Determinism

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:48 pm

Oughtist wrote:
peacegirl wrote:The thesis is true independent of the fact that the Text has been written, but without man's help in applying the knowledge, it will be of no benefit. It would be like knowing how to get man to the moon, but never using the knowledge to actually get him there.


Oughtist wrote:So the "Determinism" is dependent on willful application. I thought there was a sense that not only are we compelled to use the knowledge once we understand it, but that we are compelled to come to understand it. If it is dependent on the variable of our "coming to understand", how is it different from the many other theories out there which complain of being misunderstood once put into practice? "Human understanding" is not a monolithic phenomenon, is it?


How could it be misunderstood if the principle works? If it didn't work under all conditions, then it would not be an immutable law. It would be just another theory, which would then be open to misunderstanding.


The author writes:

The economic system I just described is mathematically possible —
but only when all people understand what it means that man’s will is not
free.


Oughtist wrote:"All" people? That's mitigating the issue of falsifiability quite vigorously, isn't it?


When he uses the word "all" people he means that each and every person on the planet will know in advance (children will learn this when they reach the age of understanding) that they are never going to be blamed or punished for their choices because it will have been established as a veritable fact that man's will is not free.

These principles are just as undeniable when thoroughly
understood as any mathematical equation; and when political leaders of
the world recognize that it is now possible to unite all nations in such a
harmonious agreement that the causes of war and crime can be entirely
eliminated not only without hurting anyone but while benefiting all
mankind, this knowledge will spread quickly throughout the earth.


Oughtist wrote:When's the last time political leaders read the same newspaper, nevermind the same book? (just saying)


Those who are see the validity of this discovery will need to be the ones who spread the knowledge until it reaches those who can verify its validity. It must start at a grassroots level but now that the internet is here, it can easily reach the scientific world if enough people pass it on.

Until then, we will be forced to live in our present world as a lesser of two
evils.


Oughtist wrote:What's the greater? :-?


The lesser evil (for most people) is living in this world the way it is with all its misery. The greater evil (for most people) is to commit suicide. What other option is there?

Remember, in conclusion, my prediction that all war will come to
a permanent end in the next 25 years is not like the prediction that an
eclipse will occur at a given time because the astronomer has nothing
whatever to do with the motion of these bodies and the crossing of their
paths. All he is doing is charting their course. Mine, however, is
equivalent to the one a philanthropist makes that a certain university will
receive a donation of one million dollars on a given date because he is
the one who intends to donate this money on that date. I am donating to
mankind this scientific discovery that gives man no choice as to the
direction he is compelled to travel, once the principles are understood.


Oughtist wrote:So this isn't like the determinacy of the laws of physics at all, is it, insofar as it depends on mental operations.


Correct. It will take our intervention to put in place the changes. They won't occur automatically.

Until that time, your help, your willingness to learn about these
principles and understand them is needed. And once you understand
them, you will be compelled, of your own free will,


Oughtist wrote:I'm not getting that still.


Hopefully you will get it in time.

to spread the news.
When the fuse is lit and this knowledge spreads to those who not only
recognize its significance but who also have the influence to lay it before
those who can disseminate it even more rapidly, then it will not take
long before we will develop this world of unmatched splendor wherein
no one will ever be hurt, and everyone will have sustenance and health.
We are given no free choice in this matter because God has taken it out
of our hands as we are compelled to move in this direction for greater
satisfaction. In our next chapter, you are about to see another miracle
performed that is related to the medical profession.


Oughtist wrote:..where did the God thing come from?

...sorry, gotta rush off...


He uses the word God throughout the book, which only means that laws governing the universe.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:32 pm

peacegirl wrote:He uses the word God throughout the book, which only means that laws governing the universe.


If that's all he means, then he's setting himself up to be seriously misconstrued.

I'll await your response to my neurodiversity point before I respond to the rest of the above. :)
Things are apparent.
User avatar
Oughtist
Para-philosopher
 
Posts: 2884
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Epiphoneminal Max

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:46 pm

Oughtist wrote:...back quicker than I thought. :)

peacegirl wrote:
Oughtist wrote:EDIT: Lest I be seen as totally missing the mark here, put in the context of blame/hurting others, is the position that I need not worry about being the agent of discomfort to others (e.g. as when "following orders" in the chain of command in the work place, or as when parenting a child), and that I may effectively blindly trust my impulses... that I need have no critcal self-awareness of my actions?

If so, and if the neurology of mental illness nonetheless retains relevance, is there not an assumption about mental health which must claim there is a stable neurological description of "normality"? Does the Text discuss this dimension of concern? (I'd be happy to read that section presently )


As we follow the guiding principle, Thou Shall Not Blame, as set forth in the book, you will see that the only true standard that exists in human relations is this hurt to others. You will be free to do anything you want without being judged, but you would never want to cross the line of hurting anyone with a first blow knowing you will never be blamed. A genuine hurt is what we are talking about here, not an imaginary hurt. This is discussed in the chapter on children.

There is no description of normality because what is normal for one person might not be normal for another. A lot of what we consider normal is cultural conditioning. But when there are no standards judging what is right for another, people will not be criticized for doing anything that hurts no one; whereas in many societies there are certain unspoken rules. For example, in many cultures you must eat a certain way, or you must dress a certain way to be accepted. All of these standards are going by the wayside because dressing and eating the way you want hurts no one. Remember: The only true standard is this hurt to others, and this will be the only standard left.


What I'm leading towards (which is actually a critique of "Mental Illness" as well, but I'll leave that aside (do you know any Foucault?)) is that it seems that this is a project which assumes there is a "concept" out there which everyone can learn about more or less identically (comparable to a mathematical truth). What I would argue is that there is actually very much a neurodiversity in the human condition which precludes "everyone" learning the same thing en masse, most especially an abstract conceptual proposition. The variants and degrees of types of learners is, we are finding, increasingly staggering. There is, indeed, no discrete separation to be discovered between mental abnormality and the "neurotypical average". The consequence of this is that any proposition which requires "everyone" to learn it is essentially doomed. Neurodiversity is, rather, the normal condition of the human species.


I beg to differ. Yes, there is neurodiversity, which is the normal condition of the human species. I hope, for the moment, you can forget words such as abnormal and normal. It is also true that people learn differently, have different capabilities, and retain different amounts of information. This truth does not demand that everyone be identical. I am not sure where you got that idea.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:35 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peaceirl wrote:Wowwwww Only_Humean, you really have been listening. I am really touched by your synopsis. Now, I'm waiting for the guillotine to chop my head off. It's okay, I am ready with my sword (joking, of course) to fight against any argument that refutes me. lol Let's prepare for battle. :D


I come not with a sword, but peace :P I hope I can remember all (or at least most of) my points, I'll try and present them clearly.

1) Conscience is simply asserted, as separate from morality (2.2.2).
- I believe humans have a conscience, I believe that it is a result of and a contributor to our success as highly-developed social creatures. I know I feel bad when I go against mine, I also see other people regretting, feeling guilty, going through atonement. However, the values of my conscience are extremely sensitive to the context of my society. Social morality and conscience are intertwined. I would not feel guilty for doing things that would utterly torment the consciences of my great-grandparents. Many people eat animal flesh, which would be unconscionable to others (say, Jainists)
There is no universal conscience, either between people and peoples, or in time. Some people have consciences which militate strongly against abortion - indeed, even militate to kill others who practise it - while others see nothing ideologically wrong in using it as a form of contraception. A hundred years ago, men killed themselves because they were homosexual - even when no-one else knew, an intensely private self-loathing that can only have been motivated by conscience. Now gay people have Pride carnivals. Work ethics vary hugely between cultures.
People are conditioned by the society they live in, as much as they condition it themselves. Morality is a social phenomenon, supported by the innate personal apparatus of conscience.


I am in agreement. Whether something is considered wrong often determines whether someone feels guilty or not. But some of the guilt is unjustified because it has more to do with culture than whether it is truly a hurt. You must keep in mind that when culture is not dictating what is right and wrong, and no one is judging, it will be the individual who decides whether he is hurting someone. If it truly is a hurt, he won't be able to do it. If it is not a genuine hurt, he will be able to do it. No one will be judging. In the case of homosexuality, who is being hurt? These cultural dictates will no longer be driven by superstition, force, or punitive action.



Only Humean wrote:2) Conscience will, in the absence of blame, outweigh other desires (2.3.2)
I have to admit, I understand the point and the role in the argument, but I have no idea where it comes from. Humans have many psychological drives - conscience is part of the drive to a good self-image, which is a strong one, but there are many more. The acquisitive drive, sexual drive, power drive and so on. These are dynamic values. If we primarily went through life with our will focussed on what will give us a good conscience, then the point may stand, but it's primarily a reactive will - it tends to act to hold back other desires than promote action. Indeed, that's still its usage in the argument. I don't see any reasoning given as to why it's presumed to be all-dominating over other drives.


Conscience is not to give someone a good self image even though we may try to do good for appearances sake. We are born with an internal compass that guides us in our behaviors. This is always present unless something in life causes a disconnect. This is not about an effort to acquire a good conscience. Conscience IS. It will hold back desires IF AND ONLY IF THEY COULD CAUSE HARM TO ANOTHER. That's what conscience is there for. We have all kinds of drives, and we deserve the right to express them. This is not one more rule. This is about being guided by our internal compass. Without others telling us what is right and wrong, we ourselves will know whether something is wrong or not, without sacrificing our own desires and values.

Only_Humean wrote:I no-one blames you, you take sole responsibility for your actions and answer to your conscience (2.3.1)
I could easily get more satisfaction from smacking someone who I feel deserves it than I would feel a conscientious dissatisfaction about smacking them. However, one thing preventing me from doing this (at the moment) is society's blame. However, if I choose to do this, it wouldn't necessarily be because I thought I could justify myself to society; I may do it expecting censure. It's not *rational*, but people aren't.


That goes right back to an eye for an eye. It is a natural reaction to retaliate if you feel you have been wronged. Yes, society's blame is the deterrent, but it does not stop those who want something badly enough. People who choose to hurt others know that if they are caught there will be some form of blame and punishment. This is one of the justifications that allows people to satisfy their desires without a thought who it could be hurting.

Only_Humean wrote:It applies a cost to hurting that can be paid (2.3)
In the example above, the censure and the investment of energy in justifying myself or accepting the criticism and punishment I would see as a cost against the action. Without this cost, I have the cost of justifying it to myself. My will is not free, I chose this action because it satisfied me and I had no further say in the matter (2.4) so I need take no action, just turn the other cheek to my own actions. I trust you will agree that the conscience is only concerned with those things that one holds oneself responsible for.


Of course conscience is concerned only with what one holds oneself responsible for (you are not responsible for other people's actions), but what you are missing is that when you know that you will not be blamed for anything, you will be unable to turn the other cheek to your own actions. You really need to read Chapter Three to get a better understanding. Under these conditions, there is NO WAY you will be able to carry out a crime because you won't be able to justify what you are about to do.

Only_Humean wrote:5) No-one is responsible at all for their actions
It may come in later chapters, as it's not directly relevant to the equation - but this also naturally means that no-one can feel a sense of achievement at anything they have done. I would foresee this causing psychological problems related to the conscience.


This is discussed in the chapter on education. You are right in that the pride you feel in your accomplishments will be dampened by the knowledge that you didn't do it of your own free will. That being said, there will always be a sense of satisfaction in one's achievements, but it will never lead to arrogance or superiority. You will understand this much better when you read the book in its entirety.

Only_Humean wrote:6) I think 'responsibility' and 'blame' are too easily interchanged. Are you aware of compatibilism? One can punish the behaviour without personalising it to the will of an individual, purely to set the perceived strengths of satisfaction for *everyone* at considering a certain line of action. I don't blame cats for their lavatorial habits at all, they can't help it, but I put coffee grounds on the lawn to direct their behaviour. :) It doesn't seem to be addressed, in any case.


It IS addressed. I am aware of compatibilism. It is true that punishment serves a purpose in the world in which we live. Compatabilism tries to reconcile a deterministic position with a free will position. It still involves punishment, whether it is personal or not. And yes, it is for the sake of the community. But people who are not moved by punishment or rewards will go on satisfying their desires at the expense of others. Punishment is not the best deterrent, even though it's all we got at the moment. Animals are usually trained through the use of rewards and punishment to act in certain ways. But people are not animals. Even though reward and punishment work to a certain degree, they don't achieve the end result in many cases.

Humean wrote:7) The argument of probabilities to design (99 black marbles and 1 white) presented in chapter one is a well-known one, and it's flawed. However, I don't think it's necessary to the rest of the argument.

8) Knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting (2.2.3.1)
True, but one might gain greater satisfaction from the results of actions that incidentally hurt people.


If they didn't know they hurt someone, yes, they will get satisfaction because the hurt was unknown or incidental. But when they realize they did hurt someone indirectly or directly, they will not want to do it again.

Humean wrote:9) There seems to be a general use of "God" as the Spinozan God, but occasional references to creation and the Christian God. What's your take on this?

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of points, so I may come back with more, but it's late here. Thanks for your time.


You are missing a lot of points, but I know you're trying. The word God is a symbol for everything that exists. God, in this context, only means the laws of the universe guiding our behavior. That's all he meant by this word.
Last edited by peacegirl on Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:38 pm

peacegirl wrote:In the new world, conscience will no longer be directed by rules and regulations (a moral code given by others), or by a fear of punishment; it will be directed by our internal sense of right and wrong. Conscience is that small whisper in our ear that let's us know that what we are about to do is a first blow which cannot be justified, once all blame is removed.

sauwelios wrote:a) Is that all it lets us 'know'? Does it not also tell us such an unjustified first blow is wrong?
b) Is our internal sense of right and wrong unchangeable?
c) Can there be such a thing as a 'first blow' in a determinate universe? Would that not be a first cause?

peacegirl wrote:a.Yes it does. That is why it is unjustified, because it is wrong (a hurt). It doesn't matter what word is whispering in your ear. You know it is wrong by the way you feel.
b. What is considered wrong (a hurt) is changeable in some instances. For example, during sex someone might love being whipped. So whipping them is not a hurt to them, but pleasureable. Your conscience would therefore have no problem whipping them. But if someone hated being whipped, then it becomes a hurt to them and you wouldn't want to do it.
c. Striking a first blow could set a chain of retaliation in motion but I don't see how it equates with a first cause, which I believe is the original cause that set a determinate world in motion.

sauwelios wrote:c. What I mean is that anyone alive has been hurt by someone else sometime. So how can such a person ever strike a 'first blow'? They have already received a blow sometime.


That is true. What stops the victim from retaliating against someone who has already hurt him is explained at the end of Chapter Two. I will cut and paste for your benefit although I dislike doing this. It is so difficult to discuss the book when it hasn't been read.

