Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#61  Postby Willie71 » Nov 25, 2014 3:59 pm

Chrisw wrote:
Willie71 wrote:I am aware of compatibalism, and see why its appealing to many. I don't think the emerging neuroscience is going to support it as the evidence comes in, but we'll see as the research is being done. :thumbup:

But compatibilism is just the strategy of defining free will in such a way that we can be said to have free will even if the world is deterministic. The motivation for defining it in this way is that the alternative, traditional definition makes no sense.

Traditionally I'm supposed to have free will if I could have acted differently given identical physical circumstances. Furthermore, this difference has to be something other than blind randomness, it has to be "me" making the choices. This implies that I am something more than a physical being.

Compatibilists redefine free will because they think that there is something worth saving from the idea of free will, that the idea can be given a sane, non-supernatural interpretation. The alternative is to reject free will as a fundamentally broken concept - we don't have free will because the idea is nonsensical.

I think either of these two last approachs (compatibilism or no free will) is rational but I'm not sure how research could decide the issue for us. They are really just different ways of talking about free will.


The difficulty is that we can't do an experiment with you as the dependent and independent variable at the same time. What we can do is measure brain activity and the timing of conscious awareness. The research is showing that conscious awareness happens after, not before decisions, so it isn't the driver of the decision. Since we aren't aware of our unconscious processing, we think our decisions come from consciousness, but they don't.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#62  Postby kennyc » Nov 25, 2014 4:10 pm

Willie71 wrote:
Chrisw wrote:
Willie71 wrote:I am aware of compatibalism, and see why its appealing to many. I don't think the emerging neuroscience is going to support it as the evidence comes in, but we'll see as the research is being done. :thumbup:

But compatibilism is just the strategy of defining free will in such a way that we can be said to have free will even if the world is deterministic. The motivation for defining it in this way is that the alternative, traditional definition makes no sense.

Traditionally I'm supposed to have free will if I could have acted differently given identical physical circumstances. Furthermore, this difference has to be something other than blind randomness, it has to be "me" making the choices. This implies that I am something more than a physical being.

Compatibilists redefine free will because they think that there is something worth saving from the idea of free will, that the idea can be given a sane, non-supernatural interpretation. The alternative is to reject free will as a fundamentally broken concept - we don't have free will because the idea is nonsensical.

I think either of these two last approachs (compatibilism or no free will) is rational but I'm not sure how research could decide the issue for us. They are really just different ways of talking about free will.


The difficulty is that we can't do an experiment with you as the dependent and independent variable at the same time. What we can do is measure brain activity and the timing of conscious awareness. The research is showing that conscious awareness happens after, not before decisions, so it isn't the driver of the decision. Since we aren't aware of our unconscious processing, we think our decisions come from consciousness, but they don't.


Right and that's exactly what the O.P. was about.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#63  Postby ughaibu » Nov 25, 2014 4:37 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:All that is required for the libertarian position is that in a non-determined world an agent can control some of their actions.
Wouldn't this then allow plants the characteristic of free will?
If plants make and implement conscious choices from amongst realisable alternatives, then plants have free will.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#64  Postby Matthew Shute » Nov 25, 2014 5:31 pm

Ah, what could have been...

The realisable alternatives... those alternatives we could never find it in ourselves to realise.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#65  Postby ughaibu » Nov 25, 2014 5:42 pm

Chrisw wrote:
ughaibu wrote:In the contemporary literature. . .
I don't recognise that as a definition of compatibilism.
Then you're not in the discussion.
Bye.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#66  Postby Chrisw » Nov 25, 2014 7:37 pm

Willie71 wrote:What we can do is measure brain activity and the timing of conscious awareness. The research is showing that conscious awareness happens after, not before decisions, so it isn't the driver of the decision. Since we aren't aware of our unconscious processing, we think our decisions come from consciousness, but they don't.

But this is just another statement of determinism. Our apparently free, conscious choices are actually determined before we make them.

But compatibilists already accept that determinism may well be true and they reason that this should not affect our belief in free will. No research can tell us whether they are right to think in this way. It can only tell us whether or not there is determinism.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#67  Postby Chrisw » Nov 25, 2014 7:56 pm

ughaibu wrote:
Chrisw wrote:
ughaibu wrote:In the contemporary literature. . .
I don't recognise that as a definition of compatibilism.
Then you're not in the discussion.
Bye.

Show me a reference. And one that explains how these terms are being used (because what you wrote doesn't obviously make sense). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on compatibilism is quite long and thorough and never mentions logical possibility once.

Compatibilists don't think that people have free will because there are alternative logical possibilities. That's simply wrong, so maybe it wasn't what you intended to say?

Physical reality is contingent, so even under causal determinism there are other ways that the world might have been but is not (i.e. alternative logical possibilities). But this is not why compatibilists think free will is compatible with causal determinism, there would be no sense to such a position at all. Why would alternative events in other possible worlds impart in me feelings of agency in this world? If you attack compatibilism on these grounds you are attacking a straw man.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#68  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 25, 2014 8:13 pm

ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:All that is required for the libertarian position is that in a non-determined world an agent can control some of their actions.
Wouldn't this then allow plants the characteristic of free will?
If plants make and implement conscious choices from amongst realisable alternatives, then plants have free will.


I thought there might just be a little more to it than the first formulation! :)
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#69  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 25, 2014 8:15 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:Ah, what could have been...

The realisable alternatives... those alternatives we could never find it in ourselves to realise.


And, in fact, weren't realised... so how are we supposed to know they were ever realisable? :think:
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#70  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 25, 2014 8:19 pm

ughaibu wrote:
Chrisw wrote:
ughaibu wrote:In the contemporary literature. . .
I don't recognise that as a definition of compatibilism.
Then you're not in the discussion.
Bye.


:nono:
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#71  Postby ughaibu » Nov 26, 2014 2:57 am

Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:All that is required for the libertarian position is that in a non-determined world an agent can control some of their actions.
Wouldn't this then allow plants the characteristic of free will?
If plants make and implement conscious choices from amongst realisable alternatives, then plants have free will.
I thought there might just be a little more to it than the first formulation! :)
My first post on this thread is number seven.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#72  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 26, 2014 6:21 am

ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Wouldn't this then allow plants the characteristic of free will?
If plants make and implement conscious choices from amongst realisable alternatives, then plants have free will.
I thought there might just be a little more to it than the first formulation! :)
My first post on this thread is number seven.


That as may be, Ughaibu - I was only responding to the quotation I cited - that all that's needed to evidence free will is that an agent can control some of their actions. Many objects we wouldn't attribute free will to can control some of their own actions.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#73  Postby DavidMcC » Nov 28, 2014 12:49 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:If plants make and implement conscious choices from amongst realisable alternatives, then plants have free will.
I thought there might just be a little more to it than the first formulation! :)
My first post on this thread is number seven.


That as may be, Ughaibu - I was only responding to the quotation I cited - that all that's needed to evidence free will is that an agent can control some of their actions. Many objects we wouldn't attribute free will to can control some of their own actions.

Does that mean that you think computers can have free will? :o
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#74  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 28, 2014 10:28 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I thought there might just be a little more to it than the first formulation! :)
My first post on this thread is number seven.


That as may be, Ughaibu - I was only responding to the quotation I cited - that all that's needed to evidence free will is that an agent can control some of their actions. Many objects we wouldn't attribute free will to can control some of their own actions.

Does that mean that you think computers can have free will? :o



Who me?

Try reading it again, David.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#75  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Nov 28, 2014 11:30 pm

Ratz have free will, people have televisions.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#76  Postby DavidMcC » Nov 29, 2014 3:34 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
ughaibu wrote:My first post on this thread is number seven.


That as may be, Ughaibu - I was only responding to the quotation I cited - that all that's needed to evidence free will is that an agent can control some of their actions. Many objects we wouldn't attribute free will to can control some of their own actions.

Does that mean that you think computers can have free will? :o



Who me?

Try reading it again, David.

That doesn't answer the question.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#77  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 29, 2014 4:22 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:

That as may be, Ughaibu - I was only responding to the quotation I cited - that all that's needed to evidence free will is that an agent can control some of their actions. Many objects we wouldn't attribute free will to can control some of their own actions.


Does that mean that you think computers can have free will? :o



Who me?

Try reading it again, David.

That doesn't answer the question.


Does that mean you think Jesus is a sunbeam?
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#78  Postby DavidMcC » Nov 29, 2014 4:33 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:

Does that mean that you think computers can have free will? :o



Who me?

Try reading it again, David.

That doesn't answer the question.


Does that mean you think Jesus is a sunbeam?

Eh?? :scratch:
This thread is becoming non-sensical.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#79  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 29, 2014 4:44 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:


Who me?

Try reading it again, David.

That doesn't answer the question.


Does that mean you think Jesus is a sunbeam?

Eh?? :scratch:
This thread is becoming non-sensical.


Precisely.
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Re: Do Rats (and everyone else) have free will

#80  Postby kennyc » Nov 29, 2014 6:48 pm

All right then, bring in the shrubberies!

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