Free Will and Freedom

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Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:51 pm

I don't remember appreciating the absurdity of free will to quite such an extent as in the following way before:

As a counter to "Determinism", surely "free" will is by definition "independent" of any causal factors that would otherwise determine it and make it un-free? Having no relation to any such factors as previous experiences, current mood, genetics and physical make-up - all of which would otherwise determine every choice - one's will would necessarily result in random choices if it were "free". This removes all control from one's choices and thus decisions can no longer be thought of as "willed" except by chance.

So you can either have "free" OR "will" - not both.

If you think this dilemma can be avoided by stating the definition of free will more mildly e.g. one is free to choose out of any number of options and could just as easily have chosen otherwise, the ultimate choice still either relies on the same factors as I stated before (previous experiences, current mood, genetics and physical make-up) to determine one's choice, or the choice isn't dependent on anything and is in just the same way random and not willed.

The notion of "freedom" thus runs into serious problems in a causal universe, or at least in a universe where humans can only understand and speak of it with any meaning in terms of causation. Any mention of intrinsic uncertainty at the quantum level adds nothing to the case for free will since one is unconscious of the detail going on at this level and as such it isn't part of one's conscious willing, and it is still probabilistic and therefore still determined by these probabilities rather than one's will anyway.

One might feel like they could have easily chosen otherwise - but that just means it was a close call to pick the choice that was determined to be more preferable (and therefore still not "free" and still entirely determined). Even if one thinks they are tricking themselves and picking a less preferable choice on purpose or by accident, the choice to be defiant or frivolous, or the accidental lack of care is still determined. Just because our consciousness is only an isolated segment of the entire vast chain of causation that is existence (unless we apply such an evaluation as I am describing), that does not free the start of the process of choosing from what came before it. But we do have the cognitive bias towards the feeling of agency to help us believe we can: where one justifies the choice to oneself after it has been chosen but before one is conscious of choosing it - to avoid cognitive dissonance. I hear that neuro-scientific experiment does in fact confirm that choices are made before one becomes conscious of them, and any "seemingly" free influence of the outcome.



And the implications of this obviously spill over into the political realm.

How is a free society possible if free will is an oxymoron? Going back to the notion of will "feeling" free, it does seem like some societies have more obvious determining factors than others, but that does not actually make them more free it just makes them more acceptable to the part of the human psyche that prefers to feel like it is in control and not being controlled. In a lawless society, people's choices can still affect one another even at the most subtle of levels - and even if they didn't, environmental forces will. And in a "free" market, there are still market "forces". They are just more mysterious because the determining factors are de-centralised and private i.e. complex and hidden. Libertarians step in to argue against government forces "artificially" distorting the market, when such a market force is merely the more conspicuous equivalent to a corporation independently developing enough of a competitive advantage to corner the market, or even individual people earning so much money that they gain this level of market influence, which might concern the left side of the political spectrum more than Libertarians but it's still the same thing. Classical liberals might argue in favour of a self-regulating market that naturally prevents any party from gaining enough influence, but phenomena such as the Pareto distribution prevents that in theory even if you aren't convinced by the more free markets of the world in practice - and if still wouldn't be "free", just determined by de-centralised forces.

So the ideal must therefore either be adjusted from "freedom" to "the feeling of freedom", or it must be accepted that freedom does not exist if we are to head towards improved integrity and intellectual honestly as a society. Obviously issues arise with the fact that knowledge of how to influence people without their conscious awareness is ever-increasing, allowing the appearance of freedom to actually be intentionally determined by people who know how to do this, and are able - I do not think this is a solution. But it's either trusting moral intentions towards "feelings of freedom" (ha), embracing our lack of freedom, or we continue with the general ignorance that allows the worship of illusions such as freedom, and we continue the farce of chasing populist scapegoats and other political red herrings, which is getting us nowhere.

A further can of worms is of course ethics, where notions of morality, blame and guilt must be completely re-thought, and fundamental religious notions such as God's judgment over the free choices of people no longer make any sense whatsoever... but I'll leave it at that for now.
Last edited by Silhouette on Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby James S Saint » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:16 pm

Silhouette wrote:As a counter to "Determinism", surely "free" will is by definition "independent" of any causal factors that would otherwise determine it and make it un-free? Having no relation to any such factors as previous experiences, current mood, genetics and physical make-up - all of which would otherwise determine every choice - one's will would necessarily result in random choices if were "free". This removes all control from one's choices and thus decisions can no longer be thought of as "willed" except by chance.

