Super Free Will: Metaprogramming and Quantum Indeterminism

In summary, the conversation discussed the concept of free will and its existence in an ever-changing and uncertain universe. The speaker argued that free will does exist and is the only thing that remains in a world of uncertainty. The argument delved into quantum physics, behaviorism, neurological imprinting, brainwashing, and metaprogramming to support this idea. The discussion also touched on the idea that without a conscious observer, quantum states remain uncertain and that consciousness plays a vital role in collapsing this uncertainty into reality. The conversation also mentioned the resistance to this idea among scientists and the role of paradigms in shaping our understanding of the world. Additionally, the topic of imprints and brainwashing were brought up as examples of how our brain chemistry can
  • #1
airkapp
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I think most people agree that the UP falsifies classic determinism, but what about free will?
I ran into this site a few weeks ago and wonder what your thoughts might be on it?
http://www.futurehi.net/archives/000120.html

Super Free Will: Metaprogramming and Quantum Indeterminism

Art by Sara Deutsch

Contrary to popular belief among most brain scientists today, I will argue that free-will not only exists, but ultimately is all that remains in an ever changing uncertain universe. In order to understand the body of my argument, we’ll need to delve into quantum physics, Skinnerian behaviorism, neurological imprinting, brainwashing and metaprogramming.

Here is Robert Anton Wilson’s definition of Von Neumann's Catastrophe of the infinite regress.

A demonstration by Dr.Von Neumann that quantum mechanics entails an infinite regress of measurements before the quantum uncertainty can be removed. That is, any measuring device is itself a quantum system containing uncertainty; a second measuring device, used to monitor the first, contains its own quantum uncertainty; and so on, to infinity. Wigner and others have pointed out that this uncertainty is only terminated by the decision of the observer.

What this means, and has been proven time and again in experiment after experiment, is that without a conscious observer, quantum states remain uncertain and in a state of indeterminacy. It is the conscious observer that makes the uncertainty wave function collapse out of an either/or “maybe” into something "real". No experiment has yet been able to remove this observer from the results. Therefore without consciousness, there is no wave function collapse, and no "reality". Scientists, including Einstein have been fighting this conclusion for more than 70 years, when he said, “God does not play dice”, but experiment after experiment has proven this to be the case. The Aspect Experiment in 1982 and its dozen follow up experiments have reproduced this non-local consciousness dependent result. This is most troubling to determinist materialist as it goes against their training and every other working scientific theory. Yet the power of quantum mechanics has made itself known in almost every field of technology and industry.

So why hasn’t this shattering revelation made greater waves through the scientific community? I honestly don’t have the answer to that, other than history is full of old paradigms dying slow hard deaths. So rigid in their thinking are people and therefore scientists, that as Thomas Kuhn, the author of the book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), said, "The triumph of a new paradigm may therefore depend as much on this generation’s dying off as it does on decisive confirmation or refutation, as more traditional philosophies of science understand such things." This is an important point, which I’ll get back to in a bit.

Meanwhile, as our understanding of the brain has increased, we have been able to isolate and tie numerous psychological functions to deterministic brain chemistry. Tweak a molecule here; get a psychological effect there. Apply an electrode there; get a psychological effect here. This has led most neuroscientists and cognitive researchers, including the likes of Francis Crick, to conclude that any conception of having free-will is an illusion. Francis Crick says,

All your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free-will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.

He is only partially correct, as we shall soon see.

Eastern yogi philosophers and psychedelic aficionados have said similar things as Crick. Either through advanced meditative techniques or psychedelic ingesting, these people have temporarily transcended their neural conditioning and brain programming, and from this higher, more self-aware perspective, have correctly concluded that most of what makes up "them" is arbitrary programming, robotic behavioral patterns inserted either through conditioning or imprinting at certain stages of their life.

So what are imprints? Imprinting was first demonstrated by Konrad Lorenz in the 1930’s when he was able to imprint himself as the mother to hatched ducklings. He discovered that there are moments of imprint vulnerability where an electrochemical bond is formed in neural circuitry that precedes any further conditioning. Another way of looking at this is imprints are hardwired neurological patterns, whereas conditioning is composed of looser, more easily reprogrammed softwired patterns. Conditioning can be changed by positive or negative re-enforcement, but imprints require something altogether more traumatic. We could say that imprints form the basis of our personality and remain unchanged throughout our life, except under the most traumatic of experiences. It is here that the science of brainwashing comes in.

The most notable case of brainwashing is the story of Patti Hearst, who having been kidnapped a "rich daddy’s girl", came back six weeks later as a different person, robbing banks, and proclaiming the birth of a new "peoples liberation". This brainwashing was accomplished through a combination of drugs and extreme trauma. Kept in a locked closet for weeks, taunted by her captors, and fed only the smallest amount of food, Patti went into extreme shock, and in turn become imprint vulnerable. Unbeknownst to her, and after weeks of torment, these same captors befriended her as if they were the ones rescuing her. As they opened the closet door, they immediately started calling her a new name. Loving, comforting, feeding and taking care of her, they gave her a whole new identity and narrative. Claiming that her abductors were working for her father, she immediately came to love and accept these people, her saviors, completely forgetting her old life, and accepting this new reality imprint without question. In short, she was brainwashed.

Ok, so where does free-will come in? So far it seems like I’ve decimated every last shred of free-will and human dignity. Yes, and for good reason! Unless we understand the full extent of just how brainwashed and programmed we are, we will never have anything close to a free-will. To be free it first helps to intimately understand just how imprisoned we are by our own nervous system. Freedom comes from knowledge, not ignorance. To know thyself is the pathway to liberation and freedom, as I will now explain.

Lets start with simple conditioning. An addiction to something would be a good example of strong mental conditioning. Most people who are seriously addicted think they can’t stop their addiction, feeling they are slaves to their nervous system programming, compelling them to get more of whatever it is they are addicted to. We know that addictions can happen at both the psychological level like gambling, or in the physical (central nervous system level), like crack-cocaine. If the person has a strong enough desire to seek adequate help, they can with assistance overcome their addiction. Some people are strong enough to be able to do this without help, but the majority look for others support to get them through the thick of it. Is this desire to overcome their mental conditioning the same as free-will, or just another higher level of programming? Some would argue that there were other programs, super-programs that eventually re-wrote these lower subroutines of addiction. Or what some AI researchers like to call super-goals. Ok, this has some computational basis, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to describe in adequate neurological terms precisely how overcoming ones programming is not the beginnings of something more uncertain and indeterministic. Remember the indeterminate conscious observer in quantum mechanical systems? We’ll get back to that.

So what are these supergoals then? I think there are many. The next layer beyond conditioning as I mentioned earlier is neurological imprinting; hard-wired electro-chemical bonds that program behavior and our subsequent perception of reality and self. Almost everyone you’ll ever meet has never re-imprinted their nervous systems. However for those lucky or not so lucky individuals who have taken a large quantity of a psychedelics, what John Lilly calls metaprogramming agents in his groundbreaking book, Programming and Metaprogramming in The Human Biocomputer, these electro-chemical imprints can be re-programmed, or re-imprinted too. John Lilly described this ability to re-program our programs, meta-programs. He then goes into considerable scientific and rigorous detail describing all the ways we can metaprogram our own brain, changing our brains programming as we see fit.

