Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-20 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 19 Jun 2012, at 19:02, R AM wrote:

On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


On 13 Jun 2012, at 10:44, R AM wrote:
I know that you and Bruno are compatibilists. I'm not attacking  
your notion of free will. I agree that free will is a social  
construct. I'm going even further: free will doesn't even deserve a  
name. Deep down, free will is not something people have, but just a  
social definition of under what conditions or situations we will be  
considered responsible (and punishable).



You can do that. But  would *that* not be a reductionist view of  
reality?



No, because I'm just exposing a false belief.

You are saying that free-will does not exist because it is a higher  
level description of complex aggregations of simple processes.


Not really, all I'm saying is that belief in free will is like  
belief in flat earth: false. And this is not based on physical  
reality being deterministic or random but on subjective experience:


- Introspection shows that most of our thoughts and decisions are  
unconscious (try not to think on anything for 30 minutes and see  
what happens)


- The idea of I could have done otherwise is silly. If you try to  
imagine yourself in exactly the same conscious situation, you will  
have to conclude that you would not have done otherwise (at least,  
not consciously). Otherwise, you would already have done it.


Dan Dennett says most of these things much better than I could, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKLAbWFCh1E




I don't understand. You are using a false premise. We just cannot  
imagine ourself in exactly the same conscious situation, nor is free  
will based on the idea that I could have done otherwise. That would be  
nc-free-will, which is nonsense. But c-free-will remains sensical and  
a useful high level notion. If not you are on the slope of  
eliminativism, of free will, person if not consciousness. Dennett is  
on that slope, because he ignores that the physical reality is also a  
high level construct, and if we follow the eliminativism of high level  
notions, we can eliminate everything but the numbers. It would be like  
saying that energy does not exist. Such eliminativism seems to me a  
deny of facts to save at all price the aristotelian theology, which is  
refuted in the computationalist theories no matter what.
c-free-will is not a social convention. It is real. It is based on a  
real intrinsic ignorance when the machine look at herself, and which  
can make it hesitating with respect to conscious decisions. It is a  
real epistemological construct, having a role in our life and in the  
evolution of life, even if entirely deterministic.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-19 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 On 13 Jun 2012, at 10:44, R AM wrote:

 I know that you and Bruno are compatibilists. I'm not attacking your
 notion of free will. I agree that free will is a social construct. I'm
 going even further: free will doesn't even deserve a name. Deep down, free
 will is not something people have, but just a social definition of under
 what conditions or situations we will be considered responsible (and
 punishable).



 You can do that. But  would *that* not be a reductionist view of reality?


No, because I'm just exposing a false belief.


 You are saying that free-will does not exist because it is a higher level
 description of complex aggregations of simple processes.


Not really, all I'm saying is that belief in free will is like belief in
flat earth: false. And this is not based on physical reality being
deterministic or random but on subjective experience:

- Introspection shows that most of our thoughts and decisions are
unconscious (try not to think on anything for 30 minutes and see what
happens)

- The idea of I could have done otherwise is silly. If you try to imagine
yourself in exactly the same conscious situation, you will have to conclude
that you would not have done otherwise (at least, not consciously).
Otherwise, you would already have done it.

Dan Dennett says most of these things much better than I could, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKLAbWFCh1E

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-13 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 12 Jun 2012, at 21:21, R AM wrote:




On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


No. But the gangster does not know this determination. So although  
at that level he could not do otherwise, from his perspective, it  
still can make genuine sense that he could have done otherwise, from  
our embedded pov perspective. Only for God, it does not make sense,  
but locally we are not God.





More specifically. You are in a situation where you crave for  
spaghetti, you haven't had spaghetti in the last month, you know  
spaghetti is good for er ... whatever. You therefore make the  
decision to eat spaghetti. Now, you are put again in exactly the  
same situation and ... do you really think you could choose  
strawberries instead? would you choose strawberries?



If I am craving spaghetti I could not do otherwise.

Well, parents routinely punish their children for eating too much  
candy. Why do they do that, if their children could not do otherwise?


But then I would not have said it. The situation is when I remember  
having hesitate, and the day after, despite the determination, I can  
think that I could have done otherwise, because I cannot be aware of  
the complete determination. And, indeed, after that hesitation, I  
might well have taken the strawberry.


Yes, but for the sake of the argument, I wanted you to consider the  
case where you are pretty certain about eating spaghetti. Defenders  
of free will would say that free will is active whenever you make a  
decision, hesitating or not hesitating.


What do you mean by free will?








Determinism is just not incompatible with genuine free will or  
will, for the will is not playing at the same level than the  
determination. If they were on the same level, you could trivially  
justify all your act by I am just obeying the physical laws, which  
is just false, because you are an abstract person, not a body.



I am not really  talking about physical determination. But in any  
case, I think the justification is correct. This is not important,  
though, because we do not actually punish people because they could  
have done otherwise. We punish people so that they will not repeat  
their bad behaviour in the future (among other reasons).


He will convince nobody  because we all believe that he (and all of  
us) could have done otherwise. And we all believe that because, for  
some reason, we believe it is unfair to punish someone if he cannot  
do otherwise. What I'm saying is that belief in free-will is just a  
justification for punishing people.


OK. And rightly so, unless unfair trial of course.


What i'm saying is that we believe in free will  (although it is a  
false belief) so that we can punish people without feeling guilty.  
Usually, the opposite is claimed: we punish people because they have  
free will (but I'm claiming that's wrong).


We can punish them with the hope that they can learn to do otherwise.





Actually this is not proved, and some argue that going in jail can  
augment the probability of recurrence of certain type of crime. But  
that's not relevant. So OK.



I agree, but if that's the case, we should change the punishment.


Sure.
But there is a difference between different level of responsibility.  
Not all criminal are only sick people.







He learned to do otherwise.


Agreed. But that's what I'm saying. Making people responsible has  
nothing to do with their free will, but with reinforcement and  
learning. Belief in free will is just a excuse to discipline people.


We have to agree on a definition of free will first. I defend the  
compatibilist notion, and free will is just what makes responsibility  
sensical. I can identify it with will, responsibility, etc. I agree  
that a lot of definition of free will makes it non sensical.






Let's suppose that a person forgets everything every morning. Would  
it make any sense to punish someone like that, because he just could  
have done otherwise?


Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be  
judged responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are  
no general rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any  
certainty the responsibility.




Agreed. However, If we punish people because they have free will  
(i.e. they could have done otherwise), then this person should also  
be punished. Again and again. It's not his free will that is  
failing, it's his memory. However, it makes no sense to punish such  
a person, because having no memory, the punishment will not change  
his future behavior.


OK.










But exactly the same subjective experience is ambiguous. Our doing  
depends also on unconscious processing, of the luminosity of the  
sky, of possible subliminal messages from peers, of hormone  
concentration, and all those factors might be unknown.


But that's basically randomness! you cannot be sent to Hell because  
of the luminosity of the sky! I 

Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-13 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:08 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  On 6/12/2012 1:06 PM, R AM wrote:

 Isn't that randomness?


 No, it's unpredictablity - something we may fruitfully model by a
 mathematical theory of randomness even though the dynamics are perfectly
 deterministic, when we don't know enough to use the dynamics to predict
 results.  Except in quantum mechanics, where events may be inherently
 random, 'randomness' is just modeling uncertainty due to ignorance and so
 it is relative to what is known.


OK, then it is random from the point of view of consciousness.




 Agreed, but then the reason is unconscious. To me, that's not free will.


 That's a problem with 'free will'.  Some people, like Sam Harris, insist
 that it means the same thing it did in the middle ages, a supernatural
 ability to do the nomologically impossible by conscious thought.  Some
 people, like Daniel Dennett, look at how the concept functions in society
 and redefine it so it doesn't require the supernatural but has the same
 extension in social and legal discourse.


It's not only the Middle Ages. Most people believe that free will is
supernatural or metaphisical (without using those words).



 OK, but I think a defender of free will would say that you could have also
 kissed that person instead of attacking him.


 But would he be wrong?


Yes, he would be wrong. But many people believe that he could have not
attacked that person. That's what free will feels like.




 But you know that's not the case.  You have a certain character, a certain
 consistency of behavior so that your friends can trust you NOT to do
 anything at random.  And having this consistency is essentially part of
 defining you and defining who it is who has compatibilist free will.  The
 fact that almost all this character is subconscious is irrelevant to the
 social meaning of 'free will'.


Yes, but then he could say, it's not my fault, my violent character made
me attack that person. And the judge would say but you could have done
otherwise, which is false. The judge should say instead: you will be
punished anyway, so that next time your piriorities will change or you
will be punished so that others know that this behavior is punishable.
However, most people believe that it is unfair to punish someone if he
couldn't have done otherwise (in some metaphysical sense). That is why this
folk-psychology metaphysical meaning of free will is believed by all
members of society, and transmited from parents to offspring. But it is a
false belief.

I know that you and Bruno are compatibilists. I'm not attacking your notion
of free will. I agree that free will is a social construct. I'm going even
further: free will doesn't even deserve a name. Deep down, free will is not
something people have, but just a social definition of under what
conditions or situations we will be considered responsible (and punishable).

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-13 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:



 Yes, but for the sake of the argument, I wanted you to consider the case
 where you are pretty certain about eating spaghetti. Defenders of free will
 would say that free will is active whenever you make a decision, hesitating
 or not hesitating.


 What do you mean by free will?


The metaphysical kind of free will. The idea that a person can decide
anything whatsoever, uncaused.


 We can punish them with the hope that they can learn to do otherwise.


Yes. In fact, if there is no such hope at all, it doesn't make any sense
punishing people. Some would say that there is still revenge. But revenge
is just ano emotion  for changing other people ways.


 We have to agree on a definition of free will first. I defend the
 compatibilist notion, and free will is just what makes responsibility
 sensical. I can identify it with will, responsibility, etc. I agree that a
 lot of definition of free will makes it non sensical.


I'm not really attacking your views but folk-psychology ideas of free will.



 Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be
 judged responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are no
 general rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any certainty
 the responsibility.




 Agreed. However, If we punish people because they have free will (i.e.
 they could have done otherwise), then this person should also be punished.
 Again and again. It's not his free will that is failing, it's his memory.
 However, it makes no sense to punish such a person, because having no
 memory, the punishment will not change his future behavior.


 OK.


Then, that's all I wanted to say. We punish people to change their ways,
not because they posess free will (in whatever form).

we have to conclude that we are random and inconsistent. Hardly the
 conclusion free will defenders would like to have.


 Sure. Free will is self-determination in presence of incomplete
 information, notably.


That's fine. However, I don't think the idea of free will needs to be
rescued, not even in its compatibilist form. People make decisions, that's
all. Some of those decisions are not socially acceptable and have to be
changed for the future. Punishing people is a way of achieving that (maybe
not the only one, maybe not even the best one).

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-13 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 13 Jun 2012, at 10:44, R AM wrote:




On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:08 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net  
wrote:

On 6/12/2012 1:06 PM, R AM wrote:


Isn't that randomness?


No, it's unpredictablity - something we may fruitfully model by a  
mathematical theory of randomness even though the dynamics are  
perfectly deterministic, when we don't know enough to use the  
dynamics to predict results.  Except in quantum mechanics, where  
events may be inherently random, 'randomness' is just modeling  
uncertainty due to ignorance and so it is relative to what is known.



OK, then it is random from the point of view of consciousness.



Agreed, but then the reason is unconscious. To me, that's not free  
will.


That's a problem with 'free will'.  Some people, like Sam Harris,  
insist that it means the same thing it did in the middle ages, a  
supernatural ability to do the nomologically impossible by conscious  
thought.  Some people, like Daniel Dennett, look at how the concept  
functions in society and redefine it so it doesn't require the  
supernatural but has the same extension in social and legal discourse.


It's not only the Middle Ages. Most people believe that free will is  
supernatural or metaphisical (without using those words).



OK, but I think a defender of free will would say that you could  
have also kissed that person instead of attacking him.


But would he be wrong?

Yes, he would be wrong. But many people believe that he could have  
not attacked that person. That's what free will feels like.




But you know that's not the case.  You have a certain character, a  
certain consistency of behavior so that your friends can trust you  
NOT to do anything at random.  And having this consistency is  
essentially part of defining you and defining who it is who has  
compatibilist free will.  The fact that almost all this character is  
subconscious is irrelevant to the social meaning of 'free will'.


Yes, but then he could say, it's not my fault, my violent character  
made me attack that person. And the judge would say but you could  
have done otherwise, which is false. The judge should say instead:  
you will be punished anyway, so that next time your piriorities  
will change or you will be punished so that others know that this  
behavior is punishable. However, most people believe that it is  
unfair to punish someone if he couldn't have done otherwise (in some  
metaphysical sense). That is why this folk-psychology metaphysical  
meaning of free will is believed by all members of society, and  
transmited from parents to offspring. But it is a false belief.


I know that you and Bruno are compatibilists. I'm not attacking your  
notion of free will. I agree that free will is a social construct.  
I'm going even further: free will doesn't even deserve a name. Deep  
down, free will is not something people have, but just a social  
definition of under what conditions or situations we will be  
considered responsible (and punishable).



You can do that. But  would *that* not be a reductionist view of  
reality?



You are saying that free-will does not exist because it is a higher  
level description of complex aggregations of simple processes.


OK, but then with comp, even the physical laws are no more real, as  
they become first person limiting views of infinity of computations/ 
arithmetical relations.  Only natural numbers with they additive and  
multiplicative structure would be real, with comp. Better not to  
lessen the reality of the higher levels. In comp the higher level from  
inside are as much real than the outside, and obeys laws, just of a  
different type (mathematical).


Life and consciousness operates in that higher level sphere. The  
simple process below is usually not directly relevant, except for the  
arithmetical bugs of course, and other arithmetical loops. And with  
comp it is just an extrapolation, and below our substitution level, it  
is an infinite sum (as QM seems to confirm).


I believe more in person and will than in *primitive* bosons and  
fermions, the day I wake up in the comp mood.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-13 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 13 Jun 2012, at 15:14, R AM wrote:




On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:




Yes, but for the sake of the argument, I wanted you to consider the  
case where you are pretty certain about eating spaghetti. Defenders  
of free will would say that free will is active whenever you make a  
decision, hesitating or not hesitating.


What do you mean by free will?

The metaphysical kind of free will. The idea that a person can  
decide anything whatsoever, uncaused.


OK.
But as far as I think comp is plausible, I think the notion of cause  
is an higher level notion.


If I was a strict computationalist, I would just ask you to provide an  
arithmetical definition of cause, or perhaps to ask you to tell me  
which one you are using among (with [] representing Gödel's  
provability predicate), and  = ~[]~ (~ =  not).


[](p - q)
[](p-q)
[]([]p - []q)

This provides notion of causality for different angle of viewing  
arithmetic from inside. In a sense, there is a notion of causality for  
each notion of person view.





We can punish them with the hope that they can learn to do  
otherwise.



Yes. In fact, if there is no such hope at all, it doesn't make any  
sense punishing people. Some would say that there is still revenge.  
But revenge is just ano emotion  for changing other people ways.


Revenge is bad but justice is good. Emotion can be wonderful too like  
in deep drama and music, contemplation is the best :)






We have to agree on a definition of free will first. I defend the  
compatibilist notion, and free will is just what makes  
responsibility sensical. I can identify it with will,  
responsibility, etc. I agree that a lot of definition of free will  
makes it non sensical.


I'm not really attacking your views but folk-psychology ideas of  
free will.


Yeah I think we agree on this.






Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be  
judged responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are  
no general rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any  
certainty the responsibility.




Agreed. However, If we punish people because they have free will  
(i.e. they could have done otherwise), then this person should also  
be punished. Again and again. It's not his free will that is  
failing, it's his memory. However, it makes no sense to punish such  
a person, because having no memory, the punishment will not change  
his future behavior.


OK.

Then, that's all I wanted to say. We punish people to change their  
ways, not because they posess free will (in whatever form).


we have to conclude that we are random and inconsistent. Hardly the  
conclusion free will defenders would like to have.


Sure. Free will is self-determination in presence of incomplete  
information, notably.



That's fine. However, I don't think the idea of free will needs to  
be rescued, not even in its compatibilist form. People make  
decisions, that's all.


Yes, but with artificial intelligence you will have to judge if the  
responsibility of hundred of death in a hospital is due to a human  
decision or to a machine decision. That is not for tomorrow, but might  
be for after tomorrow.





Some of those decisions are not socially acceptable and have to be  
changed for the future. Punishing people is a way of achieving that  
(maybe not the only one, maybe not even the best one).


