Dividers to the right, please.

Wow.  that's deep

"The illusion of free will helps make us happy. Otherwise, consciousness would feel like a prison."


http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/03/asses_and_free_.html
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
April 3rd, 2007 2:59pm
I don't get it.
Permalink Michael B 
April 3rd, 2007 3:23pm
OK, now I get it.

Being able to hijack someone's decision making ability and showing that someone is not always making a decision consciously is not the same as proving all decisions are made this way.
Permalink Michael B 
April 3rd, 2007 3:30pm
no free will makes us angry.

not having the illusion of free will makes us sad.
Permalink Alanis Morissette 
April 3rd, 2007 3:38pm
Scott has seriously lost it.
Permalink bob's your uncle 
April 3rd, 2007 3:48pm
He draws comics for a living.  He makes a good living.  Now he's doing a 'blog', trying to be funny, and succeeding more often than not.

In what way has he "lost it"?
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 3rd, 2007 3:55pm
original article:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/81bc32e4-d5e3-11db-99b7-000b5df10621.html

no, the illusion of free will IS free will.
Permalink Send private email Kenny 
April 3rd, 2007 4:20pm
Oh all his pseudo-scientific ramblings of stuff he does not know anything about.
Permalink bob's your uncle 
April 3rd, 2007 4:26pm
> The illusion of free will helps make us happy. Otherwise, consciousness would feel like a prison.

It sounds deep because he's cheating. He doesn't say what the 'otherwise' refers to. There are are really two statements in the first sentence:

(a) free will is an illusion.

(b) this illusion makes people happy.

What is the counterfactual in the 'otherwise'? Is it ... if free will was not an illusion, then consciousness would feel like a prison?

Or is it ... if the illusion of free will did not make us happy, consciousness would feel like a prison?
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 3rd, 2007 4:31pm
If we KNEW "free will" was an illusion, THEN we would not be able to be happy, because we'd feel trapped.  I think that's the "otherwise".

But since we don't know that, we can be happy.  Even though it may be an illusion, in fact.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 3rd, 2007 4:37pm
So Scott Adams is not happy?
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 3rd, 2007 4:48pm
Scott Adams just got married, is an optimist, and has a successful comic strip, which is making him lots of money.

I think he's deliriously happy.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 3rd, 2007 4:51pm
"So Scott Adams is not happy?"

He is not free to be unhappy, dispite his hypothesis :)
Permalink Send private email Rick Zeng/Tseng 
April 3rd, 2007 4:53pm
even if we "knew" our free will was an illusion, we'd still feel it was real.  it's how our brains are wired.  it's part of our learning process.
Permalink Send private email Kenny 
April 3rd, 2007 4:53pm
So he must not think his free will is an illusion. Ie, he must actually believe he has free will.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 3rd, 2007 4:54pm
Yes, Strawberry, I think you've hit the nail upon the head.  His entire argument is for humor purposes -- I think he thinks he has free will, too.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 3rd, 2007 4:55pm
But no, I think he's serious. He's repeated the same argument with various thought experiments before. His humor feels different than this ... this is like his arguments for peace in the Middle East (he's not kidding with those).

This is the whole issue with funny. No one believes you when you play it straight.

I'm not sure he'd get a too high grade on a philosophy paper though.

What Kenny and Rick say is interesting as well. I like Kenny's double knowledge formulation idea to get out of the paradox.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 3rd, 2007 5:01pm
"(a) free will is an illusion.

(b) this illusion makes people happy."

Basically he is saying free will, whether it is an illusion or not, makes people happy.

Otherwiss means:

Free will does not make people happy!

I guess I am deadly wrong...
Permalink Send private email Rick Zeng/Tseng 
April 3rd, 2007 5:03pm
the double knowledge whosit what?
Permalink Send private email Kenny 
April 3rd, 2007 5:41pm
I hoped this would be a dildo thread.
Permalink $-- 
April 3rd, 2007 6:00pm
It's funny how people aren't in crisis because they can't run as fast as a lion. But their brain has limits and a nature, which means they don't have perfect free will and the sky is falling. Not having perfect free will is not the same thing as determinism. You are not determined, yet you aren't free either.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 3rd, 2007 7:00pm
WTF - SOP you are sounding like Rickbot - don't understand anything you are saying...
Permalink bob's your uncle 
April 3rd, 2007 7:18pm
You don't understand me so I am Rickbot? Quite convenient that.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 3rd, 2007 8:00pm
both rick and sop are lovely people.
Permalink prepare your affadavit 
April 3rd, 2007 8:29pm
"His entire argument is for humor purposes -- I think he thinks he has free will, too."

I, too, think Scott thinks he has free will. I think in addition to humor he tries to take it up again and again to see if he can find an intellectually honest argument that says we have free will.
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
April 3rd, 2007 9:42pm
> both rick and sop are lovely people.

actually rick is a gay-basher and sop will say anything to avoid losing an argument.
Permalink  
April 3rd, 2007 9:44pm
>  sop will say anything to avoid losing an argument.

That usually means someone had the temerity to disagree with you when you were clearly right.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 3rd, 2007 10:05pm
She at least practices what she preaches:

"I now have no feeling of acting with free will, although the feeling took many years to ebb away. ... So perhaps giving up free will is not as dangerous as it sounds..."

-- SUSAN BLACKMORE

http://www.edge.org/q2005/q05_8.html#blackmore
Permalink ipmal 
April 4th, 2007 3:52am
He throws a couple of these things in at the end of The Dilbert Future.

One is about time travel and the other is his "hunch" that the theory of evolution will be disproven pretty soon.

Also, his brain decided to stop being able to talk one day, so there's some evidence his wiring is a little off.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
April 4th, 2007 10:59am
Very good point.  And there's nothing like your body betraying you to start to crumble that illusion of "free will" the perfectly healthy think they have.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 4th, 2007 1:59pm
Come to think of it, if giving up free will is as liberating as Susan Blackmore says (I take her word for it, even if I don't know what exactly she means when she says she has done so), and the evidence of all the people queueing up to relinquish theirs to a church, cult, ideology or tribe seem to support her, I wonder why evolution would come up with such an expensive illusion. Overall, I think I agree with sop on this one.
Permalink ipmal 
April 5th, 2007 8:22am

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