18 of 70
18
Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 29 November 2012 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 256 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04
StephenLawrence - 29 November 2012 01:12 PM

I think the question about fairness is the trickiest Tim.

Occasionally I’ll hear this said: “Sometimes bad things happen to good people and it isn’t fair” the implication is bad stuff happening to bad people is fair.

This sense of fairness is as if ‘bad people’ magically are 100% self caused, as if they are totally responsible for being themselves.

There are no words to describe this self caused idea because it’s impossible, it just makes no sense but there is no doubt people believe in the absolute sense of fairness that is mean to follow. And this is why the natural reaction to lack of libertarian free will is it is unfair to blame people etc.

But we can make sense of fairness in other ways. So it is relatively fair to only fine people for speeding if they speed. It would be unfair to fine them if they didn’t. And it would be unfair to speeders if they hadn’t had fair warning, at least that way they could have slowed down if they’d chosen to heed the warning.

I’m sure there is lots more to say about compatibilist fairness but blame isn’t fair in the way commonly believed and it does make a difference to people’s lives if they get that, contrary to the common belief that it makes no difference.

Stephen

Yes, I admit that question 2 was a bit of a nod toward your persistent interest in this regards.

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 257 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27
StephenLawrence - 29 November 2012 10:00 AM

I’m merely lucky or unlucky to be what I am.

Stephen


If Ann has the will and talent to save the world, and Bob doesn’t, and only one can live, then, from the point of view that saving the world is of value, it may be just and right and fair to save Ann.

I guess you’d say it’s unfair that ann had those advantages to begin with, but i’d say fairness only applies to things that we can do something about.  I don’t think it’s unfair that new orleans got hit by a hurricane, but it might be unfair for others to fail to help them. 

I also don’t think it’s unfair that some kids are smarter than others, and might wind up with better lives as a result… but i probably would be ok with calling them ‘lucky’.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 258 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27
TimB - 29 November 2012 01:56 AM

2) it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will…

the disagreement on #2 basically contends that the statement is irrelevant.

i don’t think the statement “it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will” is irrelevent. 

I do think “no one has libertarian free will” has not much to do with whether or not it’s “unfair to assign blame or responsibility”.

[ Edited: 29 November 2012 05:01 PM by isaac ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 259 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27
GdB - 29 November 2012 02:14 AM

Is it unfair to assign blame or responsibility?
“Do we need libertarian free will for assigning blame or responsibility?”

Is it clear what the others meant with their respective answers?

4. Is it unfair to assign blame or responsibility? sometimes. sometimes even because of a lack of free will, as tim and gdb have noted: due to confusion, say, or coersion.  A poor childhood might be a partial excuse; a genetic mutation might excuse your parents from charges of poor parenting. But determinism itself doesn’t seem to me like an excuse for anything. Can someone think of a case where it would be?

5. “Do we need libertarian free will for assigning blame or responsibility?” No. But the best way out of the corner that people sometimes feel backed into by this question, for most people, most of the time, is probably just to stop thinking about it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 260 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04
isaac - 29 November 2012 04:58 PM
TimB - 29 November 2012 01:56 AM

2) it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will…

the disagreement on #2 basically contends that the statement is irrelevant.

i don’t think the statement “it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will” is irrelevent. 

I do think “no one has libertarian free will” has not much to do with whether or not it’s “unfair to assign blame or responsibility”.

Point taken. Although in a magical world, where we somehow could have libertarian free will, it seems to me that asigning blame or responsibility would certainly be appropriate.

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 261 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  143
Joined  2008-09-27

thanks.

it would take more than magic, though, for non-causality to somehow enhance responsibility —unless one just defines non-causality as unpredictability… does anyone here do that?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 262 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
isaac - 29 November 2012 04:58 PM
TimB - 29 November 2012 01:56 AM

2) it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will…

the disagreement on #2 basically contends that the statement is irrelevant.

i don’t think the statement “it seems unfair to assign blame or responsibility, because no one has libertarian free will” is irrelevent. 

I do think “no one has libertarian free will” has not much to do with whether or not it’s “unfair to assign blame or responsibility”.

Unfair or not, we’re all determined to do it one way or another.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 263 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04
isaac - 29 November 2012 08:16 PM

thanks.

it would take more than magic, though, for non-causality to somehow enhance responsibility —unless one just defines non-causality as unpredictability… does anyone here do that?

Damn, Isaac, you must be an actual philosopher, because you’re getting too deep for me.

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 264 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6100
Joined  2006-12-20
isaac - 29 November 2012 03:33 PM


If Ann has the will and talent to save the world, and Bob doesn’t, and only one can live, then, from the point of view that saving the world is of value, it may be just and right and fair to save Ann.

If Bob suffers and Ann doesn’t Bob is just unlucky to suffer, that’s my point. Most people imagine we can deserve our place in the lottery in a way that is simply impossible, that is the problem.

I guess you’d say it’s unfair that ann had those advantages to begin with, but i’d say fairness only applies to things that we can do something about.

It’s either unfair or fairness just doesn’t come in to it. I’m uncertain which is true. But people imagine people have free choice in a way that makes what happens to them fair in a way it just can’t do if which choice they make is the luck of the draw. It makes as much sense as imagining it’s fair that someone is ugly rather than beautiful.


 

I also don’t think it’s unfair that some kids are smarter than others, and might wind up with better lives as a result… but i probably would be ok with calling them ‘lucky’.

The problem is that people imagine it is fair.

I accept it might not be correct to say it’s unfair, I’m not sure. What we do is distribute the good and bad fortune unevenly and we need to for the purpose of reward and deterrent (among other things)

But we have this extra idea that people deserve it in a way that they can’t deserve to win or lose a lottery.

And that is what I and a number of people see as a gigantic problem, which dwarfs the problems any other “woo” beliefs cause.

Stephen

[ Edited: 29 November 2012 11:15 PM by StephenLawrence ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 265 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6100
Joined  2006-12-20
Lois - 29 November 2012 09:20 PM

Unfair or not, we’re all determined to do it one way or another.

What we believe is fair influences our behaviour. So if you believe it’s fair to keep slaves that matters.

Determinism has nothing to do with it.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 266 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6100
Joined  2006-12-20
TimB - 29 November 2012 06:22 PM

Point taken. Although in a magical world, where we somehow could have libertarian free will, it seems to me that asigning blame or responsibility would certainly be appropriate.

A magical impossible world.

The fact it’s impossible doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that people believe we are in it.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 267 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4518
Joined  2007-08-31
Lois - 29 November 2012 09:20 PM

Unfair or not, we’re all determined to do it one way or another.

Yes, of course, we are all determined. But what are your criteria then to say a punishment is fair or not? And I do not mean here your purely theoretical answer, but your real answer, that you use in practical life. And then, as Stephen remarked, has the fact that we are all determined anything to do with it?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 268 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3052
Joined  2011-11-04

So, Stephen, Bottom line:

You think that is of utmost importance that we, humans, all believe the truth of the statement “There but by the grace of chance, go I.”

Is that the jist of it?

 Signature 

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.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2012 11:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 269 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4518
Joined  2007-08-31
isaac - 29 November 2012 08:16 PM

it would take more than magic, though, for non-causality to somehow enhance responsibility

More than magic? You mean the ability to draw circles with corners?

For any action to be my action, my action should be in accordance with my wishes and beliefs. This is even true for libertarian free will. (Compatibilist free will stops here: that is all that free will is.)
Libertarian free will adds a second criterion: my action should solely originate in me, without any preconditions. That, of course, is impossible. The only alternative for ‘no-preconditions’ we know of is randomness: in the end, at least we start recognising causal relationships by regularities.

isaac - 29 November 2012 08:16 PM

—unless one just defines non-causality as unpredictability…

Well there are more possible grounds for unpredictability then randomness. Chaos also exists in a determined world if systems are not linear: e.g. because there are self-referencing components in it, non-lineair amplifications, where the observing system influences the observed system, etc. All of these play a role in the brain and in human behaviour.

So non-causality entails unpredictability, but not the other way round.

[ Edited: 30 November 2012 12:20 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2012 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 270 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6100
Joined  2006-12-20
TimB - 29 November 2012 11:42 PM

So, Stephen, Bottom line:

You think that is of utmost importance that we, humans, all believe the truth of the statement “There but by the grace of chance, go I.”

Is that the jist of it?

Yep.

A good definition of libertarian free will is the belief we have power that negates that.

People will argue either that we need this ‘illusion’ or that it’s benign.

Neither is true and actually I think most sitting around talking about this are benefiting from being free from the illusion and the conversation being free from much libertarian free will based snark.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
   
18 of 70
18
 
‹‹ Destiny..?      Babies are bigots ››