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Does free will exist?
in Philosophy

By RohanJoshiRohanJoshi 12 Pts
It doesnt
  1. Live Poll

    Does free will exist?

    13 votes
    1. Yes
      69.23%
    2. No
      30.77%



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Arguments

  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    No , it’s illusory 
    PlaffelvohfenoliviagraceDavidKashlinskyHappy_KillbotxlJ_dolphin_473ZeusAres42
  • Well, only as an illusion...
    DeeDavidKashlinskyHappy_KillbotxlJ_dolphin_473ZeusAres42
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • No, I don't think that there is such a thing as complete free will, because our decisions are influenced by other factors, and we can be manipulated to make certain decisions. So no, free will does not exist, even though we may feel like it does...
    PlaffelvohfenDavidKashlinsky
  • @xlJ_dolphin_473 I as a jew, believe that free-will exists, sure factors influence you, but they don't control you, in the end you make up a final decision, as I don't believe everything that we do is planned out.

    @Dee @Plaffelvohfen , you call it illusions, yet you give no reasoning.
  • @DavidKashlinsky
    @Dee @Plaffelvohfen ;, you call it illusions, yet you give no reasoning.
    Because it's been over debated for many decades now and I don't care to educate newcomers... 

    Here's a place to start: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/#NatuFreeWill
    DeexlJ_dolphin_473ZeusAres42
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    @DavidKashlinsky

    **** @Dee @Plaffelvohfen , you call it illusions, yet you give no reasoning.

    Whats you being a Jew got to do with it?

    @Plaffelvohfen gave you a link to fill yet another gap in your education .....enjoy 
    Plaffelvohfen
  • I think that it is clear that not only is there no free will, but in fact the concept is incompatible with our current understanding of the universe, such that there can not possibly be an existence in which free will is real.

    To summarize why this is, lets assume that there is such a thing as a soul. (if there is not then it is self evident that free will doesn't exist so I will skip over this) If the soul is something which say, comes from a higher dimension or a higher plane of reality which somehow interacts with the body to produce consciousness, then this higher plane would need to have it's own set of rules and physics in order to be consistent with our own. In this way the mind would still be bound by laws and rules that determine it's actions. Therefore, even if there is a soul, free will is still not possible.
    PlaffelvohfenDee
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • "Whats you being a Jew got to do with it?"
    My religion/ethnicity believes in free will.
  • So if free will doesn't exist, what would be your guy's substitute in your opinion.
  • @DavidKashlinsky ;

    Substitute for what?
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • edited April 28
    The problem of self determined events (no free will) according to Seth Schwartz Ph.D is the following:

    Some psychological theories are actually based on an assumption of free will—or at least they are at first glance. Self-determination theory, for example, holds that volitional functioning—intentional, freely chosen behavior—is a basic human need (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Theories of personal identity, especially those rooted in Erikson’s (1950) ego psychology, state that adolescents and young adults must deliberately make sense of the world around them and of their place within that world (Côté & Levine, 2002; McAdams, 2013). Maslow’s (1968) humanistic theory regards self-actualization—identifying and living according to one’s highest potentials—as the ultimate goal of human existence.

    This brings us to an inherent incompatibility. How can a person make self-determined choices, make sense of the world, and even self-actualize when neuroscientific evidence seems to indicate that our brains are making decisions before we even realize it? Are we claiming responsibility for events that have little or nothing to do with conscious intention? Are we really just automatons—creatures without the ability to choose? And if we are, what is the need for volitional functioning, making sense of the world, or self-actualization? An automaton would have no need for any of these things.

    The free will issue has huge issues for many areas of our society, including our legal system. If a criminal defendant has no free will, then he cannot be held responsible for his crime, because he could not have chosen otherwise. A child who fails an exam cannot be punished, because that test score could not have been different. A parent who spoils her children is not doing anything “wrong”, because she did not make the choice to raise her children in any specific way.


    Source:https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/proceed-your-own-risk/201311/do-we-have-free-will

  • @DavidKashlinsky ;

    I think people get wrapped up on the whole "If we are just automatons, then why do ___?" But that misses the point. All of those things can still exist even if free will is an illusion, it doesn't matter, things are still the same. Consciousness, reason, logic, self actualization, and decisions do not require free will to exist.

    The real insight comes from the way we think about and treat people. If a criminal does what they do not because of free choice, but rather because of what they are, then all of a sudden being a criminal becomes a disease we can cure. 
    PlaffelvohfenxlJ_dolphin_473
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    edited April 28
    @DavidKashlinsky


    Even if I believed in the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically (cf. causality) by prior events that means I’m still  in the throes of Universal laws , neurons and synapses fire in my brain causing my arm to shoot out and strike someone , how can I be in anyway “free”  if I cannot control such even if the Universe was indeterministic? 



    That question makes no sense.

    Galen Strawson philosopher puts it pretty well with his basic argument....

    In the free will debate, Strawson holds that there is a fundamental sense in which free will is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. He argues for this position with what he calls his "basic argument", which aims to show that no-one is ever ultimately morally responsible for their actions, and hence that no one has free will in the sense that usually concerns us. In its simplest form, the basic argument runs thus:

    1. You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
    2. To be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental respects.
    3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.
    4. So you cannot be ultimately responsible for what you do.[4]

    This argument resembles Arthur Schopenhauer's position in On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, summarised by E. F. J. Payne as the "law of motivation, which states that a definite course of action inevitably ensues on a given character and motive".[5]





  • So then @Happy_Killbot

    I'm going to ask you a question.

