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lowenz

Superdeterminism

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.....here on the forum :D

 

http://en.wikipedia....uperdeterminism

 

What do you think about it? Of course the creation of this thread was superdetermined too :ph34r:

Edited by lowenz

Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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I don't buy it for the same reason I don't buy quantum explanations of the mind. They're operating at different unit levels of grain. I mean behavior is rather high level and practically supervenient. The low level QM doesn't "see" what's happening at that level, only the low level implementation.

 

It's like asking about computer code by looking at the individual memory registers flipping 1s and 0s. The bits don't "know" the code is telling them to print "hello world", and are blind to that level.

 

Edit: The QM experiments that get to me are when you get 2 results but reality perfectly reconciles them. Eg, a ship falling into a blackhole, the local observer sees nothing special, the distant observer sees the ship fried and disintegrated, but it turns out the very experiment to confirm it, beams that can escape the near-horizon area, themselves fry the ship exactly as predicted. It has this weird self-referential aspect where the observation itself confirms the predicted reality, and they're not distinguishable.

 

Edit2: On the issue of free will, the question for me isn't whether behavior is determined. Of course my body does exactly what I tell it, so is determined. The key question for me is whether the entity determining my actions can fairly be called "me". So for me it's not a metaphysical question but a personal identity issue. And on that I do think we, and not alien forces, largely determine our behavior, but that's a long argument.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Sounds like the compatibilist view to me, which I've always thought was somehow dodging the question. By that reasoning, a slug has free will as well, since it is "the slug" who is making the decision to move, and not something external to the slug.

 

The more interesting question for me is whether we have more free will than a slug?

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It's dodging the question in the sense that the simple answer by itself doesn't mean much, like you say.

The "long argument" is doing all the work, but it's long, that's why I didn't get into it.

But the "identity" track is the starting point.

 

But a little on the long argument, on the reason we have "more" free will than a slug. I think when people use the term "free will", they mean people's thinking isn't purely reflexive (stim-response), but it can take in a whole environment and act generically in it based on what its "self" actually cares about... I mean like it can have thousands of considerations before it, sift through them, and pick the one it wants of its own volition, based on thousands or tens of thousands of other considerations in the background it cares about. It's very rich & deep, covering every possible consideration and 1000 times more you'd say were important to the feeling that you're making a free decision, and not having it made by something that's not you or acting on considerations you don't actually care about (the more purely stim-response reflex that slugs & your knee when it's struck have).

 

To me, that means the mind is designed & bootstrapped with mechanisms that give it that kind of generality & depth of thinking. From what I've read, Radu Bogdan's books are the ones that give a plausible account of how minds are designed and get bootstrapped to those kinds of ends. There's a lot going on internally of course, but he also gives a special role to social learning basically building the "free self" first outside the mind (I mean in a shared mental space between child & parent, like a game they play out in the world), that over time gets internalized into the child's mind. I mean their early comments, even when alone, still have an externalized flavor, as if the parent is still there virtually. If you've watched how small children learn concepts & move from imitation to thinking for themselves, I think you know the pattern.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Even if I agree with the concept, it sounds like an intellectual cop-out to me.

Although he acknowledged the loophole, he also argued that it was implausible. Even if the measurements performed are chosen by deterministic random number generators, the choices can be assumed to be "effectively free for the purpose at hand," because the machine's choice is altered by a large number of very small effects. It is unlikely for the hidden variable to be sensitive to all of the same small influences that the random number generator was.

.. is what I would naturally think of the subject. Suppose you build a computer simulation of an universe where physical laws similar to ours are implemented. Suppose one aspect of the underlying framework implements a rule that requires correlations that are instantaneous for an inside observer. That observer being superdeterministic would be akin to saying "well I'm in a computer, everything is pre-programmed so these instantaneous correlations can only be natural". Well no shit, but that's not an answer or any kind of meaningful remark. The fact that everything does indeed run as a deterministic program doesn't remove the fact that there is a piece of the source code that requires and implements explicitely these instantaneous correlations: trying to determine which and how they are written is what science is about.

