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Illusion of Freedom
Posted: 07 September 2011 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:26 AM
kikl - 06 September 2011 04:56 PM
Mesthione - 06 September 2011 04:24 PM

...

If we cannot find a way in which the uncertainty of quantum mechanics randomly alters the actions of the functional unit of the nervous system (mostly neurons and neuroglial cells), the case for QM-derived “free will” remains frail, and requires further research.


This is very simple for me. We know that the constituents of the brain are quantum mechanical objects, in particular atoms, ion, electrons and chemical bonds. For each and every part of this system as well as for the system as a whole the uncertainty principle holds true. Q.E.D.


The problem is that for systems as a whole, we rarely (I’m tempted to say never) see large-scale quantum uncertainty. This is called “the correspondence principle”, and describes why we don’t see uncertainty on larger scale systems, ie, the quantum statistical expectation value of the position and momentum obey Newton’s laws. Thus, the uncertainty that would give rise to this “free will” is still not supported by evidence. Again, I only ask for evidence of QM-level propagation of a wave-function collapse that ends up affecting a system of the cellular size and larger.

The “correspondence principle” means that Newtonian physics is a decent APPROXIMATION of quantum mechanics on a large scale. Please take note that Newtonian physics is wrong. It does not describe the behaviour of the constituents of our world exactly. This means that the notion of a deterministic world is wrong. Furthermore, I have provided numerous examples of macroscopic quantum effects. Thus, the notion of a deterministic macro-world with an embedded undeterministic micro-world is wrong. This notion is logically untenable. If the basic constituents of the world are non-deterministic, then it follows logically that the world as a whole cannot be deterministic.

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Kikl

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Posted: 07 September 2011 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]  
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kikl - 07 September 2011 08:35 AM
Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:26 AM
kikl - 06 September 2011 04:56 PM
Mesthione - 06 September 2011 04:24 PM

...

If we cannot find a way in which the uncertainty of quantum mechanics randomly alters the actions of the functional unit of the nervous system (mostly neurons and neuroglial cells), the case for QM-derived “free will” remains frail, and requires further research.


This is very simple for me. We know that the constituents of the brain are quantum mechanical objects, in particular atoms, ion, electrons and chemical bonds. For each and every part of this system as well as for the system as a whole the uncertainty principle holds true. Q.E.D.


The problem is that for systems as a whole, we rarely (I’m tempted to say never) see large-scale quantum uncertainty. This is called “the correspondence principle”, and describes why we don’t see uncertainty on larger scale systems, ie, the quantum statistical expectation value of the position and momentum obey Newton’s laws. Thus, the uncertainty that would give rise to this “free will” is still not supported by evidence. Again, I only ask for evidence of QM-level propagation of a wave-function collapse that ends up affecting a system of the cellular size and larger.

The “correspondence principle” means that Newtonian physics is a decent APPROXIMATION of quantum mechanics on a large scale. Please take note that Newtonian physics is wrong. It does not describe the behaviour of the constituents of our world exactly. This means that the notion of a deterministic world is wrong. Furthermore, I have provided numerous examples of macroscopic quantum effects. Thus, the notion of a deterministic macro-world with an embedded undeterministic micro-world is wrong. This notion is logically untenable. If the basic constituents of the world are non-deterministic, then it follows logically that the world as a whole cannot be deterministic.

Regards

Kikl

Ultimately, our debate is mirroring the one within the community regarding the concept of the “quantum mind”.

Michael Price was quoted saying, “In quantum terms each neuron is an essentially classical object. Consequently quantum noise in the brain is at such a low level that it probably doesn’t often alter, except very rarely, the critical mechanistic behaviour of sufficient neurons to cause a decision to be different than we might otherwise expect…”.

Physicist Max Tegmark concluded that quantum systems decohere quickly in the brain and cannot control the brain function.

If you look at the literature, you will see that there is still insufficient evidence for this to be a strong scientific theory (I’m sure you would agree), although time will tell. As it stands, I am not implying that classical mechanics explains consciousness, but that QM is insufficient at this point in time.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:40 AM

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Regards

Kikl

Ultimately, our debate is mirroring the one within the community regarding the concept of the “quantum mind”.

Michael Price was quoted saying, “In quantum terms each neuron is an essentially classical object. Consequently quantum noise in the brain is at such a low level that it probably doesn’t often alter, except very rarely, the critical mechanistic behaviour of sufficient neurons to cause a decision to be different than we might otherwise expect…”.

