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Free Will...


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#31 Davidov

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Posted 17 September 2002 - 08:59 PM

I'm not trying to sound snide here, but I'm just tired of endlessly debating this (plus I've had about 2 hours of sleep in the past 27 or so hours). I'm not saying I agree, it's just I don't believe this inherent rhetoric is getting anywhere anymore.

Chip, if you feel like you want to know more about FAI, go to the links I mentioned, or speak to the authors of such, like Eliezer Yudkowsky. You know how to contact them.

#32 Psychodelirium

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 02:20 AM

Psychodelirium, if I take your name seriously how can I take any thing you post as serious?


It's a joke, you see, so as to provide some comic relief from all that vitriol in your previous post. I honestly don't know why you're being so bloody confrontational, but let me assure you that no one here is out to get you, to argue for the sake of argument, or to obfuscate anything. I would much rather discuss the relevant issues with you coherently, but as it stands I've yet to even figure out what point you're trying to make. You're sort of all over the place. [wacko]

Am I aware of a branch of computer science called artificial intelligence?  Have you stopped beating your spouse yet?


I guess I'll take that as a, "no, I've never heard of AI outside of sci-fi movies and crazy transhumanists." I'll answer it with a, "well, there is in fact a branch of computer science called AI, it's been referred to as AI since the 50's or 60's, and if you're getting the vibe that some people are exasperated with your commentary, perhaps you might familiarize yourself with it just a bit so that we can all get on the same page here."

Are you saying I should align the word artificiality with naturalness?  I see you are attemting to rephrase things for my humble benefit but are you making sense yet?


I'm not attempting to rephrase things. I've been saying the very same thing from the beginning, in language that I thought was fairly clear and concise. The word "artificial", in this context or in most others, means "created by intelligence". It does not mean "unnatural" or "unreal", unless these are qualities you commonly associate with intelligence. Can you elaborate for me why this concept is causing confusion for you?

As far as using the terminology because that is what convention has given us, I say convention has probably cost more lives than AI so far.  I am not satisfied with the way the world is now.  We neglect and abuse our life support systems while we muse of great technological magic bullets.  I don't like convention for convention's sake.  If we can't question convention then we are doomed and probably before we can reach the blissful womb like state of living under the auspices of the all powerful and compassionate singularity.


How do we get from "AI has been called AI for several decades and trying to call it something else because you just happen not to like the word 'artificial' would do more harm than good" to this tirade about how much convention sucks? I'm not saying that challenging the status quo is a bad idea - that would be a great heresy in these circles. I'm just saying that rewriting technical dictionaries because of an ambiguity that exists only in irrelevant contexts is probably kind of pointless. It strikes me that it would be easier to get rid of the cultural residue that suggests an association between 'artificial' and 'unnatural' (for the average person, this can be done in a few minutes' rational reflection), then to invent some new word altogether, which would probably connote some kind of digerati elitisim more than anything else.

WHY CAN'T US HUMANS ORGANIZE COOPERATIVELY INTO A SUPERMIND?


This is a very good question which I would be more than glad to discuss with you (later), but I lack the time to provide an in-depth response at this moment. The question I would ask you to ponder in the meantime would be "haven't we organized cooperatively into a supermind already?" ;)

#33 Guest_Guest_Chip_*

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 05:23 AM

I’m sorry, that quip “Have you stopped beating your spouse yet” was confrontational. I assumed perhaps wrongly that if we were discussing computer simulation and emulation of intelligence we would have excused ourselves if we were not at least somewhat aware of the concept. I am an A+ certified computer technician. I have written FORTRAN, various versions of Basic, LISP and other language programs (If I recall correctly, LISP is considered as the first major AI language), interacted with simple intelligence programs that emulate professionals, played games against computers and I try to keep abreast of developments as an avid reader and surfer. I’ve built some complex database management systems using Visual Basic, Access and some SQL. I’ve had a class in JAVA in which I did okay and I plan on developing that skill more. .NET is very interesting and I’ve started learning at least how to port some of my existing applications to the new format. I’ve worked professionally with Novell, DOS, Windows (all versions) and Macintosh networks. I’m not altogether a computer scientist but I know my way around them. Seems maybe I have more experience with machine intelligence than you.

Psychodelerium says “’Artificial’ = constructed by intelligence.”
And says, “I'm not attempting to rephrase things.”

