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Motivations, Intentions, or Consequences
Posted: 22 March 2007 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I’m coming in a little late on this subject, but I don’t think the mugger should get off just because the cancer was found.  He still needs to take the consequences for mugging and stabbing the other person.

At the same time, though, he could be thanked for helping to find the cancer, but his actions should not be dismissed even so.

It sounds too simple, I know, but I think the two have to be separated.  It was just a coensidence that the mugger stabbing the person caused the cancer to be found.

That’s just my two cents for what it’s worth.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Do you think we have this control even if what we do is the only thing we can do?

If so I agree we have it.

What does it mean to say could or should have?

I’m not arguing that what happens is the only thing that could happen but I am arguing that as far as we are concerned it might as well be.

The control and choice making ability we have is compatible with what happens being the one thing that can happen.

A belief in any kind of control or choice making beyond that I believe is erroneous and harmful.

Based on the lengthy previous free will etc threads, I doubt we will agree here. I do not believe that what we choose is the only thing that could happen under normal circumstance. Choice is just what it sounds like, choice between possible courses of action. Perhaps in an abstract theoretical sense everything was determined in the Big Bang, and we’re just acting out destiny. I doubt it, and I don’t know how one proves it one way or the other. But even if that is how everything works, I think the perception of making real choices, and of being able to do any one of multiple things, gives us responsiblity (or accountability, whatever) for what we do. Barry and I are largely in agreement that the current system of punishment for “bad” choices is wrong and irrational, but I don’t go to the extent of believeing the choices themselves are entirely determined, so I believe individuals can and should be responsible for what they do, with the myriad caveats I’ve already given about constraining and mitigating factors.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Brennen:

I do not believe that what we choose is the only thing that could happen under normal circumstance.

By “normal circumstance” I assume you mean where one is FREE to “choose,” and is not at gunpoint or the like?

So, under normal circumstances, what is it that allows us to make a counter-causal “choice?”

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Posted: 24 March 2007 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I only see causal free choice .We try to change causes .Of course ,  we depend on causes to come to want to change causes !Punsihment is one way .

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
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Posted: 24 March 2007 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I still do not understand, skeptic griggsy

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Posted: 24 March 2007 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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:D :  Whatever nurture or nature inlfuences on us , we still have to make decisons .We can alter those influences through therapy and what not . The influences we can influence so that we have free will .Causal free will ,not acausal free will or determinants so strong that we have no say , just being flotsam and jetsam on the sea of life. Thanks ,Barry .  :wink: How about the contradiction thread ?

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 24 March 2007 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Every morning when you wake up you make the choice to either go to work, or stay home and watch cartoons.  Your free to choose either one, how is this not free will?

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Posted: 25 March 2007 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Re. “choice”, as I have argued extensively elsewhere on this forum, it is essentially causal in nature. We make a choice by having certain preferences among our desires, and by using our beliefs about the way the world is to help achieve those preferences. This is a CAUSAL process.

Hence contra-causal choice is incoherent.

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Posted: 25 March 2007 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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:D Doug, exactly . ‘Why is there Something rather than Nothing ” answers that sophistical question. ” God - the failed Hypothesis’” and ‘Has Science found God?” show that science indeed does have a say about God, a negative one . Doug, I hope you can get to read them .

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 25 March 2007 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”] We make a choice by having certain preferences among our desires, and by using our beliefs about the way the world is to help achieve those preferences.

Could this be called “Degrees of Freedom” resulting in any given choice?

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Posted: 25 March 2007 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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[quote author=“Carbon based”]Could this be called “Degrees of Freedom” resulting in any given choice?

:?

I suppose so ... just so long as this is understood within an entirely causal framework.

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Posted: 25 March 2007 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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:wink:  That is right - no all or nothing fallacy . Paul Kurtz,“Mr. Secular Progressive ” has just had surgery. May he get his loads of energy back ! CFI and other groups owe him much . [Doug, do you know Austin Cline ?] :wink:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 26 March 2007 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Doug:

We make a choice by having certain preferences among our desires, and by using our beliefs about the way the world is to help achieve those preferences. This is a CAUSAL process.

How do we have our “preferences,” and regarding our beliefs about the way the world is, how do they affect our choices?  This still seems like free will, so I must be missing something here :?

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Posted: 26 March 2007 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Barry,

So why do you think that the perception we have of actively making choices is so inaccurate or irrelevant? If I wish to eat fewer donuts so I don’t get fat, and one day I’m stressed out and hungry and I eat several, and the next day I remember the negative feelings of that experience and turn down the donut offered to me, why doesn’t any of the perceptions I have that I have proximate motivations (call it “donut lust”) and larger goals (avoid obesity) that contradict and that based on a complex set of internal factors I make choices which actions to pursue?

I mean, yes of course the desires and goals themselves are governed by biochemical events I’m not directly aware of, and one could argue that the action I take is the only one I could take given the state of my nevrous system at the moment. But that sucks all the subjectivity and intuitive logic out of the situation and replaces it with what? Should I stop striving towards goals because the very act of striving is an illusion? I agree that the notions of punishment for bad behavior are mistaken and don’t treat the underlying cause. Eradicating my “donut lust” is the true answer. But there is ample evidence I could accomplish this by a deliberate set of exercises to change my own habits and attitudes. In America we all seem to want an effortless fix, usually in the form of a drug, to struggles such as this, and your denial of the possibility that I have any influence on my own desires or behavior seems to feed this attitude. Apart from reducing our tradional ideology of retribution and punishment, what is the value of eliminating the notion of choice from any discussion of behavior?

Note, I am not arguing so much the underlying issue of determinism, compatibalism,. incompatibilism, etc. I’m convinced no converts from one doctrine to another will be made here. I’m arguing the relative value of models of how choice works, and whether more is accomplished in practical terms by maintaining the idea that we make active choices or by arguing that we are acting out the consequences of our environments and physiology largely inanimately, as you seem to suggest.

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Posted: 26 March 2007 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Brennen:

So why do you think that the perception we have of actively making choices is so inaccurate or irrelevant? If I wish to eat fewer donuts so I don’t get fat, and one day I’m stressed out and hungry and I eat several, and the next day I remember the negative feelings of that experience and turn down the donut offered to me, why doesn’t any of the perceptions I have that I have proximate motivations (call it “donut lust”) and larger goals (avoid obesity) that contradict and that based on a complex set of internal factors I make choices which actions to pursue?

Because each one of those “decisions” you made were the ONLY ones you could have made at that moment, all else being equal.

Brennen:

Apart from reducing our traditional ideology of retribution and punishment, what is the value of eliminating the notion of choice from any discussion of behavior?

Tricky question, and Ted Honderich spends a chapter on this a the end of his short book on determinism “How Free are You?”  We can have the illusion of original choice and be Ok with it.  We are what we are and we do not know what we will do at any given moment.  So its not like we should feel we are pre-programed robots. 

What CAN change us is when the overall environment is changed… Then our every day experiences are altered and THAT changes the affects of our genetic dispositions.  The one question I still have myself - and I need to ask Honderich this - is how does the environment change if all of us are doing only that which we can based on the current environment?

Any suggestions?

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