@jakelafortactive 7 minutes ago
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December 3, 2020 at 8:16 pm #35111
Davis, i cant argue your point.
Free will is the foundation of western jurisprudence. If the consensus ever changes so that free will is seen as illusory and strict determinism as reality then everything is turned on its head. How does law incorporate this most fundamental change in human perspective? Strict liability for heretofore criminal acts?
But free will is also the basis of our relationships, isn’t it? Don’t we all impute agency to our human relations? Does it change anything at a fundamental level to “know” that we are determined? It really FEELS like we are free most of the time. I suppose for people with various psychological disorders this is less so. If someone in our purview is nasty or intends us ill then we can’t really escape the feelings that ensue. And the opposite is true. The ones we are romantically attracted to, the personalities we feel a kinship towards..etc..it all feels free.December 3, 2020 at 3:51 pm #35108
Davis, thanks for the explanation/clarification. It is certainly not fair of me to judge Dennet without reading him.
To this point i am on Sam’s side. The issue of free will is as much a scientific as philosophical question. I for one am not confident we have a handle on determinism or even a tiny percentage of the workings of the universe. It is just amazing how we constantly make discoveries about our own biology. And the brain is so little understood. Also the bacteria we evolved with have a far greater influence on our biology than we realized. Bacteria is seldom mentioned in free will debates but they exert great influence on our choices.
Sam says and i agree we have to live our lives as though we have free will. And really what choice do we have? I give credit to Sam for dispatching God and God morality without departing the scene as though his work is done. He addresses the search for meaning and how to live our lives.December 3, 2020 at 3:39 am #35100
In fact Dennet’s position is simply aesthetic (again i am making the assumption that Simon gave a good summary of Dennet’s thinking on free will) and one can assert with as much justification that as complexity increases and options increase that the degree of free will is less than that of Robert’s paramecium. All of the contemplation and assessment of relevant factors that are attendant to a more advanced cognition and yet that simple life form is true to its nature.
The paramecium has come into the light, Carol Ann. Meanwhile weak and wary on a midnight dreary i am lucubrating the next days past performances and as an expert handicapper i consider and assess various factors. My analysis is more nuanced and sophisticated than the average handicappers or the most gifted paramecium. All of that effort and i was always going to wager on the 7 in the 7th race at Delaware Park on August 19, 2018. The paramecium is not chained to the path of serpentine cognition and uncertainty. It goes to or away from the light without contemplation, hesitation, misgivings, or anything of the sort. Break the chain and we would not have to feign the depth of our brain.December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am #35099
Thanks for that link Reg. I read it. If it is a fair representation of Dennet’s book then Dennet has accomplished nothing. That conception of the computer with greater capability in playing chess having greater options and therefore a greater degree of free will is fiction. If its path is determined in the same way that the less sophisticated chess program is determined then those options are illusory.December 2, 2020 at 4:45 pm #35084
Reg, what is your position on free will in general and Dennet’s position in particular?December 1, 2020 at 11:18 pm #35075
Unseen, yes we have a strong sense we know how others feel, even other mammals. BTW not all humans have that strong theory of mind or empathy. Some autistics are mostly lacking in that capability. And now i am reminded of a book i read by Oliver Sacks entitled The Man who Mistook his Keys for his Wife. Lots of interesting case studies of aberrant behavior. It is empathy, it is driven in part by mirror neurons and it is a projection. In terms of evolution among social animals those perceptive of how others feel are at an advantage. So it is fair to characterize it as a biological imperative.
And then there are the machines that may become sentient, autonomous and Einstein to the 199th power. I am not sure once they have transformed they are still machines. But they are not going to be biological either. Whatever it is that informs their consciousness or creates their consciousness will be so far from what creates and informs our consciousness that you may be right. But but but being that intelligent suggests to me that they will figure it out. However as you have indicated it will not be the way we do it.December 1, 2020 at 8:07 pm #35066
Unseen i refer you to the oft-cited allegory of the cave and the short novel by Twain (title forgotten by me) in which the lives of bacteria and the limits of their observation are a metaphor for our limited purview. We are just not capable of saying much. If you read a lot of cosmology it seems like alice in wonderland. What can we posit with confidence? Here is an article that is one of many to cast doubt on our standard model.
Many are worried about the genesis of super intelligence. Will it happen? Will it eliminate us? I am guessing it won’t feel things but i am fairly certain it will understand how we feel.December 1, 2020 at 6:27 pm #35058
A salad of absurd is reduced to a word.
We humans have not even gotten close to understanding our own biology. I think without AI the universe is a bridge too far. But it is fun to speculate and ponder.December 1, 2020 at 4:45 pm #35048
Robert you may be correct. Perhaps our way of conceiving newtonian and quantum as separate is artificial. Water and ice. And it is also true that discoveries beg more questions than are answered.
Davis, I am guilty of failing to explain myself. From my perspective free will is impossible for anything biological. I don’t think i need to elaborate. Unseen asked if there is free will what causes it. Based upon the articles i have read and podcasts digested we may be on the cusp of the genesis of super intelligence. How will it manifest? If what i have processed is or becomes reality super intelligence will surpass the combined brain power of the billions of humans. The implications of super intelligence are mind boggling. Perhaps it is science fiction. But if it comes to pass then we have no way of extrapolating imo from our experiences how super AI will be disposed towards humans and what AI will understand and do.
I am only a dilettante in cosmology, a few books and a lot of articles. It seems that some physicists are of the opinion that laws of physics are not universal and immutable. If AI accesses or creates an alternate physics then the constraints on free will might just be obviated. If AI creates its own physics then it is the master of its world and as such has the autonomy that we lack. How the issue of free will would play out in the even of access as opposed to creation i can’t say. But i have to allow for the possibility that different conditions may produce a different result.November 30, 2020 at 11:40 pm #35026
Unseen, if we are conscious then why do you suppose artificial intelligence lacks that capability. And mightn’t it be a tremendous advantage to be free of the biology of our evolution which continues to have the residue of the biology of nonsentient life.
As to the likelihood of utilizing alternate physics i doubt it also but it may be possible.November 30, 2020 at 10:58 pm #35019
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind…la la la…vitalism has an answer but it is a conclusion rather than an explanation. Is it that way, the same way, throughout the universe?November 30, 2020 at 10:28 pm #35016
Robert, determinism kills it but so does randomness. If quantum influences us then there is randomness and a lack of control and without control one is not free to impose will.November 30, 2020 at 10:11 pm #35014
Free will requires an escape valve from the chains of determinism and the randomness of quantum physics.
The only thing i can imagine acquiring free will is AI. When and if super intelligence emerges it may be possible for it to utilize different laws of physics than we are subject to and in so doing be free.November 30, 2020 at 9:00 pm #35012
Reg, it was Onyango Makagutu who posted that video on the other atheist site, atheist universe. I listened three times. I had read about him a bit in Will and Ariel Durant’s history books.November 30, 2020 at 7:53 pm #35008
Here is the mother of all atheist priests-brilliant guy when the era is contemplated.