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A pragmatic discussion about free will
Posted: 20 October 2013 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 376 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 01:02 AM

The very important point is that is the problem determinism poses for free will.

With determinism, there is no free will as the future is preordained (as it is, in the clockwork universe).

Now if you accept that you see that the indeterminism in Libertarian free will is supposed to overcome that.

With indeterminism and adequate determinism at the macro level we can have free will.

It is that simple.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 377 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 01:04 AM

Adequate determinism is indeterminism.

Not so.

To reiterate, from:

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/adequate_determinism.html

Adequate Determinism is the kind of determinism we have in the world. It is a statistical determinism, where the statistics are near to certainty for large objects. Adequate Determinism also includes indeterminism, an irreducible property of the microscopic quantum world..

There is actually no strict determinism at any “level” of the physical world. Determinism is an abstract theoretical ideal that simplifies physical systems to allow the use of logical and mathematical methods. The macroscopic “determinism” we see is the consequence of averaging over extremely large numbers of microscopic particles.

Determinism is only “an abstract theoretical ideal”. It does not exist, in reality

OTOH, adequate determinism is “a statistical determinism” i.e. “the kind of determinism we have in the world”.

Adequate determinism includes indeterminism “an irreducible property of the microscopic quantum world” which is the underlying bedrock of the whole universe.

In that sense, indeterminism is fundamental in the universe.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 378 ]
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kkwan - 20 October 2013 05:10 AM
StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 01:04 AM

Adequate determinism is indeterminism.

Not so.

Of course it is Kkwan, what do you think the word “adequate” is doing.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 379 ]
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kkwan - 20 October 2013 04:46 AM

With determinism, there is no free will as the future is preordained (as it is, in the clockwork universe).

And the problem with that for free will is it’s a matter of luck as far as we are concerned what past we have and therefore a matter of luck what we get to do as a result of that past.

Yes?

With indeterminism and adequate determinism at the macro level we can have free will.

It is that simple.

No, because it doesn’t overcome the problem of luck. It’s as simple as that.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 380 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 01:07 AM

Why not? In a two stage model the indeterminism is put back to the first stage. After that it plays no relevant role. So the question is why not just put the indeterminism back to the beginning of time in the model?

To put indeterminism “back to the first stage” and to contend that “after that it plays no relevant role” is only a contrived convenience to make the two stage model work.

It is fudging because it does not accurately describe reality.

The reality is, indeterminism is fundamental at all times at the quantum level in the universe and adequate determinism i.e. statistical determinism, is experienced at the macro level.

Therefore, the two stage model with initial indeterminism and subsequent determinism is fundamentally flawed and misconceived because:

1. Indeterminism cannot be dismissed as not playing any relevant role in the universe after the BB because it does…..in the past, now and in the future as well.

2. Determinism does not exist, in reality.

3. The model is static whereas the universe is dynamic.

4. It is an anthropomorphic, mechanistic model which is a travesty of reality.

5. It has no degree of freedom and as such, it is fatal for free will.

However, if indeterminism is accepted as the underlying reality in the universe and adequate determinism is experienced at the macro level, we can have free will.without invoking the beginning of the universe or determinism at all. This is also valid if the universe is infinite.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 381 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 05:24 AM

Of course it is Kkwan, what do you think the word “adequate” is doing.

Definition of adequate.

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

: enough for some need or requirement

: good enough : of a quality that is good or acceptable : of a quality that is acceptable but not better than acceptable

It is doing precisely that in “adequate determinism” i.e. it good enough for all practical purposes.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 382 ]
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LilySmith - 19 October 2013 02:00 PM
StephenLawrence - 18 October 2013 11:49 PM

edit: Agreed, we can’t judge him. We can judge the behaviour for consequential reasons.

  Exactly! 

I think we agree…

I think we do too.

OK, it’s good to agree.

So this is why the subject is of practical importance, it makes a difference whether we believe in libertarian free will or not. I think forgetting or denying that causes of behaviour can be traced back to circumstances beyond our control can make us over blaming, more hateful, more inclined to do harm, less able to forgive and more.

I think Gdb also agrees but his focus is more on compatibilist free will, he is more worried about the consequences of denying we have any sort of free will at all. And I agree with him about that.

Somehow we need to be clear about both concerns.

[ Edited: 20 October 2013 07:09 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 20 October 2013 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 383 ]
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kkwan - 20 October 2013 06:04 AM

It is doing precisely that in “adequate determinism” i.e. it good enough for all practical purposes.

So is my two stage model. wink

What adequate means is there is adequate control between our beliefs and desires and our actions. Too much indeterminism would screw the connection up. So yes it’s adequate for those practical purposes.