    So then if we aren't controlled by self-determined events, or ourselves (free will), what are we controlled by.

    I ask this since you seem to be calling it an illusion, then saying that we are not controlled by predetermined events; which is the other theory.

    "Consciousness, reason, logic, self actualization, and decisions do not require free will to exist." they do, decisions, reasons, logic, are all caused by free will, I'll give you an example, lets say I have a glass of orange juice, I decide to drink it because it's part of my morning routine, I take a few gulps, and use logic to realize that I'm not thirsty, and so I put it down for later, I would not be able to do that without freewill, in-fact, without free will I wouldn't be able to have a morning routine. And as for self actualization, I believe that it is giving birth, having children, but some people don't want to have kids because they don't like them, that requires a free will to be able to make those decisions if not predetermined events..

  • @Happy_Killbot

    "Substitute for what?"

    Why we do what we do, the thing that is instead of free will.
  • @DavidKashlinsky ;

    So then if we aren't controlled by self-determined events, or ourselves (free will), what are we controlled by.
    Physics
    I ask this since you seem to be calling it an illusion, then saying that we are not controlled by predetermined events; which is the other theory.
    It actually doesn't matter if the universe is deterministic or stochastic. Sam Harris explains this much better than I ever could, but simply put it ignores the question. If we are all defined by a bunch of random events with deterministic physics emerging from stochastic events (think: 2 dice will most often roll a 7, thus deteministic characteristics arrise from stochastic events) then the rules of physics define what we are and what we do. If the world is deteministic, then it is still governed by the laws of physics. It doesn't matter.
    "Consciousness, reason, logic, self actualization, and decisions do not require free will to exist." they do, decisions, reasons, logic, are all caused by free will, I'll give you an example, lets say I have a glass of orange juice, I decide to drink it because it's part of my morning routine, I take a few gulps, and use logic to realize that I'm not thirsty, and so I put it down for later, I would not be able to do that without freewill, in-fact, without free will I wouldn't be able to have a morning routine. And as for self actualization, I believe that it is giving birth, having children, but some people don't want to have kids because they don't like them, that requires a free will to be able to make those decisions if not predetermined events..
    Actually you could. Let's replace you with a machine that has no true free will but is just carrying out a complex program. It is possible (assuming the machine can drink orange Jucie) that it behaves in exactly the same way that you did. Futhermore, notice how your actions are not deetermined by what comes from inside you, but rather externaly due to interactions with the environment.

    Here is a thought experiment to make the existence of free will an obvious illusion and is in fact, quite easy to notice.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwjD4hfrDsg 
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • piloteerpiloteer 738 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot

    Exactly what about our understanding of the universe stands in the way of free will? With the concept of non-locality standing up to strict scrutiny, it stands to show that free will does exist.  
    WinstonC
  • @piloteer ;
    In order for free will to exist, litterally everything about our understanding of the univers stands in the way.

    It doesn't matter if events are local or non-local.

    Consider that if everything we did was determined remotely, it would still be determined by something.
    If that something was in turn controlled by something else, then that something else would need to be determined by something something else, thus we have an infinite regession. Because this isn't possible, we have to conclude that free will is impossible. It just seems like free will exists because we have incomplete information about the starting conditions and the rules that govern the progression.

    Fundamentally, everything we know about the universe suggests that things that happen in the universe are determined by things inside the universe. With this base assumption, free will becomes impossible.

    Now consider that we are being controlled by something outside of the universe, it would still exist inside of a hyperverse that relies on it's own rules thus free will still can not exist.

    I mean, what would free will even mean? It doesn't make any sense as a concept.
    DeePlaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot "Consider that if everything we did was determined remotely, it would still be determined by something.
    If that something was in turn controlled by something else, then that something else would need to be determined by something something else, thus we have an infinite regession. Because this isn't possible, we have to conclude that free will is impossible. It just seems like free will exists because we have incomplete information about the starting conditions and the rules that govern the progression."

    Your starting assumption here is that everything is deterministic. It's circular. Further, if we say that everything must be determined by something else then we also have an infinite regression in regards to the existence of the universe itself.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 1824 Pts
    @WinstonC ;
    Actually, I am not assuming the world is deterministic, it doesn't matter.

    Consider that if the world is stochastic (random, opposite of deterministic) the same logic applies. If everything that happens is governed by randomness with pseudo-deterministic physics arising as a result of this chaos (think, rolling 2 dice most likely gets you 7, but it could get anywhere between 2 and 12) Then everything that we do is still governed by something, that thing being randomness, and thus there is still no free will.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot "Actually, I am not assuming the world is deterministic, it doesn't matter.

    Consider that if the world is stochastic (random, opposite of deterministic) the same logic applies. If everything that happens is governed by randomness with pseudo-deterministic physics arising as a result of this chaos (think, rolling 2 dice most likely gets you 7, but it could get anywhere between 2 and 12) Then everything that we do is still governed by something, that thing being randomness, and thus there is still no free will."

    OK, we can add in a stochastic universe as another possibility that you grant. Your a priori assumption is that people's actions are either randomly determined or completely determined. You never give the chance for free will to exist because your a priori assumptions are that it does not exist.

