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5 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

You do not will your body temperature which is the average kinetic energy of molecules in your body.

I can affect my body temperature by turning the air conditioning on.  Wearing clothes.  Choose which environment(s) to go into/not go into.  Choices to maintain its proper functioning.

5 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The movement of individual molecules is not subject to conscious control.

What about stress?  Eustress?  Again, choices to regulate your health.

5 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

 But your basic metabolic reactions (involving ATP)  are not under conscious control. 

You gotta choose to eat--

I'm knowing that's not what you meant here, you're meaning direct control over molecules--which is kind of silly.  We have a body and we have a mind, and we have to self-regulate to stay alive: by choosing, and those choices do affect our physiology.

Volition exists..

Edited by KorbenDallas
(don't mind me, I'm a bit hangry--must be the collective of stomach molecules groupthinking that I need to make a sandwich.)
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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

 I am a strict constructionist and I am very fussy about legal propriety.  Laws and rules are one of the means by which humans can live together in society and not slaughter each other.   There are few people as touchy as I am about property and privacy. 

One of the simple rules I live by is this:  what is mine is Mine and what is yours is Yours.  

Liberals on the other hand have a principle:  What is mine is Mine and what is yours is subject to my regulation.  I do not agree with this.

Well said.  We are totally in agreement on this.  I would have made only a tiny change: "What is mine is Mine and what is yours is subject to my regulation [and/or confiscation]."

Like Reagan once quipped, "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

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1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

I can affect my body temperature by turning the air conditioning on.  Wearing clothes.  Choose which environment(s) to go into/not go into.  Choices to maintain its proper functioning.

What about stress?  Eustress?  Again, choices to regulate your health.

You gotta choose to eat--

I'm knowing that's not what you meant here, you're meaning direct control over molecules--which is kind of silly.  We have a body and we have a mind, and we have to self-regulate to stay alive: by choosing, and those choices do affect our physiology.

Volition exists..

Some parameters can be set volitionally but the underlying thermodynamic processes are "controlled" by physical chemical interactions.  Very little going on in our bodies is subject to precise volitional control.  We are big bags of mostly water and various chemicals and enthalpy and Gibbs free energy rules body.

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16 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Some parameters can be set volitionally but the underlying thermodynamic processes are "controlled" by physical chemical interactions.  Very little going on in our bodies is subject to precise volitional control.  We are big bags of mostly water and various chemicals and enthalpy and Gibbs free energy rules body.

Our minds rule the body--without us making choices there would be no body.

Edited by KorbenDallas
(..finishing up my sandwich.)
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12 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Our minds rule the body--without us making choices there would be no body.

Your brain  has some control over bodily functions.  What is a mind? Where in the body is it located.  What is it made of?  And what are its rules/laws of operation?  Have you detected a mind in any body but yourself?  How?  

I have been scanned by some of the most sophisticated machines ever invented and I have seen the results. I never saw any indication of a "mind"  but I observe a great deal of brain activity. 

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12 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Your brain  has some control over bodily functions.  What is a mind? Where in the body is it located.  What is it made of?  And what are its rules/laws of operation?  Have you detected a mind in any body but yourself?  How?  

I have been scanned by some of the most sophisticated machines ever invented and I have seen the results. I never saw any indication of a "mind"  but I observe a great deal of brain activity. 

What is computer software? Where in the computer hardware is it located? What is computer software made of?

I never saw any evidence of computer software. But I observe a great deal of computer hardware activity.

Software development (such as what Microsoft does) is bullshit. There ain't no such thing as computer software. Software developers (people who make a living by making computer software) are bullshitters.

 

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1 hour ago, jts said:

What is computer software? Where in the computer hardware is it located? What is computer software made of?

I never saw any evidence of computer software. But I observe a great deal of computer hardware activity.

Software development (such as what Microsoft does) is bullshit. There ain't no such thing as computer software. Software developers (people who make a living by making computer software) are bullshitters.

