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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 11 May 2011 01:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1021 ]
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StephenLawrence - 10 May 2011 11:30 PM

And so unfixed inititial conditions are required in order to have free will.

That’s what GdB is denying.

Take this up with GdB, it’s him who’s trying to argue that free will is compatible with necessitarianism.

You say I am a necessitarian. Until you used the word, I did not even know what it was, such naive world views do not belong to my intellectual luggage. Instead of using labels I would like to concentrate on the contents.

Just remember that I do not say that the initial conditions are fixed, I say it does not matter.

To make it very simple:
1. Compatibilism says determinism and free will are compatible. Right?
2. Determinism says that given some state of (part of) the universe, on every point of time afterwards only one other state will occur. Right?
3. Free will in compatibilism says that our wishes, beliefs and deliberations are causally effective, and that these wishes, beliefs and deliberations are caused in themselves. Right?
4. An ‘unfree will’ occurs then, when some circumstances intervene in such a way that our mental dispositions are overruled. Right?

Four questions above for you to answer!

It seems you are confusing Strawson’s idea of ‘luck swallows everything’ with the idea of free will in itself. Remember my standpoint: I say ‘luck swallows something, but surely not everything’. I illustrated that with you cooking or not for your wife. Nobody can make you responsible for who you are, but you can be made responsible for what you do, because you are such a person that we can do that.

You must explain what the relevance of fixed or not fixed initial conditions for free will is, because from the initial conditions on everything is causally fixed anyway. Just saying it opens possibilities does not suffice. It’s like sitting in a cold room, and then say ‘we need warmth’ and then you have the idea to turn on the heating in the neighbour’s house, with the argument ‘but now we have heat’. Just postulating some indeterminism somewhere in the history of the universe has nothing to do with free will. (And not even with luck, I would add.)

And stop using such labels as ‘necessitarianism’ anyway. I say you are wrong, you see my concept of determinism above, and that is the only thing I am talking about.

And concerning the way of your thinking: you must be able to connect abstract labels with concrete real life examples. You should do that more, just to be sure we are talking the same thing, and see if there really lies some important theme behind the discussions or not. For example, I repeatedly said (or implied) that in you practical life, you cannot distinguish between necessitarianism and determinism. Just answering that your world view is different then (‘there would be no free will’ or so) makes no sense. How would the world really look differently? Would the world run differently if one or the other would be true? And dependent on that, should we change our ethical and legal practices if we would be able to see which one is true? If you cannot connect theoretical deliberations with practical every day examples, then you are just playing with concepts, and your thinking is just void, it has nothing to do with reality.

[ Edited: 11 May 2011 09:28 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 11 May 2011 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1022 ]
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GdB - 11 May 2011 01:10 AM

You say I am a necessitarian.

No, I say you are arguing that free will is compatible with necessitarianism.

Until you used the word, I did not even know what it was,

Not quite as learned as you thought.

such naive world views do not belong to my intellectual luggage.

Ahh you didn’t know it therefore it’s naive. Tut.

Instead of using labels I would like to concentrate on the contents.

Fine.

Just remember that I do not say that the initial conditions are fixed, I say it does not matter.

And that is apparently a mistake because if the initial conditions are fixed then there are no subjunctive contingent possibilities.

Stephen

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Posted: 11 May 2011 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1023 ]
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Something just occurred to me.
What happens to determinism and necessitism and compatibilism when an action is taken by a madman, a totally random action or reaction to a situation. True the future will be determined by the rogue action of this madman, but nothing that came before would have relevance to the future that will be caused by this action.

If we were to take the butterfly effect and reverse it, of course all physical things end up at a single source.
But I believe that FW is a metaphysical aspect of reality and may well become the guiding, if unpredictable, creative force on which the physical future depends.

Just musing

[ Edited: 11 May 2011 03:38 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 11 May 2011 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1024 ]
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Does a photon have FW?
It chooses to present itself as a particle or a wave depending on the desired result asked for by the observer.

