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BroadShoulderedBeast t1_jbo7ssp wrote

So.. the results of experiments depend on how you define the terms used in the experiment? I’m other news…


zkooi t1_jbqx85j wrote

Well thats analytic philosophy in a nutshell.


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_jbopfyx wrote

If something is not provable or disprovable by evidence then the entire concept may as well be discarded out of hand as it has no relevance to our experience of reality. What is real can be demonstrated by evidence, what cannot be demonstrated at all is as good as fiction.


Drakolyik t1_jbpie2l wrote

It's more like people with religious and political motives like to frame this as if there's genuine debate around the issue rather than mountains of scientific evidence that keeps piling up about the nature of existence and all things residing within it.

I say political because believing in free will is correlated with believing in both extrajudicial and judicial retribution. In other words, people often choose to believe that people made terrible choices in lieu of their actual available choices according to a deterministic universe and that those people deserve to essentially be tortured in utterly inhumane conditions.

I think it's a mistake to even give these free will proponents a platform, same as fascist ideology. Belief in free will seems situated on a moral axis more often than it does a scientific/objective front. Many of these people I feel aren't arguing in good faith, which is ironic given the propensity towards a concurrent religious belief system.


bildramer t1_jbsk8sn wrote

It's not just reliigous and political motives. I have a "compatibilism is obviously the most sensible approach" motive. Also wtf, your last paragraph is unhinged.


slickwombat t1_jbpy2i6 wrote

The claim isn't that a position on free will can't be justified by any evidence, it's that it can't be justified by "empirical experiments" specifically.


zms11235 t1_jbqakgm wrote

Evidence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Scientific evidence is not the only form of evidence.


timbgray t1_jbp08ay wrote

No empirical experiment can prove or disprove the existence of free will without first explicitly laying out sufficient definitions of free, will and self. BTW I’m agreeing.


ronnyhugo t1_jbqqq4t wrote

This is the key thing, "first explicitly defining free will". Something I studied for a few years (full time).

Imagine this, a chess computer. Feed it more and more energy (time or computing power) and then it does better and better chess decisions. Give it infinite time or computing power. Does it have free will? No.

Because it has no insight into how or why it is doing what it is doing. It has no insight into how it made the decision it made at the 1 hour mark, and it has no insight into how it made the decision it made at the 2 hour mark if you let it keep thinking it over. It is thinking at introspectral magnitude zero, it has zero insight into its own brain.

Human brains are just the same, or any brains, only evolution is what programmed our brain's chess computer program, not a human programmer.

But if we had a brain scanner that allows us some insight into how exactly we made a decision, so that we can make a new decision knowing how we arrived at the previous introspectral magnitude zero decision, then we have an introspectral magnitude 1 decision.

Then we can use the brain-scan of the decision we made at introspectral magnitude 1 to find out how we made that decision, and make a new one (that either keeps the original decision, or doesn't), to get introspectral magnitude 2. Spectre 2 for short.

And we can keep going. If we keep going forever, with either an infinitely big brain that consumes an infinite amount of energy instantly, or an infinite amount of time, then we get up to an introspectrum level decision.

Introspectrum decisions is the closest thing to free will that exists in a causality-driven universe/multiverse.

This is kinda impractical for each decision, since infinite energy consumption for just ONE decision is rather impossible. But you can still approximate some introspectrum decisions within some degree of error that becomes negligible. A simple example is that you can always work out Pi to a suitable decimal count for whatever you are calculating, to such a degree of accuracy that you can't really decide that you're wildly wrong on the next trillion or infinite spectre levels. If you build a bridge with that level of Pi in your calculations, you're unlikely to later change your mind to any worthwhile degree. You might always find a better place to put the bridge, or a better bridge design, but you can approximate introspectrum level decisions in some situations.

