windaelicker

WTF!

Continued from free will redux

We last left off at Sunday free will: “pseudo-dualism” at whyevolutionistrue:

Jeff Johnson

Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

That’s not what I was talking about. What I described is deterministic.

To make it more concrete: the options are chocolate and vanilla. There are possible states in the brain that result in the choice of vanilla, and possible states the result in the choice of chocolate. Which of these states I reach will depend on the initial state and the inputs.

When the brain is presented with the choice, it has criteria that will be used to select either of the two options. It chooses the option deterministically based on some algorithm that maximizes the satisfaction of the subjective criteria for “what will taste best right now” or something like that.

The choice is made from the two options, it was done using a deterministic algorithm, and the choice could not have been otherwise given the initial state of the brain.

This description emphasizes the incompatibilist view, which is based on materialism and physical laws of determinism.

Here is an additional way to look at the situation that emphasizes what I think compatibilists often try to point out, which connects determinism with some notion of human subjective freedom:

Imagine I were to enter an empty room with a chair and a table and two bowls of ice cream, one chocolate and one vanilla, and I were told to sit down and wait until I hear a command on a speaker telling me to pick up and eat the bowl I want.

After time t1 I hear the command and I choose chocolate. I could not have chosen otherwise because the state of my brain determined it. (But interestingly the state of my brain can change while waiting, so if the command had come at time t2 I might really have chosen differently than I did at time t1).

Now I leave the room, and the set up is restored to the original state, and I re-enter the room and repeat the experiment.

This time after t2 I choose vanilla. This is a deterministic choice that could not have been otherwise.

It is still important to people that on the second iteration I really could choose something different than I chose on the first iteration.

So on each choice I could not have chosen differently, but in the whole process involving two iterations of the experiment, I really could choose differently between t1 and t2. This is consistent with determinism because the brain changes states between t1 and t2. It is this flexibility of the brain to learn, remember, and readjust priorities for making selections that allows it to choose differently when faced with two different but highly similar situation. This is the basis for compatibilist freedom, which clearly is not dualistic free-will, and is clearly consistent with determinism.

None of this changes the importance for compatibilist to drop the phrase “free-will” and to realize they really are incompatibilists who emphasize human subjective experience and human subject/object interactions.

I think that incompatibilists seem to emphasize the actual physical structure and operation of the brain over how that plays out in every day human contexts.

Both are determinists, and both should avoid using the obsolute formulation “free-will”.

I replied:

tushcloots

Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

Jeff Johnson
Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

That’s not what I was talking about. What I described is deterministic.

To make it more concrete: the options are chocolate and vanilla. There are possible states in the brain that result in the choice of vanilla, and possible states the result in the choice of chocolate. Which of these states I reach will depend on the initial state and the inputs.
What initial state do you mean, exactly? You must be very precise; is it 5 minutes before, 5 secdonds, what?
When the brain is presented with the choice, it has criteria that will be used to select either of the two options. It chooses the option deterministically based on some algorithm that maximizes the satisfaction of the subjective criteria for “what will taste best right now” or something like that.
Or something like that? How would you know what it is like? I also see that you have included ‘subjective criteria’

FAIL!
FAIL!

You just undermined your whole argument, because you cannot decide which of your subjective values are most important, will produce the most appropriate emotional response, until you think about it.

YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOUR POSSIBLE SELECTIONS AND GAUGE WHAT MAKES YOU MOST HAPPY OR LIKELY TO SATISFY YOUR NEED, OR WANT, TO SELECT SOMETHING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Then you make your decision to speak, “Choco chip, my man,” or “I would prefer the vanilla iced cream, ya peasant. Snnnnnffff!”

You select the words which will convey your selection most appropriately, and trhis also entails cogitation and weighing possibilities emotionaly before you speak.

That’s what you said.

FAIL

The choice is made from the two options, it was done using a deterministic algorithm, and the choice could not have been otherwise given the initial state of the brain.

What deterministic algorithm? Pray, tell.
You just said,
“algorithm that maximizes the satisfaction of the subjective criteria for “what will taste best’”
How is this supposed to work, exactly, seeing you know it is an algorithm, what type of algorithm? In fact, I specifically am refering to NON DETERMINISTIC algorithms, from wikipedia:
Starting from an initial state and initial input (perhaps empty),[4] the instructions describe a computation that, when executed, will proceed through a finite [5] number of well-defined successive states, eventually producing “output”[6] and terminating at a final ending state. The transition from one state to the next is not necessarily deterministic; some algorithms, known as randomized algorithms, incorporate random input.
FAIL!

