Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:18 pm

Orb wrote:Overwhelmed by numerous choices with differing aims, did the choice entail the best choice available, or rather, was based on what appeared to be the right, the only apparent choice, based on some thought of bravado, or a need to make a complete break,where only a clearly identifiable choice would or could prevail?


Here of course one starts with the assumption that there is an element of free choice entangled in our option to behavior in one way rather than another.

But, from my perspective, what we choose to do is always profoundly and problematically entangled in dasein. In fact, so entangled there is no realistic possibility that we can ever disentangle all of the thousands upon thousands of exitential variables that came to be our life. At least not such that we can pin down with any precision why we chose to do this rather than that.

And even if we could do this [discover our "true self"] there is no way [in a world sans God] to determine which moral values we come to predicate our behaviors on are neccesarily [objectively] the right values.

That, in fact, is when I challenge folks to take these relationships off the sky hooks and bring them down to earth. To discuss "freedom of choice" [or the lack thereof] in the context of abortion or some other issue where there are obvious conflicting narratives "down here" "out in the world" of actual human interactions.

And since I root moral narratives said to be true objectively in the "psychology of objectivism" -- viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 -- I make the further assumption that a belief in determinism is just another manifestation [embodiment] of this. I just don't grasp how a belief in determinism can ever be compatible with free will unless it is expressed as "free will".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby Orbie » Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Yes it would seem so, but, breaks are never clean, they always display reggae do edges to some degree, and it goes the same with freedom, the total break on closer examination consists of parts some denied,smoke understood, but the whole is phenomenal, it requires it to conform to aesthetic rules, of distance, proportion and vantage point, and here the individuals are not perceived on,y the aggregates. Freedom is a function of relative appreciation of these rules, if you fly too high to the sun, or too far away from it. the perspective of fallen ness is lost, and the the heaviest objects will appear to fall faster, and Dasein will be re embodied. Who has not occasioned this illusion, even Nowedays among most people? Their children who retain the fear of flying. They have to ground themselves, thus, they can never liberate themselves from the constraints of gravity. They see reality as a pointillistic abandonment embedded by surrounding trees
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:28 pm

From "The Information Philosopher" website:

Strawson himself was optimistic that compatibilism could reconcile determinism with moral obligation and responsibility. He accepted the facts of determinism. He felt that determinism was true. But he was concerned to salvage the reality of our attitudes even for libertarians, whom he described as pessimists about determinism.

"What I have called the participant reactive attitudes are essentially natural human reactions to the good or ill will or indifference of others towards us, as displayed in their attitudes and actions. The question we have to ask is: What effect would, or should, the acceptance of the truth of a general thesis of determinism have upon these reactive attitudes? More specifically, would, or should, the acceptance of the truth of the thesis lead to the decay or the repudiation of all such attitudes? Would, or should, it mean the end of gratitude, resentment, and forgiveness; of all reciprocated adult loves; of all the essentially personal antagonisms?"


Yes, but are they not "natural human reactions" because they are fully in alignment with nature? And is not nature fully in alignment with the inherent laws of matters? And are not the inherent laws of matter fully in alignment with...with what exactly? With God? With whatever brought everything that exists into existence out of nothing at all?

Again: for all practical purposes, what does it mean [in a determined world] to speak of my "acceptance" of all this? As though there was ever any possibility [in a wholly determmined world] that this could be anything other than what it must be.

And yet I always come back to the assumption that, since these are the speculations of some very, very sophisticated minds, there must be something in my own mind that still doesn't "get it".

But: Are or are not our subjunctive reactions to the world around us [and to the subjunctive reactions of others] no less subsumed in the design? Necessarily subsumed.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:03 pm

From "The Information Philosopher" website:

From the earliest beginnings, the problem of "free will" has been intimately connected with the question of moral responsibility. Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us", and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism.


What often surprises me are the number of occasions I have stumbled on discussions of determinism online and the question of moral responsibility would hardly come up at all.

Personally, I cannot imagine a more important relationship. Whether we are free to choose behaviors pertaining to those things that must be chosen in order to be in alignment with the laws of nature would seem to pale in interest next to behaviors that we choose only because we perceive the world around us from a particular point of view.

