Free Will

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

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Re: Free Will

#12821  Postby romansh » Jan 23, 2018 7:21 pm

felltoearth wrote:But wasn't John arguing that the universe isn't deterministic (with ensuing problems of definition around indeterminism) and used Deustch as his go-to, or am I misremembering?

Yeah you are right.
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Re: Free Will

#12822  Postby romansh » Jan 23, 2018 8:32 pm

Afterthought ... John's Everett was the indeterminist without a cause ... seemingly incompatible with John's Deutsch's determined explanations/knowledge.

To my recollection he did not address this contradiction.
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Re: Free Will

#12823  Postby GrahamH » Jan 24, 2018 7:10 am

romansh wrote:Afterthought ... John's Everett was the indeterminist without a cause ... seemingly incompatible with John's Deutsch's determined explanations/knowledge.

To my recollection he did not address this contradiction.
JP presented a bowl of cherries rather than a cohesive argument.
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Re: Free Will

#12824  Postby John Platko » Feb 23, 2018 5:12 pm

GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:Afterthought ... John's Everett was the indeterminist without a cause ... seemingly incompatible with John's Deutsch's determined explanations/knowledge.

To my recollection he did not address this contradiction.
JP presented a bowl of cherries rather than a cohesive argument.


I hung my hat on the ideas of John Conway and Simon Kochen - turtles free will all the way down. Then I showed how quantum indeterminism bubbles up to macro levels. Everett gave a beautiful description of how all theories, even well evidenced physical theories are stories we tell ourselves. Deutsch says something similar. I believe Deutsch, Conway, and Kochen all have issues with probabilistic stories. Everett's QM interpretation gives us a way to indeterministically traverse a deterministic tree of all possibilities. i.e. the cherry you pick determines what bowl your next cherry can be picked from.
I like to imagine ...
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Re: Free Will

#12825  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 26, 2018 12:14 pm

^^ Incoherent nonsense from one of the foremost purveyors of the same. :roll:
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Re: Free Will

#12826  Postby felltoearth » Apr 26, 2018 2:59 pm

Couldn't let an exhausted and two month old post rest?
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Re: Free Will

#12827  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 26, 2018 4:49 pm

felltoearth wrote:Couldn't let an exhausted and two month old post rest?

It isn'told to me, because I haven't visited the site much recently. I note that you are still looking for ammunition to use against me, though, so nothing's changed there. :roll:
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Re: Free Will

#12828  Postby felltoearth » Apr 26, 2018 6:55 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
felltoearth wrote:Couldn't let an exhausted and two month old post rest?

It isn'told to me, because I haven't visited the site much recently. I note that you are still looking for ammunition to use against me, though, so nothing's changed there. :roll:

My comment was about you resuscitatating a dead thread with a big nothing comment. Otherwise, I don’t know you from Adam and have never interacted with you to any great extent. I have never found anything from you interesting enough to interact with. So you can dial back on the paranoia.
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Re: Free Will

#12829  Postby romansh » Apr 29, 2018 9:23 pm

Two compatibilists, an incompatibilist and Melvyn Bragg

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z5y9z

Even Deutsch got a brief mention.
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Re: Free Will

#12830  Postby DavidMcC » Jun 12, 2018 4:03 pm

..
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Re: Free Will

#12831  Postby romansh » Jul 08, 2018 1:10 am

While Sabine Hossenfelder does not believe in free will, her essay here suggests we cannot eliminate the possibility of strong emergence. Not sure I understand all the details, but the essay is here.
And the general layman's termshere

If strong emergence does in fact occur, I am not sure how this might get us off the hook and allow us the luxury of free will. It just means there is a new set of rules at the coarser level of existence. Unless someone is claiming it is strong emergence all the way up?
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Re: Free Will

#12832  Postby GrahamH » Jul 08, 2018 11:40 am

romansh wrote:While Sabine Hossenfelder does not believe in free will, her essay here suggests we cannot eliminate the possibility of strong emergence. Not sure I understand all the details, but the essay is here.
And the general layman's termshere

If strong emergence does in fact occur, I am not sure how this might get us off the hook and allow us the luxury of free will. It just means there is a new set of rules at the coarser level of existence. Unless someone is claiming it is strong emergence all the way up?


Interesting.

