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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 28 February 2011 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 07:35 AM

I think it is that I do not want science to overrule ethics, and not the other way round, whatever the source of the ethics is.

You’re worried about ethics taking a turn for the worse, which could be disasterous, I do understand that GdB.

But over the years we do seem to have made some moral progress and getting our ethics aligned with the truth is part of that.

Our concept of the fairness of what we do to each other should be compatible with what we do depending upon the way the world was before we were born. It should be compatible with what we do being the luck of the draw in the sense I’ve described.

Stephen

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Posted: 28 February 2011 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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Stephen,

Do you realise that you do not react one single moment on my main argument here? That you cannot identify ‘me’ in both possible worlds as being the same.

“If I would increase the temperature of this piece of paper to 300 Centigrade, it would catch fire”.
“If I would increase the temperature of that piece of paper to 301 Centigrade, it would catch fire”.

My question to you: are they the same fires? Does the question make sense?

“If I would throw water on this fire, it would end”.
“If I would throw oil on this fire, it would not end.”

My question to you: is it the same fire? Does the question make sense?

Now try the same:
“If history would be like <a>, I would have done <x>”.
“If history would be like <b>, I would have done <y>”.

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same as the ‘I’ in the second?

“I was false informed, so I pressed the button”
“If I would have been correctly informed, I would not have pressed the button”

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same ‘I’ as in the second?

But I won’t keep pressing after this, I’ll give you a break and let you work it out. I’ve pressed the point more than enough, attempting a breakthrough. tongue rolleye

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Posted: 28 February 2011 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 08:40 AM

Do you realise that you do not react one single moment on my main argument here? That you cannot identify ‘me’ in both possible worlds as being the same.

In that case the person who commits the crime wasn’t able to have selected a better moral option, which is a necessary requirement of free will.

edit: and in that case what you do does not depend upon your beliefs and desires.

but I don’t react because I have no need to.

You do believe that had you had different beliefs you would have acted differently.

Whatever makes that true you believe it.

And if that is true then there are other statements that follow inevitably but which you deny are true or meaningful.

Stephen

[ Edited: 28 February 2011 08:56 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 08:40 AM

“I was false informed, so I pressed the button”
“If I would have been correctly informed, I would not have pressed the button”

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same ‘I’ as in the second?

Yes because otherwise what I do cannot depend upon my beliefs and desires.

What depends upon means is had this person who pressed the button had different beliefs and desires this person who pressed the button would not have done so.

Stephen

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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:12 AM
GdB - 28 February 2011 08:40 AM

“I was false informed, so I pressed the button”
“If I would have been correctly informed, I would not have pressed the button”

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same ‘I’ as in the second?

Yes because otherwise what I do cannot depend upon my beliefs and desires.

What depends upon means is had this person who pressed the button had different beliefs and desires this person who pressed the button would not have done so.

Correct. Now the other pairs of counterfactuals.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 09:16 AM
StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:12 AM
GdB - 28 February 2011 08:40 AM

“I was false informed, so I pressed the button”
“If I would have been correctly informed, I would not have pressed the button”

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same ‘I’ as in the second?

Yes because otherwise what I do cannot depend upon my beliefs and desires.

What depends upon means is had this person who pressed the button had different beliefs and desires this person who pressed the button would not have done so.

Correct. Now the other pairs of counterfactuals.

I don’t know what ones you refer to Gdb but i’m not going of on a tangent dealing with very different counterfactuals.

The one we have and agree on is all we need.

In a deterministic universe there must be a string of if’s going back to before you were born because it’s the only way the very first counterfactual can be true.

It doesn’t make sense to believe in one and not the others.

Stephen

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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 08:54 AM

In that case the person who commits the crime wasn’t able to have selected a better moral option, which is a necessary requirement of free will.

That is libertarian free will. That independent of who you are, you can decide to do differently. Obviously you are a hard core determinist, i.e. a deterministic incompatibilist…

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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 09:23 AM
StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 08:54 AM

In that case the person who commits the crime wasn’t able to have selected a better moral option, which is a necessary requirement of free will.

That is libertarian free will. That independent of who you are, you can decide to do differently. Obviously you are a hard core determinist, i.e. a deterministic incompatibilist…

No, able to select the other option is compatible with determinism.

I agree with Dennett’s analysis of able.

Could have done otherwise is a necessary component of free will regardless. I’d go further, we have free will if we could have done otherwise in the appropriate way.

I think it’s folly not to accept that, we judge behaviour in case which a person could have selected a different option. That’s why moral judgement has evolved, it influences behaviour.

If behaviour couldn’t be influenced by moral judgment there would have been no reason for it to evolve and no reason for us to continue with it.