As we end this chapter, there is one vital point that needs
clarification. If the knowledge that man’s will is not free is supposed to
prevent that for which blame and punishment were previously necessary,
and if a person who saw his child deliberately kidnapped and killed
would be compelled to desire revenge as a normal reaction in the
direction of satisfaction, how can this knowledge prevent some form of
retaliation? Just because you have learned that man’s will is not free is
not a sufficient explanation as to why you should not want to avenge this
child’s murder by tracking down the criminal and cutting his heart out
with a knife, so once again we must understand what God means when
He mathematically instructs us not to blame. When the knowledge in
this book is released and understood, every person as always will be
standing on this moment of time or life called here, so to speak, and
preparing to move to the next spot called there. As the principles set
forth in this book become a permanent part of the environment (more
will be explained in the economic chapter) you will know that the person
who kidnapped and killed your child or committed some other form of
hurt which occurred prior to the release of this knowledge — regardless
of how much you hate and despise what was done — will never blame
in any way your desire for retribution, which means that he will never
run and hide to avoid your act of revenge because this is a form of tacit
blame; and when it fully dawns on you that he will never make any
effort to fight back no matter what you do to him, never lift a hand to
stop whatever you desire to do, it becomes impossible for you to derive
any satisfaction from this act of retaliation especially when you know
that he will never again be permitted by his conscience — because of the
realization that he will not be blamed — to do to another what was
originally done to you and your family. As a result, the chain of
retaliation will be broken which will prevent any further criminal
behavior.
Time and time again a person desiring personal revenge has been
able to experience a certain amount of control over his desire, but never
to the degree that will permit this Great Transition to get underway —
with the help of our slide rule. When he fully realizes that the
perpetrator whom he wishes to hurt in return will never desire to
retaliate with further hurt, or desire to commit another crime to anyone
anywhere, he is compelled to lose his desire for revenge because it is
impossible to derive any satisfaction from the advance knowledge that
he will be excused by the entire world. The full realization that he can
no longer justify this act of personal revenge because no one will
consider it wrong or tell him what to do (remember, no longer will
anyone judge what is right for another); that he will be able to do what
he wishes to this person without any form of justification because he
knows in advance that he will not be blamed and that everyone,
including the one to be retaliated upon, will be compelled of their own
free will to completely excuse what is definitely not his responsibility —
ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS IT WOULD BE HIS RESPONSIBILITY —
makes him desire to forgo what he knows he doesn’t have to do. He
knows he is not under any compulsion to do what has not yet been done
and when he becomes aware that no one henceforth will judge his
actions, that he is completely free from the trammels of public opinion
to do, without the slightest fear of criticism, whatever he thinks is better
for himself, that he will not even be punished by the laws that were
created for this purpose, it becomes mathematically impossible for him
to desire hurting this other person under these conditions regardless of
what was originally done to him. It would be equivalent to deriving
satisfaction from continuing to beat up an individual who, though fully
able to fight back, refuses to lift a hand in his own defense. This allows
the Great Transition to get underway, as you will see in greater detail as
we proceed, without any fear of harm. Let us observe why the
perpetrator can no longer continue his crime spree under the changed
conditions.
The potential kidnapper or criminal who is standing on this
moment of time called here when this knowledge is released and
before the act is done, is prevented from further contemplation of
his crime by the realization that he will never be blamed, judged,
criticized, or punished for this act (and by the removal of all forms
of tacit blame which unconsciously gave him the motivation and
justification), which compels him to get greater satisfaction in his
motion to there by giving up what he was contemplating. Up until
the present time there was nothing powerful enough to prevent man
from risking his life to satisfy a desire regardless of who got hurt
because the satisfaction of possible success outweighed the
dissatisfaction of possible failure; but when he becomes conscious
that a particular reaction of no blame will be the only response to
his actions by the entire world regardless of what he is
contemplating, he will be compelled, completely beyond his control
but of his own free will (or desire), to refrain from what he now
foresees can give him absolutely no satisfaction. How can he
possibly find satisfaction in doing something that the world must
excuse, but he can no longer justify? This natural law of man’s
nature gives him no alternative but to obey it in order to derive
greater satisfaction, and will prevent the first blow from ever being
struck. As we extend the corollary, Thou Shall Not Blame, we will
be able to unravel the causes of war, crime, and hatred — which are
deep-rooted and interwoven — and envision how life will be when
all hurt in human relations comes to a permanent end.
There will be many volumes extending this law into every area
of human interaction. The answer to the world’s problems will
satisfy Communism and Capitalism, the Blacks and the Whites, the
Jews and the Christians, the Catholics and the Protestants, the rich
and the poor, the cops and the robbers. However, it must be
understood that in the world of free will innumerable wars,
revolutions, and crimes were a reaction to various forms of hurt
which did not allow any alternative but to retaliate. Consequently,
man was compelled to blame, criticize and punish as the only
possible alternative when judged by his undeveloped mind. When
those about to fight back discover that they will no more be
retaliated upon, it is also necessary for them to realize that the
factors responsible for this consideration of war and crime, as the
lesser of two evils, will also be removed; and are those responsible
given any choice but to remove these factors when they know that
those who they have been hurting will never blame them for this?
To fully understand the fact that conscience — our feeling of guilt
— was never allowed to reach the enormous temperature necessary
to melt our desire to even take the risk of striking a first blow, it is
only necessary to observe what must follow when a crucible is
constructed wherein this new law can effectively operate. It was
impossible for any previous stage of our development to have
understood the deeper factors involved which was necessary for an
adequate solution, just as it was impossible for atomic energy to
have been discovered at an earlier time because the deeper relations
were not perceived at that stage of development; but at last we have
been granted understanding which reveals a pattern of harmony in
the mankind system equal in every way with the mathematical
accuracy of the solar system, and we are in for the greatest series of
beneficent changes of our entire existence which must come about
as a matter of necessity the very moment this knowledge is
understood. Although this book only scratches the surface, it lays
the foundation for scientists to take over from here. The undeniable
knowledge I am presenting is a blueprint of a new world that must
come about once this discovery is recognized, and your awareness
of this will preclude you from expressing that this work is
oversimplified. Because it would take many encyclopedias
combined to delineate all of the changes about to occur, it would
have been much too long for a book that was written for the express
purpose of providing mankind with a general outline. It will be up
to future scientists to extend these principles in much greater depth.
As we leave this chapter I hope I have made it clear that just as
long as man is able to justify hurting others, he is not striking a first
blow. Before I demonstrate how this justification is permanently
removed by preventing the insecurities that have permeated our
economic system and justify the act of self-preservation by whatever
means necessary, I will allow you an opportunity to see exactly what
happens in a human relation where this justification is already
removed. In the next chapter, l shall reveal how all automobile
accidents and carelessness must come to a permanent end. Before
we move on, I must clarify a very important point. Christ and
Spinoza turned the other cheek and paid the consequences because
the justification to hurt them was never removed, but I am going to
demonstrate how it is now possible to prevent the first cheek from
being struck which renders obsolete the need to turn the other cheek
or retaliate. Although Gandhi won freedom for his people and
Reverend King won certain civil rights, they accomplished this at
great expense. However, all was necessary because we are moving
in the direction of greater satisfaction over which we have no
control because this is God’s law or will. At this point, I suggest
that you study carefully, once again, Chapter Two and then discuss
it to make certain you understand that if you find any flaw it exists
only in your not understanding the principles, for they are
undeniable.

peacegirl wrote:These two facts make up the two-sided equation:

1. We are always moving in the direction of greater satisfaction which is why our will is not free.
2. Nothing can make us do to another what we don't want to do, for over this we have mathematical control (you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink).


sauwelios wrote:a) What does 'mathematical control' mean? Can't we just say "complete control"?
b) If we always move in the direction of greater satisfaction, does this not mean we have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do?


peacegirl wrote:a) Yes, we can say complete control, but the author wanted to make sure people understood that this is not a theory, so he used the word 'mathematical' to distinguish it from 'theoretical.
b) No, it doesn't mean this. We do have control over the choices we make because no one else but us is making those choices. What makes our will not free is the fact that we are compelled to pick the most satisfying choice, not the least satisfying; therefore only one possible choice can be made. In other words, if B is an impossible choice because it is less satisfying under the conditions, how can A be free?

sauwelios wrote:b) Methinks you actually agree with me. We have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do (i.e., what 'choices' we make).


Methinks you're right. ;) But you can't use the fact that you have no control over the direction you move in as an excuse to gain an advantage at another's expense.


We (the people) will no longer blame you because we know your will is not free and therefore you cannot be held responsible. But you know that no one can make you hurt someone if you don't want to, for over this you have mathematical control (you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink).

sauwelious wrote:According to 1. above, we don't have control over whether we will hurt someone or not, but simply cannot hurt someone if we don't want to (i.e., if we feel it will not bring us greater, or will bring us less, satisfaction), and cannot help but hurt someone if we do want to (i.e., if we feel it will bring us greater satisfaction).


That's just it, there is no way in the world you can want to hurt someone because it will ALWAYS bring you less satisfaction knowing that the whole world, including the one to be hurt, will never blame you for what you are thinking about doing. That's why this law is so powerful because YOU CAN'T WANT TO UNDER THESE CONDITIONS; IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. If you could this law would not live up to its claims. It would be just another theory.

peacegirl wrote:Let's say you are contemplating cleaning someone's home out (you are a professional thief, let's say) but not to steal would not make you a loser. There are two alternatives, to get what you want even though you know this person will suffer, but at least you will have satisfied your desires, or not to steal but you won't get what you want. At this point in time you can choose either one. You know this is a definite hurt and you also know that if you should choose to do this, no one in the world is going to blame you because everyone would know that it was beyond your control. But before you make this choice, you know it IS within your control not to hurt this person this way. What stops you is the realization that if you go ahead with what you are contemplating, no one will blame you, criticize you, or judge you in any way, including the person who was the victim of your crime. Now you tell me, could you justify doing this? Be honest.

sauwelios wrote:I don't see why that should stop me. I really don't. If anyone else understand, can they please explain it? I can only answer that being blamed, criticised, or judged was not what would make me do it, so not being blamed, criticised, or judged would not make me not do it.


Maybe it wouldn't make YOU do it because you are not a thief. Right now we are talking about someone who would do it even though he knows if he gets caught he will get severely punished. But even with this threat, he is willing to pay the price for the satisfaction of certain desires. Under the changed conditions, he CAN'T do it because it will give him less satisfaction, not more, when he knows that he is committing an unprovoked act that will not be blamed.

peacegirl wrote:And when it fully dawns on you that should you go ahead and strike a first blow of hurt, that no one in the world will punish or hurt you in retaliation, not even the person who would be the victim of your crime, you are compelled to relinquish the desire to move in this direction because it can give you no satisfaction under the changed conditions.

sauwelios wrote:a) Can we at all 'relinquish' a desire? Does it not simply appear or disappear? Does it not arise from the feeling that something will bring us greater satisfaction, and subside naturally when we no longer feel that way?
b) Why cannot it give us satisfaction under the changed conditions? Is the only satisfaction we derive from hurting someone then derived from shaking off blame? Or must we feel that the dissatisfaction of being bitten by our conscience will outweigh any satisfaction the hurting may give us?


peacegirl wrote:a) Of course we can relinquish a desire if our desire is imposing on someone else. Desires can appear and disappear at will, but we have the control whether or not to act on those desires.

sauwelios wrote:Is not "desire" synonymous with "will"? If so, can we make the will to make a certain desire appear or disappear, appear or disappear at will? And if so, can we make that will, in turn, appear or disappear at will? You will see that this is an infinite regress (and therefore absurd).


A desire often comes into our consciousness without invitation (in other words, we do not will it into our consciousness), but once it is here here we have the ability to reject acting on that desire if we so choose. I'm really not sure what you are getting at.

sauwelios wrote:b) Yes, the only way conscience can be eased is by shaking off the blame, or finding some way to shift responsibility.

peacegirl wrote:But when there is no blame coming from the outside world,

sauwelios wrote:But there is from the inside world (namely, from our conscience). Cannot we shake off that blame?


No, we can't shake it off. Our conscience will not let us when we know that what we are contemplating is a genuine hurt. We can try to convince ourselves that it's okay, but our rationalizations will not work. That's what is so amazing.

peacegirl wrote:This shifting of responsibility, or this coming up with excuses, cannot be done because no one is asking for you for an excuse. We would already know you couldn't help yourself so there is no need for excuses. This is why when there is no blame, we can't justify what we are about to do it because there would be no way to shift the blame to someone or something else afterwards. You are exactly right when you say that the dissatisfaction of being bitten by our conscience (I love the way you worded that :)) will outweigh any satisfaction the hurting may give us.


sauwelios wrote:Okay, so at least I understand that part.


Great.

sauwelios wrote:I will now try to reconstruct Mr. Lessans' argument.

First premise: We have an internal sense of right and wrong which is not subject to change.
Second premise: We believe there is no free will.
Conclusion: We cannot attack each other unprovoked, as our internal sense of right and wrong will tell us that is wrong. Our fear of this unpleasant sensation will prevent us from doing such a thing.

As I've said, this only holds if we feel said sensation will be more dissatisfying than any pleasure we may derive from hurting will be satisfying.

Anyway, I wonder what you think of my syllogism. And regardless, I think such a syllogism, or a chain of such syllogisms, is what we should aim to formulate. I think this is what Only_Humean is trying to do as well.

peacegirl wrote:I think you're beginning to understand. I love your syllogism and I hope I can clarify anything that may be unclear. It is true that the sensation will be more dissatisfying than any pleasure that can derived from hurting someone, under the changed conditions.

sauwelios wrote:So you agree with my syllogism? Note: by doing so you place your head under the guillotine, to use your simile. :!:


I'm not into trick questions in order to show me up. Just show me where you think I misunderstood you, and I'll either admit I'm wrong or I'll try to correct what I said after seeing where your syllogism went off course.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:06 pm

Sorry, don't have time to reconstruct the quoting in the first part of your latest response (you might try using the "edit" and "preview" buttons until you get the proper structure), but I think I can make the issue apparent in the following reply:

peacegirl wrote:
Oughtist wrote:What I'm leading towards (which is actually a critique of "Mental Illness" as well, but I'll leave that aside (do you know any Foucault?)) is that it seems that this is a project which assumes there is a "concept" out there which everyone can learn about more or less identically (comparable to a mathematical truth). What I would argue is that there is actually very much a neurodiversity in the human condition which precludes "everyone" learning the same thing en masse, most especially an abstract conceptual proposition. The variants and degrees of types of learners is, we are finding, increasingly staggering. There is, indeed, no discrete separation to be discovered between mental abnormality and the "neurotypical average". The consequence of this is that any proposition which requires "everyone" to learn it is essentially doomed. Neurodiversity is, rather, the normal condition of the human species.


I beg to differ. Yes, there is neurodiversity, which is the normal condition of the human species. I hope, for the moment, you can forget words such as abnormal and normal. It is also true that people learn differently, have different capabilities, and retain different amounts of information. This truth does not demand that everyone be identical. I am not sure where you got that idea.



If I understand correctly, there is something akin to an epidemiological claim associated with the premise of the Text: namely, that at some unspecified threshold point (yes?) the concept of blamelessness will spread like a virus throughout human consciousness, and essentially re-determine humans' most basic intersubjective experience from then-on (apparently before 2030 or so). This nicely relates to the idea of "memes" (there's a recent thread somewhere on this board in case you're not familiar... I'll provide the link if you want). Insofar as it does, it must also (for its own universally-applicable premise to hold) assume that humans experience knowledge of abstract concepts, such as relate to morality, very similarly.

To put the matter very simply, though, this assumption does not appreciate (I am claiming) such diversities of understanding as are had amongst, for instance, "abstract" and "concrete" thinkers. Between such types of learners (and again, that's a very simplified manner of representing the much richer notion of neurodiversity), the very meaning--its practical sense--of what is otherwise a formally identical concept is substantially different. A "concrete" thinker will, perhaps, apply themself to the thought of blamelessness with virtually religious commitment (assuming, of course, theycome sufficiently to comprehend it at all), but with limited ability to differentiate how it applies in varied contexts. So, unless their social context is highly reified, misapplication is unavoidable and intersubjective discord persists. Needless to say, few social contexts remain so reified anymore--the Amish, say, give it a good college try, but, well, ...can we agree that those days are gone?

