Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby Serendipper » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:27 am

peacegirl wrote:I gave this as an example as to how schizophrenic this becomes when scientists use the idea that neuronal impulses are making choices before we consciously make them. The motivation for a choice that may be hidden in the subconscious mind does not remove the conscious mind from the equation because the choice is still up to the agent or the "I" that the brain is contained in. It takes the conscious mind to say "yes" to an action even if there is a gap of 7 seconds where the brain has already made a decision. The agent can veto that decision if within those 7 seconds something changes the mind of the agent where he chooses not to act on that impulse. I don't know if there ever will be a time that scientists will know exactly what choice you will make before you make it having a 7 second delay. More importantly, it wouldn't matter what choice was made if the choice hurt no one. What scientists are trying to work on is determining if a person is a high risk, thus the intervention by scientists would be employed to identify those people and quarantine them. But this would be unnecessary if we knew that we could never desire to hurt anyone as a preferable choice under changed conditions of the new world.

But something engenders the conscious mind like an illusion. The conscious mind can't be its own cause.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:03 pm

"Compatibilism"

Craig Ross in Philosophy Now magazine

...as individuals when we undertake an action from some motive we imagine that in the exactly the same circumstances we could have chosen to do something else. We do not think we act of necessity. But, as Hume notes, if we try to prove our absolute liberty by doing something ‘unpredictable’ then we are still acting from a straightforward motive: our motive is the desire not to be seen to be acting from predictable motives. When we look at other people and fail to predict their behaviour, particularly someone we know well, then we assume that we are ignorant about some fact, and that their behaviour is in principle intelligible and predictable, rather than that the person has suddenly become incomprehensible. For Hume and other compatibilists, liberty means being free to act as we will, but this does not mean that our actions come from nowhere: our passions, motives and desires provide us with the impulse which our reason (prudence) tries to satisfy. To be at liberty cannot mean acting without a motive, because that’s the definition of madness.


Here is [once again] where I get stuck.

If our "passions, motives and desires" do not come out of nowhere but are integral to a brain/mind wholly in sync with the laws of matter, how is what we "will" not just another manifestation of that in turn? Always wholly in sync as well with our "reason [prudence]" to produce choices/behaviors that could only ever have been what they were, are and will be?

Dennett defends this broad thesis of motivated freedom with a range of interesting arguments. Consider for example the difference between a human being and the Sphex wasp. If this wasp is repeatedly disturbed during its egg laying it will simply continue its instinctive behaviour, apparently unaware of the source of the interruption or the likely futility of continuing with the egg laying. Yet humans can respond flexibly and imaginatively to equivalent difficulties, which indicates that we have a kind of freedom that a simple creature like the wasp does not have.


Okay, the wasp is at a point in the evolution of life on earth where its brain is not nearly as sophisticated as our own. It is not "self-conscious" in the manner that we are. There are no historical or cultural or experiential memes complicating what is basically instinctual behavior. Biological imperatives propel it from moment to moment.

But how can we pin down definitively whether our own brain has evolved to the point where biological imperatives give way to an "I" actually able to will behaviors freely, autonomously?

To call that a "kind of freedom" is one thing. But it may well be just a complex "psychological freedom" that our brain has somehow come to trick us into believing is the real thing.
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 Feb 11, 2019 8:34 pm

"Compatibilism"

Craig Ross in Philosophy Now magazine

For Dennett there is also a meaningful distinction between determinism and inevitability. The Earth, for example, has undergone a recent explosion of ‘evitability’. Once it might have been in evitable that the Earth should be struck by an asteroid. But the planet has, perhaps deterministically, evolved human beings, who may conceivably destroy an incoming rock. It is no longer inevitable, so it is evitable. In the same way it is not inevitable that those disposed to heart disease will go on to develop it. We have, perhaps deterministically, produced an understanding of the causes of heart disease, and we can modify our behaviour on this basis. Again, what was once inevitable is no longer so.


This is interesting. Had matter not evolved into life evolving into mammals evolving into self-conscious human beings, it seemingly was inevitable that the Big One would smash into earth precipitating another extinction event for all other life forms.

But instead it did evolve into us and we are matter able to actually attempt to avoid that collision.

And while it seems that sooner or later an asteroid big enough to wipe us out is inevitable there may be strikes that we can prevent.

But how do we wrap our minds around that? Besides, whether we do or do not put a dent in the inevitable part with any particular asteroid, that would not seem to change the fact that, in a wholly determined universe, what does unfold could only ever have unfolded as it did.

Isn't that inevitable?

Same with heart disease. We may one day all but eliminate it. But only because nature "willed" that to be only as it could be. We just don't know if there is any measure of teleology "behind" nature itself. God or No God.

So we may not have what Dennett calls ‘behavioural choice’, the absolute and unimpeded God-like ability to choose out of nothing – but we can flexibly respond to and change our environment, an environment that among other things contains knowledge of how other people have acted and thought.