And it is in choices of this nature [choices revolving around value judgments] that generate the most problematic consequences. Having or not having free will here cannot possibly be more important. On the other hand, having or not having free will is irrelevant to the objective reality of mathematics and nature and logic.

But to say that today "free will is understood as the control condition for moral responsibility" is to make a serious blunder in conceptual analysis and clear thinking. Free will is clearly a prerequisite for responsibility. Whether the responsibility is a moral responsibility depends on our ideas of morality.

Conceptual analysis. Perhaps that's my problem. I may well be less concerned with getting this "conceptual analysis" right than in delving into how, for all practical purposes, determinism has actual existential applications with regard to our social, political and economic interactions.

It would surely seem that we cannot be held responsible [re blame and punishment] for doing something that we could not not freely choose to do.

But how does this relate then to moral responsibility being dependent "on our ideas of morality"?

The distinction here would seem to be just shifting gears from those behaviors we must do in order to be in alignment with existence/reality, to those behaviors that seem to be within our capacity to have a choice in. Behaviors, in other words, in which others might ask, "should she have done that?"

No one asks the doctor if she should perform an abortion by going down through the pregnant woman's nose. Although they may ask if she freely choose to perform the abortion. With moral responsibility though we can ask if performing this particular behavior was the "right thing to do" beyond the extent to which it is in alignment with reality/existence. If, in fact, we have free will.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:37 am

humans have no free will they are just random thoughts that pop-up.

because a thought says 'i made a decision' does not mean it made a decision.

with humans odds of them making a good rational decision is less than 1/6th chance, less than a roll of the dice.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:47 pm

From "The Information Philosopher" website:

In recent years, "free will” has become what John Fischer calls an “umbrella-term” for a large range of phenomena. He says (in his recent 4-volume Routledge anthology “Free Will,” vol.I, p.xxiii):

The term is used differently by different philosophers, and I think that it is most helpful to think of it as an “umbrella-term” used to describe some sort of freedom that connects in important ways with moral responsibility, and, ultimately, person-hood. More specifically, the domain of free will includes various sorts of freedom (freedom of choice, of action, choosing and acting freely, and so forth), and the practices constitutive of moral responsibility (moral praise and blame, punishment and moral reward, and a set of distinctively moral attitudes, such as indignation, resentment, gratitude, respect, and so forth).


Which would seem to be just another way of noting that there may well be no definitive manner in which to denote what words like this can only mean.

And it would seem to be just common sense that when we take whatever particular meaning is most agreeable to us out into the world of actual decisions being made, the complications begin to multiply expontentialliy the more factors we include: historical, cultural, interpersonal. Nature and nurture. Identity. Emotional and psychological reactions. Etc.

And then with moral and political interactions we go beyond what can be established as either this or that and [over and again] get sucked down into the quagmire that is ought/ought not.

It still surprises me to bump into people who actually imagine they can untangle [or have untangled] all of this in order to assert the one objective truth. Sure, it may exist. But does anyone really imagine it has actually been discovered to date.

Some philosophers do not distinguish between freedom and moral responsibility. Put a bit more carefully, they tend to begin with the notion of moral responsibility, and “work back” to a notion of freedom; this notion of freedom is not given independent content (separate from the analysis of moral responsibility). For such philosophers, “freedom” refers to whatever conditions are involved in choosing or acting in such a way as to be morally responsible.

How exactly would one go about making this distinction pertaining to actual human choices that precipitate conflicting behaviors? You can "work back" from one end of the continuum or the other end. But you will still find yourself making/taking leaps regarding which premises you use.

Where is the set of premises [assumptions] able to resolve it all once and for all?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby James S Saint » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:54 pm

GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:with humans odds of them making a good rational decision is less than 1/6th chance, less than a roll of the dice.

But then there is only 1/6th of a chance that is true. 8-[
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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:17 pm

James S Saint wrote:
GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:with humans odds of them making a good rational decision is less than 1/6th chance, less than a roll of the dice.

