Free Will

on fundamental matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and ethics.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Re: Free Will

#10021  Postby DavidMcC » Oct 06, 2017 5:36 pm

GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
Perhaps you have it backwards. Maybe Free Will is a conclusion and not a premise.


I agree that free will is a conclusion not a premise. That's a fair way to put it. We don't act by exercising free will, we weigh our actions by our ability to identify causes of that action/ If we can't spot why we did it we tend to call it free will.

...

You are obviously not thinking of biological free will, because the opposite is true for that - we call it free will if we DO know why we did something. If we don't know why, then it cannot have been freely willed.
Last edited by DavidMcC on Oct 06, 2017 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14519
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#10022  Postby John Platko » Oct 06, 2017 5:38 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Yes, that's not quite right, it's more like: I was free to choose, nobody (including me), made me do it.


If you didn't make yourself act how the fuck can it be free will?


I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?

A free will choice is just that, a free choice - no made me involved. :no:

The more I participate in this thread the more convinced I become that some have never experienced free will.



Now you have acts that you are not the causing to happen and that you have no awareness of intending to do that you want to call free will. That's just bizarre.


:no: I'm causing the acts to happen but I'm not making myself do them, I'm choosing them - although sometimes it's an unconscious choice. For playing a musical instrument or playing sports, this unconscious will is very helpful.
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10023  Postby GrahamH » Oct 06, 2017 5:39 pm

scott1328 wrote:So the question is: if Free Will is necessary to hold someone morally accountable, then how are we justified for punishing negligence?


There was a discussion of this earlier IIRC. Would you ask "how are we justified for repairing a broken car?" We are justified in a practical utilitarian sense in doing something to benefit society and we try to direct that 'fix' where it will have best effect. That may not be achieved by concluding free will too hastily.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10024  Postby GrahamH » Oct 06, 2017 5:41 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
Perhaps you have it backwards. Maybe Free Will is a conclusion and not a premise.


I agree that free will is a conclusion not a premise. That's a fair way to put it. We don't act by exercising free will, we weigh our actions by our ability to identify causes of that action/ If we can't spot why we did it we tend to call it free will.

...

You are obviously not thinking of biological free will, because the opposite is true for that - we call it free will if we DO know why we did something. If we don't know why, then it cannot have been freely willed.


If you did something because X then X is a significant cause of your actions. What do you add by also saying it was your free will?

See JP's appeal to unconscious processes which is acting without knowing what or why.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10025  Postby GrahamH » Oct 06, 2017 5:45 pm

John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free? What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?

If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10026  Postby romansh » Oct 06, 2017 6:57 pm

scott1328 wrote:So the question is: if Free Will is necessary to hold someone morally accountable, then how are we justified for punishing negligence?

Just drop the morality crap and think of punishment more of containing a behaviour or a set of behaviours.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
User avatar
romansh
 
Posts: 2294

Country: BC Can (in the woods)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10027  Postby romansh » Oct 06, 2017 7:01 pm

GrahamH wrote:
If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.

And the Strawsonesque question what if anything is making me, make myself do things?
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
User avatar
romansh
 
Posts: 2294

Country: BC Can (in the woods)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#10028  Postby John Platko » Oct 06, 2017 7:54 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free?


By freely choosing to act, not making myself act. There may even be an element of surprise in the choice I freely make. (although I'm feeling like I'm going a bit out on a limb now)


What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?


Coercion isn't freedom. :nono: And we can rule out random surprise - I'm not free if I turn my will over to dice.


If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.


Have you considered the possibility that making yourself do things is like making you the warden of your own prison. Where's the freedom in that?
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10029  Postby John Platko » Oct 06, 2017 9:32 pm

:scratch: Here's a physicist with an unusual take on free will and how it relates to QM.

:scratch: But I don't think she's quite at the David Deutsch, Chiara Marletto, or Vlatko Vedral level.

I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10030  Postby romansh » Oct 06, 2017 9:36 pm

John Platko wrote:
By freely choosing to act, not making myself act.


For me free (in the context of free will) would mean to have a will to do a behaviour (cogitated or otherwise) that is somehow independent of cause. This is a philosophical question and not to be confused with common legal conceptions of free will.

Once we have established how my will (desires wants wishes etc) is independent of cause then perhaps we can focus on how we move from will to cogitation, then choice and eventually action ... and pointing out where in each step that might be free of prior cause.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
User avatar
romansh
 
Posts: 2294

Country: BC Can (in the woods)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10031  Postby John Platko » Oct 06, 2017 10:03 pm

romansh wrote:
John Platko wrote:
By freely choosing to act, not making myself act.


For me free (in the context of free will) would mean to have a will to do a behaviour (cogitated or otherwise) that is somehow independent of cause. This is a philosophical question and not to be confused with common legal conceptions of free will.


