crispybits wrote:You never have any option except one. That's kinda the point.
I am presented with two options on a broad level at this time: (1) continue reading, or (2) ignore your post. Apparently, I have more than one option. After some time of deliberating between the two choices, I chose (1).
crispybits wrote:Our consciousness creates an illusion of choice when in reality the laws of physics make the choice for us, and then we just catch up and convince ourselves we've done it.
So, the laws of physics constrain our choices? Do they constrain all choices—or specific choices? If the laws of physics constrain a limited range of choices, then I’d still maintain that we have free will. I know I cannot jump 20 feet high because “laws of physics,” but this doesn’t mean I lack free will.
To me, the issue of free will v. …determinism? or argument of constraints? are two separate issues. And, although we may face some
constraints imposed by ‘nature’ (i.e. laws of physics), it doesn’t follow that we lack free will.
crispybits wrote:Lets try a different analogy (and remember these aren't meant to be taken 100% literally, they're figurative):
x = 1034
y = 2142
z = 523
Calculate 469xy + 342xz + 610yz using only a pen and paper and long multiplication - no calculators or other artifical aids.
Now the answer to that question is always going to be 1,907,064,036. It's the answer even before you start conciously working it out. But your brain doesn't have the knowledge of the answer, so it has to work it's way through it and get to the answer at the end.
I see that you've said to take the example figuratively, but there's problems. (a) This is a context-specific scenario which you’re universalizing toward all scenarios, and (b) I don’t see how the rules of mathematics force me to accept one option when I am faced with eating pork or chicken, or when choosing various long-term paths for my life.
*After reading throughout your whole post, do you mean to say that there’s some mathematical method regarding the brain which can 'decompose' every single process of every decision for every particular circumstance of time and place into pure math? You're talking about creating a multivariable function for the decision to fart right now or continue typing?
crispybits wrote:It's sort of the same with choices. Causality/quantum has already determined what the decision you will make to a particular set of apparent options is at any given point in time. You can no more change that decision than you can change the answer of the maths problem during the process of working it out. Studies have shown that the brain makes this decision away from the concious thought processes, and the concious thought processes then catch up some time afterwards.
How does “causality/quantum” ‘determine’* my decisions? And in what scenarios? All of them?
*’determine’, as in.. ‘restrict’? Because causality and quantum are not conscious decision-making entities, so we’re only speaking of restriction. If so, and if causality/quantum does not restrict everything, then isn’t there free will/some scope of choices to be made?
Does the brain/the thought process remain the same throughout one’s lifetime? (I think we can agree that it doesn’t). So, what caused it to change? (myself):
I can pursue an easier life, where I forego my studies and apply my skills in the business world. It’s very simple, but it’s not what I want. I envision a different future, and I strive toward it. Through years of trial-and-error, “I” have been shaping my own brain, my own thought process, and although as humans we face certain constraints by the brain, it doesn’t follow that “I” am some robot—completely subjected to the “will” of the brain. (Why separate the individual/mind from his/her brain?—hence the quoted words).
In a previous time, I perceived many routes—i.e. to use your analogy, I faced a “math problem.” But the context was not: solve this and this is the answer. Rather, it was: “if you want, you can try to solve this through continued action, but the answer from the present time is unknowable. Or you can solve these other problems.” There’s plenty of options there, so I don’t see how your analogy holds.
With decisions, there is uncertainty, and so it is with the social sciences. With the physical/natural sciences, there’s much less—and it’s very much different and limited in its applicability toward understanding human action. I’m not buying the argument that the laws of physics serve as a constraint on some scenarios; therefore, you have no free will.
In short, I can obviously change my decisions and even the range of later choices, so there is no “one answer” for every possible choice along one’s future path(s). Furthermore, with the maths problem, I can even ignore the rules and answer with “2.” Don’t you love it? I chose to answer with “2,” yet the “Laws of Physics” argument concludes that this would be impossible, right? Two is definitely incorrect, but I can still choose, so even with your example, the laws of physics--or rather maths--don’t constrain my choices.
crispybits wrote:Given that you have no concious control over which option you will decide, the fact that you can convince yourself that you do is irrelevant. I could convince myself that I'm really good at beer pong, but that act of self-persuasion has no bearing on whether I am objectively any good at beer pong.
