Physics and Metaphysics, can they meet?

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Mercurius

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Axiom, the article posted was of common sense. Sound is a pattern of vibration that is recognized by the ear, regardless if the tree falls in the forest if no one or someone is around it still makes a sound.

:Free will is the ability to choose what thoughts and actions you want to experience in your reality, without stipulations imposed by an external source.
This definition is a little more in your area of understanding, and away from my metaphysical understanding of it.

So I want everyone to give there definition of free will. Axiom, your rules are null and void, for I want everyone to exercise their free will without Axiom's predetermined "criteria." After what comes from your own thoughts on it, if you want, then you can define free will using Axiom's criteria. Then we'll have both interpretations to work with. Case closed with the definition stuff, and we can get back to our debate.
 
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Axiom

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Axiom, the article posted was of common sense. Sound is a pattern of vibration that is recognized by the ear, regardless if the tree falls in the forest if no one or someone is around it still makes a sound.
I do not think it is actually possible to have missed the point of that article more utterly than this. Congratulations.

In the future, I will endeavor to post things that require less high-level cognition, I guess.
 
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Geno

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To interject:

Drifter said:
Axiom is just trying to play Socrates' game of demanding a definition and then shooting holes in it as if everyone here doesn't realize the inadequacy of metaphysical definitions.
Actually far from it, and the link to the disputing definitions example between Barry and Albert quite accurately describes the latter half of this thread which has been pretty pointless.

DoctorBambino said:
Axiom, the article posted was of common sense. Sound is a pattern of vibration that is recognized by the ear, regardless if the tree falls in the forest if no one or someone is around it still makes a sound.
Read it again very carefully. That's not what it is about.

LessWrong Time Traveler Example said:
"Personally I'd say that if the issue arises, both sides should switch to describing the event in unambiguous lower-level constituents, like acoustic vibrations or auditory experiences. Or each side could designate a new word, like 'alberzle' and 'bargulum', to use for what they respectively used to call 'sound'; and then both sides could use the new words consistently. That way neither side has to back down or lose face, but they can still communicate. And of course you should try to keep track, at all times, of some testable proposition that the argument is actually about. Does that sound right to you?"
 
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tiny

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If we knew every scientific law and what every particle (and non-particle!) in the universe was doing, then we could (presumably) predict what a person would do. But we don't, and we attribute that unpredictability to "free will".
The problem I see here is in determining whether or not that initial presumption is true. It is based on the assumption that what a person chooses to do is determined by mechanical laws.
I agree -- it is a presumption. But we can only go on what we know about the world. Although there is much that we cannot explain (and, what we cannot explain is, to us, indistinguishable from magic), my experience of the world is that events always have causes. The more we learn about the physical brain (with neuroscience), the more we can see how the mysterious experience of consciousness seems to be determined by physical factors.

I find it hard to imagine how something could happen without any cause at all. And, if something really does have no cause, then... doesn't that make it random? But you say that you don't "equate randomness with free will"... :-/

I can only go on the information I have, and (whilst it's good to keep an open mind) I can't see any reason to believe that free will exists. I find it difficult to imagine that it could exist; that it is a logically coherent concept.

To invent a vague notion of "free will" seems (to me) to be like inventing the idea of gods or ghosts... or Celestial Teapots to explain away the unknown.

If you disagree, I'd be interested to know how you think free will relates to the choice of deciding to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream, in drug addiction, and the sudden change in personality of people with brain damage. Using concepts such as "free will" (as it is usually meant by the lay-person) seems to cause more philosophical problems than it solves.

Schopenhauer said that, "Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills", and I'd agree.
Makes sense in a logical way. The concept of willing to will just leads to infinite regression.
If man cannot will what he wills, then, no matter what he does on the basis of his "will", it cannot be said to have been a free choice. If you think that what Schopenhauer says makes sense, then must believe that free will is an illusion(?).

BTW, it's interesting you should mention infinite regression! The idea that consciousness is an "infinite regression" (or feedback loop) of biological/neurological processes is discussed in the excellent book, "I Am a Strange Loop" by Douglas Hofstadter.

