What is free will?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by fess, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    29,382
    No, I don't.
    I specifically and repeatedly and with examples and argument and observation, over and over and over, point out that the human is and always will behave strictly according to the script and all natural laws. The human being is part of the natural universe. That is central and basic and repetitively invoked in all my posts here.

    Why do you suppose you are unable to read my posts?
    Gibberish. I'm not "insinuating" anything, and I'm insisting on Bolt's complete determination in all of his actions.
    Instead of wandering off on implications and insinuations, how about you read the posts?
    In the driver's mind, as determined, prior to the decision.
    That question has been asked and answered something like a dozen times now. You guys aren't exactly quick on the uptake.
    Usain Bolt, of course. That's what the universe determined.
    I was surprised to find QQ tangled in that metaphor error - even more surprised to find anyone else confused by coincidental language, on a science forum.
    The word "likewise" is a fundamental error. That's not how natural laws work.
    And insisting that the deterministic nature of reality denies freedom of any kind, by assumption like that, is of course the standard supernatural assumption you deny making, every time you make it. You would be better off going with "trivial" instead of non-existent - that way your conflict with basic engineering and physics would not be quite so flagrant.
    Good question. Worth a great deal of study. We know - for starters, for absolute certainty - that the behavior itself (the stuff that is scripted) is quite different. Humans routinely and as a basic aspect of their nature make decisions based on information and criteria, for example - planets, as far as we know, do not. That's an entire logical level of difference, that kind of mental processing.
    Are you unfamiliar with the universe specified and stipulated to (by me) for this thread? It was your idea, your universe - deterministic etc. If you don't know what it is, I'm not sure how to help you.
     
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  3. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Then if you truly accept that reality is deterministically scripted, then before the driver was born his choice to stop at the light had already been deterministically written in stone. So when the driver approaches the light, there is no actual alternative to this predetermined action.
    How can Bolt determine his actions if they were universally determined before his birth?
    In the drivers mind only, because in reality the driver did’t actually have a choice of whether to stop or go.
    I would say that the universe expresses thoughts through Bolt, just as music is expressed through an instrument by a player.
    You’ve already apparently agreed that the driver’s predetermined choice at the light left him no freedom in the outcome, so any freedom in regards to an engineering model could only exists in an imaginary sense within the model, because real objects only have definite behavior, with no freedom of deviation.
    What you term as a decision, a process that is based on information and criteria, is not fundamentally unlike the processes that also involve information and criteria that determine the behavior of planets. In both cases information is sensed, processed, and acted upon according to the characteristic nature of each.
     
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    How many times do you need this repeated? How about I hand you a teddy bear with a string you can pull, that repeats the answer to that question in a reassuring tone of voice?
    Why not? The driver certainly has the necessary capabilities, and makes their decision accordingly.
    Yep. Note the role of the player, and Bolt: they are the part of the universe that is doing what you (correctly) say the universe is doing. That's how the universe does such things.
    The driver's mind is part of reality. In this case, the driver's mind is the very part that absolutely did - right there in front of everyone - choose whether to stop or go. That's how the universe determines such things.
    Of course - nothing supernatural allowed, including time travel or reversal of cause and effect. Repeated. Over and over and over.
    There is no such thing as a freedom to go back in time and change an outcome or its precursory events. If you rule out the supernatural - as we have - there is no freedom in any outcome. Determinism has nothing to do with that - it's true of all outcomes, determined or not.
    There is nothing "imaginary" about a degree of freedom. And we are talking about the driver, not a model.
    Apparently we have now descended from bricks and thermostats to elementary forces such as gravity, and are now drawing an equivalence - a "fundamental" identity - between the fall of an apple and the mental processes set in motion by its hitting Newton on the head.
    Have I mentioned the air of comedy, even slapstick, this topic has generated? Planets that choose to obey the laws of gravity after due consideration of information received, capabilities that appear and disappear from people depending on what will happen in the future, observed mental events that alternate invisibly (while under observation) between mirage and reality based on "input" that has yet to even exist - - - -

    Yeah, it is. Planets do not behave mentally - nothing they do approaches that logical level.
    One of the characteristic natures being that of a mind, the other that of a rock. But feel free to explain how your mental processes and information acquisitions and complexities of response - unlike, say, a fruit fly's - have no significant differences from those of a rock.
     
