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Martian

Objectivism and determinism

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Define choice.
You quoted Olex, but attributed it to me.

Nevertheless, the most elementary choice is to think or not. Something about the mechanism of the human brain -- we don't know what -- allows us to control the control the locus of our internal focus!

Edited by softwareNerd

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Someone who denies that he has free will is violating an axiomatic position regarding the nature of human consciousness. We understand that we have free will via introspection, and no amount of scientific knowledge about neurons or particles can deny it. Consciousness and volition in man are defined ostensibly by observing one's own mind introspectively. One is aware of making choices directly, and all of the head banging against that position comes about because that someone does not believe that introspection is valid. In other words, if you are looking for free will in things bouncing off of one another, you won't find it. Just introspect and it will be clear to you that you are choosing to consider this post; and you will choose to reply or not of your own free will.

Starting at the epistemological level of neurons and synapses and particles is to be using the process of the stolen concept; because one is attempting to deny what is right there in front of you introspectively. It's like trying to deny that the glass you are holding in your hand is an entity because it is composed of atoms. Likewise, trying to say that you do not have free will is to deny the obvious, to deny the given. In other words, such a person is starting at the wrong place in the hierarchy of knowledge. One starts with what is observed, and what is observed introspectively is that we have free will.

However, there have been so many people I have known over the years who have denied free will that I have to wonder if maybe they cannot introspect.

Are you thinking about this?

If so then you have free will.

Free will does not have to be validated scientifically by figuring out how all of that stuff fits together to arise at a being that has free will. Just observe what you are doing with your own consciousness.

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Could you write down its definition, please? I don't think it's necessary to read pharagraphs of information when the word has a definition. I want you to type it up in a couple of words.

This has been done a few times before.

But the fact is that free will isn't something you can give a formal definition of.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/definitions.html

The rules of correct definition are derived from the process of concept-formation. The units of a concept were differentiated—by means of a distinguishing characteristic(s)—from other existents possessing a commensurable characteristic, a Conceptual Common Denominator. A definition follows the same principle: it specifies the distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units, and indicates the category of existents from which they were differentiated.

But there is nothing that belongs to the same group of free will. One can only point it out in a statement what free will means. Free will is an attribute of human consciousness; it's an ability to make choice in the face of alternative.

You won't get anywhere beyond that.

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The link that Olex provided didn't have "paragraphs and paragraphs" on free-will.

That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call "free will" is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character. (emphasis added)

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How can you possibly ponder this? (Serious question, not flippant or sarcastic)

By thinking about and refining the idea to see if it can match my observations of reality. I have thought about it, and I have come to a conclusion.

Free Will, as it is described, cannot exist.

Free Will suggests that it supernaturally interferes with the Deterministic process. This has not been observed to happen, ever. The molecules that make up the brain operate as they would if they were not part of the brain. Therefore, Free Will, as it is described, cannot exist.

So, Objectivism and Determinism are not compatible under that idea of Free Will.

Edited by Martian

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By thinking about and refining the idea to see if it can match my observations of reality.
What forced you to think about and refine the idea? Why didn't you say "Nuts with that, I'm just gonna watch the game"?
Free Will suggests that it supernaturally interferes with the Deterministic process.
It doesn't suggest that, so now you can integrate the multitude of observations that you're made and have been evading that show that man really does have free will.

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What forced you to think about and refine the idea? Why didn't you say "Nuts with that, I'm just gonna watch the game"?

I am the process that makes a choice, but that choice can be determined because I'm made up of the stuff that acts Deterministically. I am definied as the process. So, whatever I do in a sense is Deterministic and is me. If you ran time back again to see if there would be a different action, there would be no difference in my action. That is because I am the process, and whatever was chosen was what "I wanted to do". I am defined by the arrangement of my Deterministic parts, so my choice, will, or whatever you want to call it is part of what makes me, me.

It doesn't suggest that, so now you can integrate the multitude of observations that you're made and have been evading that show that man really does have free will.

If it doesn't follow what is observed to be the natural order, it is a phenomina that is outside of it, and therefore supernatural. What else could cause my neurons to fire one way rather than another? That idea is not compatable with science.

Edited by Martian

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I am the process that makes a choice, but that choice can be determined because I'm made up of the stuff that acts Deterministically. I am definied as the process. So, whatever I do in a sense is Deterministic and is me. If you ran time back again to see if there would be a different action, there would be no difference in my action. That is because I am the process, and whatever was chosen was what "I wanted to do". I am defined by the arrangement of my Deterministic parts, so my choice, will, or whatever you want to call it is part of what makes me, me.
So how do you know if you arrived to a right conclusion? Or how do you know that you applied reason instead of feelings?

