instincts remaining deeply in th brain structure.  Since we have the autonomous system working from ancient times, why not reflexes as well?

But I think we have more conscious thought than non-free-will thinkers allow.  Driving a car in a crowded street requires deliberate thought.  Deciding what to make for dinner is a deliberate act.  Planting a flowerbed is not a random or instinctual activity.

We are probably some of both.  But to say we lack free will is false.  Any action showing conscious thought falsifies that.
I just believe in one less deity than most people.
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Does free will exist?
(09-17-2019, 05:47 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(08-08-2019, 03:17 PM)DLJ Wrote:
(08-08-2019, 01:12 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: ...
 Like I said, all these arguments you are giving can only get you to compatabilism.
...

Then, I suppose, that must be the right answer.  

Winking

Free Will is a difficult subject.  It gets into the basis of our thoughts.  I have read of experiments that seemed to prove we can react before we think.  I've read of others that say we think before we act in mosti situations.

I think we have an automatic subconscious that does react before logic thought occurs in emergency situations like when you detect that an object is coming at you, a wasp at your face, or a step being placed wrong on an uneven sidewalk.

Not to go deeply into the idea of a leftover "reptilian brain", but I suspect we do have some instincts remaining deeply in th brain structure.  Since we have the autonomous system working from ancient times, why not reflexes as well?

But I think we have more conscious thought than non-free-will thinkers allow.  Driving a car in a crowded street requires deliberate thought.  Deciding what to make for dinner is a deliberate act.  Planting a flowerbed is not a random or instinctual activity.

We are probably some of both.  But to say we lack free will is false.  Any action showing conscious thought falsifies that.

I concur.  It is a difficult subject but only because of the baggage that the term 'free will' carries. 

The term comes from Philosophy (the love of wisdom) and theology (the study of the history of ignorance) and both contain a shit-load of weak semantics. I could take up some terabytes stripping down stuff, from above, like 'thoughts', 'think', 'conscious' as well as 'free will' and take issue with the idea that 'instincts' even require a 'brain'.  But I won't, because I get what you mean.

Dennett would define 'free will' as 'moral competence' relating to 'coulda done otherwise'.  That's useful.  Or one can go with "ultimate cause of our actions" from Evie's OP (although I still don't really know what he means by that). 

I prefer to look at it from an intelligent design perspective ... the programmer's perspective.  In this sense, free will is 'conditional branching' : IF-THEN or even IF-THEN-ELSE.
This permits it to remain deterministic.

If one then reverses intelligent design one gets evolution.  And that's where the 'reptilian' part comes in.  

Bottom up evolution gave us the triune nervous system, often referred to as Reptilian Brain -> Paleo-Mammalian Brain -> Neo-Mammalian Brain. 
I prefer to ignore the 'brain' part because that's just the data centre and does not include the entire sensory (data/information processing) system i.e. the mind. 
So I use: Gloopy Things -> Spikey Things -> Groupy Things -> Thinky Things.

We inherit the instincts from our Spikey Things ancestors.  And those have not gone away.  

Gloopy Things had no stimulus-response mechanisms.
Spikey Things developed WHEN-DO stimulus-response mechanisms.
Groupy Things evolved IF-THEN conditional branching.
Thinky Things evolved WHAT IF?-THEN WHAT? complex conditional branching i.e. predictive modelling. 

In this sense we can still have free will (although the term probably should be abandoned) without violating any laws of physics, chemistry and biology. 

tl/dr version:  Yes. 

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Does free will exist?
(09-17-2019, 10:30 AM)DLJ Wrote: I prefer to look at it from an intelligent design perspective ... the programmer's perspective.  In this sense, free will is 'conditional branching' : IF-THEN or even IF-THEN-ELSE.
This permits it to remain deterministic.

The human brain has the ability to program itself for new contingencies, so using your analogy the brain contains both the program and the programmer.
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(09-17-2019, 11:50 AM)Alan V Wrote:
(09-17-2019, 10:30 AM)DLJ Wrote: I prefer to look at it from an intelligent design perspective ... the programmer's perspective.  In this sense, free will is 'conditional branching' : IF-THEN or even IF-THEN-ELSE.
This permits it to remain deterministic.

The human brain has the ability to program itself for new contingencies, so using your analogy the brain contains both the program and the programmer.

Do you think that our skin can become sensitised / desensitised to various stimulants? 

If so, is that dependent or independent of the brain?

If the latter then it's the whole information system and not just the data centre (the brain) that is the (re-)programmer.
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Does free will exist?
We tan, reducing the damage the sun can do to our skin.
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Free will exists if you want it to.

(SWIDT?)
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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(09-17-2019, 11:58 AM)DLJ Wrote: Do you think that our skin can become sensitised / desensitised to various stimulants? 

If so, is that dependent or independent of the brain?

If the latter then it's the whole information system and not just the data centre (the brain) that is the (re-)programmer.

Interesting questions.

The brain becomes habituated to certain stimuli to the point where they are ignored unless they change again, and certainly we shift our focus to what seems most pertinent to our interests at any given time.  Our experiences, on which so much of our internal programming is based, are largely what we pay attention to.

