Versus Determinism

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Versus Determinism

Hello.

In the course of my wanderings, I've come across a number of arguments for God. Some are good, some are less good, but all raise the probability for his existence to some degree I think. Anyway, for a long time I had the theory that there was some sort of "apologetics zeitgeist", if you will. I mean, if you look at the evolution of the Christian apologetic from Anselm to Aquinas to Descartes to Bahnsen to Plantinga, you see real progress in the sophistication of the argumentation presented, and in how close to God they get with their proofs. So I figured eventually we'll evolve closer and closer to an actual 100% proof of the existence of the supernatural. Turns out I was wrong- it wasn't gradual at all. And it didn't come from any apologist.

No, the defeat of atheism was accomplished by one of the most vehement atheists of all time: Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand 

Yeah, you heard me. The object of your worship refuted you. (I know not all of you worship her but from going through the forums I know she has fans here.)

I quote the book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

"Can one prove that man's consciousness does not function automatically? If man's consciousness were automatic, if it did react deterministically to outer or inner forces acting upon it, then, by definition, a man would have no choice in regard to his mental content; he would accept whatever he had to accept, whatever ideas the determining forces engendered in him... (p. 69)

The concept of 'volition' is one of the roots of the concept of 'validation'... A validation of ideas is necessary and possible only because man's consciousness is volitional. This applies to any idea, including the advocacy of free will: to ask for its proof is to presuppose the reality of free will...

You the reader can percieve every potentiality I have been discussing simply by observing your own consciousness... You can decide to read attentively and struggle to understand, judge, and apply the material- or you can let your attention wander.(p. 70)

When the determinist claims that man is determined, this applies to all man's ideas also, including his own advocacy of determinism. Given the factors operating on him, he believes, he had to become a determinist, just as his opponents had no choice but to oppose him. How then can he know that his own viewpoint is true?... Does he automatically follow reason and logic? Clearly not; if he did, error would impossible to him. (p. 71)"

I'm not going to drown you in quotes. Anyone who wants the whole argument is directed to p.69-72 of the book. The pattern of argument outlined above will serve as a sufficient outline for our purposes.

So, free will is proven. Now, do we know of any sort of matter that could create free will? No. All the matter that we've observed and tested acts more or less deterministically at the visible level. So, we have to appeal to a higher power, one not bound by matter, to explain this phenomenon. This is called the supernatural.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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LOL, Ayn Rand.

LOL, Ayn Rand.


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Quote: LOL, Ayn

Quote:
LOL, Ayn Rand.

Hello again magilum. Or may I call you "maggie"?

Laugh if you want, but Rand did a better job of pwning atheism than Anselm and Aquinas COMBINED.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
LOL, Ayn Rand.

Hello again magilum. Or may I call you "maggie"?

Laugh if you want, but Rand did a better job of pwning atheism than Anselm and Aquinas COMBINED.

What part of what you quoted from Rand (I'll echo the LOL here) do you think shows determinism to be false? How does theism rescue freewill? How have you determined it is impossible for an atheistic worldview to account for freewill?   

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Now, if you can only find

Now, if you can only find someone who worships Ayn Rand, you might have something.

You're living under the mistaken assumption that all atheists are objectivists. I don't know objectivists who "worship" Rand.

You want to know what book made me consider myself an atheist? You may have heard of it.

The Holy Bible 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote: What part of what

Quote:
What part of what you quoted from Rand (I'll echo the LOL here) do you think shows determinism to be false?

Did you actually read the quote? There's a potential argument in almost every paragraph there. The whole thing actually comes together quite nicely.

Quote:
How does theism rescue freewill?

I am not so much arguing FOR theism as AGAINST atheism.

Quote:
How have you determined it is impossible for an atheistic worldview to account for freewill?   

Refer to the last paragraph of my OP. I tied it together there.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
LOL, Ayn Rand.

Hello again magilum. Or may I call you "maggie"?

Anything to space out the naked assertions, I suppose.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Laugh if you want, but Rand did a better job of pwning atheism than Anselm and Aquinas COMBINED.

There's a glowing recommendation. I'm assuming Rand resolved this to her own satisfaction without resorting to a dualist non-sequitur, though whether it's valid is another story -- and quite impertinent to this quote-mining of yours. We wouldn't have any awareness or causal determinism, if consciousness is, as the data so far suggests, an emergent quality of physical existence. Free will as an illusion is certain, as a reality it is not.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
How does theism rescue freewill?

I am not so much arguing FOR theism as AGAINST atheism.

As opposed to what?


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jcgadfly wrote: Now, if

jcgadfly wrote:

Now, if you can only find someone who worships Ayn Rand, you might have something.

You're living under the mistaken assumption that all atheists are objectivists. I don't know objectivists who "worship" Rand.

You want to know what book made me consider myself an atheist? You may have heard of it.

The Holy Bible 

Did you read the OP? I acknowledged in the OP that lots of you guys don't buy objectivism. Still, lots of you do. I know she has fans here.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Now, if you can only find someone who worships Ayn Rand, you might have something.

You're living under the mistaken assumption that all atheists are objectivists. I don't know objectivists who "worship" Rand.

You want to know what book made me consider myself an atheist? You may have heard of it.

The Holy Bible

Did you read the OP? I acknowledged in the OP that lots of you guys don't buy objectivism. Still, lots of you do. I know she has fans here.

Being a fan still doesn't imply worship. That's my point. Take it as you will. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote: There's a glowing

Quote:

There's a glowing recommendation. I'm assuming Rand resolved this to her own satisfaction without resorting to a dualist non-sequitur, though whether it's valid is another story -- and quite impertinent to this quote-mining of yours. We wouldn't have any awareness or causal determinism, if consciousness is, as the data so far suggests, an emergent quality of physical existence. Free will as an illusion is certain, as a reality it is not.

1. I am not quote-mining. You would know this if you knew anything about Rand. The quotes follow the pattern of argument precisely.

2. The only reason we would have an awareness of determinism is that "we" wouldn't exist. And what "data" are you referring to? Why can't the phenomena that you directly percieve count as data?

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Vessel

Vessel wrote:
Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
LOL, Ayn Rand.

Hello again magilum. Or may I call you "maggie"?

Laugh if you want, but Rand did a better job of pwning atheism than Anselm and Aquinas COMBINED.

