Notices
Results 1 to 71 of 71

Thread: Is it impossible for free will to exist?

  1. #1 Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    I didn't know which section this best fits into, but since there's no neuroscience section, the behavior section seems appropriate.

    According to modern neuroscience, all decisions are made by neurons, and neurons function through electro-chemical processes called synaptic transmission.

    Assuming the brain=mind, and there is no mind beyond electro-chemical activity in the brain, doesn't this by itself, mean that everything you say, do, and think is the result of electro-chemical reactions, and free will does not exist?

    We know from physics and chemistry that electrochemical reactions are controlled by nature, natural laws, and chance.

    Humans would simply be biological machines that believe they have free will, and free will would just be perception in the brain. But all of your actions, thoughts, and speech would be controlled by natural laws and chance.

    There's also other evidence indicating that free will is non-existent, like Benjamin Libet's experiment, which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious before conscious awareness of the decision. Because of this, most neuroscientists are now tending to claim that free will is an illusion.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    My opinion is that "free will" is an ill-defined concept (like "consciousness" or "God"), and that once you try to define it properly, the confusion disappears.

    You should be careful to distinguish two things:
    a) the brain is deterministic, because physics is deterministic, therefore anything we choose is in a sense already "decided in advance" - this fits in a discussion of determinism and physics.
    b) our subconscious mind often "takes decisions" before our conscious mind is aware of them, and then our conscious mind comes up with a rationalization about why we took the decision - this fits in a discussion of the specific architecture of the human brain.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?
    Why would anything "beyond the physical brain" change anything? Wouldn't something "beyond the physical brain" also follow rules that would make it deterministic? That wouldn't change anything about point a)! (And have nothing to do with point b))


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    My opinion is that "free will" is an ill-defined concept (like "consciousness" or "God"), and that once you try to define it properly, the confusion disappears.
    "free will" meaning "control over will", meaning you can control your behavior, actions, thoughts, speech.

    But if electro-chemical reactions control your decisions, then this means you don't control your will, the feeling that you can control your will is just an illusion made up of electro-chemical reactions. Electrochemical reactions make you feel as if you can control your will.

    Like say someone goes out and murders someone, could they have really controlled their behavior otherwise?

    You should be careful to distinguish two things:
    a) the brain is deterministic, because physics is deterministic, therefore anything we choose is in a sense already "decided in advance" - this fits in a discussion of determinism and physics.
    b) our subconscious mind often "takes decisions" before our conscious mind is aware of them, and then our conscious mind comes up with a rationalization about why we took the decision - this fits in a discussion of the specific architecture of the human brain.
    a) QM isn't deterministic because of the double-slit experiment
    b) Right, usually people act automatically


    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?
    Why would anything "beyond the physical brain" change anything? Wouldn't something "beyond the physical brain" also follow rules that would make it deterministic? That wouldn't change anything about point a)! (And have nothing to do with point b))
    Well if your consciousness, your awareness of experience is independent of electro-chemical reactions, then it would be possible to control these electrochemical reactions, instead of electro-chemical reactions controlling you

    Some neuroscientists really do believe in a mind beyond neurons, and there are many unknowns in how consciousness works.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    My opinion is that "free will" is an ill-defined concept (like "consciousness" or "God"), and that once you try to define it properly, the confusion disappears.
    "free will" meaning "control over will", meaning you can control your behavior, actions, thoughts, speech.
    Still looks like a fuzzy definition to me. Who is this "you" that is somehow different from "your thoughts"? How do you distinguish a being that has "free will" from one that does not? What does "can control" mean? Does the fact that I can't fly, or can't make myself dislike chocolate, mean that I don't have free will? Your "definition" doesn't really allow us to answer those questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if electro-chemical reactions control your decisions, then this means you don't control your will, the feeling that you can control your will is just an illusion made up of electro-chemical reactions. Electrochemical reactions make you feel as if you can control your will.
    Imagine I program a device to open or close the electrical shutter depending on various conditions (time of day, outside luminosity, whether the lights are on outside ...). Does it control the shutters, or do a bunch of electronic reactions control the shutters?

    Like say someone goes out and murders someone, could they have really controlled their behavior otherwise?

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    You should be careful to distinguish two things:
    a) the brain is deterministic, because physics is deterministic, therefore anything we choose is in a sense already "decided in advance" - this fits in a discussion of determinism and physics.
    b) our subconscious mind often "takes decisions" before our conscious mind is aware of them, and then our conscious mind comes up with a rationalization about why we took the decision - this fits in a discussion of the specific architecture of the human brain.
    a) QM isn't deterministic because of the double-slit experiment
    b) Right, usually people act automatically
    I'm just saying you should distinguish between the two arguments. Very different domains.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Personally, I conceptualize free will as the authorization of a decision making process (i.e. a subconscious mind provokes a thought or action and if the process intervenes with the conscious self, the self will authorize the action on a yes or no basis). Although this is not the will to will, this nevertheless ultimately catalyzes stochastic neurology (i.e. you can predict behavior to a given extent but a minority shrouds the observer from clairvoyance).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    My opinion is that "free will" is an ill-defined concept (like "consciousness" or "God"), and that once you try to define it properly, the confusion disappears.
    "free will" meaning "control over will", meaning you can control your behavior, actions, thoughts, speech.
    Still looks like a fuzzy definition to me. Who is this "you" that is somehow different from "your thoughts"? How do you distinguish a being that has "free will" from one that does not? What does "can control" mean? Does the fact that I can't fly, or can't make myself dislike chocolate, mean that I don't have free will? Your "definition" doesn't really allow us to answer those questions.
    It means you can control your actions, thoughts, speech, meaning that you can choose to do this and not do something else.

    Defining "you" or "I" or a "self" is difficult, it is just the sum total of perceptions.

    If you can't control your decisions, then you don't have free will. Your will is not controlled by you, it just like any other involuntary action.

    The only difference between a voluntary and involuntary action would be a feeling, you feel like you chose this, and you didn't feel like you chose this.

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if electro-chemical reactions control your decisions, then this means you don't control your will, the feeling that you can control your will is just an illusion made up of electro-chemical reactions. Electrochemical reactions make you feel as if you can control your will.
    Imagine I program a device to open or close the electrical shutter depending on various conditions (time of day, outside luminosity, whether the lights are on outside ...). Does it control the shutters, or do a bunch of electronic reactions control the shutters?
    The electrical reactions control the shutters, it has no controller other than nature.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Personally, I conceptualize free will as the authorization of a decision making process (i.e. a subconscious mind provokes a thought or action and if the process intervenes with the conscious self, the self will authorize the action on a yes or no basis). Although this is not the will to will, this nevertheless ultimately catalyzes stochastic neurology (i.e. you can predict behavior to a given extent but a minority shrouds the observer from clairvoyance).
    I don't understand what you mean by "the authorization of a decision making process"

    By your definition, if someone goes out and murders someone, and they do not have any control over their actions, do they still have free will?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Personally, I conceptualize free will as the authorization of a decision making process (i.e. a subconscious mind provokes a thought or action and if the process intervenes with the conscious self, the self will authorize the action on a yes or no basis). Although this is not the will to will, this nevertheless ultimately catalyzes stochastic neurology (i.e. you can predict behavior to a given extent but a minority shrouds the observer from clairvoyance).
    I don't understand what you mean by "the authorization of a decision making process"

    By your definition, if someone goes out and murders someone, and they do not have any control over their actions, do they still have free will?
    I mean, the subconscious responds to external sensory data in recognition and provokes a behavior that may pass on to the conscious mind for authorization as to whether it should be committed (i.e. the conscious mind may implicate free will but only on a yes or no basis in authorizing subconscious behaviors).

