Resignation Syndrome

#30

Postby quietvoice » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:08 pm

youtu.be/pCofmZlC72g?t=2m8s

It's an hour and sixteen minutes long. Does he have a short version, or can you provide times for a short segment that provides his main points?
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#31

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:39 am

Here you go quietvoice. Only 9 1/2 minutes long.

https://youtu.be/7t_Uyi9bNS4

It basically is an individual professing their religion of determinism as the truth, and that if you believe there are things outside of determinism, then you are ignorant and delusional. In this video it is a spiritual person he labels ignorant.

HumanB, I will find some time to watch the link you posted. The above reinforces the denial of determinists that nothing can possibly exist outside what humans can observe. He has an ego, while acussing others of being egotistical. It is his ego to believe that nothing our species can’t observe eliminates the possibility that it exists.

In the scope of the universe, in the scope of the blink of an eye which is our existence and the even shorter time of the individual life, our species has access to not even a thimble full of the ocean of knowledge. To believe that only what we can observe through cause/effect is the only things that can possibly exist is in my opinion ignorant...from an epistemological perspective.

Another point, is he claims luck is the basis of everything. So he is just lucky to be a determinist, see my previous post regarding fate. And while he is lucky, and everyone is just lucky in his world view, the priest is not just labeled unlucky, but rather the priest is labeled ignorant.

Anyway, I look forward to watching the longer version you posted.
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#32

Postby quietvoice » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:19 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Here you go quietvoice. Only 9 1/2 minutes long.

youtu.be/7t_Uyi9bNS4

Thank you very much, Richard.

At 9:19: "And part of living the examined life, is putting one's beliefs in order."

How I understand free will is it is the choice of where we place our attention. All else flows from that.

I started to search for Sam Harris' definition of free will, and didn't get very far.

See you later . . . I've got other items on my agenda on which to place my attention today.
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#33

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:28 pm

HumanB wrote:Here is a hard determinist explaining what he believes. Tell me if you think he is defeatist, fatalistic, without a basis for morality, or any of these other things you wish to pin on determinism. He is 'fairly' successful at what he has chosen to do for a career - isn't a slacker, or someone who TTFN's a debate


Great presentation. He comes across much more coherent and logic driven in the link you provided than the one I provided.

So a few things to address:

-1- The same as he presents research to validate his points, I present mine. Determinists and like minded ideologies that deny free will tend to have lower self efficacy. The same as research he states shows a hot or cold beverage can bias decisions, research shows beliefs regarding free will bias a person’s ability to persist. They give up much easier in trying to obtain goals etc. The same the research he uses has outliers, i.e. people that hold a beverage and don’t bias their decision, so exist some determinists with high self efficacy, so exist people that believe in free will that demonstrate low self efficacy. The fact Sam Harris, a self proclaimed determinist displays high self efficacy regarding the topic of free will, this single case does not invalidate the mountains of evidence of determinists with low self efficacy, same as if I had an example of a person that showed no bias when holding a hot cup vs cold cup would not invalidate the mountains of evidence that bias exists.

-2- I have stated previously, but will repeat, the universe as “largely deterministic.” This is all the determinist can and must continue to beat this drum. They have no other option, Sam Harris included. I have never claimed free will as operating outside bounded rationality, the science of associationism, cognitive bias, etc. It is when the determinist is asked what “largely” doesn’t cover, what are those things for which determinism can’t account, the determinist makes up anything they can other than free will, including Sam Harris. When he discusses around 36 minutes in the choosing to choose to choose and repeatedly references it is a mystery we don’t understand, he can’t possibky acknowledge this mystery as free will. It just is a mystery. This is the stance a determinist must take in order to maintain the belief.

-3- I thought it was clearly a well thought out argument against free will. I like the way he artfully tried his best to work around the metaphysical. Still, at the end of the day his arguments against free will are not much different than ancient philosophers Democritus and Leucippus. The same as religious beliefs can be seen as dogmatic, so too can the dogmas of determinism. Whatever part of the dogma cannot be explained is a “mystery”.