The question now needs to be asked, if we are nothing more than our programs, imprints and conditioned reflexes, then who is the "we" who is doing the programming? Who is the metaprogrammer? Some might remain steadfast and say that this new higher you is also just a collection of programs, or metaprograms. In either case, for those of us lucky enough to have metaprogammed ourselves and not been metaprogrammed against our will (brainwashing), it sure feels like we are a lot more free than we are ordinarily. Any so-called free-will we have in an ordinary state of consciousness feels contrived and robotic compared to being in a metaprogramming state. So if nothing else, this thing called free-will is relative. There are states where we are more "free" than others.

John Lilly has gone further in exploring the depths of the mind and the limits of metaprogramming, and said that after a while of metaprogramming, you eventually realize there are limits to certain metaprograms, or what he also likes to call beliefs about beliefs. Robert Anton Wilson is fond of calling them catmas... with dogmas being absolute beliefs, and catmas being relativistic metabeliefs. And as you play around with metaprograms, then there is a new "self", the self that is meta-meta-programming! Programming ones own metabeliefs. Or what John Lilly also liked to call supra-meta-beliefs. John Lilly quickly realized there is no limit to this self-recursion when he uttered his most famous quote,

In the province of the mind, what the mind believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind there are no limits.

In other words, as you become more aware of your supra-metabeliefs, you can continue upwards to meta-meta-meta-beliefs, ad infinitum… the neurological equivalent of the Von Neumann Catastrophe. If this relative scale of increasing neurological metaprogramming freedom is not some kind of free will, then I think the meaning itself has been destroyed, and for no damn good reason, other than dogmatic stubbornness on the part of people unwilling to let go of an old dying deterministic paradigm, against the new empirically verifiable new paradigm of quantum mechanics. All physical systems are subject to quantum mechanical principles, which are in turn subject to a conscious observer. So no matter how you slice it, the conscious observer is both separate and a part of the physical world. Consciousness it would seem is a fundamental in the universe, possibly the one and only fundamental, preceding all other observed physical properties, which are determined by consciousness.

Quoting Robert Anton Wilson again,

Since all human knowledge is neurological in this sense, every science may be considered a neuro-science; e.g., we have no physics but neurophysics, no psychology but neuropsychology and ultimately, no neurology but neuroneurology. But neuroneurology would itself be known by the nervous system, leading to neuroneuroneurology etc., in an infinite regress.

But as John Lilly humbly admitted, even though in the mind there are no limits, the body on the planetside trip has definite limits locked in by biology. So as long as we return to and operate within it, we are subject to its limits. However each day we are becoming more aware of how these genetic limits work, and soon will figure out how to overcome those limits, first with genetic engineering, then nanoengineering.

So here we are altering our own molecular DNA, and soon the entire physical world down to the atomic level. Another way of looking at this, is DNA having evolved out of the slime, is now becoming recursive enough to begin altering itself with intenationality and purpose towards something stronger, smarter and more versatile. Going further, the atomic world is now becoming aware of itself, and as it becomes aware of these limits, just like we becoming aware of our own programming, will begin to re-program this matter to become more expressive to this internationality, to the logos, the memeplex that is our noosphere. Will this self-recursion ever end? Probably not. Do we have free will? As I have shown, free-will is a matter of degree. It is easily demonstrated that we can increase the levels and degrees of freedom as we become aware of our own limits. I would say, not only is there free-will, but eventually everything in the universe, including the very essence of ourselves will become re-defined by it. In the end, everything will change, but one thing will remain and increase, the level of our free will, our consciousness, the fundamental that is and comprises everything.
 
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  • #2
Superb article.

Btw, what is UP ("I think most people agree that the UP falsifies classic determinism")?
 
  • #3
PIT2 said:
Superb article.

Btw, what is UP ("I think most people agree that the UP falsifies classic determinism")?

Uncertainty Principle, a basic principle of quantum mechanics. For certain pairs of properties (such as momentum and potion or energy and duration), the more closely defined the one of them is, the more loosely defined the other will be. Thus for example if a particle is confined in a small volume, so its position is closely determined, then its momentum will be correspondingly uncertain. Notice that this does not in any way imply that the quantities are random. So the author's claim about falsification is weaker than it might appear.
 
  • #4
Awesome read! Can anyone elaborate on the metaprogramming aspect?

P.S. I thought this sentence was great:

If this relative scale of increasing neurological metaprogramming freedom is not some kind of free will, then I think the meaning itself has been destroyed, and for no damn good reason, other than dogmatic stubbornness on the part of people unwilling to let go of an old dying deterministic paradigm, against the new empirically verifiable new paradigm of quantum mechanics.
 
  • #5
selfAdjoint said:
Uncertainty Principle, a basic principle of quantum mechanics. For certain pairs of properties (such as momentum and potion or energy and duration), the more closely defined the one of them is, the more loosely defined the other will be. Thus for example if a particle is confined in a small volume, so its position is closely determined, then its momentum will be correspondingly uncertain. Notice that this does not in any way imply that the quantities are random. So the author's claim about falsification is weaker than it might appear.
Agreed 100%
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and results of QM show that the world is epistemically indeterminable, and NOT that it is necessarily ontically indeterministic. A fact overlooked by many people, including many quantum physicists who ought to know better.

Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg were both convinced that the quantum world was indeterministic. They were therefore pleased when in 1932 John von Neumann "proved" a theorem claiming to show rigorously that it is impossible to add hidden variables to the structure of quantum theory.

Von Neumann's infamous and mistaken ‘proof’ had apparently shown that the world is indeed fundamentally indeterministic and not simply just indeterminable. His mistake was spotted as early as 1935, but von Neumann’s ‘proof’ was an accepted part of quantum theory until 1964, when John Bell made his own great contributions to quantum theory. First he constructed his own hidden variable account of a measurement of any component of spin, he then went further by demonstrating quite clearly exactly what was wrong with von Neumann's argument. Once this mistake was realized, it was clear that hidden variables theories of quantum theory were possible.

MF
:smile:
 
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  • #6
moving finger said:
in 1932 John von Neumann "proved" a theorem claiming to show rigorously that it is impossible to add hidden variables to the structure of quantum theory.

ps - RAW (a prolific SF writer and a bit of a "cult" figure) was born the same year that von Neumann published his "proof" - coincidence? :biggrin:

MF
 
  • #7
moving finger said:
ps - RAW (a prolific SF writer and a bit of a "cult" figure) was born the same year that von Neumann published his "proof" - coincidence? :biggrin:

MF

It would seem to me the author is not using the UP necessarily. I probably shouldn't of mentioned it because you are correct in saying that the universe is "NOTnecessarily ontically indeterministic". However, the article seems to be suggesting since we don't know for sure if the conscious process involving collapse of quantum, dynamical brain states through conscious observation. It is a merely a selected hypothesis. Further proposing that brain process can undertake an active role in the section of certain uncertain stimuli. There have been selective studies where event-related potentials would differ under unobserved versus pre-observed conditions. "Maximization of entropy by congruence of stimulus and brain potential through a quantum entropy operator is the proposed physical mechanism for this finding. The prefrontal lobe inhibition of perseverative brain states under the active condition is proposed to be the neurological mechanism of the findings." The shortened version is that quantum stimulus is thus related to degrees of free-will. Anyways, I brought it over here. It's an interesting read.
 
