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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 04 December 2012 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 301 ]
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GdB - 04 December 2012 12:51 PM
Lois - 04 December 2012 12:37 PM

He apparently defines “freedom” and free will differently than most determinists do.

Yes, of course he does. He defines it in the way “freedom” is used in daily life, and not in the radicalised metaphysical ways that non-compatibilist determinists do. “Freedom” means choosing independently, i.e. not being forced, compelled or coerced by others. It does not mean independent of who you are, i.e. who you became.

The discussion here is about free will. You may want to open a new thread on “freedom,” and stop hijacking this and other free-will related topics.

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Posted: 04 December 2012 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 302 ]
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GdB - 02 December 2012 01:27 PM
StephenLawrence - 30 November 2012 01:45 PM

Free will, determinism and choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT6DKn6ZJso&list=PL914258A2DAF5D393&index=26&feature=plpp_video

I think this is helpful, especially on choice.

Great link, Stephen. Very clear explained. All videos together are nearly 1.5 hour, but this is one of the clearest exposés I’ve ever seen/read/heard about free will ever. ce, free will, responsibility and blame.

Yes, I was very pleased to come across it, not just the free will stuff but the whole course of lectures.

Stephen

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Posted: 04 December 2012 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 303 ]
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George - 04 December 2012 01:43 PM

The discussion here is about free will. You may want to open a new thread on “freedom,” and stop hijacking this and other free-will related topics.

‘free’ and ‘will’ are perfectly good words on their own, each with a wide range of meaning across many cultures and philosophies. Put them together, and there’s an even larger range of reasonable meanings.

If you’d like more focused conversation on a more specific definition, i, for one, would be very interested to see more precisely just exactly what your definition is. In particular, perhaps you’d share what you mean by “free to”.

in fact, positive freedom would make for a good whole thread, i think. (And, i admit, i’ve been lazy about getting around to starting one.)

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Posted: 04 December 2012 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 304 ]
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Lois-He speaks of having a gun to his head and wonders what he would do under that circumstance. In my opinion he would do what instinct tells him to do at that moment. He wouldn’t have time to think the situation through. His determining factors, laid down a long time ago, would determine his actions, as they do whether he has a gun to his head or not.

The minute someone brings up the gun to the head scenario you can run away!
This automatically tells me the person has no idea about what determinism means in relation to human behavior and biology.
It’s not difficult to understand, but I think some people just can’t make the complete connection.
It all goes back to the illusion.(the illusion being the easiest way to explain in a nutshell how consciousness projects free-will)
That and I think approaching an understanding may be similiar to thoughts of death for some people. And the nothingness that ensues after death.
Back to the first sentence, guns to heads and freedom and liberty have absolutely nothing to do with free-will vs. causal determinism. Nothing.
It’s not even a good metaphor.  I’ve seen it derail this(and other) free-will discussions for dozens of pages here.

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Posted: 04 December 2012 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 305 ]
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isaac - 04 December 2012 03:38 PM
George - 04 December 2012 01:43 PM

The discussion here is about free will. You may want to open a new thread on “freedom,” and stop hijacking this and other free-will related topics.

‘free’ and ‘will’ are perfectly good words on their own, each with a wide range of meaning across many cultures and philosophies. Put them together, and there’s an even larger range of reasonable meanings.

If you’d like more focused conversation on a more specific definition, i, for one, would be very interested to see more precisely just exactly what your definition is. In particular, perhaps you’d share what you mean by “free to”.

in fact, positive freedom would make for a good whole thread, i think. (And, i admit, i’ve been lazy about getting around to starting one.)

Yeah, “god” supposedly can mean many things as well. This kind of tactics is nothing new. Change the definition, adjust the meaning, and confuse the whole thing as much as possible.

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Posted: 04 December 2012 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 306 ]
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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.

you’ve also previously argued, quite coherently, that these things are fully appropriate without it.

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Posted: 04 December 2012 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 307 ]
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GdB - 29 November 2012 11:55 PM
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?

yeah.

[ Edited: 04 December 2012 10:37 PM by isaac ]
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Posted: 04 December 2012 11:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 308 ]
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George - 04 December 2012 04:05 PM
isaac - 04 December 2012 03:38 PM
George - 04 December 2012 01:43 PM

The discussion here is about free will. You may want to open a new thread on “freedom,” and stop hijacking this and other free-will related topics.

‘free’ and ‘will’ are perfectly good words on their own, each with a wide range of meaning across many cultures and philosophies. Put them together, and there’s an even larger range of reasonable meanings.

If you’d like more focused conversation on a more specific definition, i, for one, would be very interested to see more precisely just exactly what your definition is. In particular, perhaps you’d share what you mean by “free to”.

in fact, positive freedom would make for a good whole thread, i think. (And, i admit, i’ve been lazy about getting around to starting one.)

Yeah, “god” supposedly can mean many things as well. This kind of tactics is nothing new. Change the definition, adjust the meaning, and confuse the whole thing as much as possible.

I think you at least have a point about free will George but I can’t understand your view on choice.

You change the definition of choice and then won’t allow choice to refer to what we actually refer to as choice, like selecting from a menu, for instance.

Stephen

[ Edited: 05 December 2012 12:05 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 05 December 2012 12:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 309 ]
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George - 04 December 2012 01:43 PM

The discussion here is about free will. You may want to open a new thread on “freedom,” and stop hijacking this and other free-will related topics.

Nice try, George. The word ‘freedom’ is ambiguous, it can mean anything from ‘free will’ to ‘having political rights’.

Humans (and some higher animals) are free in the respect that they can act according to their wishes and beliefs. Being able to do this is the basis of moral responsibility. When external circumstances force me to act in ways I do not really want to, I am coerced, and my action is not free. That’s all. ‘Me’ being caused by my biology, culture and biography has nothing to do with being free.

You consistently interpret ‘free will’ as a will free from a causal history. I consistently interpret ‘free will’ as free to act according wishes and beliefs.

The first does not exist, the second does; and it needs no soul or other magical entities.

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Posted: 05 December 2012 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 310 ]
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Lois - 04 December 2012 01:33 PM
GdB - 04 December 2012 12:51 PM
Lois - 04 December 2012 12:37 PM

He apparently defines “freedom” and free will differently than most determinists do.

Yes, of course he does. He defines it in the way “freedom” is used in daily life, and not in the radicalised metaphysical ways that non-compatibilist determinists do. “Freedom” means choosing independently, i.e. not being forced, compelled or coerced by others. It does not mean independent of who you are, i.e. who you became.

I think you’ve got it.  wink

Nah, thank you.

But I read from your criticism on the video you are doing exactly the same as George. You keep filling in ‘free is only free when it is uncaused’. You refuse to see that there is a natural interpretation of what free will is. And there it does not matter if the choice for door A and B is caused or result of a random process. Important is that when the result is of my brain processes is “I go through door A”, then I can do this.

[ Edited: 05 December 2012 12:50 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 05 December 2012 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 311 ]
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George - 04 December 2012 04:05 PM

Yeah, “god” supposedly can mean many things as well. This kind of tactics is nothing new. Change the definition, adjust the meaning, and confuse the whole thing as much as possible.

Isaac is asking for making meanings explicit, and do not hide them. By hiding them one can use strategies as you describe them. So he is asking you what your definition of free will is. What is it that you are denying?

It is very clear to me that you are attacking standpoints that I do not have, same with the others. TimB asked so clearly: do you believe in libertarian free will. We all said ‘no’. Millican would also say ‘no’. So, what idea of free will are you attacking, George?

[ Edited: 05 December 2012 12:51 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 05 December 2012 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 312 ]
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GdB - 05 December 2012 12:48 AM
George - 04 December 2012 04:05 PM

Yeah, “god” supposedly can mean many things as well. This kind of tactics is nothing new. Change the definition, adjust the meaning, and confuse the whole thing as much as possible.

Isaac is asking for making meanings explicit, and do not hide them. By hiding them one can use strategies as you describe them. So he is asking you what your definition of free will is. What is it that you are denying?

It is very clear to me that you are attacking standpoints that I do not have, same with the others. TimB asked so clearly: do you believe in libertarian free will. We all said ‘no’. Millican would also say ‘no’. So, what idea of free will are you attacking, George?

George is attacking the standpoint you have like he would attack the standpoint that God is the laws of physics, so God exists.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 December 2012 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 313 ]
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Thank you, Stephen.  grin

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Posted: 05 December 2012 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 314 ]
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And, Stephen, choice is to free will what “quack” is to a duck. That’s what they do: duck quacks and free will gives us choices. Or rather, it doesn’t give us choices. To think that you have a choice between entering either door A or B is an illusion, created by the illusion of having free will. If you are hallucinating that you are seeing a duck in your living room, you may also be experiencing the hallucination of the duck quacking.

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Posted: 05 December 2012 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 315 ]
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As always, it ends up being a sterile matter of definition. It would be good to get past “I define it this way” and actually see some arguments for a change.

Re. God, the issue is not how one defines it, it’s whether the thing you’re calling “God” has any religious importance. If “God” means the laws of physics, then it doesn’t have religious importance. Define it as you like, just don’t define “God” as the laws of physics and then claim he wrote the Bible and accepts petitionary prayer. Claiming that one can only define God one way is silly. The question is which the better definition is in a given context. In the context of religion, particularly mainstream Christianity, defining God as the laws of physics isn’t particularly apt, because that sort of God is of no particular help to mainstream Christianity.

The same is true re. free will. Define it how you like. If you think the Christian Libertarians are right about free will being an “uncaused cause”, so be it. But if you say it doesn’t exist, then there is this other thing that we do use, unproblematically in daily life, having to do with being coerced versus acting volitionally. There is this other thing we do use, unproblematically in daily life, having to do with a machine is functioning properly that isn’t able to fulfill its purpose because of some outside, blocking cause, or when a machine is malfunctioning. In the context of law and morality defining free will as an “uncaused cause” isn’t particularly apt, because that sort of free will is of no particular help to legal and moral issues of responsibility and culpability. Also, claiming that responsibility and culpability don’t exist won’t fly, either, because they are part of physics, chemistry and engineering. For example, the frozen O-ring was responsible for the Challenger disaster. “Responsibility” is simply a certain kind of causal analysis.

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