    Also, by this method, some of the subjective behaviors originating from the subconscious may pass through the conscious mind at a rate too fast for it to assess their authorization on a yes/no basis (i.e. it would vary from individual strength and time perception to bypass their impulses). And yes, to a minor extent - the yes/no method permits free will and deterministic behavior. Ultimately however, the yes/no response from the conscious mind would in effect, alter future behaviors required for conscious assessment - thus, even subjective cognitive processes may appear stochastic ergo to this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    gc
    gc is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    210
    In my opinion, there is no such thing as free will because physics is deterministic (even if you argue that quantum mechanics is not deterministic, how can we determine what happens on a quantum level?). To think of it another way, who we are depends on our genes and our environment, and we don't have control over either of these things. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't still punish criminals, because if nothing else the threat of punishment acts as a deterrent.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    In my opinion, there is no such thing as free will because physics is deterministic (even if you argue that quantum mechanics is not deterministic, how can we determine what happens on a quantum level?). To think of it another way, who we are depends on our genes and our environment, and we don't have control over either of these things. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't still punish criminals, because if nothing else the threat of punishment acts as a deterrent.
    In my opinion, you can't determine the origins of existence since there's inevitably a predecessor to its presence - and vice versa. Given that this if infinite, we can never define existence as purely deterministic; thus, it's therefore random on a fundamental basis. Likewise, since it's been given an infinite presence and therefore, time, we could assume that interaction can expand via alternative means unknown to our presence; we may denote this as quantum mechanics. Thus, hypothetically, our presence may reside elsewhere interacting with our physical reality within the present universe possibly via means of surrogacy.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if electro-chemical reactions control your decisions, then this means you don't control your will, the feeling that you can control your will is just an illusion made up of electro-chemical reactions. Electrochemical reactions make you feel as if you can control your will.
    Imagine I program a device to open or close the electrical shutter depending on various conditions (time of day, outside luminosity, whether the lights are on outside ...). Does it control the shutters, or do a bunch of electronic reactions control the shutters?
    The electrical reactions control the shutters, it has no controller other than nature.
    But is it wrong to say "the device controls the shutters"?

    And, more to the point, what do you think of agonizing over whether the device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electrons zipping through copper wires and transistors are controlling the shutters?

    Do you think it's
    a) a deep philosophical issue?
    b) pointless wankery?

    How about agonizing over whether "I" am controlling my actions, or whether electric and chemical reactions between neurons are controlling my actions?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    Isn't a perfect example of free will is when you don't do something you're driven to do? For instance, if I've already had a few handfuls of potato chips out of a bag while I'm spaced out in front of the TV, I may actually pause at some point with a handful of chips and think, "nah...I've had enough. I'm going to go eat an apple." Meanwhile, I'd rather eat the whole bag.

    Isn't that free will?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    180
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    I didn't know which section this best fits into, but since there's no neuroscience section, the behavior section seems appropriate.

    According to modern neuroscience, all decisions are made by neurons, and neurons function through electro-chemical processes called synaptic transmission.

    Assuming the brain=mind, and there is no mind beyond electro-chemical activity in the brain, doesn't this by itself, mean that everything you say, do, and think is the result of electro-chemical reactions, and free will does not exist?

    We know from physics and chemistry that electrochemical reactions are controlled by nature, natural laws, and chance.

    Humans would simply be biological machines that believe they have free will, and free will would just be perception in the brain. But all of your actions, thoughts, and speech would be controlled by natural laws and chance.

    There's also other evidence indicating that free will is non-existent, like Benjamin Libet's experiment, which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious before conscious awareness of the decision. Because of this, most neuroscientists are now tending to claim that free will is an illusion.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?

    REPLY: I agree with much of what you say BUT, I do believe FREE WILL still exists. Even though we all live with the instincts we were born with and the programming that got instilled into us : We can both change the programming significantly via PRIMAL THERAPY and defy and override such programming and I believe people do it all the time.
    I will go further and say many if not most people do it all the time. Every time that alcoholic does not take that drink he desperately desires is an example. Every time a woman leaves a self destructive relationship her perverted neurotic instincts got her entrapped in would be another. We are all capable of free will to one degree or another in my opinion.
    Just because people have a subconscious mind need not mean they have to be a slave to it. Furthermore, I KNOW [ others here in this forum will say I believe ] that a healthy, non-neurotic brain has at the very least, a FAR less subconscious mind. Because the condition called neurosis is so all but universal and everyone out there is significantly neurotic, it is seen as NORMAL. It may be normal in the sense of the word that it is common. It is not NORMAL in the sense of the word that it is HEALTHY. People with a healthy brain are not controlled by some mysterious subconscious mind. People that are neurotic do have this split off subconscious mind that seeks to resolve unresolved pains and other unresolved feelings they were forced to repress as infants and young children.
    The pain of unfulfilled infantile NEEDS is one of the most universal causes of neurosis. These needs are not so much really. The needs include being in almost constant contact with the mother or some adequate substitute for about the first two years of life. Being BREASTFED is another infantile need. A bottle is a poor substitute for a mother`s breast. If a woman offered her boyfriend a milk bottle if he asked to suck on her breast I doubt very much he would be satisfied with the bottle. Why would people expect a baby to be satisfied with one and yet many women think the infant does`nt care.
    And as far as all these neuro, brain researchers go, they all have their little pet theories they feel compelled to prove for one reason or another. I could go on and on. You either understand, have a feel for what I am presenting to you or you don`t. So, go ahead and reject it if you do NOT have a feeling for it. I am through struggling with people who reject what I have to say and have NO DESIRE to argue with them. If, on the other hand you sense there is truth in what I have said and have some questions for me I will answer them as best I can. You can also go to: [ http://www.primaltherapy.com ] to learn about PRIMAL THERAPY. Also there is: [ http://www.awareparenting.com/tantrums.htm ] where you can learn from world renowned DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, Dr.Aletha Solter about the needs of infants and young children. ...Dr.Syntax
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Isn't a perfect example of free will is when you don't do something you're driven to do? For instance, if I've already had a few handfuls of potato chips out of a bag while I'm spaced out in front of the TV, I may actually pause at some point with a handful of chips and think, "nah...I've had enough. I'm going to go eat an apple." Meanwhile, I'd rather eat the whole bag.

    Isn't that free will?
    Nah, that's just an example of action, if all actions are the results of electrochemical reactions it indicates nothing

    Electrochemical reactions make you do something you seemingly don't do, but the electrochemical reactions are the doers

    If I program software to do something it doesn't appear to normally do does the software have free will?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if electro-chemical reactions control your decisions, then this means you don't control your will, the feeling that you can control your will is just an illusion made up of electro-chemical reactions. Electrochemical reactions make you feel as if you can control your will.
    Imagine I program a device to open or close the electrical shutter depending on various conditions (time of day, outside luminosity, whether the lights are on outside ...). Does it control the shutters, or do a bunch of electronic reactions control the shutters?
    The electrical reactions control the shutters, it has no controller other than nature.
    But is it wrong to say "the device controls the shutters"?

    And, more to the point, what do you think of agonizing over whether the device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electrons zipping through copper wires and transistors are controlling the shutters?

    Do you think it's
    a) a deep philosophical issue?
    b) pointless wankery?

    How about agonizing over whether "I" am controlling my actions, or whether electric and chemical reactions between neurons are controlling my actions?
    It depends, if my "the device" you mean "electrical reactions" then yeah it would be correct, but the device is just a label in our minds, in reality the device does nothing, and nature does all

    a) yes it is both a scientific and philosophical issue
    b) not pointless, because if humans seriously are not responsible for their actions, then that changes everything

    It's not really agonizing to me, it seems pretty clear, if it's true that consciousness is just electrochemical reactions, then there is no free will to any degree
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by dr.syntax
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    I didn't know which section this best fits into, but since there's no neuroscience section, the behavior section seems appropriate.

    According to modern neuroscience, all decisions are made by neurons, and neurons function through electro-chemical processes called synaptic transmission.

    Assuming the brain=mind, and there is no mind beyond electro-chemical activity in the brain, doesn't this by itself, mean that everything you say, do, and think is the result of electro-chemical reactions, and free will does not exist?

    We know from physics and chemistry that electrochemical reactions are controlled by nature, natural laws, and chance.

    Humans would simply be biological machines that believe they have free will, and free will would just be perception in the brain. But all of your actions, thoughts, and speech would be controlled by natural laws and chance.

    There's also other evidence indicating that free will is non-existent, like Benjamin Libet's experiment, which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious before conscious awareness of the decision. Because of this, most neuroscientists are now tending to claim that free will is an illusion.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?