There are various aspect to "free will" but one that Hossenfelder essay seems to apply to is the idea that future is a function by the past, that initial conditions and laws of physics fully determine how the universe unfolds. The ideas seems to be that Landau poles are a divergences in a coupling constant that are not determined functions of the past.

As far as I can see that boils down to arguing there is some indeterminacy to events but comes far short of the idea conscious will is a top-down driver of events. As such I see common ground with Conway and his free will electrons. Quantum dice mix things up a bit.
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Re: Free Will

#12833  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 08, 2018 12:24 pm

Graham, are you, by any chance, conflating cosmological events with human events? Our consciousness may be able to have a strong influence on what we do, but what we do has zilch effect on "how the universe unfolds" (which, after all, does not care for mere earthlings).
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Re: Free Will

#12834  Postby zoon » Jul 08, 2018 1:05 pm

GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:While Sabine Hossenfelder does not believe in free will, her essay here suggests we cannot eliminate the possibility of strong emergence. Not sure I understand all the details, but the essay is here.
And the general layman's termshere

If strong emergence does in fact occur, I am not sure how this might get us off the hook and allow us the luxury of free will. It just means there is a new set of rules at the coarser level of existence. Unless someone is claiming it is strong emergence all the way up?


Interesting.

There are various aspect to "free will" but one that Hossenfelder essay seems to apply to is the idea that future is a function by the past, that initial conditions and laws of physics fully determine how the universe unfolds. The ideas seems to be that Landau poles are a divergences in a coupling constant that are not determined functions of the past.

As far as I can see that boils down to arguing there is some indeterminacy to events but comes far short of the idea conscious will is a top-down driver of events. As such I see common ground with Conway and his free will electrons. Quantum dice mix things up a bit.

As you say, even if it does turn out that there’s more randomness to brains than physicists currently think probable, this would not in itself be relevant to free will. For ultimate free will, the gap in mathematical laws would need to be filled by some sort of morally relevant decision-making not controlled by a brain (a top-down driver of events), for which there’s no evidence.

I find myself agreeing with the two commentators in romansh’s second link (linked again here) who argue for compatibilism (disagreeing with Sabine Hassenfelder), saying that while we use group sanctions to discourage people from acting against group norms, it makes sense to check that the disapproved actions were “free”, in the sense of being the result of a decision by the person. Punishing someone for something they could not help is more likely to damage than to improve group effectiveness. This kind of freedom is entirely compatible with determinism, and as the second commentator, Martijn, points out, it’s a concept which we use all the time, like “cats”, “Brazil”, “money”, “water waves” and “molecules”. None of those concepts are ultimate, and if we reach the stage of understanding everything in terms of physical fields they may cease to be useful. Meanwhile, they are useful enough to keep. Quoting those two comments:

gowers (in comment 8.56am 5th July 2018) wrote:
Sabine Hossenfelder wrote:
Now, there are a lot of people who want you to accept watered-down versions of free will, eg that you have free will because no one can in practice predict your behavior, or because no one can tell what’s going on in your brain, and so on. But I think this is just verbal gymnastics. If you accept that the current theories of particle physics are correct, free will doesn’t exist in a meaningful way.


I am one of those people you refer to. The way I like to put it is this. Let us define two notions of free will. One, which corresponds roughly to our everyday intuitions about free will, is what you refer to as a watered-down version. I would note that it isn't meaningless, and indeed plays a crucial role in society. (For example, if I leave my car for longer than allowed in a parking space because I have been kidnapped, I may get shown some leniency because I was not free, in this everyday sense, to drive it away.) The other, which basically means the opposite of "is determined" (given various qualifications about randomness etc. which I fully agree are irrelevant to the discussion, since randomness doesn't give any extra control) is incompatible with most physical theories, but incompatible by definition rather than for any interesting reason.

So I am very happy to grant you that free will, as you conceive it, doesn't exist. But I maintain that free will in the everyday sense is a rather more interesting and useful concept. (It's important to stress that unlike your notion of free will, everyday free will is not a black and white matter: there are many shades of grey.)

Martijn (in comment 4.48pm 5th July 2018) wrote:
Sabine Hossenfelder wrote:
"Now, there are a lot of people who want you to accept watered-down versions of free will, eg that you have free will because no one can in practice predict your behavior, or because no one can tell what’s going on in your brain, and so on. But I think this is just verbal gymnastics. If you accept that the current theories of particle physics are correct, free will doesn’t exist in a meaningful way."


