Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:38 pm

Exactly: Maybe this, maybe that. Assuming that we do have some measure of free will allowing us to come to our very own autonomous conclusions.


right, andy hit it. but we need not assume 'that we do have some measure of free will allowing us to come to our very own autonomous conclusions' in order for what he said to make sense. in the event that someone believes they have some measure of freewill, it merely means it is determined that they believe this. for such people an element of logic is missing in their reasoning; this is the explanation... that they lack the intelligence to understand it, or, in combination with this lack, a mixture of 'defense mechanisms' such as regression, splitting, and wishful thinking, might also be at play to produce what is experienced in the person who rejects determinism as the reasonable conclusion that freewill exists.

in general i've found that moralists tend to endorse freewill - not because of sensible or compelling arguments - but because it is a more comfortable belief. this could be the result of 'reaction formation'; the thought that freewill doesn't exist produces incredible anxiety, and this is to be avoided at all costs.

as a nihilist, what is strange to me as much as it is amusing, is that people need to believe what they want and do is 'right' in order to justify for themselves, doing it, as well as justify passing judgement on others. what i can't figure out is why that notion - that moral notion of 'conduct' and 'virtue' that is defined by [insert favorite philosophy]- is necessary to rationalize what people want to do, and to what degree they approve of what others do.

there is nothing epistemologically solid about any meta-ethical theory that we've ever seen. at best there's only a rough, intersubjective conventional agreement on what constitutes 'right' and 'wrong' conduct. some people never seem to transcend this annoying tedium and despite what they believe about themselves, remain more of what N classed as 'herdlike'. which is to say - in the way you might put it - the sum total of ethical beliefs is nothing more than the result of an existential trajectory that represents a conglomerate of what one has learned and experienced. qualitatively the same, each person's version, each person's morality, has in common that one essential feature that is identical in every case. not what is virtuous (these concepts can be in conflict), but that there is virtue in the first place.

here, stirner's egoism is the spade that cuts even N's master-morality. master-morality being still another herd-like concept... what stirner would call a 'spook'.

...

i, personally, don't believe there is any work to be done in ethics any longer. instead what is happening in the world is a series of re-translations of various ethical theories to adapt to a materialistically evolving civilization which is moving toward a more utilitarian scheme. by that i mean, a redistribution of property and wealth. formerly... i should say during the last three hundred years... the 'status-quo' had made of ethical theory an adaptation that was fitting for the advantages of the ruling/upper classes... and this interpretation was passively accepted by most of the intelligent world. today a grand re-evaluation is occurring involving the basic premises of classical ethical theories. in other words, the same philosophical/ideological foundations that supported the rise of the bourgeois is now being used to rationalize their abolition. a case of history arriving late, so to speak.

during this phasing-out, there will be a tremendous ruckus made by those who's 'existential trajectory' has been situated under the influence of rightist ideology... and there is any number of reasons why a person might identify as a rightest... be it their own convenient economic advantage (at the expense of the working classes), or... they could even be part of the 'backward' working classes that has justified its unnecessary struggle through a series of uninformed ideas... these being the result of the hegemonic dominance of the ruling class ideology that infects the western mind. and that is one helluva package, btw. platonism, christianity, darwinism, a cocktail of gobbledygook that has been incorporated into the intellectual coup that seized the development of the western world hundreds of years ago.

anywho, what i'm saying is that we had to go through a few thousand years of philosophical hot-air before we could recognize it for what it was - hot-air - and then re-simplify what was never that complicated to begin with. a system conducive to a better distribution of wealth and a more equal distribution of labor requirement. the irony is, that's something a ten year could understand... and yet here we had countless philosophers writing day and night only to produce a bunch of unintelligible nonsense in an effort to avoid this conclusion; this is all there is. this is all mankind can do. it gets no better than this. there are those who work... and there are those who do not. historical materialism is that dynamic that has been working to resolve this conflict... or bust. bust; eternal conflict between the productive and parasite economic classes.

