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Thread: Free Will And Free Choice

  1. Top | #111
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    A person's free-will choice also has objective references (or the will which prompted a choice). The objectivity might be more complicated, just like many other non-physical objects have objective references and are more complicated than a pencil or dog or cat etc. E.g., justice and democracy and peace and happiness are real objects which have objective references but cannot be pointed at like you can point at a pencil or a dog or cat. But they are just as real..
    You still apply the term 'free will' arbitrarily.
    According to you any application of this term is "arbitrary" because nothing true can be said about it. You condemn any mention of "free will" other than to brand it as unreal and delusion.

    If not, then give us an example how the term "free will" can be applied which is not arbitrary. What true statement can be made about "free will" other than to condemn it as unreal?

    "Free will" is what we're doing when we do these 3 things simultaneously: 1) make a selection, 2) experience a preference for something (which is the selected item), and 3) have consciousness, or are aware of the preference and the selection. When all these 3 happen together, that selection we make is a free choice, or an act of our free will (or it's free will as long as the choice was not coerced from someone threatening us).

    You have not refuted any of this other than to say that the selection/choice made is influenced by something in our brain cells that we're not aware of -- and somehow this negates any part played by free will -- which is false. "Free will" does not mean there can't be something unconscious going on in the selecting/choosing. Even if that unconscious activity did happen and caused the choosing, it does not mean the choice was not a "free will" choice. It can be caused by that unconscious activity (which even happens earlier), and yet the choice is a "free will" choice as long as there was a selection and a preference (for that selected item) and consciousness -- all 3 of these together simultaneously, regardless what may have happened .5 seconds earlier, or even 5 or 10 seconds earlier, before those 3 happened.

    When you say this is "arbitrary" you are only doing your circular reasoning -- saying it's wrong because it's wrong. You can't give any reason why this is not what "free will" means. It fits the standard usage of the term "free will"


    The decision making process, cognition, is mostly an unconscious information processing that . . .
    "mostly"? What does that mean? You have not measured exactly how much of the processing is unconscious and how much conscious. Nor has any scientist measured it objectively and verifiably. You only know that there is both conscious and unconscious processing going on and you're obsessed with the unconscious part. The "free will" is dependent on the conscious part, which has not been measured objectively in any way. All we know is that it's there and plays a role in our making decisions.

    . . . mostly an unconscious information processing that informs conscious thought. The decision that is made is determined by unconscious processes that you, the perceived thinker, have absolutely no control over.
    What does the perceived thinker have control over? Give an example of something the perceived thinker does have control over. You can't say what the perceived thinker does not have control over unless you also tell us what s/he does have control over. If you say the perceived thinker has no control over anything, then you are just spewing out a tautology, because you define the thinker as having no control.

    The conscious part is there, regardless of the unconscious part. Just because there is the unconscious part does not erase the conscious part, and as long as this exists along with the preference and the selecting of the preferred item, there is free choice, or free will taking place. Defining the conscious choosing out of existence does not prove it isn't there. Just because there's more than just the consciousness, or the part one is conscious of, such as impulses or cell activity the chooser is unaware of, does not erase the conscious part, which constitutes free will when it happens simultaneously with the preferring and the selecting.


    You are how your brain works.
    That's what the "free will" is. It's how the brain works, or how it chooses, when it has consciousness and preferences and selects what is preferred. To say "You are how your brain works" is to say "your free will" is how the brain works when you're choosing.


    Which is why you can make a decision that you regret the moment it is made: new information acting within the system altering perspective, etc, etc.
    And if that new perspective is acted upon, it's a free will act, because it is selecting, choosing what is preferred, and is conscious of doing this.


    It has nothing to do with your will.
    Yes it does. It is the free will in process -- it is the choosing, the preferring, and the being conscious of these as they are happening. It has everything to do with your will -- or it is an act of free will. All those added up are the free will performing its function, or it is the choosing process we call "free will" -- or the decision-making which is conscious, going beyond the unconscious part.


    It is information processing that selects options based on a given set of criteria.
    = free will,
    if this processing is accompanied by preference (which is what is selected) and consciousness of the selecting.


    Information processing is not free will.
    Yes it is, when this is accompanied by consciousness, as I've pointed out a dozen times but which you continue to ignore. And we can add PREFERENCE also as something which accompanies the information processing -- so the one processing has a preference for something, which is then what is selected. You can't give an example where this does not fit the standard meaning of "free will" as this term is commonly used. So free will is the information processing/selecting + a preference for something which is selected + consciousness of this selecting and preferring.

