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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    How do you know that neural nets don't have a "mind"?

    How do you know that "mind" is even a thing?

    I assume that I have a mind, and that others sufficiently like me therefore do too. But I am not at all sure about either assumption.

    If my assumptions are correct, then it seems odd to not also assume that any neural net also has a mind.
    Do you mean any net that is sufficiently "evolved", "complicated" and/or "advanced"? Then we are in a quagmire of definitions of these and other words.
    Surely we and other "sentient beings", and some not so "sentient" (definition please) have free will within limits, the limits being set by our parents' DNA and its history from conception onwards, and influences of our environment, internal and external, upon that mass of DNA that in some 9 months or so becomes "us". IOW we are puppets of evolution and of our environment and of our reactions (physical,neurological, psychological, intellectual etc) to these, but puppets with free will within those limits. And the limits change as we mature with time and then as we age.

  2. Top | #272
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    It's hard to think of something that would make us not have the ability to act of our own accord. I mean, it's like the question 'If we humans don't have the power to type on our keyboards, why does it feel like we do?'. Well, the evidence that I have that power is beyond a reasonable doubt, so if we don't have that power, something very weird would be happening, though I have no clue as to what it is.
    I don't equate having the power to type on a keyboard with having free will. If that is a demonstration of free will then everything proves free will, just like everything can be used to demonstrate a god.

    Not typing on your keyboard is also then an act of free will, correct?

  3. Top | #273
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    It's hard to think of something that would make us not have the ability to act of our own accord. I mean, it's like the question 'If we humans don't have the power to type on our keyboards, why does it feel like we do?'. Well, the evidence that I have that power is beyond a reasonable doubt, so if we don't have that power, something very weird would be happening, though I have no clue as to what it is.
    I don't equate having the power to type on a keyboard with having free will. If that is a demonstration of free will then everything proves free will, just like everything can be used to demonstrate a god.

    Not typing on your keyboard is also then an act of free will, correct?
    I can choose of my own accord to either type on my keyboard, or not to do it. I'm not equating them, but making a parallel. I have conclusive evidence that I have the power to type on my keyboard, and also conclusive evidence that I can choose to do so (or not do so) of my own accord. I just look at what I can do, test my abilities (easily), etc. In either case, something very weird would have to happen if I didn't have that ability.

  4. Top | #274
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4321lynx View Post
    .......puppets with free will within those limits.
    Have you taken full account of the extent of all the limits though? How are we not also puppets of, let's say for the sake of argument, 'the ten trillion tiny little things' that are true for and about us, whether we notice them or not, the instant just before we do....anything at all?

    In other words, the sum of the sorts of limits you refer to, if they could hypothetically be fully counted (even if more than 10 trillion) would seem to be total and complete, and account for every possible influence and factor, so in the final analysis, where, exactly, is the free, non-automatic part of any decision or action? All there would be are the (let's say) 10 trillion little factors. In the end, it is surely 'all those factors' that cause what you will do at any time, not any sort of free will intervention.

    'But I can change my mind, I can decide at the last moment not to do something I was going to do' you might say. Ok, yes, but how was that change of mind not subject to the same, automatic, fully-determined process? In other words, how could you ever at any time freely choose to do other than what you actually do?
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-14-2020 at 06:05 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  5. Top | #275
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Second, I do not presume to have power. On the basis of the information available to me, it is beyond a reasonable doubt that I have the power to move the mouse on my desk. I was using that as an analogy, since I did not expect anyone would actually suggest I do not even have that power.
    Third, I do not "admit" anything, and "seems extremely improbable" is indeed a rational probabilistic assessment.
    Ooooh. Now " ... it is beyond reasonable doubt that you .... power"

    Quit sliding. I got you in an evidence trap. Evidence is material. Your argument definitely is neither material nor evidence. It is rational argument. Might be good in court or for a speech, but It can't be used to construct physical theory. You don't have to admit anything. The evidence is clear. You presented none.
    No, I'm not sliding. You are mistaken. It is beyond a reasonable doubt that I have the power to move my mouse, or press they keys on my keyboard. I do not need a physical theory for that (though one would need to make assessments like that intuitively all the time to just live, and so also to make a physical theory, even if you call it something else).
    When push comes to shove physical physical measurement and observation under controlled conditions are what moves the knowledge meter. If an ancestor didn't show his kin that living by a stream where building materials existed there would not have been hunter gatherers in open places. Yes I jumped. However one can reconstruct the steps needed to make my argument from the details I presented.

    In your case all you have is you. Nothing with which others can operate on to gather necessary evidence what you say about yourself is normal for all of us.

    Appealing to intuition (whatever that is) won't help and neither will appealing to some 'higher' principle.

    When we don't know how we got to something we appeal to something within. That's a normal reaction from a species which doesn't know much about how it works. It doesn't explain what took place.

    If you need to understand from where I'm coming read Bridgman's stuff on operationalism. If not. Fine.

    BTW you may have gotten further if you'd tried "In other words ...." Repeating yourself is a bit like stomping your foot.