After all, whatever is your impression or recollection of what you did had to have happen the way it did, so now your memory of it is determinist, and you had no choice against that.

So how do you know?

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So how do you know if you arrived to a right conclusion? Or how do you know that you applied reason instead of feelings?

After all, whatever is your impression or recollection of what you did had to have happen the way it did, so now your memory of it is determinist, and you had no choice against that.

So how do you know?

Could you rephrase that or be more specific? I don't understand the question.

Also, do you understand what I was saying in my previous post?

Edited by Martian

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I am the process that makes a choice, but that choice can be determined because I'm made up of the stuff that acts

Can be or is?

How are you making a choice? Your outcome is merely the result an ever-increasing number of previous brain states over which you, without free will, have no choice. You can't claim credit or be held responsible for the result of a sequence of brain states that you could not direct any other way.

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I am the process that makes a choice, but that choice can be determined because I'm made up of the stuff that acts Deterministically.
What do you think that "free will" refers to?
If you ran time back again to see if there would be a different action, there would be no difference in my action.
What proof do you have of that claim? What doe you even mean by "run time back again"?
If it doesn't follow what is observed to be the natural order, it is a phenomina that is outside of it, and therefore supernatural.
No, because free will is in man's nature, so it can't be supernatural.
What else could cause my neurons to fire one way rather than another?
Uh, wait, so your argument is that because you are not omniscient or close to it, man cannot have free will? Similarly, other galaxies did not exist until Herschel discovered them? The atom had no nucleus until Rutherford discovered it? That idea is not compatible with science.

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Can be or is?

When I said, "can be determined" I meant that the resulting action could be calculated it occured given the proper information. You knew what I meant.

How are you making a choice? Your outcome is merely the result an ever-increasing number of previous brain states over which you, without free will, have no choice. You can't claim credit or be held responsible for the result of a sequence of brain states that you could not direct any other way.

Perhaps I didn't phrase my idea well enough, because this is the second response that doesn't actually address what I was talking about.

I am the brain process that makes the action. So, previous brain states are actually me; but you speak of them like they are separate from me. The significance of this brain process, which is me, is that it is accounting for itself (me). It is hard to speak about this because people consider the process in the brain and the individual separate entities. But, they are the same. The reason that I am not the same as you is that my brain goes through a slightly different process. This is what makes me exist as me. So, my Deterministic components are what construct my processes and actions, and hence me.

If I were able to rewind reality and look at an action that a person took, it would be the same as it occurred before it was rewound. That is because it is a Deterministic process that makes the act. Whatever the processes and its actions may be, that is what the individual is. In a similar hypothetical, if I copy your particles and their positions and then construct an exact replica of your physical structure now and give it the exact same stimuli that you have at that moment, then that replica would act exactly in the same way as you would act.

Even though these two mental experiments are not likely to ever be carried out, they are still good for showing principle.

So, when you say that I can't claim credit or take responsibility for my actions, it doesn't make sense. The reason that an entity would be held accountable for its actions would be that is self aware/conscious. A rock does not have this, so it's nonsense to have it accountable for its actions. But, if a rock was given the ability to reason and account for its actions in its reasoning, then it would be conscious and accountable for its actions.

Does this make sense now? I'm not very good at expressing myself in words, and the above may appear disoriented, so bear with me.

Edited by Martian

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What do you think that "free will" refers to?

Well, I thought about this, a lot. And I tried to get someone to post a definition. What I got was that Free Will is not compatable with Determinism; that is the claim which pretty much everyone made. So, the question is, what occurs in the brain that makes something happen that wouldn't have happend under its natural order (to make the Free Will effect)? If we were watch each particle, we would see them acting according to their nature (physical laws), obviously. This leads to the only other possibility being a supernatural intervention force which deters all the particles in the brain, in unison, to give the effect of Free Will. This is a ridiculous idea. It's on par with assuming God's existence or any other supernatural concept. This is what the ancient men did to try to explain the world around them, and now we know that doesn't work out to well as a heuristic. In fact, they're all wrong.

What proof do you have of that claim? What doe you even mean by "run time back again"?

You've never heard of a hypothetical? I think you know what I meant.

No, because free will is in man's nature, so it can't be supernatural.

That's nice. Now, what's a man?

