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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:04 pm  Unconscious determinants of free decisions Reply with quote

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18408715

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Abstract

There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively 'free' decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness.

We are not free. We are prisoners of causality living inevitable lives and dying inevitable deaths. We are doomed to be conceived, doomed to suffer and doomed to die. We have no say in the matter.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:39 pm
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bluegreenearth wrote:
What was your reason for choosing one reason over another reason? Whatever your answer, that is what determined the choice you made. If you had no reason, then your choice was randomly determined.


The reason for choosing one attractive reason over another attractive reason was my personal, free agency. I could have chosen either. At different times I may have chosen both in similar situations. The various goods I see do not force one choice upon me. I choose between what my mind considers "goods". This is what libertarian free will claims. This is the third alternative.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:08 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

bluegreenearth wrote:
What was your reason for choosing one reason over another reason? Whatever your answer, that is what determined the choice you made. If you had no reason, then your choice was randomly determined.


The reason for choosing one attractive reason over another attractive reason was my personal, free agency. I could have chosen either. At different times I may have chosen both in similar situations. The various goods I see do not force one choice upon me. I choose between what my mind considers "goods". This is what libertarian free will claims. This is the third alternative.


You were given two attractive reasons and chose one as being more "good" than the other at that particular moment even though you may have chosen the other reason as being more "good" in some other situation. Therefore, the quality of "good" is what determines your mind to prefer one choice over another in any given situation. As such, your decision is determined. Your perception of having the ability to choose either "good" reason is a post-hoc rationalization and illusion because you want libertarian freewill to have been the reason why you made a particular choice. Prior to making that particular decision, you perceived the choice between two equally "good" reasons as being subject to your libertarian freewill. However, you eventually selected one of those reasons because the choice was determined by some unconscious bias which forced you to favor one over the other in that moment or you were forced to choose randomly in that moment for lack of any bias. Either way, your choice was determined.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:56 am
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bluegreenearth wrote:
However, you eventually selected one of those reasons because the choice was determined by some unconscious bias which forced you to favor one over the other in that moment or you were forced to choose randomly in that moment for lack of any bias. Either way, your choice was determined.


You claim that, but you aren't proving it. I'm not saying my explanation proves free will exists, I'm just saying it is a viable option. You are saying it's not basically because determinism is true and crafting the explanation to back that up. I'm not claiming your crafted story is impossible, I'm just saying it's not the only plausible explanation and that as a story it is just as plausible as libertarian free will.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:14 am
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The Tanager wrote:

bluegreenearth wrote:
However, you eventually selected one of those reasons because the choice was determined by some unconscious bias which forced you to favor one over the other in that moment or you were forced to choose randomly in that moment for lack of any bias. Either way, your choice was determined.


You claim that, but you aren't proving it. I'm not saying my explanation proves free will exists, I'm just saying it is a viable option. You are saying it's not basically because determinism is true and crafting the explanation to back that up. I'm not claiming your crafted story is impossible, I'm just saying it's not the only plausible explanation and that as a story it is just as plausible as libertarian free will.


I'm not really understanding your response. Please explain how libertarian freewill exists as a viable and plausible option.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:42 am
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bluegreenearth wrote:
I'm not really understanding your response. Please explain how libertarian freewill exists as a viable and plausible option.


You are claiming libertarian free will is impossible. I'm claiming it is a possibility, just like determinism and indeterminism are possibilities. You are making the stronger claim.

You back your claim up with an unfalsifiable narrative written from the assumption that determinism or indeterminism are the only options. You can always point to this fluid unconscious bias, even if different decisions are made in similar situations. The unconscious bias can constantly change to fit the story of determinism or indeterminism. That is not proof that a counter-narrative is false. If used in this way, it ends up begging the question. Libertarian free will is not false simply because you can craft a coherent account of determinism.

I presented a counter-narrative that is not illogical. If it is illogical, then show it. But presenting the determinism-narrative (which you've done) is not a proof that my narrative is illogical. And remember my claim is not that my narrative proves libertarian free will is true, I'm making a weaker* claim that it is one of three coherent theories. If I made as strong* a claim as you, then I would have the burden of showing the other views illogical or my view as certain or (at least) more probable than the alternatives.

*by weak and strong, I'm talking about the scope of the claim, not the strength of the support for that claim.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:51 am
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The Tanager wrote:


I presented a counter-narrative that is not illogical. If it is illogical, then show it. But presenting the determinism-narrative (which you've done) is not a proof that my narrative is illogical. And remember my claim is not that my narrative proves libertarian free will is true, I'm making a weaker* claim that it is one of three coherent theories. If I made as strong* a claim as you, then I would have the burden of showing the other views illogical or my view as certain or (at least) more probable than the alternatives.

*by weak and strong, I'm talking about the scope of the claim, not the strength of the support for that claim.


If I made a strong claim, it was not intended as such. I'm open to the possibility of libertarian freewill but am not clear on your defense. Where is the logic in your assertion that libertarian freewill is a viable and plausible option given the conditions we observe?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:17 am
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[Replying to post 16 by bluegreenearth]

My claim is that libertarian free will is not illogical. A married bachelor is illogical because it would be referring to a married person who is not married. Things that are illogical, we can say are false. One can present a narrative of an action from the libertarian standpoint without being illogical (even if it is untrue). That is all that is needed for me to defend my position here. If you want to take a different position, that position would be that libertarian free will is illogical, an incoherent narrative. You would then need to show how it is illogical on par with saying "a married bachelor."

