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A pragmatic discussion about free will
Posted: 18 October 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 331 ]
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LilySmith - 18 October 2013 12:37 PM

If that’s the definition, then a person makes his choice—his will—according to his desires rather than the desires of someone or something else.  In that definition free will is not the freedom of a person to change his own will or choice, only to act according to it.

Free will compatible with determinism doesn’t seem incompatible with determinism.

When someone speaks of free will that seems incompatible with determinism they are talking about libertarian free will. The denial that the will itself is controlled by factors out of our control, God’s will for example.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 332 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 12:22 PM

I checked what followed, there was no problem.

How so? Please explain.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 333 ]
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kkwan - 18 October 2013 12:51 PM
StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 12:22 PM

I checked what followed, there was no problem.

How so? Please explain.

Because there was no constraint according to the definition you gave.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 334 ]
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LilySmith - 18 October 2013 12:48 PM

It seems to me that a person’s wishes and beliefs are a result of what caused them, but when they are his wishes and beliefs and he is free of constraint, he acts on them.

I think that’s right.

So it’s a lottery what wishes and beliefs we get, sheer luck.

Now, do you really accept that?

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 335 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 12:57 PM

Because there was no constraint according to the definition you gave.

Not so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (such as logical, nomological, or theological determinism), physical constraints (such as chains or imprisonment), social constraints (such as threat of punishment or censure), and mental constraints (such as compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions).

There is nomological determinism, which is a serious constraint.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nomological

:  relating to or expressing basic physical laws or rules of reasoning <nomological universals>

If the universe “ran like clockwork” after it’s beginning with causal chains and determinism ruling thereafter “expressing basic physical laws”, where is the free will?

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 336 ]
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The whole idea about saying “free to act according to wishes” is implying that there would be other wishes.
And that the person would have the choice to not act on those wishes.(other wishes again)
There are no other wishes.  There is only a pre-determined chain of events that is followed.
We observe these as wishes. Or choices.
There may be many possible factors, but by the time all of the factors converge on the singularity there was only one possible outcome.

Nobody ever, ever did not act on their wishes! Ever!

Hello!?!?
So what does that make the value of wish now?

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 337 ]
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kkwan - 18 October 2013 01:21 PM

If the universe “ran like clockwork” after it’s beginning with causal chains and determinism ruling thereafter “expressing basic physical laws”, where is the free will?

Just where it is in any two stage model. There is determinism between the will and action. And the will could be different due to prior indeterminism.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 338 ]
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VYAZMA - 18 October 2013 01:22 PM

Nobody ever, ever did not act on their wishes! Ever!

Yes we do not act on our wishes. Say you are thirsty and are forced to drink dirty water because there is no clean water available. You act against your wishes in an important sense. One that matters to us a great deal for all sorts of reasons.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 339 ]
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kkwan - 18 October 2013 01:21 PM

There is nomological determinism, which is a serious constraint….

 

Oops yes missed that.

which is a serious constraint.

Only if indeterminism can give us freedom Kkwan. And it’s well known that it can’t.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 340 ]
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VYAZMA - 18 October 2013 01:22 PM

The whole idea about saying “free to act according to wishes” is implying that there would be other wishes.
And that the person would have the choice to not act on those wishes.(other wishes again)
There are no other wishes.  There is only a pre-determined chain of events that is followed.
We observe these as wishes. Or choices.
There may be many possible factors, but by the time all of the factors converge on the singularity there was only one possible outcome.

Nobody ever, ever did not act on their wishes! Ever!

Hello!?!?
So what does that make the value of wish now?

I believe you are inferring that “free to act according to wishes” means there are other wishes, but it may not be implied.  The value of the wish, or choice, is that it determines action and reveals who a person is.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 341 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 01:01 PM
LilySmith - 18 October 2013 12:48 PM

It seems to me that a person’s wishes and beliefs are a result of what caused them, but when they are his wishes and beliefs and he is free of constraint, he acts on them.

