Free Will

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Re: Free Will

#9441  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 1:24 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
John Platko wrote:...

2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.

4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.

...

If I read this correcly, you are claiming that we can't forget anything that we know, otherwise we didn't know it in the first place!


:smile:

I can see why you might conclude that, perhaps I led you astray by highlighting one aspect of the definition of Knowledge, maybe if I highlight a different aspect I can clear up this misunderstanding:

The most important kind of abstract constructor is knowledge. Knowledge is information which, once it is physically instantiated in a suitable environment, tends to cause itself to remain so: it survives criticism, testing, random noise, and error-correction.


This is a tendency, one that is imperfect. Deutsch handles this more technically by saying:

from

Presumably no perfect constructors can exist in nature. A factory is only an approximation to one, as are some of its constituents such as robots and conveyor belts, because of their non-zero error rates (producing something other than the specified output), and because in the absence of maintenance they gradually deteriorate. A task A is possible (which I write as A✓) if the laws of nature impose no limit, short of perfection, on how accurately A could be performed, nor on how well things that are capable of approximately performing it could retain their ability to do so. Otherwise A is impossible (which I write as A✘ ).


And in more detail

3.14 Imperfect constructors As I remarked in 1.1, no perfect constructor can exist in nature. If nothing else, thermal noise causes random transitions, so there is always a non-zero probability that the wrong transformation will happen or that the device will undergo a change large enough to destroy its functionality ...


Please see the paper in the link I provided for a full read of 3.14 as it's difficult to post all the equations here.


But, given enough time, I suspect that any knowledge that an individual has at any given time, can be forgotten, unless of course, you refer to knowledge databases (ie, electronic hardware, libraries, etc), rather than the contents of an individual's brain.


Indeed it is reasonable to suspect that. And as we've seen when we dug deeper into the definition of knowledge, perfection is not required, just certain tendencies, one of them being the ability to error correct. And as I pointed out, for that to be possible, an agential state must be physical state Multiple Realizable. In theory, this can achieve any level of robustness desired short of perfection, in practice we find what the limits are in each case.

Excellent question! Good thinking! :cheers:
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Re: Free Will

#9442  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 1:35 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
John Platko wrote:...

2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.

4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.

...

If I read this correcly, you are claiming that we can't forget anything that we know, otherwise we didn't know it in the first place! But, given enough time, I suspect that any knowledge that an individual has at any given time, can be forgotten, unless of course, you refer to knowledge databases (ie, electronic hardware, libraries, etc), rather than the contents of an individual's brain.


The definition of 'knowledge' is grossly overstated. It doesn't sustain itself, it is sustained by the almost-ignored 'suitable environment'. Therefore 'knowledge' is as vulnerable and impermanent as that substrate/environment's capacity to preserve it. Brains can forget, molecules can degrade and there is no inherent self-repair in the information itself. It doesn't exist appart from in it's substrates.
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Re: Free Will

#9443  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 1:48 pm

John Platko wrote:
2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.


I'm not disputing that mental states (agential states) are multiply realisable) but I think your logic here is a bit of.

Although we might accept that knowledge tends to have these characteristics, I don't think they are necessary. I can know something for a moment then forget it (fail to retain it for any of various reasons). I don't see why we must discount it as knowledge merely because it can be forgotten.
We can conceieve of many cases of 'knowledge' that can be destroyed by noise, that lacks error correction and so on.
Do 4 does not follow.

John Platko wrote:4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.


If you are merely claiming that mental states are not precise arrangements of quantum particles such that displacement of a single quark alters the state substantially then of course that is trivially true but I don't accept your deduction from CT.
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Re: Free Will

#9444  Postby DavidMcC » Sep 13, 2017 2:41 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
John Platko wrote:...

2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.

4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.

...

If I read this correcly, you are claiming that we can't forget anything that we know, otherwise we didn't know it in the first place! But, given enough time, I suspect that any knowledge that an individual has at any given time, can be forgotten, unless of course, you refer to knowledge databases (ie, electronic hardware, libraries, etc), rather than the contents of an individual's brain.


The definition of 'knowledge' is grossly overstated. It doesn't sustain itself, it is sustained by the almost-ignored 'suitable environment'. Therefore 'knowledge' is as vulnerable and impermanent as that substrate/environment's capacity to preserve it. Brains can forget, molecules can degrade and there is no inherent self-repair in the information itself. It doesn't exist appart from in it's substrates.

