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A pragmatic discussion about free will
Posted: 14 December 2012 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 241 ]
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George - 14 December 2012 05:35 AM

Narural laws resulting in me being tired this morning forced me not to get up on time as per my wishes—I was actually aware as this battle was taking place in my body. Nobody was holding a gun to my head, neither did I detect any supernatural forces at work. Was I free to sleep in?

It has nothing to do with my idea of free will, nevertheless, I wonder…

It’s a good question George.

If you didn’t wish to sleep in then you were not free to sleep in. And yet, say sleeping in made you late for work, you’d usually be considered to be responsible.

Perhaps the answer is if you’d really wanted to get up earlier you would have.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 December 2012 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 242 ]
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No, I really wanted to get up. But I just lied there instead like 180 lbs of dead meat. Maybe GdB will know the answer, as he has read a lot of Dennett and other stuff like that…

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Posted: 14 December 2012 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 243 ]
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Is it “lied” or “laid”?

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Posted: 14 December 2012 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 244 ]
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George - 14 December 2012 02:02 PM

No, I really wanted to get up. But I just lied there instead like 180 lbs of dead meat. Maybe GdB will know the answer, as he has read a lot of Dennett and other stuff like that…

Well, then I think the answer is straight forward you were not free to sleep in.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 December 2012 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 245 ]
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George - 14 December 2012 02:05 PM

Is it “lied” or “laid”?

It’s “lay” because that’s the past tense of “lie”

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Posted: 14 December 2012 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 246 ]
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ignore

[ Edited: 12 February 2013 03:53 PM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 16 December 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 247 ]
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Occam. - 13 December 2012 05:53 PM

And the arguments for and against determinism/free-will and god/no god are just about equally a waste of time for the true believers.  smile

Occam

EVERYTHING is a waste of time when it comes to true believers.

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Posted: 17 December 2012 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 248 ]
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Lois - 16 December 2012 10:32 AM

EVERYTHING is a waste of time when it comes to true believers.

So you are sure, without any more discussion, that there is, apart from the incoherent notion of libertarian free will, there is no useful concept of free will that perfectly fits to determinism?

I am still waiting on a reaction on my posting here.
If you do not react on it, I suppose you see the problem, and that you are retracting on your belief in the slogan ‘we are determined, so we are not free’.

Just to repeat my position: our behaviour is determined, and this is the basis of the only useful concept of free will: that our beliefs and desires belong to the causal history of my behaviour. So there is no use in repeating that we are determined. I take that for granted.

George, your question is indeed a good question, but I do not want to react before I have a meaningful answer on my posting from Lois. Gives us also a nice break, so I have some time to switch envelopes. I get richer every day!

[ Edited: 17 December 2012 04:58 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 19 December 2012 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 249 ]
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ignore

[ Edited: 12 February 2013 03:52 PM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 20 December 2012 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 250 ]
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GdB - 14 December 2012 02:21 AM

The whole idea that determinism and free will are contradictory is based on wrong understanding of what these concepts really mean.

http://www.believermag.com/issues/200303/?read=interview_strawson

I like philosophers—I love what they do; I love what I do—but they have made a truly unbelievable hash of all this. They’ve tried to make the phrase “free will” mean all sorts of different things, and each of them has told us that what it really means is what he or she has decided it should mean. But they haven’t made the slightest impact on what it really means, or on our old, deep conviction that free will is something we have.

I think the most we can say is there is more than one meaning of free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 20 December 2012 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 251 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 December 2012 02:15 AM

I think the most we can say is there is more than one meaning of free will.

That is not much, is it?

One could also defend a concept of free will: a concept that fits to the usual way we assign free will and responsibility to our fellow humans. Even if the borders can be vague, we are perfectly able to see that certain actions are done free and others were coerced or forced. Calling on certain metaphysical ideas to support that notion is useless and in vain. However, hard determinists stick to this idea: that free will is a metaphysical category, and as such is not supported by the fact that we our behaviour is determined.

From a metaphysical point of view both free and coerced actions are determined, they do not differ in this respect. But they differ in the way they are determined. Free actions are more or less immediately caused by our wishes and beliefs, where in coerced actions other factors come into play, like being in an artificially created situation, wherein we do things we normally don’t.

And to answer George’s question (Lois seems to have lost interest): we should ask to what we assign free will. Obviously we don’t with atoms and neurons. It is on the level of persons. But persons are not metaphysical entities, they are conventional entities. Now we call those actions free, which we feel are caused by our desires and beliefs: we identify with those actions. So even when an action is too fast to be conscious of my decision before doing it, if I identify with it, i.e. recognise the action as being in accord with my wishes and beliefs, it is my free action. This makes flexing the hand in Libet’s experiments just as free as other actions. The studied subjects in the end consciously agreed to joint the experiment, and as they were not forced to flex their hands at exact moments, these flexings were free. But of course they were determined too.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 252 ]
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The means of practice, for a pragmatist,

Seem to be concepts from thoughts in time,

With out the value of observation in time—-

[ Edited: 27 February 2013 08:16 PM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 03 April 2013 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 253 ]
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FanhvXO9Pk

A talk by Sam Harris on free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 03 April 2013 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 254 ]
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dougsmith - 11 April 2012 04:56 AM

It matters to the law whether or not an action was your responsibility. Notions of personal responsibility just are notions of free action.

No, theyre not. We’re all determined to place blame and exact revenge. So you never have to worry about your society falling into complete chaos because no one will hold anyone responsible for anything.  The rest of society’s actions and attitudes are just as determined as those of the person committing a “bad” act. The only possible change in society that accepting determinism rather than free will might do is to lead people to be more humane in their responses to bad acts. It isn’t going to stop people from holding people responsible.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 255 ]
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Lois - 03 April 2013 12:44 PM

No, theyre not. We’re all determined to place blame and exact revenge. So you never have to worry about your society falling into complete chaos because no one will hold anyone responsible for anything.  The rest of society’s actions and attitudes are just as determined as those of the person committing a “bad” act. The only possible change in society that accepting determinism rather than free will might do is to lead people to be more humane in their responses to bad acts. It isn’t going to stop people from holding people responsible.

I agree with you that not believing in some view on free will can make us more humane. But it would not be the only consequence. When neurologists plead to treat criminals instead of making them responsible and to punish them accordingly, then definitely at least one kind of people is saying we should not hold people responsible.

There were also psychological tests being made in which two groups first read some prepared philosophical texts about the existence of free will: one group read texts in which the existence of free will was denied, the others where it was affirmed. Immediately afterwards both groups had to play a game, which had an easy way of cheating. The group that read the texts against the existence of free will cheated more.

This is of course not a factual argument in favour of the existence of free will, but it shows that the believe in it does have some positive consequences.

Addition for Stephen: as long as we do not believe in ultimate free will, in which we are made completely responsible for what we are and everything we do.

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