-4- I did appreciate his moral approach, but thought his attacks on religion missed the mark by miles. He tries to make the case to look at the morality of determinism from a broad, wide angle, but then tries to narrowly define that faith has but a single purpose, that of retribution.

Really good stuff. Thanks for sharing, I will definitely be following his work.
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#34

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:51 pm

For any future readers that don't use their free will to watch the Sam Harris 1 hour 18 minute presentation explaining why free will doesn't exist, there is a simple experiment that we can do that will demonstrate free will in action.

Choose a city, any city in the world. This is about as free a choice as you can get. Now obviously you can't choose a city of which you have no knowledge. If you have never heard of the city of Santa Rosa de Osos, then lack of knowledge, not lack of free will limits your ability to have chosen this city.

Now most likely, you had a first city come to mind. And experiments can show, that even before you were consciously aware of the city that came to mind, your brain had processed and sent this city to your consciousness. Maybe you then rejected this city and another came to mind and then another. Eventually, you settled on for example Miami. Why did you end up choosing Miami and how is this free will?

Well, it is not free will. It is how the brain works and was long ago identified as such in Aristotilian works, recognizing that our minds will call forth certain information based on associationism. It is similar to the process if I were to ask you not to think of the word "potato". In order to not think of potato you first think of potato. This does not demonstrate lack of free will, rather it demonstrates a reality of the mind in operation. This is very similar to asking you to think of any city in the world, your initial thoughts will be based on associative factors. This is nothing new, experiments have proven this time and time and time again. It is even used in education harnessing the power of primacy and recency effects.

Back to Miami. Did you have to stay with Miami? No. In fact, if you wanted, after you had exhausted your associative efforts, recalling five maybe ten cities, you could have decided to consult a map, you could have decided to create a random way to determine which city you would pick, you could have created slips of paper and drawn a city out of a hat. You had the capacity to construct, reflect, develop, manipulate, and otherwise use your free will to come up with a city of your choosing. How? How can this be explained?

Well, Sam Harris says it is a mystery. How do we choose what we choose to choose he asks? And then claims it a mystery. And interestingly enough, Sam is the one that uses the city experiment, but he uses the experiment to demonstrate free will doesn't exist, simply because our minds have an associative process, sending a city into our consciousness without our permission. That he claims, demonstrates a lack of free will. But, if you note, all of Sam's examples and experiments are about the immediate, about the intuitive or gut reactions that our mind uses as part of simple heuristics, ways in which our minds reduce cognitive effort to come to very quick, generally effective choices in life. Sam is correct, this is not free will. That doesn't then mean free will doesn't exist.

So what is free will? How can it be explained without referring to some metaphysical abstraction? It is actually simple, all we need to do is look at Dan Gilberts work on happiness. About 2 million years ago, the human brain doubled in size in a relatively short period. Why this happened is up for speculation. Sam would say, "it's a mystery". Well, what did this doubling of the brain include? The addition was the frontal lobe. It is this part of the brain that allows us to plan. It is also responsible for a lot of anxiety. Experiments on people with damage to this area or on those that had lobotomies, show reduction in anxiety, but guess what else they lose? The ability to plan, the ability to think about the future. As Dan Gilbert puts it, our capacity to think about the future and plan is unique to our species. Other species can show an ability to predict what is going to happen next, which Dan calls "nexting" but they don't have the capacity to prospect...prospection is the ability to think about the future.

It is the frontal lobe that allows us to demonstrate the flaws in Sam's argument. We don't have to choose the first or second city. We can construct, manipulate, change, and otherwise use the frontal lobe to choose whatever the heck city we want. How do we choose, what we choose? In immediate terms, we use quick, effective heuristics. But, we also have the option to use free will. We have the option to, the willpower, the capacity to use our minds, to engage our frontal lobes and in doing so be free to choose any friggin city we want, including if we want to choose a city at random.

Willpower is a key term related to free will. Sam wants to say humans are the same as bears. Well, bears don't have the ability of prospection. That is a huge, huge, huge difference. Bears can't play the choose a city game, because bears don't have the ability to plan a family vacation. Humans have the ability of prospection, the human brain has this capacity to reject the first city that comes to mind, to reject the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th city, and to use that frontal lobe to volitionally develop choices.