 

EDIT: That's what I get for only reading the OP and not the subsequent replies. Demagogue's first answer is exactly what I'm trying to say, sorry for paraphrasing.

Edited by Briareos H

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they mean people's thinking isn't purely reflexive (stim-response), but it can take in a whole environment and act generically in it based on what its "self" actually cares about.

 

 

Ok, but isn't that simply a more complicated stim-response? Sure, we take in a greater range of information and have a greater range of possible actions, but how does that result in greater free will?

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There's another good book that has an answer to that IMO, which is Paul Glimcher's Neuroeconomics. So the term stim-response is maybe misleading. Of course it's all physical reactions in a closed causal loop. It's not like the system jumps out to some supernatural inputs. So in that respect, it's cause-effect all the way through, and you could technically call that 'more complicated stim-response'.

 

The distinction I was trying to make Glimcher described in terms of neural pathways and debunking the classic SR model of them. So there are afferent & efferent pathways. Afferent means it's "sense information carrying" (environment->in), like the optic nerve taking visual data back to the visual cortex, and then processing on it which moves the data forward (rostral). An efferent pathway is "motion information carrying" (in->environment), like the neurons going from the motor cortex & cerebellum out to muscles. So the classic view, that comes with Sherrington and Pavlov (remember his dogs), is that's all there is. Afferent pathways eventually meet efferent pathways, and there's nothing in between; it's nothing but "complicated stim-response" through & through, which sounds like the model you might have in mind using that phrase too. This is classic stim-response or the classic Sherringtonian model. You have environmental information (including perhaps internal environment information) and you simply react to it. Pure stimulus, pure response. Dog hears a bell -> salivates. Humans see a woman -> he gets a career, buys a house, dates her until he can propose, has children... So even with that toy example, you can imagine how the theory breaks down pretty easily.

 

Glimcher tears down the classic theory by pointing out a huge array of these "middle systems" between afferent & efferent that are not bringing in sense-info and not taking out motion-info at all, but they are computing all the interests, considerations, feelings, and what we'd call the personality of the person that goes into making decisions and "being itself", rather than acting purely on sense data (stimulus). So to reformulate what I said before in those terms, what most people I think mean when they use the term & have the intuition that we have "greater free will" than slugs, is that those "middle systems" are very deep & rich in processing, and afferent stimulus is quite separated from efferent response by all the things we have in our mind that we think about when we think we're making "free" decisions. The thicker those systems, the thicker the "self-thinking" beyond pure stim-response (afferent-efferent), the greater the "free will" (as people actually use the term).

 

I'm curious though what's driving your skepticism, since it could be different things. People mean different things by the term "free will". The way I deal with defining the term is looking to how people use it in day-to-day use, and what's the source of their intuition when they say humans have it and lower animals don't really (and, e.g., maybe other primates in a hazy in-between). People often *think* that it means will has to have some kind of non-physical or supernatural or quantum-uncertain source to be really "free". But if you look about what they *actually* point to when they say they're free, they're talking about things like their personality and personal thoughts they have in their head that are uniquely theirs and that go into making decisions. For me, you won't find the actual source in supernatural uberphysics or quantum uncertainty. You'll find it in a neural architecture where there are these vast and deep middle systems that are building exactly those components, a personality; personal or characteristic values, considerations, and interests that go into their intuitions; an autobiographical memory that it applies to itself, etc.

