Free Will

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Re: Free Will

#12201  Postby archibald » Nov 23, 2017 10:56 am

GrahamH wrote:
archibald wrote:
Subjects claimed agency when there wasn't any.


I'm not sure what to make of these agency experiments. It seems rather obvious that as long as the real control matches the subject's 'will' they will recognise agency. How else would you know other than to observe that the controlled entity behaves as you want it to? Do they also test where the target doesn't do what it's supposed to do and they still think they have agency?

I recall anecdotes of people thinking they were playing an arcade game only to realise it was running a demo and not responding to controls. But again this is the 'player' trying to move as the sprites do move, whether in demo orgame, for the most part.

What do you make of these studies?


In the I Spy one, for example, the subject was on some occasions given a signal word (corresponding to an icon on the screen) 1 second after the confederate had moved the cursor to that icon. The subjects often claimed they had moved the cursor.

In some of the rubber hand experiments, the subject is fooled into thinking the rubber hand is theirs, and when it is moved by the experimenter, the subjects often think they caused the movement.

Something similar is going on in the joystick and line-drawing experiments.

These appear to be illusions of agency.

In a way, it doesn't matter if the subject subsequently mimics what happened. The non-agency event occurred beforehand. Perhaps the automatic mimicry just reinforces the illusion.
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Re: Free Will

#12202  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 23, 2017 11:09 am

GrahamH wrote:What do you make of these studies?


What I make of it is that somebody was working desperately hard to fool somebody else. I agree that if you work hard enough, you can fool people. Was that ever in question? Whoop dee doo.
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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

#12203  Postby GrahamH » Nov 23, 2017 11:13 am

archibald wrote:
These appear to be illusions of agency.


Thanks for the info.It doesn't surprise me at all that people have illusions of agency. It is surely a sense that must be worked out from available information, like any other perception. I don't think there is such a thing as literal mental causation. I think all experiences, including thoughts and a sense of agency, are results of unconscious evaluations.
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Re: Free Will

#12204  Postby archibald » Nov 23, 2017 11:13 am

An interesting reversal of this is when a subject does intend to do something (such as raise an arm) but it doesn't happen. It will still feel like it has happened (when the subject opens their eyes, they are surprised their their unbeknownst-to-them anaethetized arm is still down at their side).

Then there's Alien hand phenomena, when people believe their hand has a will of its own.

I'm not suggesting any of these is a knockdown argument against free will, though I think they all point more away from it than towards it. But they do suggest that illusions are prolific and should perhaps make us wary of saying that things are true because they subjectively seem so in everyday activity.
Last edited by archibald on Nov 23, 2017 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free Will

#12205  Postby archibald » Nov 23, 2017 11:22 am

Cito di Pense wrote:You need something besides 'agency' or 'responsibility'. Maybe 'diminished responsibility' will get you started. Everybody has that, unless you really love the bell curve.


There is, I think, a tendency in us to think that only the mentally ill or those with brain disorders experience things 'wrong'. I think everybody's on a spectrum. Some of those experiments have been done on Schizophrenics and they have 'worse' results. Maybe we're all just a little bit disordered.
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Re: Free Will

#12206  Postby archibald » Nov 23, 2017 11:30 am

GrahamH wrote:
archibald wrote:
These appear to be illusions of agency.


Thanks for the info.It doesn't surprise me at all that people have illusions of agency. It is surely a sense that must be worked out from available information, like any other perception. I don't think there is such a thing as literal mental causation. I think all experiences, including thoughts and a sense of agency, are results of unconscious evaluations.


And I think every individual's sense of agency will vary. Some experiments suggest that things such as degree of attentiveness, or self-confidence, is correlated to a stronger sense of agency. I should not be surprised if someday someone finds a correlation for strength of sense of agency with testosterone.

When it comes to these things, I don't think any two people have the same capacities, the same degrees of freedom.

In footballing terms, for example, I'm willing to concede that Niemar has more pseudo free will than me.
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Re: Free Will

#12207  Postby archibald » Nov 23, 2017 11:56 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
archibald wrote:Interesting article:

The illusion of conscious will
http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/ ... nerBBS.pdf


It's difficult to denote illusions when you don't have some real thing to compare to the illusion. Why do people write such shit? You're still faced with the impossible task of showing that something doesn't exist, when 'something' is not well-characterized.