I think science is on the side of free will. I agree with Sam that there is a ton of evidence that supports the that environment, the context, the situation has a huge impact on our behaviors. I agree with Sam that there are many neurophysiological underpinnings that demonstrate factors that influence our decisions of which we are unaware. I agree with Sam that genetics can play a difference. I agree with Sam that a tumor might be a cause of a psychopath. There are many things I agree with Sam.

Where Sam gets it wrong, is he completely ignores prospection. He completely ignores that unlike bears, we have an additional pound of frontal lobe with characteristics unique to our species. Bears can predict, they can "next", but they can't prospect. When it comes down to explaining how we choose to choose what we choose, Sam says it is a mystery. I don't think so, I think there is plenty of scientific evidence that our species has the ability to use our brains, call it free will, call it prospection, but we have the ability to make volitional choices in life.
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#35

Postby quietvoice » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:39 pm

The Will is sometimes defined as the "faculty of conscious, and especially of deliberative action." Whether the word "conscious" is essential to the definition may be questioned. Some actions which are unconscious are, nevertheless, probably expressions of the Will; and some involuntary acts, are certainly conscious. All voluntary acts are deliberative, for deliberation may proceed "with the swiftness of lightning," as the saying goes, but both deliberation and its attendant actions are not always conscious. A better definition of the Will, therefore, is "THE POWER OF SELF DIRECTION."

~ Frank C. Haddock, Power of Will, 1909, pg. 4

FREEDOM
Moreover, the phrase "freedom of will" is tautology, and the phrase "bondage of will" is contradiction of terms. To speak of the freedom of the Will is simply to speak of the Will's existence. A person without power to decide what he shall do is not a complete organism.

Will may not exist, but if there is any Will in mind, it is free.

~ Ibid, pg. 10
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#36

Postby HumanB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:25 pm

>>It is the frontal lobe that allows us to demonstrate the flaws in Sam's argument....In immediate terms, we use quick, effective heuristics. But, we also have the option to use free will.

So (correct me if I'm misrepresenting) you're saying that these (heuristics, algorythms, "free will") operate in frontal lobes, presumably as neurons firing (and nor firing)? I don't see that this solves your problem of causality at all. What exactly is it that you think operates outside of a causal chain? What is it made of, if not neurones? And if it is neurones, how are they acting in an uncaused fashion?

All mammals have frontal lobes. Do you think that those with smaller lobes have less free will? Or none at all?

This video turned up in my youtube feed yesterday by chance... https://youtu.be/oeyzzyV42Fc
It's a nice conversation (from a few years ago I think), yes very long (2.5 hrs not 4 as advertised), so what I do is save it to mp3 and listen to it like that. The other two people in the convo agree with Sam on some things but pull him up on others. I think Sam's responses remain cogent.
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#37

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:58 pm

HumanB wrote:So (correct me if I'm misrepresenting) you're saying that these (heuristics, algorythms, "free will") operate in frontal lobes, presumably as neurons firing (and nor firing)? All mammals have frontal lobes. Do you think that those with smaller lobes have less free will? Or none at all?


Prospection is an operation that requires use of the frontal lobe. When the frontal lobe is damaged, via pathology, a lobotomy, or accident, the patient ceases to have the ability to prospect. Prospection is a function unique to our species. While other species may also have frontal lobes, they do not have the capacity of prospection. I'm primarily referencing the work of Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert.

....What exactly is it that you think operates outside of a causal chain? What is it made of, if not neurones? And if it is neurones, how are they acting in an uncaused fashion?


Sam Harris would call it "a mystery". As Sam asks, "How do we choose to choose what we choose?" It is simply that Sam Harris holds a core belief in a determinist cause/effect universe and therefore cannot possibly admit that "a mystery" may include something outside of the causal chain. This is the big, obvious, huge gaping hole in what Sam Harris preaches.

