Free Will

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

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Re: Free Will

#12481  Postby GrahamH » Dec 06, 2017 12:24 pm

DavidMcC wrote:Graham, it's not just the world that can't be reset, humans can't be reset the way robots can, at least in principle.
[aside]Indeed, that is probably one of the most fundamental difference between humans and robots, apart from the fact that robots are, by definition, man-made machines and humans aren't.[/aside]


That may be the case, but how do you know ? It can't be done in practice, but why is it impossible in principle?
Can we even say what would be required? I don't think so. We can speculate. Maybe controlling the connectome so that the same connections exist between neurons. Maybe controlling the cell chemistry to get all neurons in the same state ready to fire within some tolerance. Maybe we wouldn't need to reset every neuron, or every synapse, since we are talking about some high level functions of "conscious choice". List coined "agential states". Maybe agential states can be realised with a lot of variability at the biological level. Maybe it would need manipulation right down to the molecular level or even smaller scale.

For robots we don't need to reset at molecular scale or even the scale of individual logic gates The 'agential level' there can be quite high level data structures.

I make no claims here about what could be done in practice or principle. My point is that we don't know so it's rash to claim 'fundamental difference and things being impossible in principle.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#12482  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 12:34 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:Graham, it's not just the world that can't be reset, humans can't be reset the way robots can, at least in principle.
[aside]Indeed, that is probably one of the most fundamental difference between humans and robots, apart from the fact that robots are, by definition, man-made machines and humans aren't.[/aside]


That may be the case, but how do you know ? It can't be done in practice, but why is it impossible in principle?
Can we even say what would be required? I don't think so. We can speculate. Maybe controlling the connectome so that the same connections exist between neurons. Maybe controlling the cell chemistry to get all neurons in the same state ready to fire within some tolerance. Maybe we wouldn't need to reset every neuron, or every synapse, since we are talking about some high level functions of "conscious choice". List coined "agential states". Maybe agential states can be realised with a lot of variability at the biological level. Maybe it would need manipulation right down to the molecular level or even smaller scale.

For robots we don't need to reset at molecular scale or even the scale of individual logic gates The 'agential level' there can be quite high level data structures.

I make no claims here about what could be done in practice or principle. My point is that we don't know so it's rash to claim 'fundamental difference and things being impossible in principle.

Think about the neural development of a brain. Each individual develops in detail differently from any other, and there will inevitably be slight differences, even between identical twins. Although you could argue that it is not formally impossible for two individuals to come out exactly the same, it is astronomically unlikely that they would, because there is a huge number synapses in a brain.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12483  Postby GrahamH » Dec 06, 2017 12:39 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Think about the neural development of a brain. Each individual develops in detail differently from any other, and there will inevitably be slight differences, even between identical twins. Although you could argue that it is not formally impossible for two individuals to come out exactly the same, it is astronomically unlikely that they would, because there is a huge number synapses in a brain.


This is true, but the proposition is to reset one brain back to a slightly earlier state, not copy it from scratch.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12484  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 12:44 pm

Even a "slightly earlier state" implies very many synaptic changes and hormonal redistributions, so only a vague approximation can happen in practice.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12485  Postby GrahamH » Dec 06, 2017 12:49 pm

DavidMcC wrote:Even a "slightly earlier state" implies very many synaptic changes and hormonal redistributions, so only a vague approximation can happen in practice.


We can't say how 'vague' it is or what matters at 'agential level' can we?

And this is not about 'in practice'.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12486  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 1:05 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:Even a "slightly earlier state" implies very many synaptic changes and hormonal redistributions, so only a vague approximation can happen in practice.


We can't say how 'vague' it is or what matters at 'agential level' can we?

And this is not about 'in practice'.

Well, then you interpretted my wording to suit your self, because I meant that a big diffference between robots and humans was that robots can always, in principle, be reset to factory settings, whereas that is not an option for humans, who are not even made in a factory, and have to be born biologically, and develop from birth in their individual way.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12487  Postby GrahamH » Dec 06, 2017 1:35 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:Even a "slightly earlier state" implies very many synaptic changes and hormonal redistributions, so only a vague approximation can happen in practice.