 

To try to summarize it: if people insist that "free will" cannot be applied in a causally-closed system (I don't necessarily mean you, but just to frame the argument), then I will answer two things (1) ok, then yes, according to that definition nothing in the universe is "free" in that hard sense; but then (2) I'd point out that when you use the term "free will", while you might think you're talking about requiring causal-openness (voodoo physics), if we look at the logic of the arguments and intuitions for it (it effectively means "uncaused behavior" too, which surely isn't how they mean the term "free"), you're not actually talking about that at all. What you're actually talking about are things like personality, interests, an autobiographical self, etc, and we need to change the definition of "free will" to what you're actually talking about. And for that, I think they can happen in a causally-closed universe, and here's how... Then I'd hand over the Glimcher & Bogdon books, and a lot of others. First of all, you throw out the classic stim-response model and bring in a thick "middle-system" network model that does the work of just those things you're pointing to when you say you're making a "free" decision.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Sorry that was a bit tldr. Let me see if I can boil something down. What's really key I think are "middle systems" between the afferent (carrying perception-data in) and efferent (carrying motion-data out) pathways, that are doing neither, but instead doing processing that do the things we have the intuition carry our sense of "self" that actually make the decision what we want to do in a given situation. The more the processing of these middle systems can be fairly considered self-like, the freer the will, if you want to boil it down to a formula.

 

So then the question is what are these middle systems, and what makes them fair to call them a "self"?

I think a partial list of them might include the equivalent of:

  • First, an internal monologue where a stream of consciousness "self" talks itself through its own decisions on its own terms (and not the terms, e.g., of the other voices, emotions, or stimuli, out there), or anyway it has veto power over such knee-jerk reflexes so it can direct itself when it wants to. (So language is key from the start I think.)
  • Important to that internal monologue would be the structure undergirding it of an autobiographical declarative memory of landmarks of "personal development" that get applied to present thinking (asking things like "am I the kind of person that would do X?", or "what kind of person do I want to be?" when deciding to do X or not).
  • Also important here is what Dennett called a "narrative center of gravity" giving structure to the autobiographical memory self. It's not just a random collection of memories, but a narrative structure of personality, commitment, ambition, etc, that's controlling the inner monologue and decision-making.
  • Along side this declarative architecture are affective considerations and values that the system tags as more or less important to decisions, and applies them to features in its present decision space (which includes the present environment, but includes other things too like predictions). Some people find loyalty a trumping value, others find improving utility a trumping value, etc. These aren't environmental stimuli, but more personal features about what you care about.
  • A separate kind of emotional or affective memory and tendency towards decisions that you could think of as basic personality features, like your personal desire/aversion to take risks, passivity vs aggression, introvert vs extrovert, etc.

I think you get the idea. It's true you might still plausibly call these sub-system outputs as "stims". But if the character of these stims are very "self-like", enforcing decisions based not on environmental cues but things like your personality, commitments, personal values, autobiographical self, etc, then I think it's fair to say the dominant stim here is the "self" and not the "environment", which brings me back to my original answer (you're free when your "self" is directing your behavior and not anything else, that is to say, anything that doesn't have an autobiographical memory, or a personality, or personal values, commitments, and ambitions in life, etc.) When it's a deep "self" that has those things that is making decisions, and not pure environment or reflex cues, then I think it's fair to say the will of the system is "freely" making its own decisions beyond those cues, at least more free than other SR systems that simply take simple cues like environmental stims or reflex stims that you get from AI or most animals.

 

I think that boils down the argument I was trying to make from the start. Of course, every one of those bullet points above could be unpacked into pages & pages of detail on what makes it fair to call them "self" features that more simple SR systems of AI and animals don't have. But I think you can see the trend there.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I'm curious though what's driving your skepticism, since it could be different things. People mean different things by the term "free will".

 

To me, "free will" means that your decisions are not predetermined. As I sit here, I feel like it is my conscious decision to sit here and type rather than do something else. However, it's equally possible that the decision to sit here and type is entirely unconscious, and that my mind is just creating an illusion of conscious choice after the fact (like that narrative you mentioned). If my decisions are being made unconsciously, then in what sense can I be said to have free will?

