Chris "How do you explain the experience of “free will” then? "
You'll have noticed that I don't even try to explain it. "Our experience of free will, of having executive decisional power within our own selves is a distinct, high fidelity, consistently reproducible, experience in us" No determinist would deny that you have 'executive decisional power'. Choices are being made and it is you making the choices. But what makes you Chris? I know someone who continually makes poor decisions and gets herself into all sorts of scrapes and compromising situations. Knowing her we forgive her. Why? Well when my friends and I get together and discuss her there is a common theme: Her father was rotten to the core. Her mother wasn't any better. She had a thoroughly rotten childhood. The decisions she makes now, reflect these facts about her past. This is the conclusion we always reach. She did 'this' because 'that' happened to her in the past. This I offer is a typical way of speaking about people and their behavior. There is an unspoken assumption here which is that had she had a different past, had her parents been better than they in fact were, she would make different decisions. Equally then, there is an assumption that people who have had a past like hers will make similar decisions. This is the language of determinsm. Now its most certainly true that this kind of folk-psychology is questionable with regards to how things actually are. But, here is the crux of the argument: it certainly does reveal how people feel about how things actually are. So to review the argument again just make it abundantly clear what I am arguing, it is this: 1) The way we speak about behavior reveals how we feel about behavior 2) When we speak about behavior we speak as though the past is reflected in the present. 3) So, we feel that our current behavior is determined by our past. Somehow, the wool has been pulled over our eyes and we have been asked how come we have an illusion of free will if everything is determined. The real question is how come we talk about one another as if behavior is determined if in fact we feel we have free will? Chris, at some point in your post you ask this: "OR Are you maintain that the experience of free will does not itself exist? (can you argue that?)" Look again at the very first paragraph in my post to you. You quoted it, so I'm assuming you read it: "...I'm arguing that there is no illusion of free will..." Could I have been any clearer? All the best Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2013 21:30:47 -0700 From: meeke...@verizon.net To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: When will a computer pass the Turing Test? On 9/5/2013 8:34 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote: From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of chris peck Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:30 AM To: email@example.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. I agree with Chris Peck. I don't recognize your "drama of unfolding experience" at all. I cogitate on decisions and make choices. But none of that entails feeling "free will". 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. That just sounds like obfuscation to me. 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 Whatever this set of feelings which you denominate a feeling of 'free will', you have done nothing to show that they (like other feelings) are just how processing data and making a decision feels. You have not shown that it requires any additional effort or complexity or energy over and above that necessary to process the data and make a decision. And so evolution in providing the means to make decisions favorable to procreation has necessarily also produced corresponding feelings; just as in providing imaging of EM waves it has necessarily provided the perception called "seeing". Brent >> 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 -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out. -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. 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