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  • #8
A more complete reply :

airkapp said:
I think most people agree that the UP falsifies classic determinism,
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle does not falsify determinism, classic or otherwise. See my first post in this thread.

airkapp said:
Contrary to popular belief among most brain scientists today, I will argue that free-will not only exists, but ultimately is all that remains in an ever changing uncertain universe.
Please define what you mean by "free will". IMHO, any discussion about the existence or non-existence of any concept is meaningless unless that concept is first unambiguously and rigorously defined.

airkapp said:
A demonstration by Dr.Von Neumann that quantum mechanics entails an infinite regress of measurements before the quantum uncertainty can be removed. That is, any measuring device is itself a quantum system containing uncertainty; a second measuring device, used to monitor the first, contains its own quantum uncertainty; and so on, to infinity. Wigner and others have pointed out that this uncertainty is only terminated by the decision of the observer.
Von Neumann’s “proof” that the world is indeterministic was published in 1932, it was suggested that this “proof” was flawed in 1935, but it was not until 1964 that John Bell demonstrated unequivocally that von Neumann’s “proof” was based on an invalid premise. In other words, von Neumann was wrong. This has been known by many scientists for the last 40 years.

airkapp said:
What this means, and has been proven time and again in experiment after experiment, is that without a conscious observer, quantum states remain uncertain and in a state of indeterminacy.
Incorrect. All that has been proven by experiment is that quantum states are not necessarily epitemically determinable. This is not the same as saying they do not behave with ontic determinism.

airkapp said:
It is the conscious observer that makes the uncertainty wave function collapse out of an either/or “maybe” into something "real".
This is pure speculation, supported by a minority of scientists including Wigner. Schroedinger’s wave function (in configuration space) evolves purely deterministically, there is no indeterminism in this wave function. The only indeterminsim is in our knowledge of the wave function.

airkapp said:
No experiment has yet been able to remove this observer from the results.
By definition, our scientific experiments are “3rd person objective” experiments, they involve an “observer” and an “observed”. This imposes a distorting dualistic perspective on the world, one of the consequences of which is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. It would be wrong to conclude, however, that our biased scientific perspective necessarily implies that an observer is “required” to “collapse the wavefunction”.

airkapp said:
Therefore without consciousness, there is no wave function collapse, and no "reality".
Again, pure speculation, supported by a very small minority of scientists.

airkapp said:
Scientists, including Einstein have been fighting this conclusion for more than 70 years, when he said, “God does not play dice”, but experiment after experiment has proven this to be the case.
Which conclusion? Einstein’s objections (to QM collapse) pre-dated Wigner’s ideas on consciousness-induced-collapse. Einstein objected to the notion that Bohr’s interpretation of QM implied there is no underlying reality.

No experiment I know of, ever, has proven there is no underlying reality – if I am wrong, would you care to correct me?

airkapp said:
The Aspect Experiment in 1982 and its dozen follow up experiments have reproduced this non-local consciousness dependent result.
With respect, this is rubbish. The Aspect experiment, and other similar experiments, have shown that the world cannot be both “real” and “local”, that if there is any underlying reality to the quantum world then it must be operating non-locally. The interpretations of these experiments conclude absolutely nothing about consciousness.

airkapp said:
This is most troubling to determinist materialist as it goes against their training and every other working scientific theory.
No it does not. The results of QM, including Aspect’s experiments and others, are all consistent with a non-local and real (ie determinsitic) world.

airkapp said:
Yet the power of quantum mechanics has made itself known in almost every field of technology and industry.
Finally something correct.

airkapp said:
So why hasn’t this shattering revelation made greater waves through the scientific community? I honestly don’t have the answer to that, other than history is full of old paradigms dying slow hard deaths.
The answer is : Because the “shattering revelation” is false!

airkapp said:
So rigid in their thinking are people and therefore scientists, that as Thomas Kuhn, the author of the book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), said, "The triumph of a new paradigm may therefore depend as much on this generation’s dying off as it does on decisive confirmation or refutation, as more traditional philosophies of science understand such things."
On the contrary, the “accepted interpretation” of QM for the last 80 years has been Bohr’s so-called Copenhagen interprpetation, which assumes indeterminism. It is the deterministic interpretations which have been battling against Bohr’s unjustified assumption of indeterminism.

airkapp said:
Meanwhile, as our understanding of the brain has increased, we have been able to isolate and tie numerous psychological functions to deterministic brain chemistry. Tweak a molecule here; get a psychological effect there. Apply an electrode there; get a psychological effect here. This has led most neuroscientists and cognitive researchers, including the likes of Francis Crick, to conclude that any conception of having free-will is an illusion.
Here’s that concept “free will” again. Still not defined. Until and unless you define it, I suggest any debate on the concept is meaningless..

airkapp said:
Ok, so where does free-will come in?
Ooops. There it is again. What does it mean?

Much of the rest of your post at this point I will not comment on – though it is interesting reading it does not really have much to say except that one can create multiple self-referential loops within the conscious mind, for example :

airkapp said:
In other words, as you become more aware of your supra-metabeliefs, you can continue upwards to meta-meta-meta-beliefs, ad infinitum… the neurological equivalent of the Von Neumann Catastrophe. If this relative scale of increasing neurological metaprogramming freedom is not some kind of free will……..
Ooops, there is that concept again. What does it mean?

airkapp said:
I would say, not only is there free-will, but eventually everything in the universe, including the very essence of ourselves will become re-defined by it.
free will? What’s that again?

MF
:smile:
 
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  • #9
Thanks MF, he seems to be advocating degrees of free will; as mankind evolves (technologically) those degrees become greater. I believe he accepts that everything is "ontically determined". So he is not arguing for absolute free will. However, I don't think I'm qualified to argue this, I'll try and contact the author. What is your opinion on compatibilism?
 
  • #10
In post 8 MF calls one of Airkapp's statements "incorrect" - I did not find this statement, but in airkapp's first post the following appears:

"It is the conscious observer that makes the uncertainty wave function collapse out of an either/or “maybe” into something "real". No experiment has yet been able to remove this observer from the results. Therefore without consciousness, there is no wave function collapse, and no "reality"..."

Which is essentially the same (I also think incorrect) idea that a conscious observer is what makes the wave function collapse. I have not been directly a participant in high energy particle collision experiments, but understand the many results are first recorded photographically.) Such as the early balloon experiments on cosmic rays, cloud chamber results (and more modern version of the same) etc. Processing thousand of these exposures takes time - back in my graduate days, low paid employees sorted photographs for interesting ones for the graduate students to then look at. Now I think machines digitize the the photos and spit out the strange ones and millions are processed daily. I think these machines can even print out the track coordinates. -all this without any consciousness active.

