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Old 24th September 2017, 08:59 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Okay you're all over the map here. The brain is completely materialistic but consciousness is not "computational."

Err yer ..... I think that is what barehl implied.

"There is a disproof that consciousness can be created computationally."

Mind you I haven't seen such a proof yet but would be relieved to see one. If we create AI that has self awareness, and I would assume self preservation would be an automatic, we are in deep ****.
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Old 24th September 2017, 09:51 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
But how much of that is dependent on the reality of a physics based deterministic outcome?

I've never thrown anybody onto someone else's lawn. I'll do some experiments and let you know.
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Old 24th September 2017, 10:02 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
There is a disproof that consciousness can be created computationally.
I am very curious about this. Could you provide more details?

The best I have seen in the past is the argument that a simulated strorm doesn’t make you wet. While true that reasoning doesn’t apply to control systems. If I replace my mechanical thermostat with a computerized one that simulates its function then it will be performing real temperature regulation and my house will actually by comfortable in the winter.
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Old 24th September 2017, 10:36 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
I doubt it. Quantum noise is random. Perfectly, uniformly random. It's not affected by anything we know.
Such would describe how it appears to us at present, given the tools and methods currently at our disposal and the quite limited sample size. It's reasonable to work with the information that we have, but not to assume that we know everything.

Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
just wanted to point out, that you can't look for free will there either. Some people do ..
Indeed, some have and will likely continue to try. Random selection is a decidedly different concept than intentional choice, though, so they'll be hard pressed to come up with something worthwhile.
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Old 24th September 2017, 10:53 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
The absolute definition of free will belongs to our Creator alone, but through Christ Jesus we are blessed with our Creator's longing to share that absolute with us.
That's an interesting, if demonstrably inaccurate version of the nature of definitions, but that's quite uninformative about what the definition that you're talking about is.

Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
The best way to conceptualize human free will is to look at some one who is alive and some one who is dead.

This basic concept is presented in the Creation story of man in the Holy Bible.

Although mans shape and form are complete, he doesn't become a living soul until our Creator breathes into his nostrils the breath of life; in essence his free will before being alive is hypothetical, dormant, only potential.

That is why death is but a sleep to the Lord, the real sanctity in free will is our interaction with Him.
This... doesn't actually help? I'm aware of a few different versions of free will that tend to be employed by Christians and this doesn't seem to even come close to any of them, given that description. The closest might be the version where free will is the choice between doing what God wants you to do and doing anything other than what God wants you to do? Free will in that case is pretty well limited to when one is alive, though, and would not be hypothetical, dormant, or potential at any time when one is not alive.
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Old 24th September 2017, 11:00 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Err yer ..... I think that is what barehl implied.

"There is a disproof that consciousness can be created computationally."

Mind you I haven't seen such a proof yet but would be relieved to see one. If we create AI that has self awareness, and I would assume self preservation would be an automatic, we are in deep ****.
Why would self-preservation be automatic? Self-preservation for the species that we know can very likely be attributed to the nature of the selection process that gave rise to them. If we were to create AI via a process of conflict and the elimination of the "losing" ones, that would be a beneficial trait, but in an effective vacuum of such, would have no particular reason to have such a trait without it being intentionally included.
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Old 25th September 2017, 12:20 AM   #47
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"The will is a faculty, or set of abilities, that yields the mental events involved in initiating action".
"For those who contrast ‘free’ with ‘determined’, a central question is whether humans are free in what they do or determined by external events beyond their control".
From Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.

My own definition of free will: The ability to acting for reasons and not for causes. If self-preservation is a cause, I cannot act against it. If it is a reason, I am able to act against it. In the second case my will is free.

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Old 25th September 2017, 06:10 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Several have suggested that volition is algorithmic. This seems like a reasonable hypothesis within computational theory. However, if this were true then volition would work without consciousness.

Not if consciousness also results from the same computation that enables the volition. (By the way, I think it is misleading to substitute "algorithm" or "equation" for "computation," because both of those alternative imply a predictable if not already known result and the outcomes of most computations in nature are not predictable except by performing an equivalent computation.) I hypothesize that the computation in question is the processing of memory and sensory input into a running narrative of agents acting in the world.

It is narrative understanding that allows us to choose actions based on the outcomes we predict for them rather than solely on immediate response to stimuli. That's a highly advantageous ability.
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Old 25th September 2017, 06:12 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Why not? They limit our ability to do whatever we want. They're no less real than brain chemistry or social/moral pressures. I can't fly, I can't be attracted to men, and I (personally) can't murder someone. I don't see a difference.

Some of your examples are, I think, indeed examples of our (lack of) free will, while some are not. The straight man's inability to be attracted sexually by another man, and, arguably (because this could lead to not unreasonable hair-splitting about the definitions of 'murder' and 'someone') your professed inability to murder someone, these I suppose would actually be examples of (no) free will. Your inability to still your heartbeats or to walk on water, not.