This description emphasizes the incompatibilist view, which is based on materialism and physical laws of determinism.
No, the compatibilist view is materialist and physical, incompatablists say that the free will is not compatable with physical laws of determinism + material.
[Not batting 1.000, are you?]

Here is an additional way to look at the situation that emphasizes what I think compatibilists often try to point out, which connects determinism with some notion of human subjective freedom:
You do realize that including subjectivity in the equation nullifies it as deterministic, don’t you?


Subjective = thinking about it.
FAIL
Imagine I were to enter an empty room with a chair and a table and two bowls of ice cream, one chocolate and one vanilla, and I were told to sit down and wait until I hear a command on a speaker telling me to pick up and eat the bowl I want.

After time t1 I hear the command yes? and I choose chocolate. That’s you. I might still be unsure, and withing fractions of a second I can consider both and then pick one. It might not be the best decision, in hindsight, but then I could just choose to take a little longer and then choose.

Most obviously, however, I have already thought is through in the ample time before ‘the command’ is issued.
FAIL
Your scenario is already meaningless, and you have only just described one possible instance of it!!

I could not have chosen otherwise because the state of my brain determined it. (But interestingly the state of my brain can change while waiting, so if the command had come at time t2 I might really have chosen differently than I did at time t1).
WTF?!? So what!!??!! no one in thier right mind, or in the real world, let’s someone else tell them, ahead of time no less, that they must make a final decision at a specific, but arbitrary, instant. It is bizarre to use this as representative of anything do to with our real life behavior. It is so far removed from the situations in which we DO make selections as to become inconsiswtent with any realistic scenario whatsoever. Fail

Now I leave the room, and the set up is restored to the original state, and I re-enter the room and repeat the experiment.

This time after t2 I choose vanilla. This is a deterministic choice that could not have been otherwise.
NON SEQUITOR DELUXE. Sorry, big time fail, again.

It is still important to people that on the second iteration I really could choose something different than I chose on the first iteration.
It is evenj more important that you can pick your own time to issue the command to make a selection, so in actuality, you could pick either t1 or t2 in the same situation, and you really could choose different at the same ‘time’, say the time dfference being 2 milliseconds, or 300, it is absolutely bizarre that because we can only MAKE one choice at any specific instant, we can voluntarily wait for .3 seconds, or whatever time frame you fancy, .00001 picosecond if you desire, the two situations are different physically, and the decision WHEN to decide is your own – subjectively, based on reaching some subjectively, consciously chosen and relative to the other available choices (not an absolute) threshold of emotional response.


Fail, this like shooting fish in a barrel, Jeff, I am not the slightest bit impressed

So on each choice I could not have chosen differently, but in the whole process involving two iterations of the experiment, I really could choose differently between t1 and t2. This is consistent with determinism because the brain changes states between t1 and t2. It is this flexibility of the brain to learn, remember, and readjust priorities for making selections that allows it to choose differently when faced with two different but highly similar situation.
Seperated by milliseconds This is the basis for compatibilist freedom, which clearly is not dualistic free-will, and is clearly consistent with determinism.
You nailed it. That is free will in a nutshell. The instant you include subjectivity, you include conscious evaluation, and that conscious evaluation is free will. It is not an ‘illusion’, that is what happens, you just described it to a ‘T’
You are a free-willist, a deterministic, materialistic, compatabilist free will believer
(According to the definition I have been using all along, and so how you could bring ‘traditional, millenia old basic concepts’ into your opinion of how we form our explanation for free will is even further beyond my understanding of why you don’t call what you described as free will.

Now do you understand what is meant by ‘voluntary’? We, subjectively, inside our heads, inside our imaginations, at our own subjective discretion, decide when to terminate the process and pick. Of course we only pick the only one possible, because we select the time when the only one possible matches our desire.
Furthermore, we might suddenly decide that we want Black Cherry, now that we think about it, and walk out and over to the Ice Milk Emporium in the Student Unionh building across the quad. Not only ‘when,’ but even ‘if’ we make a decision is subject to our conscious evaluation of the predetermined situation.

None of this changes the importance for compatibilist to drop the phrase “free-will” and to realize they really are incompatibilists who emphasize human subjective experience and human subject/object interactions.
Wa – WHAT? SAY AGAIN???
Jeff, that is such a huge non sequitor and use of unfounded assumption that I don’t know where to start.
You just said, “None of this changes the importance for compatibilist to drop the phrase “free-will” ”
How would you have a clue what anyone is thinking, let alone a specific person, or subjectively biased class of people you create?

