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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 10 January 2012 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1741 ]
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TimB - 08 January 2012 10:01 PM
Write4U - 08 January 2012 09:36 PM

I believe this was the program

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/clever-monkeys/full-episode/7112/

I could not verify because the server seemed to be down, but the narrative is still compelling.

I pulled up the link, but it said the video is not available now. I will try again later.

I tried again but the video still wouldn’t play.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1742 ]
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Yes, I tried also, no luck. Too bad, was excellent as usual. Just saw the episode on birds of Paradise in New Guinea. Just incredible. There are no natural predators (except for man) on that island and the birds were free to evolve their mating rituals, which are stunning.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1743795692

[ Edited: 10 January 2012 04:20 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1743 ]
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sorry admin, no hijack intended.

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1744 ]
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TimB - 09 January 2012 10:10 PM

Our wants are states of deprivation.  Our primary wants are things like nourishment when our body has gone without for too long, or water, or warmth when deprived of that needed to remain healthy or survive.  From these kind of primary states of deprivation other conditioned states of deprivation are formed. For example, an infant comes to want to hear its mother’s voice as it has been paired consistently with more primary states of deprivation being satisfied.  So, at least for primary wants, I wouldn’t expect the physical correlates to be located exclusively in the brain.

Well ... our needs are states of deprivation. A desiccated person needs water, etc. And needs have physical correlates in the bloodstream, in various bodily organs, etc. But wants are not needs, they are reactions to needs. Roughly speaking, wants are internal representations of needs, which cause actions. As representations they occur in the cognitive organ, the brain.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1745 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 January 2012 10:53 PM

OK, so how does this help with responsibility?

Responsibility is a separate (though related) can of worms, and not something I’ve thought about very deeply. There are various sorts of responsibility: legal, moral and perhaps otherwise, and one has to distinguish them. For example, ignorance is no defense in the case of legal responsibility. One doesn’t have to know anything about the relevant laws to have been responsible for violating them. As regards moral responsibility, people who are unaware of moral facts are considered candidates for the hospital or insanity ward and not the jail.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1746 ]
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TimB” 

Well ... our needs are states of deprivation…


You use the term “needs”.  I used the term “primary wants”. 

... And needs have physical correlates in the bloodstream, in various bodily organs, etc.

Yes and neurological correlates in the brain as well, I would suspect.

But wants are not needs…

True , although if I am in a state-of-deprivation/need something, unless I am deranged, I want it.  But certainly, I can want things that I don’t need.  My assertion was that wants come about by a conditioning or learning process in association with needs/primary wants/deprivation states.  I think this is more precise and explanatory than saying

wants) are reactions to needs…

  ...

Roughly speaking, wants are internal representations of needs, which cause actions. As representations they occur in the cognitive organ, the brain

I suspect that some wants have physical correlates in the body at large, just as “needs” do, depending on how strongly conditioned they are.

[ Edited: 10 January 2012 10:47 AM by TimB ]
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Posted: 10 January 2012 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1747 ]
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TimB - 10 January 2012 10:29 AM

True , although if I am in a state-of-deprivation/need something, unless I am deranged, I want it.

Not necessarily. You will only want it if your body has a functioning mechanism in place for detecting an unmet need. E.g., if you are diabetic your body needs insulin, but you won’t want insulin since your body has no means of detecting its absence.

(Nowadays of course you may want insulin because you have some sort of monitor that tells you you need it. That’s a separate issue).

You may also need some vitamin, like vitamin C. But you have no way of detecting its lack.

This is another way in which wants are representational states: they are produced by mechanisms which detect unmet needs. No mechanism, no want.

TimB - 10 January 2012 10:29 AM

I suspect that some wants have physical correlates in the body at large, just as “needs” do, depending on how strongly conditioned they are.

Perhaps. It may be that mechanism X for detecting unmet need N produces some chemical signal Q to signal that want, and Q may circulate freely in the bloodstream. In fact, I’m sure that happens with the needs and requirements of individual cells, etc. But I think generally when we use the term “want” without scare quotes we’re talking about higher cognitive wants, and then even though chemical signals may circulate freely, they are likely intended to be received and processed by the brain.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1748 ]
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dougsmith - 10 January 2012 11:08 AM
TimB - 10 January 2012 10:29 AM

True , although if I am in a state-of-deprivation/need something, unless I am deranged, I want it.

Not necessarily. You will only want it if your body has a functioning mechanism in place for detecting an unmet need. E.g., if you are diabetic your body needs insulin, but you won’t want insulin since your body has no means of detecting its absence.

(Nowadays of course you may want insulin because you have some sort of monitor that tells you you need it. That’s a separate issue).

You may also need some vitamin, like vitamin C. But you have no way of detecting its lack…

Good point.  I would say then, that if I cannot percieve certain needs, that I will not learn wants in association with those needs.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1749 ]
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dougsmith - 10 January 2012 05:17 AM
StephenLawrence - 09 January 2012 10:53 PM

OK, so how does this help with responsibility?

Responsibility is a separate (though related) can of worms, and not something I’ve thought about very deeply. There are various sorts of responsibility: legal, moral and perhaps otherwise, and one has to distinguish them. For example, ignorance is no defense in the case of legal responsibility. One doesn’t have to know anything about the relevant laws to have been responsible for violating them. As regards moral responsibility, people who are unaware of moral facts are considered candidates for the hospital or insanity ward and not the jail.