(My understanding of) The deterministic/indeterministic narrative you have shared does not do that, it simply is a counter-narrative with no evidence backing it up. When you say that the quality of "good" determines my action you haven't shown evidence that it did so. When you say that some unconscious bias forced me to favor one option over another as the most good option, you haven't shown evidence that it did so. When you say there is a lack of bias or heirarchy and, therefore, you had to choose randomly you haven't shown evidence that it did so.

What decides the quality of "good" among the various options? Determinism says that there is something about my chemistry (or whatever) that necessarily leads to one option being "seen" as "better" and I must do that action. But where is the evidence? Why is it not plausible that my will decides what is good or that I can choose to go with a lesser good? Where is the evidence of this unconscious bias determining my action? Why is it not plausible that I use my will to determine my action?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:25 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

[Replying to post 16 by bluegreenearth]

My claim is that libertarian free will is not illogical. A married bachelor is illogical because it would be referring to a married person who is not married. Things that are illogical, we can say are false. One can present a narrative of an action from the libertarian standpoint without being illogical (even if it is untrue). That is all that is needed for me to defend my position here. If you want to take a different position, that position would be that libertarian free will is illogical, an incoherent narrative. You would then need to show how it is illogical on par with saying "a married bachelor."

(My understanding of) The deterministic/indeterministic narrative you have shared does not do that, it simply is a counter-narrative with no evidence backing it up. When you say that the quality of "good" determines my action you haven't shown evidence that it did so. When you say that some unconscious bias forced me to favor one option over another as the most good option, you haven't shown evidence that it did so. When you say there is a lack of bias or heirarchy and, therefore, you had to choose randomly you haven't shown evidence that it did so.

What decides the quality of "good" among the various options? Determinism says that there is something about my chemistry (or whatever) that necessarily leads to one option being "seen" as "better" and I must do that action. But where is the evidence? Why is it not plausible that my will decides what is good or that I can choose to go with a lesser good? Where is the evidence of this unconscious bias determining my action? Why is it not plausible that I use my will to determine my action?


Thank you. That response a little more understandable to me. However, I'm probably still confused because it seems to me that you are presenting a burden of proof fallacy. I'm not meaning to make the positive claim that libertarian freewill is impossible or illogical because I'm unaware if it is impossible or illogical. It seems like libertarian freewill could be possible and logical, but my attempts to find possibility or logic there always concludes with choices being determined by reasons or randomly determined. Since you are making the positive claim that libertarian freewill is not only possible but plausible, you have the burden of proof to demonstrate that possibility and plausibility. My assessment of your attempt to accomplish that task thus far has left me at the same conclusion as before; choices still seem to be determined by reasons or randomly determined. If I'm missing something, please clarify accordingly.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:05 pm
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bluegreenearth wrote:
Thank you. That response a little more understandable to me. However, I'm probably still confused because it seems to me that you are presenting a burden of proof fallacy. I'm not meaning to make the positive claim that libertarian freewill is impossible or illogical because I'm unaware if it is impossible or illogical.


It's certainly possible that I am thinking fallaciously.

bluegreenearth wrote:
It seems like libertarian freewill could be possible and logical, but my attempts to find possibility or logic there always concludes with choices being determined by reasons or randomly determined. Since you are making the positive claim that libertarian freewill is not only possible but plausible, you have the burden of proof to demonstrate that possibility and plausibility. My assessment of your attempt to accomplish that task thus far has left me at the same conclusion as before; choices still seem to be determined by reasons or randomly determined. If I'm missing something, please clarify accordingly.


I think your language is confusing you. I would say libertarian free will and determinism both conclude with "choices being determined by reasons" or "there being a reason why person A tried to perform action X." You treat determinism as the synonym of the first phrase, rather than one option within that category. But there is a difference between having a reason behind one's actions and being forced to have that particular reason.

When I say "I chose to do X because I decided to do the moral thing," that provides a reason for my decision. That is not the same thing as saying that this reason (my moral conviction) forced me to side with it, (in fact, there are many times that I don't side with my moral conviction and could have done otherwise in that moment as well, whether guilt would have followed or not). Determinism is the further step that says not only is the choice not random, but you could not have done anything but side with that factor.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:23 am
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The Tanager wrote:


It's certainly possible that I am thinking fallaciously.


I don't think you are; I agree with your viewpoint. Of course we can form an unfalsifiable hypthesis that attributes every apparent free choice to hidden causes, making us slave to what has been predetermined. This is a bogus hypothesis.


Given several nice options and we choose one, it may well be that our brain had decided in advance. If our brain is the stumbling block to freedom, then we freely allow another person to make the choice for us.


A couple of days ago a gentleman went to Switzerland to make the ultimate free-will choice of ending his life. His decision was based on a consideration of the quality of life he might have if he allowed his illness to progress. I think this illustrates freedom of will and if indeed the secret brain induced him towards his decision it must also have persuaded his wife to comply.

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