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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 15 January 2012 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1771 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 January 2012 01:16 PM
TimB - 15 January 2012 09:48 AM

Right, so what I was saying is that the bank robber had just the free will we are looking for in analysing whether it was his fault that he got shot.

I believe the point of the example was that he didn’t.

I am confused.  In your statement above, does “he”  refer to the bank teller”?

Drat, sorry my mistake. Bank robber should read bank teller.


Are you now focusing on the bank robber’s free will?  If so, my saying that the bank robber was responsible for shooting the bank teller, indicates that I think the bank robber was acting as a free will agent when he shot the teller.

Yes, the point I want to make is the bank teller had the free will necessary to make it his fault that the bank robber shot him.

Stephen

Ok, the bank teller made a decision according to his own free will.  I deny that the bank teller willed the bank robber to shoot him. The behavior of not handing over the money (if I remember the original example correctly) was the teller’s choice. The teller was responsible for that behavior.  The behavior of shooting was the bank robber’s.  Did the teller’s behavior contribute to the robber’s decision to shoot him.  That is quite possible.  But the teller did not shoot himself.  The teller did not force the robber to shoot him. The teller was not responsible for the robber’s behavior, even though he (the teller) may have made the robber’s behavior of shooting him more likely.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 15 January 2012 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1772 ]
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TimB - 15 January 2012 04:11 PM

Ok, the bank teller made a decision according to his own free will.

OK.

I deny that the bank teller willed the bank robber to shoot him. The behavior of not handing over the money (if I remember the original example correctly) was the teller’s choice. The teller was responsible for that behavior.  The behavior of shooting was the bank robber’s.  Did the teller’s behavior contribute to the robber’s decision to shoot him.  That is quite possible.  But the teller did not shoot himself.  The teller did not force the robber to shoot him. The teller was not responsible for the robber’s behavior, even though he (the teller) may have made the robber’s behavior of shooting him more likely.

Same goes for my speeding fine example.

The point I was making was that in both cases the people had free will.

And that the reason why it is not the bank tellers fault that he is paying the penalty, whilst it is the speeding drivers fault, has nothing to do with free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 January 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1773 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 January 2012 04:36 PM
TimB - 15 January 2012 04:11 PM

Ok, the bank teller made a decision according to his own free will.

OK.

I deny that the bank teller willed the bank robber to shoot him. The behavior of not handing over the money (if I remember the original example correctly) was the teller’s choice. The teller was responsible for that behavior.  The behavior of shooting was the bank robber’s.  Did the teller’s behavior contribute to the robber’s decision to shoot him.  That is quite possible.  But the teller did not shoot himself.  The teller did not force the robber to shoot him. The teller was not responsible for the robber’s behavior, even though he (the teller) may have made the robber’s behavior of shooting him more likely.

Same goes for my speeding fine example.

The point I was making was that in both cases the people had free will.

And that the reason why it is not the bank tellers fault that he is paying the penalty, whilst it is the speeding drivers fault, has nothing to do with free will.

Stephen

I made the point that both the bank teller and the speeder acted according to their free will.  The imposition of consequences on each was not their behavior.  The administration of those consequences were someone/others’ responsibility/fault.  I doubt that the speeder wanted to be fined, he just chose to speed in spite of the fact that he probably would be fined. So, yes, I am saying that it is NOT the speeder’s “fault” that he got fined.  It is the “fault” of society’s coercive agency that imposes fines for speeding.  The word “fault” used interchangeably with “responsibility” leads to confusion as one is perjorative and one is not. (And this I think is a moral issue.) In my personal sense of right and wrong, I would tend to say that the robber was at fault for killing the teller and the agency that imposed the speeding fine was responsible for doing so.  If I had a more sociopathic sense of right and wrong, I might say that the robber was reponsible for killing the teller and that the agency that imposes speeding fines was at fault for doing so.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 16 January 2012 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1774 ]
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TimB - 15 January 2012 05:49 PM

So, yes, I am saying that it is NOT the speeder’s “fault” that he got fined. 