What you are saying is whether we are morally responsible or not depends, at least in part on whether we have free will.

But all cases in which there is an imposed penalty by the state are cases of coersion. You can get out of it by saying the state isn’t an agent, perhaps that is what you’ll choose but I don’t think that can be right because the penalty is intentional coersion.

So if this is true:

This is different in the case that someone points a gun at you and asks for your valuables. If you refuse to give your money and get shot, nobody (I hope) would say it was your own silly fault. They would say you were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevant freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the thief’s.

Then this is true:

If you refuse to slow down for the speed camera and get fined, nobody should say it was your own fault. You were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevent freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the state’s.

Stephen

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Posted: 11 January 2012 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1750 ]
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...So if this is true:

This is different in the case that someone points a gun at you and asks for your valuables. If you refuse to give your money and get shot, nobody (I hope) would say it was your own silly fault. They would say you were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevant freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the thief’s.

Then this is true:

If you refuse to slow down for the speed camera and get fined, nobody should say it was your own fault. You were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevent freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the state’s.

Stephen

In the first case, most people would say you owned your valuables and had a right to keep them.

In the 2nd case, most people would say you didn’t have a right to exceed the speed limit.

Am I missing something?

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Posted: 11 January 2012 12:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1751 ]
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TimB - 11 January 2012 12:28 AM

...So if this is true:


In the first case, most people would say you owned your valuables and had a right to keep them.

In the 2nd case, most people would say you didn’t have a right to exceed the speed limit.

Am I missing something?

This is true but it misses the point.

What Doug is saying is the bank teller is coersed and so is not responsible for getting shot. If that’s true then it looks like the speeder is also coersed and so is not responsible for paying the fine.

The problem is over the definition of free will, which is the focus of the discussion.

Stephen

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Posted: 11 January 2012 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1752 ]
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StephenLawrence - 10 January 2012 11:46 PM

But all cases in which there is an imposed penalty by the state are cases of coersion. You can get out of it by saying the state isn’t an agent, perhaps that is what you’ll choose but I don’t think that can be right because the penalty is intentional coersion.

So if this is true:

This is different in the case that someone points a gun at you and asks for your valuables. If you refuse to give your money and get shot, nobody (I hope) would say it was your own silly fault. They would say you were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevant freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the thief’s.

Then this is true:

If you refuse to slow down for the speed camera and get fined, nobody should say it was your own fault. You were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevent freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the state’s.

I don’t really understand what you’re arguing, Stephen. To start with, you’re entirely right that the state isn’t an agent. So that part of the argument isn’t going to fly. A state doesn’t have beliefs or desires, and lacks free will. A state is a composite fiction, like two people in a zebra suit.

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Posted: 11 January 2012 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1753 ]
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dougsmith - 11 January 2012 05:10 AM
StephenLawrence - 10 January 2012 11:46 PM

But all cases in which there is an imposed penalty by the state are cases of coersion. You can get out of it by saying the state isn’t an agent, perhaps that is what you’ll choose but I don’t think that can be right because the penalty is intentional coersion.

So if this is true:

This is different in the case that someone points a gun at you and asks for your valuables. If you refuse to give your money and get shot, nobody (I hope) would say it was your own silly fault. They would say you were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevant freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the thief’s.

Then this is true:

If you refuse to slow down for the speed camera and get fined, nobody should say it was your own fault. You were forced into a bad decision and lacked the relevent freedom to make your own decisions. The fault was entirely the state’s.

I don’t really understand what you’re arguing, Stephen. To start with, you’re entirely right that the state isn’t an agent. So that part of the argument isn’t going to fly. A state doesn’t have beliefs or desires, and lacks free will. A state is a composite fiction, like two people in a zebra suit.

And yet the state is acting in order to stop people speeding, intentionally coersing them into slowing down, by penalising speeding and letting them know there will be a price to pay, just like the bank robber, in the relevent details.

Stephen

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Posted: 11 January 2012 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1754 ]
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StephenLawrence - 11 January 2012 07:07 AM

And yet the state is acting in order to stop people speeding, intentionally coersing them into slowing down, by penalising speeding and letting them know there will be a price to pay, just like the bank robber, in the relevent details.

Well ... I’m not really sure how to work out the ontology of the state (whether a state is just a group of people, etc.), but yes, certainly people enact laws to stop others from doing certain things that they feel are immoral or otherwise undesirable.

And we do tend to talk about the state as if it were a person; it’s nothing unusual to say that the state has the power to coerce. So long as that power is in accord with stated law, it is a legal power. So long as that law is in accord with our moral principles, it is a moral power.

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Posted: 11 January 2012 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1755 ]
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George,

George - 04 January 2012 07:41 PM

I guess it wasn’t possible for me to take the eastbound route. If it were, then I would have taken it. The possibilities are an illusion. Sorry, I have to stay true to my fatalistic view.  smirk

I’ll have another little try.

Whether the possibilities are an illusion or not depends upon what is really meant by the “circumstances”.

Say you are playing backgammon and you want a 6, there is a possibility of you rolling it in the circumstances, and we assign that a probability of 1 in 3 as you have two dice.

Now, would it be correct to say that is an illusion? I say no because whether one realises it or not we are thinking about a subset of all the possible ways the world could be.

And that subset is what is meant by the circumstances.

We don’t generally think or talk about the precise circumstances because we don’t know what the precise circumstances are.

Stephen

[ Edited: 11 January 2012 09:51 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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