Ok, so I read both articles. Which I find it logical to think that way about the subject. Although, my belief is that the consciousness is not a product of the brain, quite the adverse. It is an entity in and of itself. It is nonphysical form of the collective and it projects through expression.
That's the mind-body problem. Your position, of believing that humans are made of both physical and non-physical "substances" is called dualism.

mind-body dualism (philosophy) -- Encyclopedia Britannica
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism_(philosophy_of_mind)

One of the main difficulties in dualism is in explaining how something defined as wholly non-physical (the mind, soul or consciousness) can "attach" itself to something physical (the body).

Epiphenomenalism (a dualist theory) tries to answer that, but it's essentially a cop out -- the mind exists as epiphenomena of the body. In other words, dualism is false, but sometimes it's a useful shorthand to pretend that it's true when we all know what we're talking about... In much the same way that Compatibilist Determinists (such as I) consider "free will". It's a useful shorthand, given that we can't predict what people will do (because we don't have enough information), but in reality it doesn't exist.

Of course you'd have to believe in something that is nonphysical which equates to metaphysics.
Metaphysics isn't the philosophy of the non-physical! It doesn't exist as the antithesis of physics! Metaphysics is the philosophy of reality. Unless you're claiming that the physical world is not part of reality, then the physics itself is metaphysical!

As I said before, the word "metaphysics" seems to be gaining popularity with some American New Age mumbo-jumbo-ists because (apparently) most people don't know what it means.

Sure it would. People hold "lectures and seminars" in "universities all over the world" about the existence of a wide variety of deities, all of which we know to arbitrary certainty don't exist.
In my experience of universities, I've never heard of any lectures that discuss the existence of deities. I'm sure some exist somewhere. You can still study Theology in some universities, but that seems to have become a very abstract study of religion in most cases -- rarely do lectures attempt to discuss the existence of deities.

Free will, on the other hand, is a topic frequently debated by neurologists, psychologists, lawyers and philosophers.

Define "cause."
Predicated (determined) by antecedents (prior events).

Is that any clearer? What do you not understand about the word "cause"? How would you define it, and what implications does that have for the existence/nature of free will?

Whether we act based on mechanical laws, the laws of probability or purely at random, we cannot be said to genuinely have free will.
For some definitions of "free will," sure. This is why you need to define what it is you're actually talking about. I limited my commentary to the issue of determinism for a reason.
Free will is simply the opposite of (pure) determinism. I have already made clear (I think) what I mean by free will and how, when taken literally, it is logically nonsensical. But what do you mean? Are you clear on "what it is you are actually talking about"?

The idea of "knowing everything there was to know about the universe" in a deterministic capacity is physical nonsense. It is not a well-posed concept. That's not how the universe works.
Exactly. That's exactly what I was trying to say. That is why we feel the need to invent nonsensical concepts such as "free will".

Determinism is inconsistent with our working knowledge of the observable universe.
I disagree. Events seem to occur due to antecedent causes. Discoveries in neuroscience seem to indicate that free will is inconsistent with our "working knowledge of the observable universe".

Whether that constitutes "free will" is not something I'm going to discuss until someone poses a working definition of free will, because it would be aimless.
I have said that, in my view, the concept of "free will" is philosophically incoherent. Therefore, in my view, it cannot be meaningfully defined. So, if you want to keep on using that term (in a way that contradicts hard determinism or compatibilist determinism) then you need to define it.

Starting from the positition that free will is experienced daily it would take more than hypothetical possibilites to convincingly claim that free will actually does not exist.
Of course. But that's a classic example of begging the question. Your axiom is your conclusion!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
 

AEsahaettr

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In my experience of universities, I've never heard of any lectures that discuss the existence of deities. I'm sure some exist somewhere. You can still study Theology in some universities, but that seems to have become a very abstract study of religion in most cases -- rarely do lectures attempt to discuss the existence of deities.
Completely depends on your studies. Religion is a not-uncommon major for undergraduates here in the states (eg, a BA in Religious Studies). That would be a social science. Obviously, there will be such discussion if you decide to pursue an M.Div. or similar (a "religious" degree for those who wish to later seek ordination). And in a number of other social sciences- eg, history or anthropology- religious topics including belief in deities will be prime topics.

