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?
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."