Free Will and Determinism

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by humbleteleskop, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. heytogi Registered Member

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    No way! That's for each individuals, the universe is global, its a hole (ensemble) from my point of view, as i understand it. It's another theory i guess!

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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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  5. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    No. There is nothing to verify, it's given by the definition itself:
    - everything is caused by prior conditions, making it impossible for anything else to happen.


    No. There may not be several different paths, it's given by the definition itself:
    - for every event, including human action, there exist conditions that could cause no other event.
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yay, my favourite subject.

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    I don't think the universe needs to be deterministic for freewill to be nothing other than the appearance of "choice" etc. I think the same would be true in an indeterministic universe, in as much as the output of the indeterministic event is still not able to be influenced by the inputs (e.g. The same inputs can lead to different outputs, but those same inputs can have no direct influence on the actual output).
    Freewill, as anything other than the term we use for the conscious appearance of "choice" etc, has no place in such a universe anymore than it does in a deterministic universe, as far as I understand it.

    The key, in my view, is that nothing violates the law of the universe, even if those laws are not as we currently understand them.

    I do consider there to be no genuine freewill, no ability of our consciousness to influence those laws. And thus everything interacts in accordance with them. And while I think the universe is indeterministic (same inputs can lead to different outputs within the same probability function - at the quantum level) I see no grounds within the adherence to the universal laws for freewill, other than as the way our consciousness perceives itself interacting. I do not think that perception matches what is actually happening, and thus consider freewill an illusion.
    I think the perception differs because our consciousness can not be privy to all the influences upon an action, only upon the rather gross/macro-level influences and not the micro- and quantum- level influences.
    This lack of information leads the consciousness to perceive that it is the arbiter of a decision when in fact it has already been made, and in which the consciousness itself is merely one of the inputs (and feedback loops) etc.

    But I also think that this perception is part and parcel of consciousness itself... that one can not have one without the other - at least not at the level of self-awareness.

    Anyhoo - I think trying to press home the determinism vs (quantum) indeterminism thing is a red-herring, as is have yet to see even a compatabilist argument that convinces freewill to be genuine.
     
  8. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    Yes, if the outcome of an event stays random, it's just as failure of free will as if it says deterministic.


    So do you agree for free will to exist it would need paranormal ability to take control of the laws of physics and rule over them, i.e. telekinesis - "mind over matter", in order to make physical body actually do what it wants?


    Great. I can't disagree. But what I want to talk about is - what does it take for free will to be possible, what practical conditions or properties it requires, like telekinesis for example, or maybe uncertainty of quantum physics, and such.


    Passive observer thinking he's making decisions, but all he really does is coming up with excuses and justifications after everything has already been said and done.
     
  9. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    This is a bias of physics and statistics that does not fit the preponderance of the data collected by science. The lion's share of data in science is chemical, which includes biochemistry. Below is a common plot called a phase diagram, which shows distant thermodynamically stable phases of water, that consistently form under the same conditions. These are deterministic down to a pin point such as the triple point.

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    Human free is connected to making unnatural or artificial determinism, beyond the natural deterministic diagrams. For example, diamonds are assumed to form naturally under great pressure and temperature over millions of years. We can simulate this in the lab, while speeding up the time factor (unnatural), to make synthetic diamond not found in nature. But even these with the altered time scale and addendum, have their own phase diagrams allowing one to pin point the sweet spots needed for maximum profit.

    What assists human will power, is human subjectivity, which is not always in touch with cause and effect, by definition. Subjectivity does not see the sharp lines of the phase diagrams of determinism but sees fuzzy lines. Say we form a theory for a newly discovered phenomena. If we can show some results in the lab they theory will have some merit. Say later later the theory is proven wrong, the initial theory and departure from the determinism of the final natural phase diagrams (real theory), is related to will power. When we create theory and challenge theory, we are creating and challenging the will power of others, in favor of a more pure natural determinism; remove the subjective elements. Theory is not a law and has free will elements.

    Statistics, although useful and practical contains its own circular assumption of randomness. This is a willful assumption since it appears to create the illusion that phase diagrams cannot exist, which we can prove to be untrue; subjective. Statistics, by the nature of is main premise, is willful math, since it implies the states between determinism that are not natural, but nevertheless subject to human will power.
    .
     
  10. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    I found a formal definition of what I am talking about.

    Downward causation
    - "causal relationship from higher levels of a system to lower-level parts of that system: for example, mental events acting to cause physical events."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downward_causation
     
  11. Layman Totally Internally Reflected Valued Senior Member

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    Quantum mechanics and larger scale physics are incompatible. If they are not incompatible solely due to our inability to make them incompatible, then they could be incompatible due to them actually being incompatible in physical reality. If they are actually incompatible due to an aspect of physical reality, then events on the quantum scale cannot be determined to have a single consequence on macroscopic bodies. Then the brain uses quantum effects to think. Therefore, determinism couldn't ever be present from the mind to someones actions.
     
  12. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    Quantum uncertainty doesn't make it easier for free will to exist. "Random will" is not the same thing as "free will". Free will actually needs to have precise control over physical consequences. If something is uncertain, free will must be able to make it determined. Just like if something is predetermined, free will must be able to make uncertain.
     
  13. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    It's determined by omniscience, but free will is how and what. We can know and determine someone's near future, but only by there free will will they reach that point. Omni can even help you, but you need your free will to operate.
     