What part of what you quoted from Rand (I'll echo the LOL here) do you think shows determinism to be false? How does theism rescue freewill? [...]  

Because it's amorphous philosophical putty. If there's a crevice it doesn't smooth over, an ad hoc can be asserted to fit, and ground into all the other ad hocs and non-sequiturs.


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jcgadfly wrote: Being a fan

jcgadfly wrote:
Being a fan still doesn't imply worship. That's my point. Take it as you will. 

Dude, I am not going to bicker with you about my choice of word. I am not a fan of logic-chopping semantic crap.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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magilum wrote: Because it's

magilum wrote:
Because it's amorphous philosophical putty. If there's a crevice it doesn't smooth over, an ad hoc can be asserted to fit, and ground into all the other ad hocs and non-sequiturs.

It is not putty! It is an abductive necessity in this context, for the 10,000th time!

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
What part of what you quoted from Rand (I'll echo the LOL here) do you think shows determinism to be false?

Did you actually read the quote? There's a potential argument in almost every paragraph there. The whole thing actually comes together quite nicely.

Yes, I read it. Express the argument as you would like to present it. It seems to me to argue against some very simplistic linear understanding of determinism. I need to know how you understand her argument, not how I understand it, in order to have a discussion with you about the argument presented.

Tell me this. Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are?  

Quote:
Quote:
How does theism rescue freewill?

I am not so much arguing FOR theism as AGAINST atheism.

So theism should be equally invalid from your perspective being as that it is unable to rescue freewill. 

Quote:
How have you determined it is impossible for an atheistic worldview to account for freewill?

Refer to the last paragraph of my OP. I tied it together there.

No. You simply asserted there was no way to rescue freewill through materialism and thereby asserted that atheism was defeated. Surely you don't think that 'no known' and 'no possible' are the same.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Quote:

There's a glowing recommendation. I'm assuming Rand resolved this to her own satisfaction without resorting to a dualist non-sequitur, though whether it's valid is another story -- and quite impertinent to this quote-mining of yours. We wouldn't have any awareness or causal determinism, if consciousness is, as the data so far suggests, an emergent quality of physical existence. Free will as an illusion is certain, as a reality it is not.

1. I am not quote-mining. You would know this if you knew anything about Rand. The quotes follow the pattern of argument precisely.

I'm not a fan of Rand, not that it's important... of wait, that was the premise of your argument. The importance of Rand. Whoops.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
2. The only reason we would have an awareness of determinism is that "we" wouldn't exist.

It's a sentence, I'll give you that.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
And what "data" are you referring to? Why can't the phenomena that you directly percieve count as data?

Neurological data, studies of brain injuries, etc., that suggest the brain as the organ responsible consciousness. And, alternatively, the absence of evidence for dualism.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

magilum wrote:
Because it's amorphous philosophical putty. If there's a crevice it doesn't smooth over, an ad hoc can be asserted to fit, and ground into all the other ad hocs and non-sequiturs.

It is not putty! It is an abductive necessity in this context, for the 10,000th time!

Case in point. Who needs evidence when one can assert?


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Being a fan still doesn't imply worship. That's my point. Take it as you will.

Dude, I am not going to bicker with you about my choice of word. I am not a fan of logic-chopping semantic crap.

Whatever - just choose your words carefully so you don't sound like an ass. From what responses I'm seeing you're not doing so well at that. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote: I'm not a fan of

Quote:
I'm not a fan of Rand, not that it's important... of wait, that was the premise of your argument. The importance of Rand. Whoops.

Nothing in my argument is premised on that. Geez, I know you're not in the habit of listening to people who disagree with you but it's kind of silly not to have some comprehension of the OP of a thread before contributing to it.

Quote:
It's a sentence, I'll give you that.

Well, when you're prepared to be intelligible, I'll listen to what you have to say.

Quote:
Neurological data, studies of brain injuries, etc., that suggest the brain as the organ responsible consciousness. And, alternatively, the absence of evidence for dualism.

You didn't answer my question. Why can't the phenomena you directly percieve count as data/evidence?

Another question: Why haven't you even tried to rebut my OP's argument yet? (You've not read it. You saw "Ayn Rand" and went LOOOL!!! and assumed I had nothing to say here.)

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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jcgadfly wrote: Whatever -

jcgadfly wrote:
Whatever - just choose your words carefully so you don't sound like an ass. From what responses I'm seeing you're not doing so well at that. 

But have you seen what I'm responding to? There's the problem. These people have no idea what I'm talking about. They have not read the OP. They came in with the assumption that they could take any little thing in my OP out of context and it would be okay. It is annoying.

Look, you seem civil. I'm not trying to come off like a jerk. Just understand that on the whole, this forum isn't all that polite.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
I'm not a fan of Rand, not that it's important... of wait, that was the premise of your argument. The importance of Rand. Whoops.

Nothing in my argument is premised on that. Geez, I know you're not in the habit of listening to people who disagree with you but it's kind of silly not to have some comprehension of the OP of a thread before contributing to it.

I'll take a page from you and assert it unnecessary.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Quote:
It's a sentence, I'll give you that.

Well, when you're prepared to be intelligible, I'll listen to what you have to say.

You're the walking dead. This is for entertainment.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Quote:
Neurological data, studies of brain injuries, etc., that suggest the brain as the organ responsible consciousness. And, alternatively, the absence of evidence for dualism.

You didn't answer my question. Why can't the phenomena you directly percieve count as data/evidence?

You didn't clarify of what this undefined experience is meant to be evidence. If it regards determinism, it's ruled out being experienced under the premise that consciousness is an emergent quality of physical existence. Determinism could no more be directly experienced than the individual particles we regard simply as matter.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Another question: Why haven't you even tried to rebut my OP's argument yet? (You've not read it. You saw "Ayn Rand" and went LOOOL!!! and assumed I had nothing to say here.)

Your OP enlisted the quote mines of a bad philosopher to push a premise she didn't support against a position that's not intrinsic to the position you oppose. Once again, your position is non-sequitur.

Is this performance art? Seriously. 


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Rand wrote: Vessel


Rand wrote:
Vessel wrote:
Maybe she'll stop by to argue her position, or you know, her spirit.

When the determinist claims that man is determined, this applies to all man's ideas also, including his own advocacy of determinism.