 

Another way to put it...in a deterministic universe, if you could recreate the entire physical universe in exactly the same state as it was ten minutes ago when I sat down to type, I would ALWAYS sit down to type. There is no way I could choose otherwise. Theoretically, a race advanced enough to be able to chart the behaviour of every particle and physical process in the universe could accurately report what a person will do at any point in the future, even if that person isn't born yet. And if that's the case, how can that be reconciled with the notion of free will?

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@Spring, Ok, I think what I've said before responds to those kinds of arguments. But I don't think I'd disagree with anything you said, so in that respect we should be using different definitions of free will, rather than different visions of the world.

To respond to the arguments though:

  • On the predetermined part, the problem is, if you take "behavior not being determined" as a necessary condition, then your self can't even be in control over yourself either. So behavior being determined isn't a problem by itself for me.
  • On the role of consciousness. This is an interesting thread of the argument. From what I read from my cogsci days, I recall that a lot of behavior is put together unconsciously, and the major job of consciousness is to oversee it, e.g., make corrections if it botches something. I think it's also still quite possible to very consciously make a decision by talking out the argument to a conclusion clause by clause, although we don't always do that. So, if that's right, then I have four responses.

  1. First, I think it's natural to think we either include unconscious parts of ourselves as still a given part of our self in a lot of cases, like the shape of our body, they're just part of the supporting architecture on which the free conscious part of our will works, OR for things like reflexes, it's easy for us to exclude them. Yes I sneezed or had a kick-reflex, but it's easy to just say that wasn't my free choice, just a reflex.
  2. But anyway, if consciousness is taken to be essential, we can make conscious decisions the "long & hard way" I just mentioned by force of will when we want, and we can train ourselves to notice when decisions are made unconsciously and consciously preempt or veto them (this is what poker players do to stop giving unconscious tells, or to veto their "gut feeling" plays). One conclusion from this would be that all of our behavior is not equally free, some (the conscious ones) is more free than others (unconscious ones). That's maybe not a terrible conclusion. It does motivate us to take conscious control over our lives by force of will in a very existentialist way.
  3. But on the topic of the unconscious-led decisions, I think just because they are unconscious doesn't mean they are antithetical to our selves. Our gut feelings or natural reflexes that come out of nowhere still know our autobiographical self and personality too, and they're acting in our best interest and to be as much like us as possible. So in that sense, they are more benign or altruistic to you, & want to augment our conscious self as much as possible. While they're not directly consciously controlled, they're not out to overturn our conscious self either, but to support it, and we can't call them "alien" either. It's like the natural, characteristic way you laugh or run. You're not micromanaging it, it's not entirely free, but I think it's fair to say it's still a part of you that you live with. I mean, I think it's an unfree part of us that, like reflexes or quirks, most people aren't too worried about. Yes they're there, but I don't think they're making the big decisions in your life like where to live, who to marry, what job to do; but are lower level more benign quirks (putting aside true mental illnesses where they completely overtake the conscious self).
  4. Last is maybe what I said in #2 above. Even when unconscious reflexes take over, our conscious selves still have oversight, so if unconscious reflexes or forces do go against what you want, then you can veto them. There's a classic experiment where a sensor attached to people's motor cortex triggers that you want to flip a slideprojector before you feel it, then it slides it for you, and then you (seemingly inadvertently) push the button again, since the command was already sent, and it advances 2 slides. This was supposed to show that what we think is conscious volitional behavior was already decided unconsciously. The problem I had with that conclusion is that your conscious self can clearly see a mistake has been made in execution and you're going to act to reverse the slide and go back to the one you want. So in that respect, even though unconscious forces have a big role, the conscious self very often still has the final say on what you want to do.