  6. Top | #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    It's hard to think of something that would make us not have the ability to act of our own accord. I mean, it's like the question 'If we humans don't have the power to type on our keyboards, why does it feel like we do?'. Well, the evidence that I have that power is beyond a reasonable doubt, so if we don't have that power, something very weird would be happening, though I have no clue as to what it is.
    I don't equate having the power to type on a keyboard with having free will. If that is a demonstration of free will then everything proves free will, just like everything can be used to demonstrate a god.

    Not typing on your keyboard is also then an act of free will, correct?
    I can choose of my own accord to either type on my keyboard, or not to do it. I'm not equating them, but making a parallel. I have conclusive evidence that I have the power to type on my keyboard, and also conclusive evidence that I can choose to do so (or not do so) of my own accord. I just look at what I can do, test my abilities (easily), etc. In either case, something very weird would have to happen if I didn't have that ability.
    That's a claim, not evidence.

    I walk out into my backyard and see a leaf on the ground. It isn't a foot to the right or to the left, it is exactly where it is, but it could have been in many different places. That is no different than your claiming that you chose to type or chose to not type. A large number of physical events bring about what we see and perceive, we are part of it all, our brains included.

  7. Top | #277
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Further ramblings....

    Let's say, for the purposes of discussion, that there is a certain gene that is found in the brain cells of some humans. This gene, when active, increases anti-social behaviour (by, say, making a protein which inhibits the expression of a chemical at neuron synapses that would otherwise facilitate pro-social behaviour). It is found that certain environmental stressors during childhood activate this gene (which would otherwise remain dormant).

    So, if someone is confirmed to have this gene and has experienced the stressor, so that the gene is active, does that mitigate their personal responsibility for exhibiting some sort of anti-social behaviour in a certain situation? My intuition says, yes, it does.

    Now, this sort of thing at first seems like a special case. But it is surely just identifying exactly the same sort of physical processes that go on in or affect everyone, and as such it's not fundamentally an exception to the general rule 'everything is fully determined, one set of ways or another, at every ongoing instant, so that no one can freely choose to do otherwise.'
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  8. Top | #278
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    No takers?

    Because if a hydrogen atom does not possess this magical substance called free will, how does an assembly of hydrogen atoms like myself acquire this thing? Obviously it must be because free will is magical, not something ordinary like the behavior of a hydrogen atom, which btw always makes the right choice.

    And heaven must be the repose of all hydrogen atoms because their behavior never errs.
    Lots of observable and very real phenomena only exist in aggregate. A hydrogen atom doesn't exhibit entropy, but a large number of them does. The atmosphere in your house doesn't exhibit weather, but a sufficiently large volume of atmosphere does (famously, the vast Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral, where they completed the assembly of the Saturn V rockets, is large enough to form rain clouds if the humidity isn't controlled).

    The fallacy of composition is very important - if we assume that the behaviour of the whole of a system is determined only by the properties of its components, then we are very frequently going to be wrong. Patterns of interaction between components of a complex system are frequently more significant than the properties of the components themselves, and this fact is trivially easy to observe. To assume that it will not be true of biological systems, or of human brains in particular, is completely baseless; And to use that baseless assumption as the cornerstone of an argument is to venture into pure fantasy.

    If this is the best remez has to offer, then I feel rather sorry for him. And if it isn't, I wonder why he's making such a pointless fuss about it.
    ^^^^

    That.

    Even if the universe can be modeled mathematically it doesn't mean we have to sit around sipping Jack Daniels, feeling angsty about being a robot. I've said before, and will say again on free-will, the aggregate here is how we experience ourselves / the world as a living thing. We do not feel un-free, therefore we are free. Does anyone here truly feel like they have no control over themselves? I certainly don't feel that way.

  9. Top | #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    We do not feel un-free, therefore we are free. Does anyone here truly feel like they have no control over themselves? I certainly don't feel that way.
    It seeming like the sun goes around the earth does not make it true. At best, all you are saying is that it may be pragmatic to believe something because it seems to be the case.

    That might be a reasonably good approach, but it's hardly conducive to extending our knowledge and understanding, and also, it may have consequences (eg a strong belief in free will apparently increases the desire for vengeance).
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  10. Top | #280
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    We do not feel un-free, therefore we are free. Does anyone here truly feel like they have no control over themselves? I certainly don't feel that way.
    It seeming like the sun goes around the earth does not make it true. At best, all you are saying is that it may be pragmatic to believe something because it seems to be the case.

    That might be a reasonably good approach, but it's hardly conducive to extending our knowledge and understanding, and also, it may have consequences (eg a strong belief in free will apparently increases the desire for vengeance).
    This is one of the more difficult concepts to express, I've tried over and over again but still struggle with it.

    In a nutshell - human experience is static and can't be defined by mathematical concepts. It is independent of a binary 'we do or do not have free-will'. But if one wants to make the claim that mathematical modelling makes us unfree, I wouldn't say that's incorrect.

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