Free Will

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Re: Free Will

#4621  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 05, 2017 8:12 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Fenrir wrote:
archibald wrote:

In one of the experiments I linked to, the researcher found that the brain makes a decision before (up to 7 seconds before) the brain's owner becomes aware of it, to the extent that the researchers can predict, significantly above chance, what the brain's owner will do before he or she either does it or is conscious of having decided to do it.

That appears to undermine the idea of free will, and I would love to hear how it does not.


I don't see how this undermines the possibility of free will. Just because I am not conscious of making a decision does not mean I did not. Much is happening below the surface, so what if I'm not directly aware of it?

Unless you cobsider my subconscious as not part of me.


Some people make much of "conscious choosing", even to the extent that they take it as obvious that we have free will because we have this experience of making a choice. If the choice is made before consciousness of choosing that concept of free will is undermined.
...

Major fail, probably because of the faulty experiments claming to demonstrate that we make decisions before we are aware of them. This was disussed way back in the thread - so far back it would take a while to locate it. However, Graham was involved then (as now), so has no excuse for disregarding that. In a nutshell, the experiments we based on detecting only the nerve impulses transmitted down the arm, that actually cause the subject's hand to go up, not the impulses related to the brain thinking before putting a hand up.
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Re: Free Will

#4622  Postby romansh » Jan 05, 2017 9:01 pm

Are we suggesting brain activity (chemistry etc) comes after consciousness? Chemistry is somehow directing consciousness? Or is it occurring at the same time and effectively the same as the chemistry etc, or perhaps it is somehow separate? I suspect you mean the third option.
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Re: Free Will

#4623  Postby romansh » Jan 05, 2017 9:12 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
You've lost me. The point of free will is that it leads to a certain degree of unpredictability (but not total unpredictability!), obviously.


Fail.
You are describing the universe here.

Free will ... ultimately boils down to could I have done otherwise, and here I don't mean choosing a path out of several envisaged paths? And here quantum phenomena don't count ... unless someone is saying we control these quantum phenomena.
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Re: Free Will

#4624  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 05, 2017 9:43 pm

romansh wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
You've lost me. The point of free will is that it leads to a certain degree of unpredictability (but not total unpredictability!), obviously.


Fail.
You are describing the universe here.

Free will ... ultimately boils down to could I have done otherwise, and here I don't mean choosing a path out of several envisaged paths? And here quantum phenomena don't count ... unless someone is saying we control these quantum phenomena.

No, romansh, I wasn't talking about the universe, I was talking about human minds, but, you are right that FW is about choosing one path out of several possibilities. However, the choice at any given time often isn't automatic, unless there is one obvious best course of action, or the circumstances are an exact copy of some previous case, in which you remember what you did, but this often isn't the case.
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Re: Free Will

#4625  Postby archibald » Jan 05, 2017 11:44 pm

Yes romansh, you are right when you said that FW is essemtially about choosing a path out of several possibilities. I think you did say that? Or am I mixed up? What do the words "I don't mean" mean? :confused:
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Re: Free Will

#4626  Postby romansh » Jan 06, 2017 9:02 pm

archibald wrote:Yes romansh, you are right when you said that FW is essemtially about choosing a path out of several possibilities. I think you did say that? Or am I mixed up? What do the words "I don't mean" mean? :confused:


What I am trying to say is we might be able to perceive several possibilities, we might perceive we choose freely between those choices, but our perceptions are as determined as the choices themselves. Not sure I am being clear.

David ... I did not say that you were talking about the universe. I did say your description of [the requirements for] free will is equally descriptive of the universe at large.
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Re: Free Will

#4627  Postby scott1328 » Jan 06, 2017 9:18 pm

Explain again how the fact that the choices we make have antecedents rules out free will.
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Re: Free Will

#4628  Postby archibald » Jan 06, 2017 10:15 pm

romansh wrote:
archibald wrote:What I am trying to say is we might be able to perceive several possibilities, we might perceive we choose freely between those choices, but our perceptions are as determined as the choices themselves. Not sure I am being clear..


Yes. :)
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Re: Free Will

#4629  Postby archibald » Jan 06, 2017 10:19 pm

scott1328 wrote:Explain again how the fact that the choices we make have antecedents rules out free will.


Why would you need it to be ruled out? That there's a deity can't be ruled out. 'Not being ruled out' is not a strong case for something.
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Re: Free Will

#4630  Postby romansh » Jan 06, 2017 10:50 pm

scott1328 wrote:Explain again how the fact that the choices we make have antecedents rules out free will.

If the definition of free will is making decisions without antecedents?
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Re: Free Will

#4631  Postby scott1328 » Jan 06, 2017 11:53 pm

It is easy to win arguments when you define your terms to win by definition.
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Re: Free Will

#4632  Postby archibald » Jan 07, 2017 12:18 am

That really makes so much sense. Nearly as much as your previous one. I'm guessing it's National Non Sequitur Day where you are or something.
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Re: Free Will

#4633  Postby scott1328 » Jan 07, 2017 12:32 am

archibald wrote:That really makes so much sense. Nearly as much as your previous one. I'm guessing it's National Non Sequitur Day where you are or something.

I am sorry you are unable to follow along. may I suggest that you visit the My Pretty Pony discussion forum for conversation you might find more accessible.
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Re: Free Will

#4634  Postby romansh » Jan 07, 2017 12:54 am

scott1328 wrote:
archibald wrote:That really makes so much sense. Nearly as much as your previous one. I'm guessing it's National Non Sequitur Day where you are or something.

I am sorry you are unable to follow along. may I suggest that you visit the My Pretty Pony discussion forum for conversation you might find more accessible.

Scott ... you can choose [not independently of cause/antecedents] a definition that allows free will if it suits you. I have no problem with this.

Nevertheless our choices and decisions, however you dice it up, are an aggregate of quantum phenomena.
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Re: Free Will

#4635  Postby archibald » Jan 07, 2017 9:05 am

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Re: Free Will

#4636  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 07, 2017 10:44 am

romansh wrote:...
David ... I did not say that you were talking about the universe. I did say your description of [the requirements for] free will is equally descriptive of the universe at large.

It appears that you still have faith in Sam Harris' flawe experiment on the timing of neural signals, right?
(It may have been copied by others, but they merely copied the mistake, so inevitably reproduced the faulty result.)
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Re: Free Will

#4637  Postby archibald » Jan 07, 2017 2:20 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
romansh wrote:...
David ... I did not say that you were talking about the universe. I did say your description of [the requirements for] free will is equally descriptive of the universe at large.

It appears that you still have faith in Sam Harris' flawe experiment on the timing of neural signals, right?
(It may have been copied by others, but they merely copied the mistake, so inevitably reproduced the faulty result.)


There have been various experiments of various types, going way back, starting I think with Libet. Possibly before, I do not know. Did Sam Harris do any? I wasn't aware of that.

In any case, none of the experiments are conclusive, not yet at least, but they do raise doubts and hint that we might not have the free will that we think we do.

Of itself, alleging flaws in experiments doesn't persuade me. A theist might say that intercessionary prayer experiments are flawed and still leave room for prayer to work.

The larger problem is that no one, as far as I can see, can come up with even a description of a mechanism or a way that would seem to allow us to have it (free will). I'm wondering if you do?
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Re: Free Will

#4638  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 07, 2017 3:59 pm

archibald wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
romansh wrote:...
David ... I did not say that you were talking about the universe. I did say your description of [the requirements for] free will is equally descriptive of the universe at large.

It appears that you still have faith in Sam Harris' flawe experiment on the timing of neural signals, right?
(It may have been copied by others, but they merely copied the mistake, so inevitably reproduced the faulty result.)


There have been various experiments of various types, going way back, starting I think with Libet. Possibly before, I do not know. Did Sam Harris do any? I wasn't aware of that.

In any case, none of the experiments are conclusive, not yet at least, but they do raise doubts and hint that we might not have the free will that we think we do.

Of itself, alleging flaws in experiments doesn't persuade me. A theist might say that intercessionary prayer experiments are flawed and still leave room for prayer to work.

The larger problem is that no one, as far as I can see, can come up with even a description of a mechanism or a way that would seem to allow us to have it (free will). I'm wondering if you do?

Sorry, archi, my bad. I was a bit rusty on the details. I should have said Libet's experiment, not Harris's. However, I stand by my criticism of Sam Harris' interpretation of the Libet experiment, based on the timing of measured neural signals.
(BTW, I went into rather more detail way back in this thread.)
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Re: Free Will

#4639  Postby romansh » Jan 07, 2017 5:57 pm

archibald wrote:
The larger problem is that no one, as far as I can see, can come up with even a description of a mechanism or a way that would seem to allow us to have it (free will). I'm wondering if you do?

This of course is a trick question. :)

Mechanism for free will ... surely this is an oxymoron.

Yes ... David does have one ... it is buried deep in this thread.

And David
Are you denying decisions and choices are ultimately an aggregate of quantum phenomena? Libet ... has nothing to do with this question.
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Re: Free Will

#4640  Postby romansh » Jan 08, 2017 1:46 am

Jerry Coyne on this year's Edge question ... he subject was determinism ...
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