So you can either have "free" OR "will" - not both.

Well stated.

The idea of freedom and free-will originally referred to freedom from authoritarian oppression, as in "freedom fighters". The notion of freedom from reality itself was never anything but demented musings.

Today's words often have no sensible meaning and are often the opposite of their original intent and inference, such as "liberal" meaning one who worships and bows to absolute government control being liberated from no more than common sense and rationality.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:27 pm

Silhouette wrote:I don't remember appreciating the absurdity of free will to quite such an extent as in the following way before:

As a counter to "Determinism", surely "free" will is by definition "independent" of any causal factors that would otherwise determine it and make it un-free? Having no relation to any such factors as previous experiences, current mood, genetics and physical make-up - all of which would otherwise determine every choice - one's will would necessarily result in random choices if it were "free". This removes all control from one's choices and thus decisions can no longer be thought of as "willed" except by chance.

So you can either have "free" OR "will" - not both.

If you think this dilemma can be avoided by stating the definition of free will more mildly e.g. one is free to choose out of any number of options and could just as easily have chosen otherwise, the ultimate choice still either relies on the same factors as I stated before (previous experiences, current mood, genetics and physical make-up) to determine one's choice, or the choice isn't dependent on anything and is in just the same way random and not willed.

The notion of "freedom" thus runs into serious problems in a causal universe, or at least in a universe where humans can only understand and speak of it with any meaning in terms of causation. Any mention of intrinsic uncertainty at the quantum level adds nothing to the case for free will since one is unconscious of the detail going on at this level and as such it isn't part of one's conscious willing, and it is still probabilistic and therefore still determined by these probabilities rather than one's will anyway.

One might feel like they could have easily chosen otherwise - but that just means it was a close call to pick the choice that was determined to be more preferable (and therefore still not "free" and still entirely determined). Even if one thinks they are tricking themselves and picking a less preferable choice on purpose or by accident, the choice to be defiant or frivolous, or the accidental lack of care is still determined. Just because our consciousness is only an isolated segment of the entire vast chain of causation that is existence (unless we apply such an evaluation as I am describing), that does not free the start of the process of choosing from what came before it. But we do have the cognitive bias towards the feeling of agency to help us believe we can: where one justifies the choice to oneself after it has been chosen but before one is conscious of choosing it - to avoid cognitive dissonance. I hear that neuro-scientific experiment does in fact confirm that choices are made before one becomes conscious of them, and any "seemingly" free influence of the outcome.



And the implications of this obviously spill over into the political realm.

How is a free society possible if free will is an oxymoron? Going back to the notion of will "feeling" free, it does seem like some societies have more obvious determining factors than others, but that does not actually make them more free it just makes them more acceptable to the part of the human psyche that prefers to feel like it is in control and not being controlled. In a lawless society, people's choices can still affect one another even at the most subtle of levels - and even if they didn't, environmental forces will. And in a "free" market, there are still market "forces". They are just more mysterious because the determining factors are de-centralised and private i.e. complex and hidden. Libertarians step in to argue against government forces "artificially" distorting the market, when such a market force is merely the more conspicuous equivalent to a corporation independently developing enough of a competitive advantage to corner the market, or even individual people earning so much money that they gain this level of market influence, which might concern the left side of the political spectrum more than Libertarians but it's still the same thing. Classical liberals might argue in favour of a self-regulating market that naturally prevents any party from gaining enough influence, but phenomena such as the Pareto distribution prevents that in theory even if you aren't convinced by the more free markets of the world in practice - and if still wouldn't be "free", just determined by de-centralised forces.

So the ideal must therefore either be adjusted from "freedom" to "the feeling of freedom", or it must be accepted that freedom does not exist if we are to head towards improved integrity and intellectual honestly as a society. Obviously issues arise with the fact that knowledge of how to influence people without their conscious awareness is ever-increasing, allowing the appearance of freedom to actually be intentionally determined by people who know how to do this, and are able - I do not think this is a solution. But it's either trusting moral intentions towards "feelings of freedom" (ha), embracing our lack of freedom, or we continue with the general ignorance that allows the worship of illusions such as freedom, and we continue the farce of chasing populist scapegoats and other political red herrings, which is getting us nowhere.