I'm going to assume this is a case of your own ignorance rather than a cultural difference. I find it highly implausible that I would be able to go where you live and study anthropology or history without topics of religious belief in the curriculum.
 

AEsahaettr

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Wow. I only just read that! Nice article -- I see so many debates go awry when people clearly believe the same thing but explain themselves with different language.
I'm always concerned about this when I'm in an argument. I'll often call the other person's mother a whore just to make sure we're not unwittingly agreeing.
 

Axiom

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Predicated (determined) by antecedents (prior events).
This depends on what you would consider "determined." The "waves in probability-space" (and, for the sake of accuracy, the wave functions aren't really in probability-space but the square of their magnitudes is a probability density so it's a good enough heuristic) are "determined" by well-understood mathematics, but that doesn't change the fact that the description they give is ultimately probabilistic and you can't make definite predictions about what will happen at a quantum level, no matter how much knowledge you have.

How would you define it, and what implications does that have for the existence/nature of free will?
I make no claims about the existence or nature of "free will" because I've never heard an interesting, well-posed definition of the concept.
Are you clear on "what it is you are actually talking about"?
I'm perfectly clear on what I'm talking about, which is determinism. That's a very well-posed idea ("could all events be predicted given sufficiently accurate knowledge"), and the answer is very clearly no.

I disagree.
Unfortunately, the fact that physical law is essentially probabilistic isn't something you can "disagree" with. Or, rather, you can disagree but you'd most certainly be wrong. Three semesters of physics at most major universities would probably get you to the point where you can begin to understand the physical law behind this, too, so if you're interested it's not prohibitively difficult to learn (to sum up, at its most basic level stuff is described by a second-order partial differential equation, whose solution is called a "wave function," and when you take the square of the magnitude of the wave function you get a probability-density).
 

Mercurius

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Axiom:

I do not think it is actually possible to have missed the point of that article more utterly than this. Congratulations.

In the future, I will endeavor to post things that require less high-level cognition, I guess.
That last statement and I'll say it. You can neg rep me if you want. But there was no need to downplay my intelligence, you sounded like real dick there, And quite frankly if you weren't over the internet and you said that to me out right, I would have blasted you in the face with not one regret. I am not dumb and I don't need some smarter than thou asshole on his high horse thinking that he has to lower his scholarly stature to the lowly and stupid Doctorbambino, because that's how that last statement sounded to me. And if I were in your position I'd venture to say you'd feel the same as I am now.

Check your pride at the door, I don't need it and this thread doesn't need it either. I'll listen to you if you want to teach me more about your subject, but not if you divert to meaningless insults, you then sir have a lesson in courteousness and kindness to learn.

You could have maybe have sent me a PM, saying that I misinterpreted the article and ask me to read again, or be kind enough to explain it to me. Maybe this retaliation to your last comment wouldn't have needed to be addressed. Btw, I read it again and it has to do with others' definition and language use concerning the same word trying to be defined.

I actually would like an apology if you wouldn't mind.

tiny:

That's the mind-body problem. Your position, of believing that humans are made of both physical and non-physical "substances" is called dualism.

mind-body dualism (philosophy) -- Encyclopedia Britannica
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualis...phy_of_mind)

One of the main difficulties in dualism is in explaining how something defined as wholly non-physical (the mind, soul or consciousness) can "attach" itself to something physical (the body).

Epiphenomenalism (a dualist theory) tries to answer that, but it's essentially a cop out -- the mind exists as epiphenomena of the body. In other words, dualism is false, but sometimes it's a useful shorthand to pretend that it's true when we all know what we're talking about... In much the same way that Compatibilist Determinists (such as I) consider "free will". It's a useful shorthand, given that we can't predict what people will do (because we don't have enough information), but in reality it doesn't exist.
In my understanding of this subject uses two of the 7 Hermetic Principles

1. The Law of Mentalism. All is mind, the universe is mental.
2. The Law of Correspondence. As above, so below. As within, so without.

