Free Will Redux: A Question

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This topic contains 225 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 6 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 151 through 165 (of 226 total)
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  • #35258

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @davis – it would be informative for you to explain some of the theories you have read about.

    #35259

    Davis
    Moderator

    Neither of them can be reduced to a simply conversation in a discussion group. I’d recommend investing some time in reading either of these books:

    “Freedom Evolves” by Daniel Dennet

    “I am a strange loop” by Douglas Hofstadter

    #35260

    @Davis – Neither of them can be reduced to a simply conversation in a discussion group.

    I agree. It is a subject that needs to be studied and reasoned though because a precise definition eludes us. I think this is because we are so familiar with the sensation of having “freewill” that is “un-intuitable” to think it not so. It is difficult to get to a place in our minds where we understand that we are not free agents but that perspective can be reached once we understand we are captives to Evolution.

    Each of the host cells that make up your body is a mindless mechanism, a largely autonomous micro-robot. They are no more conscious than any of the trillion of bacterial guests our body carries around. Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows or cares who you are. And after 4.5 billion years these collections of trillions of atoms have evolved to become self-conscious and conscious of each other.

    That might be a good starting point. It is an idea on page 2 (of 306) of Freedom Evolves. But the book, as you mentioned, cannot be summarized (at least not here). It is too big an idea. It has to be read with  respect for the brilliant mind that composed it. Its ideas have to be viewed in ones own mind and challenged there too in order to be understood. It is worth investing the time in doing so.

    #35261

    Davis
    Moderator

    Its ideas have to be viewed in ones own mind and challenged there too in order to be understood. It is worth investing the time in doing so.

    Indeed. Let’s reread Freedom Evolves over the holidays or say, some time in the next three months. It’s been some years and it’s certainly an extremely dense work. For anyone complaining that it may be too complicated and long, I would say Dennet’s genius is compressing something that ought to be three or four text books into one “relatively” thin work and doing so in a way most people can understand. I remember having to reread things a few times, he gives good examples that you have to go over in your head a bit until you get it (sort of like when you study the fallacies…you need several examples before you get some of them). Would be nice to discuss it again after a reread. I invite anyone else to also do the same. I can lend the ebook to anyone.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #35263

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I have not read any Dennett. That short vid Unseen posted was embarrassingly childish. Maybe i am fucked up and misunderstand him. I just listened to another short Dennett vid on free will. He starts out logically but again resorts to an unfounded assertion. There is no way i would waste my time reading him on free will. There is so much to read and so little time. Where are my glasses? They’re broken!

    I am cool with Robert Sapolsky, the kickass neuroscientist. Here is a quote from Sapolsky.
    You’ve written a lot about neurology and the law. You’re not really impressed with the concept of free will.

    Nah. I used to be polite and say stuff like I certainly can’t prove there isn’t free will. But no, there’s none. There simply is nothing compatible with a 21st century understanding of how the physical laws of the universe work to have room for some sort of volitional little homunculus crawling around in our heads that takes advice from the biological inputs but at the end of the day goes and makes this independent decision on its own. It’s just not compatible with anything we understand about how biology works. All that free will is, is the biology we don’t understand yet. If you’re willing to look at the trajectory of what’s happened with knowledge, anything that still counts as free will we’re going to have an explanation for at some point soon.

    #35264

    _Robert_
    Participant

    All that free will is, is the biology we don’t understand yet.

    That’s not very conclusive, is it….?

    I disagree that any scientific concept is too complicated to explain the fundamental ideas as well as the challenges to those concepts in plain language. The intricate details, sure. As an electrical engineer and computer designer it was a valued skill to gauge the technical depth of your audience when talking about projects. There are always analogies that will help the casual listener to understand.

    #35265

    Unseen
    Participant

    All that free will is, is the biology we don’t understand yet.

    That’s not very conclusive, is it….? I disagree that any scientific concept is too complicated to explain the fundamental ideas as well as the challenges to those concepts in plain language. The intricate details, sure. As an electrical engineer and computer designer it was a valued skill to gauge the technical depth of your audience when talking about projects. There are always analogies that will help the casual listener to understand.

    That’s a key point of disagreement between Davis and me. His constant harping to me (and by implication the rest of us as well), implies that it’s just to difficult for the average person to understand, YET I’m still waiting for his exposition of his beliefs. He claims I do him ill by depicting him as pro-free will, yet he keeps us waiting on the fruit of his studies.

    If you understand something, you should be able to explain it to a person with average intelligence.

    #35266

    Unseen
    Participant

    Its ideas have to be viewed in ones own mind and challenged there too in order to be understood. It is worth investing the time in doing so.

    Indeed. Let’s reread Freedom Evolves over the holidays or say, some time in the next three months. It’s been some years and it’s certainly an extremely dense work. For anyone complaining that it may be too complicated and long, I would say Dennet’s genius is compressing something that ought to be three or four text books into one “relatively” thin work and doing so in a way most people can understand. I remember having to reread things a few times, he gives good examples that you have to go over in your head a bit until you get it (sort of like when you study the fallacies…you need several examples before you get some of them). Would be nice to discuss it again after a reread. I invite anyone else to also do the same. I can lend the ebook to anyone.

    And yet, once again you can’t even explain it yourself. Well, if rereading the book helps you, I for one will be waiting for the bullet points. I’ve already seen enough of Dennett (yes, through his various and sometimes lengthy videos) to know he won’t be convincing.

    #35267

    Unseen
    Participant

    @davis – it would be informative for you to explain some of the theories you have read about.

    That would be a first.

    #35268

    Unseen
    Participant

    Neither of them can be reduced to a simply conversation in a discussion group. I’d recommend investing some time in reading either of these books: “Freedom Evolves” by Daniel Dennet “I am a strange loop” by Douglas Hofstadter

    Maybe YOU can’t. It’s not just Unseen who believes that people who understand theories can explain them in layman terms. And I’m not even a layman.

    #35269

    Unseen
    Participant

    #35270

    Ivy
    Participant

    @davis

    I’vy that definition is so broad that even cats have free will. Do you think cats have free will?

    I don’t know enough about cat brain anatomy to answer that question. I think they have a prefrontal cortex but it’s not like ours. I don’t know enough about cat brains to comment LOL

    #35271

    Ivy
    Participant

    Unseen? Lol

    #35272

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen? Lol

    Sure they can, if people can. What would stop them? My cat faces choices and somehow makes them. Unlike a dog, who will come when called, she appears to deliberate as if to decide if she feels like doing it or not. Why wouldn’t they?

    So, anyone who holds that humans have free will better tell us if cats have it as well, and if they don’t, why not?

    If they do, then perhaps they are moral agents.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #35275

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Cats are the strongest argument for free will.

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