None of this changes… for the … is a pronouncement of something you can not know, but just so you ‘officially’ know, I will tell you my thoughts, and yes, when you get right down to it, none of this changes my ‘importance’ on dropping the term, for it is zero to begin with, and it is still zero, because you don’t have a valid point or argument anywhere in that wreck of an argument for dropping the term in the first place.
I interpret your usage of “none of this changes the importance of the people who are now proven to be wrong, using my flawless deployment of nano-sharp logic so clinicaly, so obviously they are being obstinant.
That is what is seems to me you are implying.

I think that incompatibilists seem to emphasize the actual physical structure and operation of the brain over how that plays out in every day human contexts.
That’s nice ;p
Actually, I do appreciate you including the “I think” predicate(?) for I think it should automatically be stated before every single thing we say, in order render truthfulness of our statements, and keep things in perspective. I really do appreciate what you said, the way you said it here.

Both are determinists, and both should avoid using the obsolute formulation “free-will”.
I think it isn’t obsolete, in any sense of the word, except that you seem to imply that it is obvious that free will doesn’t mean what we all, or mostly all, agree what it means.

Using the term ‘gay’ when describing someone as happy and carefree(lol, ‘free’) is obsolete, because we all agree that the primary meaning of the word has changed.


I don’t think there is really any doubt what most people mean when they say “free will’, it means “free to decide among any possible alternatives available at this time, say, in the next 3 weeks, or perhaps three seconds, or perhaps I won’t decide anything after all because no one can make me!

Your turn, I’m sure I have interpreted things incorrectly, it is highly probable(for me) at some point, anyways LMAO! ;)

Next:

  • whyevolutionistrue

    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    You guys are dominating this thread now, which seems to have become largely a dialogue, with tushcloot’s comments being essays rather than comments. I think it’s time for both of you to take this conversation offline, either on your own websites, if you have them, or via private email.

    Thanks.

Finally:

  • Steve

    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOUR POSSIBLE SELECTIONS AND GAUGE WHAT MAKES YOU MOST HAPPY OR LIKELY TO SATISFY YOUR NEED, OR WANT, TO SELECT SOMETHING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Yes, but nothing says he has to use conscious thought to think about it. So this does not necessitate consciousness as the seat of control.

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  • 7 thoughts on “Continued from free will redux

    1. thushcloots:

      I’ve followed you comments on Jerry Coyne’s blog. It seems to me that you are either mentally unstable or under the effects of alcohol or some other drugs. It is extremely impolite of you to post exceedingly long and incoherent screeds which make no sense whatsoever. I would ask you to stop doing that, so that Jerry’s comments threads are not unduly cluttered, and people who actually have something to say can engage in meaningful discussion.

      Thank you.

      • Hey, that’s elitist! Incoherent folks have some things to say, too!

        I know, Piero, you already say this stuff on whyevolutionistrue to others, as well as me. I am just curious as to how much Jerry pays you to moderate for him, and why he needs you to do his talking for him, considering it is HIS blog, and he communicates with me personally, both on the blog, and with e-mails, himself.

        I am now, temporarily, under comment moderation there, and have received short term bans already, and I have apologized to everyone there, which includes you too, as my last post on the redux thread, already!

        Anyways, your opinion is duly noted and, although I question the veracity of it, it is welcome here. It does help me when you express your opinion, it is honest, and I at least know where I stand with you, and I appreciate that more than I disagree with you about my commenting skills, although you do have a point there, I must concede!

        Thanks, man.

        MikeL

    2. Yes, determinism is a bitch.

      But it can come in handy. I have a friend who has a son with bipolar disorder, and a serious drug and drink problem. He’s been living in a hostel, but wants to go home – where he will make his parents’ lives hell. How can a mother turn away from a son’s proclamations that he will change – she can’t bring herself to say he doesn’t mean it and that he will revert to form. I told her to say, “I know you mean it. I believe you. But the drugs and drink will not let you change. It is not your fault. No matter how much you try, no matter how much we help you, the drugs and drink will not let you change. You need the professional help for that.”

      Needless to say, he’s now home, causing hell. It seems it was determined that the mother could not refuse her son. So, even when we are fooled into thinking determinism can come in handy, it still turns out to be a bitch.

      My name’s Ron, and I’m a free-willcoholic.

