Willpower depletion debunked

Stick to training related posts.

Moderators: Dux, seeahill

Post Reply
dead man walking
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 6797
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:34 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by dead man walking » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:28 pm

nafod wrote:Double post. I blame it on Mario.
clear evidence of free will
Really Big Strong Guy: There are a plethora of psychopaths among us.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:12 pm

Beer Jew wrote:The problems start when you paint the picture of free will with too broad a brush. Within a moral situation, we have free will. This is what differentiates us from the animals.
Welcome to day one. There's no real evidence that this is the case at all....the bit about animals is even more troubling as there is increasing bodies of evidence to suggest that yes, in fact, many animals do have an inherent operable sense of fairness and equity the basis of moral reasoning. Some like chimps and dogs may in fact have a type of moral code that relies on culturally passed external enforcement (like religion in humans.)

http://www.livescience.com/18906-chimpa ... ssion.html
Beer Jew wrote:To believe otherwise breaks down the entire justice system. How can you punish someone for something they can't help doing?
The fact our justice system works a certain way lends absolutely zero weight to whether or not Free Will as we conceptualize it does or does not exist.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:33 pm

In a purely Newtonian universe, the one we thought we lived in until the first part of the last century, no free will could exist. Every bit of matter that constituted the universe had an initial position and momentum so it's trajectory through all of time could be known. A fantastically large pinball machine. Once set-up, whatever happened was inevitable. This includes anything of any level of complexity to include life, our brains and our minds.

Along came quantum mechanics and not only were particles of certain sorts no longer distinguishable it was impossible to know precisely their position and momentum. It wasn't a case of it being a practical matter of determining position and momentum, it was an impossibility related to the fundamental laws that describe the universe.

This doesn't mean the universe isn't entirely deterministic, it just means we cannot know what or how it will evolve. Again, plenty of room to leave out in its entirety the concept of free will. Understand what this means; even your thoughts about it were determined before you had them.

At a different level of abstraction is the question of whether the human brain is a Turing machine. If it is, no free will. If it isn't it requires a new computing paradigm of which we are not yet aware.

User avatar
buckethead
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 6631
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:25 pm
Location: The Rockies

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by buckethead » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:13 am

But sua what possible mechanism COULD allow free will? I haven't even heard of anyone offering a plausible mechanism

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:54 am

Sua Sponte wrote:In a purely Newtonian universe, the one we thought we lived in until the first part of the last century, no free will could exist. Every bit of matter that constituted the universe had an initial position and momentum so it's trajectory through all of time could be known. A fantastically large pinball machine. Once set-up, whatever happened was inevitable. This includes anything of any level of complexity to include life, our brains and our minds.

Along came quantum mechanics and not only were particles of certain sorts no longer distinguishable it was impossible to know precisely their position and momentum. It wasn't a case of it being a practical matter of determining position and momentum, it was an impossibility related to the fundamental laws that describe the universe.

This doesn't mean the universe isn't entirely deterministic, it just means we cannot know what or how it will evolve. Again, plenty of room to leave out in its entirety the concept of free will. Understand what this means; even your thoughts about it were determined before you had them.

At a different level of abstraction is the question of whether the human brain is a Turing machine. If it is, no free will. If it isn't it requires a new computing paradigm of which we are not yet aware.

You're clearly a super intelligent guy but that is some Deepak Chopra level shit right there. We're not tilting the Quantum Mechanical windmills. The notion of freewill as we've long conceived it, requires a rethinking of causality itself. Certainly it's an area rich with possibilities to explore but no one has even proffered a sensible model of a mechanism that could allow such a thing.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

User avatar
nafod
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 11303
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Looking in your window

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by nafod » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:02 am

Well, I learned something. This thread led me to the Wikipedia entry on free will, and it's a doozy. One of the longer and more interesting ones. Turns out I am a compatibilist.
In contrast, compatibilists hold that free will is compatible with determinism. Some compatibilists even hold that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, requiring a sense of how choices will turn out.[2][3]
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will
Don’t believe everything you think.

User avatar
buckethead
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 6631
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:25 pm
Location: The Rockies

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by buckethead » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:24 am

Day two. Dig in further and you'll probably find that compatibilists talk about a "free will" different than what you thought they should be talking about

User avatar
nafod
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 11303
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Looking in your window

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by nafod » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:43 am

buckethead wrote:Day two. Dig in further and you'll probably find that compatibilists talk about a "free will" different than what you thought they should be talking about
I did the digging. There's a pretty big spread within the compatibilists themselves. I didn't see the problem quite couched the way I did in my thought experiment.

I am sure that I am not sure what evidence of free will would even look like.
Don’t believe everything you think.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:42 am

nafod wrote:
buckethead wrote:Day two. Dig in further and you'll probably find that compatibilists talk about a "free will" different than what you thought they should be talking about
I did the digging. There's a pretty big spread within the compatibilists themselves. I didn't see the problem quite couched the way I did in my thought experiment.