Yes. Determined by a multitude of factors including information received from various sources over the course of a man's lifetime.  

Quote:
Given the factors operating on him, he believes, he had to become a determinist, just as his opponents had no choice but to oppose him.

Yes. If it wasn't for the forcesthat acted on him bringing him to determinism he would not be a determinist.  

Quote:
How then can he know that his own viewpoint is true?...

By whether or not it coincides with reality. 

Quote:
Does he automatically follow reason and logic? Clearly not; if he did, error would impossible to him. (p. 71)"

In situations where forces have acted upon him to lead him to follow reason and logic, yes. In other situations, No.

The subject, man, you, me, whatever, is not an entity imprisoned by determinsitc forces but is part of the chain of causation itself. We make decisions based on who we are which is shaped by forces such as genetics and environment across time frames. The only way to think freewill is possible is to expect us to be able to be what we are not. I have never known anybody who was what they were not or who did things they would not do. Every choice made is made for a reason and that reason is part of the person making the choice.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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If we built an artificially

If we built an artificially intelligent robot and this robot asks for reasons to accept that its actions and thoughts are not determined by the electrochemical processes within its mainframe, it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board. Rand's argument was a presuppositional nonsequitur.

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   Cool thread, people,

 

 Cool thread, people, good discussion.

I think Presupp's questions are honest and relevant,  and I also agree with Vessel that this line of questioning is based on a limited concept of determinism, and I'm impressed by Visual Paradoxes reply which rounds off the point nicely-

 

Visual_Paradox wrote:

If we built an artificially intelligent robot and this robot asks for reasons to accept that its actions and thoughts are not determined by the electrochemical processes within its mainframe, it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board. Rand's argument was a presuppositional nonsequitur.

 

Taking this group of valid positions into account together:

(1) Rand/Presupp - Deterministic concept of consciousness + Observed Human Psychology --> contradiction

 (2) Vessel - (1) is true because of linearly defined determinism.

(3) VP - AI analogy resolves the above concept of determinism into at least 2 dimensions.

 I come to the conclusion:

A valid deterministic concept of consciousness must be modelled in at least 2 dimensions.

 This might seem like a really simple and trivial conclusion but to be honest, it's really not. It goes straight to the heart of the mnd-body problem and proves decisively that if 1,2 and 3 are true, there must be a neutral monistic mind-body axis at least. ie A field. That's not a trivial thing at all.

It means that the answer to Vessels question: Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are?  

Is Yes, the person you are is an element of a set of equivalent coordinates in a field of self identity. The extra degree of freedom means that deterministic forces at most can constrain the identity to a (2*2) subspace, they cannot choose for it.

The important result here is the topology. Monism in this model means precisely that the field is the actual human self, the whole field. A present identity is like a bubble in a mainfold of deterministic possibilities.  

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I only argued that Rand's

I only argued that Rand's conclusion was a nonsequitur. I said nothing else. Whatever else you think I said or implied, I didn't.

I've read your response ten times Eloise. I think it's gibberish. Could you please rewrite your thoughts using intelligible English?

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Visual_Paradox wrote: I

Visual_Paradox wrote:

I only argued that Rand's conclusion was a nonsequitur. I said nothing else. Whatever else you think I said or implied, I didn't.

My apologies, as you said "it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board", I supposed what does follow, instead, is that the silicon board itself produces a field over which thoughts can be correlated with coordinates in more than one orientation. I did presume that you had contigently thought about alternative answers to the original question in this thread, not just what isn't the answer.   

 

Quote:

I've read your response ten times Eloise. I think it's gibberish. Could you please rewrite your thoughts using intelligible English?

There is nothing unintelligible about my english, your response is verging on ad hominem. Could you please address whatever I've said that you find objectionable directly, giving reasons.  

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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Hello.

In the course of my wanderings, I've come across a number of arguments for God. Some are good, some are less good, but all raise the probability for his existence to some degree I think. Anyway, for a long time I had the theory that there was some sort of "apologetics zeitgeist", if you will. I mean, if you look at the evolution of the Christian apologetic from Anselm to Aquinas to Descartes to Bahnsen to Plantinga, you see real progress in the sophistication of the argumentation presented, and in how close to God they get with their proofs. So I figured eventually we'll evolve closer and closer to an actual 100% proof of the existence of the supernatural. Turns out I was wrong- it wasn't gradual at all. And it didn't come from any apologist.

No, the defeat of atheism was accomplished by one of the most vehement atheists of all time: Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand

Yeah, you heard me. The object of your worship refuted you. (I know not all of you worship her but from going through the forums I know she has fans here.)

I quote the book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

"Can one prove that man's consciousness does not function automatically? If man's consciousness were automatic, if it did react deterministically to outer or inner forces acting upon it, then, by definition, a man would have no choice in regard to his mental content; he would accept whatever he had to accept, whatever ideas the determining forces engendered in him... (p. 69)

The concept of 'volition' is one of the roots of the concept of 'validation'... A validation of ideas is necessary and possible only because man's consciousness is volitional. This applies to any idea, including the advocacy of free will: to ask for its proof is to presuppose the reality of free will...

You the reader can percieve every potentiality I have been discussing simply by observing your own consciousness... You can decide to read attentively and struggle to understand, judge, and apply the material- or you can let your attention wander.(p. 70)

When the determinist claims that man is determined, this applies to all man's ideas also, including his own advocacy of determinism. Given the factors operating on him, he believes, he had to become a determinist, just as his opponents had no choice but to oppose him. How then can he know that his own viewpoint is true?... Does he automatically follow reason and logic? Clearly not; if he did, error would impossible to him. (p. 71)"

I'm not going to drown you in quotes. Anyone who wants the whole argument is directed to p.69-72 of the book. The pattern of argument outlined above will serve as a sufficient outline for our purposes.

So, free will is proven. Now, do we know of any sort of matter that could create free will? No. All the matter that we've observed and tested acts more or less deterministically at the visible level. So, we have to appeal to a higher power, one not bound by matter, to explain this phenomenon. This is called the supernatural.

 

I do not understand your argument. Clarification please. 


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Eloise wrote:

Eloise wrote:

 

Cool thread, people, good discussion.

