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- I think chaos argument makes the pre-determinism impossible. Brains are nonlinear and chaotic and therefore it is not possible to predict their state. But I don't see what role can chaos play in free will. The chaos in computations is still part of the black-box which supplies us with pre-computed states.Apr 12, 2012
- so does mind altering drugs, such antidepressants that are out there we do not know about their effects. Millions of people are on them now.Some take for the down affect an not for purpose intendedApr 21, 2012
- Some times even placebos seem like the 'magic' of the subjective truths out there of bringing happiness and peace of mind.Apr 21, 2012
- Let me point out a similarity between this discussion and the usual discussions with religious people.
When a sophisticated theologian says that “the bible is true” and when a layman says that “the bible is true” they mean almost completely different things. But by defending the wording of the statement, theologians defend layman interpretation even if their reasoning implies that it is wrong. (I actually suspect that theologians are usually aware and quite happy about that.)
Similarly, by saying that “free will exists” Dan Dennet defends common-sense interpretation of the statement. While, as far as I understand, he means something completely different (and very similar to Sam's point of view). And If the discussion is just about how to call things – then I agree with Sam that calling it a “free will” is wrong.Apr 30, 2012
- I'd like to know how this discussion differs from "parametric determinism". Also, how does this perspective relate to post-modernism. Why is it important that "we" as a nation re-define "free will" at all? Doesn't this lead to a discussion of the role of language as power?
SH is heretically and methodically trying to define effective secular systems to understand and improve the human experience. He seeks to drive widespread re-evaluation of the roots, purpose and efficacy of our shared cultural values. Ones that do not rely on the logically incompatible concept of adherence to a limited amount of data proscribed many generations ago.
On some level I wonder if he isn't trying to provide an "apples to apples" argument that hopefully the religious will see isn't that far from theirs. It "accepts the things we cannot change and seeks to change those we can" (to quote a well known cultural meme of Christian origin). He just leaves out all the unnecessary old theories about where knowledge comes from. We know. It comes from observation and thought. Commodities no one can monopolize (usually?). Moreover, this philosophy is focused by process of elimination, on the role of introspection, the value of a strong and positive community, the need to beware of worshipping false idols (bias blindess), and the importance of data.
His books are fundamental arguments about values and power and the language we use to create and maintain them. I hope, as I think he does, that this sparks a broader, much needed national conversation about meaning and values in all spheres.Jun 15, 2012
- Dr. Harris,
There is a simple way of seeing things which is different from your incompatibilist view, and that is also different from a naive compatibilist view:
Simply put - free-will, although unreal at the level below neurons, is real at the level of consciousness, and is thus real FOR US.
First, it is wrong to talk about reality of free-will without taking into account of the doer's consciousness - to talk about whether free-will is real or not in void is utterly meaningless.
Then, consider this: a piece of rock is, ultimately speaking, unreal. What's real are the atoms that make up the stone. But this does not forbid US from holding it, touching it, and throwing it.
If we can directly manipulate, interact with, control the piece of rock, I say the rock is real FOR US.
In the case of free-will, we do feel we have the freedom to make choices, just like we feel we can manipulate the stone (unless in cases where we have lost such feel: schizophrenic, tumor in the head etc.), this then implies free-will is real FOR US.
A consequence of this is that the responsibility is real FOR US too.
Another way of seeing this is that since consciousness and free-will both emerge from the neuronal level, they are at the same level. Entities at the same levels of emergence be relatively real to each other.
I call this view Relative Entity Realism:
If A and B are at the same level of emergence, and if A can manipulate/control B, B is real relative to A.
In short, reality shouldn't be a straightforward yes or no affair. It is a relative concept, and you have to specify relative to what point of view (or level) when you are talking about its reality.Jul 30, 2012