    Why might free-will exist given that matter appears to be deterministic? Consciousness is not matter, and it is not at all similar to matter.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 1824 Pts
    @WinstonC ;

    If I can show that free will can't exist in a deterministic or in a stochastic universe, and it doesn't matter if the universe is self-contained or is part of a larger hyperverse, then what other possibilities are we even left with?

    To understand the problem of consciousness you have to understand emergence. No where in sub atomic particles is the definition for an atom, yet atoms exist.

    This is because the underlying rules, which could be very simple, produce this magnificent and much more complex behavior that could be described to have it's own rules. For example if you have ever played Conway's game of life, very simple rules create complex behavior.

    Consciousness seems to be an emergent property of the way that the brain is organized. This would imply that it is an emergent property of the organization of matter rather than something mystical or supernatural. This is a way that a material universe can give rise to immaterial things.
    PlaffelvohfenDeeZeusAres42
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 1355 Pts
    I think that the best way to explain free will is that it is something that is "experienced", the experience is real but the content of that experience (the perception of control) is not... 
    DeeZeusAres42
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    edited May 6
    @WinstonC


    **** Consciousness is not matter, and it is not at all similar to matter.

    Consciousness is not material or immaterial, it is a property of the brain in action.

    It’s like asking is the speed of a car material or immaterial when it’s a property of the car in action 

    Plaffelvohfen
  • John_C_87John_C_87 301 Pts
    Free will does not exist it is created and like all products of the artist's brush the art of free will is not displayed by the whole picture in any one duration, painting, or poem. 
    Free will is the act of recognition of a cost or assigned value on the human will itself. 
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot "If I can show that free will can't exist in a deterministic or in a stochastic universe, and it doesn't matter if the universe is self-contained or is part of a larger hyperverse, then what other possibilities are we even left with?"

    Once again, your conclusion is baked into the premises. If the universe is entirely deterministic then there is no free-will because free-will is not compatible with complete determinism. The same goes for a completely stochastic universe.

    "This is because the underlying rules, which could be very simple, produce this magnificent and much more complex behavior that could be described to have it's own rules."

    Assuming that consciousness is indeed created by matter (we have no solid evidence for this), are you familiar with the idea that the whole can be greater than the sum of it's parts? Why can consciousness not be different to matter, given that it is clearly completely different to matter? Can we draw any similarities at all between matter and consciousness?

    "Consciousness seems to be an emergent property of the way that the brain is organized."

    This is another assumption, albeit a more reasonable one than those preceding it. Why would we assume that some lifeforms are not conscious? Are animals conscious? Are fish conscious? Are insects conscious? Are bacteria conscious? Is consciousness a fundamental property of the universe?

    "This would imply that it is an emergent property of the organization of matter rather than something mystical or supernatural. This is a way that a material universe can give rise to immaterial things."

    What do you mean by material? I don't know how else to describe consciousness other than immaterial.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee "Consciousness is not material or immaterial, it is a property of the brain in action.

    It’s like asking is the speed of a car material or immaterial when it’s a property of the car in action"

    Isn't the speed of a car merely what the car is doing? In other words, the car is unchanged except in that it moves due to the force that is imparted onto it. I'd say that consciousness is more comparable to life than speed, for an object that is moving is similar to the same object that is stationary, the only difference is the speed and direction of travel. However a thing that is alive is radically different to a thing that is not alive, and a thing that is conscious is radically different to a thing which is not.

    Matter presumably acts only according to the laws of nature, if X happens then it does Y. Life, however, for some strange reason, attempts to make more of itself. Why would matter do this? It's strange that it would, for no non-living matter does this (unless you count viruses, which could be termed pseudo-life). Now, we can say that this is ultimately caused by the laws of nature, however it still remains that life and non-life are vastly different things which behave completely differently. Non-life has no "drive" to produce more of itself. Water molecules are not going around creating more water molecules. As such, we find that if we attempt to apply laws which apply to non-living matter to life, we see that they are not followed, and vice versa. We can theorize, but we do not actually know why life self-propagates, or what makes non living matter become living matter. The best way to describe life would be "weird" when thinking about it in the context of non-life. Life may well be an emergent property of matter, but the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.

    Further, we understand speed rather well, but we don't understand consciousness at all. We understand what causes the speed of a car, which is why we can manipulate it so well. We do not, however, understand what causes consciousness. Though we can measure the speed of a car, we cannot measure consciousness. Given that consciousness is not something we understand at all, and radical differences exist between matter that has consciousness and regular matter (assuming that all matter is not conscious, which may well be the case), we can make no conclusions about consciousness based on the behaviour of matter.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 1824 Pts
    @WinstonC
    Once again, your conclusion is baked into the premises. If the universe is entirely deterministic then there is no free-will because free-will is not compatible with complete determinism. The same goes for a completely stochastic universe.
    What exactly would the other possibilities be?
    Assuming that consciousness is indeed created by matter (we have no solid evidence for this), are you familiar with the idea that the whole can be greater than the sum of it's parts? Why can consciousness not be different to matter, given that it is clearly completely different to matter? Can we draw any similarities at all between matter and consciousness?
    Let me ask that same question to you in a different way: Can we draw any similarities between a car and it's components? Nowhere in atoms, molecules, or energy exists the definition of a car, so should we conclude that a car is something different to matter? That's basically what you are suggesting here.
    This is another assumption, albeit a more reasonable one than those preceding it. Why would we assume that some lifeforms are not conscious? Are animals conscious? Are fish conscious? Are insects conscious? Are bacteria conscious? Is consciousness a fundamental property of the universe?
    Consiciosness is not the same as free will, technically if we are to assume that free will does exist it wouldn't be required, and just because we are conscious doesn't mean we have free will, our lives could be like a movie. As for animals, I think that animals with less developed brains have a sort of weak consciousness, which sort of acts like a manager for all the different parts of your brain, turning them on and off in result to various stimuli.
    What do you mean by material? I don't know how else to describe consciousness other than immaterial.
    I mean things that objective exist, such as matter, energy, space, or time. We can prove that consciousness is a material property, if you cut a brain or mix it up in any way consciousness seizes to exist. This means that the structure of the brain causes consciousness, but again this isn't free will.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • TKDBTKDB 599 Pts
    Sure free will exists.

