Free will ~ A product of imagination

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Quantum Quack, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Of course. Each term describes a different causality for the "emerging" imagionary thought.
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  3. Dazz Registered Senior Member

    Any given set of choices is caused yet, it still gives room for imagination and, with imagination on the move, a wide range of situations/other choices may result. That as far as imagination goes.
    Imagination allows me to between red and blue, choose yellow. Althought in most cases it would be impractical (due to the laws of physics), it is still another choice given to us by our imagination.

    @Q Q
    No questions asked.
    Althought it does not account for the right to will itself, it is a pretty easy concept to be grasped.

    Is it certain to associate free will with wantonness?

    2. deliberate and without motive or provocation;
    uncalled-for; headstrong; willful: Why jeopardize
    your career in such a wanton way?

    I was much more sure of that before looking for that in the dictionary.
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  5. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    I see where you are coming from, however your contention is easily taken up by the determinist school regarding causation and the laws of physics.

    This will lead to a continuation of inconclusive debate and not one I wish to get into.

    The most important issue IMO, is how the determinist can conclude that the ability to produce fiction, including fictional choices and decisions, based on reality or other wise can be refuted as/from being evidence of freewill.

    I have yet to see adequate refutation other than claims of the same determinist line that the capacity of humans to produce fiction (reality based or other wise) refutes.

    Especially so if one considers that the "laws of physics" causes the capacity to produce fiction uninhibited by those very same laws and causes.
    How do you think the determinist school can refute the above? any ideas?
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  7. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    To be clear... do you see any of that as bein uncaused/not part of a causal chain.???

    To make sure i understand... i have the same queston for you:::

    Do you see any of what you jus described as bein uncaused/not part of a causal chain.???
  8. Dazz Registered Senior Member

    Hmm... Yup, it is somewhat althought, without my intention on doing so.

    What can i say. I discontinued a conversation previously and this led me to some kind of derailment. My bad.

    Well, i've not tried to do so. Not consciously at least. Maybe i have tried to put some counter-argument here and there, just for arguments' sake maybe. I don't really remember...

    Hitherto we have not, because the free will exceeds our grasp and is uncharted (we don't know where it begins nor ends [and that's what i wanted to put on the table all along]).
    And. Honestly, i do not see how determinism and free will can ultimately not tie together since, we are putting causalities here and there for every single aspect of it, or trying to, to either try to refute or strenghten the claim that free will is a product of imagination.
    Last but not least, if we put free will on the same aspect of the right to will or/and wantonness, this would imho draw a really good line where we can measure and/or know what exactly free will is all about, and stops being imagination and starts being the thing in itself.
    It is just too silly to go around, shooting in the dark, trying to speculate over something we can barely denote.

    How would it be uncaused? Or, how would it not have a cause?
    I'm answering by asking btw.
    And, as above mentioned " Honestly, i do not see how determinism and free will can ultimately not tie together ". For the ones with doubts.
  9. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Magic/Gods :shrug:
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Yes, our paths converge or "thanks for getting it", Yazata. The causal contributions from a person's past are still part of that person's be-ing. Any regulating beliefs and innate / acquired tendencies that either restrict me to a range of choices -- or compel me to do / prevent me from doing certain things -- belong to my particular life history.

    Chance factors could play a minor role in creative thought and decision-making, just as mutations do in an otherwise constrained process of evolution. But a biological system would not exist to begin with if it was completely scheme-less, if it did not conform to reliable patterns of function and structure (i.e., would otherwise just be another disorganized jumble of matter). So "free" cannot refer to an absence of all regulation, a constant roll of the dice. It's rather the person being self-governing according to his / her nature, free to exercise his / her locally-spawned habits and plans or to suppress them if a situation demands that. (A lifeless, brainless scarecrow can do neither.)

    The "will" of the human body is generated internally, not externally. Causation and receptivity to conditioning are actually an essential part of its execution and development, not against it.
  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    try fiction!!
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    This would depend on what you consider freewill to be, how you define it.
    Some, like CC and Yazata, would see its key point as being a mechanism/process that is almost entirely driven by internal activity... if the choice made is due to factors that make up the person, then this is what they might consider to be freewill.
    Certainly this could be compatible with determinism (or probabilism).