But then there is only 1/6th of a chance that is true. 8-[


i am not human and alls you need to go into the outside world to verify this stastistic. so argumentative, and the only way your species can learn is if the world is in ridiculous bad shape. if the world was simply mediocre, or somewhat negative, you would be so complacent you would praise it and praise it and praise it. you can only understand extremes and metaphors.
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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:21 pm

iambiguous wrote:From "The Information Philosopher" website:

In recent years, "free will” has become what John Fischer calls an “umbrella-term” for a large range of phenomena. He says (in his recent 4-volume Routledge anthology “Free Will,” vol.I, p.xxiii):

The term is used differently by different philosophers, and I think that it is most helpful to think of it as an “umbrella-term” used to describe some sort of freedom that connects in important ways with moral responsibility, and, ultimately, person-hood. More specifically, the domain of free will includes various sorts of freedom (freedom of choice, of action, choosing and acting freely, and so forth), and the practices constitutive of moral responsibility (moral praise and blame, punishment and moral reward, and a set of distinctively moral attitudes, such as indignation, resentment, gratitude, respect, and so forth).


Which would seem to be just another way of noting that there may well be no definitive manner in which to denote what words like this can only mean.

And it would seem to be just common sense that when we take whatever particular meaning is most agreeable to us out into the world of actual decisions being made, the complications begin to multiply expontentialliy the more factors we include: historical, cultural, interpersonal. Nature and nurture. Identity. Emotional and psychological reactions. Etc.

And then with moral and political interactions we go beyond what can be established as either this or that and [over and again] get sucked down into the quagmire that is ought/ought not.

It still surprises me to bump into people who actually imagine they can untangle [or have untangled] all of this in order to assert the one objective truth. Sure, it may exist. But does anyone really imagine it has actually been discovered to date.

Some philosophers do not distinguish between freedom and moral responsibility. Put a bit more carefully, they tend to begin with the notion of moral responsibility, and “work back” to a notion of freedom; this notion of freedom is not given independent content (separate from the analysis of moral responsibility). For such philosophers, “freedom” refers to whatever conditions are involved in choosing or acting in such a way as to be morally responsible.

How exactly would one go about making this distinction pertaining to actual human choices that precipitate conflicting behaviors? You can "work back" from one end of the continuum or the other end. But you will still find yourself making/taking leaps regarding which premises you use.

Where is the set of premises [assumptions] able to resolve it all once and for all?


focus on the meaning behind the words not the words themselves. the feels you get from free will is different from 'will". someone has the will to buy an orange instead of killing a goat. someone does not have freewill to kill a goat. its ancient feels.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:34 pm

GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:focus on the meaning behind the words not the words themselves. the feels you get from free will is different from 'will". someone has the will to buy an orange instead of killing a goat. someone does not have freewill to kill a goat. its ancient feels.


What could possibly be clearer than that, right?

On the other hand, that is basically my point, isn't it? There would seem to be any number of impenetrable obstacles to finding the sort of clarity we would need in order to nail it all down once and for all.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:46 pm

iambiguous wrote:
GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:focus on the meaning behind the words not the words themselves. the feels you get from free will is different from 'will". someone has the will to buy an orange instead of killing a goat. someone does not have freewill to kill a goat. its ancient feels.


What could possibly be clearer than that, right?

On the other hand, that is basically my point, isn't it? There would seem to be any number of impenetrable obstacles to finding the sort of clarity we would need in order to nail it all down once and for all.


freewill implies some sort of magical orthodox christian sillyness outside the bounds of causality and reality. this is why you hear people say "cartoon characters are not real" this is because they have a deluded perception of what reality is. people live on through memes, humans are conglomerates of bacteria, imagination is tangible, anything that can be understood or perceived is real. freewill implies something outside the bounds of causality and inertia, arbitrary, magical decisions that are holy and arise from nothing, yet are even more magical than spontaneous random action. this is why we refrain from such terms and instead say "the will to this and that".

discussion of "free will" usually results in an infinite feed back loop of question dodging, circular reasoning and falling back on false arguments. therefore the word freewill has an association with infinite feed back loop answering nothing questioning nothing verifying nothing simply regressing further and further on itself with no end.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:04 am

GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:freewill implies some sort of magical orthodox christian sillyness outside the bounds of causality and reality. this is why you hear people say "cartoon characters are not real" this is because they have a deluded perception of what reality is. people live on through memes, humans are conglomerates of bacteria, imagination is tangible, anything that can be understood or perceived is real. freewill implies something outside the bounds of causality and inertia, arbitrary, magical decisions that are holy and arise from nothing, yet are even more magical than spontaneous random action. this is why we refrain from such terms and instead say "the will to this and that".

discussion of "free will" usually results in an infinite feed back loop of question dodging, circular reasoning and falling back on false arguments. therefore the word freewill has an association with infinite feed back loop answering nothing questioning nothing verifying nothing simply regressing further and further on itself with no end.


Okay, let's suppose that all of this is true. Could you have posted anything other than what you did post above? Could I have posted anything other than what I am submitting now?

In other words, how does your rendition of it work "for all practical purposes"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:10 am

iambiguous wrote:
GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:freewill implies some sort of magical orthodox christian sillyness outside the bounds of causality and reality. this is why you hear people say "cartoon characters are not real" this is because they have a deluded perception of what reality is. people live on through memes, humans are conglomerates of bacteria, imagination is tangible, anything that can be understood or perceived is real. freewill implies something outside the bounds of causality and inertia, arbitrary, magical decisions that are holy and arise from nothing, yet are even more magical than spontaneous random action. this is why we refrain from such terms and instead say "the will to this and that".

discussion of "free will" usually results in an infinite feed back loop of question dodging, circular reasoning and falling back on false arguments. therefore the word freewill has an association with infinite feed back loop answering nothing questioning nothing verifying nothing simply regressing further and further on itself with no end.


Okay, let's suppose that all of this is true. Could you have posted anything other than what you did post above? Could I have posted anything other than what I am submitting now?

In other words, how does your rendition of it work "for all practical purposes"?


you gotta get to the roots and basics. human culture is nothing special, just a conglomerate of words and spaces. what is special about it is sheer amount of mediocrity and repetitivity. this makes the drama shine. if one were to have a universe type concsiousness, love would just be, fear would just be. instead human existence has a special kind of drama, word drama, instead of just love fear and beauty and ugliness, we have a special narrative to add to the drama, "we are going to the prom with so and so." a planet does not really blame itself for other planets not colliding with it. if only if only the planet were a better planet, or bigger planet the planet would have mated with the other planet. nonono. see, when you look it at like this, things just begin to fall into place, like tetris. at the same time, we must not throw in the towel, and act like passive women, saying nothing can be done. a planet must rotate on its own axis.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:17 am

GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:you gotta get to the roots and basics. human culture is nothing special, just a conglomerate of words and spaces. what is special about it is sheer amount of mediocrity and repetitivity. this makes the drama shine. if one were to have a universe type concsiousness, love would just be, fear would just be. instead human existence has a special kind of drama, word drama, instead of just love fear and beauty and ugliness, we have a special narrative to add to the drama, "we are going to the prom with so and so." a planet does not really blame itself for other planets not colliding with it. if only if only the planet were a better planet, or bigger planet the planet would have mated with the other planet. nonono. see, when you look it at like this, things just begin to fall into place, like tetris. at the same time, we must not throw in the towel, and act like passive women, saying nothing can be done. a planet must rotate on its own axis.


Hmm. What in the world does that answer have to do with these questions:


Okay, let's suppose that all of this is true. Could you have posted anything other than what you did post above? Could I have posted anything other than what I am submitting now?

In other words, how does your rendition of it work "for all practical purposes"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:02 am

iambiguous wrote:
GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:you gotta get to the roots and basics. human culture is nothing special, just a conglomerate of words and spaces. what is special about it is sheer amount of mediocrity and repetitivity. this makes the drama shine. if one were to have a universe type concsiousness, love would just be, fear would just be. instead human existence has a special kind of drama, word drama, instead of just love fear and beauty and ugliness, we have a special narrative to add to the drama, "we are going to the prom with so and so." a planet does not really blame itself for other planets not colliding with it. if only if only the planet were a better planet, or bigger planet the planet would have mated with the other planet. nonono. see, when you look it at like this, things just begin to fall into place, like tetris. at the same time, we must not throw in the towel, and act like passive women, saying nothing can be done. a planet must rotate on its own axis.