I think Presupp's questions are honest and relevant, and I also agree with Vessel that this line of questioning is based on a limited concept of determinism, and I'm impressed by Visual Paradoxes reply which rounds off the point nicely-

 

Visual_Paradox wrote:

If we built an artificially intelligent robot and this robot asks for reasons to accept that its actions and thoughts are not determined by the electrochemical processes within its mainframe, it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board. Rand's argument was a presuppositional nonsequitur.

 

Taking this group of valid positions into account together:

(1) Rand/Presupp - Deterministic concept of consciousness + Observed Human Psychology --> contradiction

(2) Vessel - (1) is true because of linearly defined determinism.

(3) VP - AI analogy resolves the above concept of determinism into at least 2 dimensions.

I come to the conclusion:

A valid deterministic concept of consciousness must be modelled in at least 2 dimensions.

This might seem like a really simple and trivial conclusion but to be honest, it's really not. It goes straight to the heart of the mnd-body problem and proves decisively that if 1,2 and 3 are true, there must be a neutral monistic mind-body axis at least. ie A field. That's not a trivial thing at all.

It means that the answer to Vessels question: Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are?

Is Yes, the person you are is an element of a set of equivalent coordinates in a field of self identity. The extra degree of freedom means that deterministic forces at most can constrain the identity to a (2*2) subspace, they cannot choose for it.

The important result here is the topology. Monism in this model means precisely that the field is the actual human self, the whole field. A present identity is like a bubble in a mainfold of deterministic possibilities.

 

Seems like a lot of unecessary verbage. I don't see an inherent problem with the deterministic conception of consciousness and human psychology. I think of will in the most general sense to be the strongest motivating causal factor at any given point in time. I don't create motivating causal factors, they simply happen to me.

 

For example: I am unable to choose what I wish to believe about the nature of reality or the existence of your particular god concept, but the desire to know truth (innate causal factor) will compel me to weigh the evidence, and belief one way or the other will naturally result from these forces over which I have no control.

 

It's ironic that I was a determinist (Calvinist) as a Christian but am now one as an atheist for an entirely different reason. I didn't choose to deconvert, it just happened to me, and did so regardless of how hard I tried to hold on to my faith because I was forced to step outside myself and objectively evaluate my deepest held convictions.


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Odemus wrote:

Odemus wrote:

I don't see an inherent problem with the deterministic conception of consciousness and human psychology.

What's problematic about saying 'I'm fine with the notion that my self-autonomy is a delusion because it supports my materialistic world view and beliefs'?

I mean no offense when I say you are welcome to it, I can't begin to list what is wrong with that.

 

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Eloise wrote: Odemus

Eloise wrote:
Odemus wrote:

I don't see an inherent problem with the deterministic conception of consciousness and human psychology.

What's problematic about saying 'I'm fine with the notion that my self-autonomy is a delusion because it supports my materialistic world view and beliefs'?

I mean no offense when I say you are welcome to it, I can't begin to list what is wrong with that.

I don't understand your original reply either. I don't follow the terminology (axis, subspace, field of self identity). If consciousness depends on physical existence, and physical existence is a chain (maybe mesh would be more apt) of inevitable events, does consciousness act in a way that transcends its apparent physical origins (contradicting determinism), or is it the effect of physical inevitabilities of which it can't be specifically aware (affirming determinism)?


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Eloise wrote:My apologies,

Eloise wrote:
My apologies, as you said "it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board", I supposed what does follow, instead, is that the silicon board itself produces a field over which thoughts can be correlated with coordinates in more than one orientation. I did presume that you had contigently thought about alternative answers to the original question in this thread, not just what isn't the answer.
Visual_Paradox wrote:
I've read your response ten times Eloise. I think it's gibberish. Could you please rewrite your thoughts using intelligible English?
There is nothing unintelligible about my english, your response is verging on ad hominem. Could you please address whatever I've said that you find objectionable directly, giving reasons.


An ad hominem argument is an attempt to discredit an argument by discrediting the arguer. I simply said that your statement conveyed no meaning to me. That's nowhere near an ad hominem argument.

Address whatever you've said that I find objectionable? How would I do that when I don't understand what you're trying to say? (As I said, "I think it's gibberish.&quotEye-wink The silicon board itself produces a field over which thoughts can be correlated with coordinates in more than one orientation—what does that mean? Are you saying coordinates can be in more than one orientation? Are you saying that thoughts can be in more than one orientation? Neither interpretation conveys meaning to me. Deterministic forces at most can constrain the identity to a (2*2) subspace—what does that mean? I cannot even guess at what you're trying to say. A present identity is like a bubble in a manifold of deterministic possibilities—what does that mean? You seem to have some vague meaning you wish to express but it's not being conveyed to some (any?) of your readers.

Quote:
What's problematic about saying 'I'm fine with the notion that my self-autonomy is a delusion because it supports my materialistic world view and beliefs'?

I mean no offense when I say you are welcome to it, I can't begin to list what is wrong with that.


I see nothing problematic with the view of self-autonomy being an illusion. (I do have a problem with your strawperson of the position.) Lately I've been thinking that consciousness might be passive, having no control over anything. In other words, the electrochemical processes, from which consciousness emerges, produce a correlation between thought and action while simultaneously causing a "correlation equals causation" fallacy to be inherent to consciousness.

 Edit: Hmm, then again, maybe it does have some physical role. Under the perspective of passiveness, how could one account for the evolution of such a correlation between thought and action if thought cannot be selected for or against? 

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Eloise wrote: Odemus

Eloise wrote:
Odemus wrote:

I don't see an inherent problem with the deterministic conception of consciousness and human psychology.

What's problematic about saying 'I'm fine with the notion that my self-autonomy is a delusion because it supports my materialistic world view and beliefs'?

I mean no offense when I say you are welcome to it, I can't begin to list what is wrong with that.

 

I don't know that there is anything problematic about it. Do you?

 

It's certainly better than an omnimax creator being which must necessarily rob me of my free will yet hold me accountable. I'll take an illusion over a fantasy any day ;P 


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magilum wrote:

magilum wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Odemus wrote:

I don't see an inherent problem with the deterministic conception of consciousness and human psychology.

What's problematic about saying 'I'm fine with the notion that my self-autonomy is a delusion because it supports my materialistic world view and beliefs'?

I mean no offense when I say you are welcome to it, I can't begin to list what is wrong with that.

