Freewill?
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21-07-2015, 01:40 PM
Freewill?
I call myself a compatibilist. I understand the science, but subjectively feel like I have choices, and so do others. I know that this requires faith on my part, but whatever.
However, the purpose of this post is to bring up the idea of determinist freewill. If we have no freewill, and we are simply reactive machines, what should happen with those who commit crime, don't hold up social norms, and so on? For example, if I am only reacting to me surroundings, and so is everyone else, shouldn't we have the most positive environment possible? So, if there is a habitual thief, and this could cause me to hurt him if he steals from me, and this is a possibility with many others, shouldn't the thief be removed from the society? Anyone who could possibly cause a negative reaction in others? Shouldn't they all be removed?
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21-07-2015, 01:53 PM
RE: Freewill?
In theory not much different because, if you take a determined view, you can still alter the means of how that person will function and react in a situation based on their surrounding stimulus. Of course the current prison system formula wouldn't be likely favored by anybody but the principal I think isn't changed in embracing that view.

I'd lean toward more social/psychological assisting help but mainly, you keep those who seem likely to harm again locked away until you deem they seem better or earned their new chance via time. Or you take harsher measures with those you think may have even more severe issues from how they were set up. It's an idea that these changed/new situations for them can help form them to a more sensible path.

Though I'm not certain on a determinist view myself. I don't find the science studying the brain on a significant action or deeply enough, or maybe I just am set up and in the situation to think that it's that way.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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22-07-2015, 04:24 AM
RE: Freewill?
(21-07-2015 01:40 PM)ATwstdLaddr Wrote:  I call myself a compatibilist. I understand the science, but subjectively feel like I have choices, and so do others. I know that this requires faith on my part, but whatever.
However, the purpose of this post is to bring up the idea of determinist freewill. If we have no freewill, and we are simply reactive machines, what should happen with those who commit crime, don't hold up social norms, and so on? For example, if I am only reacting to me surroundings, and so is everyone else, shouldn't we have the most positive environment possible? So, if there is a habitual thief, and this could cause me to hurt him if he steals from me, and this is a possibility with many others, shouldn't the thief be removed from the society? Anyone who could possibly cause a negative reaction in others? Shouldn't they all be removed?

This is more a question about societal norms than freewill.

The question that seems to be begging here is does society need the concept of free will (regardless of its existence) in order to function? - And if the answer is 'yes' then does this make the concept of free will a by-product of the social construct?

Archi

"I love the term magic realism. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered to think this is what the world is. Everything's saying 'That's the world.' And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things." - TG

Salman Rushdie talks to Terry Gilliam
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22-07-2015, 11:39 AM (This post was last modified: 22-07-2015 11:42 AM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Freewill?
It's interesting that you say,
Quote: "...I am only reacting to me surroundings, and so is everyone else, shouldn't we have the most positive environment possible?"
(emphasis my own)

followed immediately by,

Quote:"So, if there is a habitual thief, and this could cause me to hurt him if he steals from me, and this is a possibility with many others, shouldn't the thief be removed from the society?"

It begs the question, "Is he a 'habitual thief' becuause he is inherently flawed, or because of environmental factors which drive him?"

In other words, perhaps he steals from you because he was never shown another way, and sees only that where he lives, people suffer from generational and systematic poverty that prohibits his advancement (and perhaps ability to eat) by the same means you enjoy as life-advantages. (You may not recognize them, but they're there... see concept of Privilege.) When you say to "remove" him, you mean longterm prison (unless you're advocating eugenics/genocide), which steals from you by other means -- it costs more to send him to prison than it does to send him to college, by a pretty wide margin. And if he is stealing from you for survival, isn't putting him into that prison a form of revenge that's not only costly but cruel, given that your stated objective is to reduce cruelty. Loss of property is but a small thing; depriving a person of their Liberty is far greater, second only to depriving them of their life.

What troubles me is that you next say this:

Quote:"Anyone who could possibly cause a negative reaction in others? Shouldn't they all be removed?"

Holy crap, dude. Seriously!? Where do we draw THAT line? Hell, I know that if I made the decisions on "that which might cause a negative reaction in me" for removal of others, likely 3/4ths of the planet would have to be "removed".

I think the vengeance-against-wrongdoers emotion is an evolutionary heritage which we must overcome, and try to look more toward empathy and fixing the conditions which have been shown to lead to more crime. Yes, the individual bad actors cause harm, and I'm not saying we shouldn't have an ability to defend ourselves against the truly dangerous/predatory. However, the vast majority of "crimes" we currently punish can be traced to causes other than sociopathy. So we're simply dealing with the bad choices of regular neighbors, who are (as you say) "reacting to their surroundings". When our retaliation is worse than what they do by such a huge measure, and we ignore the conditions that led to their learned or instinctive behavior (poverty, neighborhood violence, parental absence due to working 2-3 jobs, systematic disenfranchisement and racism, et cetera) and allow those conditions to continue, I'd say it makes us worse than the people we're trying to "remove" for our "better society".

(Edited to include proper quote-boxes.)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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26-07-2015, 02:52 PM
RE: Freewill?
(21-07-2015 01:40 PM)ATwstdLaddr Wrote:  I call myself a compatibilist. I understand the science, but subjectively feel like I have choices, and so do others. I know that this requires faith on my part, but whatever.

Why do you think it requires any kind of faith to feel that you have choices?

Quote:If we have no freewill, and we are simply reactive machines, what should happen with those who commit crime, don't hold up social norms, and so on?

Regardless if they have autonomy or are deterministic, the same rules in regards to separating them from society would still need to be applied to protect society as a whole. Nothing would change, except perhaps how we view them as being criminals, if we knew they had no free will in the matter.


Quote:For example, if I am only reacting to my surroundings, and so is everyone else, shouldn't we have the most positive environment possible?

Please explain how you arrive at this conclusion.

Quote:So, if there is a habitual thief, and this could cause me to hurt him if he steals from me, and this is a possibility with many others, shouldn't the thief be removed from the society?

He already is. We either imprison the thieves, or attempt to rehabilitate them.

Quote: Anyone who could possibly cause a negative reaction in others? Shouldn't they all be removed?

Only if we already know that the person poses a clear and present danger to society. In that case, we already do that with the mentally unstable and perpetually criminally violent offenders.

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26-07-2015, 04:20 PM
RE: Freewill?
(21-07-2015 01:40 PM)ATwstdLaddr Wrote:  However, the purpose of this post is to bring up the idea of determinist freewill. If we have no freewill, and we are simply reactive machines, what should happen with those who commit crime, don't hold up social norms, and so on? For example, if I am only reacting to me surroundings, and so is everyone else, shouldn't we have the most positive environment possible? So, if there is a habitual thief, and this could cause me to hurt him if he steals from me, and this is a possibility with many others, shouldn't the thief be removed from the society? Anyone who could possibly cause a negative reaction in others? Shouldn't they all be removed?

Great questions.
I don't consider that we (government) should play god.
By this I mean that we shouldn't pretend that we know what is right or wrong adn we should judge and dishout punishment based on rights and wrongs.
So whether a person has free will choice or not is irrelevant.
What we (government) need to do is to protect our society from dangers.
If a particular person presents a danger to other members of society or to society as a whole then we need to address that danger. This might mean rehabilitation, or disensentives or removing the person from society (remove the threat/danger from society).

Regarding "don't hold up social norms" as long as they aren't a danger to society then we have no real incentive to stop them.
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27-07-2015, 09:42 AM
RE: Freewill?
(26-07-2015 04:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Regarding "don't hold up social norms" as long as they aren't a danger to society then we have no real incentive to stop them.

Couldn't we make dog fighting illegal simply because we don't like it? Isn't that the reason it's illegal in many places?
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27-07-2015, 09:54 AM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 11:14 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Freewill?
duplicate

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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27-07-2015, 09:54 AM
RE: Freewill?
Depends what you mean by "free will".

Can you do ANYTHING you might think you want ?
No. You are bound by innumerable forces and constraints.

Can you do "this thing vs that thing" ? Maybe.
You practice and LEARN your responses, and are also constrained by your learned patterns and (possibly) other factors influencing your brain's electrical patterns.

The classical (religious Moral Theological) model of "free will" has been debunked. No one has *present* in their consciousness ALL the factors that go into making a decision, and in fact we know that decisions are made before we are aware of them.


http://archive.wired.com/science/discove...d_decision

http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/bra...you-decide

http://www.thelavinagency.com/blog-scien...-time.html




Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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