A further can of worms is of course ethics, where notions of morality, blame and guilt must be completely re-thought, and fundamental religious notions such as God's judgment over the free choices of people no longer make any sense whatsoever... but I'll leave it at that for now.



But even in the most basic quantum level, there is non clear distinction between the will and the freedom to choose, take the two slit quantum experiment, there is a change of probability , and hence outcome during the process.

Inquiring changes the content of the inquiry. The distinction undermines the its distinctness, by indiscernable processes.

They are not subconscious only maybe pre conscious effects.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:12 pm

James S Saint wrote:Today's words often have no sensible meaning and are often the opposite of their original intent and inference

Orwell.

Meno_ wrote:But even in the most basic quantum level, there is non clear distinction between the will and the freedom to choose, take the two slit quantum experiment, there is a change of probability , and hence outcome during the process.

Inquiring changes the content of the inquiry. The distinction undermines the its distinctness, by indiscernable processes.

They are not subconscious only maybe pre conscious effects.

You start with the word "but", but I'm not sure if I see any disagreement that this usually implies.

If the double-slit experiment was scaled up to be analogous to the human will: with the choice altered by one's consciousness of it, whether you end up with a double-slit or wave distribution as your final choice is still determined by whether you are conscious or not, which in turn is determined by prior conditions and so on, which are outside of your control. And if you are conscious, what you are conscious of is likewise entirely determined by prior conditions that are ultimately out of your control - meaning all the ingredients of your choice are predetermined and thus the choice itself.
If the double-slit experiment stays scaled to the quantum level, but the principle affects the will and any "freedom" to choose, the macro-effects of these micro-effects still entirely determine your choices - even if there is a change in probability at the quantum level. And if there is a change of probability at that level, you didn't freely choose this so it has no bearing on the freedom of your choice.

I'm not sure if either of these interpretations of your first sentence are relevant, my apologies if not.

I would say yes, they are pre-conscious effects as I implied when I said:

Silhouette wrote:Just because our consciousness is only an isolated segment of the entire vast chain of causation that is existence (unless we apply such an evaluation as I am describing), that does not free the start of the process of choosing from what came before it.

Perhaps you were simply agreeing with me and just adding to what I was saying?
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby demoralized » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:51 am

Silhouette wrote:So the ideal must therefore either be adjusted from "freedom" to "the feeling of freedom"


I agree with this sentiment

A tangentially related thread of mine viewtopic.php?f=25&t=192833
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:56 am

"So you can either have "free" OR "will" - not both."

Well stated indeed and well argued, but this still speaks only of freedom from, rather than freedom to.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:48 am

Fixed Cross wrote:but this still speaks only of freedom from, rather than freedom to.

Do you refer to a freedom to will?
As opposed to a lack of freedom from outside forces that entirely influence our will and its choices?

I hadn't really considered a definition of "free will" in the second sense - that would seem too much like a definition of simply "will". If one isn't free to will, then they can't and don't will. If one is then they can and do. The addition of the word "free" seems redundant.

And it's not like you were free to choose to have will, or even to use it. The first half of that sentence is back to "freedom from" in the above sense that I suggested: outside forces bestow you with will or otherwise. But if you do turn out to have will, you don't will yourself to will.... you just will. In that sense, you have no choice to will when you do, and to not when you don't.

Self-discipline is more of a question of what you will, rather than whether to will. Having no motivation to do something is a will to do something else - even if that something else is barely anything at all. Likewise, you can't will yourself to stop willing, because that is an act of will. And stopping willing must surely be a lack of consciousness altogether? Unless this is a failure of meditation on my part, even if I experience a lack of immediate desire or urge, some kind of inner peace and lack of need - that must surely be because I was willing to experience such a state?

So you either will because you have the ability, or you don't because you don't, and neither was freely chosen by yourself. Once it is there, it stays in some form until forces outside of your control switch it off, whether you will them to or not. And then it's off until forces outside of your will switch it back on or not. I wouldn't particularly associate the word "free" with this, but perhaps I am too absorbed in defending my premise.

Do you genuinely hold any arguments in favour of free will according to any definition I have or haven't covered?

demoralized wrote:A tangentially related thread of mine viewtopic.php?f=25&t=192833

Thanks for the link.