I don't understand your original reply either. I don't follow the terminology (axis, subspace, field of self identity). If consciousness depends on physical existence, and physical existence is a chain (maybe mesh would be more apt) of inevitable events,

Okay Magilum, I'm happy to clarify when asked kindly.

If it helps any, mesh is definitely the more apt analogy and that's really the whole point in a nutshell. The consequence of the chain of inevitable events having at least two directions of freedom, ie because it is a net, not a chain - the material events cannot push the mental events around any more than the mental events can push the material events around. The most the material events can do to the mental events is constrain them to a area of the field.

Or think of it this way - say you have a flow of material events in a causal chain which result in a firing of neurons. There you have determinism at work, if brain activity only happened this way there is no possibility of free will, conscious life would be generated first in physical events then in mental events, physical event, mental event an so on, in a chain. Neurons fire upon impetus and the firing corresponds directly to another physical event which causes another firing. There is no way for this to look upon itself, to pause or question itself. So we know our mental activity is not linearly determined.

Now consider several material events firing several neurons in several directions activiating a field of mental activity with it's own axes. So say, the material chain fires the neuronal activity and that resulting activity has a field to move in as opposed to a line to move on. So the mental activity can be pushed in the direction that the impetus physical impetus pushes it, or it can, spin off in another direction using the same energy. In this scenario the most the physical impetus can force upon the mental activity is a probabilistic space around its trajectory. This scenario gives you free will without transcendence of the material substrate, it supposes that within the material substrate there is an extra degree of freedom for the mental activity.

How this goes to answer Vessel's question - Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are? - is that in this scenario the conscious self is physically ambiguous. When a material chain of causailty fires a neuron it has a set of results to respond with, not just one singular result. - I note this is probably confusing but stay with me I will try another direction which will converge with this one.

Quote:

does consciousness act in a way that transcends its apparent physical origins (contradicting determinism),

I think we can safely say that conciousness appears to act in a way that transcends the seeming physical origins. The question then must be, what creates this appearance of duality, and does that imply a physically real duality or is it an illusion?

Quote:

or is it the effect of physical inevitabilities of which it can't be specifically aware (affirming determinism)?

What I meant is there does not need to be this dilemma. The only true physical inevitability is that energy is not destroyed it just travels.

Think of it this way, when you kick a ball it will fly off in the direction you have kicked it; if the ball is spinning when you kick it, then the direction of your kick does not determine the path of the ball, the spin on the ball determines it. And then if the ball is flat against a net and you kick it, the net will absorb the energy of your kick and direct that energy according to itself. The ball will not move in the direction you have kicked it, it will use your energy and move according to the shape of the net.

A linear deterministic consciousness is the still ball analogy, if consciousness works this way then the illusion of will is caused by accidental collisions of kicked balls, there is in this case, no will anywhere at all only cascades of energy bumping into each other in a random fashion, multiple cascades can create a net of mental activity which then directs the energy according to itself. To us, this net would be our illusion self image, whereas if all this is true then it is not really a self at all it's just a bubble of chaotic energy.

But this is only one materially consistent picture of consciousness.

The other even more materially consistent picture is that the balls are in an energised state before they are kicked, ie the spinning ball. While this is the case then the consciousness has a field of activity for each firing, this is not the same as an illusionary field created by multiple firings it is an actual field over which there is real physical freedom of action for the consciousness. This field can have its own net, a kind of frequency or tone whch relates to all the spins on all the balls in the (abstract) neural space. Now this can still be deterministic, but it can also create a true duality in the material consciousness, depending on the source of the intrinsic motion of these metaphorical neural balls.

Okay, I have tried my best to explain, and I am sorry if there is still some difficult language in it. This is a complex subject and I can only do so much to describe it with accuracy and simplicity at the same time.

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You say that your mind-body

You say that your mind-body axis interpretation is more materially consistent. I'm curious as to your reasoning about how it's more consistent. I see nothing in nature that would enable such an interpretation to be applied to physical systems. Your interpretation seems to be limited to ackward metaphors, even though it doesn't physically work in those either.

(PS: I loved the implied passive-aggressive insult in your first sentence towards me.)

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Eloise wrote: I think we

Eloise wrote:

I think we can safely say that conciousness appears to act in a way that transcends the seeming physical origins. The question then must be, what creates this appearance of duality, and does that imply a physically real duality or is it an illusion?

I don't think it's safe to say this at all. What exactly is it about consciousness that appears to transcend its physical origins? Does a computer program transcend its physical origins? There is no qualititative difference between it and consciousness. 

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Visual_Paradox wrote:

Eloise wrote:
My apologies, as you said "it doesn't logically follow that the artificially intelligent robot's consciousness has transcended the silicon board", I supposed what does follow, instead, is that the silicon board itself produces a field over which thoughts can be correlated with coordinates in more than one orientation. I did presume that you had contigently thought about alternative answers to the original question in this thread, not just what isn't the answer.
Visual_Paradox wrote:
I've read your response ten times Eloise. I think it's gibberish. Could you please rewrite your thoughts using intelligible English?
There is nothing unintelligible about my english, your response is verging on ad hominem. Could you please address whatever I've said that you find objectionable directly, giving reasons.


An ad hominem argument is an attempt to discredit an argument by discrediting the arguer. I simply said that your statement conveyed no meaning to me. That's nowhere near an ad hominem argument.

 

It's your prerogative to say that is what you meant, and if that is what you meant then I would appreciate you refraining from using judgemental language to say it with.

Quote:

The silicon board itself produces a field over which thoughts can be correlated with coordinates in more than one orientation—what does that mean? Are you saying coordinates can be in more than one orientation? Are you saying that thoughts can be in more than one orientation? Neither interpretation conveys meaning to me.

I am saying, of course, that a self referencing thought must have more than one orientation, itself and towards itself. To define something with a second degree of freedom such as this you would use a set of coordinates.

Quote:

Deterministic forces at most can constrain the identity to a (2*2) subspace—what does that mean? I cannot even guess at what you're trying to say.

Well you could try reading the whole sentence from the start that may help- The extra degree of freedom means that deterministic forces at most can constrain the identity.... etc.