We can't say how 'vague' it is or what matters at 'agential level' can we?

And this is not about 'in practice'.

Well, then you interpretted my wording to suit your self, because I meant that a big diffference between robots and humans was that robots can always, in principle, be reset to factory settings, whereas that is not an option for humans, who are not even made in a factory, and have to be born biologically, and develop from birth in their individual way.


Ah, you mean it is practical to do for robots. Maybe you shouldn't write 'in principle' and 'fundamental difference' in that case.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#12488  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 1:40 pm

No, it is more than just a practical difference. Have you not heard of the phrase, "to all intents and purposes"?
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12489  Postby felltoearth » Dec 06, 2017 2:07 pm

DavidMcC wrote:No, it is more than just a practical difference. Have you not heard of the phrase, "to all intents and purposes"?



[DavidMcC]
I heard it as "for all intents and purposes" so your point is moot.
[/DavidMcC]
"Walla Walla Bonga!" — Witticism
User avatar
felltoearth
 
Posts: 7451
Age: 50

Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12490  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 3:00 pm

felltoearth wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:No, it is more than just a practical difference. Have you not heard of the phrase, "to all intents and purposes"?



[DavidMcC]
I heard it as "for all intents and purposes" so your point is moot.
[/DavidMcC]

I don't know of any differences in meaning between the two. Do you?
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12491  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 06, 2017 3:16 pm

DavidMcC wrote:I meant that a big diffference between robots and humans was that robots can always, in principle, be reset to factory settings, whereas that is not an option for humans, who are not even made in a factory, and have to be born biologically, and develop from birth in their individual way.


In principle, as you say, a robot can also be made complex enough that its factory settings cannot be specified any more precisely than a human's can. That is, it will take too long to examine every component and set it before a stray cosmic ray undoes all your factory resetting, but in principle of course, they are the same. You're adding this 'develop from birth in their individual way' as if that were some kind of special sauce for human-ness.

Just as you would, I would like to see an argument that humans have a special condition, but I don't see it happening here through your good offices.
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.
User avatar
Cito di Pense
 
Name: Ivar Poäng
Posts: 24905
Age: 6
Male

Country: The Heartland
Mongolia (mn)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12492  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 4:27 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:I meant that a big diffference between robots and humans was that robots can always, in principle, be reset to factory settings, whereas that is not an option for humans, who are not even made in a factory, and have to be born biologically, and develop from birth in their individual way.


In principle, as you say, a robot can also be made complex enough that its factory settings cannot be specified any more precisely than a human's can. That is, it will take too long to examine every component and set it before a stray cosmic ray undoes all your factory resetting, but in principle of course, they are the same. You're adding this 'develop from birth in their individual way' as if that were some kind of special sauce for human-ness.

Just as you would, I would like to see an argument that humans have a special condition, but I don't see it happening here through your good offices.

Cito, (a) that was not "as I said"", and (b), developing from birth isn't "special sauce"", it's merely biological fact. Can you not tell the difference. Also, what you call a "special condition" of humans is that they are born. Were you not born? I would have thought that not being born was a special condition for a human, although normal for a robot.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12493  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 06, 2017 4:30 pm

... I think, perhaps, you are confused about what a "special sauce" is, which is odd, because, AFAIK, you were the one that introduced the phrase here.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12494  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 06, 2017 7:58 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Cito, (a) that was not "as I said"", and (b), developing from birth isn't "special sauce"", it's merely biological fact. Can you not tell the difference. Also, what you call a "special condition" of humans is that they are born. Were you not born? I would have thought that not being born was a special condition for a human, although normal for a robot.


In that case you are arguing about an organism that is changed by its history. You can also think about a robot that is changed by its history. We're just exploring what distinction you are trying to make between an organism and some other sort of machine.

I'm not saying such a distinction cannot be made, but if you want to make such a distinction, please don't simply wave your hands over terms like 'development' or 'reset' unless you want to get into the details of your distinction.

For example, if you are contemplating a machine, why assume it can be reset to its factory condition? That is one kind of machine, a simple one. There's nothing about metabolism, for example, that makes an organism different to a machine.