  • As for the "couldn't have chosen otherwise", I don't think this is as damning as it sounds at first. It's a natural implication that comes out from you absolutely determining your own behavior. If you take determining your own behavior seriously, then all that means is you're going to determine your own behavior every time you replay the same history. Otherwise, again, you wouldn't really be in control of yourself, since sometimes you could determine your behavior and sometimes (on the same timeline) you couldn't; your choices wouldn't be reliably able to control yourself. But another response is that your self is actually quite able to make different decisions across a very broad spectrum of options ... if the circumstances change. If you replay history and change something about the circumstances or what's on your mind, in fact you may well decide differently. I think that kind of counterfactual reasoning is an important part of measuring how robust the will is in decision making. The claim you're talking about here is that, all things being equal, nothing in the environment or your thinking changes, you're going to make the same choice you made in the same circumstances. That's fine IMO. It's perfectly compatable with circumstances or my thinking being different in different circumstances and me choosing to do something else, which I think is what free will is really talking about.

Edit: Point of logic on the timeline example, also. When you replay an exact same timeline without any changes, it doesn't work like a separate branch but like a rewind and replay button. We wouldn't expect if you rewind a timeline and replay it like a video that it'd play differently no matter how many re-viewings. I think your example is thinking about a bona fide branch in the timeline to a separate line where circumstances are different. But if circumstances are really different, then you are able to decide differently. I think you need the difference to create an actual timeline branch, otherwise it's just a rewind button; and a rewind-replay scenario playing back the same timeline doesn't make me worry about the freedom of my will. It was still me making the decision no matter how many times you replay the video.

 

So I think at this point we're working with different understandings of free will, since I think we maybe see the world in the same way. I see the points you were making, but I don't think they're a problem to the way I think about free will, which is my autobiographical self being in total control over my actions, at least to the extent that I consciously will it to be, which is at least for the most important decisions. Thanks for scratching my old philosophy itch for debating these issues anyway.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Thanks for scratching my old philosophy itch for debating these issues anyway.

There's no free will in this kind of temptation :P

 

2195839-merovin.jpg

Edited by lowenz

Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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This is good, because you're making exactly the compatibilist case that puzzles me, so hopefully we can sort this out. :)

 

You seem to be acknowledging that when we do something, "we can't choose otherwise."

 

The claim you're talking about here is that, all things being equal, nothing in the environment or your thinking changes, you're going to make the same choice you made in the same circumstances. That's fine IMO

 

However, isn't the very definition of free will that you have a choice to do otherwise? What I'm saying is that, given the position and motion of every particle in the universe at this specific moment, I cannot possibly choose to do other than what I'm doing right now, which you seem to agree with here:

 

When you replay an exact same timeline without any changes, it doesn't work like a separate branch but like a rewind and replay button. We wouldn't expect if you rewind a timeline and replay it like a video that it'd play differently no matter how many re-viewings

 

But you seem to be saying, "Yes, but since it's YOU doing it each time, then it's free will."

 

I don't understand how that matters.

 

What's the difference between my sitting here typing, which is a response to the specific position and motion of everything in the universe at this moment, and a rock falling off a cliff? We tend to assume colloquially that the difference is that I could have chosen NOT to type at that moment, but I think we're in agreement that this notion is an illusion.

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I've been busy with things, but maybe I can address a few things simply for now.

I'm not sure I have a textbook answer and wouldn't pin myself down as much as your trying to pin me down. But I have certain ways of thinking about the issue, so I'll try to explain those.

 

This is good, because you're making exactly the compatibilist case that puzzles me, so hopefully we can sort this out. :)

 

I'm not sure I'm compatabilist as you're using the term.

It's not just the mere fact a thing does what it does that makes it "free", so rocks & snails can't be free.

In brief, I think it's the ability to review among different choices and choose the one you want.

 

You seem to be acknowledging that when we do something, "we can't choose otherwise."

However, isn't the very definition of free will that you have a choice to do otherwise? What I'm saying is that, given the position and motion of every particle in the universe at this specific moment, I cannot possibly choose to do other than what I'm doing right now, which you seem to agree with here:

 

Ok, this seems to be the crux, so I'll focus on this.

