Free Will and Determinism

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

  1. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    Please stop making fun of yourself. What I said is well known logical fact. Which means, any belief that holds free will is possible is irrational as can not be explained according to logic or laws of physics. Basically, if you think you have free will you refuse to believe mainstream physics and instead choose to believe telekinesis or "mind over matter" is possible, with which I don't disagree, just saying.
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Well... The way I have tended to look at it is that every action is either the result of an interaction or it is uncaused/spontaneous.
    If it is the result of an interaction then the outcome is defined by the laws of physics, even if there is some indeterminism regarding the specific output/result... indeterminism from randomness is no more "free" than determinism.

    If the action is uncaused then it is either random (and the same non-free nature persists) or non-random.
    And it is this latter case, the uncaused non-random action, that would allow for freewill, given that at best the other options are randomly indeterministic, and at worst deterministic.

    But what does it mean to be uncaused and non-random?
    To be uncaused it must, literally, have no preceding cause... it must be an effect without a cause. Such events do occur (although others may consider them due to hidden variables): the decay event of a radioactive atom is seemingly uncaused, for example.
    To be non-random it must be decided upon beforehand. So in the case of the radioactive decay, if the timing of the decay was non-random then something must decide when it is to decay.

    But if it is both uncaused and non-random then something must decide the outcome of the event, but in doing so it must have no causal relationship to the event such that the event can remain uncaused.

    Et voila! Magic.

    This is why I see freewill as illusory, because only uncaused non-random events can give rise to it. Otherwise the "freewill" we refer to is judged purely on the appearance by our consciousness of making a choice. And such a "freewill" clearly exists, even if it is not the genuine freewill we are discussing here.

    "Alive" and "conscious" are merely descriptors of patterns of activity that we recognise (or ourself and in others).
    What determines something as "alive" scientifically is a matter for biologists (and medical doctors have their own considerations). But something along the lines of reproduction, metabolism, organisation etc. Judge your examples against those concepts.
    Likewise consciousness, if you can draw up a list or an understanding of what it means to be conscious.
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  5. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    You don't know what I'm talking about. Do you agree with this premise:

    1.) The brain function is a direct consequence of quantum particles interaction and nothing else. Yes?

    2.) The way physical matter moves is strictly defined by quantum particles interaction and nothing else. Yes?

    I can too control your arms by poking electrodes in your brain, and you would have no clue what's happening or why. Would it then be my will that is moving your arms, or would it be a consequence of the laws of physics governing electrical and chemical reactions in your body?
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Actually to claim free will has anything to do with the laws of physics, smells of those silly mind over matter and telekenisis beliefs.
    At last we have uncovered the agenda!

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  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    No, as anyone not with an agenda would see, it's controlling that arm by manipulating nerves, neurons and such.
    The laws of physics were established at the BB.
    Free will was established with Evolutionary progression.

    must go....things to do, places to see!!!
  9. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    I think that's not specific enough. It's the perspective as observed from the real physical world, in which "free will" and its cause is not necessarily detectable. We need to move into god-view or bird-view perspective so we can see the real world and the "magical" (unknown) world in the same time. In other words, if free will is to exist it is supposed to be a cause by itself. So the question is not really whether there is a cause or not, but whether the cause came as a direct consequence of the laws of physics, or it was caused by something else. "Something else" does not necessarily need to be paranormal, it could just be unknown and undetectable, right?

    I don't think we can say for anything that is uncaused. Radioactive decay doesn't vary from one lump of the same elements to another, so it has its rules, we just can't see them. Consider this, when we roll a dice each individual go may be "truly random", but after 1000 rolls each side is going to turn up about equal amount of times, so how random the whole thing really was?

    Both the brain and the Earth dynamic systems are only just a consequence of quantum particles interaction. So do you think it is possible for our planet to have some kind of conscious state similar to our own, or is there some fundamental difference between the two?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  10. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    So you realize then arms have no problem to move without consciousness and without free will?