Physicist Max Tegmark concluded that quantum systems decohere quickly in the brain and cannot control the brain function.

If you look at the literature, you will see that there is still insufficient evidence for this to be a strong scientific theory (I’m sure you would agree), although time will tell. As it stands, I am not implying that classical mechanics explains consciousness, but that QM is insufficient at this point in time.

Sorry mate, but that doesn’t refute any of my assertions. The term “essentially classical object” is a buzz word. It means that it is not a classical object, but that it looks very much so. You are implying that the brain is deterministic, whereas its constituents, it’s atoms, are non-deterministic. That’s simply illogical. If the constituents of the brain are unpredictable then the brain as a whole must unpredictable. It’s behaviour can only be predicted with a certain probability. A true model of the brain must be a quantum mechanical model, otherwise it is only a rough approximation.

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Kikl

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Posted: 07 September 2011 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]  
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The freedom is not an illusion.  There is no one controlling you.  No puppet master behind the scenes.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:40 AM
kikl - 07 September 2011 08:35 AM
Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:26 AM
kikl - 06 September 2011 04:56 PM
Mesthione - 06 September 2011 04:24 PM

...

....

If you look at the literature, you will see that there is still insufficient evidence for this to be a strong scientific theory (I’m sure you would agree), although time will tell. As it stands, I am not implying that classical mechanics explains consciousness, but that QM is insufficient at this point in time.

If I look at the literature, then I conclude that we know very little about the functioning of the brain. We should be humble and conclude that our current level knowledge is nowhere near enough to assert that the brain is a deterministic machine and that free will is an illusion. The most trustworthy scientific theory we currently have, namely quantum mechanics, actually refutes the notion of the brain as a deterministic machine.

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Kikl

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Posted: 07 September 2011 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]  
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kikl - 07 September 2011 08:51 AM
Mesthione - 07 September 2011 08:40 AM

...
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Kikl

Physicist Max Tegmark concluded that quantum systems decohere quickly in the brain and cannot control the brain function.

If you look at the literature, you will see that there is still insufficient evidence for this to be a strong scientific theory (I’m sure you would agree), although time will tell. As it stands, I am not implying that classical mechanics explains consciousness, but that QM is insufficient at this point in time.

Sorry mate, but that doesn’t refute any of my assertions. The term “essentially classical object” is a buzz word. It means that it is not a classical object, but that it looks very much so. You are implying that the brain is deterministic, whereas its constituents, it’s atoms, are non-deterministic. That’s simply illogical. If the constituents of the brain are unpredictable then the brain as a whole must unpredictable. It’s behaviour can only be predicted with a certain probability. A true model of the brain must be a quantum mechanical model, otherwise it is only a rough approximation.

Regards

Kikl

Technically, yes, everything is an approximation if we cannot model it with quantum mechanics. However, you will find that many terms in the momentum and superposition uncertainty equation approach zero, and that our relativity and newtonian models are good enough to land men on the moon. I cannot tell if the “deterministic vs non deterministic” argument has any validity….if the system is 99.999999999% deterministic at the large scale, but largely non-deterministic at the small scale, what do we call it? Obviously, it is very, very predictable when it comes to things larger than our macromolecules.

Additionally, just because our theory of QM is deterministic does not mean that the underlying Universe is non-deterministic. Sure, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we cannot know the velocity and position of a particle simultaneously, and this has effects in our formulation of the quantum theory. But that does not mean that these particles do NOT have both of these variables….it is just that we can only predict them, with an amount of certainty, because of the influences of our measurements. Wave functions are probability distributions, but the emerging idea of “quantum decoherence” states that these particles actually do reside in a mixture of states. Our physics is a non-deterministic model, but the actual process might be entirely deterministic. Whether we will ever be able to tell is a question outside of my expertise.
 
This is a bit of a tangent, but I do not think it is possible to calculate the quantum mechanics of an object that large for several reasons:
 
(1) Physics is not “unified”. Quantum mechanics and relativity have yet to agree on many things, mainly gravity. Until quantum mechanics can account for gravity (waiting on the LHC to find the Higgs, perhaps?) and relativity can account for quantum mechanics (yay black holes), I don’t think it’s fair to say that either is the “ultimate” theory. Both explain their domains very well, but are powerless at each other’s scale.