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Posted: 11 May 2011 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1025 ]
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W—i don’t think a photon has “will.”  But, then, i don’t feel able to engage with metaphysics, so i may be the wrong one to respond to this.

Gdb—I’m concerned that you may be pouring a lot of energy into writings which may not be being read.  As far as i read, i agree with you, but… is anyone reading it all?  carefully?

stephen—would it help to separate “objective possibility” (indeterminism) from “subjective possibility” (useful hypothetical realities)?

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Posted: 12 May 2011 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1026 ]
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isaac - 11 May 2011 11:06 PM

stephen—would it help to separate “objective possibility” (indeterminism) from “subjective possibility” (useful hypothetical realities)?

I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to this particular issue Isaac.

When considering non actual possibilities we are running the same laws of nature.

If we run the same deterministic laws of nature from the same initial conditions we get the same future.

So we have to run the same laws of nature from different initial conditions to get different possible outcomes.

If the laws of nature don’t allow these different initial conditions then there are no non actual possibilities subjective or otherwise.

Stephen

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Posted: 12 May 2011 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1027 ]
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isaac - 11 May 2011 11:06 PM

W—i don’t think a photon has “will.”  But, then, i don’t feel able to engage with metaphysics, so i may be the wrong one to respond to this.

I am not suggesting that a photon has FW per se, but it does respond to a “demand” placed by the observer.

Gdb—I’m concerned that you may be pouring a lot of energy into writings which may not be being read.  As far as i read, i agree with you, but… is anyone reading it all?  carefully?

Rest easy isaac, GdB need not worry if his posits are read by all who have followed this discussion, which I find fascinating as I myself have not been able to sort out if the chicken came before the egg and if the egg will always yield a chicken”..... cheese

[ Edited: 12 May 2011 12:36 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 12 May 2011 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1028 ]
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isaac - 11 May 2011 11:06 PM

Gdb—I’m concerned that you may be pouring a lot of energy into writings which may not be being read.  As far as i read, i agree with you, but… is anyone reading it all?  carefully?

I think some people are reading it. Eating crisps and drinking beer… But you see that some others react, so at least these are reading the thread (so now and then?).
About the energy: You made a remark already in your ‘compatibilists thread’. Stephen is really wrestling with the problem of free will and responsibility. I can only regret that he wants to stick to his thinking, and is so strongly stuck in it that he cannot even see what others mean. He gives wrong interpretations of my, and other’s view points.

As you see in his posting above, he does not react at the contents of my post, but just rants against me.

isaac - 11 May 2011 11:06 PM

stephen—would it help to separate “objective possibility” (indeterminism) from “subjective possibility” (useful hypothetical realities)?

His reaction on this is a nice example:

StephenLawrence - 12 May 2011 12:00 AM

When considering non actual possibilities we are running the same laws of nature.

You propose to make a distinction between ‘real possibilities’, i.e. possibility in the metaphysical fabric of nature in the form of some non-determinist opening in an otherwise determinist universe, and ‘mental possibilities’. i.e. possibilities we imagine of certain events that will occur or not. Right? But he takes it as the distinction between ‘actual possibilities’ and ‘non actual possibilities’, which is not necessarily the same.

I think my standpoint in my previous posting was quite clear, but he does not answer on it.

There is one positive side on the whole discussion: my own standpoint becomes ever more detailed, as I try to explain (my version of?) compatibilism to Stephen.

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Posted: 12 May 2011 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1029 ]
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Write4U - 11 May 2011 03:57 PM

Does a photon have FW?

No. A photon has no structure, and therefore cannot have wishes and beliefs, and therefore cannot act.

There is no choice: dependent on the kind of experiment, if one wants to measure the energy of a photon, or its way through the room, the light will been seen as a photon or a light wave. To be very exact: a photon is a particle per definition. But light can been seen as (a lot of) single photons in energy exchange experiments, or as wave when we do interference or diffraction experiments.

