Are we victims of circumstance or do we choose our circumstance?

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This topic contains 47 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 48 total)
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  • #29113

    Unseen
    Participant

    Robert, even if quantum injects randomness it does nothing to create free will. If you disagree please explain your thinking.

    There appear to be only to ways human actions, including choices, can happen. They are caused by the same forces that cause everything else in our surroundings, or they are random, which means they just fucking happen. It’s hard to find free will in either description. There is a kind of third kind of cause, if you want to invoke a little magic. Posit a spirit or soul that isn’t subject to physical laws. Posit also some magical way this spirit or soul can manipulate physical reality. If you believe in free will, you believe in magic.

    Time isn’t time? Length isn’t length? This relativity business is magic. People evolved from apes, the earth goes around the sun? Said a whole lot of people who didn’t have a clue. They knew what they knew and so do you.

    Decode that for me into a couple plain declarative sentences, please.

    #29114

    Unseen
    Participant

    @unseen, Show me facts that all of the choices we make are random. I BELIEVE based on what I do know. I know that I chose to get up this morning, start laundry, make a cup of coffee, turn on adult swim and read the updates on AZ. Was that random? Because I laid here and debated what needed done and how I wanted to start my day. I know that there are more factors in how I chose to spend too my morning, but I did consciously decide to do the things I did.

    We all make choices, but are those choices really free? Free of external constraints, perhaps (no gun to your head or grizzly bear charging you), but every choice is the result of brain processes that simply happen beyond your overt control because those processes ARE YOU. There is no you standing outside these processes making sure they give you the results you want. Rather, what you want is itself the result of said processes. As for consciousness, it happens shorty after all these processes have happened preconsciously. As for randomness, there is no free will hiding in either the determinism of physical process or in randomness. The only thing randomness can do is change the course of deterministic processes and the only source of randomness I’m aware of comes from the subatomic level.

    #29115

    Unseen
    Participant

    As long a quantum physics has not yet debunked retrocausality and proposals like the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory, I consider the jury is still out. You may choose to sum up as quantum physics as simply a source of randomness if you like but I think that is a great oversimplification. This is the same as ruling out a god to me. I just don’t have the knowledge to draw that conclusion.

    For free will, it doesn’t even matter. I personally feel that there probably are laws governing the subatomic level, but that we’ll never know what they are, and so whether they are random or rule-bound in some way, we’re kinda stuck with the randomness description. And my feeling may simply be the only way my feeble human mind can feel comfortable with the way things happen subatomically.

    The problem with free will, at heart, is this: my choices are caused by processes that happen inevitably responding to current conditions and antecedent events, or they simply happen apart from such processes randomly.

    One has to ask: What exactly, in the light of all that, that free will might be? What is the claim?

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  Unseen.
    #29119

    I completely agree with Robert’s paraphrasing of what Hitchens said about the sensation of us humans believing that we have free will.  The solutions we discover will be found in QM because that is where the foundations and building blocks of the existence of all matter arise from. Everything is made of atoms (as Feynman said) and all atoms are a collection of sub-atomic particles which behave in a probabilistic fashion while still agreeing to the Laws of Physics. Everything that exists, exists a layered field of waves.

    No matter what arguments for Free Will I come up with, I always end up discounting them. The particles that make up my mind agree with me for it is they that understand that they are me.

    My lack of Free Will does not make me sigh because I am determined to understand what makes me psi and hope to do so against all probability……..

    OK, I will stop being so random.

    #29123

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    As for consciousness, it happens shorty after all these processes have happened preconsciously.

    Here we go again–not just Unseen but all of us, declaring philosophically and (often conversely) declaring based on feelings whether free will exists… and this isn’t special to this thread, but it’s been on people’s minds for thousands of years. I’m still (as are uncountable others) trying to bring this concept or dilemma down to earth as useful and enlightening.

    Consciousness, as we humans know it, is a precursor to this kind of discussion. Even as pre-consciousness is a necessary pre-requisites to consciousness, it so happens that any changes to behaviors or attitudes we intentionally try to accomplish, e.g. to execute a plan, write on this topic, or otherwise adjust our behavior to dynamic circumstances, require consciousness before any underlying pre-consciousness can update itself. Like riding a bicycle that’s first a conscious experience but becomes unconscious.