I am sure that I am not sure what evidence of free will would even look like.
Sam Harris's book is a good jumping off primer. My irritation with compatibilism is that they put up week arguments in favor of free will predicated on the notion that the idea of free will is somehow more important than whether it actually exists. This seems wrong headed in the extreme
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:30 pm

Blaidd Drwg wrote:You're clearly a super intelligent guy but that is some Deepak Chopra level shit right there. We're not tilting the Quantum Mechanical windmills. The notion of freewill as we've long conceived it, requires a rethinking of causality itself. Certainly it's an area rich with possibilities to explore but no one has even proffered a sensible model of a mechanism that could allow such a thing.
Not so. Most of what you read in the popularization of the topic is more philosophy and other unprovable forms of mental masturbation than science. It's to cognition what Deepak Chopra is to quantum mechanics-a bunch of made up crap intended to sound like science that has no foundation in the theory as it's used or understood. Chopra's writings are epistemological and ontological ramblings that are not quantum mechanics but his (unsupportable and unprovable) view of its interpretation. It's philosophy if you wish.

I don't know why I am still surprised that people who reject religion reject that the human body and brain (and mind?...if it's separate and distinct from the brain) are subject to the same laws of physics that everything else is. The argument presented wasn't even to suggest that quantum mechanics is at the heart of consciousness or free will, only that the ineluctable conclusion under classical mechanics now provided some wiggle room for a universe that was constrained to play itself out for all time in a precise and unchanging way. The consequence of a purely deterministic universe, of which we a part, is that every thought you have being proscribed for moment one, including your thought that the thought you just had was of your own free making. Ignoring such would be akin to walking into a movie several billion years in the running and claiming you understand the plot.

The brain is computing device. The fact that its physical incarnation is biological rather than silicon circuit is, for now, irrelevant. Leaving aside for the moment the epistemological question of whether the brain is capable of studying itself or if the problem is soluble at all, most believe, whether they say so or realize it or not, that the brain is a Turing machine of such size and complexity that we are not yet capable of producing such a machine. That's a practical issue, not a fundamental one. The emergent phenomena of consciousness and free will don't seem compatible with this view and, therefore, lead some to believe that the ideas of consciousness and free will are artifacts of this complexity and sophistication. The computing device is a slave to its algorithm and that leaves no room for alternative outcomes.

The only other computing paradigm is that of quantum computing. As quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory, one in which many outcomes are possible, some say an infinity of outcomes, it allows for alternative results from the computing process. Meaning it can solve problems that Turing machines can only do so in principle, given large amounts of computing powers and time. Sounds brain like to me. The trouble is that any known quantum effect requires a physical manifestation that is not compatible with how life exists. As always, people get more clever and laboratory qubits operate at higher temperatures and under higher levels of complexity while physical models get presented that could ascribe some quantum effects to room temperature biological organisms. None presently are entirely plausible or provable but no other known paradigm consistent with the known laws of physics is plausible to explain what is viewed as a complexity-driven emergent phenomenon.

To that point, there is a mathematical physicist of some note by the name of Roger Penrose. He wrote a book some long time ago titled "The Emperor's New Mind". He's written others since. The premise is that the presently known laws of physics would need supplementation in order to explain aspects of what we term the mind. There are deep flaws in the theory that would need to be addressed but it's a treatise orders of magnitude more intellectually satisfying than the wannabe science of most popularizations on the subject. While written as a popularization it's mathematically and physics dense and would take some effort to penetrate for those without some background in the subjects.

Bucket, that's what I'd use as a jump off point, or one of his other books, if for no other reason than how well the mathematical and physical underpinnings are laid out. If these phenomena are soluble, then I think that the answer will come from computer scientists and other applied mathematicians, physicists, with biologists playing a supplementary role, and cognitive scientists of the psychologist or pseudo/soft science persuasion was well as pure philosophers having little to contribute.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:41 pm

Oi...talk about mental masturbation....
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:48 pm

LOL. I engage with you because I feel it worthwhile. You're mostly indefatigable, seemingly loving the argument for its own sake but I agree to leave it at that if you will. If not, I don't have the time nor the energy so you win by default.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:53 pm

Sua Sponte wrote:LOL. I engage with you because I feel it worthwhile. You're mostly indefatigable, seemingly loving the argument for its own sake but I agree to leave it at that if you will. If not, I don't have the time nor the energy so you win by default.

You have to put up something remotely useful for it to be interesting. I don't even think you're wrong, I'm just disappointed to see such a tepid deflection.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Yes, I'm drunk
Top
Posts: 2194
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:57 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Yes, I'm drunk » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:54 pm

The obvious evidence of free-will is a major stumbling block for the radical materialist philosophy; I can entirely understand why, when it comes to the usual suspects, there's such an element of wish-fulfillment in having it discounted.....