You need an account of why we look back at what people could have done and what it means to say someone was able to do so in your theory of free will.

If not it doesn’t fit the facts.

Stephen

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Posted: 28 February 2011 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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StephenLawrence
    “Whether you posted or not depended upon the way the world was 1,000 years
before you were born.”
    This is utter nonsense!  It would mean that the actions of a man living 1,000 years
ago were determined by the way the world was 2,000 years ago, and the actions of a
man living 2,000 years ago were determined by the way the world was 3,000 years
ago…  How far do we go back?  All the way to the Big Bang?
    I can lift my arm, lower my arm, move it horizontally – at will.  It’s as simple as that.
Man has free will.  It’s an obvious fact of reality, like a rock or a tree.
    Without free will living is a pointless exercise.  What’s the point of trying to discover
the nature of reality, of setting goals and trying to achieve them;  what’s the point of
giving any thought to our actions if all our actions are pre-determined, and our fate, be
it rapist or scientist, was sealed 1,000 years ago.
VYAZMA
    “We go through life taking the most desirous route, or we go through life avoiding things.”
    Reasonable people do not go through life simply following their desires or avoiding
things.  They think about what they’re going to do.  They don’t eat a bucket of ice cream
every night because they desire it – they think long range and eat balanced meals in order
to remain healthy.  And they don’t avoid things if they know they shouldn’t – they make
their own bed and brush their teeth whether they feel like it or not.
    They know that one should guide one’s life, not by one’s desire for something or desire
to avoid something, but by reason.  They know that it stands to reason that they should be
responsible for their own life, so they understand that productiveness is a virtue.  They
know life entails risks, so courage is a virtue.  They know they live and work with others,
so their reputation is important, and thus honesty and reliability are virtues.  In short,
they know that being a good person is a good idea.
VYAZMA
    “Our actions upon those approaching environments are pre-determined.”
    With this kind of deterministic attitude towards the future, we would not have had
an Industrial Revolution.
    During the Dark Ages, man did have a deterministic view of life – ghosts, goblins,
god and superstition determined the course of his life.  With the Renaissance, the
rebirth of reason, man discovered he could discover the nature of reality, what it does,
and what it can be made to do – thus the Industrial Revolution.
    Determinism or free will.
    The denial of free will is a denial of a fact of reality, it does not stand to reason,
and obliterates morality.  And I, for one, will have no part of it – the only thing
pre-determined about my life is the fact that one day I must die.  Until then,
I’m in charge of my own life.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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If I understand correctly, you posed that Free Will can co-exist with and within a Determinate Universe.
I would agree with that.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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GdB - 28 February 2011 09:16 AM
StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:12 AM
GdB - 28 February 2011 08:40 AM

“I was false informed, so I pressed the button”
“If I would have been correctly informed, I would not have pressed the button”

Is ‘I’ in the first sentence the same ‘I’ as in the second?

Yes because otherwise what I do cannot depend upon my beliefs and desires.

What depends upon means is had this person who pressed the button had different beliefs and desires this person who pressed the button would not have done so.

Correct. Now the other pairs of counterfactuals.

Good Morning GdB

Stubborn as a mule here ‘cos we should be able to agree on this.

Ok so we have agreement that the corrrectly informed I is the same I as the uninformed I.

The rest follows.

How could that same I have been informed?

Answer: if the world had been appropriately different 1,000 years before that same I’s birth, that same I would have been correctly informed.

Stephen

[ Edited: 01 March 2011 12:57 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 28 February 2011 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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Robert Sproule - 28 February 2011 05:30 PM

StephenLawrence
    “Whether you posted or not depended upon the way the world was 1,000 years
before you were born.”
    This is utter nonsense!  It would mean that the actions of a man living 1,000 years
ago were determined by the way the world was 2,000 years ago, and the actions of a
man living 2,000 years ago were determined by the way the world was 3,000 years
ago…  How far do we go back?  All the way to the Big Bang?

It’s true in a deterministic system which is what GdB and I are discussing.

To claim free will is compatible with determinism should be to claim that my choices today are dependent on the way the big bang banged.
 
Stephen

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Posted: 01 March 2011 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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I wonder if “To be or not to be” has free will implications. Isn’t each day a choice to be or not to be?

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Posted: 01 March 2011 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:23 AM

I don’t know what ones you refer to Gdb but i’m not going of on a tangent dealing with very different counterfactuals.

The one we have and agree on is all we need.

So you do not understand what I am at at all.