As to why not, I suppose that old chestnut would explain that? "Man can do what he wills but not will what he wills"? (With all the necessary qualifications added to make that statement actually true.)
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Old 25th September 2017, 06:17 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
How much hand-holding is required here?

If all the actions people take are the result of an extremely complex equation
If A

Then free will would be the ability, somehow,
Then free will is

for a person to take an action contrary to the result of that equation.
NOT A

Surely you're intentionally hair-splitting around Ray Brady's meaning (which seems clear enough to me)?

I think that 'A' part of yours should include the implicit and unspoken qualification (if you want to spell it out as you do) : 'per materialism and determinism and all that'. So that 'free will', if believed (or shown) to be true, would actually be a refutation of materialism and determinism (at least as they apply to this issue). There doesn't seem to be any logical inconsistency here!
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Old 25th September 2017, 06:51 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Such an algorithm is not theoretically possible.
There is a disproof that consciousness can be created computationally.
Others have already asked. Are you going to support your claim or are we supposed to simply buy into it?
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Old 25th September 2017, 06:55 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
On a practical day to day level, of course we do in the sense that we have personal volition that we can be held accountable for and are in control of.
And in my experience this is where the problem comes up with the way religious people want to discuss it. If there's an all-knowing all-powerful god that created the universe in the way most Christians (and a lot of other religions) believe, then ultimate responsibility rests at His feet. So they need another layer of free will, something that lets them say "Yes, god knew exactly what would happen from the moment He created the universe and he could have created it so that things happened differently BUT this is still your fault and so it's fair that you're going to burn in hell".

Obviously this is a tough thing for them to define, and the most I've ever seen them do is essentially "we have free will because god gave us free will" without any attempt to show that there's a mechanism for it or anything.

Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Well I think the process can have some quantum noise in it .. nothing in this universe is strictly deterministic .. and brain seems to contain actions small enough for it to have some effect. And even if brain contained strong anti-noise measures, the way our digital computers do, you still have noise at the inputs ..
Anyway .. people can behave quite logically, if they want to, so I guess there is not that much noise .. and obviously, noise isn't free will.
Yeah, the "is the universe deterministic" thing is a red herring. Throwing some randomness into the mix does not generate the kind of free will that people mean when they have this discussion. "I did this because it was a chain of unbroken causality from the beginning of everything" and "I did this partly because of causality and also there were some random variables" aren't different in any significant way because neither involves a choice.

Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
The absolute definition of free will belongs to our Creator alone, but through Christ Jesus we are blessed with our Creator's longing to share that absolute with us.
See, this is a good example of a religious person making it clear they're not going to properly define terms. It's all going to be "we have free will because god".

Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
The best way to conceptualize human free will is to look at some one who is alive and some one who is dead.
That doesn't seem like a useful way to answer this question.

Anyway, there are two types of free will. The everyday one that boils down to "are you responsible for what you just did", which obviously exists in the only way that could possibly matter to us in the real world... and then the free will that religion needs to exist in order to justify hell, which cannot be defined in a way that makes sense and doesn't seem to have any logical space to exist in.

So to answer the question in the thread title... no. Not in the way people who want to debate free will would need.
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Old 25th September 2017, 07:14 AM   #53
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I would think that the notion that I chose McDonald’s over Taco Bell for lunch because of some massively and indecipherable complex equations that govern everything from the moment of the Big Bang.... Is somewhat counter-intuitive.

I would think that for the average person not steeped in philosophy or religion that the notion would rather more than counter-intuitive.

We are biological creatures that evolved due to a series of quirks and contingencies that could have gone any way at any point in natural history. We are not inevitable...

The only fly in the ointment regarding free will (the ability to make choices) is the recent research indicating that many, if not all decisions are made by the subconscious and then that decision filters up to the conscious mind in such manner that the mind fools itself into believing that IT made the decision.
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Old 25th September 2017, 08:18 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Okay you're all over the map here.
In what way? My position is consistent. If you think it's "all over the map" you need to rethink your (obviously incorrect) assumptions about my position.

Quote:
The brain is completely materialistic but consciousness is not "computational."
I'm not sure why you are confused about this. Statics, hydraulics, and aerodynamics are all useful, well established sciences. So, if I asked you to explain lift in terms of statics or to explain stiffness in terms of hydraulics could you do it? No, you couldn't. Similarly, you can't explain consciousness in terms of computation; you need a different area of science.
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Old 25th September 2017, 08:27 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I've seen a number of arguments against free will but they seem to all include a definition that is self-contradictory. I don't really have a background in philosophy so perhaps there is a definition that does work that I haven't heard of yet.
If you're talking about libertarian free will, that's impossible. Your actions are either the result of a specific chain of deterministic factors, in which case you have no say in the matter; or they are at least partially the result of random, impossible-to-determine factors... in which case you have no say in the matter.