Similarly, I would guess that those sensory processes which are largely automatic, and which preprocess information for the executive functions of the brain, also tend to alert us when stimuli go beyond certain preset thresholds.  I just couldn't say where such processing capabilities are localized, since that's beyond my expertise.

What have you read about this?
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Does free will exist?
(09-17-2019, 12:37 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(09-17-2019, 11:58 AM)DLJ Wrote: Do you think that our skin can become sensitised / desensitised to various stimulants? 

If so, is that dependent or independent of the brain?

If the latter then it's the whole information system and not just the data centre (the brain) that is the (re-)programmer.

Interesting questions.

The brain becomes habituated to certain stimuli to the point where they are ignored unless they change again, and certainly we shift our focus to what seems most pertinent to our interests at any given time.  Our experiences, on which so much of our internal programming is based, are largely what we pay attention to.

Similarly, I would guess that those sensory processes which are largely automatic, and which preprocess information for the executive functions of the brain, also tend to alert us when stimuli go beyond certain preset thresholds.  I just couldn't say where such processing capabilities are localized, since that's beyond my expertise.

What have you read about this?

What I've read is the Process Manual.  
Thus I can give you the algorithms for:
"ignored unless they change again"
"shift our focus to what seems most pertinent"
"interests at any given time"
"alert us when stimuli go beyond certain preset thresholds"

So yes, I'd say you were correct except for "brain".  Replace "brain" with "sensory system" (thus including all 'input devices': skin, eyes, ears etc.) and I'd be in full agreement.
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I'm not sure if we know enough about consciousness to properly answer this question.

I'm also not reading 17 pages so, you're welcome for my useless contribution.
"If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet, you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled — have you no shame in that?" 

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(09-17-2019, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: We tan, reducing the damage the sun can do to our skin.

Isn't that just a minor (but useful) evolutionary adaptation over which we have no conscious control?
I just believe in one less deity than most people.
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Does free will exist?
That was too many quotes for me to manage.  So I'll just actually quote your post and go from there.

You said "I concur.  It is a difficult subject but only because of the baggage that the term 'free will' carries. 

The term comes from Philosophy (the love of wisdom) and theology (the study of the history of ignorance) and both contain a shit-load of weak semantics. I could take up some terabytes stripping down stuff, from above, like 'thoughts', 'think', 'conscious' as well as 'free will' and take issue with the idea that 'instincts' even require a 'brain'.  But I won't, because I get what you mean.

Dennett would define 'free will' as 'moral competence' relating to 'coulda done otherwise'.  That's useful.  Or one can go with "ultimate cause of our actions" from Evie's OP (although I still don't really know what he means by that). 

I prefer to look at it from an intelligent design perspective ... the programmer's perspective.  In this sense, free will is 'conditional branching' : IF-THEN or even IF-THEN-ELSE.
This permits it to remain deterministic.

If one then reverses intelligent design one gets evolution.  And that's where the 'reptilian' part comes in.  

Bottom up evolution gave us the triune nervous system, often referred to as Reptilian Brain -> Paleo-Mammalian Brain -> Neo-Mammalian Brain. 
I prefer to ignore the 'brain' part because that's just the data centre and does not include the entire sensory (data/information processing) system i.e. the mind. 
So I use: Gloopy Things -> Spikey Things -> Groupy Things -> Thinky Things.

We inherit the instincts from our Spikey Things ancestors.  And those have not gone away.  

Gloopy Things had no stimulus-response mechanisms.
Spikey Things developed WHEN-DO stimulus-response mechanisms.
Groupy Things evolved IF-THEN conditional branching.
Thinky Things evolved WHAT IF?-THEN WHAT? complex conditional branching i.e. predictive modelling. 

In this sense we can still have free will (although the term probably should be abandoned) without violating any laws of physics, chemistry and biology. "

First, let me say that I loved "theology (the study of the history of ignorance)".  I'll try to remember that one.

Second, when I see "moral", I think of religious rules and try to use "ethical" about human rules.

That said, I liked the "if, then, else' stuff.  I actually tend to think in flow-chart logic as it helps me see overlooked decision-points. I had a Fortran Professor in 1969 who assigned us a midterm test to write a program to play 21.  I gave it him the next morning and asked if I could get computer time to make the mainframe make 2 legal chess moves.  He tested my 21 program and said if I could do "the chess thing" I had an automatic A for the class.  I eventually ended up with 2 shoeboxes of punch cards.  The mainframe staff went nuts, but I had a note from the Professor.  I had "if then" statements all though the cards. 

Making the computer keep the pieces on the board was the hard part.  Making legal moves was easy.  When the Professor looked at the program I wrote, he gave me the A anyway.  And said I should be his grad student.  Me a sophmore.  But I didn't think there was much future in programming.  I wanted to be a lawyer and go into politics.

Just goes to show how dumb a person can be.  I later learned that I was no lawyer (can't defend a guilty person) and that politics was all about begging for money.  I might now be a billionaire if I had taken his offer and gone into programming. Well, I'm not poor either.