    So any declaration that pre-conscious and conscious mental activities work only in one direction (e.g. solely from pre-conscious to conscious) ignores (dare I even say “intentionally ignores”) the role of consciousness itself.

    The problem with free will, at heart, is this: my choices are caused by processes that happen inevitably responding to current conditions and antecedent events, or they simply happen apart from such processes randomly.

    But is that really a problem, except in a theoretical/philosophical/theological context? In a human context, each of us is not only still making profitably-aimed decisions in response to circumstances, but we (perhaps most importantly, as a species) constantly influence each other’s decisions and responses. Tear that conscious experience of free will apart if you like, but it’s our conscious reality that cannot and should not just be ignored for the sake of declaring philosophically consistent logic. Perhaps philosophy sometimes overly constrains its POV, or by tradition ignores a more charitable understanding of human nature?

    Meanwhile, to be clear, I can see how declaring the origin of man’s free will is a fallacy due to insufficient evidence in “theological reasoning”. (LOL I think the term “theological reasoning” is either an oxymoron or it describes a big excuse for spinning tautologies and deepities.)

    #29124

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Pope, based on feelings?

    Unseen was cogent. That was reason, baby. The little unseen man who speaks for him was on his game!

    I don’t follow your reasoning in regard to the flow of consciousness between preconscious and conscious. I think you are assuming a fact not in evidence.

    As to free will i can’t even picture how it would look…how it is possible…unless it is in AI.

    I think there is a little too much genuflecting we do to intellectual figures. If Hitch said that about free will So did i without knowing. It is obvious. Just like Pascal’s wager which is stupid but undoubtedly hundreds of thousands have conceived without having heard it.

    As for the quantum world how do we know it is the basis of reality? Is it possible that matter is further reducible? Infinitely reducible?

    #29126

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Pope, based on feelings?

    Unseen was cogent. That was reason, baby. The little unseen man who speaks for him was on his game!

    I agree that Unseen makes sense, and I believe he has more expertise in logic, philosophy, and writing than I do, but did you notice that he also used the word feeling? I’m not calling him on that, because in discussions about consciousness feelings are very relevant. (The science of studying feelings in neuroscience is affective neuroscience.) I’m not knocking Unseen’s logic, I’m merely saying that, along with a lot of other philosophers, feelings, affects, experiences and what have you should not be ignored in most discussions of consciousness, especially when free will itself is a feeling! I’ve read writings even saying that feelings are just illusions. Wtf does that even mean? My feelings are real, and I’ll bet you feel [pun intended] the same way? (Before you respond too quickly, note that I’m not saying that free will is not some kind of an illusion. It is in fact a non-universally defined human construct.)

    I don’t follow your reasoning in regard to the flow of consciousness between preconscious and conscious. I think you are assuming a fact not in evidence.

    Could you have learned to ride a bike purely unconsciously, without consciousness? Perhaps there’s some kind of obscure, electrodes-in-the-brain way for someone to learn it even in their sleep, but most of us consciously learn how, while it is simultaneously written to unconscious muscle (and other) memory. Neural connections are modified, and stick. If you ask me to show evidence of changes made in the brain wrt learning (say) tennis, or reading, I would grudgingly comply, but isn’t this already well known?

    As to free will i can’t even picture how it would look…how it is possible…unless it is in AI.

    OK, free will in AI sounds like another interesting or silly (were you kidding?) topic, and I’m not touching it for a while. “i can’t even picture how it would look” is near the heart of the discussion, and rather than claim directly whether it exists or not (mostly because it is not universally well-defined to start with), I chose to reply to Unseen’s statement regarding preconsciousness vs consciousness. We (or at least I?) can’t even agree on terms or neural mechanisms, yet.

    […]

     

    #29127

    Unseen
    Participant

    @popebeanie

    Consciousness, as we humans know it, is a precursor to this kind of discussion. Even as pre-consciousness is a necessary pre-requisites to consciousness, it so happens that any changes to behaviors or attitudes we intentionally try to accomplish, e.g. to execute a plan, write on this topic, or otherwise adjust our behavior to dynamic circumstances, require consciousness before any underlying pre-consciousness can update itself. Like riding a bicycle that’s first a conscious experience but becomes unconscious.