Interesting.

Stephen

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Posted: 16 January 2012 12:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1775 ]
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StephenLawrence - 16 January 2012 12:45 AM
TimB - 15 January 2012 05:49 PM

So, yes, I am saying that it is NOT the speeder’s “fault” that he got fined. 

Interesting.

Stephen

Indeed.  But it is the speeder’s fault/responsibility that he sped.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 23 March 2012 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1776 ]
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Hi George,

A periodic stab at this.

George - 04 January 2012 01:36 PM

I still don’t get it, but I warned you. I can tell you how I see it, and maybe we can take it from there. “Option,” IMO, is not the right word here. I know that’s what we call it, but in the end we can only “choose” one outcome.

We can only get to one future from the actual past, yes.

But the trick is to see what we are really thinking about when we think about the same situation.

Take a tossed coin, it can land on heads or tails. Say it lands on heads and further coin tosses confirm that it can land on tails.

The reason further coin tosses confirm it can land on heads or tails is because we are considering each coin toss to be the same. But by the same we don’t mean precisely the same, we are aware that each coin toss has differences.

And that’s it, just a mistake over what can means. Can doesn’t mean can in the precise circumstances, it means can if…

Dennett uses the example of Austin’s putt to make the same point: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwCompatDennettTaylor.html

So the illusion isn’t that we can do either, or, in the same circumstances. The illusion is to believe the same circumstances means precisely the same circumstances.

Stephen

[ Edited: 24 March 2012 12:06 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 24 March 2012 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1777 ]
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I think I can agree with that. I think…I am sick as a dog and I usually have a hard time following this thread even when I am in much more optimal conditions.

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Posted: 24 March 2012 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1778 ]
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George - 24 March 2012 08:10 AM

I think…I am sick as a dog and I usually have a hard time following this thread even when I am in much more optimal conditions.

Hope you feel better very soon.

I think I can agree with that.

V interesting, note how you use the word can. You’re not saying you do agree, you’re not saying you don’t agree, you’re saying it is possible for you to agree.

Stephen

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Posted: 25 March 2012 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1779 ]
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George,

Here are the relevant passages from the link: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwCompatDennettTaylor.html

So the question is: when people contend that events are possible, are they really thinking in terms of the narrow method?

By this Dennett means when people contend that they could have done otherwise are they really thinking about in the actual situation?

Notice that Austin evidently endorses the narrow method of choosing X when he states that he is “talking about conditions as they precisely were” whenever he asserts he could have holed the putt.

Dennett goes on to argue that Austin is wrong to endorse “the narrow method” .

Yet in the next sentence he seemingly rescinds this endorsement, observing that “further experiments may confirm my belief that I could have done it that time, although I did not.”

Why does he seem to recind the endorsement? It’s because he confirms he could have holed the putt by doing slightly different experiments in which he does!

Same idea as with the coin toss, we confirm the coin can land on either heads or tails by doing slightly different coin tosses.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 April 2012 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1780 ]
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http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/free-will-and-free-will

Very pleased to see this development.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 April 2012 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1781 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 April 2012 01:22 PM

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/free-will-and-free-will

Very pleased to see this development.

Could you be a little bit more specific? Which development?

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Posted: 10 April 2012 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1782 ]
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GdB - 09 April 2012 05:18 AM

Could you be a little bit more specific?

Yes.  grin

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Posted: 10 April 2012 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1783 ]
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Just a joke about compatibilism.
.........................................................................................................................................................................................

I think it’s a good development because it’s a good piece on the problem with Libertarian free will and compatibilism. Daniel Dennett’s views very much hold sway, Sam Harris is making people think again and is doing it in a positive way.

Also I expect there to be dialogue between Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and for there to be further developments.

Stephen

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Posted: 11 April 2012 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1784 ]
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StephenLawrence - 10 April 2012 11:05 PM

Also I expect there to be dialogue between Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and for there to be further developments.