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1030 ]
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StephenLawrence - 11 May 2011 12:11 PM

Not quite as learned as you thought.

I studied philosophy, I am not a walking dictionary.

StephenLawrence - 11 May 2011 12:11 PM

Instead of using labels I would like to concentrate on the contents.

Fine.

So? Where is your reaction on the content?

StephenLawrence - 11 May 2011 12:11 PM

Just remember that I do not say that the initial conditions are fixed, I say it does not matter.

And that is apparently a mistake because if the initial conditions are fixed then there are no subjunctive contingent possibilities.

So which one of my four statements about compatibilism is wrong? And why?

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1031 ]
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GdB - 12 May 2011 12:48 AM

His reaction on this is a nice example:

StephenLawrence - 12 May 2011 12:00 AM

When considering non actual possibilities we are running the same laws of nature.

You propose to make a distinction between ‘real possibilities’, i.e. possibility in the metaphysical fabric of nature in the form of some non-determinist opening in an otherwise determinist universe, and ‘mental possibilities’. i.e. possibilities we imagine of certain events that will occur or not. Right? But he takes it as the distinction between ‘actual possibilities’ and ‘non actual possibilities’, which is not necessarily the same.

GdB,

The fact is as things stand I’m just pointing out an obvious mistake.

Imagined/real does not matter.

What matters is possible means not prevented.

The problem is deterministic physical law does prevent, unless you make some adjustment some place some time.

As physical law does prevent you need to make an exception to that physical law.

By focusing on this imaginery versus real debate you miss the point.

And it really is that simple, I don’t know how I could put it plainer and don’t know why you don’t understand, except that the big bang banging the way it did prevented you. grin

Stephen

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1032 ]
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GdB - 12 May 2011 01:03 AM

And that is apparently a mistake because if the initial conditions are fixed then there are no subjunctive contingent possibilities.

So which one of my four statements about compatibilism is wrong? And why?

Your four statements are fine.

It’s the addition of a fifth which is the problem.

You’re saying that not only is free will compatible with one possible future given the past.

But compatible with all truths being necessarily true.

It’s a necessary condition of having free will that certain truths about the future could be false.

Stephen

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1033 ]
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StephenLawrence - 12 May 2011 01:12 AM

The problem is deterministic physical law does prevent, unless you make some adjustment some place some time.

As physical law does prevent you need to make an exception to that physical law.

But how, my dear Stephen, can introducing some indeterminist event a long time ago, and then running determinist from there, account for free will that I express now?

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1034 ]
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GdB - 12 May 2011 01:23 AM

As physical law does prevent you need to make an exception to that physical law.

But how, my dear Stephen, can introducing some indeterminist event a long time ago, and then running determinist from there, account for free will that I express now?

It’s a good question. Perhaps it cant!

But it’s one of three options.

The other two are: a local miracle in another possible world

Fudge the meaning of physically possible somehow.

Out of these three options the right one will be the one that makes influencing the future possible.

Stephen

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Posted: 12 May 2011 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1035 ]
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StephenLawrence - 12 May 2011 01:21 AM

You’re saying that not only is free will compatible with one possible future given the past.

But compatible with all truths being necessarily true.

It’s a necessary condition of having free will that certain truths about the future could be false.

I don’t say that. Truths only exist where language exists. They are a description of the relation between language and reality. It is your addition:

“For all sentences A, if A is true, A is necessary true”.

Not mine. You make from an analysis of the meaning of modal sentences some metaphysics. I assume you believe Anselm’s prove for the existence of god is correct?


I’ll rest my case for a while. For me it is enough that you agree with my 4 sentences about compatibilism. There is nothing about necessitarism in it, not a denial, not an affirmation. It has nothing to do with it.

[ Edited: 12 May 2011 02:59 AM by GdB ]
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