    But the question here would be whether the process is in any way "free": if freewill can not be said to be "free" then is it truly freewill?
    And determinism can not lead to anything that is truly free, only to something that has an outward appearance of being free, where the unfree process and mechanism of choice, whatever it may be, is hidden from conscious view and thus our consciousness interprets it as being free.
    This would be like our freewill being a black-box that produces unpredictable outputs.
    If freewill is judged by where the blackbox resides, and where most of the inputs come from, then this can be compatible with determinism. But if freewill is judged by how the output relates to the inputs, and not just the inputs we are consciously aware of but every minute, atomic, quark-level input (and smaller), then a deterministic process within the blackbox would mean that for a given set of inputs there can only be one output.
    That we are not consciously aware of all the inputs, and in fact would only ever be aware of the gross level inputs, gives rise to the illusion that the output is somehow free from the inputs.
    But in a deterministic universe this can not be... every set of inputs has a unique output.

    But even if the universe is not deterministic, and the output to a given set of inputs is not unique, does this allow for "free" choice?
    I would argue no, at least if the alternative to determinism is some element of randomness (hidden variables etc). As randomness is still not "free".

    So that is why, at least with regard my view of what freewill needs to be in order to be considered genuine (I.e. It needs to be free), freewill is incompatible with determinism. And why any appearance of freedom in the choices we make is merely an interpretation by our consciousness because it simply can not be aware of the vast number and complexity of inputs into the decision making process. So it looks at the "causes" it is aware of, and we assume freewill because we appear to have "free" choices with regard those conscious causes.
    But are we genuinely free if we consider not just the causes we are conscious of, but all the causes we are unconcsious of?

    If someone starts with a definition of freewill that only considers the causes we are conscious of, their view of whether freewill exists or not might be different.

    As for the question of imagination, what we deem to be imagination would play a part in whatever mechanism of choice there is, irrespective of whether we deem freewill to be genuine or illusory. Thus any argument that imagination proves freewill to be genuine, if this is indeed their argument, is flawed: If Q is required for P, does it mean that the presence of Q proves the existence of P?

    The nature of our imagination, the ability to extrapolate a simulation that conceptually operates with different laws, is itself no evidence for the real ability to violate those laws. The imagination still operates according to those laws. The same way a computer operates according to those laws even though the screen may show you a universe that appears to operate with different laws (just play any computer game). Such things (imagining something that appears to defy the laws of our universe) would thus be illusory.
    In the same way that if one thinks freewill appears to defy the laws of the universe then we would deem freewill to be illusory.
    And as the thread title suggests: a genuine freewill would indeed be a product of the imagination.

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    Much like unicorns, elves, dwarves et al.
  13. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    and not to forget choices and decisions as being also a part of that product of imagination (fiction) just as elves, dwarves, unicorns et al.
    at least we agree....

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  14. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I think you are correct, IMO, in that the "laws of physics" provides a "playground" for us humans to work our imaginations upon. This means that of course determinism happening upon that "playground" can provide excellent inspiration for those who wish to, by choice, play with it.

    In a philosophical sense, the "all actions" whether that be imagined or other wise are "relative" to something... Example: to act is relative to inaction... blue is relative to all other colours etc.
    To imagine a flying pig is to apply a relationship to that which exists as a non-flying pig, to the impossible etc...
    So in this sense the idea that determinism does have a bearing on choice is true but only in terms of relativity. IMO
    The universe inspires our creativity, that, there is no doubt of.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    The problem is in the perceptions of the thought process. Thought is a bio chemical process which responds in a predictable chemical way to sensory stimulation. This we know. The thought process is deterministic in accordance with physical laws.

    But what causes sensory input to affect us emotionally. Why do we cringe when we see someone hit his thumb with a hammer? We are not the one getting hurt!
    Yet our body responds biochemically as if it was injured by the other guy's misfortune.