For approximating introspectrum level decisions in humanity right now, you'd need to first be WELL versed in behavioral psychology (see Dan Ariely on youtube if this is the first time you hear that term), as well as evolution (see Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins for a good intro), as well as applied statistics (don't really know any great popular science figure-heads for that, just find whoever tells you the average doesn't reflect the data pool. For example, if you get 60% more money and lose 50% for each coin toss, the average wealth will go up but most will end up bankrupt). If you are WELL versed in all these things (and probably reasonably versed in a few other things I can't fit in this character limit), then you CAN even approximate introspectrum decisions in some cases even without an actual brainscanner capable of determining exactly how you arrived at your decision.

I coined introspectrum type free will years ago, maybe I should make it easier to find on google.


timbgray t1_jbqsft5 wrote

For a well-known (although perhaps not popular) statistical guru, Nassim Taleb is worth while.


ronnyhugo t1_jbqsfyl wrote

To clarify a few benefits of this definition;

  • We CAN benefit from spending more energy on a decision.
  • We CAN delude ourselves more and more if we don't second-guess previous decisions (at our detriment to economy/social situation/professional situation/love life, etc). Previous decisions are just memories, we hold no more duty to them than the calories we spent watching the TV last night.
  • We CAN make efforts to control for biases if we make an effort.
  • We CAN make efforts to make higher quality decisions with even minor effort, especially if we mull over the decision until the actual deadline instead of jumping on the first decision that falls into our mind.
  • WITHOUT this type of free will, more effort on decisions would be pointless, because we'd be just as likely to hit the best possible decision at 1 calorie spent as an infinite calories spent. So we should be happy we have this "lack" of free will as philosophers previously claimed we had, and instead have this free-will-within-causality.

IAI_Admin OP t1_jbnxkpx wrote

Abstract: In the 1980s the Libet experiment tried to prove free will is an illusion using empirical evidence. Despite some criticism, many philosophers and scientists still believe the experiment has demonstrated the validity of their belief that humans are merely biological machines.

In this debate, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Julian Baggini and Sarah Garfinkel try to answer whether experiments can ever be value-free and settle once and for all such questions as the existence of free will.

Critics of the Libet experiment suggests we can never obtain unbiased interpretations of experiments and that they inevitably represent a function of our desire to believe a certain outcome. When it comes to free will, however, to answer whether experiments can validate or invalidate its existence relies on the way in which we conceptualise free will.

On the one hand, it can be understood as our freedom to make decisions and act in accordance with our desires and preferences without external control; other conception stress the alienating role of the causal mechanical or chemical process in the brain or body that determine what our perceived desires and intentions ought to be.


NVincarnate t1_jbr23ml wrote

The philosophical equivalent of "well, that's just your opinion, man."


fishy2sea t1_jbq78ak wrote

I would disagree, you can always experiment with yourself and your inner self with the free will of thought not being outspoken for anyone to see.


zms11235 t1_jbqamer wrote

I've been experimenting with myself since I was 8.


fishy2sea t1_jbqaqui wrote

Keep it hidden otherwise they'll call you crazy


Tioben t1_jbqp3j4 wrote

I think you are conflating thoughts about laws of logic, T(L), with the actual structure of what logically holds, L.. But the painting of a pipe is not a pipe. And it doesn't need to be.

Since we can notice our thoughts, we can attempt empiricism on our rationalisms, and then we can model the structure of our thoughts on what pragmatically works when we make these attempts. We can form thoughts about what works and call those thoughts T(L). Because what worked actually worked, and what didn't work actually didn't work, we can know that T(L) corresponds to L to whatever degree our thoughts are really about what worked, which we can test empirically.


GainAccomplished9250 t1_jbt1rfp wrote

One of the assumptions in the Libet experiment is that free will (however it is defined) requires consciousness. The fact that we may not be immediately aware of our decision does not mean it is not free. It just means that it takes some time for thoughts to occur—for our “conscious” mind (however that is defined) to arrange itself into focus. It takes time for ALL mental processes to occur. I’m not saying this has any bearing on the existence of libertarian free will. I happen to think libertarian free will is an illusion, a beautiful and useful illusion—and the illusion ITSELF is real. (See my book Free Will Explained.) But even if I am wrong, the Libet experiment (for all its strengths and numerous weaknesses) does not prove determinism or disprove libertarian free will. It just demonstrates something fascinating about how the brain works.