How flexible can any response be that can only be the embodiment of inflexible laws of matter.

If these laws are inflexible. And how do we determine that? By choosing freely among alternatives or not?
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 peacegirl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:19 pm

peacegirl wrote:
surreptitious75 wrote:
Serendipper wrote:
Scientists can be aware of your choices before you are and by a margin of 7 seconds !

So if you ve made your decision before you even knew it then how could you be in control of making it ?

The sub conscious mind that makes decisions is still part of you and in that respect you are still in control of them


Agreed.

Surreptitious75 wrote:The mistake is to assume all major decisions are made by the conscious mind simply because that is the only one we actually experience


There may be subconscious factors involved, but the conscious mind has the ultimate say as to whether an action is to be performed or not. In fact, all major decisions involve the conscious mind in order to give permission for an action to be performed (based on that decision) or else someone could easily say, "I didn't make that choice, my unconscious mind did." Not only is that false, but how would that fly in a court of law?


Surreptitious75 wrote:Because having laws is what helps determine the behavior of people and if it "flew in court" it would undermine the deterrent. I think the legal system holds its nose and looks the other way on this.


That is true, and that's why Daniel Dennett doesn't think a slap on the wrist would be advantageous because the deterrent would be undermined. That's what he means when he says: "a free will worth wanting." That's where we're at right now in our development as a species.

The Brain on Trial

DOES THE DISCOVERY of Charles Whitman’s brain tumor modify your feelings about the senseless murders he committed? Does it affect the sentence you would find appropriate for him, had he survived that day? Does the tumor change the degree to which you consider the killings “his fault”? Couldn’t you just as easily be unlucky enough to develop a tumor and lose control of your behavior?

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be dangerous to conclude that people with a tumor are free of guilt, and that they should be let off the hook for their crimes?

As our understanding of the human brain improves, juries are increasingly challenged with these sorts of questions. When a criminal stands in front of the judge’s bench today, the legal system wants to know whether he is blameworthy. Was it his fault, or his biology’s fault?


http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2016/07 ... rain-tumor

Free will may exist (it may simply be beyond our current science), but one thing seems clear: if free will does exist, it has little room in which to operate. It can at best be a small factor riding on top of vast neural networks shaped by genes and environment. In fact, free will may end up being so small that we eventually think about bad decision-making in the same way we think about any physical process, such as diabetes or lung disease.[/i] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... al/308520/


Once we understand that what we do is not of our own free will, then we cannot separate a person who is not guilty due to a tumor from a person who is guilty because he killed without a tumor. Both are not free.
Last edited by peacegirl on Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:57 pm

For those of you who may have recently found this thread, here are the first three chapters. This should give you enough information to know whether you find this knowledge compelling.

http://www.declineandfallofallevil.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Decline-and-Fall-of-All-Evil-2-13-2019-THREE-CHAPTERS.pdf
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 iambiguous » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:00 pm

"Compatibilism"

Craig Ross in Philosophy Now magazine

Why Compatibilism Is Mistaken.

There are some major difficulties in compatibilism, which I think damage it irreparably.

Take Hobbes’ claim, largely accepted by Hume, that freedom is to act at will while coercion is to be compelled to act by others. This does not give us a sure reason to choose this ‘freedom’.

Imagine that you were a free-floating spirit, equal to God in your capacity to choose. God gives you the unwelcome news that shortly you are to be placed on Earth, and that you will be endowed with a range of fundamental passions, chosen entirely at the caprice of God. Would you choose to be free, in Hobbes’sense of acting at will, or might you consent to being coerced?


This is precisely the sort of speculation I am not able to grapple with effectively. In other words, in a way that allows me to grasp what the compatibilists are telling us about the alleged "freedom" emobodied in fact that while rocks don't choose to tumble down a mountain in a landslide, human beings do choose to ski down a mountain.

Just as the rocks could not not tumble down the mountain in a landslide, skiers could not not choose to go down the slope.

In either context, different configurations of matter are doing only that which matter obeying immutable laws [if this is the case] could have done.

No other human being coerced you to choose to ski but your "will" to choose is merely another inherent manifestation of nature.

With God the coercion would seem to revolve around that fact that nothing you will ever do is not already known by God. The only question that pops into my mind here is that, in a wholly determined universe, could God Himself have ever not placed you on Earth? Is God in turn inherently capricious? And thus only seemingly capricious in an existence where everything that even He does is only as it ever could have been.

Unless, of course, there is some crucial factor here that I keep missing.
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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:55 pm

iambiguous wrote:"Compatibilism"

Craig Ross in Philosophy Now magazine

Why Compatibilism Is Mistaken.

There are some major difficulties in compatibilism, which I think damage it irreparably.

Take Hobbes’ claim, largely accepted by Hume, that freedom is to act at will while coercion is to be compelled to act by others. This does not give us a sure reason to choose this ‘freedom’.


