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#151
09-05-2019, 03:30 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Idaho Posts: 13,249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Mijin As a nitpick, several people here are using the term "chaos" in a nonstandard way. (Or at least; not the way mathematicians or physicists use it. And the word in a colloquial sense doesn't have a firm enough definition to contrast it with "randomness", as some here have) Chaotic systems are by definition deterministic (although we may see chaotic behaviour in systems with nondeterministic elements / subsystems). And, let's imagine we have a chaotic system that at each iteration delivers an integer between 1 and 100. The fact that it's chaotic does not necessarily mean even that all the numbers in that range will be visited, let alone that they will be visited at equal probability. Our hypothetical chaotic system may have zero probability of ever returning the number 71, say.
Chaotic, equiprobable, I think that we all get the point.
#152
09-05-2019, 06:43 PM
 Guest Join Date: Feb 2006 Location: Shanghai Posts: 9,096
Quote:
 Originally Posted by begbert2 Chaotic, equiprobable, I think that we all get the point.
Chaotic does not mean equiprobable. See strange attractors for example.

As far as I can tell, you are using the word chaotic in the colloquial sense, but as though this casual word is a concrete mathematical concept.

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#153
09-05-2019, 07:10 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Idaho Posts: 13,249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Mijin Chaotic does not mean equiprobable. See strange attractors for example. As far as I can tell, you are using the word chaotic in the colloquial sense, but as though this casual word is a concrete mathematical concept.
Yep!

And I'm unapologetic about it, too.
#154
09-08-2019, 12:44 AM
 BANNED Join Date: Sep 2019 Posts: 381
It's either free will or determinism, and I think modern physics pretty much rules out determinism.
#155
09-08-2019, 03:39 AM
 Guest Join Date: Feb 2006 Location: Shanghai Posts: 9,096
Quote:
 Originally Posted by kirkrapine It's either free will or determinism, and I think modern physics pretty much rules out determinism.
The thing is, the "no such thing as free will" guys will just say something like "how can the froth of randomness at the quantum level have implications for free will at the level of a mind?" without realizing the implication for how we're defining free will:

If an action is in theory predicable, that's not free will, they would say. But if it's unpredictable, but for reasons not based on knowledge or reasoning, that doesn't count either.

But how can we have unpredictable knowledge-based decisions? In a hypothetical universe with free will, how are free decisions made?

This is why I personally believe the whole topic is stupid: free will is being defined in this context in an incoherent / meaningless way. And it's equally meaningless to therefore say it doesn't exist.

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#156
09-09-2019, 10:26 AM
 Guest Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: Walnut Creek, CA Posts: 456
I am 50% atheistic and I half believe in free will.
#157
09-10-2019, 03:40 PM
 Guest Join Date: May 2014 Location: South Bay, SoCal Posts: 304
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Mijin The thing is, the "no such thing as free will" guys will just say something like "how can the froth of randomness at the quantum level have implications for free will at the level of a mind?" without realizing the implication for how we're defining free will: If an action is in theory predicable, that's not free will, they would say. But if it's unpredictable, but for reasons not based on knowledge or reasoning, that doesn't count either. But how can we have unpredictable knowledge-based decisions? In a hypothetical universe with free will, how are free decisions made? This is why I personally believe the whole topic is stupid: free will is being defined in this context in an incoherent / meaningless way. And it's equally meaningless to therefore say it doesn't exist. Sent from my Redmi 5A using Tapatalk
Science is always more complicated then either/or and this is apparently the case with randomness versus non-randomness in decision making. What if the brain incorporates its own neural noise as one part of the process of decision making?

(from the Atlantic: "A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked")
#158
09-10-2019, 04:20 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Idaho Posts: 13,249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by peccavi Science is always more complicated then either/or and this is apparently the case with randomness versus non-randomness in decision making. What if the brain incorporates its own neural noise as one part of the process of decision making? (from the Atlantic: "A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked")
In my reading of the article, I didn't notice them suggesting that the "neural noise" was random. And I would consider it axiomatic that the brain state is part of the mechanics of decision-making.
#159
09-10-2019, 05:13 PM
 A Rather Dubious Fellow Indeed Join Date: Jul 2003 Location: The Last Green Valley Posts: 375
[Full disclosure for this drive-by: I am a lifelong atheist, an ordained Taoist rabbi, a card-carrying Discordian, a Reasonably Merry Prankster, a former Psychology major, a former National Merit Scholar, and a total fuckup. You may use any or all or none of these facts to assess my post, as you .... well, that rather begs the question if I use the cliché "as you see fit," doesn't it, so let's go with "any or all or none, whichever."]