Years later, a new question may arise that some old experimental data may help resolve. The accelerator that ran the experiment may not even exist when the first conscious examination of the old automatically produced record is first examined. Are you seriously suggesting that only then, years later when consciousness first is active, some "fuzzy mix of numbers" printed on sheets of paper that describe the still mixed quantum state "collapse" into unique clear numbers that correspond to one of the pure eigen state in the mix of eigen states that was produced long ago in the experiment? !

No consciousness is required for an "observation" to force the mixed state into a single eigen state! Exactly what is required to make a smoothly and deterministically evolving wavefunction collapse (Schrodeniger's equation is deterministic) in an unpredictable way I can not tell you. This is the main objection I have to QM - it seems by its very nature to be an incomplete theory - It requires something out side of itself to function even only as a means of probabilistic prediction of observable results.

I will let MF try to tell you - he is my definition guru :smile: All I can do is the same sort of thing I can do when trying to tell him what Genuine Free Will is -I.e. tell what it is not. So I tell you: An "observation" is not (and does not require) conscious observer.
 
  • #11
airkapp said:
What is your opinion on compatibilism?
The answer to this depends on one's definitions of both compatibilism and free will.
If one accepts determinism, but adopts (explicitly or implicitly) a less restrictive definition of free will than a Libertarian would wish for, then the compatibilist view can work.
Not too many people (I find) are very happy to agree a rigorous definition of free will (I have my own theories as to why this might be).
My preferred definition is :
moving finger said:
Free will is the ability of an agent to anticipate alternate possible outcomes dependent on alternate possible courses of action and to choose which course of action to follow and in so doing to behave in a manner such that the agent’s choice appears, both to itself and to an outside observer, to be reasoned but not consistently predictable.
This definition would not be acceptable to a Libertarian, but is IMHO an accurate description of what humans experience when they say they have free will, it is also completely compatible with determinism.

MF
:smile:
 
  • #12
this article seems to imply that human beings have free will, drawing conclusions from facts about quantum mechanics.

humans are not governed by quantum mechanics, they are governed by relativity.
relativity does not support indeterminism.

if you want to use the possibility of quantum indeterminism to draw conclusions about a relativistic nature, you've got to do more than give a loose description of metaprogramming.
 
  • #13
Billy T said:
Years later, a new question may arise that some old experimental data may help resolve. The accelerator that ran the experiment may not even exist when the first conscious examination of the old automatically produced record is first examined. Are you seriously suggesting that only then, years later when consciousness first is active, some "fuzzy mix of numbers" printed on sheets of paper that describe the still mixed quantum state "collapse" into unique clear numbers that correspond to one of the pure eigen state in the mix of eigen states that was produced long ago in the experiment? !

Its possible. Another way of looking at it, is that a conscious observation from the future had influenced the experiment in the first place (at the moment it was conducted).
 
  • #14
rygar said:
humans are not governed by quantum mechanics, they are governed by relativity.
relativity does not support indeterminism.
With all due respect rygar, would you care to elaborate on this? I'm not sure I understand your argument exactly.

I am skeptical of what you say because this goes back to the tiresome argument that everything a human is is defined by the firing of neurons, the movement of electrons, and so forth. I believe that random indeterminable events (random events) can happen to humans, for example, a whole bunch of matter in my hand could simply (I'm aware of the immense mathematical improbability of it happening) "decide" independently to have the all electrons move a negligible distance to the right simultaneously. Sure, humans are governed by relativity. But why not quantum mechanics?
 
  • #15
Free will is the ability of an agent to anticipate alternate possible outcomes dependent on alternate possible courses of action and to choose which course of action to follow and in so doing to behave in a manner such that the agent’s choice appears, both to itself and to an outside observer, to be reasoned but not consistently predictable.


I can accept and fully agree with that; although that definition in my more simplistic terms is "the ability to forsee the consequences of one's actions". Would you agree with that? Also, if completely rewinded and played back, given what we know of QM those same actions may or may not be repeated. As I understand it, the UP allows us to make probabilities in regards to quantum events but not completely determined, yet the universe still acts in a deterministic nature. I am a compatabilist, albeit a loose fitting compatabilist. Also, given chaos theory, and what we know of qm it seems the consequence argument non free will'st use is kinda shot. You agree with that?

thanks,
air
 
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  • #16
Artermis said:
With all due respect rygar, would you care to elaborate on this? I'm not sure I understand your argument exactly.

I am skeptical of what you say because this goes back to the tiresome argument that everything a human is is defined by the firing of neurons, the movement of electrons, and so forth. I believe that random indeterminable events (random events) can happen to humans, for example, a whole bunch of matter in my hand could simply (I'm aware of the immense mathematical improbability of it happening) "decide" independently to have the all electrons move a negligible distance to the right simultaneously. Sure, humans are governed by relativity. But why not quantum mechanics?

[side note]
your brain mechanism and the firing of neurons does not produce consciousness ELECTRICALLY. it's a complex CHEMICAL process, through the exchange of calcium, sodium, proteins, amino acids, any lots of other things that make up your brain. this is a common misconception. the transfer of chemicals in your brain produce an almost insignificant electrical discharge, your brain does NOT function by transferring electrons through action potentials.
[/side note]

i agree with you that it is possible, though like you say, mathematically improbable, for matter such an anomoly to occur.

what i meant by my original post is that we can use the laws of relativity to determine the state of matter on a massive scale--from throwing a baseball to the movements of galaxies. all are predicted with remarkable accuracy.
no one has ever witnessed a random event, allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics, at a scale any larger than the atomic level.

so in discussing free will, why would you use the laws of quantum mechanics, which thus far have ONLY been able to account for the very small, and not the laws of relativity, which are perfectly reasonable? if you apply the laws of quantum mechanics to other aspects of everyday life, you'll get all sorts of things that we know not to be true.

the author seems to be saying, as most believe, that the laws of both somehow apply, because we only live in one universe. but it's not that simple--you can't use the laws of one to describe the other, without bridging the gap between them (a unified field theory).

besides, as selfadjoint has pointed out to me, randomization in quantum mechanics does not imply, nor even suggest, the possiblity that we are in control of the possible outcomes. it's a matter of the universe being deterministic with one possible outcome, or with infinite. but no where are we able to influence the outcome because of firing neurons.

sorry for the sloppy reply, I'm on my way out, maybe someone else can do a better job explaining this.
 
  • #17
@rygar,
I agree that the mathematics behind quantum mechanics sort of form a gaurd from incredibly random events from occurring (at least, on more than an atomic level, as you said).
About your side note about the chemical processes in the brain, I'd like to put Feynman's words into my own, and regardless of whether or not it is electrical or chemical, the point still stands that your thought processes are determined by them.
Like Robert Feynman said: Everything that is attributed to Chemistry can be explained, at its very base, at its very base using Physics. So really, one could argue that there's no such thing as Chemistry, really.