Anyone accomplices of repeating the lies on cannabis should be  
condemned to smoke a joint (without tobacco) every day for some period  
(depending on the responsibility).


The punishment must be adapted, and should be profitable for the most  
parties concerned, and although nobody can judge-for-sure, anyone  
deserve an amount of respect.


There is no category of people for which the human right should not  
apply, by definition of human rights.
Serial killers, genociders, terrorists, murderers, stealers, all  
deserve a fair trial and the possible  jail or asylum question.


Bruno






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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 6:42 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 On 6/11/2012 8:45 AM, R AM wrote:

 But what I'm saying here is not ontological determinism but in fact,
 about the subjective experience. I'm defending that we cannot imagine
 ourselves in exactly the same subjective situation and still think that we
 could have done otherwise.


 I can certainly imagine that.  But I wonder if your use of subjective
 situation is ambiguous.  Do you mean exactly the same state, including
 memory, conscious and unconscious thoughts..., or do you just mean
 satisfying the same subjective description?


I would say exactly the same conscious state.

If we are put again in the same conscious state, I don't think that we can
consistently imagine ourselves doing otherwise. If at subjective situation
t we decided x, why would we decide otherwise if *exactly* the same
subjective situation was again the case?

Of course, unconscious processes might make the difference (in fact, they
do), but this is no help for a defender of free will, because he cannot
maintain that decisions have, at bottom, an unconscious origin.


 Brent


  Or something equivalent, if we were put again in exactly the same
 subjective situation, would we do otherwise? I don't think so, but If yes,
 why?


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 12:18 AM, RMahoney rmaho...@poteau.com wrote:


 I'm assuming you mean by exactly the same situation, every atom in it's
 exact same physical state.


Not really. I mean the same conscious or subjective situation. From the
free will point of view, decisions are conscious and can only be based on
what is available to consciousness at the moment of decision. Defenders of
free will are commited to say that, no matter how long and deep we ponder a
question before making a decision, if we were put again in exactly the same
subjective situation (after all the pondering, etc) we could still do
otherwise.



 Now the question that came up, is this person not responsible for his/her
 actions if only at the mercy of the physical laws of the universe (no free
 will). The answers I've been hearing that suggest she/he may not be
 responsible miss the point. The measure of wrongness was defined by
 society.


I agree. People is not responsible in some ontological way. But society
considers us responsible (i.e. punishable). And we take that into account.
The important fact is not whether we have free will or not, but to know
that we are considered responsible.

It's interesting to notice that discussions about free will almost always
go hand in hand with discussions about responsability and punishment.

If history and experience yields a member of society that does a horrendous
 wrong, he/she is a defect of society and needs to be removed,
 rehabilitated, or whatever society dictates. Here's where I don't agree
 with aquitting someone due to mental defect. If the defect is there, the
 result is the same. Fix it if it's fixable or if it's not fixable remove
 them from society.


I agree, but we have to be careful here, lest we consider people to be
machines (something that has to be fixed or removed, like in
the Clockwork Orange movie).

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 11 Jun 2012, at 17:45, R AM wrote:




On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:
On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate  
spaghetti because that's what you liked at that moment. Do you  
think you could have done otherwise?


Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after  
considering all his options. Later he might be judged and told that  
he could have done otherwise? Could he really have done otherwise?


At the level of the arithmetical laws, or physical laws, the answer  
is no. But we don't live at that level, so at the level of its first  
person impression the answer is yes.


OK. So that means that if you (or the ganster) were put again in  
exactly the same subjective situation (same beliefs, likings,  
emotions, intentions, memories, same everything) you could do  
otherwise?


No. But the gangster does not know this determination. So although at  
that level he could not do otherwise, from his perspective, it still  
can make genuine sense that he could have done otherwise, from our  
embedded pov perspective. Only for God, it does not make sense, but  
locally we are not God.





More specifically. You are in a situation where you crave for  
spaghetti, you haven't had spaghetti in the last month, you know  
spaghetti is good for er ... whatever. You therefore make the  
decision to eat spaghetti. Now, you are put again in exactly the  
same situation and ... do you really think you could choose  
strawberries instead? would you choose strawberries?


If I am craving spaghetti I could not do otherwise. But then I would  
not have said it. The situation is when I remember having hesitate,  
and the day after, despite the determination, I can think that I could  
have done otherwise, because I cannot be aware of the complete  
determination. And, indeed, after that hesitation, I might well have  
taken the strawberry.


Determinism is just not incompatible with genuine free will or  
will, for the will is not playing at the same level than the  
determination. If they were on the same level, you could trivially  
justify all your act by I am just obeying the physical laws, which  
is just false, because you are an abstract person, not a body.






A guy rapes and tortures 10 children, could he have done otherwise?  
Well, there is a sense for some medical expert to say that he could  
have done otherwise, for the guy is judged responsible and not under  
some mental disease (for example). Now, if the guy defends himself  
in saying that he was just obeying to the physical laws, he will  
convince nobody, and rightly so.


He will convince nobody  because we all believe that he (and all of  
us) could have done otherwise. And we all believe that because, for  
some reason, we believe it is unfair to punish someone if he cannot  
do otherwise. What I'm saying is that belief in free-will is just a  
justification for punishing people.


OK. And rightly so, unless unfair trial of course.




But in fact, we punish people, not because he could have done  
otherwise but because next time, he will think twice.


Actually this is not proved, and some argue that going in jail can  
augment the probability of recurrence of certain type of crime. But  
that's not relevant. So OK.




Next time, he will not be in the same subjective situation: he will  
have the memories of his punishment and he will take that into  
account.


He learned to do otherwise.




If next time he is in exactly the same subjective situation, he will  
do exactly the same. Why would he do otherwise? Why didn't he already?


The point is not that he is determinate, but that he is aware of his  
non knowledge of determination, making him capable to think correctly  
that he might have done otherwise; perhaps having a slight change of  
state of mind, or awaken in different mood, or any detail he knows  
that he did not know.


Sometimes, we might become aware of the reason which might have invite  
us to do otherwise, so we prepare ourselves better for the future  
hesitation.





Let's suppose that a person forgets everything every morning. Would  
it make any sense to punish someone like that, because he just could  
have done otherwise?


Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be  
judged responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are no  
general rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any  
certainty the responsibility.





We are determinate, but we cannot known completely our  
determination, so from our point of view there is a genuine spectrum  
of different possibilities and we can choose freely among them. It  
does not matter that a God, or a Laplacean daemon can predict our  
actions, for *we* can't, and have no other choice than choosing  
without complete information, and in some case it makes sense that  
we could have 

Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread meekerdb

On 6/12/2012 1:31 AM, R AM wrote:



On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 6:42 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


On 6/11/2012 8:45 AM, R AM wrote:

But what I'm saying here is not ontological determinism but in fact, 
about the
subjective experience. I'm defending that we cannot imagine ourselves 
in exactly
the same subjective situation and still think that we could have done 
otherwise.


I can certainly imagine that.  But I wonder if your use of subjective 
situation is
ambiguous.  Do you mean exactly the same state, including memory, conscious 
and
unconscious thoughts..., or do you just mean satisfying the same subjective 
description?


I would say exactly the same conscious state.

If we are put again in the same conscious state, I don't think that we can consistently 
imagine ourselves doing otherwise.


Well then it seems to come down to a question of timing.  If this 'same conscious state' 
is before the action, then I can certainly imagine changing my mind.  And this holds all 
the way up to the action, which is why you are even unpredictable by yourself.  You don't 
know (for sure) what you'll do until you do it.  If the 'same conscious state' is at the 
moment of action, then it's not so clear.  It's not the usual case, but sometimes we are 
surprised by our own action.


If at subjective situation t we decided x, why would we decide otherwise if *exactly* 
the same subjective situation was again the case?


Of course, unconscious processes might make the difference (in fact, they do), but this 
is no help for a defender of free will, because he cannot maintain that decisions have, 
at bottom, an unconscious origin.


Why not.  That's the compatibilist view of 'free will' and that's apparently why Sam 
Harris disagrees with compatibilism: he defines 'free will' to be *conscious* authorship 
of decisions.  In the course of a day almost all my decisions are made without conscious 
thought, like which keys to strike in typing the previous line.  Earlier today I had to 
enter a computer generated random security code; I had to think about each character.  So 
was the latter an exercise of free will and the former wasn't??


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


 Well then it seems to come down to a question of timing.  If this 'same
 conscious state' is before the action, then I can certainly imagine
 changing my mind.


Yes, but why would you do that? You didn't change your mind in the first
situation. Why would you change your mind if exactly the same conscious
state is repeated?


 And this holds all the way up to the action, which is why you are even
 unpredictable by yourself.  You don't know (for sure) what you'll do until
 you do it.


I agree, but that's not exactly what I'm saying. I'm trying to make sense
of the I could have done otherwise. What does it mean? Or in other words,
if the same situation is repeated I would do otherwise. But it's
difficult to explain (I might be wrong too).

OK, let's suppose that exactly the same conscious state is repeated N
times. If each time we do a different action, even opposite ones (such as
killing or not killing someone), then our decision making is basically
random. I don't think that is what is meant by free will.

Let's go to an extreme case. We have to make an important decision. We
spend one year pondering our alternatives, and a decision is reached (we
will kill someone). We are pretty certain about it. Do you think that if
we repeat the same conscious state of just before making the decision, we
would conclude not to kill?

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 No. But the gangster does not know this determination. So although at that
 level he could not do otherwise, from his perspective, it still can make
 genuine sense that he could have done otherwise, from our embedded pov
 perspective. Only for God, it does not make sense, but locally we are not
 God.



 More specifically. You are in a situation where you crave for spaghetti,
 you haven't had spaghetti in the last month, you know spaghetti is good for
 er ... whatever. You therefore make the decision to eat spaghetti. Now, you
 are put again in exactly the same situation and ... do you really think you
 could choose strawberries instead? would you choose strawberries?




If I am craving spaghetti I could not do otherwise.


Well, parents routinely punish their children for eating too much candy.
Why do they do that, if their children could not do otherwise?


 But then I would not have said it. The situation is when I remember having
 hesitate, and the day after, despite the determination, I can think that I
 could have done otherwise, because I cannot be aware of the complete
 determination. And, indeed, after that hesitation, I might well have taken
 the strawberry.


Yes, but for the sake of the argument, I wanted you to consider the case
where you are pretty certain about eating spaghetti. Defenders of free will
would say that free will is active whenever you make a decision, hesitating
or not hesitating.







 Determinism is just not incompatible with genuine free will or will,
 for the will is not playing at the same level than the determination. If
 they were on the same level, you could trivially justify all your act by I
 am just obeying the physical laws, which is just false, because you are an
 abstract person, not a body.



I am not really  talking about physical determination. But in any case, I
think the justification is correct. This is not important, though, because
we do not actually punish people because they could have done otherwise. We
punish people so that they will not repeat their bad behaviour in the
future (among other reasons).


 He will convince nobody  because we all believe that he (and all of us)
 could have done otherwise. And we all believe that because, for some
 reason, we believe it is unfair to punish someone if he cannot do
 otherwise. What I'm saying is that belief in free-will is just a
 justification for punishing people.


 OK. And rightly so, unless unfair trial of course.



What i'm saying is that we believe in free will  (although it is a false
belief) so that we can punish people without feeling guilty. Usually, the
opposite is claimed: we punish people because they have free will (but I'm
claiming that's wrong).



 Actually this is not proved, and some argue that going in jail can augment
 the probability of recurrence of certain type of crime. But that's not
 relevant. So OK.



I agree, but if that's the case, we should change the punishment.




 He learned to do otherwise.



Agreed. But that's what I'm saying. Making people responsible has nothing
to do with their free will, but with reinforcement and learning. Belief in
free will is just a excuse to discipline people.


 Let's suppose that a person forgets everything every morning. Would it
 make any sense to punish someone like that, because he just could have done
 otherwise?

 Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be judged
 responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are no general
 rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any certainty the
 responsibility.




Agreed. However, If we punish people because they have free will (i.e. they
could have done otherwise), then this person should also be punished. Again
and again. It's not his free will that is failing, it's his memory.
However, it makes no sense to punish such a person, because having no
memory, the punishment will not change his future behavior.






 But exactly the same subjective experience is ambiguous. Our doing
 depends also on unconscious processing, of the luminosity of the sky, of
 possible subliminal messages from peers, of hormone concentration, and all
 those factors might be unknown.


But that's basically randomness! you cannot be sent to Hell because of the
luminosity of the sky! I don't think that would be considered free will.
Free will should be the result of deliberation, even if at the end you
decide to do something random.



 Or something equivalent, if we were put again in exactly the same
 subjective situation, would we do otherwise? I don't think so, but If yes,
 why?


 We can't. Given your condition. But the determination being unknown, we
 can correctly conceive of having done otherwise, for a little unknown
 reason which would have influence the choice made after some hesitation.
 Even without hesitation, there is still, even more, free will.


If we make up our mind, and we are 

Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


 Why not.  That's the compatibilist view of 'free will' and that's
 apparently why Sam Harris disagrees with compatibilism: he defines 'free
 will' to be *conscious* authorship of decisions.


I think that is what is meant by typical defenders of free will too.


 In the course of a day almost all my decisions are made without conscious
 thought, like which keys to strike in typing the previous line.  Earlier
 today I had to enter a computer generated random security code; I had to
 think about each character.  So was the latter an exercise of free will and
 the former wasn't??


That's a good question for defenders of free will to answer. I think they
would say that you can always stop consciously your unconscious will
(that's one of the defences against Libet's experiments). However, Most of
the day we are not even conscious that we could exercise that kind of free
will, so ... I gues 99% of the time our decisions are not free willed.
And it makes no difference, of course.

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread meekerdb

On 6/12/2012 11:42 AM, R AM wrote:



On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



Well then it seems to come down to a question of timing.  If this 'same 
conscious
state' is before the action, then I can certainly imagine changing my mind.

Yes, but why would you do that? You didn't change your mind in the first situation. Why 
would you change your mind if exactly the same conscious state is repeated?


And this holds all the way up to the action, which is why you are even 
unpredictable
by yourself.  You don't know (for sure) what you'll do until you do it.

I agree, but that's not exactly what I'm saying. I'm trying to make sense of the I 
could have done otherwise. What does it mean?


I means that, in retrospect, I can't trace back to external (to me) causes, a 
deterministic sequence that inevitably led me to do that.  Conceivably we could make an 
intelligent machine that could keep a record of all its internal states so that when did 
something it could then cite the sequence of internal states and say, See I had to do 
it.  It was just physics.


Or in other words, if the same situation is repeated I would do otherwise. But it's 
difficult to explain (I might be wrong too).
OK, let's suppose that exactly the same conscious state is repeated N times. If each 
time we do a different action, even opposite ones (such as killing or not killing 
someone), then our decision making is basically random. I don't think that is what is 
meant by free will.


I think that's wrong. You are equating unpredictable with random.  Suppose the same 
conscious state is repeated and one second later you either shoot someone or you punch 
him.  In that second different unconscious processes may determine what you do; so that 
which you do is unpredictable.  But it is only 'random' within a range which is determined 
by who you are - and in this case you are very angry with the someone - so it is still an 
exercise of your will.  And it's not constrained or coerced, so it's 'free will'.


Let's go to an extreme case. We have to make an important decision. We spend one year 
pondering our alternatives, and a decision is reached (we will kill someone). We are 
pretty certain about it. Do you think that if we repeat the same conscious state of just 
before making the decision, we would conclude not to kill?


Yes, it's possible. Of course there are feelings of resolve or hesitancy that make it more 
or less likely we will carry out a plan. But in that moment some different unconscious 
process could change our mind, or an external event, such as seeing child might remind us 
our intended victim was once an innocent child, might change our mind.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread R AM
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 9:39 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


 I means that, in retrospect, I can't trace back to external (to me)
 causes, a deterministic sequence that inevitably led me to do that.


Isn't that randomness?


   Conceivably we could make an intelligent machine that could keep a
 record of all its internal states so that when did something it could then
 cite the sequence of internal states and say, See I had to do it.  It was
 just physics.


And the machine would be right ...



  Or in other words, if the same situation is repeated I would do
 otherwise. But it's difficult to explain (I might be wrong too).

 OK, let's suppose that exactly the same conscious state is repeated N
 times. If each time we do a different action, even opposite ones (such as
 killing or not killing someone), then our decision making is basically
 random. I don't think that is what is meant by free will.


