Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
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22-12-2013, 03:36 AM (This post was last modified: 22-12-2013 03:39 AM by Stevil.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I think it is silly to view free will as an illusion.

A chair is made out of atoms. Atoms are mostly empty space. So the chair is mostly
empty space. So this means that chairs are illusion? So we conclude that chairs do not exist?
These are weak analogies.
A chair is certainly an abstract concept. But atoms can be configured in an arrangement that fit the abstract definition of a chair. Thus we have an abstract concept with an underlying physical existence. Thus we do have several instance of chairs (with different shapes, sizes and colour) because a chair is a simplified conceptual definition. Some concepts are represented by existing physical objects/systems e.g. Chair, Table, clock and some concepts never have a physical representation e.g. gods, soul...

(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  You are made out of atoms. Atoms are dead. So the idea that you are alive is an illusion.

So we conclude that you are dead?
Life is merely an abstract term. Scientifically it can be defined as “a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution". Thus , such a structure is made of atoms, replicates, and evolves. "I" an such a structure, thus I am deemed "alive". At no point does one have to invoke any special pleading as is sometimes done by some people's definition of free will (insistence on an unobserved "new" emergent property such as the ability to overcome the forces of nature by making choices).

(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Free will is made out of brain activity. The brain is made out of atoms. Atoms don't make choices.
So this means that our free choices are illusions. So we conclude that free will does not exist?
That's not the argument.
The argument is that everything that we know of (with the exception of black holes, inside the event horizon) are bound to the four forces of nature Gravity, electromagnitism, strong and weak nuclear. The formulas for which are well known to a high degree of accuracy and are objectively proven to hold truth. in an environment where all forces are in play, the strongest force will win. There is no ability to overcome this by willing a different alternative.


(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  In my opinion, chairs DO exist, people ARE alive, ...and free will DOES exist!
Agreed

(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  ...and free will DOES exist!
disagee
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22-12-2013, 04:00 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:I feel that Chippy is looking at free will in an abstract context.
It would be analogous to a computer game playing by itself.

This is what Dennett terms an misuse of an intuition pump. The vital point--which the analogy obfuscates--is that there is no computer programmer. The physical universe is not an agent, it has no intentions and it is not working toward some goal.
with my analogy and argument it is not important whether there is a programmer or not. What is important is that there is a very real physical constraint such that no options are available. With a program the rules are written and the state flow must progress in accordance. With reality the physical forces are predictably defining the rules of the next future event given the current state.

(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:However in Chippy's definition of "choice" this well known cause and effect is to be "ignored" and instead it is to be deemed that a choice has been made out of many possible options. The person could have gone straight ahead but he decided to turn left.

No that is a gross distortion of what I have been arguing. If a person has acted in the way that they wanted then they have acted in a manner consistent with free-will.
Not meaning to distort what you are saying, just trying to understand it.
I think the key would be to define "wants" and how that provides for options and choice and how that would allow for avoidance of adherence to the forces of nature.

In my opinion, if the forces of nature determine the next event then "wants" become irrelevant. Thus a person thinking they are making a choice based on their wants must be subject to an illusionary choice.


(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:I would state that these choices are illusionary because the person did as it must.

The notion of "did as it must" is just an emotive caricature of determinism that has the rhetorical intention of obscuring the distinction between determinism and fatalism.
There is nothing emotional about the claim "did as it must", just as there is nothing emotional about describing the path of the moon in orbit around the Earth.
The moon does as it must because it has no options available to it. Even if the moon was deemed "sentient" it would have no choices. Sentience isn't a magical power. It cannot be used to overcome the forces of nature.


(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:Although I do recognise that a different person, with a different state, may have made a different "choice".

Or the same person 'with a different state, may have made a different "choice"'.
Yes, agreed

(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:I feel Chippy redefines "choice" because as he knows unconstrained choice is impossible. Or in his words "contra causal free will is incoherent" thus instead of using the phrase "illusion of free will" Chippy uses the phrase "free will".
So in a way it is a semantic thing. My "illusion of free will" = Chippy's "free will".

No, I am not redefining anything. The compatibilist conception of free-will is the consensus view amongst philosophers and legal scholars. The legal system is predicated on a compatibilist conceptiion of free-will. If anyone is redefining anything it is you.

There is no "illusion of free-will", there is only an illusion of an illusion of free-will that is sustained by appealing to incoherent conceptions of free-will.
Fair enough. We have differing views. "illusion of free will" is a common term. I didn't make it up.
If the legal system is built on a belief in moral obligation, moral judgment and moral justice, then I deem the legal system to be flawed.

(21-12-2013 10:13 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:Although I still struggle with the idea of choices and morality.

Yes, because your conception of free-will is flawed. The notion of moral responsibility depends on determinism being true.
I don't understand this statement. If determinism is true then how can moral responsibility be anything but irrelevant?

Quote:Determinism is a philosophical position stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. "There are many determinisms, depending upon what pre-conditions are considered to be determinative of an event."[1] Deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse motives and considerations, some of which overlap. Some forms of determinism can be tested empirically with ideas stemming from physics and the philosophy of physics. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called nondeterminism). Determinism is often contrasted with free will.
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22-12-2013, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 22-12-2013 02:00 PM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  A chair is made out of atoms. Atoms are mostly empty space. So the chair is mostly
empty space. So this means that chairs are illusion? So we conclude that chairs do not exist?
No its just that our naked eyes are not that good enough too see atoms -_- you're making it sound like as if free will is an obvious fact whereas it isn't everything has a cause and that cause has an effect.. and you're not outside that cycle when you make a choice.
Quote:You are made out of atoms. Atoms are dead. So the idea that you are alive is an illusion
That's a really funny analogy its almost like "Guns don't kill people,people kill people" no matter how you see it its still stupid people use those guns to kill and live things use dead atoms to live.Laughat

Quote:So this means that our free choices are illusions. So we conclude that free will does not exist?
Yup
Quote:In my opinion, chairs DO exist, people ARE alive, and free will DOES exist!
Replace God with Free will and you'd still make the same amount of sense lol
(21-12-2013 10:17 PM)Chippy Wrote:  There is no puppeteer.
Yes its the universe and the natural laws are the strings.

"puppet" is a just a metaphor for you being bound by the laws of nature.

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22-12-2013, 03:25 PM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(22-12-2013 01:50 PM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  
(21-12-2013 07:09 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  A chair is made out of atoms. Atoms are mostly empty space. So the chair is mostly
empty space. So this means that chairs are illusion? So we conclude that chairs do not exist?
No its just that our naked eyes are not that good enough too see atoms -_- you're making it sound like as if free will is an obvious fact whereas it isn't everything has a cause and that cause has an effect.. and you're not outside that cycle when you make a choice.
A chair is something one person can sit on. Wehther a chair is made
of atoms, quarks or strings really doesn't matter for the essense of a chair.
The existence of chairs is bloody obvious, because we see them all the time.

It is the same for free will. People make choices. We see this all the time.
These choices cannot be entirely explained by external circumstances,
such as genetics or environment (identitical twins growing up in the same
environment may end up becoming entirely different persons making
totally different choices). Free will is just those choices of people, that cannot
be explained external circumstances. Here, brain activity is not considered
external. Essentially this is the definition people use in practical situations,
and in law. Since generally, we cannot predict people's behavior by looking
at their external circumstances, free will is absolutely real and useful notion.

Now it may be an interesting question, what this "free will" is exactly made of.
Somehow, it is produced by our brains. But whatever it is made of, it is real.
Quote:
Quote:You are made out of atoms. Atoms are dead. So the idea that you are alive is an illusion
That's a really funny analogy its almost like "Guns don't kill people,people kill people" no matter how you see it its still stupid people use those guns to kill and live things use dead atoms to live.Laughat
I don't see what "guns don't kill people ...'' has to do with this. I agree
that this is a stupid saying though. Mostly, because noone ever claimed that
"Guns kill people" in a literal sense. But in a literal sense, of course,
guns indeed do not kill people.