-Art
 
  • #18
moving finger said:
Free will is the ability of an agent to anticipate alternate possible outcomes dependent on alternate possible courses of action and to choose which course of action to follow and in so doing to behave in a manner such that the agent’s choice appears, both to itself and to an outside observer, to be reasoned but not consistently predictable.

airkapp said:
I can accept and fully agree with that; although that definition in my more simplistic terms is "the ability to forsee the consequences of one's actions". Would you agree with that?
No I wouldn't, and here is why : According to this simplistic version, an existing computer program, able to model the outcome of decisions, would be deemed to have free will.
Free will is more than just being able to foresee the consequences of one's actions. In addition one must be able to choose from alternatives, and one must act such that one's choice appears rational and yet not consistently predictable. Some might also argue that an agent must have a consciousness in order to have free will - I am not so sure about this (though one would need to be conscious in order to know that one has free will :smile:).

airkapp said:
Also, if completely rewinded and played back, given what we know of QM those same actions may or may not be repeated.
Agreed, there may or may not be an indeterministic (random) element. However nobody has ever demonstrated (to my knowledge) how indeterminism endows free will - thus the possible existence of indeterminism is IMHO irrelevant in a discussion on free will.

airkapp said:
As I understand it, the UP allows us to make probabilities in regards to quantum events but not completely determined, yet the universe still acts in a deterministic nature.
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle says that the world is fundamentally indeterminable (ie there is a limit to the knowledge we can have about the world), but nowhere does it say the world is necessarily fundamentally indeterministic.

airkapp said:
I am a compatabilist, albeit a loose fitting compatabilist. Also, given chaos theory, and what we know of qm it seems the consequence argument non free will'st use is kinda shot.
Chaos theory is based on determinism, it does not need and does not assume any kind of indeterminism (though again chaos introduces another limit to our epistemic abilities - even though a chaotic system may be operating totally deterministically, it is impossible to predict it's behaviour because it is epistemically indeterminable, but for reasons different to the UP).
QM I have already commented on - there is nothing in QM or anywhere else which says the world is necessarily indeterministic.

I'm not sure what your expression "seems the consequence argument non free will'st use is kinda shot." means - can you re-phrase that please?

MF

:smile:
 
  • #19
rygar said:
no one has ever witnessed a random event, allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics, at a scale any larger than the atomic level.
I would go further and say that no one has ever witnessed a random event at any level. The closest any agent could ever get to "observing randomness" would be to witness an event which was epistemically indeterminable (apparently random) - the agent could never know (IMHO) whether the event was ontically indeterministic (truly random) or not.

rygar said:
why would you use the laws of quantum mechanics, which thus far have ONLY been able to account for the very small, and not the laws of relativity, which are perfectly reasonable?
"QM" and "relativity" apply accurately within their respective domains, but are fundamentally incompatible with each other as they stand. Ultimately, therefore, one or other or both must be shown to be approximations.

rygar said:
if you apply the laws of quantum mechanics to other aspects of everyday life, you'll get all sorts of things that we know not to be true.
I don't think so. Can you give an example where you think QM makes an invalid prediction at the "everyday" level?

rygar said:
the author seems to be saying, as most believe, that the laws of both somehow apply, because we only live in one universe. but it's not that simple--you can't use the laws of one to describe the other, without bridging the gap between them (a unified field theory).
Agreed.

rygar said:
but no where are we able to influence the outcome because of firing neurons.
Not strictly true - our firing neurons do indeed "influence the outcome", because our neurons are a necessary part of the deterministic chain of events. What our firing neurons do not allow, however, is the Libertarian kind of free will which would "allow us to have chosen differently to the way we did actually choose".

MF
:smile:
 
  • #20
Its off thread, so i'll be brief (at least for me) :smile:

I agree with Artermis (post 17)- it does not make much diff if brain function is by chemistry or electrical, but the influx of Na+ ions into the axion that is a progressive wave traveling away (usually) from the cell body is best view as a discharge of the 70mv negative "resting potential" of the axion interior that the "Na pump" must restore before the next action potential discharge can occur (the "refractory period"). This part of brain activity is best considered "electrical" and is well modeled by electrical concepts, such as capacitors, voltages, currents, etc. (E.g. the reason that mylinated nerves have different conduction speeds and the reason that large vs small cross section axions have different effects upon conduction speed all fall out correctly from these electrical models.)

Once these "electrical impulses" arrive at the "pre-synaptic" junction, the chemical view is much more appropriate. E.g. GABA (a universal inhibitory neurotransmitter) release into the "synaptic gap" is only possible if the pre-synaptic GABA molecules are there. Once the neurotransmitters are in the gap, then Brownian motion physics is the preferred (at least by me) model. I'll stop here as now it really gets complex and this is off thread "correction" to prior posts.
 
  • #21
moving finger said:
Chaos theory is based on determinism, it does not need and does not assume any kind of indeterminism (though again chaos introduces another limit to our epistemic abilities - even though a chaotic system may be operating totally deterministically, it is impossible to predict it's behaviour because it is epistemically indeterminable, but for reasons different to the UP).

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not. This has actually become a fairly popular argument for free will, with the definition tweaked a bit. Some will go so far as the create the dynamic systems theory equivalent of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, saying that the system actually controls the parts, contrary to the reductionist view of causation that we are accustomed to. In this case of the human mind, it is the "mind" in control of the molecules that constitute it, rather than the molecules (and their familiar mechanical laws) that control the mind. As counterintuitive (and prima facie false) as this sounds, even if we accept it, it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will. Even though it is emergent and irreducable to the familiar laws of physics, the behavior of the dynamic system in question (in this case, the mind) is still determinate. Obviously, this would work well with compatibilist conceptions of free will, but I get the feeling that the libertarian sect is what really wants their hands on this. I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.
 
  • #22
loseyourname said:
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not. ...
I'm no expert in chaos theory, but think you must be speaking of it as applied to the physical world when you speak of "lower level parts" and not including mathematical functions that are so highly sensitive to the initial starting conditions that the functional behavior thereafter is "chaotic" because I can't imagine what you could mean by "lower level parts" of a math function.

Be this as it may, I think both the math and physical chaotic systems do in fact have epistemic limits. In the math form of chaos, it is that most (if not all - I don't know if some very clever mathematician has built one on only the integers etc.) will involve irrational numbers and these are always only expressible as approximations. I.e. there is an epistemic limit to our knowledge of their value, but it can be as accurate as you are willing to pay for. (I recently read that some Japanese supercomputer had PI's value out to some very large number of places but the value of PI is still epistemicly unknowable.)

As for the chaotic physical systems, it is obvious that no measurement of the initial condition is perfect so where the system will be after a long period of deterministic movement is basically anywhere on the conserved quanties surface - ie the ergotic theorem - provided there are no "regions excluded" for reasons that are not clear, at least to me, but are some sort of physical constraints.
 
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  • #23
loseyourname said:
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.
Chaos theory is all about epistemology.

Please define what you mean by "determinate".

If you mean "epistemically determinable" then I agree chaos theory says that chaotic systems are epistemically indeterminable.