Uh, wait, so your argument is that because you are not omniscient or close to it, man cannot have free will?

Wow. I thought this would be obvious. Man cannot have Free Will because it violates Determinism. That fact hasn't been shown to be false, ever. Now that's a significant piece of information that should be factored into the reasoning on what makes man tick.

Similarly, other galaxies did not exist until Herschel discovered them? The atom had no nucleus until Rutherford discovered it? That idea is not compatible with science.

What are you talking about? You seem to have a skewed idea of what a discovery is, or rather, your impression of what my idea of it is. Those things certainly did exist before they were discovered, and if no one discovered them, they would still go on existing without a care. Now, I assume that you're using those questions to argue the point that things can exist even though they have not been discovered yet. To that I say:

You can believe in free will if you want. You can believe that Elvis lives if you want. You can believe in God's existence if you want. You can believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn want. If you want to consider what is known, argue it please.

Edited by Martian

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The reason that an entity would be held accountable for its actions would be that is self aware/conscious.
How does self-awareness bring accountability? After all, this awareness has a degree of passivity in the sense that it cannot act except in one (basically pre-determined) way. Similarly how can the fact that one reasons make one accountable, if -- given a certain starting point -- the outcome of that reasoning is pre-determined. Isn't is unfair to take blame or credit (i.e. to have any type of accountability) for something over which there is no possible variation of outcome?

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How does self-awareness bring accountability? After all, this awareness has a degree of passivity in the sense that it cannot act except in one (basically pre-determined) way. Similarly how can the fact that one reasons make one accountable, if -- given a certain starting point -- the outcome of that reasoning is pre-determined. Isn't is unfair to take blame or credit (i.e. to have any type of accountability) for something over which there is no possible variation of outcome?

This is the third time someone has responded to my posts and misunderstood what I was saying. The blame or credit falls into the brain (or whatever computing mechanism) process that is aware of what it is doing and the consequences of its actions. That process is the person, and the person gets the blame or credit. Makes sense?

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Does this make sense now? I'm not very good at expressing myself in words, and the above may appear disoriented, so bear with me.

Are you asking us to bear with you out of our own free will? Or do you think your request will deterministically get us to bear with you? Do we have to think about your request? Or do the words impact on our visual cortex and then the rest of our brains giving a brain state such that we either go along with your request or go against it?

Basically, your position and your request are untenable if we don't have free will.

I choose not to let your request stand. I choose to say that your whole approach is wrong. I'm not so sure I agree with David Oden that you are being evasive about denying that you have free will, but you definitely have a problem.

If you don't have free will, can I give you a command to leave us alone? Which command is that? Or will you ignore it like you are ignoring that you have free will?

You see, sometimes someone can be very rationalistic and follow a premise to the logical conclusion even though the starting point or the initial premise is wrong. You have done that regarding determinism. The universe is not deterministic. Entities are what they are and act the way they do because they are what they are -- that is the Objectivist approach. In other words, the eight ball does not go into the corner pocket because it was hit by the cue ball, but rather it is a cue ball and an eight ball acting according to the nature of billiard balls. If one substituted a raw egg for the eight ball, the egg would not go into the corner pocket, it would break and make a mess, because it is an egg. So, Objectivism's view of causation is that the locus of causation is the nature of the entity -- what it is controls what it does.

And man's nature -- what he is -- is a being of both mind and body that has free will as to the control of his own mind on the conscious level. Your repeated denials of this won't change that fact.

So, check your premises; unless you want to be treated like an automaton.

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You knew what I meant.

No I didn't, that is why I asked. You can claim to know what you know, but do not claim to know what I know.

If I were able to rewind reality and look at an action that a person took, it would be the same as it occurred before it was rewound.

This is the second time you make this claim, a claim which David already challenged. How do you support it?

So, when you say that I can't claim credit or take responsibility for my actions, it doesn't make sense.

No, it makes perfect sense if your assertion were true. It is the logical result of not having free will; not being capable of freely choosing between two or more courses of action; not being in control of what your mind focuses on or how long it considers it. These things, as it appears according to your position, are all on a single rail track for birth to death simply happening as a result of what has happened before. Awareness is not what makes a person accountable; choice is what makes a person accountable. To claim that choices are determined makes you no more responsible than the rock of your example.

Does this make sense now? I'm not very good at expressing myself in words, and the above may appear disoriented, so bear with me.