I'd be more careful here, especially in an article about RG-flows and EFT: a hardcore reductionist can argue in a similar way that cats, Brazil, money, water waves and molecules don't exist 'in a meaningful way'. They merely represent certain patterns we recognize in fundamental quantum fields, which 'really' exist (until something more fundamental is found of course).

The obvious (Wilsonian?) response is that all those things are meaningful mental constructs for humans at their appropriate scales. As moral agents of imperfect knowledge who have to deal with each other, in day to day life or the justice system, just putting a black box around people's heads and 'integrating out the neurons' can be very useful. I'd argue this is the way most people use the concept of free will and it gives you pretty much everything you can sensibly want free will to do.

4:48 PM, July 05, 2018
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Re: Free Will

#12835  Postby romansh » Jul 08, 2018 3:40 pm

I think Sabine's point is that the causal chain might not extend down to the fundamental substrate of the universe … whatever that might be. It is not clear to me how the strong emergence at the small scale leads to the possibility free will. Unless we are arguing that strong emergence leads to a freedom at some brain sized scale?

Regarding what one might mean by free will … for me it would be, could I have acted in someway that was independent of the deterministic and indeterministic processes that the universe is made up of? ending the sentence in a preposition
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Re: Free Will

#12836  Postby romansh » Jul 08, 2018 3:55 pm

DavidMcC wrote:Our consciousness may be able to have a strong influence on what we do, ...

Are you suggesting that consciousness is somehow separate from brain activity?

How is consciousness separate from our actions in that you are suggesting consciousness is influencing us? My brain certainly influences other matter around it, as other matter influences my brain.
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Re: Free Will

#12837  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 08, 2018 5:56 pm

romansh wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:Our consciousness may be able to have a strong influence on what we do, ...

Are you suggesting that consciousness is somehow separate from brain activity?

How is consciousness separate from our actions in that you are suggesting consciousness is influencing us? My brain certainly influences other matter around it, as other matter influences my brain.

Why on earth do you say that? I certainly didn't, not even by implication. What I was actually trying to get at is that conscious decisions have a strong effect on many of our actions (albeit not ALL of them).
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Re: Free Will

#12838  Postby GrahamH » Jul 09, 2018 4:52 pm

romansh wrote:I think Sabine's point is that the causal chain might not extend down to the fundamental substrate of the universe … whatever that might be. It is not clear to me how the strong emergence at the small scale leads to the possibility free will. Unless we are arguing that strong emergence leads to a freedom at some brain sized scale?

Regarding what one might mean by free will … for me it would be, could I have acted in someway that was independent of the deterministic and indeterministic processes that the universe is made up of? ending the sentence in a preposition


Isn't that the causal chain is broken, that larger scales literally play by rules that are not functions of the smaller scales?
If that interpretation applies then we are back in the realm of "multiple causal histories" where however precisely the conditions may be be re-established at the small scales the rules of the larger scale apply. Those rules being the strong emergence that decouples from the small scale.

I'm not sure, hence the phrasing as a question. I think you may be right with "strong emergence leads to a freedom at some brain sized scale" or, put another way "Our consciousness may be able to have a strong influence on what we do".
Why do you think that?
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Re: Free Will

#12839  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 10, 2018 7:50 am

GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:I think Sabine's point is that the causal chain might not extend down to the fundamental substrate of the universe … whatever that might be. It is not clear to me how the strong emergence at the small scale leads to the possibility free will. Unless we are arguing that strong emergence leads to a freedom at some brain sized scale?

Regarding what one might mean by free will … for me it would be, could I have acted in someway that was independent of the deterministic and indeterministic processes that the universe is made up of? ending the sentence in a preposition


Isn't that the causal chain is broken, that larger scales literally play by rules that are not functions of the smaller scales?
If that interpretation applies then we are back in the realm of "multiple causal histories" where however precisely the conditions may be be re-established at the small scales the rules of the larger scale apply. Those rules being the strong emergence that decouples from the small scale.

I'm not sure, hence the phrasing as a question. I think you may be right with "strong emergence leads to a freedom at some brain sized scale" or, put another way "Our consciousness may be able to have a strong influence on what we do".


In that sense, "strong emergence" is like a prostitute who purrs in your ear, "I can be whatever you want me to be!"
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Free Will

#12840  Postby GrahamH » Jul 10, 2018 8:34 am

:lol: :thumbup:
Why do you think that?
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