As I have noted a few times now before and in this post, there must be a field of mental activity for it to be self referencing. The determination of activity on such a field, without using "unintelligible" terms for you, can be like many soccer balls all kicked at once and bumping into each other, or it can be like the multiple directions that one moving soccer ball can go in when you kick it. These are both physically real spaces, the direction energy is carried within them though is determined by different things in each case. In the first field the direction that energy is carried within the field is determined by the outside forces (individually and combined). In the second case the direction that energy is carried within the field is determined by the intrinsic state of the field.

Quote:

A present identity is like a bubble in a manifold of deterministic possibilities—what does that mean?

This refers to the concept of self which is formed in the above field. In both cases, this shape is ambiguous, it has no intrinsic structure, either is is chaotically formed by the motion of energy from outside forces, or it is probabilistically formed by the instrinsic state of the field.

Either way, the meaning intended to be conveyed by that sentence is in answer to Vessels question which was - Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are? - to demonstrate that the answer is invariably yes.

In the case that this 'self' is formed by outside forces, and that the energy of those forces cannot be constrained to flow in only one direction, then the field of mental activity must necessarily push against it's own edges. In this case, mental energy can and must by necessity effect the physical energy acting on it, quite directly, so the self, the 'bubble of mental energy' which has swelled up in the neuronal space can break out of itself.

Alternately if you take the field of mental action to be of the latter resonant nature, then it is by definition multiple probable selves, many different bubbles of energy which are equal to each other.

Thus we can do what we wouldn't do, one way or the other, and we can make a choice which we wouldn't choose. Because we have a self referencing sentience it follows that a physical road outside of the deterministic bubble of mental activity must exist.

 

And just one more thing.. Truce?

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Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

I think we can safely say that conciousness appears to act in a way that transcends the seeming physical origins. The question then must be, what creates this appearance of duality, and does that imply a physically real duality or is it an illusion?

I don't think it's safe to say this at all. What exactly is it about consciousness that appears to transcend its physical origins? Does a computer program transcend its physical origins? There is no qualititative difference between it and consciousness.

That is completely untrue, computers do not invent, they have no ingenuity and no aesthetic concept. Neither do they construct any abstract thing which incorporates emotion, because they have none. 

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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

 So, we have to appeal to a higher power, one not bound by matter, to explain this phenomenon. This is called the supernatural.

We don't have to do anything, remember we have free will.

 

 We can assume the pattern of science will continue. New scientific discoveries will be made. These discoveries will enable science to explain natural phenomena(like free will and consciousness) that were once mysteries and explained as supernatural by religious people.

It is not called the supernatural by me, it's called superstitious.

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Now, do we know of any sort of matter that could create free will? No.

We don't know if matter can create free will, we need to understand better what matter is first. You just assign God to every mystery of nature science does not yet understand. This would be your argument if you lived 1000 years ago:

 We don't know of anything that could cause disease, so we must assign god and demons as the cause of all diseases.

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Eloise wrote: This refers

Eloise wrote:

This refers to the concept of self which is formed in the above field. In both cases, this shape is ambiguous, it has no intrinsic structure, either is is chaotically formed by the motion of energy from outside forces, or it is probabilistically formed by the instrinsic state of the field.

We are very much in agreement, for the most part. Your soccer field analogy is very much like a vibrating pool table analogy I've been thinking about. Those who argue for the type of linear determinism Rand argues for above are, perhaps without realizing it, positing a center of consciousness in the brain. If consciousness arises, as many/most are coming to believe, from a number of simultaneous brain processes then the brain affects itself (you, I, ,he, she, one, as the person is the brain) with internal processes simultaneous to it being affected by outside forces (information). We can't, however, make the mistake of then thinking that the internal processes aren't at their base determinitic as well. They are determined by the physical structure of the brain and thereby its physical processes and past information that has been incorporated. This, all together, is what one is, hence my question, Could one do what they would not do? 

 We begin to part ways in the section above which I have  bolded. The structure or field would be formed by genetics and outside forces (information encountered) past and present. Neither of these are non-deterministic.

Quote:
Either way, the meaning intended to be conveyed by that sentence is in answer to Vessels question which was - Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are? - to demonstrate that the answer is invariably yes.

I don't see where you arrive at this conclusion.  

Quote:
In the case that this 'self' is formed by outside forces, and that the energy of those forces cannot be constrained to flow in only one direction, then the field of mental activity must necessarily push against it's own edges. In this case, mental energy can and must by necessity effect the physical energy acting on it, quite directly, so the self, the 'bubble of mental energy' which has swelled up in the neuronal space can break out of itself.

But that field is formed of many past determinstic forces. A person is who they are and given any specific set of circumstances will decide to do what they will decide to do based on who/what they are. No person, given a specific set of circumstances, will choose what they wouldn't choose. They still make a choice, but choice is merely how one will act given that specific set of circumstances's interaction with who they are.  

Quote:
Alternately if you take the field of mental action to be of the latter resonant nature, then it is by definition multiple probable selves, many different bubbles of energy which are equal to each other.

But all determinstic at their base. 

Quote:
Thus we can do what we wouldn't do, one way or the other, and we can make a choice which we wouldn't choose. Because we have a self referencing sentience it follows that a physical road outside of the deterministic bubble of mental activity must exist.

I still don't see how you arrive at this. I would say that what we call freewill, or choice making, is simply the way in which a given person will act given a specific set of circumstances. It is all deterministic, but since some of the determining forces are internal to the self or what the self actually is (even though built of other determinstic forces) it makes it such that the self is, in all relevant respects, actually making a choice.     

 


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Vessel wrote:

Vessel wrote:

We begin to part ways in the section above which I have bolded. The structure or field would be formed by genetics and outside forces (information encountered) past and present. Neither of these are non-deterministic.

Thankyou Vessel, you just made a valuable observation which hadn't occurred to me fully yet. Genetic information is most definitely involved in the intrinsic state. I owe you one, and an explanation, I will get back to you on that soon.

 

Vessel wrote:

Quote:
Either way, the meaning intended to be conveyed by that sentence is in answer to Vessels question which was - Can You do what you wouldn't do? Can you choose what you wouldn't choose based in the person you are? - to demonstrate that the answer is invariably yes.

I don't see where you arrive at this conclusion.