Okay, why should I attempt communication with you when you deny what you’ve done within the last couple of posts? I mean, I now have to question everything you say, whether it is an attempt to converse seriously or joke in the face of such “bloody” vitriol lol. Consider that “artificial” pertains to something that is “created by intelligence.” That means there are a good many things that would qualify including a beaver dam which appears to be a meaningless distinction. The definition I get from http://www.wordsmyth.net/ doesn’t say anything about intelligence. Looks like out of the three alternate definitions posted, the second one is what is used when we make reference to AI, which is “created to imitate something natural.” One definition supplied by http://www.rhymezone.com/ is “not arising from natural growth or characterized by vital processes.” Oh boy, just what I want to rule my life, something that is alienated, out of touch with, not dependent on “natural growth” or “vital” processes which in this case I take as meaning involving living systems.

The Public TV station I’m watching right now is providing a show on new chemicals in our environment, 15,000 different ones each year with only 43% tested for safety. Cancers, disabilities and learning disorders are increasing in frequency. Computer intelligence, mimicking the reasoning and decision making of human beings, has and continues to gain more utility in many different fields including the military and the ways and means of efficient media control. Marketing schemes are designed to promote the bottom line. We have computerized intelligence, machine intelligence, lots of different terms that mean more and in a safety determination way than the moniker AI, and some are involved in profiting from destruction of natural growth and disregard if not outright cessation of living systems right now. Heck, you can tell I’m angry about it. All this blind unquestioning striving for new applications of AI, genetic engineering (Is it any wonder that the first transgenic food plants were inadvertently released before studies were done as to their safety?), uploading which can be considered as an offshoot of ergonomics, the design of more personal and less intrusive machine-human interfaces, these are being used in a non friendly way. Can you say the drive for AI won’t create more accidental unfriendliness? All I am saying is look at human intelligence first. Lets uplift it now with what we’ve got. One aspect of human intelligence seems most disregarded as far as scientific development goes, being “the least developed science” as Bucky put it, sociology.

I become more convinced that I do not want AI. Computerized intelligence must always be answerable to human beings. I want us to gain control of something that is currently out of control and I want us to keep that control for all time as the science gets better and better. I want this for every field of human teleology. This is my test of free will. lol

“haven't we organized cooperatively into a supermind already?"

No, “we haven’t yet learned how to retain our humaneness when assembled in masses” as the author of Notes of a Biology Watcher, Lewis Thomas (?) stated. I say it is time to do so and further add, this endeavor to learn how to socialize may be the only way we can survive the information explosion, the only way to keep the growing and expanding field of computerized intelligence to the service of humanity, the narrow path that promises to render all dangers surmountable. Psychodelerium, I have a social theory in need of some testing described at http://www.ergodicity.org which I am attempting to promote as a priority if we are to find and lead the lives of transhumanists.

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#34 Psychodelirium

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 08:24 PM

I assumed perhaps wrongly that if we were discussing computer simulation and emulation of intelligence we would have excused ourselves if we were not at least somewhat aware of the concept.


Well, I did too, until you started trying to prove that people who use the term "AI" are existentially alienated.

I have written FORTRAN, various versions of Basic, LISP and other language programs (If I recall correctly, LISP is considered as the first major AI language), interacted with simple intelligence programs that emulate professionals, played games against computers and I try to keep abreast of developments as an avid reader and surfer.  I’ve built some complex database management systems using Visual Basic, Access and some SQL.  I’ve had a class in JAVA in which I did okay and I plan on developing that skill more.  .NET is very interesting and I’ve started learning at least how to port some of my existing applications to the new format.  I’ve worked professionally with Novell, DOS, Windows (all versions) and Macintosh networks.


Yes, well, and I can write with Basic, C++, HTML, and have taken A+, Networking, and Web Design classes, so I could obtain A+ and CIW certification if I ever deemed it necessary. I can find my way around DOS and Windows as well as the next guy and I bet I enjoy playing computer games no less than you. Unfortunately, though, I didn't have a clue about AI until I got into philosophy of mind, cognitive science, formal systems, and so forth, so none of that tells me very much.

Psychodelerium says “’Artificial’ = constructed by intelligence.”  
And says, “I'm not attempting to rephrase things.”

Okay, why should I attempt communication with you when you deny what you’ve done within the last couple of posts?


Ok. Let's go through my posts one by one.

1st post: "Our technology is 'natural', because we are, and 'artificial', because we constructed it... 'Artificial Intelligence' is intelligence designed by another intelligence."

2nd post: "'Artificial' = constructed by intelligence. What's the bloody confusion about? Is it you, perhaps, that has fallen into the trap I mentioned above of alligning artificiality with 'unnaturalness'?"