DavidMcC wrote:Even a "slightly earlier state" implies very many synaptic changes and hormonal redistributions, so only a vague approximation can happen in practice.


And what is not mechanical about this process, even if you use your pet cat as an example? This really gets to the heart of what we are arguing about in 'free will', and some proponents of free will are using it to separate humans from everything else in the universe, organic or inorganic, and that is what I refer to as 'special sauce'. A lot of ink has been spilled trying to establish or refute this, and if there were a knock-down argument, it would not have been invented by you, and you'd be able to quote it, because it is a difficult nut to crack. The same argument is being conducted in dozens, hundreds, thousands or more other conversations all over the internet and throughout academic circles. The point of discussing it, therefore, is no longer to terminate the argument with a conclusion.
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.
User avatar
Cito di Pense
 
Name: Ivar Poäng
Posts: 24905
Age: 6
Male

Country: The Heartland
Mongolia (mn)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12495  Postby felltoearth » Dec 07, 2017 12:22 am

DavidMcC wrote:
felltoearth wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:No, it is more than just a practical difference. Have you not heard of the phrase, "to all intents and purposes"?



[DavidMcC]
I heard it as "for all intents and purposes" so your point is moot.
[/DavidMcC]

I don't know of any differences in meaning between the two. Do you?


Precisely.
"Walla Walla Bonga!" — Witticism
User avatar
felltoearth
 
Posts: 7451
Age: 50

Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Free Will

#12496  Postby zoon » Dec 07, 2017 10:51 am

GrahamH wrote:..
zoon wrote: I'm making the same point from a different angle: I think the useful point is whether punishment, or the threat of punishment, will influence the agent so that they are less likely to repeat that action in the future. This is where the question of whether or not an action was free-willed influences decision-making. For example, if someone barges into me, I will probably be annoyed with them, but if it turns out that someone else pushed them into me, my annoyance is transferred to the person who now looks like the originating agent. Being angry with the person who actually bumped into me is useless, a waste of effort and social capital, the originator is the one who can usefully be targeted. Perhaps this is where our evolved intuitions (in this case, that the originator's action was free-willed, but the other person's bumping into me was not) do in fact track useful distinctions, at any rate most of the time.


It might make more sense to dispense with a concept of "originating agent" or "original cause" and instead look at points of control. It doesn't matter where the origins of the bump might be, whether inside or outside this or that body. You can often identify points where you can interact to exert some control. Speaking to the person who bumped into you could influence how alert that person is to those around them, say. If you direct your attention to the other person you may discover they are unsteady on their feet because they are unwell or partially sighted and assisting them may have greatest control on future collisions.
Someone assuming free will is perhaps more likely to respond more aggressively and with less effect.

Yes, the examples you give are of cases where it would be an error to punish or reward the person, because, as you say, assistance would give better outcomes. But this is already a part of the system of rewards and punishment and moral responsibility, that people need to avoid using it in such cases: those are the cases where the person was not held to be exercising their free will. Group sanctions are sometimes (as in those cases) inappropriate, but it does not follow that they are always inappropriate.

Free will and moral responsibility involve the control of individuals by the group as a whole, using the ongoing threat of group sanctions, from disapproval upwards, for antisocial behaviour. This may be called “aggression” in the scientific sense, it’s clearly related to the way other species of primate control each other’s behaviour and sometimes gang up on each other. However, the word “aggression” is in more ordinary language loaded with value, it’s generally applied to attacks or threats which are not agreed on by the community, and if I read you correctly, that was how you were using it in your post which I quote above. You said that if I were to berate someone who indirectly caused someone else to barge into me, without realising that they were unsteady on their feet, then I would be behaving aggressively, I would be deserving of censure. You were in fact appealing to the concept of moral responsibility, and saying, correctly, that reasonable people would disapprove of my behaviour. It’s this kind of use of loaded language, implying threats from the community, which is pervasive in human social life. While we do not know the details of brain mechanisms, it seems to me that we need this continual sense of holding each other responsible, it’s vital to human societies.

GrahamH wrote:
zoon wrote:The problem with Frankfurt cases (implants in the brain of which the subject is unaware) is that they presuppose a level of knowledge about how brains work, and control over the detailed mechanisms, which so far we don't have. My line throughout is that if/when neuroscience reaches that level of understanding, there would probably be a major rethink of free will, and it is likely eventually to become an entirely redundant concept. As you have said, there is likely to be a long period of overlap.