Even when it is well-characterized, showing something doesn't exist is difficult! What did you use to characterize it?


Not impossible, surely. You can experimentally take away control and if people still think they had it......voila.

Isn't that the point of those experiments?
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Re: Free Will

#12208  Postby John Platko » Nov 23, 2017 1:46 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:

The important point is:

In this particular case, the content of the boxes is not set by what choice T will make (as is misleadingly assumed in statements of the ‘paradox’) but by the choice that the simulation T′ made before t0; this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T′; and so on. Until T′ has made its choice, the content is not set; once it has made it, the choices of T are set, on the ground of the knowledge that was created in T′. What matters is precisely the fact that the requisite knowledge about what to do with the boxes, whatever that is, could not be predicted before an instance of the person T was brought about, via T′.


:yawn:

That depends entirely on the complexity of the algorithm and what rules. It may be easiest to run the algorithm on a physical computer. It may be enough to just read the rules, or look at a diagram.


No, in this case it depends entirely on what must be done to predict the - Oh heck, here's how Deutsch puts it:

In this particular case, the content of the boxes is not set by what choice T will make (as is misleadingly assumed in statements of the ‘paradox’) but by the choice that the simulation T′ made before t0; this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T′; and so on. Until T′ has made its choice, the content is not set; once it has made it, the choices of T are set, on the ground of the knowledge that was created in T′. What matters is precisely the fact that the requisite knowledge about what to do with the boxes, whatever that is, could not be predicted before an instance of the person T was brought about, via T′.



The description is perfectly clear that it is the choice that T is perfectly predicted to make that sets the rules for P and therefor for T. P doesn't need a simulation of T. P only needs a way to perfectly predict T's action. It is no stretch of the imagination to just take a look at a description of the algorithm T executes, to read the rule, to observe that the levers are only connected to A... It could be simple or complex and it is all100% determined before the boxes are presented.


You changed the problem to eliminate free will, i.e the creation of knowledge - that's a different problem.



If you think the important point is that a simulation must be executed then you are simply wrong.


I think you made up your own scenario, and are not using Deutsch's.


It may be a useful thing to do, it may be a practical necessity in some complex cases, but there is no general principle that requires it.


In the general case, in must be done as Deutsch describes it. You can change the scenario to obfuscate the point Deutsch is making but what's the point of doing that?

Getting back to something interesting. Deutsch also points out why this is different than quantum unpredictability. Which is the direction I think the thread needs to get back on.

The second point is that this setting lends itself to explaining why the unpredictability of the creation of knowledge is fundamentally different from the unpredictability of measurement in quantum theory.

Consider a slightly altered version of the game, where the automaton T is supposed to make a choice based on the output of a measurement of the X-component of the spin on a superposition of two eigenstates of that observable. Then, there cannot be any perfect predictor for what choice T will make. This is because, if there were one, the laws of quantum mechanics would be violated. However, this has nothing to do with the unpredictability of knowledge we mentioned above. The knowledge created by T′ to make its choice is represented by a sharp information attribute of the variable ‘which box to open’; in the case of the quantum version, instead, the variable ‘which box to open’ is not sharp.
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Re: Free Will

#12209  Postby GrahamH » Nov 23, 2017 2:01 pm

John Platko wrote:
No, in this case it depends entirely on what must be done to predict the - Oh heck, here's how Deutsch puts it:

In this particular case, the content of the boxes is not set by what choice T will make (as is misleadingly assumed in statements of the ‘paradox’) but by the choice that the simulation T′ made before t0; this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T′; and so on. Until T′ has made its choice, the content is not set; once it has made it, the choices of T are set, on the ground of the knowledge that was created in T′. What matters is precisely the fact that the requisite knowledge about what to do with the boxes, whatever that is, could not be predicted before an instance of the person T was brought about, via T′.
‘which box to open’; in the case of the quantum version, instead, the variable ‘which box to open’ is not sharp.
[/quote]

The scenario says nothing about a simulation of T. That is Deutch's invention. Just one way we might predict T, but not the only one, as I set out previously. Also, a predictor need not be 'an instance of T'. It only need be a predictor of T.
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Re: Free Will

#12210  Postby John Platko » Nov 23, 2017 6:20 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
No, in this case it depends entirely on what must be done to predict the - Oh heck, here's how Deutsch puts it:

In this particular case, the content of the boxes is not set by what choice T will make (as is misleadingly assumed in statements of the ‘paradox’) but by the choice that the simulation T′ made before t0; this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T′; and so on. Until T′ has made its choice, the content is not set; once it has made it, the choices of T are set, on the ground of the knowledge that was created in T′. What matters is precisely the fact that the requisite knowledge about what to do with the boxes, whatever that is, could not be predicted before an instance of the person T was brought about, via T′.
‘which box to open’; in the case of the quantum version, instead, the variable ‘which box to open’ is not sharp.



