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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 04 December 2011 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1516 ]
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George - 04 December 2011 06:17 PM

Equally, I (and Coyne) get suspecious when philosophers defend their position on the existence of free will and tell us the real free will is actually something like the free act. For some reason, free will is now known as the “libertarian” free will.

Philosophers have the innate ability to twist language and meaning subtly to defend their position and to confuse the issue completely and then declare “libertarian free will” aka “free will” as incoherent by fiat. Hence, “coherent free will” is synonymous to “free act”. Transformation accomplished.

LOL

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Posted: 04 December 2011 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1517 ]
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George - 04 December 2011 06:17 PM

No, what you object to (correctly, IMO—I should add) is when a theist tries to defend his position redefining God as the laws of nature. Equally, I (and Coyne) get suspecious when philosophers defend their position on the existence of free will and tell us the real free will is actually something like the free act. For some reason, free will is now known as the “libertarian” free will.

I think free will has always been what fits in this sentence: You have free will therefore you are responsible for your actions. I also think we intuitively know this is very strongly tied to what else we could do (could have done otherwise).

So I do think this is a different case, in which our concepts of free will and moral responsibility can shift as is required to be naturalised.

I believe the most important thing is the naturalising of our concept of fairness/justice. The man who is punished has done nothing more than drawn the short straw, clearly the sentiment it serves him right to suffer does not reflect that.

I wouldn’t go as far to say retribution goes out the window completely, again it’s a question of what can and should be naturalised.

Although being punished for drawing the short straw cannot be absolutely fair/ just desert (as people suppose) it can be relatively fair.

Just like one of four men might have to do a dangerous job and they draw straws for it. It sucks that the man who pulls the straw has to do it but they all enter into it with an equal epistemic chance, provided nobody is cheating. What else can they do?

Stephen

[ Edited: 04 December 2011 08:16 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 04 December 2011 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1518 ]
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Seems like there is always someone who cheats…. cheese  The odds are probably 1 out of 4….. LOL

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Posted: 04 December 2011 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1519 ]
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Write4U - 04 December 2011 08:45 PM

Seems like there is always someone who cheats…. cheese 

Yes, but that’s what we need to do our best to cut out and the best way of doing that is naturalising free will and moral responsibility.

The more we know the more the epistemic probabilities will change and the group considered to have free will, will continue to shrink.

Stephen

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Posted: 04 December 2011 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1520 ]
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StephenLawrence - 04 December 2011 08:50 PM
Write4U - 04 December 2011 08:45 PM

Seems like there is always someone who cheats…. cheese 

Yes, but that’s what we need to do our best to cut out and the best way of doing that is naturalising free will and moral responsibility.

The more we know the more the epistemic probabilities will change and the group considered to have free will, will continue to shrink.

Stephen

Ok, trying to approach this philosophically, would the cheater not be the one with free will and the other three are “forced”, i.e. not FW?

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Posted: 04 December 2011 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1521 ]
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Write4U - 04 December 2011 09:02 PM
StephenLawrence - 04 December 2011 08:50 PM
Write4U - 04 December 2011 08:45 PM

Seems like there is always someone who cheats…. cheese 

Yes, but that’s what we need to do our best to cut out and the best way of doing that is naturalising free will and moral responsibility.

The more we know the more the epistemic probabilities will change and the group considered to have free will, will continue to shrink.

Stephen

Ok, trying to approach this philosophically, would the cheater not be the one with free will and the other three are “forced”, i.e. not FW?

No, the cheater would be the one that has knowledge that makes the probability of what will happen different from his point of view than from the other people’s point of view.

So he’s pretending he’s entering into a fair agreement, when in fact he is not.

Stephen

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Posted: 04 December 2011 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1522 ]
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Stephen
So he’s pretending he’s entering into a fair agreement, when in fact he is not

Does it matter from a standpoint of free will?  Do morals have connection to free will?

[ Edited: 04 December 2011 10:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 December 2011 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1523 ]
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George - 04 December 2011 08:04 AM

I have always enjoyed Coyne’s posts on free will. His latest one is excellent. In it, he says that the redefining of free will by the compatibilists is very much like redefining “God” as “the laws of physics” by the theologians. Check it out! (I am on my iPhone so I won’t try to attempt to link to his blog.)

I fully agree with Coyne on one point: we should get rid of the concept ‘free will”. I said this several times: it is an inconsistent concept, a category error, in fact the flag ship of libertarian free will. It is like saying that something ‘costs expensive’, and then thinking that this is something else then ‘costing much’, or ‘being expensive’. The will (without the word ‘free’) is an essential concept to understand free actions. Those actions are free that are according our will, i.e. are an expression of our wishes and beliefs. The idea that the will should be uncaused is theological and inherently dualistic.