I’ll answer for you:

“If I would throw water on this fire, it would end”.
“If I would throw oil on this fire, it would not end.”
True: until the moment I threw ‘something’ on the fire, their histories were exactly the same. So I can identify the fire, and describe the difference as dependence on my action.

“If I would increase the temperature of this piece of paper to 300 Centigrade, it would catch fire”.
“If I would increase the temperature of that piece of paper to 301 Centigrade, it would catch fire”.
Meaningless: because of the different histories, I cannot identify the ‘fires’.

“If history would be like <a>, I would have done <x>”.
“If history would be like <b>, I would have done <y>”
Meaningless: no idea if the ‘I’s are the same, because they have different histories. But this is the form you need for your statement.

StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:23 AM

In a deterministic universe there must be a string of if’s going back to before you were born because it’s the only way the very first counterfactual can be true.

I have another way of describing your error: as fire, persons are processes. They are not entities that have an existence in itself, that can undergo different kinds of causal influences. When they have different histories, they are not the same processes anymore. You may find that very formal, but let’s take my example of the bomb, and expand it in time:

“GdB, you mean that guy that initiated the prison uproar in Zürich, that in the end leaded to the conquering of Switzerland by the EU?”
“GdB, you mean that guy that after 20 years was still discussing free will on the CFI forum?”

Who am I (will I be)? Until the moment I pushed the button the two histories are exactly the same, I am identifiable. But which of the above references to ‘me’ is the correct one?

Another one:
“If my father would have had brown eyes, I would have too”.
Fact is I have blue eyes, as have my parents. Does it make sense? Well, it is not a huge difference, and if I will become the initiator of the EU conquering CH, or still discuss free will with you in 20 years, is not influenced by the colour of my eyes.

Now this one:
“If Roosevelt would not have declared war to Germany, I would have been in the SS”.
Ho, wait a minute. Is that then still ‘me’? How do you identify ‘me’? That I have the same genome? But in this alternative world I was a conformist, would have gone to the military academy, went into the army etc etc. And what if due to a different history, my parents would never have met? Who am I? The point is, I am not there as GdB and then pushed in different directions by different causal histories. I am GdB because the actual history made me as GdB into existence. What I am, and how you can identify me, is by corresponding histories.

The problem lies in the abstraction I have to make when I refer to things and persons. With a huge difference between the two: persons are processes. Persons exist, but they have no independent existence. Here is the point where you and VYAZMA stumble. When you take the existence of persons as granted (and there are good reasons to do that, but ‘existence’ and ‘independent existence’ are not the same!), you get free will. If you deny the existence of persons, there is no free will. And you cannot mix a discourse of causal efficacy with a discourse of persons, free will, and responsibility.

StephenLawrence - 28 February 2011 09:33 AM

Could have done otherwise is a necessary component of free will regardless. I’d go further, we have free will if we could have done otherwise in the appropriate way.

I fully agree with your complete posting here. But we differ on what is appropriate. ‘Appropriate’ is not ‘When history would have been different 1000 years ago’. ‘Appropriate’ is about what I would have done if I would have known that the button ignites a bomb, or what I would have done if I had followed the correct moral norms, knowing that pushing the button would ignite a bomb. In the first case I am not guilty; in the second I am.

[ Edited: 01 March 2011 05:09 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 01 March 2011 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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We go through life taking the most desirous route, or we go through life avoiding things.

 

Reasonable people do not go through life simply following their desires or avoiding
things.  They think about what they’re going to do.  They don’t eat a bucket of ice cream
every night because they desire it – they think long range and eat balanced meals in order
to remain healthy.  And they don’t avoid things if they know they shouldn’t – they make
their own bed and brush their teeth whether they feel like it or not.
    They know that one should guide one’s life, not by one’s desire for something or desire
to avoid something, but by reason.  They know that it stands to reason that they should be
responsible for their own life, so they understand that productiveness is a virtue.  They
know life entails risks, so courage is a virtue.  They know they live and work with others,
so their reputation is important, and thus honesty and reliability are virtues.  In short,
they know that being a good person is a good idea. -Robert Sproule

How do they know being a good person is a good idea? Have you read all the posts above? Or are you just cherry picking sound bites that you can reply to with what reads like The Big Golden Book of Manners and Ideals.
.....“they make their own bed and brush their teeth whether they feel like it or not.” Are you serious with this? This doesn’t even deserve a reply!
I just remembered though. You are the one who posts the fluffy self-help, quasi-spiritual threads no?
You want to discuss this topic jump in. If you’re going to reply with comments about teeth brushing, goblins, dark ages, enlightenment, and buckets of ice cream please don’t waste our time. It’s frustrating enough already.
How do they know being a good person is a good idea? We’ll start here.

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