I don’t see how that claim is true given my responses above, but to clarify:
1. You’re separating an individual from his brain, thus pitting them as two different ‘decision-making’ ‘entities’ against each other. One, the brain, is the conscious decision-maker, and the other, the… body? is the unconscious decision-maker. I = body, and brain = ???. No, the mind, body, and brain are connected, and to me serve as one whole, which I define as “one’s self” or “me.”
Now, does the brain shape the way we choose? For sure. Let’s read Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow
, and we can see some of the contexts in which the brain may
constrain/control our conscious decision-making, but it’s not 100% nor always occurring, nor does it support your position, which seems to be stretching the claims of neuroscience too far.
Since we are capable of controlling and influencing our brains through education, self-monitoring, self-discipline, etc., then it doesn’t follow that the brain-body/”I” relationship is unidirectional. Nor is it true that “we have no conscious control,” for I exert influence, thus control, over the brain with education, discipline, and monitoring. The brain is composed of various parts, some of which require discipline. It’s like a group of muscles which greatly benefit from exercise, so I don’t see them distinct from myself.
Saxitoxin: “That guy is swoll!”
Crispybits: “No, his muscles are swoll, but he isn’t.”
crispybits wrote:So to get to the answers for your questions:
Are such people correct in their perception of their set of options? They are correct in the way that they can perceive a set of possibilities, however these are not options, they are simply things that it would be possible for this to happen. Just like it is possible that I could get up from my computer right now, go into the shop downstairs and beat up the shop assistant. That doesn't mean that they have a choice between those options, simply that this is a list of things that are viable possibilities that could conceivably happen.
Options v. possibilities? What do you mean? So long as I choose one of many options and evaluate the possibilities of any option, then I don’t see the relevance between separating them and concluding as you have. Even with a list of possibilities, you still must act or choose. If you choose not to act, then the possibility of anything being achieved becomes 0%--except for of course the possibility of the option: “none of the above”, which became 100%. If you choose to act, then the other possibilities may become actualized. Therefore, the underlined cannot be true.
Most people choose not to be violent, and although some think of such actions in a much more serious manner, they still choose not to do so. Yet, some nonetheless choose to act violently. People obviously have choices and make them.
The main point about perceiving one’s choices is that people can exercise and reinforce an external locus of control, thereby ‘confirming’ the existence of a deterministic world/non-free will world.
crispybits wrote:Do they define their own choices? They define what they think are decisions they are making. They are incorrect in classifying them as choices, because whatever they think about the decisions they think they are making, actually their decision was made at the start of the causal chain (however far you want to trace that back), and it was not a concious choice but merely a natural event governed by the laws of physics.
The underlined has yet to be demonstrated.
Note: The laws of physics do not ‘govern’ in the same sense that conscious decision-making entities govern. “2+2=4” doesn’t control me, nor does gravity control me—in the conscious decision-making sense. Gravity certainly constraints my options (I can’t jump to Jupiter), but it doesn’t follow that I lack free will.
crispybits wrote:Does the environment constrain them? Reality constrains them. Reality constrains itself. They can never do anything other than what the causal chain leads them to do, even if they believe they are self-directed actors making their own decisions.
What causal chain?
What was the causal chain of my asking you that question?
crispybits wrote:As I said, can you give me an example where the act of making a decision is not based on the causal chain that ends in the firing of certain neurons in the brain, and sometime after that by the illusion that we have conciously chosen one option over another?
I can’t demonstrate it perfectly, and neither can the either side, so neither can seemingly disprove the other (free will v. determinism); however, we have a choice! The brain and “I” are one, so on those grounds, I can dismiss this kind of argument.
You can lift the hood of a car and exclaim, “ah-ha! there is what moves the car; therefore, the car does not move, but only the engine!” but as a whole it’s still a car which moves. To step outside of the analogy, we’re still talking about humans. Simply because there’s an organ in which occurs the “thinking” or “decision-making,” it doesn’t follow that the whole can no longer think or make decisions. If we took that seriously, then “I” do not pump blood throughout my body—my heart does. But so what? “You” are still pumping blood through your veins. And the swoll guy is swoll--not just his muscles.
You’re separating an individual/the self from the brain, and I don’t find that kind of reasoning to be useful for clarifying the context of this issue.
(Once again, this sounds like a problem of language).