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Free will

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Thinking critical
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Re: Free will

Post by Thinking critical » September 25th, 2018, 5:48 am

chewybrian wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 3:02 pm

There are no ethics possible without free will. If I could not have done otherwise, there are no 'good' or 'bad' choices, or even choices at all. If I am able to choose, I can take either action. If only one action is possible, choice is gone, and morality necessarily goes with it.

Consider further the reverse of the determinism equation. If I take an action, any action, it must have been the one and only choice I was able to make. So, I can do whatever the "F" I want, and say the universe made me do it. No blame, no accountability...it's all there in the video link. If you really believe in determinism, then this follows naturally and undeniably. Where do you think that leads? How can you possibly think this has no effect on ethical choices? The deterministic universe would have eliminated all chance of ethical or moral action by definition.
Firstly, I've never heard of people blaming the Universe for their actions, however there are many cases where people get let off crimes because psychologists have successfully convinced the justice system that the individual is a victim of circumstance and ought not be held accountable for their actions.
It's all very well for a reasonable person raised in a middle class family, wealthy country with a educated upbringing in a caring environment to assess their own approach to ethnical values - chances are your ethics will align with other like minded people. However, put yourself in a totally different environment - single mum with addiction problems, violent home, no motivation to succeed in life and then see how those experiences affect the minds ability to make the same ethical choices?
At the end of the day the choices we make can be reduced to internal conflicts between the desire to do this VS the desire to do that. One will always win, something will always determine an outcome - most likely the one which minimizes undesirable consequences.

So no a reasonable person would not blame determinism for their unethical choices, they justify their choice by explaining why they did what they did.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » September 25th, 2018, 7:10 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:39 pm
Fallacy of adverse consequences.
Just because you don't like it, does not mean it is not true.
I did not claim it was not true because I don't like it. It's not true because of the obvious reason that I have and exercise a free will every waking moment. My point was that the equation must work both ways. If every action is the unavoidable result of prior causes, then it is impossible for me to do anything but what the causes force me to do. So, there is no point in my consideration of the consequences of my actions, no reason or capacity for me to try to be a good person. Whatever action I 'choose' will turn out to have been the only one possible. So, I can literally do whatever appeals to me without guilt. By the terms you are laying out, anything goes. If you don't like that outcome, then you are the one who is engaging in that fallacy.
ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:39 pm
Accepting compatibilist determinism does not mean you do not have to face consequences. The point about consequences is that they help sway the determined conditions that effect change in your behaviour. It's called deterrence. You might have heard of it.
I made this very point, but with eyes wide open, realizing that it would inevitably lead to a terrifying police state if you want compliance from people without a conscience. If deterrence is the only rudder we have, God help us!

Further, deterrence is very weak sauce for guiding behavior. Just check the rates of recidivism for criminals. The fact is that people are guided much more by their own conscience than by the threat of punishment. Do you notice how many people speed on the highway? I would say about 80% are going over the limit, and the median travelling speed is about 10 mph over in good conditions. But, the social contract forbids speeding, and there is a penalty if you are caught. Now, consider the line at the store. Virtually nobody cuts in line, even though there is no legal penalty for doing so. In other words, people are guided strongly by their own internal moral code. They will often break the law if they think it is alright to do so, even when there are penalties. And, they will usually do the right thing when there is no law or potential penalty, or reward.

Lots of people are not murderers because they believe murder is wrong, and they choose not to become a murderer. They would not kill (other than self-defense) even if they perceived that they could get away with it, even if they could be paid a huge sum of money for killing. Be thankful that you live in a world mostly populated by such people, who believe in free will and want to do the right thing. The alternative is frightening, and what else are you doing but moving us toward it by preaching this nonsense that we can not choose? You're pushing sociopathy.

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » September 25th, 2018, 7:15 am

Thinking critical wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 5:48 am
Firstly, I've never heard of people blaming the Universe for their actions, however there are many cases where people get let off crimes because psychologists have successfully convinced the justice system that the individual is a victim of circumstance and ought not be held accountable for their actions...So no a reasonable person would not blame determinism for their unethical choices, they justify their choice by explaining why they did what they did.
Again, you are making points contrary to those in the video which you say explains your understanding of the issue. He says we need to reconsider our entire system and that perhaps nobody should be punished for the reason that they only commit crimes because their brain is wired to make them do so.