But back to the point, I don't agree that "if-then" implies intelligent design.  It is still just a thought-process.  In theory, a flow chart can be infinite is scope depending on the complexity of the question.  


Yes "bottom up evolution gave us the triune" brain (Sagan's Dragons of Eden and all that) and I think that mostly makes sense.  I don't have to think to make my heart beat, for example.  And if I had to deliberately make my intestines work, I would dead.  But once upon a time, some creature did have to actually make that happen.  We just that part working with thought now,

And the same for the fight or flight reaction or mating instinct of Those Who Came Before.  I don't have to think very consciously about swatting a wasp from my face or deflecting a fist from an angry neighbor.

What I do need to do is consider how to safely remove a wasp nest or calm down an angry neighbor non-violently.  And in THAT regard, I have "free will".  I have choices to make depending on the details of the situation.

For example, I have a neighbor's tree that is sending roots through my lawn toward the foundation of the house. I cut decide to cut the roots at the property line, ask the neighbor to kill the tree (with or without my help), call the County office for arbitration, or ignore the problem entirely.  These are not things that are pre-determined in any way by any instinct or automatic reaction.

I can even take the resolution out of my brain completely by flipping coins to decide how to act.  Even further, I could decide whether or not to flip coins to decide the choice through further random acts or deliberate ones.  And THEN even change my mind by asking someone else for advice.  And deciding whether to follow that advice or not. 

So there IS free will.
I just believe in one less deity than most people.
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Does free will exist?
Anyone that says free will doesn't exist is either lying or ignorant about simple facts of biology and ultimately physics. Someone that needs to understand these subjects instead of whoring philosophy more than it has already been, philosophy is only useful when tied with facts.
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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 04:17 PM)LastPoet Wrote: Anyone that says free will doesn't exist is either lying or ignorant about simple facts of biology and ultimately physics. Someone that needs to understand these subjects instead of whoring philosophy more than it has already been, philosophy is only useful when tied with facts.

Some people who deny free will:

* over-extrapolate from limited scientific studies,

* conflate reasons with material causes,

* ignore common sense definitions and define "free will" or "the self" in such limited ways as to make free will impossible,

* equivocate the "free" part of free will and assume it means freedom rather than the ability to make choices,

* think materialism must be deterministic,

* are so dogmatically against any concept derived from religion that they try to throw out the baby with the bath water.
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Does free will exist?
Any given human brain is limited to making the choices it has at that moment, been conditioned to make.
Decisions are never made in a vacuum, and that non-vacuum, is antithetical to "free-will".
One cannot decide to do what one does not know about. One is totally limited to what exists ALREADY in (physical memory) the brain.
*Free will* is nether defined, nor does it exist.
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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 05:51 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Any given human brain is limited to making the choices it has at that moment, been conditioned to make.
Decisions are never made in a vacuum, and that non-vacuum, is antithetical to "free-will".
One cannot decide to do what one does not know about. One is totally limited to what exists ALREADY in (physical memory) the brain.
*Free will* is nether defined, nor does it exist.

Can you give me the position of all the electrons in your brain?
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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 07:20 PM)LastPoet Wrote:
(09-18-2019, 05:51 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Any given human brain is limited to making the choices it has at that moment, been conditioned to make.
Decisions are never made in a vacuum, and that non-vacuum, is antithetical to "free-will".
One cannot decide to do what one does not know about. One is totally limited to what exists ALREADY in (physical memory) the brain.
*Free will* is nether defined, nor does it exist.

Can you give me the position of all the electrons in your brain?

West
"If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet, you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled — have you no shame in that?" 

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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 07:15 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(09-17-2019, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: We tan, reducing the damage the sun can do to our skin.

Isn't that just a minor (but useful) evolutionary adaptation over which we have no conscious control?

It started out that way. Now many of us tan consciously to avoid getting burned.
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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 09:10 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Now many of us tan consciously to avoid getting burned.

I wish.   hobo
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Does free will exist?
(09-18-2019, 07:20 PM)LastPoet Wrote:
(09-18-2019, 05:51 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Any given human brain is limited to making the choices it has at that moment, been conditioned to make.
Decisions are never made in a vacuum, and that non-vacuum, is antithetical to "free-will".
One cannot decide to do what one does not know about. One is totally limited to what exists ALREADY in (physical memory) the brain.
*Free will* is nether defined, nor does it exist.

Can you give me the position of all the electrons in your brain?

Irrelevant. 
Neuro-science knows, depending of what is damaged in disease or trauma, which mental capacity is compromised.
There is no decision-making ability, or any other mental capacity in the absence of healthy functioning brains.
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Does free will exist?
You can't win with free will.  Even if you're free to select what you like, you'll immediately be told "yabbut, are you free to choose what it is you like?"  This sort of radical free will denies you the possession of any actual criteria for choosing anything, since if there is any fact of the matter regarding your tastes or preferences they will be immediately disallowed.  So freedom is only possible for those who have no idea what they'd want to do with it.  

I avoid the subject like plague.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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Does free will exist?
Someone who has come to the conclusion that there is no free will.........................has utilized free will.
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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