Free Will

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Re: Free Will

#8921  Postby scott1328 » Aug 21, 2017 1:52 pm

romansh wrote:No I don't mean that. While you might not know it is true, I am asking what do you think about the ability of being able to do otherwise?

Independent of cause whether deterministic, quantum or some other option as yet unimagined.


scott1328 wrote:For my part, to claim any effect as acausal is incoherent; that is, such a claim is not even wrong. You may thus infer that I reject any formulation free will that requires non-caused choices.


scott1328 wrote:I do not accept that "could have done otherwise" is the sine qua non of free will.


To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.
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Re: Free Will

#8922  Postby GrahamH » Aug 21, 2017 2:15 pm

scott1328 wrote:
To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.


I don't see why determinism is required for that. Statistics is sufficient for some level of accurate prediction. If you want to know likely outcomes you only need to know the odds, not the exact causal mechanism and precise initial conditions. Indeed very accurate prediction is possible for systems where we cannot know the exact initial conditions and we can't observe an exact causal mechanism. And free will choices are only about likely outcomes, not perfect knowledge of what will actually happen. If humans could map from initial conditions to actual outcomes we surely would not have a concept of free will because we would know why vents happen and it would be plain that it isn't 'will' driving things.
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Re: Free Will

#8923  Postby GrahamH » Aug 21, 2017 2:25 pm

Isn't free will about the assumption that "I act because I will it"? Absent knowledge of just what it means to have intentional thoughts and how they are caused to form it seems that our thoughts cause our actions. If we could probe deeply into a causal mechanism to trace the genesis of every thought it would probably be clear that we don't actually originate any of this from within a subjective mind and that therefore we act for reasons other than will but that experience of intentional thoughts goes along with many actions. We could think of will as self prediction. Anticipation of what we are about to do (for reasons too complex to sense or comprehend).
This seems to pose problems in making meaningful distinctions between free and unfree willed actions. If we can trace some explicit coercion by another person we can call that unfree. If our self prediction is wrong and we act contrary to what we think we wanted to do we might rationalise that as unfree action.
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Re: Free Will

#8924  Postby scott1328 » Aug 21, 2017 2:47 pm

GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.


I don't see why determinism is required for that. Statistics is sufficient for some level of accurate prediction. If you want to know likely outcomes you only need to know the odds, not the exact causal mechanism and precise initial conditions. Indeed very accurate prediction is possible for systems where we cannot know the exact initial conditions and we can't observe an exact causal mechanism. And free will choices are only about likely outcomes, not perfect knowledge of what will actually happen. If humans could map from initial conditions to actual outcomes we surely would not have a concept of free will because we would know why vents happen and it would be plain that it isn't 'will' driving things.


Could you point me to where precisely I claimed that "determinism" is required. Have you perhaps conflated cause-and-effect with determinism?
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Re: Free Will

#8925  Postby GrahamH » Aug 21, 2017 2:53 pm

scott1328 wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.


I don't see why determinism is required for that. Statistics is sufficient for some level of accurate prediction. If you want to know likely outcomes you only need to know the odds, not the exact causal mechanism and precise initial conditions. Indeed very accurate prediction is possible for systems where we cannot know the exact initial conditions and we can't observe an exact causal mechanism. And free will choices are only about likely outcomes, not perfect knowledge of what will actually happen. If humans could map from initial conditions to actual outcomes we surely would not have a concept of free will because we would know why vents happen and it would be plain that it isn't 'will' driving things.


Could you point me to where precisely I claimed that "determinism" is required. Have you perhaps conflated cause-and-effect with determinism?


I took "cause and effect are in full operation" to be determinism, yes. Otherwise I don't know what the qualifier "full" signifies. Can you clarify?
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Re: Free Will

#8926  Postby scott1328 » Aug 21, 2017 2:56 pm

I only meant in "full operation" to mean that one's choices are caused. There is no special dispensation given to the human brain that absolves its decision making capacity from the physical laws that operate everywhere else in the Universe.
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Re: Free Will

#8927  Postby GrahamH » Aug 21, 2017 3:03 pm

scott1328 wrote:To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.


The only prediction relevant to free will is surely one's own anticipation of one's own actions, which we could imagine being the case irrespective of any other cause and effect. I will X --> I do X. I conclude my will caused X. That could apply without reference to any general cause and effect in full operation, could it not?

If events happen spontaneously I could still conclude that my willed events are caused by me.
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Re: Free Will

#8928  Postby scott1328 » Aug 21, 2017 3:06 pm

GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:To me it is about prediction, oppurtunities, evaluation of oppurtunities, and consequences. To me, free will cannot exist unless cuase and effect are in full operation. Otherwise prediction of likely outcomes and consequences are impossible.


The only prediction relevant to free will is surely one's own anticipation of one's own actions, which we could imagine being the case irrespective of any other cause and effect. I will X --> I do X. I conclude my will caused X. That could apply without reference to any general cause and effect in full operation, could it not?

If events happen spontaneously I could still conclude that my willed events are caused by me.

I don't see it that way.
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Re: Free Will

#8929  Postby GrahamH » Aug 21, 2017 3:33 pm

:scratch:
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Re: Free Will

#8930  Postby scott1328 » Aug 22, 2017 1:51 am

Why are you puzzled. I have posted several times that free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome, and weighing of consequences, without which an agent cannot be said to have made a free choice. The agent's own impression of the situation notwithstanding.
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Re: Free Will

#8931  Postby GrahamH » Aug 22, 2017 5:55 am

scott1328 wrote:Why are you puzzled. I have posted several times that free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome, and weighing of consequences, without which an agent cannot be said to have made a free choice. The agent's own impression of the situation notwithstanding.