It's not really a problem in thought experiments to suppose technology that doesn't exist. The brain tumour example makes much the same point, we still don't understand exactly how, but there actual cases.

Certainly, I agree with you that, on current evidence, we are ultimately determinate. It may well be that in the future it will become common to control human behaviour in detail by altering the mechanisms of brains. I think that if/when this happens, human social life will eventually change in ways that we cannot at the moment predict; we don’t know the forms the control will take, or how gradually or suddenly changes may happen. I think it’s likely that the concept of free will would become irrelevant. So far, however, curing criminal behaviour with brain surgery is very rare, and Frankfurt cases are still firmly in the realm of science fiction. For the time being, the only effective methods of detailed control of other people are less direct, and involve creating consequences which the person may like or dislike. If this method is to work, the behaviour being sanctioned needs to have been chosen by that person, i.e. to have been “free willed”.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 2815

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12497  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 07, 2017 2:29 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Cito, (a) that was not "as I said"", and (b), developing from birth isn't "special sauce"", it's merely biological fact. Can you not tell the difference. Also, what you call a "special condition" of humans is that they are born. Were you not born? I would have thought that not being born was a special condition for a human, although normal for a robot.


In that case you are arguing about an organism that is changed by its history. You can also think about a robot that is changed by its history. We're just exploring what distinction you are trying to make between an organism and some other sort of machine.

...

Sure, you can conceive of a robot that is changed by its history, BUT that is by the way, because robots can in addition to that, in principle at least, be reset to factory settings, in a way that no human can. And please don't copy GrahamH's bending of that into going back a short while (because that is not returning to factory settings), and claiming that that comes to the same thing. It very much does NOT!

EDITED for spellling.
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12498  Postby GrahamH » Dec 07, 2017 4:03 pm

DavidMcC wrote: And please don't copy GrahamH's bending of that into going back a short while (because that is not returning to factory settings), and claiming that that comes to the same thing. It very much does NOT!



'Factory reset' has nothing todo with it. It arises in the context here of taking a decision 'in exactly the same conditions'. So a reset to the state a few minutes ago is sufficient for the sake of argument.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12499  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 07, 2017 9:28 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote: And please don't copy GrahamH's bending of that into going back a short while (because that is not returning to factory settings), and claiming that that comes to the same thing. It very much does NOT!



'Factory reset' has nothing todo with it. It arises in the context here of taking a decision 'in exactly the same conditions'. So a reset to the state a few minutes ago is sufficient for the sake of argument.

What nonsense! I said that the biggest difference between a human and a robot is the lack of factory resetting in humans. How has that therefore got "nothing to do with it"??
May The Voice be with you!
DavidMcC
 
Name: David McCulloch
Posts: 14542
Age: 64
Male

Country: United Kigdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Free Will

#12500  Postby GrahamH » Dec 07, 2017 11:21 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote: And please don't copy GrahamH's bending of that into going back a short while (because that is not returning to factory settings), and claiming that that comes to the same thing. It very much does NOT!



'Factory reset' has nothing todo with it. It arises in the context here of taking a decision 'in exactly the same conditions'. So a reset to the state a few minutes ago is sufficient for the sake of argument.

What nonsense! I said that the biggest difference between a human and a robot is the lack of factory resetting in humans. How has that therefore got "nothing to do with it"??


You threw in "factory reset faitly late on. The relevant sense of reset goes a lot further back.

Here's a point you could pickup on to remind yourself what you were on about, which wasn't "factory reset".

DavidMcC wrote:Graham, it's not just the world that can't be reset, humans can't be reset the way robots can, at least in principle.
[aside]Indeed, that is probably one of the most fundamental difference between humans and robots, apart from the fact that robots are, by definition, man-made machines and humans aren't.[/aside]


And that was from my reference back to a much earlier reference to William James walking out of his front door and imaging he might do differently if the world reset to the exact same state. That is a reset on a scale of minutes not lifetimes.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 17717

Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 5 guests