What did Wittgenstein mean by saying that
February 22, 2020 at 7:37 pm #30298
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
If you decide to let the bowling ball fall are you causing it to fall or is gravity?
Just how free are our choices if we they are always constrained by predetermined factors and by our minds that make “decisions” before we become aware of them?February 22, 2020 at 8:18 pm #30299
The laws of physics can have an aberration, pause, change, go out the window…
Perhaps…but I am not so sure. A miscomprehension by primates is a given however assuming dynamic physical laws is a problem for science, is it not?February 22, 2020 at 8:25 pm #30300
Just how free are our choices if we they are always constrained by predetermined factors and by our minds that make “decisions” before we become aware of them?
I would extend free will to include the unconscious. The free will endowed upon us by millions of years of evolution. The collective free will of a species. A worker ant may not have what we consider free will, but it still carries out the will of the colony, unlike a pile of pebbles.February 22, 2020 at 9:52 pm #30301
If you decide to let the bowling ball fall are you causing it to fall or is gravity?
Our bodies, or the goals of our bodies, can present the executive functions of the conscious mind with a number of possible options at any one time, where a conscious choice to do A or B can be rationally weighed up and considered.February 22, 2020 at 10:10 pm #30302
A worker ant may not have what we consider free will, but it still carries out the will of the colony, unlike a pile of pebbles.
You’re sort of touching on what I think is the best approach to the answer. You should note how Reg framed the question:
Just how free are our choices
In other words the answer is not necessarily one of: yes we have free will or no we do not. But thinking in terms of “degrees of freedom”. A sperm has a higher degree of choice than a pebble does. A drone ant has a higher degree of freedom than a sperm. A dog has a higher degree of freedom of choice than a drone ant. A human has vastly higher degree of choice over a dog. Does that mean a human has reached a plateau of “absolute free will” (as though that’s even possible) while a dog has none (equivalent to a pebble)? Or do humans simply operate in an environment of a meaningfully high level of freedom.
Even computer programs can have degrees of freedom of choice (despite the fact that they are still run under clock work). Think of an online trade program with a few simple directions: If stock market average goes down so much…buy a percentage of that value in Index funds. If it goes up so much…sell. It could be less than 50 lines of code. You can argue that the program is extremely rigid and there is almost zero room for decisions to be made. Now think of a deep learning AI program (they exist) which makes meticulous analyses of the market, of other traders, their strategies, their performances, experiments with its own generated algorythms (some randomly tweaked) and real time projections and simulations and makes lots of long term strategies and makes vast sums of trades. Of course it’s still a computer. But you can argue that this program has a vastly higher degree of choice than the 50 line code does.
Does it make it conscious? No I don’t think so but it certainly gives it vastly more freedom to operate. You have to exponentially drive this analogy up to the level of the human mind (and remember this is still JUST AN ANALOGY) how humans can have a meaningful degree of freedom even while living in a clockwork universe.February 22, 2020 at 11:15 pm #30303
Davis, i can’t see how complexity obviates determinism.
Also, the notion of choice makes sense only in the context of consciousness.February 23, 2020 at 3:27 am #30304
Davis, i can’t see how complexity obviates determinism
Is the state of the universe (that might be infinately complex) even knowable, e.g. is an omniscient entity possible. If not, there goes determinism.
Also, the notion of choice makes sense only in the context of consciousness.
So we use the word “selection” for unconscious choices as in natural selection. The process could buck determinism by harnessing random code replication issues. Perhaps someday the definition of life will include an exemption from determinism.February 23, 2020 at 3:38 am #30305
Robert, can’t agree. That is solipsism. Whether we are cognizant of how things will unfold has no bearing (in most instances) on how they will unfold.
Unconscious choices? That is a contradiction. I cant comment on random code replication issues cuz i aint got that knowledge cuz i didn’t go to college.February 23, 2020 at 3:47 am #30306
Whether we are cognizant of how things will unfold has no bearing (in most instances) on how they will unfold.
Then pick a word other than “determinism”. If no entity can be cognizant of how things will unfold (e.g. it is impossible) than the universe is non deterministic.
February 23, 2020 at 3:57 am #30307
- This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by _Robert_.
