3 of 4
3
Are we less free with God?
Posted: 09 January 2012 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5943
Joined  2006-12-20
dougsmith - 09 January 2012 05:53 AM
GdB - 09 January 2012 05:43 AM

Or does the explorer responds: “No. But it was that, or dying of thirst”.

Or is the answer: “I had to choose: drink the water, or be killed.”

I don’t think these are answers one would expect to hear. They sound forced, as though you’ve decided on the theory and then constructed the data, rather than listening to the data to inform the theory.

Listening to the data to inform the theory, what the person would say is he had no choice, he had to drink the dirty water. That’s assuming he agrees with the charity appeal’s take on it, which is where I took the original example from.

So it was what we would call a forced decision.

I had jumped to the conclusion that is a restriction of free will but I accept that may well have been hasty, as although we’d say it was forced we wouldn’t usually say it was coersed.

So now I don’t know?

What the forcing does do is take away the person responsibility for drinking dirty water, when the person gets ill, nobody would say that’s his own silly fault.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14
StephenLawrence - 09 January 2012 08:08 AM

What the forcing does do is take away the person responsibility for drinking dirty water, when the person gets ill, nobody would say that’s his own silly fault.

Of course, because he had no other option, and was not being coerced in any way. If he’d died of thirst, though, they would say it was his own silly fault, because he could have freely drunk the water, even though it was dirty.

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.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4452
Joined  2007-08-31
dougsmith - 09 January 2012 07:24 AM

To take an example, it’s plainly true that “the category ‘free vs. coerced’ does not even apply” to billiard balls.

Good, let’s start there.

Strictly speaking from above sentence it follows that me being not-free in a certain situation is not the same as a billiard ball being not-free. I can be coerced, a billiard ball cannot. A billiard ball can be pushed, but I cannot convince it to fall down. I take it that is all plainly true?

Now why am I coerced drinking dirty water? In your second example it is somebody who changes my options. I might have had the options of drinking clear water or dirty water, but the gun man makes it the choice between dirty water or being killed. But the only reason he can coerce me is that I, in principle, can choose. The choice is between drinking dirty water or die.

Now in your desert example I am not coerced by somebody else to drink dirty water, that is correct. But I can choose: to drink dirty water or die. Of course I wish to drink clear water, but that option is not there.

So what do I’ve got?
- I am an entity on which the category ‘free vs. coerced’ applies, i.e. I have free will
- I have 2 acting options which in both examples have the same result: drink dirty water or die
- In both examples I prefer clear water
So I would say I am free/unfree in the same degree in both examples.

Billiard balls, I would say are ‘a-free’ (compare with a-theist, or a-moral).

The difference is of course in the moral dimension. In the desert example I cannot make the oasis responsible for just having dirty water. And in your OP if there is a God, I can make somebody responsible, but for my free will there is no change.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14

Yeah, once again this doesn’t capture our ordinary usage of the term ‘free’. I don’t think anyone would say that the person being robbed was ‘free’ to decide between giving the money and getting shot. (Not, at least, unless they were under the thrall of some theory). They would say, at most, that they were free in a sense, but that the robber had essentially removed all freedom they had by forcing them to choose between two options, neither of which they wanted.

The whole point of that sort of example is not that they were ‘free’ (“free in the same degree” as you put it), but rather that they were being coerced.

We have to ask what the point is when we’re talking about free will. The point is to distinguish acts that are ‘willed by us’ (in some sense of the term) from those that are ‘coerced’ or ‘willed by another’. The whole point is to distinguish acts that come from our own desires vs. those that come from someone else’s desires. Without this distinction, talking about freely willed acts is basically useless; there’s no point to it.

To get back to the OP, then, the existence of God makes acts coerced that otherwise wouldn’t be, since without God there is no other person who coerces us by putting us into situations where we have to do things we don’t want to do.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14

My concern here is that you may be being too influenced by libertarian discussions of freedom, where freedom or free will is some innate relation we have to all things that we do. In fact, free will really only has meaning as contrasted with coerced acts. It’s one sort of causal etiology vs. another sort of causal etiology.

The notion you seem to be after is some sort of universal freedom which we have with respect to each and every one of our willed actions, regardless of coercion. I will admit that there is a property of intended acts that probably fits your notion of freedom, but I submit it is of little theoretical interest, except for those who are after some sort of analogy to libertarian freedom.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4452
Joined  2007-08-31

It seems to me that you are contradicting your self:

Here you say:

Freely willed acts are ‘intensional’ acts, in the philosophical terminology. They depend on their description. The same act can be free or unfree depending on how it is described.