    REPLY: I agree with much of what you say BUT, I do believe FREE WILL still exists. Even though we all live with the instincts we were born with and the programming that got instilled into us : We can both change the programming significantly via PRIMAL THERAPY and defy and override such programming and I believe people do it all the time.
    I will go further and say many if not most people do it all the time. Every time that alcoholic does not take that drink he desperately desires is an example. Every time a woman leaves a self destructive relationship her perverted neurotic instincts got her entrapped in would be another. We are all capable of free will to one degree or another in my opinion.
    Just because people have a subconscious mind need not mean they have to be a slave to it. Furthermore, I KNOW [ others here in this forum will say I believe ] that a healthy, non-neurotic brain has at the very least, a FAR less subconscious mind. Because the condition called neurosis is so all but universal and everyone out there is significantly neurotic, it is seen as NORMAL. It may be normal in the sense of the word that it is common. It is not NORMAL in the sense of the word that it is HEALTHY. People with a healthy brain are not controlled by some mysterious subconscious mind. People that are neurotic do have this split off subconscious mind that seeks to resolve unresolved pains and other unresolved feelings they were forced to repress as infants and young children.
    The pain of unfulfilled infantile NEEDS is one of the most universal causes of neurosis. These needs are not so much really. The needs include being in almost constant contact with the mother or some adequate substitute for about the first two years of life. Being BREASTFED is another infantile need. A bottle is a poor substitute for a mother`s breast. If a woman offered her boyfriend a milk bottle if he asked to suck on her breast I doubt very much he would be satisfied with the bottle. Why would people expect a baby to be satisfied with one and yet many women think the infant does`nt care.
    And as far as all these neuro, brain researchers go, they all have their little pet theories they feel compelled to prove for one reason or another. I could go on and on. You either understand, have a feel for what I am presenting to you or you don`t. So, go ahead and reject it if you do NOT have a feeling for it. I am through struggling with people who reject what I have to say and have NO DESIRE to argue with them. If, on the other hand you sense there is truth in what I have said and have some questions for me I will answer them as best I can. You can also go to: [ http://www.primaltherapy.com ] to learn about PRIMAL THERAPY. Also there is: [ http://www.awareparenting.com/tantrums.htm ] where you can learn from world renowned DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, Dr.Aletha Solter about the needs of infants and young children. ...Dr.Syntax
    Nah, these are just examples of actions

    How can free will exist if consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical actions?

    The belief in free will would then be nearly the same as believing in a mind or soul

    This is just an appearance of free will, these actions of refraining the temptation to drink, etc...are also the results of electrochemical reactions
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Isn't a perfect example of free will is when you don't do something you're driven to do? For instance, if I've already had a few handfuls of potato chips out of a bag while I'm spaced out in front of the TV, I may actually pause at some point with a handful of chips and think, "nah...I've had enough. I'm going to go eat an apple." Meanwhile, I'd rather eat the whole bag.

    Isn't that free will?
    Nah, that's just an example of action, if all actions are the results of electrochemical reactions it indicates nothing

    Electrochemical reactions make you do something you seemingly don't do, but the electrochemical reactions are the doers

    If I program software to do something it doesn't appear to normally do does the software have free will?
    Humans aren't software. The fact that I can change my mind, means I have free will. If you program software to change its mind on occasion, then it's the nature of the software. If I'm a stubborn jerk who sticks to my guns, then one day waffles on what I want for dinner, that's an example of free will. Humans aren't "programmed" to change their minds based on an algorithms. Self-awareness is also proof of free will. The fact that we're discussing free will means it exists.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    In my opinion, there is no such thing as free will because physics is deterministic (even if you argue that quantum mechanics is not deterministic, how can we determine what happens on a quantum level?). To think of it another way, who we are depends on our genes and our environment, and we don't have control over either of these things. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't still punish criminals, because if nothing else the threat of punishment acts as a deterrent.
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    VitalOne, your argument's flaw is in comparing humans to software. When software developes to the point that it can mimic emotion, logic, wisdom, humour, computing capacity and reason, then we have officially created software with free will.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Isn't a perfect example of free will is when you don't do something you're driven to do? For instance, if I've already had a few handfuls of potato chips out of a bag while I'm spaced out in front of the TV, I may actually pause at some point with a handful of chips and think, "nah...I've had enough. I'm going to go eat an apple." Meanwhile, I'd rather eat the whole bag.

    Isn't that free will?
    Nah, that's just an example of action, if all actions are the results of electrochemical reactions it indicates nothing

    Electrochemical reactions make you do something you seemingly don't do, but the electrochemical reactions are the doers

    If I program software to do something it doesn't appear to normally do does the software have free will?
    Humans aren't software. The fact that I can change my mind, means I have free will. If you program software to change its mind on occasion, then it's the nature of the software. If I'm a stubborn jerk who sticks to my guns, then one day waffles on what I want for dinner, that's an example of free will. Humans aren't "programmed" to change their minds based on an algorithms. Self-awareness is also proof of free will. The fact that we're discussing free will means it exists.
    No it's not, it's evidence that you have a feeling that you can control your will, the feeling that you have free will indicates nothing more than that

    The man's actions are just the results of electrochemical reactions, certain foods, drugs, etc..can change your mood

    Free will contradicts the view that consciousness is just neurons and electrochemical reactions, are you assuming their must be a mind beyond electrochemical activity?

    The fact we're discussing free will indicates nothing more than we're discussing free will, it doesn't indicate that free will exists or does not
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    180
    [quote="dr.syntax"]
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    I didn't know which section this best fits into, but since there's no neuroscience section, the behavior section seems appropriate.

    According to modern neuroscience, all decisions are made by neurons, and neurons function through electro-chemical processes called synaptic transmission.

    Assuming the brain=mind, and there is no mind beyond electro-chemical activity in the brain, doesn't this by itself, mean that everything you say, do, and think is the result of electro-chemical reactions, and free will does not exist?

    We know from physics and chemistry that electrochemical reactions are controlled by nature, natural laws, and chance.

    Humans would simply be biological machines that believe they have free will, and free will would just be perception in the brain. But all of your actions, thoughts, and speech would be controlled by natural laws and chance.

    There's also other evidence indicating that free will is non-existent, like Benjamin Libet's experiment, which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious before conscious awareness of the decision. Because of this, most neuroscientists are now tending to claim that free will is an illusion.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?

    REPLY: I agree with much of what you say BUT, I do believe FREE WILL still exists. Even though we all live with the instincts we were born with and the programming that got instilled into us : We can both change the programming significantly via PRIMAL THERAPY and defy and override such programming and I believe people do it all the time.
    I will go further and say many if not most people do it all the time. Every time that alcoholic does not take that drink he desperately desires is an example. Every time a woman leaves a self destructive relationship her perverted neurotic instincts got her entrapped in would be another. We are all capable of free will to one degree or another in my opinion.
    Just because people have a subconscious mind need not mean they have to be a slave to it. Furthermore, I KNOW [ others here in this forum will say I believe ] that a healthy, non-neurotic brain has at the very least, a FAR less subconscious mind. Because the condition called neurosis is so all but universal and everyone out there is significantly neurotic, it is seen as NORMAL. It may be normal in the sense of the word that it is common. It is not NORMAL in the sense of the word that it is HEALTHY. People with a healthy brain are not controlled by some mysterious subconscious mind. People that are neurotic do have this split off subconscious mind that seeks to resolve unresolved pains and other unresolved feelings they were forced to repress as infants and young children.
    The pain of unfulfilled infantile NEEDS is one of the most universal causes of neurosis. These needs are not so much really. The needs include being in almost constant contact with the mother or some adequate substitute for about the first two years of life. Being BREASTFED is another infantile need. A bottle is a poor substitute for a mother`s breast. If a woman offered her boyfriend a milk bottle if he asked to suck on her breast I doubt very much he would be satisfied with the bottle. Why would people expect a baby to be satisfied with one and yet many women think the infant does`nt care.
    And as far as all these neuro, brain researchers go, they all have their little pet theories they feel compelled to prove for one reason or another. I could go on and on. You either understand, have a feel for what I am presenting to you or you don`t. So, go ahead and reject it if you do NOT have a feeling for it. I am through struggling with people who reject what I have to say and have NO DESIRE to argue with them. If, on the other hand you sense there is truth in what I have said and have some questions for me I will answer them as best I can. You can also go to: [ http://www.primaltherapy.com ] to learn about PRIMAL THERAPY. Also there is: [ http://www.awareparenting.com/tantrums.htm ] where you can learn from world renowned DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, Dr.Aletha Solter about the needs of infants and young children. ...Dr.Syntax[/q
    DELETED: because I do`nt even know what point I was trying to make. ....DS
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    The electrical reactions control the shutters, it has no controller other than nature.
    But is it wrong to say "the device controls the shutters"?

