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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 14 May 2011 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1081 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 06:23 AM

I think I like Schwarz:

If, however, one adopts a thoroughgoing descriptive view of natural laws, the problem of free will does not even arise. On the view I am proposing, there simply is no problem of free will.

May I call him as witness?

What we are interested in is the problem of influencing the future.

Natural laws descriptive or not, in order to be able to influence the future it needs to be physically possible, meaning consistent with the laws of nature, for you to have been a bachelor, for instance.

You say of course it is but just don’t explain yourself.

If laws of nature describe absolutely everything that happens then given the laws of nature you could not have been a bachelor.

What this means is that in the mentally constructed other possible worlds in which you are a bachelor the mentally constructed laws of nature are different.

And that means these mentally constructed “physically possible” worlds turn out to be physically impossible.

This is why an exception to determinism is apparently a necessary condition of influencing the future.

Stephen

[ Edited: 14 May 2011 09:11 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 14 May 2011 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1082 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 06:23 AM

I think I like Schwarz:

I wouldn’t be so sure.

http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/modal_fallacy.htm

Another fallacy

‘If p is true, then p cannot be false’

  “If a proposition is true (/false), then it cannot be false (/true). If a proposition cannot be false (/true), then it is necessarily true (/false). Therefore if a proposition is true (/false), it is necessarily true (/false). That is, there are no contingent propositions. Every proposition is either necessarily true or necessarily false. (If we could see the world from God’s viewpoint, we would see the necessity of everything. Contingency is simply an artifact of ignorance. Contingency disappears with complete knowledge.)”

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1083 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 08:38 AM

Ok, your first answer was to do with equivocation between logical necessity I think the right term might have been relative necessity and physical necessity, which had nothing to do with it.

Well, I think it has. It is obvious that the sentence “If I am married, I am not a bachelor” is true: it is, just on conceptual grounds, it is simply a definition.
But that I am not a bachelor is not a conceptual truth.

So in Swartz terminology: I extended the modal scope from something that is a conceptual truth to the sentence as a whole, that also contains an empirical fact. So I got from a logical necessity to an empirical necessity. And that is so obviously wrong as it can be. Swartz’ analysis is definitely more fundamental then mine, but if you see that somebody derives a physical necessity from a logical necessity, then it is clear that something went wrong.

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 08:38 AM

You also brought up confusing reality with language which had nothing to do with it.

Same as above. Knowing the meaning of ‘marriage’ and of ‘bachelor’ you know that the sentence ‘If I am married, I am not a bachelor’ is true, even if nobody is married! The sentence can be decided on the level of semantics alone (a language without a semantics is not a language). But that I am married does not follow from semantics at all. You must look at reality.

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 08:38 AM

You finally brought up my taking a literal interpretation of 1, which I do accept as an answer, although when you draw a diagram and say this is basic logical truth it’s hardly surprising that I take it literally.

Well the diagram shows another kind of fallacy, maybe I mixed up a few fallacies… wink

I recognised this fallacy:

If the oven is heated enough, the cake will succeed.
If the oven is heated enough, the cake will fail.

Did I contradict myself now? I say the cake will succeed and I say the cake will fail. (Of course I forgot to say that it was 180C the first time and 250C the second time…)

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 08:38 AM

Anyhow I tentatively accept the modal scope fallacy isn’t a problem as I had thought.

Well, at least we have cleared that.

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Posted: 14 May 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1084 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 09:26 AM

I wouldn’t be so sure.

http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/modal_fallacy.htm
‘If p is true, then p cannot be false’

I would say that falls under my conceptual/empirical fallacy as well.

Let me guess what Swartz would say:

It is necessary that (if p is true then p is not false).

It is logical necessity again, which jumps over its boundaries to reality.

Sorry that I say this, Stephen, but I think you are the one that commits the most of these fallacies…

I think I really like Swartz:

If we could see the world from God’s viewpoint, we would see the necessity of everything. Contingency is simply an artifact of ignorance. Contingency disappears with complete knowledge

I think this is exactly your problem. You take the god view, and then you say that everything is necessary, not contingent.

Beware of the kkwan effect!
(no, no, at least you are not just citing, but always take care when citing…)

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1085 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 09:42 AM

So in Swartz terminology: I extended the modal scope from something that is a conceptual truth to the sentence as a whole, that also contains an empirical fact. So I got from a logical necessity to an empirical necessity. And that is so obviously wrong as it can be. Swartz’ analysis is definitely more fundamental then mine, but if you see that somebody derives a physical necessity from a logical necessity, then it is clear that something went wrong.