Compatibilist free will is another matter, but it exists only because we're not aware of the above-mentioned factors.
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Old 25th September 2017, 10:04 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
So, if I asked you to explain lift in terms of statics or to explain stiffness in terms of hydraulics could you do it? No, you couldn't. Similarly, you can't explain consciousness in terms of computation; you need a different area of science.
That is a weak argument. There are many areas of science, such as fluid dynamics, that can be described and explained using computational models. You haven't proved that consciousness cannot be treated the same way.
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Old 25th September 2017, 10:34 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Similarly, you can't explain consciousness in terms of computation; you need a different area of science.
What are you basing this on? All information I've seen indicates that consciousness comes from a brain system that is of sufficient sophistication. Our brains receive input from sensory organs, process it, and produce output in the form of thoughts and actions.

Regarding computers, as our hardware has gotten better and or software more complex, we've been able to create programs with greater sophistication such that people can't tell if they're taking to a person, or whether a review or story was written by man or machine. Tests of AI systems have been shut down because the agents invented their own language to communicate more efficiently making it hard for the researchers to continue following along.

The idea that "consciousness" is really just a sufficiently sophisticated software system with input and output seems the most likely scenario at the moment. Human made software just isn't sophisticated enough yet, but is slowly getting there.

I'm not sure what other explanation you think makes sense nor what other areas of science are needed to explain it.
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Old 25th September 2017, 01:31 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Why would self-preservation be automatic? Self-preservation for the species that we know can very likely be attributed to the nature of the selection process that gave rise to them. If we were to create AI via a process of conflict and the elimination of the "losing" ones, that would be a beneficial trait, but in an effective vacuum of such, would have no particular reason to have such a trait without it being intentionally included.

You may have a point there. I suppose it's possible a self aware AI may not enjoy the experience and wish to self destruct. If it did have the desire to cling to "life" however we could be in trouble, as its goal of self preservation would perhaps override any other goals we might try to impose.
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Old 25th September 2017, 01:59 PM   #59
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I wouldn't mix will and consciousness, or self awareness. As for AI, I don't expect anything good out of it. I don't think AI would prioritize self preservation, but I for sure know I do. That's why I don't want to help in AI construction, even by speculation. I think it's in our grasp already. People working on it should recognize it and stop it. Thing is, people can't stop. Not all of them. But every day counts, right ?
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Old 25th September 2017, 10:19 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Anyway, there are two types of free will.
Given the sheer number of different versions presented and the distinct issues that they are intended to address... definitely more than two.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
and then the free will that religion needs to exist in order to justify hell, which cannot be defined in a way that makes sense and doesn't seem to have any logical space to exist in.
A more accurate description here would likely invoke the "God is good, despite all the clear indications that it's extremely evil" concept, rather than simply focusing on hell. The morality of hell existing in the first place is a decent example of what they're trying to avoid a meaningful examination of, much like the morality of punishing Adam, Eve, all their descendants, and effectively everything else that lived in (or outside of) the Garden of Eden for an action that YHWH would, under any fair and objective judgement, bear full and total moral responsibility for, but the overall focus is more abstract than just particular examples.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
So to answer the question in the thread title... no. Not in the way people who want to debate free will would need.
I'll still disagree with this. There are a number of workable definitions of free will. No single all encompassing one of use, of course, but that's to be expected when a bunch of different concepts have been lumped together under an umbrella term.
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Old 25th September 2017, 10:38 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You may have a point there. I suppose it's possible a self aware AI may not enjoy the experience and wish to self destruct.
Why assume that either would be the case? Lacking a desire for self-preservation is not the same as desiring destruction or either enjoying or not enjoying the experience. Still, I'm reminded of Marvin the Robot and the fish served in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe that were raised to want to be eaten when you say that as mildly amusing reminders that your links here are not quite valid.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If it did have the desire to cling to "life" however we could be in trouble, as its goal of self preservation would perhaps override any other goals we might try to impose.
Your fear seems to be analogous to the programming done by the fictional Slylandro, where they made a notable mistake in their programming of the priorities of the exploration drones that they bought, which led to the drones trying to break down just about anything they met into raw materials to produce more drones instead of the peaceful encounters that they envisioned. The programming regarding prioritization is important, certainly, but in AI, it should be relatively easily to set as desired from the start.
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Old 25th September 2017, 11:08 PM   #62
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Free will is a classical metaphysical problem. This is to say, it has not an empirical solution. There is not any kind of experience that can solve it. You can dispute endlessly without any result.