    And, more to the point, what do you think of agonizing over whether the device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electrons zipping through copper wires and transistors are controlling the shutters?

    Do you think it's
    a) a deep philosophical issue?
    b) pointless wankery?

    How about agonizing over whether "I" am controlling my actions, or whether electric and chemical reactions between neurons are controlling my actions?
    It depends, if my "the device" you mean "electrical reactions" then yeah it would be correct, but the device is just a label in our minds, in reality the device does nothing, and nature does all
    ... because "I" am not "just a label in our minds"? How is it different from the electrical device?

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    a) yes it is both a scientific and philosophical issue
    b) not pointless, because if humans seriously are not responsible for their actions, then that changes everything
    Actually, I was asking about the question of whether the device is controlling the shutters, or the electrical reactions are. Is it pointless wankery or deep philosophy?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    gc
    gc is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    210
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    gc
    gc is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    210
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    The fact that I can change my mind, means I have free will.
    How do you know it's not just the chemicals in your brain telling you to change your mind?
    The fact that humans are not like (current) software does not say anything about whether we have free will.
    Self-awareness is also proof of free will. The fact that we're discussing free will means it exists.
    How so? Could you elaborate on this?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    The fact that I can change my mind, means I have free will.
    How do you know it's not just the chemicals in your brain telling you to change your mind?
    The fact that humans are not like (current) software does not say anything about whether we have free will.
    Self-awareness is also proof of free will. The fact that we're discussing free will means it exists.
    How so? Could you elaborate on this?
    Not really; I was drinking when I wrote it. :P

    I think what I meant can be explained by comparing a cat to a human. A cat has "no free will" as some in this thread are defining it. All of it's decisions are based on physiological function.

    By humans being self-aware and speaking about free will, we understand that we are not bound by physiology when making choices. I can slap myself in the face just for the sake of slapping myself in the face, but there is no synapse in my brain pre-disposing me to do it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    The electrical reactions control the shutters, it has no controller other than nature.
    But is it wrong to say "the device controls the shutters"?

    And, more to the point, what do you think of agonizing over whether the device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electrons zipping through copper wires and transistors are controlling the shutters?

    Do you think it's
    a) a deep philosophical issue?
    b) pointless wankery?

    How about agonizing over whether "I" am controlling my actions, or whether electric and chemical reactions between neurons are controlling my actions?
    It depends, if my "the device" you mean "electrical reactions" then yeah it would be correct, but the device is just a label in our minds, in reality the device does nothing, and nature does all
    ... because "I" am not "just a label in our minds"? How is it different from the electrical device?
    Yes it is, just a label in our minds, we label the device as an object, even though it's made up of atoms and functions through electrical reactions just as we label you as yourself because of your distinct physical body and consciousness


    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    a) yes it is both a scientific and philosophical issue
    b) not pointless, because if humans seriously are not responsible for their actions, then that changes everything
    Actually, I was asking about the question of whether the device is controlling the shutters, or the electrical reactions are. Is it pointless wankery or deep philosophy?[/quote]

    It's not pointless wankery because it matters if people are actually responsible for their actions or not

    As for the device controlling the shutters, it matters to science
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    So, you would agree that discussing free will is equivalent to discussing whether the electronic device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electric reactions is causing the opening/closing of the shutters?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    180
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by dr.syntax
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    I didn't know which section this best fits into, but since there's no neuroscience section, the behavior section seems appropriate.

    According to modern neuroscience, all decisions are made by neurons, and neurons function through electro-chemical processes called synaptic transmission.

    Assuming the brain=mind, and there is no mind beyond electro-chemical activity in the brain, doesn't this by itself, mean that everything you say, do, and think is the result of electro-chemical reactions, and free will does not exist?

    We know from physics and chemistry that electrochemical reactions are controlled by nature, natural laws, and chance.

    Humans would simply be biological machines that believe they have free will, and free will would just be perception in the brain. But all of your actions, thoughts, and speech would be controlled by natural laws and chance.

    There's also other evidence indicating that free will is non-existent, like Benjamin Libet's experiment, which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious before conscious awareness of the decision. Because of this, most neuroscientists are now tending to claim that free will is an illusion.

    So is there anyway free will can exist without consciousness being some how beyond the physical brain?

    REPLY: I agree with much of what you say BUT, I do believe FREE WILL still exists. Even though we all live with the instincts we were born with and the programming that got instilled into us : We can both change the programming significantly via PRIMAL THERAPY and defy and override such programming and I believe people do it all the time.
    I will go further and say many if not most people do it all the time. Every time that alcoholic does not take that drink he desperately desires is an example. Every time a woman leaves a self destructive relationship her perverted neurotic instincts got her entrapped in would be another. We are all capable of free will to one degree or another in my opinion.
    Just because people have a subconscious mind need not mean they have to be a slave to it. Furthermore, I KNOW [ others here in this forum will say I believe ] that a healthy, non-neurotic brain has at the very least, a FAR less subconscious mind. Because the condition called neurosis is so all but universal and everyone out there is significantly neurotic, it is seen as NORMAL. It may be normal in the sense of the word that it is common. It is not NORMAL in the sense of the word that it is HEALTHY. People with a healthy brain are not controlled by some mysterious subconscious mind. People that are neurotic do have this split off subconscious mind that seeks to resolve unresolved pains and other unresolved feelings they were forced to repress as infants and young children.
    The pain of unfulfilled infantile NEEDS is one of the most universal causes of neurosis. These needs are not so much really. The needs include being in almost constant contact with the mother or some adequate substitute for about the first two years of life. Being BREASTFED is another infantile need. A bottle is a poor substitute for a mother`s breast. If a woman offered her boyfriend a milk bottle if he asked to suck on her breast I doubt very much he would be satisfied with the bottle. Why would people expect a baby to be satisfied with one and yet many women think the infant does`nt care.
    And as far as all these neuro, brain researchers go, they all have their little pet theories they feel compelled to prove for one reason or another. I could go on and on. You either understand, have a feel for what I am presenting to you or you don`t. So, go ahead and reject it if you do NOT have a feeling for it. I am through struggling with people who reject what I have to say and have NO DESIRE to argue with them. If, on the other hand you sense there is truth in what I have said and have some questions for me I will answer them as best I can. You can also go to: [ http://www.primaltherapy.com ] to learn about PRIMAL THERAPY. Also there is: [ http://www.awareparenting.com/tantrums.htm ] where you can learn from world renowned DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, Dr.Aletha Solter about the needs of infants and young children. ...Dr.Syntax
    Nah, these are just examples of actions

    How can free will exist if consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical actions?