    Completely out of the blue. Why did you say this, do you even know?
  11. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    What are you, some kind of science jihadist? Please spare us your irrelevant comments. If you want to join the conversation you should know at least some basics about it first, otherwise you're being rude.
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It is specific enough. If the cause is "something else" and not paranormal then it would still be behaving according to a law, albeit one that we are unaware of (and might always be unaware of). But the cause/interaction would still be governed by that law. And that law would, as do those we are aware of, at best allow for randomness.
    Whether we are aware of the cause or not is irrelevant to the notion that it is caused. If something is caused, whether we are aware of huge cause or not, either the cause obeys the universal laws (whether we are aware of them or not) or it does not.
    If it is caused and does not follow the universal laws, what causes it to behave the way it does?
    And if it is not caused (i.e. not only are we not aware of a cause but there is no cause) then it can only be uncaused.

    You say that freewill "is supposed to be a cause by itself"... but you fail to consider what caused that "freewill", and whether the interaction that gives rise to it is governed by the various laws. And if it exists without a cause then it is by definition uncaused.
    I.e. In order for freewill to exist then at some point you must conclude on something that is both uncaused and non-random.
    The outcome is random within its probability function. But it is still random.
    Also, whether or not you accept that something can be uncaused is neither here nor there... If something is caused and obeys the universal laws, there is no scope for freewill. IF you think something can be uncaused then the output is at best random (within a probability function) and there is no scope for freewill.
    So it doesn't matter if you think there are uncaused events or not, or whether such uncaused events are caused and are really just due to hidden mechanisms.

    And it still doesn't negate the conclusion that freewill would need to be something that is uncaused and non-random. I.e. Violates the universal laws.
    There is the matter of complexity of interactions and interconnectedness that lifts conscious entities above those without. And I think the key difference would be in the sense of freewill that I think accompanies (and is an aspect of) consciousness. To be conscious with no sense of freedom of will would be like riding inside something, unable to move or do anything... The proverbial passenger. I think consciousness is in part that sense of freedom of will, even if it is entirely illusory. The higher the level of freedom one perceives oneself to have, the more "conscious" one is. So ants would be fairly low, I'd think.

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    I do not think a planet would have that sense at all.
    When you get to a collection of conscious entities interacting, then they might be considered a conscious entity in their own right, but to be honest it is not something I have pondered before.
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The brain is mostly water; about 73%, with water having a unique feature that makes free will possible. This is feature is connected to the liquid state and can be demonstrated with osmosis. Osmotic pressure is a colligative property of water;

    What this all means is osmosis and osmotic pressure is not connected to EM force but is connected to randomization based on entropy. Entropy drives the solute and solvent to blend. As shown below, although osmosis is driven by entropy based randomization at the microscopic level, what results at the macroscopic level is a definitive pressure; osmotic pressure. It amounts to random generating a sense of order that is repeatable at the macro-scale.

    Because osmotic pressure is a colligative property I can start with any material that dissolves in water and as long as the solute count is the same and the volume of the water is the fixed, the randomization always leads to a deterministic pressure. In reverse osmosis, a definitive pressure can reverse randomization back into a state of order. One may speculate that free will could be generated if we could use a randomization process, at the chemical level, that leads to a definitive reaction at the macro-level; neurons.

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  14. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    I agree it is irrelevant, I didn't say otherwise. I said we must consider that it is undetectable. For free will to exist it does not necessarily need to be paranormal, it could simply be undetectable, true? In other words, if paranormal it's impossible, but if undetectable it can still be possible.

    What causes it to behave the way it does is "the laws we are not aware of". Everything is always caused. We need that premise, without it we can not arrive to anything realistic or plausible.

    Free will, if it exists, sure must have its causes and reasons beside being a cause by itself. Free will makes decisions based on memories and real-time sensory input. But that's just input, no problem there, the mystery is the output, i.e. how free will can manifest as a cause itself.

    I propose "free will" is caused, is not random, and it can control physical matter according to the laws of physics we are unaware of. Possible?