I'm proposing that exactly how prospection works is equally "a mystery". The question then becomes to what extent this mystery has evidence in support of volition? I think there is a lot of evidence, that prospection is what allows the causal chain to be broken. It is a mechanism, by which we use "the will" to volitionally take some form of action.

Nietzsche, arguably the father of nihilism and often charged with being against free-will is in my opinion often times misinterpreted. Here is a few things to consider from Nietzsche:

“Freedom of Will”—that is the expression for the complex state of delight of the person exercising volition, who commands and at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the order—who, as such, enjoys also the triumph over obstacles, but thinks within himself that it was really his own will that overcame them.

If any one should find out in this manner the crass stupidity of the celebrated conception of “free will” and put it out of his head altogether, I beg of him to carry his “enlightenment” a step further, and also put out of his head the contrary of this monstrous conception of “free will”: I mean “non-free will,” which is tantamount to a misuse of cause and effect.

one should use “cause” and “effect” only as pure conceptions, that is to say, as conventional fictions for the purpose of designation and mutual understanding,—not for explanation.

The “non-free will” is mythology; in real life it is only a question of strong and weak wills.—


NOTE: Nietzsche is suggesting Sam Harris take his argument against free will one step further, to become more enlightened and recognize "non-free will" that is outside of the pure conceptions of cause and effect and that it is only a question of strong and weak wills.

Now why is the strong and weak wills such an important statement by Nietzsche? Because it implies "will" as a strong or weak power that operates beyond the conception of cause/effect.

As he was a nihilist, I would argue that Nietzsche does not actually believe in the existence of "will" except in his acknowledgment that in "real life" it is a functional way to explain that which exists outside of cause/effect, that which is the strong or weak will, meaning not free will, but equally not "non-free will."

Most determinists and anyone who wants to argue against the existence of free will always seem to ignore this side of Nietzsche.

This video turned up in my youtube feed yesterday by chance... https://youtu.be/oeyzzyV42Fc
It's a nice conversation (from a few years ago I think), yes very long (2.5 hrs not 4 as advertised), so what I do is save it to mp3 and listen to it like that. The other two people in the convo agree with Sam on some things but pull him up on others. I think Sam's responses remain cogent.


2.5 hours! I will try to find some time to check it out.

On a sidenote, I was in a discussion last week and actually used Sam Harris in support of a point I was making. While I think Sam is as dogmatic as those whom he criticizes, being dogmatic in and of itself doesn't invalidate the entire argument.
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#38

Postby quietvoice » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:05 pm

HumanB wrote:This video turned up in my youtube feed yesterday by chance...

Interesting that you would use the phrase "by chance" in this particular discussion.

Actually, it's not chance. It is a Google algorithm based on your searching and viewing history.
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#39

Postby quietvoice » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:58 am

HumanB wrote: yes very long . . . so what I do is save it to mp3

It's been at least a couple of years since I did some converting of YouTube videos to mp3, and I had a challenge of finding an online conversion for the long videos. What's a good site nowadays for this task?
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#40

Postby quietvoice » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:45 am

HumanB wrote: What exactly is it that you think operates outside of a causal chain?

I'll tell you what I see operates outside the causal chain.

First, I see the chain as Thought-Emotion-Action. A thought is an identification of something perceived, a consciousness of something. And at the same time, it is consciousness of that thought that creates our experience of reality. A particular thought can have many layers or levels of previous thought as a part of that thought, that remain unconscious or under the surface at the moment the currently perceived thought occurs. Also, at the same time, is what I see is the bodily response to the thought which is Emotion. Thought-Emotion are two sides of the same coin. Emotion drives action.

What meaning does [that thought] have to you? Is it worth attending, the paying of your attention? You get to decide.