3rd post: "The word 'artificial', in this context or in most others, means "created by intelligence". It does not mean 'unnatural' or 'unreal', unless these are qualities you commonly associate with intelligence."

I'll let my words speak for themselves.

Consider that “artificial” pertains to something that is “created by intelligence.” That means there are a good many things that would qualify including a beaver dam which appears to be a meaningless distinction. The definition I get from http://www.wordsmyth.net/ doesn’t say anything about intelligence. Looks like out of the three alternate definitions posted, the second one is what is used when we make reference to AI, which is “created to imitate something natural.” One definition supplied by http://www.rhymezone.com/ is “not arising from natural growth or characterized by vital processes.”


Fine. Now let's look at some definitions of "artificial intelligence" from the same sources:

wordsmyth: "1. the research in and development of computer programs or computers to initiate human thought processes such as reasoning or decision-making"

rhymezone: "noun: the branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively"

And a few others:

dictionary.com: "n. Abbr. AI
1. The ability of a computer or other machine to perform those activities that are normally thought to require intelligence.
2. The branch of computer science concerned with the development of machines having this ability."

Online Dictionary of Computing: "<artificial intelligence> (AI) The subfield of computer science concerned with the concepts and methods of symbolic inference by computer and symbolic knowledge representation for use in making inferences. AI can be seen as an attempt to model aspects of human thought on computers. It is also sometimes defined as trying to solve by computer any problem that a human can solve faster.

Examples of AI problems are computer vision (building a system that can understand images as well as a human) and natural language processing (building a system that can understand and speak a human language as well as a human). These may appear to be modular, but all attempts so far (1993) to solve them have foundered on the amount of context information and "intelligence" they seem to require. "

University of Alberta Cog Sci Dictionary: "Artificial intelligence is concerned with the attempt to develop complex computer programs that will be capable of performing difficult cognitive tasks. Some of those who work in artificial intelligence are relatively unconcerned as to whether the programs they devise mimic human cognitive functioning, while others have the explicit goal of simulating human cognition on the computer."

Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind: "artificial intelligence - The science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by [people] (Minsky, 1968). See connectionism, symbolicism.

More precisely, the branch of computer science which attempts to simulate human cognition by means of machines.

The birth of AI was at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence organized by John McCarthy in 1956. However, researchers had been working on problems related to machine intelligence decades earlier (e.g. Turing). The early years of AI were dependent on symbolic models of cognitive processing which are formally equivalent to the Turing machine and thus algorithmically calculable. The Physical Systems Symbol Hypothesis of Newell and Simon formalized the commitments of this sort of approach to machine intelligence."

The Web Dictionary Of Cybernetics and Systems: "A branch of computer science concerned with the programming of computers so that they exhibit apparently intelligent behavior, e.g., the design of robots, chess playing automata or theorem proving machines. Branches of artificial intelligence are pattern recognition, problem-solving, language processing and game playing. The only moderate success of reproducing human intelligence has nevertheless stimulated considerable insights into human cognitive processes and the use of computer metaphors in theories of mental activities is rampant (see anthropomorphism). (krippendorff)"

The bottom line? Your argument is incredibly context-insensitive. People who have meaningful discussions about "AI", like people on this site, do not associate the term with any nonsense about "unnaturalness", which is, in my opinion, a bogus term invented by rhetoricians and demagogues.

On another note, I apologize, but I'm again a bit too pressed for time to dig into the rest of your post. I'll try to do so later tonight, but I also promised Bruce to post my old paper on Free Will and Determinism here, which I still have yet to do, so I'll hand the fascinating semantics over to any other takers for the time being.

#35 Chip

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 11:37 PM

Psychodelirium shared: “Well, I did too, until you started trying to prove that people who use the term "AI" are existentially alienated.”

I don’t think you can back this up with some facts but then, I think you are more inclined to reinvent my intent as something quite nonsensical rather than make an honest attempt at communication. Easier to argue against someone or their ideas if you can put words in their mouths.

My experience with LISP gave me some first hand experience with so-called artificial intelligence programming.

Your words speak for themselves as I inferred, you did try to rephrase the terms. It exemplifies the extent of the problem when a self appointed spokesman cannot be honest and has to defend their mistakes ad nauseum.

I saw some of those definitions of AI though I was looking and sharing the definition of “artificial” but then, I suppose AI is something unto itself and the adjective was not meant to be understood as such. Whoa, is science the art of inconsistent definition of basic terms?

You argue apples against oranges and you go on and on about your apples.