I think that’s right.

So it’s a lottery what wishes and beliefs we get, sheer luck.

Now, do you really accept that?

I do believe a person acts according to his nature—his wishes and beliefs that are caused—and therefore I cannot judge him, but will treat him with respect.  I’m with you on that.  But no, because of my beliefs I don’t believe in sheer luck.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 342 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 01:25 PM

Just where it is in any two stage model. There is determinism between the will and action. And the will could be different due to prior indeterminism.

If (as you contend in your next post 339), that:

Only if indeterminism can give us freedom Kkwan. And it’s well known that it can’t

then, there is no freedom “due to prior indeterminism” and none thereafter due to nomological determinism, which means there is no free will per se, in a finite universe with an indeterminate beginning i.e. the BB.

OTOH, if (the universe is infinite wrt space and time i.e. there is no beginning or end), then there is no prior indeterminism per se. The universe was, is and will be, indeterminate.

Consequently, as you contend (that indeterminism can’t give us freedom) then there is no free will in an infinite universe, which is very strange indeed.

Therefore, there can be no free will in any universe (whether finite or infinite), which is preposterous, unjustified, absurd, incoherent and untenable.  cheese

Reductio ad absurdum?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: argument to absurdity), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial, or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance.

Bold added by me.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 343 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 12:24 PM
Lois - 18 October 2013 11:39 AM

Sometimes. Some ideas are so ingrained people never see what “works” and what “doesn’t work”. People will start or stop doing something only when the determining factors change. Whether we’re aware of those changes doesn’t matter. Just as an example, we know that punishing people has had little effect overall on future behavior and putting people to death has been shown to not act as a deterrent for others.. But we still have a large number of people who want to continue the death penalty or “lock ‘em up and throw away the key.” Most people react on emotion rather than intellect. That something is not working doesn’t seem to matter, especially when emotions are running high, at least not in the short term. Sometimes it takes succeeding generations to make a difference—because their determining factors are different from those of the preceding generations.  It’s been said that most people don’t change their minds so much as die off. Then the determining factors of the next generation take precedence,  and so on.

Lois

Lois, you’re forgetting that belief in Libertarian free will is a determining factor!

It could be, but we cann’t know for sure. In addition, a belief in anything is detemined and not a conscious act.

Besides that, no one has yet explained to me the difference between “libertarian” free will and plain old-fashioned free will. I’ve asked. Nobody has answered.

Lois

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Posted: 18 October 2013 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 344 ]
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StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 01:44 PM

Only if indeterminism can give us freedom Kkwan. And it’s well known that it can’t.

Apparently, it is only a well known contention (that indeterminism can’t give us freedom) of compatibilists and their supporters, but the contention is rejected as false, misconceived and misleading by metaphysical libertarians and their supporters.

Let’s explore and investigate the ramifications of indeterminism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminism

Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically (cf. causality) by prior events. It is the opposite of determinism and related to chance. It is highly relevant to the philosophical problem of free will, particularly in the form of metaphysical libertarianism.

Bold added by me

1. The concept, highlighted in bold, is anathema and fatal to compatibilism as it implies that causal determinism and logical determinism, are not necessarily true, if there are such events as mentioned in the concept.

2. Indeterminism does not imply it is just all pure chance as in mere randomness, although it is related to chance as “something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause” - Merriam-Webster Online. In other words, chance does play a role in the evolution of biological systems and the universe and as such, it should not be dismissed outright as incoherent. Nature does not do that.

OTOH, compatibilists conveniently interpret chance as synonymous to mere randomness and as such, jump to the conclusion with undue haste that there is no freedom per se, which is prejudice and unjustified value judgment.

As there are anticausal or acausal systems (mentioned in my post 317) besides causal systems, there are grounds to support 1 and 2.

