On Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:36:55 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 10:03 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> > From the Devo song Freedom of Choice: 
> > 
> > "In ancient Rome 
> > There was a poem 
> > About a dog 
> > Who found two bones 
> > He picked at one 
> > He licked the other 
> > He went in circles 
> > He dropped dead 
> > 
> > Freedom of choice 
> > Is what you got 
> > Freedom from choice 
> > Is what you want" 
> > 
> > Thinking about the relationship between choice and freedom, and how 
> there is 
> > a difference between voluntary and mandatory choice. Even in freedom 
> there 
> > is bondage when that freedom is tied to significant consequences. The 
> appeal 
> > of recreation, of gaming, and drugs has to do with the disjoining the 
> > connections along the axis of meta-choice>choice>consequences. 
> > 
> > On vacation, we seek a state of ease which is accomplished primarily by 
> > increasing our meta-choice. Our power to exercise our preference over 
> > whether or not we exercise our preference. A cruise offers the exemplary 
> > condition for this - many choices are offered: excursions, activities, 
> > passive entertainment, private relaxation, and of course food. At any 
> given 
> > time we can engage in a huge number of voluntary choices or we can opt 
> not 
> > to choose anything at all and nobody will bother us for lingering in a 
> > lounge chair on deck for a week. This is leisure and ease. If we were 
> only 
> > allowed to stay on the lounge chair, or if we had to accomplish a 
> certain 
> > number of activities, then it would be a prison or at least a kind of 
> work. 
> > 
> > So far, no machine has been made that can tell the difference between 
> work 
> > and leisure or leisure and play. Playing involves forgoing the meta- 
> aspect 
> > of choice by presenting the opportunity to play the game. Once we 
> > voluntarily choose to play a game, we have given up our pure leisure 
> state 
> > (our native superposition if you will) and collapsed into a state of 
> > unqualified choice making. A game gives us pleasure despite causing us 
> the 
> > need to make choices, because the choices are disjoined from real-world 
> > consequences for the most part. It can be argued that sport and further 
> > professional sport represent a progressive undoing of the game aspect, 
> > becoming an activity which can be both better and worse than work or 
> play. 
> > 
> > All of this is yet another attempt to show the very limited 
> > conceptualization of free will which has been used to prop up 
> determinism. 
> > In a deterministic universe, there really could not plausibly be any way 
> of 
> > disjoining choice from consequences, work from play, or leisure from 
> choice. 
> > The number of 'choices' executed by a program, and the sequence in which 
> > they are executed are all that can matter. A branching logic tree can be 
> > looped and accelerated indefinitely with no complaint from the computer. 
> A 
> > computer's Groundhog Day can have no difference between day three of a 
> > Caribbean cruise and day 400 of trench warfare, as long as the number of 
> > opportunities are the same, the computational cost would be the same. 
> It comes down to whether the computer has desires and feelings. We 
> can't be sure whether it does or not. 

Why would we even entertain the possibility that it does though? If 
computers had feelings wouldn't at least some of them complain about 
something or express some mood once in a while?

> We can't be sure whether a 
> bacterium has desires and feelings either. We are made of the same 
> stuff as the bacterium and we have desires and feelings, so something 
> that doesn't have desires and feelings can have desires and feelings 
> when it is arranged in a particular way. Whether it is deterministic 
> or random is, as you have said, orthogonal to this. 

I would give the benefit of the doubt that there is some degree of 
subjective content associated with bacteria on some level. The fact that 
they are arranged in different way is an obvious difference between 
bacteria and brains, but that is not the only difference. A human body has 
a different history than a bacterium as well. Different things happen when 
a human zygote divides than when a bacterium divides. You assume the cause 
is the configuration and the effect is the difference in behaviors and 
capacities. I consider the possibility that configuration reflects a 
different experience and that the cause and effect are bi-directional. The 
effect of experience may not be passed on in from one individual's body to 
another in a Lamarckian way, but that does not mean that there is not a 
conversation going on between two parallel aesthetics, one bottom-up 
unintentional and spatially local and one top-down intentional and 
temporally local (from a large now to a smaller now...i.e., when it is time 
for a particular shift, it begins to manifest in synchronous ways in 
multiple locations, like Newton and Leibniz).

> > Why then do we care about the difference between freedom of choice and 
> > freedom from choice, and how can we even conceive of it in the first 
> place 
> > if the universe of our minds were truly deterministic? I think that the 
> > answer is obviously that our minds are not truly deterministic but 
> rather 
> > heavily impacted by the significance of our interaction with the real 
> world. 
> Our brains could be deterministic and we would still have the same 
> ideas about games, freedom of choice, moral responsibility and 
> everything else. You're unusual in finding it inconceivable. 

Why would we have any idea about 'choice' or 'freedom', or 
'responsibility'? Why would those things be conceivable without any way to 
step back from determinism voluntarily? Do you think a typewriter thinks 
about choice or freedom? Does a machine gun think about responsibility?  

> > All games are created equal, but games which have real world 
> consequences 
> > are not games. This of course maps to the simulation argument - where 
> all 
> > simulations are interchangeable with each other, but none of them are 
> > interchangeable with the fundamental non-simulation. Digital fire can 
> burn 
> > down a simulated house in the game or a meta-simulatied house within a 
> game 
> > within a simulated house, but it can never burn down a real house 
> outside of 
> > all of the games. Games are easy, reality is harder. 
> Unless simulated beings can have experiences. 

Like Bugs Bunny. Maybe he really enjoys the taste of carrots?


> You are begging the 
> question by assuming that they cannot. You are saying that you know, a 
> priori, that we are not living in a simulation now, but you have to 
> explain how you know this. 

I don't know it, but I understand why consciousness cannot be simulated by 
something which is not inherently conscious (because of the Presentation 
problem...hard problems, explanatory gap, binding problem, symbol grounding 
problem, mind-body symmetry problem) and I understand why assembled bodies 
in space do not necessarily equal continuous experiences through time, and 
why, in general, maps are not territories. The only counter-argument I see 
is wishes, promises, and threats based on presumptions about consciousness 
defined from a 3p behaviorist perspective.


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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