Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby The Dharma Bum » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:47 am

Video from : old youtube.com


An interesting lecture on the delusion of free will by neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris.

Is the individual's inner awareness the source of behavior, or is it merely a witness to the unconscious action of a bodily organ, the brain? Sam Harris explores intention and human behavior and it seems we are not truly the authors of our personal choices.
Last edited by The Dharma Bum on Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Dylan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:27 am

Free will is definitely a myth. You're the product of genetics and environment. Full stop.

When you realize that it really becomes easy to not get mad at others. It's not their fault.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Philly » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:30 am

Ah yes. We can make choices but we can't choose our choices.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Dylan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:35 am

Exactly
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Stratego » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:26 am

It could be just a case of mistaken identity of where the source of decision starts.

Before we knew the intricacies of the brain, people thought that the heart was the decision maker. And when we measure the physiological effects, we do see that activities in the heart correspond to certain actions and emotions. But when we look further, we see that there are activities in the brain that occur before the activities in the heart.

So for a long time, we thought that the brain is the decision maker. Maybe this simply suggests that free will starts somewhere else.
Sigmund Freud defined four parts of a psyche; the id, the ego, the superego and the stratego. The Stratego being the highest form of morality and scientific thinking.

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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Philly » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:32 am

Like the universe has a collective free will?
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby The Dharma Bum » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:41 am

Stratego wrote:It could be just a case of mistaken identity of where the source of decision starts.

Before we knew the intricacies of the brain, people thought that the heart was the decision maker. And when we measure the physiological effects, we do see that activities in the heart correspond to certain actions and emotions. But when we look further, we see that there are activities in the brain that occur before the activities in the heart.

So for a long time, we thought that the brain is the decision maker. Maybe this simply suggests that free will starts somewhere else.


One of the one of the more interesting issues he points out is the psychological overlay
that allows us to experience the sensation of your finger touching your nose and your nose touching your finger simultaneously. The point is that the data input that goes into creating the perceptual sensation of logical continuity in so simple an action is so vast that if you could examine it in a conscious manner in order to make a decision while being cognizant of all of the facts and possible outcomes it would take years to make the simplest decision. But instead it is all done by an unconscious process that is very rapid and your mind creates the necessary perceptual adjustments to maintain the sense of agency we experience as "free will".

Not to mention most of that data is introduced involuntarily by one's past experiences and the past experiences of all around you. We just don't have much conscious control over our actions because we have no control over the experiences we relate them to in our mind.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Stratego » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:47 am

Philly2 wrote:Like the universe has a collective free will?


No, as in the organ(s) that author your free will has not been identified yet.
Last edited by Stratego on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Philly » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:48 am

The Dharma Bum wrote:
Stratego wrote:It could be just a case of mistaken identity of where the source of decision starts.

Before we knew the intricacies of the brain, people thought that the heart was the decision maker. And when we measure the physiological effects, we do see that activities in the heart correspond to certain actions and emotions. But when we look further, we see that there are activities in the brain that occur before the activities in the heart.

So for a long time, we thought that the brain is the decision maker. Maybe this simply suggests that free will starts somewhere else.


One of the one of the more interesting issues he points out is the psychological overlay
that allows us to experience the sensation of your finger touching your nose and your nose touching your finger simultaneously. The point is that the data input that goes into creating the perceptual sensation of logical continuity in so simple an action is so vast that if you could examine it in a conscious manner in order to make a decision while being cognizant of all of the facts and possible outcomes it would take years to make the simplest decision. But instead it is all done by an unconscious process that is very rapid and your mind creates the necessary perceptual adjustments to maintain the sense of agency we experience as "free will".

Not to mention most of that data is introduced involuntarily by one's past experiences and the past experiences of all around you. We just don't have much conscious control over our actions because we have no control over the experiences we relate them to in our mind.


I agree. Our minds are basically computers that process input data and trigger output, and it's a sophisticated and elaborate enough program that it gives us the sense of being able to freely decide what the output will be, but in reality, the output is not subject to any free will.
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Re: Sam Harris: The Delusion of Free Will

Postby Professor » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:22 am

So, we in the US are not responsible for our choice in becoming the huge evil that is plaguing the world (as mentioned in the "Insouciance" thread)? Good to know.
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