Sure, brains can forget, as I mentioned, but they can also remember the important stuff for years, sometimes for the rest of your life. This is possible because of the reinforcement by dupication of neural circuits whenever you rehearse/re-remember something, making self-repair unnecessary. This applies especially to stuff you learn in your youth, when many spare neurons are available.
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Re: Free Will

#9445  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 2:49 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.


I'm not disputing that mental states (agential states) are multiply realisable) but I think your logic here is a bit of.

Although we might accept that knowledge tends to have these characteristics, I don't think they are necessary. I can know something for a moment then forget it (fail to retain it for any of various reasons).


It's difficult to know exactly what is afoot in you at times like that - there are multiple ways for the that phenomenon to emerge. But there is a distinction between knowledge and information; the former being a subset of the latter. Perhaps you are simply forgetting information that was not knowledge. But as Deutsch points out, factories can decay over time - this is to be expected, perfection is not required.



I don't see why we must discount it as knowledge merely because it can be forgotten.


:scratch: Well I admit that there was a bit of hand waiving in my explanation. Sometimes when you make these things too technically precise the forest gets lost among the trees. And Deutsch's explanation, although very complete, is a bit abstract ;) , and it can be hard to connect his dots to reality.

An extremely practical and technical detailed example of this can be found in this paper by the brilliant Dr Chiara Marletto.

It's best to read the entire paper but this excerpt should give the idea of where I'm coming from: (I also think that remembering this is what made me realize that agential states must be multiply realizable.


3.1. An accurate constructor must contain a replicator

A task T being possible means that for any given accuracy (short of perfection) the laws of physics permit an approximate constructor capable of performing the task to that accuracy.

Consider a possible, non-elementary task T and an object F that can perform T to a high accuracy ε.9 For instance, T could be the task of constructing a car from generic substrates and F a generalized car factory, including all the processes converting raw materials, such as iron, etc., into a car.

The approximate constructor F executes a procedure—a recipe—to perform the task T to accuracy ε. I will show that F must include a replicator and a programmable constructor; and that the recipe must have a hierarchical structure and be instantiated in the replicator.

No-design laws contain no good constructor for T, such as F—neither in the elementary interactions, nor in the generic resources. Hence, the recipe used by F to perform T must be decomposable into steps (not necessarily sequential) that are allowed by no-design laws, i.e. sub-recipes—procedures to perform sub-tasks that are executed by sub-constructors contained in F. To avoid infinite regress, two conditions must be fulfilled.

One is that the sub-tasks be non-specific to T. For instance, when T is the task of constructing a car, the sub-tasks are those of constructing sub-parts of the car—e.g. door handles, windows, etc. Hence, the constructor F must include two parts: one—called V—performs T blindly, i.e. subtask by subtask, and it is non-specific to T, because so are the sub-tasks. The rest of F—called P—is specific to T and instantiates the recipe for T—the sequence of sub-tasks controlling V. Hence, F is a programmable constructor, V, programmed with a program P having the same logic as the recipe: it has a modular structure P = (p1, p2, … , pN) where each instruction pi takes values in an information variable and tells V which sub-task to perform, when, on the substrates10. V is non-specific to T because it must also be capable of executing other programs—different combinations of the elementary units pi. For example, a car factory contains robots executing sub-recipes to construct the car's doors. These robots contain sub-robots to construct handles, windows, etc., usable to construct other objects than cars.

The other condition is obtained by applying the same reasoning recursively to the sub-tasks. If they, too, are non-elementary, they require a recipe that is decomposable into non-specific sub-recipes. The base for the recursion—for T to be performable to that particular accuracy—is provided by the elementary sub-recipes of the recipe for T being elementary tasks—which can be performed by (approximations to) constructors that are available in nature, as generic resources.

These elementary sub-tasks need not be specified in the recipe: they are implicit in the laws of physics. For instance, the elementary steps in the car recipe are tasks like, say, ‘oxidize the aluminium coating’, occurring simply by leaving the substrate exposed to air.

