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A pragmatic discussion about free will
Posted: 12 April 2012 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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See what you did here, Free?????  LOL

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Posted: 12 April 2012 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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GdB - 12 April 2012 07:33 AM

Well, you filter out a lot of rubbish if you leave out French authors.

Since Habermas opened the discussion with the analytical philosophers, it has opened the eyes not just of him. So many German philosophers see they have to react on the critique of analytical philosophers, which has improved their philosophy. In fact so much that more and more Americans get interested in continental philosophy (minus Postmodernism…)

Glad to hear it. So long as what’s being done is scientifically enlightened and upholds clarity and truth as much as is possible, it’s all good. (Not true of postmodernism).

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Posted: 12 April 2012 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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GdB-

My problem is that there is some class of people, most notably neurologists (who behave as they have made the discovery that we are determined, where they only discover how the mechanism works according to which we are determined), that think that the technical question does matter, and we should not consider people free agents. But in fact their position is self defeating.

Yeah…whatever the heck that means?  I stopped reading the free-will thread precisely because of this OVER-COMPLICATION of the concept.
The free-will thread is misguided and inaccurate!  You know what proves that?  It’s hundreds of pages long!  It can easily be reasoned out in 5-10 pages.

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Posted: 12 April 2012 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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traveler - 12 April 2012 07:38 AM

See what you did here, Free?????  LOL

*sigh* THIS is why I hate philosophers. Present company suspected. wink

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Posted: 12 April 2012 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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FreeInKy - 11 April 2012 04:51 AM

I intentionally posted this in the Humanism forum rather than the Philosophy forum because I want this discussion to be pragmatic rather than philosophical. My question is this:

Does it really matter to my everyday life if human free will technically exists or not? And if so, how?

My feeling at this point is that it does not matter. Whether my actions are predetermined or not, I operate from the perspective that my actions are my own responsibility.

Thoughts?

I think it matters enormously FreeInky.  What people believe is that there is a sense in which each of us deserves what happens to us which just could not be true if our choices depend on circumstances beyond our control.

This is part of our daily feelings and thoughts towards ourselves and the other people we relate to.

I can’t imagine that getting anything else this wrong could matter more.

I think this does a good job of pointing out the problem: http://www.naturalism.org/Wallerreview.htm

Stephen

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Posted: 12 April 2012 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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VYAZMA - 12 April 2012 09:04 AM

I stopped reading the free-will thread precisely because of this OVER-COMPLICATION of the concept.

Sure. The simplest concept is always the best. And the sun orbits around the earth.

VYAZMA - 12 April 2012 09:04 AM

The free-will thread is misguided and inaccurate!  You know what proves that?  It’s hundreds of pages long!  It can easily be reasoned out in 5-10 pages.

I fully agree with your words here. But I think you did not mean them that way…

Compatibilism is only difficult, because nearly all of us still believe in the Cartesian Theater. Still dualists in disguise.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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FreeInKy,

Maybe I should ask you the question: you posted your question in the ‘Humanism’ forum. Do you think that the question if we have free will or not is giving arguments pro or contra humanism?

It seems you don’t think so:

My feeling at this point is that it does not matter. Whether my actions are predetermined or not, I operate from the perspective that my actions are my own responsibility.

What do you think about the responsibility of others? Does it change the way you see other people, and their responsibilities?

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Posted: 13 April 2012 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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I can never remember anything verbatim, but I once heard a definition of philosophy where philosophy was defined as a study of how to live, or achieve, “The Good Life”.  I suppose that’s pretty broad but there’s something I like about the idea.  I’m not much of a philosopher, (thinking makes my head hurt), but wondering and discussing about who and what we are, and what defines good and evil is a really pleasant way to pass the time.

On an unexamined basis, my viewpoint on free will is we have just a little bit of it.  The degree to which we can control our minds and bodies is miniscule, and I can understand the idea that even when we think we’re making decisions we’re making them based on a host of factors, psychological, biological, and circumstantial, which we have no ability to recognize.  But, probably on a purely irrational basis, this is just too grim for me.  It leaves whatever this voice in my head is utterly powerless.  So, I cultivate the idea that I have some tiny amount of free will that I get to exercise.  Life is a lot more fun for me if I feel I have a modicum of control.  I get to give myself credit for little things that work out, and, in a funny way, get to enjoy the responsibility of messing up.  “Wow, what a mess, but at least it’s my mess.”

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Posted: 13 April 2012 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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GdB - 12 April 2012 11:59 PM

Compatibilism is only difficult, because nearly all of us still believe in the Cartesian Theater. Still dualists in disguise.

People think compatibilism is BS because they are dualists? Funny, because I was thinking you are into compatibilism since you are a dualist. Go figure! grin

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Posted: 13 April 2012 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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The standard arguments against compatibilism are dualist arguments. Anyone swayed by libertarianism re. free will is in that same grasp.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 05:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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George - 13 April 2012 04:55 AM
GdB - 12 April 2012 11:59 PM

Compatibilism is only difficult, because nearly all of us still believe in the Cartesian Theater. Still dualists in disguise.

People think compatibilism is BS because they are dualists? Funny, because I was thinking you are into compatibilism since you are a dualist.

Then you thought wrongly. The idea that we cannot have free will because we are determined presupposes that somebody (soul?) is forced by something external. To say it simple (so VYAZMA might understand it too): you cannot be forced to something by your brain, because you are your brain.

dougsmith - 13 April 2012 04:57 AM

The standard arguments against compatibilism are dualist arguments. Anyone swayed by libertarianism re. free will is in that same grasp.

Exactly.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2012 05:05 AM

The idea that we cannot have free will because we are determined presupposes that somebody (soul?) is forced by something external.

If that is what you think we believe then you are even a worse psychologist than you are a philosopher.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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George - 13 April 2012 05:43 AM
GdB - 13 April 2012 05:05 AM

The idea that we cannot have free will because we are determined presupposes that somebody (soul?) is forced by something external.

If that is what you think we believe then you are even a worse psychologist than you are a philosopher.

Why? If I understand GdB correctly, then that “external” could just be the laws of physics/chemistry. I could buy the idea that my brain is just controlled by chemistry.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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GdB is trying to make a point about the “internal” here, not the “external.”

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Posted: 13 April 2012 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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traveler - 13 April 2012 05:50 AM

If I understand GdB correctly, then that “external” could just be the laws of physics/chemistry. I could buy the idea that my brain is just controlled by chemistry.

Yep. The false suggestion is that “I” am not my brain, and that because the brain “forces my behaviour”, “I” am not free. If there is no “I” besides what the brain does, then this whole idea breaks down. On the other side, to say that “I” dictate what my brain does is just as absurd. Both views suffer from dualism.

[ Edited: 13 April 2012 06:49 AM by GdB ]
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