One thing that caught my attention was gib's compatibilist definition of free will. Similarly to the above, it again sounds more like the ability to will than a freedom to will - as though the word "freedom" is not the right word, and a misleading one.

At the moment I am reserving the word "freedom" for that feeling that we both mentioned - or at least a justified feeling in the sense that you aren't simply unaware of somebody else's conscious intention to control you.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:29 am

In this distinction between possibility and freedom to will, there is a progression from less to more, as we have discussed ,where the origins of the compatibility lie in the movement away from the pre conscious toward more conscious choices, or in differing words, caused by less excogenic toward more indigenous effectors.

It's is only a different analogy, using less reified states. In this view, absolute states of either total lack of free will or an absolute sense of its presence in the idea of freedom are necessarily excluded, as possibilities
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:42 pm

Silhouette wrote:
Fixed Cross wrote:but this still speaks only of freedom from, rather than freedom to.

Do you refer to a freedom to will?
As opposed to a lack of freedom from outside forces that entirely influence our will and its choices?

Its a distinction Nietzsche makes in passing, attributing to the slave the will to be free from something (as he would see it, a greater power) and to the proper man the will to be free to his own will.

I hadn't really considered a definition of "free will" in the second sense - that would seem too much like a definition of simply "will". If one isn't free to will, then they can't and don't will. If one is then they can and do. The addition of the word "free" seems redundant.

I do agree with this.
Ive long observed that for the will to be free from causal ground, it would have to be free of itself, and thus not exist.

And it's not like you were free to choose to have will, or even to use it. The first half of that sentence is back to "freedom from" in the above sense that I suggested: outside forces bestow you with will or otherwise. But if you do turn out to have will, you don't will yourself to will.... you just will. In that sense, you have no choice to will when you do, and to not when you don't.

Yes, we are bound to our will.
It would kind of suck if we didn't have some power over this will, as in determining its substance by our being, it and we being the same and all.

Self-discipline is more of a question of what you will, rather than whether to will. Having no motivation to do something is a will to do something else - even if that something else is barely anything at all. Likewise, you can't will yourself to stop willing, because that is an act of will. And stopping willing must surely be a lack of consciousness altogether? Unless this is a failure of meditation on my part, even if I experience a lack of immediate desire or urge, some kind of inner peace and lack of need - that must surely be because I was willing to experience such a state?

Well of course I agree.

So you either will because you have the ability, or you don't because you don't, and neither was freely chosen by yourself. Once it is there, it stays in some form until forces outside of your control switch it off, whether you will them to or not. And then it's off until forces outside of your will switch it back on or not. I wouldn't particularly associate the word "free" with this, but perhaps I am too absorbed in defending my premise.

I think that will is essentially always looking to exhaust itself. It is a tension. It is free to direct itself at any object of release. But it isn't free to cease existing in any other way except through exhaustion.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:48 pm

Upon reflection it seems to me that questions of "free will" are little more than considerations of whether or not you "get what you want".
Moreover: whether you get what you want in a social context - with people rather than things, particularly peoples' intentions as the major factor - if they are to be seen as getting in the way of what you want.

With Fixed Cross's "the slave's will to be free from something" and James S Saint's "freedom from authoritarian oppression, as in "freedom fighters"", this is most apparent. I am supposing it is also apparent in Fixed Cross's "proper man willing to be free to his own will", though no doubt there is more room for the "proper man" to look to the manipulation of their non-human environment in order to get what they want to an even greater degree (as well as looking to slave-like humans in much the same way).

~To the extent that other people may get in the way of what you want, your free will is more or less free.~
I suppose this is over all something of a class or master/slave morality issue.

However, to bring this back to an ethological framework, whether your environmental influences include a human/social element or not, the behaviours of both authoritarians and proper men, freedom fighters and slaves are equally a product of a genetic-environmental interaction. Trace the chain of causation back further and further and it becomes more and more apparent that neither one's genes nor their environment came about of their "free will". You cannot choose where and to whom you are born - and every choice you make from there on is determined by these things, and the subsequently determined choices that are incrementally made entirely as an indirect result of these initial conditions.

Neither are free, regardless of to whom they direct their evaluations of the extent of their "free will" (to or from) - others or their selves...
Even their wills are cultivated entirely within this causal and entirely determined chain, and thus not free.