I don’t see why you read it like this.

What he actually says is:

The problem is that although Paul (my brother) does have a son (he in fact has two sons), he does not have to have any. His having any children at all, as well as the exact number, are contingent matters, not matters of logical necessity.

So physical necessity simply doesn’t come into the explanation.

He goes on to explain:

The trouble is that, in English, and (I have been told) a number of other natural languages as well, there is a tendency (a style) of moving the modal operator – which, as it were, ‘applies’ to the entire conditional sentence – inside the sentence, more exactly, onto the consequent, e.g.

and

Some writers prefer to call this fallacy “the modal scope fallacy” by which they mean that the fallacy consists of constricting the ‘scope’ of the necessity from the entire conditional (wide scope) to just its consequent (narrow scope).

The narrow scope is the problem.

Edit: So it’s not an extension of the scope but a narrowing of the scope to the consequence that is the problem.

Stephen

[ Edited: 14 May 2011 10:11 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1086 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 09:53 AM

If we could see the world from God’s viewpoint, we would see the necessity of everything. Contingency is simply an artifact of ignorance. Contingency disappears with complete knowledge

I think this is exactly your problem. You take the god view, and then you say that everything is necessary, not contingent.

I think you’ve missed the point.

Swartz is saying that it’s a fallacy to think that from the God view everything is necessary because it’s a fallacy to think contingency disappears with complete knowledge.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1087 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 09:04 AM

What this means is that in the mentally constructed other possible worlds in which you are a bachelor the mentally constructed laws of nature are different.

And that means these mentally constructed “physically possible” worlds turn out to be physically impossible.

OK. But what if I mentally construct physically possible worlds?
I stand with a piece of paper somewhere in town. I want to get rid of it. I imagine myself just throwing it on the ground (from my physical knowledge I know this is possible), and I imagine walk 10 steps to a bin (which I know is physically possible too). On which physical laws does the outcome depends now? Well, that of my brain of course! But how? Because the ability to anticipate future options is a capability of my brain! But not because my brain has some uncaused parts in it. And also not because natural laws should allow me to create different outcomes based on different ‘initial conditions’.

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 09:04 AM

This is why an exception to determinism is apparently a necessary condition of influencing the future.

Not at all. Nature runs its course, as it always did, also through us:

Swartz again:

We make choices – some trivial, such as to buy a newspaper; others, rather more consequential, such as to buy a home, or to get married, or to go to university, etc. – but these choices are not forced upon us by the laws of nature. Indeed, it is the other way round. Laws of nature are (a subclass of the) true descriptions of the world. Whatever happens in the world, there are true descriptions of those events. It’s true that you cannot ‘violate’ a law of nature, but that’s not because the laws of nature ‘force’ you to behave in some certain way. It is rather that whatever you do, there is a true description of what you have done. You certainly don’t get to choose the laws that describe the charge on an electron or the properties of hydrogen and oxygen that explain their combining to form water. But you do get to choose a great many other laws. How do you do that? Simply by doing whatever you do in fact do.

You need to see through a lot of logical fallacies to see this. Swartz is a good source, as far as I can see. He has even books free for downloading on his page!
Possible Worlds: An Introduction to Logic and Its Philosophy
The Concept of Physical Law

I really like him…

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1088 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 10:16 AM

OK. But what if I mentally construct physically possible worlds?

It’s fine GdB but you must keep to an agreed definition of physically possible.

The one I’ve found and am using is consistent with the laws of nature.

I stand with a piece of paper somewhere in town. I want to get rid of it. I imagine myself just throwing it on the ground (from my physical knowledge I know this is possible),

As things stand until you budge on something, no you don’t know it’s physically possible because only what you do is and you don’t know whether you will do it or not.

And that is because if everything is determined by the laws of nature with no exception, then given those laws you could not just throw the paper on the ground, unless you do.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1089 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 10:02 AM

The narrow scope is the problem.

Maybe I used the idea of ‘scope’ a bit differently. We have a small set of logical necessities. But there are a lot more necessities in the world, that are not logical necessary. I only had a quick glance on Swartz…

At least we agree on the part of the apparent modal fallacy.

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1090 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 10:24 AM

As things stand until you budge on something, no you don’t know it’s physically possible because only what you do is and you don’t know whether you will do it or not.

No. My anticipation on the possibilities is causally effective. That is what free will is: at the moment I decide to go to the bin, I actually walk to the bin. I am determined, yes, but because I can determine my actions, I am free.