I’m reminded of the time I corrected a P.G. and E. spokesman when he stated that breeder reactors create more energy than they consume. I once asked a physics graduate if we could use fusion as a source of energy yet and he said no then I pointed out to him that most human energy is from the fusion of our sun. I once asked my sociology professor if we were members of the third world in revolution and upon his denial I pointed out to him that we are all on the third world from the sun that is in constant revolution. They basically had to agree that they were mistaken though they were offering commonly believed assumptions. I hold more respect for those who can admit misconstrued thought than the person who seems to have a dire need to be right all the time.

Gee, “rhetorician and demagogue,” I am so humbled. I’m learning some new put-down insults here. It seems to me that you are the one twisting terms and subjects while being unable to admit your obvious false statements. Oh you apologize for not being able to share more of your self-judged “fascinating semantics.” Apology not accepted, I appreciate the break from the self-assumed superiority. I find that people who are quite convinced of their righteousness on a subject who can not even admit a simple lie they made to be not worthy of much attention but then, this chat room doesn’t have that “ignore” function that other chat rooms have. The intelligence of human communications is certainly in need of improvement. Guess one is fated to seeing demonstrations of belief in “might makes right.” Yeah, maybe someone else can take up the struggle. Go team go!

#36 MichaelAnissimov

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 02:32 AM

Chip, welcome to the imminst.org forums, I've been quite impressed by the eloquence and elaboration present in all of your posts!

I’m just asking you to make the leap to the understanding that our society right now allows the creation of technology for ends that are both nonsensical and destructive; that how and why we make any technology should be the prime consideration. Saying that sociology should be of higher priority than the singularity does not mean that the singularity shouldn’t be of high priority also.


I agree *entirely* with the first sentence. Instead of pointing out "society" as the root cause, however, I would be more specific and target "human nature in general" as the culprit of the use of technology for evil or selfish ends. Our evolved instincts are simply insufficient to handle our current level of technology safely. In any day and age except for now, I would totally advocate the application of sociology to engineer human social systems that facilitate the goals of their constituent humans in the most constructive possible manner. In fact, throughout history the condition of human politics and interaction has slowly improved due to a memetic selective process that bought down corrupt monarchs and replaced them with (less corrupt) democracies. But fundamentally, humans have not changed - biological evolution is far too slow to improve our brains in historical time, and in contemporary society, natural selection is nonexistent. Witholding a massive catastrophe, technologies will soon become available that will allow us to modify, and potentially improve *human nature itself*, giving humans the potential to become transhumans and improve our intelligence itself. Human sociology is the science which consists of humans studying human interaction with human-level intelligence and foresight; it was great in the past, but now it's simply being overshadowed by impending future changes and the opportunity to improve our behavior/thought patterns by directly manipulating the hardware structures which give rise to cognition itself. Accelerating advances in sociology by making it a deliberate priority would unarguably yield benefits - but these benefits would be lost in an instant if an amoral superintelligence were created, or if nanotechnological warfare resulting in global destruction, or if a genetically engineered supervirus were released, or any other number of horrible disasters which we can't even see in advance. Improving humanity's overall problem-solving ability in the most direct possible way (neuroelectronics, brain-computer interfaces, AIs, etc) seems, to me, to be the most leveraged way to confront all future problems, *including* sociological problems!

Artificial intelligence won’t be an adjunct or supplement to the designing intelligence? It implies two separate intelligences? You don’t see how this might be construed as a striving for an alienated and existential (as in existentialism) condition where a creator and its creation are divested of each other’s responsibilities?


One major goal that transhumanists tend to gravitate towards is ensuring that the inevitable creation of genuine Artifical Intelligence is a positive event for humanity. I think the word "supplement" is an appropriate adjective, although "supplement" usually denotes "adding stuff on within the preexisting framework", rather than "a complete overhaul of the preexisting system". Since greater-than-human intelligences will operate in an extremely time-dilated reference frame (by virtue of their accelerated cognitive substrate), and possess qualitatively smarter intelligence than human beings, it is potentially dangerous to model them as the game-theoretic equivalents of their creators. For this reason, many transhumanists are cautiously optimistic about Artificial Intelligence - it seems very likely that AI arrive come before any other prospective ultratechnology, but the *integrity* of artificial intelligences is entirely contingent upon the course of action we take today, and represents a point of criticality for humanity's entire future. It is for this reason that AI advocates study and argue for the importance of developing benevolent AIs effectively and promptly - existential escape isn't an impetus, at least as far as I can tell.

If you'd like to continue this discussion, by all means - but please make sure to create another thread! Thanks, and once again, welcome to the forums!