Oh I don't think it's you or your ability to communicate that doesn't make sense per se, it's the whole determinism position that doesn't make sense. You are not unique in not being able to support that position on this forum, several others have tried and failed before you.

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This is the third time someone has responded to my posts and misunderstood what I was saying. The blame or credit falls into the brain (or whatever computing mechanism) process that is aware of what it is doing and the consequences of its actions. That process is the person, and the person gets the blame or credit. Makes sense?
No, not yet, I'm afraid. You point to a process as a justification for "responsibility". You call the process reasoning, and say it is "self-aware", but you do not explain what self-awareness is, nor why it leads to responsibility.

From what I can tell, your idea of self-awareness, is just a process of physical interaction, combined with some type of reaction in response. So, a ball that hits the ground and bounces up can be said to be self-aware; if not, I'm not sure what self-awareness really means. I'm not convinced that the process is different even in the rock example. After all, in order to demonstrate self-awareness you are arbitrarily defining your sub-system (i.e. the "self") as what we would call "human beings". Having done this, you point to your sub-system as being "self-aware". However, it seems arbitrary to look at the rock, and the rock alone as a sub-system, and leave out the forces that act on the rock. Surely, it is more consistent to consider the rock and the immediate forces that are "guiding it"as its rolls, and the obstacles that come in its way, as being a self-aware sub-system, just as is a human being.

By extension, wouldn't you say that the universe is self-aware and responsible for itself in exactly the same sense that a human being is responsible for himself? If not, then why not? Perhaps this distinction -- i.e. relative self-containment of the sub-system -- is not the only distinction you are drawing. If there is some other distinction, what is it?

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Are you asking us to bear with you out of our own free will? Or do you think your request will deterministically get us to bear with you? Do we have to think about your request? Or do the words impact on our visual cortex and then the rest of our brains giving a brain state such that we either go along with your request or go against it?

Basically, your position and your request are untenable if we don't have free will.

I choose not to let your request stand. I choose to say that your whole approach is wrong. I'm not so sure I agree with David Oden that you are being evasive about denying that you have free will, but you definitely have a problem.

If you don't have free will, can I give you a command to leave us alone? Which command is that? Or will you ignore it like you are ignoring that you have free will?

You see, sometimes someone can be very rationalistic and follow a premise to the logical conclusion even though the starting point or the initial premise is wrong. You have done that regarding determinism. The universe is not deterministic. Entities are what they are and act the way they do because they are what they are -- that is the Objectivist approach. In other words, the eight ball does not go into the corner pocket because it was hit by the cue ball, but rather it is a cue ball and an eight ball acting according to the nature of billiard balls. If one substituted a raw egg for the eight ball, the egg would not go into the corner pocket, it would break and make a mess, because it is an egg. So, Objectivism's view of causation is that the locus of causation is the nature of the entity -- what it is controls what it does.

And man's nature -- what he is -- is a being of both mind and body that has free will as to the control of his own mind on the conscious level. Your repeated denials of this won't change that fact.

So, check your premises; unless you want to be treated like an automaton.

Can you read my post's arguments and address them? You seem to have only taken that one sentence I left at the end which doesn't tie into my argument.

Or better yet, argue for Free Will beyond asserting that it's necessary for a human action.

Edited by Martian

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This is the second time you make this claim, a claim which David already challenged. How do you support it?

What claim? You mean the hypotheical? It's only to show the concept, but I made a second one just in case you didn't agree with time travel (which I don't either). The one about taking an exact replica of a person and puting it against the same stimuli as the other person and getting the same results. Either way, it's not proof for my argument, it's a hypothetical situation made to give perspective by putting the situation into extremes.

No, it makes perfect sense if your assertion were true. It is the logical result of not having free will; not being capable of freely choosing between two or more courses of action; not being in control of what your mind focuses on or how long it considers it. These things, as it appears according to your position, are all on a single rail track for birth to death simply happening as a result of what has happened before. Awareness is not what makes a person accountable; choice is what makes a person accountable. To claim that choices are determined makes you no more responsible than the rock of your example.

But if you were able to consider responsibility through the rational process which the brain goes through, than it is accountable. The rational process considers option A and option B to set a course, so to speak. When the unchangable "choice" is set, the action is taken, and that rational process has made it's one and only outcome. The only result that would have been made by that process under the given conditions. None of the physical laws are broken and the "choice" as you see it has been made. This aligns very nicely with reality.

On the other hand, Free Will has no formal definition and can't be a working force without calling up the supernatural. I can't make it work.

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