(2) Let’s say we find the gravity part of the QM theory and “finish physics”, so to speak. Is it possible to use QM to model large systems, feasibly? The amount of information it would take to model larger systems is at least the number of bits as the object has particles (and probably more). This is more of a tangential point, but I find the concept interesting. I predict we will be using our “classical” approximations for much longer than we would like, until our computing power catches up.

Anyways, I think our discussion on determinism is rather useless. It’s just like saying since we use normal probability distributions and related statistics to calculate confidence intervals, that the underlying populations are non-deterministic. They aren’t, it’s just that our statistics are.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 09:41 AM

...

Technically, yes, everything is an approximation if we cannot model it with quantum mechanics. However, you will find that many terms in the momentum and superposition uncertainty equation approach zero, and that our relativity and newtonian models are good enough to land men on the moon. I cannot tell if the “deterministic vs non deterministic” argument has any validity….if the system is 99.999999999% deterministic at the large scale, but largely non-deterministic at the small scale, what do we call it? Obviously, it is very, very predictable when it comes to things larger than our macromolecules.

Additionally, just because our theory of QM is deterministic does not mean that the underlying Universe is non-deterministic. Sure, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we cannot know the velocity and position of a particle simultaneously, and this has effects in our formulation of the quantum theory. But that does not mean that these particles do NOT have both of these variables….it is just that we can only predict them, with an amount of certainty, because of the influences of our measurements. Wave functions are probability distributions, but the emerging idea of “quantum decoherence” states that these particles actually do reside in a mixture of states. Our physics is a non-deterministic model, but the actual process might be entirely deterministic. Whether we will ever be able to tell is a question outside of my expertise.
 
This is a bit of a tangent, but I do not think it is possible to calculate the quantum mechanics of an object that large for several reasons:
 
(1) Physics is not “unified”. Quantum mechanics and relativity have yet to agree on many things, mainly gravity. Until quantum mechanics can account for gravity (waiting on the LHC to find the Higgs, perhaps?) and relativity can account for quantum mechanics (yay black holes), I don’t think it’s fair to say that either is the “ultimate” theory. Both explain their domains very well, but are powerless at each other’s scale.

(2) Let’s say we find the gravity part of the QM theory and “finish physics”, so to speak. Is it possible to use QM to model large systems, feasibly? The amount of information it would take to model larger systems is at least the number of bits as the object has particles (and probably more). This is more of a tangential point, but I find the concept interesting. I predict we will be using our “classical” approximations for much longer than we would like, until our computing power catches up.

Anyways, I think our discussion on determinism is rather useless. It’s just like saying since we use normal probability distributions and related statistics to calculate confidence intervals, that the underlying populations are non-deterministic. They aren’t, it’s just that our statistics are.

It is either deterministic or it isn’t. 99% deterministic doesn’t mean anything. Classical Newtonian physics works quite well for dead matter on a fairly large scale. It has never been a good model for describing the behaviour of living beings. So your example of a rocket or satellite are poor examples. Noone has ever been able to predict human behaviour using Newtonian physics.

“Sure, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we cannot know the velocity and position of a particle simultaneously, and this has effects in our formulation of the quantum theory. But that does not mean that these particles do NOT have both of these variables….it is just that we can only predict them, with an amount of certainty, because of the influences of our measurements. “

The uncertainty principle does not follow from the influence of our measurements. That was an original argument made by Heisenberg, but you can prove the uncertainty between any pair of canonical conjugate variables, i.e. non-commuting variables, in quantum mechanics. Several experiments have been made that show that the uncertainty is not necessarily due to the interference of the measurement apparatus. Whether particles have these variables at any moment in time is a matter of debate and immaterial to our discussion. The fact of the matter is, these variables cannot be measured precisely simultaneously at any moment in time. These non-commuting variables must necessarily exist in any physical system. This follows from the mathematical construction of the QM.

We do not have a working QM theory of gravity. That’s true. So we do know that our scientific theory is incomplete. As far as I know, no theoretical physicist is proposing a deterministic theory of everything. The consensus is that we need to find a quantum theory of gravity because QM is the most reliable and precise theory we have.

Why don’t you take a peak into solid state physics. We have been modelling large macroscopic systems using quantum mechanics in this field for quite a lot of time.

I think it makes sense to start with very simple models of the brain for the time being. That’s how scientific theories start out. We progress from simple to more and more complex models, the more we know. But, I find it far fetched and preposterous to take these simplified models - we know they are not correct for a fact! - and conclude: The brain is a deterministic machine.