#37 Chip

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 09:49 AM

Thanks MichaelAnissimov. It's good to see cooler heads prevail. Okay, I'm going to respond but will do so at http://www.imminst.o...899c0c9c129c0ed which if the link doesn't work is the forum with discussion at the poll on "Singularity: Goodness," created by yourself.

#38 Psychodelirium

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 12:44 PM

Psychodelirium shared: “Well, I did too, until you started trying to prove that people who use the term "AI" are existentially alienated.”

I don’t think you can back this up with some facts but then, I think you are more inclined to reinvent my intent as something quite nonsensical rather than make an honest attempt at communication.  Easier to argue against someone or their ideas if you can put words in their mouths.


Come again? [huh]

Quoth Chip: "An existential component is here and I mean as in existentialism and not existence. It is from seeing oneself as not a part of universe that one can find use of the word “artificial” as acceptable. So the alienated, the inherently out-of-touch are proclaiming the worthiness of a cause. Oh boy. No, I don’t think I’m underestimating SIAI. I think I’m nailing them on their little pointed heads."

Now what else does that mean if not what I wrote above? No, seriously. What does this mean? I would hope that if you actually cared a wit about honest communication, and thought that your position was being misrepresented, you might want to clarify it before accusing people of straw men - especially seeing as I've asked you to do so on two prior occasions!

Your words speak for themselves as I inferred, you did try to rephrase the terms.  It exemplifies the extent of the problem when a self appointed spokesman cannot be honest and has to defend their mistakes ad nauseum.


Well, I guess I can't read between my own lines, because I still haven't the foggiest notion of what you're talking about.

I saw some of those definitions of AI though I was looking and sharing the definition of “artificial” but then, I suppose AI is something unto itself and the adjective was not meant to be understood as such.  Whoa, is science the art of inconsistent definition of basic terms?


Not, really. This is just further proof of the very obvious...

PD's Law of Semantical Argument : Different words mean different things to different people in different contexts.

You'll have to excuse the structuralist in me, but my contention is that the meaning of a word or term in any given context is what people use it to mean in said context. Do you disagree?

<lots of ridiculous ad hominem remarks>


Um, what was that you were saying about "cooler heads"? Because it seems to me your tone since the beginning of the discussion has done nothing but progress from underhandedly insulting to explicitly offensive. If I didn't know these forums better, I'd imagine that you were yet another instance of the net archetype of the Troll. Sorry, but loading your every reply with vacuous comments about what nasty persons your opposition are is not going to help the discussion.

#39 Chip

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 04:10 PM

Hmmmm, well, I would suggest we take this thread to a more appropriate area such as http://www.imminst.o...899c0c9c129c0ed so I respond there. Might you adhere to this courtesy too Psycho? May I call you Psycho as we seem to be getting more familiar with each other? lol

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#40 Guest_Guest_caliban_*

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 06:28 PM

aha NOW you are moving

pity you first had to ruin such a nice topic

but i suposse 'free will' comes in all forms and sizes

#41 Chip

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 07:29 PM

I suppose you are referring to me? I for one got a lot of growth and learning about my own concepts of free will that I shared initially and somewhat revised as others discussed it with me. Some wanted to go off on a tangent and I went there with their prodding and if I ruined this forum then they did too. Why not add your wisdom of the concept of free will rather than paint things so bleakly? Of course, that would tend to make this place not ruined and maybe you would rather not improve the situation out of spite. I am not going to consider this place as ruined. I'll leave you to box yourself into that corner.

#42 Mind

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 05:29 PM

I know others have mentioned Libet in this thread already. For those who may have not read about his experiments here is an article that recently appeared in the Boston Globe.

http://www.boston.co..._of_willP.shtml

If consciousness and free will are just illusions...let me tell you...they are very powerful illusions.

#43 Bruce Klein

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 02:12 PM

Interesting Article...

A question of will

The issue of free will has perplexed theologians and philosophers for centuries - now neuroscience enters the age-old debate

By Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff, 10/15/2002


Try this: At a moment of your choosing, flick your right wrist. A bit later, whenever you feel like it, flick that wrist again.

Most likely, you'd swear that you, the conscious you, chose to initiate that action, that the flickings of your wrist were manifestations of your will.

But there is powerful evidence from brain research that you would be wrong. That, in fact, the signal that launched your wrist motion went out before you consciously decided to flick.

''But, but, but,'' you'd probably like to argue, ''but it doesn't feel that way!''

With that protest, you would be joining a great debate among neuroscientists, philosophers and psychologists that is a modern-day version of the age-old wrangling over free will.