    Whereas when the information processing is done without any consciousness by the one processing and selecting, then it's not free will.

    How Can There Be Voluntary Movement Without Free Will?
    ''Humans do not appear to be purely reflexive organisms, simple automatons. A vast array of different movements are generated in a variety of settings. Is there an alternative to free will? Movement, in the final analysis, comes only from muscle contraction. Muscle contraction is under the complete control of the alpha motoneurons in the spinal cord. When the alpha motoneurons are active, there will be movement. Activity of the alpha motoneurons is a product of the different synaptic events on their dendrites and cell bodies. There is a complex summation of EPSPs and IPSPs, and when the threshold for an action potential is crossed, the cell fires. There are a large number of important inputs, and one of the most important is from the corticospinal tract which conveys a large part of the cortical control. Such a situation likely holds also for the motor cortex and the cells of origin of the corticospinal tract. Their firing depends on their synaptic inputs. And, a similar situation must hold for all the principal regions giving input to the motor cortex. For any cortical region, its activity will depend on its synaptic inputs. Some motor cortical inputs come via only a few synapses from sensory cortices, and such influences on motor output are clear. Some inputs will come from regions, such as the limbic areas, many synapses away from both primary sensory and motor cortices. At any one time, the activity of the motor cortex, and its commands to the spinal cord, will reflect virtually all the activity in the entire brain. Is it necessary that there be anything else? This can be a complete description of the process of movement selection, and even if there is something more -- like free will -- it would have to operate through such neuronal mechanisms.
    So? Maybe the free will operates through those mechanisms -- what difference does it make how it operates? It's obviously there, doing its function of choosing, by means of that mechanism. If it's totally confined to those mechanisms through which it operates -- then so be it. The point is that there is consciousness and selecting, and there is selection of a preferred item. That can all be in those mechanisms -- it doesn't matter. It's still free will, regardless how you break it down into those components, or those processes or mechanisms.

    Anything can be broken down into more basic processes or mechanisms. That doesn't mean it's unreal.


    The view that there is no such thing as free will as an inner causal agent has been advocated by a number of philosophers, scientists, and neurologists including Ryle, Adrian, Skinner and Fisher.(Fisher 1993)''
    It makes no sense to say they advocated something unless this means they made a free choice to advocate it.

    If they say there's no free will, then they're denying that the above-mentioned "neuronal mechanisms" and processes exist. That free will exists as a causal agent in choosing means simply that somehow the processing mechanisms exist for making decisions, because the combination of the processing/selecting and preferring along with one's consciousness of it is what is meant by "free will."

  2. Top | #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Willed their brains? Are you proposing an autonomous agent who runs the brain according to their will?
    Yeah.

    The actual world sounds strange to you.

    After a stroke obviously the brain is damaged. Movement becomes reflexive and discoordinated.

    The brain will heal.

    If a person, with the help of a physical therapist that knows what they are doing, uses their will and tries and tries and tries to move properly while the brain is healing the brain will reorganize and the person with a stroke will be able to gain some functional movement back.

    If the person does not practice and practice and will and will the brain will not reorganize in a functional manner. The discoordinated movement will not improve much.

    The brain needs an active will practicing movements over and over to reorganize in a more functional manner.

    Your delusions about a will that does nothing does not coincide with reality.

  3. Top | #113
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    ... the combination of the processing/selecting and preferring along with one's consciousness of it is what is meant by "free will."
    What does being conscious of a decision bring to the equation that makes it free? You can call it free will and I'll concede that this is what most people define as free will, but what is actually meaningful about calling it free? The word "free" implies without restraint. Being consciously aware of a decision doesn't necessarily mean it was unrestrained. Conscious awareness is normally highly focused and restrained. I'd even say that the source of one's desires and subconscious decisions is less constrained than what one is consciously aware of. Increasing awareness leads to a fuller and more objective understanding of a situation and the ability to make better decisions. "The truth (knowledge) will set you free." But where does that lead us? Back to the fact that freedom is relative and only derives meaning from its limitations. So the term free will is only useful when applied within some context, and then only as a measure of what was probable. So I can understand how it has a meaning when applied in specific circumstances. But to imbue it with some more objective or absolute meaning as within some philosophical, metaphysical, or spiritual contexts is, to my understanding, another way to admit that you simply didn't at the time know why you made a decision the way you did. That's what got us to where we are now in a world of willful ignorance and alternative facts.

  4. Top | #114
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post

    According to you any application of this term is "arbitrary" because nothing true can be said about it. You condemn any mention of "free will" other than to brand it as unreal and delusion.