Of course we *can* choose to do otherwise. We just *decide* to do one thing and not another. I think that's an important point.

 

The definition of free will has 2 parts. "Free" + "will". Free, as in it has the *ability* to choose anything it wants. "Will", as in, out of that open field of things it *can* do, the system decides what it will do & does it, and not another thing. Free will is always those two parts IMO, 'ability to openly choose' and 'absolute choice', and you can't focus on just one side of it and throw out the other.

 

A rock does not have the ability to not fall, so there is no "choice" for it to fall. A human easily has the ability to type or not to type; so when it does one and not the other, we call that its choice. That's one difference between determinism and free will, and why I don't think I'm making a compatabilist case.

 

So how do you know a system has an *ability* to choose otherwise? For this you'd use modal logic, basically "possible worlds" analysis. You start with some field of possible worlds, possibly infinite but think of trillions and trillions of them, usually bounded in some way so they all have "you" and the "world" that we know, and events we can expect are possible in our world. The field is every physical possibility within the boundary conditions.

 

So in modal logic, the definition of "possible" is, there is at least one possible world within that field where an event happens or a proposition holds. The definition of "necessary" is, in *all* possible worlds in the field the event will happen or the proposition holds.

 

So the idea is you play your self-system out in all of these possible worlds, then you will see that the decision-making power of your system is able to make all manner of decisions, basically that it is open, within physical boundaries (you can't fly or think faster than light). This is what it means to say that your decision-making is "free" in terms of modal logic. When you look at the rock's behavior, however, you will see that it falls the same way in all possible worlds. So this is what it means to say that the rock's behavior is "necessary" or "determined".

 

Furthermore, when you look at two possible worlds, one where you did X and one where you did Y, and you ask, "what is the difference between world1 and world2?", the difference will be, in world1 "you decided to do X", and in world2 "you decided to do Y". That is, the "self functions" in your mind decided to do X in world1 and Y in world2. This is different than your thought experiment, where you replay world1 over and over, because of course in world1 you'll always decide to do X, because that's your decision! That's the "will" part of "free will". But if you look at the field of all possible worlds, you can see that Y could easily have been your decision if that's what you had wanted to do at the time. That's the "free" part of "free will". (1) Ability to choose openly in all possible worlds (free) + (2) you actually decide to do X and, by your very choice, lock-in *this* world (will) = free will.

 

Or put another way, the difference between whether we're in world1 or world2 is up to you; your choice locks it in. That holds when we're talking about the only difference being your choice. If the difference is somebody bumps you or a reflex, then the difference isn't your choice but outside events. Of course "your choice" and "being bumped by a passer-by" are all "particles moving", so that doesn't mean anything. The difference is, the "particles moving" that encode yourself are self-creating systems that have the ability to make different choices; whereas the "particles moving" that encompass being bumped by somebody or gravity do not have any ability to decide differently.

 

Which brings me to this:

the position and motion of every particle in the universe at this specific moment

 

Surely you aren't saying the position of some star billions of lightyears from here determines your behavior? We're only talking about specific particle motions. That is, the ones that are encoding your "self", your internal monologue, decision-making, etc. When are they determined? At the moment you make a decision. The motion of the particles and your decision are one and the same. Why is it a "real" decision and not just following the orders of the particles, like a rock falling? Because the functions that your "self particles" are enconding are "decision-making functions", while the falling rock is following no functions, just gravity. This again brings us back to the core question, the critical part of free will is whether the functions that make up your decision making are making free decisions (i.e., they have access to all available decisions and they have the real possibility to choose any of them, and then they choose they one the system "wants to do" because that's what it wants to do, not because the lower level particles command it.)