If you are taught differently and you don't consciously figure it out for yourself, yes, it can appear as if the world is leading you by the nose. But on some level, I think that we all have the capacity, given a minimally healthy organism to live within, to know this. PAY ATTENTION ((smile)).
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#41

Postby HumanB » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:32 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Sam Harris would call it "a mystery".
And you wouldn't call "mysterious" something that is unknown but asserted to exist which supposedly operates outside of what we have discovered about the laws of physics/chemistry/universe??
Myself I prefer to call it magical :)


Sam asks, "How do we choose to choose what we choose?" It is simply that Sam Harris holds a core belief in a determinist cause/effect universe and therefore cannot possibly admit that "a mystery" may include something outside of the causal chain. This is the big, obvious, huge gaping hole in what Sam Harris preaches.
I think that's equivalent to saying there is a big gaping hole in not admitting ANY asserted (magical)belief in something which operates outside of what we know of the physical laws of nature, *when it is disbelieved on the grounds that there is no good evidence for it*. In fact that is a perfectly rational position to take wouldn't you agree? What IS still open to further debate is what is actually permissible/acceptable as 'good evidence' (reliable, convincing).

So Sam builds a case that there is no EVIDENCE for free will. Often cited 'evidence' for existence of free-will is our subjective experience. The 'pick a city' thought experiment is just to show that upon closer inspection our experience is actually compatible with a deterministic brain/mind.


I'm proposing that exactly how prospection works is equally "a mystery". The question then becomes to what extent this mystery has evidence in support of volition? I think there is a lot of evidence, that prospection is what allows the causal chain to be broken. It is a mechanism, by which we use "the will" to volitionally take some form of action.
This is just a tautology.
Paraphrasing:
The key part of (non-deterministic) free-will is prospection. We shall define prospection in such a way as to mean forward planning which is not fully determined by a past causal chain. = tautology.
And we shall invent this term 'will' to fill the supposed gap between fully determined and not fully-determined.
And although 'will' is located in a specific neurophysiological area (frontal lobe) of a brain, and 'will' appears to diminish or ceases if that neurophysiological area is damaged, in fact 'will' cannot be physical in structure because it is defined as not conforming to physical laws of operation (cause/effect).

And you think this makes sense?? Makes better sense than Sam's view of it?
If I've misrepresented, please correct.
So, you said you think there is a lot of evidence. But, still, where is the evidence that prospection involves an UNCAUSED, ie 'willed', choice?
And I'm still unclear really whether you think this thing "the will" consists of physical or non-physical stuff? It sounds like you think on one hand it consists of physical stuff (presumably neurones, neural activity of the frontal lobe) but that this particular physical stuff operates 'uncaused' ie doesn't behave at all like other physical stuff (not subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the universe), so on the other hand it cannot really be physical stuff.?


The “non-free will” is mythology; in real life it is only a question of strong and weak wills.—
Yes that's interesting because I don't see the use of the phrases "strong willed" or "weak willed" as having ANY recourse to the philosophical notion of free-will as a real thing. When a person talks of "strong willed" it means along the lines of strongly inclined to stick to a chosen course of thought/action in the face of competing/contrary forces/ideas (external or internal). Unwavering. And all THAT means is that the so-called strong-willed person has their mind made up! Another way to say: they are one-mined, they are strongly convicted (about that issue), enough to dispel doubts. Conviction is a mental state/process of the brain and has no need to invoke some magical uncaused agent pulling the strings.
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#42

Postby HumanB » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:35 pm

quietvoice wrote:It's been at least a couple of years since I did some converting of YouTube videos to mp3, and I had a challenge of finding an online conversion for the long videos. What's a good site nowadays for this task?

http://www.clipconverter.cc/

I've been using this one. I do get a couple of pop-ups when I hit the continue button but nothing malicious.
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#43

Postby quietvoice » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:28 pm

HumanB wrote:http://www.clipconverter.cc/

Thank you for that.

(Sam Harris, et al.) . . .

All this talk of someone else's opinion. Why not do some introspection and see what you find for yourself?

Consciousness and the aspects thereof are not physical phenomenon. Therefore, what can anyone glued to the materialism ideology say about it that has any worth?
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#44

Postby quietvoice » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:29 pm

^^^ plural of phenomenon is phenomena.^^^
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Rohn wrote:Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to change it all.

Video clip in my email today. 6min 42sec.
Happy New Year.
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