On the other hand, "abstract" learners tend either a) to underappreciate the pernicious reality of concrete perspectives (a common problem with Theorists), or b) dismiss (or at least vigorously test) normative claims of universal simplicity. A normative claim of universal simplicity is currently being rigorously tested here, and one of the dimensions being attended to is how that claim underappreciates the reality of concrete (nevermind even more diverse) perspectives. That is, EVEN IF the "discovery" captures some conceptual clarity heretofore missed, it is disingenuous in its grand impression of its own practicability. And the greater the extent to which such disingenuity is evident provides one with even greater suspicion that the clarity of the concept itself is inherently muddled.

Meanwhile, those who have read the Book and were enthralled (as we all occasionally are) must face up to the thought that they are plagued by the author's infecting their shoulders as to proselytize it into human reality. Prima facie, it seems, the base of a new religion is born ... where God (cast as the Laws of Reality) is personified through the thoughts of the Author. Insofar as that is a possibility, if I allow you to be the meme-carrier of the blameless thesis, may I (we) try to be a "counter-meme" for your antithetical pleasure, and combat your infection? (yes, lol! ...such makes swine flu is a mere passing distraction :lol: )
Things are apparent.
User avatar
Oughtist
Para-philosopher
 
Posts: 2884
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Epiphoneminal Max

Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:26 pm

peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:c. What I mean is that anyone alive has been hurt by someone else sometime. So how can such a person ever strike a 'first blow'? They have already received a blow sometime.


That is true. What stops the victim from retaliating against someone who has already hurt him is explained at the end of Chapter Two.

Okay, I will believe that, for now.


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:b) Methinks you actually agree with me. We have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do (i.e., what 'choices' we make).


Methinks you're right. ;) But you can't use the fact that you have no control over the direction you move in as an excuse to gain an advantage at another's expense.

I can agree with that, under the conditions defined by Lessans. However, I'm not convinced that one cannot gain an advantage at another's expense without any excuse under those conditions.


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelious wrote:According to 1. above, we don't have control over whether we will hurt someone or not, but simply cannot hurt someone if we don't want to (i.e., if we feel it will not bring us greater, or will bring us less, satisfaction), and cannot help but hurt someone if we do want to (i.e., if we feel it will bring us greater satisfaction).


That's just it, there is no way in the world you can want to hurt someone because it will ALWAYS bring you less satisfaction knowing that the whole world, including the one to be hurt, will never blame you for what you are thinking about doing. That's why this law is so powerful because YOU CAN'T WANT TO UNDER THESE CONDITIONS; IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. If you could this law would not live up to its claims. It would be just another theory.

The passage I've made bold is no argument, so you can leave such remarks away in the future.


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:
peacegirl wrote:Let's say you are contemplating cleaning someone's home out (you are a professional thief, let's say) but not to steal would not make you a loser. There are two alternatives, to get what you want even though you know this person will suffer, but at least you will have satisfied your desires, or not to steal but you won't get what you want. At this point in time you can choose either one. You know this is a definite hurt and you also know that if you should choose to do this, no one in the world is going to blame you because everyone would know that it was beyond your control. But before you make this choice, you know it IS within your control not to hurt this person this way. What stops you is the realization that if you go ahead with what you are contemplating, no one will blame you, criticize you, or judge you in any way, including the person who was the victim of your crime. Now you tell me, could you justify doing this? Be honest.

I don't see why that should stop me. I really don't. If anyone else understand, can they please explain it? I can only answer that being blamed, criticised, or judged was not what would make me do it, so not being blamed, criticised, or judged would not make me not do it.

Maybe it wouldn't make YOU do it because you are not a thief. Right now we are talking about someone who would do it even though he knows if he gets caught he will get severely punished. But even with this threat, he is willing to pay the price for the satisfaction of certain desires. Under the changed conditions, he CAN'T do it because it will give him less satisfaction, not more, when he knows that he is committing an unprovoked act that will not be blamed.

That knowledge will outweigh any pleasure a sane criminal might derive from his crime, according to you and Lessans, right?


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:
peacegirl wrote:a) Of course we can relinquish a desire if our desire is imposing on someone else. Desires can appear and disappear at will, but we have the control whether or not to act on those desires.

Is not "desire" synonymous with "will"? If so, can we make the will to make a certain desire appear or disappear, appear or disappear at will? And if so, can we make that will, in turn, appear or disappear at will? You will see that this is an infinite regress (and therefore absurd).

A desire often comes into our consciousness without invitation (in ther words, we do not will it into our consciousness), but once it is here here we have the ability to reject acting on that desire if we so choose. I'm really not sure what you are getting at.

"If we so choose" means "if we want that". So the ability to reject acting on a desire depends on a will, i.e., another desire. Cannot we then reject the will to reject acting on a desire, if we so choose? (I myself am not caught in this infinite regress, because I don't believe we can reject any will or desire.)


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:
peacegirl wrote:But when there is no blame coming from the outside world,

But there is from the inside world (namely, from our conscience). Cannot we shake off that blame?

No, we can't shake it off. Our conscience will not let us when we know that what we are contemplating is a genuine hurt. We can try to convince ourselves that it's okay, but our rationalizations will not work. That's what is so amazing.

Okay, so methinks our conscience is the internal equivalent of the morality of free will and right and wrong which no longer exists under the conditions defined by Lessans. Contrary to that morality, however, our conscience will (again, according to you and Lessans) always exist, with unalterable strength. Right?


peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:So you agree with my syllogism? Note: by doing so you place your head under the guillotine, to use your simile. :!:

I'm not into trick questions. Just show me where you think I misunderstood you, and I'll either admit I'm wrong or I'll try to correct what I said after seeing where your syllogism went off course.

No trick question. And I'm not saying I think you misunderstood me. I just don't agree with the following (and here it comes):

1) that the internal sensation that something is wrong (or: the bite of conscience) will always be more dissatisfying than any pleasure one may derive from hurting will be satisfying;
2) that there is such a thing as an internal sense of right and wrong that is not subject to change.

Even if said internal sensation may, at the time the new conditions defined by Lessans come about, be more dissatisfying for some or many people than any pleasure they may derive from hurting will be satisfying, I believe said internal sense will atrophy without a morality like the one mentioned earlier in this post to feed it. In other words, I think the first premise of my syllogism will either be false, or become false sooner or later!---
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
User avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist
 
Posts: 7183
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:57 pm

peacegirl wrote:I am in agreement. Whether something is considered wrong often determines whether someone feels guilty or not. But some of the guilt is unjustified because it has more to do with culture than whether it is truly a hurt. You must keep in mind that when culture is not dictating what is right and wrong, and no one is judging, it will be the individual who decides whether he is hurting someone. If it truly is a hurt, he won't be able to do it. If it is not a genuine hurt, he will be able to do it. No one will be judging. In the case of homosexuality, who is being hurt? These cultural dictates will no longer be driven by superstition, force, or punitive action.


I'm not sure I was clear, apologies. I'll try and explain my point from a different angle...
Humans are social animals. Thoughts and opinions are built up and reinforced or taken apart by interaction with other humans, we all influence each other, that is society. This also applies to morals. Conscience is not something that survives in spite of morality; conscience is the individual experience of morality, morality is the collective result of conscience.

peacegirl wrote:Conscience is not to give someone a good self image even though we may try to do good for appearances sake. We are born with an internal compass that guides us in our behaviors. This is always present unless something in life causes a disconnect. This is not about an effort to acquire a good conscience. Conscience IS. It will hold back desires IF AND ONLY IF THEY COULD CAUSE HARM TO ANOTHER. That's what conscience is there for. We have all kinds of drives, and we deserve the right to express them. This is not one more rule. This is about being guided by our internal compass.


There's a bald assertion that conscience just is, and that the desire to follow it will overpower all other desires. I disagree, firstly that there is a fixed innate knowledge of right and wrong, and secondly that it is all-overpowering... and I see no reason in the text or in my experience to accept this. Certainly not to *have to* accept this.

The problem with stating that this is mathematical reasoning and that people who understand the logic must agree, is that it misses an important part out. Mathematical arguments of this type have a purely logical structure that apply to premises, the classic example is:
All men are mortal
Socrates is a man
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

This is the undeniable conclusion that anyone thinking properly must see. However, the mathematical part doesn't compel you to accept the premises:
All ducks speak German
Socrates is a duck
Therefore, Socrates speaks German

Is also undeniable. However, it's false. Switch German to Greek and you have a true conclusion from two false premises... logical reasoning can only show you when you've got something wrong (the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises), not right.

Without others telling us what is right and wrong, we ourselves will know whether something is wrong or not, without sacrificing our own desires and values.


If we know it is wrong for ourselves to do it, we know it is wrong for others to do it.
If others can't help themselves, neither can we.
If no-one can make us choose something that we do not choose as it satisfies our desires, it follows that we can't either.
The "two-sided equation" requires that we treat all other humans as fundamentally separate, apart, other. It requires an absolute lack of empathy.

If I can borrow from another conversation you're having:
peacegirl wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:b) Methinks you actually agree with me. We have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do (i.e., what 'choices' we make).

Methinks you're right. But you can't use the fact that you have no control over the direction you move in as an excuse to gain an advantage at another's expense.


You can't use anything as an excuse - you have no free will, you're a product of a deterministic universe and you slavishly follow your greatest satisfaction - if that involves making excuses to gain advantage, so be it.

That goes right back to an eye for an eye. It is a natural reaction to retaliate if you feel you have been wronged. Yes, society's blame is the deterrent, but it does not stop those who want something badly enough. People who choose to hurt others know that if they are caught there will be some form of blame and punishment. This is one of the justifications that allows people to satisfy their desires without a thought who it could be hurting.


If they know there will be no blame and punishment (for example, they are acting on the orders of someone who can ensure this), they can be far more inhuman - see the Milgram experiment, Nazi Germany, or for a social and not hierarchical version, Eliot's "blue eyes brown eyes" experiment.

Only_Humean wrote:Of course conscience is concerned only with what one holds oneself responsible for (you are not responsible for other people's actions), but what you are missing is that when you know that you will not be blamed for anything, you will be unable to turn the other cheek to your own actions. You really need to read Chapter Three to get a better understanding. Under these conditions, there is NO WAY you will be able to carry out a crime because you won't be able to justify what you are about to do.


OK, hypothetically: a man rapes a woman. "How can he do that?" everyone asks. He justifies it by the intense sexual and psychological satisfaction it brings him. He admits he feels bad for hurting her, but nothing like as euphoric as he feels for having committed the act. Another one: Someone injects a sleeping vagrant with a fatal dose of narcotic. The vagrant passes away peacefully, no relatives to mourn him, no-one was hurt. The person has a clear conscience as no-one was hurt, and his desire to watch someone die has also been satisfied.

Only_Humean wrote:5) No-one is responsible at all for their actions
It may come in later chapters, as it's not directly relevant to the equation - but this also naturally means that no-one can feel a sense of achievement at anything they have done. I would foresee this causing psychological problems related to the conscience.


This is discussed in the chapter on education. You are right in that the pride you feel in your accomplishments will be dampened by the knowledge that you didn't do it of your own free will. That being said, there will always be a sense of satisfaction in one's achievements, but it will never lead to arrogance or superiority. You will understand this much better when you read the book in its entirety.

I am aware of compatibilism. It is true that punishment serves a purpose in the world in which we live. Compatabilism tries to reconcile a deterministic position with a free will position. It still involves punishment, whether it is personal or not. And yes, it is for the sake of the community. But people who are not moved by punishment or rewards will go on satisfying their desires at the expense of others.


Compatibilism doesn't require free will at all, it can be a purely deterministic stance.

Knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting (2.2.3.1)
True, but one might gain greater satisfaction from the results of actions that incidentally hurt people.


If they didn't know they hurt someone, yes, they will get satisfaction because the hurt was unknown or incidental. But when they realize they did hurt someone indirectly or directly, they will not want to do it again.


Sorry, I don't believe it.

You are missing a lot of points, but I know you're trying. The word God is a symbol for everything that exists. God, in this context, only means the laws of the universe guiding our behavior. That's all he meant by this word.


Spinoza, then :)
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:59 pm

Oughtist wrote:Sorry, don't have time to reconstruct the quoting in the first part of your latest response (you might try using the "edit" and "preview" buttons until you get the proper structure), but I think I can make the issue apparent in the following reply:

What I'm leading towards (which is actually a critique of "Mental Illness" as well, but I'll leave that aside (do you know any Foucault?)) is that it seems that this is a project which assumes there is a "concept" out there which everyone can learn about more or less identically (comparable to a mathematical truth). What I would argue is that there is actually very much a neurodiversity in the human condition which precludes "everyone" learning the same thing en masse, most especially an abstract conceptual proposition. The variants and degrees of types of learners is, we are finding, increasingly staggering. There is, indeed, no discrete separation to be discovered between mental abnormality and the "neurotypical average". The consequence of this is that any proposition which requires "everyone" to learn it is essentially doomed. Neurodiversity is, rather, the normal condition of the human species.


I have to ask you this question: Don't we all learn in mass (especially when we are very young) that we will be punished if we do what is something wrong? Learners of all neurotypical types easily understand the consequences of their behavior if they don't act in accordance with the rules. And if they don't understand, someone must take responsibility for them. By the same token, to say that learners (that fall within the norm of the species' intellectual range) can't learn the concept of 'no blame', is short-sighted at best. Finally, to say that this is an abstract conceptional proposition is absolutely preposterous.

peacegirl wrote:I beg to differ. Yes, there is neurodiversity, which is the normal condition of the human species. I hope, for the moment, you can forget words such as abnormal and normal. It is also true that people learn differently, have different capabilities, and retain different amounts of information. This truth does not demand that everyone be identical. I am not sure where you got that idea.


Oughtist wrote:If I understand correctly, there is something akin to an epidemiological claim associated with the premise of the Text: namely, that at some unspecified threshold point (yes?) the concept of blamelessness will spread like a virus throughout human consciousness, and essentially re-determine humans' most basic intersubjective experience from then-on (apparently before 2030 or so). This nicely relates to the idea of "memes" (there's a recent thread somewhere on this board in case you're not familiar... I'll provide the link if you want). Insofar as it does, it must also (for its own universally-applicable premise to hold) assume that humans experience knowledge of abstract concepts, such as relate to morality, very similarly.


No, this is not about memes or viruses. Laugh all you want, it doesn't matter. It is about getting this knowledge into the hands of true scientists who can follow the mathematical relations implicitly expressed. Otherwise, this knowledge will remain hidden. It's not that complicated Oughtist. I will say once again that when this knowledge is confirmed valid, we won't have to be rocket scientists to understand that we will not be blamed, more than it takes a rocket scientist to understand that he will be blamed. Obviously, you are the one that is failing to understand because you already assume you do, so you think it's a slam dunk in your favor. You are sorely mistaken but I'm not going to defend this book any longer. It is either true or it's not, and if it is true, it will be revealed if not sooner, than later.

Oughtist wrote:To put the matter very simply, though, this assumption does not appreciate (I am claiming) such diversities of understanding as are had amongst, for instance, "abstract" and "concrete" thinkers. Between such types of learners (and again, that's a very simplified manner of representing the much richer notion of neurodiversity), the very meaning--its practical sense--of what is otherwise a formally identical concept is substantially different. A "concrete" thinker will, perhaps, apply themself to the thought of blamelessness with virtually religious commitment (assuming, of course, theycome sufficiently to comprehend it at all), but with limited ability to differentiate how it applies in varied contexts. So, unless their social context is highly reified, misapplication is unavoidable and intersubjective discord persists. Needless to say, few social contexts remain so reified anymore--the Amish, say, give it a good college try, but, well, ...can we agree that those days are gone?


