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Do you believe in free will? If so, why? Options
rmberwin
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:46:25 PM

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I believe most philosophers and scientists reject the idea of free will. Some compatibilists, like D. Dennett, claim to offer a kind of free will that really has nothing to do with the common-sense, libertarian notion. N. Chomsky says that he accepts free will, based on immediate experience, but that it is unaccountable in terms of either determinism or randomness, so he concludes that we have an ineluctable deficiency in our understanding of how the universe operates (mysterianism).

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
FounDit
Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 12:20:29 PM

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This is from Jan. 2013.

FreeWill---Again

A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Dreamy
Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 2:32:47 PM

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DEFINITELY A FAVOURITE TOPIC on TFD: Do You BELIEVE in FREEWILL? If so WHY?

I believe in freewill because I am willing to.

I believe in determinism because I am determined to.

Freewill and Determinism are not mutually exclusive but are in fact married and inseparable in the same way the spacetime continuum is, being (aha) a marriage of space and time. The moment (aha) you have space you also have time, and vice versa.

Likewise the moment you exercise freewill you determine things, and determined things cause freewill choices to be made.

Question answered!

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
almo 1
Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 3:18:42 PM
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If there's no free will, everybody is a cosmic puppet.





Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2017 7:21:35 AM

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almo 1 wrote:

If there's no free will, everybody is a cosmic puppet.


No, as a puppet requires a puppeteer, in most arguments against the notion a truly free will, nonesuch is proposed.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
will
Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2017 9:33:59 AM
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.
Dreamy
Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 1:29:30 AM

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Further to the discussion in play, and welcome to leading determinist Epiphileon, boiling points.

These are determined by factors which not suprisingly are called "determining factors".

The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the pressure surrounding the liquid and the liquid changes into a vapor.

Altitude and therefore atmospheric pressure is a determining factor when it comes to boiling points.

But is not the vapour free of its liquid state when it reaches boiling point, and does not the sentient agent use freewill in making use of an energy source that quarantees that the boiling point will be reached?

What hypothesis can be unequivocally proven to deny freewill and enthrone determinism as a universal absolute?

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 8:25:38 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
Further to the discussion in play, and welcome to leading determinist Epiphileon, boiling points.


If you will pardon the pun Dreamy, I don't think that analogy holds water. The physical state of the water has been changed.

A naturalist's argument against freewill is that there are no energies involved in the generation of human behavior other than those that are generated by the activity of the body. For purposes of the argument it is sufficient to talk specifically about the activity of the brain. It is well established that the brain originates the behavior that demonstrates willful activity, and there are indeed very real constraints on the physical nature of that activity, from perception to volition. It is those constraints that seem to rule out freewill.

No hypothesis can be unequivocally proven. I would also submit that if there is an argument for the existence of something, it is incumbent upon that argument to establish the feasibility of its existence. I have as yet, not heard, nor been able to formulate any reasonable hypothesis for the existence of freewill; therefore, I continue to give no credence to its existence.

Thank you for the welcome Dreamy; however, I would not call myself a leading determinism, and I'm not even sure I'd be entirely welcome in that camp. Given my current understanding of the activities of the brain that seem to result in the phenomenon of mind, and at the very border of that understanding, it seems to me that strict determinism may breakdown. In other words the final instance of decision may not be entirely predictable on the basis of the state immediately preceding it. I just don't know yet, whether that can even be known.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Dreamy
Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 5:15:07 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
In other words the final instance of decision may not be entirely predictable on the basis of the state immediately preceding it. I just don't know yet, whether that can even be known.

I agree with this conclusion, Epiphileon.

The hypothesis that every event has a cause cannot be assumed as true in all cases, but is a good basis for futher investigation since it has a certain logic that can apply to both physics, ......and metaphysics if one is so inclined. My analogy illustrates that it is possible for matter in a constrained state to enjoy a state of freedom. How that freedom is obtained depends on determining factors.

Thus the postulated inseparability of determinism and freewill allows for these to not only coexist, but to also be covariant. Whatever the constants and variables it is certainly logical to suppose that they have been caused and are therefore determining factors . If one of these determining factors is freewill actions, we can ask two questions to help us investigate:

What are the causes of freewill actions?
What are the effects of freewill actions?