 I think that's wrong. You are equating unpredictable with random.  Suppose
 the same conscious state is repeated and one second later you either shoot
 someone or you punch him.  In that second different unconscious processes
 may determine what you do; so that which you do is unpredictable.


Agreed, but then the reason is unconscious. To me, that's not free will.


 But it is only 'random' within a range which is determined by who you are
 - and in this case you are very angry with the someone -


OK, but I think a defender of free will would say that you could have also
kissed that person instead of attacking him.


 so it is still an exercise of your will.  And it's not constrained or
 coerced, so it's 'free will'.


But you are removing all possible decisions except different ways of
attaking the victim, so it is not free will, at least not that feeling that
I could have done anything no matter what.





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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-12 Thread meekerdb

On 6/12/2012 1:06 PM, R AM wrote:



On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 9:39 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


I means that, in retrospect, I can't trace back to external (to me) causes, 
a
deterministic sequence that inevitably led me to do that.

Isn't that randomness?


No, it's unpredictablity - something we may fruitfully model by a mathematical theory of 
randomness even though the dynamics are perfectly deterministic, when we don't know enough 
to use the dynamics to predict results.  Except in quantum mechanics, where events may be 
inherently random, 'randomness' is just modeling uncertainty due to ignorance and so it is 
relative to what is known.



  Conceivably we could make an intelligent machine that could keep a record 
of all
its internal states so that when did something it could then cite the 
sequence of
internal states and say, See I had to do it.  It was just physics.

And the machine would be right ...



Or in other words, if the same situation is repeated I would do 
otherwise. But
it's difficult to explain (I might be wrong too).
OK, let's suppose that exactly the same conscious state is repeated N 
times. If
each time we do a different action, even opposite ones (such as killing or 
not
killing someone), then our decision making is basically random. I don't 
think that
is what is meant by free will.


I think that's wrong. You are equating unpredictable with random.  Suppose 
the same
conscious state is repeated and one second later you either shoot someone 
or you
punch him.  In that second different unconscious processes may determine 
what you
do; so that which you do is unpredictable.

Agreed, but then the reason is unconscious. To me, that's not free will.


That's a problem with 'free will'.  Some people, like Sam Harris, insist that it means the 
same thing it did in the middle ages, a supernatural ability to do the nomologically 
impossible by conscious thought.  Some people, like Daniel Dennett, look at how the 
concept functions in society and redefine it so it doesn't require the supernatural but 
has the same extension in social and legal discourse.



But it is only 'random' within a range which is determined by who you are - 
and in
this case you are very angry with the someone -

OK, but I think a defender of free will would say that you could have also kissed that 
person instead of attacking him.


But would he be wrong?  We, as external observers, might say that if his brain had been in 
exactly that state a second earlier it's extremely unlikely that he could have done 
differently (he might have been hit by a gamma ray, but...).  Or suppose we, as external 
observer, knew exactly that part of state of his brain that determined his *conscious* 
purpose, but not the other part, the unconscious.  Then we would assign a probability 
measure over the unconscious part and some part of it would result him doing the same and 
some in doing differently and we could assign probabilities to the various outcomes.  
We're modeling our ignorance of the unconscious part by a random model.  And so we'd 
conclude he could (in light of our imperfect knowledge) have done xi with probability pi 
for i=0,1,...  And that's exactly the same position he is in.  He has access to the 
conscious part of his brain, but not the unconscious.



so it is still an exercise of your will.  And it's not constrained or 
coerced, so
it's 'free will'.

But you are removing all possible decisions except different ways of attaking the 
victim, so it is not free will, at least not that feeling that I could have done 
anything no matter what.


But you know that's not the case.  You have a certain character, a certain consistency of 
behavior so that your friends can trust you NOT to do anything at random.  And having this 
consistency is essentially part of defining you and defining who it is who has 
compatibilist free will.  The fact that almost all this character is subconscious is 
irrelevant to the social meaning of 'free will'.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-11 Thread R AM
On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate spaghetti
 because that's what you liked at that moment. Do you think you could have
 done otherwise?

 Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after considering all
 his options. Later he might be judged and told that he could have done
 otherwise? Could he really have done otherwise?


 At the level of the arithmetical laws, or physical laws, the answer is no.
 But we don't live at that level, so at the level of its first person
 impression the answer is yes.


OK. So that means that if you (or the ganster) were put again in exactly
the same subjective situation (same beliefs, likings, emotions, intentions,
memories, same everything) you could do otherwise?

More specifically. You are in a situation where you crave for spaghetti,
you haven't had spaghetti in the last month, you know spaghetti is good for
er ... whatever. You therefore make the decision to eat spaghetti. Now, you
are put again in exactly the same situation and ... do you really think you
could choose strawberries instead? would you choose strawberries?


 A guy rapes and tortures 10 children, could he have done otherwise? Well,
 there is a sense for some medical expert to say that he could have done
 otherwise, for the guy is judged responsible and not under some mental
 disease (for example). Now, if the guy defends himself in saying that he
 was just obeying to the physical laws, he will convince nobody, and rightly
 so.


He will convince nobody  because we all believe that he (and all of us)
could have done otherwise. And we all believe that because, for some
reason, we believe it is unfair to punish someone if he cannot do
otherwise. What I'm saying is that belief in free-will is just a
justification for punishing people.

But in fact, we punish people, not because he could have done otherwise
but because next time, he will think twice. Next time, he will not be in
the same subjective situation: he will have the memories of his punishment
and he will take that into account.

If next time he is in exactly the same subjective situation, he will do
exactly the same. Why would he do otherwise? Why didn't he already?

Let's suppose that a person forgets everything every morning. Would it make
any sense to punish someone like that, because he just could have done
otherwise?


 We are determinate, but we cannot known completely our determination, so
 from our point of view there is a genuine spectrum of different
 possibilities and we can choose freely among them. It does not matter
 that a God, or a Laplacean daemon can predict our actions, for *we* can't,
 and have no other choice than choosing without complete information, and in
 some case it makes sense that we could have made a different choice (even
 if that is senseless at the basic ontological level, for the choice is made
 at another level, from an internal first person perspectives.


But what I'm saying here is not ontological determinism but in fact, about
the subjective experience. I'm defending that we cannot imagine ourselves
in exactly the same subjective situation and still think that we could have
done otherwise. Or something equivalent, if we were put again in exactly
the same subjective situation, would we do otherwise? I don't think so, but
If yes, why?



 To justify our acts by God Will or by Physical Laws (or Arithmetical laws)
 is the same type of level confusion, or perspective confusion, mistake. I
 would say.




 Bruno

 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-11 Thread R AM
On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 The answer must be relative to our (imperfect) knowledge.  Since that
 knowledge is not sufficient to predict what he would do, we say Yes, he
 could have done otherwise.  In the same way we may say, I know him well
 and he's not a person to rob a bank.  We may believe the world is
 deterministic and yet still unpredictable, so when you ask could we need
 to think in what sense it is meant.


I completely agree. It's not clear what we mean by could in this case (in
the same sense that it's not clear what is meant by free-will). That is why
I'm trying to reformulate the question as if you were put again in exactly
the same subjective situation, do you think you would do otherwise?


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-11 Thread RMahoney

On Monday, June 11, 2012 10:45:16 AM UTC-5, RAM wrote: 

  But what I'm saying here is not ontological determinism but in fact, 
 about the subjective experience. I'm defending that we cannot imagine 
 ourselves in exactly the same subjective situation and still think that we 
 could have done otherwise. Or something equivalent, if we were put again in 
 exactly the same subjective situation, would we do otherwise? I don't think 
 so, but If yes, why?

 
 
I'm assuming you mean by exactly the same situation, every atom in it's 
exact same physical state. You might think the next moment in time would be 
exactly the same, but at the quantum level the next physical state in time 
could be different at the quantum level, and if one was truly on the fence 
in making a decision, the decision could possibly fall to the other side of 
the fence. The two different futures both exist but do not interact. Any 
moment in time has multiple futures and multiple histories.
 
Now the question that came up, is this person not responsible for his/her 
actions if only at the mercy of the physical laws of the universe (no free 
will). The answers I've been hearing that suggest she/he may not be 
responsible miss the point. The measure of wrongness was defined by 
society. If history and experience yields a member of society that does a 
horrendous wrong, he/she is a defect of society and needs to be removed, 
rehabilitated, or whatever society dictates. Here's where I don't agree 
with aquitting someone due to mental defect. If the defect is there, the 
result is the same. Fix it if it's fixable or if it's not fixable remove 
them from society.
 
- Roy

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 06 Jun 2012, at 19:43, R AM wrote:


On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM, R AM ramra...@gmail.com wrote:
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com  
wrote:
I think people make choices from among available options many times  
every day and that is why the concept in question exists.



Deep down, free will is the belief that, if we were put again under  
exactly the same situation, exactly the same feelings, the same  
perceptions, the same beliefs, the same memories, the same past, the  
same values, etc ... if everything was exactly the same, the belief  
in free will says that we still could do otherwise.


It's silly.


I agree free-will is silly if it is defined like that. So let us try a  
less silly definition. So instead of was exactly the same in your  
definition, we can use was exactly the same from the subject point of  
view. In that case, if the subject was aware of not having all  
information, he might consistently think that he could have done  
otherwise, because he was hesitating for example, as far as he can  
remember.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread R AM
On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 I agree free-will is silly if it is defined like that. So let us try a
 less silly definition. So instead of was exactly the same in your
 definition, we can use was exactly the same from the subject point of
 view.


OK.


 In that case, if the subject was aware of not having all information, he
 might consistently think that he could have done otherwise, because he was
 hesitating for example, as far as he can remember.


It depends on what we mean by could. If we mean that I would have done
otherwise because I could have done otherwise, I still think that belief
in free-will is silly. If the subject was aware of not having all
information and yet he did what he did, why would the subject think (later)
that he could have done otherwise?



 Bruno

 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 07 Jun 2012, at 10:00, R AM wrote:




On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


I agree free-will is silly if it is defined like that. So let us try  
a less silly definition. So instead of was exactly the same in  
your definition, we can use was exactly the same from the subject  
point of view.


OK.

In that case, if the subject was aware of not having all  
information, he might consistently think that he could have done  
otherwise, because he was hesitating for example, as far as he can  
remember.


It depends on what we mean by could. If we mean that I would have  
done otherwise because I could have done otherwise, I still think  
that belief in free-will is silly. If the subject was aware of not  
having all information and yet he did what he did, why would the  
subject think (later) that he could have done otherwise?


Because he remembers that he was hesitating. Yesterday I have eaten  
spaghetti, but I could have decide otherwise, I hesitated a lot.


Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread Evgenii Rudnyi
I have started reading Collingwood's An Essay on Metaphysics and I see 
one definition that seems to be pertinent to this discussion.


p. 27 Def. 4. To assume it to suppose by an act of free choice.

A person who 'makes an assumption' is making a supposition about which 
he is aware that he might if he chose make not that but another. All 
assumptions are suppositions, but all suppositions are not assumptions: 
for some are made altogether unawares, and others, though the persons 
what make them may be conscious of making them, are made without any 
consciousness of the possibility, if it is a possibility, that others 
might have been made instead. When correctly used, the word 'assumption' 
is always used with this implication of free choice, as when it is said 
'let us assume x = 10'.


What about that? It looks to be not far away from what Aleksandr Lokshin 
has suggested.


Evgenii

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread R AM
On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 Because he remembers that he was hesitating. Yesterday I have eaten
 spaghetti, but I could have decide otherwise, I hesitated a lot.


OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate spaghetti
because that's what you liked at that moment. Do you think you could have
done otherwise?

Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after considering all
his options. Later he might be judged and told that he could have done
otherwise? Could he really have done otherwise?




 Bruno


 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 07 Jun 2012, at 14:15, R AM wrote:




On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


Because he remembers that he was hesitating. Yesterday I have eaten  
spaghetti, but I could have decide otherwise, I hesitated a lot.


OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate  
spaghetti because that's what you liked at that moment. Do you think  
you could have done otherwise?


Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after  
considering all his options. Later he might be judged and told that  
he could have done otherwise? Could he really have done otherwise?


At the level of the arithmetical laws, or physical laws, the answer is  
no. But we don't live at that level, so at the level of its first  
person impression the answer is yes.


A guy rapes and tortures 10 children, could he have done otherwise?  
Well, there is a sense for some medical expert to say that he could  
have done otherwise, for the guy is judged responsible and not under  
some mental disease (for example). Now, if the guy defends himself in  
saying that he was just obeying to the physical laws, he will convince  
nobody, and rightly so.


We are determinate, but we cannot known completely our determination,  
so from our point of view there is a genuine spectrum of different  
possibilities and we can choose freely among them. It does not  
matter that a God, or a Laplacean daemon can predict our actions, for  
*we* can't, and have no other choice than choosing without complete  
information, and in some case it makes sense that we could have made a  
different choice (even if that is senseless at the basic ontological  
level, for the choice is made at another level, from an internal first  
person perspectives. To justify our acts by God Will or by Physical  
Laws (or Arithmetical laws) is the same type of level confusion, or  
perspective confusion, mistake. I would say.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread John Clark
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


  If he axed you because he has a brain tumor that caused him to see you
 as an alien monster, we wouldn't hold him culpable.


What's with this we business, speak for yourself I certainly would hold
him culpable, I don't understand why that particular reason for his action
would render him non-responsible but another reason for his action would
render him responsible.

 We'd operate on him, remove the tumor


If you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that had fixed the problem
(most unlikely) then I would be satisfied with that solution.

 If he were coerced into axing you by a hostile government that was
 holding his wife and children hostage and going to kill them if he didn't
 do you in, we would consider him much less culpable


In that case it would be very unlikely he would ever again chase people
with a ax and his punishment would be unlikely to deter people in a similar
predicament from doing the same thing in the future, and so punishment
would be pointless  and be nothing but cruel.

 If he did it on an impulse because you offended him (e.g. you told him he
 spoke gibberish) we'd consider him less culpable than if you he had long
 planned to kill you for money.


Again with this we business! I'd consider him MORE culpable if he did it
on impulse over some trivial insult because that would mean he is a very
very dangerous man; he is certain to receive other trivial insults just
like that in the future likely causing more chasing with axes. And I would
consider him LESS culpable if he did it for a large amount of money and
planned the crime for 5 years because then he would be far less likely than
the impulsive homicidal jerk to do something like that again.

 culpability is roughly equivalent to how likely the perp or people in
 his situation are to do it or similar again.


That's how it should be but that's not what society does nor how you
explained it in your post.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread John Clark
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 There is no meaningful difference between will and free will.


The will is in the state it is in for a reason or for no reason, but
according to Craig Weinberg your free will is in the state it is in for no
reason and isn't in the state it is in for no reason, therefore the
meaningful difference between will and free will is that one is gibberish
and the other is not.

 All will implies the capacity to intentionally control, which is not
 logically consistent with 100% determinism.


Your ideas are not logically consistent with determinism and they are not
logically consistent with indeterminism, in other words your ideas are so
bad they're not even wrong.

 Execution is not intended to alter the behavior of the prisoner.


I don't give a hoot in hell what the intention was, it remains a fact
beyond dispute that execution DID alter the behavior of the prisoner.

 John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-07 Thread meekerdb

On 6/7/2012 5:15 AM, R AM wrote:



On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be 
mailto:marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:



Because he remembers that he was hesitating. Yesterday I have eaten 
spaghetti, but I
could have decide otherwise, I hesitated a lot.


OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate spaghetti because that's 
what you liked at that moment. Do you think you could have done otherwise?


Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after considering all his options. 
Later he might be judged and told that he could have done otherwise? Could he really 
have done otherwise?


The answer must be relative to our (imperfect) knowledge.  Since that knowledge is not 
sufficient to predict what he would do, we say Yes, he could have done otherwise.  In 
the same way we may say, I know him well and he's not a person to rob a bank.  We may 
believe the world is deterministic and yet still unpredictable, so when you ask could we 
need to think in what sense it is meant.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread John Clark
On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


 while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know your
 preferences most of the time.


And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

 The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability retrospectively to
 see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems that one could have
 done otherwise.


Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not gibberish,
however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you don't know what
you don't know. The highest status the philosophical concept called free
will can aspire to is that of being right but trivially circular, most of
the time it's not even that, most of the time it's just gibberish.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Brian Tenneson
I will exercise my *insert gibberish here* by disagreeing.

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


  while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know your
 preferences most of the time.


 And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
 eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

   The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability retrospectively to
 see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems that one could have
 done otherwise.


 Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not
 gibberish, however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you
 don't know what you don't know. The highest status the philosophical
 concept called free will can aspire to is that of being right but
 trivially circular, most of the time it's not even that, most of the time
 it's just gibberish.