 

The computer program is a state of an automaton.  The state is defined by physical measurements of the parts.  What is on and what is off. Corresponding to program is the array of on/off states  that constitute the program.  If you like, it is a mapping of the parts of the computer into the set {0,1}.  A physical reality does not have to be a thing/object.  It can be a state.  So perhaps mind is a state of the brain parts.  But one thing a mind is NOT.  It is NOT a stand alone object. 

Please see:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite-state_machine

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6 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

So perhaps mind is a state of the brain parts.  But one thing a mind is NOT.  It is NOT a stand alone object. 

When you say "It is not a stand alone object" I first want to agree that there is no single entity that stands alone.  Only a concept like existence could be said to stand alone (alone in the sense that there is nothing else).  But I hesitated to go down that road since you are using the word "object" and that usually refers to a physical entity.  Had you said that the mind was not a stand alone entity, that would also be true since there can be no mind without the brain to mediate it and no consciousness without something to be conscious of.

Having said all of that, none of it says that there cannot be non-physical entities.  Like thoughts.  You have thoughts.  I doesn't matter that they require a brain.  They also require perceptions.  They require that you be biologically alive so that your brain can mediate these thoughts.  I think you are stuck with admitting that all that is physical is a subset of all that exists.  For everything that exists (physical or not) there are relations to other things that exist.

As a former software developer I'm keenly aware of the power inherent in meta-data.  Data about data.  Meta-data includes data about thoughts about things.  Where would Google be without its searchable indexes (which are examples of meta-data).

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16 minutes ago, SteveWolfer said:

When you say "It is not a stand alone object" I first want to agree that there is no single entity that stands alone.  Only a concept like existence could be said to stand alone (alone in the sense that there is nothing else).  But I hesitated to go down that road since you are using the word "object" and that usually refers to a physical entity.  Had you said that the mind was not a stand alone entity, that would also be true since there can be no mind without the brain to mediate it and no consciousness without something to be conscious of.

Having said all of that, none of it says that there cannot be non-physical entities.  Like thoughts.  You have thoughts.  I doesn't matter that they require a brain.  They also require perceptions.  They require that you be biologically alive so that your brain can mediate these thoughts.  I think you are stuck with admitting that all that is physical is a subset of all that exists.  For everything that exists (physical or not) there are relations to other things that exist.

As a former software developer I'm keenly aware of the power inherent in meta-data.  Data about data.  Meta-data includes data about thoughts about things.  Where would Google be without its searchable indexes (which are examples of meta-data).

Thoughts are sequences of brain states.  Our brain, like any good state-machines just  clicks and jumps along.

Everything that is, is physical.  Even our delusions and imaginations are the manifestation of physical processes.  

 

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5 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Everything that is, is physical.

I choose to believe that a thought is an entity and it is not physical, even though it is mediated by physical processes.  I choose to believe that relationships are entities despite being non-physical. 

You, if your statements were true, have no choices.  You are (in your mind) an automaton whose every action, every 'thought' and 'feeling' was theoretically predetermined at the moment of the big bang.  Your words and sentences, according to your theory, have no more meaning than the squawks of a parrot who doesn't have understanding (understanding being one of those relationships - one that can be grasped as a thought by those who have choice).

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57 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Thoughts are sequences of brain states.  Our brain, like any good state-machines just  clicks and jumps along.

But even a computer requires input to know what to click or jump to--a volitional effort by its operator...

 

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1 hour ago, SteveWolfer said:

You [Ba'al] are (in your mind) an automaton whose every action, every 'thought' and 'feeling' was theoretically predetermined at the moment of the big bang. 

That's a road too far for me.   I always have thought that 'determinism' is like an audio pot out with multiple inputs, feedbacks, filters and harmonies contributing to the 'track' or personal arrangement. Each valence or contingency shaped the arrangement, but I cannot predict the song from initial universal conditions.  

So I don't believe Ba'al's brand of determinism/reductionism derives present action directly from the birth of time.  I mean,  beyond an anodyne generality that all things physical began causal relationships therein.

A less-encumbered sense of determination could unite your two points of view -- human reason as part of a process that began an eternity ago, in a place not much like home.  What 'determined' that these particular five trillion specs of stardust became Ba'al? What 'determined' that his brain would not develop in a 'neurotypical' pattern?