If the answers are that freewill actions are caused by determining factors, and that the effects of freewill actions are to cause determining factors we have a third question to investigate.

Does causation of a state of freedom deny the freedom of that state?





Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
rmberwin
Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 11:23:12 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Dreamy wrote:
Further to the discussion in play, and welcome to leading determinist Epiphileon, boiling points.


If you will pardon the pun Dreamy, I don't think that analogy holds water. The physical state of the water has been changed.

A naturalist's argument against freewill is that there are no energies involved in the generation of human behavior other than those that are generated by the activity of the body. For purposes of the argument it is sufficient to talk specifically about the activity of the brain. It is well established that the brain originates the behavior that demonstrates willful activity, and there are indeed very real constraints on the physical nature of that activity, from perception to volition. It is those constraints that seem to rule out freewill.

No hypothesis can be unequivocally proven. I would also submit that if there is an argument for the existence of something, it is incumbent upon that argument to establish the feasibility of its existence. I have as yet, not heard, nor been able to formulate any reasonable hypothesis for the existence of freewill; therefore, I continue to give no credence to its existence.

Thank you for the welcome Dreamy; however, I would not call myself a leading determinism, and I'm not even sure I'd be entirely welcome in that camp. Given my current understanding of the activities of the brain that seem to result in the phenomenon of mind, and at the very border of that understanding, it seems to me that strict determinism may breakdown. In other words the final instance of decision may not be entirely predictable on the basis of the state immediately preceding it. I just don't know yet, whether that can even be known.


The problem is that the activities of the brain can be accounted for in terms of phenomena that are for all practical purposes not subject to quantum indeterminacy, e.g., the processing of neurotransmitters. Therefore, brain activity, including consciousness, is fully determined. Again, Chomsky would say that his personal experience of free will trumps the current scientific paradigm, which is why he is a mysterian.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
Dreamy
Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2017 5:12:56 PM

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rmberwin wrote:
The problem is that the activities of the brain can be accounted for in terms of phenomena that are for all practical purposes not subject to quantum indeterminacy, e.g., the processing of neurotransmitters. Therefore, brain activity, including consciousness, is fully determined. Again, Chomsky would say that his personal experience of free will trumps the current scientific paradigm, which is why he is a mysterian.

What is your personal view, based on what you know, rmberwin?

While Chomsky has some extreme views which I don't favour, particularly his anarchistic leanings, I agree with his testimony of personal experience with regard to freewill.

It is obvious from the use of advertising and propaganda that the human will is considered to be maleable. There are choices to be made and the psychology of persuasion is at work to exploit the discerning and the vulnerable consumer equally.

Recently I had a need to replenish my stock of highlighters and once in the stationery outlet was faced with a plethora of choices. I could buy individual highlighters of most colours or I could buy in packets of various numbers with all sorts of shapes and sizes from pencil thin to jumbo large. And then there was the price factor to weigh up. I am picky with purchases and like to take my time, and so after some consideration I bought a packet of medium size highlighters in the colours I wanted according to the budget I set myself.

In my mind I exercised freewill and was also subject to determinism.



Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
rmberwin
Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2017 9:44:07 PM

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Dreamy wrote:
rmberwin wrote:
The problem is that the activities of the brain can be accounted for in terms of phenomena that are for all practical purposes not subject to quantum indeterminacy, e.g., the processing of neurotransmitters. Therefore, brain activity, including consciousness, is fully determined. Again, Chomsky would say that his personal experience of free will trumps the current scientific paradigm, which is why he is a mysterian.

What is your personal view, based on what you know, rmberwin?

While Chomsky has some extreme views which I don't favour, particularly his anarchistic leanings, I agree with his testimony of personal experience with regard to freewill.

It is obvious from the use of advertising and propaganda that the human will is considered to be maleable. There are choices to be made and the psychology of persuasion is at work to exploit the discerning and the vulnerable consumer equally.

Recently I had a need to replenish my stock of highlighters and once in the stationery outlet was faced with a plethora of choices. I could buy individual highlighters of most colours or I could buy in packets of various numbers with all sorts of shapes and sizes from pencil thin to jumbo large. And then there was the price factor to weigh up. I am picky with purchases and like to take my time, and so after some consideration I bought a packet of medium size highlighters in the colours I wanted according to the budget I set myself.

In my mind I exercised freewill and was also subject to determinism.