    IMO, Imagination it is a function of the Mirror Neural Network (our brain's RAM function) which has been taught to correlate certain inputs into an idea (formed thought).
  16. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    I am not convinced that thought can be seen as you describe aka deterministic in accordance to the laws of physics.
    Creative thinkers utilize imagination, thus thinking can be seen as a product of imagination.
    Certainly some levels of thinking are directly related to sensory input, but thinking about flying pigs, unicorns and future/fantasy decisions and choices may be a complete fiction and not reliant upon sensory inputs other than base line thoughts about those ever present sensory inputs.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I tend to see imagination as a product of thinking, not the other way around.

    I agree and shows the flexibility of our ability to interpret sensory information. Someone sees a bird in flight and asks "how can I do that". Today we fly around the world. OTOH, we are often wrong in our experience of reality also. It is the inherent limitation of trying to make sense out of trillions of data bits streaming throught our brain. Optical illusions are proof how easily our perceptions can be falsified.

    Perhaps we can use the "idiot savant" as an example of a brilliant mathetical mirror neural network or musical neural network abilities, but at cost of mirror neural network development in other areas.

    IMO, imagination is an ability of a type of neural network to take seemingly unrelated events and see a common dynamic or function. It requires the early exposure to fascinating and unusual natural phenomena and explanations why things are so. IOW. early education.
  18. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    There is, I believe, a fundamental philosophical misdirection involved in current thinking about how the brain works and functions.
    I believe the human brain is by far more clever and simple in it's evolved design than we currently believe it to be.
    You mentioned mirror neural network and such and it is the word "mirror" or "mirroring" that is better used to describe brain function as distinct to the use of words like "process" or processing.

    Suffice to say I believe the brain actually does very little "processing" of sensory data in that it tends to reflect/mirror and react accordingly. This simplifies the process considerably IMO and allows the brain the capacity to go well beyond it's mundane every day tasks of simple (to it) perception, awareness and co-ordination etc...

    I have reason to believe as I do, due to sever health issues 30 odd years ago and the therapies I have had to self derive to recover to the point I am now and always those therapies involved mirroring, reflections and evolving the mirror, repairing the mirror and getting the mirror to better represent me as I am rather than a severely distorted mirror that my health and societal conditioning issues created.

    IMHO The brain is incredible, utterly efficient and quite perfect if allowed to be, with out the "psycho somatic" implications of erroneous beliefs and apparent and most often inaccurate knowledge.

    yes much can be learned from those who exhibit incredible mathematical /musical and other visualizations with out the need to "process" anything...
    That a result of say 123.34 ^3 can be imagined rather than computed. Or a complete Orchestral symphony "heard" (imagined) before composition.
    The cost as you put it could be due to acute sensory tunneling. Where a certain blindness and deafness is created by over amplification of certain types of sensory reflections.

    I recall writing a short satire concerning this issue years ago,

    When Dr Livingston meets Tarzan in forests of Africa.

    The Doctor proudly attempts to tell Tarzan that everything he experiences is a process of computation, a process of sensory informational interpretation , a universal reconstruction all done inside his tiny head.
    To which Tarzan replies:
    "Are you daft!?"
    "I look to the East, to the high mountain ranges with the clouds surrounding their peaks and as I slowly turn my gaze to the West towards the bay with it's ships and harbor, You are saying that during those few moments of turning and taking in the view as I do so, I have had to reconstruct and extrapolate bits of information to gather what I am looking at...and what I am feeling as I look in 4 dimensions as well. And what's more any one doing the a same thing would derive very similar results in their turning. Are you nuts!?"

    Basically for the brain to do as conventionally thought, the part of the brain devoted to "emulating by reconstruction" would have to be evidently massive and well beyond the size that could fit on top of a complex functioning human body. It would be evident in a massive amount of neural brain tissue devoted exclusively to such a feat. I don't believe current brain mapping has shown this to be the case.
    Being an intricate and sophisticated muscular/neural mirror make so much more sense... and is energy cost effective as well.

    ...just thoughts and entirely unqualified at that...
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    IMO, everything is the result of a causal chain. This is what creates a timeline for that chain. To me it is a question of "could I have done differently under the given circumstances"?
    As an ex-professional musician (playing a lot of jazz) I often wondered why I played different notes to achieve a different feel (but in the same environment) on certain occasions. The "mood" of the room?