(lol... and to think there could be such a thing as a 'constitution' or 'law' or a 'code of ethics' in a world where these two classes are intrinsically at odds with each other, eternal enemies. who's the dipshit philosopher who thought that was possible?)
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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:00 am

The greatest conflict now is not remotely economic but is cultural and specifically the eternal wars of ideas which are being fought in cyberspace
They have occurred in the last twenty years since the universal availability of the internet for just about anyone with an opinion on anything at all
They are incredibly important as there is zero historical precedent for this degree of mass communication which is another level of reality entirely

This fundamental technological and intellectual upheavel in society is the single greatest phenomena of this century as nothing else is remotely comparable
We take it for granted now but anyone as old as me will remember there was a time when this did not exist as it was nothing more than pure science fiction
It is literally like the entirety of human consciousness has gone digital and anyone can immediately access what anyone else is thinking anytime they want to

The information overload is however too much for a human brain to process though not all of it is even worth processing but it has happened so it can not be reversed
We are also spending more time on machines than ever and this is another problem for it is one that is entirely separate from what we are actually accessing on them
So on multiple levels the internet has revolutionised human society but like all revolutions bad can come from it as much as good and so this needs to be remembered
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:03 pm

promethean75 wrote:
Exactly: Maybe this, maybe that. Assuming that we do have some measure of free will allowing us to come to our very own autonomous conclusions.


right, andy hit it. but we need not assume 'that we do have some measure of free will allowing us to come to our very own autonomous conclusions' in order for what he said to make sense. in the event that someone believes they have some measure of freewill, it merely means it is determined that they believe this. for such people an element of logic is missing in their reasoning; this is the explanation... that they lack the intelligence to understand it, or, in combination with this lack, a mixture of 'defense mechanisms' such as regression, splitting, and wishful thinking, might also be at play to produce what is experienced in the person who rejects determinism as the reasonable conclusion that freewill exists.


I'll be the first to admit he may well be closer to a more reasonable understanding of these relationships than I am. But: Given the assumption I make about determinism, even these very exchanges themselves are only as they ever could have been. Nothing that we think, feel, say and do would seem to be excluded if it is an objective fact that the human brain, in sync with whatever the definitive relationship between mind and body is, functions wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

As a consequence, shifting gears from the either/or world to the is/ought is just another psychological illusion embedded in the brain of mindful matter here on Earth that evolved from mindless matter. They are wholly intertwined in the only possible reality.

It's just that I have absolutely no capacity to demonstrate that this is true; let alone to explain more specifically, how and why it is. I just presume that this is applicable to all of us. The rest then is whatever the hard guys and gals with their fMRIs are able to finally pin down...scientifically?
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:23 pm

One has to understand what it means to say that something could have been different. In everyday parlance, it simply means that a thing could have been different if some other thing was different in some specific way. For example: John could have killed Mary if he had decided to do so. He didn't decide to do so, so didn't kill her. Whether the decision to kill her was caused by some prior event or not is irrelevant.

Normally, the word "freewill" refers to one's ability to obey decisions. We say you have freewill if you can choose to do X and then do X. The greater the number of things that you can choose-and-then-do, the greater your freewill. Such a concept of freewill is perfectly compatible with the concept of determinism.
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:14 pm

It's not just compatible, but it requires the theory of determinism because freewill is a theory of 'agent causation' or 'immanent causation'. Only, in the case of freewill, there's something other than material forces making things happen... namely the 'self'... which then must be that immaterial thing, the agent, making the body move.

Most proponents of freewill miss this point or simply can't grasp it. In the company here, Sil is the only one who I've seen demonstrate a comprehension of this.

So keep in mind that freewill is a version of determinism... the contrary being indeterminism, in which case nothing causes anything, neither material or immaterial.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:02 pm

We're talking about two different notions of free-will. But let's ignore that and focus on what you're saying instead. The concept of "free-will" you speak of can be defined as "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past". If a human being can make decisions independently from what happened in the past (i.e. if his decisions cannot be predicted from prior events), then we can say that he has free-will.

Note that indeterminism is nothing more than "the doctrine that not all events are wholly determined by antecedent causes". Indeterminism really only opposes strict or hard deteriminism which is the idea that any portion of the universe can be predicted with 100% accuracy based on something that happened in the past. This means that indeterminism is perfectly compatible with other forms of determinism such as statistical determinism which is the idea that some or most but not all parts of the universe can be predicted with more than 50% accuracy based on something that happened in the past.