~What I hope to move onto is the consequences of the above~


Of course the experience of will and any freedom of it is not diminished by any of this. A naive interpretation of it might be "why try if it's all determined anyway". This can be easily turned on its head: "why not try if it's all determined anyway" - it's just that whether or not you feel motivated by the fact that all your thoughts, actions, desires and choices are determined..... is ultimately not up to you. But what you learn to identify as "you" and come to attribute to "you" emerges nonetheless - so in the sense that people naturally come to think of themselves as carved out and distinct from the causal chain that caused you to think in this way, you still become "free to will" and decide in whatever way "you" see fit within whatever social and otherwise environment that you find think of yourself as "in". And this delusion has probably proven to be a beneficial one: to be much less able to see the causal chain that determined everything you were, are and will be, than you are to see "you" as the ultimate start of the process of choosing.

So it is identity that comes into question yet again, upon an appreciation of the above.
If identity is some kind of "locus of control", as it usually seems to be perceived, and yet it is actually controlled by all that surrounds it in a continuous chain of causation, does it actually have a beginning and an end? Is it any wonder that thought experiments such as Theseus' ship and "removing parts of you until you are no longer you" produce such indistinct results? It seems to me that identity is fuzzy at best, and more of a failure to perceive the bigger causal picture than anything.

Given the positive reception of my initial premise, I wonder how many of you I am losing as I develop it?
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby surreptitious75 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:50 am

Free will is defined as the freedom to choose between all possible alternatives so does not mean free in any absolute sense
For that would mean no restriction imposed by moral or psychological or physical factors which is beyond human capability
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:09 pm

"Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded"

Unimpeded means "not obstructed or hindered".

Determinism does not hinder or obstruct, it affects. Being forced to choose something by having a gun to your head, for example, obstructs and hinders.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Fixed Cross » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:30 pm

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:"Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded"

Unimpeded means "not obstructed or hindered".

Determinism does not hinder or obstruct, it affects. Being forced to choose something by having a gun to your head, for example, obstructs and hinders.

It obstructs, or to correct you, it denies the opposite of its object, is the point. The undetermined.

The futility of the question after free will is indicated by reversing the question. What is it that can determine something else? What is free to do this?

(Thats what Nietzsche means, what I referred to, Silhouette)
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:46 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:Free will is defined as the freedom to choose between all possible alternatives so does not mean free in any absolute sense
For that would mean no restriction imposed by moral or psychological or physical factors which is beyond human capability

I think there is a certain degree of variation in definitions of free will, but I agree that the one that you have provided is probably one of the better ones in as far as it is possible to construct one without running into issues with regard to Determinism. So as a kind of standard definition, I am fine with it.

Two things though:

1) I would say that your definition would serve better under the name of Compatibilism, since it avoids obvious contradiction with the clearly deterministic "absolute sense" - thus nullifying any incompatibility between the two standpoints.

2) I am not convinced that it does in fact resolve the dilemma that Determinism presents to it.
You are not free to choose between all possible alternatives in any case:

Certainly there may seem to be no restriction due to moral, psychological or physical factors under conditions that one might therefore casually call "free" in line with your definition, but upon examination it is more true to say that moral, psychological and physical factors are instead what ensure you necessarily choose the choice you make. I am even tempted to reduce the moral and the psychological to the physical: it's chemicals and electric impulses that pick your choice, even if you are entirely unconscious of any restrictions laid upon you. It's even these chemicals and electric impulses that make up any factor that you might call "you", that you might think can influence your choice.

For example, even if nobody is around, there are no laws or signs at a fork in the road where two seemingly identical roads split off from the one you are on (excepting from the fact that one goes off to the right and the other left). You have no known motivation to take one or the other in order to get to your destination. Maybe they visibly rejoin straight after they split - no conscious factors present themselves to you to choose one way or the other. To make it even more "free" of a decision, there might even be a possibility to plow straight through the middle - perhaps there's only a thin pole sticking out the ground that you could easily step over with no effort. You could turn back, do a dance, lie down.
Free will?
Well the chemicals and electrical impulses that preclude the event have already set the causal stage - you are going to choose one option, and which one you choose is down to previous factors - apparently even before you even become aware of making your choice according to neuroscientific experiment - so I hear. But regardless, in a causal world you cannot escape the particular build-up of unconscious factors that will occur before every decision you make no matter how free it may or may not seem. I believe Existentialists like Sartre would say you have no choice but to be free to choose even if there does appear to be a lot of moral, psychological and physical factors working against you. And this choice is entirely determined.