It is a task of philosophers to clarify the concepts we use, and free us from the spell of using inconsistent and incoherent ideas that we think really mean something. One of this spells is that laws of nature force us to do things. When we want to drive from A to B but the road is blocked because of a fallen tree, then you are forced by the laws of nature and you must take another route. Your will to take the shortest road to B is obstructed.  But you cannot be forced by laws of nature that make you to what you are. Your will is constituted by the laws of nature, so how can they be an obstruction of your will?

Edit: typo

[ Edited: 05 December 2011 02:52 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 05 December 2011 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1524 ]
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Write4U - 04 December 2011 10:20 PM

Stephen
So he’s pretending he’s entering into a fair agreement, when in fact he is not

Does it matter from a standpoint of free will?  Do morals have connection to free will?

Yes, free will is the thing we have to have to be morally responsible and fairly pay the penalty.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 December 2011 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1525 ]
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GdB - 05 December 2011 12:46 AM

I fully agree with Coyne on one point: we should get rid of the concept ‘free will”. I said this several times: it is an inconsistent concept, a category error, in fact the flag ship of libertarian free will. It is like saying that something ‘costs expensive’, and then thinking that this is something else then ‘costing much’, or ‘being expensive’. The will (without the word ‘free’) is an essential concept to understand free actions. Those actions are free that are according our will, i.e. are an expression of our wishes and beliefs.

This definition is confusing as hell. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong or not the best we can do.

If I offer my daughter a choice of jacket potato or pizza and say it’s up to her, that will result in a free action.

If I say jacket potato or pizza and if you choose pizza I’ll take your pocket money away for a year it won’t. (assuming she chooses jacket potato)

Problem is in both cases her action will be an expression of her wishes and beliefs in a sense.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 December 2011 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1526 ]
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Well, I’m not convinced that substituting “free actions” for “free will” makes things any clearer than they already are, nor that Coyne would be mollified by such an approach. But this does highlight the fact that often these arguments come down to issues of semantics. So long as there is agreement—at least for the purposes of debate—on clear meanings of terms, often times disagreements can be resolved, or at least pinpointed.

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Posted: 05 December 2011 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1527 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 December 2011 03:20 AM

Problem is in both cases her action will be an expression of her wishes and beliefs in a sense.

See my posting here. I hope that clarifies something. I am really wondering why nobody in these free will threads really made the point TimB was mentioning: the question what would count as non-free will as opposed to free will. It’s obvious there is, you mentioned an example, as TimB did.

The point is that free will is thought of as ‘unconditioned’, ‘not caused’. But that is impossible. If free will, in this libertarian sense, is an empty concept, then its opposite is just as empty. One is not denying anything. Only when we contrast free actions with non-free, coerced actions, we can flesh out what would count as free will. And your example is a clear case of coercion because her motive was alien to her. Her motives to choose were overruled by an argument that for her does not belong to the situation. But the nerves of my brain do not coerce me anyway, they also do not cause me, they give rise to me, they are me.

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Posted: 05 December 2011 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1528 ]
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GdB - 05 December 2011 06:51 AM

Only when we contrast free actions with non-free, coerced actions, we can flesh out what would count as free will.

Yes, I know.

But it’s not the actions that are coersed, it is the will. I coersed her will in my example.

So free will is the will free from certain influences that count as restrictions of one sought or another.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 December 2011 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1529 ]
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GdB - 05 December 2011 06:51 AM

Her motives to choose were overruled by an argument that for her does not belong to the situation.

It does belong to the situation, it’s an external influence on the will as it influences her wishes and beliefs.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 December 2011 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1530 ]
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GdB - 05 December 2011 06:51 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 December 2011 03:20 AM

Problem is in both cases her action will be an expression of her wishes and beliefs in a sense.

See my posting here. I hope that clarifies something. I am really wondering why nobody in these free will threads really made the point TimB was mentioning: the question what would count as non-free will as opposed to free will. It’s obvious there is, you mentioned an example, as TimB did.

The point is that free will is thought of as ‘unconditioned’, ‘not caused’. But that is impossible. If free will, in this libertarian sense, is an empty concept, then its opposite is just as empty. One is not denying anything. Only when we contrast free actions with non-free, coerced actions, we can flesh out what would count as free will. And your example is a clear case of coercion because her motive was alien to her. Her motives to choose were overruled by an argument that for her does not belong to the situation. But the nerves of my brain do not coerce me anyway, they also do not cause me, they give rise to me, they are me.

I’m not sure what you’re asking, GdB. I’ve talked many times about coercion of various sorts. One example: if the bank robber sticks a gun at me and asks me to hand over the money in the safe, I’m not doing that of my own free will. That is, I’m handing him the money without wanting to hand him the money. What I want to do is to stay alive, and I know that handing him the money will allow me to stay alive, but that’s not the same as wanting to hand him the money. The relevant desire in this instance comes from the bank robber, not from me.

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