I understand why. This is why I said above, that this can still be s deterministic model, depending on the source of the underlying energy. The reason I come to that conclusion is that in one case mental energy must directly have some physical effect on the structure of consciousness, and in the other case the mental energy can shift between frequencies without changing it structure giving an ambiguity. So in the first case one can build up an impetus to break out of the structure which defines their consciousness, and in the other case one can without altering the structure alter the motion of the energy that defines their consciousness.

In your pool table analogy I am guessing that you could say: in one case the balls can get so energised that they warp the table, in the other case the table can vibrate fast or slow, changing the state of the whole system.

 

 

vessel wrote:

Quote:
In the case that this 'self' is formed by outside forces, and that the energy of those forces cannot be constrained to flow in only one direction, then the field of mental activity must necessarily push against it's own edges. In this case, mental energy can and must by necessity effect the physical energy acting on it, quite directly, so the self, the 'bubble of mental energy' which has swelled up in the neuronal space can break out of itself.

But that field is formed of many past determinstic forces. A person is who they are and given any specific set of circumstances will decide to do what they will decide to do based on who/what they are. No person, given a specific set of circumstances, will choose what they wouldn't choose. They still make a choice, but choice is merely how one will act given that specific set of circumstances's interaction with who they are.

Yeah, just to be clear, this is the model in which the way 'doing something that you wouldn't do' must necessrily occur is through a strong concentration of energy that eventually makes a physical impact on the deterministic environment. This is not necessarily something we can deliberately do or even figure out how to deliberately do. It's just a material possibility given the circumstances that I have imagined.

 

Vessel wrote:

Quote:
Alternately if you take the field of mental action to be of the latter resonant nature, then it is by definition multiple probable selves, many different bubbles of energy which are equal to each other.

But all determinstic at their base.

Now that you have pointed out genetic information in the context of this discussion something clicked together for me and I would like to give it some thought before I answer, I hope you don't mind.

Vessel wrote:

Quote:
Thus we can do what we wouldn't do, one way or the other, and we can make a choice which we wouldn't choose. Because we have a self referencing sentience it follows that a physical road outside of the deterministic bubble of mental activity must exist.

I still don't see how you arrive at this. I would say that what we call freewill, or choice making, is simply the way in which a given person will act given a specific set of circumstances. It is all deterministic, but since some of the determining forces are internal to the self or what the self actually is (even though built of other determinstic forces) it makes it such that the self is, in all relevant respects, actually making a choice.

 


I agree with you here almost entirely, I'm still not sure of the whole story on the forces internal to the self, but I have no disagreement with what you've said so far.

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Eloise wrote: Vessel

Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:

We begin to part ways in the section above which I have bolded. The structure or field would be formed by genetics and outside forces (information encountered) past and present. Neither of these are non-deterministic.

Thankyou Vessel, you just made a valuable observation which hadn't occurred to me fully yet. Genetic information is most definitely involved in the intrinsic state. I owe you one, and an explanation, I will get back to you on that soon.

Thank you for being thoughtful in the discussion. I look forward to your reply.

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Eloise wrote: That is

Eloise wrote:

That is completely untrue, computers do not invent, they have no ingenuity and no aesthetic concept. Neither do they construct any abstract thing which incorporates emotion, because they have none.

Programmed correctly, and with sufficient processing power, computers can invent new things with great ingenuity. The Economist recently had an article about evolutionary design software that has done such things as create improved airfoils and designs for fibre optic cables. 

Again, programmed correctly, a computer can write, paint and compose music in whatever aesthetic paradigm you want. 

A computer can be programmed to act as if it has emotions. If you wanted to, you could design a computer that would behave exactly as if it really had emotions. For instance it could display facial expressions on the screen. 

What you are pointing to is the fact that computers are now much less powerful and sophisticated than the human brain. This is a quantitative difference. However, qualitiatively, there is no basis for saying that they are any different. I see no difference between human consciousness and and operating system, except that the two are programmed differently as a reflection of the very different platforms they run on. Self-awareness is just a system checking routine that updates the memory with new status profile.

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Let me preface by saying

Let me preface by saying I'm not a fan of determinism. When the thought really hit me, it was somewhat devastating to me psychologically. No free will! Consciousness incidental! Based on what I understand so far, it seems to be a rational description of reality, unless an actual rift between physical inevitabilities, the mental states they give rise to, the physical processes the thoughts themselves cause, and so on, can be shown, it's not a trap I know the way out of. No matter how complex the interplay of physical forces becomes, I don't see how the mind can be anything but a product of particles and things following their paths of least resistance; doing what they must inevitably do. There's no question there's a dynamic in which thought affects physical things, either through action or within the brain itself; but without being able to, say, excuse ourselves from the subjectivity hitherto created by the chain/mesh of physical forces, and deliberately change the course of particle A, to keep it from interacting with particle B, ultimately leading to a synapse firing and initiating a certain thought, I don't see how we can do something not the product of inevitable forces. The easy answer, which goes against the evidence, is that thought must transcend materialism, and may therefore not be subject to physical inevitabilities, while retaining the ability to influence a physical world. Dualism, in other words. Or there could be an alternate explanation of consciousness which somehow does excuse us from the physics game.


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magilum wrote: Let me

magilum wrote:

Let me preface by saying I'm not a fan of determinism. When the thought really hit me, it was somewhat devastating to me psychologically. No free will! Consciousness incidental! Based on what I understand so far, it seems to be a rational description of reality, unless an actual rift between physical inevitabilities, the mental states they give rise to, the physical processes the thoughts themselves cause, and so on, can be shown, it's not a trap I know the way out of. No matter how complex the interplay of physical forces becomes, I don't see how the mind can be anything but a product of particles and things following their paths of least resistance; doing what they must inevitably do. There's no question there's a dynamic in which thought affects physical things, either through action or within the brain itself; but without being able to, say, excuse ourselves from the subjectivity hitherto created by the chain/mesh of physical forces, and deliberately change the course of particle A, to keep it from interacting with particle B, ultimately leading to a synapse firing and initiating a certain thought, I don't see how we can do something not the product of inevitable forces. The easy answer, which goes against the evidence, is that thought must transcend materialism, and may therefore not be subject to physical inevitabilities, while retaining the ability to influence a physical world. Dualism, in other words. Or there could be an alternate explanation of consciousness which somehow does excuse us from the physics game.

It's actually really easy to excuse consciousness from causal determinism.

Determinism requires time and time may not exist. 

