Regarding : A concise statement of the problem of free will
From Wm Jas’ Bugs to fearen babes withall
John C. Wright recently posted on Determinism and Indeterminism and quoted this concise statement of the problem of free will, which was written by a reader of his called Lucky Marty:
Consider the following propositions:
1) All events are either the deterministic result of prior events or else they are random. ( Are there ANY Random Events? / Is Determinism Defined ?
2) Free choices are not fully determined by prior events. ( Definition
3) Free choices are not random. ( Definition
4) People make free choices. ( Wistful Dreaming
All of them seem highly plausible,
and in fact it’s not easy to see how any of them could be false.
But they can’t all be true
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It seems to be that statements of Fact may be considered either true or false;
But these are Not statements of fact; At Least Some of them are Definitions.
As such; Are Some or All of them Exclusive ( XOR ) Definitions?
In my final conclusion of Assertion;
Or Assertion that remains an unsubstantiated Conclusion:
The First Claim is Suspect.
Everything that we experience in the macroworld closely adheres to the model of cause & effect; Yet Quantum Physicists ( seem to ) be suggesting that there are events within or in the vicinity of atomic nuclei that are random.
We have no direct experience with anything that is genuinely random,
So it’s not entirely proved that there even are random, uncaused events.
My Unsubstantiated Assertion is that there is another class of phenomena that occurs routinely, but is something other than cause & effect.
To make this Claim slightly more palatable,
If i were to successfully make distinctions between well understood examples of cause & effect, then these separate cases of what we are tentatively calling Causality; Then it may be reasonable to lay them out along a continuum that features realms that we do not have ready examples for, but which we may provisionally assert that -Maybe- There are Undefined Instances which fit into that niche of QuaziCausality.
( ? )
1) There is the simplistic idealized case of one domino falling against the next.
In this example; The ONLY thing effecting Domino B is The Action upon it from Domino A.
2) There is a Perception of Another Case in which things are Caused by Localized Events. A Workings of An Automobile Engine, or The Behaviour of this Automobile is entirely the result of it’s construction & the instructions given to it by it’s driver. / Another Example is That The Mind is The Result of The ElectroChemical Activity of The Brain, which in Influenced by Its Senses & Related Local Events.
But [ 3 ] will show that this is an illusion.
3) In The Real World; Every Domino is Effected by The Gravitational & Electromagnetic Fields of Every Other Particle in The Universe that supports these forces. This asserts that when a Domino in The Real World Tips over, It is The State of The Entire Universe that is Effecting it.
This may not be convincing when applied to Dominoes, But it may be more reasonably believed when applied to Whether or Not a Single Neuron in A Brain, Teetering on Firing or Not Firing, May be Influenced by such subtle effects as The Gravitational Waves radiating from a distant quasar or The ElectroMagnetic Fields of all The Toasters in North America. This Single Neuron may determine the outcome of some grandiose, historical effect.
In such a case; Each Decision is the result of how the entire universe is ‘set’ at that moment.
This hardly seems like classical ‘Cause & Effect’,
It is more like ‘What is; Is.’ or ‘Everything is.’
It should be added that i am not suggesting that simply because a system is insanely complicated, or even Chaotic, that it Categorically Transcends The Simpler Models of If A then B, or A causes B.
In all cases, There are numerous causes for B.
But - When Chaos transcends Chaos and slaps upside the butt cheeks of Randomality, Then maybe there is a sliver of A Categorical Shift.
This is a NetherRegion of; Not Quite Random.
It’s one subunit short of Infinite Chaos.
.999... doesn’t equal 1.
.999... doesn’t in any way explain, justify or allow for Freewill,
But it does suggest that there is another Category that is not Cause & Effect,
And it’s not Genuine Randomality. It’s Something else.
And if .999... is a unique value,
Then there are undoubtedly other kinds of ‘Order’ that are not readily familiar to us.
4) If There are Tachyons or other particles that freely travel back & forth through time, or perhaps; Electrons or Photons or Other bundled Leptons or Quarks may occasionally skim off the edge of A Black Hole’s Event Horizon, Falling backwards or forwards in time; The it may well by that every decision that any given neuron contributes to, May be Influenced by All Past & Future Events.
This is even less like classical ‘Cause & Effect’.
5) Since there are particles that apparently ( According to The Standard Model & Other Theories that Include Gravity ) Are Not effected by some Forces; The Remaining Particles Are Effected by Proximal Forces Only. This is slightly different from The Single Domino A falling on B. It is more like A Mysterious Cloud of Indeterminacy Telling an Electron to Fall from One Atomic Orbit to Another, Either Absorbing or Releasing An Photon.
There may be other Classes;
But i think that this should demonstrate that this idea of Classical Cause & Effect doesn’t really exist at all.
Everything effects Everything.
The Universe, Like The Brain, filled with dozen & dozens ( et. al. ) of neurons that may or may not be responsible for The Mind, consists of A Pattern at any given moment, that Determines what the next Pattern in the sequence of Time & Space or Consciousness will be.
Maybe there are other causal forces that we are not familiar with,
Even within our ability to imagine,
Or our meta-ability to imagine.
