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Author Topic: Does Free Will Exist?  (Read 15905 times)
navydad
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 10:57:46 AM »

Similar to another post, but based on a quote of Ghandi's:

You do not have free will, but it is very important that you act as if you do. (the actual quote is : "whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.")

By the way, I'm ignorant of most philosophy, but aren't the "no free will" folks confusing levels of analysis? Free will is a construct, just like courage, fear, anger, freedom, love, loyalty, and ignorance. To talk about whether these constructs "exist" in the same way that neurons and chemicals exist seems silly and pointless.
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Aficionado of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi
luckychance
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2012, 11:29:30 AM »

Similar to another post, but based on a quote of Ghandi's:

You do not have free will, but it is very important that you act as if you do. (the actual quote is : "whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.")

By the way, I'm ignorant of most philosophy, but aren't the "no free will" folks confusing levels of analysis? Free will is a construct, just like courage, fear, anger, freedom, love, loyalty, and ignorance. To talk about whether these constructs "exist" in the same way that neurons and chemicals exist seems silly and pointless.
This is a bit overly picky. When people say "free will doesn't exist," they really mean "humans don't have free will." Obviously both the construct and discussion of free will do exist.
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olddrone
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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2012, 10:24:21 AM »

The title of this thread parallels how the Intelligent Design proponents want to join the legitimate "Science," accusing the latter being "close-minded and thus unscientific" as it refuses to even consider this long-defunct Creationism in sheep skin.

Obviously the OP appears to have wanted to ask the real question: Does god exist?

Such smoke screen works well to obfuscate the bone of fact with nonsense and unnecessary complication (soul, will, and other bullsh!t), and by ultimately asking others to prove that one negative, they want to sustain the legitimacy of their indefensible premise.

My answer to this perennial question is "hail no."
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luckychance
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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2012, 11:50:26 AM »

I do not see how that is the real question.
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spinnaker
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2012, 12:25:29 AM »

The title of this thread parallels how the Intelligent Design proponents want to join the legitimate "Science," accusing the latter being "close-minded and thus unscientific" as it refuses to even consider this long-defunct Creationism in sheep skin.

Obviously the OP appears to have wanted to ask the real question: Does god exist?

Such smoke screen works well to obfuscate the bone of fact with nonsense and unnecessary complication (soul, will, and other bullsh!t), and by ultimately asking others to prove that one negative, they want to sustain the legitimacy of their indefensible premise.

My answer to this perennial question is "hail no."

If there's no such thing as a soul, then why are you annoyed?
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"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
olddrone
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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2012, 7:33:06 AM »

Here goes the circus of circuitous argument. 

I just said this kind of sneaky smoke screen obfuscated the hard FACT.

Since you seem to know so much about the "soul," why don't you elucidate me how the meaning of the very term has changed from its inception long BEFORE the common era and then got appropriated by the plagiarists later.

In your elucidation, please make sure you delineate the *specific difference* between the deep thought (mindfulness or awareness) and the soul,, such as the following:

1. When was the last time you have experienced the "soul" lately?  Where did it happen? When was that? What were you doing? How long did the experience last? How/why did it happen? Were there any witness who has observed how you "knew" or "felt" your "soul"?
2. Have you yourself observed other people experience their "soul" very often?
3. When you were in the throe of this widened awareness, did the "soul" have a taste, feel, smell, look, or sound?  If none of that, how was it different from your deep thinking (epiphany, mindfulness, or at-one-ment, if you will)?
4. How often do you experience your "soul," with or without medication, or even meditation?


If you want to contribute to such discussion in any meaningful way, please avoid a one-liner argument--such as "I disagree" and hightail--that only helps you become an extinguished superannuated "scholar."

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olddrone
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2012, 12:21:43 PM »

>Were there any witness who has observed how you "knew" or "felt" your "soul"?

My apologies for the typo: the above should be "Was" there, obviously.

Trying not to type on the fly.
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yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2012, 4:45:04 PM »

OP, would you like to chime in again, if you were serious?  Otherwise this thread runs the risk of being perceived as a meaningless zombie thread, and I shall call CC_Alan with his zamboni and cart.
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It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
luckychance
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2012, 6:18:11 PM »

OP, would you like to chime in again, if you were serious?  Otherwise this thread runs the risk of being perceived as a meaningless zombie thread, and I shall call CC_Alan with his zamboni and cart.
I think he already got all the info. he needed for his assignment.
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luckychance
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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2012, 6:26:18 PM »

The fastest computers are running at 100 trillion FLOPs.  What's the holdup?  Cognition and consciousness are just the result of communication between neurons, right?  

