Taking responsibility for one's actions

is this possible for a free will denier?

Studies of mental functions, behaviors and the nervous system.

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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#661  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 7:28 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:...
This is fine, interesting stuff, but what's the big deal about claiming to have made choices that one hasn't made? Haven't you ever spent time with a dedicated procrastinator?

Eh? :scratch:
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#662  Postby Pebble » Jan 14, 2017 7:29 pm

scott1328 wrote:I don't view consciousness as a "function" of the brain. To me, it is a label we put on a mixed bag of faculties, abilities, and predispositions.


Well getting rid of the concept of consciousness is one way of approaching the issue. Certainly when we have a better understanding of what the brain does, the term may gradually become redundant or explained as a combination of other explained brain activities - however I think we are a long way from being able to stop people using the term.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#663  Postby Pebble » Jan 14, 2017 7:32 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Pebble wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Pebble is not disagreeing with me. He is simply restating what I wrote. How do I know this? David thinks Pebble is contradicting me.


...
In this way the internal narrative is 'self awareness' with no need for consciousness to represent anything special.

Why are you apparently trying to distinguish between the "internal narrative" and your consciousness of your own body. :scratch:


Because 'consciousness' is regarded philosophically as a hard thing to explain. Where as when viewed a simply a necessary brain function - the 'hard problem' disappears.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#664  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 7:45 pm

From your Wiki link, Pebble:
The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes.[1]
I don't know about the "how", but the "why" is fairly simple: to simplify the huge mass of sensory data flooding into the brain throughout the waking day. Without that simplification, the PFC (the decision-making part of the brain) would be overwhelmed by a vast array of meaningless signals.

The existence of a "hard problem" is controversial and has been disputed by philosophers such as Daniel Dennett[4] and cognitive neuroscientists such as Stanislas Dehaene.[5] Clinical neurologist and skeptic Steven Novella has dismissed it as "the hard non-problem".[6]

I'm inclined to agree with Novella on that!
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#665  Postby Pebble » Jan 14, 2017 7:49 pm

DavidMcC wrote:From your Wiki link, Pebble:
I don't know about the "how", but the "why" is fairly simple: to simplify the huge mass of sensory data flooding into The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes.[1]
the brain throughout the waking day.Without that simplification, the PFC (the decision-making part of the brain) would be overwhelmed by a vast array of meaningless signals.
The existence of a "hard problem" is controversial and has been disputed by philosophers such as Daniel Dennett[4] and cognitive neuroscientists such as Stanislas Dehaene.[5] Clinical neurologist and skeptic Steven Novella has dismissed it as "the hard non-problem".[6]

I'm inclined to agree with Novella on that!


Agreed, but it is I think easier for people to agree with a narrative that explains the 'appearance' of duality, than to agree with an assertion that it is a non problem.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#666  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 7:54 pm

{aside} It looks as if you quoted me before I got the post right!
I got into a little difficulty with the editting! Sorry!{/aside}
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#667  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 8:04 pm

Pebble wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I don't view consciousness as a "function" of the brain. To me, it is a label we put on a mixed bag of faculties, abilities, and predispositions.


Well getting rid of the concept of consciousness is one way of approaching the issue. Certainly when we have a better understanding of what the brain does, the term may gradually become redundant or explained as a combination of other explained brain activities - however I think we are a long way from being able to stop people using the term.

I'm not sure I agree about that. (See my post #664, above - IMO, it has a function that cannot be made redundant unless our visual acuity collapses to almost nothing.)
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#668  Postby Pebble » Jan 14, 2017 8:57 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Pebble wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I don't view consciousness as a "function" of the brain. To me, it is a label we put on a mixed bag of faculties, abilities, and predispositions.


Well getting rid of the concept of consciousness is one way of approaching the issue. Certainly when we have a better understanding of what the brain does, the term may gradually become redundant or explained as a combination of other explained brain activities - however I think we are a long way from being able to stop people using the term.

I'm not sure I agree about that. (See my post #664, above - IMO, it has a function that cannot be made redundant unless our visual acuity collapses to almost nothing.)