      • Do you self-identify, in the context of this debate, as a compatibilist?
        Simply, yes, I do.
        But it isn’t a simple situation, and I think that evolution has developed a way to analyze and choose on a higher level, an abstract level that incorporates the ability to plan for the future. I’ll get to that, but first, I want to tell you that I am a recovering addict and alcoholic, and the foundation of the 12 step programs is that we are ‘powerless to choose otherwise’ when it comes to abusing substances. Therefore, the only answer is the power of God, and I detest religion and mysticism.
        I am in a program (have been for over a year, now) that is fundamentalist Christianity based, with a good amount of Pentacostal influence. Paradoxically to the management here, this only serves to reinforce my already hardcore atheism, and deepens my repulsion to Abrahmic varieties of worship even more. (Notice the use of deterministic terms, it’s strong in our language – but I haven’t noticed anyone pointing this out. It is a good point, I think, in support of incompatablist determinism!)
        (I’ve not become criminal, ever, except of course that possession and drunk driving are illegal, but that hasn’t been an issue for 20 years now. I am a functional pacifist and considerate and gentle to a fault, not that I blog like it, though!!)

        And, in an important way, I am an incompatablist, in that the choice we make is always going to be the most viable one, the one that produces the highest, or most beneficial pay-off. We cannot, almost entirely, do otherwise. Are you familiar with Ayn Rand, and Logical positivism?: “Logical positivism, also known as logical empiricism, is a philosophical attitude which holds, among other things, that metaphysics, more or less, is bunk. According to the positivists’ “verifiability principle,” a statement is meaningful if and only if it can be proved true or false, at least in principle, by means of experience. Metaphysical statements cannot be proved by means of experience. Therefore, metaphysical statements are meaningless.

        Critics of logical positivism have pointed out that since the verifiability principle itself cannot be proved true or false by means of experience, it is therefore meaningless.

        She wrote “The Virtue of Selfishness” ( The PDF ebook ), and actually now just reading the synopsis again, here at The Ayn Rand Institute, it still pretty much sums up my view of morality!

        I am purely a

        naturalist

        ,

        Naturalism is a metaphysical
        theory that holds that all phenomena can be explained mechanistically in terms of natural (as opposed to supernatural) causes and laws.
        Naturalism posits that the universe is a vast “machine” or “organism,” devoid of general
        purpose and indifferent to human needs and desires.

        to the core, even though it is kind of at odds with Logical Positivism.

        Man, here I go again, see Piero’s comment, LOL!

        Anyways, my point is that we probably always choose the most ‘selfish’ choice available, and that we are basically predetermined to do this.

        All my life, I have known that, without thinking that closely about it, it is far easier to show that we don’t have free will, and can virtually prove it. The only problem is the perception that I(we) do voluntarily make choices, an, I think, impossible perception to overcome.

        This strong perception, subjective and emotional as it is, is at odds with the more objective scientific understanding that shows otherwise!
        This dichotomy bothers me greatly, but only recently was I aware that it did.

        Okay, I want to fool with the settings here, and introduce formatting and previewing options to our replies. As admin, I have an edit button that I can use after I submit the comment, but I dont know if everyone else does. It’s in the upper right corner of your own submitted replies if it’s there at all. Do you have it? LOL, too lazy to check, I am!

    3. Mike,

      As you’re picking up the conversation here, could we start over to get rid of some of the backlog of misunderstanding.

      Can you clarify your position in simple terms. I can pose the questions I’m interested in, but no doubt you’ll fill in anything you see fit.

      I’m really trying to find where the differences lie between us. I see a significance in the term ‘free-will’ that you seem to find irrelevant. You seem to identify as a compatibilist and I as an incompatibilist. At this point I don’t think its just semantic, but I like to find out.

      Do you self-identify, in the context of this debate, as a compatibilist?

      Thinking of local space-time unfolding for a specific human, a space-time event ‘s-t’ occurs where an outcome is eating vanilla rather than eating chocolate. In the hypothetical case that a deterministic universe could be re-run, do you think it possible that ‘s-t’ could result in an outcome of eating chocolate, due to a change in brain activity (assuming that a re-run would return the human to ‘s-t’? I’m trying to phrase the question “Could he have dome otherwise?” in the least subjective way I can, so some charity with the interpretation of my worlds would help at this point.

      Do you think that determinism holds completely? Or do you think that there random stuff too? I’m happy with assuming determinism, though that position is contingent on the fact that I don’t actually know that. Sticking with determinism keeps it simple for now; but your opinion on that would be appreciated.

      • That’s a great idea, Ron! I’m sorry about my sporadic appearances lately, my access to the internet is severely restricted for a few days, but this is almost my highest priority when checking e-mail.
        It really is a compulsion, like I can’t help myself discussing this sometimes! I do, really, honestly, doubt I have much free will in these situations – if I do have it – ’cause it’s almost an overwhelming obsession!

        I’ll be around, never far.

        It’s cool seeing you here, thanks much!

    4. Steve on said:

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