From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of chris peck
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:30 AM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?

 

Hi Chris

 

>> I also do not "KNOW" whether or not I really do have "free will". But if
I do not have "free will" evolution has seen fit to evolve a very expensive
- in evolutionary terms - illusion of "free will... To argue that "free
will", "self-awareness" etc. are just noise, of no real value or consequence
goes against evolution. Evolution doesn't work like that. Unless it can be
clearly shown that these qualia are inevitable by-products of some other
evolutionarily vital brain function"

 

>>You haven't really addressed the ideas raised in my post. I'm not arguing
that the illusion of free will has no consequence I'm arguing that there is
no illusion of free will. And if there is no illusion of free will then
there is no reason to drum up some evolutionary story to justify it.

 

How do you explain the experience of "free will" then? 

Our experience of free will, of having executive decisional power within our
own selves is a distinct, high fidelity, consistently reproducible,
experience in us - I *know* through direct experience that I experience this
in my own self, and I bet long odds that, even though you deny it, you also
experience the sensation of having free will in your own everyday life.
Hundreds. thousands maybe, times a day you (or I, or anyone) are being
presented with choices and experiencing the feeling that we are making
decisions - i.e. exercising free will; we all wrestle with dilemmas in our
lives and mull over decisions. Often in fact the drama of our unfolding
experience of this non-existent free will extends over considerable
durations of time and on occasion can dominate an entire life span. 

 

The experience of free will is not a snap shot, instead it unfolds over
spans of time and is experienced as a clearly ordered series of distinctly
related emotions, thoughts, and deep sensations emerging within our focal
sense of self.  These temporally arrayed series of distinct feelings, also
include often prolonged virtual reality drama plays (if free will does not
exist) in which we find ourselves wrestling with difficult choices, followed
perhaps by a clear sensation of converging on a decision, and then an
experience of deciding that feels clear and distinct in our inner self-aware
sense of being.

Such well rendered dramatic movements all carefully arrayed into a highly
orchestrated sequence is what we experience as our free will. These are
subtle experiences and producing them and stacking them into a temporal
sequence and then playing them out in a manner that is so perfectly acted
out inside that it is convincingly real in us - in so far as we experience
it (without getting into whether it is real or not)

 

I see two basic options here: 

A)     If free will exists (and also of course that we have it) then we
experience the sensation of having free will because that is our actual
nature (however that happened) and is in the nature of the universe we exist
within. 

B)     If instead free will does not in fact exist, then explain the dynamic
unfolding drama of our experience of it and do so without providing any sort
of rendering mechanism. The experience is exquisitely and very carefully
synchronized and is so convincing in us that we perceive ourselves as
"really" having it? You must show how it is a zero cost side effect of
something else that can clearly be shown to be vital and would necessarily
be a pre-cursor to experiencing free will - for example consciousness
necessarily must exist in the first place in order for free will to exist.

 

OR Are you maintain that the experience of free will does not itself exist?
(can you argue that?)

If you concede that the experience of free will does in fact exist in us
then you must concede that something produced that experience, unless you
can quite clearly demonstrate how the experience of free will - an
experience that is so profound in our species and has been a central theme
in so much of our thinking, art, poetry, ideology throughout history - is a
clear side effect of some precedent thing, such as say intelligent
self-awareness.

 

>>Since you talk about qualia I take it that you have something other than
the concept of free will in mind. Its an important distinction because the
concept, however incoherent, clearly does exist. But being an idea has a
history describable by semiotics or memetics, which ever floats your boat. 

 

Experience is subjective for the subject! How can a discussion of free will
not involve a subjective view. Our experience colors our perception of
ourselves and of how we experience ourselves; including our experience of
free will, of being presented with choices and arriving at decisions. A
headache may be described objectively in a medical text, but headaches are
experienced subjectively and different people experience them in different
ways. Why should it be different for free will? Is it not still the subject
doing the perceiving? Is not free will something that is inextricably bound
up with the notion of subjectivity? Can you conceive of "free will" without
introducing a subject in which it arises and is experienced?

