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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 09 March 2013 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 436 ]
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But we don’t have options and we don’t have choices, Stephen. Our conscious mind makes us feel as if we did, but that’s an illusion. I think we have gone over this enough times.

Even when we blame or send somebody to a jail for not allowing us to perform what we wished to do (or were determined to wish to do—whatever difference this fact makes here), we are still not free to blame or not blame them. We are just a bunch of billiard balls with conscious minds who make up just-so stories.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 437 ]
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George - 09 March 2013 08:02 AM

But we don’t have options and we don’t have choices, Stephen. Our conscious mind makes us feel as if we did, but that’s an illusion. I think we have gone over this enough times.

So you have two different pieces of cake in front of you, and then you say you have no choice?

Say, a stone rolls off the mountain and hits a rock so the chances that it continues to roll on at the left of the rock and at the right of the rock are 50%. What wish or belief of the stone determines which side it will take? Now what wish or belief determines you which piece of cake you choose? Now does the fact that your wishes or beliefs are determined mean that you do not choose? What piece of cake you’ll take depends on your choice, which in short means, by you. Your choice is determined by your brain, of course, but you choose, or if you want, ‘a choice is done’. But that does not apply to the stone, because there are no wishes or beliefs involved. Wishes and beliefs are implemented in the brain, and a stone has no brain.

And if you do not agree, then I would like to hear from you how you differentiate between the ‘behaviour’ of a stone and your behaviour when choosing a piece of cake. At least in one respect they do not differ: both processes are determined. But does that mean that they do not differ at all?

George - 09 March 2013 08:02 AM

We are just a bunch of billiard balls with conscious minds who make up just-so stories.

Partially, yes. Thinking that our choice is not determined is such a just-so story.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 438 ]
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We choose what kind of cake we’ll have just like a calculator chooses to display that 1+1=2. My old calculator started to display gibberish once in a while instead of showing a “2,” and the chances of that happening were about 1%. The reason why I choose this cake or that cake is the same why my old calculator chose to display a “2” or gibberish. I actually used to get upset at my calculator just like I get upset at people committing crime, but deep down I know that neither my calculator nor a criminal really have a choice; not that this realization will have much of an impact on my reactions—I actually ended up murdering my calculator.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 439 ]
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Your adaptions to descriptions like illusions, billiard balls and minds as stories of life,

have been to past reflections; for an exercise, try descriptions to future anticipations,

then later, try descriptions for your present self, you write well, why limit yourself?

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 440 ]
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GdB - 09 March 2013 09:16 AM
George - 09 March 2013 08:02 AM

But we don’t have options and we don’t have choices, Stephen. Our conscious mind makes us feel as if we did, but that’s an illusion. I think we have gone over this enough times.

So you have two different pieces of cake in front of you, and then you say you have no choice?

Say, a stone rolls off the mountain and hits a rock so the chances that it continues to roll on at the left of the rock and at the right of the rock are 50%. What wish or belief of the stone determines which side it will take? Now what wish or belief determines you which piece of cake you choose? Now does the fact that your wishes or beliefs are determined mean that you do not choose? What piece of cake you’ll take depends on your choice, which in short means, by you. Your choice is determined by your brain, of course, but you choose, or if you want, ‘a choice is done’. But that does not apply to the stone, because there are no wishes or beliefs involved. Wishes and beliefs are implemented in the brain, and a stone has no brain.

And if you do not agree, then I would like to hear from you how you differentiate between the ‘behaviour’ of a stone and your behaviour when choosing a piece of cake. At least in one respect they do not differ: both processes are determined. But does that mean that they do not differ at all?

George - 09 March 2013 08:02 AM

We are just a bunch of billiard balls with conscious minds who make up just-so stories.

Partially, yes. Thinking that our choice is not determined is such a just-so story.


The “choice” is determined.  Unless you can explain how our minds can split off from our determining factors, you can’t claim that we have a way to actually make a choice that goes against those factors.  What part of our brain can do that?  Just because we think we can make choices doesn’t mean we actually can.  Human minds create justifications for their decisions and actions that underscore our belief that we are making them outside of or despite our determining factors.  There has never been any objective evidence that the human mind is capable of doing that. Even for the cake example, factors we are unaware of will drive our “choice.” Besides matters of taste or smell, how our minds think the two pieces of cake were made or whether one might be contaminated or thousands of other factors we are not aware of or fully aware of, how likely we are to choose arbitrarily or wheather we act impulsively will affect which one our determining factors choose for us.  Then we will convince ourselves—because we are determined to do so—that we made the “choice” by some means independent of those factors.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 441 ]
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arnoldg - 07 March 2013 06:49 PM

Lois and Doug and others—your dwelling in the past—-but you are getting close to what Being is—-

you have written—-

“If so, by what mechanism would that take place?“and “aren`t understanding”—-

replace “mechanism” with means—-and “aren’t understanding” with do not know—-


modern physics is for function—-what is taking place;

modern philosophy is for Being—-what is is my place;

understanding our place may give us the means for free will—-


Sorry, that makes no sense at all.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 442 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 March 2013 08:55 PM

Lois, don’t waste your time.  This is just like arguing the existence of god with a couple of evangelicals.
A page or two back you hit the nail right on the head.  Some people can NOT process the true concept of determinism as it
relates to them and what they are as a brain.
You are just going round in circles here.

