BrainMeta'   Connectomics'  

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Free Will and Einsteinian Time
philthemn
post Dec 16, 2006, 05:03 AM
Post #1


Newbie
*

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Oct 05, 2006
From: Newcastle, England
Member No.: 5794



If we accept einstein's view of time, the idea that the evolution of the three space dimensions is an illusion, and time an objective 'block' dimension, then that leaves little space for free will. If every moment of time runs in parallel, and not in the perceived flow, then our decisions must be predetermined.

Thoughts?
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 16, 2006, 03:49 PM
Post #2


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



Carl Sagan's famous quote comes to mind when pondering the philosophy of time. "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." Such a statement is indicative of a "perdurantic" or "four dimensionalist" view of time. This is in contrast to the intuitive, "presentist", view.

Eternalism is by far the most popular variant of four dimensionalism, and was fairly common in the time of the ancient Greeks. Hence their fascination with the concepts of *fate* and *destiny*.

Nietzsche, a forerunner to existentialist philosophy, 'rediscovered' the significance of eternalist thought with his concept of the Eternal Recurrence - which makes sense, as he was a classical philologist by training.

QUOTE
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.'~ The Gay Science


One can find out much more about Nietzsche and his "Amor Fati" simply by wikiing it, but it is also important to note that Nietzsche wasn't making any specific cosmological claims. This is in contrast to the modern debate you've brought up between presentism and four dimensionalism, where such topics as the Special Theory of Relativity can often be found.

The attachment listed below is a great paper on the philosophy of time (though I should state up front that it is arguing from a perspective of four dimensionalism).


Attached File(s)
Attached File  Four_20Dimensionalism.pdf ( 130.17k ) Number of downloads: 74
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 16, 2006, 04:02 PM
Post #3


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



The attachment doesn't work, but will the link.........


www.nd.edu/~mrea/Online%20Papers/Four%20Dimensionalism.pdf
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
lucid_dream
post Dec 16, 2006, 04:37 PM
Post #4


God
******

Group: Admin
Posts: 1711
Joined: Jan 20, 2004
Member No.: 956



I don't see the significance of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence. It seems to me to be a lame attempt at immortality.

The notion that time is a dimension just like space is widely popularized but false. Read Wheeler's Gravitation for a discussion why. The short answer is that time is represented by 'ict' (where 'i' is the imaginary number, 'c' is the speed of light, and 't' is time) and appears as an imaginary component, whereas spatial coordinates, x, y, and z, appear as real components. Hence, to say that time is a dimension on a par with spatial dimensions is equivalent to saying that imaginary things are just like real things.

Btw, the question of 'free will' is not about what Einstein says. For starters, it would help to precisely define what you mean by 'free will'. If it means that our actions are not predictable, then this is true, in practice, because no-one can exactly predict human behavior. If it means 'predictable' in concept, then this is a more interesting consideration. However, even in principle, it is impossible to predict human behavior if the human 'physical system' is chaotic (in a mathematical sense), which it is. Hence, even if human behavior is subject to the deterministic laws of Nature, it is not predictable either in theory or in practice. Hence, we have 'free will' according to this definition of 'free will'.

User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 16, 2006, 06:15 PM
Post #5


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



Unpredictable or *chaotic* behavior has nothing to do with free will. If one chooses to redefine terms to the point of incoherence, then anything is demonstrable. But this wouldn't get us very far, now would it?

Classic bait and switch if you ask me.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 16, 2006, 06:28 PM
Post #6


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



QUOTE
I don't see the significance of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence. It seems to me to be a lame attempt at immortality.


Certainly a possibility. From what I've witnessed so far, no one is above trying to justify their own existence.

QUOTE
The notion that time is a dimension just like space is widely popularized but false. Read Wheeler's Gravitation for a discussion why. The short answer is that time is represented by 'ict' (where 'i' is the imaginary number, 'c' is the speed of light, and 't' is time) and appears as an imaginary component, whereas spatial coordinates, x, y, and z, appear as real components. Hence, to say that time is a dimension on a par with spatial dimensions is equivalent to saying that imaginary things are just like real things.


I'm sorry, but this statement didn't illuminate anything for me. Perhaps I'll act on your suggestion and reserve Wheeler's Gravitation at my local library.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
lucid_dream
post Dec 16, 2006, 07:12 PM
Post #7


God
******

Group: Admin
Posts: 1711
Joined: Jan 20, 2004
Member No.: 956



QUOTE(Technologist @ Dec 16, 2006, 06:15 PM) *

Unpredictable or *chaotic* behavior has nothing to do with free will. If one chooses to redefine terms to the point of incoherence, then anything is demonstrable. But this wouldn't get us very far, now would it?

Classic bait and switch if you ask me.


The problem is defining exactly what you mean by 'free will'. For me, to speak of 'free will' as something outside of determinism doesn't make much sense since it equates 'free will' with the proverbial dice roll, and says that our decisions (using free will) are left to chance and pure randomness, which is really a surreptitious way of admitting ignorance of underlying causes for our behavior.

User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 16, 2006, 09:20 PM
Post #8


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



I agree that defining terms is an important first step in any inquiry.

Orderly and chaotic events both still fit under the rubric of causation (which is the traditional antagonist of free will)

Classical free will, as espoused by Libertarian philosophers, requires what has come to be known as "agent causation". As the burden of evidence always falls squarely on the shoulders of the claimant, a failure to provide a convincing line of reasoning would result in the conclusion, via Occam's razor, that such a category represents metaphysical extravagance.*

*With an underlying assumption that a logical framework is desirable.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Rick
post Dec 18, 2006, 05:22 PM
Post #9


Supreme God
*******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jul 23, 2004
From: Sunny Southern California
Member No.: 3068



QUOTE(Technologist @ Dec 16, 2006, 09:20 PM) *
Classical free will, as espoused by Libertarian philosophers, requires what has come to be known as "agent causation". As the burden of evidence always falls squarely on the shoulders of the claimant, a failure to provide a convincing line of reasoning would result in the conclusion, via Occam's razor, that such a category represents metaphysical extravagance.*

*With an underlying assumption that a logical framework is desirable.

As classical free will is the common sense notion, why doesn't the opposite hypothesis bear the burden of proof? One might argue that physical causality is the modern (and therefore better) common sense notion, and so that hypothesis does not carry that burden. So to end this dilema, I guess I'll just have to prove agent causation.

I am an agent and I cause things to happen (such as by speaking and by pushing on things with my hands). To show that I am an originating cause (not fully caused by my external environment), I merely show that changes in my environment are (in part) caused by me. Therefore, some parts of the causal feedback loop I find myself in are self-caused. QED.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Technologist
post Dec 19, 2006, 02:20 AM
Post #10


Awakening
***

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 07, 2006
From: NYC
Member No.: 6361



QUOTE(Rick @ Dec 18, 2006, 08:22 PM) *

As classical free will is the common sense notion, why doesn't the opposite hypothesis bear the burden of proof?


Common sense and intuitive notions are not at all sacrosanct to me, as history has demonstrated that they are basically a wash when used as sources of illumination. It could for example be said that, until the time of Darwin and Wallace, platonic form and archtypes were a common sense conclusion while evolution by natural selection was completely counter-intuitive. Ergo, common sense doesn't deserve any place of privilege with the intellectual, although it could certainly serve as a catalyst in the creative process... Regardless, what it really comes down to is constructing a conceptual framework that possesses a minimal level of self contradiction (see how I betray my bias). If common sense notions can be reconciled with our larger "all encompassing" frameworks then there are no problems. If not, then the common sense must be discarded.

QUOTE
One might argue that physical causality is the modern (and therefore better) common sense notion, and so that hypothesis does not carry that burden.


Again, the common sense aspect is irrelevant to me. And as a philosophical pragmatist, even the objective reality of causality is irrelevant to me. The value of causality is totally attributable to its usefulness (and crucial role) as a concept that can improve my predictive capabilities (via induction).

QUOTE
I am an agent and I cause things to happen (such as by speaking and by pushing on things with my hands). To show that I am an originating cause (not fully caused by my external environment), I merely show that changes in my environment are (in part) caused by me. Therefore, some parts of the causal feedback loop I find myself in are self-caused. QED.


Let's say an AI programmer, like a Goertzel, actually succeeds in creating a recursively self improving AI. The substrate on which the AI operates, whether it is stochastic or utterly deterministic in nature, would be "caused" by the engineering genius of Goertzel. The evolution of the intelligence that resides on the substrate would be "caused" the local environment. And here's the kicker, the AI itself is also part of its own environment! The only difference between the AI example I gave and human intelligence is that one has an intelligent designer and the other one an unintelligent designer.

With all that being said, I am a compatibilist and I do believe that meaningful levels of freedom can be attained while still acknowledging that causality is ubiquitous. I just refuse to be an idealist about things. Perfect freedom could even be conceived of mathematically as a limit - something to strive for and get closer and closer to, but never actually reached.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Rick
post Dec 19, 2006, 02:53 PM
Post #11


Supreme God
*******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jul 23, 2004
From: Sunny Southern California
Member No.: 3068



QUOTE(Technologist @ Dec 19, 2006, 02:20 AM) *
With all that being said, I am a compatibilist and I do believe that meaningful levels of freedom can be attained while still acknowledging that causality is ubiquitous. I just refuse to be an idealist about things. Perfect freedom could even be conceived of mathematically as a limit - something to strive for and get closer and closer to, but never actually reached.

I completely agree. A smart robot, should one ever be built, will, for all practical purposes, have (what we call) free will. Also note that the idea that some people are freeer than others has been brought up in another thread. Freedom is something to strive for, and as we don't like to feel that our striving is pointless, suggestions that free will is impossible irk some of us.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
maximus242
post Dec 19, 2006, 05:58 PM
Post #12


God
******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 1755
Joined: Jan 24, 2006
Member No.: 4768



QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Dec 16, 2006, 08:12 PM) *

QUOTE(Technologist @ Dec 16, 2006, 06:15 PM) *

Unpredictable or *chaotic* behavior has nothing to do with free will. If one chooses to redefine terms to the point of incoherence, then anything is demonstrable. But this wouldn't get us very far, now would it?

Classic bait and switch if you ask me.


The problem is defining exactly what you mean by 'free will'. For me, to speak of 'free will' as something outside of determinism doesn't make much sense since it equates 'free will' with the proverbial dice roll, and says that our decisions (using free will) are left to chance and pure randomness, which is really a surreptitious way of admitting ignorance of underlying causes for our behavior.


Hard to say Lucid, what about that project you posted for predicting human neural behaviour? Wouldnt that allow someone to predict human actions and thus render the will to be non-existant. Since all actions of consciousness would therefore be predetermined, because they can be predicted - the will would be non-existing?

Only one loophole exists in this theory. That is of course percepective, what is one action to another, would you be able to actually predict an action or give the illusion of prediction? How would you know the diffence. Some readers might not understand what im getting at, but I think Lucid should pick up on it.

On that note, if Quantum Physics truely has random and completly unpredicatble aspects, then the consciousness singularity may involve us going down to a Quantum level and experiencing true free will for the first time..

Free Will, like all things is something of perception.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Hey Hey
post Dec 20, 2006, 12:20 AM
Post #13


Supreme God
*******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 7766
Joined: Dec 31, 2003
Member No.: 845



QUOTE(maximus242 @ Dec 20, 2006, 01:58 AM) *
On that note, if Quantum Physics truely has random and completly unpredicatble aspects, then the consciousness singularity may involve us going down to a Quantum level and experiencing true free will for the first time..
Quantum consciousness would yield the best sort of schizophrenia possible!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
trojan_libido
post Dec 20, 2006, 02:13 AM
Post #14


God
******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sep 19, 2006
From: UK
Member No.: 5681



That would surely allow both aspects of duality to manifest in the conscious at the same time. Love-hate relationships would be the normal smile.gif
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Hey Hey
post Dec 20, 2006, 05:48 AM
Post #15


Supreme God
*******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 7766
Joined: Dec 31, 2003
Member No.: 845



QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Dec 20, 2006, 10:13 AM) *

both aspects of duality
I was actually implying an infinite number of personalities, (OK I know that schizophrenia is more complicated than just personalities, but I was trying to make a point about the inappropriate nature of quantum effects to serve as an explanation for free will).
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Flex
post Dec 20, 2006, 12:00 PM
Post #16


God
******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 1954
Joined: Oct 17, 2006
From: Bay area CA
Member No.: 5877



QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Dec 20, 2006, 05:48 AM) *

QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Dec 20, 2006, 10:13 AM) *

both aspects of duality
I was actually implying an infinite number of personalities, (OK I know that schizophrenia is more complicated than just personalities, but I was trying to make a point about the inappropriate nature of quantum effects to serve as an explanation for free will).


I agree...I do believe that it could be a valid explination for someting though--random will--will without logic, or reason; sounds like a certain president I know~
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
trojan_libido
post Dec 21, 2006, 05:39 AM
Post #17


God
******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sep 19, 2006
From: UK
Member No.: 5681



QUOTE
I was actually implying an infinite number of personalities


I understand what you meant, but I probably didn't express myself correctly. Imagine the neurotic personalities that would result from multiple opposing ideas and thoughts all manifesting at once. Brain goo!

Isn't quantum physics based on probability of state? I agree that the probability of a choice occurring is not good evidence towards free will.
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Hey Hey
post Dec 29, 2006, 11:42 PM
Post #18


Supreme God
*******

Group: Basic Member
Posts: 7766
Joined: Dec 31, 2003
Member No.: 845



QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Dec 21, 2006, 01:39 PM) *
Isn't quantum physics based on probability of state? I agree that the probability of a choice occurring is not good evidence towards free will.
I know that this has cropped up several times recently (elsewhere on the forum) but just to say, "Does randomness equal freedom?" How could one be free if one could not determine one's choice? Just to remind, I believe there is no free will, for similar reasons as Sue Blackmore, Rick. wink.gif
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 22nd June 2017 - 08:35 AM


Home     |     About     |    Research     |    Forum     |    Feedback  


Copyright BrainMeta. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use  |  Last Modified Tue Jan 17 2006 12:39 am

Consciousness Expansion · Brain Mapping · Neural Circuits · Connectomics  ·  Neuroscience Forum  ·  Brain Maps Blog
 · Connectomics · Connectomics  ·  shawn mikula  ·  articles