If you mean "ontically deterministic" then I think you will find that an ontically deterministic system continues to be ontically deterministic even if it is chaotic.

loseyourname said:
This has actually become a fairly popular argument for free will, with the definition tweaked a bit. Some will go so far as the create the dynamic systems theory equivalent of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, saying that the system actually controls the parts, contrary to the reductionist view of causation that we are accustomed to.
ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.

loseyourname said:
In this case of the human mind, it is the "mind" in control of the molecules that constitute it, rather than the molecules (and their familiar mechanical laws) that control the mind.
Doesn't matter how you slice it up, it remains deterministic.

loseyourname said:
As counterintuitive (and prima facie false) as this sounds, even if we accept it, it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.
Define free will?

loseyourname said:
Even though it is emergent and irreducable to the familiar laws of physics, the behavior of the dynamic system in question (in this case, the mind) is still determinate.
Hey, we agee!

loseyourname said:
Obviously, this would work well with compatibilist conceptions of free will, but I get the feeling that the libertarian sect is what really wants their hands on this. I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.
Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet...

MF
:smile:
 
  • #24
moving finger said:
Chaos theory is all about epistemology.

Please define what you mean by "determinate".

I mean exactly what you mean when you defined it earlier. The word has a well-established meaning. I don't use these terms flippantly.

If you mean "epistemically determinable" then I agree chaos theory says that chaotic systems are epistemically indeterminable.

Can you honestly not take from the context of the rest of the post that this is what I meant? You seem to have figured it out by the bottom.

If you mean "ontically deterministic" then I think you will find that an ontically deterministic system continues to be ontically deterministic even if it is chaotic.

Anything that is determinate has to be deterministic, so yes, I mean this as well.

ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.

It may be, but your humble opinion isn't exactly authoritative. As I said, it's a highly counterintuitive idea that seems to violate the laws of physics, but we'll have to see. I'm not going to pass judgement when I just don't know.

Define free will?

No. I'm not making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will, and I'm not going to speak for those making the claim.

Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet...

I've defined these terms before, in case you forgot. Compatibilist free will is any class of free will that does not claim to be anti-deterministic or contracausal. Libertarian free will does claim to be anti-deterministic and contracausal. I'm not going to define more specifically what is meant by those making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will as, again, I'm not one of the persons making this claim and don't wish to speak for them. Generally speaking, people that are defenders of free will and who use indeterminacy theories in the natural sciences to bolster their claims are defending libertarian free will. I would imagine that is the case here.
 
  • #25
loseyourname said:
Can you honestly not take from the context of the rest of the post that this is what I meant? You seem to have figured it out by the bottom.
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.

Thus, it seems that by “determinate” you did indeed mean “deterministic” when you said “It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.”, in which case I disagree with this statement.

If the behaviour of a chaotic system is deterministic, then there is NO reason (from chaos theory) to suspect that the behaviour of its “lower parts” is not also deterministic.

moving finger said:
ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.
loseyourname said:
It may be, but your humble opinion isn't exactly authoritative.
Isn’t that exactly what IMHO means? I understand it is not authoritative, and I did not wish anyone to think that I was making a statement which I intended to be interpreted as authoritative, which is exactly why I prefaced it with IMHO.

loseyourname said:
As I said, it's a highly counterintuitive idea that seems to violate the laws of physics, but we'll have to see. I'm not going to pass judgement when I just don't know.
I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.

moving finger said:
Define free will
loseyourname said:
No.
Then please do not ask me to try to understand your statement “it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.”. If you refuse to define what you are talking about then your statement is, with respect, meaningless.

moving finger said:
Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet...
loseyourname said:
I'm not going to define more specifically what is meant by those making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will as, again, I'm not one of the persons making this claim and don't wish to speak for them.
You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.

loseyourname said:
Generally speaking, people that are defenders of free will and who use indeterminacy theories in the natural sciences to bolster their claims are defending libertarian free will.
I have yet to see a Libertarian (or anyone else) succesfully defend any concept of free will based on indeterminism.

MF
:smile:
 
  • #26
moving finger said:
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.

Thus, it seems that by “determinate” you did indeed mean “deterministic” when you said “It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.”, in which case I disagree with this statement.

If the behaviour of a chaotic system is deterministic, then there is NO reason (from chaos theory) to suspect that the behaviour of its “lower parts” is not also deterministic.

Okay, I actually thought it was obvious from the context of the post that by "determinate" I did not mean "deterministic." To rephrase the original statement,

The behavior of the system can be determined, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts cannot be determined, whether or not they are deterministic.

What do you know? I just looked it up, and I am right to say that my definition conforms exactly to the definition given in the dictionary based on the way this word is commonly used. I will promise you this, MF: If I should use terms that I made up or that have ambiguous or unclear definitions, then I will do my best to define them in the post. Doing so really wasn't necessary here and has only detracted from what was actually being discussed.

I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.

There are degrees of certainty. I am more certain that I have a right arm than I am that I have a soul composed of epiphenomenal ectoplasm. On the other hand, I have no idea whether or no you have a right arm. That's the kind of lack of certainty that I was referring to. There is just no reason to be swayed either way in this particular case.

Then please do not ask me to try to understand your statement “it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.”. If you refuse to define what you are talking about then your statement is, with respect, meaningless.

I didn't ask you to understand my statement. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can be clear to some of the people all of the time, you can be clear to all of the people some of time, but you can't be clear to all of the people all of the time. Being clear to some of the people is good enough for me.

By the way, I did say I was pretty certain that the defenders of this line of reasoning are defending libertarian free will, which you seem to understand pretty well as you formed a cogent response to it at the bottom of your post.

You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.

No, it isn't. If this is used to 'prove' free will of any kind, then I win the bet. The kind of free will being 'proven' need not be clearly defined. There are plenty of poorly defined concepts out there that people defend using popular misconceptions of esoteric science.
 
  • #27
Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
 
  • #28
loseyourname said:
Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
Interesting reading, loseyourname, but the article waffles on about "determinism" and how it is variously used, without actually offering an unambiguous definition of the word. Or have I missed something? What follows is everything the referenced link has to say about "determinism" :

loseyourname url said:
The term 'determinism' is also variously used. It is mainly used by many philosophers for accounts of our human choices and actions that make them into effects of causal sequences -- sequences of such a kind as to raise a question about the freedom of the choices and actions. Determinism so understood has a limited subject-matter -- ourselves and our lives, and indeed less than that. It is not the scientific and general or cosmic doctrine associated with Newtonian physics in the past. Certainly the term 'determinism' can be differently used for the general doctrine, as it typically is in the Philosophy of Science.

Note too that determinism in our limited sense, whatever its consequences, is not in itself a claim or doctrine about freedom. It is not the claim that we are not free. Nor does it uncontroversially entail that. Many determinists suppose or say we are perfectly free.

Would you care to clarify this by pointing out where in this article the word "determinism" is actually defined?

Sorry to repeat myself, but in absence of a clear definition of a concept like determinism, it is meaningless to discuss determinism. Simply saying that "determinism is variously used" does not lay sufficient groundwork for making any progress, all it does is make further discussion of the term meaningless.

Thanks

MF
 
  • #29
moving finger said:
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.
loseyourname said:
Okay, I actually thought it was obvious from the context of the post that by "determinate" I did not mean "deterministic." To rephrase the original statement,

The behavior of the system can be determined, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts cannot be determined, whether or not they are deterministic.

Your original statement was :
loseyourname said:
It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.
I have highlighted the phrases in question. The phrase “can be determined” does not have the same meaning as the phrase “is determined” (think about it – another example : “can be created” does not mean the same as “is created”), and “can be determined” certainly does not mean the same as the word “is determinate”.