Determinism as I imagine its scope  is most generally the effect of preceding states and events upon succeeding events and states. 

So, I think a deterministic argument can be made about process A or state B. And I think such arguments are more or less interesting according to the 'level of analysis' or 'item to be explained' ... So, if a thought or behaviour can be 'determined' by antecedent 'states' of  an organism, and if you wish to discover what 'determined' this or that behaviour, one best examines the most contingent events -- at the most immediate level of contingency.  

That Ba'al's determinism is determined by the Big Bang is not wrong. It is uninteresting -- except perhaps to illustrate the gulf between levels of explanation or causative entailments.. Events are contingent  in this broad sense on intervening processes in time.  The closer in time and space, the entailments are more interesting in general (exceptions are vast descriptive views of processes that move up and down the level of explanation, ie,  invoking evolution, development, bio-chemistry, bio-physics, cellular biology, homeostasis, etc).

Outside those naive and general thoughts on a subject which tends to bore me, I very much think Ba'al has made a personal breakthrough in communicating how he thinks his mind emerges from and is contingent upon processes in the physical brain: he stated his mind could be seen as a 'state' of the machine.   I think that is a door open to further thinking and discussion.

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Your words and sentences, according to your theory, have no more meaning than the squawks of a parrot who doesn't have understanding (understanding being one of those relationships - one that can be grasped as a thought by those who have choice).

I don't get that from Ba'al (unless he sets a relation to the universe as a whole).   I think 'state of the machine' is a great place to start disentangling the licit from illicit forms of determinism.  

 

Edited by william.scherk
De-murking
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22 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

I cannot predict the song from initial universal conditions

Once upon a time man could not predict the time of sunrise a month of so in advance.  At this time we can not accurately predict the weather more than 3 days or so out.  Our ability to predict something isn't the sole factor to be examined.

 

25 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

So I don't believe Ba'al's brand of determinism/reductionism derives present action directly from the birth of time.  I mean,  beyond an anodyne generality that all things physical began causal relationships therein.

 I'll let Ba'al express for himself what his belief is.  But I maintain that all the forms of soft determinism are logically reducible (no pun intended) to hard determinism. 

We have to bite the bullet and acknowledge that at this point in our understanding that there is one entity we know of that can exercise volition and that volition is a form of first cause.  That we are agents.

Metaphysics is where we should look to understand that nature of causality itself.  And it is a property of entities.  If it exists, it may have the potential of being the cause of an effect.  The nature of the entity determines what it can cause.

31 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Determinism as I imagine its scope  is most generally the effect of preceding states and events upon succeeding events and states. 

But does that allow that any form of choice, actual expression of will, of volition to be what determines the succeeding events?

A person can say that the thinking a person did in the past, the things they learned, the social/cultural/peer pressures that have impinged upon their experiences, their mood of the day, even their DNA and the effects of embryology would effect what any given mental/emotional state.  Who could argue with that?  But if at each moment of awareness, the person isn't able to choose to focus differently - however minor the shift - then we have no volition and if we have zero volition, we are automatons and expressions of electro-chemical states whose causal chain does indeed go back to the big bang.  Without volition, what would interrupt the causal chain of physical states determining succeeding physical states?

41 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

if you wish to discover what 'determined' this or that behaviour, one best examines the most contingent events -- at the most immediate level of contingency.  

In psychology one is always looking for what determines a given pattern of behavior or state of mind.  If some guy has a history of self-sabotage in all of his romantic relationships, a therapist wants to know what are the beliefs, thoughts, and/or emotions that lead to taking actions that kill off otherwise good relationships.  But that is a cause and effect where the cause is located in entity in specific, not in all humans.  And, it is about what can this man choose to do differently that will upset this self-defeating pattern.

I'm saying that the use of the word 'determined' in this sense is nothing like how Ba'al is using it and nothing like the argument between those who say man has volition.  

I come at this with different motivations. 