    If not, then give us an example how the term "free will" can be applied which is not arbitrary. What true statement can be made about "free will" other than to condemn it as unreal?
    You appear to be confusing the common usage of the term 'free will' as the ability to make decisions with the debate on what free will may be in relation to human capabilities and the cognitive process.

    For example, to say 'she acted of her free will' means that she acted according to her own will or desire without being forced or compelled by others, but that tells us absolutely nothing about how her will or desire was formed or generated. It tells us absolutely nothing about human behaviour, it's drivers or the nature of conscious will. Which for the given reasons, unconscious information processing prior to conscious report, conscious will is neither the driver of decision making or free to act according to its own makeup. Brain function determines output.

    What Is Cognition?
    ''Cognition is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. These cognitive processes include thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception, and planning.''

    ''Mental processes'' are of course the function and work of a brain.

  5. Top | #115
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    ... the combination of the processing/selecting and preferring along with one's consciousness of it is what is meant by "free will."
    What does being conscious of a decision bring to the equation that makes it free?
    If there's no awareness or consciousness, then "free" doesn't matter. An entity without any awareness or consciousness does not want or desire anything. Being "free" applies only to conscious entities which want something, and if they are allowed to pursue what they want, we say they're "free," but if they're prevented, then they are not free.

    But without any awareness of anything, or without any consciousness, it's neither free or non-free. Without that awareness, i.e., without the caring or desiring or wanting, then it doesn't matter what happens to that entity. Nothing about it matters if there's no entity that cares or wants or desires. If the entity can suffer pain, that means it has awareness or consciousness about that pain which it wants not to happen.


    You can call it free will and I'll concede that this is what most people define as free will, but what is actually meaningful about calling it free?
    It's meaningful that it be allowed to pursue what it wants, or what it's conscious of and seeks to acquire. All else being equal, it's "good" for an entity with wants and awareness to gain satisfaction for those wants.

    The issue is not whether we "call" it something. Being "free" simply means that the entity is allowed to pursue what it wants, and this allowance is what is meaningful, because it's what is "good" in life, or what matters. It's "good" or "it matters" that entities with awareness get what they want. Like your desire to post your opinions on this message board. It's "good" for an entity which wants to post messages to actually succeed in posting messages.

    It's "good" for us to get what we want, as much as possible. Obviously it's often difficult, and one person's want conflicts with another's, and so on, but getting those wants fulfilled as much as possible is what makes life meaningful and "good," and being "free" to pursue those wants means more of those wants will get satisfied.


    The word "free" implies without restraint. Being consciously aware of a decision doesn't necessarily mean it was unrestrained.
    But what it means is that you're not a computer or robot making decisions. The computer/robot is not "free" or "unfree" because it's not aware of anything and does not have preferences it wants to pursue. So "free will" or "free choice" or "freedom" applies only to conscious entities making decisions, not unconscious entities like machines, even though they can also make decisions.


    Conscious awareness is normally highly focused and restrained. I'd even say that the source of one's desires and subconscious decisions is . . . [and so on]
    The point (about conscious awareness) is that it's not machines which have "free will" or need "freedom" -- as DBT said earlier that even a computer or robot must have "free will" if it means choices are made. But "free will" doesn't mean only that choices or selections are being made by something. If the entity making the selections is a non-conscious entity, then it's not a case of free will. For there to be free will there must be intention and preference, meaning awareness of something that is being chosen by the entity having a desire and pursuing this by making the choice.

  6. Top | #116
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    No attempt to bias response there. Just a 'guessing' and an 'invisible' declared 'not exact' Very good.

    You're too late for the SS ... Oh Kay!
    The bias is in the story that some arbitrary activity is not willed because a guess about it's timing is off by .35 seconds.

    Many humans under my guidance willed their brains to reorganize until functional skills were possible again.

    It will not reorganize on it's own.

    For some reason they did not complain and compare me to the SS?
    There you go spicing up possibility to improbability.

    Of course they did not complain. Do you complain to those about those who are in your command chain for your pay.

    What was that? Oh, chirp chirp sigh. Obviously.

    As with all your posts you set up imaginary straw men for others to punch.

  7. Top | #117
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post

    If there's no awareness or consciousness, then "free" doesn't matter. An entity without any awareness or consciousness does not want or desire anything. Being "free" applies only to conscious entities which want something, and if they are allowed to pursue what they want, we say they're "free," but if they're prevented, then they are not free.