What you are saying sounds so deep but it's just a bunch of psychobabble. So now you are calling me a concrete thinker (which sounds quite derogatory) because I am committed to the concept? :-k I know exactly how this concept is applied in various contexts, do you? I don't think so. Unless this natural law works across the board, it is not a law at all. But you call it too simple; there are too many variables. The truth is that this law cannot be misapplied and there is no possibility for intersubjective discord.

Oughtist wrote:On the other hand, "abstract" learners tend either a) to underappreciate the pernicious reality of concrete perspectives (a common problem with Theorists), or b) dismiss (or at least vigorously test) normative claims of universal simplicity. A normative claim of universal simplicity is currently being rigorously tested here, and one of the dimensions being attended to is how that claim underappreciates the reality of concrete (nevermind even more diverse) perspectives. That is, EVEN IF the "discovery" captures some conceptual clarity heretofore missed, it is disingenuous in its grand impression of its own practicability. And the greater the extent to which such disingenuity is evident provides one with even greater suspicion that the clarity of the concept itself is inherently muddled.


You have failed again to even understand the basics. What is the discovery Oughtist? Can you spell it out for me? Do you know how it extends into the economic system...the medical system...the educational system...the relationships in our lives? Nothing is underappreciated here. This law has been proven. Man's will is not free and for the reasons given. You are the one making broad statements about the simplicity of the claims just because you cannot believe that it actually has universal application. It is true that this new world can only come about when the knowledge is stamped with the brevet of truth (call me a proselytyzer if you want) but it will take time given the ignorance that exists. That only means it will take more time than we hoped for. Hey, it took the Greeks two thousand years to get their message across, so why am I complaining? And for your information, there is no disingenuity, and the concept is not muddled.

Oughtist wrote:Meanwhile, those who have read the Book and were enthralled (as we all occasionally are) must face up to the thought that they are plagued by the author's infecting their shoulders as to proselytize it into human reality. Prima facie, it seems, the base of a new religion is born ... where God (cast as the Laws of Reality) is personified through the thoughts of the Author. Insofar as that is a possibility, if I allow you to be the meme-carrier of the blameless thesis, may I (we) try to be a "counter-meme" for your antithetical pleasure, and combat your infection? (yes, lol! ...such makes swine flu is a mere passing distraction :lol: )


This is not about religion at all. How can it be about religion when all religion will eventually be coming to an end? This is getting funnier by the minute. You seem so sure that his use of the word God means something that it does not, but you aren't listening. It's amazing how wrong a person can be regarding their understanding of a concept and then try to punch holes in it. We have talked a few times and you think you have sized this discovery up accurately and have now become an authority. Well you haven't, and it's sad that your conclusions have so quickly turned sour. Anyway, it's been nice sharing these few posts with you, but I would rather not discuss anything more with you on a one to one. There is no way I can begin to refute your muddled points and you will then claim victory. I know you have not grasped the principles AT ALL even though you think you have, and I don't have the desire to defend this book when the questions stop, and the false conclusions begin. One last thing: Just remember I really don't blame you for your overconfidence; I know your will is not free.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:40 am

Holy Cats, peacegirl! You're reading into me a bit too much. I'm certainly not claiming to understand the thesis, rather I'm trying to suggest that whatever it is, it's not something that can be presented as "knowledge" to "all people", as if it will mean the same thing to everyone (which, I take it, is meant to be the epistemic force of equating it to a mathematical proposition).

No, I wasn't meaning to call you a concrete thinker (in fact, insofar as I was thinking of anyone in that regard, I was thinking of persons I know, who are lovely people, but who simply don't see the world in a way which allows them to adjust their perceptions to a broader picture). I am sorry that you read me as describing you that way... if anything, I would have thought you saw me describing you as an abstract thinker who doesn't appreciate the reality of concrete thinkers... #-o

In any case, in a more restricted sense, I in fact have a certain amount of sympathy with the notion of "blamelessness", and blame is not something I spend much time placing on others (or myself). It's not the moral box I play in.

I'm trying to address issues of practicality with you. For instance, for myself, I'm not going to read a book online... it's just not something I do ... I need the paper in my hand. But I'm not gonna go buy another
Book unless I feel it's worth my while. The vast majority of humanity wouldn't even open the first page... not something most people do a lot of. That's just a fact.

On the other hand, I made a quick search online for information about the book, and it wasn't encouraging. The one Amazon review is pretty devastating (perhaps persons such as yourself should enter a rebuttal there, 'cause that one is surely slashing sales). What's this about using military force to quash the remaining dissenters?

I also visited the website dedicated to the book. Two short single-sentence reviews of the book, completely lacking any substance. The website itself hasn't been updated since 2005.

So, where does that leave me? I'm coming from where I'm coming from. If the clarity of the concept can't be translated even on a forum such as this, then, indeed, the practical truth of the matter is that it will take a millenia or two for the Truth to be verified (if indeed true it is)... but that's true of lots of things.

So, there we are. Where do we go from here?
Things are apparent.
User avatar
Oughtist
Para-philosopher
 
Posts: 2884
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Epiphoneminal Max

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:05 pm

peacegirl wrote:
Oughtist wrote:If I understand correctly, there is something akin to an epidemiological claim associated with the premise of the Text: namely, that at some unspecified threshold point (yes?) the concept of blamelessness will spread like a virus throughout human consciousness, and essentially re-determine humans' most basic intersubjective experience from then-on (apparently before 2030 or so). This nicely relates to the idea of "memes" (there's a recent thread somewhere on this board in case you're not familiar... I'll provide the link if you want). Insofar as it does, it must also (for its own universally-applicable premise to hold) assume that humans experience knowledge of abstract concepts, such as relate to morality, very similarly.


No, this is not about memes or viruses. Laugh all you want, it doesn't matter.


I certainly don't read this as mocking your ideas, it's a serious point about how the idea in practice will spread. Do you hope to convert everyone with the logic of it, or just convert a few world leaders who then impose it under pain of death on the world population?

It is about getting this knowledge into the hands of true scientists who can follow the mathematical relations implicitly expressed. Otherwise, this knowledge will remain hidden. It's not that complicated Oughtist. I will say once again that when this knowledge is confirmed valid, we won't have to be rocket scientists to understand that we will not be blamed, more than it takes a rocket scientist to understand that he will be blamed.


Following the mathematics/logic of an argument, as I said earlier, does not mean agreeing to the truth of the conclusions. This is a very basic and fundamental misconception. The premises of an argument are facts; what you do with the facts and how they relate to each other is the mathematical/logical part of the argument. As you say, mathematics is about relations; what is related is not a part of the mathematics.

Now, for everyone to agree that the premises are true, everyone has to start from a similar perspective regarding the facts. If your fact is "things fall towards the ground when you let go", most people will assent. As soon as you assume something about God(s), facts about morality, or make universal claims about How Humans Are, you have a problem finding things that everyone will agree on, insofar as they aren't empirical statements that people can go outside and check. So no, it's not inevitable.

Obviously, you are the one that is failing to understand because you already assume you do, so you think it's a slam dunk in your favor. You are sorely mistaken but I'm not going to defend this book any longer. It is either true or it's not, and if it is true, it will be revealed if not sooner, than later.


If it's not true, wouldn't you want to know that? I presume you would rather change your mind if it meant finding out the truth, than stick to your falsehoods to avoid changing your mind. If you don't entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not thinking.
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:11 pm

Sauwelios wrote:c. What I mean is that anyone alive has been hurt by someone else sometime. So how can such a person ever strike a 'first blow'? They have already received a blow sometime.


peacegirl wrote:That is true. What stops the victim from retaliating against someone who has already hurt him is explained at the end of Chapter Two.


sauwelios wrote:Okay, I will believe that, for now.



sauwelios wrote:b) Methinks you actually agree with me. We have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do (i.e., what 'choices' we make).


peacegirl wrote:Methinks you're right. ;) But you can't use the fact that you have no control over the direction you move in as an excuse to gain an advantage at another's expense.

sauwelios wrote:I can agree with that, under the conditions defined by Lessans. However, I'm not convinced that one cannot gain an advantage at another's expense without any excuse under those conditions.

That's the whole point. When no one is holding you responsible for hurting someone, you are forced to hold yourself responsible. Imagine a scenario where, even though you are not stealing, you see a chance to get away with something small. Just knowing that no one would ever blame you even if they saw what you were doing, and you also knew that no one would be judging your actions therefore there would be no need to come up with excuses because you know you are already excused, there is no way you could get satisfaction out of this.

sauwelious wrote:According to 1. above, we don't have control over whether we will hurt someone or not, but simply cannot hurt someone if we don't want to (i.e., if we feel it will not bring us greater, or will bring us less, satisfaction), and cannot help but hurt someone if we do want to (i.e., if we feel it will bring us greater satisfaction).


peacegirl wrote:That's just it, there is no way in the world you can want to hurt someone because it will ALWAYS bring you less satisfaction knowing that the whole world, including the one to be hurt, will never blame you for what you are thinking about doing. That's why this law is so powerful because YOU CAN'T WANT TO UNDER THESE CONDITIONS; IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. If you could this law would not live up to its claims. It would be just another theory.

sauwelios wrote:The passage I've made bold is no argument, so you can leave such remarks away in the future.


peacegirl wrote:Let's say you are contemplating cleaning someone's home out (you are a professional thief, let's say) but not to steal would not make you a loser. There are two alternatives, to get what you want even though you know this person will suffer, but at least you will have satisfied your desires, or not to steal but you won't get what you want. At this point in time you can choose either one. You know this is a definite hurt and you also know that if you should choose to do this, no one in the world is going to blame you because everyone would know that it was beyond your control. But before you make this choice, you know it IS within your control not to hurt this person this way. What stops you is the realization that if you go ahead with what you are contemplating, no one will blame you, criticize you, or judge you in any way, including the person who was the victim of your crime. Now you tell me, could you justify doing this? Be honest.

sauwelios wrote:I don't see why that should stop me. I really don't. If anyone else understand, can they please explain it? I can only answer that being blamed, criticised, or judged was not what would make me do it, so not being blamed, criticised, or judged would not make me not do it.

peacegirl wrote:Maybe it wouldn't make YOU do it because you are not a thief. Right now we are talking about someone who would do it even though he knows if he gets caught he will get severely punished. But even with this threat, he is willing to pay the price for the satisfaction of certain desires. Under the changed conditions, he CAN'T do it because it will give him less satisfaction, not more, when he knows that he is committing an unprovoked act that will not be blamed.

Sauwelios wrote:That knowledge will outweigh any pleasure a sane criminal might derive from his crime, according to you and Lessans, right?

Right. You need to remember that the environment will be so different than it is today when the criminal knows in advance that if he does this, everyone will be compelled to turn the other cheek, that he will be unable to derive one bit of satisfaction under these conditions. There are many crimes that are committed that are in retaliation. Right now we are talking about someone whose conscience has not reached the temperature necessary to control his desires when it comes to an unprovoked crime. When this principle is put into effect, he has no choice but to change his ways. This is not about whether a person wants to or not. He will have no choice. That's what you need to understand.

peacegirl wrote:a) Of course we can relinquish a desire if our desire is imposing on someone else. Desires can appear and disappear at will, but we have the control whether or not to act on those desires.

sauwelios wrote:Is not "desire" synonymous with "will"? If so, can we make the will to make a certain desire appear or disappear, appear or disappear at will? And if so, can we make that will, in turn, appear or disappear at will? You will see that this is an infinite regress (and therefore absurd).

peacegirl wrote:A desire often comes into our consciousness without invitation (in ther words, we do not will it into our consciousness), but once it is here here we have the ability to reject acting on that desire if we so choose. I'm really not sure what you are getting at.

sauwelios wrote:"If we so choose" means "if we want that". So the ability to reject acting on a desire depends on a will, i.e., another desire. Cannot we then reject the will to reject acting on a desire, if we so choose? (I myself am not caught in this infinite regress, because I don't believe we can reject any will or desire.)

I think we are talking semantics. We have the ability to reject something, even if we have the desire for it. We might still want it, but we choose not to act on it. This goes back to the fact that we have absolute control over our choices, if the consequences of those choices are detrimental to us or others.

peacegirl wrote:But when there is no blame coming from the outside world,

sauwelios wrote:But there is from the inside world (namely, from our conscience). Cannot we shake off that blame?

peacegirl wrote:No, we can't shake it off. Our conscience will not let us when we know that what we are contemplating is a genuine hurt. We can try to convince ourselves that it's okay, but our rationalizations will not work. That's what is so amazing.

sauwelios wrote:Okay, so methinks our conscience is the internal equivalent of the morality of free will and right and wrong which no longer exists under the conditions defined by Lessans. Contrary to that morality, however, our conscience will (again, according to you and Lessans) always exist, with unalterable strength. Right?

Our conscience is raised up beyond the morality of free will and the standards by others of what is right and wrong. In fact, this principle works so well that even in situations where you could easily get away with something such as someone giving you the wrong change and no one would ever know, would not give you the slightest amount of satisfaction.

sauwelios wrote:So you agree with my syllogism? Note: by doing so you place your head under the guillotine, to use your simile. :!:

peacegirl wrote:I'm not into trick questions. Just show me where you think I misunderstood you, and I'll either admit I'm wrong or I'll try to correct what I said after seeing where your syllogism went off course.

sauwelios wrote:No trick question. And I'm not saying I think you misunderstood me. I just don't agree with the following (and here it comes):

1) that the internal sensation that something is wrong (or: the bite of conscience) will always be more dissatisfying than any pleasure one may derive from hurting will be satisfying;

That's okay, if your pleasure is to hurt me incidentally due to your wanting something that is mine, not yours, I promise that even though I'm hurt, I am not going to blame you Sauwelios. In fact, my doors are open. Take what you want. Each person has to decide for himself whether this would be something he could do, which is why you need to think about whether you could do it. This is a hypothetical situation because we all know you are not thinking in these terms, but it does apply to each and every person.

sauwelios wrote:2) that there is such a thing as an internal sense of right and wrong that is not subject to change.

When seeing in total perspective, there is no true right or wrong, just what someone wants to do. No one will be judging the rightness or wrongness of your actions. You are the only one who will be the judge. The only thing that would stand in your way when making a choice between one thing over another is if you know that your actions could be a hurt to someone else. We have define the word hurt. Sometimes what someone calls a hurt is a manipulation. That is discussed in the chapter on children.

sauwelios wrote:Even if said internal sensation may, at the time the new conditions defined by Lessans come about, be more dissatisfying for some or many people than any pleasure they may derive from hurting will be satisfying, I believe said internal sense will atrophy without a morality like the one mentioned earlier in this post to feed it. In other words, I think the first premise of my syllogism will either be false, or become false sooner or later!---

What feeds your desire not to hurt another is an inbuilt morality that is much stronger than rules and regulations that a society puts in place. Society had to judge our actions and put the fear of punishment in people's hearts and minds in order to keep order, but this judgment by others is actually preventing the very thing it is trying to achieve. When we remove all blame from the outside world, this does not mean there will be anarchy. Yes, there would be anarchy right now if we removed all blame. But I'm talking about right now; I'm talking about a transitional period that has to take place where our world gradually moves from being blame-filled to being blame-less.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:57 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peacegirl wrote:
Oughtist wrote:If I understand correctly, there is something akin to an epidemiological claim associated with the premise of the Text: namely, that at some unspecified threshold point (yes?) the concept of blamelessness will spread like a virus throughout human consciousness, and essentially re-determine humans' most basic intersubjective experience from then-on (apparently before 2030 or so). This nicely relates to the idea of "memes" (there's a recent thread somewhere on this board in case you're not familiar... I'll provide the link if you want). Insofar as it does, it must also (for its own universally-applicable premise to hold) assume that humans experience knowledge of abstract concepts, such as relate to morality, very similarly.