Under no-design laws, any (approximation to a) constructor wears out after a finite time. Therefore F, to perform the task T to the accuracy ε, must undergo a process of maintenance, defined as one whereby a new instance of F—i.e. of P and V—is constructed, from generic materials, before the former one stops working. In the car factory, this is achieved by replacing old sub-parts of the robots, assembly lines, etc., and by preserving the programs they run.

To avoid an infinite regress, the maintenance must not in turn require the recipe P for T. Also, the recipe's design cannot be in the laws of physics. Thus, the only other possibility is that the new instance of the recipe is brought about by blind replication of the recipe contained in the former instance—i.e. by replicating its subunits pi (non-specific to T). We conclude that, under no-design laws, the recipe must necessarily be instantiated in a modular replicator: a physical object that can be copied blindly, an elementary subunit at a time. By contrast, V—the non-specific component of F—is constructed anew from generic resources.

Moreover, under no-design laws errors can occur: thus, to achieve high and improvable accuracy, the recipe must include error-correction. In the car factory, this includes, say, controlling the functionalities of the subcomponents (e.g. fine checks on the position of doors, wheels, etc.). Hence, the recipe P must contain information about the task T, informing the criterion for error detection and correction.

The information in the recipe is an abstract constructor that I shall call knowledge (without a knowing subject [29]). Knowledge has an exact characterization in constructor theory: it is information that can act as a constructor and cause itself to remain instantiated in physical substrates. Crucially, error-correcting the replication is necessary. Hence, the subunits pi must assume values in a discrete (digital) information variable: one whose attributes are separated by non-allowed attributes. For, if all values in a continuum were allowed, error-correction would be logically impossible.





We can conceieve of many cases of 'knowledge' that can be destroyed by noise, that lacks error correction and so on.


Yes, Knowledge need not be a perfect replicator in the real world. Dr Chiara Marletto goes through the fine technical details in the paper I referenced above. I believe careful read of that will clear up any confusion you may have about the matter.


Do 4 does not follow.

John Platko wrote:4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.


If you are merely claiming that mental states are not precise arrangements of quantum particles such that displacement of a single quark alters the state substantially then of course that is trivially true but I don't accept your deduction from CT.


:scratch: Well since we seem to once again agree, I feel no need to argue the point further with you. As I pointed out, there was some earlier disagreement about whether or not agential states had to be multiply realizable, and using CT as a mode of explanation we arrive at a definitive answer to that.

:scratch: Just out of curiosity, what mode of explanation did you use to arrive at the same conclusion?
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Re: Free Will

#9446  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 3:15 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
John Platko wrote:...

2) Agential states are knowledge

3) Therefore agential states must be able to survive noise, to some extent, and therefore be error correctable.

4) For 3 to be possible there must be more than one physical set of states that map to a given agential state so that if an error is introduced by noise in the set of physical states that define an agential state, the state can still be recovered. There are many ways agential states can be encoded to provide for error correction but suffice it to say that if there is only one physical state mapping to an agential state, then if that physical state mapping changes in any way, then that agential state is lost. Such an information mechanism does not meet the definition of Knowledge because it can't meet the survivability criteria.

...

If I read this correcly, you are claiming that we can't forget anything that we know, otherwise we didn't know it in the first place! But, given enough time, I suspect that any knowledge that an individual has at any given time, can be forgotten, unless of course, you refer to knowledge databases (ie, electronic hardware, libraries, etc), rather than the contents of an individual's brain.


The definition of 'knowledge' is grossly overstated. It doesn't sustain itself, it is sustained by the almost-ignored 'suitable environment'. Therefore 'knowledge' is as vulnerable and impermanent as that substrate/environment's capacity to preserve it. Brains can forget, molecules can degrade and there is no inherent self-repair in the information itself. It doesn't exist appart from in it's substrates.

Sure, brains can forget, as I mentioned, but they can also remember the important stuff for years, sometimes for the rest of your life. This is possible because of the reinforcement by dupication of neural circuits whenever you rehearse/re-remember something, making self-repair unnecessary. This applies especially to stuff you learn in your youth, when many spare neurons are available.


I would say that "reinforcement by duplication of neural circuits " is a form of error correction by multiple realisation.
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Re: Free Will

#9447  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 3:30 pm

John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
:scratch: Just out of curiosity, what mode of explanation did you use to arrive at the same conclusion?