That means given that Hermeticism speaks the truth, then everything seen and unseen is a projection of consciousness. But also, The All (god) is in all. Meaning that the mind of God is in all of creation including humans. So it shouldn't be seen as dualism. If The All's mind created our bodies, then that means the body "below" is made of the same mental projection from the "above" mind of God. So how can mind be a separate entity when the body is also the projection of mind given that we look at it through this lens?

Metaphysics isn't the philosophy of the non-physical! It doesn't exist as the antithesis of physics! Metaphysics is the philosophy of reality. Unless you're claiming that the physical world is not part of reality, then the physics itself is metaphysical!

As I said before, the word "metaphysics" seems to be gaining popularity with some American New Age mumbo-jumbo-ists because (apparently) most people don't know what it means.
Hey Axiom, my definition of metaphysics might not be the same as others, therefore there might be a better term to use. Hmm, your right I looked up metaphysics and I apologies for the use of the wrong term. Maybe "theoretical" might be a better term to use.
 
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Axiom

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I actually would like an apology if you wouldn't mind.
You clearly spent less than five minutes reading the article in question. You proceeded to make a fool of yourself and post something that was complete nonsense. I snarked at you for it. If you can't take that, you might want to not bother with the internet.
 

DLGrif

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More to the point, don't offer your perspective on a matter if you are not prepared to deal with people judging that perspective. It's worth noting that much of the work philosophy students do is figuring out what a given philosopher is actually saying, and it's vital to get to that groundwork before you go on to show whether the logic is valid or the premises true. If you can't even agree on what words to use in a discussion, you've failed before you can begin. Allowing yourself to feel personally insulted, after it is noted that you missed the point, is an immature response in any rational discussion.
 

Mercurius

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More to the point, don't offer your perspective on a matter if you are not prepared to deal with people judging that perspective. It's worth noting that much of the work philosophy students do is figuring out what a given philosopher is actually saying, and it's vital to get to that groundwork before you go on to show whether the logic is valid or the premises true. If you can't even agree on what words to use in a discussion, you've failed before you can begin. Allowing yourself to feel personally insulted, after it is noted that you missed the point, is an immature response in any rational discussion.
I want to make it clear. It's fine to judge people's perspective, I'm all for that. And I understand I missed the mark with his article post. But as I said I'm not going sit there and take his response basically talking down to me saying, "I'm smarter than you, Ill just have dumb it down in the future for your tiny brain to keep up." All I'm saying is he could have handled it MUCH better than he did.

I mean read it, the condescending tone can almost can be tasted from that statement.

- - - Updated - - -

Axiom, I have not "snarked on you this whole time, there was no point in belittling me. There is a distinction between criticism and insulting. One doesn't make the other respond like I did. Yes, your correct I didn't absorb the message and I made myself look like a fool. But that never should give you the right to add salt to that wound. You had a chip on your shoulder and you posted the insult satisfying your lust for a lowbrow attack. You could have handled this maturely and PMed me or something. You. Were. Wrong. Own up to your faults... I did. I apologies for calling you a asshole/dick btw, but like I said I was hurt by your statement. I'm willing to keep going with the debate, and learn from your inputs. But I won't take an out right attack for a misinterpretation. All of us at one point have failed to see something, but we learn. Be a teacher, not a intellectual bully.
 
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Frogsy

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I have said that, in my view, the concept of "free will" is philosophically incoherent. Therefore, in my view, it cannot be meaningfully defined. So, if you want to keep on using that term (in a way that contradicts hard determinism or compatibilist determinism) then you need to define it.
This is my problem with it, too. I can't define it because there's no evidence of it. You can't pull the free-will section of the brain out. It's basically a metaphysical idea, because all it is is an idea. Many people say it's an illusion - and a necessary illusion at that. People who truly let go of that illusion end up in existential crisis, or depression. I should know, I stop believing in it about once a week before the illusion snaps back into place. (Probably due to self preservation.) It's not proven in our physical reality in any way, shape, or form.

My definition would probably be, the metaphysical notion that people can determine their actions regardless of a multitude of other factors. These other factors are so many, I can't describe them all. But just the basics, your chemical makeup, your genetics, your environment (culture, family, peers, job, etc.), your history (childhood, history of abuse, memories/experiences and connections), your personality, your heritage, your current living situation, your education.

This goes so deep that maybe the reason a person would choose vanilla ice cream over chocolate, going with Tiny's example, could be due to the fact that two days ago they walked past a bakery and smelled delicious vanilla cookies, and had a craving for it ever since. But maybe that same person just read through a debate on free will, and got all weirded out, and started going against everything they would first choose. So they pick chocolate. But one could point back to their inner defensiveness, their need to rebel, their desire for free will, and their anxiety over choices.

This is why you'd have to know everything in order to make exact predictions on what people would choose in any circumstance. You can't only base it on personality, history, etc. It would end up having to be based on, like Tiny said, pretty much everything in the universe. So obviously it's impossible to figure it out. But even if it's impossible to ever figure out, does it mean that there is free will?

Just because I say it's metaphysical doesn't mean I don't think it can exist. Like I said, I'm always changing my mind on this particular debate. Whether it's due to self-preservation, or due to gaining more knowledge, I'm not sure.

I point to Occam's Razor. We already know that all these factors (and more) end up leading people to make certain choices. At least, we know within a given probability, because we can not possibly know what every person in every case would always pick - because we don't know every single bit of the universe at any given time, and never will. But we don't have any proof of free will, biologically, through studies, or anything else. So logically you'd have to ask, why the extra idea of free will, when so far it seems only to be needlessly complicating the beautiful equations?

But I have a life to live and I want to live it, so as I complete this, due to self-preservation, I'm going to go back to pretending there is free will again. Because, who knows, really?
 

Drifter

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I can't define it because there's no evidence of it.
That's not true and you know it. You experience it every day so there is no shortage of evidence for it. It's just that you have doubts about what the evidence means because some very clever people have claimed free will doesn't exist. Our world can be so beautifully described in cause and effect terms that it is easy to see why some people would believe the mind is also just an effect due to some physical cause. They are free to believe that free will doesn't exist, aren't they? But it is just a belief, not direct experience. You are free to accept or reject whatever beliefs you want, and you are free to entertain your doubts.
Many people say it's an illusion - and a necessary illusion at that.
"Illusion" always implies there is something capable of having an illusion. Can a purely mechanical process have an illusion? Saying free will is an illusion is just another belief, and a pretty meaningless one at that. It's based on the assumption that thinking is only a mechanical process, but at what point does a mechanical process become capable of having an illusion?
...due to self-preservation, I'm going to go back to pretending there is free will again.
Excellent choice.
Because, who knows, really?
What's scary is there is really only one person who can know, and that one has doubts. No one can "know" this stuff for you.
 

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I agree -- it is a presumption. But we can only go on what we know about the world. Although there is much that we cannot explain (and, what we cannot explain is, to us, indistinguishable from magic), my experience of the world is that events always have causes. The more we learn about the physical brain (with neuroscience), the more we can see how the mysterious experience of consciousness seems to be determined by physical factors.

I find it hard to imagine how something could happen without any cause at all. And, if something really does have no cause, then... doesn't that make it random? But you say that you don't "equate randomness with free will"... :-/

I can only go on the information I have, and (whilst it's good to keep an open mind) I can't see any reason to believe that free will exists. I find it difficult to imagine that it could exist; that it is a logically coherent concept.

To invent a vague notion of "free will" seems (to me) to be like inventing the idea of gods or ghosts... or Celestial Teapots to explain away the unknown.