The traditional conundrum went: ''How can God be all-knowing and all-powerful and yet humans still have free will?'' And later: ''How can everything be governed by the determinist forces of physics and biology and society, and yet humans still have free will?''

Those questions still concern many, but the new neuro-flavored debate over free will goes more like this: Is the feeling of will an illusion, a wily trick of the brain, an after-the-fact construct? Is much of our volition based on automatic, unconscious processes rather than conscious ones?

When Daniel M. Wegner, a Harvard psychology professor and author of a new book, ''The Illusion of Conscious Will,'' gives talks about his work, audience members sometimes tell him that if people are not seen as the authors of their actions, it means anarchy, the end of civilization. And worse. Some theologies, they tell him, hold that if there is no free will, believers cannot earn a ticket to heaven for their virtue.

More

#44 Guest_thanatos_*

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Posted 08 December 2002 - 08:39 PM

i have been arguing with my neighbor for quite some time about free will (and objectivity, for that matter). Free will implicitly connotes absolute control, which is impossible. all decisions are relatively arbitrary, and the closest to free will we can hope to get is to have our choice between a small collection of options. that is hardly free will. it's not as if i really weigh the decision to get a drink of water, or get a drink of kool-aid, i create the illusion of weighing the pros and cons so as to convince myself i have some sort of control, but i don't. it's not as if i stimulate my bicep, and tricep individually and coordinate them to make a fluid movement, my arm moves, and i say that "i" have done it post facto. i can't even stimulate my bicep individually of other muscles, i can't tell it to stretch or contract. granted, i can flex it, but not without the help of other muscles. this is not to say that i believe in destiny, because i do not. fate is ridiculous. absolutely ridiculous. if you believe in fate, then you need to believe in inanimate objects having destiny as well, which is preposterous. if you throw a rock at a guy's head, that would mean that the guy's fate was sealed, as was yours, but in addition to the two humans, the fate of the rock has been designed from day one. also, all the organisms on your body, and all the organisms you effected with your actions...think of the energy resources that the universe would need to dump into maintaining a program like fate.

consider this: you've copied yourself twice, atom for atom, and placed your copies in two identical rooms. These rooms are the same temperature, with same light levels, same desk, same chair, and same phone. for the sake of this argument, the phones in each room are connected, and they are both one-way lines, having the same number. Dialing 555-5555 on either phone will make the opposite phone ring, but if the opposite phone is off the hook, a busy signal would result. after placing your selves in the rooms at precisely the same moment, and in precisely the same way, you tell both of them to call the number on the desk in front of them (555-5555), they would pick up the phones in the same way, they would dial the number at the same rate and they would both hang-up when they recieved a busy signal. assuming that you change nothing, they would stay in these rooms dialing one another, picking up the phone at the same time, trying to suprise the person they are calling, trying to outsmart the person they are calling, and recieving busy-signals until they died. this would happen because we are organisms who respond to our environment. identical organisms evaluate the same situation (as in, absolutely identical situations) in the same way. their behavior would also be identical. this is how our brains work. a stimulus is recieved, and processed by the brain before we even get our cognitive cookbook out. our behavior is formulated seconds before we even think about our response. this is why we are compelled to behave in some ways, this is why we have automatic behaviors. gratned we can try to consciously append behavior after it has happened, or, if it's a long bahavior, while it's happening, but this doesn't change the fact that our brains, seperately from "us," have already "made the decision."

#45 fueki

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 10:40 PM

Bruce J. Klein, I like your mind.
I still think that I'm absolutely controlled by nature laws and that annoys me very much, and is very important issue in my life... I consider: there isn't free will. All happenings are fated because they have reasons. You see any mistakes? waiting for response...

#46 Bruce Klein

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 04:50 AM

Intelligent beings acting without the burden of outside coercion, do express a level of free will.

#47 fueki

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 10:39 AM

BJKlein>
Inside forces in our organism can control us too without free will because they have physical reasons, we = moving heap of atoms.

#48 Lazarus Long

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 01:08 PM

The arguments about Freewill are somewhat misleading because like so many aspects of philosophy, they are posed as a dialectic dichotomy. This is itself perhaps a falsehood.

It is certainly a false dichotomy in a practical sense because "Choice" (while percieved upon a continuum from better to worse) tends to be limited. But whether to choose or not, is a choice as well.

As frail humans we want nicely packaged realities that meet our criteria for an orderly Universe. Such things as "chaos" upsets many people so they do not accept them as a Natural Phenomenon but what we want is both the core of the issue and perhaps Universally irrelevant. Choice is an act of creation, this is not only an expression of freewill, but a defiance of the limits of determinism.