    It helped to spread the Coronavirus around the Globe in a matter of weeks, affecting thousands, and killing thousands at the same time.
    Dee
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    edited May 9
    @WinstonC

    ***Isn't the speed of a car merely what the car is doing? 


    Isn’t thinking merely what we do?


    ***In other words, the car is unchanged except in that it moves due to the force that is imparted onto it. 


    We likewise do not move until a complex neural process takes part to set us in motion 


    ***I'd say that consciousness is more comparable to life than speed, for an object that is moving is similar to the same object that is stationary, the only difference is the speed and direction of travel. However a thing that is alive is radically different to a thing that is not alive, and a thing that is conscious is radically different to a thing which is not.


    That’s one way of looking at it so from this what do you conclude ?


    ****Matter presumably acts only according to the laws of nature, if X happens then it does Y. Life, however, for some strange reason, attempts to make more of itself. 


    I don’t understand what you mean “more of itself “ can you clarify?


    ***Why would matter do this? It's strange that it would, for no non-living matter does this (unless you count viruses, which could be termed pseudo-life). Now, we can say that this is ultimately caused by the laws of nature, however it still remains that life and non-life are vastly different things which behave completely differently. Non-life has no "drive" to produce more of itself. Water molecules are not going around creating more water molecules. As such, we find that if we attempt to apply laws which apply to non-living matter to life, we see that they are not followed, and vice versa. We can theorize, but we do not actually know why life self-propagates, or what makes non living matter become living matter. The best way to describe life would be "weird" when thinking about it in the context of non-life. Life may well be an emergent property of matter, but the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.


    But all living entities are part of an evolutionary process we have evolved to be this way, consciousness is just the result of the brain in action 


    ***Further, we understand speed rather well, but we don't understand consciousness at all. We understand what causes the speed of a car, which is why we can manipulate it so well. We do not, however, understand what causes consciousness. Though we can measure the speed of a car, we cannot measure consciousness. Given that consciousness is not something we understand at all, and radical differences exist between matter that has consciousness and regular matter (assuming that all matter is not conscious, which may well be the case), we can make no conclusions about consciousness based on the behaviour of matter.


    Here is an interesting piece worth the read ..... I believe there is a way forward, an approach that’s rooted in work from the 1920s by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the scientist Arthur Eddington. Their starting point was that physical science doesn’t really tell us what matter is.

    This may seem bizarre, but it turns out that physics is confined to telling us about the behaviour of matter. For example, matter has mass and charge, properties which are entirely characterised in terms of behaviour – attraction, repulsion and resistance to acceleration. Physics tells us nothing about what philosophers like to call “the intrinsic nature of matter”, how matter is in and of itself.

    It turns out, then, that there is a huge hole in our scientific world view – physics leaves us completely in the dark about what matter really is. The proposal of Russell and Eddington was to fill that hole with consciousness.

    The result is a type of “panpsychism” – an ancient view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. But the “new wave” of panpsychism lacks the mystical connotations of previous forms of the view. There is only matter – nothing spiritual or supernatural – but matter can be described from two perspectives. Physical science describes matter “from the outside”, in terms of its behaviour, but matter “from the inside” is constituted of forms of consciousness.

    This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness. Before you write that off, consider this. Consciousness can vary in complexity. We have good reason to think that the conscious experiences of a horse are much less complex than those of a human being, and that the conscious experiences of a rabbit are less sophisticated than those of a horse. As organisms become simpler, there may be a point where consciousness suddenly switches off – but it’s also possible that it just fades but never disappears completely, meaning even an electron has a tiny element of consciousness.

    What panpsychism offers us is a simple, elegant way of integrating consciousness into our scientific worldview. Strictly speaking it cannot be tested; the unobservable nature of consciousness entails that any theory of consciousness that goes beyond mere correlations is not strictly speaking testable. But I believe it can be justified by a form of inference to the best explanation: panpsychism is the simplest theory of how consciousness fits in to our scientific story.

    While our current scientific approach offers no theory at all – only correlations – the traditional alternative of claiming that consciousness is in the soul leads to a profligate picture of nature in which mind and body are distinct. Panpsychism avoids both of these extremes, and this is why some of our leading neuroscientists are now embracing it as the best framework for building a science of consciousness.