Perhaps because free will is about the capacity to be unpredictable to others, to not slavishly follow the rules and 'do the right thing'
If humans are too predictable it erodes the concept, but we could have significant chaos and still believe in free will as long as people do what they think or say they will do.
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Re: Free Will

#8932  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 22, 2017 10:56 am

GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Why are you puzzled. I have posted several times that free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome, and weighing of consequences, without which an agent cannot be said to have made a free choice. The agent's own impression of the situation notwithstanding.


Perhaps because free will is about the capacity to be unpredictable to others, to not slavishly follow the rules and 'do the right thing'
If humans are too predictable it erodes the concept, but we could have significant chaos and still believe in free will as long as people do what they think or say they will do.


You mean, as long as people freely will what they think or say they will do. Free will is predicated on stuff like the guarantee of damnation if you disobey God. I mean, you could always recant on your deathbed, but that's your last chance.
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.
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Re: Free Will

#8933  Postby scott1328 » Aug 22, 2017 11:11 am

GrahamH wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Why are you puzzled. I have posted several times that free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome, and weighing of consequences, without which an agent cannot be said to have made a free choice. The agent's own impression of the situation notwithstanding.


Perhaps because free will is about the capacity to be unpredictable to others, to not slavishly follow the rules and 'do the right thing'
If humans are too predictable it erodes the concept, but we could have significant chaos and still believe in free will as long as people do what they think or say they will do.

I don't see it that way.
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Re: Free Will

#8934  Postby GrahamH » Aug 22, 2017 12:04 pm

I see it that way. I don't see it your way.
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Re: Free Will

#8935  Postby scott1328 » Aug 22, 2017 12:23 pm

GrahamH wrote:I see it that way. I don't see it your way.

Is there perhaps anyone else who shares your view of the matter? Zoon, maybe?
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Re: Free Will

#8936  Postby GrahamH » Aug 22, 2017 1:33 pm

I this a game?
Perhaps there is someone who shares you view that predictability of behaviour is a mark of free will.
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Re: Free Will

#8937  Postby scott1328 » Aug 22, 2017 4:14 pm

I never claimed that predictability of behaviour is a mark of free will.
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Re: Free Will

#8938  Postby GrahamH » Aug 22, 2017 4:39 pm

scott1328 wrote:I never claimed that predictability of behaviour is a mark of free will.


scott1328 wrote:I only meant in "full operation" to mean that one's choices are caused. There is no special dispensation given to the human brain that absolves its decision making capacity from the physical laws that operate everywhere else in the Universe.


scott1328 wrote:Why are you puzzled. I have posted several times that free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome, and weighing of consequences, without which an agent cannot be said to have made a free choice. The agent's own impression of the situation notwithstanding.


Choices are caused and " free will is predicated upon predictability of outcome" so choices are predictable (if we can discover those causes) . Free will is predicated upon the predictability of agents.
But then maybe that's just nonsense and free will is predicated upon agents being the cause of their choices (whatever that means) and they are therefore unpredictable, and must deal with unpredictable outcomes. Prediction is inexact. a.k.a. guesswork. Then, as I stated, free will would be compatible with some level of chaos and it's one's own intentional thoughts being strongly predicative of one's own actions that is the basis for free will. We don't need more than a bare minimum of predictability. In particular we can think we have free will in interaction with other agents who seem highly unpredictable.
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Re: Free Will

#8939  Postby scott1328 » Aug 22, 2017 5:02 pm

An agent has free will if that agent has the capacity to evaluate and predict the outcome of its choices and identify and weigh foreseeable outcomes. An agent has made use of its free will if it is able to apply its prediction and evaluation capabilities when choosing a course of action.

Choices are caused as is everything else in the universe. Because choices are caused one agent can predict the choices another agent will make. That some agent might be able to predict what another agent might do, does not take away that other agent's free will.

Is that clear enough?
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Re: Free Will

#8940  Postby GrahamH » Aug 23, 2017 6:29 am

scott1328 wrote:An agent has free will if that agent has the capacity to evaluate and predict the outcome of its choices and identify and weigh foreseeable outcomes. An agent has made use of its free will if it is able to apply its prediction and evaluation capabilities when choosing a course of action.

Choices are caused as is everything else in the universe. Because choices are caused one agent can predict the choices another agent will make. That some agent might be able to predict what another agent might do, does not take away that other agent's free will.

Is that clear enough?


That is a catch-all that fits traditionally non-free will coerced scenarios, computers, obeying explicit instructions etc. It seems to miss the whole "author of my own life" aspect.
It seems very clear to me that if agents were predictable to the extent you seem to imply they would seem like robots rather than free will agents - just going through the motions, following the rules.

You seem to be in the same camp as John Platko. Free will algorithms - more data = more freedom.

Not to forget the cultural reference point of Adam & Eve as agents using free will despite dire predicted consequences. Free will means not necessarily following rules and always taking the 'right choice'. That opens up the unpredictable taking of the low probability hopeful choice, not because things are predictable, but because the unpredictable isn't always bad.

Maybe you are confusing "free will agent" with "rational agent".
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