Don't quite follow. There does not appear to be any localised part of the brain that is the decision making centre. The sensory input is not just filtered, it updates a persistent internal representation of the external world. Most of the sensory data does not contribute to this representation, it is dealt with at reflex level or limbic/thalamic/cerebellar without ever needing to update sensory image (not just visual, auditory, pressure, olfactory). This internal representation of the external world is necessary to interact sensibly with the world, but we also need an internal representation of ourselves to interact with the world - hence the sense of duality. Once one has this, what function would a separate decision making centre have? The brain has all the information it now needs to interact with the world (what we label decision making) - as a side effect it has created the 'appearance' of a you as a conscious entity.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#669  Postby archibald » Jan 14, 2017 10:24 pm

Pebble wrote:
archibald wrote:Some interesting experiments and phenomena which might suggest one way the illusion of choice operates:


Taking just one of these http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797616641943

The experiments both relied on asking people to perform a task as rapidly as possible, and repeating this same task multiple times (280). The observation that choices were biased (for whatever reason) dominantly when the delay between the test began and the colour revealed was < 300ms.
The conclusion that the conscious choice had been made, but that the unconscious contributed to the decision - is valid, but hardly surprising. When we are performing automated tasks we rely heavily on our unconscious for apparently conscious decisions. Any rapid and repetitive task should elicit this precise response. What it provides no insight into is apparent 'deliberate' choice making with time to analyse. That would be the real experiment.


Possibly, though I'm not sure this qualifies as 'repetitive' in the way other automated tasks are since the timing of events was different each time.

In the 'I-Spy' experiment, participants were audibly primed by a word (eg 'swan') and at some time after, the cursor stopped on a swan image on a screen (one of 50 objects on the screen). Participants sometimes reported 'looking for a swan' after priming. When the priming word was swan, the fake participant (confederate) moved the cursor on to the swan and stopped there. The participants often (on average 60% of the time) claimed intentionality on their part even when there was 5 seconds between the priming and the stopping by the confederate.
Last edited by archibald on Jan 14, 2017 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#670  Postby Pebble » Jan 14, 2017 10:35 pm

archibald wrote:

Possibly, though I'm not sure this qualifies as 'repetitive' in the way other automated tasks are since the timing of events was different each time.

In the 'I-Spy' experiment, participants were audibly primed by a word (eg 'swan') and at some time after, the cursor stopped on a swan image on a screen (one of 50 objects on the screen). Participants sometimes reported 'looking for a swan' after priming. When the priming word was swan, the fake participant (confederate) moved the cursor on to the swan and stopped there. The participants often (on average 60% of the time) claimed intentionality on their part even when there was 5 seconds between the priming and the stopping by the confederate.


The task was repetitive, the timings of the colour change varied - so automatic has an unchanged role.

If you have ever played the game of searching for a specific piece of information from a confusing load of information on an image - you will know that the brain plays tricks becoming very focused on each image in turn - and completely shutting out most of the information before you. In such scenarios, fooling the brain is very easy - if it weren't there would be no magic shows.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#671  Postby archibald » Jan 14, 2017 10:55 pm

I'm not sure how that relates to the I-Spy experiment.

Participants appeared prone to claim responsibility for stopping the cursor on an object, even though someone else had done it.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#672  Postby romansh » Jan 14, 2017 11:46 pm

KiR
It looks like you have given up on this thread.

A lack of free will is not an excuse for the things that happen. It is an explanation of how they happen. A damn poor one perhaps, but an explanation nevertheless.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#673  Postby Keep It Real » Jan 14, 2017 11:57 pm

'tis a fine thread - I just don't think I've got any more to contribute. I like zoon'z idea of being held responsible for ones actions as being citezenship in society - a social construct but very real nevertheless. It is a good and necessary thing that people be held responsible for their actions IMO - I just have trouble feeling responsible...Ive been trying to expand my sense of self to include my experiences and physiology so I can draw a line in the sand and take ownership of more than the flickering spark of consciousness, thereby gaining a sense of responsibility, but am yet to succeed. Must. Try. Harder.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#674  Postby Keep It Real » Jan 15, 2017 12:03 am

I'm not entirely responsible for who I am, but I am partly responsible for what I do....once ownership of ones cognitive architecture has taken place. I'm going to start right now, 23:59 14/1/2017.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#675  Postby archibald » Jan 15, 2017 12:11 am