This Meta-Ability to Imagine ( x )
Simply means that there are ( Undoubtedly ? ) Phenomena within the universe,
Or The Universe that our Universe Resides within,
That is beyound The Human Mind to Consider even as nonsensical gibberish.
This is where freewill may be able to stick it’s fingers into.
The final conclusion here is that ( ? ) The Universe is The Sole Generator of The Mind, Which is Distributed to Innumerable ‘Nodes’ which are encased in Brains.
The Autonomous Universe is The Mind Generator.
And Brains are somehow uniquely structured to allow Minds to Coalesce These Patterns into Awareness.
The Paranoid Solipsist Universe
Consists of One Mind that Believes it is many Minds.
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i have also asserted ( elsewhere ) that freewill is necessary for Consciousness.
i realize that this conclusion is detached from an argument.
So perhaps one should be forwarded.
i should first suggest or reveal; that i am of two minds when it comes to these metaphysical topics.
i often wonder; If the brain is solely responsible for creating the mind,
How might it do this?
And i believe that i am comfortable with the assertion that the brain may indeed be responsible for all human behaviour,
But i am deeply flummoxed ( or vexed ) by the idea the brain creating the mind.
i am even comfortable with a robot ( without conscious reflection or awareness ) duplicating ALL Human behaviour, from the lowest to the highest, the most altruistic to the most senselessly violent & sadistic behaviours.
This robot would be able to make art, compose symphonies, and provide itself with self directed motivations, based on very simple core instructions ( our instincts ).
But how can a pattern of ElectroChemical Neurons spread out over a brain, Create The Holistic Experience of ’Seeing’, which is quite different from what the robot does. The robot can identify things in it’s visual field and act on them, but does a robot ‘See’ things? Is The robot conscious of a visual field in front of it, where these identified things all fit together into a 1::1 correspondence with what is actually out there?
In the brain; In the visual Cortex; The impulses from the eyes have to be ( ? ) broken apart into their smallest constituents to determine their color, form, edge properties and whatever else is used a cues to finally identify the innumerable blobs of light as stems of grass, faces, formless clouds, encyclopedias of symbols, or any number of other objects which may appear in countless orientations and be very reliably identified, and then; Be somehow reassembled into this movie screen which the mind ‘Sees’.
How is this done? The Robot may be able to accomplish everything quite easily,
Up until that last step.
A computer may easily identify a blobby green thing as a leaf,
But the mind doesn’t ‘See’ A Blobby Green Thing; It sees every detail of every leaf.
This seems like quite a different thing to me.
It is as nearly incomprehensible to consider how an ordinary computer can display characters on a screen, as for a human mind to see them.
It may be argued that the former may be astonishingly tedious for the computer,
But genuinely impossible for The Mind to Understand the latter.
But when sufficient tedium meets complete impossibility,
The effects are equally weighed.
But how does this relate to Freewill?
By Freewill, Maybe what i mean is Autonomy.
Does one need Autonomy for Freewill?
i would think so.
Is Autonomy necessary for Consciousness?
The Conscious Mind without Autonomy, would be either;
A Subset of A Greater Autonomous Mind or Mind Generator
A Mere Observer in A Mechanical World.
The Theory of Epiphenomenalism takes this latter Conclusion.
It is Very Convincing.
Epiphenomenalism argues that Consciousness is real,
Awareness is Real, The Autonomous Mind is Real,
But it is trapped in a bubble from which all it’s thoughts are generated by the brain, which is subservient to the machines of reality.
It Watches Only.
The Mind has No influence on The World or even it’s own robot vehicle or it’s own thoughts.
If The Conscious Mind were without Autonomy And as such; A Subset of a Greater Mind that Controls it; Then this Argues for Either a Genuine Autonomous Mind, and or A Recursive, Infinite or Torus Shaped Continuum of Conscious Entities.
i’m not entirely opposed to a boot-strap theory of these things, but i don’t necessarily see how that’s really going to advance a greater understanding or explain away elemental difficulties.
The Major Problem with Epiphenomenalism is not that the argument itself is critically flawed, it’s just that it provides no clue whatsoever how this agent of awareness is generated.
It simply takes The Conscious Mind and strips it of any involvement in The Mechanical Universe.
What is Required to make a Conscious Mind?
This is remain unanswered until one is given to a robot,
And even so; As i have suggested already, This robot may exhibit all genuine human / Conscious behaviour, without being conscious at all.
How would you test for Consciousness?
Assuming that it -Could Be- Successfully faked.
Could a Robot Successfully Fake Freewill?
If this Very Human Like Robot were made ( Very Large ) so that every decision or action it partakes in could be mapped out as the result of every fully documented Gear rotation or Transistor Switching Action, Then The Assertion; Made By The Robot, that it was Free & Self Aware, would be suspect or utterly disproven- -
But if This Robot was composed of elements that could take advantage of gravity waves propagating from distant quasars or The weak force shedding apparently random neutrons, Then No Such Map of Every Decision could be made, and The Robot would be, should be, considered humanly autonomous until demonstrated as otherwise controlled.
But is it Really Free?
Does it all come down to The Appearance of Freewill for all possible Cases?
Is there, Conceivably, an AntiThesis to this Assertion?