    The belief in free will would then be nearly the same as believing in a mind or soul

    This is just an appearance of free will, these actions of refraining the temptation to drink, etc...are also the results of electrochemical reactions

    REPLY: I am not sure where to begin, but will do what I can in responding to a presumption that makes no sense to me. That presumption appears to me to be: that because ideas,actions taken and such are based on the realities of how our minds, brains work [ electro-chemical reactions ], that this somehow or another precludes, or makes impossible FREE WILL. Our brains and nervous system is based on the very real electrochemical entities you made note of.
    There is a physiological reality to them. HOW DOES THIS IN ANYWAY WHATSOEVER : make FREE WILL an impossibility ? It does not, and any suggestion that it does, based on the physiological realities of how our brains and nervous systems work as some sort of PROOF that there is no FREE WILL is utter NON-SENSE. ...Dr.Syntax
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    gc
    gc is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    210
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    I can slap myself in the face just for the sake of slapping myself in the face, but there is no synapse in my brain pre-disposing me to do it.
    But what is telling you to slap yourself in the face? Could it simply be that you would slap yourself in the face to prove to yourself that free will exists? Perhaps it is the need to prove that free will exists that compels you to slap yourself in the face.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    gc
    gc is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    210
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...
    If there were no laws, and no threat of punishment, more people would commit crimes. Punishing criminals sends the message that if you commit a crime you will be punished, and acts as a deterrent. How else do you propose to prevent people from commiting crimes?
    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders?
    I assume you mean people who have no concept of punishment and therefore will not be deterred from crime by the threat of punishment? If someone like that commits a crime, then they should be in some sort of psychiatric hospital, because who is to say that they won't commit a crime again?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    I can slap myself in the face just for the sake of slapping myself in the face, but there is no synapse in my brain pre-disposing me to do it.
    But what is telling you to slap yourself in the face? Could it simply be that you would slap yourself in the face to prove to yourself that free will exists? Perhaps it is the need to prove that free will exists that compels you to slap yourself in the face.
    No, because I could change my mind again about slapping my face. I could just turn around and slap you in the face!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...
    If there were no laws, and no threat of punishment, more people would commit crimes. Punishing criminals sends the message that if you commit a crime you will be punished, and acts as a deterrent. How else do you propose to prevent people from commiting crimes?
    Well violent behavior and things like that usually stems from aggression, which stems from bad early childhood experiences

    So if you found a way to eliminate bad early childhood experiences, you could eliminate the vast majority of problems

    Those people like Hitler, Stalin, etc...did not have good childhoods

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders?
    I assume you mean people who have no concept of punishment and therefore will not be deterred from crime by the threat of punishment? If someone like that commits a crime, then they should be in some sort of psychiatric hospital, because who is to say that they won't commit a crime again?
    No I mean people with certain disorders like sleepwalkers and things like that, they can get off free if they can prove they were sleep walking

    Why should other criminals not get psychiatric hospital as a punishment then?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by dr.syntax
    REPLY: I am not sure where to begin, but will do what I can in responding to a presumption that makes no sense to me. That presumption appears to me to be: that because ideas,actions taken and such are based on the realities of how our minds, brains work [ electro-chemical reactions ], that this somehow or another precludes, or makes impossible FREE WILL. Our brains and nervous system is based on the very real electrochemical entities you made note of.
    There is a physiological reality to them. HOW DOES THIS IN ANYWAY WHATSOEVER : make FREE WILL an impossibility ? It does not, and any suggestion that it does, based on the physiological realities of how our brains and nervous systems work as some sort of PROOF that there is no FREE WILL is utter NON-SENSE. ...Dr.Syntax
    I already explained how it makes free will impossible, free will means having independent control over your will

    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then that means your will is controlled by chemical reactions, by natural laws, just like any other chemical reaction

    Using your reasoning, I can say that a TV, computer, or cell phone has free will, how does it working off electrical reactions change anything?

    It makes free will 100% impossible, your will would be controlled by natural laws and chance, just like an asteroid, TV, vinegar and baking soda reacting, etc...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    So, you would agree that discussing free will is equivalent to discussing whether the electronic device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electric reactions is causing the opening/closing of the shutters?
    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then yes it would be just the same as discussing whether a device controlling the shutters has free will (which it obviously does not)

    There can't be any degree of free will if consciousness is just material, physical phenomena

    Just like Rodolfo (a famous neuroscientist) says:
    "We assume that we have free will and that we make decisions, but we don't. Neurons do. We decide that this sum total driving us is a decision we have made for ourselves. But it is not." - Rodolfo Llinas M.D., Ph.D.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Forum Freshman Gen1GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by dr.syntax
    REPLY: I am not sure where to begin, but will do what I can in responding to a presumption that makes no sense to me. That presumption appears to me to be: that because ideas,actions taken and such are based on the realities of how our minds, brains work [ electro-chemical reactions ], that this somehow or another precludes, or makes impossible FREE WILL. Our brains and nervous system is based on the very real electrochemical entities you made note of.
    There is a physiological reality to them. HOW DOES THIS IN ANYWAY WHATSOEVER : make FREE WILL an impossibility ? It does not, and any suggestion that it does, based on the physiological realities of how our brains and nervous systems work as some sort of PROOF that there is no FREE WILL is utter NON-SENSE. ...Dr.Syntax
    I already explained how it makes free will impossible, free will means having independent control over your will

    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then that means your will is controlled by chemical reactions, by natural laws, just like any other chemical reaction

    Using your reasoning, I can say that a TV, computer, or cell phone has free will, how does it working off electrical reactions change anything?

    It makes free will 100% impossible, your will would be controlled by natural laws and chance, just like an asteroid, TV, vinegar and baking soda reacting, etc...
    Your claim that free will is an impossibility is entirely based on your connection between electrochemical reactions in the brain and our conciousness. The vehicle in which free will translates into action just happens to be via electrochemical reactions because that's how our brains work. I can argue that those electrochemical reactions are what produce our free will. Humans are a unique species because we are self-aware. The fact we are talking about free will means our concisousness is on a higher level than other life forms. It doesn't matter that our conciousness is merely a representation of the electrochemical makeup of our brain, it exists non-the-less.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    Forum Freshman dutchie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    11
    this discussion is on a subject that's kept me busy for many years.
    i think you'd enjoy reading steven pinker's book the blank slate, and his explanation of how he sees free will (he's a very good lecturer, there is much of his writing and video material available online).


    in bare bones of it all, i am convinced that we are more or less fully scripted by our biology, & the effects of our environment on the expression of our biology. and yet, i don't equate this to not bearing any responsibility for our actions within a society. i realise this is quite inconsistent, but there you go
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    So, you would agree that discussing free will is equivalent to discussing whether the electronic device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electric reactions is causing the opening/closing of the shutters?
    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then yes it would be just the same as discussing whether a device controlling the shutters has free will (which it obviously does not)
    I'm not saying the device has any kind of free will - I'm saying that discussing whether "I" am taking my decisions or whether they are determined by a bunch of neurons triggering each other in an entirely deterministic way is equivalent to discussing whether the device or the electrons are controlling the shutter.

    Or, if you want, discussing whether mount Everest is a mountain or if is a bunch of atoms.

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    There can't be any degree of free will if consciousness is just material, physical phenomena
    That depends entirely of your definition of "Free Will".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    The fact that I can change my mind, means I have free will.
    How do you know it's not just the chemicals in your brain telling you to change your mind?
    So you can decide as to whether or not to change your mind? And you're also suggesting that the "you" exists independent of the brain, and are therefore contradicting yourself.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by dr.syntax
    REPLY: I am not sure where to begin, but will do what I can in responding to a presumption that makes no sense to me. That presumption appears to me to be: that because ideas,actions taken and such are based on the realities of how our minds, brains work [ electro-chemical reactions ], that this somehow or another precludes, or makes impossible FREE WILL. Our brains and nervous system is based on the very real electrochemical entities you made note of.
    There is a physiological reality to them. HOW DOES THIS IN ANYWAY WHATSOEVER : make FREE WILL an impossibility ? It does not, and any suggestion that it does, based on the physiological realities of how our brains and nervous systems work as some sort of PROOF that there is no FREE WILL is utter NON-SENSE. ...Dr.Syntax
    I already explained how it makes free will impossible, free will means having independent control over your will

    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then that means your will is controlled by chemical reactions, by natural laws, just like any other chemical reaction

    Using your reasoning, I can say that a TV, computer, or cell phone has free will, how does it working off electrical reactions change anything?

    It makes free will 100% impossible, your will would be controlled by natural laws and chance, just like an asteroid, TV, vinegar and baking soda reacting, etc...
    Your claim that free will is an impossibility is entirely based on your connection between electrochemical reactions in the brain and our conciousness. The vehicle in which free will translates into action just happens to be via electrochemical reactions because that's how our brains work. I can argue that those electrochemical reactions are what produce our free will. Humans are a unique species because we are self-aware. The fact we are talking about free will means our concisousness is on a higher level than other life forms. It doesn't matter that our conciousness is merely a representation of the electrochemical makeup of our brain, it exists non-the-less.
    I am not claiming that consciousness does not exist, I am claiming that if consciousness is made up of electrochemical reactions, then consciousness is controlled by natural laws and chance, the feeling that you can control your will is also made up of electrochemical reactions.

