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Free will but unconscious?

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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10 March 2018 21:26
 

…our weekly game of darts. Is there Free Will on Sundays?

If our experience were ‘integrated’, the result would be a consciousness of the integration.

If there is no consciousness, why would there be a need for integration in any location?

If there is no integration, then there is no experience occuring in a time-frame of zero. I win.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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11 March 2018 05:19
 
Tulip - 07 March 2018 01:06 PM

There are parts of the brain that seem to operate independent of our conscious mind. The amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain,  seems to be an absolute dictator making us do things that our conscious, rational minds abhor, like overeating when we know we shouldn’t. It causes us to be emotional when we would rather not. The idea seems like a contradiction of terms, but if there is something like free will, can it be operating at this subconscious/unconscious level of our being? The personal ego, which is that part of us that things we are an autonomous person, may perhaps be housed in the amygdala and not the upper cortices or the front lobes. Maybe the place where the whole self gets truly integrated is there in the amygdala.

Keep in mind a subtle distinction, Tulip. The term “free will” arrives with some baggage. That is, its past is largely religious/spiritual. Many God-fearing people throughout history have made use of the term when it comes to moralistic stances. Free will, in this sense, arrives at dramatic scenes depicting good v. evil, right v. wrong—really serious stuff!

Today’s ordinary use of the term “free will” is anything but religious or spiritual. To my ear, it seems to be evolving into a label for that which is the opposite of “involuntary.”

So we have two quite distinct uses, or definitions, but these distinctions aren’t necessarily found in dictionaries yet, as it takes a while for such issues to sort.

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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11 March 2018 09:13
 
nonverbal - 11 March 2018 05:19 AM
Tulip - 07 March 2018 01:06 PM

There are parts of the brain that seem to operate independent of our conscious mind. The amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain,  seems to be an absolute dictator making us do things that our conscious, rational minds abhor, like overeating when we know we shouldn’t. It causes us to be emotional when we would rather not. The idea seems like a contradiction of terms, but if there is something like free will, can it be operating at this subconscious/unconscious level of our being? The personal ego, which is that part of us that things we are an autonomous person, may perhaps be housed in the amygdala and not the upper cortices or the front lobes. Maybe the place where the whole self gets truly integrated is there in the amygdala.

Keep in mind a subtle distinction, Tulip. The term “free will” arrives with some baggage. That is, its past is largely religious/spiritual. Many God-fearing people throughout history have made use of the term when it comes to moralistic stances. Free will, in this sense, arrives at dramatic scenes depicting good v. evil, right v. wrong—really serious stuff!

Today’s ordinary use of the term “free will” is anything but religious or spiritual. To my ear, it seems to be evolving into a label for that which is the opposite of “involuntary.”

So we have two quite distinct uses, or definitions, but these distinctions aren’t necessarily found in dictionaries yet, as it takes a while for such issues to sort.

I’m glad your back.

Jeff

 
eucaryote
 
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eucaryote
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11 March 2018 21:14
 
Nhoj Morley - 10 March 2018 09:26 PM

…our weekly game of darts. Is there Free Will on Sundays?

If our experience were ‘integrated’, the result would be a consciousness of the integration.

If there is no consciousness, why would there be a need for integration in any location?

If there is no integration, then there is no experience occuring in a time-frame of zero. I win.

I appreciate the prose Nhoj but it’s rather opaque to me. I’m a kind of honky that way. It would help if you quoted me back in context as it would help me identify the remark to which you refer.
I think that “consciousness” is not what many, like Harris, think of it, (or at least reports of it), not that it didn’t exist. However, the kind of top down, authoritative “conscious control” over behavior that Harris insists on believing must be a pre-requisite for will does not exist. No such thing.
About the “time frame of zero”. My own view is that any “consciousness”, (or perceptual monitoring of the outside world by the brain), must necessarily occur at some time past the actual events and cannot possibly exist in a 1:1 relationship to the present instantaneous moment. “Consciousness”, (awake or asleep), must filter and select information to concentrate on based on practical priorities - or what the brain perceives as practical priorities. Poor brain is just trying to serve up a credible response to the environment, don’t you think.

[ Edited: 11 March 2018 21:25 by eucaryote]
 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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12 March 2018 19:34
 
eucaryote - 11 March 2018 09:14 PM

I appreciate the prose Nhoj but it’s rather opaque to me. I’m a kind of honky that way. It would help if you quoted me back in context as it would help me identify the remark to which you refer.

Hardly prosy. I’m riffing on Patron Tulip’s oft-quote-boxed post like everyone else, which refers to ‘integration’ of the self. Many comments imply this must be an inevitability in order to have consciousness.

I think that “consciousness” is not what many, like Harris, think of it, (or at least reports of it), not that it didn’t exist. However, the kind of top down, authoritative “conscious control” over behavior that Harris insists on believing must be a pre-requisite for will does not exist. No such thing.

I think we agree. Top-down is the wrong model. Even the phrase ‘authoritative conscious control’ should be a total giveaway. We should distinguish between control that must be authored and that which is not. By authored, I mean composed and not just ‘from a source’.

About the “time frame of zero”. My own view is that any “consciousness”, (or perceptual monitoring of the outside world by the brain), must necessarily occur at some time past the actual events and cannot possibly exist in a 1:1 relationship to the present instantaneous moment.

That is half of the point. Perception must involve latency. Do you see consciousness as a slightly later instantaneous moment that is some sort of integration of experiential components? As if it is the end-point of a process?

“Consciousness”, (awake or asleep), must filter and select information to concentrate on based on practical priorities - or what the brain perceives as practical priorities. Poor brain is just trying to serve up a credible response to the environment, don’t you think.

Any experience we could call an internal consciousness must be a result of filtering and selection. The ‘product’ should be considered a follow-up perception that can further filter and select what it sees and hears in an act of ‘conscious’ authoring.

 
 
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