    But without any awareness of anything, or without any consciousness, it's neither free or non-free. Without that awareness, i.e., without the caring or desiring or wanting, then it doesn't matter what happens to that entity. Nothing about it matters if there's no entity that cares or wants or desires. If the entity can suffer pain, that means it has awareness or consciousness about that pain which it wants not to happen.
    How does one get from unconscious being to conscious being? The Answer is 'Via a deterministic material genetic process'. How does one get from determined to free? One doesn't.

    Magic faeries aren't part of the process.

    How does one confuse free will with a determined process? One chooses what to use as a starting point. If cause and effect are only what is 'in the here and now' then one isn't in reality.

    From https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

    Definition:
    Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
    Does one see awareness or conscious in that definition? Of course not.


    Pipe in place match struck, waiting to light up.

  8. Top | #118
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post

    If there's no awareness or consciousness, then "free" doesn't matter. An entity without any awareness or consciousness does not want or desire anything. Being "free" applies only to conscious entities which want something, and if they are allowed to pursue what they want, we say they're "free," but if they're prevented, then they are not free.

    But without any awareness of anything, or without any consciousness, it's neither free or non-free. Without that awareness, i.e., without the caring or desiring or wanting, then it doesn't matter what happens to that entity. Nothing about it matters if there's no entity that cares or wants or desires. If the entity can suffer pain, that means it has awareness or consciousness about that pain which it wants not to happen.


    You can call it free will and I'll concede that this is what most people define as free will, but what is actually meaningful about calling it free?
    It's meaningful that it be allowed to pursue what it wants, or what it's conscious of and seeks to acquire. All else being equal, it's "good" for an entity with wants and awareness to gain satisfaction for those wants.

    The issue is not whether we "call" it something. Being "free" simply means that the entity is allowed to pursue what it wants, and this allowance is what is meaningful, because it's what is "good" in life, or what matters. It's "good" or "it matters" that entities with awareness get what they want. Like your desire to post your opinions on this message board. It's "good" for an entity which wants to post messages to actually succeed in posting messages.

    It's "good" for us to get what we want, as much as possible. Obviously it's often difficult, and one person's want conflicts with another's, and so on, but getting those wants fulfilled as much as possible is what makes life meaningful and "good," and being "free" to pursue those wants means more of those wants will get satisfied.


    The word "free" implies without restraint. Being consciously aware of a decision doesn't necessarily mean it was unrestrained.
    But what it means is that you're not a computer or robot making decisions. The computer/robot is not "free" or "unfree" because it's not aware of anything and does not have preferences it wants to pursue. So "free will" or "free choice" or "freedom" applies only to conscious entities making decisions, not unconscious entities like machines, even though they can also make decisions.


    Conscious awareness is normally highly focused and restrained. I'd even say that the source of one's desires and subconscious decisions is . . . [and so on]
    The point (about conscious awareness) is that it's not machines which have "free will" or need "freedom" -- as DBT said earlier that even a computer or robot must have "free will" if it means choices are made. But "free will" doesn't mean only that choices or selections are being made by something. If the entity making the selections is a non-conscious entity, then it's not a case of free will. For there to be free will there must be intention and preference, meaning awareness of something that is being chosen by the entity having a desire and pursuing this by making the choice.
    Preferences are formed through life experience, which become the criteria for the selection of options from a given set of realizable alternatives. Which, rather than 'free will,' is a decision making process - selection based on a set of criteria.

  9. Top | #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    No attempt to bias response there. Just a 'guessing' and an 'invisible' declared 'not exact' Very good.

    You're too late for the SS ... Oh Kay!
    The bias is in the story that some arbitrary activity is not willed because a guess about it's timing is off by .35 seconds.

    Many humans under my guidance willed their brains to reorganize until functional skills were possible again.

    It will not reorganize on it's own.

    For some reason they did not complain and compare me to the SS?
    There you go spicing up possibility to improbability.

    Of course they did not complain. Do you complain to those about those who are in your command chain for your pay.

    What was that? Oh, chirp chirp sigh. Obviously.

    As with all your posts you set up imaginary straw men for others to punch.
    You can't rationally deal with a thing I say.

    People don't complain when you improve their lives.

    You wouldn't understand.

    You would not have the slightest clue what to do to actually help someone.

    You would just tell them that nothing they did mattered because they had no mind and no will.

  10. Top | #120
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    You're right. I don't say this stuff to people who are troubled. That would be unprofessional, unkind, and completely incomprehensible to them.

    So why are you trying your pap on us? No idea. I think so.

    Try again?

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