One is that of psychology and self-esteem and happiness.  In these I know that we need a sense of ourselves as potentially efficacious beings who are the agents of our actions - that we choose.  In this if purpose and logic aren't aligned, which requires logical consistency, we can't succeed.

Another motivation for me is the understanding of the many ways that we must structure both our understanding of and the construction and maintenance of) social sciences and social structures.  Without volition as a part of our understanding of human nature, we will have no basis for morality, psychology, politics, law, etc.  Why would you have a courthouse to be part of a legal system that depends upon the very concept of people choosing to obey the law or not?

And there is what feels very much like a personal motivation: It feels like an affront to my personhood and a slap in the face to logic to say that one doesn't have some degree of choice (how does someone choose to say they have no choice - only predetermined responses to existing stimuli?

1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

The closer in time and space, the entailments are more interesting in general (exceptions are vast descriptive views of processes that move up and down the level of explanation, ie,  invoking evolution, development, bio-chemistry, bio-physics, cellular biology, homeostasis, etc).

I'm not following you exactly... part of what you are saying is about "more interesting in general" and I got lost as to the context there.  But there are processes with general, somewhat teleological cause-effect natures, like evolution, embryology, physical development, mental/emotional development, and I'm fascinated by the somewhat metaphysical commonalities in those, and the epistemological aspect of shifting our level of abstraction, the breadth of the context, as we try to grasp those commonalities.  Note, for example, the clear presence of an increase in options available to the subject in question as time moves forward in evolution, in various forms of (heathy) individual development, with increases in self-awareness, on the spectrum from mental disorders to mental health, with increases in political freedom, with increased knowledge.  There is something very fundamental about the relationship between options available and survival (or flourishing).  And evolution gave us the capacity to imagine things that have never been before (small and trivial - like oatmeal or cold cereal for breakfast tomorrow, or huge like a new break through in science) - make alternative in our imaginations, and if reason and knowledge and purpose align, we have created options for ourselves.  But if we can't exercise choices at any level, then this is... what?  Squawking of a parrot.  Neurochemical impulses creating muscle contractions in the larynx and sensations that are just the experience of brain chemical changes.  You can't see the stars or understand your love from there.

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2 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

But even a computer requires input to know what to click or jump to--a volitional effort by its operator...

 

open your eyes and ears and you will have all the input  you need...

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53 minutes ago, SteveWolfer said:

O.  Neurochemical impulses creating muscle contractions in the larynx and sensations that are just the experience of brain chemical changes.  You can't see the stars or understand your love from there.

Some photons from outer space are firing up my rhodopsin.

I sense you are extremely bothered by the fact that we are meat machines.  

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3 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I sense you are extremely bothered by the fact that we are meat machines.  

The pros and cons of living in a meat machine are obvious, and it is one of those areas where we have little choice.... but to s ay that there is no "I" is a serious philosophical, moral, political, psychological issue. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

open your eyes and ears and you will have all the input  you need...

Yes!  And as I perceive, I choose what to select out of my environment to value, I choose to materialize it by a process of logic, I choose whether or not to act in my environment to seek ends to my needs by a chosen morality--these needs that I chose to be of my specific purpose(s), the values I chose, chosen virtues to attain them, and all as part of a long-range planning...

That I also chose  :)

Edited by KorbenDallas
noticing Steve's cross-post that was separately... well... chosen :)
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14 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

open your eyes and ears and you will have all the input  you need...

As you receive your input, open your mind to the choices that can be imagined, the alternatives available, the kind of mental/emotional experiences you desire, the desires you choose to pursue... and the joy of choosing, of being the author of ones' own life.

Edited by SteveWolfer
I posted just after KorbeDallas, before reading his, and didn't want anyone to think I was just copying :-)
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15 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

We are all part of and components of events in which we are involved.  But that is not the same as Moral Onus. 

Moral law operates in exactly the same way as physical law. Refusing to acknowledge reality doesn't exempt anyone from the consequences of their own actions... regardless of their "good" intentions which are completely meaningless.

Quote

BTW I am not a liberal.

You sure think like one, Bob. 