No, this is not about memes or viruses. Laugh all you want, it doesn't matter.


I certainly don't read this as mocking your ideas, it's a serious point about how the idea in practice will spread. Do you hope to convert everyone with the logic of it, or just convert a few world leaders who then impose it under pain of death on the world population?

peacegirl wrote:Of course not, this is totally voluntary Only_Humean"] It just shows how everyone is jumping to premature conclusions even though you said you read the overview of the book. If you are having a problem, can you imagine the problem the general population will have? But this is not about the general population understanding this. It is about the scientists who can give this knowledge the stamp of approval that it deserves. Until then, everyone puts their two cents into because they have no idea what they are talking about.


It is about getting this knowledge into the hands of true scientists who can follow the mathematical relations implicitly expressed. Otherwise, this knowledge will remain hidden. It's not that complicated Oughtist. I will say once again that when this knowledge is confirmed valid, we won't have to be rocket scientists to understand that we will not be blamed, more than it takes a rocket scientist to understand that he will be blamed.


Only_Humean wrote:Following the mathematics/logic of an argument, as I said earlier, does not mean agreeing to the truth of the conclusions. This is a very basic and fundamental misconception. The premises of an argument are facts; what you do with the facts and how they relate to each other is the mathematical/logical part of the argument. As you say, mathematics is about relations; what is related is not a part of the mathematics.]/quote]
I am not sure I am getting your point. Maybe someone else can explain this in a different way. Sorry.

Only_Humean wrote:Now, for everyone to agree that the premises are true, everyone has to start from a similar perspective regarding the facts. If your fact is "things fall towards the ground when you let go", most people will assent. As soon as you assume something about God(s), facts about morality, or make universal claims about How Humans Are, you have a problem finding things that everyone will agree on, insofar as they aren't empirical statements that people can go outside and check. So no, it's not inevitable.

You are incorrect Only_Humean. Yes, there are people who might be that ill psychologically that nothing will change their behavior. But this psychological law of which the author speaks has everything to do with how people react. I hate to tell you that you are wrong here.

Obviously, you are the one that is failing to understand because you already assume you do, so you think it's a slam dunk in your favor. You are sorely mistaken but I'm not going to defend this book any longer. It is either true or it's not, and if it is true, it will be revealed if not sooner, than later.


If it's not true, wouldn't you want to know that? I presume you would rather change your mind if it meant finding out the truth, than stick to your falsehoods to avoid changing your mind. If you don't entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not thinking.


You are right in that we all have to inspect our thinking and our conclusions because if the premise is wrong, then the conclusions will also be wrong. This time around it is not the author who isn't thinking clearly, it is those who really haven't taken the time to study this work.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:10 pm

peacegirl wrote:
sauwelios wrote:I can agree with that, under the conditions defined by Lessans. However, I'm not convinced that one cannot gain an advantage at another's expense without any excuse under those conditions.

That's the whole point. When no one is holding you responsible for hurting someone, you are forced to hold yourself responsible. Imagine a scenario where, even though you are not stealing, you see a chance to get away with something small. Just knowing that no one would ever blame you even if they saw what you were doing, and you also knew that no one would be judging your actions therefore there would be no need to come up with excuses because you know you are already excused, there is no way you could get satisfaction out of this.

Of course there is. I still get access to the forbidden pleasure. The question is not if I can get satisfaction out of it, but whether the satisfaction I get outweighs the dissatisfaction of the aforementioned internal sensation/the bite of conscience.


I think we are talking semantics. We have the ability to reject something, even if we have the desire for it. We might still want it, but we choose not to act on it. This goes back to the fact that we have absolute control over our choices, if the consequences of those choices are detrimental to us or others.

No, you are confused. According to you: there is no difference between our 'absolute' control over our choices on the one hand, and our desires on the other; if we desire A we shall choose A; if we desire B we shall choose B; we have no choice, but always move in the direction of greater satisfaction (which is always what we desire); we cannot reject our desire for greater satisfaction.


Our conscience is raised up beyond the morality of free will and the standards by others of what is right and wrong. In fact, this principle works so well that even in situations where you could easily get away with something such as someone giving you the wrong change and no one would ever know, would not give you the slightest amount of satisfaction.

Yes it would, as we still get the change, along with any pleasure we can buy with it. Again, the question is not if I can get satisfaction out of it, but whether the satisfaction I get outweighs the dissatisfaction of the aforementioned internal sensation/the bite of conscience.


That's okay, if your pleasure is to hurt me incidentally due to your wanting something that is mine, not yours, I promise that even though I'm hurt, I am not going to blame you Sauwelios. In fact, my doors are open. Take what you want. Each person has to decide for himself whether this would be something he could do, which is why you need to think about whether you could do it. This is a hypothetical situation because we all know you are not thinking in these terms, but it does apply to each and every person.

If your doors are open, then you have no property. It is then not wrong to take what I want from the things I find there (which are not your possessions, as then you have no possessions).


When seeing in total perspective, there is no true right or wrong, just what someone wants to do. No one will be judging the rightness or wrongness of your actions. You are the only one who will be the judge. The only thing that would stand in your way when making a choice between one thing over another is if you know that your actions could be a hurt to someone else. We have define the word hurt. Sometimes what someone calls a hurt is a manipulation. That is discussed in the chapter on children.

According to the part I've made bold, hurting someone is not necessarily wrong. Therefore, knowing that my actions could be a hurt to someone else need nowise stand in my way.


What feeds your desire not to hurt another is an inbuilt morality that is much stronger than rules and regulations that a society puts in place.

Well, I believe that morality will collapse sooner or later, because it is no longer renovated or altered by the rules and regulations of society.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
User avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist
 
Posts: 7183
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:54 pm

peacegirl wrote:I am in agreement. Whether something is considered wrong often determines whether someone feels guilty or not. But some of the guilt is unjustified because it has more to do with culture than whether it is truly a hurt. You must keep in mind that when culture is not dictating what is right and wrong, and no one is judging, it will be the individual who decides whether he is hurting someone. If it truly is a hurt, he won't be able to do it. If it is not a genuine hurt, he will be able to do it. No one will be judging. In the case of homosexuality, who is being hurt? These cultural dictates will no longer be driven by superstition, force, or punitive action.


Only_Humean wrote:I'm not sure I was clear, apologies. I'll try and explain my point from a different angle...
Humans are social animals. Thoughts and opinions are built up and reinforced or taken apart by interaction with other humans, we all influence each other, that is society. This also applies to morals. Conscience is not something that survives in spite of morality; conscience is the individual experience of morality, morality is the collective result of conscience.


So is what you are saying is that morality is a learned trait and society is the teacher? Where this morality comes from is up for debate. Of course, we are all influenced by each other, and fear of being punished is a great motivator, but there something more to it. We all have an innate guidance system that tells us when we are about to do something wrong and it has nothing to do with society at all.

peacegirl wrote:Conscience is not to give someone a good self image even though we may try to do good for appearances sake. We are born with an internal compass that guides our behaviors. This is always present unless something in life causes a disconnect. This is not about an effort to acquire a good conscience. Conscience IS. It will hold back desires IF AND ONLY IF THEY COULD CAUSE HARM TO ANOTHER. That's what conscience is there for. We have all kinds of drives, and we deserve the right to express them. This is not one more rule. This is about being guided by our internal compass.


Only_Humean wrote:There's a bald assertion that conscience just is, and that the desire to follow it will overpower all other desires. I disagree, firstly that there is a fixed innate knowledge of right and wrong, and secondly that it is all-overpowering... and I see no reason in the text or in my experience to accept this. Certainly not to *have to* accept this.


peacegirl wrote:You are entitled to accept your thoughts on the subject. Once this knowledge is verified, your opinion will not stop this new world from becoming a reality. Conscience is powerful when it is allowed to work for you, not against you. The proof is in the pudding. There is not necessarily a fixed knowledge of right and wrong. Children seem to know at a very young age when something doesn't feel right, because their conscience tells them something is wrong. There was a study done showing the experimenter handling a baby was being handled very rough. The children who were watching this were showing signs of extreme anxiety. They knew intuitively that something the way the baby was being treated was not right. The results indicated that their conscience (and they were only 2 years old) was alive and well.


Only_Humean wrote:The problem with stating that this is mathematical reasoning and that people who understand the logic must agree, is that it misses an important part out. Mathematical arguments of this type have a purely logical structure that apply to premises, the classic example is:
All men are mortal
Socrates is a man
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

This is the undeniable conclusion that anyone thinking properly must see. However, the mathematical part doesn't compel you to accept the premises:
All ducks speak German
Socrates is a duck
Therefore, Socrates speaks German

Is also undeniable. However, it's false. Switch German to Greek and you have a true conclusion from two false premises... logical reasoning can only show you when you've got something wrong (the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises), not right.


Lessans' argument is valid and sound. He talked about syllogistic reasoning in his book. Did you read that part?

peacegirl wrote:]Without others telling us what is right and wrong, we ourselves will know whether something is wrong or not, without sacrificing our own desires and values.


Only_Humean wrote:If we know it is wrong for ourselves to do it, we know it is wrong for others to do it.
If others can't help themselves, neither can we.
If no-one can make us choose something that we do not choose as it satisfies our desires, it follows that we can't either.
The "two-sided equation" requires that we treat all other humans as fundamentally separate, apart, other. It requires an absolute lack of empathy.


Huh? :-k That is a false syllogism. Number three and four are invalid.

Only_Humean wrote:If I can borrow from another conversation you're having:
peacegirl wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:b) Methinks you actually agree with me. We have no control over the direction we move in, and thus over what we do (i.e., what 'choices' we make).

Methinks you're right. But you can't use the fact that you have no control over the direction you move in as an excuse to gain an advantage at another's expense.


Only_Humean wrote:You can't use anything as an excuse - you have no free will, you're a product of a deterministic universe and you slavishly follow your greatest satisfaction - if that involves making excuses to gain advantage, so be it.


How can you use anything as an excuse Only_Humean? The only time you can use something as an excuse is if you are being asked for one. But when no one is asking you for one, then giving an excuse for what you want to do is totally unnecessary. You must have missed that part.

peacegirl wrote:That goes right back to an eye for an eye. It is a natural reaction to retaliate if you feel you have been wronged. Yes, society's blame is the deterrent, but it does not stop those who want something badly enough. People who choose to hurt others know that if they are caught there will be some form of blame and punishment. This is one of the justifications that allows people to satisfy their desires without a thought who it could be hurting.


Only_Humean wrote:If they know there will be no blame and punishment (for example, they are acting on the orders of someone who can ensure this), they can be far more inhuman - see the Milgram experiment, Nazi Germany, or for a social and not hierarchical version, Eliot's "blue eyes brown eyes" experiment.


We are not talking about being ordered to do something. These people who were acting on orders were obviously not to blame. We are talking about a new world where there is no authority, no government, no police, no dictators, or anything that has do with blame. So what you are talking about only applies to the world of free will.

peacegirl wrote:Of course conscience is concerned only with what one holds oneself responsible for (you are not responsible for other people's actions), but what you are missing is that when you know that you will not be blamed for anything, you will be unable to turn the other cheek to your own actions. You really need to read Chapter Three to get a better understanding. Under these conditions, there is NO WAY you will be able to carry out a crime because you won't be able to justify what you are about to do.


Only_Humean wrote:OK, hypothetically: a man rapes a woman. "How can he do that?" everyone asks. He justifies it by the intense sexual and psychological satisfaction it brings him. He admits he feels bad for hurting her, but nothing like as euphoric as he feels for having committed the act. Another one: Someone injects a sleeping vagrant with a fatal dose of narcotic. The vagrant passes away peacefully, no relatives to mourn him, no-one was hurt. The person has a clear conscience as no-one was hurt, and his desire to watch someone die has also been satisfied.


How can a man desire this when he can't find satisfaction in doing this. Before he makes good on his desire he will need to carefully think about the consequences to himself, for how can he feel good about what he is about to do when he knows that no one will blame him for this act. But you are isolating an example that won't even come up in the new world. The environment in which children are brought up will be so different that you won't have boys that grow into men with this type of urge. That's why reading the whole book is so important.

Only_Humean wrote:5) No-one is responsible at all for their actions
It may come in later chapters, as it's not directly relevant to the equation - but this also naturally means that no-one can feel a sense of achievement at anything they have done. I would foresee this causing psychological problems related to the conscience.


This is discussed in the chapter on education. You are right in that the pride you feel in your accomplishments will be dampened by the knowledge that you didn't do it of your own free will. That being said, there will always be a sense of satisfaction in one's achievements, but it will never lead to arrogance or superiority. You will understand this much better when you read the book in its entirety.

peacegirl wrote:I am aware of compatibilism. It is true that punishment serves a purpose in the world in which we live. Compatabilism tries to reconcile a deterministic position with a free will position. It still involves punishment, whether it is personal or not. And yes, it is for the sake of the community. But people who are not moved by punishment or rewards will go on satisfying their desires at the expense of others.


Only_Humean wrote:Compatibilism doesn't require free will at all, it can be a purely deterministic stance.


I thought it was trying to make free will compatible with determinism. Regardless, the belief does not rule out punishment to change behavior.

Only_Humean wrote:Knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting (2.2.3.1)
True, but one might gain greater satisfaction from the results of actions that incidentally hurt people.


peacegirl wrote:If they didn't know they hurt someone, yes, they will get satisfaction because the hurt was unknown or incidental. But when they realize they did hurt someone indirectly or directly, they will not want to do it again.


Only_Humean wrote:Sorry, I don't believe it.


What's the difference between hurting someone directly or incidentally? If I hurt people when reaching for a goal, for example, I could not be satisfied knowing I didn't get there fairly. If I didn't know I was hurting someone, I would know soon enough and I would not want to hurt them again. How could I knowing that I was in the wrong and no one would say a word against me?
peacegirl wrote:You are missing a lot of points, but I know you're trying. The word God is a symbol for everything that exists. God, in this context, only means the laws of the universe guiding our behavior. That's all he meant by this word.


Only_Humean wrote:Spinoza, then :)


;)
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:40 pm

peacegirl wrote:So is what you are saying is that morality is a learned trait and society is the teacher? Where this morality comes from is up for debate. Of course, we are all influenced by each other, and fear of being punished is a great motivator, but there something more to it. We all have an innate guidance system that tells us when we are about to do something wrong and it has nothing to do with society at all.


In a sense; society is the teacher, but we are society. Conscience and morality are two sides of the same coin, not separate things that have a passing relationship. I'm interested, though, in why you say we have an innate sense of right and wrong?

peacegirl wrote:You are entitled to accept your thoughts on the subject. Once this knowledge is verified, your opinion will not stop this new world from becoming a reality.


If the knowledge is verified, my opinion will change. If it's not, would yours?

Lessans' argument is valid and sound. He talked about syllogistic reasoning in his book. Did you read that part?


Regarding Durant? Yes, otherwise, I can't recall. However, syllogism is merely an aspect of logic. The point is that his argument can be sound (although I'll come to where I believe it's not), but his premises may be false. You believe it to be true, but I believe that that is an article of faith for you, rather than epistemological knowledge (which I'll come to too).

Only_Humean wrote:If we know it is wrong for ourselves to do it, we know it is wrong for others to do it.
If others can't help themselves, neither can we.
If no-one can make us choose something that we do not choose as it satisfies our desires, it follows that we can't either.
The "two-sided equation" requires that we treat all other humans as fundamentally separate, apart, other. It requires an absolute lack of empathy.


Huh? :-k That is a false syllogism. Number three and four are invalid.


It's not a syllogism at all. Others are not to be blamed as, in a determinate universe, they could not help but act according to their greatest desire, a product of history, environment, circumstance (see point 1.3). The same is true of you. You are not aware of the forces shaping your choice, but they are there. In the book it's referred to as a compulsion (p. 56)-
Nothing can compel a man to do to another what he has made up his mind not to do... he is nevertheless under a compulsion during every moment of his existence to do everything he does... he has mathematical control over the former, but none over the latter

To put it tactfully, this seems to overlook the fact that "making up one's mind" is something that one does.

Only_Humean wrote:You can't use anything as an excuse - you have no free will, you're a product of a deterministic universe and you slavishly follow your greatest satisfaction - if that involves making excuses to gain advantage, so be it.


How can you use anything as an excuse Only_Humean? The only time you can use something as an excuse is if you are being asked for one. But when no one is asking you for one, then giving an excuse for what you want to do is totally unnecessary. You must have missed that part.


You can ask yourself, of course. Have you never in your life realised you'd done something silly and thought "oh no, why did I do that?" No-one is aware of all the factors guiding their behaviour (this is necessary for people to date to have so perniciously maintained the illusion of free will), so they can explain it to themselves. To their conscience.

People tell themselves little lies all the time to soothe their consciences, even when no-one is holding them personally to account. Most people know about the appalling conditions battery hens are kept in, yet the cheapness of the product provides an incentive to lie to their consciences even though no-one is blaming them for buying them. Likewise wearing sweatshop-produced sports shoes and t-shirts. Cognitive dissonance is unpleasant, but it can be and is repressed by comfortable lies or actively avoiding thinking about things - self-deceit.

Regarding responsibility (in the sense of blame), it means that someone or something is held responsible for causing an effect. Joe Smith is responsible for the murder of Jane Doe, Albert Einstein is responsible for the theory of General Relativity, Hurricane Katrina is responsible for the flooding of New Orleans. If I were to punch my neighbour on the nose, I would be responsible for causing him pain (so by your reasoning I could not, in a blame-free world) - agreed? How does this square with 2.4? Making up my mind to punch him is something I do, therefore is something I am compelled to do.

Only_Humean wrote:If they know there will be no blame and punishment (for example, they are acting on the orders of someone who can ensure this), they can be far more inhuman - see the Milgram experiment, Nazi Germany, or for a social and not hierarchical version, Eliot's "blue eyes brown eyes" experiment.


We are not talking about being ordered to do something. These people who were acting on orders were obviously not to blame. We are talking about a new world where there is no authority, no government, no police, no dictators, or anything that has do with blame. So what you are talking about only applies to the world of free will.


Wait, so Nazi executioners were not to blame for their actions?

How can a man desire this when he can't find satisfaction in doing this. Before he makes good on his desire he will need to carefully think about the consequences to himself, for how can he feel good about what he is about to do when he knows that no one will blame him for this act. But you are isolating an example that won't even come up in the new world. The environment in which children are brought up will be so different that you won't have boys that grow into men with this type of urge. That's why reading the whole book is so important.


So before anyone takes any action, they will think carefully about the consequences? This is so hypothetical there's little point discussing it.

What's the difference between hurting someone directly or incidentally? If I hurt people when reaching for a goal, for example, I could not be satisfied knowing I didn't get there fairly. If I didn't know I was hurting someone, I would know soon enough and I would not want to hurt them again. How could I knowing that I was in the wrong and no one would say a word against me?


Because the pleasure in achieving an important goal outweighs the minor discomfort of causing a little pain to someone you don't know?

**

I see two facts that (as far as I can tell) must be accepted on pure faith to accept the argument:
1) We have an innate conscience that can discover objective 'moral' facts (facts about the desirability of given behaviours) unaided (2.2.2)
2) This innate conscience will overrule (or annul) all contrary desires in a blame-free environment (2.3.2)

And one breakdown in logic, namely the paradox:
1) Making up ones mind to take action is something that one can be held responsible for
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism
3) Making up ones mind is something that one does

Until at least these are sorted out (I don't claim to be one of the sharpest minds available to humanity by a long shot), the argument won't convince scientists, philosophers or politicians. Or even amateur ponderers on an internet forum. :)
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:57 pm

Sorry, while I was proof-reading I chopped a couple of paragraphs about, and lost this reponse to one of your points - please consider this with the above response!

peacegirl wrote:There was a study done showing the experimenter handling a baby was being handled very rough. The children who were watching this were showing signs of extreme anxiety. They knew intuitively that something the way the baby was being treated was not right. The results indicated that their conscience (and they were only 2 years old) was alive and well.


And yet, as anyone with any experience of 2-year-olds knows, they will slap and bite and push other children at the first frustration. So if at that age we are dealing with innate conscience, you have solid proof that it doesn't override other desires. If, on the other hand, the argument is that they only show this behaviour because they are growing up in a society impregnated with morality and blame, you can not prove that that is not why they are distressed.
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:23 pm

Oughtist wrote:Holy Cats, peacegirl! You're reading into me a bit too much. I'm certainly not claiming to understand the thesis, rather I'm trying to suggest that whatever it is, it's not something that can be presented as "knowledge" to "all people", as if it will mean the same thing to everyone (which, I take it, is meant to be the epistemic force of equating it to a mathematical proposition).

No, I wasn't meaning to call you a concrete thinker (in fact, insofar as I was thinking of anyone in that regard, I was thinking of persons I know, who are lovely people, but who simply don't see the world in a way which allows them to adjust their perceptions to a broader picture). I am sorry that you read me as describing you that way... if anything, I would have thought you saw me describing you as an abstract thinker who doesn't appreciate the reality of concrete thinkers... #-o

In any case, in a more restricted sense, I in fact have a certain amount of sympathy with the notion of "blamelessness", and blame is not something I spend much time placing on others (or myself). It's not the moral box I play in.

I'm trying to address issues of practicality with you. For instance, for myself, I'm not going to read a book online... it's just not something I do ... I need the paper in my hand. But I'm not gonna go buy another
Book unless I feel it's worth my while. The vast majority of humanity wouldn't even open the first page... not something most people do a lot of. That's just a fact.

On the other hand, I made a quick search online for information about the book, and it wasn't encouraging. The one Amazon review is pretty devastating (perhaps persons such as yourself should enter a rebuttal there, 'cause that one is surely slashing sales). What's this about using military force to quash the remaining dissenters?

peacegirl wrote:I just want to say that this guy who wrote this review did not read the book. He was in a discussion forum with me and he didn't believe that Lessans' second discovery could be right (he got very upset), so he went behind my back and wrote this review. I don't know how he was able to do that since he didn't buy the book (it wasn't for sale). And there is nothing in the book that has anything to do with force. It's the exact opposite. What he wrote was a big lie.


Oughtist wrote:I also visited the website dedicated to the book. Two short single-sentence reviews of the book, completely lacking any substance. The website itself hasn't been updated since 2005.


I know. I created it. I am in the process of receiving an updated proof this week. Then I will give the okay to put the book up for sale. After that, I will need to update the website but I will have to learn how to do it myself, which will take time.

Oughtist wrote:So, where does that leave me? I'm coming from where I'm coming from. If the clarity of the concept can't be translated even on a forum such as this, then, indeed, the practical truth of the matter is that it will take a millenia or two for the Truth to be verified (if indeed true it is)... but that's true of lots of things.


I don't know what people understand and what they don't. I do hope it will be understood by those who take the time to read the book in its entirety. I am not counting on a forum style conversation to be able to express the concept in depth. I am definitely not counting on this discovery to be recognized in my lifetime. It will be brought to light when it is supposed to, and not one second sooner.


Oughtist wrote:So, there we are. Where do we go from here?


I'm not sure. I can keep trying to answer questions, until I don't feel like it anymore.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:35 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peacegirl wrote:So is what you are saying is that morality is a learned trait and society is the teacher? Where this morality comes from is up for debate. Of course, we are all influenced by each other, and fear of being punished is a great motivator, but there something more to it. We all have an innate guidance system that tells us when we are about to do something wrong and it has nothing to do with society at all.


peacegirl wrote:In a sense; society is the teacher, but we are society. Conscience and morality are two sides of the same coin, not separate things that have a passing relationship. I'm interested, though, in why you say we have an innate sense of right and wrong?


It is innate in the sense that children are not born evil. They are born with the innate potential to have empathy for others, as long as they are treated in a nurturing way. It has been shown that when children are raised without love and compassion, a strong conscience may never develop and this is where we often see people that can hurt other people and have no feelings of remorse. But they weren't born this way.

peacegirl wrote:You are entitled to accept your thoughts on the subject. Once this knowledge is verified, your opinion will not stop this new world from becoming a reality.


peacegirl wrote:If the knowledge is verified, my opinion will change. If it's not, would yours?


No. When the world didn't believe the earth was round, I wonder if those who knew it was would have buckled under the pressure.

Lessans' argument is valid and sound. He talked about syllogistic reasoning in his book. Did you read that part?


peacegirl wrote:Regarding Durant? Yes, otherwise, I can't recall. However, syllogism is merely an aspect of logic. The point is that his argument can be sound (although I'll come to where I believe it's not), but his premises may be false. You believe it to be true, but I believe that that is an article of faith for you, rather than epistemological knowledge (which I'll come to too).


I don't believe his premises are false. It is not an article of faith, but you can think what you want.


Only_Humean wrote:If we know it is wrong for ourselves to do it, we know it is wrong for others to do it.
If others can't help themselves, neither can we.
If no-one can make us choose something that we do not choose as it satisfies our desires, it follows that we can't either.
The "two-sided equation" requires that we treat all other humans as fundamentally separate, apart, other. It requires an absolute lack of empathy.


Huh? :-k That is a false syllogism. Number three and four are invalid.


Only_Humean wrote:It's not a syllogism at all. Others are not to be blamed as, in a determinate universe, they could not help but act according to their greatest desire, a product of history, environment, circumstance (see point 1.3). The same is true of you. You are not aware of the forces shaping your choice, but they are there. In the book it's referred to as a compulsion (p. 56)-
Nothing can compel a man to do to another what he has made up his mind not to do... he is nevertheless under a compulsion during every moment of his existence to do everything he does... he has mathematical control over the former, but none over the latter
To put it tactfully, this seems to overlook the fact that "making up one's mind" is something that one does.


No it doesn't. We have no control over the latter meaning that he has no control over which choice he makes, once he chooses it. But part of the process of coming to a decision is making up one's mind.

Only_Humean wrote:You can't use anything as an excuse - you have no free will, you're a product of a deterministic universe and you slavishly follow your greatest satisfaction - if that involves making excuses to gain advantage, so be it.


How can you use anything as an excuse Only_Humean? The only time you can use something as an excuse is if you are being asked for one. But when no one is asking you for one, then giving an excuse for what you want to do is totally unnecessary. You must have missed that part.


Only_Humean wrote:You can ask yourself, of course. Have you never in your life realised you'd done something silly and thought "oh no, why did I do that?" No-one is aware of all the factors guiding their behaviour (this is necessary for people to date to have so perniciously maintained the illusion of free will), so they can explain it to themselves. To their conscience.


No one has to be aware of all the factors guiding their behavior. It's interesting to look back and try to figure it out, but insofar as this discovery goes, the only thing that conscience asks of us is if we might have inadvertantly hurt someone. If you didn't have a conscience, it wouldn't matter whether you did or you didn't. But it does matter to most people, and it will matter to even more people when they know they will not be blamed.

Only_Humean wrote:People tell themselves little lies all the time to soothe their consciences, even when no-one is holding them personally to account. Most people know about the appalling conditions battery hens are kept in, yet the cheapness of the product provides an incentive to lie to their consciences even though no-one is blaming them for buying them. Likewise wearing sweatshop-produced sports shoes and t-shirts. Cognitive dissonance is unpleasant, but it can be and is repressed by comfortable lies or actively avoiding thinking about things - self-deceit.


Yes, that's true. It seems like it's an out of sight, out of mind mentality. I also think people don't believe they can make a difference. The truth is that the economic problems are very dire (especially when people don't know how they are going to survive) and this pervasive fear drives many people to do things they wouldn't normally do.

Only_Humean wrote:Regarding responsibility (in the sense of blame), it means that someone or something is held responsible for causing an effect. Joe Smith is responsible for the murder of Jane Doe, Albert Einstein is responsible for the theory of General Relativity, Hurricane Katrina is responsible for the flooding of New Orleans. If I were to punch my neighbour on the nose, I would be responsible for causing him pain (so by your reasoning I could not, in a blame-free world) - agreed? How does this square with 2.4? Making up my mind to punch him is something I do, therefore is something I am compelled to do.


Yes, if you punch him in the nose you were compelled to do it, but that's just the point, by knowing in advance that punching him in the nose would hurt him badly but you would not get a punch back (the two-sided equation), it would still be you making up your mind as to what your next move would be, and you would be responsible for that choice because you did it. But, this is where people get confused, that does not mean your will is free since the choice is always in the direction of greater satisfaction. I think this might be where we need more discussion; the idea that we are responsible because we are the ones that made up our minds to do it; no one else did, yet we are not responsible once we make the choice since we are compelled to move in the direction of greater satisfaction. People must read this part over and over again, if they truly want to understand.

Only_Humean wrote:If they know there will be no blame and punishment (for example, they are acting on the orders of someone who can ensure this), they can be far more inhuman - see the Milgram experiment, Nazi Germany, or for a social and not hierarchical version, Eliot's "blue eyes brown eyes" experiment.


We are not talking about being ordered to do something. These people who were acting on orders were obviously not to blame. We are talking about a new world where there is no authority, no government, no police, no dictators, or anything that has do with blame. So what you are talking about only applies to the world of free will.


Only_Humean wrote:Wait, so Nazi executioners were not to blame for their actions?


No, they were not. But that doesn't mean their behavior is condoned. Look, I'm a Jew, and I know how horrible the Holocaust was, but when you really understand this knowledge, you will realize that Hitler's will was not free either. He was a victim of circumstances that led him to become a monster. We should look back in horror that people's minds can become so twisted that they believe it is right to cause genocide.

How can a man desire this when he can't find satisfaction in doing this. Before he makes good on his desire he will need to carefully think about the consequences to himself, for how can he feel good about what he is about to do when he knows that no one will blame him for this act. But you are isolating an example that won't even come up in the new world. The environment in which children are brought up will be so different that you won't have boys that grow into men with this type of urge. That's why reading the whole book is so important.


Only_Humean wrote:So before anyone takes any action, they will think carefully about the consequences? This is so hypothetical there's little point discussing it.


Of course they will, especially if there is the potential for someone to get hurt. Please read Chapter Three, The End of Carelessness.

What's the difference between hurting someone directly or incidentally? If I hurt people when reaching for a goal, for example, I could not be satisfied knowing I didn't get there fairly. If I didn't know I was hurting someone, I would know soon enough and I would not want to hurt them again. How could I knowing that I was in the wrong and no one would say a word against me?


Only_Humean wrote:Because the pleasure in achieving an important goal outweighs the minor discomfort of causing a little pain to someone you don't know?


This is where you need to think in terms of what you could be capable of doing, no one else. If your conscience tells you it's okay to hurt someone just a little bit to get what you want, then do it. The person whom you are going to hurt won't blame you, and you already know that. What you are doing is trying to rationalize to yourself that it's okay to do it. But why the rationalization? You will be able to do anything you want, even if you hurt people, if your conscience will let you. Obviously, even hurting someone a little bothers your conscience or you wouldn't give it a second thought.
**

Only_Humean wrote:I see two facts that (as far as I can tell) must be accepted on pure faith to accept the argument:
1) We have an innate conscience that can discover objective 'moral' facts (facts about the desirability of given behaviours) unaided (2.2.2)
2) This innate conscience will overrule (or annul) all contrary desires in a blame-free environment (2.3.2)


1) Yes, if a child sees something that looks unfair or hurtful (this is a moral fact), they will find this behavior undesirable. You can see this in their reaction.

