View Single Post
  #128  
Old 08-12-2019, 04:23 AM
Max S. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,544
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
It's my intention to make statements here that apply to any model, even ones with a nondeterministic universe and/or supernatural souls.
This being your intention, I will gladly point out some of the assumptions you have made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Minds demonstrate a reasonable consistency of state - they change, but not with wild randomity. It's a flow from one state to another based on causes that drive it from one state to another; it's not like static snow on a screen without a signal, where the random mess of static one moment is completely unrelated to the snow a moment before.
It does not follow. Just because minds do not change with "wild randomity", doesn't mean every change in state flows from a cause. For example, a nonmaterial mind may change randomly for no cause, but still never change with wild randomity. How could you know? Nonmaterial claims are nonfalsifiable. This marks the first assumption: every change in mental state flows from a cause.

Also note that the causes themselves can be random or otherwise nondeterministic, regardless of whether the causes are physical or nonphysical in nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
So the brain changes based on causes.
We must assume that the mind is nothing more than the brain, which rules out all of the ancient treatments on philosophy and many of the classical philosophical treatises. If you had said "the mind changes based on causes", this assumption would be unnecessary. I think this may have been a Freudian slip, and I won't include this assumption as I think it is unnecessary for your arguments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
These causes could be random, I suppose, but the reactions are not.
This does not follow either. In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics there is a correspondence principle, and in probability theory we have the law of large numbers. Even then, it only follows that the function constrains the outputs when given random inputs. It does not follow that random inputs will lead to nonrandom outputs. Luckily that is the conclusion you draw.

The assumption here is that a sample average converges in probability towards the expected value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
This means that, because brains aren't static-snow random, that their previous states are in a sense limited by their prior states. The past matters.
I concur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
We know that the mind is in a given state at the instant of any decision-making, and that as the decision-making process proceeds things will not be changing wildly without cause.
Right, but remember that the causes could be random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
If choices are based on what you know, feel, and want, then they are based on your mental state
It seems that you are defining "mental state" as "what you know, feel, and want" exclusively. This is another assumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
your mental state - which is not random and at any and every given instant is fixed (regardless of model).
This is another assumption, because we did not establish that your mental state is nonrandom. We said it was not "changing wildly without cause", but we did not establish that one's mental state is fixed at every given instant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
If they are based on something that's not what you know, feel, or want, like randomity or control signals from an outside god or something, is that free will?
Undoubtedly, if that influence is both nondeterministic and is one's self, eg: one's nonmaterial soul, such an influence on the mental state would constitute free will. Were it God in the traditional sense, that would constitute free will (on the part of God; as in 'God has free will'). Such a philosophy is non-deterministic by definition.

But you gave a rhetorical question, with an implied answer of "no". In order to join your answer I will need to deny the possibility of a nonmaterial soul or any other nondeterministic self-influence on one's mental state. This makes another assumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
As best I can tell, based on even a casual examination of how thought works and the fact that the mind does, in fact, have a state, I can only conclude that regardless of model, the decisions a human brain makes are determined by their mental state at the time. The only possible exceptions to this are if randomity overrides reason or an external meddler overrides reason. And in my opinion* those violate free will.
If I agree to a number of assumptions listed above, I can join your opinion. For convenience, here is the running list:
  • Every change in mental state flows from a cause.
  • A sample average converges in probability towards the expected value.
  • Mental state is what one knows, feels, and wants, and nothing more.
  • One's mental state is fixed at every given instant.
  • There are no nondeterministic self-influences on one's mental state (such as a nonmaterial soul).

This last item in particular rules out all forms of libertarianism, which is by definition the only philosophy that allows for free will without a compatibilist definition of free will. Libertarianism lends itself to god-of-the-gaps style logic (magic), but it is still a philosophy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Given that this is, as best I can tell, how all minds have worked ever, I can only conclude that the definition of "choice" as used in modern parlance is compatible with this reality.
It does not follow. You could very well leave the definition of choice alone and conclude that choice does not exist in reality. This is another assumption, which is that choice is the illusion of having the power to effect an alternative; when you say choice (your def.) exists, it is really the illusion of choice (my def.) that exists.

***

You didn't bring the argument to full circle, because you did not make the jump from the "existence" of choice to the existence of free will. I must point out that free will implies "free" choice, and it is a misnomer at best to freely decide when one is given the illusion of choice. If you had made that jump you would rule out hard determinism.

In making your argument you ruled out by assumption libertarianism. You are one step away from dismissing hard incompatibilism and hard determinism out of hand. It is no surprise that you come across with a compatibilist vibe, because you have assumed the conclusion.

~Max