I know. My determining factors make me do that!  Thanks for your support.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 443 ]
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Lois,

Please react on this one.

You just do not even understand what I am arguing for, so please look up that posting.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 444 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 March 2013 11:10 PM
Write4U - 07 March 2013 03:24 PM

Or if we build a dike now we may avert flooding, no matter how hard it rains. Thus if we had not acted with foresight, we’d all be swimming for our lives.
IOW, we purposefully and actively participated in building a passive defense against a perceived future threat, which “may or may not” happen, i.e. a choice in priorities. All deterministic, but with a component of choice and free will in the mix.

Looks right.

Keep people out of the picture for a mo. The weather doesn’t know that whether the river bursts it’s banks or not depends upon if it continues to rain or not. It’s true that if it had not stopped raining there would have been a flood (imagine it did stop raining). So the weather has no knowledge of the power over the rivers fate that it has. Also it doesn’t have any preference for which way things turn out.

We do know the power we have over the river’s fate

—We like to think we do.


and we do have a preference for which way things turn out and that can cause us to take steps to prevent the flood.

Stephen


Afraid not.  The factors that drive our decisions can cause us to take such steps but the decision to do so and what those steps might be are still decided and acted upon by determining factors we have no control over.  Please accept my challenge and explain the mechanism whereby another part of our brain can overrule determining factors we don’t even know exist, nor their power.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 445 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 March 2013 11:19 PM
Lois - 07 March 2013 06:20 PM

Yeah, OK, it’s pretty clear you aren’t understanding what’s going on in this thread, dougsmith.  All I can suggest is that you reread what’s gone before. Perhaps something will click eventually.

Lois

Doug is trying to be helpful Lois.

Your intuitions are so strong that free will means libertarian free will that you argue against it to argue against compatibilism. Compatibilism is something different, which takes quite a bit of getting used to.

Stephen

It’s not a matter of getting used to it, it’s a matter of pretense. Compatibilists try to accept two contradictory ideas at the same time.  It’s smoke and mirrors, no matter how they twist it. It’s no different from someone saying he is an atheist but still believes a god is controlling everything.  You can call that compatibilism.  I call it nonsense.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 446 ]
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Quote Lois: ” we don’t even know exist”—-your Question makes sense—-

We experience the unknown become known, that`s the philosophy of Being

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 447 ]
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GdB - 09 March 2013 10:09 AM

Lois,

Please react on this one.

You just do not even understand what I am arguing for, so please look up that posting.

I have. You have convinced yourself that I am not understanding your position.  I understand it perfectly.  It makes no difference how many times I look at it.  Unless you can show evidence that our minds can split and make decisions and drive actions in opposition to determining factors,there is nothing you could possibly say to move me from my hard determinist stance. I understand your position perfectly.  In my opinion it is illogical and non scientific. But you have a right to hold that position anyway.  It doesn’t affect the truth of the issue.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 448 ]
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Lois - 09 March 2013 10:34 AM

I understand it perfectly.

I do not think so, otherwise you would not write:

Lois - 09 March 2013 10:34 AM

It makes no difference how many times I look at it.  Unless you can show evidence that our minds can split and make decisions and drive actions in opposition to determining factors,there is nothing you could possibly say to move me from my hard determinist stance.

I am saying all actions are determined, so you saying we are determined is not really an argument against my position.

Lois - 09 March 2013 10:34 AM

I understand your position perfectly.

You haven’t shown that anywhere. You have never given an argument against my position, all the time you are giving arguments against libertarian free will, a position I do not defend anywhere.

Lois - 09 March 2013 10:34 AM

In my opinion it is illogical and non scientific.

Please show me statements from me that are not consistent with science and logic.

Lois, you always argue against a position I do not hold, I do not defend any form of indeterminism. You have nowhere shown that you understand that.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 449 ]
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I don’t think it’s illogical, Lois, but irrelevant; I mean, it’s irrelevant when we put on our philosopher hat. It makes sense in our daily lives when we try to “decide” who is guilty or not, just like it makes sense to say to your wife that you love her instead of giving her the scientific explanation of what you are feeling. The problem arises when people will tell you that love is more than all the things I could list describing why I feel the way I do about my wife, or that determinism plus wishes and beliefs are something more than just determinism. People like to make stuff up and that’s all there is to it. Again, that’s fine in our daily lives, but it doesn’t belong in here, as it only messes things up.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 450 ]
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George - 09 March 2013 11:56 AM

I don’t think it’s illogical, Lois, but irrelevant; I mean, it’s irrelevant when we put on our philosopher hat. It makes sense in our daily lives when we try to “decide” who is guilty or not, just like it makes sense to say to your wife that you love her instead of giving her the scientific explanation of what you are feeling. The problem arises when people will tell you that love is more than all the things I could list describing why I feel the way I do about my wife, ...

The problem arises when neurologists say we are determined, and we therefore must change our practice of making people responsible, of praising, of blaming and punishing.

There is no problem in abolishing an overdue belief that we are free in the sense of being uncaused, that we in fact are determined.

George - 09 March 2013 11:56 AM

...or that determinism plus wishes and beliefs are something more than just determinism.

I do not defend anywhere that in a metaphysical sense. Your problem is that you do not recognise that we live with higher order phenomena, like orbits of planets, evolution, meaning, laws, institutions etc, and that it is meaningful to talk in such terms, even if we know that they are all just implemented in a swirling and more or less determined movement of atoms and other particles.

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