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shruggedbeware t1_jbqs1oe wrote

This could have been shortened to "no experiment is free from being accountable for inadvertent biases" but go off I guess.


RessurectedSavsiman t1_jcaycak wrote

Free(unbound) will is impossible.

It is so easy to discover this.


zms11235 t1_jbqb39f wrote

True, no empirical evidence is really possible for free will (as far as I know). However, we can show rationally how determinism leads to absurdity and the impossibility of knowledge. For example: if all of your thoughts are mere byproducts of electro-chemical reactions in the brain (which you yourself don't even understand), then so are the laws of logic that are preconditions for knowledge of any kind. Not only would these laws of logic be reduced to blind chemical reactions with no real reference to "truth" and no way to epistemically justify them, but your brain (and hence mind) could also be determined to believe false things outside of your control. Basically, determinism makes epistemology impossible. It's an absurd and self-contradictory belief.


bildramer t1_jbsk41c wrote

What makes you think chemical reactions can't have reference to truth? Also, yes, you can be fooled, that just means you aren't a perfect reasoner.


zms11235 t1_jbspdrp wrote

Why should I trust chemical reactions to unfold in a way that “references truth”? Reason requires a rational agent, not a biorobot.


HamiltonBrae t1_jc2lvmz wrote

many people are perfectly happy with anti-realism with regard to truth and justification. they might even say it is the best picture of the world given philosophy's well documented difficulties in determining these things.


zms11235 t1_jc3gq7n wrote

Determining what is and is not the most accurate picture of the world, along with what philosophy can and can’t justify, both presuppose some standard of truth and epistemic justification which anti-realism makes impossible.


HamiltonBrae t1_jc78t6u wrote

Not necessarily. Accuracy can just mean that the model you construct predicts data accurately... the data you see in the world is what the model tells you to expect. That doesn't necessarily mean the model is true. Nor does it necessarily mean there is a single true model that we can construct.


zms11235 t1_jc7fu1g wrote

That’s a truth claim. So what model did you use to construct it?


HamiltonBrae t1_jc7j920 wrote

>That’s a truth claim.


Yes, but if you're an anti-realist about truth then I don't think it really matters. I use words like true or false all the time but it doesn't necessarily mean I am using them to mean something in the sense of truth/justification realism.


>So what model did you use to construct it?


what are you talking about exactly?


zms11235 t1_jc8fyur wrote

Then what does "truth" even refer to in your worldview?

You're arguing that predictive modeling is the best/only real standard for truth. That's a truth claim. So did you come to this belief via predictive modeling? If not, it's an invalid claim on your own grounds.


HamiltonBrae t1_jc95vmi wrote

I dont know exactly what truth means, probably something similar to what many people think; "what is the case" or "what are the facts" but what does this mean? I don't think it can be specified in some way that reflects some objective standard.

"predictive modeling" maybe is a standard for belief (just in the sense of changing beliefs with regard to evidence), but it is not enough for truth.

>So did you come to this belief via predictive modeling?

ha this is almost like asking "did you come up with this belief via thinking"


zms11235 t1_jcclz35 wrote

Thinking rarely involves predictive modeling.

Do you believe in the law of non-contradiction?


HamiltonBrae t1_jcdohzh wrote

All Ive been talking about is how beliefs are supported by evidence and I think thats how most people think. They change their minds if they feel that their beliefs are no longer supported by the evidence they see.

As for non-contradiction, I don't know. It seems an obvious part of my general thought the overwhelming majority of the time but I do understand there are people with views and who have created logics that are not so strict about that. I am open to logical pluralism and/or nihilism.


zms11235 t1_jche50v wrote

So it's okay if we contradict ourselves? We shouldn't strive to have coherent paradigms?


HamiltonBrae t1_jcni16m wrote

well according to those logics and views there are some contradictions that are acceptable. im not saying that arbitrary contradictory sentences make sense and i dont even know too much about those views but im open to the idea that logic can be done in different ways.


even so, i dont think the idea of non-contradiction is enough to pick out truth because truth depends on the premises and if these are blurry or underdetermined or context dependent then its not straightforward.