Since hard determinism requires that every part of the universe can be predicted with 100% accuracy based on something that happened in the past, it follows that the abovementioned notion of free-will is incompatible with it, for it requires the opposite of it. On the other hand, since statistical determinism has no such strict requirements, it follows that the concept of free-will we speak of is compatible with it.

The fact that we can say that such decisions are nonetheless caused by the subject has nothing to do with it. That would simply mean that the decision was created inside someone's skull, not that it was caused by some prior event.
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:35 pm

Oh now that was a meaty post. This pleases promethean75.

We're gonna work on this later this evening. I'm standing in line at a Lowes right now.
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:42 am

The concept of "free-will" you speak of can be defined as "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past".


somehow you infered that from something i've said, which is fine, but that doesn't at all characterize what i mean by 'freewill'. i couldn't mean that, in fact, because even if a decision is free from physical, causal constraints, it still doesn't happen 'independently from what happened in the past.' the order and connection of ideas is still there and decisions don't spring spontaneously from nothing.

what i do mean by 'freewill' is stated a few times throughout this thread and elsewhere. it is a metaphysical theory dealing with what kinds of causes exist as what kind of substances; fundamentally it is a critique of the classical cartesian 'second-substance' theory that posits a second, immaterial substance that both acts as a causal property while also transcending (not being effected by) material causes.

Note that indeterminism is nothing more than "the doctrine that not all events are wholly determined by antecedent causes".


following spinoza's line of reasoning i would dispute this claim on the following grounds: there cannot be events that are not attributes of the same substance as all other events. that is to say, there can't be some events that are not effects of antecedent causes while some other events are. this would mean there are two different kinds of events, which would mean there are two different kinds of substances... which would mean there are two kinds of causality.

strict or hard deteriminism which is the idea that any portion of the universe can be predicted with 100% accuracy based on something that happened in the past.


i was thinking about this on the drive home - and that is indeed part of the main premises of hard-determinism - and i had a eureka moment.

if proof for determinism lies in the ability to predict furture events (provided one has omniscient knowledge of every entity of being, its precise location, its precise motion, etc., before a future event occurs), it would be fallible for this reason; the universe could very well be indeterminate, but events could still proceed in perfect correspondence to their predictions by accident, thereby leading the predictor to believe his prediction was accurate and his knowledge of antecedent causes, complete. see what i mean? predictability cannot be a proof of determinism. for all one knows, there may be no causation, and events happened to fall randomly into succession that one happened to guess right.

please edit the wikipedia page and add this remarkable insight of mine to the controversy/criticism section.

no. i believe hume was correct in saying that determinism cannot be proven a posteriori, and predictability lends no strength to the thesis.

The fact that we can say that such decisions are nonetheless caused by the subject has nothing to do with it. That would simply mean that the decision was created inside someone's skull, not that it was caused by some prior event.


this might be what's confusing you. there is no cartesian space in which causation is suspended. no 'inside' the head and 'outside' in the world.

and this argument has everything to do with what we call the 'subject'. what we mean by that word makes every bit of difference in what the thesis of freewill means.

freewill proponents often confuse the fact that the body is a determining force - that it participates in creating effects - with the idea that there is some 'self' in there making the body move. the 'self' is a peculiar neurological loop originating during a time lapse in the nervous system. it is an epiphenomenal product, not a cause.

all this metaphysical talk aside, i'm perfectly cool with talk or freewill in ordinary, non-technical terms. it's just the philosophy of freewill that's nonsense, not the ordinary uses we make of the word.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:46 am

I am only aware of two definitions of the concept of free-will. These are:

1) the ability to make decisions and act upon them
2) the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past

The first is the ordinary (and the relevant) one embraced by ordinary people and compatibilists.

The second is the philosophical one (and also the irrelevant one), the subject of the philosophy of incompatibilism.

Now you're speaking of a third one . . .
Interesting.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:58 am

Zoot wrote:following spinoza's line of reasoning i would dispute this claim on the following grounds: there cannot be events that are not attributes of the same substance as all other events. that is to say, there can't be some events that are not effects of antecedent causes while some other events are. this would mean there are two different kinds of events, which would mean there are two different kinds of substances... which would mean there are two kinds of causality.