Only_Humean wrote:And one breakdown in logic, namely the paradox:
1) Making up ones mind to take action is something that one can be held responsible for
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism
3) Making up ones mind is something that one does.


1) You can call it a paradox but it is certainly not a contradiction. Making up one's mind to take action is your responsibility. No one else other than you is taking the action, you are. So you must assume responsibility if you do something, right? I just fed my dogs, I take responsibility for doing it. I take responsibility for everything I do. But under the changed conditions, not being blamed adds a lot more weight to those actions that could hurt someone.
2) Yes,that is why your will is not free because you can only move in the direction of greater satisfaction each and every moment of time. This is the other side of the equation. When they both come together, it satisfies free will proponents as well as determinists because both groups have been right, to a certain extent except they never knew how to combine the two principles.
3) Yes, that's true. I think you are still getting confused over the Lessans' definition of determinism.

Only_Humean wrote:Until at least these are sorted out (I don't claim to be one of the sharpest minds available to humanity by a long shot), the argument won't convince scientists, philosophers or politicians. Or even amateur ponderers on an internet forum. :)


Only time will tell. :)
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:11 am

peacegirl wrote:It is innate in the sense that children are not born evil. They are born with the innate potential to have empathy for others, as long as they are treated in a nurturing way. It has been shown that when children are raised without love and compassion, a strong conscience may never develop and this is where we often see people that can hurt other people and have no feelings of remorse. But they weren't born this way.


Wouldn't it be a lot easier to get everyone to raise children with love and compassion, than overthrow the entire moral basis of society? Just a thought.

Only_Humean wrote:
Nothing can compel a man to do to another what he has made up his mind not to do... he is nevertheless under a compulsion during every moment of his existence to do everything he does... he has mathematical control over the former, but none over the latter

To put it tactfully, this seems to overlook the fact that "making up one's mind" is something that one does.


No it doesn't. We have no control over the latter meaning that he has no control over which choice he makes, once he chooses it. But part of the process of coming to a decision is making up one's mind.


Which he is compelled to do by his greatest satisfaction. He has no control over making his mind up to do anything; his mind is made up. He is under a compulsion during every moment of his existence for everything he does, including making up his mind and coming to a decision.

Yes, that's true. It seems like it's an out of sight, out of mind mentality. I also think people don't believe they can make a difference. The truth is that the economic problems are very dire (especially when people don't know how they are going to survive) and this pervasive fear drives many people to do things they wouldn't normally do.


We're talking about middle-class westerners in the 21st century. They're not on the breadline, they're mostly not even having to watch expenditures. They're the most pampered, wealthy citizen class in the history of humankind. It's conscientious laziness, not fear.

I think this might be where we need more discussion; the idea that we are responsible because we are the ones that made up our minds to do it; no one else did, yet we are not responsible once we make the choice since we are compelled to move in the direction of greater satisfaction. People must read this part over and over again, if they truly want to understand.


I think what you don't seem to understand is that you can only make the choice in the direction of greater satisfaction. Otherwise you're arguing for free will. And I don't think you are. :)

This is where you need to think in terms of what you could be capable of doing, no one else. If your conscience tells you it's okay to hurt someone just a little bit to get what you want, then do it. The person whom you are going to hurt won't blame you, and you already know that. What you are doing is trying to rationalize to yourself that it's okay to do it. But why the rationalization? You will be able to do anything you want, even if you hurt people, if your conscience will let you. Obviously, even hurting someone a little bothers your conscience or you wouldn't give it a second thought.


So in this new world, there's a kid who's signed up for law school. He doesn't want to be a lawyer, he wants to go to the rainforests and work as a conservationist, but his parents are dead set on him being a lawyer. If he does what he feels his right, his mother will be heartbroken. Will his conscience tell him to follow his dreams and hurt his mother?

Only_Humean wrote:I see two facts that (as far as I can tell) must be accepted on pure faith to accept the argument:
1) We have an innate conscience that can discover objective 'moral' facts (facts about the desirability of given behaviours) unaided (2.2.2)
2) This innate conscience will overrule (or annul) all contrary desires in a blame-free environment (2.3.2)


1) Yes, if a child sees something that looks unfair or hurtful (this is a moral fact), they will find this behavior undesirable. You can see this in their reaction.


See my second post, sorry about that. To get it all in one place, I'll copy and paste it here:
And yet, as anyone with any experience of 2-year-olds knows, they will slap and bite and push other children at the first frustration. So if at that age we are dealing with innate conscience, you have solid proof that it doesn't override other desires. If, on the other hand, the argument is that they only show this behaviour because they are growing up in a society impregnated with morality and blame, you can not prove that that is not why they are distressed.

A good reason for small children to approve of co-operative behaviour in others and disapprove of unfairness and hurtfulness is self-interest; a helpful friend will further their aims, an unfair person might treat them badly, a hurtful person might turn on them. This may be why they show anxiety, rather than indignation.

Only_Humean wrote:And one breakdown in logic, namely the paradox:
1) Making up ones mind to take action is something that one can be held responsible for
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism
3) Making up ones mind is something that one does.


1) You can call it a paradox but it is certainly not a contradiction. Making up one's mind to take action is your responsibility. No one else other than you is taking the action, you are. So you must assume responsibility if you do something, right? I just fed my dogs, I take responsibility for doing it. I take responsibility for everything I do. But under the changed conditions, not being blamed adds a lot more weight to those actions that could hurt someone.
2) Yes,that is why your will is not free because you can only move in the direction of greater satisfaction each and every moment of time. This is the other side of the equation. When they both come together, it satisfies free will proponents as well as determinists because both groups have been right, to a certain extent except they never knew how to combine the two principles.
3) Yes, that's true. I think you are still getting confused over the Lessans' definition of determinism.
[/quote]

Sorry, you misunderstand: the three taken together are a paradox. Replacing 1) with your definition,
1) Making up one's mind to take action is ones own responsibility

and substituting 3) into 1), you get
1a) (Something that one does) is ones own responsibility
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism

... now see 1.3. Nothing's been solved, it's a philosophical fata morgana that disappears under analysis. Which is why it's important to analyse things.
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:18 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peacegirl wrote:
Oughtist wrote:If I understand correctly, there is something akin to an epidemiological claim associated with the premise of the Text: namely, that at some unspecified threshold point (yes?) the concept of blamelessness will spread like a virus throughout human consciousness, and essentially re-determine humans' most basic intersubjective experience from then-on (apparently before 2030 or so). This nicely relates to the idea of "memes" (there's a recent thread somewhere on this board in case you're not familiar... I'll provide the link if you want). Insofar as it does, it must also (for its own universally-applicable premise to hold) assume that humans experience knowledge of abstract concepts, such as relate to morality, very similarly.


No, this is not about memes or viruses. Laugh all you want, it doesn't matter.


Only_Humean wrote:I certainly don't read this as mocking your ideas, it's a serious point about how the idea in practice will spread. Do you hope to convert everyone with the logic of it, or just convert a few world leaders who then impose it under pain of death on the world population?




peacegirl wrote:Of course not, this is totally voluntary Only_Humean"] It just shows how everyone is jumping to premature conclusions even though you said you read the overview of the book. If you are having a problem, can you imagine the problem the general population will have? But this is not about the general population understanding this. It is about the scientists who can give this knowledge the stamp of approval that it deserves. Until then, everyone puts their two cents into because they have no idea what they are talking about.

It must first be understood by scientists who can get the transition started. This transition will occur gradually, one person at a time. It will be their decision as to whether they want to become citizens of this new world, but...why wouldn't they after comparing and seeing which is better for them. But if they don't want to, they don't have to. There is nothing in this knowledge at all that has anything to do with force of any kind. Please read the economic chapter Only_Humean. You will get a much better picture of how this new world can become a reality without hurting anyone in the process.


peacegirl wrote:It is about getting this knowledge into the hands of true scientists who can follow the mathematical relations implicitly expressed. Otherwise, this knowledge will remain hidden. It's not that complicated Oughtist. I will say once again that when this knowledge is confirmed valid, we won't have to be rocket scientists to understand that we will not be blamed, more than it takes a rocket scientist to understand that he will be blamed.


Only_Humean wrote:Following the mathematics/logic of an argument, as I said earlier, does not mean agreeing to the truth of the conclusions. This is a very basic and fundamental misconception. The premises of an argument are facts; what you do with the facts and how they relate to each other is the mathematical/logical part of the argument. As you say, mathematics is about relations; what is related is not a part of the mathematics.]/quote]
I am not sure I am getting your point. Maybe someone else can explain this in a different way. Sorry.

Only_Humean wrote:Now, for everyone to agree that the premises are true, everyone has to start from a similar perspective regarding the facts. If your fact is "things fall towards the ground when you let go", most people will assent. As soon as you assume something about God(s), facts about morality, or make universal claims about How Humans Are, you have a problem finding things that everyone will agree on, insofar as they aren't empirical statements that people can go outside and check. So no, it's not inevitable.

These findings came from reason and observation. These findings can be verified but to set up the conditions that allow it to be verified in an empirical fashion will be challenging because it is difficult isolating the variables. But that still doesn't make these facts questionable, and the relation between them, faulty.

Obviously, you are the one that is failing to understand because you already assume you do, so you think it's a slam dunk in your favor. You are sorely mistaken but I'm not going to defend this book any longer. It is either true or it's not, and if it is true, it will be revealed if not sooner, than later.


Only_Humean wrote:If it's not true, wouldn't you want to know that? I presume you would rather change your mind if it meant finding out the truth, than stick to your falsehoods to avoid changing your mind. If you don't entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not thinking.


Of course I would, but you are assuming that this discovery has flaws and is in need of correction, which is yet to be seen.

You are right in that we all have to inspect our thinking and our conclusions because if the premise is wrong, then the conclusions will also be wrong. This time around it is not the author who isn't thinking clearly, it is those who really haven't taken the time to study this work.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:52 pm

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:I certainly don't read this as mocking your ideas, it's a serious point about how the idea in practice will spread. Do you hope to convert everyone with the logic of it, or just convert a few world leaders who then impose it under pain of death on the world population?

Of course not, this is totally voluntary Only_Humean It just shows how everyone is jumping to premature conclusions even though you said you read the overview of the book. If you are having a problem, can you imagine the problem the general population will have? But this is not about the general population understanding this. It is about the scientists who can give this knowledge the stamp of approval that it deserves. Until then, everyone puts their two cents into because they have no idea what they are talking about.


I wasn't jumping to any conclusions at all - that is why I asked a question! Scientists have little sway in politics, and little formal training in philosophy and logic; I say this having trained as one. Why are you aiming at them?

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Now, for everyone to agree that the premises are true, everyone has to start from a similar perspective regarding the facts. If your fact is "things fall towards the ground when you let go", most people will assent. As soon as you assume something about God(s), facts about morality, or make universal claims about How Humans Are, you have a problem finding things that everyone will agree on, insofar as they aren't empirical statements that people can go outside and check. So no, it's not inevitable.

These findings came from reason and observation. These findings can be verified but to set up the conditions that allow it to be verified in an empirical fashion will be challenging because it is difficult isolating the variables. But that still doesn't make these facts questionable, and the relation between them, faulty.


All empirical facts are questionable until they have been verified. Maybe even after that, depending on your philosophy. But there simply is no unverified unquestionable empirical fact. If someone doesn't want you to question an unverified fact, they are attempting to put one over on you, consciously or subconsciously. Questioning is what we're here for.

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:If it's not true, wouldn't you want to know that? I presume you would rather change your mind if it meant finding out the truth, than stick to your falsehoods to avoid changing your mind. If you don't entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not thinking.


Of course I would, but you are assuming that this discovery has flaws and is in need of correction, which is yet to be seen.


I'm not assuming anything. Do you entertain the possibility that you might be wrong about that? This isn't a trick question, I promise.
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:16 pm

peacegirl wrote:It is innate in the sense that children are not born evil. They are born with the innate potential to have empathy for others, as long as they are treated in a nurturing way. It has been shown that when children are raised without love and compassion, a strong conscience may never develop and this is where we often see people that can hurt other people and have no feelings of remorse. But they weren't born this way.


Only_Humean wrote:Wouldn't it be a lot easier to get everyone to raise children with love and compassion, than overthrow the entire moral basis of society? Just a thought.

If overthrowing the entire moral basis of society we could achieve a better society in which no one wishes to harm anyone, would it be worth giving up? The very structure of our society with its standards of right and wrong and the punishment and judgment that follow, are what is actually preventing the very thing we all want. It's very ironic. I hope you don't give up trying to understand because you will understand why this is so, eventually.

Only_Humean wrote:
Nothing can compel a man to do to another what he has made up his mind not to do... he is nevertheless under a compulsion during every moment of his existence to do everything he does... he has mathematical control over the former, but none over the latter.
To put it tactfully, this seems to overlook the fact that "making up one's mind" is something that one does.


No, it is not being overlooked. You are not undertanding why making up one's mind does not mean man's will is free. You are getting confused with the idea of cause. In your mind if man is caused to do what he does, then how can he make up his mind to anything He is just a robot following the program that was set in motion long ago. You are going back to the old argument and not understanding where Lessans reconciles these two ideas. Please try to understand what the author is saying here. It will help you a lot.

In other words, if someone was to say — “I didn’t really want to
hurt that person but couldn’t help myself under the circumstances,”
which demonstrates that though he believes in freedom of the will he
admits he was not free to act otherwise, that he was forced by his
environment to do what he really didn’t want to do; or should he
make any effort to shift his responsibility for this hurt to heredity,
God, his parents, the fact that his will is not free, or something else
as the cause, he is obviously lying to others and being dishonest with
himself because absolutely nothing is forcing him, against his will,
to do what he doesn’t want to do, for over this, as was just shown, he
has mathematical control.”
“It’s amazing, all my life I have believed man’s will is free but for
the first time I can actually see that his will is not free.”
Another friend commented, “You may be satisfied but I’m not.
The definition of determinism is the philosophical and ethical
doctrine that man’s choices, decisions and actions are decided by
antecedent causes, inherited or environmental, acting upon his
character. According to this definition we are not given a choice
because we are being caused to do what we do by a previous event or
circumstance. But I know for a fact that nothing can make me do
what I make up my mind not to do — just as you mentioned a
moment ago. If I don’t want to do something, nothing, not
environment, heredity, or anything else you care to throw in can
make me do it because over this I have mathematical control. Since
I can’t be made to do anything against my will, doesn’t this make my
will free? And isn’t it a contradiction in terms to say that man’s will
is not free yet nothing can make him do what he doesn’t want to
do?”
“How about that, he brought out something I never would have
thought of.”
“All he said was that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t
make him drink, which is undeniable, however, though it is a
mathematical law that nothing can compel man to do to another
what he makes up his mind not to do — this is an extremely crucial
point — he is nevertheless under a compulsion during every moment
of his existence to do everything he does. This reveals, as your friend
just pointed out, that man has mathematical control over the former
but absolutely none over the latter because he must constantly move
in the direction of greater satisfaction. It is true that nothing in the
past can cause what occurs in the present, for all we ever have is the
present; the past and future are only words that describe a deceptive
relation. Consequently, determinism was faced with an almost
impossible task because it assumed that heredity and environment
caused man to choose evil, and the proponents of free will believed
the opposite, that man was not caused or compelled, ‘he did it of his
own accord; he wanted to do it, he didn’t have to.’ The term ‘free
will’ contains an assumption or fallacy for it implies that if man is
not caused or compelled to do anything against his will, it must be
preferred of his own free will. This is one of those logical, not
mathematical conclusions. The expression ‘I did it of my own free
will’ is perfectly correct when it is understood to mean ‘I did it
because I wanted to; nothing compelled or caused me to do it since
I could have acted otherwise had I desired.’ This expression was
necessarily misinterpreted because of the general ignorance that
prevailed, for although it is correct in the sense that a person did
something because he wanted to, this in no way indicates that his
will is free. In fact I shall use the expression ‘of my own free will’
frequently myself which only means ‘of my own desire.’ Are you
beginning to see how words have deceived everyone?
Because of this misinterpretation of the expression ‘man’s will is
free’, great confusion continues to exist in any discussion
surrounding this issue, for although it is true man has to make
choices he must always prefer that which he considers good not evil
for himself when the former is offered as an alternative. The words
cause and compel are the perception of an improper or fallacious
relation because in order to be developed and have meaning, it was
absolutely necessary that the expression “free will” be borne as the
opposite, as tall gives meaning to short. Nothing causes man to
build cities, develop scientific achievements, write books, compose
music, go to war, argue and fight, commit terrible crimes, pray to
God, for these things are mankind already at a particular stage of his
development, just as children were sacrificed at an earlier stage.
These activities or motions are the natural entelechy of man who is
always developing, correcting his mistakes, and moving in the
direction of greater satisfaction by choosing the best alternative at
each particular moment in time. Looking back in hindsight allows
man to evaluate his progress and make corrections where necessary
since he is always learning from previous experience, but this does
not change the direction he is compelled to go. The fact that will is
not free demonstrates that man has been unconsciously developing
at a mathematical rate and during every moment of his progress was
doing what he had to do because he had no free choice. But this
does not mean that he was caused to do anything against his will, for
the word cause, like choice and past, is very misleading as it implies
that something other than man himself is responsible for his actions.
Four is not caused by two plus two, it is that already; God does not
cause — He is. As long as history has been recorded, these two
opposing principles were never reconciled until now. The amazing
thing is that this ignorance, this conflict of ideas, ideologies, and
desires, theology’s promulgation of free will, the millions that
criticized determinism as fallacious, was exactly as it was supposed
to be. It was impossible for man to have acted differently because
the mankind system is obeying this invariable law which makes the
motion of all life just as harmonious as the solar system — because
we are these laws.

Only_Humean wrote: We have no control over the latter meaning that he has no control over which choice he makes, once he chooses it. But part of the process of coming to a decision is making up one's mind.

Which he is compelled to do by his greatest satisfaction. He has no control over making his mind up to do anything; his mind is made up. He is under a compulsion during every moment of his existence for everything he does, including making up his mind and coming to a decision.


You are right that just the act of making up one's mind is also under a compulsion. Every single movement, thought, or action from here to there is under a compulsion, but we get confused when it comes to choice. It appears that being able to choose one thing over another makes us free, when in actuality it doesn't because we must pick the choice that is the most preferable [under our particular circumstances].

peacegirl wrote:Yes, that's true. It seems like it's an out of sight, out of mind mentality. I also think people don't believe they can make a difference. The truth is that the economic problems are very dire (especially when people don't know how they are going to survive) and this pervasive fear drives many people to do things they wouldn't normally do.


Only_Humean wrote:We're talking about middle-class westerners in the 21st century. They're not on the breadline, they're mostly not even having to watch expenditures. They're the most pampered, wealthy citizen class in the history of humankind. It's conscientious laziness, not fear.


I really don't want to argue this point right now. You will see that poverty is going to be wiped out so this won't be a problem where we feel the need to place the blame on anyone.

peacegirl wrote:I think this might be where we need more discussion; the idea that we are responsible because we are the ones that made up our minds to do it; no one else did, yet we are not responsible once we make the choice since we are compelled to move in the direction of greater satisfaction. People must read this part over and over again, if they truly want to understand.


Only_Humean wrote:I think what you don't seem to understand is that you can only[i] make the choice in the direction of greater satisfaction. Otherwise you're arguing for free will. And I don't think you are. :)


I'm not. I hope you read that section carefully because it is the foundation of the rest of the book. Once you understand this part, I think this knowledge will be much easier for you to swallow. :)

peacegirl wrote:This is where you need to think in terms of what you could be capable of doing, no one else. If your conscience tells you it's okay to hurt someone just a little bit to get what you want, then do it. The person whom you are going to hurt won't blame you, and you already know that. What you are doing is trying to rationalize to yourself that it's okay to do it. But why the rationalization? You will be able to do anything you want, even if you hurt people, if your conscience will let you. Obviously, even hurting someone a little bothers your conscience or you wouldn't give it a second thought.


Only_Humean wrote:So in this new world, there's a kid who's signed up for law school. He doesn't want to be a lawyer, he wants to go to the rainforests and work as a conservationist, but his parents are dead set on him being a lawyer. If he does what he feels his right, his mother will be heartbroken. Will his conscience tell him to follow his dreams and hurt his mother?


This shows me you have a lot more reading to do. His conscience would be clear. He is hurting no one by choosing his calling in life. In this world she would make him feel wrong for choosing what is better for himself because she believes that being a lawyer is better than being a conservationist. But this is selfish on her part and in the new world she would know this. Believe me when I tell you that when all criticism is removed, everyone will be able to choose what they want to do in their life. Right now, we get praised for choosing certain professions. All of this will disappear in the new world and there will be not one iota of disrespect given to anyone.

Only_Humean wrote:I see two facts that (as far as I can tell) must be accepted on pure faith to accept the argument:
1) We have an innate conscience that can discover objective 'moral' facts (facts about the desirability of given behaviours) unaided (2.2.2)
2) This innate conscience will overrule (or annul) all contrary desires in a blame-free environment (2.3.2)


peacegirl wrote:1) Yes, if a child sees something that looks unfair or hurtful (this is a moral fact), they will find this behavior undesirable. You can see this in their reaction.


Only_Humean wrote:See my second post, sorry about that. To get it all in one place, I'll copy and paste it here:
And yet, as anyone with any experience of 2-year-olds knows, they will slap and bite and push other children at the first frustration. So if at that age we are dealing with innate conscience, you have solid proof that it doesn't override other desires. If, on the other hand, the argument is that they only show this behaviour because they are growing up in a society impregnated with morality and blame, you can not prove that that is not why they are distressed.


If a child is too young to understand the principle of 'no blame' yet, he will continue to be reprimanded by his parents if he is hurting another child. If a child is slapping him and he slaps back, that is a normal reaction. Obviously, it is not because they show this behavior due to a society impregnated with morality and blame because we know they have not yet been exposed to this. We must continue to correct our children until they are old enough to understand the principle of 'no blame' and then we won't have these type of problems. Of course, children will still be children. They will play and wrestle and have sports, but they will not become bullies where they desire hurting other children.

Only_Humean wrote:A good reason for small children to approve of co-operative behaviour in others and disapprove of unfairness and hurtfulness is self-interest; a helpful friend will further their aims, an unfair person might treat them badly, a hurtful person might turn on them. This may be why they show anxiety, rather than indignation.


I agree with you that most things we do are motivated by self-interest, even being helpful to others. When the dynamics between children change due to this natural law, you will not see children who desire to be hurtful or unfair just for the sake of it.

Only_Humean wrote:And one breakdown in logic, namely the paradox:
1) Making up ones mind to take action is something that one can be held responsible for
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism
3) Making up ones mind is something that one does.


peacegirl"1) You can call it a paradox but it is certainly not a contradiction. Making up one's mind to take action is your responsibility. No one else other than you is taking the action, you are. So you must assume responsibility if you do something, right? I just fed my dogs, I take responsibility for doing it. I take responsibility for everything I do. But under the changed conditions, not being blamed adds a lot more weight to those actions that could hurt someone.
2) Yes,that is why your will is not free because you can only move in the direction of greater satisfaction each and every moment of time. This is the other side of the equation. When they both come together, it satisfies free will proponents as well as determinists because both groups have been right, to a certain extent except they never knew how to combine the two principles.
3) Yes, that's true. I think you are still getting confused over the Lessans' definition of determinism.


[quote="Only_Humean wrote:Sorry, you misunderstand: the three taken together are a paradox. Replacing 1) with your definition,
1) Making up one's mind to take action is ones own responsibility and substituting 3) into 1), you get
1a) (Something that one does) is ones own responsibility
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism
... now see 1.3. Nothing's been solved, it's a philosophical fata morgana that disappears under analysis. Which is why it's important to analyse things.


It is not a paradox. Even though it appears as if he is saying two opposite things, he is not when you understand where the breakdown in the freewill/determinism argument rests. Once again, the problem has to do with the meaning of 'cause'. Please read and reread the pages I gave you above.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:13 pm

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Wouldn't it be a lot easier to get everyone to raise children with love and compassion, than overthrow the entire moral basis of society? Just a thought.

If overthrowing the entire moral basis of society we could achieve a better society in which no one wishes to harm anyone, would it be worth giving up? The very structure of our society with its standards of right and wrong and the punishment and judgment that follow, are what is actually preventing the very thing we all want. It's very ironic. I hope you don't give up trying to understand because you will understand why this is so, eventually.


My point was that if everyone had stronger consciences through a loving upbringing, you could achieve the same. Please don't start with the "you just don't understand" rubbish, we were doing so well.

No, it is not being overlooked. You are not undertanding why making up one's mind does not mean man's will is free. You are getting confused with the idea of cause. In your mind if man is caused to do what he does, then how can he make up his mind to anything He is just a robot following the program that was set in motion long ago. You are going back to the old argument and not understanding where Lessans reconciles these two ideas.


I even quoted that section. I'm not going back to any old problem that has been solved. However, thank you for your explanations and patience - I now see what has happened.

There are several definitions of what acting under free will means. The Libertarian (metaphysics, not politics!) one is that someone acts as a ghost-in-the-machine, an indeterminate being gifted with a divine freedom of choice. This is the one that he principally argues against, and he is right that determinism (if proved, etc) negates this. Absolutely agreed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertaria ... etaphysics)
There's also a compatibilist definition of free will, that it defines the situation an agent finds himself in if he is in a position to make a decision unaffected by coercion from other agents.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibil ... patibilism
With me so far? Two different definitions. Same name, nothing to do with each other.

What Mr Lessans does is confuse the two. Arguing that the latter must be true at all times - "no-one can force me to choose something I do not want to" - he is arguing that we are always in possession of a free will (which in the compatibilist case is simply a description of a situation, not a claim for existence of a libertarian free will) which he then goes on to claim libertarian properties for (responsiblity). It's like comparing Newtonian and Einsteinian mass - they have the same name, but you're talking about immiscibly different quantities.

Wittgenstein said "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language." That's all that's happened here.

Only_Humean wrote: Which he is compelled to do by his greatest satisfaction. He has no control over making his mind up to do anything; his mind is made up. He is under a compulsion during every moment of his existence for everything he does, including making up his mind and coming to a decision.


You are right that just the act of making up one's mind is also under a compulsion. Every single movement, thought, or action from here to there is under a compulsion, but we get confused when it comes to choice. It appears that being able to choose one thing over another makes us free, when in actuality it doesn't because we must pick the choice that is the most preferable [under our particular circumstances].


This is my point. We must pick. We have no choice, only the appearance of it. If a tram comes to a junction, we may not know which way it 'chooses' to go, but the setting of the points have determined it.

I've snipped the visionary utopia section, as it hasn't been demonstrated that it's a necessary consequence yet. :)

It is not a paradox because, even though it appears as if he is saying two opposite things, he is not when you understand where the breakdown in the freewill/determinism argument rests. Once again, the problem has to do with the meaning of 'cause'. Please read and reread the pages I gave you above.


It is a paradox; if you disagree, I'd suggest you read up on what a paradox is. Please address the logical breakdown. The statements that you gave me lead to
1a) (Something that one does) is ones own responsibility
2) Everything one does at every moment, one is under the compulsion of determinism

You claim that he has solved this. He states "you have mathematical control over what you choose to do", his reasoning being that no-one else can force you to choose something you do not want. I understand this. My point, and please read and reread this until you understand, is that no-one else needs to force you - determinism has already chosen for you.

This is a result of statement 2) and the fact that choosing is something one does. Which of the two do you disagree with? It's straighforward logic, no fancy word games or linguistic trip-ups.

You choose, by yourself, of your own volition, precisely what history determines you will choose, you are compelled to make your choice - apart from all external force, but without control. Your compatibilist free will is not a proof of libertarian free will. This is not a solution.
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6198
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:56 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:I certainly don't read this as mocking your ideas, it's a serious point about how the idea in practice will spread. Do you hope to convert everyone with the logic of it, or just convert a few world leaders who then impose it under pain of death on the world population?

Of course not, this is totally voluntary Only_Humean It just shows how everyone is jumping to premature conclusions even though you said you read the overview of the book. If you are having a problem, can you imagine the problem the general population will have? But this is not about the general population understanding this. It is about the scientists who can give this knowledge the stamp of approval that it deserves. Until then, everyone puts their two cents into because they have no idea what they are talking about.

I wasn't jumping to any conclusions at all - that is why I asked a question! Scientists have little sway in politics, and little formal training in philosophy and logic; I say this having trained as one. Why are you aiming at them?


I am not aiming at them directly. I am not aiming at anyone directly. Lessans was in such a tough situation that he was hoping anyone would grasp his words. Can you imagine what he went through? It is true that politics is not the answer at all and scientists have little sway. But they can change history if something of magnitude gets recognized.

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Now, for everyone to agree that the premises are true, everyone has to start from a similar perspective regarding the facts. If your fact is "things fall towards the ground when you let go", most people will assent. As soon as you assume something about God(s), facts about morality, or make universal claims about How Humans Are, you have a problem finding things that everyone will agree on, insofar as they aren't empirical statements that people can go outside and check. So no, it's not inevitable.

These findings came from reason and observation. These findings can be verified but to set up the conditions that allow it to be verified in an empirical fashion will be challenging because it is difficult isolating the variables. But that still doesn't make these facts questionable, and the relation between them, faulty.


Only_Humean wrote:All empirical facts are questionable until they have been verified. Maybe even after that, depending on your philosophy. But there simply is no unverified unquestionable empirical fact. If someone doesn't want you to question an unverified fact, they are attempting to put one over on you, consciously or subconsciously. Questioning is what we're here for.


I just want to say thank you. I'm not trying to pull anything over on you at all, but I thank you for giving me the chance to express myself before I am condemned. For that reason, I believe that maybe this knowledge has a chance Only_Humean. And it might have to do with your influence, once you get it. Maybe it won't. I am not trying to put any pressure on you, but you are a thinker, and you are open-minded, and for that I am grateful.

peacegirl wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:If it's not true, wouldn't you want to know that? I presume you would rather change your mind if it meant finding out the truth, than stick to your falsehoods to avoid changing your mind. If you don't entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not thinking.


peacegirl wrote:Of course I would, but you are assuming that this discovery has flaws and is in need of correction, which is yet to be seen.


Only_Humean wrote:I'm not assuming anything. Do you entertain the possibility that you might be wrong about that? This isn't a trick question, I promise.


About what? There is no flaw here and until you see this we will be in disagreement, but I have hope that you will eventually understand that there is no contradiction in the free will/determinism debate. Until then, you will argue with me, and it's okay. :)
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



peacegirl
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:44 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot]