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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 12 March 2013 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 481 ]
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George - 12 March 2013 07:32 AM

I still think the question of free will is more like the optical illusion problem than the taxonomic one, but, as usual, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t know what else to add here without repeating myself.

I think the only optical illusion is that we would be uncaused. That might be the reason for the continuing belief in libertarian free will.

We do not feel that we are caused because we have no access to what happens with our single neurons. How could we, we do not even feel that we have a brain! We know we have a brain, and we feel we have a head, and that ‘I am somewhere in there’. But that’s all.

[ Edited: 12 March 2013 08:14 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 12 March 2013 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 482 ]
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you could have included the third means of discovery,

“knowing/feeling” and the never to be forgotten “sensing,

do these causes effect or affect you,

for what ever is happening

[ Edited: 12 March 2013 09:32 AM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 12 March 2013 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 483 ]
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arnoldg - 12 March 2013 09:28 AM

you could have included the third means of discovery,

“knowing/feeling” and the never to be forgotten “sensing,


Do you mean like ” knowing,” “feeling” and “sensing” that the sun revolves around the earth?

Or that there are gods, angels and demons?

Or that we have free will?

Lois

 


do these causes effect or affect you,

for what ever is happening

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Posted: 12 March 2013 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 484 ]
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I take your Questions as real, and “no” to the fist two questions,

For free will I was proposing discovering (with those three major causes),

a point of view with fewer word descriptions, to a more inclusive understanding

of free will, in short,  sensing, feeling, and thinking are equals as knowledge.

“I am” no longer a “active” philosopher,  I am older and can not resist giving advise,

about—-struggling with Understanding Existence.

[ Edited: 12 March 2013 01:37 PM by arnoldg ]
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Posted: 12 March 2013 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 485 ]
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GdB - 12 March 2013 07:50 AM

I think the only optical illusion is that we would be uncaused. That might be the reason for the continuing belief in libertarian free will.

It’s more than this GdB.

The belief we have that we deserve what happens to us in the strong sense that is supposed to follow from libertarian free will doesn’t fit with the luck of the draw of determinism or indeterminism.

We have the illusion that the choice is ultimately up to us, that we have some power that overcomes that luck.

Stephen

[ Edited: 12 March 2013 11:47 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 12 March 2013 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 486 ]
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George - 12 March 2013 04:17 AM

Yes, Stephen, accoding to compabilitism one can choose between options X and Y even though one is determined to go for “option” X. grin

Well of course we can George. This just seems like stubbornness on your part.

It’s a question of checking out stuff that happens that we call choices. I choose to eat my steak rare. I really don’t like it well done, it’s simply obvious I can’t select it well done in the actual situations in which I don’t.

Lots of your choices are just like this. You need to add some weird metaphysics to the experience to come to a different point of view.

So why are you adding the weird metaphysics?

Stephen

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Posted: 12 March 2013 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 487 ]
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StephenLawrence - 12 March 2013 11:44 AM

I really don’t like it well done, it’s simply obvious I can’t select it well done in the actual situations in which I don’t.

smirk

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Posted: 12 March 2013 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 488 ]
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arnoldg - 12 March 2013 11:38 AM

I take your Questions as real, and “no” to the fist two questions,

For free will I was proposing discovering (with those three major causes),

a point of view with fewer word descriptions, to a more inclusive understanding

of free will, in short,  sensing, feeling, and thinking are equals as knowledge.

“I am” no longer a “active” philosopher,  I am older and can not resist giving advise,

about—-struggling with Understanding Existence.

Have you read the poem Jabberwocky!

Lois

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Posted: 12 March 2013 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 489 ]
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GdB - 12 March 2013 03:24 AM
Lois - 11 March 2013 12:29 PM

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

There is no difference. Libertarian free will is what most people think free will is. So that means ‘plain old vanilla free will’ is just as incoherent as libertarian free will. The idea is logically rooted in the dualist idea that our soul or something like that steers the body and is itself (at least partially) uncaused. Therefore it is also known as ‘contra-causal free will’, meaning that our soul can break through the causal fabric of the universe.

Nobody in this thread is defending libertarian free will.