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Being forced to choose something by having a gun to your head, for example, obstructs and hinders.

In line with the above, having a gun to your head is just another factor like wind direction, only it has far more of a chemical/electric effect on the outcome of your choice that you have no choice but to make. It's perfectly possible to choose the option that gets you shot, though it has already been determined that the choice-making is going to be heavily biased towards the option that you think makes being shot the least likely. Which is determined by previous experience (and genetics and all the other things that have already been determined).

It is the conscious experience that feels or does not feel free: an illusion when put in light of our causal understanding of existence.

Are you free to walk through a wall, or a person obstructing/hindering you? No. Pre-determined factors ensure this.
Are you free to walk where there is no wall or person in the way? Yes. Pre-determined factors determine whether you do, and in what manner. The experience of making the choice is superfluous - I am even tempted to think of it even as an accident that we witness our lives, only under the illusion that we can change its course or be free to influence the outcome in any way. I'm still fine to go along with it as though I was able, not that I had a choice in the matter.

Fixed Cross wrote:The futility of the question after free will is indicated by reversing the question. What is it that can determine something else? What is free to do this?

I do know that it isn't what we consider our identity/self - as I have explained.

I agree that there is an absurdity in asking what determines something else. All we do as humans is remark that things do determine other things. We name the consistencies as gods or quantifiable scientific forces etc. but all we really do is observe and remember. Whether "free" or not is basically irrelevant, it just does. "We" are just caught up in it, our constituent parts not really distinguishable from parts that are "not we". Apparently the result is consciousness, but don't ask me how - I can only give you an attempted answer in terms of consciousness. What use is a definition that cannot avoid using the word being defined?
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:19 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:
WW_III_ANGRY wrote:"Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded"

Unimpeded means "not obstructed or hindered".

Determinism does not hinder or obstruct, it affects. Being forced to choose something by having a gun to your head, for example, obstructs and hinders.

It obstructs, or to correct you, it denies the opposite of its object, is the point. The undetermined.

The futility of the question after free will is indicated by reversing the question. What is it that can determine something else? What is free to do this?

(Thats what Nietzsche means, what I referred to, Silhouette)


No, determinism only limits, free will is not absolute freedom. Of course, freedom is never absolutely free.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:22 pm

Silhouette wrote:
WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Being forced to choose something by having a gun to your head, for example, obstructs and hinders.

In line with the above, having a gun to your head is just another factor like wind direction, only it has far more of a chemical/electric effect on the outcome of your choice that you have no choice but to make. It's perfectly possible to choose the option that gets you shot, though it has already been determined that the choice-making is going to be heavily biased towards the option that you think makes being shot the least likely. Which is determined by previous experience (and genetics and all the other things that have already been determined).

It is the conscious experience that feels or does not feel free: an illusion when put in light of our causal understanding of existence.

Are you free to walk through a wall, or a person obstructing/hindering you? No. Pre-determined factors ensure this.
Are you free to walk where there is no wall or person in the way? Yes. Pre-determined factors determine whether you do, and in what manner. The experience of making the choice is superfluous - I am even tempted to think of it even as an accident that we witness our lives, only under the illusion that we can change its course or be free to influence the outcome in any way. I'm still fine to go along with it as though I was able, not that I had a choice in the matter.


Free will never meant omnipotence.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:42 am

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:No, determinism only limits, free will is not absolute freedom. Of course, freedom is never absolutely free.

My distinction is that free will is neither absolute nor relative, but the impression of having free will is relative (though likewise never absolute without some kind of delusion).

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Free will never meant omnipotence.

But without omnipotence, free will to any degree is just an illusion.

As I've already covered, even if Determinism was less than ubiquitous and "limiting" everything completely, then that just means some things are out of control and their outcomes random - which still rules out free will. No matter how you define it, regardless of how relatively free you "feel" when unhindered and unobstructed, all the ingredients of your choice making were determined before you were even aware of the choice - all the way back until you were born to people you didn't choose and into an environment you didn't choose.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:22 am

If supposedly free decisions are taken before one is aware of them then the only point where free will can actually exist is
when no subconscious decision has occurred and all options are entirely random and with an equal chance of being chosen
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:15 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:If supposedly free decisions are taken before one is aware of them then the only point where free will can actually exist is
when no subconscious decision has occurred and all options are entirely random and with an equal chance of being chosen

This could be true if decisions weren't made through the biased means of a human brain. You are more likely to retain certain memories than others, and only from the limited selection that you have so far encountered. Your genetics are such that they are only still passed on because upon interaction with expected earth environments they cause behaviours of certain kinds and not others. So whether ones is conscious or not at any point of "free will", options are absolutely not random with an equal chance of being chosen.