If I want to defy the gunman, it is a free act. If I do not want to be killed it is a none free act.
But in fact these are 2 options, and I have a choice. However, I can call it coercion because getting to be killed is an artificial situation created by the act of the gunman. He created a situation in which nearly all people choose not to be killed, so they will drink the dirty, something they normally would never do.

So was it a free act?
- No. I had a choice between 2 options where the option ‘to be killed’ is overwhelmingly worse than drinking dirty water. Because an agent is involved, I call it ‘coercion’. Somebody wanted to made me drink the dirty water.
- Yes. I could have chosen to be killed, and as the act of defying the gunman is an option, the choice is mine. The gunman did not succeed in his intention to let me drink dirty water. He wanted to coerce me, but failed. As this is an option for me, giving is also an option.

Compare it with the other example, of the desert explorer. Was it a free act?
- No. I had a choice between 2 options where the option to die of thirst s overwhelmingly worse than drinking dirty water. This is not coercion, there is no other agent involved.
- Yes. I could have chosen to die of thirst. (This might the farthest away from the daily notion of ‘free choice’. Without expanding the example (e.g. choosing not to die from cholera) this is the most unreasonable of all alternatives)

So in both cases I have at least one description of the events in terms of free will. And that is exactly what you said is needed.

I think ‘having options to choose from’ is pretty close to daily use of the idea of ‘free will’.

dougsmith - 09 January 2012 10:04 AM

My concern here is that you may be being too influenced by libertarian discussions of freedom, where freedom or free will is some innate relation we have to all things that we do. In fact, free will really only has meaning as contrasted with coerced acts. It’s one sort of causal etiology vs. another sort of causal etiology.

The notion you seem to be after is some sort of universal freedom which we have with respect to each and every one of our willed actions, regardless of coercion. I will admit that there is a property of intended acts that probably fits your notion of freedom, but I submit it is of little theoretical interest, except for those who are after some sort of analogy to libertarian freedom.

Then what is the theoretical interest? I think it is the opposite: what you define as free (vs coercion) is of more practical interest, i.e. in the areas of morality and justice.

As of daily use of the term ‘free will’, as compatibilist you are far from it per definition. I too of course. My ‘closeness’ to libertarian free will might stem from who I see as my ‘philosophical opponents’: people who deny we don’t have free will because we are determined. (In contrast, Stephen’s opposition is against the position that everybody is responsible for his situation because we have free will. (Correct, Stephen?))

Edit: typos

[ Edited: 10 January 2012 03:05 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04

Doug, do you agree with the following characterization of Compatibilist version of free will?:

“Compatibilist accounts of free will do not just say that an action can be determined and still free; they also distinguish between situations where we are free and ones where we are not. The latter includes not just situations of external coercion, but also situations where there are internal obstacles such as compulsion, addiction or self-deception.”

Form what I recall of your posts that I have read, I think you do, but I am not sure about the terms “such as compulsion, addiction or self-deception”, unless that is specifically what you meant by the term “deranged”, which as I recall, you indicated that a person who is deranged cannot act according to free will.

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14
GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

It seems to me that you are contradicting your self:

No. This is my (admittedly rough) criterion for free action, which is in the OP:

—An act is free for X if either:

(1) X does what X wants or

(2) X does the best of N unwanted options in the case that they are the results of blind circumstance and not the forced choice of another agent.

GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

If I want to defy the gunman, it is a free act. If I do not want to be killed it is a none free act.
But in fact these are 2 options, and I have a choice. However, I can call it coercion because getting to be killed is an artificial situation created by the act of the gunman. He created a situation in which nearly all people choose not to be killed, so they will drink the dirty, something they normally would never do.

So was it a free act?
- No. I had a choice between 2 options where the option ‘to be killed’ is overwhelmingly worse than drinking dirty water. Because an agent is involved, I call it ‘coercion’. Somebody wanted to made me drink the dirty water.
- Yes. I could have chosen to be killed, and as the act of defying the gunman is an option, the choice is mine. The gunman did not succeed in his intention to let me drink dirty water. He wanted to coerce me, but failed. As this is an option for me, giving is also an option.

The second is not free, because I didn’t want to be killed.