The phrase “can be determined”, by virtue of the qualifying “can be”, implies an epistemic property of the world – ie that “an observer can determine”. It is possible for a world to be “determined” (an ontic property) without at the same time it being possible for “an observer to determine it” (an epistemic property).

The phrase “can be determined” is thus another way of saying “epistemically determinable” (and “cannot be determined” is another way of saying “epistemically indeterminable”). One of the defining properties of chaotic systems (the reason they are called chaotic) is that they are indeed epistemically indeterminable.

loseyourname said:
What do you know? I just looked it up, and I am right to say that my definition conforms exactly to the definition given in the dictionary based on the way this word is commonly used. I will promise you this, MF: If I should use terms that I made up or that have ambiguous or unclear definitions, then I will do my best to define them in the post. Doing so really wasn't necessary here and has only detracted from what was actually being discussed.
What do you know? Clarifying your meaning WAS really necessary, because your original statement did NOT use the phrase “can be determined”, it used the phrase “is determinate”, which phrases have very different in meanings - one is epistemic, the other is ontic.

Determinate in my dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”

Determinate is thus an ontic property, it says something about “how the world is”, and not “what we can know about the world”, it says nothing about epistemology. By this definition, a chaotic system could be “determinate”, but it could still be impossible for an “observer to determine” that system.

It is only by clearing this up that we have identified your mistake and finally arrived at what you intended to say. With respect, this is exactly the kind of confusion and ambiguity in the use of words and phrases that I have been trying to point out. Unless one uses terms very carefully, and very clearly defined, one will end up making (at best) meaningless statements or (at worst) incorrect statements.

moving finger said:
I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.
loseyourname said:
There are degrees of certainty. I am more certain that I have a right arm than I am that I have a soul composed of epiphenomenal ectoplasm. On the other hand, I have no idea whether or no you have a right arm. That's the kind of lack of certainty that I was referring to. There is just no reason to be swayed either way in this particular case.
It seems you agree that there is no absolute certainty, therefore strictly speaking it is true that we “just don’t know” (the best we can say is that “we think we know”).

loseyourname said:
I didn't ask you to understand my statement. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can be clear to some of the people all of the time, you can be clear to all of the people some of time, but you can't be clear to all of the people all of the time. Being clear to some of the people is good enough for me.
If “being ambiguous” is synonymous with “being clear” in your book, then with respect I don’t think I’ll read your book, thanks.

loseyourname said:
By the way, I did say I was pretty certain that the defenders of this line of reasoning are defending libertarian free will, which you seem to understand pretty well as you formed a cogent response to it at the bottom of your post.
The problem is that I do NOT understand libertarian free will because I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense. My concern with the concept of so-called libertarian free will is that IMHO the entire concept seems impossible – and I can find nobody who can successfully defend the concept. Whenever I try to ask questions and analyse exactly what Libertarians think they mean by free will I am given lots of vague and ambiguous statements using undefined terms, which leads me to suspect they are simply obfuscating and have no idea what they are talking about.

With respect, your confusion between the phrase “can be determined” and the word “determinate” are IMHO examples of the kind of ambiguity that libertarians also need to resort to to defend their concepts.

moving finger said:
You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.
loseyourname said:
No, it isn't. If this is used to 'prove' free will of any kind, then I win the bet. The kind of free will being 'proven' need not be clearly defined.
Lol – good luck in trying to find someone who will pay up. Anyone who takes on a bet that “dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of ‘something I will not define’ over the next two decades” deserves to lose money.

MF
:smile:
 
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  • #30
moving finger said:
Would you care to clarify this by pointing out where in this article the word "determinism" is actually defined?

Determinism is defined here as the doctrine that all events (that is, occurances in space-time) are the proximate effects of a chain of necessary causal connections. That is, given that the preceding causes are present, it necessarily follows that the effects will also occur. There is no wiggle room. That is determinism. I don't think I've ever seen the word used in any other way, at least not by professional philosophers.
 
  • #31
moving finger said:
I have highlighted the phrases in question. The phrase “can be determined” does not have the same meaning as the phrase “is determined” (think about it – another example : “can be created” does not mean the same as “is created”), and “can be determined” certainly does not mean the same as the word “is determinate”.

In the original post, I distinguished between "determinate" and "deterministic" in an attempt to be clear that I did not mean the same thing by the two terms. It seems my reading of the dictionary was not the same as yours.

The phrase “can be determined” is thus another way of saying “epistemically determinable” (and “cannot be determined” is another way of saying “epistemically indeterminable”). One of the defining properties of chaotic systems (the reason they are called chaotic) is that they are indeed epistemically indeterminable.

My mistake for speaking of chaos if that is the case. When I speak of dynamics systems theory, I'm speaking of simpler cases. A popular one is the boiling of liquid in a pot. Two definite patterns form and once a molecule enters one of the patterns, it behaves in a predictable manner. The system as a whole behaves in a predictable manner. There is, however, no way to predict which pattern any given molecule will fall into. Thus my referring to the lower-level constituent parts of this particular dynamic system as "indeterminate" (not epistemically determinable), even if they are deterministic (a question I have no need to address and am not equipped to anyway).

Determinate in my dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”

My apologies; my dictionary only had the first part, without any reference to being necessitated by a cause. That isn't the way I intended the term, which I thought I made clear by originally distinguishing between 'determinate' and 'deterministic.' Hopefully you are the only one that had the difficulty understanding.

It is only by clearing this up that we have identified your mistake and finally arrived at what you intended to say.

I'm still not entirely sure that you know what I intended to say, because you haven't pointed out any mistakes in what I said. I suppose I may have misused the word 'determinate' initially, but hopefully it is finally clear after three posts of clearing it up what I mean. If not, I can repeat myself a fourth time.

It seems you agree that there is no absolute certainty, therefore strictly speaking it is true that we “just don’t know” (the best we can say is that “we think we know”).

Sure, but I'm not strictly speaking. Philosophers, like all people, do make knowledge claims, such as the claim I made about having a right arm. I'm not prepared to make any such claim about the matter of emergent causation. In that case, I don't even know in the philosophically weak sense in which I know that I have a right arm.

If “being ambiguous” is synonymous with “being clear” in your book, then with respect I don’t think I’ll read your book, thanks.

Good. To clear up the ambiguity, the book is obviously not for you. You're free to ignore everything further that I post. There are plenty of others here to respond. To be clear again, by 'free' two sentences ago I mean that you have the capability to no longer read or respond and there is no external force compelling you not to exercise this capacity.

The problem is that I do NOT understand libertarian free will because I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.

Defending it as a possibly real capacity is one thing, but simply defining is another. Libertarian free will simply postulates that human choices are self-forming acts, not necessitated by a chain of cause and effect. It further postulates that, though not necessitated by a chain of cause and effect, there is a reason for these self-forming acts to occur, and that is human willpower. This may very well be an incoherent definition - in fact, I think that it is - but it is necessary to understand the meaning of the definition in order to be able to say that it is self-contradictory. You're making the logical positivist mistake if you're supposing that a phrase is meaningless if it does not refer to any empirically real thing. I don't know whether or not you're making that claim, however. I guess you haven't been clear.