Macro scale objects are known to not be long-term-stable assemblies of specific quantum particles so there is a Theseus' ship issue. Electrons move, in brains, in computers, in chairs... If something we might call a mental state of 'knowing that Paris is the capital of France' was only singly realisable by a specific arrangement of fundamental particles it could not endure over seconds or decades. So it is trivially true that mental states (at least some of them) must be multiply realisable at some level.

Similar reasoning is obvious to anyone that understands digital computers. Two computers can display the same image, read the same text or recognise the same face while having different arrangements of different electrons in their different chips. Your PC and your smartphone have very little in common at the smallest scales when they play the same song, one from mp3 file and the other from pcm file.
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Re: Free Will

#9448  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 3:36 pm

John Platko wrote:As I pointed out, there was some earlier disagreement about whether or not agential states had to be multiply realizable, and using CT as a mode of explanation we arrive at a definitive answer to that.


I should think it's hard to come up with a worse way to argue any simple point by attempting a deductive argument from CT with its controversial and idiosyncratic redefinition of common concepts such as 'knowledge'. Especially when your deduction relies on specifics of that definition for it's premises.
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Re: Free Will

#9449  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 5:52 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
If I read this correcly, you are claiming that we can't forget anything that we know, otherwise we didn't know it in the first place! But, given enough time, I suspect that any knowledge that an individual has at any given time, can be forgotten, unless of course, you refer to knowledge databases (ie, electronic hardware, libraries, etc), rather than the contents of an individual's brain.


The definition of 'knowledge' is grossly overstated. It doesn't sustain itself, it is sustained by the almost-ignored 'suitable environment'. Therefore 'knowledge' is as vulnerable and impermanent as that substrate/environment's capacity to preserve it. Brains can forget, molecules can degrade and there is no inherent self-repair in the information itself. It doesn't exist appart from in it's substrates.

Sure, brains can forget, as I mentioned, but they can also remember the important stuff for years, sometimes for the rest of your life. This is possible because of the reinforcement by dupication of neural circuits whenever you rehearse/re-remember something, making self-repair unnecessary. This applies especially to stuff you learn in your youth, when many spare neurons are available.


I would say that "reinforcement by duplication of neural circuits " is a form of error correction by multiple realisation.


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Re: Free Will

#9450  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 6:00 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
:scratch: Just out of curiosity, what mode of explanation did you use to arrive at the same conclusion?


Macro scale objects are known to not be long-term-stable assemblies of specific quantum particles so there is a Theseus' ship issue. Electrons move, in brains, in computers, in chairs... If something we might call a mental state of 'knowing that Paris is the capital of France' was only singly realisable by a specific arrangement of fundamental particles it could not endure over seconds or decades. So it is trivially true that mental states (at least some of them) must be multiply realisable at some level.

Similar reasoning is obvious to anyone that understands digital computers. Two computers can display the same image, read the same text or recognise the same face while having different arrangements of different electrons in their different chips. Your PC and your smartphone have very little in common at the smallest scales when they play the same song, one from mp3 file and the other from pcm file.


So, it sounds like you're using a homebrew ad hoc reasoning for your mode of explanation. It worked ok this time. I use that sort of thing myself from time to time but I generally find I'm on firmer footing when I can back up my babble with more carefully worked out and formally reviewed modes of explanation. And it certainly makes it easier for people to check that I'm not just pulling it out of ...
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Re: Free Will

#9451  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 6:13 pm

John Platko wrote:And it certainly makes it easier for people to check that I'm not just pulling it out of ...


Not really. because the reasoning it's based on is very obscure and checking involves reading at least two complex papers.
Simpler reasoning doesn't require checking and is easy to understand.
I don't think your version achieves the objective of showing that it isn't pulled out of some arse or other.
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Re: Free Will

#9452  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 6:14 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:As I pointed out, there was some earlier disagreement about whether or not agential states had to be multiply realizable, and using CT as a mode of explanation we arrive at a definitive answer to that.


I should think it's hard to come up with a worse way to argue any simple point by attempting a deductive argument from CT with its controversial and idiosyncratic redefinition of common concepts such as 'knowledge'. Especially when your deduction relies on specifics of that definition for it's premises.