 

My sympathies lie with a philosophy of mind called "functionalism". Functionalism is still a kind of materialism in that the universe is absolutely explained by the Standard Model, but it means that the proper level to describing human behavior is not at the particle level, but at the functional level, essentially the equivalent of code for a program. Then we understand the particles involved in the code not acting as themselves, but acting as encoding the functions of the code. This is important because you can instantiate the *same* program (or self) in completely different physical systems. This is why I can say, it's not particles which are determining your behavior, it's the functions being encoded by their activity that's doing the real work. When the code is to a certain level of sophistication where it can review all options available to it and pick one and not another, then we can say the system is a free self. (Whereas if the algorithms are simple operations that do not review all decisions and freely decide on one, then it's not a free self.)

 

But you seem to be saying, "Yes, but since it's YOU doing it each time, then it's free will." I don't understand how that matters.

 

I have to qualify this. It is not the fact that it's you that's doing it. It's the fact that a "free self" is doing it. Then we define a "free self" in terms of certain cognitive abilities (consciousness, inner monologue, rational thinking, having the ability to consider a wide variety of options and selecting the option it wants, etc). Humans have this ability and rocks don't, so humans are free and rocks aren't. The "you" part is important just to the extent that the inner monologue making your decisions needs to be you and not, e.g., someone else. A crazy person that has inner-voices that they do not recognize as their own making decisions "for them" would not be freely making decisions under this approach.

 

 

What's the difference between my sitting here typing, which is a response to the specific position and motion of everything in the universe at this moment, and a rock falling off a cliff? We tend to assume colloquially that the difference is that I could have chosen NOT to type at that moment, but I think we're in agreement that this notion is an illusion.

 

I'd repeat what I said above. You could have easily chosen not to type at that moment, but you chose not to. The difference was your choice. A rock could not have chosen to fall or not fall.

 

I suspect we might be disagreeing on levels of description. If you say the "choice" is an illusion, it sounds like it's because you want to say the only relevant level of description is the particles. The Standard Model describes everything, end of story. But I want to say the functional level of description is the relevant level; the choice is not made by particles, it's made by the algorithms that particles are encoding. And its choice is real, not an illusion. Particles motions are not the level that's making the "real choice", but the higher order system of them working holistically together is making the choice.

 

Incidentally, I think once you ask a question about "humans", "rocks", "houses", "typing", and "choices", etc, you're already not talking about particles anymore, but you've already conceded to talking at the level of higher-order systems that exist on a human-level, i.e., the way the mind constructs them. If I might sum up a difference, I think "free will" is a issue in the field of cognitive science, and I'm gathering you're seeing "free will" as an issue in the field of fundamental physics. That's a big issue in itself, but my argument would start with the idea that the core item at issue, "choice", is something that brains do through cognitive science. The standard model physics encodes it, but it doesn't have the explanatory power at that level; the cognitive algorithms do.

 

Edit: To deal with this counterargument in advance, in the argument for functionalism, it's important to add it's holistic & the "real" level of decision-making just when the system is working properly. There are times when the system can break down, e.g., some involuntary reflex takes control or it just glitches and then its not a conscious, willful decision at its root. Then we say that part of it isn't free, and sub-system factors really are doing the real work, at least if it's not fixed up by later will. So not everything that happens in the mind contributes to its free will. But under normal circumstances for normal people, there is the ability for free decision-making robust enough for practical purposes.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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This is why I love TDM forums :ph34r:


Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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But under normal circumstances for normal people, there is the ability for free decision-making robust enough for practical purposes.

Still the choice can't be absolutely free, it's a contextualized choice in *normal* people: the context creates the options, not your mind.

Paradoxically the *not-so-normal* people are - potentially - more free (and I'm not saying it's a "good" thing), 'cause they have an altered perception of the context.

Edited by lowenz

Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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I think your mind can create options beyond their context. People write novels or abstract art over the course of years nothing like the world around them. People report their best thinking in sense deprivation tanks. The main limit is just physical possibility to imagine.

 

Edit: The not so normal people I was thinking mental illness, but maybe they do have access to ways of thinking we aren't used to. Sounds lIke Dali trying to induce madness to imagine better art.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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