The idea that determinism makes us unfree however, is also dependent on the idea of a soul: that our brain determines us, and that we are somehow separate from our body. We are caused, but we cause nothing. The so called hard determinists therefore make the same error as the libertarian free will proposers: they do as if the brain and the mind are separate entities. Without dualism it does not make sense to say that we have no free will. And that point, my dear Lois, is difficult to understand. It is the idea that we are separate from our brain, and that we are one directionally controlled by our brain. When we are not separate from our brain, it simply does not make sense to say we are controlled by our brain states, and therefore it makes no sense to say that we are determined by our brain: we are our brains.

Lois - 11 March 2013 12:29 PM

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.

I am defending the compatibilist positions and one of the basic ideas of compatibilism is that everything is determined.

Then where does compatibilism come in?  Where does free will come in?  If everything is determined, which is my position, what are you being compatible with? 

Lois

Lois - 09 March 2013 10:34 AM

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? 

No. If you really would have read and understood what I wrote in this thread, that should have been clear from the beginning.

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Posted: 12 March 2013 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 490 ]
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George - 12 March 2013 12:10 PM
StephenLawrence - 12 March 2013 11:44 AM

I really don’t like it well done, it’s simply obvious I can’t select it well done in the actual situations in which I don’t.

smirk

Of course your “decision” isn’t a matter of “selecting”  it less than well done.  You think your selection is a matter of will.  It is actually a result of unconscious factors that have brought you to the point of preferring it less than well done. Your “selection” is a result of that preference, over which you have no control. That you like it one way or another is the determining factor, not your perception of making a selection.

......

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Posted: 12 March 2013 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 491 ]
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Lois - 12 March 2013 09:48 PM
GdB - 12 March 2013 03:24 AM

I am defending the compatibilist positions and one of the basic ideas of compatibilism is that everything is determined.

Then where does compatibilism come in?  Where does free will come in?  If everything is determined, which is my position, what are you being compatible with?

Sigh… You really do not read. The answers on your questions (as far as they make any sense) are all there, in this thread. So, once again:

According to combatibilism free will is not the capability to act against ‘determining factors’. Got it? Leave that definition. It is wrong, it is incoherent, false, bullshit, an unreflected position, coming forth from dualist thought. Combatibilism says we are determined. Even stronger: without determinism free will would be impossible.

So what is then free will according to compatibilism? It is the capability to act according your wishes and beliefs. Your wishes and beliefs are determined themselves, of course, but they in turn are causes of our actions. So wishes and beliefs belong to the causal fabric of the universe. There is no interruption of deterministic processes anywhere.

I keep getting two criticisms of you, George and VYAZMA again and again that do not hold water:

1. “We are determined! We are not free! Get used to it!”
Sorry, but then you are not applying the compatibilist definition of free will. Now you can argue that the compatibilist definition is wrong. But nobody of you is doing that. You just take the libertarian definition of free will. That is the straw man Doug was speaking about.

2. “It is all neurons! You do not decide! Your brain does!”
Yes, of course it is neurons. But not every set of coupled neurons makes wishes and beliefs. At the moment that neurons build such complex structures that they are the basis for wishes and beliefs, it is a perfect valid description to say that those wishes and beliefs cause our actions. If an asteriod clashes with the earth, would anybody say it was not the asteriod that caused the damage, that it is wrong to say that the asteriod caused the damage, because it were its atoms? Is the asteriod not an object of science?
And yes, my brain ‘decides’ what I do. But I am what my brain does, so there is no opposition between ‘my brain decides’ and ‘I decide’.

Oh, and there is a third one:

3. “We are just conscious robots!”
Yes, we are. But if any robot is advanced enough to have consciousness, it might also be advanced enough to have wishes and beliefs, and possibly act according to them. So we can assign it free will.

So how could the compatibilist definition be discussed? The real question is if it covers the ways we are using the concept of free will in daily life. I am convinced it does. I am convinced it supports our practice of praising, blaming, punishing, assigning responsibility and also the confusing idea of ‘could have done otherwise’. But we can’t discuss this if you do not understand compatibilism in the first place, if you keep beating thin air.

[ Edited: 13 March 2013 12:00 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 13 March 2013 02:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 492 ]
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Lois - 12 March 2013 09:56 PM

That you like it one way or another is the determining factor,....

Yes, of course this is how choices often appear to us, that was my point. I select my steak rare because I like it and don’t like it well done and given those facts I could not do otherwise ceteris paribus.

There is no illusion, or at least not as is being supposed. Just a mistake over what it means to say I could select steak well done.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 March 2013 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 493 ]
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GdB-I keep getting two criticisms of you, George and VYAZMA again and again that do not hold water:

1. “We are determined! We are not free! Get used to it!”
Sorry, but then you are not applying the compatibilist definition of free will. Now you can argue that the compatibilist definition is wrong. But nobody of you is doing that. You just take the libertarian definition of free will. That is the straw man Doug was speaking about.

Myself, George and Lois have stated why we think “compatibilist freewill” is redundant.  Anything with the term free will in it is false.  I believe you want to have a cake and eat it too scenario so that you can qualify good and bad decisions on a morality level. I believe this because many of your posts about this subject have strayed into morality and desserts etc etc….

2. “It is all neurons! You do not decide! Your brain does!”
Yes, of course it is neurons. But not every set of coupled neurons makes wishes and beliefs. At the moment that neurons build such complex structures that they…..... any robot is advanced enough to have consciousness, it might also be advanced enough to have wishes and beliefs, and possibly act according to them. So we can assign it free will.

None of this makes any sense.  If the “thing” has wishes and beliefs they were caused.  If the “thing” acts on those wishes and beliefs then those actions were caused.  Again you are being disingenuous.  Are you doing this as a joke?  Are you just having fun making us go round and round in circles? It’s not funny!
At best it appears that compatibilism is a way to use the term “free will” knowing that things are determined anyways.
The bottom line is that you or Steve or Doug still haven’t succeeded in explaining compatibilism to a few of us. Why do you think we are not getting it?
Could it be we are firm determinists?  And you’re not?  But you don’t know it?  You subconsciously are being prevented from embracing determinism as it is?
I doubt this….sometimes you seem to give cogent explanations of causality and determinism.  But there is still a disconnect.  Again maybe you can explain the concept, but you can’t embrace it internally.  The illusion is too strong for you. This is compatibilism?
I’m at a loss here.

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Posted: 13 March 2013 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 494 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 March 2013 03:41 AM

Myself, George and Lois have stated why we think “compatibilist freewill” is redundant.  Anything with the term free will in it is false.

Make your mind up, VYAZMA: you cannot both think that the compatibilist definition of free will is redundant and false. That is inconsistent. Of course I think neither is the case. The compatibilist definition of free will is useful in distinguishing coerced actions and free actions. On the physical level, these cannot be distinguished, all actions are determined. It is only in the opposition between free and coerced actions that the concept of free will makes any sense.

And except arguments against a straw man, I’ve seen neither an argument from you that compatibilist definition of free will is redundant, nor that it is false. Only George has made a few remarks that direct at redundancy.

VYAZMA - 13 March 2013 03:41 AM

If the “thing” has wishes and beliefs they were caused.  If the “thing” acts on those wishes and beliefs then those actions were caused.

Yes. Exactly, precisely what I am saying (did you read that? Read my previous posting again…). But if this was meant to criticise the concept of compatibilist free will, then you are fighting the straw man again, just as I said under point 1 in my previous posting.

VYAZMA - 13 March 2013 03:41 AM

The bottom line is that you or Steve or Doug still haven’t succeeded in explaining compatibilism to a few of us. Why do you think we are not getting it?

1. You stick to equating free will with libertarian free will. (“We are determined! We are not free! Get used to it!”)
2. You equate coercion with caused.
3. You still see the mind as something that is caused by the brain, (or worse that states of mind are coerced by brain states). It isn’t. The mind is the working brain. There is no causal relationship between the brain and the mind.

You just are simply under the spell of a middle aged, religious coloured view on free will: that the soul independently from previous causes intervenes with the determinist universe. Because that view is totally nonsense you think you deny free will alltogether.

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Posted: 13 March 2013 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 495 ]
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GdB, the problem is that at times you sound redundant but most of what you follow up with seems wrong—hard to tell, as it’s really difficult to figure out what exactly you’re saying. To say that free will means acting freely according to one’s wishes and beliefs may not be wrong—although it seems totally irrelevant to me—but once you get to explain how the whole process of choosing happens, it begins to sound very suspicious.

Often it is also sneaky at best and stupid at worst. I have no idea what to make of it when you say that “without determinism free will would be impossible.” As opposed to what? Indeterminism? How does that prove anything? It’s like saying that the deistic God without cosmological constants would be impossible. So what? How can one argue against something like this?

[ Edited: 13 March 2013 06:05 AM by George ]
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