Interesting, yes, because Harris and Dennett stand more in the spotlight than many other less known philosophers or scientists. But it is not Dennet’s view on freedom that makes him exceptional. For me it is the detailed analysis and uncovering of our presuppositions in our way of thinking about consciousness that makes him one of the biggest philosophers at the moment.

I tried to find some English texts that are at least inspired by Peter Bieri, a German/Swiss philosopher, who was most stimulating for me.

Here is an outline of this book Das Handwerk der Freiheit: Über die Entdeckung des eigenen Willens (The Craft of Freedom: On Discovering One’s Own Will)

The diagnosis of the mistakes that motivate incompatibilismis among the most interesting and original parts of the book. Arguments for incompatibilism usually start from the experience of an open future we think that we have more than one possibility open to us. Bieri has to show, then, how incompatibilists misinterpret this phenomenon and himself present a plausible alternative interpretation. He begins by claiming that it is sufficient for agents to believe that their future is open. It need not actually be open, if that means that an action is not fully determined by antecedent conditions. We can see this if we look at the deliberative process, which is where the idea of an open future originates.  The agent considers various options and eventually decides in favor of one of them. How she decides is determined by what kind of person she is: what things matter to her, what kinds of considerations she finds convincing, and so on. But for Bieri, the fact that her decision is determined does not diminish the agent’s freedom, because he wants us to think of deliberation as a process, in which the agent discovers what her character determines her to do. If her character determines her will, her actions express who she is, and this makes her will free. 
As it stands, this picture may seem to invite fatalism. If antecedent conditions have already determined what I will do, then why bother? Bieri responds that the fatalistic ring has its source in what he calls the “discourse of powerlessness.” In the context of deliberation, however, this discourse has no place, because the conditions of its use are not satisfied. One can be powerless only vis-à-vis something that is either alien or external to one. This may be an aspect of one’s own person, as is the case with, for instance, a compulsive will. But when an agent’s action is in line with her judgment, Bieri claims, there is no standpoint from which she could experience her own deliberative process as alien. If the discourse of powerlessness appears to make sense in this context, it is only because of the tacit, but mistaken, assumption that the agent’s real self, the locus of her decision making, is something distinct from the agent-as-deliberator what Bieri calls the idea of the pure subject.

Here is another text of a German philosopher, referencing Peter Bieri.

It is an undisputable fact that some beings are capable of reflecting upon their own actions and even upon the mechanisms leading up to those actions. But that certainly does not mean that inside these beings there is to be found a something – the being itself, as it were – standing beside those actions and mechanisms to keep them under surveillance. That would be the picture of an operator in his central control station. We shall arrive at a solution of the problem of free will only if we manage definitively to rid ourselves of this picture – the picture of the Ghost in the Machine.

I hope these quotes motivate you to read these articles… And to learn German? wink

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Posted: 11 April 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1785 ]
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It is an undisputable fact that some beings are capable of reflecting upon their own actions and even upon the mechanisms leading up to those actions. But that certainly does not mean that inside these beings there is to be found a something – the being itself, as it were – standing beside those actions and mechanisms to keep them under surveillance. That would be the picture of an operator in his central control station. We shall arrive at a solution of the problem of free will only if we manage definitively to rid ourselves of this picture – the picture of the Ghost in the Machine.

It seems to me that compatibilist free will depends on verbal behavior abilities.  Each of us who engages in verbal behavior has some level of skill in expressive communication and some level of skill as a listener.  Otherwise we could never reflect as to whether our actions were consistent with our wants/beliefs or whether an action that we are considering is consistent with our wants/beliefs. 

The problem of the Ghost in the Machine, IMO, is not at issue, when one simply views their individual locus of control as influenced by their own verbal behavior and self-listening behavior.  I say “influenced” because our actions are determined also, and often completely, by factors other than our own self reflective verbal and self listening behaviors.  But, I think, that it is only to the extent that our actions are influenced by our own self-reflective verbal and self listening behaviors, that we have free will, at all.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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