    So any declaration that pre-conscious and conscious mental activities work only in one direction (e.g. solely from pre-conscious to conscious) ignores (dare I even say “intentionally ignores”) the role of consciousness itself.

    But you can’r assume or presume consciousness. Have you forgotten the “philosophical zombie,” which seems to be human through its behavior, but there is no consciousness inside, it’s behavior being merely a very sophisticated stimulus/response system?

    Of course, the preconscious mind responds to a wide variety of inputs, one of them being the conscious mind. Still, whatever we do is initiated before we become conscious of it. The conscious mind is little more than an awareness; it doesn’t initiate anything.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  Unseen.
    #29129

    Unseen
    Participant

    Could you have learned to ride a bike purely unconsciously, without consciousness?

    Consciousness is one of the inputs used in the preconscious mind. We are conscious of getting on a bike and getting the hang of it, but all the consciousness is there is as an input to the preconscious mind, which is where things are DONE and not just perceived.

    #29130

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Pope, I must have noticed his use of the word, feeling, but it escaped my consciousness or has retreated into an unreachable memory.

    I essentially agree with your feelings on this matter. If we are analytical we see a consistent trend in humans, in the history of thought, among both the brightest and the dimmest, in which anthropocentric notions are defended vigorously in a way that other notions are not. It is like reason can go fuck itself if i have to conclude anything negative about myself. We can’t divorce ourselves from ourselves to attain objectivity. Ya ever read that or hear that judges are more lenient in sentencing when they have had a meal recently? The caf at the court has justice french fries.

    Unseen articulated my thoughts as to conscious and preconscious.

    I am not kidding about AI and free will. I heartily agree that free will has to be defined. I had toyed with idea of writing a novel in which the genesis of super intelligence in AI generates something more akin to free will…and the consequences that might follow. The baggage we have in our biology is an obstacle too great for anything resembling free will…whatever dafuq free will is. That baggage is absent in what may emerge in AI.

    #29131

    Unseen
    Participant

    I am not kidding about AI and free will. I heartily agree that free will has to be defined.

    Good luck with that. If free will actually exists, what is the difference, really, between having it and not having it? I tie my shoe. Did I use free will to do that or is it just something I did?

    People want free will in order to be able to praise and blame, and in order to feel superior to other people and in order to feel deserving of compliments from others.

    People do what is in their nature to do. Trump acts like an asshole because he IS a asshole.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  Unseen.
    #29133

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Unseen, you ask a legit question and one which is not typically asked.

    I am with you in part. Blame, praise, sense of superiority account for some of the need to feel that it exists. Religious folks also want it so god is not the biggest dick in the universe. BUT BUT BUT..perhaps there is more to it. Ultimately the value in our lives is reducible to how we feel. Pope was talking feelings. They’re kinda everything.

    That is why we like exercise, coffee, friends, movies, falling in love, good food and sex and beauty in nature…etc. On other hand, If we are in pain and it is sustained our lives may not be worth continuing.

    But we have no way of knowing how it feels to be free. Maybe it is a liberation that is mind-blowing. Sometimes ya read/hear about a mind-blowing drug-induced trip that is life-changing. Schopenhauer’s…a man can do as he wills, but not will as he wills..no longer constrains the actor. Imagine willing yourself to be or do such and such? How cool is that?

    #29134

    jakelafort
    Participant

    A few additional thoughts on the issue of how does it profit a person to have free will.

    If we have free will perhaps we are not driven by the need to feel well and avoid pain. Kids wont grow up obsessed with sex and drugs. They will actually be able to develop their minds. FREEDOM from the slavery of biology!

    Further, as thinkers we are no longer eternally fucked. I mentioned how anthropocentric thinking pervades history of human thought. One quick kwik example…Jane Goodall was taken as a naive unscientific baby bitch by respected scientists when she presented her work on chimps. Chimps were so much more like us than we had ever imagined encapsulates her discoveries. That can’t be! Jane, you ignorant slut!…don’t you know we humans are unique?…say the sententious slut-shaming know nothing asswipes of poor excuses for scientists…but there are countless examples of anthropocentric thinking and how it causes this tendentious departure from truth.

    #29135

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    I haven’t given up on on this conversation.  I am thinking about what each of you are saying. Also doing some research on free will and determinism.

    #29136

    I am thinking about what each of you are saying. Also doing some research…That’s what atheists tend to do 🙂

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