How about indeterminism and science? From the same wiki above:

In science, Indeterminism has been promoted by the French biologist Jacques Monod’s essay “Chance and necessity”. It is also asserted by Werner Heisenberg, Sir Arthur Eddington, Max Born and Murray Gell-Mann. The physicist-chemist Ilya Prigogine argued for indeterminism in complex systems.

Causation without determinism:

A number of philosophers have argued that lack of determinism does not entail absence of causation.

Necessary, but insufficient causation:

If x is a necessary cause of y; then the presence of y necessarily implies that x preceded it. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

Thus, the presence of x does not necessarily mean y will occur i.e. it is not as deterministic as compatibilism assume it to be so.

If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x.

That the presence of y does not imply the presence of x is again not uniquely deterministic as z may alternately cause y.

Indeterminism in classical and relativistic physics:

John Earman has argued that most physical theories are indeterministic. For instance, Newtonian physics admits solutions where particles accelerate continuously, heading out towards infinity. By the time reversibility of the laws in question, particles could also head inwards, unprompted by any pre-existing state. He calls such hypothetical particles “space invaders”.

John D. Norton has suggested another indeterministic scenario, where a particle is initially situated on the exact apex of an inverted dome.

Branching space-time is a theory uniting indeterminism and the special theory of relativity. The idea was originated by Nuel Belnap. The equations of general relativity admit of both indeterministic and deterministic solutions.

Reductionist (bottom-up) causation versus (top-down) causation:

There is also the issue of the reductionist (bottom-up) causation versus (top-down) causation in complex biological systems (specifically human consciousness and the mind/brain) whereby deterministic (bottom-up) causation finds it inexplicable and/or non existent, which is ridiculous as from human experience, higher level decisions of human consciousness and the mind/brain have causal powers.

There are serious challenges to compatibilist free will from process philosophy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_philosophy

In opposition to the classical model of change as accidental (as by Aristotle) or illusory, process philosophy regards change as the cornerstone of reality—the cornerstone of the Being thought as Becoming. Modern philosophers who appeal to process rather than substance include Nietzsche, Heidegger, Charles Peirce, Alfred North Whitehead, Robert M. Pirsig, Charles Hartshorne, Arran Gare and Nicholas Rescher. In physics Ilya Prigogine distinguishes between the “physics of being” and the “physics of becoming”. Process philosophy covers not just scientific intuitions and experiences, but can be used as a conceptual bridge to facilitate discussions among religion, philosophy, and science.

Whitehead’s philosophy of reality:

An occasion of experience consists of a process of prehending other occasions of experience, reacting to them. This is the process in process philosophy.

Such process is never deterministic. Consequently, free will is essential and inherent to the universe.

The causal outcomes obey the usual well-respected rule that the causes precede the effects in time. Some pairs of processes cannot be connected by cause-and-effect relations, and they are said to be spatially separated. This is in perfect agreement with the viewpoint of the Einstein theory of special relativity and with the Minkowski geometry of spacetime.

Bold added by me.

Whither, compatibilist free will?  smile

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Posted: 18 October 2013 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 345 ]
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Lois - 18 October 2013 08:19 PM

Besides that, no one has yet explained to me the difference between “libertarian” free will and plain old-fashioned free will. I’ve asked. Nobody has answered.

From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free will

: the ability to choose how to act

: the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God

Full Definition of FREE WILL

1:  voluntary choice or decision <I do this of my own free will>

2:  freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention

If that is plain old-fashioned free will, then what is the difference wrt libertarian free will?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism_(metaphysics)

Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe and that agents have free will, and that, therefore, determinism is false.

Apart from the issue of indeterminism versus determinism (which is not mentioned in the Merriam-Webster definition of free will), libertarian free will is essentially plain old-fashioned free will (in the indeterministic universe) and the only form worth having whereas compatibilist free will (which is shackled to causal, logical determinism and the deterministic universe), is a pale shadow of what free will is.

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