40 comments

  1. There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you're the one that will change theirs.

  2. This view that scientists have that determinism is true is due to reductionism. Their "evidence" is the intuition that all physical processes possible in our world can be explained and predicted solely in terms of atoms and how they move according to the laws of physics, which is false. Free Will isn't a question for neuroscience, it is a question for philosophy, and eventually mathematics and physics.

  3. A nonphysical soul can be variably coupled to a deterministic/filtered-random mind. Zero coupling means "along for the ride" with no free will, strong coupling can provide free will such as by countermanding a determined brain response from seven seconds earlier, and weak coupling which gives something in between, sometimes soul-driven, sometimes on autopilot. Souls can also be variably coupled to each other.

  4. I used to be convinced we did have it. Now most times I think we don't. And if we do it's not like we think it is or as all encompassing.

  5. Physics could potentially learn to communicate with "soul space", if it exists, but I don't think it can prove determinism, even if a deterministic quantum theory were devised, because it is impossible to conclude there is nothing else "out there" weakly influencing the machine (or its "probabilities").

  6. This guy is way off base on his definition of free will… the free will he's proposing might as well be Chuck E. Cheese tokens…

    You couldn't have Chuck E. Cheese tokens without Chuck E. Cheese.

    Conflating decisions with free will is such a strech you might as well say buses fly because they move through air.

  7. This is a philosophical waste of time. Just intellectual mental masturbation. The painting of neuroscience with simplistic broad strokes is lacking the in depth understanding of how the nervous system actually works.

  8. This problem is solved since at least Spinoza, for whom not even God has free will. But the issue is in the concept, in the theory of free will, which makes no sense, unless we first get rid of our intuition (let's put it like this) of causality, which for sure haven't been challenged by Quantum Mechanics, as abundantly demonstrated by Schlick: probability, in this and in any case, is the way to work around the description of a phenomenon from which we have insufficient data, like what causes some weird behaviors of particles. Our minds don't make sense of things without the idea of causation, and we're going forever search for what determined our actions.

    But do we choose? For sure we do. But not because we are free. We choose because we're ignorant about what is the best action to be taken. Had we know it, we would just take right one. Choice is our way of learning, though by itself it guarantees from little to nothing about we being right next time we choose.

  9. It's all a game of semantics. The issue lies in our phenomenological experience of choice. Most people do not feel determined in their actions; they believe themselves to possess some version of contra-causal libertarian free will. This is undoubtedly an illusion.

  10. If we cannot represent our actual reasoning and motivations for a decision then we couldn't have decided it (if we can't state the reasons then we can't know if it was random or undetermined), the evidence is that we are bad at representing our reasons and motivations for torn decisions (roughly social psychology and behavioral evolution), therefore we aren't deciding them.

    Take something like, the case of Israeli judges making parole decisions, and their decisions being skewed based on when their last meal or break was. They feel as if they are making all of these rational decisions, and yet if they were the timing of their last meal wouldn't matter at all.

    If you ask the judges their reasoning or look at briefs or reports, none of them are going to say something like well I knew I was predisposed to reject the appeal, because I had a light breakfast and only slept 4 hours, so to surpass this unconscious bias I triple checked each point of reasoning, asked for an outside observer, and on the basis of this correction then chose. They are simply going to provide legal justifications for an underlying reason of which they are completely unaware, and are going to misrepresent to themselves and others the actual reasoning and motivation for their decision.

    If judges, who are highly professional, knowing people's lives are in their hands, essentially have the decisions rigged one way or the other depending on a physiological state, what does that tell us about what the rest of us are doing most of the time in terms of free choice?

    Further his concern that NCC, neural correlates of consciousness are weird, is really because he doesn't seem to understand what scientists are doing: essentially this would be like saying here is the phenotype, where is the molecular mechanism. In some ways the phenotype just is the mechanism, but the mechanism is some kind of deeper understanding of the same thing as the phenotype. The phenotype is more like the manifest image whereas the molecular mechanism would be the scientific image (everyday versus scientific description). Moreover you might not ever use the same word for both. It only seems weird to him, because as a philosopher he probably privileges phenomenal consciousness (as a philosopher you're essentially using a several thousand year old tool–namely working in the armchair–and using that tool phenomenal consciousness is going to be the part of consciousness that seems important–whereas scientists aren't performing studies on themselves so they aren't likely to priviledge phenomenal consciousness because their research would involve reports of phenomenal consciousness rather than their own first person perspective, i.e., what people claim the beetle in their box looks like rather than what their beetle looks like) and probably thinks there is a big difference between brain states and phenomenal consciousness and neuroscientists using NCC suggests something deep in some kind of ordinary language philosophy analgous kind of way (the fact that they don't use the same word means they are confused about their own ontology of conscious states or something), when really it is just scientists being scientists (and especially biological science as opposed to chemistry or physics). As a biologist a philosopher who seems to have a better understanding of biology than average would be Dennett, and Dennett might be kind of on the outside of a lot of philosophy of mind, cause he doesn't really go in for this whole hard problem stuff, and I think the question of consciousness really starts to change when you come at it from the perspective of evolution first.

    For example the Israeli judge example makes perfect sense from behavioral evolution or a field like that, but from a standard analytic philosophy approach is hard to incorporate and liable to be dismissed.

  11. There are those who think that life
    Has nothing left to chance
    A host of holy horrors
    To direct our aimless dance

    A planet of playthings
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive
    The stats aren't aligned
    Or the gods are malign
    Blame is better to give than receive

    You can choose a ready guide
    In some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide
    You still have made a choice

    You can choose from phantom fears
    And kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that's clear
    I will choose free will

    There are those who think that
    They've been dealt a losing hand
    The cards were stacked against them
    They weren't born in Lotus Land

    All preordained
    A prisoner in chains
    A victim of venomous fate
    Kicked in the face
    You can pray for a place
    In heaven's unearthly estate

    Each of us
    A cell of awareness
    Imperfect and incomplete
    Genetic blends with uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet

    RUSH- band
    FREEWILL- song
    PERMANENT WAVES- album
    Lyrics by Neil Peart

  12. .
    . W/o w/o eojpa bro? STOP… just a 4a second 1sec… you ARE born with instinct… instilled… inherent… instinct… to survive&procreate… THATS ADICTION… TO EVERYTHIBG… NO CHOICE…freedom is a Myth !!!

  13. In response to 45:45, the biggest problem I can see is if these "meaningless" decisions can be influenced by an external source. We could effectively all be hacked, without our knowledge.

  14. This idea that we can determine a ‘fact’ about our behaviour based on the lack of evidence is a nightmare. We know practically nothing about how our behaviour is determined. Lack of evidence in this case is lack of knowledge. A lack of knowledge is no way to determine a fact.

  15. I was just thinking: There are more stars in the observable universe than gains of sand amongst all the shores of all the oceans and lakes of earth. So let's imagine there is this one grain, and let's say it's somewhere along the coast of Madagascar, and so that is representative of our sun. Now, around this particular one grain of sand, some distance from it, are half a dozen or so specks of (and invisible to the naked eye, of course) tiny little fungi or some such material. These are representative of our planets. Now we shall imagine that the third-most speck is analogous to our earth, and on this speck of fungus that revolves around this one speck of sand is every living thing that we know to exist in the universe. And upon this speck therefore has evolved us, and our free will. Now, even in the aggregate, when we consider all of those other grains of sand out there, and all of those oceans and lakes, even if free will does exist within every human that ever lived, and that currently lives, and that will ever live, how does the knowledge of knowing whether free will actually exists or not really affect the universe? – j q t –

  16. 36:45 "Here be dragons" in the Pacific, from the old maps, is also still open question. Maybe there are some?
    For an hour he was awkwardly struggling and obfuscating. I am not really sure what he tried to do. Before, they were inventing bullshit like compatibilist theories, now it seems they are satisfied with piling up words and leaving it as "open question".
    Prove that it exists instead of stupidly waiting for proof of its non existence, unconscious servants of the biggest lie that was ever told. Free will (as causal stream independent phenomenon) does not exist until someone gives a proof and a proper explanation for it. Embracing the fact that there is no free will has unprecedented potential to make this violent madhouse planet a much better place.

  17. There is no free will your surroundings and influence determine everything, the person that you are the person you became is all based off of your surroundings and influences, your gene pool, hereditary family traits. None of these are in control for you to choose. Unless you get to choose who your mother is before you're born you truly don't have any free will

  18. It's not "for" you sociopath. Michio Kaku already said it, just tell me when I get the thikk Korean girls to help me cast a sayance or w.e

  19. If the readiness potential is the brain "gearing up" to make a decision without determining what decision will be made than how can neuroscientists predict the decision that will be made? It seems likely the 60% prediction rate is just a lack of our ability to read and understand the patterns but will improve. I think there are also many more studies than just the one he mentions with higher prediction rates and earlier predictions. If you look into the latest research on how decisions are made there are many competing "modules" that each get a "vote". They are a subconscious probability network. The highest probability modules are selected and only then does the consciousness become aware of what decision will be made.

    "Axel Cleeremans, a professor of cognitive science with the Department of Psychology of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, in his paper "The radical plasticity thesis: how the brain learns to be conscious", proposed the idea that conscious brain is a product of unconscious brain's attempts at predicting the consequences of its actions on the external world. The paper also states that the activity of one cerebral region and its effect on the other regions of the brain. According to "radical plasticity" thesis, thinking and reasoning are the products of the unconscious mind's ability to decipher and process countless possibilities and predict the consequences of taking a certain course of action. In contrast, the conscious mind is only able to process the outcomes of no more than a couple of courses of action during decision making.[12]

    The brain unconsciously learns to re-describe its own activity to itself in terms of possibilities and probabilities and generates a method to allow activate certain parts of its anatomy to help engender the most profitable outcome. These learned re-descriptions, enriched by the emotional value associated with them, form the basis of conscious experience.[12] "

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

  20. 25:27 " So if it's undetermined, we get the non-randomness, and we get the indeterminacy, and so we have free will."
    What? How does the indeterminacy of a event imply that it's non-random?

  21. He, like every other compatibilist I've been exposed to, talks a lot about the 'I' making decisions, but never firmly establishes what this 'I' thing is. And I'm afraid that no amount of philosophical mental masturbation is ever going to get you to an 'I' that isn't a completely physical/material process, which isn't under your control.

  22. The speaker's argument around half way seemed to resolve to:

    "if we can establish that something non-deterministic at a subatomic particle level is occurring anywhere in the cascade of brain activity leading to physical evidence of a choice, then we can call that freedom of choice, because we have been 'freed' from the shackles of determinism"

    Except that in that scenario you have leapt from the clutches of determinism, straight into the jaws of the bottomless randomness of quantum probability. If you establish later that quantum events are in fact as predictable as the Newtonian model painted the Universe, then you're back to deterministic captivity again.

    Any sane concept of free will implies that a choice can be asserted from some power base within the mind, but there is no location or mechanism for that power base to reside or act independently of prior stimuli. The brain has no insulated control tower to marshall the tricky decisions from.

    The illusion of free will surely comes from the brain's perfectly valid and useful ability to introspect and evaluate the runner-up options to help it 'score' the path taken against its mental simulation of the untaken path.

  23. So, what is causal necessity? It is the logical fact that, if we assume perfectly reliable cause and effect (and it simplifies everything if we do), then every event will have an infinite series of prior cause and effect pairs where the effects becomes the causes of the next event.

    The logical result is that all events will happen in precisely one singular, inevitable fashion.

    However, there is no entity that oversees and controls this process. It simply happens as the specific objects and forces that make up the physical universe naturally interact with each other.

    Destiny, fate, and causal necessity/inevitability are not entities that cause events. The only entities within the physical universe that can cause events are the specific objects and forces that make up the physical universe, because they are the only things that actually do exist in objective reality.

    We happen to be one of those things that actually exist in physical reality.

    Objects behave differently according to their physical organization. Inanimate objects behave passively in response to physical forces. Biological organisms, on the other hand, are organized in such a way that they behave in a goal-directed fashion, specifically to survive, thrive, and reproduce. Intelligent species have evolved additional neurological adaptations that include imagination, evaluation, and choosing. They can behave deliberately, by mental calculation as to which option is most likely to turn out best.

    "Deciding" is an operation that is only performed by living organisms of an intelligent species. No other entity gets to decide what they will do. It is a local operation performed within the brain.

    It involves imagining different possibilities and how they might play out in reality if we choose to actualize them.

    The meaning of terms like "can", "ability", "possibility", "option" derive from the operation of choosing. They always involve a future which is as yet unknown.

    The future can be both a single inevitability and also unknown.

    Choosing is about the unknown inevitability. Because it is unknown, all real possibilities are on the table (or at least those related to the issue to be decided). The fact of inevitability cannot dismiss the fact of multiple possibilities while the future has not yet been decided.

    And it will be decided by the brain of the person engaged in resolving the issue at hand. There is no other type of entity in the physical universe that performs this operation except for objects that happen to be living organisms of an intelligent species.

    Because the single inevitability is unknown, it is logically required that, at the beginning of the choosing operation, there must be at least two real possibilities and we must have the ability to choose either one.

    Therefore, the fact that we will choose A cannot dismiss the fact that, at the beginning of the choosing operation, we can choose A or B.

    And, if it is true to say "we can choose A or B" today, then, tomorrow, it will also be true that "we could have chosen A or B yesterday". Whenever we speak of what we can or could have done, our context is the beginning of the choosing operation. Whenever we speak of what we will do, our context is the end of that operation.

  24. Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, free of coercion (for example, a gun to the head) and undue influence (for example a brain tumor, or hypnosis or the subliminal manipulation to buy popcorn). That is the operational definition that everyone understands and correctly applies in matters of moral and legal responsibility.

    The so-called "philosophical" definition of free will is a choice we make that is "free of necessity" which is derived from the presumption of perfectly reliable cause and effect. The philosophical definition is an oxymoron, a self-contradiction, because without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. So, the correct solution is to abandon the nonsense definition we are handed by philosophy, and drop back to the practical definition that everyone understands (at least until they are exposed to and sucked in by the hoax — see https://marvinedwards.me/2019/03/08/free-will-whats-wrong-and-how-to-fix-it/ ).

    Whether the choice is made by our subconscious mind or worked out consciously or even on a pieced of paper where we list the pro's and con's of each option, it remains a scientific fact that it is our own brain that is making the decision.

    And if it was inevitable that you would choose chocolate, then it was also inevitable that it would be you, and you alone, that would be making that choice.

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