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Motivations, Intentions, or Consequences
Posted: 31 March 2007 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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[quote author=“skeptic griggsy”]But if I have the power of choice I can indeed do otherwise .Therapy and medecine changed that cause so that I could do differently !  :idea:

It is good that you are able to do what you can, so I don’t want to deny that and there is no reason to. As for could do otherwise, I would say you could not do otherwise in the circumstances at the time. Doug would say that you could do otherwise in appropriately different circumstances.

I think I’m right in saying both are true but that both are true regardless of whether you make a choice or not. both are also true for matches and toasters.

Where the significance of making choices fits in with these views of could do otherwise I’m not sure, maybe Doug can help.

What I think is that you could not behave as you do now without the therapy and medicine, but now you are unable to behave as you did then because the therapy and medicine prevent you from doing so.

It sounds like your circumstances are better, if we find ourselves in bad circumstances we can work to make them better, as you have done and with help you have suceeded, which is great.

Best,

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Here is a take on some of the issues opened in this thread and in the ‘Free Will’ thread from the director of the Center for Naturalism, borrowed from his new book: Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses - ISBN: 978-0-9791111-0-5

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There are several important personal implications of naturalism that make it a useful and inspiring worldview. First, by seeing that you are indeed completely caused to be who you are, both physically and psychologically, you discover yourself fully connected to the material and social world around you, and ultimately to the cosmos that generated our galaxy, solar system and planet. You discover yourself, a person, to be completely at home in what looks to be, finally, an impersonal, non-purposive universe. This is the basis for what we might call a naturalistic spirituality, an approach to existential questions that celebrates the strange and wonderful fact that nature transcends the demand for ultimate meaning.

Second, naturalism shows that since you didn’t create yourself, you can’t take ultimate credit for who you are in the way traditional supernatural notions of the self make possible; only supernatural souls have contra-causal free will that endows them with ultimate credit. You, a natural creature, have to share credit for your successes and good deeds with all those conditions - people, places, things, and genes - that made you a good person. Even your striving for goodness has its causal roots, perhaps in parental expectations and an inherited predilection for empathy and selfless action.

When we see the causal story behind virtue, there are no longer grounds for feeling morally superior, prideful, self-important, arrogant, or for holding any other self-aggrandizing attitude or belief about yourself. Just be grateful for your good fortune.

Third, and for the same reasons, you can’t take ultimate blame for being nasty, selfish, lazy, fearful, or any other personal failing.  These characteristics too are fully caused, owing their existence to a host of genetic and environmental conditions: your parents (their genes and parenting skills), your community, peer group, schools, and all the unpredictable happenstances of your life.

Seeing that you don’t have contra-causal freedom reduces unnecessary and counterproductive guilt and shame aimed at the self for its sins…
...Fourth, when we understand we are not self-made and can’t take ultimate credit or blame, we might discover a deep, abiding acceptance of ourselves and our situation. There’s no causally privileged agent who could have done otherwise in the circumstances of your life as it unfolded; all your decisions, good and bad, arose without benefit of a supernatural self that made things happen as they did.

This rather startling realization, so contrary to the Western assumption that individuals can (and should) transcend their circumstances, releases us from the regret, protest, shame and guilt wrapped up in the supposition that we could have done otherwise as a situation developed. Seeing that, for instance, I was fully determined to do badly in a job interview prevents me from wasting hours or days in self-recrimination, time I could spend more productively in preparing for the next one.

On a larger scale, appreciating the full scope of the causal network that is nature - a process that far, far transcends us - grounds a stable acceptance of what is in all its manifestations, personal and global. Such acceptance, although it might seem like passive resignation from the standpoint of Western radical individualism, actually works as a sturdy foundation upon which to pursue our projects, less vulnerable to the slings and arrows of our own reactive psychology.

This isn’t to deny the importance of our strivings, but to put them in a wider perspective that might give us some measure of serenity. Although achieving serenity is rarely mentioned as a goal in our hypercompetitive culture, it’s arguably central to mental health, in which case naturalistic acceptance works greatly to our personal advantage.

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Barry F. Seidman
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Posted: 31 March 2007 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Stephen,good! And thanks. :wink: Now how can we change the causes of crime?

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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: 31 March 2007 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Now how can we change the causes of crime?

By first understanding the causes such as poverty, racism, lack of gun control, setting a good example as a country (might does not make right as some think it does), and understanding the brain better.  Perhaps the biggest reason for crime in the US is the gap between the haves and have nots coupled by uber-competition and all that spurs from those… End capitalism and encourage inclusive democracy we begin in a big way toward a better society.

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Posted: 01 April 2007 01:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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[quote author=“skeptic griggsy”] Stephen,good! And thanks. :wink: Now how can we change the causes of crime?

To add to what Barry has said, ending belief that people could do otherwise in the circumstances (the popularly believed in free will) could have the following benefits that would lead to reduced crime:

1. Increase empathy compassion and sympathy. If these things happened they would dramatically reduce somebodys ability to choose to harm somebody else.

2. Stop us blaming people for doing the only thing they could in the circumstances, as if they could do otherwise. This would cause us to focus on the circumstances and to changing the circumstances for the better.

3. Reduce the strength and duration of the desire for revenge or payback. This contributes to many crimes committed by individuals, gangs and nations.

4. Make people willing to change the circumstances by getting them to understand that it is the circumstanes which is the problem, something they deny because of belief in free will.

5. Getting people to be more willing to live in a more equal society as they understand that there but for circumstances go I, nobody deserves their fortune be it good or bad. again empathy and compassion will help here but also the knowledge that they have no free will leads to a realisation that it is only the luck of the draw who will suffer next and it may be them or their loved ones, children or children’ children.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 April 2007 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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  Fine! Changing the circumstance, changes their causal wills. We need to get across that the social compact requires these changes. I call it fairness- Americanism. :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: 07 April 2007 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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[quote author=“skeptic griggsy”]  Fine! Changing the circumstance, changes their causal wills. We need to get across that the social compact requires these changes. I call it fairness-

Yes!

 

Americanism. :wink:

Afraid not, there is a strong belief in American culture that people could have done otherwise in the circumstances at the time and therefore it is just a question of blaming them.

Apart from the unfairness of this it doesn’t help us find solutions and actually has negative effects and is the cause of many of the problems in the first place.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 April 2007 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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True, but we have to educate people with those attitudes that if others could have done otherwise only iff conditons were different for them. rolleyes Anyone else on how to do that? I could not have done what I did were it not for the VA. And if conditions had been different, I would not have access to VA care in the first place. :idea:

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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: 11 April 2007 01:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Hi Skeptic Griggsy

[quote author=“skeptic griggsy”]True, but we have to educate people with those attitudes that if others could have done otherwise only iff conditons were different for them. rolleyes Anyone else on how to do that? I could not have done what I did were it not for the VA. And if conditions had been different, I would not have access to VA care in the first place. :idea:

I’m so glad you see the problem. People could only have done otherwise if the conditions were different for them.

We treat people as if this were untrue, due to cultural mythology.

What we do about this, I don’t know.

but the first steps are to identify the problem, accept it is a serious problem and have a will to do something about it.

Unfortunately there are only a tiny minority of us who even see the need to deal with the problem.

Best,

Stephen

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