   John K Clark






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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb




On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com 
mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:


On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net
wrote:


 while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know your
preferences most of the time.


And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will 
eventually
stop or not, but not all of the time.

 The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability retrospectively 
to see all
the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems that one could have 
done otherwise.


Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not gibberish, 
however
when you boil it down all it's really saying is you don't know what you 
don't know.
The highest status the philosophical concept called free will can 
aspire to is
that of being right but trivially circular, most of the time it's not even 
that,
most of the time it's just gibberish.



Aside from the philosophical concept, there is the social/legal concept of not coerced, 
referred to as exercising 'free will', which is what Stenger proposes just to call autonomy.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Brian Tenneson
Speaking of the legal aspect,
Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders to
kill the Jews.
IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable in
that they had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish anyone
under those circumstances.

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


   while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know your
 preferences most of the time.


 And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
 eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability retrospectively
 to see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems that one could
 have done otherwise.


 Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not
 gibberish, however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you
 don't know what you don't know. The highest status the philosophical
 concept called free will can aspire to is that of being right but
 trivially circular, most of the time it's not even that, most of the time
 it's just gibberish.


 Aside from the philosophical concept, there is the social/legal concept of
 not coerced, referred to as exercising 'free will', which is what Stenger
 proposes just to call autonomy.

 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 Speaking of the legal aspect,
 Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders to
 kill the Jews.
 IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable
 in that they had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish
 anyone under those circumstances.


Perhaps the concept of free-will exists because people think it is unfair
to punish anyone under those circumstances?


 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


   while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know
 your preferences most of the time.


 And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
 eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability retrospectively
 to see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems that one could
 have done otherwise.


 Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not
 gibberish, however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you
 don't know what you don't know. The highest status the philosophical
 concept called free will can aspire to is that of being right but
 trivially circular, most of the time it's not even that, most of the time
 it's just gibberish.


 Aside from the philosophical concept, there is the social/legal concept
 of not coerced, referred to as exercising 'free will', which is what
 Stenger proposes just to call autonomy.

 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Brian Tenneson
I think people make choices from among available options many times every
day and that is why the concept in question exists.

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM, R AM ramra...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 Speaking of the legal aspect,
 Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders
 to kill the Jews.
 IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable
 in that they had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish
 anyone under those circumstances.


 Perhaps the concept of free-will exists because people think it is unfair
 to punish anyone under those circumstances?


 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


   while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know
 your preferences most of the time.


 And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
 eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability
 retrospectively to see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it seems
 that one could have done otherwise.


 Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not
 gibberish, however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you
 don't know what you don't know. The highest status the philosophical
 concept called free will can aspire to is that of being right but
 trivially circular, most of the time it's not even that, most of the time
 it's just gibberish.


 Aside from the philosophical concept, there is the social/legal concept
 of not coerced, referred to as exercising 'free will', which is what
 Stenger proposes just to call autonomy.

 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 9:08 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

Speaking of the legal aspect,
Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders to kill 
the Jews.
IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable in that they 
had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish anyone under those circumstances.


It's that idea of fairness or justice that seems to connect the idea of 'free will' to 
social policy.  But is it really needed to make the connection?  Why not look at as just 
rule utilitarianism, e.g. punishment will be a deterrent to others (would we execute 
murders to satisfy justice if it were known to increase the incidence of murder?) and a 
satisfaction to victims.  So justice and fairness are values derived to make a good 
society and need not be considered fundamental.  The social/legal 'free will', meaning 
nobody made him do it, still applies and we even distinguish degrees of coercion as 
mitigating factors.  Low level Nazis were considered less culpable because to disobey 
would have risked their own lives.


Brent


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think people make choices from among available options many times every
 day and that is why the concept in question exists.


I agree that people make choices. I dont't think it is free will.

You said that people would believe that it would unfair to punish anyone if
there were no free will. I agree that people believe that




 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM, R AM ramra...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 Speaking of the legal aspect,
 Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders
 to kill the Jews.
 IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable
 in that they had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish
 anyone under those circumstances.


 Perhaps the concept of free-will exists because people think it is unfair
 to punish anyone under those circumstances?


 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.comwrote:

 On Tue, Jun 5, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


   while you do not *always* know what you're going to do, you know
 your preferences most of the time.


 And Turing proved that some of the time a computer can tell if it will
 eventually stop or not, but not all of the time.

The feeling of 'free will' comes from the inability
 retrospectively to see all the causes; so that, out of ignorance, it 
 seems
 that one could have done otherwise.


 Yes, and unlike other definitions of free will this one is not
 gibberish, however when you boil it down all it's really saying is you
 don't know what you don't know. The highest status the philosophical
 concept called free will can aspire to is that of being right but
 trivially circular, most of the time it's not even that, most of the time
 it's just gibberish.


 Aside from the philosophical concept, there is the social/legal concept
 of not coerced, referred to as exercising 'free will', which is what
 Stenger proposes just to call autonomy.

 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 9:08 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

Speaking of the legal aspect,
Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders to kill 
the Jews.
IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable in that they 
had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems unfair to punish anyone under those 
circumstances.


Interestingly, Bill Press at UT has recently shown why the idea of placing a high value on 
justice and fairness might have evolved along with a theory of mind including 'free will':


http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/16/1206569109

Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread John Clark
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

  how can we hold criminals culpable in that they had no choice but to
 commit crime?


It just mystifies me that someone would even ask a question like that. If
you're chasing me with a bloody ax I don't care if you had a choice
(whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) to do so or not, nor do I care
what thoughts, be they beautiful or ugly, are dancing around in your brain
while you're doing it; all I want is for you to stop chasing me with that
damn ax and I want measures taken to discourage that sort of thing
happening in the future by you or anybody else.

 Seems unfair to punish anyone under those circumstances.


It seems even more unfair for me to get chopped up by your ax.  There are
only 2 legitimate reasons to punish anybody for anything:

1) To make sure they don't continue with such crimes.

2) To deter others from committing similar crimes.

I admit there is another reason that the oldest reptilian parts of my brain
can come up with, the fun of seeing somebody I dislike suffer, but that is
not a reason the newer more evolved parts of my brain are proud of so I
will not defend it. And the ASCII string free will has absolutely nothing
to do with any of this, or anything else for that matter except gibberish.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 9:30 AM, R AM wrote:
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:


I think people make choices from among available options many times every 
day and
that is why the concept in question exists.


I agree that people make choices. I dont't think it is free will.

You said that people would believe that it would unfair to punish anyone if there were 
no free will. I agree that people believe that


If there were no free will of what kind? contra-causal? compatibilist? 
social/legal?

And even if it's not fair (another social term) it may be a useful thing for 
society to do.

Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Craig Weinberg
On Jun 6, 12:23 pm, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 It's that idea of fairness or justice that seems to connect the idea of 'free 
 will' to
 social policy.  But is it really needed to make the connection?  Why not look 
 at as just
 rule utilitarianism, e.g. punishment will be a deterrent to others (would we 
 execute
 murders to satisfy justice if it were known to increase the incidence of 
 murder?) and a
 satisfaction to victims.

Fairness and justice, in this context supervenes on the idea that
punishment can possibly have a containing effect which circumscribes
behavior - which in turn supervenes upon free will to be able to
control one's own behavior to some degree to avoid the experience of
punishment.

It's not possible to punish something that doesn't have free will. It
has no choice but to do whatever it does, so no amount of pain or fear
could cause the recipient to suddenly be able to change their own
behavior if they couldn't change their own behavior voluntarily to
begin with. You can't punish inanimate objects, and without free will,
an organism is just an inanimate object that thinks it's in motion
(for no reason).

Craig

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Craig Weinberg
On Jun 6, 12:37 pm, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

   how can we hold criminals culpable in that they had no choice but to
  commit crime?

 It just mystifies me that someone would even ask a question like that. If
 you're chasing me with a bloody ax I don't care if you had a choice
 (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) to do so or not, nor do I care
 what thoughts, be they beautiful or ugly, are dancing around in your brain
 while you're doing it; all I want is for you to stop chasing me with that
 damn ax and I want measures taken to discourage that sort of thing
 happening in the future by you or anybody else.

But that doesn't explain why we would pick 'punishment' as a
prophylactic measure. If it was an axe that fell off the wall of your
garage, do you seek to punish the garage? The axe? Punishment only
works if something

1. cares whether or not it's experience is unpleasant - ie has sense
qualia of pleasure and pain contrast

and

2. has causally efficacious motive to alter their behavior, and by
extension alter the circumstances of their environment - ie motive
power: (continuum ranging from libertarian free will in our innermost
thoughts and imagination, to voluntary control over some aspects of
our attention and neuromuscular system, to involuntary reflex of
subconscious and unconscious processes).

Craig

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread John Clark
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 1:23 PM, Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.comwrote:

 It's not possible to punish something that doesn't have free will.


I can't say anything directly about that because neither you nor I know
what the hell free will means, but I do know what will means and if
something wants to do X and I prevent that something from doing X then that
something will be unhappy and look upon my actions as a punishment and will
not want it repeated. So independent of what if anything the noise free
will means, punishment is a deterrent; but you should have already known
that.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM, R AM ramra...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think people make choices from among available options many times every
 day and that is why the concept in question exists.



Deep down, free will is the belief that, if we were put again under exactly
the same situation, exactly the same feelings, the same perceptions, the
same beliefs, the same memories, the same past, the same values, etc ... if
everything was exactly the same, the belief in free will says that we still
could do otherwise.

It's silly.

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 06 Jun 2012, at 18:23, meekerdb wrote:


On 6/6/2012 9:08 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

Speaking of the legal aspect,
Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued  
orders to kill the Jews.
IF *gibberish* does not exist, then how can we hold criminals  
culpable in that they had no choice but to commit crime?  Seems  
unfair to punish anyone under those circumstances.


It's that idea of fairness or justice that seems to connect the idea  
of 'free will' to social policy.  But is it really needed to make  
the connection?  Why not look at as just rule utilitarianism, e.g.  
punishment will be a deterrent to others (would we execute murders  
to satisfy justice if it were known to increase the incidence of  
murder?) and a satisfaction to victims.  So justice and fairness are  
values derived to make a good society and need not be considered  
fundamental.  The social/legal 'free will', meaning nobody made him  
do it, still applies and we even distinguish degrees of coercion as  
mitigating factors.  Low level Nazis were considered less culpable  
because to disobey would have risked their own lives.


OK, but then they are more victim than guilty, and have to present  
themselves as such. A popular jury might help to evaluate the sincerity.


It is difficult to judge responsibility, and more so when it is  
diluted in social collective organizations, and even much more so when  
fear and intimidation are technic of power.


Bruno



http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread John Clark
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:


  Punishment only works if something 1. cares whether or not it's
 experience is unpleasant


Yes.

 2. has causally efficacious motive to alter their behavior,

 
No, although if the criminal's actions are not causal, if they are random,
then the range of potential punishments that are effective becomes much
more limited.  However be the criminal random or causal a bullet in the
brain will most certainly alter their behavior, and sometimes for the
better.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 9:37 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

  how can we hold criminals culpable in that they had no choice but to commit crime? 



It just mystifies me that someone would even ask a question like that. If you're chasing 
me with a bloody ax I don't care if you had a choice (whatever the hell that is 
supposed to mean) to do so or not, nor do I care what thoughts, be they beautiful or 
ugly, are dancing around in your brain while you're doing it; all I want is for you to 
stop chasing me with that damn ax and I want measures taken to discourage that sort of 
thing happening in the future by you or anybody else.


The question though was what to do about him *after* he committed the crime.  If he axed 
you because he has a brain tumor that caused him to see you as an alien monster, we 
wouldn't hold him culpable.  We'd operate on him, remove the tumor, and send regrets to 
your widow.


If he were coerced into axing you by a hostile government that was holding his wife and 
children hostage and going to kill them if he didn't do you in, we would consider him much 
less culpable and might not punish him.


If he did it on an impulse because you offended him (e.g. you told him he spoke gibberish) 
we'd consider him less culpable than if you he had long planned to kill you for money.


So as actually applied culpability is roughly equivalent to how likely the perp or 
people in his situation are to do it or similar again.


Brent



 Seems unfair to punish anyone under those circumstances.


It seems even more unfair for me to get chopped up by your ax.  There are only 2 
legitimate reasons to punish anybody for anything:


1) To make sure they don't continue with such crimes.

2) To deter others from committing similar crimes.

I admit there is another reason that the oldest reptilian parts of my brain can come up 
with, the fun of seeing somebody I dislike suffer, but that is not a reason the newer 
more evolved parts of my brain are proud of so I will not defend it. And the ASCII 
string free will has absolutely nothing to do with any of this, or anything else for 
that matter except gibberish.


  John K Clark



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 10:43 AM, R AM wrote:

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM, R AM ramra...@gmail.com 
mailto:ramra...@gmail.com wrote:

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

I think people make choices from among available options many times 
every day
and that is why the concept in question exists.



Deep down, free will is the belief that, if we were put again under exactly the same 
situation, exactly the same feelings, the same perceptions, the same beliefs, the same 
memories, the same past, the same values, etc ... if everything was exactly the same, 
the belief in free will says that we still could do otherwise.


It's silly.


That's why punishment is a deterrent.  The person punished will remember it and so will 
have different memories even if the situation is otherwise the same.  Can work fine on 
deterministic systems.  No so well if the system is random or has no memory.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  On 6/6/2012 9:30 AM, R AM wrote:

 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think people make choices from among available options many times every
 day and that is why the concept in question exists.


  I agree that people make choices. I dont't think it is free will.

  You said that people would believe that it would unfair to punish anyone
 if there were no free will. I agree that people believe that


 If there were no free will of what kind? contra-causal? compatibilist?
 social/legal?


Contral-causal, I guess. What I'm defending is that the belief in free-will
is, in part, a social construct, useful from the social/legal point of
view, as you say. We are educated to believe it.

And even if it's not fair (another social term) it may be a useful thing
 for society to do.


I'm pretty convinced it is not fair. Doing the right thing is just a
skill, like any other (running fast, jumping, intelligence, ...), and
different people posess it to different degrees. Yet, from a social point
of view, we consider everybody to have the same amount of free will,
excet in extreme cases (madness, drunkenness, etc). It's definitely not
fair, but on the other hand, it is difficult to see what else we could do.
It's useful for society to consider it that way.


 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread meekerdb

On 6/6/2012 10:56 AM, R AM wrote:
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


On 6/6/2012 9:30 AM, R AM wrote:

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

I think people make choices from among available options many times 
every day
and that is why the concept in question exists.


I agree that people make choices. I dont't think it is free will.

You said that people would believe that it would unfair to punish anyone if 
there
were no free will. I agree that people believe that


If there were no free will of what kind? contra-causal? compatibilist? 
social/legal?


Contral-causal, I guess. What I'm defending is that the belief in free-will is, in part, 
a social construct, useful from the social/legal point of view, as you say. We are 
educated to believe it.


The social/legal concept is certainly a social construct, and one that has evolved over 
time from simple revenge and an eye for an eye to all sorts mitigating and exacerbating 
factors.  I think that belief in contra causal free will is natural and not a social 
construct.  It arises from that feeling I could have done otherwise and then, by the 
theory of mind, the other guy could have done otherwise.  We will have be educated to 
disbelieve it.




And even if it's not fair (another social term) it may be a useful thing 
for society
to do.


I'm pretty convinced it is not fair. Doing the right thing is just a skill, like any 
other (running fast, jumping, intelligence, ...), and different people posess it to 
different degrees. Yet, from a social point of view, we consider everybody to have the 
same amount of free will, excet in extreme cases (madness, drunkenness, etc). It's 
definitely not fair, but on the other hand, it is difficult to see what else we could 
do. It's useful for society to consider it that way.


We take into account those causative factors we understand and can change, but even if we 
realize the brain is strictly deterministic we don't know how to modify it except by crude 
methods like punishment and drugs and frontal lobotomies.  We don't know how adjust 
people's values (or maybe we do, c.f. A Clockwork Orange) or will.


Brent


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread R AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


  Contral-causal, I guess. What I'm defending is that the belief in
 free-will is, in part, a social construct, useful from the social/legal
 point of view, as you say. We are educated to believe it.


 The social/legal concept is certainly a social construct, and one that has
 evolved over time from simple revenge and an eye for an eye to all sorts
 mitigating and exacerbating factors.  I think that belief in contra causal
 free will is natural and not a social construct.  It arises from that
 feeling I could have done otherwise and then, by the theory of mind, the
 other guy could have done otherwise.  We will have be educated to
 disbelieve it.