I think that on closer examination you'll find that it's rather common for modes of explanation that are capable of accurately dealing with complex subjects to rely on precise definitions which often are at variance with common usage(s) of those words. The word "work", as used in physics, is an example of this. One must simply learn to juggle the multiple meanings of words and apply them in their proper context to be able to bring many modes of explanation to bear on the problem at hand.

In this case, we have the shoulder of Dr Chiara Marletto's peer reviewed paper to give us a leg up on the heavy lifting of formally proving that knowledge needs error correction and therefore a discrete state implementation - with all that that implies. And I don't see a lot of room for error in her work. :no:
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Re: Free Will

#9453  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 6:26 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:And it certainly makes it easier for people to check that I'm not just pulling it out of ...


Not really. because the reasoning it's based on is very obscure and checking involves reading at least two complex papers.


I did a quick forum search and:

Search found 149 matches: constructor theory


That doesn't seem too obscure to me. But yes, these are complex papers. And following the details can be tedious. It be's that way sometimes.


Simpler reasoning doesn't require checking and is easy to understand.


By all means take a stab at showing your reasoning for why agential states must be physical state multiple realizable. I'd love to hear it. :nod:

And check with another method isn't a bad idea.


I don't think your version achieves the objective of showing that it isn't pulled out of some arse or other.


But at least it's not mine. :no:
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Re: Free Will

#9454  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 6:36 pm

John Platko wrote:
But at least it's not mine. :no:


I've noticed you prefer a more obscure form of argumentation. If you can wave at a dense paper or rather than explain something clearly yourself I think you are strongly inclined to do that. You could reflect at how you danced around the issue of 'multiple histories' in this topic before gradually being pinned down to some variant of MWI, and then still dodged clarification of how MWI enables free will for humans.
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Re: Free Will

#9455  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 7:52 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
But at least it's not mine. :no:


I've noticed you prefer a more obscure form of argumentation. If you can wave at a dense paper or rather than explain something clearly yourself I think you are strongly inclined to do that.


I prefer to think of it as backing up my ideas. And pointing to a paper, especially one that has been published and reviewed, is a great way to communicate complicated ideas that some may doubt but others have proved.


You could reflect at how you danced around the issue of 'multiple histories' in this topic before gradually being pinned down to some variant of MWI, and then still dodged clarification of how MWI enables free will for humans.


I didn't dance around "multiple histories" The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism. And when there was some confusion about the authors rather (well mostly) clearly worded paper I introduced another paper that fleshed out the foundation of the idea of multiple histories. That is how one actually pins things down. :nod:

But rest assured that I'm not done with multiple histories. And rest assured that I will not always wave a dense paper to do my heavy lifting. :no: I will shortly elaborate on how multiple histories, as defined by List, provide a useful mode of explanation for quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance. Once we understand the role multiple histories play in this phenomenon it will no longer be spooky.
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Re: Free Will

#9456  Postby archibald » Sep 13, 2017 8:43 pm

John Platko wrote:.....some may doubt but others have proved.


John Platko wrote:....The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism.......


Proved, huh?

Proved as in:

If (or suppose) there are supernatural entities.
They may plausibly be the cause of mischief.
And they may live in rocks.
So elves may exist.

That sort of proof? ;)
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Re: Free Will

#9457  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 9:38 pm

John Platko wrote:
I didn't dance around "multiple histories" The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism.


You introduced a paper that failed to explain 'multiple histories'. It took many. many posts to get even a mention of MWI, let alone a non-committal acknowledgement of a link. If that was the basic idea, or at least one basis for it, then why not mention it up-front? People have heard of that. You could have saved dozens of posts evading the point and we could have all got to discussing how immeasurably small effects from different universes could affect human choices. Who knows, you might event have had time and energy to take a shot at tackling the tricky issue of how such remote and impersonal influences of which we are completely unaware can be counted as any sort of free will. But then I suppose that wasn't the point, was it?
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Re: Free Will

#9458  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 9:47 pm

archibald wrote:
John Platko wrote:.....some may doubt but others have proved.


John Platko wrote:....The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism.......


Proved, huh?

Proved as in:

If (or suppose) there are supernatural entities.
They may plausibly be the cause of mischief.
And they may live in rocks.
So elves may exist.

That sort of proof? ;)


:nono:

The proof that agential states must be multiply realizable is proof based on known physics. It becomes more obvious that is what I was referring to once the quote mining :naughty: is eliminated:

The first quote you used was part of a discussion on the best approach to use for showing why agential states are multiply realizable.