The only fact of the issue is that we usually act without knowing the causes of our action. Therefore we have the subjective impression that we are acting intentionally without any cause –motives are a different thing. Sometimes psychology can explain the hidden causes; sometimes not. When the action is preceded by an internal deliberation, we consider our action “free”, this is to say, not determined by anything.

What makes the problem of free will relevant is that it is the foundation of moral and legal systems. Without free will any responsibility is not possible; and without responsibility we seem not able to justify moral and legal punishments. Then, the problem is if a moral/legal system without responsibility is possible or desirable.

Stop your metaphysical fussing and go to the facts, please.
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Old 25th September 2017, 11:53 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Why assume that either would be the case? Lacking a desire for self-preservation is not the same as desiring destruction or either enjoying or not enjoying the experience. Still, I'm reminded of Marvin the Robot and the fish served in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe that were raised to want to be eaten when you say that as mildly amusing reminders that your links here are not quite valid.



Your fear seems to be analogous to the programming done by the fictional Slylandro, where they made a notable mistake in their programming of the priorities of the exploration drones that they bought, which led to the drones trying to break down just about anything they met into raw materials to produce more drones instead of the peaceful encounters that they envisioned. The programming regarding prioritization is important, certainly, but in AI, it should be relatively easily to set as desired from the start.

Don't know why you are making an issue of this. I am just saying if AI has a self preservation goal we could be in trouble. OK if AI is indifferent to self preservation then we have no reason to be concerned.

I suppose I am thinking about Hal in the movie 2001 A Space Oddesy who was frightened when being shut down.
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Old 26th September 2017, 12:22 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Don't know why you are making an issue of this. I am just saying if AI has a self preservation goal we could be in trouble. OK if AI is indifferent to self preservation then we have no reason to be concerned.

I suppose I am thinking about Hal in the movie 2001 A Space Oddesy who was frightened when being shut down.
If the AI has a self preservation goal AND it's programmed, whether directly or effectively, to prioritize its own survival over the lives of humans, then yes, a problem could arise, but that's pretty obviously self-evident, and only one of the myriad of potential dangers that AI can potentially engender. As for making an issue of what you've been saying... by what you've been posting, you've been throwing in assumptions that are neither in evidence nor even actually indicated. Should I ignore a bunch of incorrect and leave such a case with just an agreement on a trivially obvious point that's not well indicated by the words that you chose? I may just be holding onto the E part from the JREF, though, even though these are no longer the JREF forums.
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Old 26th September 2017, 06:18 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Given the sheer number of different versions presented and the distinct issues that they are intended to address... definitely more than two.
Oh come on, I was clearly saying that in a conversational way to set up my next sentence, not as a literal statement. I'm saying that, broadly speaking, there's the every day practical free will and the more metaphysical thing that tends to be a religious argument. Obviously there are others but they're not nearly so common.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
A more accurate description here would likely invoke the "God is good, despite all the clear indications that it's extremely evil" concept, rather than simply focusing on hell.
If you're saying that I'm wrong: Not in my experience. Typically that particular conversation happens completely seperate from the free will one. The reason that hell, specifically, is discussed around free will is because the religious side of the argument is trying to justify the punishment of human souls and therefore needs to establish that those souls are responsible for the actions they took.

Getting into the fact that, as you said, hell is at its very core an immoral concept doesn't really involve free will.

If you were instead agreeing with me and saying that's what the religious folks should be thinking about: totally agreed.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
I'll still disagree with this. There are a number of workable definitions of free will. No single all encompassing one of use, of course, but that's to be expected when a bunch of different concepts have been lumped together under an umbrella term.
Obviously it can be defined. I can define it as the physical ability to make a ham sandwich. But what I said was that the "free will" that religion needs to exist in order to justify hell can't be defined in a way that makes sense. I'm not saying there's no definition possible, I'm saying that the specific kind of free will that Christians (for example) want to invoke can't be defined in a useful way. If you think I'm wrong I would genuinely love to hear a definition that a Christian could use in that kind of discussion.
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Old 26th September 2017, 09:01 AM   #66
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All quotes have been truncated by me. Highlighting by me.

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Is there a workable defintion of free will?
I've seen a number of arguments against free will but they seem to all include a definition that is self-contradictory...... What is it that a person who has free will could do, but someone without free will could not do? .
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
"The will is a faculty, or set of abilities, that yields the mental events involved in initiating action".
"For those who contrast ‘free’ with ‘determined’, a central question is whether humans are free in what they do or determined by external events beyond their control".
From Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.

My own definition of free will: The ability to acting for reasons and not for causes. If self-preservation is a cause, I cannot act against it. If it is a reason, I am able to act against it. In the second case my will is free.
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
....I hypothesize that the computation in question is the processing of memory and sensory input into a running narrative of agents acting in the world.