I think the feeling that I could have done otherwise comes from
education. When our parents got mad at something we did when kids, what
belief could have we learned, except that I could have done otherwise or
damn it, why didn't I do otherwise?

But I'm not sure if we can substitute that belief with something else  ...

Next time I will do otherwise perhaps doesn't work equally well, because
you might think, ok, next time I will do the same, and it will be next
next time that I will do otherwise




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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-06 Thread Craig Weinberg
On Jun 6, 1:48 pm, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

There is no meaningful difference between will and free will. Adding
'free' only emphasizes that the intention is your own and not
compelled by circumstances beyond your control. All will implies the
capacity to intentionally control, which is not logically consistent
with 100% determinism. If a rolling stone needs no experience of will
to decide which way it will roll, then a person needs no such
experience to function mechanically.




   Punishment only works if something 1. cares whether or not it's
  experience is unpleasant

 Yes.

  2. has causally efficacious motive to alter their behavior,

                  
 No, although if the criminal's actions are not causal, if they are random,
 then the range of potential punishments that are effective becomes much
 more limited.  However be the criminal random or causal a bullet in the
 brain will most certainly alter their behavior, and sometimes for the
 better.


Execution is not intended to alter the behavior of the prisoner. In
order for us to have an expectation that the threat of execution could
be a deterrent, we have to have an expectation that potential
criminals have enough control over their own actions that that they
will voluntarily choose to avoid it. We do not think that a deterrent
is the same thing as a guarantee that crime cannot occur - in fact,
the effectiveness of punishment as a deterrent is variable. It's up to
the individuals, at least some individuals some of the time, to some
extent or another, to determine for themselves whether they are
deterred.

Craig

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-04 Thread John Clark
On Sun, Jun 3, 2012 Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 You try moving your arm with an explanation or a reason or with no
 reason. Did it move?


That's like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends on if I wanted
to move my arm or not.

 Now just move your arm.


This time I wanted to move my arm and so, unless it was tied down it moved.
If it was tied down then a desire of my will remained unfulfilled and I
will be unhappy and that will cause me to look for a way to untie my arm.
And my will was in the state it was in, the state of wanting to move my
arm, for a reason or for no reason, there is no third alternative.

 Was it a lack of explanation or reason or randomness that was preventing
 you from FREEly excercising your WILL over your own arm?


I didn't move my arm because I didn't want to move my arm, and I don't know
if I didn't want to because of determinism or randomness, but I do know it
was one or the other, I do know there was a reason I didn't want to move it
(although I might not know what it is) or there was no reason I didn't want
to move it .

 Please explain how your arm moved in a way that shows it is purely
 deterministic or purely random


You seem to believe that if you combine determinism and randomness you can
make the free will noise more meaningful than a duck's quack, but you
refuse to answer a question I have asked several times before; if I combine
a calculator with a roulette wheel so that on average one time in 39 it
gives the wrong answer to a calculation does that hybrid device have free
will?  If not why not.

 find a way to say that a reason or non- reason alone caused it


Well that's not very difficult and I don't even need to know what the word
reason means!  I can also say without fear of contradiction that klogknee
caused it or non klognee  caused it.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-04 Thread John Clark
On Sun, Jun 3, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

You're hung up on the idea that purposeful action must be
 predictable.  Apparently you never studied game theory.


I'm no world class expert but I've taken several college courses on game
theory and I know enough to understand that there has been no difficulty in
incorporating the ideas of that discipline into computer programs, indeed
many recent advances in game theory have come from the results of computer
experiments. So are computers purposeful? Do computers have this thing you
call free will? If not why not.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-04 Thread John Clark
On Sun, Jun 3, 2012  Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

  I don't understand what's odd about that, certainly we need retributive
 punishment if we don't want to be murdered in our beds.


 I don't understand why anyone could not see that as a glaring violation of
 common sense, except that I think it must be like handedness or gender
 orientation. Why would punishment work in any way if people are determined
 to commit crimes regardless?


If people are determined then if we change them ( fine them, confine them,
kill them, perform surgery on them) or change the environment (make the
possibility of severe punishment more likely) then they're behavior will
change. That's the nature of determinism, change the input and the output
changes, otherwise it wouldn't be deterministic.

 How could punishment act on anything except the will?


As I've said I have no problem with the word will and it does act on the
will, if I change things their will will change and either they will no
longer want to commit crimes (fear of punishment) or no longer able to
fulfill the desire of their will because they are in jail or dead.

 Can you punish phosphorus until phosphorus changes?


Yes, I can put it into a fireproof box or combine the phosphorous with
other chemicals and turn it into fertilizer, something that is actually
useful.

 I have never seen anyone with such a personal axe to grind about this
 subject.


Thank you.

You hate free will.


Well, a lot of quacking ducks can become annoying.


  It is unworthy of even a hallucinatory status.


Correct.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-04 Thread meekerdb

On 6/4/2012 10:07 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Sun, Jun 3, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 You're hung up on the idea that purposeful action must be predictable.  
Apparently
you never studied game theory.


I'm no world class expert but I've taken several college courses on game theory and I 
know enough to understand that there has been no difficulty in incorporating the ideas 
of that discipline into computer programs, indeed many recent advances in game theory 
have come from the results of computer experiments.


And so you know that pursuant to the purpose of winning a game it may be useful to make a 
random choice.



So are computers purposeful?


It depends on their program. Deep Blue purposefully acted to win chess games. Spirit and 
Opportunity purposely explored parts of Mars.



Do computers have this thing you call free will? If not why not.


Depends on what you mean by free will.  I think that with certain AI programming a 
computer could have the so called feeling of free will, i.e. it could infer that it made 
a choice that was purposeful but not determined (even in cases where it was determined). 
If it were equipped to act it could act free of coercion.


Brent



  John K Clark




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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread John Clark
On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to
 be able (which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined)


If it can be done then do so!  Explain choose in a way that shows it is
not deterministic and also not random, find a way to say that a choice did
not happen for a reason and did not happen for no reason, and do so in a
way that is not embarrassingly self contradictory. Do that and you have won
the argument.

 when (which can be defined)  presented (which can be defined)


By the way, defined can't be defined unless you already know what
defined means, that's why examples are more important than definitions;
so if a definition is too hard for you just give me examples of things that
can make choices  and things that can't, but be prepared to defend your
reasoning (a deterministic process) why they are in one category and not
the other.


  with a choice (which can be defined). Certainly not meaningless.


The word choice is perfectly respectable, I use it myself, but you are a
fan of the free will noise so I would bet money that any definition you
give of it will be self-contradictory or circular or both.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread John Clark
On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 Agent might be defined as an entity with acts unpredictably


Without a reason.

 but purposefully.


With a reason.

 But both of those are a little fuzzy.


That's not fuzzy, it's idiotic. You can arrange the words free, decide,
choose, purpose, reason, pick, voluntary and unpredictable in any order you
like but it won't change the fact that at the end of the day things happen
for a reason or things don't happen for a reason.

   John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread John Clark
On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 oddly after spending 60 pages attacking free will as an illusion of an
 illusion, Sam Harris seems to that we may need retributive punishment
 anyway.


I don't understand what's odd about that, certainly we need retributive
punishment if we don't want to be murdered in our beds. And I disagree
about free will being a illusion, a illusion is a real subjective
phenomenon, free will is just a noise.

 John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread Craig Weinberg
On Jun 3, 12:38 pm, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

  The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to
  be able (which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined)

 If it can be done then do so!  Explain choose in a way that shows it is
 not deterministic and also not random, find a way to say that a choice did
 not happen for a reason and did not happen for no reason,

How about this. You try moving your arm with an explanation or a
reason or with no reason. Did it move? Now just move your arm. Was it
a lack of explanation or reason or randomness that was preventing you
from FREEly excercising your WILL over your own arm?

Please explain how your arm moved in a way that shows it is purely
deterministic or purely random, find a way to say that a reason or non-
reason alone caused it without the assistance of your choice, and do
so in away that is not embarrassingly self contradictory. Do that and
you have not lost the argument.

Craig

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread Craig Weinberg
On Jun 3, 1:00 pm, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:
  oddly after spending 60 pages attacking free will as an illusion of an
  illusion, Sam Harris seems to that we may need retributive punishment
  anyway.

 I don't understand what's odd about that, certainly we need retributive
 punishment if we don't want to be murdered in our beds.

I don't understand why anyone could not see that as a glaring
violation of common sense, except that I think it must be like
handedness or gender orientation. Why would punishment work in any way
if people are determined to commit crimes regardless? How could
punishment act on anything except the will? What law of physics
supports the effectiveness of punishment? Can you punish phosphorus
until phosphorus changes? Why not?


 And I disagree
 about free will being a illusion, a illusion is a real subjective
 phenomenon, free will is just a noise.

I have never seen anyone with such a personal axe to grind about this
subject. You hate free will. It is unworthy of even a hallucinatory
status. It is intolerable to you. It's as if you were trying to...deny
something that is undeniable.

Craig

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread meekerdb

On 6/1/2012 8:59 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Thu, May 31, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 Look up 'teleology'.


Why? I already know it means things happen for a purpose, although it is never made 
clear who's purpose were talking about or what his purpose is supposed to be. One thing 
is clear, they had a purpose for a reason or they had a purpose for no reason, there is 
no third alternative.


But is you have a purpose, even for no reason, it doesn't follow that your 
actions are random.



 Almost any reason a person will give


If he has a reason then he is deterministic.


You keep equating 'having a purpose', 'having a reason' and 'being determined', but I 
don't think they are the same thing.  If your purpose is to win money at poker your 
optimum strategy includes some random actions.




 for their actions will be a reference to some future state.


I did it because I desire to be in state X and I believe my present action will bring 
that about; and my desire and my belief have a cause or they do not have a cause, there 
is no third alternative.


People who believe in 'free will' also agree that their decisions and beliefs and actions 
have causes or not.  The difference is they believe that the causes are immaterial.


 In a deterministic world all physics is time reversible


Not necessarily, in a deterministic world X and Y will always produce Z, but Q and T 
could also always produce Z, so if you detect the existence of Z you can't reverse 
things and figure out what the world was like in the past, you don't know if it was a 
world of X and Y or a world of Q and T.  In a universe like that you could predict the 
future but you wouldn't know what happened in the past. Of course this is really moot, 
we probably don't live in a deterministic world, some things happen for no reason, some 
things are random.


 the question is whether this reason in terms of future purpose had a 
*physical*
cause.


I don't understand your emphasis, even information is physical, it determines entropy 
and takes energy to manipulate.  I don't know what on earth would a non physical cause 
be like but I do know that the non physical cause would itself have a cause or it would 
not have a cause, there is no third alternative.


 Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not, that my 
'soul' or
'spirit' initiated the physical process without any determinative physical 
antecedent.


A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led to a thousand years of 
philosophical dead ends; not surprising really, confusion is inevitable if you insist on 
trying to make sense out of gibberish.


It was, and is, enormously popular.  It's not gibberish since it can be empirically 
tested.  The idea that all events are either physically determined or random is relatively 
recent.  Before it was recognized how complex the activity of physical systems can be and 
how physically complex biota are it was reasonable to suppose there was something 
extra-physical about people and animals that made them unpredictable but purposeful.




 they think some events are physically uncaused


So they think it had no cause


No they think the cause is an immaterial spirit.



 but not-random


So they think it happened for no cause and didn't happen for no cause and once again 
we enter into the merry world of gibberish.


 because they are purposeful.


Then the purpose is the cause, and the purpose exists for a reason or the purpose exists 
for no reason, there is no third alternative.


 it is hard to eliminate the possibility that a 'spirit' might influence 
the
distribution of these random events


Then of course they would not be random but determined by the spirit, and the spirit 
influenced those things for a reason or for no reason, there is no third alternative.


 I think the apparent markers of 'free will', unpredictability and 
purposefulness,
are easily explained without invoking 'spirits'.


Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and neither do 
you.

  John K Clark


There's no point explaining something to someone determined not to understand.

Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread meekerdb

On 6/3/2012 9:53 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 Agent might be defined as an entity with acts unpredictably


Without a reason.

 but purposefully.


With a reason.

 But both of those are a little fuzzy.


That's not fuzzy, it's idiotic.


You're hung up on the idea that purposeful action must be predictable.  Apparently you 
never studied game theory.


You can arrange the words free, decide, choose, purpose, reason, pick, voluntary and 
unpredictable in any order you like but it won't change the fact that at the end of the 
day things happen for a reason or things don't happen for a reason.


   John K Clark


Brent
I've given you an argument. I'm not obliged to give you an understanding.
--- Oliver Heaviside

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread meekerdb

On 6/3/2012 9:38 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to 
be able
(which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined)


If it can be done then do so!  Explain choose in a way that shows it is not 
deterministic and also not random, find a way to say that a choice did not happen for a 
reason and did not happen for no reason, and do so in a way that is not embarrassingly 
self contradictory. Do that and you have won the argument.


 when (which can be defined)  presented (which can be defined) 



By the way, defined can't be defined unless you already know what defined means, 
that's why examples are more important than definitions;  so if a definition is too hard 
for you just give me examples of things that can make choices  and things that can't, 
but be prepared to defend your reasoning (a deterministic process) why they are in one 
category and not the other.


 with a choice (which can be defined). Certainly not meaningless.


The word choice is perfectly respectable, I use it myself, but you are a fan of the 
free will noise so I would bet money that any definition you give of it will be 
self-contradictory or circular or both.


  John K Clark




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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-03 Thread meekerdb

OOPS. I hit send instead of delete.

Brent

On 6/3/2012 4:25 PM, meekerdb wrote:

On 6/3/2012 9:38 AM, John Clark wrote:

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to 
be able
(which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined)


If it can be done then do so!  Explain choose in a way that shows it is not 
deterministic and also not random, find a way to say that a choice did not happen for a 
reason and did not happen for no reason, and do so in a way that is not embarrassingly 
self contradictory. Do that and you have won the argument.


 when (which can be defined)  presented (which can be defined) 



By the way, defined can't be defined unless you already know what defined means, 
that's why examples are more important than definitions;  so if a definition is too 
hard for you just give me examples of things that can make choices  and things that 
can't, but be prepared to defend your reasoning (a deterministic process) why they are 
in one category and not the other.


 with a choice (which can be defined). Certainly not meaningless.


The word choice is perfectly respectable, I use it myself, but you are a fan of the 
free will noise so I would bet money that any definition you give of it will be 
self-contradictory or circular or both.


  John K Clark




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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread Evgenii Rudnyi

On 01.06.2012 21:30 meekerdb said the following:

On 6/1/2012 11:43 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:



Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and
 neither do you.

John K Clark



Of course there are various degrees to which it can be free but
that doesn't mean free will is a meaningless string. Freedom is
defined by the observer. I note the freedom I have in choosing my
beliefs. I am not bound to agree with you nor am I bound to
disagree with you. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines
free will as follows

“Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to
 choose a course of action from among various alternatives. 

So what is the fuss about?


The fuss is because the concept is thought to be fundamental to
jurisprudence and social policy (it's even cited in some Supreme
Court decisions). The concept of free will has been carried over from
past theological and philosophical ideas. But now the concept is
attacked by scientists and some philosophers as incoherent or
empirically false. If they are right it would seem to imply revision
of the social/legal concepts and laws derived from it. Can existing
practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis?


What about that if you see something working (like a human society) and 
you do not understand how it is working, then it might be a good idea 
not to try to change it. The drive for change usually comes from people 
who are not satisfied with their position in the current society. Why 
the drive for change should come from some metaphysical discussions?


Evgenii

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 2:48 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led to a
 thousand years of philosophical dead ends; not surprising really, confusion
 is inevitable if you insist on trying to make sense out of gibberish.

   So you think the existence of soul or spirit is not just false but
 incomprehensible.


There are aspects of the soul theory that are comprehensible, in fact there
are aspects about it that I think are true, but a much better name for it
would be information. What I think is gibberish is free will, it is
incomprehensible because their is nothing to comprehend, it isn't saying
anything, there is no there there.

 there are experiments (e.g. healing prayer, NDE tests) that could have
 provided evidence for these extra-physical phenomena.  By their null result
 they provide evidence against them.


The God theory is not gibberish, it's just wrong. Free will is not even
wrong. And they got null results only when the sick people didn't know they
were being prayed over, when they did know they actually got worse.

  John K Clark




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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion that
 Free will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something before
 it can be attacked.