I find the philosophy of cause to be a real :scratch: :scratch: There are just so many different points of view on cause and types of cause. And I certainly don't think physics has a handle on it. Physics says things like an effect can't occur from a cause that is not in the past light cone of that event but I know for a fact that future events are effecting my current choices all the time. Even imagined events sometimes effect current choices. Physics seems to be completely unable to handle cases like this.



Once we have established how my will (desires wants wishes etc) is independent of cause then perhaps we can focus on how we move from will to cogitation, then choice and eventually action ... and pointing out where in each step that might be free of prior cause.


This is going to be a very long thread.
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10032  Postby GrahamH » Oct 07, 2017 8:30 am

John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free?


By freely choosing to act, not making myself act. There may even be an element of surprise in the choice I freely make. (although I'm feeling like I'm going a bit out on a limb now)


What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?


Coercion isn't freedom. :nono: And we can rule out random surprise - I'm not free if I turn my will over to dice.


If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.


Have you considered the possibility that making yourself do things is like making you the warden of your own prison. Where's the freedom in that?


I think there must be a minor semantic confusion there. I cant see how you could support free will and yet say that you did not make your arm move in deciding to lift your arm. If your arm lifted and it seemed to you that you did not make it move willfully you would probably get yourself checked out by a doctor and wouldn't be parading our wandering arm as an example of free will.

"warden of your own prison"? Is that "will power"?
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10033  Postby DavidMcC » Oct 07, 2017 10:22 am

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free? What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?

If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.

No. When you make yourself act, it does not mean that you have no choice, it more likely means that your preferred option is difficult, so that you have to "make yourself" do it, by overcoming any reluctance or laziness on your part.

EDIT: It remains possible that you give up trying to do your preferred option, perhaps because it is just too difficult. Then, you go for the next best one, to make it less difficult.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14519
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10034  Postby GrahamH » Oct 07, 2017 11:29 am

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free? What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?

If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.

No. When you make yourself act, it does not mean that you have no choice, it more likely means that your preferred option is difficult, so that you have to "make yourself" do it, by overcoming any reluctance or laziness on your part.

EDIT: It remains possible that you give up trying to do your preferred option, perhaps because it is just too difficult. Then, you go for the next best one, to make it less difficult.


I guess you have interpreted the phrase similarly to JP. I don't mean that you have a battle with yourself or that you 'have no "choice' I just mean that you act because you make it happen. What made your arm move?" "I made it move (because I chose to, of my own free will)."

Having battles with yourself opens all sorts of cans of worms but I see no need to go there.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10035  Postby John Platko » Oct 07, 2017 12:26 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free?


By freely choosing to act, not making myself act. There may even be an element of surprise in the choice I freely make. (although I'm feeling like I'm going a bit out on a limb now)


What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?


Coercion isn't freedom. :nono: And we can rule out random surprise - I'm not free if I turn my will over to dice.


If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.


Have you considered the possibility that making yourself do things is like making you the warden of your own prison. Where's the freedom in that?


I think there must be a minor semantic confusion there. I cant see how you could support free will and yet say that you did not make your arm move in deciding to lift your arm. If your arm lifted and it seemed to you that you did not make it move willfully you would probably get yourself checked out by a doctor and wouldn't be parading our wandering arm as an example of free will.


If my arm made habit of moving when I wasn't willing it to move, I would have myself checked out by a doctor. :nod:

Sometimes I will what I do, but sometimes, for hardware and/or software reasons, I do not. And I have observed that I can choose to increase my free will or just go with the flow of particles.

This is not a hard concept to grasp. When addicted to heroin, I'm hardly free to go about my day without a needle. Even my local law enforcement recognizes that and they endeavor to help rather than lock up people in such a situation. Addicts are free will comprised and we need to help them recover in the same way we help someone who is immune compromised recover.



"warden of your own prison"? Is that "will power"?


More likely the result of lack of will power. I'm always amazed at the number of ways we humans can find to unfree ourselves.
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#10036  Postby John Platko » Oct 07, 2017 12:34 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free? What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?

If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.

No. When you make yourself act, it does not mean that you have no choice, it more likely means that your preferred option is difficult, so that you have to "make yourself" do it, by overcoming any reluctance or laziness on your part.

EDIT: It remains possible that you give up trying to do your preferred option, perhaps because it is just too difficult. Then, you go for the next best one, to make it less difficult.


And what if I have developed a brain tumor that causes me to rape, like was mentioned in one of the recent videos I saw? Is the tumor me? Law enforcement didn't treat the person with the tumor like it was him.
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10037  Postby John Platko » Oct 07, 2017 12:42 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I think a better question is: if I made myself act then how can I be free?


How else could you be free? What are the alternatives, that someone else made you act or that circumstances compelled you or that your action was just a random surprise?