Hmm. What in the world does that answer have to do with these questions:


Okay, let's suppose that all of this is true. Could you have posted anything other than what you did post above? Could I have posted anything other than what I am submitting now?

In other words, how does your rendition of it work "for all practical purposes"?


if you caught my drift, a planet doesnt ask "could i have orbitted the sun any different"? if it were human it might say "my moon made me drift closer to venus, i am such a cool cat." or if it were gay, mars.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:50 pm

GreatandWiseTrixie wrote:if you caught my drift, a planet doesnt ask "could i have orbitted the sun any different"? if it were human it might say "my moon made me drift closer to venus, i am such a cool cat." or if it were gay, mars.


I'll file this one under, "Sorry I asked". :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:32 pm

From "The Information Philosopher" website:
In the recent page on Free Will in the Stanford Encylopedia on Philosophy, Timothy O'Connor wrote:

Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action.


The metaphysical requirement. Isn't that where we all get tangled up in language here? To what extent can the human mind [employing language employing logic] create an argument that captures the relationship between free will and moral responsibility such that we can take this argment out into the world and intelligently discuss what exactly goes on when Mary chooses to have an abortion. Or, less the moral element, when Hillary Clinton chooses to run for president?

O'C\onnor wants to deny free will to animals, who do not have moral responsibility, but may have freedom of action.

On a minimalist account, free will is the ability to select a course of action as a means of fulfilling some desire. David Hume, for example, defines liberty as “a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will.”.

One reason to deem this insufficient is that it is consistent with the goal-directed behavior of some animals whom we do not suppose to be morally responsible agents. Such animals lack not only an awareness of the moral implications of their actions but also any capacity to reflect on their alternatives and their long-term consequences.


The minds of animals further down the evolutionary trunk are always fascinating to consider here. Somehow "nature" has programmed them to make choices in the manner in which I always imagine the human mind would make choices in a wholly determined world.

Only with non-human animals the element of morality is basically missing. The lion eats the man because the lion is basically on automatic pilot. Hunger is the only motivation. What it chooses revolves entirely around necessity. But how exactly is life here programmed by nature to actually accomplish this?

Consider:

An octopus has the capacity to camouflage its body [through both color and texture] to blend seamlessly into many different environments. How is it able to do this? If human beings had this capacity it would be imagined that the mind would note the color/texture of the new environment and make the necessary adjustments. It would self-consciously choose the appropriate combination of colors and textures. But the octupus would not seem to be self-conscious in this sense at all. And yet it's brain is able to make these crucial adjustments as though in some manner it were.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby GreatandWiseTrixie » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:44 pm

iambiguous wrote:
From "The Information Philosopher" website:
In the recent page on Free Will in the Stanford Encylopedia on Philosophy, Timothy O'Connor wrote:

Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action.


The metaphysical requirement. Isn't that where we all get tangled up in language here? To what extent can the human mind [employing language employing logic] create an argument that captures the relationship between free will and moral responsibility such that we can take this argment out into the world and intelligently discuss what exactly goes on when Mary chooses to have an abortion. Or, less the moral element, when Hillary Clinton chooses to run for president?

O'C\onnor wants to deny free will to animals, who do not have moral responsibility, but may have freedom of action.

On a minimalist account, free will is the ability to select a course of action as a means of fulfilling some desire. David Hume, for example, defines liberty as “a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will.”.

One reason to deem this insufficient is that it is consistent with the goal-directed behavior of some animals whom we do not suppose to be morally responsible agents. Such animals lack not only an awareness of the moral implications of their actions but also any capacity to reflect on their alternatives and their long-term consequences.


The minds of animals further down the evolutionary trunk are always fascinating to consider here. Somehow "nature" has programmed them to make choices in the manner in which I always imagine the human mind would make choices in a wholly determined world.

Only with non-human animals the element of morality is basically missing. The lion eats the man because the lion is basically on automatic pilot. Hunger is the only motivation. What it chooses revolves entirely around necessity. But how exactly is life here programmed by nature to actually accomplish this?