But I'm not saying free will does not exist, and I'm not attacking it
because there is nothing to attack, it would be like attacking a duck's
quack. I'm saying I don't know what the hell you're talking about when
you type the ASCII characters free will and neither do you. I'm not
saying the idea is wrong, I'm saying there is no idea there. How do I know
this? Because whenever anybody talks about free will the resulting
verbiage  is ALWAYS a blizzard of contradictory statements, circular
definitions, vague illusions, pious speeches, and just plain old idiocy;
there is never any substance there. Never.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  Can existing practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis?


Yes.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread Brian Tenneson
The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to
be able (which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined) when (which
can be defined)  presented (which can be defined) with a choice (which can
be defined).

Certainly not meaningless.

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

  The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion that
 Free will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something before
 it can be attacked.


 But I'm not saying free will does not exist, and I'm not attacking it
 because there is nothing to attack, it would be like attacking a duck's
 quack. I'm saying I don't know what the hell you're talking about when
 you type the ASCII characters free will and neither do you. I'm not
 saying the idea is wrong, I'm saying there is no idea there. How do I know
 this? Because whenever anybody talks about free will the resulting
 verbiage  is ALWAYS a blizzard of contradictory statements, circular
 definitions, vague illusions, pious speeches, and just plain old idiocy;
 there is never any substance there. Never.

   John K Clark



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread Brian Tenneson
FREE means being *able *to choose *any *among a number of choices.  You
want freedom of will to mean an agent can choose something beyond what the
given choices are?  That would imply free will does not exist yet, in that
event, free will is still NOT meaningless.

Right now I am unconcerned with whether free will exists or not.  I am
concerned with the statement free will is meaningless.  I have given a
definition, borrowed from the SEP, that is as good a definition as for any
concept (outside mathematical ones).


 It certainly IS not meaningless and IS an identification, however not of a
 *FREE* will. It is a decision between given choices. Tomorrow more
 info may be given to us and our today's choice may be overridden.
 What I consider a *free will*  is independent of the 'choices' we  *G E
 T* and is solely formatted by our (pesonal? inside?) mindset (call it
 will?). We, however, are part of a more extended (expanded?) world, I like
 to call it 'Everything' (an infinite complexity of so far(?) unknowable
 content) and all of its influences (may) contribute to our 'decisionmaking'
 although we may not know about either the nature of most of those
 influences, nor that we ARE responding to them.



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread meekerdb
The hard one to define with falling into circularity is agent which is often defined as 
an entity with free will.  To test something you need an operational definition.  Agent 
might be defined as an entity with acts unpredictably but purposefully.  But both of those 
are a little fuzzy.


Brent

On 6/2/2012 10:40 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:
The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to be able (which 
can be defined) to choose (which can be defined) when (which can be defined)  presented 
(which can be defined) with a choice (which can be defined).


Certainly not meaningless.

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com 
mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:


On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com
wrote:

 The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion that 
Free
will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something before it 
can be
attacked.


But I'm not saying free will does not exist, and I'm not attacking it 
because
there is nothing to attack, it would be like attacking a duck's quack. 
I'm saying
I don't know what the hell you're talking about when you type the ASCII 
characters
free will and neither do you. I'm not saying the idea is wrong, I'm 
saying there
is no idea there. How do I know this? Because whenever anybody talks about 
free
will the resulting verbiage  is ALWAYS a blizzard of contradictory 
statements,
circular definitions, vague illusions, pious speeches, and just plain old 
idiocy;
there is never any substance there. Never.

  John K Clark


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread meekerdb

On 6/2/2012 11:45 AM, John Mikes wrote:
Did ANYBODY so far - among those ~100(+?) posts (so far  erased in this discussion) *I D 
E N T I F Y* */_free will_/*?


I've tried to identify two meanings: One, which I consider unproblematic, is the social 
and legal attribute of decisions which are not coerced.  The other is the folk meaning 
attributing decisions to a spirit or soul which can initiate physical events but which is 
independent of all prior physical events.


Brent


I red about a /_'relatively'_/ free will, (= among (given) choices)  as well as 'totally 
freely chosen' decisions etc. etc. - none of them too impressive.
I tried to substantiate several time that we live in a steadily  evolving state of 
cognition and consider (observe?) as of yesterday more than earlier, consequently (by 
induction) there is more to the world than our today-s position. Whatever we know - 
either consciously, or not knowingly: subconsciously adds to our decision making and by 
tomorrow we may be able to draw different conclusions.

(When I wrote my reply up to this point, my mailbox induced Brian's post:)
---
/_*The capacity*_ (which can be defined) *_of an agent_* (which can be defined) *_to be 
able_* (which can be defined) *_to choose_* (which can be defined) *_when_* (which can 
be defined) *_presented_* (which can be defined) *_with a choice_* (which can be 
defined).//Certainly not meaningless. - Brian Tenneson/

/---/
(emphasis of the ID words by me) - and I reflect:
It certainly IS not meaningless and IS an identification, however not of a *_FREE_* 
will. It is a decision between given choices. Tomorrow more info may be given to us 
and our today's choice may be overridden.
What I consider a *_free will_*  is independent of the 'choices' we *_G E T_* and is 
solely formatted by our (pesonal? inside?) mindset (call it will?). We, however, are 
part of a more extended (expanded?) world, I like to call it 'Everything' (an infinite 
complexity of so far(?) unknowable content) and all of its influences (may) contribute 
to our 'decisionmaking' although we may not know about either the nature of most of 
those influences, nor that we ARE responding to them.

Brent Meeker (if it really came from YOUR post ha ha):
*/ Can existing practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis? /*
Of course it can, in the 'purely utilitarian sense'. Just do not mix such into a 
theoretical aspect and don't call it (rational?) truth.
(Let me stay out of discussing Max Velman's position. I appreciate his scientific base - 
however different from my agnostic views).

John M
*//*
*

//*
On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 1:53 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi use...@rudnyi.ru 
mailto:use...@rudnyi.ru wrote:


On 01.06.2012 20:48 meekerdb said the following:

On 6/1/2012 8:59 AM, John Clark wrote:


Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not,
that

my 'soul' or 'spirit' initiated the physical process without any
determinative physical antecedent.


A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led
to a thousand years of philosophical dead ends; not surprising
really, confusion is inevitable if you insist on trying to make
sense out of gibberish.


So you think the existence of soul or spirit is not just false but
incomprehensible. I disagree since there are experiments (e.g.
healing prayer, NDE tests) that could have provided evidence for
these extra-physical phenomena. By their null result they provide
evidence against them. But on your view there cannot be evidence for
or against because the concept cannot be given any meaning, much less
an operational meaning that can be tested.


From Understanding Consciousness by Max Velmans:

p. 300 To make matters worse, there are four distinct ways in which 
body/brain and
mind/consciousness might in principle, enter into casual relationship. 
There might
be physical causes of physical states, physical causes of mental states, 
mental
causes of mental states, and mental causes of physical states. Establishing 
which
forms of causation are effective in practice has clear implication for 
understanding
the aetiology and proper treatment of illness and disease.

Within conventional medicine, physical - physical is taken for granted.
Consequently, the proper treatment for physical disorders is assumed to be 
some from
of physical intervention. Psychiatry takes the efficacy of physical - 
mental
causation for granted, along with the assumption that the proper treatment 
for
psychological disorders may involve psychoactive drugs, neurosurgery and so 
on. Many
forms of psychotherapy take mental - mental causation for granted, and 
assume that
psychological disorders can be alleviated by 

Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread meekerdb

On 6/1/2012 11:25 PM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:

The fuss is because the concept is thought to be fundamental to
jurisprudence and social policy (it's even cited in some Supreme
Court decisions). The concept of free will has been carried over from
past theological and philosophical ideas. But now the concept is
attacked by scientists and some philosophers as incoherent or
empirically false. If they are right it would seem to imply revision
of the social/legal concepts and laws derived from it. Can existing
practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis?


What about that if you see something working (like a human society) and you do not 
understand how it is working, then it might be a good idea not to try to change it. 


I agree with that.  An oddly after spending 60 pages attacking free will as an illusion of 
an illusion, Sam Harris seems to that we may need retributive punishment anyway.



The drive for change usually comes from people who are not satisfied with their position 
in the current society. Why the drive for change should come from some metaphysical 
discussions?


Every successful revolution has its ideology and philosophy though.

Brent
Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in 
vain.
--- John Adams

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread Brian Tenneson
How about define agent to be a type 4 agent as explained here:
http://cs.wallawalla.edu/~aabyan/Colloquia/Aware/aware2.html

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 5:22 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  The hard one to define with falling into circularity is agent which is
 often defined as an entity with free will.  To test something you need an
 operational definition.  Agent might be defined as an entity with acts
 unpredictably but purposefully.  But both of those are a little fuzzy.

 Brent


 On 6/2/2012 10:40 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

 The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to
 be able (which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined) when (which
 can be defined)  presented (which can be defined) with a choice (which can
 be defined).

 Certainly not meaningless.

 On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

   The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion that
 Free will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something before
 it can be attacked.


 But I'm not saying free will does not exist, and I'm not attacking it
 because there is nothing to attack, it would be like attacking a duck's
 quack. I'm saying I don't know what the hell you're talking about when
 you type the ASCII characters free will and neither do you. I'm not
 saying the idea is wrong, I'm saying there is no idea there. How do I know
 this? Because whenever anybody talks about free will the resulting
 verbiage  is ALWAYS a blizzard of contradictory statements, circular
 definitions, vague illusions, pious speeches, and just plain old idiocy;
 there is never any substance there. Never.

   John K Clark


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-02 Thread meekerdb
I don't think any of us qualify since you have to believe and be aware of your belief of 
every tautology which means all possible mathematical proofs.


Actually it seems to me that so much self awareness is contrary to the common notion of 
'free will'.  The feeling of 'free will' comes about because not only or our decisions 
unpredictable, they are unpredictable even by us.  If you had really complete 
self-awareness you could trace your every decision back to various external inputs or 
random events and you would be disabused of the feeling that I could have done otherwise.


Brent

On 6/2/2012 5:59 PM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

How about define agent to be a type 4 agent as explained here:
http://cs.wallawalla.edu/~aabyan/Colloquia/Aware/aware2.html 
http://cs.wallawalla.edu/%7Eaabyan/Colloquia/Aware/aware2.html


On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 5:22 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:


The hard one to define with falling into circularity is agent which is 
often
defined as an entity with free will.  To test something you need an 
operational
definition.  Agent might be defined as an entity with acts unpredictably 
but
purposefully.  But both of those are a little fuzzy.

Brent


On 6/2/2012 10:40 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:

The capacity (which can be defined) of an agent (which can be defined) to 
be able
(which can be defined) to choose (which can be defined) when (which can be
defined)  presented (which can be defined) with a choice (which can be 
defined).

Certainly not meaningless.

On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM, John Clark johnkcl...@gmail.com
mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012  Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion 
that
Free will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something 
before
it can be attacked.


But I'm not saying free will does not exist, and I'm not attacking it 
because
there is nothing to attack, it would be like attacking a duck's 
quack. I'm
saying I don't know what the hell you're talking about when you type 
the ASCII
characters free will and neither do you. I'm not saying the idea is 
wrong,
I'm saying there is no idea there. How do I know this? Because whenever 
anybody
talks about free will the resulting verbiage  is ALWAYS a blizzard of
contradictory statements, circular definitions, vague illusions, pious
speeches, and just plain old idiocy; there is never any substance 
there. Never.

  John K Clark


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread John Clark
On Thu, May 31, 2012  meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

 Look up 'teleology'.


Why? I already know it means things happen for a purpose, although it is
never made clear who's purpose were talking about or what his purpose is
supposed to be. One thing is clear, they had a purpose for a reason or they
had a purpose for no reason, there is no third alternative.

 Almost any reason a person will give


If he has a reason then he is deterministic.

 for their actions will be a reference to some future state.


I did it because I desire to be in state X and I believe my present action
will bring that about; and my desire and my belief have a cause or they do
not have a cause, there is no third alternative.

 In a deterministic world all physics is time reversible


Not necessarily, in a deterministic world X and Y will always produce Z,
but Q and T could also always produce Z, so if you detect the existence of
Z you can't reverse things and figure out what the world was like in the
past, you don't know if it was a world of X and Y or a world of Q and T.
In a universe like that you could predict the future but you wouldn't know
what happened in the past. Of course this is really moot, we probably don't
live in a deterministic world, some things happen for no reason, some
things are random.

 the question is whether this reason in terms of future purpose had a
 *physical* cause.


I don't understand your emphasis, even information is physical, it
determines entropy and takes energy to manipulate.  I don't know what on
earth would a non physical cause be like but I do know that the non
physical cause would itself have a cause or it would not have a cause,
there is no third alternative.

 Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not, that my
 'soul' or 'spirit' initiated the physical process without any determinative
 physical antecedent.


A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led to a
thousand years of philosophical dead ends; not surprising really, confusion
is inevitable if you insist on trying to make sense out of gibberish.

 they think some events are physically uncaused


So they think it had no cause

 but not-random


So they think it happened for no cause and didn't happen for no cause and
once again we enter into the merry world of gibberish.

 because they are purposeful.


Then the purpose is the cause, and the purpose exists for a reason or the
purpose exists for no reason, there is no third alternative.

 it is hard to eliminate the possibility that a 'spirit' might influence
 the distribution of these random events


Then of course they would not be random but determined by the spirit, and
the spirit influenced those things for a reason or for no reason, there is
no third alternative.

 I think the apparent markers of 'free will', unpredictability and
 purposefulness, are easily explained without invoking 'spirits'.


Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and neither
do you.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread Brian Tenneson

 Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and neither
 do you.

   John K Clark



 Of course there are various degrees to which it can be free but that
doesn't mean free will is a meaningless string.  Freedom is defined by
the observer.  I note the freedom I have in choosing my beliefs.  I am not
bound to agree with you nor am I bound to disagree with you.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines free will as follows

“Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose
a course of action from among various alternatives. 

So what is the fuss about?

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread meekerdb

On 6/1/2012 8:59 AM, John Clark wrote:


 Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not, that my 
'soul' or
'spirit' initiated the physical process without any determinative physical 
antecedent.


A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led to a thousand years of 
philosophical dead ends; not surprising really, confusion is inevitable if you insist on 
trying to make sense out of gibberish.


So you think the existence of soul or spirit is not just false but incomprehensible.  I 
disagree since there are experiments (e.g. healing prayer, NDE tests) that could have 
provided evidence for these extra-physical phenomena.  By their null result they provide 
evidence against them.  But on your view there cannot be evidence for or against because 
the concept cannot be given any meaning, much less an operational meaning that can be tested.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread meekerdb

On 6/1/2012 11:43 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:



Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and neither 
do you.

  John K Clark



 Of course there are various degrees to which it can be free but that doesn't mean free 
will is a meaningless string.  Freedom is defined by the observer.  I note the freedom 
I have in choosing my beliefs.  I am not bound to agree with you nor am I bound to 
disagree with you.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines free will as follows

“Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of 
action from among various alternatives. 


So what is the fuss about?


The fuss is because the concept is thought to be fundamental to jurisprudence and social 
policy (it's even cited in some Supreme Court decisions).  The concept of free will has 
been carried over from past theological and philosophical ideas.  But now the concept is 
attacked by scientists and some philosophers as incoherent or empirically false.  If they 
are right it would seem to imply revision of the social/legal concepts and laws derived 
from it.  Can existing practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis?


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread Brian Tenneson
The fact that free will is debated lends credence to the notion that Free
will is not meaningless.  Free will has to mean something before it can
be attacked.

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 12:30 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  On 6/1/2012 11:43 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:



 Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string free will means and
 neither do you.

   John K Clark



  Of course there are various degrees to which it can be free but that
 doesn't mean free will is a meaningless string.  Freedom is defined by
 the observer.  I note the freedom I have in choosing my beliefs.  I am not
 bound to agree with you nor am I bound to disagree with you.
 The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines free will as follows

 “Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose
 a course of action from among various alternatives. 

 So what is the fuss about?


 The fuss is because the concept is thought to be fundamental to
 jurisprudence and social policy (it's even cited in some Supreme Court
 decisions).  The concept of free will has been carried over from past
 theological and philosophical ideas.  But now the concept is attacked by
 scientists and some philosophers as incoherent or empirically false.  If
 they are right it would seem to imply revision of the social/legal concepts
 and laws derived from it.  Can existing practice be justified on a purely
 utilitarian basis?

 Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

 Freedom is defined by the observer.