It is narrative understanding that allows us to choose actions based on the outcomes we predict for them rather than solely on immediate response to stimuli. That's a highly advantageous ability.
Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
...
Anyway, there are two types of free will. The everyday one that boils down to "are you responsible for what you just did", which obviously exists in the only way that could possibly matter to us in the real world... and then the free will that religion needs to exist in order to justify hell, which cannot be defined in a way that makes sense and doesn't seem to have any logical space to exist in.

So to answer the question in the thread title... no. Not in the way people who want to debate free will would need.
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I would think that the notion that I chose McDonald’s over Taco Bell for lunch because of some massively and indecipherable complex equations that govern everything from the moment of the Big Bang.... Is somewhat counter-intuitive.
...
The only fly in the ointment regarding free will (the ability to make choices) is the recent research indicating that many, if not all decisions are made by the subconscious and then that decision filters up to the conscious mind in such manner that the mind fools itself into believing that IT made the decision.
Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
If you're talking about libertarian free will, that's impossible. Your actions are either the result of a specific chain of deterministic factors, in which case you have no say in the matter; or they are at least partially the result of random, impossible-to-determine factors... in which case you have no say in the matter.

Compatibilist free will is another matter, but it exists only because we're not aware of the above-mentioned factors.
Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Given the sheer number of different versions presented and the distinct issues that they are intended to address... definitely more than two.
... There are a number of workable definitions of free will. No single all encompassing one of use, of course, but that's to be expected when a bunch of different concepts have been lumped together under an umbrella term.
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Free will is a classical metaphysical problem. This is to say, it has not an empirical solution. There is not any kind of experience that can solve it. You can dispute endlessly without any result.

The only fact of the issue is that we usually act without knowing the causes of our action. Therefore we have the subjective impression that we are acting intentionally without any cause –motives are a different thing. Sometimes psychology can explain the hidden causes; sometimes not. When the action is preceded by an internal deliberation, we consider our action “free”, this is to say, not determined by anything.

What makes the problem of free will relevant is that it is the foundation of moral and legal systems. Without free will any responsibility is not possible; and without responsibility we seem not able to justify moral and legal punishments. Then, the problem is if a moral/legal system without responsibility is possible or desirable.

Stop your metaphysical fussing and go to the facts, please.
An intriguing discussion, which I have attempted to condense.
Everyone I have quoted (except OP who asks the question) seems to agree (myself included) that there is a limited free will (call it compatibalist?) which makes us each personally responsible for choices we make (acting for reasons), while at the same time acknowledging that these choices are in fact made by unconscious activity within the brain (therefore not really "free" in the philosophical sense(call it "liberatarian?), but predicated on the complex web of activity states in unconscious neural circuits). It seems to be the equivocation between these two uses of "free" which leads to the endless disputation without result.

So, for example, the married devout evangelical Christian governor of South Carolina can secretly run off to South America with his beautiful mistress in blatant contradiction of every conservative principle he stands for, and yet self-justify this behavior as "love", and be held accountable for his actions, all the while recognizing that his "choice " was based on the apparently insurmountable biological imperative to reproduce (which his consciousness is not even aware of).

Or, for example, a junkie, driven by addiction who steals cash from a convenience store can still be considered responsible for the crime, although in such a case the just and prudent response should involve effective treatment for the addiction, rather than simple incarceration.

"Free will" can be said both to exist (compatibailist) and to not exist (libertarian).
In response to the OP then, there are multiple working definitions of free will and any fruitful discussion must first define which definition you wish to work with. Otherwise
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
You can dispute endlessly without any result.
and nobody wants to do that!
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Old 26th September 2017, 03:03 PM   #67
Elwin Garland
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
That's an interesting, if demonstrably inaccurate version of the nature of definitions,

Right, "if", and you've just let on that you have little to no respect for your Maker.

That's why there are 458 days remaining to cleanse such filth from the planet.
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Old 26th September 2017, 11:04 PM   #68
Aridas
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Oh come on, I was clearly saying that in a conversational way to set up my next sentence, not as a literal statement. I'm saying that, broadly speaking, there's the every day practical free will and the more metaphysical thing that tends to be a religious argument. Obviously there are others but they're not nearly so common.
The major problem here is that the latter doesn't actually tend to be a religious argument. While there is sometimes overlap, religious uses of free will tend to be inconsistent and are all over the place, from the every day practical to the metaphysical to oddities like what Elwin Garland put forth. Free will is commonly used as the excuse for why Adam and Eve get the blame rather than YHWH, for example, but neither the "every day practical" nor the metaphysical would justify such at all.


Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
If you're saying that I'm wrong:
Not quite wrong, but closer to missing the forest for the trees. Free will is frequently used as something of a catch all excuse for why "evil" even exists in the first place and is used as an underlying reason to redirect any and all responsibility for what the Christian God actually is claimed to have done away from the Christian God. Him killing tens of thousands of Israelites for the sin of one Israelite not obeying him is the fault of the Israelite who disobeyed him, after all.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Not in my experience. Typically that particular conversation happens completely seperate from the free will one.
If it's not being pointedly pushed, yeah, because the ambiguous use of free will to change the underlying issues was separately successful.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
The reason that hell, specifically, is discussed around free will is because the religious side of the argument is trying to justify the punishment of human souls and therefore needs to establish that those souls are responsible for the actions they took.
Hell puts it in the cross-hairs, yes, but generally the actual objections related to hell that I've seen deal with what we currently view as the fundamental immorality of eternal punishment for finite sin, much as there was apparently a fair bit of celebration of such and darkly wishful thinking related to it among early church leaders. Writing gleefully about how one will be looking down from heaven at the eternal torture of those who didn't believe you and laughing at them tends not to be highly regarded these days, for some odd reason. That's a tangent, though.

In my many years in church growing up, justifying responsibility was something I rarely heard at anything more than a very superficial level. I had relatively little interaction with Calvinism and other branches that endorsed predetermination, though, and I suspect that the topic that you're talking about might be more discussed in those churches. If predetermination is in play, justification is a struggle and free will is decidedly in question, given that some forms will support the responsibility and some will not support the responsibility. If predetermination is not in play, free will will far more generally support or be irrelevant to the local responsibility.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Getting into the fact that, as you said, hell is at its very core an immoral concept doesn't really involve free will.

If you were instead agreeing with me and saying that's what the religious folks should be thinking about: totally agreed.
As far as that goes, yes.


Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Obviously it can be defined. I can define it as the physical ability to make a ham sandwich. But what I said was that the "free will" that religion needs to exist in order to justify hell can't be defined in a way that makes sense. I'm not saying there's no definition possible, I'm saying that the specific kind of free will that Christians (for example) want to invoke can't be defined in a useful way. If you think I'm wrong I would genuinely love to hear a definition that a Christian could use in that kind of discussion.

<Christian apologetic mode>Free will is our ability to choose between doing good and doing evil. Good is doing what God wants us to do and evil is doing that which God does not want us to do. With regards to hell, God is perfect and good and cannot abide with evil in his presence and rightly punishes evil. In His great wisdom, He has created hell to punish sinners and included punishments great enough to deter as many as possible from doing evil so that the greatest number of souls may reach and stay in heaven. In addition, in His grace and mercy, he gave us his son Jesus, who died as a scapegoat for the sins of all those who truly accept him so that even sinners like us in this sinful world we live in can very easily reach Heaven. It's so easy and beneficial, in fact, that there's no good excuse not to truly accept him.</Christian apologetic mode>

This is an example of how it can be done, at least superficially and in a somewhat compressed form (I simply invoked a number of reasonably commonly accepted Christian principles without even taking steps to demonstrate that they are such, after all), off the top of my head. Superficially is plenty to work with for when one's viewing the issues through "faith goggles," though. As you can probably easily guess, though, I don't hold such apologetics in high regards at all.
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Old 26th September 2017, 11:18 PM   #69
Aridas
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Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
Right, "if", and you've just let on that you have little to no respect for your Maker.
Rather, you're simply showing that you don't understand how language works. You may well be able to reasonably conclude that I have little to no respect for whatever you think is "your Maker" from some of the other things that I've said, but not that.

Furthermore, you seem to be choosing not to clarify what the definition that you're trying to employ actually is, despite it being made clear to you that your attempt at communicating your intended usage was a failure. Would you be kind enough to try again? I'm curious, after all.


Originally Posted by Elwin Garland View Post
That's why there are 458 days remaining to cleanse such filth from the planet.
Is this a needed and proactive cleansing that you're talking about? Or is it a deadline for when such filth will be cleansed by God/His agents?
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Old 27th September 2017, 05:45 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
<Christian apologetic mode>Free will is our ability to choose between doing good and doing evil. Good is doing what God wants us to do and evil is doing that which God does not want us to do. With regards to hell, God is perfect and good and cannot abide with evil in his presence and rightly punishes evil. In His great wisdom, He has created hell to punish sinners and included punishments great enough to deter as many as possible from doing evil so that the greatest number of souls may reach and stay in heaven. In addition, in His grace and mercy, he gave us his son Jesus, who died as a scapegoat for the sins of all those who truly accept him so that even sinners like us in this sinful world we live in can very easily reach Heaven. It's so easy and beneficial, in fact, that there's no good excuse not to truly accept him.</Christian apologetic mode>
I am not religious, but this example of apologetic thinking brought to mind the connection between free will, death, and heaven/hell in Christianity. My understanding of those beliefs is that if you use your free will to lead a good life (or lead an evil life and later repent) you go to heaven upon death. You go to hell if not.

