Does Physics disprove the existence of free will?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by M.I.D, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Are you saying that neurons don’t determine thoughts and dreams?
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    That's the crux of the topic. You've simply tossed it over the wall to the opposing team.

    How is it not free?

    A simple argument for freedom is: I make a choice to type the word fnord. I just typed the word fnord. Demonstrate that I did not decide to type that word.
     
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  5. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Just as you choose to regulate the biochemistry that made that action possible. What comes next, an example of independence from gravity by a choice to levitate?
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    If I could levitate, I might try. And I'd fail.

    Yet I did make a choice to write the word fnord, and succeeded.

    Showing that your analogy is faulty. Not only does it fail to demonstrate a similarity, it actually highlights the distinction between an act that is a choice form and act that is not.
     
  8. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    You missed the point. You don’t get to choose how biochemistry determines your thoughts, nor are you able to neurologically manipulate gravity to achieve levitation. These are examples of a determinant and constraint to your freedom to choose. The material you are composed of follows the same physical rules as the material contained in a comet, but we don’t contend that the comet is free to choose its orbit around the sun. Your choice to do any thing is a result of an indeterminate causal chain that is expressed by way of your ordered neurology. And your ordered neurology is a product of native design and experiential conditioning.
     
  9. pluto2 Valued Senior Member

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    Our society is based on money for a very large part. Some people may even say that money keeps our world go round.

    I think that the rich and successful have much more free will than the poor.

    Also those who are incarcerated in jail or in prison for life also don't have much free will just like those people who are very poor or living on the streets and have nothing to eat.

    And yes I believe that money can and does buy happiness if you spend it the right way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, that's the reductionist view, and it's hard to argue against without resorting to some magical element, such as a soul-thingy.

    Still, it's very difficult to sit here in my chair, saying to myself "Cogit Ergo Sum" and hearing myself say it, (i.e. being consciously aware of self) and still assert that I have no free will.


    I think the problem is, we have yet to define what free will is. No matter how you try to explain its mechanism, you end up with a deterministic solution.

    Even if we invoked those quantum nanotubules to throw some non-determinism into the max, how might that actually grant this thing called free-will?
     
  11. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Yes it might be as interesting to ask why we feel so strongly one way or the other.
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    How very meta.

    Our biochemistry drives us (deterministically) to ask ourselves why we (deterministically) feel so strongly that we should have free will.

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  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Biochemistry does not determine thought.
    It can constrain it, disrupt it, etc, but not determine it - it is not a cause on the relevant logical level.
    That is a basic confusion of substrate and pattern. Substrate may constrain, but cannot determine, pattern.
    Call it "freedom of will" - remove the supernatural connotations. Better?
    But not a reductionist one.
    Dreams do in fact cause willed behavior. The content of one's dreams is causal, at that level.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    That wasn't quite what my concern was. But I still think there's a definition problem here.

    How do humans beat the classic thought experiment of Newtonian determinism? If we had the super-advanced technology to record every particle in my body and my environment, and play it out multiple times, how would I not react the same way every time?
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    By noticing that Newtonian physics was invalidated a hundred years ago?
    By noticing that substrates do not determine patterns?
    1) There is no such thing, not even in theory. It's worse than perpetual motion - it cannot even be approximated to arbitrary precision.
    2) So? That would not tell you anything about the causes and effects involved. You still don't have the substrates you recorded determining the patterns you recorded.
     
  16. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Do you think that there would be thought without biochemistry?
     
  17. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think you would react the same way. This is bringing in uncertainty and chaos theory. That statement reminds me of the old belief that if I was able to measure the temp, press, air speed, etc. everywhere on earth and I had a infinitely powerful computer I could predict what the weather was going to be in a month. But that is not possible - because the weather is an inherently unstable complex system.
    Animals are extremely complex systems in an extremely complex environment. If there were some way to repeat the same initial conditions for an 'animal system' over and over, after some time each of the final conditions of the animal system will be different. It makes sense because after the initial conditions each time the animal will see slightly different things, will hear slightly different things, etc. which will cause the system to diverge in an unpredictable way. That unpredictability seems like free will to me.
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I find it perplexing that people here are not familiar with the classic Newtonian Deterministic-Universe thought experiment.

    I'm not sure if this is the place to lay it out, but it addresses the above issues.
     
  19. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know about anyone else but I am familiar with it. I believe relatively recent understanding of chaos theory and QM have basically rendered that line of reasoning moot.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Perfectly familiar with it.
    Once it has done its job of focusing one's doubt, it can be set aside - it fails at the snowflake formation level, let alone human dreaming.
    And there is this:
    - - - -
    Or silicochemistry, or transistorized electrocomplexity, or some unheard of vortex organization in stellar plasma, or whatever works - of course not. That would be supernatural, and we reject that by assumption. There has to be a substrate - higher level patterns form in or on lower level ones.

    Substrates do not determine patterns.

    That's one of the central insights available via Darwinian evolutionary theory, btw: constraint is not determination.
     
  21. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    DT is sickish... the perfect leader for sicko... racist... ignorant people.!!!
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Chaos theory is still deterministic.
    As for QM, how does injecting a certain amount of randomness result in free will?

    Let's try a super-simple thought experiment. Indulge me, and let me know if the scenario needs tweaking. I hope to create a simple simple microcosm that has some randomness in it, and an entity whose free-will is to be determined.

    A mechanical "brain" is in a room that contains only dice, no other distinguishing features. The brain itself is made up of dice that can be set, and they serve as memory registers and store actions. so, tghe brains; entire universe is made of components that have an elements of randomness.

    The dice are rolled, and the brain's own dice are set in a certain configuration, based on the dice it sees in the room. It takes an action.

    Its memory registers are now reset to the pattern before the dice roll. It has no memory of its previous action.

    The dice are rolled again, and (in an astonishing coincidence) they come up exactly the same. The brain's own dice are exactly as before, and the environment is exactly as before.


    How does the brain not take the identical action?

    Even if, through randomness, a different action is performed - how is that freedom of will? The brain didn't make a choice, it was the dice that fell differently.

    No matter how many more sides these dice have, you don't get the creation of freedom of will.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The patterns formed by chaos are not determined by substrate.
    QM randomness, Heisenberg uncertainty, and feedback chaotic behavior, prevent Newtonian determinism - at any level, including that of human thought.
    Freedom of will. Try it. It helps. You appear to be demanding the supernatural for "freedom".
    You don't get any larger pattern at all, at that level.
    You are looking for the pattern - will, dream, decision - in the elements of the substrate. It isn't there.
     

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