All Hobbes' and Hume did was differentiate between physical coercion and having a choice without physical coercion. The latter is what most people consider to be free will, and that is where compatibilism tries but fails to reconcile. Just because we have choices without physical constraint does not mean our choices are free. It's all an illusion since we can only go in one direction, the direction of that offers us the greater satisfaction (or the most preferable choice based on our particular circumstances) when two or more alternatives are being compared.

Before I show how it is possible to resolve the implications, it is
necessary to repeat that I will proceed in a step by step manner. This
dragon has been guarding an invisible key and door for many years,
and this could never be made visible except for someone who saw these
undeniable relations. If, therefore, you would like to learn that Man
Does Not Stand Alone as Morrison understood from his scientific
observations; that God, this Supreme Intelligence, is a mathematical
reality of infinite wisdom, then what do you say we begin our voyage
that will literally change the entire world. We are not interested in
opinions and theories regardless of where they originate, just in the
truth, so let’s proceed to the next step and prove conclusively, beyond
a shadow of doubt, that what we do of our own free will (of our own
desire because we want to) is done absolutely and positively not of our
own free will. Remember, by proving that determinism, as the
opposite of free will, is true, we also establish undeniable proof that
free will is false.”

<snip>

The term ‘free will’
contains an assumption or fallacy for it implies that if man is not
caused or compelled to do anything against his will, it must be
preferred of his own free will. This is one of those logical, not
mathematical conclusions. The expression, ‘I did it of my own free
will’ is perfectly correct when it is understood to mean ‘I did it because
I wanted to; nothing compelled or caused me to do it since I could
have acted otherwise had I desired.’ This expression was necessarily
misinterpreted because of the general ignorance that prevailed for
although it is correct in the sense that a person did something because
he wanted to, this in no way indicates that his will is free. In fact I
shall use the expression ‘of my own free will’ frequently myself which
only means ‘of my own desire.’ Are you beginning to see how words
have deceived everyone?

“You must be kidding? Here you are in the process of
demonstrating why the will of man is not free, and in the same breath
you tell me you’re doing this of your own free will.”

This is clarified somewhat when you understand that man is free
to choose what he prefers, what he desires, what he wants, what he
considers better for himself and his family. But the moment he
prefers or desires anything is an indication that he is compelled to this
action because of some dissatisfaction, which is the natural
compulsion of his nature. Because of this misinterpretation of the
expression ‘man’s will is free,’ great confusion continues to exist in
any discussion surrounding this issue, for although it is true man has
to make choices he must always prefer that which he considers good
not evil for himself when the former is offered as an alternative.


iambiguous wrote:Imagine that you were a free-floating spirit, equal to God in your capacity to choose. God gives you the unwelcome news that shortly you are to be placed on Earth, and that you will be endowed with a range of fundamental passions, chosen entirely at the caprice of God. Would you choose to be free, in Hobbes’sense of acting at will, or might you consent to being coerced?


We have been given certain genetics (as per your example) which then combines with our environment to make us who we are. This is not coercion in the sense that most people think of it. We are not being coerced in the compatibilist sense (such as having a gun to our head). And we are not free in in Hobbe's sense just because we are acting at will. This is a false dichotomy which is causing lots of confusion in this longstanding debate. Definitions mean nothing where reality is concerned unless it reflects the real world.

iambiguous wrote:This is precisely the sort of speculation I am not able to grapple with effectively. In other words, in a way that allows me to grasp what the compatibilists are telling us about the alleged "freedom" embodied in fact that while rocks don't choose to tumble down a mountain in a landslide, human beings do choose to ski down a mountain.

Just as the rocks could not not tumble down the mountain in a landslide, skiers could not not choose to go down the slope.

In either context, different configurations of matter are doing only that which matter obeying immutable laws [if this is the case] could have done.


True, but rocks cannot contemplate therefore the configuration is different as you mentioned, thus people think of free will as having choices. Once again, having choices does not grant us freedom of the will. It just gives the appearance of giving us free will and what most lay people think free will is. "I can choose, therefore I have free will."

iambiguous wrote:No other human being coerced you to choose to ski but your "will" to choose is merely another inherent manifestation of nature.


It is just merely another inherent manifestation of nature. But the truth of determinism in and of itself is not going to better our world. We have to extend this knowledge to see where it leads.

iambiguous wrote:With God the coercion would seem to revolve around that fact that nothing you will ever do is not already known by God. The only question that pops into my mind here is that, in a wholly determined universe, could God Himself have ever not placed you on Earth? Is God in turn inherently capricious? And thus only seemingly capricious in an existence where everything that even He does is only as it ever could have been.

Unless, of course, there is some crucial factor here that I keep missing.


Whether God is inherently capricious or controlled by natural law is assuming God is an entity. In the book, Decline and Fall of All Evil, the author personalized the word God to make the writing less dry, but he clarified that God only means the laws that govern our universe. To speculate beyond that is counter-productive IMO as far as this discussion goes because it's a distraction.
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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