The scenario says nothing about a simulation of T. That is Deutch's invention. Just one way we might predict T, but not the only one, as I set out previously. Also, a predictor need not be 'an instance of T'. It only need be a predictor of T.

Yes, this is Deutsch's invention. He's trying to make a point about free will and why the unpredictability of a QM measurement is fundamentally different than the unpredictability of the creation of knowledge.
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Re: Free Will

#12211  Postby GrahamH » Nov 23, 2017 7:55 pm

John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
No, in this case it depends entirely on what must be done to predict the - Oh heck, here's how Deutsch puts it:

In this particular case, the content of the boxes is not set by what choice T will make (as is misleadingly assumed in statements of the ‘paradox’) but by the choice that the simulation T′ made before t0; this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T′; and so on. Until T′ has made its choice, the content is not set; once it has made it, the choices of T are set, on the ground of the knowledge that was created in T′. What matters is precisely the fact that the requisite knowledge about what to do with the boxes, whatever that is, could not be predicted before an instance of the person T was brought about, via T′.
‘which box to open’; in the case of the quantum version, instead, the variable ‘which box to open’ is not sharp.



The scenario says nothing about a simulation of T. That is Deutch's invention. Just one way we might predict T, but not the only one, as I set out previously. Also, a predictor need not be 'an instance of T'. It only need be a predictor of T.

Yes, this is Deutsch's invention. He's trying to make a point about free will and why the unpredictability of a QM measurement is fundamentally different than the unpredictability of the creation of knowledge.



:nono:
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Re: Free Will

#12212  Postby zoon » Nov 24, 2017 10:35 am

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
No, in this case it depends entirely on what must be done to predict the - Oh heck, here's how Deutsch puts it:

‘which box to open’; in the case of the quantum version, instead, the variable ‘which box to open’ is not sharp.



The scenario says nothing about a simulation of T. That is Deutch's invention. Just one way we might predict T, but not the only one, as I set out previously. Also, a predictor need not be 'an instance of T'. It only need be a predictor of T.

Yes, this is Deutsch's invention. He's trying to make a point about free will and why the unpredictability of a QM measurement is fundamentally different than the unpredictability of the creation of knowledge.



:nono:

Deutsch's argument does seem to depend on the idea that the one and only way to predict T is to simulate it; he says above: "this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T". As both GrahamH and you have been pointing out, there are usually other available ways of predicting things.

At the moment, the only available way to predict other humans in real time does involve simulating them, using our own very similar brains, so I think we still have free will for practical purposes: the simulations are far from perfect and even if they were, something like Deutsch's argument could hold. This could end if scientists become able to predict brains more effectively by other means, but so far that's not close to happening.
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Re: Free Will

#12213  Postby archibald » Nov 24, 2017 10:55 am

I'm still not sure why you seem to tie free will to unpredictability. The weather is unpredictable but we don't assign it any free will at all.
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Re: Free Will

#12214  Postby felltoearth » Nov 24, 2017 1:00 pm

archibald wrote:I'm still not sure why you seem to tie free will to unpredictability. The weather is unpredictable but we don't assign it any free will at all.

Well, we don't....
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Re: Free Will

#12215  Postby John Platko » Nov 24, 2017 1:11 pm

zoon wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:



The scenario says nothing about a simulation of T. That is Deutch's invention. Just one way we might predict T, but not the only one, as I set out previously. Also, a predictor need not be 'an instance of T'. It only need be a predictor of T.

Yes, this is Deutsch's invention. He's trying to make a point about free will and why the unpredictability of a QM measurement is fundamentally different than the unpredictability of the creation of knowledge.