Lol – good luck in trying to find someone who will pay up. Anyone who takes on a bet that “dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of ‘something I will not define’ over the next two decades” deserves to lose money.

The bet is metaphorical, MF. If it becomes popular for people to use dynamic systems theory to defend free will (which I can tell you it is as someone well-versed in this field), regardless of what kind of free will they mean, then I win. However, as I specified twice already (perhaps I wasn't clear enough), I am expecting the defense to be of libertarian free will, defined somewhat as I have specified above.
 
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  • #32
loseyourname said:
In the original post, I distinguished between "determinate" and "deterministic" in an attempt to be clear that I did not mean the same thing by the two terms. It seems my reading of the dictionary was not the same as yours.

When I speak of dynamics systems theory, I'm speaking of simpler cases. A popular one is the boiling of liquid in a pot. Two definite patterns form and once a molecule enters one of the patterns, it behaves in a predictable manner. The system as a whole behaves in a predictable manner. There is, however, no way to predict which pattern any given molecule will fall into. Thus my referring to the lower-level constituent parts of this particular dynamic system as "indeterminate" (not epistemically determinable), even if they are deterministic (a question I have no need to address and am not equipped to anyway).

My apologies; my dictionary only had the first part, without any reference to being necessitated by a cause. That isn't the way I intended the term, which I thought I made clear by originally distinguishing between 'determinate' and 'deterministic.' Hopefully you are the only one that had the difficulty understanding.

I'm still not entirely sure that you know what I intended to say, because you haven't pointed out any mistakes in what I said.
With respect, I have pointed out that changing the phrase from “is determinate” to “can be determined” changes the meaning of your sentence, at least for the definition of “determinate” in my dictionary, which is clearly defined as an ontic term not an epistemic term. I am curious to know exactly how your dictionary defines “determinate”?

Determinate in my (Websters) dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”

You seem to use “indeterminate” as meaning “not epistemically determinable”, whereas I would not equate these two terms (I equate “indeterminate” with “not ontically deterministic”), given the above definition of determinate. Again, I am curious to know eaxctly how your dictionary defines “determinate”?

IMHO this is why we need to be very clear and precise in our definitions, and not simply assume that everyone uses the same (textbook) definition of these terms.

loseyourname said:
I suppose I may have misused the word 'determinate' initially, but hopefully it is finally clear after three posts of clearing it up what I mean. If not, I can repeat myself a fourth time.
Now that you have replaced the phrase “is determinate” by the phrase “can be determined” the meaning of your sentence (IMHO) has changed, and is now clear.

loseyourname said:
You're free to ignore everything further that I post. There are plenty of others here to respond. To be clear again, by 'free' two sentences ago I mean that you have the capability to no longer read or respond and there is no external force compelling you not to exercise this capacity.
That’s very kind of you.
I agree with this as a description of some of the properties of free will.
The description is also completely consistent with determinism.

loseyourname said:
You're making the logical positivist mistake if you're supposing that a phrase is meaningless if it does not refer to any empirically real thing.
Where did I say that? Read my sentence again.
“I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.”

loseyourname said:
I don't know whether or not you're making that claim, however. I guess you haven't been clear.
You “guess” I haven’t been clear? How much clearer can I be? I’ll repeat the sentence :
“I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.”
What is unclear here?

MF
:smile:
 
  • #33
loseyourname said:
Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
loseyourname said:
Determinism is defined here as the doctrine that all events (that is, occurances in space-time) are the proximate effects of a chain of necessary causal connections. That is, given that the preceding causes are present, it necessarily follows that the effects will also occur.
With respect, where on the webpage, for which you posted the URL, does it say this?

Just for clarity : The whole reason we got into this “show me your definition” wrangle was because you used the word “determinate” in post #21 of this thread, in a sentence which (given my Webster’s definition of “determinate”) I could not make sense of. I therefore asked you to define what you mean by determinate (post #23), but you declined to give a definition (post #24) saying instead “I mean exactly what you mean when you defined it earlier”, when in fact I had not (prior to your first use of the word) used the word “determinate”, let alone defined the word, in this thread.

Finally in post #26, still not having defined what you meant, you removed the phrase “is determinate” and replaced it with “can be determined”, thereby changing the meaning of your sentence.

As I have said all along, “is determinate” is ontic, “can be determined” is epistemic.

Determinism as defined by you above is also ontic.

I see no incompatibility at all between your definition of determinism and mine, which is :

Definition of Determinism : The doctrine that the universe, or any self-contained part thereof, has only one possible state at time t1 which is consistent with its state at some previous time t0 and with all the laws of nature.

MF
:smile:
 
  • #34
moving finger said:
I don't think so. Can you give an example where you think QM makes an invalid prediction at the "everyday" level?

well, i was speaking generally. obviously, the equations involved in quantum physics do not even apply to things on a larger scale. however, if they were intended to do so, they would predict a lot of weird things going on.

moving finger said:
Not strictly true - our firing neurons do indeed "influence the outcome", because our neurons are a necessary part of the deterministic chain of events. What our firing neurons do not allow, however, is the Libertarian kind of free will which would "allow us to have chosen differently to the way we did actually choose".

yes, i agree with you. again, i was speaking generally. our neurons are the causes to our reactions, but like you said, they're part of a deterministic chain of events.

i'm pretty sure we hold the same view on this topic, so it's just a matter of semantics.
 
  • #35
rygar said:
well, i was speaking generally. obviously, the equations involved in quantum physics do not even apply to things on a larger scale. however, if they were intended to do so, they would predict a lot of weird things going on.

Maybe some of the traditional philosophical puzzles, eg the MBP, are those 'weird things'.
 

1. What is "Super Free Will"?

"Super Free Will" is a concept that combines the ideas of metaprogramming and quantum indeterminism. It suggests that our actions and decisions are not solely determined by our genetics and environment, but also by our ability to consciously choose and change our programming.

2. How does metaprogramming relate to free will?

Metaprogramming refers to the ability to consciously change our thought patterns and behaviors. It suggests that we have the power to override our default programming and make conscious choices, rather than being controlled by predetermined factors. This aligns with the idea of free will, as it suggests that we have the ability to make choices that are not solely determined by external factors.

3. What is quantum indeterminism?

Quantum indeterminism is the concept that at a subatomic level, particles do not have a definite state or position until they are observed. This suggests that there is an element of randomness and uncertainty in the universe, which can impact our choices and actions.

4. How does quantum indeterminism relate to free will?

Quantum indeterminism suggests that there is an element of randomness and uncertainty in the universe, which can impact our choices and actions. This aligns with the idea of free will, as it suggests that our decisions are not solely determined by predetermined factors, but also by unpredictable events at a quantum level.

5. Is "Super Free Will" a scientifically proven concept?

At this time, "Super Free Will" is still a theoretical concept and has not been scientifically proven. While there is evidence to support the ideas of metaprogramming and quantum indeterminism separately, the combination of these concepts in "Super Free Will" is still a topic of debate and further research is needed to fully understand its validity.

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