    How can electrochemical reactions produce free will? You mean produce the illusion of having free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by dutchie
    this discussion is on a subject that's kept me busy for many years.
    i think you'd enjoy reading steven pinker's book the blank slate, and his explanation of how he sees free will (he's a very good lecturer, there is much of his writing and video material available online).


    in bare bones of it all, i am convinced that we are more or less fully scripted by our biology, & the effects of our environment on the expression of our biology. and yet, i don't equate this to not bearing any responsibility for our actions within a society. i realise this is quite inconsistent, but there you go
    So you take the stance that even though free will does not exist, we should live as if we had free will anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    So, you would agree that discussing free will is equivalent to discussing whether the electronic device is controlling the shutters, or whether a bunch of electric reactions is causing the opening/closing of the shutters?
    If it's true that consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions, then yes it would be just the same as discussing whether a device controlling the shutters has free will (which it obviously does not)
    I'm not saying the device has any kind of free will - I'm saying that discussing whether "I" am taking my decisions or whether they are determined by a bunch of neurons triggering each other in an entirely deterministic way is equivalent to discussing whether the device or the electrons are controlling the shutter.

    Or, if you want, discussing whether mount Everest is a mountain or if is a bunch of atoms.
    Right, so you agree that free will is non-existent then? Or are you wondering what "I" the "self" should be labeled as?

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    There can't be any degree of free will if consciousness is just material, physical phenomena
    That depends entirely of your definition of "Free Will".
    I defined free will as control over your will, the most common definition.

    Like for instance, if someone murders and rapes someone, but could not control their actions, they don't have free will.

    If someone murders and rapes someone, but could control their actions, they do have free will.

    That's what I mean by "free will"
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Nah it doesn't really matter

    If it's deterministic, then this means your will cannot be controlled by you and all things are pre-determined

    If it's non-deterministic, this this means your will cannot be controlled by you, and all things are unpredictable

    But free will doesn't mean unpredictable will, it means having control over your will, if someone's will is unpredictable but they can't control it, it's not free will

    What matters is control, can you control your actions or not
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Nah it doesn't really matter

    If it's deterministic, then this means your will cannot be controlled by you and all things are pre-determined

    If it's non-deterministic, this this means your will cannot be controlled by you, and all things are unpredictable

    But free will doesn't mean unpredictable will, it means having control over your will, if someone's will is unpredictable but they can't control it, it's not free will

    What matters is control, can you control your actions or not
    If something exerts control sorely on the basis of itself whilst omitting deterministic constraints (or otherwise, the "will" controls its choice), it therefore controls on an unpredictable basis - you cannot determine whether it'll decide A or B. Thus, we can denote this as being random.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Nah it doesn't really matter

    If it's deterministic, then this means your will cannot be controlled by you and all things are pre-determined

    If it's non-deterministic, this this means your will cannot be controlled by you, and all things are unpredictable

    But free will doesn't mean unpredictable will, it means having control over your will, if someone's will is unpredictable but they can't control it, it's not free will

    What matters is control, can you control your actions or not
    If something exerts control sorely on the basis of itself whilst omitting deterministic constraints (or otherwise, the "will" controls its choice), it therefore controls on an unpredictable basis - you cannot determine whether it'll decide A or B. Thus, we can denote this as being random.
    But randomness and free will are two separate things, using your reasoning if a TV or Computer can behave randomly they must have free will, even though they don't control their decisions

    So non-determinism doesn't indicate free will, it indicates unpredictable will

    Having control over actions, thoughts, speech, your will indicates free will
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    Forum Sophomore blue_space87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Nah it doesn't really matter

    If it's deterministic, then this means your will cannot be controlled by you and all things are pre-determined

    If it's non-deterministic, this this means your will cannot be controlled by you, and all things are unpredictable

    But free will doesn't mean unpredictable will, it means having control over your will, if someone's will is unpredictable but they can't control it, it's not free will

    What matters is control, can you control your actions or not
    If something exerts control sorely on the basis of itself whilst omitting deterministic constraints (or otherwise, the "will" controls its choice), it therefore controls on an unpredictable basis - you cannot determine whether it'll decide A or B. Thus, we can denote this as being random.
    But randomness and free will are two separate things, using your reasoning if a TV or Computer can behave randomly they must have free will, even though they don't control their decisions

    So non-determinism doesn't indicate free will, it indicates unpredictable will

    Having control over actions, thoughts, speech, your will indicates free will
    The notion of free will is to exert control sorely on your own basis, whilst omitting a deterministic response (albeit cause and effect may provoke free will) - i.e. an entity commits a response sorely on the basis of itself - thus, to an observer, its' response would occur as being random (given that nothing other than itself could determine its' action). Thus, any action occurring as a response via free will, will ultimately appear indeterministic, and can therefore be denoted as a random event. Free will may also transpire in minutia, and may not require excess complexity to support its presence.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    I'm not saying the device has any kind of free will - I'm saying that discussing whether "I" am taking my decisions or whether they are determined by a bunch of neurons triggering each other in an entirely deterministic way is equivalent to discussing whether the device or the electrons are controlling the shutter.

    Or, if you want, discussing whether mount Everest is a mountain or if is a bunch of atoms.
    Right, so you agree that free will is non-existent then? Or are you wondering what "I" the "self" should be labeled as?
    I don't agree that free will is non existent, I'm just saying that the discussion of "do we have free will" using your "naive" definition of free will boils down to a question as pointless as "Is Mount Everest a mountain or a bunch of atoms?". Do you agree that that is a pointless question? It isn't any more pointless when applied to a confusing concept like the mind.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_space87
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    But if there is no free will, then murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than TVs or asteroids

    Why should they be held responsible?
    Asteroids can not be deterred by the threat of punishment, because they don't know any better. Criminals can.
    But why should they be punished if they don't control their actions? Isn't that kind of cruel? They are alternative ways to get criminals to change their behavior...

    Should we then punish people with certain mental disorders? The murderers and rapists are no more responsible for their actions than the good-doers and saints

    If it's not their fault, and they're not responsible, why punish them?
    The reaction is deterministic too, so the punisher is therefore permanently succumbed to their behavioral response - i.e. they cannot alter their behavior.
    Well, it doesn't really matter if it's deterministic or non-deterministic, it matters if you can control your will, so non-determinism doesn't indicate free will either.
    It does - if you receive a response from the implication of free choice (e.g. A or B), then something must have decided which. Perhaps the system inadvertently, somehow, become self-aware, and had therefore chosen which of the two options to execute (hence, free will exerted upon two free options; the user willed their choice) - this would therefore appear as random, since it's indeterministic. Conversely however, if the system had have proceeded to B where A is its predecessor, then the response would abide by the cause and affect paradigm.
    Nah it doesn't really matter

    If it's deterministic, then this means your will cannot be controlled by you and all things are pre-determined

    If it's non-deterministic, this this means your will cannot be controlled by you, and all things are unpredictable

    But free will doesn't mean unpredictable will, it means having control over your will, if someone's will is unpredictable but they can't control it, it's not free will

    What matters is control, can you control your actions or not
    If something exerts control sorely on the basis of itself whilst omitting deterministic constraints (or otherwise, the "will" controls its choice), it therefore controls on an unpredictable basis - you cannot determine whether it'll decide A or B. Thus, we can denote this as being random.
    But randomness and free will are two separate things, using your reasoning if a TV or Computer can behave randomly they must have free will, even though they don't control their decisions

    So non-determinism doesn't indicate free will, it indicates unpredictable will

    Having control over actions, thoughts, speech, your will indicates free will
    The notion of free will is to exert control sorely on your own basis, whilst omitting a deterministic response (albeit cause and effect may provoke free will) - i.e. an entity commits a response sorely on the basis of itself - thus, to an observer, its' response would occur as being random (given that nothing other than itself could determine its' action). Thus, any action occurring as a response via free will, will ultimately appear indeterministic, and can therefore be denoted as a random event. Free will may also transpire in minutia, and may not require excess complexity to support its presence.
    Right, but randomness by itself doesn't indicate free will, that's like saying the lottery numbers or the weather patterns must have free will, randomness is just compatible with free will but it doesn't indicate that free will exists, only unpredictable will
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    I'm not saying the device has any kind of free will - I'm saying that discussing whether "I" am taking my decisions or whether they are determined by a bunch of neurons triggering each other in an entirely deterministic way is equivalent to discussing whether the device or the electrons are controlling the shutter.