In that case, following the criterion, (1) I do not do what I want, instead (2) I do what to me is the best of N unwanted options (being killed) but it is the forced choice of another agent, hence is not free.

GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

Compare it with the other example, of the desert explorer. Was it a free act?
- No. I had a choice between 2 options where the option to die of thirst s overwhelmingly worse than drinking dirty water. This is not coercion, there is no other agent involved.
- Yes. I could have chosen to die of thirst. (This might the farthest away from the daily notion of ‘free choice’. Without expanding the example (e.g. choosing not to die from cholera) this is the most unreasonable of all alternatives)

Here the act is free. Following the criterion: (1) I do not do what I want, instead (2) I do what is to me the best of N unwanted options (drinking dirty water), and since we’ll assume God doesn’t exist there was no other agent involved.

GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

So in both cases I have at least one description of the events in terms of free will. And that is exactly what you said is needed.

In only the second case have you located a description of the event which makes it free, and in doing so you’re reiterating the account I already gave.

In fact, though, the point about intensionality is that the same act (extensionally speaking) can be both free and unfree, under different descriptions: I can want to defy the gunman and freely defy the gunman even though defying the gunman is the same (extensional) act as getting myself shot. (I mentioned this point in this other free will thread (#1737)).

In this case though we’d say they are two different acts. This gets us into the metaphysics of act identity, which I would claim is based on the proposition which describes the act. In this case there were (at least) two acts being done here, there was a defying and a getting shot. The first was done freely, the second was coerced.

GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

Then what is the theoretical interest? I think it is the opposite: what you define as free (vs coercion) is of more practical interest, i.e. in the areas of morality and justice.

As of daily use of the term ‘free will’, as compatibilist you are far from it per definition. I too of course. My ‘closeness’ to libertarian free will might stem from who I see as my ‘philosophical opponents’: people who deny we don’t have free will because we are determined. (In contrast, Stephen’s opposition is against the position that everybody is responsible for his situation because we have free will. (Correct, Stephen?))

Well, I think the question all compatibilists have to ask themselves is why we need a concept of freedom (free will, free action) at all. What is the point of it? It seems to me the main point of it, arguably the only point of it, is to make sense of our ordinary concepts of morality and justice by highlighting the difference between acts for which we are responsible (≈ free acts) and acts for which we are not responsible (≈ coerced acts).

As I mentioned in the other thread, resolving the issue of responsibility is more than just figuring out which acts are free and which coerced; there is more at stake. But without that distinction, moral and legal responsibility is impossible. Or to put it a different way, if we give up a notion of free will, as some anti-compatibilists would like, we will still need a concept of moral and legal responsibility. Then we can use that concept to back ourselves into a conception of compatibilist free will anyway, since any notion of responsibility requires a distinction between free and coerced acts.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14
TimB - 10 January 2012 02:55 AM

Doug, do you agree with the following characterization of Compatibilist version of free will?:

“Compatibilist accounts of free will do not just say that an action can be determined and still free; they also distinguish between situations where we are free and ones where we are not. The latter includes not just situations of external coercion, but also situations where there are internal obstacles such as compulsion, addiction or self-deception.”

Form what I recall of your posts that I have read, I think you do, but I am not sure about the terms “such as compulsion, addiction or self-deception”, unless that is specifically what you meant by the term “deranged”, which as I recall, you indicated that a person who is deranged cannot act according to free will.

Exactly. As I say, this criterion for a free act is rough, and to get it right would need some additional material. In particular we would have to talk about the internal mechanisms that form beliefs and wants/desires: a free act must come from properly functioning belief and desire forming mechanisms. When those mechanisms malfunction, we consider the person mentally ill in some fashion, and standardly do not consider them morally responsible for their actions.

(Of course mental illness like all things is a vague matter and lies on a continuum. But people who are not able to form coherent beliefs about the world, or people who have deranged desires—e.g. psychotics, schizophrenics, sleepwalkers, etc.—are typically thought of more in medical terms than moral).

Self-deception is a separate case though, and I think harder to make out along these same lines.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4452
Joined  2007-08-31
dougsmith - 10 January 2012 05:40 AM

Well, I think the question all compatibilists have to ask themselves is why we need a concept of freedom (free will, free action) at all. What is the point of it? It seems to me the main point of it, arguably the only point of it, is to make sense of our ordinary concepts of morality and justice by highlighting the difference between acts for which we are responsible (≈ free acts) and acts for which we are not responsible (≈ coerced acts).