Are you saying that indeterminism is a meaningless, logically contradictory, position? If so, I would strongly disagree.

I see nothing contradictory about statements that describe indeterministic laws such as "X causes Y in 80% of the cases".
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:09 pm

when we try to express the sense of causality in logical statements, giving events values like 'A' and 'B', we create a false dilemma which we recognize as a difference between necessary and sufficient cause. this is what gets the indeterminists all excited. because there is never a single cause for a particular event, we can't assign a value to a single antecedent condition; the distinction between necessary and sufficient cause becomes meaningless. if i say 'the presence of B always follows necessarily from event A', what do i mean by 'event A'? how do i enclose an event and say 'these effects are part of this event but not that other event, which i shall call Y'? such formulations only appear to be sensible when assigned logical values... but in reality there are no singular, isolated 'event sets'. that being the case, there is no way to formulate a defense for indeterminism; what is a cause is never a problem because that there is a cause is indisputable. that's what i'm saying. okay how about this; the law of identity doesn't work to characterize the formality of causation. there is no 'just A causes B'. B is the result of an overdetermination, if anything, the effect of innumerable causes which, individually, can't be accounted for, can't be 'assigned', as the reason.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:23 pm

"this atheist believes in free will"
James Kirk Wall from the ChicagoNow web page

Sam Harris seems to argue that when people hurt people, we should feel the same way as if the damage was done by a lower animal or weather event. We shouldn’t hate the people that hurt people and we shouldn’t want vengeance upon them. To me, that ideology is naïve, incoherent, and self-destructive.


This is where determinism can get downright spooky. Someone hurts you. But you have thought yourself into believing that they could never have not hurt you. And, furthermore, whether or not you hurt them back back is also entirely compelled by nature.

In other words...

The idea of determinism may belong in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, but outside of academia, it doesn’t appear to have practical applications. So keep doing what you’re doing, even if you don’t have a choice.


Yeah, that is basically what it comes down to until we are able to actually ascertain for certain 1] whether we do possess some measure of free will and 2] what for all practical purposes that actually means.

We go back and forth here with our own assessments. But we have no capacity to go beyond the assessments themselves and link them definitively to philosophy, psychology and neuroscience.

How is this not the case?
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:55 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote: One has to understand what it means to say that something could have been different. In everyday parlance, it simply means that a thing could have been different if some other thing was different in some specific way. For example: John could have killed Mary if he had decided to do so. He didn't decide to do so, so didn't kill her. Whether the decision to kill her was caused by some prior event or not is irrelevant.


No, some will insist, given the manner in which the human brain is the embodiment of matter that has evolved here on planet Earth, it is no less entirely in sync with the laws of matter.

So, what one need understand, they suggest, is that what you think you understand about determinism and free will is just another manifestation of that. Just as would be the choices that revolve around the behaviors of John and Mary.


Magnus Anderson wrote: Normally, the word "freewill" refers to one's ability to obey decisions. We say you have freewill if you can choose to do X and then do X. The greater the number of things that you can choose-and-then-do, the greater your freewill. Such a concept of freewill is perfectly compatible with the concept of determinism.


There is no "normally" given the manner in which some construe "hard determinism". There is only what must be. That some deem it to be normal and others not normal is only as they were ever going to deem it.

Regarding an autonomous human mind there would seem to be some measure of "dualism" involved or everything gets reduced down to the immutable laws of matter. We just don't know what that means going all the way back to a complete understanding of existence itself.

Clearly, if you are dealing with free will as a concept then the understanding of it revolves around the definition and the meaning that you give to the words that encompass it as a concept.

But how is that then entertwined in a complete and thorough understanding of human behaviors themselves?

With more concepts?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:19 pm

Clearly, if you are dealing with free will as a concept then the understanding of it revolves around the definition and the meaning that you give to the words that encompass it as a concept.

But how is that then entertwined in a complete and thorough understanding of human behaviors themselves?

With more concepts?


