Do we have free will?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Nobeliefs, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Subjective evidence is also the one categorically rejected by science.

    Framing the phenomenon of free will in concepts such as "the behavior of subatomic particles" shifts the understanding of it into a domain that is foreign to most people.
    It's safe to say that only a tiny fraction of the human population conceives of their free will as a matter of "the behavior of subatomic particles" or something like that. The rest want something more tangible.
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  3. Götz Registered Member

    It is one of the best theories we have, including General Relativity, but both have problems, for example at singularities, (black holes, big bang), we need something better that can be proven right experimentally. And there are still many phenomenons we don't completely understand, like quantum entanglement.

    But, do you know about all the interpretation of quantum mechanics?

    This is false, we can know the probability of the different possible outcomes. The probability is because of the Uncertainty Principle, that means, we can not measure the exactly values at the same time. So we cannot determine the exactly values of all the particles in the Universe (or a small region) at a given time. But it doesn't mean that they don't have values (e.g momentum, position, spin, etc.) with which they interact.

    But if you understand, for example, the momentum conservation principle, then you would understand why causality means determinism. Cause and effect.
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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You mean a pronouncement without any evidence to back it up? That does not even really warrant a refute.

    On the contrary, in the soft sciences, those most pertaining to consciousness and free will, self-reported data is very often crucial.

    Who has framed it so? As I have said before, an individual quantum event is not equivalent to an individual choice. It takes the coordination of many such indeterminate events to account for any significant mental activity. Quantum indeterminism simply provides ample justification that the world is not wholly determinate.

    You are also posting in a science forum. Deal with it.

    There is no "proof" in science other than mathematical, although things can be functional proven wrong, but never right. GR only fails beyond its domain of applicability, which is to be expected.

    I do, and as these are functionally equivalent, they are largely a matter of philosophy, with no practical ramifications.

    Quantum uncertainty is not the observer effect, as it is inherent to those systems. And probability says little about individual results. Probability means that one input can have more than one output. This would require you to equivocate over the meaning of "determinism" to make it fit free will, rather than vice-versa.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    But no less valid by doing so.
    Tangible? I would rather say comfortable. And that is only for those that even question it in the first instance.
  8. Götz Registered Member


    The mathematical proof is no proof for the real physical world. Like with the 5 different 10-dimensional versions of the string theory, which were later unified in the 11-dimensional M-theory.

    Strings may never be detected, the theory might be wrong, we can't know if it is right, until we prove that nature works that way.

    It can not have more than one output, it will have always one output (cause and effect/momentum conservation). But it is not possible to predict the output, it is only possible to know the output chances. This happens because it is not possible to determine (measure) position and momentum at the same time, the uncertainty principle.
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps you did not understand what I already said. We can never "prove" anything about nature, and nothing about mathematical proof implies any such thing about the nature it models.

    Yes, I should have said: "Probability means that one input can have more than one possible output." You would have to redefine determinism for it to allow for this.

    Determinism is a metaphysical philosophy stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.
    Thus, quantum physics casts reasonable doubt on the traditional determinism of classical, Newtonian physics in so far as reality does not seem to be absolutely determined.
  10. Nobeliefs Registered Member

    When someone uses an adjective, like "big", "small", "poor", "rich" or whatever, there is a comparision necessarily (like "this is big RELATIVE TO that"), if not it has no meaning at all. So I assumed that you are intelligent enough to understand that I´m comparing between our understanding of the macroscopic universe, and what we actually know about Quantum Mechanics..

    "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."
    Richard Feynman (quantum electrodynamics)
  11. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    General relativity and quantum mechanics are the two most precisely tested theories in science, one macroscopic and the other microscopic. So your equivocation is meaningless.

    We have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I'm an old enough man that I haven't got to the point that this stuff is obvious to me. Okay, I still get nervous with it.... You know how it always is, every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious that there's no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm not sure there's no real problem.
    - Richard Feynman, in Simulating Physics with Computers appearing in International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1982) p. 471.​

  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    The data that doesn't fit the hypotheses of the researchers, is dismissed as a mistake in experimenting, or as abnormal.
    Ie. some people's self-reports are dismissed completely, while others' are taken as normative.

    The physicalist approach (as the one themed in by the OP) takes for granted that the particular reductionist view taken by physicalism is an absolutely valid one, not to be questioned.

    Talk about dogma!

    Blank dogmatic assertion.

    Physics "ends" the free will debate by rendering it moot.
  13. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    This is not generally the case, so you would have to show a specific, relevant example that warrants discussion.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Which you have yet to actually argue against, but rather just throw around your indignation at the idea.
    No, it doesn't end it by making it moot - not only because the illusion persists regardless of our view of it (the magician still performs his tricks on stage regardless of whether we believe in magic or know that he's using wires etc) - but also because physics has not yet explained how it arises from the underlying rules, only that there is no evidence to suggest that it has not.
    Until then the debate remains relevant, even if only perhaps because some people can not accept the illusory nature but see only the magic.
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Garbage! So you still believe that your entire life was mapped out for you millions of years before you were born? What a silly, pitiful existence you have - thinking you have no choice but follow a pre-programmed path. How pathetic!
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Just look at Sarkus' replies to me on the topic of free will.
    He dismisses my objections as mere indignation, fallacious appeal to emotion, personal incredulity etc. Much like, for example, Libet's eagerness to dismiss free will.

    As far as I understood, Sarkus doesn't defend a strict determinism. He thinks that personhood is illusory altogether, along with free will; the illusion is real, in that it exists, but it is no less an illusion. This allows him to dismiss personal, subjective evidence as a mere fallacious appeal to emotion and personal incredulity.
    "No man, no problem" is his solution.
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    That's simply because you're not actually posting any argument! All I can respond to is the tone of your rejection, because there is no substance.
    Correct, I don't.
    Illusion only with regard to its make-up, not its impact on how we operate - since we operate from the basis of consciousness, and so are enclosed within the illusion with regard all practical considerations.
    Not so - I dismiss arguments such as "I don't accept this because that would mean X, and I don't believe X is true" as an argument from personal incredulity - i.e. where the only argument offered seems to be one from a personal disbelief rather than an explanation of why one considers it to result in X and why one doesn't hold X to be true... i.e. actual arguments rather than just statements of disbelief. Likewise where all that is stated is a dislike of a conclusion rather than a logical argument against it.
    This is one thing you have grossly misunderstood.
    Any reference to that such an argument is to show that such matters under consideration are merely subjective views resulting from our conscious perspective... i.e. that they operate from the basis of consciousness. If one removes consciousness from the equation and the issue still remains then the issue is one that operates regardless of one's view of consciousness (illusory or genuine). But if the issue no longer exists then the problem is one that only exists above the level of consciousness - i.e. a perception.
    "No man, no problem" (as you have paraphrased it) is not a "solution" - merely an argument to identify where a problem may actually lie - where the root of the issue lies... whether it is genuine/objective, or whether it is illusory/subjective.
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Maybe you should read what I actually post rather than jump to unwarranted and incorrect conclusions of my position. Will make conversations that much more civil, I find.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Because to you, personhood, and anything that comes with it (such as opinions and declarations of belief or disbelief) are illusory, without substance, to begin with.

    Some of us see personhood as something existing substantially, apriori, inherently, as non-constructed. To you, personhood is something constructed, an emergent property.

    As long as we disagree on this, we'll disagree on a number of other things as well.
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Hey, he's just jumping to conclusions about something that doesn't exist inherently. No need to fret!

    IOW, your objection to RO's post, as well as mine, betrays that you in fact, for all practical intents and purposes, treat your subjectivity as something substantial, relevant. Even though when it comes to declaring your position on the existence of personhood and free will, you argue the opposite.

    Why the duplicity?
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Without substance? Can you elaborate (due to the ambiguous implication of non-materiality)? Illusions have substance... but they are merely different to as perceived.
    Sure, we'll disagree, but if your issue to an argument is one of the underlying assumptions, then if you're going to post a response to say you disagree, at least state that that is where your disagreement lies, and why. But when you post with mere objection and emotion it is unclear where your objection lies - whether with the assumptions or with the logic of the argument presented.

    Maybe it is the way I approach these forums and such discussions - that I try only to respond to what is written in a post, not to what I may already know about a member from previous threads - at least without summarising for clarification and to bring it into the current discussion. So if I see an argument based on what I see in the context of the discussion at hand as mere emotion or personal incredulity, I will respond as such.

    There is nothing wrong with disagreeing, as long as it is clear, in the context of the discussion at hand, where the disagreement lies.
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No duplicity - as I don't consider consciousness, personhood to be irrelevant, as you assume/conclude I do.
    By considering something different does not mean that it is no less relevant - at least to our practical lives which operate from the basis of consciousness, within the illusion.

    As you yourself identified, I see no difference "for all practical intents and purposes". But practical intents and purposes are not necessarily the arbiter of understanding.
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Oh, but they are.
    And for all practical intents and purposes, you know it.

    We've been over this many times ...

    I don't subscribe to the same physicalist reductionism as you do (although you probably don't consider it a reductionism, but merely "how things really are").
    This is why my objections are, to you, "mere objection and emotion."

    Until you consider the possibility that personhood (and free will) is not illusory, you will consider my objections as "mere objection and emotion."

    For me to make myself understandable on your terms, I would have to subscribe to that reductionism too, and thus completely change my stance.

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