Your view of morality is the same as liberal Democrats. I've pointed that out here more than once.

Greg

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6 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I sense you are extremely bothered by the fact that we are meat machines.  

You just did it again, Bob. Your view is exactly the same view  that amoral secular liberal democrats hold.

For you, humans are just soulless apes who are solely the end products of chemical reactions, genetics, and environment... and which, like animals, bear no moral responsibility for the consequences of their own behavior.

 

Greg

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5 hours ago, moralist said:

You just did it again, Bob. Your view is exactly the same view  that amoral secular liberal democrats hold.

For you, humans are just soulless apes who are solely the end products of chemical reactions, genetics, and environment... and which, like animals, bear no moral responsibility for the consequences of their own behavior.

 

Greg

Meat Machines that talk and think.  I think that is glorious!  Who would have thought that  matter and energy  could manage that?????

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Meat Machines that talk and think.  I think that is glorious!  Who would have thought that  matter and energy  could manage that?????

"Meat machines" is a vulgarity, especially when you consider the complexity of DNA.

For me a meat machine is a cow being fattened for slaughter.

If I had small children I wouldn't let you near them. I'd not let them be informed they are morally equivalent to cows--a calumny.

It's also a simple lie. If it wasn't you wouldn't feel superior to 95% of the human race, albeit a dubious proposition in itself.

I know you think you are merely making factual statements and on that level they are likely true, but when you add them all up too much is missing. My father had so much raw brain power--one in a thousand--it completely unbalanced him (much worse than Ayn Rand) and reduced him to an arrogance one sometimes see in scientists. He was quite like his acquaintance William Shockley that way. He could have been the creative genius he revealed himself to be in college but that arrogance strangled and destroyed it for he was into things not scientific. If he had been a scientist it might not have mattered. One in a thousand is next to nothing. He likely had more brain power than Rand herself, but Rand was--what?--one in a billion? The creative mind is to me the most beautiful, wonderful thing and the beauty of a young child is in the fresh, forward looking possibility of that in all of them.

"Meat machine"--ugh.

--Brant

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44 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

"Meat machines" is a vulgarity, especially when you consider the complexity of DNA.

For me a meat machine is a cow being fattened for slaughter.

If I had small children I wouldn't let you near them. I'd not let them be informed they are morally equivalent to cows--a calumny.

It's also a simple lie. If it wasn't you wouldn't feel superior to 95% of the human race, albeit a dubious proposition in itself.

--Brant

Have you ever thought of trying out for the Conclusion Jumping Olympics?   I bet you could win the Gold.

I think the ideas of matter and energy  self-organizing  and operating according to the laws of thermodynamics  to produce a Thinking Machine  is damned near miraculous.  And it is all Just Plain Nature doing her thing.   There is more in Heaven and Earth then is drem't of in your (puny) philosophy.   And people are just beginning to scratch the surface.  Think of where we might be in the next 500  years. 

And what is even more amazing is that we Primates Version 2.0  with our three pound brains can understand some of this. Hoodah Thunkit?

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3 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Meat Machines that talk and think.  I think that is glorious! Who would have thought that  matter and energy  could manage that?????

It doesn't.

That's just your secular liberal amoral narcissistic fantasy.:P

 

Greg

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17 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I don't get that from Ba'al (unless he sets a relation to the universe as a whole).   I think 'state of the machine' is a great place to start disentangling the licit from illicit forms of determinism.  

 

 

I'm returning lately to my first notion and most basic explanation for determinism, that it all starts at those first moments of self-awareness, which we all have to have had at some forgotten stage. At that point is the initial glimmer of a consciousness conscious of itself which grasps that one is completely solitary in one's 'head' - to say the least, a startling discovery. Right then the earliest 'choice' (conscious or subconscious) is made, I think, to embrace the fact (shared by all others, one will grasp too), or reject it as the most alien, frightful thing. Here I guess is the foundation for all philosophies, autonomy - or otherwise the lifelong attempt to escape the fact and fill the void with anything, especially determinism and rationalizations of what consciousness is ('a human calculator', perhaps, or a supernatural given).  

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