If free will means anything at all it surely means that I make myself do things.

No. When you make yourself act, it does not mean that you have no choice, it more likely means that your preferred option is difficult, so that you have to "make yourself" do it, by overcoming any reluctance or laziness on your part.

EDIT: It remains possible that you give up trying to do your preferred option, perhaps because it is just too difficult. Then, you go for the next best one, to make it less difficult.


I guess you have interpreted the phrase similarly to JP. I don't mean that you have a battle with yourself or that you 'have no "choice' I just mean that you act because you make it happen. What made your arm move?" "I made it move (because I chose to, of my own free will)."

Having battles with yourself opens all sorts of cans of worms but I see no need to go there.


I don't see how you can have a proper discussion of free will without going there, warms et. all. Addressing the part of the OP that enquires about evil requires us to go there. Such Self battles are integral to one important psychological model, i.e. the Shoulder angel model, which unlike QM or other models from physics, actually has some explanatory value for the problem at hand.

Image
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10038  Postby GrahamH » Oct 07, 2017 1:35 pm

given things got stuck on whether free will means we make our own selves move or not moving on to 'sholder angels' seems hugely ambitious right now
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17703

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10039  Postby John Platko » Oct 07, 2017 2:42 pm

GrahamH wrote:given things got stuck on whether free will means we make our own selves move or not moving on to 'sholder angels' seems hugely ambitious right now


Perhaps you have a point.

We should probably retreat to a smaller free will problem.

:scratch:

The good folks at Harvard give us:

from

Harvard law of animal behavior
when stimulations are repeatedly applied under precisely controlled conditions the animal reacts as it damn well pleases


That certainly suggests free will to me. :nod:

Digging deeper: :book:

Hmmmm ... Could the fruit fly have chosen to turn left when it chose to turn right .....
Do fruit flies have free will?

from

Behavioral variability is a well-known phenomenon. It is so pervasive that the semi-serious Harvard Law of Animal Behavior was coined: “Under carefully controlled experimental circumstances, an animal will behave as it damned well pleases.” It is the source of this variability which is under scrutiny here. The current neuroscientific consensus posits that the source of the variability is noise, rendering the variability random or stochastic. We show here that random noise cannot be the sole source of behavioral variability. In addition to the inevitable noise component, we detected a nonlinear signature suggesting deterministic endogenous processes (i.e., an initiator) involved in generating behavioral variability. It is this combination of chance and necessity that renders individual behavior so notoriously unpredictable. The consequences of this result are profound and may seem contradictory at first: despite being largely deterministic, this initiator falsifies the notion of behavioral determinism. By virtue of its sensitivity to initial conditions, the initiator renders genuine spontaneity (“voluntariness” [30]) a biological trait even in flies.




New models of brain function

Because theoretical work suggests a range of competitive advantages for indeterminate behavior in virtually all animals [19], [61]–[65], [71], the structure of the indeterminacy should be incorporated explicitly into models of general brain function and autonomous agents. What would such future models of brain (or agent) function look like? Nonlinear models displaying probabilistic behavior patterns can in principle be fairly simple [55]. The nonlinear mechanisms need still to be influenced by the environment both in a feed-forward form (the sensorimotor link) [7], [13], [14], [72] and by reafferent feedback control (Fig. 7) [73], [74]. Our data raise the suspicion that future models of the brain may have to implement this or a related component for spontaneous behavior initiation, if they strive to be biologically realistic, out-competing other models/agents. Recently, a new class of agents was introduced, which incorporated some of these ideas [75].



Brains are simultaneously indeterministic and deterministic for a reason

This insight has implications for our understanding of the general function of brains. The most fundamental brain function is to produce adaptive behavior. Adaptive behavior is the ability to orient toward specific goals in the environment and to control actions flexibly in pursuit of those goals. By and large, the every-day world we live in is Newtonian: predictable and deterministic. If we lose balance, we fall, if we neglect obstacles in our path, we collide with them and if we reach for an object, we can grasp it. Hence, no ambulatory animal could survive without its set of adaptive, hard-wired sensorimotor rules shaped by evolution and tuned by experience. No male house fly would ever catch its mate. At the same time, the world is full of surprises: the unexpected pursuit by a male house fly, the rejection of your manuscript or the next move by your chess opponent (or a predator). In such cases, not even the most complex stimulus-response programs (learned or innate) will help an animal in evading the undesired surprises and obtaining the desired ones. If the evasive actions taken by the female house fly were predictable, males could short cut and catch them with much less effort. It is essential to not leave the generation of behavioral variability to chance (i.e., noise), but to keep it under neural control (i.e., nonlinearity). As such, evolution can fine-tune the balance between sensorimotor mapping and superimposed indeterminacy, defining the required compromise between spontaneous and reactive behavior. The variability of systems under tight constraints will be explained mostly by noise (because the variability under neural control is minimized, such as escape and pursuit responses in flies) [76], whereas noise may play a very small role in generating variability of less constrained behaviors (such as the ones observed here or the evasive actions taken by female house flies) [19], [20], [77]. This notion of brains operating on the critical edge between determinism and chaos has also been used to describe human magnetoencephalographic recordings [78]. Analogous to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle [79], [80], much behavioral variability arises not out of practical constraints, but out of the principles of evolved brain function. In “What is Life?” Erwin Schrödinger claimed that fundamental indeterminism would never arise in the living world [81]. Today however, the picture emerges that as much as simple taxis, mate pursuit or course control require deterministic sensorimotor programs [7], [13], [14], [56], [57], [76], more complex interactions require behavioral indeterminism, as evidenced by recent studies in game theory [61], [63], [65], exploration/foraging behavior [71], feeding [82] and pursuit-evasion contests (“Protean Strategy”) [19], [23], [77], [83]. Clearly, deterministic behavior will be exploited [23], [84] and leaves us helpless in unpredictable situations [30], [85]. Brains indeed do throw the dice–but by refuting the notion of stochasticity our results imply that they have exquisite control over when, where and how the dice are thrown [86].




Spontaneity is the basis for operant behavior

If unpredictability is so important, why is the ‘random number generator’ in the fly brain not perfect? For one, perfect unpredictability might not be required for survival. In addition, variable behavior might serve a second function. Variable, spontaneous behavior is the only way to find out which portions of the incoming sensory stream are under operant control by the animal's behavior. If much of the variation in this stream is due to random noise (i.e., Gaussian), behaving in a non-Gaussian way may aid in the detection of those variations which can be brought under behavioral control. Given these considerations and that our data imply a memory for past events influencing behavior initiation, it is tempting to perceive such mechanisms of spontaneous behavior initiation as the basis for operant behavior, operant conditioning and habit formation [74]. Following this notion, the ecologically so advantageous heavy-tailed searching strategy may be brought about by constantly engaging motor outputs and monitoring their effects in a decision-based queuing process. Such a process prioritizes certain items in a list over others (for instance yaw turns over thrust control, roll or proboscis extension) and has been shown to lead to heavy-tailed behavior patterns [33], [67]. These considerations lend credence to an early, rarely cited cognitive hypothesis on the significance of behavioral variability in vertebrates [28] and suggest that it is actually much more profoundly valid throughout the taxa, with the prospect of studying its biological basis in a genetically tractable model system. Identifying the neural circuitry housing the initiator will be the logical next step in this research.


Very interesting. :nod:
I like to imagine ...
User avatar
John Platko
 
Name: John Platko
Posts: 9186
Male

Country: US
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#10040  Postby zoon » Oct 07, 2017 2:53 pm

romansh wrote:
scott1328 wrote:So the question is: if Free Will is necessary to hold someone morally accountable, then how are we justified for punishing negligence?

Just drop the morality crap and think of punishment more of containing a behaviour or a set of behaviours.

I definitely agree that morality is in no way outside causality or evolution, and I also agree that, as you say, punishment is often seen most effectively as containing a set of behaviours. If I wasn’t coerced or mentally ill, and I negligently drifted my car across a red light and crashed into someone, then I think it would be sensible to punish my lack of due care and attention, because it was free-willed in the practical sense that punishment will discourage me (as well as others) from being so careless in future. If I had been coerced or suffering an unexpected epileptic fit, then the punishment would be ineffective (the newly discovered epilepsy might disqualify me from driving, but this would not be operating as a punishment).

At the same time, it seems to me that trying to drop morality altogether runs into the same sort of difficulties as trying to be a total sceptic. Every time I tell myself it’s clear we can’t know anything, I’ve run into a paradox because I’m saying I know something, and every time anyone says we should not use the language of morality, they are using the language of morality. Why should we cut the crap in speaking, and why should we contain behaviours? – if not because we have some shared agreement that it’s a good thing if the community is flourishing, and that it’s good if we are, most of the time at least, not talking nonsense? It seems to me that these are moral predispositions, we back them up with approval or disapproval. It’s possible to argue that it all comes down to pure self-interest, but I think that argument becomes rather strained, especially as it does not in fact accord so easily with evolutionary theory as the other possibility, that we do in fact care, to some extent, about what happens to other people in the group besides ourselves, and that we have some direct interest in the group’s flourishing. We are group-living animals, and genes code for their own interests, which are not always identical with the interests of the individual in which they happen to be (where the interests of the individual are taken to be survival and direct reproduction). (If I’m derailing this thread, and if romansh is interested in continuing this discussion, we could move it to the “justice is a universal” thread.)
Last edited by zoon on Oct 07, 2017 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 2815

Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 7 guests