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  7. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Until you stop contradicting yourself, like you’re about to do below.
    Because you agreed above that the driver’s decision was already established before the event occurs. So how is it possible that another option exists in regards to the driver’s choice?
    So you agree that Bolt is being played by his universe, with no more options of the tune he expresses than Geddy Lee’s base guitar.
    If the mental process that dictates the driver’s behavior at the light was determined before the driver existed, how can that be considered a choice between alternatives? The driver was always going to make a single determined act, not possibly another. So the notion of alternatives only exists in the mind of the driver, and could never be actualized.
    Determinism implies that there is no freedom in any part of the process, behaviors and outcomes included.
    That statement is not consistent with a deterministic system. As far as the physical behavior of the real objects involved in the scenario there can be no deviation from their determined action, so there are no degrees of freedom associated with their behavior. The only place for degrees of freedom is in an imagined model of the scenario, where there is no certainty as to the outcome.
    What’s laughable is that you can’t seem to grasp the central point that it’s not the differences in the processes that matter, but that their dynamics and outcomes are all predetermined. The mental dynamics of a driver and the orbital dynamics of a planet are both processes that don’t involve options to do otherwise than was determined by universal dynamics. Human choice is deterministically equivalent to the orbital path of a planet.
    Like I said above, the differences in the processes isn’t the key issue, it’s that they are all determined by the evolutionary dynamics of the whole. Choice is simply a description of a mental process of selection, but there is nothing in that mental process that is deterministically more free than the process of a rock rolling down a hill.
     
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  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    29,382
    If you are simply going to assume that, declare it to be so without any consideration of this discussion, and think you are making some kind of point, you haven't read a single post of mine with comprehension.
    That's how the universe determined things.
    Do you really need to invent some kind of back story - how the driver learned to stop as well as go, how the driver learned to use the color of a traffic light as a decision criterion, how the driver came to what they are, etc etc - in order to comprehend the situation? Frankly, I doubt it would help you. You're still tangled up in a spurious necessity for supernatural powers in decision making.
    Now you are in conflict with observation, as well as reason.
    The driver's alternatives and capabilities are observed facts.
    Alternatives that are never "actualized" outnumber the few that are by orders of magnitude. Not being "actualized" in the future has nothing to do with their existence now.
    The notions in the mind of the driver are irrelevant. People make unconscious decisions all the time, and the example was chosen to reflect that.
    Nonsense. Of course it is.
    I understand it fine. It's a mistake, is the problem. You are wrong about that. The processes matter. The predetermination does not matter.
    The root of your error is reasoning from faulty and unexamined presumptions.

    For example, in your need to deny the existence of observed capabilities (to get rid of the degrees of freedom involved in making decisions, which conflict with the presumption of freedom requiring supernatural powers) you have made whimsical hash of stuff like timelines and sequences - whatever you need to cover the hash you have made of basic causality and all of your arguments for a deterministic universe in the first place. Future events do not determine present circumstances because they themselves are (pre)determined. It's the other way around - present circumstances and behaviors (pre, if you insist for some confused reason)determine future events. The capability of the driver to decide whether to stop or go - the existence of those alternatives, from which the driver chooses - is part of what determines the future event.

    The processes are what matter most.
    No.
    Pay attention - I have repeated this often enough that further demands for repetition would be trolling:
    Bolt is part of the universe.
    In this case, Bolt is the part of the universe doing the running, including the choosing of speeds and so forth. That's how the universe determines that behavior - it generates a part of itself called "Usain Bolt", equips this part of itself with the necessary options and capabilities for making all the decisions involved, and so forth. That's how it "plays".

    Likewise with guitar players, etc. When you say "the universe plays the guitar", you are correct in a sense, but you are in danger of overlooking how the universe does that. If you declare an actual conflict between the universe playing the guitar and a guitar player making the decisions and performing the necessary tasks, you are badly confused.
    The evolutionary dynamics of the whole are not involved in the examples here - driver and light being the simplest and clearest, btw. We have stipulated that they are deterministic, and strictly follow natural law - that gets us the situation at hand, and the issues at hand.

    The differences in the processes are where the differences in freedom of will reside (rocks don't even have wills).
    They are central to the issue.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  9. river

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    12,743
    Free-will , breaks from community thinking .

    Whether it be scientific or socially .
     
  10. river

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    And not for a negative reason
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Movement in the direction of greatest satisfaction.
     
  12. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

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    1,911
    Free-will is an illusion. If something, "will" then that is determined by definition. There is no such thing as a will that is free.

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