    Or, if you want, discussing whether mount Everest is a mountain or if is a bunch of atoms.
    Right, so you agree that free will is non-existent then? Or are you wondering what "I" the "self" should be labeled as?
    I don't agree that free will is non existent, I'm just saying that the discussion of "do we have free will" using your "naive" definition of free will boils down to a question as pointless as "Is Mount Everest a mountain or a bunch of atoms?". Do you agree that that is a pointless question? It isn't any more pointless when applied to a confusing concept like the mind.
    It's not a "naive" definition, it's the most common definition of free will. If a murderer kills someone, could they have controlled their actions otherwise? If not, they don't have free will. That's not a "naive" definition, just the most common definition.

    No it's not a pointless question and affects society greatly. It affects law, society, personal responsibility, and everyday life, how is it a pointless question?

    The analogy of a mountain being atoms is false, it's nothing like that at all. We all know that mountains are made up of atoms, so it being a mountain is not incompatible with it being a bunch of atoms.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    Forum Junior DrmDoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, USA
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    I don't agree that free will is non existent, I'm just saying that the discussion of "do we have free will" using your "naive" definition of free will boils down to a question as pointless as "Is Mount Everest a mountain or a bunch of atoms?". Do you agree that that is a pointless question? It isn't any more pointless when applied to a confusing concept like the mind.
    Pardon my intrusion. I'm curious, why is the mind a confusing concept?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  53. #52  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Posts
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    I can slap myself in the face just for the sake of slapping myself in the face, but there is no synapse in my brain pre-disposing me to do it.
    Apparently no?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM
    Reply With Quote  
     

  54. #53 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    [
    It's not a "naive" definition, it's the most common definition of free will. If a murderer kills someone, could they have controlled their actions otherwise? If not, they don't have free will. That's not a "naive" definition, just the most common definition.
    The definition is both common and naive. You can never meaningfully answer a question without very clearly defining what the words you're using are referring to. (Note that "being able to make decisions", or to "act consciously", etc. are synonyms for "having a free will", not definitions.)

    It's just the same with the question "Does God exist?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "God"), "What is the essence of human being?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "essence") and lots of other philosophical "problems".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  55. #54  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Posts
    36
    On the issue of lack of free will, responsibility and crime, I think this paper might be quite illuminating.

    http://www.haverford.edu/psych/cours...aggression.pdf

    Can people escape this genetic determinism?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  56. #55 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by x0einstein0x
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    [
    It's not a "naive" definition, it's the most common definition of free will. If a murderer kills someone, could they have controlled their actions otherwise? If not, they don't have free will. That's not a "naive" definition, just the most common definition.
    The definition is both common and naive. You can never meaningfully answer a question without very clearly defining what the words you're using are referring to. (Note that "being able to make decisions", or to "act consciously", etc. are synonyms for "having a free will", not definitions.)

    It's just the same with the question "Does God exist?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "God"), "What is the essence of human being?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "essence") and lots of other philosophical "problems".
    What? How is the definition naive?

    That's like saying a TV has no free will is naive.

    It's very clear and concrete.

    If someone murders someone, and they could not have controlled their actions otherwise, there's no free will.

    If someone murders someone, and they could have controlled their actions otherwise, there is free will.

    Which part is unclear to you?

    If natural laws and chance control electrochemical reactions all free will is eliminated.

    The only way free will can exist is if some how your consciousness is above natural laws
    Reply With Quote  
     

  57. #56  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    30
    well .... Personally, I conceptualize free will as the authorization of a decision making process (i.e. a subconscious mind provokes a thought or action and if the process intervenes with the conscious self, the self will authorize the action on a yes or no basis). Although this is not the will to will, this nevertheless ultimately catalyzes stochastic neurology (i.e. you can predict behavior to a given extent but a minority shrouds the observer from clairvoyance).
    [ spam link removed ]
    Reply With Quote  
     

  58. #57  
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    I don't agree that free will is non existent, I'm just saying that the discussion of "do we have free will" using your "naive" definition of free will boils down to a question as pointless as "Is Mount Everest a mountain or a bunch of atoms?". Do you agree that that is a pointless question? It isn't any more pointless when applied to a confusing concept like the mind.
    Pardon my intrusion. I'm curious, why is the mind a confusing concept?
    Isn't the existence of debates about the soul, free will, consciousness and p-zombies evidence that the mind is a confusing concept? People have plenty of different opinions and ideas of the mind, and some of those must be wrong.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  59. #58 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by x0einstein0x
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    [
    It's not a "naive" definition, it's the most common definition of free will. If a murderer kills someone, could they have controlled their actions otherwise? If not, they don't have free will. That's not a "naive" definition, just the most common definition.
    The definition is both common and naive. You can never meaningfully answer a question without very clearly defining what the words you're using are referring to. (Note that "being able to make decisions", or to "act consciously", etc. are synonyms for "having a free will", not definitions.)

    It's just the same with the question "Does God exist?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "God"), "What is the essence of human being?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "essence") and lots of other philosophical "problems".
    What? How is the definition naive?

    That's like saying a TV has no free will is naive.

    It's very clear and concrete.

    If someone murders someone, and they could not have controlled their actions otherwise, there's no free will.

    If someone murders someone, and they could have controlled their actions otherwise, there is free will.

    Which part is unclear to you?
    That's not a sufficiently precise and technical, it just hides the complexity in "could have". How do you check if someone "could have controlled his actions otherwise"? What does it even mean?

    Imagine I built a robot that will travel to another dimension to investigate the entities that are there, some of those entities move and act, and we want to know whether they have "free will". You are charged with programming the robot to identify free will. The robot has advanced sensory equipment, but unfortunately it doesn't have a "could have" detector. How would you program the robot? What should it observe? I'll be nice: the robot can even pause and rewind time in that other dimension, and modify arbitrary physical objects.

    I can imagine such a robot that could identify whether the entities are able to communicate, to learn, to plan ... but not whether it has "free will".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  60. #59 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by x0einstein0x
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    [
    It's not a "naive" definition, it's the most common definition of free will. If a murderer kills someone, could they have controlled their actions otherwise? If not, they don't have free will. That's not a "naive" definition, just the most common definition.
    The definition is both common and naive. You can never meaningfully answer a question without very clearly defining what the words you're using are referring to. (Note that "being able to make decisions", or to "act consciously", etc. are synonyms for "having a free will", not definitions.)

    It's just the same with the question "Does God exist?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "God"), "What is the essence of human being?" (the answer solely depends on your definition of the word "essence") and lots of other philosophical "problems".
    What? How is the definition naive?

    That's like saying a TV has no free will is naive.

    It's very clear and concrete.

    If someone murders someone, and they could not have controlled their actions otherwise, there's no free will.

    If someone murders someone, and they could have controlled their actions otherwise, there is free will.

    Which part is unclear to you?
    That's not a sufficiently precise and technical, it just hides the complexity in "could have". How do you check if someone "could have controlled his actions otherwise"? What does it even mean?
    It means you have the ability over natural laws to control your decisions. Otherwise if your consciousness has no power over natural laws, and are just within natural laws, you would have as much free will as a TV.

    Do the the rules of electromagnetism and the rules that electrochemical reactions follow apply to consciousness? That's how you check

    It's just like questioning whether anything else has free will

    If consciousness IS electrochemical reactions, then there is zero room for any degree of free will

    Believing in free will would be equivalent to believing in superhuman powers

    Imagine I built a robot that will travel to another dimension to investigate the entities that are there, some of those entities move and act, and we want to know whether they have "free will". You are charged with programming the robot to identify free will. The robot has advanced sensory equipment, but unfortunately it doesn't have a "could have" detector. How would you program the robot? What should it observe? I'll be nice: the robot can even pause and rewind time in that other dimension, and modify arbitrary physical objects.