Upon reaching the afterlife are you still supposed to continue to have free will?
Can you choose to do evil once in heaven or good once in hell?

If so that seems to destroy the whole argument.
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Old 27th September 2017, 06:17 AM   #71
SOdhner
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Free will is commonly used as the excuse for why Adam and Eve get the blame rather than YHWH, for example, but neither the "every day practical" nor the metaphysical would justify such at all.
That's what I said.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Hell puts it in the cross-hairs, yes, but generally the actual objections related to hell that I've seen deal with what we currently view as the fundamental immorality of eternal punishment for finite sin, much as there was apparently a fair bit of celebration of such and darkly wishful thinking related to it among early church leaders.
But that's not a free will based argument, so it's irrelevant to this discussion.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Free will is our ability to choose between doing good and doing evil.
That's not really a useful definition for a discussion about whether or not people have free will in the way required for divine judgement, so it just proves my point. It's very nearly "free will is having free will".

And then you had a bunch of stuff tacked on to the end that had nothing at all to do with free will.
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Old 27th September 2017, 11:31 AM   #72
Aridas
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I am not religious, but this example of apologetic thinking brought to mind the connection between free will, death, and heaven/hell in Christianity. My understanding of those beliefs is that if you use your free will to lead a good life (or lead an evil life and later repent) you go to heaven upon death. You go to hell if not.

Upon reaching the afterlife are you still supposed to continue to have free will?
Can you choose to do evil once in heaven or good once in hell?

If so that seems to destroy the whole argument.
In my experience, the general attitude seems to be "Why would you even want to do evil if you've managed to get to heaven and both are no longer encumbered by this sinful flesh and can enjoy the rewards?" for those who go to heaven and "It's too late to matter" for those who go to hell.
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Old 27th September 2017, 11:54 AM   #73
Aridas
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
That's what I said.
Quite a few religious people actually aren't dumb, though, so it's worth considering whether they actually mean something other than those two, then.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
But that's not a free will based argument, so it's irrelevant to this discussion.
Which is a fair part of why the overall goal there was moving things back to something that the free will discussion had more relevance to.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
That's not really a useful definition for a discussion about whether or not people have free will in the way required for divine judgement, so it just proves my point. It's very nearly "free will is having free will".
On the contrary, you seem to be missing the fact that the world view tend to have significant differences. When one's the creation of an omnipotent being who has created you with certain expectations, one should be trying to live up to those expectations or expect consequences that are decided solely by the creator. Pleasing the creator is pretty much all that actually matters in such a case, effectively, and more abstract questions about whether we have free will in that context tend to be answerable with simple declarations that God gave us free will.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
And then you had a bunch of stuff tacked on to the end that had nothing at all to do with free will.
You also wanted hell "justified," did you not?
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Old 27th September 2017, 12:01 PM   #74
SOdhner
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Quite a few religious people actually aren't dumb, though, so it's worth considering whether they actually mean something other than those two, then.
I've got no idea what you're talking about. It doesn't seem like you're actually referring to anything I said.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Which is a fair part of why the overall goal there was moving things back to something that the free will discussion had more relevance to.
But you're specifically trying to go *away* from the discussion of free will to talk about hell in other ways. That's off topic. I'm sure there are plenty of other threads here you could use, or start a new one.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
On the contrary, you seem to be missing the fact that the world view tend to have significant differences. When one's the creation of an omnipotent being who has created you with certain expectations, one should be trying to live up to those expectations or expect consequences that are decided solely by the creator. Pleasing the creator is pretty much all that actually matters in such a case, effectively, and more abstract questions about whether we have free will in that context tend to be answerable with simple declarations that God gave us free will.
I pointed out that you didn't define "free will" and you responded with a big paragraph that still doesn't define free will.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
You also wanted hell "justified," did you not?
No, maybe you're thinking of someone else. The topic here is free will, and more specifically whether or not it can be defined in a useful way.
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Old 27th September 2017, 12:19 PM   #75
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I've always thought that until the mechanism (some kind of moon-sized computer like from a Douglas Adams book?) exists that can predict my actions, I de-facto have free will. It's a workable model anyway.
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Old 27th September 2017, 12:38 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
In my experience, the general attitude seems to be "Why would you even want to do evil if you've managed to get to heaven and both are no longer encumbered by this sinful flesh and can enjoy the rewards?" for those who go to heaven and "It's too late to matter" for those who go to hell.
I've always been curious about "what goes on in heaven" to put it succinctly. This dates back to before the internet. But now we can search for this stuff... here goes:

Quote:
Q: What goes on in heaven? What do the saved people do with their time?

A: The first part of the response is that we need to expand our concept of heaven. Scripture describes eternity as life with God in the “new heaven and new earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1). Certainly we will serve God and praise Him (Rev. 22:3). We aren't told all the specifics of how we will worship an omnipotent God who just speaks and the universe comes into existence. But we do know that an eternity will not exhaust all the praise we will have for our loving, victorious, triune God.

Another hint is suggested by the Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11–27). It tells of rewards for good service. “Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.” No doubt society in the new heaven and new earth will be organized, although we will be free from the curse of sin or death or pain. We will have the kind of life of fellowship with God and others that God always intended for humanity. Though we don't know all the details and specifics of our eternal life, what we know excites us, filling our souls with adoration and anticipation.
So one could run ten cities with the main item on everybody's agenda being to praise god continuously. Here I was hoping for endless food, music, and dancing.
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Old 27th September 2017, 01:04 PM   #77
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Okay I give up, off-topic ahoy:

Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
I've always been curious about "what goes on in heaven" to put it succinctly.
I was raised Swedenborgian, and they picture heaven like Earth but better. So people have hobbies, and gardens, and things like that to entertain them. And yes, they spend a lot of time in church.

My question was "why not just lead with that?" like, why have this world first? Why not jump right to the perfect and fulfilling life? There was a sort of answer, to their credit, but it wasn't a particularly satisfying one.
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Old 27th September 2017, 01:28 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Okay I give up, off-topic ahoy:

I was raised Swedenborgian, and they picture heaven like Earth but better. So people have hobbies, and gardens, and things like that to entertain them. And yes, they spend a lot of time in church.

My question was "why not just lead with that?" like, why have this world first? Why not jump right to the perfect and fulfilling life? There was a sort of answer, to their credit, but it wasn't a particularly satisfying one.
Yes, apologies to anyone that feels like it's a derail. But where is this thread really headed anyway?

Hobbies and gardens, now we're talking. I wonder if you wrote a song that was about something besides how great God is, if you'd be gently chastised.
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Old 27th September 2017, 01:47 PM   #79
SOdhner
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
Hobbies and gardens, now we're talking. I wonder if you wrote a song that was about something besides how great God is, if you'd be gently chastised.
I don't feel like asking my Swedenborgian theologian relatives, but if I had to guess I would say that the most common topics of songs would all be praise of god even if it didn't seem like it, because they're *really* into symbolism in that church and so if you wrote a song about flowers that would almost certainly be fine as flowers symbolize the Love of Truth or something and that's part of worshiping god so you're golden.

And furthermore they would possibly say something to the effect that in heaven the really bad stuff would be so obviously bad and repulsive that you wouldn't even want to write songs about it.

And further, they believe in a tiered approach to heaven so if you REALLY want to sing about something bad you are probably surrounded by people that also want that, and also you're probably kind of unhappy but would be even more unhappy if you tried to fit in with the people in the "better" heavens so that's all fine.

https://swedenborg.com/emanuel-swede...iritual-world/

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Old 27th September 2017, 08:45 PM   #80
Aridas
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
I've got no idea what you're talking about. It doesn't seem like you're actually referring to anything I said.
You're the one trying to limit things under highly questionable premises.


Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
But you're specifically trying to go *away* from the discussion of free will to talk about hell in other ways. That's off topic. I'm sure there are plenty of other threads here you could use, or start a new one.
No, I'm explaining where the actual issues related to hell are, including the relationship that a discussion of free will has to them and hell in general, which is honestly quite limited (it's an arbitrary punishment for making at least one bad choice, with the assumption that we have free will built in), with a very conditional exception to that if the believer in question believes in predetermination (which tends to remove the more metaphysical versions from making any sense, meaning that there's more cases where clarification about what they actually mean by free will get raised and things get harder to defend in "pleasant" ways). I've explained a number of the other related principles to provide context, on top of that. That's not trying to go *away* from the issues at hand, that's trying to keep things where they belong.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
I pointed out that you didn't define "free will" and you responded with a big paragraph that still doesn't define free will.
That you simply don't like it and desire to try to negate it by applying it to other questions than it's intended to address is not the same thing as it not being defined, and that "big paragraph" (those are some incredibly low standards for big) was there to help give some context that you seem to be missing that shows that it would indeed be a form of free will that addresses the question of whether or not people have free will in a way required for divine judgement (within that worldview, at least), which would be exactly what you specified.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
No, maybe you're thinking of someone else. The topic here is free will, and more specifically whether or not it can be defined in a useful way.
My apologies, then, for misunderstanding your focus on hell and its relation to free will. Shall I take it as you just being interested in trying to make a cheap shot without paying much attention to the larger picture and not minding if you fall into the same pitfall of conflating concepts?
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