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Kikl

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Posted: 07 September 2011 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]  
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kikl - 07 September 2011 10:21 AM
Mesthione - 07 September 2011 09:41 AM

...

Technically, yes, everything is an approximation if we cannot model it with quantum mechanics. However, you will find that many terms in the momentum and superposition uncertainty equation approach zero, and that our relativity and newtonian models are good enough to land men on the moon. I cannot tell if the “deterministic vs non deterministic” argument has any validity….if the system is 99.999999999% deterministic at the large scale, but largely non-deterministic at the small scale, what do we call it? Obviously, it is very, very predictable when it comes to things larger than our macromolecules.

Additionally, just because our theory of QM is deterministic does not mean that the underlying Universe is non-deterministic. Sure, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we cannot know the velocity and position of a particle simultaneously, and this has effects in our formulation of the quantum theory. But that does not mean that these particles do NOT have both of these variables….it is just that we can only predict them, with an amount of certainty, because of the influences of our measurements. Wave functions are probability distributions, but the emerging idea of “quantum decoherence” states that these particles actually do reside in a mixture of states. Our physics is a non-deterministic model, but the actual process might be entirely deterministic. Whether we will ever be able to tell is a question outside of my expertise.
 
This is a bit of a tangent, but I do not think it is possible to calculate the quantum mechanics of an object that large for several reasons:
 
(1) Physics is not “unified”. Quantum mechanics and relativity have yet to agree on many things, mainly gravity. Until quantum mechanics can account for gravity (waiting on the LHC to find the Higgs, perhaps?) and relativity can account for quantum mechanics (yay black holes), I don’t think it’s fair to say that either is the “ultimate” theory. Both explain their domains very well, but are powerless at each other’s scale.

(2) Let’s say we find the gravity part of the QM theory and “finish physics”, so to speak. Is it possible to use QM to model large systems, feasibly? The amount of information it would take to model larger systems is at least the number of bits as the object has particles (and probably more). This is more of a tangential point, but I find the concept interesting. I predict we will be using our “classical” approximations for much longer than we would like, until our computing power catches up.

Anyways, I think our discussion on determinism is rather useless. It’s just like saying since we use normal probability distributions and related statistics to calculate confidence intervals, that the underlying populations are non-deterministic. They aren’t, it’s just that our statistics are.

It is either deterministic or it isn’t. 99% deterministic doesn’t mean anything. Classical Newtonian physics works quite well for dead matter on a fairly large scale. It has never been a good model for describing the behaviour of living beings. So your example of a rocket or satellite are poor examples. Noone has ever been able to predict human behaviour using Newtonian physics.

“Sure, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we cannot know the velocity and position of a particle simultaneously, and this has effects in our formulation of the quantum theory. But that does not mean that these particles do NOT have both of these variables….it is just that we can only predict them, with an amount of certainty, because of the influences of our measurements. “

The uncertainty principle does not follow from the influence of our measurements. That was an original argument made by Heisenberg, but you can prove the uncertainty between any pair of canonical conjugate variables, i.e. non-commuting variables, in quantum mechanics. Several experiments have been made that show that the uncertainty is not necessarily due to the interference of the measurement apparatus. Whether particles have these variables at any moment in time is a matter of debate and immaterial to our discussion. The fact of the matter is, these variables cannot be measured precisely simultaneously at any moment in time. These non-commuting variables must necessarily exist in any physical system. This follows from the mathematical construction of the QM.

We do not have a working QM theory of gravity. That’s true. So we do know that our scientific theory is incomplete. As far as I know, no theoretical physicist is proposing a deterministic theory of everything. The consensus is that we need to find a quantum theory of gravity because QM is the most reliable and precise theory we have.

Why don’t you take a peak into solid state physics. We have been modelling large macroscopic systems using quantum mechanics in this field for quite a lot of time.

I think it makes sense to start with very simple models of the brain for the time being. That’s how scientific theories start out. We progress from simple to more and more complex models, the more we know. But, I find it far fetched and preposterous to take these simplified models - we know they are not correct for a fact! - and conclude: The brain is a deterministic machine.

Regards

Kikl

I generally have stayed away from solid-state physics, as I fear most of it is above my engineer-level calculus. But you have given me something to look into. Again, though, even though QM is non-deterministic, does that mean the underlying physics is actually non-deterministic? Perhaps we cannot answer that question right now (and maybe we never will have the technology to do this).