    I am optimistic that we will one day have a science of consciousness, but it won’t be science as we know it today. Nothing less than a revolution is called for, and it’s already on its way.

    Credit to .... https://theconversation.com/science-as-we-know-it-cant-explain-consciousness-but-a-revolution-is-coming-126143



    You stated in this thread to another ...... The ability to experience. Atoms presumably do not have the ability to experience (though I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they do) because they are not conscious.

    The article states .....

    This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness

    Would you agree with this statement? 


  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot "What exactly would the other possibilities be?"

    The universe may not be entirely deterministic nor completely stochastic. Consciousness makes events, which would otherwise be random irrelevant noise, actually matter. Nothing else does this. In so many ways consciousness is completely different to anything else in the universe. There is no reason that one should apply rules that work for inert matter to consciousness.

    "Let me ask that same question to you in a different way: Can we draw any similarities between a car and it's components? Nowhere in atoms, molecules, or energy exists the definition of a car, so should we conclude that a car is something different to matter? That's basically what you are suggesting here."

    A car is still made of matter and behaves like matter. Consciousness is not made of matter and does not behave like matter.

    "Consiciosness is not the same as free will, technically if we are to assume that free will does exist it wouldn't be required, and just because we are conscious doesn't mean we have free will, our lives could be like a movie."

    Yes but my point is that we don't understand consciousness *at all*. It is a completely foreign phenomena, even to those who have studied psychology their entire lives.

    "As for animals, I think that animals with less developed brains have a sort of weak consciousness, which sort of acts like a manager for all the different parts of your brain, turning them on and off in result to various stimuli."

    Does this extend to fish? insects? bacteria? What I'm getting at here is that we actually can't draw the line on what is and isn't conscious.

    "I mean things that objective exist, such as matter, energy, space, or time. We can prove that consciousness is a material property, if you cut a brain or mix it up in any way consciousness seizes to exist. This means that the structure of the brain causes consciousness, but again this isn't free will."

    Based on what measurement? This may seem pedantic, but we actually can't measure consciousness. The evidence we have that other humans are conscious is that they are the same as us and we are conscious (see zombie theory). Where am I going with all this? We don't understand consciousness and what we do understand shows it is different to all other known phenomena. As such, we can make no conclusions about consciousness based on the behaviour of atoms.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee "Isn’t thinking merely what we do?"

    Thinking perhaps, but experiencing? No. In my estimation, Descartes actually got his famous maxim "I think therefore I am" slightly wrong. The more accurate formulation of it is "I experience, therefore I am". It is not his thoughts that allow him to infer his existence, but his experience of his thoughts.

    "We likewise do not move until a complex neural process takes part to set us in motion"

    You are considering thinking (processing), not experiencing. Are you familiar with "Qualia" and "the hard problem of consciousness"?

    "That’s one way of looking at it so from this what do you conclude ?"

    Rules that apply to regular matter are not guaranteed to apply to consciousness, in the same way that life follows different rules to regular matter.

    "I don’t understand what you mean “more of itself “ can you clarify?"

    Life attempts to reproduce copies of itself.

    "But all living entities are part of an evolutionary process we have evolved to be this way, consciousness is just the result of the brain in action"

    I'm not certain that it is, after all this would preclude insects and bacteria from being conscious. In any case, the whole can be more than the sum of it's parts. Life behaves radically differently to non-life, despite being formed of non-living matter. Further, consciousness is not even comparable to matter.

    "Here is an interesting piece worth the read ..... I believe there is a way forward, an approach that’s rooted in work from the 1920s by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the scientist Arthur Eddington. Their starting point was that physical science doesn’t really tell us what matter is."

    Thanks, I've read a little of Bertrand Russell but not enough, particularly given how highly recommended he is.

    "The result is a type of “panpsychism” – an ancient view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. But the “new wave” of panpsychism lacks the mystical connotations of previous forms of the view. There is only matter – nothing spiritual or supernatural – but matter can be described from two perspectives. Physical science describes matter “from the outside”, in terms of its behaviour, but matter “from the inside” is constituted of forms of consciousness.

    This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness. Before you write that off, consider this. Consciousness can vary in complexity. We have good reason to think that the conscious experiences of a horse are much less complex than those of a human being, and that the conscious experiences of a rabbit are less sophisticated than those of a horse. As organisms become simpler, there may be a point where consciousness suddenly switches off – but it’s also possible that it just fades but never disappears completely, meaning even an electron has a tiny element of consciousness."

    I 100% agree that this view could be correct and often put it forth as a possibility!

    "This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness"

    Panpsychism is certainly an idea that I hold as potentially true. The idea that "mind is matter", at least in the way that I conceptualize matter, is not something I would agree with, however. I would formulate the statement as "consciousness is a fundamental part of matter". Now, could this mean that consciousness is deterministic? Perhaps, but not necessarily.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    @WinstonC

    *** . In my estimation, Descartes actually got his famous maxim "I think therefore I am" slightly wrong. The more accurate formulation of it is "I experience, therefore I am". It is not his thoughts that allow him to infer his existence, but his experience of his thoughts. 


    I think he got his maxim totally wrong the conclusions of the Cogito are extremely limited.

    If we accept that the fact I am thinking proves one exists it’s say nothing about what I am apart from a thinking thing


    Descartes if he was to be consistent with his skeptical approach should have stated “there are thoughts” 


    He made the assumption that if there are thoughts there must be  thinker this is open to doubt , could thoughts exist independent of a thinker?