The second quote was about something different - multiple histories. I think it a misrepresentation to present them as you did. :naughty:

But you've been away perhaps you missed the important part of that discussion. :dunno:


GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
But at least it's not mine. :no:


I've noticed you prefer a more obscure form of argumentation. If you can wave at a dense paper or rather than explain something clearly yourself I think you are strongly inclined to do that.


I prefer to think of it as backing up my ideas. And pointing to a paper, especially one that has been published and reviewed, is a great way to communicate complicated ideas that some may doubt but others have proved.


You could reflect at how you danced around the issue of 'multiple histories' in this topic before gradually being pinned down to some variant of MWI, and then still dodged clarification of how MWI enables free will for humans.


I didn't dance around "multiple histories" The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism. And when there was some confusion about the authors rather (well mostly) clearly worded paper I introduced another paper that fleshed out the foundation of the idea of multiple histories. That is how one actually pins things down. :nod:

But rest assured that I'm not done with multiple histories. And rest assured that I will not always wave a dense paper to do my heavy lifting. :no: I will shortly elaborate on how multiple histories, as defined by List, provide a useful mode of explanation for quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance. Once we understand the role multiple histories play in this phenomenon it will no longer be spooky.



We might need a show of hands, but I'm thinking you may be the only participant in the discussion who doubts agential states must be physically multiply realizable. Although there seems to be different points of view on how best to go about the proof. Others seem to prefer a less formal route than I took.

Perhaps GrahamH will explain it to you. this will give you some idea of that mode of explanation. And I gather that GrahamH thinks it's a simple point.

And DavidMcC's explanation is along this line of thought.
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Re: Free Will

#9459  Postby John Platko » Sep 13, 2017 10:03 pm

GrahamH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
I didn't dance around "multiple histories" The concept was introduced in a paper that proved the possibility of agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism.


You introduced a paper that failed to explain 'multiple histories'.


I appreciate that is your opinion but it was peer reviewed paper. I feel certain that some find the explanation given satisfactory.


It took many. many posts to get even a mention of MWI, let alone a non-committal acknowledgement of a link.


Perhaps the fact that MWI wasn't part of the paper had something to do with its' lack of mention. The MWI was introduced by me to show that this idea is not as far out as might seem at first glance. But, this was a philosophy paper published in a philosophy journal and referenced in the philosophy section of the forum. One would be making a category error if they applied the requirements for a physics paper to a philosophy paper.


If that was the basic idea, or at least one basis for it, then why not mention it up-front?


The basic idea was stated in the paper, multiple histories not MWI.


People have heard of that.


People have heard of branching histories too. The author even references other papers and I provided a link to one of those.


You could have saved dozens of posts evading the point and we could have all got to discussing how immeasurably small effects from different universes could affect human choices.


That doesn't really have anything to do with List's paper. :no:

The real way we could have saved dozens of posts is if you had actually read the two papers on the subject of branching histories. :nod:


Who knows, you might event have had time and energy to take a shot at tackling the tricky issue of how such remote and impersonal influences of which we are completely unaware can be counted as any sort of free will. But then I suppose that wasn't the point, was it?


We're going to still get to the details of how this could all work. But those aren't in the paper, :no: I suspect I'll have to come up with those.
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Re: Free Will

#9460  Postby GrahamH » Sep 13, 2017 10:04 pm

john platko wrote:agential indeterminism underpinned by physical state determinism.......


I have no problem with 'agential states' at a coarse level being multiply realiable at the fine-grained physical level, but I don't think you have proved what you claim above. You have only clouded that issue with eventual reference to immeasurable effects of MWI. Talk of identical agential states is unfounded as far as I can see since there seems to be some reliance on physical non-identity to make the difference at the agential level and frequent reference to a catch-all 'coarse-grained'. If the fine grain makes a difference to the agent then you can't claim the agent was 'identical' to some other agent that behaved differently. Identical agential states are surely only identical is the agent behaves identically. Otherwise you can only mean the states are similar or approximately equivalent. You can say the spreadsheet is identical at a high level and different at a low level only if the spreadsheet produces EXACTLY the same results in every relevant respect.
I don't think you are anywhere close to proving anything about free will.
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