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  1. #1
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Talking No free will, you say? What's the matter with you?

    So.. basically, what's the matter with the people who don't believe in this?

    Is it another case of the idea that our senses and perceptions are not to be believed?

    Another case of not being sure of anything? Sounds like me, but I trust something.. I believe that I believe to have cognition.. haha..

    No matter how many layers of uncertainty you put to people's observations of the reality, what remains is that there is a some personal experience of thinking, feeling, etc.. for this personal experience, it doesn't matter if this all was an elaborate simulation, if all of us were just brains in a vat, if our perceptions were being fed us electronically..

    So, to me it is logically and personally screamingly obvious that I have the perception of making choices, just like I have perception of living in a body and noticing the world around me. It may or may not be true, but I have such perception, so some kind of sentient process is going on with me. Hm ok, or impression of such.

    Do you you agree so far?

    If not, how would you explain the alternative?

    Do we not perceive and have cognition? Do we not have the impression of such processes, at least? If you do, why would there be no free will?

    Is it because you don't have the feeling of making strong choices? Do you feel obliged to leave decisions to others? Are you not assertive?

    If you do feel like making choices, do you disregard your impressions as unreliable? Is it just an illusion? Why would our brains give us the impression that we are in control of ourselves, if we are really just automatons?

    If you don't believe in free will, is it because of the theoretical knowledge of physical determinism? I understand that quantum effects are uncertain, and may break the otherwise deterministic physical world. There's different views to whether quantum effects are indeed random, or just deterministic but beyond measurement.

    There are also different ideas to how quantum effects relate to the brain. Some say that quantum effects are insignificant at the brain cell level, so that brains might pass as a deterministic device. Other research suggests that quantum tunneling plays a crucial part on brain's functioning.

    Does it affect your view on the concept of the free will, whether brains turned out to be affected by deterministic processes only on physical level, or if there was quantum phenomenom involved?

    Are you one of those who argue that our choices are so restricted, so that they qualify as no free will at all? We are born to some family, we're not able to choose it.. so we must submit to our fate..

    Perhaps you believe in statistical determinism? You belong to some group of demographics that has a known rate of being unhappy in life, so you will be unhappy?

    Is it just that you focus on the parts of your life were you have no choice?

    Is your complaint about non-existence of free-will just some kind of social commentary, general whining or some other form of fiction - something that you don't mean literally?

    So.. in the end..
    what's the matter with you?
    Last edited by UnitOfPopulation; 11-20-2007 at 11:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    I have a feeling a post of mine may have sparked this thread.

    My brother (Nails) has a Ph.D. in physics and he says the particle level stuff is irrelevant on higher levels, so in theory we could perfectly predict human behavior. I take his word for it.

  3. #3
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
    I have a feeling a post of mine may have sparked this thread.
    Yes, thank you very much I so love thinking about things like these.

  4. #4
    Wannabe genius Splittet's Avatar
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    Actually, I rather want to ask what is wrong with you, when you believe in free will. :P Free will is something that is easy to take for granted, because as you say, we do have the perception of making choices. It's an illusion though these are "free". Just because the brain is a too complex system for us to predict, doesn't mean it's not theoretically predictable. What about natural systems too complex to predict, do they also have free will?

    Basically the brain is just a machine, ruled by physical laws, like any other material thing. If that machine is affected by quantum mechanics or not doesn't matter, because it is out of our hands. The choice then is between the brain being perfectly deterministic and theoretically predictable or just random. You should see this excerpt from the great movie Walking Life: YouTube - Free Will and Physics - Waking Life excerpt

  5. #5
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    It's an illusion though these are "free".
    How do the laws of physics promote the emergence of "illusions"? I'll remind you that you'll have to close the gap between the mechanistic brain view and the reality that we think like perceiving something (or imagining so, which is equivalent for the purpose of the original question).

    Neuroscience explains why groups of neurons work in a pattern. We can design computers that work with cleverly manufactured network of transistors. Hence we have the physical basis for different (complex) processes to occur.

    How do you get from a network of cells - that should be completely mechanistic with our knowledge - to the fact that we have cognition, or an impression of such?

    I see that there is nothing stopping the nature from creating completely human-like machines that have no personal experience of cognition associated to them. We could have electro-chemical automatons walking around; it would not violate any known laws.

    Why is there a personal experience associated with our brains? I mean: if the brain is indeed a deterministic machine - or random, for that matter - they would work just the same, when viewed from outside, if there was no-one experiencing it. What is the purpose and origin of perception?

    I don't mean simple things like having eyes and having the light trigger the photo-sensitive cells in the retina. Perception goes much deeper than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    You should see this excerpt from the great movie Walking Life: YouTube - Free Will and Physics - Waking Life excerpt
    Basic stuff, already known

  6. #6
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    Actually, I rather want to ask what is wrong with you, when you believe in free will. :P Free will is something that is easy to take for granted, because as you say, we do have the perception of making choices. It's an illusion though these are "free". Just because the brain is a too complex system for us to predict, doesn't mean it's not theoretically predictable. What about natural systems too complex to predict, do they also have free will?
    Exactly.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    Actually, I rather want to ask what is wrong with you, when you believe in free will. :P Free will is something that is easy to take for granted, because as you say, we do have the perception of making choices. It's an illusion though these are "free". Just because the brain is a too complex system for us to predict, doesn't mean it's not theoretically predictable. What about natural systems too complex to predict, do they also have free will?
    Hmmm... I see what you are saying -- we should be trying and convicting Mother Nature because of the New Orleans disaster two years ago.

    (She's a menace to decent human society!)

    Either that, or abolish the concept of "bad" or "immoral" as a category, and reduce social justice to merely its practical ramifications.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Hmmm... I see what you are saying -- we should be trying and convicting Mother Nature because of the New Orleans disaster two years ago.

    (She's a menace to decent human society!)
    I don't strictly equate 'complex' with choice

    Wouldn't this conversation be over too quickly if I did?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Either that, or abolish the concept of "bad" or "immoral" as a category, and reduce social justice to merely its practical ramifications.
    This is more than just continuation to the thread on EVIL.

  9. #9
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    So you believe in a paradox and hence that paradox is your reality and therefore is objective truth?

    Huh?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #10
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    What paradox are you referring to, Xander?

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