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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 06 December 2011 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1561 ]
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GdB - 06 December 2011 12:37 AM

Would that be the common understanding of free will?

GdB, as a matter of fact, if someone asks do we have free will, they are commonly asking do we have libertarian free will, not can I do what I want. grin

Stephen

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Posted: 06 December 2011 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1562 ]
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The cases of compulsion we are looking at are ones in which there is no better moral option. So this is why there is no moral responsibility, it’s because the person doesn’t select an immoral option.

It would be more instructive to have a case of someone selecting an immoral option under compulsion.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 December 2011 02:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1563 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:55 AM

GdB, as a matter of fact, if someone asks do we have free will, they are commonly asking do we have libertarian free will, not can I do what I want. grin

Please comment on my dialogue between the suspect and the judge.

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Posted: 06 December 2011 02:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1564 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:53 AM

It’s meaningless in the sense that we always do what we want, given the options.

So Sophie wants to kill her child? Does that count as free choice?

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Posted: 06 December 2011 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1565 ]
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GdB - 06 December 2011 12:37 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:15 AM
GdB - 06 December 2011 12:03 AM

Free will is being able to do what you want. Full stop.

Which is meaningless.

question

I think this is closer to the understanding of the majority of what people think than ‘unconditioned free will’.

“Suspect: did you want to kill her?”
“Yes sir, I really wanted, and I am glad I succeeded.”
“So you are guilty!”
“No sir, I was determined.”

Would that be the common understanding of free will?

You know the common understanding GdB. People don’t believe he was determined and believe that if he was he wouldn’t have free will. This is because he wouldn’t have the right kind of opportunity to avoid the penalty, to make him deserving of receiving it.

Stephen

[ Edited: 06 December 2011 04:07 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 06 December 2011 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1566 ]
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GdB - 06 December 2011 02:21 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:53 AM

It’s meaningless in the sense that we always do what we want, given the options.

So Sophie wants to kill her child? Does that count as free choice?

Gdb,

Of course I believe it doesn’t count as a free choice. The dispute is over why. It’s clear that Sophie wants one child to be killed in a sense, as that is the least bad of two bad options.

What is much less clear is what it means to say she doesn’t really want one child to be killed and the connection with this and free will or free choice.

I believe this idea of something else she “really wants” is not relevent. It’s very important to people’s well being b.t.w but not relevent to the subject of free will. I will add I might well change my mind.

It is her will to make that choice as it always is, the will being the outcome of the competing beliefs and desires, it isn’t her free will because her will is not free from certain influences that count as restrictions to the freedom of the will.

If she were free from those restrictions she would choose for both children to live.

Stephen

[ Edited: 06 December 2011 04:09 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1567 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:12 AM
GdB - 06 December 2011 12:03 AM
TimB - 05 December 2011 04:10 PM

This discussion of compulsion brought to mind “Sophie’s Choice” where the mother in the Nazi concentration camp was compelled to choose which one of her two children would be killed, with the alternative that they would both be killed, if she made no choice.  She made a choice and thus saved one child’s life (while, in effect, condemning the other). I always thought that she probably chose the infant to die, as the chances of its survival would have been lower than that of the older child, anyway. If so, I suppose her “choice” was in line with her beliefs and desires and rational considerations, within the parameters she was given.

It seems you did not read the reactions of Doug and me. Sophie cannot in anyway recognise the choice to let kill one child as an expression of her own will. So as it was not her own will, it was coercion. You are right if you say say it was Sophie’s choice, but it was not her free choice. Her choosing to let one child be killed was no expression of her free will.

I really do not understand why this is difficult to understand, and why compatibilism should be that complicated. It is so easy.

Because it doesn’t make sense GdB.

She was placed in an appalling situation. (here is where the restriction of freedom is)

Given the appalling situation she acted in accordance with her beliefs and desires.

No, she did not. She did not want to have one of her children killed. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand Sophie’s Choice.

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1568 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:53 AM

It’s meaningless in the sense that we always do what we want, given the options.

I don’t think you’ve been reading my responses, namely the ones with the bank owner.

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1569 ]
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A counter example:

A woman has a terminal illness and chooses to go to Switzerland for euthanasia.

She really doesn’t want to die, she really wants to live without the terminal illness but as that’s not an option, her prefered option is to die.

She has to sign a form and on it she’s asked if she is doing this of her own free will.

