On Monday, September 2, 2013 11:50:34 PM UTC-4, Dennis Ochei wrote:
> Hi Craig,
> I've been following the pattern of thought you've be exhibiting this
> entire thread, trying to understand why you believe in such a strange way.
I would not say that I believe. I have a set of hypotheses which I use to
understand these particular issues. If you understand the hypotheses, then
you should understand why there is nothing strange about their consequences.
> In all cases it seems to stem from ignorance of the processes that bring
> about your behavior, compounded with the belief that we lose something of
> value if we discard the concept of free will.
What specifically do you claim that I am ignorant about? Why do you project
a psychology of attachment to my position on free will? It sounds like you
are ignorant of your own biases and attachments. Maybe you have a strange
behavior that stems from your insecurity about having to revise your
premature abandonment of the concept of free will?
> First, I feel you are being willfully blind to the constraints your
> biology puts on your supposedly "free" will. Daily, I stop doing the things
> I love to do to pass fluids or the corpses of carbon based organisms
> through my mouth. Later, defecate or micturate, further activities that
> honestly, I would rather not do.
You are confusing free will with omnipotence. Free will does not mean
absolute freedom from all constraints, it only means more freedom than
> At night, I sleep, though I would rather stay up through the night. Though
> I am not enslaved in doing these things, I am certainly not free in a
> metaphysical sense.
The 'free' part of free will is not important at all. The will part is what
interests me. Free is a relative term. If I am not in prison, my will has
more degrees of freedom than it would if I were in prison (and in other
ways I have less degrees of freedom by not being in prison). I don't
understand what the hatred toward the idea of freedom is about. Freedom is
absolute, neither is determinism. So what?
> This illusory free will you are bound to is an artifact that emerges in a
> system that is complex enough to reflect on what it does, yet cannot
> completely grasp the causes of that which it does do.
Yet you believe this same system is capable of generating a belief about
its own limitations which is crystal clear and immutably true. It's like
magic. Whenever you want to doubt free will, you become omniscient, but
whenever someone else doubts determinism, they become a poor, lost,
feeble-minded child. It would be a stalemate perhaps, but how does
determinism account for doubt? If you have a doubt, what, other than free
will, can resolve it without halting or looping?
> A system like this can trace some of the factors that contribute to its
> actions, but not all of them, and those factors it cannot picture seem to
> have no definite value, and therefore it thinks there is no logical
> contradction in believing that it could have done y in the situation in
> which it actually did action x.
If you assume choices rather than creativity, then you have already biased
the framing of the question toward determinism. Free will is not limited to
doing x not y. Free will creates new alphabets. Of course human psychology
does not present a complete picture of itself, but that fact does not mean
that determinism has to be the answer wherever our personal subjectivity
proves to be incomplete. My personal actions are constrained by
sub-personal and super-personal agendas, however that does not mean that
they are impersonal or automatic, nor does it mean that I cannot influence
those agendas intentionally.
If you want to understand more about my position, feel free...
> Furthermore, a system that can draw a large number of distinctions about
> the distribution of energy crossing its surface and respond in a large
> variety of ways, and yet does not understand how these distinctions are
> made, will, when asked how it determines an object is yellow, respond "i
> don't know, it just looks yellow."
Yes, I am very familiar with these types of arguments. Bruno's view is as
good as any if you are going to go down that road, and I believe that he
has the mathematics to back it up. I get it. Machines don't know they are
machines. Fine. I never said they did. That is not the problem. The problem
is aesthetics and presentation. Information doesn't need them, but we do.
There is no surface of a system, and no energy that crosses it. Systems
have no shape unless something which is not information gives it shape.
That's why you are staring at a video screen instead of the 'surface' of
the system of the internet. It is not the veracity of the sense of freedom
that we have which is important, but the existence of any sense of freedom
in the first place. Such a feeling cannot be explained under determinism,
not without resorting to goofy just-so-stories and denial of undeniable
> No matter how complex a system is, it can never be complex enough to
> contain itself, and is therefore unable to perceive itself directly as a
> deterministic process. Only in the special cases, where the major causes of
> its action are made apparent, such as when someone holds a gun to its head,
> will it realize that it is acting in compulsion and not freedom.