     The ‘I’ in ‘I think ‘ may be the same as the ‘it ‘ as in ‘it is raining ‘ which does not refer  to anything 


    This was if I remember an argument first put up by Nietzsche and A.J . Ayer amongst others 


    From my perspective another flaw in the cogito and the evil genius put forward by Descartes , the nature of an illusion is that we can detect it. If we can't detect an illusion, then you can't call it an illusion -- you call it reality. As such, the total illusion set up by the Evil Genius isn't an illusion at all, since there is no way to detect it.



    I will address the rest of your piece presently I want to give it some more thought. Regards Russell I think his writings on philosophy are wonderful 




  • @WinstonC
    The universe may not be entirely deterministic nor completely stochastic. Consciousness makes events, which would otherwise be random irrelevant noise, actually matter. Nothing else does this. In so many ways consciousness is completely different to anything else in the universe. There is no reason that one should apply rules that work for inert matter to consciousness.
    That is objectively false. If people have free will, then so do subatomic particles. This is known as the Conway-Kochen free will theorem.
    http://web.mit.edu/asf/www/Press/Do%20Electrons%20Have%20Free%20Will%20The%20Conway-Kochen%20Free%20Will%20Theorem%20-%20Closing%20the%20Free%20Will%20Loophole.pdf
    A car is still made of matter and behaves like matter. Consciousness is not made of matter and does not behave like matter.
    You missed the point. A person is still made of matter and behaves like matter. Consciousness is an emergent property of matter, the same way a car is. For example, no where in an atom is the definition for "miles per gallon (MGP)" because MPG isn't a property of matter.
    Yes but my point is that we don't understand consciousness *at all*. It is a completely foreign phenomena, even to those who have studied psychology their entire lives.
    That's because they should have been studying philosophy. I laid this out above, even if we assume something supernatural is controlling the brain, that doesn't explain why certain changes in the brains structure would result in permanent damage. This fact is inconsistent with an externally controlled brain.
    Does this extend to fish? insects? bacteria? What I'm getting at here is that we actually can't draw the line on what is and isn't conscious.
    I would give the same answer. Bacteria are probably not conscious because they have no brain. Fish and insects likely have a weaker consciousness than humans. I mean, even human consciousness is subject to ebbs and flows. Think about a time you tried to do something when you were tired, or in an altered state. It's just not the same and that is apparent. if human consciousness can go up and down, then doesn't it stand to reason that animals with a smaller mind simply have a lower maximum?
    Based on what measurement? This may seem pedantic, but we actually can't measure consciousness. The evidence we have that other humans are conscious is that they are the same as us and we are conscious (see zombie theory). Where am I going with all this? We don't understand consciousness and what we do understand shows it is different to all other known phenomena. As such, we can make no conclusions about consciousness based on the behaviour of atoms.
    Let me explain this with an analogy. Let's say there is a performance on a stage. The actors come out and do their routine. There is complex interaction, music, singing, and dance. When the curtains close, the dance is nowhere to be found. It's gone. Where did the dance go? Now let's apply some of the thinking here to this analogy.

    1. We could argue that the dance never existed.
    2. We could argue that the dance is something supernatural, outside of time and space
    3. We could argue that the dance is simply an emergent property of it's components (music, performance)
    4. We could argue that only the dance we have seen existed and all others are simply "zombies"

    If we argue premise 1 that goes against our intuition, so it is fair to eliminate it immediately. Same with option 4, since it stands to reason that if we have seen a dance then other dances might exist elsewhere, even if we have never and in fact can't ever see them.

    That leaves options 2 and 3. If we argue that the dance is something which only exists on a higher plane, we run into the problems I have detailed above. First off, if we disrupt the dance by say, throwing fruit on the stage (analogous to scrambling a brain) we can prove that it disrupts the dance. If the dance is something supernatural, then that shouldn't work. If however, a dance is made of actors and music working together then this is perfectly consistent with the 3 possibility. But we can do better than this, suppose the dance is supernatural somehow, it still would be constrained because it's supernatural components have to be subject to our natural laws, thus the supernatural and the natural can not interact.

    It might be uncomfortable to realize that at the end of the day you are nothing but a bunch of atoms interacting in complex ways through several layers of emergence, but that is the reality. It doesn't make anything you do any less valid, or any less meaningful, but at the very least it should change the way you think about the world and your interactions with others.
    Plaffelvohfen
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • AlofRIAlofRI 631 Pts
    It exists .... for now. BUT, with nationalism and authoritarianism raising their ugly heads around the world, including here in the U.S., the "free" part is in danger.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    edited May 10
    @WinstonC



    ****You are considering thinking (processing), not experiencing. Are you familiar with "Qualia" and "the hard problem of consciousness"?


    What exactly are you proposing consciousness is ? It seems and apologies if I’m wrong that your appealing to some form of mysticism?  


    I am familiar with the problem and the countless solutions put forward a whole subject in itself that there’s been volumes written and still been written about ..... one example below looks at structural qualia as a possible solution 


    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00237/full



    ***Rules that apply to regular matter are not guaranteed to apply to consciousness, in the same way that life follows different rules to regular matter.


