Which side makes a better case?
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  • a year ago

    Seems to me that > Kyro talks about free will as in "you could have done otherwise in the exactly same situation" and Mani talks about free will as in "the proximal cause of my actions are in my brain, in my body so I can consider myself an independent agent who thinks and does things"

    • a year ago

      Be careful of the difference between something truly random (like some quantum processes, as far as we know) and something that seems random, because of great complexity that leads us to be unable to predict the outcome

    • a year ago

      @kyrothehero I enjoyed the discussion. Thanks man!

    • a year ago

      @kyrothehero In the debate I said that you broke the definition of detrminism. I got a proof for that.

      Free will wikipedia page :
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

      It says the following

      "Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible"

      You disagreed with that and said many course of actions are possible. Do you still stand by what you said?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy First of all, I can cite the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines determinism as
        “The doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes regarded as external to the will. Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.”
        (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/determinism)

        We can play the definition game all day. But the most importantly fact is that the debate isn’t about whether determinism is true. I used the word “determinism” instead of “humans don’t have free will” not because of the definitional difference, but because it’s faster to say. Even if you’re right about the definition, it doesn’t affect the outcome of the debate.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero

        "Even if you’re right about the definition, it doesn’t affect the outcome of the debate."

        I'm not sure about what you are saying. Determinism exist = free will not exist. So determinism is very relevent to our debate. I have to prove determinsm wrong in order to win this debate.

        If you switch the resolution to "Universe is deterministic" there is not much change I see there.

        How do you say determinism is irrelevent here ?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy If determinism is true, then free will does not exist. However, if determinism is false under your definition, then free will isn’t guaranteed. Therefore, proving determinism false under your definition is a necessary but insufficient burden to win the debate.

        Through the whole debate, I was never arguing in favor of the definition of determinism that you proposed. That’s why I say the definition is irrelevant.

        If we accept your definition of determinism, then you didn’t need to prove determinism wrong because I never said it was right. On the other hand, if we accept my definition, then proving determinism wrong is synonymous with proving free will. But you can’t prove that determinism is wrong under my definition by saying that I’m not using the right definition.

        You say that “If you switch the resolution to "Universe is deterministic" there is not much change I see there.” Under my definition, you’re right. But under your definition, that resolution would mean something entirely different: I would have to disprove randomness.

        The point I’m making is that, in this case, the disagreement about determinism is mostly a semantic one. The important question is “do humans have free will?”, and whether or not that happens to coincide with “determinism is true” doesn’t really matter.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero so you don't think determinism and free will are jointly exhaustive ?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy Under my definition of determinism, they are jointly exhaustive because determinism is defined as “not free will”.
        Under your definition of determinism (no randomness), they are not jointly exhaustive because there is a third option, namely that random events occur but we still do not have free will. That third option was the one for which I made my case in the debate.

    • a year ago

      @kyrothehero
      I have one more interesting counter argument for your statement that
      "You do not control your random number generator. And no one is controlling it. Since you have no control over your random number generator you have no free will"

      Say I do some bad things and say to the police that my random number generator is what made me do that. I dont control my random number generator so its really not my fault.

      According to your statement the police should release me right? But wouldn't you like the police to punish me for my wrong actions?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy You would still be the entity that caused harm for society, so society will have to deal with you. You could be rehabilitated if possible, or separated from others. As Sam Harris would say: We would arrest tornadoes and earthquakes, if we could. So your "my random number generator broke" defense would be useful only in cases when society would want to harm you just to take revenge for the harm you inflicted. If you had a tumor, or someone just drugged you, in my opinion, you should not receive retributive justice. You should just get "fixed" and reintroduced in society. But with our current understanding of how to fix a "defective" antisocial human being, your defense would not help you at all, and you'll still go to jail or secure mental institution.

      • a year ago

        @alex_gh Yes, you are right. I am also saying that I have to go to jail in that situation. Because the RNG (random number generator) is mine. I should have not listened to my RGN while it is advising me to do in that particular situation. I should have verified my RGN's decision once before letting it happen. If I had verified it my intelligence would have said that I should not do that. It is my mistake that I was careless and letting my RGN do all the things

        I asked that question to say that the RGN is mine and I have control over it and I have to use it carefully. And hence we have free will

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy The problem with this scenario is that it would look exactly the same without any randomness. Say that instead of telling the police your random number generator did it, you said that external factors did it and you couldn’t control those factors. Yet we already established that without randomness, free will doesn’t exist. Do you see how your scenario is problematic?

        You say “I should have not listened to my RNG while it was advising me” as if that’s something you’re able to do! Like I said in the debate, you don’t decide when that thing goes off, and you don’t get to not listen to it. All of those decisions are determined for you.

        Simply put, just because the RNG is inside of your brain doesn’t mean that’s you have control over it. The RNG fires off whether you want it to or not, and the RNG will control your decision whether you want it to or not. You have no control in the matter whatsoever.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero Do you disagree that I have the power to reject the RNG's advice ? I say that I can simply disagree with my RNG and choose not to do it.

        Remember that I'm the one who asked my RNG to advice me in the first place. I could have not asked it's advice in the first place. Or I could reject its advice and ask for another one. Exactly how you use RNG in computer, you can generate how many times you want until you like the number. So I'm the master here that approves RNG's decision

        All I'm saying is that I have some control over the RNG. So I seem to have free will with the somewhat controllable RNG

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero In debate you told that you said that agent causation doesn't make any sense to you. Do you agree then Agent causation is possible because we have true RNG?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy "Do you disagree that I have the power to reject the RNG's advice ? I say that I can simply disagree with my RNG and choose not to do it."
        I definitely disagree. Remember what I said at the beginning of the debate: your desires, conscious and unconscious, controllable and uncontrollable, control your decisions. The RNG factor is just one more thing influencing your desires. You can't reject the desire because that puts you in the infinite regress problem where ultimately your decision to reject the desire was out of your control anyway.

        "Remember that I'm the one who asked my RNG to advice me in the first place. I could have not asked it's advice in the first place. Or I could reject its advice and ask for another one. Exactly how you use RNG in computer, you can generate how many times you want until you like the number. So I'm the master here that approves RNG's decision"
        You didn't ask for advice. This isn't like "what should I do? Let's ask the RNG. Whoops, I don't like that answer, let's throw it out!" That's not what happens. The RNG happens automatically, you can't stop it, and it controls your desires and therefore your decisions. You can't reject its advice without the infinite regress problem.

        "All I'm saying is that I have some control over the RNG. So I seem to have free will with the somewhat controllable RNG"
        You do not have any control over the RNG. The RNG is not something you turn on and off at will. It is inevitable due to the laws of physics.

        "Do you agree then Agent causation is possible because we have true RNG?"
        No, I would call that random causation. You, as a thinking agent, don't control the outcome, so you play no causal role.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero

        1)
        I don't understand why I can't reject my RNG's suggestion. I think you see my RNG as the quantumness in all the atoms of which my brain is made of. I dont mean that when I refer to my RNG.

        My RNG is a specific brain area(like logical reasoning, analytical thinking, visual perception etc.) which is responsible for my free will with the quantum behaviour as its cause for randomness.

        2)
        You say free will doesn't exist because of theoretical limitation or practical limitation ? Would you say free will wont exist in future (where we can alter our brains with new capabilities) ? If its a practical limitation we could overcome it in the future with technology or evolution.

        3)
        Say I have a computer RNG (based on quantum randomness). Now I use it to choose between my options. Now I control the computer RNG. I can reject my computer RNG's suggestion. Now I have free will ?

        4)
        I don't exactly see how infinite regress problem fits in this situation

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy

        1) "I don't understand why I can't reject my RNG's suggestion."

        You make choices based on your desires. Those desires, as I outlined at the start of the debate, are ultimately caused by things outside of your control: either external/uncontrolled factors or random events.

        When you talk about "rejecting the RNG's suggestion" it almost seems like you think the RNG as some kind of angel on your shoulder giving you advice on what to do. That's not what the RNG is. The RNG is those events which ultimately determine your desires, and therefore your actions, when those desires are not caused by external/uncontrolled factors. You don't control when those RNG events determine your desires.


        "My RNG is a specific brain area(like logical reasoning, analytical thinking, visual perception etc.) which is responsible for my free will with the quantum behaviour as its cause for randomness."

        I agree that the RNG is a function that resides within the brain, and I agree that quantum mechanics is the cause of its randomness. I don't agree that the RNG is responsible for free will; that is the central question of our debate. Refer to my above statements for why the RNG doesn't give you free will.


        2) "You say free will doesn't exist because of theoretical limitation or practical limitation ? Would you say free will wont exist in future (where we can alter our brains with new capabilities) ?"

        I think that free will is logically impossible if we accept the premise that our decisions are based on our desires. That's the argument that I made with the infinite regress problem. Thus, technology cannot solve the problem, because technology cannot eliminate the fact that we don't ultimately control our desires (the keyword is ultimately, as the infinite regress problem demonstrates).


        3) "Say I have a computer RNG (based on quantum randomness). Now I use it to choose between my options. Now I control the computer RNG. I can reject my computer RNG's suggestion. Now I have free will ?"

        I will assume that when you say "I control the computer RNG" you mean that you can control when the RNG is executed.
        No, in that situation you do not have free will. The reason is the fact that your interactions with the computer all constitute decisions; when you execute the RNG and whether or not you reject the RNG are decisions made by you. As such, this thought experiment doesn't change the situation at all, because the question returns to whether your decisions in interacting with the computer are free. Nothing is changed.

        To make sure I'm being clear here, I'll use an example. Say that you're trying to decide what flavor of ice cream to eat using this computer model, vanilla or chocolate.
        1. You set up the computer RNG so that it decides with a 50/50 chance either vanilla or chocolate. That is your first decision: the decision to set up the computer.
        2. You run the computer RNG so it randomly decides a flavor. That is your second decision: the decision to run the program.
        3. The computer randomly decides vanilla. You decide whether or not to accept vanilla as the flavor to eat. That is your third decision: the decision to reject or not reject the computer's result.

        I hope this illuminates the fact that, while you are confusing the issue using an RNG computer, you haven't changed the fundamental fact that you are the one making the decisions. As such, if you have free will, then you have free will in that case too, and if you don't have free will, then you don't have free will in that case either. Therefore, all of my arguments apply equally in this computer case as in the standard case.


        4) "I don't exactly see how infinite regress problem fits in this situation"

        The infinite regress problem is my basic argument against free will.
        I've made the case that you can't reject the RNG because it determines your desires, not your decisions. But let's say that you could reject the RNG. In order to reject the RNG, you would have to make a decision to reject the RNG. That decision would again be determined by RNG or an external/uncontrolled factor.
        - If the decision to reject the RNG is determined by an external/uncontrolled factor, then it isn't free.
        - If the decision to reject the RNG is itself determined by RNG, then you would have to decide whether or not to reject the meta-RNG that determines whether you reject the original RNG.

        You can see how if you reject the RNG, and rejecting the RNG requires RNG, then you get into an infinite regress.
        There must be a termination to this regress, and the termination is necessarily something that you don't control, because if you controlled it then it would be a decision, thus continuing the regress.
        Therefore, your original decision of whether to reject the RNG is ultimately determined by an external/uncontrolled factor, and is thus not free.

        Tell me if there's any part that I didn't convey clearly enough.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero I think we have to talk. When'll you be free.

    • a year ago

      @kyrothehero

      Please state true or false for the following, so that we can come to an understanding

      You are a determinist.
      You are incompatibilist.
      You think true randomness exist.
      You dont think agent causation is true .
      You are pre-determinist.

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy
        "You are a determinist."
        Under my definition (the Oxford definition I put in the comments), true. Under your definition, false.

        "You are incompatibilist."
        True.

        "You think true randomness exist."
        True.

        "You dont think agent causation is true."
        True, I don't think agent causation is true.

        "You are pre-determinist."
        False.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero
        1)
        True randomness and agent causation are one and the same. To put it in other way, whenever truely random thing (nothing cause it) happens, agent causation occur

        But you say that you think true randomness exist but agent causation doesn't exist.

        Do you see any inconsistency in your beliefs there?

        2)
        How do you define the "will" in "free will" ? Do you have a will ?

        3)
        why do you think you are not a pre-determinist?

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy (1) Here’s a quote from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

        “While the appeal to agent causation might be thought to solve the problem of luck, the objection has been raised that in fact it does not help at all. Consider Leo. At a certain moment he agent-causes a decision to tell the truth, and until he does there remains a chance that he will instead, at that moment, agent-cause a decision to lie. There is, then, a possible world that is exactly like the actual world up until the time at which Leo agent-causes his decision but in which, at that moment, Leo agent-causes a decision to lie. Nothing about the world prior to the moment of the agent-causing accounts for the difference between Leo's causing one decision and his causing the other. This difference, then, is just a matter of luck. And if this difference is just a matter of luck, LEO CANNOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DECISION.

        If in fact Leo's causing his decision constitutes his exercising free will, then the difference between his causing a decision to tell the truth and his causing a decision to lie is NOT just a matter of luck; it is a matter of how Leo exercises his free will.”
        (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/#3)

        There is no inconsistency in my beliefs. Agent causation and true randomness are separate concepts. They are not the same.


        (2) My will is my mind. I have a will, but it is not free. If I had free will, then my mind would be able to choose any decision; my decisions would not be caused by events outside of my control, such as randomness.


        (3) I am not predeterminist because I think that true randomness exists. I just don’t think that true randomness implies free will.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero

        1) I'm not talking about free will at all here. I'm saying True randomness and agent causation are the same.

        And I think your LEO example says the same. Leo decides to agent cause a decision. The example says his agent causation is just a matter of luck (which is nothing but true randomness) but not the excersing of his free-will.


        Do you disagree ?

        We can do a live discussion for 5 minutes on that if you are free.

      • a year ago

        @mani_bharathy If your definition of agent causation is fully synonymous with true randomness, then I would agree that agent causation is a matter of luck but not free will.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero In your definition, it is not the same. How your and my definition of agent causation differs?

    • a year ago

      @sharkb8 curious to know what would you think about our arguments

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero
        You said this in fb comment.
        "Yes, I affirm that there is no free will. As far as I can tell, the name of the Free Will Theorem is intentionally provocative, but it doesn't set out to prove "free will". It does, however, show that free will is physically possible given the quantum nature of the universe."

        So you are saying that theoretically freewill is possible but it does not exist practically right?

        • a year ago

          @mani_bharathy @kyrothehero To me it looks like Mani 'you' want to call the brain inside 'you' yours, but do you think that itself also needs to be justified? I think you are calling it "your brain" because it(collection of atoms) is what is giving rise to your conscious experience. I believe that we are in a way programmed to believe that is the case cuz it's such a strong illusory experience. I really have no idea why thoughts just arise out of nowhere, nor why I am picking the precise words that I am choosing as I am typing right now. I wouldn't be too dead serious about this topic though. You might have a headache over it for a while haha but just remember all these ideas we have(i.e. universe being probabilistic/deterministic) are really just ideas/our best guesses, and I am not so sure if we can really assert any of them to be a 'truth'. Stay humble :) hope to debate with you guys some day

        • a year ago

          @hyeongjo When we talk about free will, we assume that we all have will (our mind or brain). The point of conflict is only that the will can act freely or bound to its causes.

          If you question whether our brain is really ours, that's a whole new topic. But here we agree that our brain is ours.

        • a year ago

          @hyeongjo We can't assert anything to be 100% certain. We can't assert that 1 = 1 with 100% certainty; it's only our best guess. But if we arrive at a conclusion using sound logic, we can assert it to be highly likely.

          I think that this topic is important because of its implications in our action. A belief that there is no free will leads to greater empathy with those who commit acts that you couldn't imagine yourself committing. It makes you less able to hate and more understanding of others when you recognize that if you were in their exact position, you would have acted exactly as they did.

        • a year ago

          @kyrothehero I do agree it makes you more compassionate towards others, but I'm not so sure about the negative consequences of the idea. For old people especially who've lived their lives thinking they've worked hard to achieve what they have acheived, it might be devastating to realize this. Even Sam Harris(Author of Free will) seems to assert that the notion of 'self' or 'you' is simply an illusion

        • a year ago

          @hyeongjo I agree that people who aren't used to the idea are shocked by it; in the same way, people are shocked when they confront evidence that contradicts their religious beliefs.

          In the case of religion, the risk is that people transition from their religion to pessimistic nihilism rather than a stable atheist worldview. I think a similar risk exists in the free will question. Studies show that people who are told, in isolation, that we have no free will are more likely to cheat on tests.

          In both cases, the important point is that we must present the evidence along with some guidance on how to live with this new worldview, since we have experience with it and they don't.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero What do you think of this video?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jint5kjoy6I

        • a year ago

          @mani_bharathy I think that Kaku is making the same argument that you made in the debate, which is that randomness implies free will. Like I did in the debate, I would argue that since you can’t control when the random events occur and what their outcomes are, you still aren’t free.

      • a year ago

        @kyrothehero

        This website has some great info related to our topic.

        http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/free_will.html

        • a year ago

          you want to do a devil's advocate on this?