I am trying to understand what you're trying to say and in order to do that I need to understand the manner in which you define words that you use.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:31 pm

Zoot wrote:determinism cannot be proven a posteriori


What you seem to be suggesting is that whether the universe is deterministic or not is not something that can be decided empirically. I strongly disagree. In fact, I think that's the only way to answer the question. The universe either obeys strictly deterministic laws or it does not. And the only way to verify this is to make as many observations as possible and then generalize from that.

if proof for determinism lies in the ability to predict furture events (provided one has omniscient knowledge of every entity of being, its precise location, its precise motion, etc., before a future event occurs), it would be fallible for this reason; the universe could very well be indeterminate, but events could still proceed in perfect correspondence to their predictions by accident, thereby leading the predictor to believe his prediction was accurate and his knowledge of antecedent causes, complete. see what i mean? predictability cannot be a proof of determinism. for all one knows, there may be no causation, and events happened to fall randomly into succession that one happened to guess right.


Indeed, you can predict pretty much anything, even random events, just by throwing a dice. The sole requirement is luck. However, the mechanism of prediction that humans use is not random, so it cannot be used to predict random events. It's safe to say that you misunderstood what I said. When I said "the ability to predict with 100% certainty" I meant "the ability to predict with 100% certainty using the mechanism of prediction employed by humans". The human mechanism of prediction, largely a black box, is based on the premise that the future mimics the past. It can only perform well in relatively stable environments.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:55 pm

Zoot wrote:somehow you infered that from something i've said, which is fine, but that doesn't at all characterize what i mean by 'freewill'. i couldn't mean that, in fact, because even if a decision is free from physical, causal constraints, it still doesn't happen 'independently from what happened in the past.' the order and connection of ideas is still there and decisions don't spring spontaneously from nothing.

what i do mean by 'freewill' is stated a few times throughout this thread and elsewhere. it is a metaphysical theory dealing with what kinds of causes exist as what kind of substances; fundamentally it is a critique of the classical cartesian 'second-substance' theory that posits a second, immaterial substance that both acts as a causal property while also transcending (not being effected by) material causes.


Well, if Descartes says that free-will transcends material causes, in the sense that it is not affected by them, then that would mean that he's speaking of "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the material realm in the past". Pretty similar to my definition of free-will, isn't it?
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:04 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:
I am trying to understand what you're trying to say and in order to do that I need to understand the manner in which you define words that you use.


What I am trying to say is that for some particularly hard determinists, neither you nor I have it within our capacity to demonstrate that what we are trying to say includes the option of choosing to say something else instead.

I'm writing this and you're reading this only because whatever set into motion the laws of matter has over billions of years evolved into brain matter that is now able to create the psychological illusion in each of us of having an actual option to write or read something else instead.

I can only acknowledge that my understanding of "I" here is wrong. And that one day I will experience something new or meet someone new and come into contact with a new idea that changes my mind.

But that still entails an obligation on my part to demonstrate to others that they are obligated in turn to think like I do because I have in fact demonstrated that some measure of free will is in sync with the brain properly understood.

An understanding that encompasses human biology, human psychology, human philosophy and human science.

Free will encompassed in a TOE that overlaps our lives for all practical purposes.

In other words, I am far more interested in approaching this from the other direction. Define your words and then take the definitions themselves out into the world that we actually live in.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:20 am

iambiguous wrote:What I am trying to say is that for some particularly hard determinists, neither you nor I have it within our capacity to demonstrate that what we are trying to say includes the option of choosing to say something else instead.


Depending on what they mean by "the option of choosing to say something else instead", we may or may not be in agreement with each other. And that's why definitions matter. The first step is to understand what the other is saying, and in order to do so, one has to understand the way they define the words they are using. Only once it is established that we are in fact disagreeing with each other does it make sense to consider demonstrating to them that my position is correct and theirs wrong. We have yet to establish whether we are disagreeing at all.

"Hard determinists" are incompatibilists, aren't they, and that means they think that free-will and determinism are incompatible with each other, which suggests to me that they define free-will as "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past".

Personally, I don't care whether such an ability really exists or not. What's interesting to me is that so many people think that moral responsibility requires such a thing. A person, they say, must possess "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past" in order to be morally responsible for their actions. Sounds like a criminal trying to evade punishment by playing word-games. "Look, I didn't do it, the Laws of Nature made me do it."
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:26 pm

iambiguous wrote:What I am trying to say is that for some particularly hard determinists, neither you nor I have it within our capacity to demonstrate that what we are trying to say includes the option of choosing to say something else instead.