I agree with your point that it's harder for some people than others, but I think everyone knows what the right thing is, and everyone is capable of making the virtuous choice. Lots of single moms and others who face hurdles still manage to stay on the right course.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 25th, 2018, 11:23 am

chewybrian wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 7:10 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:39 pm
Fallacy of adverse consequences.
Just because you don't like it, does not mean it is not true.
I did not claim it was not true because I don't like it. It's not true because of the obvious reason that I have and exercise a free will every waking moment. My point was that the equation must work both ways. If every action is the unavoidable result of prior causes, then it is impossible for me to do anything but what the causes force me to do.
Either you think things are caused, or they spring into existence without cause. If you want to pick and chose those that are uncaused, then you need an argument. The only argument you seemed to put forward is the absurd idea that we can do things and blame it on the universe avoiding personal responsibility. This is a strawman which no serious determinist is saying, nor ever will.
It was an emotional outburst which does not serve you odd claim that you are a free will machine as if you yourself were not a part of the universe, but a natural force of your own making immune to causality. I think not.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 25th, 2018, 11:25 am

chewybrian wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 7:15 am
I agree with your point that it's harder for some people than others, but I think everyone knows what the right thing is, and everyone is capable of making the virtuous choice. Lots of single moms and others who face hurdles still manage to stay on the right course.
Silly yankie ideology. I bet you think homelessness is a 'life-style' choice.

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » September 27th, 2018, 1:48 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 11:23 am
Either you think things are caused, or they spring into existence without cause. If you want to pick and chose those that are uncaused, then you need an argument. The only argument you seemed to put forward is the absurd idea that we can do things and blame it on the universe avoiding personal responsibility. This is a strawman which no serious determinist is saying, nor ever will.
It was an emotional outburst which does not serve you odd claim that you are a free will machine as if you yourself were not a part of the universe, but a natural force of your own making immune to causality. I think not.
I did not put forth any such argument because I was not responding to you or to your abstract "serious determinist", but rather to Thinking Critical, and by extension, the concrete determinist in the video which he linked. That guy says just what I attributed to him. He says that the universe will determine every action you take, further adding that we should consider altering our justice system, since there is no such thing as guilt or innocence, but only healthy or broken brains. He says that when you think you make a choice, there was really one and only one option which was already determined by prior events, which accumulate to cause your actions in the present. He says that if he had a big enough computer to do the math, and he knew the location of every atom in your body, then he could predict your actions with 100% certainty. This seems to me to represent the determinist position. If it does not, please tell us in what way(s) it does not, and what the actual position of the "serious determinist" would be.

My body are property are not immune to causality, but my will is. Yet, when I attempt to exert my will, causality may have the ultimate say through external objects or other people. There are forces outside my will which have great impacts on my ability to do what I wish, including but not limited to: hereditary traits, health, wealth, reputation, thunderstorms, flat tires, mistakes by jockeys in horse races... Within those limits, I am free to try to determine my own future, including what type of person I would like to become. I am dealt a hand, yet I can play it, even as outside forces may continue to play against me. I may not always win, yet I can always play. You may disagree with my assessment, but you must agree that this opinion of reality is very widely held. It is also consistent with real world experience, even if it may run contrary to unproven theory (note that the determinist in the video admits his assertions are unproven, though he smugly insists they will inevitably be proven true).

All physical things seem to be subject to the laws of physics, but guess what? I don't believe my will is physical! The stoics said that your ability to reason was a bit of the divine dwelling within you. I am uncertain about the divine part, yet this is as good a description as any. You can't name one attribute of my will, like: mass, volume, speed, location... which would define it as something physical. Just because other things are physical does not necessitate that my will or consciousness must be. The fact that it shares no known attribute with any other physical thing tells me that it is at minimum a very special case, and very likely not physical at all. I don't want to 'have it both ways' any more than any of the rest of the billions who think their will is a special case, divine or not.

I was only trying to point out one of the serious problems I find with the assertions in the video (with which I disagree!) as follows...

If in fact my actions are predetermined by past events (his position, not mine!), then morality and ethics are out the window by definition. I am going to do what the past dictates. I appear to have reason, yet whether I do what appears reasonable to me, or purposely do what seems least reasonable, either of these will turn out to be the one and only thing which I could have done. You must see the weirdness in this position, yet it is the unavoidable conclusion to accepting his assertions. I can't quite label it a contradiction, yet it sure doesn't make any sense. I'm rather certain your life doesn't play out this way for you, yet you must be asserting this, perhaps indirectly, if you are a deteminist, no?

Under his terms, if I want to have tequila and cheesecake for breakfast every day for the rest of my life, then I can do so without any guilt or regret, knowing that, if I choose to do so, then my very choice shows that this was the only course of action available to me. The certainty must run both ways. If I can only choose what the deterministic forces dictate, then my making a choice proves that they dictated it. I am unable to be 'good' or 'bad' if there was only one option open to me in every case (his position, not mine!).

So, now I am putting the questions to you directly:

Is the position put forth in the video an accurate description of the determinist position, in that when a person chooses, there is only one option available to them, which was predetermined by prior causes; in other words, all choice is an illusion?

If that is the case, then isn't any idea of morality or ethics washed away along with the person's ability to choose? Why should anyone consider the implications of their actions at all, if ultimately they are destined to choose exactly only as determined by prior events? Why worry about anything if nothing can be avoided?

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LuckyR
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Re: Free will

Post by LuckyR » September 27th, 2018, 4:01 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 11:23 am
chewybrian wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 7:10 am


I did not claim it was not true because I don't like it. It's not true because of the obvious reason that I have and exercise a free will every waking moment. My point was that the equation must work both ways. If every action is the unavoidable result of prior causes, then it is impossible for me to do anything but what the causes force me to do.
Either you think things are caused, or they spring into existence without cause. If you want to pick and chose those that are uncaused, then you need an argument. The only argument you seemed to put forward is the absurd idea that we can do things and blame it on the universe avoiding personal responsibility. This is a strawman which no serious determinist is saying, nor ever will.
It was an emotional outburst which does not serve you odd claim that you are a free will machine as if you yourself were not a part of the universe, but a natural force of your own making immune to causality. I think not.
Not so much. There is a third path: namely that things (meaning neurologic decision making, not the behavior of billiard balls) can have a cause, but the cause is not predetermined.
"As usual... it depends."

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 27th, 2018, 5:40 pm

chewybrian wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 1:48 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 11:23 am
Either you think things are caused, or they spring into existence without cause. If you want to pick and chose those that are uncaused, then you need an argument. The only argument you seemed to put forward is the absurd idea that we can do things and blame it on the universe avoiding personal responsibility. This is a strawman which no serious determinist is saying, nor ever will.
It was an emotional outburst which does not serve you odd claim that you are a free will machine as if you yourself were not a part of the universe, but a natural force of your own making immune to causality. I think not.
I did not put forth any such argument because I was not responding to you or to your abstract "serious determinist", but rather to Thinking Critical, and by extension, the concrete determinist in the video which he linked. That guy says just what I attributed to him. He says that the universe will determine every action you take, further adding that we should consider altering our justice system, since there is no such thing as guilt or innocence, but only healthy or broken brains. He says that when you think you make a choice, there was really one and only one option which was already determined by prior events, which accumulate to cause your actions in the present. He says that if he had a big enough computer to do the math, and he knew the location of every atom in your body, then he could predict your actions with 100% certainty. This seems to me to represent the determinist position. If it does not, please tell us in what way(s) it does not, and what the actual position of the "serious determinist" would be.

My body are property are not immune to causality, but my will is.
Special case pleading with no justification.
You have no control, nor have you any idea what ultimately motivates your will. My guess is that it is caused like every thing else in the universe.
As Schopenhauer says; "You can do as you will; but you cannot will as you will". You are stuck up a creek without a paddle, since you insist that everything is causal, but refuse to admit that your will is too. I'm afraid that, like turtles, its causality all the way down.

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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » September 28th, 2018, 8:37 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 5:40 pm
Special case pleading with no justification.
You have no control, nor have you any idea what ultimately motivates your will. My guess is that it is caused like every thing else in the universe.
As Schopenhauer says; "You can do as you will; but you cannot will as you will". You are stuck up a creek without a paddle, since you insist that everything is causal, but refuse to admit that your will is too. I'm afraid that, like turtles, its causality all the way down.
I don't insist on anything. I am only giving my opinion on a very difficult topic. I can't do anything that you can't claim to have been caused, no matter how weird, original, or illogical my actions may seem. And, you'll only prove to my satisfaction that all my actions are caused when you can accurately predict all of them, just as you could accurately predict the motions of the planets or the movements of billiard balls.

Given the muddy waters, it makes no sense for either of us to claim victory. You can have the satisfaction of chaining yourself to a 'law' of physics (even as you are unable to provide one spec of proof that my will or consciousness are physical). And, I can have the satisfaction of seeing that my life experience matches my assessment at every turn, and that most humans who ever walked on the planet have had the same assessment. It's unlikely that the issue will be resolved in our lifetimes.

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » September 28th, 2018, 10:56 am

LuckyR wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 4:01 pm
Not so much. There is a third path: namely that things (meaning neurologic decision making, not the behavior of billiard balls) can have a cause, but the cause is not predetermined.
Do you mean a religious explanation, or something else.? If something else, what exactly? Is the non-predetermined cause coming from outside the agent, or inside? Is there a free agent at all in this scenario?