Exactly! A man is walking down a road and spots a fork in the road far
ahead. He knows of advantages and disadvantages to both paths so he isn't
sure if he will go right or left, he hadn't decided. Now imagine a powerful
demon able to look into the man's head and quickly deduce that he would
eventually choose to go to the left.

Meanwhile the man, whose mind works much more slowly than the demon's,
hasn't completed the thought process yet. He might be saying to himself I
haven't decided, I'll have to think about it, I'm free to go either way.
From his point of view he is in a sense correct, even a robot does not feel
like a robot, but from the demon's viewpoint it's a different matter, he
simply deduced a purely mechanical operation that can have only one
outcome.

Or it may not be deterministic at all, perhaps I took the left path for no
reason at all, either way the free will noise that some human beings like
to make is of no more help clarifying the situation than the quack noise
ducks like to make.


 The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines free will as follows


 “ Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents

If they're rational there is a reason they do what they do, hence they are
deterministic.

 to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. 


And there is a reason for making that particular choice or there is not a
reason for making that particular choice, there is no third alternative.

 So what is the fuss about?


No fuss at all as long as you don't examine too closely what it is actually
trying to say; but to be fair that definition of free will is not
significantly more idiotic and self contradictory than the verbiage most
professional philosophers churn out.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-06-01 Thread Evgenii Rudnyi

On 01.06.2012 20:48 meekerdb said the following:

On 6/1/2012 8:59 AM, John Clark wrote:



Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not,
that

my 'soul' or 'spirit' initiated the physical process without any
determinative physical antecedent.


A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led
to a thousand years of philosophical dead ends; not surprising
really, confusion is inevitable if you insist on trying to make
sense out of gibberish.


So you think the existence of soul or spirit is not just false but
incomprehensible. I disagree since there are experiments (e.g.
healing prayer, NDE tests) that could have provided evidence for
these extra-physical phenomena. By their null result they provide
evidence against them. But on your view there cannot be evidence for
or against because the concept cannot be given any meaning, much less
an operational meaning that can be tested.



From Understanding Consciousness by Max Velmans:

p. 300 To make matters worse, there are four distinct ways in which 
body/brain and mind/consciousness might in principle, enter into casual 
relationship. There might be physical causes of physical states, 
physical causes of mental states, mental causes of mental states, and 
mental causes of physical states. Establishing which forms of causation 
are effective in practice has clear implication for understanding the 
aetiology and proper treatment of illness and disease.


Within conventional medicine, physical - physical is taken for granted. 
Consequently, the proper treatment for physical disorders is assumed to 
be some from of physical intervention. Psychiatry takes the efficacy of 
physical - mental causation for granted, along with the assumption that 
the proper treatment for psychological disorders may involve 
psychoactive drugs, neurosurgery and so on. Many forms of psychotherapy 
take mental - mental causation for granted, and assume that 
psychological disorders can be alleviated by means of 'talking cures', 
guided imagery, hypnosis and other form of mental intervention. 
Psychosomatic medicine assumes that mental - physical causation can be 
effective ('psychogenesis'). Consequently, under some circumstances, a 
physical disorder (for example, hysterical paralysis) may require a 
mental (psychotherapeutic) intervention. Given the extensive evidence 
for all these causal interactions (cf. Velmans, 1996a), how we to make 
sense of them?


Velmans, M. 1996a: The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, 
Neuropsychological and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge.


Evgenii

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread John Clark
On Wed, May 30, 2012  Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 The axiom of choice just asserts that an arbitrary product of a family of
 non empty set is non empty.


True, but my dictionary says arbitrary means based on a random choice or
personal whim.

 There is no clue of direct relationship with physics


If modern physics said randomness does not exist then there would be a
conflict with the Axiom of Choice, they could not both be true; but physics
says randomness DOES exist so they are compatible.

 It has a priori nothing to do with free will


Of course it doesn't, nothing real can have anything to do with free will
because free will is gibberish. But the Axiom of Choice does have
something to do with cause and effect and randomness because those things
are not gibberish, it even has something to do with intelligence. When Alan
Turing designed the first stored program electronic digital computer, the
Manchester Mark 1, he insisted it have a hardware random number generator
incorporated in it because he felt that pseudo-random numbers being
produced by a numerical process could not be truly random. He thought that
if a machine could sometimes make purely random guesses and then use logic
to examine the validity of those guesses it might be able to overcome some
of the limitations he himself had found in pure Turing Machines (although
he never used that name for them), and then you could make what he called a
Learning Machine. He thought that in this way the limitations all
deterministic processes have that he and Godel had found might be overcome,
at least in part.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread Brian Tenneson

 Of course it doesn't, nothing real can have anything to do with free
 will because free will is gibberish.


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread John Mikes
Brian,
 thanks for the excerpt from the Stanford Enc. It is the usual
'scientifically' diluted 'everything', yet includes some supprt for John's
quoted phrase.
May I add my contribution (not included in the Enc.-txt:
In -MY- belief system we are part of that infinite complexity we may call
world - or: Everything with very limited knowledge of its structure and
'content' (if it has such).
WITHIN those possibilities the complexity provides we can choose from those
chances we know of - and we do. Other 'chances' are hidden, no-chances
are excluded. So whatever we 'will' is a limited choice - but freely so. It
is yet our responsibility from the limited sortiment - faith-based
philosophies have it almost right - except for the influence of the
'hidden' part from us, playing a part in our cognition. It is not
partially free: rather it is partially deterministic. We THINK it is
free will.

R A N D O M  is another thorn in my views: if such thing was real and
available (in any aspect) we were wrong in ANY prediction we made and make
upon the belief that data will fall into position. Unless, of course, one
restricts random to those instances where it would interfere with a
non-random computation. (Nice random, indeed!)
Then there is another flaw: random is thought of in our known logical
systems, a restricted domain and not controling Nature (Everything) at all.
We don't even know if the 'infinite complexity' is a dynamic set of
relations only, or an infinite(?) system(?) of everything in an interchange?
Or: whatever we cannot even think of?

But we are proud of our Free Will. Good for us.
John Mikes

On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com wrote:

   Of course it doesn't, nothing real can have anything to do with free
 will because free will is gibberish.


 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/



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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 31 May 2012, at 17:03, John Clark wrote:


On Wed, May 30, 2012  Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 The axiom of choice just asserts that an arbitrary product of a  
family of non empty set is non empty.


True, but my dictionary says arbitrary means based on a random  
choice or personal whim.


It math, if P(x) is true for arbitrary x, it just means that P(x) is  
true for all x.





 There is no clue of direct relationship with physics

If modern physics said randomness does not exist then there would be  
a conflict with the Axiom of Choice,


The axiom of choice has nothing to with randomness, a priori. I can  
imagine the existence of theories bringing relation, for divine (non  
turing emulable) entities. But then you have to present those theories.





they could not both be true; but physics says randomness DOES exist  
so they are compatible.


Comp says randomness does exist, and physics confirms that, OK. But  
again, this has nothing to do directly with the axiom of choice which  
concerns set theory.


There are evidence that 'mathematical physics can live in little  
constructive toposes, and if I remember well the reading of papers  
some time ago, I think that the axiom of choice makes those toposes,  
or topoi, boolean, that is still obeying classical logic, which is not  
so much liked by the constructive people. Physics lives in very short  
initial segment of ZF, it is not clear if the axiom of choice says  
anything about the physical reality, nor even of the math, except by  
making true some nice completing property, like having *all* Hilbet  
space having orthonormal base, in physics, or like all consistent set  
of sentences having unique consistent extensions. But, with comp, this  
concerns the epistemology, and things are very difficult.
Consciousness surfs on coherent dreams, and it is just an open  
question if that converges to a unique physical universe, or a unique  
multiverse, or a unique multi-multiverse, or and this on all ordinals  
(in which theory? With AC?.






 It has a priori nothing to do with free will

Of course it doesn't, nothing real can have anything to do with  
free will because free will is gibberish.



That is *your* theory, and to be honest, I don't find it so much  
interesting. I do agree that some definition of free will are  
gibberish, that is either inconsistent, or empty, but some are not.


I suggest that free-will is the machine awareness of the possibility  
of hesitating in front of a spectrum of possibilities.


Butterflies are close to free will, imo, because of the spectrum of  
flowers and nectars, but I have no evidence that butterfly have free  
will because I have no evidence that butterfly can infer and reflect.  
They might be mainly attracted. But I gave evidence that jumping  
spiders and octopi have free will in the sense that they do infer the  
possibilities, and reflect on it.
Relatively to their cognitive abilities, they have as much free will  
than you, me and PA (with the definition above).





But the Axiom of Choice does have something to do with cause and  
effect and randomness because those things are not gibberish,


We could make that true if we would formalize physics in set theory.  
But there are conceptual reason why such an enterprise is doomed at  
the start.
ZF is the fortran of the mathematical theories. Just an altar for  
category theory and natural transformations (Eilenberg and MacLane).


I love ZF, but as a very imaginative Löbian machine.

To say that the axiom of choice has something to do with the notion of  
cause and effect, without saying in which theory you work is confusing.





it even has something to do with intelligence. When Alan Turing  
designed the first stored program electronic digital computer, the  
Manchester Mark 1, he insisted it have a hardware random number  
generator incorporated in it because he felt that pseudo-random  
numbers being produced by a numerical process could not be truly  
random. He thought that if a machine could sometimes make purely  
random guesses and then use logic to examine the validity of those  
guesses it might be able to overcome some of the limitations he  
himself had found in pure Turing Machines (although he never used  
that name for them), and then you could make what he called a  
Learning Machine. He thought that in this way the limitations all  
deterministic processes have that he and Godel had found might be  
overcome, at least in part.


For problem solving this in vindicated by the result that Random  
Oracle can enlarged classes of problem solving. Those are given by  
necessary non constructive proofs. This does not overcome  
Incompleteness or insolubility, but can reduce complexities in  
relative way. That might play a role in the first person indeterminacy  
comp measure problem, as it gives freely a first person random  
Oracle a priori, relativized by their many computational extensions.


Bruno




Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread meekerdb

On 5/31/2012 10:24 AM, John Clark wrote:
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM, Brian Tenneson tenn...@gmail.com 
mailto:tenn...@gmail.com wrote:


 Of course it doesn't, nothing real can have anything to do with free 
will
because free will is gibberish.


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/



I stopped reading after the first line:

“Free Will” is a philosophical

Already I have a bad feeling about this.

 term of art or a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of 
action from among various alternatives. 


If they are rational agents then it's rational and if it's rational then there is a 
reason behind it and if there is a reason behind it then it's deterministic.



That's not logically the case.  People who believe in 'free will' think the reason is in 
front of it, i.e. the reason for posting this is to communicate.  If they believe in 
'libertarian free will' they think that this teleological reason can be an efficient 
physical cause with no determinate antecedents. A random event could satisfy the 
'efficient physical cause' but they rule out random events as inconsistent with obviously 
purposeful decisions and actions.  This contradicts our theories of physics and the brain 
- but it is not a logical contradiction as you imply.


Brent


Like I said, gibberish, but that shouldn't be surprising, it was after all written by 
philosophers.


  John K Clark


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread meekerdb

On 5/31/2012 10:57 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
it even has something to do with intelligence. When Alan Turing designed the first 
stored program electronic digital computer, the Manchester Mark 1, he insisted it have 
a hardware random number generator incorporated in it because he felt that 
pseudo-random numbers being produced by a numerical process could not be truly random. 
He thought that if a machine could sometimes make purely random guesses and then use 
logic to examine the validity of those guesses it might be able to overcome some of the 
limitations he himself had found in pure Turing Machines (although he never used that 
name for them), and then you could make what he called a Learning Machine. He thought 
that in this way the limitations all deterministic processes have that he and Godel had 
found might be overcome, at least in part.


For problem solving this in vindicated by the result that Random Oracle can enlarged 
classes of problem solving. Those are given by necessary non constructive proofs. This 
does not overcome Incompleteness or insolubility, but can reduce complexities in 
relative way. That might play a role in the first person indeterminacy comp measure 
problem, as it gives freely a first person random Oracle a priori, relativized by 
their many computational extensions.


Bruno



And it is a very likely trick for evolution to have developed since making random choices 
is part of optimum strategies in games with incomplete information.


Brent

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread John Clark
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net wrote:

  If they are rational agents then it's rational and if it's rational
 then there is a reason behind it and if there is a reason behind it then
 it's deterministic.

  That's not logically the case.  People who believe in 'free will' think
 the reason is in front of it,


In front of it? I don't know what that means and I would bet money you
don't either. It sounds good though as long as you don't examine it.

 the reason for posting this is to communicate.


You wish to communicate your ideas, and there is a reason for this desire
(maybe genes maybe environment probably both), or maybe there is no reason
for this desire and is thus random.

 A random event could satisfy the 'efficient physical cause' but they rule
 out random events as inconsistent with obviously purposeful decisions and
 actions.


So fans of the free will noise think purposeful events, things that
happen for a reason, are not random, that is to say they did not happen for
no reason. Or to say the same thing with different words fans of the free
will noise think random events are random and purposeful events are
purposeful. Well, it may not be deep but at least it's true.

  John K Clark

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-31 Thread meekerdb

On 5/31/2012 12:39 PM, John Clark wrote:
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM, meekerdb meeke...@verizon.net 
mailto:meeke...@verizon.net wrote:



 If they are rational agents then it's rational and if it's rational 
then there
is a reason behind it and if there is a reason behind it then it's 
deterministic.

 That's not logically the case.  People who believe in 'free will' think 
the reason
is in front of it,


In front of it? I don't know what that means and I would bet money you don't either. It 
sounds good though as long as you don't examine it.


Look up 'teleology'. Almost any reason a person will give for their actions will be a 
reference to some future state.  In a deterministic world all physics is time reversible 
so there's no fundamental distinction between being determined by a future state and being 
determined by a past state.  But if successive states are not physically determined by 
prior states the two are not the same.




 the reason for posting this is to communicate.


You wish to communicate your ideas, and there is a reason for this desire (maybe genes 
maybe environment probably both),


There is a reason; I gave one.  But the question is whether this reason in terms of future 
purpose had a *physical* cause.  Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it 
did not, that my 'soul' or 'spirit' initiated the physical process without any 
determinative physical antecedent.



or maybe there is no reason for this desire and is thus random.

 A random event could satisfy the 'efficient physical cause' but they rule 
out
random events as inconsistent with obviously purposeful decisions and 
actions.


So fans of the free will noise think purposeful events, things that happen for a 
reason, are not random, that is to say they did not happen for no reason. Or to say the 
same thing with different words fans of the free will noise think random events are 
random and purposeful events are purposeful.


No, they think some events are physically uncaused but not-random (because they are 
purposeful). This is difficult to disprove empirically because the brain is very complex 
and has lots of random events in it (radioactive decay of potassium K40, gamma ray 
strikes,...).  So it is hard to eliminate the possibility that a 'spirit' might influence 
the distribution of these random events, in a way that our relatively crude monitoring 
could not detect, so that chaotic amplification would produce an action in accordance with 
the 'spirit' purpose.


I don't believe this theory because I think the apparent markers of 'free will', 
unpredictability and purposefulness, are easily explained without invoking 'spirits'.  But 
it's still an empirical question.


Brent



Well, it may not be deep but at least it's true.

  John K Clark


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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Stephen P. King

On 5/29/2012 11:46 PM, Jesse Mazer wrote:



On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM, Stephen P. King 
stephe...@charter.net mailto:stephe...@charter.net wrote:



Hi Jesse,

   Would it be correct to think of arbitrary as used here as
meaning  some y subset Y identified by some function i or mapping
j that is not a subset (or faithfully represented) in X, yet x =
y : x /subset X? The choice of a basis of a linear space comes
to mind. The idea is that one it is not necessary to specify the
method of identification ab initio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_initio.




I can't really tell what you're asking here. As I said, an arbitrary 
member of set Y will have property X just means every member of set 
Y has property X, nothing more complicated. For example, Y might be 
the set of all triangles in Euclidean geometry, and X might be the 
property of having all the inner angles add up to 180 degrees. It 
would be easier to understand your question if you similarly supplied 
some simple of what Y, y, j, X, and x could stand for, such that your 
description above would make sense.


Jesse
--

Hi Jesse,

You previously wrote: The notion of choosing isn't actually 
important--if a proof says something like pick an arbitrary member of 
the set X, and you will find it obeys Y, this is equivalent to the 
statement every member of the set _X obeys Y_. and not  an 
arbitrary member of set Y will have property X just means every member 
of set Y has property X , a small but possibly important difference.


Are you assuming a commutative relation for Y and X? Details...

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Onward!

Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Stephen P. King

On 5/29/2012 11:52 PM, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/29/2012 8:11 PM, Aleksandr Lokshin wrote:

The original poster introduces what free will means.
1) Every choice which is allowed in physics is a random choice or a 
determinate one.
2) If human free will choice exists, it is agreed that it is not 
determined by some law and is not a random process.
3)We have agfeed that the choice of an arbitrary element is not a 
random chaice and is not a choice determinate by some law.


We haven't even agreed that it is a choice.  It's just using a 
function, as in (. is an element of X) so (x is an element of X)-true 
and (y is an element of X)-false.  (all x |x an element of X) doesn't 
involve choosing an element x, just specifying a function that defines 
X.  Then it is a choice determinate by some law.  And whether X is 
infinite or finite is a red herring.  Suppose I said,Consider an 
arbitrary person with no feet. Then he has no toenails.  This is a 
perfectly valid inference whether there are finitely many or 
infinitely many persons in the multiverse.


Brent


Brent,

You are assuming that there is no difference between an known and 
an unknown quantity. A big mistake!




4)Therefore I do call it a free will choice in mathematics. One can 
consider it as a definition of a specific free will choice in 
mathematics.
5) If one uses mathematics, then one operates with a process which is 
prohibited in physics. Therefore an investigator who uses mathematics 
cannot deny existence of mental processes which cannot be described 
by physics (and, in particular, cannot deny existence of free will, 
even if free will is not introduced explicitly).

Good luck.



On Wed, May 30, 2012 at 6:39 AM, Stephen P. King 
stephe...@charter.net mailto:stephe...@charter.net wrote:


On 5/29/2012 2:09 PM, Joseph Knight wrote:



On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM, John Clark
johnkcl...@gmail.com mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com wrote:


On Sun, May 27, 2012  Aleksandr Lokshin aaloks...@gmail.com
mailto:aaloks...@gmail.com wrote:

 All main mathematical notions ( such as infinity,
variable, integer number) implicitly
depend on the notion of free will. 



Because nobody can explain what the ASCII string free will
means the above statement is of no value.


Precisely. The original poster should introduce some sensible
definition of free will. Good luck!






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Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Stephen P. King

On 5/30/2012 12:06 AM, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/29/2012 8:47 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:

On 5/29/2012 5:18 PM, Jesse Mazer wrote:



On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Aleksandr Lokshin 
aaloks...@gmail.com mailto:aaloks...@gmail.com wrote:


It is impossible to consider common properties of elements of an
infinite set since, as is known from psycology, a man can
consider no more than 7 objects simultaneously.


That's just about the number of distinct chunks of information you 
can hold in working memory, so that you can name the distinctive 
features of each one after they are removed from your sense 
experience (see 
http://www.intropsych.com/ch06_memory/magical_number_seven.html ). 
But I'm not talking about actually visualizing each and every member 
of an infinite set, such that I am aware of the distinctive features 
of each one which differentiate them from the others. I'm talking 
about a more abstract understanding that a certain property applies 
to every member, perhaps simply by definition (for example, 
triangles are defined to be three-sided, so three-sidedness is 
obviously one of the common properties of the set of all triangles). 
Do you think it's impossible to have an abstract understanding that 
a large (perhaps infinite) set of objects all share a particular 
property?


A single finite and faithful (to within the finite margin of 
error) representation of triangle works given that definition. This 
is there nominalism and universalism come to blows




Your remarkable objection that *if two mathematicians consider
two different arbitrary objects they will obtain different
results* demonstrates that you are not a mathematician.


Huh? I didn't write the phrase you put in quotes, nor imply that 
this was how *I* thought mathematicians actually operated--I was 
just saying that *you* seemed to be suggesting that mathematicians 
could only prove things by making specific choices of examples to 
consider, using their free will. If that's not what you were 
suggesting, please clarify (and note that I did ask if this is what 
you meant in my previous post, rather than just assuming it...I then 
went on to make the conditional statement that IF that was indeed 
what you meant, THEN you should find it impossible to explain how 
mathematicians could be confident that a theorem could not be 
falsified by a new choice of example. But of course I might be 
misunderstanding your argument, that's why I asked if my reading was 
correct.)


Arbitrary element is not an object, it is a  mental but
non-physical process  which*enables one to do a physically
impossible thing : to observe an infinite set of objects
simultaneously* considering then all their common properties at
a single really existing object. Therefore two different
mathematicians will necessarily obtain the same result.


So you agree mathematicians don't have to make an actual choice of a 
specific element to consider? Then how is free will supposed to be 
relevant if there is no actual choice whatsoever being made?


--
Why do you keep insisting on a specific property to the 
choice while being shown that the a priori specificity itself 
that is prohibited by the definition. 


He didn't refer to a specific property but to a specific choice of 
element, which is what Loskin says entails the magic ability to select 
one among an infinite number.  He apparently thinks of it like the 
complement of the axiom of choice: to pick an element you need to 
say,Not this one. Not this one. Not... an infinite number of times.


Hi Brent,

Yes, that is a very good point! The axiom of choice is a suspect 
here. Banach and Tarsky proved a paradox of the axiom of choice, it is 
the scalar field of mathematics, IMHO; you can get from it anything 
you want.





The point is is that what ever the choice is, there are ab initio 
alternatives that are not exactly known to be optimal solutions to 
some criterion and some not-specified-in-advance function that 
picks one.


???  The function is specified in advance, e.g. triangles is a 
function that picks out things with three sides meeting pairwise as 
three vertices.  But I have no idea what you mean by optimality.




What does that word mean? Try this  from 
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Optimality


*1.* 	(mathematics) 	*optimal* - Describes a solution to a problem which 
minimises some cost function. Linear programming 
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Linear+programming is one 
technique used to discover the optimal solution to certain problems. 	
*2.* 	(programming) 	*optimal* - Of code: best or most efficient in 
time, space or code size. 	



Is that helpful?

--
Onward!

Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Stephen P. King

On 5/30/2012 1:25 AM, Aleksandr Lokshin wrote:
5) If one uses mathematics, then one operates with a process which is 
prohibited in physics.


 Rubbish! 
I insist on my statement which, unfortunately, is not understood. I 
stop taking part in the discussion.

Best wishes
Ale


OK.

--
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Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 30 May 2012, at 08:12, Stephen P. King wrote:


On 5/30/2012 12:06 AM, meekerdb wrote:


On 5/29/2012 8:47 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:


On 5/29/2012 5:18 PM, Jesse Mazer wrote:




On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Aleksandr Lokshin aaloks...@gmail.com 
 wrote:
It is impossible to consider common properties of elements of an  
infinite set since, as is known from psycology, a man can  
consider no more than 7 objects simultaneously.


That's just about the number of distinct chunks of information  
you can hold in working memory, so that you can name the  
distinctive features of each one after they are removed from your  
sense experience (see http://www.intropsych.com/ch06_memory/magical_number_seven.html 
 ). But I'm not talking about actually visualizing each and every  
member of an infinite set, such that I am aware of the  
distinctive features of each one which differentiate them from  
the others. I'm talking about a more abstract understanding that  
a certain property applies to every member, perhaps simply by  
definition (for example, triangles are defined to be three-sided,  
so three-sidedness is obviously one of the common properties of  
the set of all triangles). Do you think it's impossible to have  
an abstract understanding that a large (perhaps infinite) set of  
objects all share a particular property?


A single finite and faithful (to within the finite margin of  
error) representation of triangle works given that definition.  
This is there nominalism and universalism come to blows





Your remarkable objection that if two mathematicians consider  
two different arbitrary objects they will obtain different  
results demonstrates that you are not a mathematician.


Huh? I didn't write the phrase you put in quotes, nor imply that  
this was how *I* thought mathematicians actually operated--I was  
just saying that *you* seemed to be suggesting that  
mathematicians could only prove things by making specific choices  
of examples to consider, using their free will. If that's not  
what you were suggesting, please clarify (and note that I did ask  
if this is what you meant in my previous post, rather than just  
assuming it...I then went on to make the conditional statement  
that IF that was indeed what you meant, THEN you should find it  
impossible to explain how mathematicians could be confident that  
a theorem could not be falsified by a new choice of example. But  
of course I might be misunderstanding your argument, that's why I  
asked if my reading was correct.)


Arbitrary element is not an object, it is a  mental but non- 
physical process  which enables one to do a physically impossible  
thing : to observe an infinite set of objects simultaneously  
considering then all their common properties at a single really  
existing object. Therefore two different mathematicians will  
necessarily obtain the same result.


So you agree mathematicians don't have to make an actual choice  
of a specific element to consider? Then how is free will supposed  
to be relevant if there is no actual choice whatsoever being made?


--
Why do you keep insisting on a specific property to the  
choice while being shown that the a priori specificity itself  
that is prohibited by the definition.


He didn't refer to a specific property but to a specific choice of  
element, which is what Loskin says entails the magic ability to  
select one among an infinite number.  He apparently thinks of it  
like the complement of the axiom of choice: to pick an element you  
need to say,Not this one. Not this one. Not... an infinite number  
of times.


Hi Brent,

Yes, that is a very good point! The axiom of choice is a suspect  
here. Banach and Tarsky proved a paradox of the axiom of choice, it  
is the scalar field of mathematics, IMHO; you can get from it  
anything you want.




Banach and Tarski proved an amazing theorem with the axiom of choice,  
but it is not a paradox, in the sense that it contradicts nothing, and  
you can't get anything from it.


Bruno






The point is is that what ever the choice is, there are ab initio  
alternatives that are not exactly known to be optimal solutions to  
some criterion and some not-specified-in-advance function that  
picks one.


???  The function is specified in advance, e.g. triangles is a  
function that picks out things with three sides meeting pairwise as  
three vertices.  But I have no idea what you mean by optimality.




What does that word mean? Try this  from 
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Optimality

1.	(mathematics)	optimal - Describes a solution to a problem which  
minimises some cost function. Linear programming is one technique  
used to discover the optimal solution to certain problems.	
2.	(programming)	optimal - Of code: best or most efficient in time,  
space or code size.	


Is that helpful?
--
Onward!

Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

--
You received this 

Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Jesse Mazer
On Wed, May 30, 2012 at 2:02 AM, Stephen P. King stephe...@charter.netwrote:

  On 5/29/2012 11:46 PM, Jesse Mazer wrote:



 On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM, Stephen P. King 
 stephe...@charter.netwrote:


  Hi Jesse,

Would it be correct to think of arbitrary as used here as meaning 
 some y subset Y identified by some function i or mapping j that is not a
 subset (or faithfully represented) in X, yet x = y : x /subset X? The
 choice of a basis of a linear space comes to mind. The idea is that one
 it is not necessary to specify the method of identification ab 
 initiohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_initio.





  I can't really tell what you're asking here. As I said, an arbitrary
 member of set Y will have property X just means every member of set Y has
 property X, nothing more complicated. For example, Y might be the set of
 all triangles in Euclidean geometry, and X might be the property of having
 all the inner angles add up to 180 degrees. It would be easier to
 understand your question if you similarly supplied some simple of what Y,
 y, j, X, and x could stand for, such that your description above would make
 sense.

  Jesse
  --

 Hi Jesse,

 You previously wrote: The notion of choosing isn't actually
 important--if a proof says something like pick an arbitrary member of the
 set X, and you will find it obeys Y, this is equivalent to the statement
 every member of the set *X obeys Y*. and not  an arbitrary member of
 set Y will have property X just means every member of set Y has property
 X , a small but possibly important difference.

 Are you assuming a commutative relation for Y and X? Details...


Sorry, I was speaking informally, so I wasn't being too careful about
keeping my use of the symbols X and Y consistent from one post to another.
In the sentence an arbitrary member of set Y will have property X I was
using Y to refer to a set and X to refer to a property, while in the
sentence pick an arbitrary member of the set X, and you will find it obeys
Y it was X that referred to a set, and Y that referred to a property. I'll
try to stick to the second usage from now on to be consistent. Also, if I
was worrying more about notation it would be more standard to use Y(x) to
refer to the notion that some mathematical object x has a property Y, and
then if X refers to a set, I could write ∀x (x ∈ X - Y(x) ), which means
for all objects x in our domain of discourse, if x is a member of the set
X, this implies that x has property Y.

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread David Nyman
On 30 May 2012 04:16, Stephen P. King stephe...@charter.net wrote:

   I think that the word free means that it is unconstrained by a pre-given
 or knowable function; it is not the result of a known computational process.

I'm sorry if my point was not clear.  I simply meant that we can
define arbitrary, if we wish, to mean neither random nor constrained
by law.  Then, simply by convention, an arbitrary choice is freely
willed.  But this cannot by itself exhaust the analysis of any
particular agency because, as you say, we cannot be certain that it is
not constrained by some unknown or unknowable computational process.
Some particular agent can only be known to be free, in this sense, to
some limit.  Consequently, I don't see how we can argue from the
limitations of mathematicians as agents to the metaphysics of
mathematics.

David

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread David Nyman
On 30 May 2012 04:41, Jesse Mazer laserma...@gmail.com wrote:

 Only David Nyman agreed as far as I can see

See my reply to Stephen.

David

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Re: free will and mathematics

2012-05-30 Thread Stephen P. King

On 5/30/2012 4:45 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:


On 30 May 2012, at 08:12, Stephen P. King wrote:


On 5/30/2012 12:06 AM, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/29/2012 8:47 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:

On 5/29/2012 5:18 PM, Jesse Mazer wrote:



On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Aleksandr Lokshin 
aaloks...@gmail.com mailto:aaloks...@gmail.com wrote:


It is impossible to consider common properties of elements of
an infinite set since, as is known from psycology, a man can
consider no more than 7 objects simultaneously.


That's just about the number of distinct chunks of information 
you can hold in working memory, so that you can name the 
distinctive features of each one after they are removed from your 
sense experience (see 
http://www.intropsych.com/ch06_memory/magical_number_seven.html ). 
But I'm not talking about actually visualizing each and every 
member of an infinite set, such that I am aware of the distinctive 
features of each one which differentiate them from the others. I'm 
talking about a more abstract understanding that a certain 
property applies to every member, perhaps simply by definition 
(for example, triangles are defined to be three-sided, so 
three-sidedness is obviously one of the common properties of the 
set of all triangles). Do you think it's impossible to have an 
abstract understanding that a large (perhaps infinite) set of 
objects all share a particular property?


A single finite and faithful (to within the finite margin of 
error) representation of triangle works given that definition. 
This is there nominalism and universalism come to blows




Your remarkable objection that *if two mathematicians
consider two different arbitrary objects they will obtain
different results* demonstrates that you are not a mathematician.


Huh? I didn't write the phrase you put in quotes, nor imply that 
this was how *I* thought mathematicians actually operated--I was 
just saying that *you* seemed to be suggesting that mathematicians 
could only prove things by making specific choices of examples to 
consider, using their free will. If that's not what you were 
suggesting, please clarify (and note that I did ask if this is 
what you meant in my previous post, rather than just assuming 
it...I then went on to make the conditional statement that IF that 
was indeed what you meant, THEN you should find it impossible to 
explain how mathematicians could be confident that a theorem could 
not be falsified by a new choice of example. But of course I might 
be misunderstanding your argument, that's why I asked if my 
reading was correct.)


Arbitrary element is not an object, it is a  mental but
non-physical process  which*enables one to do a physically
impossible thing : to observe an infinite set of objects
simultaneously* considering then all their common properties
at a single really existing object. Therefore two different
mathematicians will necessarily obtain the same result.


So you agree mathematicians don't have to make an actual choice of 
a specific element to consider? Then how is free will supposed to 
be relevant if there is no actual choice whatsoever being made?


--
Why do you keep insisting on a specific property to the 
choice while being shown that the a priori specificity itself 
that is prohibited by the definition. 


He didn't refer to a specific property but to a specific choice of 
element, which is what Loskin says entails the magic ability to 
select one among an infinite number.  He apparently thinks of it 
like the complement of the axiom of choice: to pick an element you 
need to say,Not this one. Not this one. Not... an infinite number 
of times.


Hi Brent,

Yes, that is a very good point! The axiom of choice is a suspect 
here. Banach and Tarsky proved a paradox of the axiom of choice, it 
is the scalar field of mathematics, IMHO; you can get from it 
anything you want.




Banach and Tarski proved an amazing theorem with the axiom of choice, 
but it is not a paradox, in the sense that it contradicts nothing, and 
you can't get anything from it.


Bruno


The axiom of choice allows for violation of conservation laws, if 
it where to be a physical law.


--
Onward!

Stephen

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
~ Francis Bacon

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