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  1. Standard member apathist
    looking for loot
    26 Mar '16 20:08
    http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2014/11/top-down-causation-and-emergence-of.html

    Sections in the not-too-long article by Kevin Mitchell include:

    How vs Why
    Why are why questions taboo?
    Determinism, randomness and causal slack
    Information and Meaning
    Top-down control and the emergence of agency

    Also a footnote section with opposing opinions from some prominent people, and a decent further reading list.

    Anyway, determinism is dead, reductionism is dying, free will is alive and thriving, and I'm just a messenger.
  2. Standard member moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    26 Mar '16 21:21
    To take a metaphor from our favorite waste of time: the fact that there are rules which rigidly define what moves are legal in chess, it does not follow that the player's hand is forced to make any particular move. From the fact that the physiology of his hand moving the queen to d4 could, in theory, be 'explained' in purely causal terms (synapses firing or tendons contracting or whatever), it does not follow that his move is not also understandable as the result of his thought processes. The one neither excludes nor precludes the other.


    .
  3. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    26 Mar '16 21:49
    Originally posted by apathist
    http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2014/11/top-down-causation-and-emergence-of.html

    Sections in the not-too-long article by Kevin Mitchell include:

    How vs Why
    Why are why questions taboo?
    Determinism, randomness and causal slack
    Information and Meaning
    Top-down control and the emergence of agency

    Also a footnote section with opposing opinions from ...[text shortened]... inism is dead, reductionism is dying, free will is alive and thriving, and I'm just a messenger.
    Excellent article! Although don't be too hard on reductionism, it works really well in physics.
  4. 27 Mar '16 06:47
    Originally posted by apathist
    free will is alive and thriving, and I'm just a messenger.
    Free will is a poorly defined phrase used by people who don't really want to think about it and wouldn't like the obvious conclusions if thy did.
  5. 27 Mar '16 07:31
    Originally posted by apathist
    http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2014/11/top-down-causation-and-emergence-of.html
    A few notes:
    1. The article claims that the universe has true randomness. This is, as far as I know, not known to be the case. It is still unknown whether or not the universe is deterministic in nature, and may always remain unknown. Certainly it seems impossible to prove the existence of true randomness.
    2. The article is 'thankful' for the randomness then fails to explain why other than a hinted at desire to prove the existence of poorly defined 'free will'.
    3. The article seems to desire to demonstrate the origin of agency. It must be noted however that computers fit all the conditions set out in the article and in fact computers might even have made a better target for the descriptions as most people would be more familiar with how they work. Certainly if the article has demonstrated agency in humans then it has also demonstrated agency in computers.
    4. The article mentions that copying a human star trek style would essentially result in the exact same human, then goes on to hint that that is not the case - but fails to explain why or revisit the claim in any way. Certainly the hinted at conclusion is not demonstrated.
  6. 27 Mar '16 08:21 / 17 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    1. The article claims that the universe has true randomness. This is, as far as I know, not known to be the case..
    You are correct. It literately isn't 'known' that there exists true external-world objective physical randomness -and logically always will be not known even if it does exist.
    I have studied the epistemology of this. It is like believing there is a god albeit nothing like so wildly loony for at least it doesn't violate Occam's razor for it assumes an existence of only one attribute rather than a list of attributes attached to the same object. The totally new branch of mathematics I am currently researching should eventually pin down the exact probabilities of such things but without leading to any of the usual epistemological paradoxes, contradictions and problems such as the asymmetric problem, Hempel's paradox, the problem of induction etc.
    Certainly it seems impossible to prove the existence of true randomness.

    Correct, and, at least for none specific cases, is impossible to disprove true randomness if it doesn't exist i.e. it isn't falsifiable. Even if what some physicists assume to be true randomness is proven to be determined, it is impossible to disprove true randomness exist elsewhere thus at least the hypothesis that true randomness exists somewhere will always be pure metaphysics, not science, and should be dismissed as such. But with the current understanding of quantum theory, true randomness, if it exists, would be impossible to disprove even in specific cases thus, if that current quantum theory is correct, true randomness is pure metaphysics anyway.
  7. 27 Mar '16 09:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by humy
    if that current quantum theory is correct, true randomness is pure metaphysics anyway.
    forgot to add:

    -But note that is conditional on current quantum theory is correct. If it isn't, then it may be possible to falsify the existence of true randomness in particular cases in which case true randomness would not be true metaphysics but rather could be made part of real science.
  8. Standard member moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    27 Mar '16 10:37
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    A few notes:
    1. The article claims that the universe has true randomness. This is, as far as I know, not known to be the case. It is still unknown whether or not the universe is deterministic in nature, and may always remain unknown. Certainly it seems impossible to prove the existence of true randomness.
    2. The article is 'thankful' for the randomness ...[text shortened]... ain why or revisit the claim in any way. Certainly the hinted at conclusion is not demonstrated.
    5. True randomness, even if it existed at sub-atomic levels, would not be tantamount to freewill. a) Because event-randomness at sub-atomic levels has no bearing on whether action at the macro-level was free or compelled. And b) because even if random events at sub-atomic levels did translate into random actions at the macro-level, it still wouldn't be freewill--it would be caprice.