Maybe I was hasty in saying that the brain is deterministic, but at the same time I feel like it might be reaching to say it is non-deterministic as well. I’m guessing we just don’t know enough.  Regardless, consciousness is probably the most difficult thing to examine scientifically, for many reasons. I am very interested to see how our understanding develops over the next few years.
 
Something does irk me about this “free will” QM. Two things, mainly. First, we seem to cling to the notion of free will pretty voraciously, even through I think you are trying to make a valid argument. I wonder why we have the instinct to do this? Secondly (and maybe you can clarify this for me), I do not see how a QM-level uncertainty propagation can lead us to having “free will”. Is it really “free will” if the underlying physics randomly determines thoughts that arise in our brain? As per Dr. Harris’ argument, we would still follow a very mechanistic process to “choose” our decision (past memories, brain states, chemical balances, etc). So even if the thoughts arise spontaneously, how are we any more the authors of our decisions? Again, maybe you can clarify this for me. To me it seems like you have just shifted the “blame” of the decision to another physical process instead of onto the conscious being (which seems to be the goal of proving free will).

Fun discussion,

Sean

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Posted: 07 September 2011 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 11:03 AM

... I generally have stayed away from solid-state physics, as I fear most of it is above my engineer-level calculus. But you have given me something to look into. Again, though, even though QM is non-deterministic, does that mean the underlying physics is actually non-deterministic? Perhaps we cannot answer that question right now (and maybe we never will have the technology to do this).

Maybe I was hasty in saying that the brain is deterministic, but at the same time I feel like it might be reaching to say it is non-deterministic as well. I’m guessing we just don’t know enough.  Regardless, consciousness is probably the most difficult thing to examine scientifically, for many reasons. I am very interested to see how our understanding develops over the next few years.
 
Something does irk me about this “free will” QM. Two things, mainly. First, we seem to cling to the notion of free will pretty voraciously, even through I think you are trying to make a valid argument. I wonder why we have the instinct to do this? Secondly (and maybe you can clarify this for me), I do not see how a QM-level uncertainty propagation can lead us to having “free will”. Is it really “free will” if the underlying physics randomly determines thoughts that arise in our brain? As per Dr. Harris’ argument, we would still follow a very mechanistic process to “choose” our decision (past memories, brain states, chemical balances, etc). So even if the thoughts arise spontaneously, how are we any more the authors of our decisions? Again, maybe you can clarify this for me. To me it seems like you have just shifted the “blame” of the decision to another physical process instead of onto the conscious being (which seems to be the goal of proving free will).

Fun discussion,

Sean

1. Again, though, even though QM is non-deterministic, does that mean the underlying physics is actually non-deterministic?

I don’t understand the question. The underlying physics is QM.

2. We cling to the notion of free will because it is our everyday experience. The answer is simple.

3. QM is not a theory of free will. But, it renders free will possible. It refutes the argument: Free will does not exist, because the world is deterministic. Why? Because according to QM the world is not deterministic.

How are we the authors of our decisions?  I don’t know.

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Kikl

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Posted: 07 September 2011 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]  
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Mesthione - 07 September 2011 11:03 AM

Again, though, even though QM [seems] non-deterministic, does that mean the underlying physics is actually non-deterministic?

I corrected your question above.

Some guy proved via and experiment and math that there are no way there could be any underlying deterministic mechanism.  Sorry I just can’t remember any more who, what, when or where I saw that.  Might have been in an article by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

We are in fact quantum beings in a quantum world.  It’s easy to prove also.  The quantum world effects the macroscopic every time a Geiger counter is used or someone dies from a mutation caused by radioactive decay.  When you read a geiger counter your brain is obeying quantum law, not classical.  The fact was however it is always following quantum law.

This whole discussion is moot anyway because:
1) Free will can exist in a deterministic world. 
2) Having random events driving the brain doesn’t help in any way because an deterministic random number generator would serve the same purpose.  So who cares.
3) Randomness would serve the opposite purpose from what most people think.  It would tend to absolve one of responsibility.  Determinist want to argue that people are not responsible because they are predictable.  However that is backwards.  The more predictable someone is the more like we are to correctly assign responsibility for events that person caused because of their nature.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]  
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I think incompatibilist determinists (someone who says free will is incompatible with determinism, and the world is deterministic) are being ridiculous.


