How physicists handle the idea of Free Will?

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  • #226
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Q_Goest: from your link (which I have actually read once already in the past in discussion with you)

It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have visual or auditory experience: the quality of deep blue, the sensation of middle C? How can we explain why there is something it is like to entertain a mental image, or to experience an emotion? It is widely agreed that experience arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.

If any problem qualifies as the problem of consciousness, it is this one
(my emphasis)

These are exactly where science can't answer other problems besides consciousness. Let's just change a word:

"It is widely agreed that entropy arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a entropy at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does."
 
  • #227
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Pythagorean,
One can theoretically measure entropy by counting the number of microstates a given system can be in. How would a scientist measure my experience of "fear" or "happiness" or "red"?

I think this is the difference Q_Goest (and others) are getting at, not that other problems "cannot be answered" either. Consciousness cannot even be physically measured.
 
  • #228
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How does it feel to be entropy? I suppose good. :)
 
  • #230
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Pythagorean,
One can theoretically measure entropy by counting the number of microstates a given system can be in. How would a scientist measure my experience of "fear" or "happiness" or "red"?

I think this is the difference Q_Goest (and others) are getting at, not that other problems "cannot be answered" either. Consciousness cannot even be physically measured.
again, you're comparing easy problem of entropy to the hard problem of consciousness. I gave the hard problem of entropy above, where I changed the word consciousness to entropy.

To catch you up, the point I'm making is that the physicalist isn't obligated or claiming to explain the hard problem. People in this thread have stated that it is a serous flaw of physicalism. But it's not; physicalism is still logically self-consistent without explaining ANY hard problems.
 
  • #231
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Let's look at Ferris_bg's quote:
What makes the hard problem hard and almost unique is that it goes beyond problems about the performance of functions. To see this, note that even when we have explained the performance of all the cognitive and behavioral functions in the vicinity of experience - perceptual discrimination, categorization, internal access, verbal report - there may still remain a further unanswered question: Why is the performance of these functions accompanied by experience? A simple explanation of the functions leaves this question open.

There is no analogous further question in the explanation of genes, or of life, or of learning. If someone says "I can see that you have explained how DNA stores and transmits hereditary information from one generation to the next, but you have not explained how it is a gene", then they are making a conceptual mistake. All it means to be a gene is to be an entity that performs the relevant storage and transmission function. But if someone says "I can see that you have explained how information is discriminated, integrated, and reported, but you have not explained how it is experienced", they are not making a conceptual mistake. This is a nontrivial further question.
The first paragraph states the conclusion and gives the phenomenon (experience). Now the second paragraph gives an example of a "conceptual mistake" but it does not explain why the question is a conceptual mistake. It follows by trivializing a gene "All it means to be a gene..."

Then it gives the consciousness example and simply states it's "not a conceptual mistake" and that this is a "nontrivial further question"

And you really think I should be satisfied with this kind of argument?
The post by Ferris is well written and follows a line of reasoning well established in the literature regarding phenomenal experience. It is on topic, and it addresses the discussion point regarding the knowledge argument. Ferris is one of the knowledgeable folks here regarding philosophy of mind. Yes, I think you should be satisfied with the response.

That isn't to say you need to agree with it. But you should be able to recognize and understand exactly what he's saying, just as you'd recognize and understand someone in the physics forum talking about the three body problem. If you don't recognize the argument and understand what he's saying, you should first ask and find out. Ask for references and try to point out what it is you don't understand. Another tactic is to put what he's saying in your own words, and say, "is this what you mean?".

If you DO understand what he's saying, you might still feel he's not understanding something in the literature. You might correct where you feel he's mistaken something in the literature. Or you may disagree with the line of reasoning and suggest a counter example that is also covered in the literature such as Dennett's work suggesting there is nothing above and beyond the psychological states that requires explanation. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing, but don't rely on your own philosophical ideas to try and persuade someone that the concepts founded in the literature are incorrect. That's as arrogant as walking into a physics forum and suggesting you have your own theory of physics when you don't even understand what the existing theory is.
 
