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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 09 March 2013 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 451 ]
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Lois - 09 March 2013 10:07 AM

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

I support you too.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 March 2013 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 452 ]
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George - 09 March 2013 09:53 AM

We choose what kind of cake we’ll have just like a calculator chooses to display that 1+1=2.

Sorry, a calculator has no wishes and beliefs.Your calculator is like the stone. And it does not display ‘2’: a few LEDs are giving light. However, the calculator was constructed in such a way that there is a one to one relationship with our body of mathematics.

What you are saying is only: under the viewpoint of (in)determinism, the stone, your calculator, and we are the same. And that is correct. All the processes: the rolling down of the stone, the outcome ‘2’ of the calculator, and your choice for one of the pieces of cake, are all determined. But you cannot use the stone for calculating, and you cannot make the calculator moral responsible for showing ‘2’, but you can assign the attributes ‘free’ or ‘coerced’ to actions, and you do this again and again in daily life.

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Posted: 09 March 2013 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 453 ]
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George - 09 March 2013 09:53 AM

We choose what kind of cake we’ll have just like a calculator chooses to display that 1+1=2.

Yes but we have a preference for what future we get to and act accordingly based on our evaluation of what future we prefer. Quite different to a calculator.

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.

You murdered the calculator because it is not capable of suffering.

I think the realisation that sentient beings don’t have free will does change you for the better. And I think if everybody realised we don’t have free will it would make a tremendous difference.

Stephen

[ Edited: 09 March 2013 01:02 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 09 March 2013 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 454 ]
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Lois - 09 March 2013 10:14 AM

  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.

There is no such mechanism.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 March 2013 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 455 ]
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I have carefully refrained from entering this discussion because it reminds me of some strong theists I used to argue with.  After not being able to convert me they would finally say, “You don’t understand what I’ve been saying.”  Even when I would elucidate exactly what they said, they would still make that claim.  It was difficult to have a discussion that could move toward changed views when one or more of the discussants seemed to be operating from logic proof compartments.

Occam

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Posted: 09 March 2013 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 456 ]
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Occam,

Remember I gave a one sentence outline of the free will discussion? It was somehow along the following lines:

Where nobody denies that we are determined, some people think that it is possible to keep a meaningful definition of free will, where others don’t.

What we see here is that Lois keeps arguing against compatibilist free will by saying it is impossible to ‘split of a part of the brain that chooses against it determining factors’ i.e. she supposes somebody is denying determinism here. Nobody does.

George seems to understand the point, but he thinks that it is rubbish. But he argues also again and again in one of the many variations of ‘but we are determined by the brain/genes/neurons’. It is true we are determined by the brain/genes/neurons, but that doesn’t touch the concept of compatibilist free will.

A meaningful attack on the idea of compatibilist free will would be that it cannot bear the burden of our daily praxis of praising, blaming, and assigning responsibility. A useless attack is saying “That is not free will, we are determined”. And not much else is happening here.

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Posted: 10 March 2013 01:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 457 ]
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George - 09 March 2013 08:02 AM

I think we have gone over this enough times.

But you don’t say why you hold the point of view that you do.

But we don’t have options and we don’t have choices, Stephen.

This depends upon how you define options. I don’t even know how you define them.

Our conscious mind makes us feel as if we did, but that’s an illusion.

I don’t believe that and don’t know why you think that. I find it helpful just to leave consciousness out of it all together.

I bought a can of tomatoes the other day for 40p. I looked at the pack of four for £1.40 (oops £1.50), realised that was 37.5p a can and yet bought just one can. I believe I was deliberating over the options for a few seconds and bought the single can because I valued that most highly.

If that isn’t what was happening what was?

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.

Much as we don’t like being blamed much at all, we at least want fair rules to be followed re when we are blamed. These rules include having another option that we had an appropriate way of selecting.

I’m sure this is how you see it in practice and I still don’t know what you are saying is wrong with this view.

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

Doesn’t mean some of the stories aren’t true.

Stephen

[ Edited: 10 March 2013 01:57 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 10 March 2013 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 458 ]
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Here is the term free will being used in a court case .

I think it does appear to be compatible with determinism in this instance.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21657852

Stephen

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Posted: 10 March 2013 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 459 ]
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GdB - 09 March 2013 10:54 PM

Remember I gave a one sentence outline of the free will discussion? It was somehow along the following lines:

Where nobody denies that we are determined, some people think that it is possible to keep a meaningful definition of free will, where others don’t.

What we see here is that Lois keeps arguing against compatibilist free will by saying it is impossible to ‘split of a part of the brain that chooses against it determining factors’ i.e. she supposes somebody is denying determinism here. Nobody does.

George seems to understand the point, but he thinks that it is rubbish. But he argues also again and again in one of the many variations of ‘but we are determined by the brain/genes/neurons’. It is true we are determined by the brain/genes/neurons, but that doesn’t touch the concept of compatibilist free will.

A meaningful attack on the idea of compatibilist free will would be that it cannot bear the burden of our daily praxis of praising, blaming, and assigning responsibility. A useless attack is saying “That is not free will, we are determined”. And not much else is happening here.

Yes, this is absolutely correct, GdB.

The main problem I see in this thread recently (and interestingly not in the sixteen billion prior threads and posts about this topic) is that it’s become a long exercise in straw man fallacies.

The point of this Forum is that it is for discussion, argument and inquiry. Straw man arguments don’t advance discussion or inquiry, since they don’t actually confront the argument. They are precisely identical to theists arguing that naturalists pray to Satan: anyone who puts forward this sort of argument simply hasn’t understood what they are arguing or who they are arguing against.

As many of you know by now, the topic of free will is one which I’m sick of arguing about. In these sixteen billion prior threads and posts I’ve gone through the reasoning, and I’d REALLY like to stop there. I don’t mind people disagreeing with one or another version of compatibalism so much as I mind people engaging in straw manning.

But you don’t need to believe me or GdB on this topic if you don’t want. For more objective evidence, read HERE and HERE. While you will see various arguments against the position, you will not see anyone claiming that it entails a denial of determinism, because it does not.

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Posted: 10 March 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 460 ]
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Create a new forum for free will,  name it Ideas;

Discuss Ideas without reference to philosophy.

Then, later propose a philosophy of Ideas?

[ Edited: 10 March 2013 08:16 AM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 11 March 2013 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 461 ]
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GdB - 09 March 2013 11:42 AM
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.

—Please define libertarian free will and tell us how it differs from plain old vanilla free will.

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.

I thought you defended the compatibilist position.  If you did, that in itself is not consistent with science and logic.  If you didn’t, im sorry if i misunderstood your position.

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.

I’m not sure what you’re saying here. You may not be defending “indeterminism” but you appear to be saying that determinism can be overridden by free will. Is that your position? 

Lois

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Posted: 11 March 2013 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 462 ]
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Once again, what is the purpose of “compatibilism” when most here agree that morals don’t derive from free will?
Isn’t “compatibilsm” redundant when we agree that there are no “free agencies”.
What’s left after that?  What is compatibilsm being compatible with?  Determinism? 
Determinism doesn’t need that!  It stands on it’s own.
So a compatibilst says-“We can have morals and choose between right and wrong and still be determined.”  OK….as long as the word choose
is being used loosely…..OK…..
As a strict determinist I don’t disavow the “existence” of morals…..the concept of morals and how we as social animals utilize this concept.
I don’t disavow that people perceive people choosing between right and wrong!
But I don’t need to come up with a rump concept to attach to determinism called “compatibilism”.
I know why we have morals.  I know why we think we choose things.  It’s all still determined! 
None of these natural processes that are determined force me to conceptualize them as compatible with determinism.
People are not choosing anything! Ever.  It’s that simple. For the 1000th time.
We’ve already gone over the scientific natural facts on why this is true.  One only needs to understand the definition of
determinism. It applies to all things on an atomic level. When atoms become arranged to form biota-magic does not happen.

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Posted: 11 March 2013 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 463 ]
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VYAZMA - 11 March 2013 01:51 PM

Once again, what is the purpose of “compatibilism” when most here agree that morals don’t derive from free will?
Isn’t “compatibilsm” redundant when we agree that there are no “free agencies”.
What’s left after that?  What is compatibilsm being compatible with?  Determinism? 
Determinism doesn’t need that!  It stands on it’s own.
So a compatibilst says-“We can have morals and choose between right and wrong and still be determined.”  OK….as long as the word choose
is being used loosely…..OK…..
As a strict determinist I don’t disavow the “existence” of morals…..the concept of morals and how we as social animals utilize this concept.
I don’t disavow that people perceive people choosing between right and wrong!
But I don’t need to come up with a rump concept to attach to determinism called “compatibilism”.
I know why we have morals.  I know why we think we choose things.  It’s all still determined! 
None of these natural processes that are determined force me to conceptualize them as compatible with determinism.
People are not choosing anything! Ever.  It’s that simple. For the 1000th time.
We’ve already gone over the scientific natural facts on why this is true.  One only needs to understand the definition of
determinism. It applies to all things on an atomic level. When atoms become arranged to form biota-magic does not happen.

I am so glad VYAZMA, that you are determined to understand what determinism actually means! wink

Lois

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Posted: 11 March 2013 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 464 ]
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The only reason “determinism stands on it`s own”—- is—-

We are not there when we say determinism stands on it`s own—-

Free will is not a philosophy, it is only an idea, it has no legs to stand on,

We provide the legs for determinism to stand on, We “are” equal to determinism!

It cannot exist/determine without us (nor can anything else), ET ALL

[ Edited: 11 March 2013 02:45 PM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 11 March 2013 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 465 ]
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Lois,

I hope you can see, though, that VYAZMA (and I) argue that compatibilism is more unnecessary than wrong. The one problem I find with compatibilism (and one that drives me crazy), is how it seems to redefine some terms. What exactly is a “choice” in the comp. language? They will tell you at one point that a decision is determined, only to later add that one if fact has a choice to go for either X or Y. If a chain of reactions has determined that one week from now I’ll do X, I have no idea why to drag an “option” Y into the equation.

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