    Why not?  Just to tease this out say if I said that it's possible to consider consciousness as a new state of matter, how would you counter that? 


    ****Life attempts to reproduce copies of itself.

    Yes , and what conclusions is this leading you to?


    ***I'm not certain that it is, after all this would preclude insects and bacteria from being conscious. 

    Why would that follow? , because  conscious they are albeit at a lower level that is sufficient to their immediate needs.

    Our earliest ancestors most likely ate food with little or no relish as it was purely functional and most likely never took enjoyment in a beautiful sunrise or sunset as there consciousness served the immediate purpose of merely surviving 

    ***In any case, the whole can be more than the sum of it's parts. Life behaves radically differently to non-life, despite being formed of non-living matter. Further, consciousness is not even comparable to matter.


    What about a table or spoon could it be conscious?  Before you chuckle read the article at the end 

    Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain which is matter , what exactly are you  proposing consciousness is? 



    ***Thanks, I've read a little of Bertrand Russell but not enough, particularly given how highly recommended he is.

    Your welcome , he is  worth read I , remember  reading The five-minute hypothesis a particular piece typical of Russell and very plausible when put forward by him 


    **100% agree that this view could be correct and often put it forth as a possibility!

    It’s worthy of study and just one of many views put forward 


    ***Panpsychism is certainly an idea that I hold as potentially true. The idea that "mind is matter", at least in the way that I conceptualize matter, is not something I would agree with, however. 


    Read the linked article below ......


    But the “new wave” of panpsychism lacks the mystical connotations of previous forms of the view. There is only matter – nothing spiritual or supernatural 


    Panpsychism could very well imply that conscious tables exist: One interpretation of the theory holds that “any system is conscious,” says Chalmers. “Rocks will be conscious, spoons will be conscious, the Earth will be conscious. Any kind of aggregation gives you consciousness.”

    Interest in panpsychism has grown in part thanks to the increased academic focus on consciousness itself following on from Chalmers’ “hard problem” paper. Philosophers at NYU, home to one of the leading philosophy-of-mind departments, have made panpsychism a feature of serious study. There have been several credible academic bookson the subject in recent years, and popular articles taking panpsychism seriously.


    ****I would formulate the statement as "consciousness is a fundamental part of matter". Now, could this mean that consciousness is deterministic? Perhaps, but not necessarily.

    What is your exact position on free will?

  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot "That is objectively false. If people have free will, then so do subatomic particles. This is known as the Conway-Kochen free will theorem."

    I quote the link "The theorem states that, if we assume that we have a certain amount of free will, then, subject to certain other assumptions, elementary particles must have free will too." The "subject to certain other assumptions" part is critical. Subject to certain assumptions, humans can spontaneously grow wings and fly. One such assumption is that free will is absolute, which I do not believe is a position that anyone holds. After all, there will always be some influences on one's behaviour, which the author of the linked PDF actually concludes his article with.

    "You missed the point. A person is still made of matter and behaves like matter. Consciousness is an emergent property of matter, the same way a car is."

    Consciousness is not made of matter, even if we assume that it is an emergent property of matter. A car is made of matter.

    "For example, no where in an atom is the definition for "miles per gallon (MGP)" because MPG isn't a property of matter."

    I don't get the point, MPG is a measurement of how much fuel is required to move the car a given distance. Consciousness is not a measurement.

    "That's because they should have been studying philosophy. I laid this out above, even if we assume something supernatural is controlling the brain"

    I've never assumed this.

    "that doesn't explain why certain changes in the brains structure would result in permanent damage. This fact is inconsistent with an externally controlled brain."

    Damage specifically to the consciousness of the person? There is no evidence of damage to the consciousness of the person.

    "Bacteria are probably not conscious because they have no brain. Fish and insects likely have a weaker consciousness than humans."

    Probably, likely; in other words we don't actually know. This is the point I'm making, we don't understand consciousness at all.

    "I mean, even human consciousness is subject to ebbs and flows. Think about a time you tried to do something when you were tired, or in an altered state."

    I think you're talking about the ability to think, which is separate from the "Qualia" of consciousness.

    "But we can do better than this, suppose the dance is supernatural somehow, it still would be constrained because it's supernatural components have to be subject to our natural laws, thus the supernatural and the natural can not interact."

    The problem with your dance analogy is that a dance is merely a social construct which consists of movement. A dance is not a completely different phenomenon to the ones that supposedly create it. In a dance we understand all the constituent parts and how they meld together to create the dance. Honestly, I cannot think of anything but consciousness that is alike consciousness in how different it is to everything else.

    "It might be uncomfortable to realize that at the end of the day you are nothing but a bunch of atoms interacting in complex ways through several layers of emergence, but that is the reality. It doesn't make anything you do any less valid, or any less meaningful, but at the very least it should change the way you think about the world and your interactions with others."

    It might also be comfortable to believe that you are nothing but a bunch of atoms and therefore it is permissible to act in whatever ways benefit you most. I don't believe you have given sufficient evidence for this idea, however as always it is a pleasure to discuss ideas with you.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee "What exactly are you proposing consciousness is ? It seems and apologies if I’m wrong that your appealing to some form of mysticism?"

    Put simply, it is the experience of existing.