Magnus Anderson wrote: Depending on what they mean by "the option of choosing to say something else instead", we may or may not be in agreement with each other.


On the contrary, some might argue, depending on whether what they/we mean by anything at all is within their/our reach as matter in possession of some measure of free will. In other words, everything in the known universe may well be within the capacity of nature to compel.

Our agreeing or not agreeing about it is merely another aspect/manifestation of a wholly determined universe.

But how on earth would any of us actually go about demonstrating it one way or the other?

It seems reasonable to me that you and I will both go to the grave taking our assumptions [and definitions] with us. Then it comes down to whether or not nature [or God] provides for an afterlife in which to continue the debate.

Magnus Anderson wrote: And that's why definitions matter. The first step is to understand what the other is saying, and in order to do so, one has to understand the way they define the words they are using. Only once it is established that we are in fact disagreeing with each other does it make sense to consider demonstrating to them that my position is correct and theirs wrong. We have yet to establish whether we are disagreeing at all.


All this works fine when what we are defining is encompassed in the either/or world. Unfortunately, we have no way [that I am aware of] to discern definitively whether we do or do not have free will. Instead sets of assumptions are bundled into "general description" arguments like yours, the truth of which are entirely predicated on the definition given to words that you are [to the best of my knowledge] unable to determine [scientifically, philosophically or otherwise] were yours to freely choose.

Magnus Anderson wrote: "Hard determinists" are incompatibilists, aren't they, and that means they think that free-will and determinism are incompatible with each other, which suggests to me that they define free-will as "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past".


Okay, but the hardest of the determinists would seem to embed everything -- everything -- in the universe [including the human brain] in immutable laws of matter that compel all material, phenomenal interactions. Determinists, free will advocates and compatibilists are entirely interchangeable in an existence where nature ever and always prevails only in sync with its laws. We just have no capacity here and now to explain what that means. Let alone to demonstrate why it either is or is not true.

Magnus Anderson wrote: Personally, I don't care whether such an ability really exists or not.


Again, merely making the assumption that you were free to opt to care about something else instead. That "what's interesting" to you is entirely within your capacity to choose. Why? Because given the manner in which you define the words in your assumptions that makes it so.

Magnus Anderson wrote: What's interesting to me is that so many people think that moral responsibility requires such a thing. A person, they say, must possess "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past" in order to be morally responsible for their actions. Sounds like a criminal trying to evade punishment by playing word-games. "Look, I didn't do it, the Laws of Nature made me do it."


If, in a wholly determined universe as some understand it, the criminal was never able to freely choose anything that he thought, felt, said or did from the cradle to the grave because the laws of nature embodied in his brain compelled him to choose only what was ever able to have been chosen, nothing is independent of nature. Not in the past, not in the present, not in the future.

What the laws of nature as some understand them suggest is that the criminal was no less compelled in turn to argue that "I didn't do it, the Laws of Nature made me do it."

Nothing is excluded here unless somehow someone is able to explain how brain matter is able to transcend the laws of matter themselves. And to actually demonstrate why all rational men and women are obligated to believe this. Then going all the way back to how human autonomy fits seamlessly into the very ontological understanding of existence itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:36 pm

Well, if Descartes says that free-will transcends material causes, in the sense that it is not affected by them, then that would mean that he's speaking of "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the material realm in the past". Pretty similar to my definition of free-will, isn't it?


i dunno if descartes would put it that way, and i'm not sure if both you and he would mean the same thing with that statement. descartes called people 'free substances', and he meant that ontologically in that people (i should say 'mind') are an altogether different kind of 'stuff' than things of/in the material world. without getting into a huge post which will be forgotten in two days, i can tell you that he's confused in what he means by 'mind', which is likely a conclusion he arrived at after getting his ontology wrong. if spinoza wrote before descartes, descartes might have avoided these mistakes. but on to your statement.

you have to be exactly clear with what you mean by 'independently', here. this can mean many things; not happening as material causes/effects occur, or succeeding material causes/effects but not influenced by them and happening regardless, or not at all succeeding material causes/effects and happening regardless.

and you'd have to be explicit about what you mean by 'decisions', too. what is a decision? a state of affairs, an event (mental or physical... and are these fundamentally different?), some form of qualia, a process of description of some state of affairs and/or events? i hate to be pedantic dude but this is what these discussions involve if they are to be done right. frankly i don't wanna do em and i'll probably drop out soon (you're forewarned), but for the moment you have my attention.