Sorry, but is this not what compatibilism is all about? You seem to redefine compatibilism as going together of responsibility and determinism. One can then just eliminate the concept of free will, and directly go to responsibility. Then we just must be able to contrast actions for which I am responsible and for which I am not. Of course that would repeat the whole discussion just in a slightly different light (‘My Honour, I was not responsible, it were my neurons!’, instead of ‘My honour, it was not my free act, it were my neurons!’)

However I think there are situations where the concept of responsibility is rather useless, but one can still speak about a free choice. (Regards from the vanilla ice cream…)

But I think that in the context of being as close to daily use as possible, just saying we don’t need the concept of free will for responsibility could not be very successful either.

If I may give a rough description of a free action too, I would say:

An act is free for X if
- keeping all circumstances that are not X the same, the act only depends on X
- the act is based on the wishes and beliefs of X

This description allows for natural circumstances to block my free will, because I might still be forced to do something I not really want (e.g. drinking dirty water even when nobody is responsible for that action). In the gunman case I can describe my action as free (I have the choice to drink dirty water or be killed), or as coerced, because it is not my normal wish to drink dirty water.

So we must add:

X is coerced to act if:
- he is capable of free actions under normal circumstances
- an agent reduces the possible actions of X to actions that under normal circumstances X would never wish for

In other words, we have two meanings of ‘free’ here, and the first thing to do when somebody talks about free will is to ask him which meaning he is using. As you said:

dougsmith - 09 January 2012 10:04 AM

I will admit that there is a property of intended acts that probably fits your notion of freedom, but I submit it is of little theoretical interest.

Seems I think it is of theoretical interest.

[ Edited: 10 January 2012 07:57 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14
GdB - 10 January 2012 07:52 AM

One can then just eliminate the concept of free will, and directly go to responsibility. Then we just must be able to contrast actions for which I am responsible and for which I am not. Of course that would repeat the whole discussion just in a slightly different light (‘My Honour, I was not responsible, it were my neurons!’, instead of ‘My honour, it was not my free act, it were my neurons!’)

I don’t know of anyone who can consistently do without the notion of responsibility, so giving it up (as some eliminativists claim they can without free will) just isn’t an option. Free will is essentially tied to notions of legal and ethical responsibility, and if we give up our notion of free will because of a mistaken belief that free will is libertarian, we can simply reconstruct it by looking at the relatively unproblematic notion of legal and ethical responsibility.

GdB - 10 January 2012 07:52 AM

However I think there are situations where the concept of responsibility is rather useless, but one can still speak about a free choice. (Regards from the vanilla ice cream…)

But I think that in the context of being as close to daily use as possible, just saying we don’t need the concept of free will for responsibility could not be very successful either.

If I may give a rough description of a free action too, I would say:

An act is free for X if
- keeping all circumstances that are not X the same, the act only depends on X
- the act is based on the wishes and beliefs of X

I’m not sure what “only depends on X” means. Nothing only depends on effects from only one physical object; all effects have multiple causes. Perhaps what you mean to say is that the act only depends on (certain of) X’s properties, namely X’s beliefs and desires, in that were those beliefs and desires different, the act wouldn’t have occurred. But then we have other issues ...

GdB - 10 January 2012 07:52 AM

This description allows for natural circumstances to block my free will, because I might still be forced to do something I not really want (e.g. drinking dirty water even when nobody is responsible for that action). In the gunman case I can describe my action as free (I have the choice to drink dirty water or be killed), or as coerced, because it is not my normal wish to drink dirty water.

So we must add:

X is coerced to act if:
- he is capable of free actions under normal circumstances
- an agent reduces the possible actions of X to actions that under normal circumstances X would never wish for

OK, so now it sounds like you’re just happy to contradict yourself. The very same act cannot be both free and coerced. That’s a non-starter for a theory of free will.

You can say that an act was free in one sense and not free in another sense, but then it’s incumbent upon you to distinguish the senses (free and free*, as it might be) and let us know why we need both concepts in our theory of free will, or if instead we should start from a simpler presupposition that there is a central meaning of the term that is most relevant.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5943
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 10 January 2012 12:28 AM

As of daily use of the term ‘free will’, as compatibilist you are far from it per definition. I too of course. My ‘closeness’ to libertarian free will might stem from who I see as my ‘philosophical opponents’: people who deny we don’t have free will because we are determined. (In contrast, Stephen’s opposition is against the position that everybody is responsible for his situation because we have free will. (Correct, Stephen?))