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:57 pm

Yes, I'm drunk wrote:The obvious evidence of free-will is a major stumbling block for the radical materialist philosophy; I can entirely understand why, when it comes to the usual suspects, there's such an element of wish-fulfillment in having it discounted.....
Where's that evidence again? No one would love more for there to be such a mechanism...the challenge to your position is that no one can seem to find it.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:57 pm

Okay. If you don't find what I wrote to be useful, it's because you don't understand the problem.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:00 pm

Sua Sponte wrote:Okay. If you don't find what I wrote to be useful, it's because you don't understand the problem.

That's hilarious.

Try again.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:01 pm

It's only funny 'cause it's true?

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:10 pm

Sua Sponte wrote:It's only funny 'cause it's true?
No it's funny because it's an argument technique so far below your talent level that I have to assume you're either getting your morning drunk on or you are just too tired to engage in good faith on anything.

I'll go first. Failing to make progress by throwing up our hands at the complexity of the organ we understand very little (and more importantly how it interact with the body, I don't for a second buy your statement that the brain is simply a computing device, it's clearly far more complex and less mechanistic than that.) use that big brain to hazard a guess at not just the mechanism but even evidence that free will can exist. When you argue that it may or that it does, what are you relying on as evidence?
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Sua Sponte
Gunny
Posts: 548
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:12 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Sua Sponte » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:14 pm

Alright. Curious why you see the brain as something other than a computing device. As stated, all the current theories that have purchase view the brain as a Turing machine, whether they say or realize so. Minsky, the titular inventor of AI, to notable physicists such as Hawking to even questionable intellectuals such as Harris. Why do you see differently.

Yes, I'm drunk
Top
Posts: 2194
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:57 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Yes, I'm drunk » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:31 pm

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Yes, I'm drunk wrote:The obvious evidence of free-will is a major stumbling block for the radical materialist philosophy; I can entirely understand why, when it comes to the usual suspects, there's such an element of wish-fulfillment in having it discounted.....
Where's that evidence again? No one would love more for there to be such a mechanism...the challenge to your position is that no one can seem to find it.
Free-will isn't a well-defined philosophical concept, let alone a settled scientific one; attempting to "prove" or "disprove" it is just funny.

But what's annoying to radical materialists is that there's evidence for it in their own lived lives - and that just won't do; at least if they want to remain radical materialists. Hence their need to have it "disproved".....

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:22 pm

Sua Sponte wrote:Alright. Curious why you see the brain as something other than a computing device. As stated, all the current theories that have purchase view the brain as a Turing machine, whether they say or realize so. Minsky, the titular inventor of AI, to notable physicists such as Hawking to even questionable intellectuals such as Harris. Why do you see differently.

I was perhaps overspecific. Firstly, I think emerging science tells us that the brain and body are not terribly separable as we had hoped. Thing two, although for purpose of an individual theory of mind, reducing the brain to a mechanical metaphor we understand is useful, I don't think it's complete. If there's an area where free will as a concept will get fleshed out (sorry for the pun) it's in a more complete understanding of the brain as an organ.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:25 pm

Yes, I'm drunk wrote:
Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Yes, I'm drunk wrote:The obvious evidence of free-will is a major stumbling block for the radical materialist philosophy; I can entirely understand why, when it comes to the usual suspects, there's such an element of wish-fulfillment in having it discounted.....
Where's that evidence again? No one would love more for there to be such a mechanism...the challenge to your position is that no one can seem to find it.
Free-will isn't a well-defined philosophical concept, let alone a settled scientific one; attempting to "prove" or "disprove" it is just funny.

But what's annoying to radical materialists is that there's evidence for it in their own lived lives - and that just won't do; at least if they want to remain radical materialists. Hence their need to have it "disproved".....
Quit arguing with ghosts. This isn't some 101 level argument about "proving" anything. The state of the discussion is whether there is any evidence at all that it exists. My restated specific question to you is, what makes you assume you have free will?
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Yes, I'm drunk
Top
Posts: 2194
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:57 am

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Yes, I'm drunk » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:56 pm

Blaidd Drwg wrote:This isn't some 101 level argument about "proving" anything.
LOL, I never said it was. I actually went out of my way to say that any attempt to do such a thing "is just funny".

But I'm not the one who's taking the time to design and conduct experiments to challenge the notion of free-will, am I?

So you tell me:

What are they challenging? What is their hypothesis?

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19077
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: Willpower depletion debunked

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:58 pm

Yes, I'm drunk wrote:
Blaidd Drwg wrote:This isn't some 101 level argument about "proving" anything.
LOL, I never said it was. I actually went out of my way to say that any attempt to do such a thing "is just funny".

But I'm not the one who's taking the time to design and conduct experiments to challenge the notion of free-will, am I?

So you tell me:

What are they challenging? What is their hypothesis?
No...you're not even taking the time to understand the basic moving pieces of the debate, much less an fundamental understanding of the scientific process as noted by the preposterous stream of excrement above.

Jog On, Lad.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

Post Reply