Consider:

An octopus has the capacity to camouflage its body [through both color and texture] to blend seamlessly into many different environments. How is it able to do this? If human beings had this capacity it would be imagined that the mind would note the color/texture of the new environment and make the necessary adjustments. It would self-consciously choose the appropriate combination of colors and textures. But the octupus would not seem to be self-conscious in this sense at all. And yet it's brain is able to make these crucial adjustments as though in some manner it were.

didn't know humans had morality either. they eat animals but unlike the lion torture them in cages for years. id say humans have a kind of inverse morality, whereas the lion doesnt argue and pretend to be good, the human will stand up and try to defend their own holocaust as moral behavoir.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:02 pm

From "The Information Philosopher" website:
The Separation of “Free” from “Will”

“Free Will” - in scare quotes - refers to the common but mistaken notion that the adjective “free” modifies the concept “will.” In particular, it indicates that the element of chance, one of the two requirements for free will, is present in the determination of the will itself.

Critics of “libertarian free will” usually adopt this meaning in order to attack the idea of randomness in our decisions, which clearly would not help to make us morally responsible.

Unfortunately, prominent defenders of libertarian free will (Robert Kane, for example) continue to add indeterminism into the decision itself, making such free will “unintelligible” by their own account.

Freedom of human action requires the randomness of absolute chance to break the causal chain of determinism, yet the conscious knowledge that we are adequately determined to be responsible for our choices.

Freedom requires some events that are not causally determined by immediately preceding events, events that are unpredictable by any agency, events involving quantum uncertainty. These random events create alternative possibilities for action.


Scare quotes here are always tricky. And that is because the meaning of the words inside them can become rather convoluted when we try to pin down precisely what the person using them is trying to convey. Thus what is the precise distinction between "free" and "will" inside the quotes and free and will that stand alone?

And yet over and again in arguments/analyses like this the discussion will go on and on without once situating this distinction in actual human conflicts -- disputations that result in behaviors chosen as a result of clashing value judgments. The part "down here" that result in moral judgments. That can then result in blame and punishment.

And the word "random". It would seem that in a wholly determined world nothing is ever random. It might seem that way to some, but everything is always accounted for by the laws of matter. And by everything that would seem to include every mental, emotional and psychological variable that compels us to choose this rather than that -- whether it is Mary "choosing" to abort her baby or Jack "choosing" to rape Jane. Once the scare quotes are employed the "choice" would seem to be only an illusion given the manner in which the libertarian above construes these things.

Something occuring "by chance" means only that any partiocular individual has but so much understanding of the world around her. And thus only so much control. Mary might have become pregnant "by chance". But the pregnancy itself doesn't just happen "out of the blue". It just means that she had not intended to become pregnant but did. And now she has to decided [willfully or not] what to do about it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:53 pm

In fact, if you are faced with the prospect of running across an open field in which lightning bolts are going to be a problem, you are much better off if their timing and location are determined by something, since then they may be predictable by you, and hence avoidable. Determinism is the friend, not the foe, of those who dislike inevitability.

Daniel Dennett


Back to this:

How, in a wholly determined world, are we really any different from the lightening bolts?

It would seem that how we perceive determinism is only how we ever could have perceived determinism.

And that would seem to be as predictable per the immutable laws of matter as the lightening strikes themselves.

Again, the only distinction being that unlike the lightening bolts the matter that has evolved into mind is able to delude itself into thinking that crossing or not crossing the field is something they can choose willfully.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 20, 2015 3:35 pm

Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions

by Shaun Nichols and Joshua Knobe

The dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists must be one of the most persistent and heated deadlocks in Western philosophy. Incompatibilists maintain that people are not fully morally responsible if determinism is true, i.e., if every event is an inevitable consequence of the prior conditions and the natural laws. By contrast, compatibilists maintain that even if determinism is true our moral responsibility is not undermined in the slightest, for determinism and moral responsibility are perfectly consistent.

The debate between these two positions has invoked many different resources, including quantum mechanics, social psychology, and basic metaphysics. But recent discussions have relied heavily on arguments that draw on people’s intuitions about particular cases. Some philosophers have claimed that people have incompatibilist intuitions; others have challenged this claim and suggested that people’s intuitions actually fit with compatibilism. But although philosophers have constructed increasingly sophisticated arguments about the implications of people’s intuitions, there has been remarkably little discussion about why people have the intuitions they do. That is to say, relatively little has been said about the specific psychological processes that generate or sustain people’s intuitions. And yet, it seems clear that questions about the sources of people’s intuitions could have a major impact on debates about the compatibility of responsibility and determinism. There is an obvious sense in which it is important to figure out whether people’s intuitions are being produced by a process that is generally reliable or whether they are distorted by a process that generally leads people astray.


Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning."

Of course, just because you happen to have an intuition that such and such is true, doesn't necessarily mean that it is true. Instead, intuition is more like a frame of mind that somehow intertwines the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind into a more or less perceptive "hunch" that involves both the faculty of reason [it must figure in here somewhere] and the more deep-seated emotional reactions -- the objective, the subjective and the subjunctive.

And then there is the role that the "id" plays here.

But: however this might "work" -- work "in reality" -- it would still seem [to me] that if we live in a wholly determined world that reality would/must include intuition as well.

How then could discussions into the nature of intuition "have a major impact on debates about the compatibility of responsibility and determinism"....if in fact the discussions themselves are only what they could ever have been in a determined world?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:35 pm

From "Einstein’s Morality"
by Ching-Hung Woo


Now in the scientific framework favored by Einstein, where events unfold by deterministic laws, once an initial state of the world is completely specified, all subsequent phenomena are determined. Hence when a person faces multiple alternatives and makes a choice, the will of the decision-maker at the moment of decision was actually already fixed from the beginning of the universe. Hence the feeling of having a choice is only an illusion.


This part I can understand. If all is governed by the immutable laws of nature, it certainly makes sense that this includes the phenomena embodied in human interaction.

As for the parts embedded in quantum interaction, Einstein suggested that what appears to be random is only a reflection of our lack of understanding of the deeper reality.

And that will, perhaps, always be there: the parts that we don't even know that we don't even know yet. Ultimately though, all philosophical quests come back to this.

But then comes the part about determinism and moral responsibility:

A correspondence between Einstein and his friend Otto Juliusburger on Hitler’s responsibility for the crimes of WWII illustrates how Einstein proposed to deal with the moral consequences of the absence of free will. He acknowledged that since everyone’s action are determined by prior factors, Hitler could not help but to do what he did, and so the moral arguments used for instance to exempt a madman from retributive punishment – that they couldn’t help or didn’t know what they were doing – could also be applied to Hitler. In other words, the distinction that lawyers make between a psychopath not knowing right from wrong and someone acting immorally but knowing that it’s wrong, appeared to Einstein unimportant, since both are doing what they must do from the confluence of events ultimately in their brains, which inexorably follow from previous causes. So instead of focusing on retributive punishment, legal action should be guided by the welfare of mankind; and the welfare of mankind justifies actions to prevent future would-be Hitlers from destroying other people’s lives, just as society might justifiably act to prevent a dangerous delusional schizophrenic from harming others. Einstein also took the non-existence of free will as a wake up call for us not to take our supposed autonomy too seriously: what we jealously protect and shrewdly promote as our autonomy is actually the result of myriads of factors of which we are only vaguely aware.


This would seem to be just one more rendition of "compatibilism". And I am still unable to "wrap my mind around it". It just doesn't make sense given the manner in which I think about these things.

Whether we focus on "retributive punishment" or are "guided by the welfare of mankind", we are still doing only that which we could not not have done.

There does not seem to be a way in which to extract ourselves from that which, "for all practical purposes", must be. Instead, some are able to "trick" themselves by creating this distinction between two different sorts of cause and effect that [to me] seem to be just a word game "in their heads".

This in other words:

People who meet this logic for the first time tend to become alarmed – what happens to our vaunted freedom if we have no free will? There is actually no need to be alarmed if we distinguish between two kinds of freedoms: a freedom from prior causes, and a freedom from coercion. The idea of ‘absolute free will’ supposes that our choices are not determined by prior causes; but few of us actually think of freedom in that way. Rather, we feel a loss of freedom when we are coerced, that is, when we are forced to do something or be in a certain state against our values. There are certain likes and dislikes that a person regards as characterizing him. This set of values may change with time, but they are stable in the immediate term. Hence it makes sense to redefine ‘free choice’ as a choice compatible with a person’s self-affirmed set of values.


This distinction seems like bullshit to me. Whether we call the laws of matter a manifestation of "prior causes" or "coercion", we still do only that which we have always been "determined" to do.

As for so-called "self-affirmed" values, what the fuck can that really mean if the "self" itself is only as it could ever be?

Again, the compatibalists may be on to something here, but it has never seemed reasonable to me. So, I am back to either accepting or not accepting that it could never have seemed reasonable to me -- in order that "I" be in sync with the immutable laws of matter. At least here and now.

In line with this view of freedom as the ability to fulfil individual values, Einstein urged society to give ample room for each individual to explore a particular idea to its rational fulfilment: “Whether it be a work of art or a significant scientific achievement, that which is great and noble comes from the solitary personality,” he said.


But what here [including the words I am typing and the words you are reading] has anything to do with "ability"? As though what turns out to be could ever have turned out any other way. We "choose" for it to happen, but we really didn't choose for it to happen.

But then I can see how a belief in this sort of deterministic approach to reality can be comforting for some. After all, they can't really be held responsible for their fucked up, miserable lives because, well, because.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:53 pm

Hi everybody, it's been a long time. I was wondering what position most people favor: libertarianism, compatibilism, or determinism? Obviously, I stand behind determinism because that's what this thread has tried to demonstrate. Based on new evidence from neuroscience, has anybody changed their position regarding determinism? I realize that determinism poses a threat for some, because they believe there would be no accountability for one's actions since they could say "I couldn't help myself because my will is not free." But this is a misunderstanding for the knowledge of determinism actually increases responsibility, when extended accurately.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:21 pm

Hello peace! Peacegirl.

I go with compatibilism since I feel that society as a whole has no real ability to live up to libertarianism , nor the nerve for always blaming others for their shortcomings, which is the unfortunate result of a wholly determined life.

Even constitutionally people prefer some element of self autonomy, and that is the problem with marching into this coming brave new brotherhood .

It has a sloppy design and a disk much to be improved upon. It is based on wish fulfillment , that the superintelligent machine will not let it get to its head. But since it is the head where it is , the doubt is great.

So for me, the 'should' trumps the 'is'.
And this is really where we stand socially as well, we hope things will work out. What needs to be done is positioned on what should be done, whereas, what is done is not always desirable as the best choice retrospectively.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:54 pm

Meno_ wrote:Hello peace! Peacegirl.

I go with compatibilism since I feel that society as a whole has no real ability to live up to libweoteeoanism , nor the nerve for always blaming others for their shortcomings, which is the unfortunate result of a wholly determined life.

Even constitutionally people prefer some element of self autonomy, and that is the problem with marching into this coming brave new brotherhood .

It has a sloppy design and a disk much to be improved upon. It is based on wish fulfillment , that the superintelligent machine will not let it get to its head. But since it is the head where it is , the doubt is great.


This is where definition is important to clarify. Determinism, in my way of defining it, does not mean that we all become robots with no self-autonomy or the ability to make choices. We all have the ability to make choices; they just aren't free choices.

Meno wrote:So for me, the 'should' trumps the 'is'.
And this is really where we stand socially as well, we hope things will work out. What needs to be done is positioned on what should be done, whereas, what is done is not always desirable as the best choice retrospectively.


The best choice for whom? Obviously, when a person makes a choice, he is making the best possible choice under his particular circumstances. For example, when a person steals because he has no money to pay for food, society might not like his choice, but for him the choice was necessary.

What if all of the "shoulds" are causing a reverse effect than what society is aiming for? Please understand that determinism does not give people a free pass to hurt others with the excuse that they couldn't help themselves. It is quite the opposite. The knowledge that man's will is NOT free (when extended accurately) prevents those very acts of crime that required blame and punishment in our years of development.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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