She signs to say she is.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1570 ]
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dougsmith - 06 December 2011 05:08 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 12:53 AM

It’s meaningless in the sense that we always do what we want, given the options.

I don’t think you’ve been reading my responses, namely the ones with the bank owner.

I have Doug. I’ve put a lot of effort into trying to see it from your point of view, before, for the moment at least, rejecting it.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1571 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 04:01 AM

Of course I believe it doesn’t count as a free choice. The dispute is over why. It’s clear that Sophie wants one child to be killed in a sense, as that is the least bad of two bad options.

I think Doug has answered this already here. It seems to me that you are still looking for a (meta)physical ground for free will. But given a person (or agent), the possibility of free acts is given. And Sophie is a person, as is the bank owner. Both will never agree that giving her child away to let it be killed or handing out the money is according their own will. It is alien to them. You won’t find the concept of ‘own’ or ‘alien’ in physical or metaphysical vocabulary. And therefore you will find the concept of ‘free will’ there neither.

Edit: seen you continued already…

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1572 ]
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GdB - 06 December 2011 05:17 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 04:01 AM

Of course I believe it doesn’t count as a free choice. The dispute is over why. It’s clear that Sophie wants one child to be killed in a sense, as that is the least bad of two bad options.

I think Doug has answered this already here. It seems to me that you are still looking for a (meta)physical ground for free will.

No it doesn’t Gdb.

I’ve told you that I believe the reason it’s not a free choice is because her will is restricted by certain influences that count as restrictions to the will.

It’s this concept of her having two wills that I’m rejecting as a solution to the free will problem. The will is the outcome of the evaluation process, that’s it, just one will.

She would have a different will if her will were not being restricted. 

Stephen

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1573 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 05:10 AM

A counter example:

A woman has a terminal illness and chooses to go to Switzerland for euthanasia.

She really doesn’t want to die, she really wants to live without the terminal illness but as that’s not an option, her prefered option is to die.

She has to sign a form and on it she’s asked if she is doing this of her own free will.

She signs to say she is.

Similar to your dentist example, except more extreme. Just as in the case of the dentist, there are two bad options to choose between. You’re right to point out that she doesn’t desire either one on its own. What distinguishes this from the case of the bank robber is, as GdB has pointed out several times (and as I have not yet taken account of, though he is entirely correct) the point that the proximate cause of the choice in the case of the bank robber is another agent: the robber.

In the case of a terminal illness, as in the case of the dentist, the choice is entirely one’s own. There is no other agent forcing the choice upon one. It is simply blind circumstance.

So while it is generally true that to will freely is to do what you want, in the specifics that has to be amended slightly. It is to do what you want or to do the better of two unwanted options in the case that they are the results of blind circumstance and not the forced choice of another agent.

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1574 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 05:12 AM

I’ve put a lot of effort into trying to see it from your point of view, before, for the moment at least, rejecting it.

We’re doing a lot of talking over one another ...

I will take your word at that. What I’ve seen though is no argument as to why this POV is incorrect. (Except perhaps the point with euthanasia to which I’ve just responded?)

If you’re going to reject a response, I think it’s best to do so with a clear argument as to why the response is lacking.

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Posted: 06 December 2011 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1575 ]
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dougsmith - 06 December 2011 05:27 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 December 2011 05:12 AM

I’ve put a lot of effort into trying to see it from your point of view, before, for the moment at least, rejecting it.

We’re doing a lot of talking over one another ...

I will take your word at that. What I’ve seen though is no argument as to why this POV is incorrect. (Except perhaps the point with euthanasia to which I’ve just responded?)

If you’re going to reject a response, I think it’s best to do so with a clear argument as to why the response is lacking.

Firstly, I’m doubtful that this concept of what we “really want” has anything to do with it. It seems to me that sometimes we have nice options to select between and some times we have crap ones, I just don’t see what that’s got to do with free choices or free will. That’s about having good options and bad options that’s it. I also say I don’t know what we “really want” means.

But Ok that’s not an argument.

In the bank robber example and the Sophie’s choice example, in both cases the reason the will is not free is because the restriction comes immediately from other agents and without those restrictions a different choice would be made.

So that gives me at least a reason to reject your claim that it’s to do with not being what they really want in those cases.

To test your claim further, I’d need to see a case that doesn’t involve other agents.

Stephen

[ Edited: 06 December 2011 06:24 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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