Think about it.  Such a person will say we are not the authors of our choices because all prior events determine what we do. They completely do not get how a choice is defined, nor how the self is defined.  By definition a choice is made on a prior stimulus.  By definition the “self” is who I am at the moment I make the choice.  I see (light rays bounce off of a little boy drowning) and I choose to help.  In a deterministic world who I am was completely defined by prior events.  Those impinging light rays telling me the boy is drowning are not part of who I am.  They are external to me.  However that bundle of flesh is me, and it is the thing that acts, makes a choice using the new information, not the prior events.    It’s ridiculous to think any other actor besides myself was in play here.


It doesn’t help the incompatibilist’s position to claim we don’t act, because even inanimate objects act.  Rocks roll down hill.  In a sense they even make choices.  They just always choose to roll down hill from a standing start.  They don’t have the capacity to learn, and to empathize and that is what is needed for moral free will.


The only way you get into trouble with free will and determinism is if A) You imagine there is an infallible god.  2) That he is all powerful. 3) He is all knowing. 4) He created the world.  Then if we are determinists there is a more primary actor we can point at to blame for how events unfolded.  Having god punish us in such a situation is absurd because he caused us to do those things then.  So Christians must come up with a different kind of non-deterministic free will that absolves us.


We also blame inanimate objects in the same exact way we blame people except they can’t learn so we don’t bother to punish or reward them.  Other creatures that can learn often don’t have the capacity to learn certain things so we also don’t bother to punish or reward them.  Think about how ridiculous it would be to try to teach the local raccoon about your property rights, or to act morally.


I’ve got no problem accepting a deterministic moral free will.  We have the neccessary components 1) Ability to act/make choices.  2) Learning 3) Ability to understand reciprocality (morality).


I could have explained in more detail but I’m not writing a book here.  I understand it all and it all fits together without any contradictions.  It also works well with our normal standards of morality.  Like for instance not holding the insane morally responsible.

[ Edited: 10 September 2011 03:07 AM by Brian Macker]
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Posted: 17 December 2011 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]  
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So finally Sam is responding to this free will debate by publishing a book. He recently posted this:

I love the cover that David Drummond did for FREE WILL:

Well, if you look at the cover it shows the letters “free will” connected to strings like a marionette. So, the image suggests that Harris book is going to expound on the idea that free will doesn’t exist. However, the cover is cunning. The first question you pose, when looking at it is: Nobody is holding the strings? If noone is holding the strings, then the marionette isn’t guided by the manipulater. Furthermore, the strings do not seem to be supported, they are hovering miraculously in the air.

So to me, the cover image suggests that something is wrong with Sam’s philosophy. Sam seems to have overlooked this paradox.

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Posted: 20 December 2011 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]  
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kikl - 17 December 2011 08:28 AM

So finally Sam is responding to this free will debate by publishing a book. He recently posted this:

I love the cover that David Drummond did for FREE WILL:

Well, if you look at the cover it shows the letters “free will” connected to strings like a marionette. So, the image suggests that Harris book is going to expound on the idea that free will doesn’t exist. However, the cover is cunning. The first question you pose, when looking at it is: Nobody is holding the strings? If noone is holding the strings, then the marionette isn’t guided by the manipulater. Furthermore, the strings do not seem to be supported, they are hovering miraculously in the air.

So to me, the cover image suggests that something is wrong with Sam’s philosophy. Sam seems to have overlooked this paradox.

I wonder if it will even be a book with nonvirtual paper and ink. If it isn’t, then I probably won’t read it. But to your point, isn’t it obvious that socio-biological conditions control much or perhaps all of what we like to think we will? Would you say much, all, or none?

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Posted: 27 December 2011 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]  
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nonverbal - 21 December 2011 01:09 AM

I wonder if it will even be a book with nonvirtual paper and ink. If it isn’t, then I probably won’t read it. But to your point, isn’t it obvious that socio-biological conditions control much or perhaps all of what we like to think we will? Would you say much, all, or none?

1. It’s not obvious to me. If it is obvious, then prove it. Prove that all our “behavior” is controlled by “socio-biological conditions”!

2. No, I would say none of the above. Maybe you could change my mind on this topic, but I doubt it.

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Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.

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Posted: 27 December 2011 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]  
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If it’s not already obvious to you, then I don’t think that anything I tell you will convince you to see things the way I see them. We seem to have opposing obviouses, which doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t bother you. At least we know that we have opposing obviouses, right?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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