:nono:

Deutsch's argument does seem to depend on the idea that the one and only way to predict T is to simulate it; he says above: "this choice unpredictable, in the sense that the only way to predict it is to bring about a simulation of T". As both GrahamH and you have been pointing out, there are usually other available ways of predicting things.

At the moment, the only available way to predict other humans in real time does involve simulating them, using our own very similar brains, so I think we still have free will for practical purposes: the simulations are far from perfect and even if they were, something like Deutsch's argument could hold. This could end if scientists become able to predict brains more effectively by other means, but so far that's not close to happening.


It's not just about brains, it's the general case for self modeling systems. Here's how Seth Lloyd describes it:

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Re: Free Will

#12216  Postby felltoearth » Nov 24, 2017 1:26 pm

At 8:40
"If you believe in Free Will then this will explain Free Will, if you don't believe in Free Will this will explain the illusion of Free Will."

This video is useless in this conversation John. Do you like wasting our time? Maybe you can't choose to do otherwise.
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Re: Free Will

#12217  Postby John Platko » Nov 24, 2017 1:35 pm

felltoearth wrote:At 8:40
"If you believe in Free Will then this will explain Free Will, if you don't believe in Free Will this will explain the illusion of Free Will."

This video is useless in this conversation John. Do you like wasting our time? Maybe you can't choose to do otherwise.


I think that quote was meant to say more about humans arguing about free will then the quality of what Seth said which helps explain what Deutsch was getting at. But I better spell it out. To have free will we need the ability to create new knowledge. And as Deutsch said:

... What one means by saying that the creation of knowledge is unpredictable is that it cannot be known BEFORE it is created. Creating the relevant knowledge can be done only by running a simulation of the person in question. That simulation, in turn, will by definition be creative, and unpredictable, in the same sense: the prediction of its choice cannot be made in advance of the creation of the relevant knowledge.


So rather than waste time arguing nonsense, I think we would make more process if we dived a bit deeper into what is involved in the creation of new Knowledge. Anyone have any examples they would like to offer to the discussion?
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Re: Free Will

#12218  Postby archibald » Nov 24, 2017 1:41 pm

John Platko wrote:


Cool.

Seth Lloyd says,

"the theory of computation provides an "intrinsic computational unpredictability" that gives "rise to our impression that we possess free will. Unpredictability is not freedom, just the inability for anyone, including ourselves, to predict what we are going to do."

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/s ... sts/lloyd/

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Re: Free Will

#12219  Postby felltoearth » Nov 24, 2017 1:46 pm

John Platko wrote:
felltoearth wrote:At 8:40
"If you believe in Free Will then this will explain Free Will, if you don't believe in Free Will this will explain the illusion of Free Will."

This video is useless in this conversation John. Do you like wasting our time? Maybe you can't choose to do otherwise.


I think that quote was meant to say more about humans arguing about free will then the quality of what Seth said which helps explain what Deutsch was getting at. But I better spell it out. To have free will we need the ability to create new knowledge. And as Deutsch said:

... What one means by saying that the creation of knowledge is unpredictable is that it cannot be known BEFORE it is created. Creating the relevant knowledge can be done only by running a simulation of the person in question. That simulation, in turn, will by definition be creative, and unpredictable, in the same sense: the prediction of its choice cannot be made in advance of the creation of the relevant knowledge.


So rather than waste time arguing nonsense, I think we would make more process if we dived a bit deeper into what is involved in the creation of new Knowledge. Anyone have any examples they would like to offer to the discussion?


Then start another thread I can ignore. That, like the video, brings absolutely nothing to the table in this conversation as I explained.
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Re: Free Will

#12220  Postby John Platko » Nov 24, 2017 1:53 pm

archibald wrote:
John Platko wrote:


Cool.

Seth Lloyd says,

"the theory of computation provides an "intrinsic computational unpredictability" that gives "rise to our impression that we possess free will. Unpredictability is not freedom, just the inability for anyone, including ourselves, to predict what we are going to do."

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/s ... sts/lloyd/

I like a man who takes illusions seriously.


I think we can all agree that unpredictability is not free will. Rather, it is a property of the creation of new Knowledge. And the creation of new Knowledge along with the ability to make a choice that reflects our will is the mechanism that underpins free will.

So, we are now at the point where discussing the creation of new Knowledge will add insight into what's afoot with free will. Perhaps if we have some examples of creating new Knowledge to chew on we could dig a bit deeper.
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