But yes, given my argument, finding a place for any "free will" to come into the decision making process at all reveals itself very quickly to be quite absurd, retreating back and back into realms of increasing impossibility and nonsense.

It has been said that free will was never meant to be defined in such a way anyway, but any way it has been "meant" to be defined suffers the same fate given the fact that everything in a causal universe has been determined by previous non-random circumstances, back and back before "you" had any existence according to any reasonable definition of identity.

And this is a point that I wanted to move onto about the ridiculousness of the notion of "identity" that can't even be defined clearly even once it's considered to be fully formed. Since we are just a snapshot of the decision making process, where we end and "not us" begins is a continuous non-boundary. It seems that only limited awareness of this continuum - only that which we are directly conscious of - can result in such a delusion of "free will" where it actually seems as though we are free to will one thing over another.



This is also compatible with such things as our conception of time as linear, with only set of circumstances unfolding at any point along the dimension. It seems that possible branches that it "could take" in future are also only illusions. Just because you don't know yet which one it will be, if any of the ones you thought at all, it will still only go down one. Science concerns itself with which ones to expect, given present uncertainty of the future, and consistently with my line of thought results in the possible branches being reduced in number.

It's compatible with what I call "the paradox of the subjective". As soon as one tries to derive a "subject" as that which acts upon objects, that which is conceived is necessarily the object of conception. Only the objective is conceivable, the subject inconceivable - there is none, there is no identity, just the illusion of one. Just like the ship of Theseus reveals identity to be absurd upon rational reflection, it's no longer reasonable to define where one identity ends and another begins. This is compatible with my argument that boundaries cannot exist because what separates the thing on one side from the boundary etc? A reduction to absurdity. For things to be touching each other, they must be separated by "nothing", i.e. no boundary. The whole conception of discrete identities is just an illusion, just as the conception that some of these identities can freely will.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Jakob » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:25 am

"For example, even if nobody is around, there are no laws or signs at a fork in the road where two seemingly identical roads split off from the one you are on (excepting from the fact that one goes off to the right and the other left). You have no known motivation to take one or the other in order to get to your destination. Maybe they visibly rejoin straight after they split - no conscious factors present themselves to you to choose one way or the other. To make it even more "free" of a decision, there might even be a possibility to plow straight through the middle - perhaps there's only a thin pole sticking out the ground that you could easily step over with no effort. You could turn back, do a dance, lie down."

and you have two left hands.
I think asymmetry of perspective to reality is a given.
There is no neutral situation, but not just because will can't be neutral. It is because perspectives are always expressions of un-objectivity. "Errors", in a sense, and this is why it is so hard to emulate consciousness using binary code.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Jakob » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:29 am

Plus I think free will originally just meant that a guy can do as he pleases.
"No free will for women!" - God

Doing stuff of his own free will - it is sooner a legal issue than a metaphysical one?
Because it seems to me that to be will is necessarily to have freedom.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:34 pm

Jakob wrote:and you have two left hands.
I think asymmetry of perspective to reality is a given.
There is no neutral situation, but not just because will can't be neutral. It is because perspectives are always expressions of un-objectivity. "Errors", in a sense, and this is why it is so hard to emulate consciousness using binary code.

Consciousness is binary code, neurons are only ever fired or not. It's just complicated.

I was trying to say that perspectives are limited ("asymmetrical"), but only if one doesn't apply reason to the fact that everything is causal. Consciousness can and does constitute reality, the only problem is that other people are understood to give different accounts, and when incorporating their accounts into a kind of "socially enhanced perspective", we get better predictive power unto what the one determined outcome will be. That's not to say that your perspective is wrong and not as good as some reality that's independent of your perspective (to which nobody ever had access in order to claim the existence thereof anyway), it's just that reason enhances an otherwise limited perspective that might otherwise believe in an illusion like free will.