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 10:24 AM

And that is because if everything is determined by the laws of nature with no exception, then given those laws you could not just throw the paper on the ground, unless you do.

Swartz would say:

And that is because if everything is described by the laws of nature with no exception, then those laws exactly describe what I do.

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1091 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 10:32 AM

Swartz would say:

And that is because if everything is described by the laws of nature with no exception, then those laws exactly describe what I do.

Right.

So as those laws exactly describe what you do, anything other than what you do is inconsistent with those laws and so physically impossible by definition.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1092 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 10:35 AM

So as those laws exactly describe what you do, anything other than what you do is inconsistent with those laws and so physically impossible by definition.

Yes. But ‘my physical system’ is part of it. I just don’t do ‘anything other’. This ‘anything other’ is paralysing you. This ‘anything other’ exists only as option in my mind. This evaluating of options makes the ability to anticipate the future. And they have causal effects. These are called actions. It is implemented in my brain. Nothing is forcing me. I am physics. I am not separated from it. There is no ‘I’ separated from physics. You do not have to be a buddhist to see that… Science will do.

I’ll ask you again:

If a ball flying on its way causes the window to break, don’t I cause my actions?

If nothing causes anything, why do you think determinism could be true?

[ Edited: 14 May 2011 10:52 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 14 May 2011 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1093 ]
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GdB - 14 May 2011 10:49 AM
StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 10:35 AM

So as those laws exactly describe what you do, anything other than what you do is inconsistent with those laws and so physically impossible by definition.

Yes. But ‘my physical system’ is part of it.

There is no but GdB.

Your mental constructions are physically impossible unless they turn out to match what happens

Therefore everything that happens is physically necessary.

I just don’t do ‘anything other’.

Right but you say it’s physically possible.

This ‘anything other’ exists only as option in my mind.

Right but you say it’s a physically possible option.

If nothing causes anything, why do you think determinism could be true?

The traditional idea is that if we or anything else, say a tree, are powerless to do otherwise, then we don’t cause/influence anything.

This goes back to Aristotle and his sea battle. (Ive looked it up, the argument isn’t there are no causes/influences but that there are no preventative causes but I think if one turns out to be true so does the other) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fatalism/

I’m assuming it’s a necessary condition of the power to do otherwise that it’s physically possible.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1094 ]
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You certainly don’t get to choose the laws that describe the charge on an electron or the properties of hydrogen and oxygen that explain their combining to form water. But you do get to choose a great many other laws. How do you do that? Simply by doing whatever you do in fact do.

So if we were to make a different choice we would be choosing different laws of nature?

Stephen

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Posted: 14 May 2011 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1095 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 11:37 AM

Your mental constructions are physically impossible unless they turn out to match what happens

This is narrow minded as it can be. Can a computer not calculate through different scenarios, even if they become not real? Can a mirror not mirror red because it is not red?
You must separate
- the brain as physical system
- the physical systems it represents

Me thinking about a tree is not a tree!

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 11:37 AM

Therefore everything that happens is physically necessary.

That is true, of course. And the compatibilist answer is ‘so what?’. Or even, ‘without anything necessary, how could we determine our actions?’

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 11:37 AM

Right but you say it’s physically possible.

No. What I say is that my action causally depends on the outcome of me evaluating different possibilities. So from my perspective, as long as I have not decided, my future is still open. And that is not an illusion, because only from a third party view one can predict on basis of an exact picture of the brain, and all natural laws involved, one can see that everything is determined already. As soon as the third party talks with the person involved, he is part of the system too, and he looses his determinist view. A brain cannot picture itself.

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 11:37 AM

This ‘anything other’ exists only as option in my mind.

Right but you say it’s a physically possible option.

See above. My picture of the possibilities what what could happen is implemented in my physical brain, but is determined in itself. That is not a contradiction!

StephenLawrence - 14 May 2011 11:37 AM

If nothing causes anything, why do you think determinism could be true?

The traditional idea is that if we or anything else, say a tree, are powerless to do otherwise, then we don’t cause/influence anything.

You illustrate a point what I never mentioned, but yes, I think historically the idea of causality is psychologically derived from our self being agents, i.e. we are causal agents. On the other side, the outside world is working causally on us in such ways that our capability of acting based on our wishes and beliefs is limited.

But if you drop the idea that we are causal agents, then how can we see events in the world as causal related? The world only develops as it does, as an animation where a picture at one moment is not caused by the previous one. But without the idea of causality, the idea behind determinism drops away.

So if you accept causality, you get free will.
For free.
And if you have free will, you can develop the idea of causality.
For free.

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