    So it comes down to "free choice", but no matter what you choose, the potential for your choice has already been established by your experience in the past. But it only presents a probability of any future choices, thus while deterministic, the future is "uncertain".

    But we adore imagination because it takes us away from our daily experience. Oddly, this can be done without thought in physics. A simple sequence reiteration
    (fractal) can create the most profoundly beautiful images. Thus the causality is a single multiplication command...

    (In regard to the holographic ability of the brain, it has nothing to do with skull size. The brain is processing biochemichal exchanges and from that receives an "impression", but oddly our actual attention span is extremely limited and narrowly focused....

    On the whole I know that every "result" is the product of a "causality", but we have the ability to choose, based on our perception of our environment.

    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  20. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    "Freedom to choose what causes we allow to influence us" perhaps?
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    If you are proposing a probabilistic universe, this is not deterministic, but inherently indeterministic. Determinism can lead to practical uncertainty, sure, but in a deterministic universe a given set of inputs will certainly lead to a specific output.

    In a probabilistic universe, the given inputs will lead to a plurality of possible outputs governed by a specific probability function. But the selection out of those individual possible outputs would be random.
    Yet you don't address the question of what "choice" is, how the decision is reached etc.
    A common line in this debate is to agree that the possible outputs are arrived at through causality... but then a choice is made, with no reference to how other than to beg the question of "freewill".
    In other words, there might be agreement that the options of A, B and C represent possible outputs based on causality, but the "freewill", the "ability to choose" is somehow kept out of the same line of thinking, and merely applied at the end in order for there to be one output.

    One needs to look at how the choice is arrived at. And in a deterministic universe, and even in an indeterministic universe where the laws of the universe are inviolate, there is simply no scope for the choice to be "free", as each output in the chain of causality is in adherence to those laws. There is at best an element of randomness in the output that occurs, but that is it.

    And if one accepts this then it becomes clear that any apparent "choice", any feeling of freedom of choice, is merely an illusion created by our consciousness, because we can not be aware of all the minutiae of causes at the microscopic levels from which our consciousness emerges.
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree with all you say. But IMO the "randomness" you speak of is much more than "that's it" (consider the butterfly effect) but might be due to the simple choice from an emotional response or state of mind from an observed event a moment before the choice is made..

    happy = strawberry ice cream and ........................
    sad = chocolate ice cream and ....................

    I agree wholeheartedly.
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The "butterfly effect" is an issue of chaos, not of determinism or indeterminism.
    Both deterministic and indeterministic processes can be chaotic... All it takes is for the output to be highly sensitive to the input. Just look at the classical three-body problem of gravity for a process that is highly sensitive and thus chaotic, even when modelled in a deterministic computer environment.

    Note that when I say randomness I do mean genuine randomness, not merely pseudo-randomness, or practical unpredictability. But randomness due to ultimately "hidden variables" such as with the timing of radioactive decay etc. one could argue that all such randomness is merely "hidden variables" at the quantum level and beyond, but whether it is truly randomness or deterministic but with such hidden variables makes no difference, although hints at the nature of the illusion that our consciousness gives rise to.

    Also, by saying that it might be due to the "simple choice..." immediately begs the question of how the choice is arrived at... how one actually makes the choice... the process involved.
    I.e. You set up the choice, the options, but then you stop short of applying the same thinking to the actual process of "choice".
    And it is not where that process takes place that, in my view, is important. "Self-determination" is merely a descriptor of location of the process, and what most of the immediate inputs might be. And this is where most compatabilists seem to head to: concluding on freewill based on location.
    But whether freewill is truly "free" or not requires an examination of the actual process, regardless of location.

    Then I fail to see where your sense of compatabilism arises? Is it merely due to not wanting to ruffle feathers? Or some nagging suspicion / doubt as to concluding freewill to be illusory (the classic appeal to emotion and consequence that others certainly have displayed)?

    Dammit, man! Jump off the fence!

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