 

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Eloise wrote: [It's

Eloise wrote:
[It's actually really easy to excuse consciousness from causal determinism.

Determinism requires time and time may not exist. 

 

How exactly does that excuse consciousness from casual determinism via ruling out time? How are you able to speak of consciousness, sans time?

 

You'd be better off taking up the battle cry of 'acausality' and quantum physics - the same sort of arguments employed in these conversations.....

 

 

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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
So, free will is proven. Now, do we know of any sort of matter that could create free will? No. All the matter that we've observed and tested acts more or less deterministically at the visible level. So, we have to appeal to a higher power, one not bound by matter, to explain this phenomenon. This is called the supernatural.

What we know about physics on the quantum level is that all particle behavior is not determined.  How particles interact with each other is determined by physics but that particles will interact with each other is not determined by physics.  At best we can only know the probability that any set of particles will interact in any specific way.  The determinism in nature makes life possible and the mechanisms underlying free will possible, the aspects of nature that are not subject to determinism, such as particle position or momentum, makes free will specifically possible.


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todangst wrote: Eloise

todangst wrote:
Eloise wrote:
[It's actually really easy to excuse consciousness from causal determinism.

Determinism requires time and time may not exist.

 

How exactly does that excuse consciousness from casual determinism via ruling out time? How are you able to speak of consciousness, sans time?

 

You'd be better off taking up the battle cry of 'acausality'

 

What makes you think I haven't? perhaps I have done but it's not recognisable without the (these days, unnecessary) anthropomorphic qualifiers. It is possible to speak of consciousness without time if conciousness is material because it is possible to speak of material sans time. 

 

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DeathMunkyGod

DeathMunkyGod wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
So, free will is proven. Now, do we know of any sort of matter that could create free will? No. All the matter that we've observed and tested acts more or less deterministically at the visible level. So, we have to appeal to a higher power, one not bound by matter, to explain this phenomenon. This is called the supernatural.

What we know about physics on the quantum level is that all particle behavior is not determined. How particles interact with each other is determined by physics but that particles will interact with each other is not determined by physics. At best we can only know the probability that any set of particles will interact in any specific way. The determinism in nature makes life possible and the mechanisms underlying free will possible, the aspects of nature that are not subject to determinism, such as particle position or momentum, makes free will specifically possible.

I disagree. I do not see how quantum indeterminacy allows freewill. A freewilled choice is not simply a choice that is not wholly guided by causation, there could be random elements and it stillnot be freewilled, but requires that the choosing subject is capable of breakaing a chain of causation willfully. I know of nothing in quantum physics (though admittedly there is probably much I don't know about quantum physics) that allows for this. Is there such a thing?      

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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This is a little model,

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Vessel wrote: I disagree. I

Vessel wrote:
I disagree. I do not see how quantum indeterminacy allows freewill. A freewilled choice is not simply a choice that is not wholly guided by causation, there could be random elements and it stillnot be freewilled, but requires that the choosing subject is capable of breakaing a chain of causation willfully. I know of nothing in quantum physics (though admittedly there is probably much I don't know about quantum physics) that allows for this. Is there such a thing?

There are different levels of causation, within the mind the level of causation that is applicable is how the neurons interact with each other and how they fire.  That will always have some element of unpredictablility and nondeterminism because of the nature of quantum mechanics.  The causation at the level you're referring to, however, is at the level that we experience in the wider world.  This is where the nondeterministic aspect of quantum mechanics and thus nature are percieved by us as free will.  Because we can't see every neuron fire and we definitely can't predict how each neuron will fire we experience the firing of neurons which are associated with ideas and concepts.  We then are able, due to the nature of our "programming", to accept or reject ideas or concepts based on the pathways of other neurons.  Experience plays an important part in shaping future decisions because of this, but so can newly introduced information.  Newly introduced information can interact with other pathways in the brain to produce results that are inconsistent with past behavior.

A person might think it's bad to hurt others but not be aware that insulting others is hurtful.  Thus that person may go around insulting others in what he feels is a joking manner but other individuals feel is hurtful.  One day the individual may discover that insulting others is hurtful, probably because someone finally got fed up with it. This new informatio may interact with the individual's previously held belief that it is bad to hurt others, and the insulting may stop.  Just the first example that popped into my head.  Similar models can be designed based on this to explain the remarkable changes in some people who convert to any given religion.

The nondeterministic nature of matter is not necessarilly essential to free will, per se, but our specific brand of free will relies on it.  Neurons that fire randomly because their behavior cannot be completely determined are responsible for novel thoughts and intuitions.  Otherwise if everything were rigidly deterministic nothing truely unpredictable could happen, a complete knowledge of all physical laws and the current state of all matter would allow for all things at every level to be predicted, and there would be no such thing as free will.


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magilum wrote: Let me

magilum wrote:

Let me preface by saying I'm not a fan of determinism. When the thought really hit me, it was somewhat devastating to me psychologically. No free will! Consciousness incidental! Based on what I understand so far, it seems to be a rational description of reality, unless an actual rift between physical inevitabilities, the mental states they give rise to, the physical processes the thoughts themselves cause, and so on, can be shown, it's not a trap I know the way out of. No matter how complex the interplay of physical forces becomes, I don't see how the mind can be anything but a product of particles and things following their paths of least resistance; doing what they must inevitably do. There's no question there's a dynamic in which thought affects physical things, either through action or within the brain itself; but without being able to, say, excuse ourselves from the subjectivity hitherto created by the chain/mesh of physical forces, and deliberately change the course of particle A, to keep it from interacting with particle B, ultimately leading to a synapse firing and initiating a certain thought, I don't see how we can do something not the product of inevitable forces. The easy answer, which goes against the evidence, is that thought must transcend materialism, and may therefore not be subject to physical inevitabilities, while retaining the ability to influence a physical world. Dualism, in other words. Or there could be an alternate explanation of consciousness which somehow does excuse us from the physics game.

Remember, Magilum, that even though everything is determined and only the result of inevitiable inputs, those imputs are so multitudinous and their interactions so complex that it is nearly impossible to calculate them all. Determinism really only has relevance in discussions of God, who would supposedly be able to make those calculations. As far as we are concerned, as a matter of everyday reality, free will exists. Just not free will in the theistic sense of free will that defies God's ability to know what it will do in advance. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown