The free will fallacy
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18-07-2017, 06:49 PM
RE: The free will fallacy
(18-07-2017 08:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 01:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Ah yes, I was wondering if that would apply. Thanks Smile

Why the fuck does no one notice this in debates? I believe people are going around writing books and shit about the "moral implications" of finding out there is no free will. There aren't any. We'd just be discovering that our morality is entirely out of our control. We couldn't "change" it if we tried, if we have no free will. Not in the way they are suggesting. We could only get it wrong in fact, by making a genuine change using agency we really do have, while falsely concluding that we have none (hypothetically).

I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect even Sam Harris is up to this in the Moral Landscape when he tries to conflate values and measurements.

I've come to believe that the reason this fallacy is so common and is not even noticed is the general lack by the majority of people of any kind of coherent idea of what knowledge is and how it's acquired. It's a lack of any kind of understanding of concepts and how they are formed and how they fit together in a logical structure. So they make use of concepts without considering the concepts that they rest upon.

I think you're right.

I also think people are so used to the idea of having/making choices, that they find it difficult to think any other way.

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18-07-2017, 06:56 PM
RE: The free will fallacy
(18-07-2017 12:50 PM)Jeanne Wrote:  I have thought for a long time that free will is an illusion that provides humans with a stable sanity.

However, if I want to live in a civilized society within its rules, etiquette and laws, then I must act as if I do have free will and am able to make the "right" choices.

I discovered that I do not accept the concept of free will after a very long debate with a young Christian who was trying to force me to acknowledge God or abandon the concept of free will. The dialogue did not end up where he expected it to.

I am still not sure why one must accept that free will comes along with a creator deity...

"If you accept that you have free will, then you must accept God." ??

What does one have to do with the other?

Yeah, it's a total non-sequitur. Their usual definition of God removes our free will anyway.

I find the whole thing rather paradoxical. Scientifically, I find free will to be a uselessly vague, woo-like concept. I see no evidence that there is anything going on beyond a mix of randomness and determinism.

But in any conversation about morality, it is essential to assume that we do have some sort of real agency. Otherwise, there's nothing to discuss. Of course, it may well be the case that we are wrong, but nothing is lost if it is. Our faulty assumption and the following conversation were just weird things that happened out of our non-agency Smile

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19-07-2017, 05:57 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 06:33 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: The free will fallacy
(18-07-2017 06:56 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Scientifically, I find free will to be a uselessly vague, woo-like concept. I see no evidence that there is anything going on beyond a mix of randomness and determinism.

So you see no difference between materially determined causes and symbolically processed causes? Their conflation by determinists seems like an equivocation to me.

That's another free will fallacy.
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19-07-2017, 06:40 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(18-07-2017 06:56 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 12:50 PM)Jeanne Wrote:  I have thought for a long time that free will is an illusion that provides humans with a stable sanity.

However, if I want to live in a civilized society within its rules, etiquette and laws, then I must act as if I do have free will and am able to make the "right" choices.

"If you accept that you have free will, then you must accept God." ??

What does one have to do with the other?

Yeah, it's a total non-sequitur. Their usual definition of God removes our free will anyway.

I find the whole thing rather paradoxical. Scientifically, I find free will to be a uselessly vague, woo-like concept. I see no evidence that there is anything going on beyond a mix of randomness and determinism.

But in any conversation about morality, it is essential to assume that we do have some sort of real agency. Otherwise, there's nothing to discuss. Of course, it may well be the case that we are wrong, but nothing is lost if it is. Our faulty assumption and the following conversation were just weird things that happened out of our non-agency Smile

Your viewpoint is exactly where I am...if I want to think on it. Nearly all of the time it is not at all necessary to think on it at all.

Punishment occurs in societies when people break the rules, whether something other than what we refer to as "choice" led them to do so or not.

They may be judged not accountable if society thinks their "choice" was so limited by other factors.

I am sorry about the quoting manner. I haven't got it right yet. It looked the way I wanted it to in preview...

"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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19-07-2017, 06:48 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(19-07-2017 05:57 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 06:56 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Scientifically, I find free will to be a uselessly vague, woo-like concept. I see no evidence that there is anything going on beyond a mix of randomness and determinism.

So you see no difference between materially determined causes and symbolically processed causes? Their conflation by determinists seems like an equivocation to me.

That's another free will fallacy.

I'm not familiar with that terminology, so I'll have to look into it.

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19-07-2017, 06:50 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 06:53 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The free will fallacy
(19-07-2017 06:40 AM)Jeanne Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 06:56 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Yeah, it's a total non-sequitur. Their usual definition of God removes our free will anyway.

I find the whole thing rather paradoxical. Scientifically, I find free will to be a uselessly vague, woo-like concept. I see no evidence that there is anything going on beyond a mix of randomness and determinism.

But in any conversation about morality, it is essential to assume that we do have some sort of real agency. Otherwise, there's nothing to discuss. Of course, it may well be the case that we are wrong, but nothing is lost if it is. Our faulty assumption and the following conversation were just weird things that happened out of our non-agency Smile

Your viewpoint is exactly where I am...if I want to think on it. Nearly all of the time it is not at all necessary to think on it at all.

Punishment occurs in societies when people break the rules, whether something other than what we refer to as "choice" led them to do so or not.

They may be judged not accountable if society thinks their "choice" was so limited by other factors.

I am sorry about the quoting manner. I haven't got it right yet. It looked the way I wanted it to in preview...

I think you're quoting fine! It automatically compressed quoted posts over a certain size I think, which can be expanded with a click. I don't know of any way to stop that happening.

Indeed, what the fallacy is trying to do does make sense if we do have agency but someone's agency was reduced somehow; we can then argue that we should use our agency to take that into account.

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19-07-2017, 07:06 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
I must confess that I am not familiar with much of the terminology, yet I think I understand of what you are writing Thoreaurvian.

In my mind, it depends on how far in the past one is willing to accept that "materially determined causes" are affecting the present.

If the present is nothing but current "materially determined causes" affecting material, including the matter of the human body, then yes I do "see" no difference.

That is, if I accept that all is material.

I make sense to myself, anyway. I understand that my discussion is very elementary. I, too, will need to look at some terminology, so as to advance my communication skills. Smile

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19-07-2017, 07:08 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 07:43 AM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: The free will fallacy
It's unclear to me how exactly it follows that "if our actions are caused there is no reason to punish people". No, it just means that punishment would be caused too. I find it hard to believe that suddenly we would no longer have any concept of punishment if we all believed our actions were caused. For that matter, even if there are those consequences, that has no bearing on whether the claim "our actions are caused" is true or not.

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19-07-2017, 08:01 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(19-07-2017 07:08 AM)GenesisNemesis Wrote:  It's unclear to me how exactly it follows that "if our actions are caused there is no reason to punish people".

That was exactly Robvalue's point, yet some determinists argue that way.
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19-07-2017, 08:05 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(19-07-2017 06:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 05:57 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  So you see no difference between materially determined causes and symbolically processed causes? Their conflation by determinists seems like an equivocation to me.

I'm not familiar with that terminology, so I'll have to look into it.

I don't know where you would look, since it's nothing I read anywhere.

If a rock falls down a mountain because of an earthquake and kills someone, that's a materially determined cause.

If I pick up a rock and kill someone because I think he did me wrong, that's a symbolically processed cause. This can easily be seen as different when you consider that if I was completely wrong in my assessment, then nothing material caused me to do anything, even second-hand.
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