  14. Layman Totally Internally Reflected Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but you are assuming that "random will" would be able to follow in line with determinism. Even "random will" would not be able to be deterministic because of the incompatibility of quantum mechanics and other physical theories. Quantum uncertainty has nothing to do with my argument! I am simply stating that any types influences quantum mechanical actions would have on a body would not be able to be accurately determined rather they are uncertain or not.
     
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Paranormal, yes, in as much as it would need to be something that violates the laws of physics (even if those laws are not as understood by us today). But I wouldn't want to label it further than that, so as not to bring in unnecessary baggage from such terms.
    I haven't come across a compatabilist argument that gets past the notion of freewill being a matter of appearance rather than underlying reality. Once someone goes merely by how freewill appears to our consciousness to be acting then they can no longer address the issue of what is really going on, as they are limited to the appearance only. I.e. If the appearance matches reality or not, they would not be able to tell.

    Since I don't think freewill is possible, it would take the same to achieve as I think any other impossible thing would take: magic!

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    I don't think quantum uncertainty is relevant, as discussed.
    I think the best we can hope for is to unravel how the "illusion" arises and how this then impacts, if at all (despite what those who argue from fear of consequence would claim), our relationship with ourselves and others.
    I don't think its as simple as the passive observer. I think the consciousness is part and parcel of the causal chain, so I'm not sure it can be separated quite as simply.
    If it was not part of the chain then consciousness would be an irrelevancy, and I'm not sure it is.
    I think consciousness is a vast feedback loop as well as a prediction machine, those predictions feeding back into the causal chain. Freewill can be seen as the perception of our consciousness having an influence in an action where we have assessed another outcome might have otherwise happened.
    So while our consciousness is involved in the "decision", and we are aware of that involvement, I still don't consider it "free" as it is still just adhering to the laws. We just perceive it to be "free" due to the awareness of involvement and lack of knowledge of all the elements of the chain (down to the micro-level and lower).
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Can it do something different than it would do anyway? No, by definition. If it is going to do it anyway (i.e. regardless of what else happens) then that's what it is going to do.
    Can it do something that you cannot predict? Yes.
    Definitely. We cannot predict what will happen, thus it can happen more than one way.
    All physical matter moves only as the constraints of the laws of physics allows. That is, very often, more than one way. Decay of radioisotopes is a good example. Must an atom behave according to the four forces that act on it? Yes. Might it do more than one thing? Yes. It might decay, it might not.
    Ah! If you are asking "can your mind make a decision that changes what your body is going to do" then the answer is definitely yes.
     
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    This is a non sequituur: just because we cannot predict something does not in itself mean that it can happen more than one way. The unpredictability may be due to inability to accurately measure / know the starting conditions, and if you throw a modicum of chaos into this then we end up with an unpredictable, even if wholly deterministic, system.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    However, in this case we know it is _impossible_ to measure starting conditions accurately enough. Thus we cannot know what the system will do, and such systems cannot be described as deterministic outside the bounds the uncertainty principle places on those predictions. (Fortunately, many systems out there are deterministic _enough_ that we can accurately model them, as long as we care only about gross response.)
     
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    It seems that we are considering indeterminism as slightly different: scientific indeterminism ("no event is certain" - per wiki) or philosophical indeterminism (event is not caused / not caused deterministically)? I am very much of the philosophical bent, given that this is a thread about free-will. And in the philosophical understanding, I do not see how predictability impacts on whether the system is deterministic or not, as you seem to suggest?
     
  20. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    I want to explore exactly that one single aspect of it, and go as far as logically possible. I want to know what, where, and how "free will" could possibly "violate" the laws of physics, practical mechanics of it, and then see if there is any plausible way for that to be actually true.


    Magic, indeed. And I want to know exactly what kind of magic it would need to be. What does it really take.


    I never thought about it that way. That's exactly right, a prediction machine. That could be the purpose, i.e. evolutionary selection criteria. Memory and anticipation, the ability to predict the future events based on the past, it's useful thing, thus nature favored it and so it evolved.


    I very much agree. But I also think there could be more to it. Let's put it in the perspective first:

    * atom is system of quantum particles
    * molecule is system of atoms
    * cell is system of molecules [ALIVE] [AWARE?]
    * organism is system of cells [ALIVE] [CONSCIOUS]
    * family is system of organisms
    * race is system of families
    * ecosystem is system of races
    * planet is system of ecosystems
    * solar system is system of planets
    * galaxy is system of solar systems
    * universe is system of galaxies


    All of these systems are supposed to be direct consequence of quantum particles interaction, nothing else. And yet, for some reason, only few of these systems we recognize as "alive" and only one system we consider can be "conscious". The question is not only where "alive" and "conscious" really begin, but also where they end. Is it possible then an ecosystem or a planet, for example, have their own "consciousness" that we can not be aware of, just like molecules in our brain can not individually be aware of our own consciousness, which is on some "higher level" and exists only as a collective manifestation. I'm talking about this relation between the parts and their collective-self entity, and how this collective-self thing could possibly influence the function of its parts if it's the parts who define collective-self behavior to begin with. The causality obviously goes only one way, but what does it take for it to go any other way?
     
  21. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

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    That doesn't change anything about relation between the mind and the body. The mind can either control the body or it can not, and to control it means being able to control the laws of physics. I don't know how to make this logical connection any more obvious, just have in mind that it goes further beyond subjective appearances and opinions.
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, no, it's not an either-or thing. You have control over many voluntary functions of your body but not many involuntary functions.
    That's odd. I can control my arms without "controlling the laws of physics."
     
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I think he has been told that at least 10 times in another thread.
     

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