Although I am a mysterian (I believe that certain truths are beyond the cognitive capabilities of humans to comprehend), I tend to disbelieve in free will, for the reasons I stated above. But for free will to obtain in any case would require such specific physical conditions/properties that the situation would imply creationism. The argument from personal experience seems to me weak. E.g., my visual field seems to me to be integral, but in fact there is a blind spot, which my brain "fills in". Regarding your example of personal choosing, Steven Pinker wrote about a woman whose emotion governing areas of the brain were damaged, and she could hardly make a decision. She said she would spend an hour in the grocery store just trying to decide on which cereal to buy, because she became obsessed/distracted by the sheer number of logical choices to be made. She couldn't just bypass the process by using intuition/emotion.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
Dreamy
Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2017 11:51:07 PM

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rmberwin wrote:

Although I am a mysterian (I believe that certain truths are beyond the cognitive capabilities of humans to comprehend), I tend to disbelieve in free will, for the reasons I stated above. But for free will to obtain in any case would require such specific physical conditions/properties that the situation would imply creationism. The argument from personal experience seems to me weak. E.g., my visual field seems to me to be integral, but in fact there is a blind spot, which my brain "fills in". Regarding your example of personal choosing, Steven Pinker wrote about a woman whose emotion governing areas of the brain were damaged, and she could hardly make a decision. She said she would spend an hour in the grocery store just trying to decide on which cereal to buy, because she became obsessed/distracted by the sheer number of logical choices to be made. She couldn't just bypass the process by using intuition/emotion.

I agree with you that there are unknowns that are unknowable, rmberwin.
I ask myself the rhetorical question, "Is there a limit beyond which the imagination can stretch no further?"

With regard to determinism as a philosophy I see it achieving terminal utility for basing moral and legal obligations on. By that I mean it becomes useless because its precepts are inconsistent with society's ideas of responsibility and self control.

In this country our prisons fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, which implies a belief that illegal and antisocial behaviour can and should be corrected. Whether fact or fiction, stories abound of attempts to achieve this by scientific methods, so that subjects have no choice but to make right choices as prescribed by those in control.

In contrast to this I can personally testify of convicted criminals who have changed their ways as a result of believing it both necessary and possible, highlighting the assertion that without the belief that people can change, therapy makes no sense and corrective measures are futile.

Several neo-Freudians have taken up this insight, one of the most influential being Erich Fromm (1941). He argues in “Fear of Freedom” that all of us have the potential to control our own lives but that many of us are too afraid to do so with the result that we give up our freedom and allow our lives to be governed by not only circumstance, but also other people, political ideologies, and irrational feelings. Rather than accept determinism as inevitable Fromm sees the essence of human freedom in choice, specifically in choosing between good and evil.

There is quite a market exploiting the development of human potential, and within the Human Potential Movement it is believed that the individual cultivating of human potential leads to positive social change en masse.

This is what they choose to believe, and like creationists or evolutionists, they are free to do so.


Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 6:19:16 AM

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rmberwin wrote:
The problem is that the activities of the brain can be accounted for in terms of phenomena that are for all practical purposes not subject to quantum indeterminacy, e.g., the processing of neurotransmitters. Therefore, brain activity, including consciousness, is fully determined. Again, Chomsky would say that his personal experience of free will trumps the current scientific paradigm, which is why he is a mysterian.


Hello rmberwin, While I have a lot of respect for anyone who pursues knowledge to the degree that Chomsky does, appeals to the personal experience of freewill as a sufficient reason to accept its existence are hopelessly subjective and demonstrate an total lack of rigor in their investigation. Personally my impression is that of course we have freewill, it is patently obvious to my experience of being an experiencing being; however, so are a plethora of other things that are objectively, patently false.

I entirely agree with your evaluation of quantum indeterminacy's lack of any role in mental processes. I have seen no one, at any level, propose any consistent argument for how quantum events of any sort, could have a meaningful influence on the activity of the brain.

When I said...
Quote:
In other words the final instance of decision may not be entirely predictable on the basis of the state immediately preceding it. I just don't know yet, whether that can even be known.

...I did not mean to concede a possibility for freewill, only that I could not say for certain that it may not be possible, even if we were to know the entire last meaningful state of all processes in the brain/mind, whether we could reliably predict which state would exist next, i.e. the decided state. Most certainly it seems that we must, nothing in my current understanding indicates it would be otherwise; however, in my last foray into the land just beyond what I could call my current defensible level of understanding of the production of mind, I was confronted with a level of complexity that was, well that may have just been inconceivable for me. All I meant to indicate by the above is that we may not ever be able to say evidentially that the instant of decision is absolutely determined. I imagine a state in which multiple options are vying for acceptance and that which proceeds may be indeterminate. To reiterate though, whether we can ever have this level of knowledge is not only unknowable to me, it seems to me it may be unknowable to anyone.

My position remains, freewill is a myth, and though I have profound respect for Professor Dennet, and feel that his work is masterful, when it comes to freewill..... he cheated.


ETA I hadn't read beyond the post I was replying to until after I posted this.


Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
almo 1
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 6:48:17 AM
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Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival... a survival of a hugely remote period when... consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity... forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds...

— Algernon Blackwood




The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.


-H. P. Lovecraft-







TheParser
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 7:47:58 AM
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"A man can do as he wills, but not will as he wills."


-- Schopenhauer
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 8:07:58 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
With regard to determinism as a philosophy I see it achieving terminal utility for basing moral and legal obligations on. By that I mean it becomes useless because its precepts are inconsistent with society's ideas of responsibility and self control.


This argument is invalid. Society's ideas of responsibility and self control are exactly what they need to be in order to establish stable societies, precisely what co-evolutionary processes would produce. You can think of morals, personal responsibilities, and justice systems, as quality control mechanisms for societies.


Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Dreamy
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 4:38:11 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Society's ideas of responsibility and self control are exactly what they need to be in order to establish stable societies, precisely what co-evolutionary processes would produce. You can think of morals, personal responsibilities, and justice systems, as quality control mechanisms for societies.

Given that society includes compatibilists like myself who believe that determining factors, freewill actions, divine foreknowledge and divine intervention all coexist in multi-dimensional creation, Epiphileon, there is scope for divergent opinions on who makes the rules.

In the preface to the Humanist Manifestoes I & II, Paul Kurtz defines Humanism as "a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view." Another humanist writer, Mihailo Markovic challenges the assumption that Kurtz goes on to make, that in humanism there are a limited number of basic values and principles which have no specific foundation but are naturalistic and empirical phenomena.

Markovic maintains that Humanists have no unchanging standard that requires people to act in a certain way, and both he and Kurtz agree that from the variety of historical patterns of conduct and moral habits there is no ultimate basis for deciding what "ought" to be done.

Thus we are presented with relativism, leaving us with a society that has no basis for determinations of what is right or wrong other than "might is right and if you don't go along you're wrong", ...
making the Hitlers, Stalins, and Maos of the world innocent of any wrongdoing.

Ironically, just as the one thing that Humanists want most is freedom from moral absolutes, so the one thing that Determinists want most is freedom from the notion that humans have freewill.

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 6:03:16 PM

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There are some things we don't know we don't know - D Rumsfeld.

I remember, therefore I am.
rmberwin
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 7:25:07 PM

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Dreamy wrote:
rmberwin wrote:

Although I am a mysterian (I believe that certain truths are beyond the cognitive capabilities of humans to comprehend), I tend to disbelieve in free will, for the reasons I stated above. But for free will to obtain in any case would require such specific physical conditions/properties that the situation would imply creationism. The argument from personal experience seems to me weak. E.g., my visual field seems to me to be integral, but in fact there is a blind spot, which my brain "fills in". Regarding your example of personal choosing, Steven Pinker wrote about a woman whose emotion governing areas of the brain were damaged, and she could hardly make a decision. She said she would spend an hour in the grocery store just trying to decide on which cereal to buy, because she became obsessed/distracted by the sheer number of logical choices to be made. She couldn't just bypass the process by using intuition/emotion.

I agree with you that there are unknowns that are unknowable, rmberwin.
I ask myself the rhetorical question, "Is there a limit beyond which the imagination can stretch no further?"

With regard to determinism as a philosophy I see it achieving terminal utility for basing moral and legal obligations on. By that I mean it becomes useless because its precepts are inconsistent with society's ideas of responsibility and self control.