I think that unless and until neuroscience and/or data science yield a far better understanding of the processes by which the emergent phenomenon of consciousness is (apparently/evidently/subjectively, pick your adverb) produced by neurochemical activity, the discussion of "free will" is premature. And of course any discussion without agreed-upon common terminology is more frustrating than enlightening, which is not to discourage the attempt.

Having said that: I am convinced that I have some degree of free will, and I am further convinced that if free will does not exist, nonetheless the subjective perception I have that my actions are to some extent volitional is, although illusory, still beneficial. And if the free will I perceive myself to possess is in fact illusory, then I have no choice but to believe this -- by definition.

And now I believe it's time for a beer. L'chaim!

HAIL ERIS!
__________________
Take care of yourselves, and those around you. -- Margo Timmins
#160
09-10-2019, 05:17 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Idaho Posts: 13,249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mjmlabs [Full disclosure for this drive-by: I am a lifelong atheist, an ordained Taoist rabbi, a card-carrying Discordian, a Reasonably Merry Prankster, a former Psychology major, a former National Merit Scholar, and a total fuckup. You may use any or all or none of these facts to assess my post, as you .... well, that rather begs the question if I use the cliché "as you see fit," doesn't it, so let's go with "any or all or none, whichever."] I think that unless and until neuroscience and/or data science yield a far better understanding of the processes by which the emergent phenomenon of consciousness is (apparently/evidently/subjectively, pick your adverb) produced by neurochemical activity, the discussion of "free will" is premature. And of course any discussion without agreed-upon common terminology is more frustrating than enlightening, which is not to discourage the attempt. Having said that: I am convinced that I have some degree of free will, and I am further convinced that if free will does not exist, nonetheless the subjective perception I have that my actions are to some extent volitional is, although illusory, still beneficial. And if the free will I perceive myself to possess is in fact illusory, then I have no choice but to believe this -- by definition. And now I believe it's time for a beer. L'chaim! HAIL ERIS!
So I see you saying that any discussion without agreed-upon terminology is more frustrating than enlightening...and then you go on to talk about "free will" without defining what you mean by the term.

Yep, discordian prankster.
#161
09-10-2019, 05:28 PM
 A Rather Dubious Fellow Indeed Join Date: Jul 2003 Location: The Last Green Valley Posts: 375
Quote:
 Originally Posted by begbert2 So I see you saying that any discussion without agreed-upon terminology is more frustrating than enlightening...and then you go on to talk about "free will" without defining what you mean by the term. Yep, discordian prankster.
As advertised. And tbh, by Page 4 of this thread, there are more than too many proffered/proposed/supposed definitions already in play; I very seriously doubt that an explanation of my personal definition would prove welcome, and I am certain that I would not find it worthwhile.

But here's an exegesis that's perhaps not unwelcome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOyQhgM1FU

fnord
#162
09-10-2019, 05:35 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Idaho Posts: 13,249
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mjmlabs As advertised. And tbh, by Page 4 of this thread, there are more than too many proffered/proposed/supposed definitions already in play; I very seriously doubt that an explanation of my personal definition would prove welcome, and I am certain that I would not find it worthwhile.
I for one have reached the conclusion that any arguments about free will should start with the definition of free will the person is using.

That way people can argue that everyone else is using the wrong definition of the term, rather than arguing whether we have the stuff, which at least would be a nice change.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by mjmlabs But here's an exegesis that's perhaps not unwelcome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOyQhgM1FU fnord
The device I'm on doesn't have its sound plugged in, so...

Last edited by begbert2; 09-10-2019 at 05:35 PM. Reason: typo
#163
09-10-2019, 11:09 PM
 Guest Join Date: Feb 2006 Location: Shanghai Posts: 9,096
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mjmlabs I think that unless and until neuroscience and/or data science yield a far better understanding of the processes by which the emergent phenomenon of consciousness is (apparently/evidently/subjectively, pick your adverb) produced by neurochemical activity, the discussion of "free will" is premature.
Yes good point.

Any time there is a phenomenon with significant unknowns we should be wary of ruling out possibilities. Even if I agreed that free actions need to thread the needle between not being deterministic and yet based on past experience / understanding, maybe there is such a mechanism that no-one has conceived of yet.
(And even if I thought this was threading the needle between p and !p, while in formal logic these are the only two possibilities, empiracally things can often be more complicated than that.)

So I will update my stock response on free will:
1. It's usually defined in a self-inconsistent way; the problem is with the definition, not any limitation of our universe
2. I am reluctant to rule out possibilities for consciousness while there are still so many unknowns about this phenomenon. There may well be additional mechanisms or patterns that we have not discovered yet and have some bearing on the notion of free will.

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