    I'm not even talking about random or non-random, it's all the same failure for free will if unable to precisely control it. We agree about that and pretty much everything else. The only difference is that I think there might be something more to it all. I think I should from now on argue free will can exists, or even that it does exist, to make the discussion more clear and focused.
  15. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    Exactly kind of thing I'm talking about. Where did you find about this, or is it you who came up with it?
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, it would not be possible, at least not how I see it.
    If it is merely undetectable but still adheres to the universal laws then there is still no scope for freewill anymore than if it was detectable and adheres to the laws. Why would the issue of being undetectable or not make something free of the universal/physical laws? Either it adheres to the laws or it does not.
    We can if we accept that uncaused events are random (within a probability function). But for the sake of this discussion I will accept the premise that everything is caused.
    If freewill has causes and is purely the product of those causes, and those causes adhere to the universal laws, the output (the decision) is not free. This would be the case whether those universal laws, or causes, are detectable or not.
    Freewill can not exist in a universe where everything is purely the product of interactions that adhere to the universal laws, other than as a term we use to describe the perception of our self-determination. But a perception is all it is.
    I would say no, unless you are describing a freewill that is merely our conscious perception of activity.
    Our ability to control matter is all according to laws that we do understand: maths, forces, energy, mechanics, biology etc.
    The decision to raise an arm, for example, comes after a series of interactions, in the brain and out of it, part of which our conscious picks up on and, as part of the overall process, the overall chain of interactions, it perceives itself as making a choice. The arm is then raised.
    But the causal chain did not start in the brain, with our consciousness. It only thinks it did. Hence it thinks it made a choice. Hence it thinks it has freewill.
    Okay. But if you argue that it is possible by inserting some undetectable cause which adheres to an undetectable law, you are still faced with the same inability for the output to be free as if you were detecting those things. You just simply wouldn't be aware of it, and would (as we do even now) conclude you have freewill based on the perception of it. But this would speak nothing for what is actually going on.
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    And how exactly would such a process lead to the generation of freewill? All you are doing here is showing how a locally randomised process can lead to a determined output, which all adhere to known laws.
    So where in all of this is the possibility of freewill? How would it be generated?
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Brain function is a direct consequence of ALL interactions within the brain, from quantum to macroscopic.
    Again, it is defined both by quantum particle interaction and more macroscopic events. If you want to deconstruct all macroscopic events and say "when that rock hits you on the head, it's really the valence electrons of the rock repelling the valence electrons of your head at a quantum level" then you could claim it's all particle interaction.
    It would be an external event controlling your body. (However, keep in mind that your will is also a "consequence of the laws of physics governing electrical and chemical reactions in your body.")
  20. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    You're right. It lacks magic, let me redefine that. "Undetectable" = not free of the laws of physics, but an emergent property in the brain that can, for example, amplify the laws of physics at some specific locations depending on the geometrical arrangement and the dynamics. It's not quite "free", but is able to actually interact with the "outside world" instead of only being a passive observer with an illusion of interacting. Isn't that something?
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    How can one "amplify the laws of physics"?
    Does E suddenly = 2 MC^2? or MC^3?
    I'm confused.

    All you now seem to be talking about is the emergent property of consciousness and/or freewill having top-down causal efficacy, which would certainly appear to exercise "freewill", but you then fail to explain how what it does is actually free.
    And you actually say that it is not quite "free"... if it is not free can it be "freewill" in any regard other than as an appearance/perception? Isn't "not quite free" the same as "a little bit pregnant"?

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  22. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the placebo effect seems to suggest it can.
    i doubt if it "changes the laws of physics" though.
    does this apply?
  23. humbleteleskop Banned Banned

    That's the "magic" (unknown), the laws of physics we are not aware of, say some weird quantum or maybe aether effect. I think it's not completely unreasonable in this desperate situation for free will. I have no any argument without it.

    Yeah, it definitively needs some kind of independence, which doesn't really seem to be possible, but I'm not giving up, yet.

    It's not free from determinism, it's only more "real" in that it can provide actual physical feedback. It needs independence, maybe the answer will come to me in a dream tonight. Tonight or never, and so it shall be.

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