free will

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If you hold a stone in your hand and let it go it will fall to the ground, but if you hold a bird and let it go it may not land for minutes, or hours.

The argument against free will is that the bird is no less subject to the laws of physics than the stone; the apparent difference is due to our ignorance of the forces and effects acting in the case of the bird.   It is, I think, clear that argument is not rigorous!   As we don't know the forces and their effects we can hardly be sure they account for the bird's behaviour.    

In fact, we haven't got anywhere.   We neither know that physical laws do account for the bird's behaviour nor that they do not.  Whichever position one takes, an opponent can challenge with 'prove it!' to which no good answer can be made.

My view is that the world contains objects - such as rocks and steam engines - that manifest simple, deteministic behaviour and objects - such as birds and people - whose behaviour is far from simply deterministic.   Without prejudging the nature or existence of 'free will', objects of the latter kind appear to manifest 'free will'.

One view of free will sees it as a 'high level' function, dependent on having a brain capable of consciousness and hence 'illsusion', but I want to present a different view.   Consider,for example, an amoeba.  An amoeba encountering a food particle behaves in a complex but inflexible way.  I don't think amoeba can be said to have free will!   But more complicated organisms have a wider range of responses and have to choose how to respond to a stimulus.  Successul organisms will select a good option more frequently than unsucessful organisms.   Thus the power to make choices will evolve.   That is to say that organisms will evolve to make choices based on present conditions, past experience and even future expectation.   That is to say that if one interprets 'free will' as 'the power to make choices' then free will can be expected to arise by normal evolutionary principles.

I'm not interested in word-games that focus on whether free will is free or even if it is will.   I take free will to be only a name or label for our faculty to make choices.  The advantage of that is that it avoids getting bogged down in pointless semantics and turns the study of free will into a scientific study of a brain process.  I think we can get an understanding of free will by studying organisms of increasing omplexity and learning how they choose between optional strategies.  I expect that when we have done that, there will be no deep mystery about human free will.

 
  



--> @keithprosser
I thought you were bored with discussions about frrewill.
--> @keithprosser
According to quantum mechanics, unpredictability is an inherent quality of all matter. Unpredictability is also essential for freewill. Are the two connected? That is, is freewill just a manifestation of quantum fluctuations?
 
Because of quantum fluctuations, no two stones, even with identical starting conditions, will drop with precisely the same trajectory. One might say that the stone chooses a trajectory. It could be argued that the difference between the stone and the bird is just one of degree. The stone has far fewer possible choices.

Perhaps what we perceive as freewill is just the sum of quantum fluctuations in our brain.

--> @keithprosser
  I expect that when we have done that, there will be no deep mystery about human free will...........................(O)(O)(o)(o)(O)(O)...............
The appearance of free will -- illusory or not--.

The appearance of choice ---illusory or not--  independent from gravity and EMCharges.

1} (  )(  ) = Gravity Space and Dark Energy Space geodesic lines-of-relationhsip embrace the following set of two massess,

2} OO = two fermionic masses or two seemingly massless bosonic photons

3} ....... = background against which we observe 1and two above

4} .............................Us(O)(O).Us...........Them(O)(O)Them.........

5} If  Us and Them is the bilateral set of two hemi-spheres then we need a third set of geodesic or not, lines-of-relationship that connect the two hemi-sphere ex the corpus callosum. LINK

..........................(O)(O)(o)(o)(O)(O)...............

then we have the cerebrium { mid-brain } and the brainstem{ 12 - 24? } cranial nerves

..........................(O)(O)(o)(o)(O)(O)...............two hemi-spheres and corpus callosum
...................................(oooo).........................cerebellum
.....................................(oo)...........................12 - 24? cranial nerves
......................................(o).............................31 bilateral spinal nerves
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--> @Stronn
In what way is unpredictability observably different from random chance? 
I guess you pick what you want but you can't pick the choices that you have open to you at that time with specific mindset you have.

You have choices but you don't exactly choose the choices to pick from. 

That would be the simplest cases that I have against free will.

--> @omar2345
I guess you pick what you want but you can't pick the choices that you have open to you at that time with specific mindset you have.
Thats called limited free will ex ...'an airplane pilot has limited amount abilities to will a plane headed toward earth in death spiral dive.'...B Fuller

The less experience of the pilot then the inherent less degrees-of-freedom { options } available to the pilot.

Uncertainty does not neccessitate chaos nor does in validate random disorder i.e. there can only exist order of Universe.

The lack of order is only humans inability to find that order.

Fourness is minimal set for complex consciousness and access to metaphysical-1 mind/intellect/concept and ego { * i  * ) LINK

1}..........................(O)(O)(o)(o)(O)(O)...............two hemi-spheres and corpus callosum
2} ...................................(oooo).........................cerebellum
3} .....................................(oo)...........................12 - 24? cranial nerves
4} ......................................(o).............................31 bilateral spinal nerves ego 62 spinal nerves

Pi^3 { XYZ } = 31.00 62 7 66

Pi^4{ XYZ + t } - 31 = 66.40 90 91 03 40 02 43 72 36 44

Pi^4{ XYZ + t } - 31 = 66.4 09 09 10 34 00 24 37 23 64 40 33

time = lag rates of consciousness

..."The phenomenon lag is simply due to the limited mechanism of the brain.
..We have towait for the afterimage in order to
realize.

....The norm of Einstein isabsolute speed instead of at rest. "At rest" was what we calledinstantaneous in our innocence of yesterday. We evolute towardever lesser brain comprehension lags__ergo,toward ever diminishing error; ergo, ever diminishingmisunderstandings; ergo, ever diminishing fear, andits brain-lagging painful errors ofobjectivity; wherefore we approach eternal instantaneityof absolute and totalcomprehension.

....The eternal instantaneity of no lag at all. However,we have now learned from ourgeneralizations of the great complexity of the interactionsof principles as we aredisembarrassed of our local, exclusively physical chemistryof information-sensingdevices__that what is approached is eternal and instantawareness of absolute reality ofall that ever existed.

....All the great metaphysical integrity of all the individuals,which is potential andinherent in the complex interactions of generalizedprinciples, will always and onlycoexist eternally."....

Thats called limited free will ex ...'an airplane pilot has limited amount abilities to will a plane headed toward earth in death spiral dive.'...B Fuller
Any limit on will does not make it free. It is not freedom of speech if there are restrictions. Same applies to will.
The less experience of the pilot then the inherent less degrees-of-freedom { options } available to the pilot.
Less options not freedom. Freedom is to do what you want but that is never ever the case. People abide by laws or rules put upon themselves.
Uncertainty does not neccessitate chaos nor does in validate random disorder i.e. there can only exist order of Universe.
There can be room of uncertainty in an ordered universe but that has remain to be seen. 
The lack of order is only humans inability to find that order.
This in no way answers if we have free will or not. 
--> @secularmerlin
I thought you were bored with discussions about frrewill.
I'm pretty sure i've never discussed frrewill and only when people don't respond to free will threads will I believe in free will!

As I said in the OP, I don't want to prejude too much.  But it seems to me that there is a distinction between things people would say do display free will and objects that don't.


Even if you 'don't believe in free will' there is a difference in the way rocks and birds behave.  An aspect of the difference is birds makes choices and rocks don't, and that - I submit - is the intuitive reason people distinguish between having and not having free will.

I think amateur philosophers (like us!) can get hung up on the literal meaning of 'free' and 'will'.  The consequence is that we play 'dictionary wars' rather than thinking about the phenomenon itself.  Even if determinism is true, the causal chain from physics to behaviour is so distant an convoluted it is hardly relevant.  No one would think that 'explaining' ww2 as being predetermined by conditions at the big bang was a brilliant insight, so it is not a good explanation of free will either!

To suggest a differnt line for a free-will thread to take, let me ask if anyone can imagine a way to build a machine that manifests free will in the same way that people do (whether that is genuine free or illusory free will I do not specify!)


 

To suggest a differnt line for afee will thread to take, let me ask if anyone can imagine a ay to make a machine that manifests free will in the same way that people do (whether that is genuine free or illusory free will I do not specify!)
Quantum events give the appearance of freewill in that they have patterns that are unpredictable. This is indistinguishable from the phenomenon you are referring to as choice.

--> @secularmerlin
A process can be random but still be predictable. Radioactive decay events, for instance, occur at random intervals, but over time the average number of such events per atom is highly predictable.
--> @Stronn
A process can be random but still be predictable. Radioactive decay events, for instance, occur at random intervals, but over time the average number of such events per atom is highly predictable.
Not all quantum events fall under this preview and many behaviors of organisms do. You have succeeded in blurring the line between random events and "choice" even further. If we cannot tell the difference between the two then we have no reason to consider "choice" more than a random event.
--> @Stronn
Quantum events give the appearance of freewill in that they have patterns that are unpredictable. This is indistinguishable from the phenomenon you are referring to as choice.
I wonder if that is true.   electrons etc. behave according to statististical laws with very high accuracy and reproducibility.   I am not sure my own choices are statistically correlated... are the statistics of my choose tea/coffee choices fixed?

I see a problem that it is impossible to make any prediction as to when a single, isolated radioactive atom will decay - that is totally indeteminate.   But the behaviour of an ensemble of many such atoms is highly predictable, so something deterministic is setting the half-life.   It seems to me that while we (by which I mean expert physicists!) know a lot about QM, there are still gaps in our understanding.  i am not sure if its a gap in out factual knowledge or in our philosophical understanding - either way there are still things we are yet to master.


--> @keithprosser
"Deterministic" is not the word I would use for what sets half-lives or other physical laws Deterministic means that, for a given set of starting conditions, future outcomes will always be the exactly the same. Even though we can predict with high accuracy how many atoms will decay in a one half-life, the exact number over that time in any one sample will vary, and will likely not be exactly one-half of the atoms. As for what sets those laws, I'm not sure that is an answerable question.
--> @secularmerlin
Yes, blurring the line between random events and choice was my intent. It may be that what we perceive as freewill and choice is a ultimately the product of random quantum events.
--> @Stronn
So we either have determinism (determinism is incompatible with freewill) or we have events that are indistinguishable from random (random events are incompatible with freewill). 
--> @secularmerlin
Or we truly have freewill.
--> @secularmerlin
I'll add that, if we truly have freewill, then quantum fluctuations provide a plausible mechanism for whatever force is behind choice (call it the will)  to interact with matter., inducing certain quantum events to occur in our brains. As such, it may in principle be detectable.
--> @Stronn
I think that if we have free will - which hasn't been proved absent - it must be dualistic.   For many people that is enough to rule it out.
--> @Stronn
Yes, blurring the line between random events and choice was my intent. It may be that what we perceive as freewill and choice is a ultimately the product of random quantum events.
Isn't everything ultmately the product of random quantum events?

--> @keithprosser
I believe it has been scientifically proven that it is impossible to account for all variables. This being the case, the free will/determinism debate is absurd in that it is never going to be conclusively solved in a scientific sense. There will always be room to doubt either position.



What I do know is that acceptance of the responsibility that comes with free will is better for the spiritual improvement of the individual. 

The church teaches that we have free will. If you do not accept this, you are effectively blaming God for your prelest.







--> @Stronn
Or we truly have freewill

That puts freewill in the same category as god(s). Some people really really really believe but there is simply no sufficient evidence.
--> @secularmerlin
Just because there is not sufficient evidence for it to be proven to you does not mean that there isn't sufficient evidence for it to be proven for somebody else.
--> @Mopac
Many people believe things that their epistpmologies do not support. I prefer to observe my epistemological limits honestly.