But since it’s luck what beliefs and desires we get it’s *inadequate* for overcoming the problem of luck which is the motivation behind it.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 384 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 05:27 AM

And the problem with that for free will is it’s a matter of luck as far as we are concerned what past we have and therefore a matter of luck what we get to do as a result of that past.

Yes?

No. With determinism, luck plays no part. Everything is preordained.

No, because it doesn’t overcome the problem of luck. It’s as simple as that.

Not quite as simple as that.

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

Luck or chance is an event which occurs beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense. In the prescriptive sense, luck is a supernatural and deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) which prescribe that certain events occur very much the way laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur. It is the prescriptive sense that people mean when they say they “do not believe in luck”. In the descriptive sense, luck is a word people give after the occurrence of events which they find to be fortuitous or unfortuitous, and maybe improbable.

Do you mean luck in the prescriptive or descriptive sense?

As a fallacy?

Another view holds that “luck is probability taken personally.” A rationalist approach to luck includes the application of the rules of probability and an avoidance of unscientific beliefs. The rationalist feels the belief in luck is a result of poor reasoning or wishful thinking. To a rationalist, a believer in luck who asserts that something has influenced his or her luck commits the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy: that because two events are connected sequentially, they are connected causally as well. In general:

  A happens (luck-attracting event or action) and then B happens;
  Therefore, A influenced B.

As a self-fulfilling prophesy?

According to this theory, one who ascribes their travails to “bad luck” will be found upon close examination to be living risky lifestyles. In personality psychology, people reliably differ from each other depending on four key aspects: beliefs in luck, rejection of luck, being lucky, and being unlucky. People who believe in good luck are more optimistic, more satisfied with their lives, and have better moods. If “good” and “bad” events occur at random to everyone, believers in good luck will experience a net gain in their fortunes, and vice versa for believers in bad luck. This is clearly likely to be self-reinforcing. Thus, a belief in good luck may actually be an adaptive meme.

In science:

Different thinkers like Thomas Kuhn have discussed the role of chance in scientific discoveries. Richard Wiseman did a ten-year scientific study into the nature of luck that has revealed that, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune. His researched revealed that “Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prohesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

Luck or chance plays a role in change and the evolution of the universe and it is futile to try and overcome it. Any philosophy of reality that claims to be able to overcome luck or chance, is suspect.

In taoist philosophy, as exemplified in the Tao Te Ching:

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

Emptiness:


  We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
  But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
  We turn clay to make a vessel;
  But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
  We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
  And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
  Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is          
  not. (chap. 11, tr. Waley)

Philosophical vacuity.

And the I Ching http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching

The hexagrams, though, are mere mnemonics for the philosophical concepts embodied in each one. The philosophy centres around the ideas of balance through opposites and acceptance of change.

Change is the only certainty in the universe and chance is crucial for ceaseless variable change. All we need to do is to accept chance and change.

It is that simple.  smile

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Posted: 20 October 2013 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 385 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2013 07:01 AM

So is my two stage model. wink

The differences are, no beginning of the universe and adequate determinism instead of determinism.

What adequate means is there is adequate control between our beliefs and desires and our actions. Too much indeterminism would screw the connection up. So yes it’s adequate for those practical purposes.

Quite so.

But since it’s luck what beliefs and desires we get it’s *inadequate* for overcoming the problem of luck which is the motivation behind it.

Not quite so. It is not necessarily luck that determines “what beliefs and desires we get”.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 386 ]
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kkwan - 20 October 2013 07:51 AM

Not quite so. It is not necessarily luck that determines “what beliefs and desires we get”.

It is necessarily luck. Luck in this context is that what brings about your wants and beliefs is out of your control. So it’s luck, in that sense, which beliefs and desires you get.

The indeterminism in the two stage model is there, in part to make it possible for you to have different beliefs and desires.

If that were all it was supposed to do it could just be placed at the beginning of time as in my two stage model.

[ Edited: 20 October 2013 10:08 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 20 October 2013 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 387 ]
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LilySmith - 18 October 2013 06:29 PM

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.

If we know that DNA also determines action and reveals who a person is;
if we know that the weather outside determines action and reveals who a person is;
if we know that cholera determines actions and reveals who a person is;
then why are we only talking about “wishes and beliefs”? Especially when we all agree that wishes and beliefs are causally determined.

Is it because some still want to ascribe special circumstances to wishes and beliefs?
What special value does “wishes and beliefs” have over DNA or a small rubber mallet hitting the knee?

Why aren’t we talking exclusively about the aroma of food in regards to libertarian free-will vs. determinism? Hmnn?

Is it because people can’t stop watching the TV Show of Their Minds that depicts themselves choosing and wending their way through a Libertarian Stage Set?

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Posted: 20 October 2013 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 388 ]
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GdB - 20 October 2013 01:56 AM

Why would thinking in terms of wishes and beliefs be redundant? Please explain.

No, I said using the term wishes and beliefs, in this argument, to describe a process in which we act on is redundant.
Nobody is using the Sun’s gigantic fusion reactions to describe the process we “act” on.  Why?  It is arguably more prolific and causal to our actions than
this construct of “wishes and beliefs”.
If wishes and beliefs are so central to this discussion then certainly whatever causes wishes and beliefs must be even more significant in this discussion, no?
Then why are we stuck on wishes and beliefs? It’s redundant!

his is truly one of the arguments that costed me some thinking. If I may rephrase your question (so I can check if this really is what you mean), you are asking: what is the difference between compatibilist free will and (political) liberty?

No I meant exactly this: what’s the point of exploring those facts?  Everybody, even small children, knows that another person can causally effect another person’s
actions. Like tying somebody to a chair.

This may be a gradual difference. To flesh it out it is useful to see that incompatibilist determinists argue that we cannot hold people responsible for their actions because free will is an illusion. Now their argument has obviously nothing to do with political liberty. In our more or less free western societies we can be made responsible and even punished for crimes, and this is not a reduction of liberty. So for me it is clear that the concepts of free will and responsibility have their own meaning independent of (political) liberty.

That is the biggest problem in this and other threads.  You want to ascribe ideology to these constructs.  And that is fine. And I agree with most of what I can understand from you.
I however just want to solidify and make concrete the objective realities of causal determinism.
I want to do that in the context of this thread as it pertains to psychology, biology, etc. In other words I just want to keep it simple
so that anyone who thinks that they have free-will can see otherwise.

Plus I think that is enough.  From there someone who gets a basic understanding of this can
realize the real workings of individual minds and collective behavior in a species.

But whereas I think that is enough.  You and Stephen want to flesh out an ideology around it. You want to describe how people act on wishes and beliefs.
And like I said, that is redundant.  You could equally talk about a bolt of lightning hitting a tree in a field.
This quote from you below perfectly illustrates my point:

As said before, free will and responsibility have to do with a person’s capability to reflect on his motives, his possible actions and the consequences of it. The better he is in acting according to his wishes and beliefs, the freer he is. The better he can give an account of why he acts the way he does, the more responsible he is. And these capabilities are just as real when we are determined.

I guess that is what compatibilism is. I don’t know if Cartesian Theater is in play with this train of thought, but it comes close.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 389 ]
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VYAZMA - 20 October 2013 10:48 AM

If we know that DNA also determines action and reveals who a person is;
if we know that the weather outside determines action and reveals who a person is;
if we know that cholera determines actions and reveals who a person is;
then why are we only talking about “wishes and beliefs”? Especially when we all agree that wishes and beliefs are causally determined.

I would say because DNA, the weather outside and contracting cholera may all have an effect on our wishes and beliefs-what we desire to do—but it is our desire that leads to action.

Is it because some still want to ascribe special circumstances to wishes and beliefs?

I think it is simply a way to describe the culmination of past events and influences on the mind of the person which then determines what he does when unrestricted.

What special value does “wishes and beliefs” have over DNA or a small rubber mallet hitting the knee?

I don’t believe anyone is ascribing a “special value” to wishes and beliefs.  They are simply describing the causal chain that leads a person to act. 

Why aren’t we talking exclusively about the aroma of food in regards to libertarian free-will vs. determinism? Hmnn?

I don’t think anyone but kkwan is talking about libertarian free will.

Is it because people can’t stop watching the TV Show of Their Minds that depicts themselves choosing and wending their way through a Libertarian Stage Set?

Perhaps people like to believe they have more control over themselves and their actions than they actually have.  And since they think their way is the right way, they feel empowered to judge others who are different.  This seems to be part of the human condition.  Instead of everyone trying to understand these complex issues, it’s just simpler to teach people not to judge others since you don’t know what they’ve been through.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 390 ]
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kkwan - 20 October 2013 07:39 AM

Do you mean luck in the prescriptive or descriptive sense?

Descriptive looks closest.

Kkwan this is a simple subject contrary to popular opinion. There is only disagreement over libertarian free will because people won’t accept the obvious.

http://www.naturalism.org/celebrities.htm

Arthur Schopenhauer: “You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want.”

The point is what causes the want is beyond your control and so it is a matter of fortune good or bad what want you get.

Indeterminism doesn’t help because it’s placed before the want and so still must be beyond your control and so luck.

http://www.naturalism.org/strawson.htm

A useful link.

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