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  #51  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 04:33 PM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

<the modules of the brain, testosterone and meds show that the will is not free

only because you insist on holding onto an incoherent notion of 'free will' that people (when surveyed) actually don't hold onto...
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  #52  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 10:15 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
TomJ: The modules of the brain, testosterone and meds show that the will is not free

Alex: Only because you insist on holding onto an incoherent notion of 'free will' that people (when surveyed) actually don't hold onto...
Indeed Alex, there does seem to be a lot of incoherence in many of Tom’s notions. You go, girl.
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  #53  
Unread July 22nd, 2006, 02:20 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra_k
you insist on holding onto an incoherent notion of 'free will'
Again, I'm not interested in what people hold on to when under the illusion of free will. That's an excellent and useful exercise in philosophy.

My notion of free will is anything but incoherent. It may well be wrong but it's the ultimate in coherence: choices are made by the neural network in each person's brains. There's nothing else, there can not be incoherence in a set of one.

What's incoherent is people's insistence on holding on to a will that's deterministic if there's no emotion and indeterministic otherwise; that's an excellent example of incoherence.

Could you explain what's incoherent in my notion? Thanks!
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  #54  
Unread July 23rd, 2006, 12:03 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Tom: My notion of free will is anything but incoherent. It may well be wrong but it's the ultimate in coherence: choices are made by the neural network in each person's brains. There's nothing else, there can not be incoherence in a set of one.
IOW, Alex, bottom line, Tom’s “reality” dictates that there really is no truly autonomous, morally responsible, and sapient “Tom”; there are only neural networks inside a body—a body that currently is labeled “Tom” by the neural networks inside that body, and also by various other neural networks inside other equally machinelike bodies—and this “Tom” simply “behaves” however the so-called “choices” made by the “Tom” body neural networks dictate; and, as it turns out, the POV that “choices are made by the neural network in each person's brains,” is deemed to be “coherent” by the Tom body neural networks.
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  #55  
Unread July 25th, 2006, 06:22 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

A few day's perspective can do wonders. I'm not really into this free-will debate myself. That's because I can't completely wrap my brain around some of the constructs that Tom and Alex seem to think are very important to the outcome.

However, the amazing thing to me is that the person most certain of their position that free-will actually exists - is the one who has never actually described, in simple terms, what free-will means (at least to them). That being Fred, of course.

I notice that Tom and Alex are especially careful with their terms. To me, that seems to go along with rigor, in a debate.

It would seem that someone so dismissive of others' ideas that he calls them "ugly babies" that spring from ignorance and non-rigorous argument, someone so certain that they are right about this that they assert that those who disagree are intellectually dishonest and immoral - would have a simple logical definition of free-will ready at hand to lay on us non-believers.

So how about it, is there a there there, Fred? Do you actually have a coherent definition of free-will of your own that you are demanding that others acknowledge? If so, I haven't seen it yet. Like, what it does and how it actually affects behavior? Or is this just another one of your vacuous ideological tirades based on nothing more than your hatred of atheists?

BTW - LeDoux's downward causation is simply an acknowledgment that thoughts can affect behavior. Le Doux makes no claims about thoughts being an example of free-will (of any kind). Thoughts are not free-will - at least not until you can show that some thoughts in some brains are not the result of the chemicals and neurons in those brains.

How about it, Fred? Here's your chance to lay some rigor on us.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 26th, 2006 at 02:22 PM.
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  #56  
Unread July 28th, 2006, 01:23 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

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MM: However, the amazing thing to me is that the person most certain of their position that free-will actually exists - is the one who has never actually described, in simple terms, what free-will means (at least to them). That being Fred, of course.
More unthinking knee-jerk nonsense from MM. For example, from my 2/22/06 post at
http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/sh...0&postcount=37 I noted the following:
Quote:
Although “free will” may be difficult to clearly define, we seem to all have some intuitive sense of what it is—essentially choice, choice made by our higher cognitive conscious self, choice that is something more than merely a conscious cognitive illusion being driven by primitive algorithmic subconscious neural mechanisms, mechanisms concerned primarily with survival and reproduction; and free will seems to require, using LeDoux’s term, “downward causation.”

The available evidence indicates that human consciousness—sentience, sapience, self-awareness—is indeed something real, something that does indeed exist; although it also seems to be beyond the precise explanation of any currently available science. More to the issue, the available evidence also indicates that we humans use our cognitive consciousness to discern objective mathematical truth, and that we then use that objective truth to understand, explain, and, to some extent manage, our physical world and ourselves.

Accordingly, the available evidence overwhelming supports the view that we humans do indeed have some sort of, and some amount of, free will (and also implies that we humans are probably the only creatures that do have it.)

(Additionally, for those asserting that we humans do not have free will, that free will is some sort of illusion, then the burden is on them to come up with a definition and/or theory for this “illusion of free will,” to show that this definition/theory is falsifiable; and also to show how creatures that lack free will and that are unable to discern objective truth could ever “know” and/or “prove,” and/or evaluate the reality of anything.)
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  #57  
Unread July 28th, 2006, 02:15 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Fred: Although “free will” may be difficult to clearly define, we seem to all have some intuitive sense of what it is—essentially choice, choice made by our higher cognitive conscious self, choice that is something more than merely a conscious cognitive illusion being driven by primitive algorithmic subconscious neural mechanisms, mechanisms concerned primarily with survival and reproduction; and free will seems to require, using LeDoux’s term, “downward causation.”
That whole paragraph is ambiguous, full of pseudo-scientific terms (primitive algorithmic subconscious neural mechanisms - conscious cognitive illusion?) and circular. It's as far from a useful scientific explanation as JB's explanation of emergence - currently providing entertainment in a thread nearby.

"We seem to have some intuitive sense . . ."? Well, many people seem to have some intuitive sense that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on 9/11 too. The behavior-controlling emotions of ideology are much stronger than those of reason . . . as you repeatedly affirm for me in your posts.

Much of science has been a process of proving with falsifiable evidence and hypotheses that things we thought were intuitively true (god, humans can be possesed by the devil, the earth is flat, heavenly bodies revolve around the Earth, etc. - are wrong. How is your intuitive notion of free-will different from those?


Quote:
Fred: The available evidence indicates that human consciousness—sentience, sapience, self-awareness—is indeed something real, something that does indeed exist; although it also seems to be beyond the precise explanation of any currently available science. More to the issue, the available evidence also indicates that we humans use our cognitive consciousness to discern objective mathematical truth, and that we then use that objective truth to understand, explain, and, to some extent manage, our physical world and ourselves.
The question is about free-will, not consciousness. Even if this paragraph were on-point and true (it is neither) it does not lead logically in any way to . .


Quote:
Fred: Accordingly, the available evidence overwhelming supports the view that we humans do indeed have some sort of, and some amount of, free will (and also implies that we humans are probably the only creatures that do have it.)
Some sort of . . . ? And this evidence is to be found exactly where? If it overwhelmingly supports your premise, why do you so mysteriously fail to reference it in your argument? Is this an example of your rigorousness?


Quote:
Fred: (Additionally, for those asserting that we humans do not have free will, that free will is some sort of illusion, then the burden is on them to come up with a definition and/or theory for this “illusion of free will,” to show that this definition/theory is falsifiable; and also to show how creatures that lack free will and that are unable to discern objective truth could ever “know” and/or “prove,” and/or evaluate the reality of anything.)
Just like it's my burden to show that god doesn't exist . . because all the available evidence which is never actually provided tells some people that he does?

My challenge for you was to provide a logical explanation of just how this free-will operates to affect behavior - something that can be examined against actual observations in the context of some plausible model of the mind. As I predicted, all you've offered is a rewording of your ideological beliefs.

I find this baby particularly ugly and in desparate need of a change of diapers.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 28th, 2006 at 04:35 PM.
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  #58  
Unread July 28th, 2006, 05:11 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, morality, emergence, accidents

Quote:
MM: As I predicted, all you've offered is a rewording of your ideological beliefs. I find this baby particularly ugly and in desparate need of a change of diapers.
A “baby particularly ugly and in desperate need of a change of diapers” . . . my, my, how witty. But one can see how MM “feels compelled by her emotions,” to believe whatever it is that she happens to believe, since, as she has previously declared, she believes whatever it is she believes b/c that is what makes MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” MM “uses her brains to justify it.”

Nonetheless, MM may, unwittingly perhaps, have a point regarding JB's explanation of “emergence”—I mean let’s face it, while the seed analogy does seem to capture some of the essence of “emergence,” it is rather circular.

And BTW Carey, if you happen to be lurking, I don’t find the accident scenario to be “upsetting,” necessarily, it’s just that I find randomness to be a rather ineffective explanation, a masquerade for ignorance, like not knowing which Monty Hall door has the prize, or not knowing how/why entropy at the beginning, 14 billion years ago, was so low. But then it’s my view that “randomness” is an illusion . . . although ignorance certainly seems to be real, and probabilities are nothing more than our attempts to quantify our ignorance. Consider Carey: Can one prove randomness? Is randomness falsifiable?
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  #59  
Unread July 28th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Fred: A “baby particularly ugly and in desperate need of a change of diapers” . . . my, my, how witty. But one can see how MM “feels compelled by her emotions,” to believe whatever it is that she happens to believe, since, as she has previously declared, she believes whatever it is she believes b/c that is what makes MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” MM “uses her brains to justify it.”
It must seem brilliant to you that you've come up with the clever tactic of using my description of how we make behavior decisions - to ridicle basically anything I say.

You seem to have missed that I also said that what makes us different are the things that make us feel good. Re-read that last sentence because I think therein lies the answer to a lot of perplexing puzzles of human behavior - and the motivation for many of the posts in this forum.

In this case - as I previously stated - I have no dog in this free-will fight. At least, not at the level where Tom and Alex are providing their discussion. I am generally disinclined toward any supernatural explanations - of anything. Your description of free-will smells suspiciously like loaded nappies in that regard - even though you've been pretty cagey about making statements that have enough substance to pin you down.

You seem to have a lot to say about the intellectual honesty of those who disagree with you. Intellectual honesty means laying out your argument in all its detail and glory for others to critique - not hiding behind psudo-scientific terms and obfuscations. Are you willing to defend your notion of free-will in that intellectually honest way?

I'll have respect for any non-supernatural description of free-will that someone proposes. In this case though, I'm simply appreciative of those who have the ability to think deeply about complex things like this and approach them through reason and not superstition. Both Tom and Alex qualify in that regard - and until I can fully grasp their arguments I'll hold off on taking a side.

What I'm saying is that regardless of the topic, arguments to reason make me feel good - even if they are not perfect (who's reason is). But, I appreciate those who make that attempt. Also, that arguments to superstition trigger my skepticism. That's my primary ideological bias here. I'll freely admit to being swayed by those emotions.

We all make behavior decisions according to how our predictions of the result of that behavior will make us feel. When I contemplate accepting an argument based on the best logic, and not superstition, I feel good. I'm thankful that my mind developed in that way - even if I can't logically follow every well-stated scientific argument to its conclusion.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 28th, 2006 at 09:54 PM.
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  #60  
Unread July 29th, 2006, 08:59 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
MM: You seem to have missed that I also said that what makes us different are the things that make us feel good.
OK, if MM really believes it’s an “answer to a lot of perplexing puzzles of human behavior,” then we certainly can add that to what was said:
But one can see how MM “feels compelled by her emotions,” to believe whatever it is that she happens to believe, since, as she has previously declared, she believes whatever it is she believes b/c that is what makes MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” MM “uses her brains to justify it”; and also, as MM now amplifies, “what makes us different are the things that make us feel good.”
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