    I can imagine such a robot that could identify whether the entities are able to communicate, to learn, to plan ... but not whether it has "free will".
    You would program the robots to look at natural laws in all the highest detail, and see if the entities can how some break or change the natural laws with their awareness of experience (consciousness) or if natural laws do not apply to consciousness

    Of course this question is directly connected to what consciousness is
    Reply With Quote  
     

  61. #60  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    So, VitalOne, is this then only a long winded argument for the existence of a soul?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  62. #61  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    So, VitalOne, is this then only a long winded argument for the existence of a soul?
    No an argument for the existence of a mind or soul or spirit would have to provide evidence that such a thing exists

    The feeling that you can control your will is not evidence
    Reply With Quote  
     

  63. #62  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Agreed. Please continue.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  64. #63 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Forum Freshman DrNesbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Supermegatopian Labs
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    If someone murders someone, and they could not have controlled their actions otherwise, there's no free will.

    If someone murders someone, and they could have controlled their actions otherwise, there is free will.

    Which part is unclear to you?
    That's not a sufficiently precise and technical, it just hides the complexity in "could have". How do you check if someone "could have controlled his actions otherwise"? What does it even mean?
    It means you have the ability over natural laws to control your decisions. Otherwise if your consciousness has no power over natural laws, and are just within natural laws, you would have as much free will as a TV.

    Do the the rules of electromagnetism and the rules that electrochemical reactions follow apply to consciousness? That's how you check
    Now you're talking about the physical laws being broken, something that didn't appear anywhere in your original definition. See why it was being called naive? When I ask for clarification, the definition changes. I still don't think the new one is better: when you say "you have the ability over natural laws to control your decisions", does catching a falling rock count? Or does it have to be supernatural by definition?

    Involving the supernatural into the definition of "free will" is tricky business: not everyone may be using the same definition of free will that you do.

    I think the main problem here is the definition of free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Imagine I built a robot that will travel to another dimension to investigate the entities that are there, some of those entities move and act, and we want to know whether they have "free will". You are charged with programming the robot to identify free will. The robot has advanced sensory equipment, but unfortunately it doesn't have a "could have" detector. How would you program the robot? What should it observe? I'll be nice: the robot can even pause and rewind time in that other dimension, and modify arbitrary physical objects.

    I can imagine such a robot that could identify whether the entities are able to communicate, to learn, to plan ... but not whether it has "free will".
    You would program the robots to look at natural laws in all the highest detail, and see if the entities can how some break or change the natural laws with their awareness of experience (consciousness) or if natural laws do not apply to consciousness
    I'm afraid my robot can't observe things such as "awareness" or "consciousness", only physical actions. However it can look quite deep and precisely into what-was-caused-by-what, by going back in time if needed.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  65. #64  
    Forum Junior DrmDoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, USA
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Isn't the existence of debates about the soul, free will, consciousness and p-zombies evidence that the mind is a confusing concept? People have plenty of different opinions and ideas of the mind, and some of those must be wrong.
    To my mind, the sum of debate is clarity rather than confusion. In my view, concepts of the mind may indeed be confusing when rooted in philosophy, religion, or metaphysics rather than physical science, which charts a relatively clear path. In my opinion, free will is merely an illusion that is particularly evident when our every effort and thought is shaped and compelled by life experience....perhaps we are automotons.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  66. #65  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    I have to agree. Our minds are the products of chaos.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  67. #66 Re: Is it impossible for free will to exist? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    If someone murders someone, and they could not have controlled their actions otherwise, there's no free will.

    If someone murders someone, and they could have controlled their actions otherwise, there is free will.

    Which part is unclear to you?
    That's not a sufficiently precise and technical, it just hides the complexity in "could have". How do you check if someone "could have controlled his actions otherwise"? What does it even mean?
    It means you have the ability over natural laws to control your decisions. Otherwise if your consciousness has no power over natural laws, and are just within natural laws, you would have as much free will as a TV.

    Do the the rules of electromagnetism and the rules that electrochemical reactions follow apply to consciousness? That's how you check
    Now you're talking about the physical laws being broken, something that didn't appear anywhere in your original definition. See why it was being called naive? When I ask for clarification, the definition changes. I still don't think the new one is better: when you say "you have the ability over natural laws to control your decisions", does catching a falling rock count? Or does it have to be supernatural by definition?

    Involving the supernatural into the definition of "free will" is tricky business: not everyone may be using the same definition of free will that you do.

    I think the main problem here is the definition of free will.
    No, the definition is fine, to be able to control your decisions

    This is not a naive at all, if your consciousness is not above natural laws and follows natural laws, then there is no room for any degree of free will. It would be equivalent to debating whether a TV, Computer, radio, or any other electrical device has free will.

    The only way it's possible to have actual control over your decisions is if your consciousness is above natural laws, not subject to natural laws, and can control or break natural laws, this is automatically implied

    This is not necessarily supernatural if consciousness follows different undiscovered natural laws
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Imagine I built a robot that will travel to another dimension to investigate the entities that are there, some of those entities move and act, and we want to know whether they have "free will". You are charged with programming the robot to identify free will. The robot has advanced sensory equipment, but unfortunately it doesn't have a "could have" detector. How would you program the robot? What should it observe? I'll be nice: the robot can even pause and rewind time in that other dimension, and modify arbitrary physical objects.

    I can imagine such a robot that could identify whether the entities are able to communicate, to learn, to plan ... but not whether it has "free will".
    You would program the robots to look at natural laws in all the highest detail, and see if the entities can how some break or change the natural laws with their awareness of experience (consciousness) or if natural laws do not apply to consciousness
    I'm afraid my robot can't observe things such as "awareness" or "consciousness", only physical actions. However it can look quite deep and precisely into what-was-caused-by-what, by going back in time if needed.
    The robot could look at the physical brain, and ask someone to make a decision and observe if everything is just like the neural-correlate explanation, or if with their awareness they can control things
    Reply With Quote  
     

  68. #67  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    2
    he theological doctrine of divine foreknowledge is often alleged to be in conflict with free will, particularly in Reformed circles. For if God knows exactly what will happen, right down to every choice one makes, the status of choices as free is called into question. If God had timelessly true knowledge about one's choices, this would seem to constrain one's freedom.[99] This problem is related to the Aristotelian problem of the sea battle: tomorrow there will or will not be a sea battle. If there will be one, then it seems that it was true yesterday that there would be one. Then it would be necessary that the sea battle will occur. If there won't be one, then by similar reasoning, it is necessary that it won't occur.[100] This means that the future, whatever it is, is completely fixed by past truths—true propositions about the future.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  69. #68  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    No offence, but do you have any of your own thoughts to add?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  70. #69  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Transient
    Posts
    2,914
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    No offence, but do you have any of your own thoughts to add?
    Serious offense. This poster has no intention of contributing their own ideas, and will merely equivocate whats already been said. A troll is a troll.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

    Reply With Quote  
     

  71. #70  
    Forum Sophomore schiz0yd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    171
    Just throwing in my opinion, albeit late:

    I believe that consciousness is a product of the dualism in an energy interaction; the energy exchange is conscious. Our consciousness is a product of the interaction between our parents' energies, another offshoot of the chemical reaction that is life. I believe our consciousness does derive from the brain itself, but through this process of energy interaction. Likewise, all of our cells are conscious individually, and we experience the collective consciousness of all of our cells through the electrochemical conduit of the nervous system.

    Therefor, I believe that free will is possible, but not as you may think of it. I believe it is really only possible through the collective consciousness of all energy. Call me new age or whatever, but my synaesthesia has always run dependable simulations and my life's success is largely due to trusting the outcomes.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  72. #71  
    Forum Sophomore schiz0yd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    171
    I just remembered a thought I had after watching the movie "Waking Life":

    It could be that consciousness is an intrinsic property of all energy, and that quantum particles are actually an interaction between two conscious energies which the one with more energy dominates and manifests. These conscious particles have free will and go wherever they want within their own ability. Just as we cannot control our movement through time, they would not be able to control being manipulated by our experiments but would still have free will over what they choose to do, creating the indeterminism of the quantum world from their probabilistic nature . I suspect that humans are subject to the same type of probability as the quantum world, where most human action is predictable but not all, and that which is predictable is only so in a general sense, never exact.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •