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8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve
Posted: 30 October 2012 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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I think people might find this interesting re the role of consciousness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuNDkcbq8PY

Stephen

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Posted: 30 October 2012 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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GdB - 30 October 2012 06:40 AM
George - 30 October 2012 06:09 AM
GdB - 30 October 2012 05:56 AM

Does that mean that we cannot act according to our wishes and believes?

Of course we can. And we do. We act accordingly not only to our wishes and believes, but also accordingly to our goals, plans, desires, tastes, etc. That’s what the System 2 does and that’s why it takes a bit longer to come with the equation when compared with the System 1. But none of this has anything to do with free will.

A reason to call it ‘free will’ is that we can contrast it with actions under coercion. There are free acts, because they fit to our daily wishes and believes; and there are coerced actions in which we are forced to do things we normally would never do, e.g. under threat give our money to a robber, or act based on intentionally false information.

The topic was free will, not free acts. Yes, Sophie was not free to save both of her kids as per her wishes and beliefs. So what? That is not the question philosophers have been asking for millennia. But round and round we go…

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Posted: 30 October 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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George - 30 October 2012 07:41 AM

The topic was free will, not free acts. Yes, Sophie was not free to save both of her kids as per her wishes and beliefs. So what? That is not the question philosophers have been asking for millennia. But round and round we go…

I have said many times that the words ‘free will’ are confusing. They suggest that the will must be free from something, instead of being free to do something. The freedom we need for moral responsibility, to declare that actions are my actions, is this freedom to act.

And that is the solution, not from the millennia old problem of free will, but from the funny theological way out to explain evil acts of humans in a world that was created by an omnipotent God. The will is free from God. And here you might have an example of arv13’s ideas that our way of looking is still a continuation of Christian thinking.

So the solution to the free will problem is that we do not have libertarian free will, but we can be free to act, and this is perfect consistent with determinism.

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GdB

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Posted: 30 October 2012 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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We already have a toilet (a huge, huge toilet) for musing about the semantics of “free” and “will”.  Go there.  wink

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 30 October 2012 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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GdB - 30 October 2012 08:17 AM
George - 30 October 2012 07:41 AM

The topic was free will, not free acts. Yes, Sophie was not free to save both of her kids as per her wishes and beliefs. So what? That is not the question philosophers have been asking for millennia. But round and round we go…

I have said many times that the words ‘free will’ are confusing. They suggest that the will must be free from something, instead of being free to do something. The freedom we need for moral responsibility, to declare that actions are my actions, is this freedom to act.

And that is the solution, not from the millennia old problem of free will, but from the funny theological way out to explain evil acts of humans in a world that was created by an omnipotent God. The will is free from God. And here you might have an example of arv13’s ideas that our way of looking is still a continuation of Christian thinking.

So the solution to the free will problem is that we do not have libertarian free will, but we can be free to act, and this is perfect consistent with determinism.

Maybe your “way of looking” is based on Christian thinking, not mine.

Your acts being in accordance with your beliefs are not much different from a stone rolling down a hill, and being in accordance with the force of gravity. Tying you to a chair, making you unfree to do whatever you wished and believed you wanted to do, is the same as stopping a stone from being pulled by gravity down a hill. Both examples tell me something about a segment within a chain of action/reaction, and nothing about free will. The stone might have started to roll down the hill because somebody kicked it, I may not go to Paris on the weekend because a squirrel sneezed one thousand years ago.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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BTW, if I as a European cannot understand arv13 and his cultural anthropologist buddy Balloo because they are Indians, how can they understand what I am saying to begin with since, once again, I am a European and they are Indians.  smirk

But that thread almost got me banned, so I’ll better let it be.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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George - 30 October 2012 09:11 AM

I may not go to Paris on the weekend because a squirrel sneezed one thousand years ago.

And because you don’t want to. smile

Stephen

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Posted: 30 October 2012 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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George - 30 October 2012 09:11 AM

Your acts being in accordance with your beliefs are not much different from a stone rolling down a hill, and being in accordance with the force of gravity.

Several reactions:
- yeah, and evolution too, it is based on physical laws, so nothing more
- when you fall from a building, your wish not to fall does not make much of a difference. Your wish to drink a glass of water does make a difference

You see George, if you consistently deny higher order phenomena, then you should also deny evolution, because it is a higher order phenomenon too, supervening on laws of chemistry, which on their turn are based on laws of physics.

StephenLawrence - 30 October 2012 09:36 AM
George - 30 October 2012 09:11 AM

I may not go to Paris on the weekend because a squirrel sneezed one thousand years ago.

And because you don’t want to. smile

A nearly perfect answer: the sneezing of the squirrel may be an element of the causal chain leading you to not wanting to go to Paris. A perfect compatibilist view. George, you may say a hundred times that we are causally determined by event, but that doesn’t bother me: compatibilism takes determinism for granted. As long as you act according to your wishes or beliefs (btw a stone does not have wishes and beliefs) you are free. You are not responsible for who you are, but for what you do.

George - 30 October 2012 09:20 AM

BTW, if I as a European cannot understand arv13 and his cultural anthropologist buddy Balloo because they are Indians, how can they understand what I am saying to begin with since, once again, I am a European and they are Indians.  smirk

At least they both studied at European universities, and so could have discovered in what way Hinduism is falsely described by many western cultural anthropologists.

George - 30 October 2012 09:20 AM

But that thread almost got me banned, so I’ll better let it be.

If you give your arguments without humiliating to other participants I am pretty sure there is no problem.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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GdB - 30 October 2012 10:21 AM
George - 30 October 2012 09:11 AM

Your acts being in accordance with your beliefs are not much different from a stone rolling down a hill, and being in accordance with the force of gravity.

Several reactions:
- yeah, and evolution too, it is based on physical laws, so nothing more
- when you fall from a building, your wish not to fall does not make much of a difference. Your wish to drink a glass of water does make a difference

Well, when people make stuff up about evolution, I react the same way. I guess a similar “additional law” (similar to your compatibilism) when it comes to evolution would be when people claim that our advanced science and technology (such as medicine, for example) have put an end to evolution. That is obviously nonsense, since natural selection will go on no matter what we do (unless we all start having the same number of kids, FOREVER!). Similarly, free will is always going to be about free will and not about freedom to act freely.

It’s not that I am being a reductionist, but rather you being, well, wrong.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Damn, I wish Doug was available.  I hope, when he gets back, he can move all of the drivel starting with post #34 (sorry, George) to the free will thread.

Occam

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Posted: 30 October 2012 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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No problem, Occam. It is drivel. Most of philosophy is.  grin

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Posted: 30 October 2012 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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StephenLawrence - 30 October 2012 05:28 AM
George - 30 October 2012 04:30 AM

It doesn’t matter how much you spin it, GdB. What Libet’s experiment (and others like his; his was not the only one) show, is that we make the decision before we become aware of it. This includes the decision of believing or wishing something, even the decision of participatin in the experiment of pressing the buttons, as Tim questioned earlier on. This is what it means not to have free wil: we are conscious robots, with every step and action being decided before we become aware of that decision, and where consciousness plays merely a role of a spectator.

This issue of whether consciousness plays any role at all is interesting. Say I see glass in the road and am consciously aware of it and steer my bike around it, my feeling is if I had not become consciously aware of the glass I would have ridden straight over the glass.

I suppose this is because I don’t find myself taking such action without being conscious of why I did it.

Stephen

Part of our consciousness involves internal verbal behavior.  We, in effect, can tell ourselves things such as, for example, “I want such and such.”...“In order to get such and such, I could go to the mall and get it.  Or I could ask my friend for it.  Or I might find one in the attic… Hmm… I don’t have much money and the attic is too hot.  I’ll try asking my friend for it.” 

Now are any of you suggesting that this kind of self-talk, is not a part of the controlling stimuli, that results in my subsequent behavior?

If you use the metaphor of consciousness being a spectator, I would suggest that the spectator is often a quite active part of the performance and sometimes a key part of the performance.

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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.

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Posted: 31 October 2012 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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TimB - 30 October 2012 08:33 PM

Part of our consciousness involves internal verbal behavior.  We, in effect, can tell ourselves things such as, for example, “I want such and such.”...“In order to get such and such, I could go to the mall and get it.  Or I could ask my friend for it.  Or I might find one in the attic… Hmm… I don’t have much money and the attic is too hot.  I’ll try asking my friend for it.” 

Now are any of you suggesting that this kind of self-talk, is not a part of the controlling stimuli, that results in my subsequent behavior?

No, the point is we can tell ourselves this without being conscious of it, just like somebody can tell us something without us being conscious of them speaking it. The video I posted a few post back will be helpful to see what I mean.

Stephen

[ Edited: 31 October 2012 12:33 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 31 October 2012 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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George - 30 October 2012 12:30 PM

No problem, Occam. It is drivel. Most of philosophy is.  grin

Everything you believe is based on philosophy. Either the philosophy is unexamined in which case you don’t have a clue, or it’s examined.

The drivel is that philosophy is drivel.

Stephen

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Posted: 31 October 2012 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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George - 30 October 2012 11:14 AM

Similarly, free will is always going to be about free will and not about freedom to act freely.

It’s not that I am being a reductionist, but rather you being, well, wrong.

Personally I don’t see how to defend the view that the term free will has to mean Libertarian free will. I think it’s importantly true that when someone asks “do we have free will” that they are almost certainly asking do we have “libertarian free will” because who wants to know whether they can act upon their beliefs and desires?  So it’s importantly true that a straight yes is at least mighty confusing, if not just plain wrong.

But the term free will is used to refer to other things so how are you going to justify not doing that?

Stephen

[ Edited: 31 October 2012 12:32 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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