Personally, I don't care whether such an ability really exists or not. What's interesting to me is that so many people think that moral responsibility requires such a thing. A person, they say, must possess "the ability to make decisions independently from what happened in the past" in order to be morally responsible for their actions. Sounds like a criminal trying to evade punishment by playing word-games. "Look, I didn't do it, the Laws of Nature made me do it."


the laws of nature did make him do it (because there is no freewill), and yet this doesn't mean he won't be held responsible. but what do we mean by 'responsible'? expected to comply with the consequences is all we can mean here. therefore accountability/culpability, while packed with moral connotations, is nothing more than a description of that state of compliance.

the role of 'blame' and 'guilt' is like a form of operant conditioning. it has no other effect than that of provoking a feeling or remorse, which has as its purpose to modify future behavior. what it isn't is a quality assigned to a 'self' in the body of the criminal that 'freely chose' to commit his crime. there simply isn't anything to blame, unless you wish to charge nature in its entirety. and imagine doing that. like how could you fit nature in the defendant box? do you realize how big the courtroom would have to be?

what we are experiencing post-enlightenment period is a breakdown in the old superstitions, superstitions that were largely responsible for the fable of freewill and objective morality. back in the philosophical days the intellectuals actually believe freewill was real. today, the intellectuals know better and only the mentally challenged still believe in it. anyway this slow process of breakdown is causing a schism in the social and legal fabric of the western world... forcing more attention to be paid to the environment rather than the individual. it's no longer as easy to say with honest conviction 'he knew it was wrong, your honor, and he had the freewill to chose not to do it.' a decent defender who was up on his game could destroy that statement (i know i could) and throw the whole courtroom into a nervous fervor. and that's where it really matters... whether or not there is freewill... or what freewill exactly means if we all agree to say we have it and proceed accordingly.

i tell ya what i love about the freewill debate. its delicate uneasiness... a kind of philosophical danger-zone that's as intimidating as it is frightening. i've found that the more one fights tooth and nail for the theory of freewill, the more unnerved they are about the consequences of it being an illusion. and as an anarcho-nihilist, i quite enjoy this spectacle. i should add that it never occurred to me - or stopped occurring to me after my transition into stirnerism, rather - that i don't rely the least bit on the truth or falsity of freewill in my discourse with men. i take/do what i want and 'pray that they do the same! (S)'. i pay no attention to any 'could have done otherwise' and judge men only according to their degree of tedium or charm. 'good' and 'evil' are not in my vocabulary.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:13 pm

The Free Will Pill
Taylor A. Dunn asks, if free will were a drug, should you take it?
From Philosophy Now magazine

If we found out next week that neuroscientists had conclusively demonstrated that free will does not exist and that our so-called ‘choices’ are purely the result of automatic brain functions, I think we would be right to take this news badly.


Here we go again. The part I must be missing. It would seem ultimately pointless to speculate about how we would react to something like this because we could only ever react as we must.

The news would only be construed by particular individuals as good or bad if it was determined that we do in fact possess some measure of free will. In other words, if you want to be convinced that your own generally exhilarating life was of your own making, it's good news. But if you want to be convinced that your own generally miserable life is beyond your control, it's bad news.

Right?

But imagine further that, as we continue to develop new ways to alter human brain chemistry and so on, we found a way to design a ‘free will pill’ – something like Prozac or Adderall – which alters our brains so that we can act freely.


Same thing. If we live in a wholly determined universe, developing new ways to alter brain chemistry and designing a "free will pill" could only unfold solely in accordance with the laws of matter.

Then we would be confronted with the mind-boggling reality of nature's laws having evolved into actual free-will. Which is basically what many free will advocates today suggest has in fact already happened.

Sans God in other words.

And, no, I have no way of demonstrating that this is not in fact the case. But where is the demonstration that it is the case. Where is the definitive proof regarding how the brain [through the evolution of life on Earth] has accomplished this? Again, from my frame of mind, we just don't know.