I have said earlier in this discussion I see this as allowing for both freewill and determinism to coexist, Hence what some call "soft" determinism. Why?

In part because we have the ability to invent choice. Choice is not limited as some would argue, it is an infinite spectrum between poles of worse and better but the actual number of possibilities can be argued to be an infinite set of options.

Predicitibility is both a product of Natural Law with regard to regional Laws of Physics and "Habit" in regard to human psychology. Many habits are a product of education but they are not limited to such and while we are a "creature of habit" we are not absolutely limited to being such. We can determine our own fate by challenging our selves and our own habits. We can learn, we can adapt, we can create, and we can metamorphose.

This flexibility in relation to the apparent limits of choice give any of us the ability to alter any given set of "choices" through the creation of invented alternatives. I also think that it is necessary to remind everyone that the jury isn't out on chaos either. Chaos is the element of chance taken to its extreme.

Chaos isn't simple random chance, (the mathematician's choice) chaos is an element of disorder that also appears to coexist on some Universal Level. This is a duality that disturbs many thinkers so they attempt to either ignore it or deny it, but it is like ignoring the question of "What was everything before the Big Bang? " or "What is on the outside of the expanding Universe?"

We have theoretical answers for such questions as these for the moment, but the answers aren't nearly as satisfying as the questions. And we can expect the answers to fall prey to more information and be washed away with the flood of knowledge that occassionally inundates the course of time.

#49 Omnido

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 03:27 AM

[B)] Indeed, indeed. Well said, well said.

One of the more interesting premises I found Laz, was that without True Chaos; insofar as we accept the possible definition of true chaos as being

"Any system or force with which acts upon all fundamental systems that govern reality, as a direct interference with the normative absolute standard behind all cause and effect."


there is no free will. Free will must allow for the absence of absolute pre-determined possibility, or else it contradicts itself.
One has free will insofar as one can Do or Refrain from doing something.
Without the chaos theory, everything can be pre-determined and traced back to its origin, because without chaos, everything follows a model of operation, both perceivable and fundamental, and can be calculated with absolutism.

Now with chaos, the entire ball of wax all of a sudden inherits this minute flicker of probability which grabs the whole of the universe by its neck, and says "Ah, but you're going to do this just a tiny bit different than you're accustomed to."

Also the problem that true chaos is both external and internal, altering itself beyond even its own set of pre-defined rules.
If Entropy is also subject to Chaos, then it can never be ultimately defeated. Perhaps merely "filtered out" within special, controlled circumstances. But even then, if chaos is a system that not only affects the fundamental rules of its own reality, but also affects itself in a similar fashion, then the odds of isolating and controlling this force are all but completely impossible.

I will no go so far as to say it is impossible, but merely highly improbable.

So we are left with 2 choices.

1) Chaos doesn't exist! Hurray, everything can be determined, controlled, and manipulated. But...we are all a cause and effect with no objective free will whatsoever.

or

2) Chaos Exists. Hurray! We all have free will and are truly our own persons. But...we will never have absolute control, determinism, or manipulation.

Suffice it so say, I wish there were a 3rd option.
Perhaps there is, but at this point, I fail to recognize it.
Any suggestions? [B)]

#50 Lazarus Long

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 04:49 AM

Omnido says:
Indeed, indeed. Well said, well said.


Back at you Omnido I thoroughly enjoy your response and can only add:

Where there is a will there exists a way.

Suffice it so say, I wish there were a 3rd option.
Perhaps there is, but at this point, I fail to recognize it.
Any suggestions?  [B)]  


The third option is subject to our willingness to take responsibility for the sureality of our creations and our limited ability to balance Chaos and Natural Order.

Our minds are but fulcrums in Space/Time, our will just a simple lever. Its length and sturdiness determined by the strength and breadth of our knowledge and wisdom.

With this lever braced against our being we can move Heaven and Earth.

Anyone of us is capable but it is together that we are truly powerful.

#51 fueki

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 10:29 AM

Look what I've found out while talking to my father's friends - physicists. I said I believed Piere Simon Laplace's (famous french physicist and mathematician of the 18th age) theory of deteminism. And the men told me it's proved wrong because of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. That's what I found:
Heisenberg's Nobel lecture

So in conclusion - maybe our destiny isn't fated in advance, at least we can't find out what it is yet. But contingency and quantum fluctuations can also preclude our will. It seems there's v. little hope for us.

Edited by ImmortalPhilosopher, 02 November 2004 - 06:14 PM.


