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Author Topic:   Free will but how free really?
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 1322 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 58 of 182 (512130)
06-14-2009 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by AshsZ
06-14-2009 12:11 PM


AshsZ writes:

It appears to me that there is a really simple test to see if we have real free choice or whether our behaviour is dictated by conditioning and genetics. Find any experiment and do it over and over again - I assure you the same results will always occur.

Actually, that is where your assurance would be wrong. If you want to view the behavior of a complex, conscious organism as being deterministic in some "pre-facto" sense (predictable? predetermined?), you are assuming a breadth and depth of knowledge that is essentially unattainable about the conditioning factors that "determine" that behavior.

In fact, given the interaction among conditioning factors, many of which involve other behaviors by other complex, conscious organisms, the "knowledge" that "determines" a given specific behavioral action cannot be fully known until the time of that action, because a lot of the relevant knowledge (perhaps we should call it "data") doesn't actually exist until the event in question actually occurs.

I feel fairly confident in making this assertion, because the conditioning factors for one organism's behavior include the behaviors of other organisms, whose behaviors in turn are affected by that of the primary organism being observed. Maybe this is just some form of "argument from incredulity" or something, but just from the perspective of compliance with Occam's razor, it makes more sense to talk about organisms having the capacity to develop a sense of intentions, and for their behaviors to reflect this capacity.

BTW, let's not be naive about the replicability of experiments involving behavior. There are known variances in results when observing all sorts of human behaviors, and the factors that induce variability are, at best, treatable by waving them into vague categories of "fatique/alertness", "attention/distraction", "emotional state", and so on. Many researchers quite sensibly retain a factor of "randomness" ({ABE:} and this randomness itself may potentially include a component of "intention" -- i.e. one person's intention is not fully knowable by others, and in any case is liable to change in unpredictable ways).

Edited by Otto Tellick, : added closing comment as noted.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by AshsZ, posted 06-14-2009 12:11 PM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by AshsZ, posted 06-14-2009 2:45 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

  
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