Edit: typos

I’m against belief in ultimate moral responsibility GdB, nobody is ultimately moral responsible. Causes that are responsible are hapless victims of their causes. You are the hapless victim of being you. Moral responsibility needs to be compatible with that.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4452
Joined  2007-08-31
dougsmith - 10 January 2012 09:23 AM

I’m not sure what “only depends on X” means. Nothing only depends on effects from only one physical object; all effects have multiple causes. Perhaps what you mean to say is that the act only depends on (certain of) X’s properties, namely X’s beliefs and desires, in that were those beliefs and desires different, the act wouldn’t have occurred. But then we have other issues ...

This ellipsis sounds threatening… What issues?
I think what I mean (developing my thoughts) that X says his action was free, while he identifies with his grounds for the action.

dougsmith - 10 January 2012 09:23 AM

You can say that an act was free in one sense and not free in another sense, but then it’s incumbent upon you to distinguish the senses (free and free*, as it might be) and let us know why we need both concepts in our theory of free will, or if instead we should start from a simpler presupposition that there is a central meaning of the term that is most relevant.

The point is (you already confirmed this) that we cannot coerce a billiard ball to fall. The category of ‘coercion’ does not apply to these kind of entities. ‘Coercion’ only applies when I can take influence on the grounds for an action. The gunman can do this, because he knows that most people prefer to live on. By artificially creating a situation he can overrule my normal wish to drink clear water instead of dirty. So my free² is a description of the capability to be coerced or not.

So can X identify with his drinking dirty water? I assume he can’t. He feels other-determined. That is your point. He is not free¹. But on the other side, can X identify with his will to live on? I assume he can. And that is my point. He is free².

What I do not quite understand, seeing how you sometimes took part in other threads about free will, never clearly said that according to you free will only applies in questions of morality and responsibility. I don’t think this covers the daily use of free will either.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15343
Joined  2006-02-14
GdB - 10 January 2012 12:10 PM

This ellipsis sounds threatening… What issues?

The issues I brought up in the next section. I put the ellipsis there because my thought was continuing.

Generally speaking I don’t like an analysis that ends us up with two separate terms where we only had one to begin with. Occam’s Razor, and all, unless you can demonstrate that both are necessary, and in this case I don’t think you have.

GdB - 10 January 2012 12:10 PM

What I do not quite understand, seeing how you sometimes took part in other threads about free will, never clearly said that according to you free will only applies in questions of morality and responsibility. I don’t think this covers the daily use of free will either.

I did not say that free will only applies in questions of morality and responsibility. What I said was that free will is essentially tied to questions of morality and responsibility, which is a weaker claim.

To be clear, I do think that free will only applies in questions of responsibility, though there are various sorts of responsibility, (viz. legal, moral, causal, etc.) and it would be difficult and complex to hash out precisely how free will relates to each of them.

That isn’t to say one can’t have a discussion of free will that doesn’t deal directly with the question of responsibility. Take the example of cars. Cars are essentially tied to questions of transportation. But that doesn’t mean one has always to discuss transportation when discussing cars.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2012 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04

... nobody is ultimately moral responsible… You are the hapless victim of being you. Moral responsibility needs to be compatible with that.

Stephen

I think I understand what you’re saying.  As I believe that my wants and beliefs are shaped by the circumstances that I have been exposed to in my lifetime, and as I believe that my behavior is a product of my wants plus the repertoire of respondant behavior that I was born with, plus the behaviors that I have learned by virtue of exposure to the circumstances of my life, it is difficult for me to reconcile using the word “free” in regards to my choices. 

But I have come to think it can make sense within a limited operational definition of free will such as Doug espouses.  I think the definition has to include non-coercion by an agent and has to include that my thinking and decision making abilities are intact and the definition also has to include that if my circumstance and the circumstances of my life are the controlling factors in my actions that my actions are still considered “free” if they match with my wants and beliefs. Given all that, one could make a determination of whether I acted “freely”.  If I did act freely, then I was responsible.  Whether my action was moral to others, would have to be decided according to some societal set of morals. (It was probably moral to me because I acted with free will, which by definition includes that I acted in accordance with my belief system, unless my wants outweighed my personal sense of morals at the time that I acted.)

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 4
3