#52 Discarnate

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 10:02 PM

Well, first off, there are those out there who believe that 'free will' and 'predestination' aren't totally mutually exclusive. I don't grok their arguements, personally but they're out there.

As for free will. Sorry, but try this arguement on for size:

We do things because we wish to, either to avoid or garner a certain reaction. Why do we wish to?

Could it be that we've been programmed by our culture, our genes, and so forth to wish to?

This would kind of put the kibosh to 'free will', wouldn't it?

-Discarnate

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#53 fueki

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 11:14 PM

Could it be that we've been programmed by our culture, our genes, and so forth to wish to? This would kind of put the kibosh to 'free will', wouldn't it?
-Discarnate


Yes, It would. And I ~100% agree with sentence above :) It seems like the end of this disscusion. IMO as I said we should concetrate on 1)contingency and 2)quantum fluctuations. Agreements? Suggestions?

#54 Lazarus Long

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 11:23 PM

Leave it open as new tests to cognitive theory evolve, and/or our will is tested, or events manifest a new paradigm but there is still too little to resolve at the moment. The math is an interesting aspect because it opens more questions than it answers but the idea is reinforced to live long enough to return to this topic the way some great chess players attend a game with one move a year as they have randomly found the time.

Part of the problem with determinism is how it creates a false quality for chaos. Chaos does, or does not exist, and this in itself does not inherently mean that order cannot coexist with chaos. These are however other questions. [?]

Does the heart of black hole's, or the Pre-Big Bang Singularity's mathematics describe the totality of determinism or absolute chaos?

Randomness is a specific set of ordered chaos but true chaos does not have to be random, that is why it is chaotic; it is inherently unpredictable. [":)]

#55 John Doe

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 04:53 AM

Could it be that we've been programmed by our culture, our genes, and so forth to wish to? This would kind of put the kibosh to 'free will', wouldn't it?
-Discarnate


I agree. Both libertarianism and compatibilism fail.

I wrote an essay about this fascinating subject:

http://www.ece.utexa...determinism.htm

#56 DJS

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 05:50 AM

JD,

I liked the essay. I would also consider myself a determinist, just maybe not a "hard determinist". I think this difference arises from the fact that I am an agnostic (while you are atheist, correct?) and believe that issues of consciousness have yet to be satisfactorly resolved. By saying you are a hard determinist you are claiming to have proof that free will does not exist. While your essay was superb, it didn't offer clear cut proof. This isn't a knock on you, I just don't think this is a matter that will be put to rest anytime soon.

Another thought...

In your explaination of man's inability to comprehend his lack of free will you site the interplay between his conscious and unconscious mind. I agree with this. I think that the role the subconscious plays in a human's decision making process is often mistaken for free will.

It could be that mankind never realizes that he doesn't have free will. It may take a superintelligence to point out our lack of free will to us, by showing us time and time again that it can predict our actions with 100% certainty.

Edited by Kissinger, 04 July 2003 - 05:50 AM.


#57 John Doe

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 08:43 PM

JD,

I liked the essay.  I would also consider myself a determinist, just maybe not a "hard determinist".  I think this difference arises from the fact that I am an agnostic (while you are atheist, correct?) and believe that issues of consciousness have yet to be satisfactorly resolved.  By saying you are a hard determinist you are claiming to have proof that free will does not exist.  While your essay was superb, it didn't offer clear cut proof.  This isn't a knock on you, I just don't think this is a matter that will be put to rest anytime soon.


The distinction between strong atheism and agnosticism should not matter here but I do agree that an understanding of consciousness is essential to an understanding of freedom. I personally have always found the doctrine of epiphenomenalism, according to which all thoughts and sensations are products of the brain (including the sensation of will), to be most intuitive, although most everyone else does not agree. The best argument against epiphenomenalism, to my knowledge, is the common sense notion that our sensation of will does direct our actions (instead of simply correlating with them).

It could be that mankind never realizes that he doesn't have free will.  It may take a superintelligence to point out our lack of free will to us, by showing us time and time again that it can predict our actions with 100% certainty.


Yes, I mention this idea in my essay too. People may consider other people "free" because we cannot perfectly predict their actions, but would God, who can, agree?

#58 cameronreilly

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 08:13 PM

Can anyone here explain to me the process by which they consciously create a thought from scratch?

#59 Lazarus Long

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 08:42 PM

Define a word from perception and make that substance known to another. It is the first and from that number a series is born.

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#60 tbeal

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 06:46 PM

but it's not from 'scratch' as the state of your brain before that entirely controls what thought you had.




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