Unconscious choices? That is a contradiction.
Unconscious beings make choices all the time. A paramecium moves towards light. Another does not. If you want to define choice as being limited to the ill defined state of being that is called “consciousness” that is OK. I like a broader usage whereby a bundle of nerves may act one way or another and be plotted on a frequency chart.February 23, 2020 at 4:34 am #30309
Dictionary says…an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities…some synonyms…choice, option, alternative, preference..CHOICE suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely.
Thus in common usage the word CHOICE and UNCONSCIOUS are indeed at odds. We may be no different from a paramecium, eukaryote or any individual cell or collection of cells. Indeed, if the universe is utterly deterministic that is the case.
See, i am good with the word determinism. In the history of human thought there is such a sickening egoism and anthropomorphism. Briefly, we see religion as the poster child for this kind of thinking…the Greeks of antiquity had it also…the silly geocentrism, the notion that we are so important in a universe that is so unimaginably vast and complex, the idea that other animals are so far below/beneath us and we have all of these unique attributes…it is all BS..let me stop…
So i do not conceive the word determinism as implying that there is an author. Any causative agent can determine the course of events.February 23, 2020 at 5:16 am #30310
@simon: The ball falls also because somehow it has got to a height. What if the ball was in a zero-gravity environment? It is not turtles all the way down. But you are making a good case to start an argument about Determinism. Your honor my client is innocent because someone gave him the gun. He could not have put it in his own if that other person was not present. He too is innocent because he would not have had the gun if the gun factory did not manufacture it and they in turn are licensed by the government and fully supported and endorsed by their Christian senators. So, we should blame them and not my client. He had no freewill. Gravity too is necessary but not sufficient…. Gravity is why the ball fell. If it was not manufactured it would not have fallen. If it was not put there it would not have fallen. If a hand release it in a zero-gravity environment, it would not have fallen. The only reason it “fell” (towards the center of the Earth) was because of gravity. It is a sufficient description of the “cause”. What is gravity? What happens if you boogie in zero-gravity? It’s a massive question.
By George, you got me asking myself if gravity a force or a particle (graviton). Or is it a forcicle in the sense that light consists of wavicle? I’m laughing but I’m not kidding. Maybe I’m a laugidder!February 23, 2020 at 10:59 am #30311
At this point I’m completely beyond bothering with those whose response is: “I can’t see how…” If you don’t get the analogy…you just don’t get it. If you are content to draw such absolute conclusions in a sea of ignorance so be it. Beyond analogies you’ll have to do your fucking homework and pick up books and start reading theories of mind and consciousness, what responsibity/choice/freedom are and how they can be meaningful (if at all) within those various theories. “I just can’t see how…” is just a lazy response that isn’t worth shit.
February 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm #30313
- This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by Davis.
the notion that we are so important in a universe that is so unimaginably vast and complex,
A universe that is so unimaginably vast and complex makes us unimaginably unimportant. You are in the god camp of assuming omniscient possibility. If determinism is true, the state of the universe must be knowable at all times, unbounded. Try doing that with a wave function and particle duality. Seems to me that we can’t even know if a cat is dead. How small of a time are we talking about anyways? Real time is not discrete. Any discrete capture of the state of the universe at time = x will have all the problems associated with sampling theory.
I see ‘choice’ as a gradient. Do monkeys and parrots make choices? I think so. Do rats and roaches? As if life evolved across some choice threshold. Anyway I agree it is not the best word for this. The idea is that I can’t rule out that there may be some ‘degree of freedom’ to the way lifeforms act (I have certainly had some love interests who seemed to act in an un deterministic manner, LOL)
This is a change in my thinking from a few years ago. Now I am questioning if the universe is knowable and if true randomness is impossible. Is what happens in a black hole knowable? “Event” horizon? LOL. Seems to me that science must tightly control experiments to eliminate all sources of random effects when trying to just discover basic laws.February 23, 2020 at 7:20 pm #30318
Davis, the analogy is a construct. It does not mean that you are describing something beyond the construct.
But i like the metaphor u used for determinism…clockwork universe. And i am asserting that the sophistication/complexity of the life in that universe does not alter the operation of the clock.
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