  • #232
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Q_goest, I went through and interpreted the post. Rather then telling me what was wrong with my interpretation, you continue to lecture on 101, appeal to (now Ferris's authority). Why not tell me where my interpretation went wrong instead of continue to make this discussion personal?

All of your posts to me have been "no, he's right, you're wrong, no... you're just ignorant" You're not making any arguments are participating in the discussion.
 
  • #233
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again, you're comparing easy problem of entropy to the hard problem of consciousness. I gave the hard problem of entropy above, where I changed the word consciousness to entropy.
I thought the consensus among those familiar with philosophy is that there is no hard problem of entropy?
 
  • #234
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These are exactly where science can't answer other problems besides consciousness. Let's just change a word:

"It is widely agreed that entropy arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a entropy at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does."
We can explain entropy in different ways and we may not have a perfect understanding of entropy or other some physical phenomena (although I would say we certainly have a sufficiently good understanding of entropy). But the point is, objectively observable phenomena can be explained and understood to the degree we can understand them by examining the physical basis. It seems clear, at least to some of those philosophers who have written about p-consciousness in the literature, that there is something that CAN'T be explained by explaining the physical basis. Anyone arguing that we CAN understand p-consciousness by understanding the physical basis first needs to understand what the counter argument is getting at and then address the argument with counter arguments in the literature.
 
  • #235
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I thought the consensus among those familiar with philosophy is that there is no hard problem of entropy?
Yes, everybody appeals to authority ("it's accepted") but nobody can explain it.

What is wrong with post #226? That would help a lot, thanks.
 
  • #236
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"It is widely agreed that entropy arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a entropy at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does."
And I would argue statistical mechanics and thermodynamics offer pretty good physical explanations for why entropy arises.
 
  • #237
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We can explain entropy in different ways and we may not have a perfect understanding of entropy or other some physical phenomena (although I would say we certainly have a sufficiently good understanding of entropy). But the point is, objectively observable phenomena can be explained and understood to the degree we can understand them by examining the physical basis. It seems clear, at least to some of those philosophers who have written about p-consciousness in the literature, that there is something that CAN'T be explained by explaining the physical basis. Anyone arguing that we CAN understand p-consciousness by understanding the physical basis first needs to understand what the counter argument is getting at and then address the argument with counter arguments in the literature.
Nobody is saying that we CAN understand p-conscoiusness though....

And we can't explain the physical basis of entropy! It is observed empirically, not predicted! We can only accept it as an axiom and move forward.
 
  • #238
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Q_goest, I went through and interpreted the post. Rather then telling me what was wrong with my interpretation, you continue to lecture on 101, appeal to (now Ferris's authority). Why not tell me where my interpretation went wrong instead of continue to make this discussion personal?

All of your posts to me have been "no, he's right, you're wrong, no... you're just ignorant" You're not making any arguments are participating in the discussion.
I don't see any interpretation of his post. I just see someone that's upset about being told he should understand the literature.
 
  • #239
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Yes, everybody appeals to authority ("it's accepted") but nobody can explain it.
Going with the experts is a pretty sound strategy when you don't have the time to read 10-20 papers on philosophy of mind. I would say the burden of proof is on you if you want to convince someone else that the experts are wrong.

What is wrong with post #226? That would help a lot, thanks.
See above.
 
  • #240
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And I would argue statistical mechanics and thermodynamics offer pretty good physical explanations for why entropy arises.
It doesn't though, it's axiomatic. Clausius did it to make conservation of energy hold, that's all.

Just like descritization of energy. Planck did it as a mathematical trick to make theory match observation. There is no reason these physical properties HAVE to be. We accept them as axiomatic and then move forward.
 
  • #241
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Nobody is saying that we CAN understand p-conscoiusness though....

And we can't explain the physical basis of entropy! It is observed empirically, not predicted! We can only accept it as an axiom and move forward.
What? It follows from basic laws of probability applied to a physical system.
 
  • #242
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Locked.
 
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