 

 

>>But as for a qualitative feel of 'freeness' that goes hand in hand with
the decisions I make; these qualia are conspicuous by their absence. For
sure, when I make day to day decisions I don't feel under external duress,
but that feeling is understandable because I am not under external duress. I
am also aware that there were alternatives available to me other than the
one I in fact choose, and in a sense there were, but when asked to explain
my choice the lexicon of determinism comes to the fore. I talk about the
reasons and causes of my choice. I choose salad over steak because I am
worried about being fat. I am worried about being fat because culture places
value upon being slim. Eating steak will make me fat because my metabolism
is slow. My metabolism is slow because of the genetic hand I was dealt.
Nature and nurture, neither of which I have control over, conspire to drive
my decisions.

 

Perhaps you confuse abstractness with absence

 

>> Others on this list have been arguing that we are complex systems that
nevertheless lack the ability to home in on the neural mechanics of our own
decision making and therefore are unable to witness the choices being
determined. Thus we don't have a feeling of being determined. I disagree
with them. Our choices feel determined, rather than free, in precisely the
way a determinist would recognise. 

 

I take it you have never wrestled with some difficult decision in your life.
Explain in what way that naturally arises from a deterministic playing out
of a program. The drama that we sometimes experience when faced with the
need to choose and the often quite prolonged inner struggles we go through
do not feel predetermined to me. So if they are the illusion has been
constructed, and very carefully so, in my mind at great cost in terms of the
brain activity required in order to render it. This capacity evolved in us
then, it survived selective pressure. Why? What survival benefit does this
confer?

 

To argue that it does not exist then fail to provide an explanation for the
sequential ordered dramatic subjective experience of it is unsatisfactory
for me. Either you must show how these tapestries of interwoven experiences
-- call it our "free will" virtual reality drama (soap opera maybe [grin]) -
that is unfolding within our subjective experience *is the result of
something else* that is precedent and necessary and that would *naturally
produce* the nuanced experience of free will within our subjective beings.

 

>>In other words, there is no illusion of freewill to explain and in fact
when people talk about their behavior they use language which reflects the
determinist's perspective.

 

And instead I am saying that either free will does exist or if not the
temporally stacked sequentially and dynamically unfolding experience of it
(we never know ahead of time how we are going to ultimately decide) needs to
be explained. This experience must either be a carefully produced drama or
it must naturally arise out of something that is vital to our being and
clearly bound up with self-awareness, conscious intelligence etc.

 

You maintain that no illusion is taking place and that free will does not
exist; then provide the mechanism for the generation of the experience of
it?

Cheers

-Chris

 

All the best

 

  _____  

From: cdemorse...@yahoo.com
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2013 17:36:17 -0700

 

 

From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2013 4:41 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?

 

On 9/4/2013 2:55 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

Our brain's are supplying us with our reality and two people immersed in the
same environment will often come away with different descriptions of that
environment and will experience different realities when immersed in that
environmental stream of sense data. Even though the raw sense stream is the
same in both cases; the inner mental experience that is "lived" can be very
different indeed. 


But the interesting point is that we can, given enough data, agree on an
intersubjective reality.  Whether we feel threatened by a big black guy on a
lonely street is subjective.  But whether said figure actually is a big
black guy we can find out.  The latter is part of reality, because that's
how "reality" is defined -  intersubjective agreement.  But feeling
threatened is a subjective reaction.

Yes, I agree that to some extent we can carefully reconstruct a shared
perceptive experience and in a process of conscious re-examination and
comparison of each subjects perceptive experience remove the layers of
subjective coloration we have overlaid over it - but this is assuming our
brain did not suppress the perception entirely, but rather characterized it
in some subjective manner.  

The person who failed to "see" the man in the gorilla suit walking across
their field of view - perhaps because they were mentally focused on a near
field complex visual task - will never get to "see" that perception, in fact
they will never even know that they missed seeing it in their mind's eye -
for clearly at some level the brain sees the man in the gorilla suit walking
across the field - unless they are shown a video of their field of view or
are otherwise convinced that they somehow failed to see the outrageous image
of a man in a gorilla suit walking across their field of view.

 

-Chris


Brent

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