If you disagree, I'd be interested to know how you think free will relates to the choice of deciding to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream, in drug addiction, and the sudden change in personality of people with brain damage. Using concepts such as "free will" (as it is usually meant by the lay-person) seems to cause more philosophical problems than it solves.
"Free will" is a term used to describe the the way we experience one of the characteristics of our mind. The experience is there,it does exist, it's not something we invent. We invent ways to understand it and one of the notions we invent is the idea that this experience isn't real, that it is an illusion. It's kind of funny when you think about it. One common definition of "illusion" is that it refers to something that doesn't actually exist in the "real" world, in other words, it's all in the mind. If someone wants to tell me free will is all in the mind I guess I would have to agree with that.

I see no conflict between making choices about the physical world and the concept of free will. I understand that my options, including my memories and tastes, are physical, but whether or not my thinking process is entirely caused by a physical process has not been defintely determined. It goes back to the question of how thoughts relate to brain activity. Do thoughts cause the actiivity or are they the result of the activity?


If man cannot will what he wills, then, no matter what he does on the basis of his "will", it cannot be said to have been a free choice. If you think that what Schopenhauer says makes sense, then must believe that free will is an illusion(?).

BTW, it's interesting you should mention infinite regression! The idea that consciousness is an "infinite regression" (or feedback loop) of biological/neurological processes is discussed in the excellent book, "I Am a Strange Loop" by Douglas Hofstadter.
The cause and effect model of reality results in infinite regression, which I suppose could be a physical reality if the universe actually does fold in on itself in an endless continuum, but this is just another belief and, if I have a choice, I prefer to believe in the possibility that the mind is a causeless cause, maybe even the prime cause. It exists and has no need to will itself to will anymore than it has to will itself to exist.
 

Mercurius

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"Free will" is a term used to describe the the way we experience one of the characteristics of our mind. The experience is there,it does exist, it's not something we invent. We invent ways to understand it and one of the notions we invent is the idea that this experience isn't real, that it is an illusion. It's kind of funny when you think about it. One common definition of "illusion" is that it refers to something that doesn't actually exist in the "real" world, in other words,it's all in the mind. If someone wants to tell me free will is all in the mind I guess I would have to agree with that.
That's a good point Drifter. I love to call this reality the Grand Illusion of the one mind unfolding it. That's why I referred to the Hermetic Law that that the universe is mental, a product/projection of the mind. Really all of the things we believe we see are frequencies that are picked from the brain and then translated into the colors and sounds and other attributes sensed. This reality really doesn't have form, our brains create the form presented. I once heard that it is a huge paradox, how can the matter exist when the very building blocks of the universe are nonphysical? Makes you wonder.

The cause and effect model of reality results in infinite regression, which I suppose could be a physical reality if the universe actually does fold in on itself in an endless continuum, but this is just another belief and, if I have a choice, I prefer to believe in the possibility that the mind is a causeless cause, maybe even the prime cause. It exists and has no need to will itself to will anymore than it has to will itself to exist.
This sounds to me like your describing a toroidal field.

c00c9eeb44ca237934a16caf353553ee.jpg

Which we have ourselves a torus generated by the heart, which I've heard has some sort of cognition of its own apart from the brain. Anyways, If we take the Law of Correspondence As above, so below. As within, so without. And apply it to the toroidal field around a human microcosm "below" and expand that law to the macrocosm of the universe and mind "above", then we might see that the universe is a torus as well. Just my thoughts for what they're worth at this point in the thread.

To add, an example of a toroidal field in nature is the hurricane. Hurricanes have a central axis in which the low pressure center grows stronger when warm rising water strengthens it, then as the storm proceeds outward from its center, it drops the water as rain, only to be brought back up in the middle creating a toroidal loop. If you looked at all the processes happening at once the storm resembles strongly the vortex movement inside of the the above illustration.

super-storms-hurricane-0811-de.jpg
 
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AEsahaettr

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This sounds to me like your describing a toroidal field.
It sounds to me like philosophical gibberish that can be interpreted as describing a toroidal field if you cover one eye, squint, and turn your head slightly to the left.
 

tiny

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That's not true and you know it. You experience it [free will] every day so there is no shortage of evidence for it.
But how do you know you experience free will every day? I haven't seen any evidence of it, and neither have you. What evidence could there be?

ome very clever people have claimed free will doesn't exist... They are free to believe that free will doesn't exist, aren't they?


Not if free will doesn't exist! In that case, no one can help having the "beliefs" that they do.

But [free will] is just a belief, not direct experience.
So is believing in the existence of free will. It's not direct experience. There's no way to re-wind time to see if you could choose differently in the same circumstances...

When you make a decision, you base it on the information you have available to you (including your own experience and preferences). If you were to re-live that moment in exactly the same circumstances, then you wouldn't remember the you in the future deciding to go back in time to see if you could choose differently, because if you had that knowledge, the circumstances wouldn't be the same.

It's hard to imagine why, given exactly the same situation you would ever choose differently. In exactly the same circumstances, your preferences, memories, emotions and physical state would be identical. If you wanted chocolate ice cream the first time round, then (if you went back in time) you would fancy the same flavour again.

If it were possible to observe such a time travel experiment, and you did choose vanilla in exactly the same circumstances, what would that mean? Your decision couldn't have been based on your present situation (your memories, preferences, etc.), so why did you choose vanilla the second time? It could only have been a random choice, and randomness couldn't explain free will.

"Illusion" always implies there is something capable of having an illusion. Can a purely mechanical process have an illusion?
Apparently so! Do you doubt that you are having perceptions?! Free will isn't necessary to explain subjective experience.

- - - Updated - - -

This ~2 min video by Steven Pinker explains my thoughts on "free will":
[video=youtube;VQxJi0COTBo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxJi0COTBo[/video]

And this ~5min demo hints at how consciousness is an experience that is confabulated in the brain:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM
 

tiny

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This depends on what you would consider "determined." The "waves in probability-space" (and, for the sake of accuracy, the wave functions aren't really in probability-space but the square of their magnitudes is a probability density so it's a good enough heuristic) are "determined" by well-understood mathematics, but that doesn't change the fact that the description they give is ultimately probabilistic and you can't make definite predictions about what will happen at a quantum level, no matter how much knowledge you have.
Quantum events still have causes, whether those causes are "purely" deterministic or are probabilistic. There still doesn't seem any room for free will. And anyway, at the macroscopic level, the sheer number of sub-atomic particles involved means that any uncertainty is effectively cancelled out. Macroscopic determinism is conceivable even if the sub-atomic world behaves probabilistically.

I think that quantum mechanics is a red herring when it comes to looking for "free will". It doesn't much matter to me whether every particle is determined by absolute laws or by probabilistic ones; it's still determinism to me. Events are still determined by something other than my free will.

I make no claims about the existence or nature of "free will" because I've never heard an interesting, well-posed definition of the concept.
... and you can't believe in something you can't define...
 

Mercurius

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1. It sounds to me like philosophical gibberish-
2. that can be interpreted as describing a toroidal field if you cover one eye, squint, and turn your head slightly to the left.
Prove it's not philosophical gibberish. It is a debate, so... Debate. Present your side, don't just dismiss it.

As for the latter of your statement pretty much to me doesn't sound like an argument against it, more like a petty "I skimmed your post, didn't even put in the effort to look your toroidal thingy up, and I'm just going to mock you like my friend, Axiom did." Which again I restate my above statement. Prove me wrong. Debate.

I don't know myself about all this. Why did I start the debate to begin with? Apart from seeing if there is links between the supposed supernatural, and scientific discovery, it was to learn from the more logically based people and refine the concepts I've learned about. I've said I'm not a scientist. My brain doesn't work like that. I take the concepts to the ones who's brains are wired for complete logic, and see if the concepts are valid. But that doesn't mean I'm less of a person because I think this way.

So for everybody here, if I get something wrong, misinterpreted, and what not, I listen to you all, learn something new, and benefit from everyone's input. I never mean't this to become attacking and making fun of the ones that think in a more philosophical manner than those that choose logic. Please be respectful. I'm not whining, but this is my thread, and if this is all it comes down to people just wanting to fight and make fun, I'll close it.
 
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