In this country our prisons fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, which implies a belief that illegal and antisocial behaviour can and should be corrected. Whether fact or fiction, stories abound of attempts to achieve this by scientific methods, so that subjects have no choice but to make right choices as prescribed by those in control.

In contrast to this I can personally testify of convicted criminals who have changed their ways as a result of believing it both necessary and possible, highlighting the assertion that without the belief that people can change, therapy makes no sense and corrective measures are futile.

Several neo-Freudians have taken up this insight, one of the most influential being Erich Fromm (1941). He argues in “Fear of Freedom” that all of us have the potential to control our own lives but that many of us are too afraid to do so with the result that we give up our freedom and allow our lives to be governed by not only circumstance, but also other people, political ideologies, and irrational feelings. Rather than accept determinism as inevitable Fromm sees the essence of human freedom in choice, specifically in choosing between good and evil.

There is quite a market exploiting the development of human potential, and within the Human Potential Movement it is believed that the individual cultivating of human potential leads to positive social change en masse.

This is what they choose to believe, and like creationists or evolutionists, they are free to do so.


I agree that dangerous people may need to be isolated. But certainly, it can only improve society to abandon the colossal illusion of free will. Sociopaths would be seen as defective people rather than 'sinners', and dealt with appropriately. And the no-free-will position should not be confused with fatalism. People and circumstances can change for the better.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
rmberwin
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 7:40:58 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
rmberwin wrote:
The problem is that the activities of the brain can be accounted for in terms of phenomena that are for all practical purposes not subject to quantum indeterminacy, e.g., the processing of neurotransmitters. Therefore, brain activity, including consciousness, is fully determined. Again, Chomsky would say that his personal experience of free will trumps the current scientific paradigm, which is why he is a mysterian.


Hello rmberwin, While I have a lot of respect for anyone who pursues knowledge to the degree that Chomsky does, appeals to the personal experience of freewill as a sufficient reason to accept its existence are hopelessly subjective and demonstrate an total lack of rigor in their investigation. Personally my impression is that of course we have freewill, it is patently obvious to my experience of being an experiencing being; however, so are a plethora of other things that are objectively, patently false.

I entirely agree with your evaluation of quantum indeterminacy's lack of any role in mental processes. I have seen no one, at any level, propose any consistent argument for how quantum events of any sort, could have a meaningful influence on the activity of the brain.

When I said...
Quote:
In other words the final instance of decision may not be entirely predictable on the basis of the state immediately preceding it. I just don't know yet, whether that can even be known.

...I did not mean to concede a possibility for freewill, only that I could not say for certain that it may not be possible, even if we were to know the entire last meaningful state of all processes in the brain/mind, whether we could reliably predict which state would exist next, i.e. the decided state. Most certainly it seems that we must, nothing in my current understanding indicates it would be otherwise; however, in my last foray into the land just beyond what I could call my current defensible level of understanding of the production of mind, I was confronted with a level of complexity that was, well that may have just been inconceivable for me. All I meant to indicate by the above is that we may not ever be able to say evidentially that the instant of decision is absolutely determined. I imagine a state in which multiple options are vying for acceptance and that which proceeds may be indeterminate. To reiterate though, whether we can ever have this level of knowledge is not only unknowable to me, it seems to me it may be unknowable to anyone.

My position remains, freewill is a myth, and though I have profound respect for Professor Dennet, and feel that his work is masterful, when it comes to freewill..... he cheated.


ETA I hadn't read beyond the post I was replying to until after I posted this.


Dennett's position has been widely criticized as a sort of semantic trick. He's actually a materialist-determinist. He just thinks that 1) The libertarian kind of free will people think/wish they have is "not the kind worth having". And 2) His conception of "free will" is truly liberating because it reflects our actual worth in terms of our ethical/physical makeup.

But this is my interpretation based on an admittedly not very intensive reading of Dennett's work.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
Dreamy
Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 2:17:31 AM

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rberwin wrote:
I agree that dangerous people may need to be isolated. But certainly, it can only improve society to abandon the colossal illusion of free will. Sociopaths would be seen as defective people rather than 'sinners', and dealt with appropriately. And the no-free-will position should not be confused with fatalism. People and circumstances can change for the better.

If the pure humanist simply places no requirement on people to act in a certain way then it follows that belief in freewill is not wrong.

If the pure determinist simply factors causation into everything then it follows that belief in freewill is caused and therefore a product of determining factors about which decisions must be made.

Whatever decisions are made about the determining factors that cause belief in freewill, these decisions will be determined and therefore not a result of freewill. Those who make them will believe they are acting in the common good in ridding society of a defective ideology.

Wikipedia wrote:
Ernst Rüdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of "defectives" that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as "degenerate" or "unfit", and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder.The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.


Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
rmberwin
Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 1:42:52 PM

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Quote:
Dreamy wrote:
rberwin wrote:
I agree that dangerous people may need to be isolated. But certainly, it can only improve society to abandon the colossal illusion of free will. Sociopaths would be seen as defective people rather than 'sinners', and dealt with appropriately. And the no-free-will position should not be confused with fatalism. People and circumstances can change for the better.



Wikipedia wrote:
Ernst Rüdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of "defectives" that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as "degenerate" or "unfit", and therefore led to segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even mass murder.The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.


Let me hasten to add that by "appropriately" I meant "in a truth-based and compassionate manner". Hitler's policies were of the end-justifies-the-means kind, and also incoherent. We shouldn't be afraid of tackling difficult problems just because of the actions of madmen.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
will
Posted: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 9:02:44 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/29/2009
Posts: 1,077
Neurons: 4,357
Dreamy, you'll probably have to construct some more convincing straw-men than the above examples to coax Epiphileon out of retirement. Not talking


.
Dreamy
Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 1:24:54 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/2009
Posts: 1,504
Neurons: 7,723
Location: Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand
will wrote:
Dreamy, you'll probably have to construct some more convincing straw-men than the above examples to coax Epiphileon out of retirement.

Yes, will. I'll have to work up some new hypothesis on which to philosophise, something that his conjectures can sharpen their focus on while I attend to the real issues.

I have privately expressed my appreciation to rmberwin for the amicable discussion that we had as a result of his decision to ask "Do you believe in free will? If so, why?"

Now, something more advanced... Epi in retirement ,eh! Let me see... should I postulate something theological or teleological...they're both linked of course but...hmm Think

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 4:52:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 3,989
Neurons: 63,299
will wrote:
Dreamy, you'll probably have to construct some more convincing straw-men than the above examples to coax Epiphileon out of retirement. Not talking


Hi Will not retired, I check out what's going on here regularly. It seemed the philosophy section went through a period of atrophy. I also had come to feel that I had pushed my inquiries to the point of tedium. I happened across a forum where there was an amazing discussion going on purporting a type of naturalistic dualism. It is really a fascinating conjecture; however, it turned out to be based on as much pure conjecture as metaphysical dualism.


Dreamy wrote:
Yes, will. I'll have to work up some new hypothesis on which to philosophise, something that his conjectures can sharpen their focus on while I attend to the real issues.


Hi Dreamy, I'm not sure what this means, while I do appreciate any opportunity to hone my arguments, and discover where they may be in error (something that these forums have accomplished in the past), I am curious what you might mean by "attend to the real issues". Do you consider my issues imaginary? ;)

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 1:39:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 3,989
Neurons: 63,299
Dreamy wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
Society's ideas of responsibility and self control are exactly what they need to be in order to establish stable societies, precisely what co-evolutionary processes would produce. You can think of morals, personal responsibilities, and justice systems, as quality control mechanisms for societies.

Given that society includes compatibilists like myself who believe that determining factors, freewill actions, divine foreknowledge and divine intervention all coexist in multi-dimensional creation, Epiphileon, there is scope for divergent opinions on who makes the rules.


Well yes of course divergent opinions exist in the current state of society, but that was not the point of what I said. My point is that the existence of morality and other systems, does not in any way support the argument for the existence of freewill. These systems would, of necessity, develop in the evolution of stable societies. They do not proceed from, nor to, any sort of moral absolute they are formed by selective pressures to align with whatever is adaptive to the co-evolutionary environment. Systems of morality, and justice, vary incredibly both geographically and historically. We no longer abandon our elderly, nor subject our infants to severe qualification inspections, well the vast majority of us don't.

Dreamy wrote:
In the preface to the Humanist Manifestoes I & II, Paul Kurtz defines Humanism as "a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view." Another humanist writer, Mihailo Markovic challenges the assumption that Kurtz goes on to make, that in humanism there are a limited number of basic values and principles which have no specific foundation but are naturalistic and empirical phenomena.


I am fairly sure that I have mentioned in the past that I have no association with the humanist movement you mention. Some of my points may be similar, or even the same as theirs, but overall our positions are not compatible. Answering any of my posts with an argument against Humanism is misleading and does not speak directly to my point.

Dreamy wrote:
Markovic maintains that Humanists have no unchanging standard that requires people to act in a certain way, and both he and Kurtz agree that from the variety of historical patterns of conduct and moral habits there is no ultimate basis for deciding what "ought" to be done.

The way you've stated this, and perhaps the way they intended it, (I don't know what they intended I give no credence to their manifesto), makes it sound like the absence of evidence, is the evidence of absence. A position that I would not take. On the other hand if you are going to claim that something exists then I fully agree that you must provide evidence that it does.

I look at that same diversity and see evidence that the systems under discussion evolved.

Dreamy wrote:
Thus we are presented with relativism, leaving us with a society that has no basis for determinations of what is right or wrong other than "might is right and if you don't go along you're wrong",
making the Hitlers, Stalins, and Maos of the world innocent of any wrongdoing.


I would ask that you reexamine the logic of this statement. It seems to me flawed.

First I would like to examine this term relativism, TFD defines it as; "any theory of knowledge, truth, morality, etc., holding that criteria of judgment may vary with individuals and their environments."
This position as regards knowledge, and truth, I regard as false, as to systems of morality, that is precisely what we see evidence for.

The flaw in the logic is that moral relativism leads only to the type of systems under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, it has also evidentially led to every other moral system that has ever existed. The systems proposed in the Bible are examples of moral relativism if you accept that the God of the Bible is an individual. I do realize that you would disagree, and that God is actually the absolute determiner of what is right, but that does not invalidate the point when all systems of morals are being considered.

Dreamy wrote:
Ironically, just as the one thing that Humanists want most is freedom from moral absolutes, so the one thing that Determinists want most is freedom from the notion that humans have freewill.


I can not speak for Humanists but I think they would just want freedom from other peoples conceptions of moral absolutes.

I do believe there are some points of morality that have become species wide and that may be said to be binding upon all homo sapiens. There are only a few of those I could readily defend at this point, and feel they are beyond the purview of this discussion.

I also see no basis for the assertion that determinists wish to be free of the notion of freewill. Why would they want to be free of something they do not concede exists?

As for me, I have never liked the, perceived by me as fact, non-existence of freewill; however, if that is indeed the reality then the most adaptive response to that reality is to deal with it.

Oh and by the way, in the interest of total disclosure and self honesty, I have never entirely given up on the notion that there may be some possibility of freewill; however, I am convinced the path to that possibility leads through the acknowledgement that up till now it is entirely a myth.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Dreamy
Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 4:31:05 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/2009
Posts: 1,504
Neurons: 7,723
Location: Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand
Epiphileon wrote:
Dreamy wrote:
Yes, will. I'll have to work up some new hypothesis on which to philosophise, something that his conjectures can sharpen their focus on while I attend to the real issues.


Hi Dreamy, I'm not sure what this means, while I do appreciate any opportunity to hone my arguments, and discover where they may be in error (something that these forums have accomplished in the past), I am curious what you might mean by "attend to the real issues". Do you consider my issues imaginary? ;)

Hi Epiphileon, My remark was tongue-in-cheek. Straw men versus real issues???. Prior to will's post I felt I had said my piece as to why I believe in freewill, and I was moved to let rmberwin know privately that I had enjoyed our discussion, enjoyment being one of the real issues when some threads thrive on derision rather than the informed exchange of information.

It is a public forum so there is an element of exposure to criticism, something I have always accepted.

As someone who rejects evolutionary theory I can still empathise with evolutionists while remaining true to my beliefs. All I ask is that professing Christians who believe in theistic evolution not consider themselves Bible-believers.

I know how some evolutionists consider Christianity, which includes both determinism and freewill in its doctrines, to be a product of evolution along with everything else in Creation, so rather than quarrel as to why I believe what I do I just keep responding the best I can, remembering this:

But and if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are you: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear (respect): having a good conscience; that, wherein you are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.
(1 Peter 3:14-16)





Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
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