Why would holding a gun to someone's head be any different than a person
holding a gun to their own head? If it were different, how would that
change their response without their having the power to choose to change it?
> In other cases, when the desire to act comes about in a subtle fashion,
> the system might say to itself, I did x because I wanted to do x, and I
> could have wanted to do y. The system may be satisfied with such an
What would it matter whether a system was satisfied with some explanation
or not? If you have no free will, then your satisfaction is meaningless -
you are a powerless puppet. Does it matter whether a stone is satisfied
with rolling down hill?
without probing into a complete physical description of what constitutes
> wanting. Since the causal explanation is not easily available or
> comprehensible (it arose out of the particular and peculiar interaction of
> many subunits of the system in question), the system settles with the
> explanation that it acted freely and could have done otherwise. This is how
> an eight cylinder engine mistakes itself for something which is the
> specific opposite of engines.
Why would the explanation that it acted 'freely' be a possible explanation
in a deterministic universe? What are you talking about?
> You can deny that you are such a system, but I don't think you could deny
> these things are true of a complex deterministic system.
I deny that a deterministic universe could produce even a single thought of
'freedom' or 'will', just as I deny that you can produce even a single
image of a color that does not exist.
> Lastly, it is trivial to build a deterministic system that desires in a
> prototypical form. All you need is a system that exhibits operant learning.
> 1) Wire some sensors to trigger effectors. 2) In the event that the
> effectors bring about certain event (they might bathe the sensors in a
> certain chemical), strengthen the ability of sensors that were active
> directly before the event (that activated the effectors) to trigger the
> effectors they are wired to. 3) In the event that the chemical bath is
> removed, weaken the strength of sensors that were active right before the
> removal of the chemical. The system will begin to "want" to do things that
> increase the concentration of the chemical and dislike doing things that
> lower it. If the concentration exhibits noisy behavior (is not solely a
> function of the effectors of the system in question), then the system will
> even develop novel, unpredictable behavior.
Novel and unpredictable behavior is not intentional behavior. You conflate
local causes with understanding. A garage door spring 'wants' to contract
to the extent that the material behaves *as if* it wants to contract. That
doesn't mean that attaching a garage door to the spring imparts an
understanding to the spring about doors and houses and cars. It doesn't
mean that pushing the garage door opener involves some system view
intentionality about garages. There may be, on the microphysical level of
the spring's metal, some microphenomenal correlate to 'wanting' which is
distantly ancestral to our own...and I suspect that there is, but no amount
of configuring that metal is going to allow it to become aware of anything
beyond those primitive interactions. If it did, the universe would be
overflowing with intelligent non-biological species, or at least contain a
> Desire and qualia pose no real problem for determinism.
Why not? If I can program something to perform a function, why would I want
to invent 'desire' or 'qualia' out of thin air in order to do what is
already being done directly? If there is no free will, then desire is
epiphenomenal, and an epiphenomenon which even has a hint of an illusion
that it *might* be causally efficacious is a deal breaker for determinism.
> On Monday, September 2, 2013 5:15:47 PM UTC-5, chris peck wrote:
>> Hi Brent
>> I think the researchers would agree. Its definately present stimuli they
>> have in mind.
>> All the best
>> --- Original Message ---
>> From: "meekerdb" <meek...@verizon.net>
>> Sent: 3 September 2013 4:11 AM
>> To: everyth...@googlegroups.com
>> Subject: Re: Determinism - Tricks of the Trade
>> On 9/2/2013 7:34 AM, chris peck wrote:
>> The study you're citing firstly claims the 60% of the variance they
>> uncovered is explained by 'spontaneous' brain activity not 60% of all brain
>> activity. More importantly, by spontaneous they just mean brain activity
>> that has not been triggered by external stimuli:
>> And how could they possibly know whether some brain event was triggered
>> by a stored perception of you grandmother when you were five? All they can
>> say is it wasn't triggered by a *present* external stimuli.
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