    When a judge says to a condemned criminal "I have no choice but to sentence you to life in prison" it does not mean he is suffering from causal determinism. It means he is choosing to follow the law and to carry out his duty according to legal precedent. He could sentence the criminal to a lesser term, or set him free, but he knows that the decision would be challenged by higher courts and that he would damage his reputation.
  9. 27 Mar '16 11:31
    Originally posted by moonbus
    5. True randomness, even if it existed at sub-atomic levels, would not be tantamount to freewill. a) Because event-randomness at sub-atomic levels has no bearing on whether action at the macro-level was free or compelled. And b) because even if random events at sub-atomic levels did translate into random actions at the macro-level, it still wouldn't be freewill--it would be caprice.
    I think you should be careful when making statements about 'free will' as it is not a well defined term and means different things to different people. You would do well to give at least a basic definition of what you mean by it.
  10. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    27 Mar '16 12:29
    Originally posted by humy
    You are correct. It literately isn't 'known' that there exists true external-world objective physical randomness -and logically always will be not known even if it does exist.
    I have studied the epistemology of this. It is like believing there is a god albeit nothing like so wildly loony for at least it doesn't violate Occam's razor for it assumes an ex ...[text shortened]... s, if that current quantum theory is correct, true randomness is pure metaphysics anyway.
    Just a thought, the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics has "true" randomness. Everett's Many Worlds interpretation may as well, since every time the wavefunction is partitioned there are two copies of you and to each of them the event will seem random. The de Broglie Bohm interpretation is deterministic, but it is a minority view. Cryptography relies on the randomness of physical events to generate as far as we know truly random data. These outcomes (the time between radioactive decays in some source which produces a Poisson distribution) have been put through randomness tests and, as far as I know, passed every one. The paradigm theory implies randomness and the empirical evidence supports that. So the conclusion is that it's random and not deterministic.
  11. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    27 Mar '16 12:33
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think you should be careful when making statements about 'free will' as it is not a well defined term and means different things to different people. You would do well to give at least a basic definition of what you mean by it.
    But you know what moonbus and apathist mean when they talk about free will. Most of the arguments against it, that I've seen, either rely on the determinism of nature or quantum theory not being relevant to neurology. Or they rely on many worlds arguments that don't really work.
  12. 27 Mar '16 13:25
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Just a thought, the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics has "true" randomness. Everett's Many Worlds interpretation may as well, since every time the wavefunction is partitioned there are two copies of you and to each of them the event will seem random. The de Broglie Bohm interpretation is deterministic, but it is a minority view. Cryptogr ...[text shortened]... empirical evidence supports that. So the conclusion is that it's random and not deterministic.
    Of course it may well be that the non-randomness of radioactive decay, if it is indeed not a truly random process, is beyond our capability to measure at this point.
  13. 27 Mar '16 13:46
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    These outcomes (the time between radioactive decays in some source which produces a Poisson distribution) have been put through randomness tests and, as far as I know, passed every one.
    But they would be expected to pass those tests even if the universe is deterministic. The uncertainty principle is based on the fact that we simply cannot find out certain information about the current state of the universe and hence about causation even if an exact state and deterministic causation exists.
  14. 27 Mar '16 13:47
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Of course it may well be that the non-randomness of radioactive decay, if it is indeed not a truly random process, is beyond our capability to measure at this point.
    Or that it is beyond possibility to measure just as the uncertainty principle puts some measurements beyond our reach.
  15. 27 Mar '16 13:51
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    But you know what moonbus and apathist mean when they talk about free will. Most of the arguments against it, that I've seen, either rely on the determinism of nature or quantum theory not being relevant to neurology. Or they rely on many worlds arguments that don't really work.
    No, I do not know what they mean and it would appear that you do not know either, hence my suggestion that a definition be given.
    Moonbus specifically states that randomness "wouldn't be freewill--it would be caprice". That suggests that randomness is not a requirement in his understanding of 'free will' but it is in yours.

    Lets stop the mind reading and state your definition, and let them state theirs then we at least can communicate effectively.