Jakob wrote:Doing stuff of his own free will - it is sooner a legal issue than a metaphysical one?
Because it seems to me that to be will is necessarily to have freedom.

Yeah, if it just means "intentional", that's fine - it's just a bad synonym. Only, it isn't exactly someone's fault if they "intend" to do something - it was determined to be that way.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:43 pm

Silhouette wrote:
WW_III_ANGRY wrote:No, determinism only limits, free will is not absolute freedom. Of course, freedom is never absolutely free.

My distinction is that free will is neither absolute nor relative, but the impression of having free will is relative (though likewise never absolute without some kind of delusion).

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Free will never meant omnipotence.

But without omnipotence, free will to any degree is just an illusion.

As I've already covered, even if Determinism was less than ubiquitous and "limiting" everything completely, then that just means some things are out of control and their outcomes random - which still rules out free will. No matter how you define it, regardless of how relatively free you "feel" when unhindered and unobstructed, all the ingredients of your choice making were determined before you were even aware of the choice - all the way back until you were born to people you didn't choose and into an environment you didn't choose.


Free will never meant to be omnipotent, I think you're attributing an impossible definition to free will, also something that it never meant.
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Silhouette » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:03 am

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:
Silhouette wrote:
WW_III_ANGRY wrote:No, determinism only limits, free will is not absolute freedom. Of course, freedom is never absolutely free.

My distinction is that free will is neither absolute nor relative, but the impression of having free will is relative (though likewise never absolute without some kind of delusion).

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Free will never meant omnipotence.

But without omnipotence, free will to any degree is just an illusion.

As I've already covered, even if Determinism was less than ubiquitous and "limiting" everything completely, then that just means some things are out of control and their outcomes random - which still rules out free will. No matter how you define it, regardless of how relatively free you "feel" when unhindered and unobstructed, all the ingredients of your choice making were determined before you were even aware of the choice - all the way back until you were born to people you didn't choose and into an environment you didn't choose.


Free will never meant to be omnipotent, I think you're attributing an impossible definition to free will, also something that it never meant.

I'm not trying to give it an impossible definition, I was just saying that the only one that wouldn't be impossible would have to involve some kind of omnipotence - like you suggested it wasn't "supposed" to be. The implication of course being that if it wasn't meant to be omnipotent then it's an impossible concept that therefore cannot exist (for reasons that I already explained).

In your 3 one-liner posts you've not made it any clearer as to where you think the definition of free will is supposed to lie such that it isn't covered by my arguments and is in fact valid.

If you're trying to claim that all it is is just not being restricted by other people, other people's restrictions on you are all entirely determined by their genetics and initial environment (neither of which they chose) - everything that they come to think of as their "free will" is incrementally determined from those unfree foundations and onward, so they are functionally equivalent to any other non-human restriction on you like not being able to fly or walk through walls. It's just that the same causal restrictions that you never chose are working "through" other people when people happen to be involved.

Not to mention, all the while this very same determinism has been working through you since you were born into an environment you didn't choose to parents whom you didn't choose. You aren't able to choose otherwise given every setup you come across because of this causal nature of the universe that is governing everyone's free will, no matter how easy it might seem for you to choose otherwise. You are given all these choices in a "free" society, but you are unfree to choose any others than the one you are determined to pick. Whether or not you seem restricted by others with regard to all the choices you have, you are only ever going to choose the one you were determined to choose.

So where is this "free will" definition "meant" to be such that it is both valid and exempt from my argument as I have just summarised and previously expanded upon?
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Re: Free Will and Freedom

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:22 pm

Silhouette wrote:
Jakob wrote:and you have two left hands.
I think asymmetry of perspective to reality is a given.
There is no neutral situation, but not just because will can't be neutral. It is because perspectives are always expressions of un-objectivity. "Errors", in a sense, and this is why it is so hard to emulate consciousness using binary code.

Consciousness is binary code, neurons are only ever fired or not. It's just complicated.

Binary code is a basic form presented to us by our consciousness. Which is why we perceive our consciousness in turn as resulting from binary code. Its the terms our consciousness forces on us - if we aren't a bit more clever than to just trust the spontaneously engendered forms that present themselves "to us" (in us, as us) ...

Thats the point I was making - you can't see the ground to consciousness using your consciousness. You can only see the efforts of your consciousness trying to see its own ground.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides

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