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Free will

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 28th, 2018, 1:00 pm

chewybrian wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 8:37 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 5:40 pm
Special case pleading with no justification.
You have no control, nor have you any idea what ultimately motivates your will. My guess is that it is caused like every thing else in the universe.
As Schopenhauer says; "You can do as you will; but you cannot will as you will". You are stuck up a creek without a paddle, since you insist that everything is causal, but refuse to admit that your will is too. I'm afraid that, like turtles, its causality all the way down.
I don't insist on anything. I am only giving my opinion on a very difficult topic. I can't do anything that you can't claim to have been caused, no matter how weird, original, or illogical my actions may seem. And, you'll only prove to my satisfaction that all my actions are caused when you can accurately predict all of them, just as you could accurately predict the motions of the planets or the movements of billiard balls.

Given the muddy waters, it makes no sense for either of us to claim victory. You can have the satisfaction of chaining yourself to a 'law' of physics (even as you are unable to provide one spec of proof that my will or consciousness are physical). And, I can have the satisfaction of seeing that my life experience matches my assessment at every turn, and that most humans who ever walked on the planet have had the same assessment. It's unlikely that the issue will be resolved in our lifetimes.
Induction denier?

There is not a single scientific discovery or law that can be proven with your test. And there never will be.

Induction relies on the constant conjunction of effects from their causes. Maybe you think that one day a billiard ball striking another shall turn into a bowl of petunias? You are welcome to that belief.
I think it more reasonable to take the basic laws of necessity into account when I think about the universe, rather than believe in magic.

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cavacava
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Re: Free will

Post by cavacava » October 15th, 2018, 8:51 am

Curiouspaul wrote:
August 26th, 2016, 10:43 pm
Isn't it about time as a society that we come up with a definite definition for free will and decide whether it is real or not.


I've skimmed through some of the posts, but not all, so if this has already been covered, then ignore.

I don't think 'Free Will' is simply given, but I do think the concept has objective reality, it as real as a $50.00 bill. I see it as a social construction, one that seems to work very well in most societies. Leaning on John Searle:
[There is a continuous line that goes from molecules and mountains to
screwdrivers, levers, and beautiful sunsets, and then to legislatures, money,
and nation-states. The central span on the bridge from physics to society
is collective intentionality, and the decisive movement on that bridge in
the creation of social reality is the collective intentional imposition of function
on entities that cannot perform these functions without that imposition.
(Searle 1995)
I like the idea of collective intentionality. We are taught early on to be responsible for our actions, legal systems are based on responsibility, and we are not held responsible for actions performed under coercion.

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Mark1955
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Re: Free will

Post by Mark1955 » October 21st, 2018, 4:57 am

chewybrian wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 3:02 pm
There are no ethics possible without free will. If I could not have done otherwise, there are no 'good' or 'bad' choices, or even choices at all. If I am able to choose, I can take either action. If only one action is possible, choice is gone, and morality necessarily goes with it.
And that's where philosophy either buts out or becomes the subject of ridicule. Society cannot exist without a set of values and punishment for breaching them.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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chewybrian
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Re: Free will

Post by chewybrian » October 21st, 2018, 11:06 am

Mark1955 wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 4:57 am
chewybrian wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 3:02 pm
There are no ethics possible without free will. If I could not have done otherwise, there are no 'good' or 'bad' choices, or even choices at all. If I am able to choose, I can take either action. If only one action is possible, choice is gone, and morality necessarily goes with it.
And that's where philosophy either buts out or becomes the subject of ridicule. Society cannot exist without a set of values and punishment for breaching them.
I might add... "...that's where modern philosophy either...".

Consider the virtues of the stoics: courage, wisdom, temperance and justice. These ideals can not be pursued without the ability to choose freely. Much of their philosophy was about using will to control desires and aversions and overcome the undue influence of outside forces. It was simply a given that we could choose freely, and this ability was seen as the greatest possession, really the only thing of value a man had. I heartily agree.

Modern philosophy has really become an extension of physics, when in the past the reverse was true.

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Mark1955
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Re: Free will

Post by Mark1955 » October 25th, 2018, 11:36 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 11:06 am
Mark1955 wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 4:57 am

And that's where philosophy either buts out or becomes the subject of ridicule. Society cannot exist without a set of values and punishment for breaching them.
I might add... "...that's where modern philosophy either...".

Consider the virtues of the stoics: courage, wisdom, temperance and justice. These ideals can not be pursued without the ability to choose freely. Much of their philosophy was about using will to control desires and aversions and overcome the undue influence of outside forces. It was simply a given that we could choose freely, and this ability was seen as the greatest possession, really the only thing of value a man had. I heartily agree.

Modern philosophy has really become an extension of physics, when in the past the reverse was true.
Fair point.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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