It turns out that some recent work on free will makes this speculation more plausible than you might think. And this brings up all sorts of bizarre questions, such as whether we can freely choose to take a free will drug; whether we should take a free will drug; and what kind of effects such a drug would have on us, individually and socially.


Bizarre, exactly. But then the existence of existence itself can be seen as bizarre. Just as the evolution of mindless matter into mindful matter into human consciousness into "I" can be equally beyond being pinned down once and for all.

The crucial fact here still being that until science gets considerably closer to making this thought experiment a reality, you and I are left with taking a "leap of faith" to one set of assumptions or another.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby Meno_ » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:56 pm

But isn't there a simpler way then waiting for science to catch up?
Would it be more sensible to rely on the expressions of ex-cons, who seek to break the law again again , to feel freer , more at home in prison then out of it?

That may 'proove' a sensible objectivity to which there may not be a constant need to jump into?

Is not sense and sensibility connected to objectives which are in modal difference, consciously or not?


Is this not a modal difference more approable then trying to put one's feet into a shoe of another?

Such another may merely regarded as a type of person which can not generally suppose. particular people in specific situations?
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:06 pm

The Free Will Pill
Taylor A. Dunn asks, if free will were a drug, should you take it?
From Philosophy Now magazine

When we’re torn about what to do, when we’ve weighed the pros and cons and need to make a choice between two courses of action, we want the choice to be solely the product of our decision. We want to have been able to have chosen differently, if we could go back in time. This ability to have chosen differently is what I’ll be referring to as ‘free will’.


Bingo!

Right?

Here however [over and over again] I always come back to my dream reality. I no less want any number of things in my dreams. And I no less either get them or do not get them. And "in the moment" [fast asleep in my recliner] the reality -- a very, very vivid reality -- seems no less real to me then the reality I am experiencing now. Either that or my dreams are very different from the dreams of others.

So, if the brain is creating one reality why not both?

The clear initial challenge to free will is determinism, the idea that the laws of physics establish chains of cause and effect where every event (including a brain event such as a choice) is decided by preceding ones, and those by still earlier ones, beginning with the Big Bang.


Only here I subsume the Big Bang itself in whatever the explanation is for Existence itself. Scientists are no less stumped in resolving how and why, if the Big Bang exploded into existence out of nothing at all, this can actually happen. And then the part where an infinite number of additional universes are intertwined in an infinite number of additional Big Bangs. And then the part about God.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:07 pm

Nothing.
:banana-dance:
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:48 pm

The Free Will Pill
Taylor A. Dunn asks, if free will were a drug, should you take it?
From Philosophy Now magazine

....anyone familiar with the standard or Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics will tell you that things are undetermined at the very small level.


On the other hand, anyone familiar with the advancement of scientific knowledger down through the ages knows in turn there is still an enormous gap between what is known, what is still be known and all that there actually is to be known.

And how is this any less the case in regard to QM?

Here I ever and always come back to this:

It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the universe.

This from NASA.

The debate rages on about how to make sense of measurement, superpositions, and the other aspects of quantum mechanics; but at least one way to understand it is that the laws of physics are ultimately not deterministic, but rather, probabilistic.


How on Earth can he possibly assert something like this to be true as anything other than that which "here and now" he merely believes to be true in his head?

Whether an electron is discovered to be at one position or another, for example, is uncaused. This brings up the other clear problem for free will, which is randomness. If at the fundamental level of physical reality things are just a matter of chance, then how can we be said to be in control of our choices?


Right, like he grasps ontologically the relationship between cause and effect going all the way back to how this is to be understood in regard to the existence of existence itself.

In other words, even in the seemingly either/or world it is more important to convince yourself that you know what is true than to actually demonstrate how it can only be true. And then from that another gigantic leap to the assumption that the human brain itself must possess at least some measure of "uncaused" freedom.

Therefore the most common philosophical gripe about free will is that the concept is not even coherent.


Well, my gripe of course is that until we do have a comprehensive understanding of existence itself, who is to say what either does or does not constitute a coherent argument? In other words as long as the conclusion itself is supported only by the assumptions that are made regarding that 5% of the universe comprised of "normal matter".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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