Anyway, are you saying that:

People use guns to kill.
Living things use dead atoms to live.
People use "atoms without free will" to exert free will?
Quote:
Quote:So this means that our free choices are illusions. So we conclude that free will does not exist?
Yup
Quote:In my opinion, chairs DO exist, people ARE alive, and free will DOES exist!
Replace God with Free will and you'd still make the same amount of sense lol
I never invoked "God", so replacing it would have absolutely no effect.
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23-12-2013, 06:07 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(22-12-2013 04:00 AM)Stevil Wrote:  I don't understand this statement. If determinism is true then how can moral responsibility be anything but irrelevant?

The notion of moral responsibility depends on motivated action, i.e. reasons for behaviour. With indeterminism or contra-causal free-will no action can be understood in terms of antecedent influences. On your account of free-will, any reason that I can supply for an action is indicative of the absence of free-will, it becomes another cause in a chain of causes that extends all the way back to the Big Bang.

With indeterminism or contra-causal free-will the notion of moral responsibility vanishes because all behaviour is essentially and necessarily unmotivated. Murder is no more explicable or motivated than boiling an egg. You have no more or less motive to make your wife a cup of tea than you do to murder her.

Moral responsibility depends on determinism being true because moral responsibility is ascertained with reference to proximate causes of behaviour (and with some reference to distal causes that may be exculpatory). With rational agents moral responsibility can only be coherently conceptualised in terms of proximate antecdendent causes.

Moral responsibility is achieved by being a participant in a (mainly) deterministic chain of causality. If you wanted to participate in a causal chain and you did so then you are morally responsible.

That contra-causal free-will eliminates rather creates free-will also should alert you that it is incoherent concept that shouldn't be used as a standard to judge determinism as representing a loss of freedom.
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23-12-2013, 06:10 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(22-12-2013 01:50 PM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  ]Yes its the universe and the natural laws are the strings.

"puppet" is a just a metaphor for you being bound by the laws of nature.

It is a misleading metaphor because neither the universe or natural laws are agents, neither has intentions. A puppeteer has agency, has intentions.

There is no domain--other than the religious ans the superstitous--where the physical universe is attributed with agency.
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23-12-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(22-12-2013 04:00 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Not meaning to distort what you are saying, just trying to understand it.
I think the key would be to define "wants" and how that provides for options and choice and how that would allow for avoidance of adherence to the forces of nature.

In my opinion, if the forces of nature determine the next event then "wants" become irrelevant. Thus a person thinking they are making a choice based on their wants must be subject to an illusionary choice.

What I am unable to effectively communicate to you and/or you are unable to observe is that at every turn of the argument you are implicitly invoking contra-causal free-will. You are implicitly--and sometimes explicitly--comparing a compatibilist conception of free-will against a contr-causal conception of free-will--as if it were coherent. Not only do we lack contra-causal free-will but more importantly it doesn't make sense but more importantly again it doesn't make sense for reasons other than those which you propose.

Choosing according to one's wants is not illusory. There is no sense of the word illusory that renders your claim valid or even meaningful. That an action is motivated makes that action meaningful in relation to one's autobiography. It is an unmotivated action--one that has no antecdent influences--that is meaningless in relation to one's autobiography. Unmotivated action is not in any way more "real" and less "illusory" than the alternative.

When you say the compatbilist conception of free-will is just the illusion of free-will what is it that you are comparing it to? It is illusory compared to what? What is the "real" alternative?

The alternative that you have in mind, viz. contra-causal free-will, is entirely imaginary and incoherent.
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23-12-2013, 07:02 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(23-12-2013 06:10 AM)Chippy Wrote:  It is a misleading metaphor because neither the universe or natural laws are agents, neither has intentions. A puppeteer has agency, has intentions.
That's why its a metaphor DUH.. if i say that my hands are as strong as a rock does that mean literally my hands are made of rocks ??

Quote:There is no domain--other than the religious ans the superstitous--where the physical universe is attributed with agency.
Good lord you and your strawmanning..Dodgy and here i was wondering why i don't bother replying to your posts.

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
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Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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23-12-2013, 07:23 AM (This post was last modified: 23-12-2013 07:29 AM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(22-12-2013 03:25 PM)black_squirrel Wrote:  The existence of chairs is bloody obvious, because we see them all the time.
Yes and i don't see how it has anything to do with an abstract concept which actually is very subjective.
Quote:It is the same for free will.
No it isn't Chair exists in physical reality.. Free will is merely an abstract concept with no basis in the physical reality.
Quote:People make choices. We see this all the time.
And those choices depend on the arbitrary cycle of cause&effect.
Quote:These choices cannot be entirely explained by external circumstances,
such as genetics or environment (identitical twins growing up in the same
environment may end up becoming entirely different persons making
totally different choices).
That's why they're "Identical" they're not total clones who experience the exact the same things as each other so if they end up differently its not really a surprise.
Quote:Free will is just those choices of people, that cannot
be explained external circumstances.
Yes it can be.
Quote:Here, brain activity is not considered
external.
Whatever.. its still comes under the cycle of cause&effect and all the laws of the universe we know so little about.
Quote:Since generally, we cannot predict people's behavior by looking
at their external circumstances, free will is absolutely real and useful notion.
NO it isn't external factors are congruent to whatever happens inside your brain the chemicals in your brain are are under the influence of the external reality.
Quote:Now it may be an interesting question, what this "free will" is exactly made of.
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Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
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Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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23-12-2013, 07:36 AM
RE: Determinism, indeterminism, free will. Does it really matter?
(23-12-2013 07:02 AM)IndianAtheist Wrote:  
(23-12-2013 06:10 AM)Chippy Wrote:  It is a misleading metaphor because neither the universe or natural laws are agents, neither has intentions. A puppeteer has agency, has intentions.
That's why its a metaphor DUH.. if i say that my hands are as strong as a rock does that mean literally my hands are made of rocks ??

Quote:There is no domain--other than the religious ans the superstitous--where the physical universe is attributed with agency.
Good lord you and your strawmanning..Dodgy and here i was wondering why i don't bother replying to your posts.

Do everyone a favour and just shut the fuck up with your "strawmanning" claims and read closely what is written. Stop fucking flattering yourself that you have unassailable arguments that I am avoiding. Your argument is garbage just like your pseudo-neuroscientific argument which you have quietly dropped.

You clearly don't understand how metaphors work. If you say your hands are as strong as a rock and your hands are delicate lady hands then your metaphor is poor. An effective metaphor depends on some commonality of properties between the the literal case and the figurative.

The metaphor of a puppeteer and his puppet rests on the contrast between the puppeteer as an agent and controller and the puppet as the agentless thing that is controlled.

When commentators say that the Thai governemt is a "puppet government" they are implying that Yingluck Shinawatra is not qua prime minister an agent and is being controlled by her brother Thaksin who is agent and controller. Thaksin is the puppeteer and Yingluck is the puppet. Thaksin has intentions and motives and his sister is blindly executing those hence the metaphor works.

The physical universe and the laws of nature do not possess agency, they have no intent, they have no purpose. Hence the metaphor fails. Invoking the metaphor of a puppet and a puppeteer implies that the physical universe has motives, intentions and goals that it is executing through humans.

The physical universe is not an agent and it shouldn't even be implied--with the use of a poor metaphor--that it is. There is no context that is not religious or superstitious where the physical universe is attributed with agency. If you don't believe the universe has agency then stop using that metaphor.

Present your argument in direct terms using literal language. Do you have an argument to present? It seems to me that you repeatedly invoke the metaphor because you have no actual argument. In any event a metaphor is not an argument so present your fucking argument as clearly as your are able to, in fucking literal terms.
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