    "I am familiar with the problem and the countless solutions put forward a whole subject in itself that there’s been volumes written and still been written about ..... one example below looks at structural qualia as a possible solution

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00237/full"

    In other words, the problem is still unresolved, as volumes are being written on both sides of the argument. The link you give does not solve the problem, but merely suggests that with greater neuroscientific understanding we may one day solve it. The author of the link admits his whole thought process on this matter comes from the work of Crick and Koch; "I build my case here solely on the theory of Crick and Koch". Crick and Koch conceptualize consciousness poorly as awareness, which is not the qualia of consciousness. Awareness is not the experience of awareness, just like movement is not the experience of movement, if that makes sense.

    "Why not?  Just to tease this out say if I said that it's possible to consider consciousness as a new state of matter, how would you counter that?"

    Consciousness has no physicality and is not made of matter.

    "Yes , and what conclusions is this leading you to?"

    The reason I originally brought life up is because life behaves very differently to non-life, just like consciousness behaves vastly differently to matter.

    "Why would that follow? , because  conscious they are albeit at a lower level that is sufficient to their immediate needs."

    You said that consciousness is merely the brain in action, but bacteria don't have brains.

    "What about a table or spoon could it be conscious?"  

    It's not impossible.

    "Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain which is matter , what exactly are you  proposing consciousness is?"

    It is what allows us to experience.

    "Your welcome , he is  worth read I , remember  reading The five-minute hypothesis a particular piece typical of Russell and very plausible when put forward by him"

    Thanks, I'll give it a go.

    "Panpsychism could very well imply that conscious tables exist: One interpretation of the theory holds that “any system is conscious,” says Chalmers. “Rocks will be conscious, spoons will be conscious, the Earth will be conscious. Any kind of aggregation gives you consciousness.”"

    It's certainly one of the possibilities.

    "What is your exact position on free will?"

    I don't know if free will exists. I believe that it does, but cannot prove it does, just like it cannot be proven that it does not. The idea that consciousness must follow the same laws as matter, despite being nothing like matter, is an ungrounded assumption. As such, I often argue against the idea that free-will cannot exist, because we are not comparing like-for-like when we compare matter to consciousness.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    @WinstonC

    ****Put simply, it is the experience of existing.

    I call it awareness 


    ****Awareness is not the experience of awareness, just like movement is not the experience of movement, if that makes sense.

    Surely awareness denotes at least a fundamental experience?


    ****Consciousness has no physicality and is not made of matter.

    I can  regard the electrical / biochemical activity as material or immaterial 



    ****You said that consciousness is merely the brain in action, but bacteria don't have brains.


    In what way are bacteria conscious? Do they have an experience of existing?


    ***I don't know if free will exists. I believe that it does, but cannot prove it does, just like it cannot be proven that it does not. The idea that consciousness must follow the same laws as matter, despite being nothing like matter, is an ungrounded assumption. As such, I often argue against the idea that free-will cannot exist, because we are not comparing like-for-like when we compare matter to consciousness.


    I believe free will is illusory. 

  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee "I call it awareness"

    The problem with this is that we are conscious within a dream, while not aware.

    "Surely awareness denotes at least a fundamental experience?"

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean here.

    "I can  regard the electrical / biochemical activity as material or immaterial"

    Yet the electrical and biochemical activity is not the consciousness itself, even if it is it's source.

    "In what way are bacteria conscious? Do they have an experience of existing?"

    I don't know, but if panpsychism holds true then they certainly would be, for example. They also would be if all life is conscious.

    "I believe free will is illusory."

    It's possible that it is.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    @WinstonC

    ****The problem with this is that we are conscious within a dream while not aware 


    I disagree I’ve experienced awareness during a dream 


    ***I'm not sure I understand what you mean here.


    You said “*Awareness is not the experience of awareness” 


    I was addressing that


    ****Yet the electrical and biochemical activity is not the consciousness itself, even if it is it's source.


    Consciousness is an emergent property of the activity 


    ****I don't know, but if panpsychism holds true then they certainly would be, for example. They also would be if all life is conscious.


    That’s true 


    "I believe free will is illusory."


    It's possible that it is.

  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee "I disagree I’ve experienced awareness during a dream"

    You may have experienced awareness of the outside world from within your dream, but surely there are times when you are dreaming when you are not aware of the outside world.
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts


    You may have experienced awareness of the outside world from within your dream, but surely there are times when you are dreaming when you are not aware of the outside world.

    I agree I wouldn’t be aware of the outside world but a certain type of awareness is present , if I’m in a deep sleep and someone stands looking at me for a while I will awaken with a start , even in deep sleep a certain awareness goes on I think anyway 
  • WinstonCWinstonC 163 Pts
    @Dee This illustrates the distinction I'm trying to draw perfectly, because you aren't conscious of the person until you awaken. This type of unconscious perception is referred to as "perception without awareness". Thanks for another interesting exchange!
    Dee
  • DeeDee 1903 Pts
    @WinstonC

    **** This type of unconscious perception is referred to as "perception without awareness". Thanks for another interesting exchange

    That I didn’t know thank you,  I love learning something new especially at the start of a week. Thank you also Winston it’s always a pleasure to engage with you as the exchange is alway stimulating and totally worthwhile 
  • TKDBTKDB 599 Pts
    @RohanJoshi

    Yes it exists.

    You creating this forum, is it's own proof to free will.
    DavidKashlinskyPlaffelvohfen
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