The holdup is twofold:
The complexity of the brain (number of connections and additional chemical feedback) is still much bigger than the biggest computers and then there's the billions of years of evolution.

The speed that you cite is several magnitudes below anything that could make up for the billions of years.

An evolved artificial intelligence would change people's worldview, but it would not mean that we have understood how intelligence and consciousness work.
Well put. In addition, it appears Eulerian is using the present absence of conscious computers as evidence for the existence of a consciousness-producing soul, even though that conclusion is not logically necessitated by the evidence presented. Those arguing for the existence of a soul have the burden of providing evidence for such existence.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 6:29:03 PM by luckychance » Logged
spinnaker
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« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2012, 11:42:49 PM »

Derk Pereboom's Living without Free Will is an essential read on this topic. There's also a youtube video interviewing evolutionary biology historian William Provine, an outspoken atheist and denier of free will. These two are the main scholars who attempt to understand how to maintain a moral system that is not fundamentally based on Kantian ideas of freedom. So in response to spinnaker, Pereboom and Provine would emphatically disagree, the purpose of moving beyond free will is specifically to find ways of capitalizing on such knowledge.

I couldn't find the Provine interview but I did find a debate between him and Phil Johnson about evolution. I have to admit atheism gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. The idea that friendship, sacrifice and brotherly love are only for the consequences you see and not for a reward later. But I don't see why that means it's more likely true than something else.
I'm planning to get the Pereboom book; thanks.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 11:43:57 PM by spinnaker » Logged

"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
eulerian_ta
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2012, 11:16:16 AM »

The fastest computers are running at 100 trillion FLOPs.  What's the holdup?  Cognition and consciousness are just the result of communication between neurons, right?  

The holdup is twofold:
The complexity of the brain (number of connections and additional chemical feedback) is still much bigger than the biggest computers and then there's the billions of years of evolution.

The speed that you cite is several magnitudes below anything that could make up for the billions of years.

An evolved artificial intelligence would change people's worldview, but it would not mean that we have understood how intelligence and consciousness work.
Well put. In addition, it appears Eulerian is using the present absence of conscious computers as evidence for the existence of a consciousness-producing soul, even though that conclusion is not logically necessitated by the evidence presented. Those arguing for the existence of a soul have the burden of providing evidence for such existence.

But there's no burden of proof on individuals claiming all consciousness and cognition is the result of electrical and chemical processes?

And weren't we already supposed to have computers that could be doctors and writers and lawyers?  It just seems to me like this business about not having enough parallel processing capacity is just the latest in a long line of excuses from physicalists.
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oldfullprof
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Representation is not reproduction!


« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2012, 11:26:49 AM »

My hunch is that the self (or soul, or whatever) is aufgehoben (here meaning holistically constituted at a higher level) from this vast array across a variety of levels of identifiable processes and mechanisms. 
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Taste o' the Sixties
luckychance
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Posts: 552


« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2012, 4:38:49 PM »

The fastest computers are running at 100 trillion FLOPs.  What's the holdup?  Cognition and consciousness are just the result of communication between neurons, right?  

The holdup is twofold:
The complexity of the brain (number of connections and additional chemical feedback) is still much bigger than the biggest computers and then there's the billions of years of evolution.

The speed that you cite is several magnitudes below anything that could make up for the billions of years.

An evolved artificial intelligence would change people's worldview, but it would not mean that we have understood how intelligence and consciousness work.
Well put. In addition, it appears Eulerian is using the present absence of conscious computers as evidence for the existence of a consciousness-producing soul, even though that conclusion is not logically necessitated by the evidence presented. Those arguing for the existence of a soul have the burden of providing evidence for such existence.

But there's no burden of proof on individuals claiming all consciousness and cognition is the result of electrical and chemical processes?

And weren't we already supposed to have computers that could be doctors and writers and lawyers?  It just seems to me like this business about not having enough parallel processing capacity is just the latest in a long line of excuses from physicalists.
Of course, they have a burden of proof. To make a compelling case (which is not the same as having complete certainty), they have to show (a) that chemical and electrical processes do impact consciousness and (b) that nothing else has been shown to do so. If you can list criteria C, D, and however more you have in a way that leads to testable predictions, then perhaps we can add to my list above. However, the claim that consciousness results entirely from physical processes does not logically require that humans create conscious computers. Rather, a two-part claim would require such an outcome: (a) consciousness results from physical processes and (b) humans are presently smart enough to be able to replicate those physical processes in nonliving products they create.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 4:42:13 PM by luckychance » Logged
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