iambiguous wrote:So, in a wholly determined world, how does the human mind wrap itself around the following distinction:
1] The remote control -- an inanimate object -- is a device programmed to turn on the TV.
2] I choose to use the remote control to turn on the TV.
gib wrote: One involves the feeling of choosing, the other... well who knows what it feels like. But make no mistake, there is no reason to assume the feeling of choosing is real choosing... at least not in the sense of breaking with the laws of physics.
In a wholly determined universe, we might think that we have volition, we might feel that we have volition. But, as with the remote control, we function solely within the laws of physics. Mind is just this mysterious matter that has somehow evolved [only as it ever could have evolved] to embody this illusion of choosing freely.
And now matter has evolved to the point where the minds of neuroscientists are compelled to discover how this works.
But: The only way they will come to understand why it works how it works is to discover the ontological nature of existence itself.
But, again: Whatever that might possibly mean.
In particular when we shift gears and explore the extent to which teleology is a factor too.
Would not the matter that we call "mind" need to be equipped with a quality that we have come to call "free will" or "autonomy" or "volition"?
gib wrote: No, it needn't. It only needs to be equipped with the feeling of being free.
And, unlike the remote control, it does. Only it does so because it could not not have done otherwise. So it would seem this makes us both entirely different and entirely the same as mindless matter. Or the mindful matter of the shark and the octopus -- they "choose" only as they have been programed genetically/instinctively/naturally to do so per the laws of matter embodied in the evolution of life on earth. Of which we are just the most recent incarnation.
Let's just say that "compatibilists" are able to grasp this sort of thing in a manner that I am not. At least not "here and now".
gib wrote: Remember, compatibilists only believe that free will is the condition under which you get what you want or intend, not that it defies the laws of nature.
But they are no less compelled to believe this, right? We get what we want or intend, but only because we are compelled to want and intend this instead of that.
iambiguous wrote:Yes, but am I stuck because I am failing to think this through properly -- in a manner such that I would not be stuck? Or is being "stuck" the only thing that I was ever going to be anyway?
gib wrote: Those aren't mutually exclusive.
If I am stuck because I fail to think this through properly, I am either able to freely choose to think it through in another way [the right way], or I am not. And, if I am not, that was never going to change.
iambiguous wrote:What I believe is that morality is based on the necessity to create "rules of behavior" in any particular human community. And this is derived from the fact that we come into the world with wants and needs that "out in the world of actual human interactions" come into conflict. Sometimes the conflict revolves around ends, sometimes around means. But each of us has accummlated a "sense of reality" here. I just happen to predicate my own on the manner in which I have come to understand the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. And that has precipitated my dilemma above.
gib wrote: Morality as "rules of behavior" that a community arrives at and agrees upon in order to maintain a semblance of social cohesion is definitely very different from feelings of guilt or inspiration, of anger or love, of pressure from society or a desire to help society.
But both aspects -- in an enormously complex interplay of variables -- are inherently intertwined organically [historically, culturally, experientially] in any particular community out in any particular world. To subsist and then to sustain the community, rules of behavior are vital, necessary. Our emotional reactions however are just one more manifestation of this in the mind of any particular individual in any particular context.
And it is here that I introduce the components of my own assessment: dasein, confliicting goods, political economy.
gib wrote: It's the latter which I'm calling "morality" and they all play a pivotal roll in constituting one's conscience. To me, the conscience is just a set of feelings, instincts, and intuitions, not a set of clearly defined rules. At best, it is a set of tendencies. That's why for me, there is no "objective morality." Instead there are feelings that arise "in the moment"--senses of right and wrong, of guilt or sympathy--that, at least in my case, so happen to coincide with what most people call "moral" and "immoral".
For me "conscience" is mindful matter that intertwines nature and nurture, id and ego, instinct and reason, consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness, into a frame of mind such that, unlike any other matter before it, is able to make that mysterious leap from the world of either/or to the world of is/ought. If, in fact, even that is not just an illusion in a wholly determined world.
And this part...
"...there are feelings that arise 'in the moment' --senses of right and wrong, of guilt or sympathy--that, at least in my case, so happen to coincide with what most people call 'moral' and 'immoral'".
...is [for me] just subsumed in this part....
iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind, morality [here] is just another existential contraption.
gib wrote: Are you telling me you've never felt guilt? Never felt inspired to help another person?
Yes, but, again, the actual guilt that I feel is just the embodiment of dasein. Had the variables in my life been very different -- had, for example, I not been drafted and sent to Vietnam -- I may well have never felt this guilt at all. Or I may well have felt inspired to hurt rather than help this person.
In other words...
iambiguous wrote:...from my frame of mind, this too is no less an existential contraption. To the extent that I am able to nudge others here to my own frame of mind is the extent to which the "angst" may well creep in. After all, I didn't just wake up one morning and tumble over into my dilemma. And my reaction to it has as well evolved over the years.
gib wrote: We're both trying to nudge each other closer to each of our respective frames of mind.
Yes, but I always interject here to point out the crucial distinction between that which can be assessed as either true or false, and that which we believe "in our head" to be either one or the other but which we are not able to demonstrate empirically, materially [out in the world of human interactions that come into conflict] that all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn.
And that is the difference between the worlds encompassed by mathematics, science and logic and the worlds embodied instead in human value judgments, identity and political economy.
gib wrote: What seems strange to me is why you would want to bring another person into a state of angst rather than allow that other person to being you out of angst.
On the contrary, what I do here is to note the angst that I construe as being embodied in this...
If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.
...and probe the narratives of those who argue that their own behaviors are not.
It is only to the extent that they come instead to see my own arguments as more reasonable that they are ever likely to feel this angst.
And yet, paradoxically, being entangled in my dilemma can also precipitate a liberating frame of mind. Why? Because to the extent that you are convinced that morality is just an existential contraption, is the extent to which you are not anchored to "doing the right thing".
On the other hand, that is just right around the corner from the narcissistic sociopath isn't it? With moral nihilism, you can go in either direction: might makes right or democracy [moderation, negotation, compromise].
With the objectivists, on the other hand, they start out with one or another rendition of right makes might.
gib wrote: This is the crux of your problem. You're so ready to dismiss the advice others give you in response to your requests for it, so ready to dismiss the answers to the questions you yourself pose, in virtue of the fact that they're just going to come across as "existential contraptions" that you don't even allow yourself the opportunity to be persuaded by them.
All I can do here is to point out the many times in the past that I was in fact unable to dismiss the arguments of others -- and found myself abandoning Christianity for one or another new objectivist frame of mind: Objectivism, Marxism, Trotskyism, democratic socialism, social democracy, liberalism.
And, come on, how could you ever possibly be certain that I don't allow myself the opportunity to be persuaded by others?
You would have to be inside my head "here and now" and know with a degree of certainty what my motivations and intentions actually are. And "I" will be the first to admit that I don't even know that for sure myself.
gib wrote: If you could only be persuade, for example, that 2 + 2 really does equal 4, you'd have an epiphany: Hmm... maybe that does make sense after all... and then all the quandaries about whether it only makes sense because it could not have ever not made sense go away. You suddenly see why it makes sense--why it has to make sense. <-- The logic is there, the answers are there. You just have to allow yourself to believe in something objective again.
I don't have to be persauded [nudged] that two chickens plus two more chickens equals four chickens. That is true objectively for all of us.
But suppose someone tries to persuade [nudge] me into believing that eating the chickens is immoral.
Unless I am misunderstanding your point here.
gib wrote: I can understand where you're going with this. Obviously, my 2 + 2 = 4 example is just a place to start--math 101 so to speak--and I understand how it's hard to see the manner in which the logical of that example carried over to the logic of whether abortion is morally right or morally wrong. But that's where my relativism comes in. Once you think in relativistic terms, it's incredibly easy: abortion is right for the pro-choice faction, but wrong for the pro-life faction.
But what does this sort of "analysis" have to do with an actual particular abortion out in a particular context out in a particular world? The pro-choice folks come up with their incredibly easy answer and the pro-life folks then parry with their own.
And how are the answers that they come up with any less embedded existentially in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy?
Again, I can only assume that I am not really understanding your point.
gib wrote: You think Turd ever questioned whether the validity his thoughts were really grounded or just forced upon him because he could never have not had those thoughts? You remember that example? The rant you linked us to at which Turd was ranting something about politics? He seemed pretty certain in his convictions, didn't he? You think that state of mind came along with even a remote sense of self-doubt? I don't think so. His post reads like he's absolutely cock-sure of his opinion. Why? Because all the validity you need is in the moment of having the experience--whether that be a thought, like Turd's, or feelings of guilt and inspiration, like mine, or feeling trapped in a dasein-based dilemma, like yours... it's not really a matter of whether these thoughts, feelings, insights, etc. are really valid or not--they're valid on their face--it's a question of how you can have conflicting, yet still valid, thoughts, feelings, insights, etc.--the pro-life advocates being right and at the same time the pro-choice advocates also being right. <-- And again, relativism fixes this nicely.
Yes, Turd -- like Satyr/Lyssa, James S. Saint, Jacob, AutSider, uccisore etc etc etc -- is a run of the mill moral/political objectivist. And some of these folks stick God in there somewhere and some don't.
But it still always comes down to the extent to which they are able to force their own moral agendas on others "out in the world" by acquiring the capacity to enforce particular laws and political agendas.
What they might think [in their head] about "morality" here at ILP is of little or no consequence to/for the rest of us, right?
And [from my frame of mind] the extent to which they cannot persuade me that their own value judgments are not subsumed in the manner in which I have come to understand the existential realtionship between identity, morality and power is the extent to which I am not likely to be "nudged" more in their own direction.
iambiguous wrote:But would not the scientists basically do the same regarding human camoflage? We may well just be octopi with brains able to delude oursleves that we are able to be more clever when we trick our opponents. But, really, biologically, isn't it just the same sequence of matter intertwining only as it ever could have out in any particular world. For any particular species.
gib wrote: Yes, but again, I don't know why you think this has to be a "delusion". Just as the piston is still a player in the operations of the engine, the 'I' is still a player in our contrived plans on how to camouflage. Yes, it all comes down the natural laws, but you seem to think of these laws as "outside" the immanent physical systems that they govern. The way I see it is that our conscious subjective reasons for camouflaging, and hashing out the plans for how to camouflage, are the laws of nature that make it happen.
Sure, I will readily acknowledge that you are conveying something important that is just not within my grasp here and now. Or, on the other hand, I am conveying to you something equally important if elusive.
But it is as though you are arguing that the reason we choose to adopt various personas in our interactions with others -- the games that we play -- is what creates the interactions in the first place. As though to suggest that the reason the dominos topple over as they do is in order to create the design/pattern that we see on the floor.
"I" am a player but the play unfolds only as it ever could have. And then we discuss the extent to which the part that I play in it is a "delusion".
iambiguous wrote:gib wrote: Why do you even think they make sense when you only think them because you couldn't have ever not thought them?Since my arguments about dasein are clearly just another existential contraption, even if it could be shown that I have some capacity to think and feel of my own volition that it is a reasonable frame of mind, I am still acknowledging that it may well not be.gib wrote: Because that's the only thing you can do. But then doesn't that seem reasonable?
To speak of something as reasonable is to suggest that it might have been spoken of in an unreasonable manner. But if it is spoken only as it ever could have been spoken then the idea of an unreasonable utterance seems, well, silly?