Another set of experiments which suggest (I'm not going to put it any stronger than that) that participants were prone to a feeling that they could control another person’s hands:
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf

An experiment that suggests that agency is experienced not only for intended, but also for erroneous, unintended actions:
https://somby.ceu.edu/sites/somby.ceu.e ... agency.pdf

One in which subjects appeared to take more ownership (than was warranted) of a line drawn by another (a computer) which was different to (had deviated from) the line they had actually drawn:
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/L ... c416ff3a26
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#676  Postby archibald » Jan 15, 2017 12:54 am

Another interesting feature of our sense of control (real or not) over our own actions is that we seem to readily extend our sense of agency outwards too, to other people and non-peopled situations. Whatever the case for the former, this latter one is definitely an illusion, surely, but we still tend to believe it.

Illusion of control
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of_control

Everday magical powers: the role of apparent mental causation in the over-estimation of personal influence
http://www.learningace.com/doc/796563/3 ... iguez-2006
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#677  Postby archibald » Jan 15, 2017 12:59 am

The wiki page on Self-Agency:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-agency
"Daniel Wegner... posits the phenomenal will as the illusory product of post hoc inference."

Interestingly, reading that, it seems that even if matters aren't post-hoc inferences, even if they're predicted (in deliberations) all it takes for us to claim agency is for the results to match the predictions, even if we didn't do the actions.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#678  Postby Pebble » Jan 15, 2017 5:21 am

archibald wrote:The wiki page on Self-Agency:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-agency
"Daniel Wegner... posits the phenomenal will as the illusory product of post hoc inference."

Interestingly, reading that, it seems that even if matters aren't post-hoc inferences, even if they're predicted (in deliberations) all it takes for us to claim agency is for the results to match the predictions, even if we didn't do the actions.


Probably explains why managers are so good at claiming credit for the actions of their others - not just because they want a bonus.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#679  Postby archibald » Jan 15, 2017 11:44 am

Pebble wrote:
archibald wrote:The wiki page on Self-Agency:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-agency
"Daniel Wegner... posits the phenomenal will as the illusory product of post hoc inference."

Interestingly, reading that, it seems that even if matters aren't post-hoc inferences, even if they're predicted (in deliberations) all it takes for us to claim agency is for the results to match the predictions, even if we didn't do the actions.


Probably explains why managers are so good at claiming credit for the actions of their others - not just because they want a bonus.


:)

On the topic of potential drawbacks of some experiments, I was trying to think of a 'real life' decision scenario that could be studied in a lab, and I thought of where we select something from a restaurant menu. This situation would allow for deliberation, and also complexity both in terms of numbers of options and the 'richness' of the associations to each of them (there are arguably very few scenarios a brain could imagine in advance for either a red or blue button, but it could readily imagine what eating fish and chips might be going-to-be-like compared to having vegetable soup).

My initial reaction, and I'm not saying I've thought this through, is to feel that it's not ultimately going to make much difference. No matter how many options are available, how can we get to freely will any of the predictive visualisations or trial runs into existence?

And surely there'll be a build up of non-conscious readiness potential just prior to the final selection in any case; when the chips are down, as it were?
Last edited by archibald on Jan 15, 2017 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taking responsibility for one's actions

#680  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 15, 2017 12:47 pm

Pebble wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Pebble wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I don't view consciousness as a "function" of the brain. To me, it is a label we put on a mixed bag of faculties, abilities, and predispositions.


Well getting rid of the concept of consciousness is one way of approaching the issue. Certainly when we have a better understanding of what the brain does, the term may gradually become redundant or explained as a combination of other explained brain activities - however I think we are a long way from being able to stop people using the term.

I'm not sure I agree about that. (See my post #664, above - IMO, it has a function that cannot be made redundant unless our visual acuity collapses to almost nothing.)


Don't quite follow. There does not appear to be any localised part of the brain that is the decision making centre.
...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex
In mammalian brain anatomy, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the cerebral cortex which covers the front part of the frontal lobe. The PFC contains Brodmann areas 9, 10, 11, 12, 46, and 47.
Many authors have indicated an integral link between a person's personality and the functions of the prefrontal cortex.[1] This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour.[2] The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.[3]
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