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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 08 November 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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GdB - 08 November 2012 09:49 AM

And then there are neurologists who say we should reform our judicial system, because science has ‘discovered’ that we have no free will.

Even Dennett says the system is really bad. And of course part of the reason is belief in ultimate responsibility, so the neuroscientists are right, we should improve the system because people don’t have free will.

It’s just a question of how far we go.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 November 2012 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 09:28 AM

Yes, everything is determined. So why are you asking VYAZMA if people are responsible? Of course they are not since everything is determined, and of course we will always act if as nothing was determined. The realization that free will is an illusion has no practical use whatsoever.

What would the difference be between acting as if everything is determined and acting as if nothing was determined?

Stephen

[ Edited: 08 November 2012 10:52 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 08 November 2012 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 10:26 AM
GdB - 08 November 2012 10:04 AM

But why are those neurologists wrong?

Because they don’t realize what their discoveries in fact mean, I guess.

O sorry, that was not the kind of answer I was looking for. What do their discoveries mean, and why do you think that the discovery that free will is an illusion has no practical use whatsoever?

Implicitly you also say Libet’s experiments have no practical use. Is that so?

George - 08 November 2012 10:26 AM

But I don’t really blame them. How could I?  wink

That’s your choice…

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Posted: 08 November 2012 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 05:13 AM

What we should or should not do is irrelevant since we’ll always only do what we have to do. “Should” is as much of an illusion as is free will. You, GdB, seem to be one of the victims getting hit the hardest by the illusion of the Cartesian Theathre.

This isn’t right George. Whether we always do what we have to do depends upon what you mean by that and has nothing to do with consciousness at all.

There is a sense in which everything is contingent assuming causal determinism, because effects depend upon their causes and so the causes and effects must be contingent.

The buddhist name for it is “dependent origination”, the clue is in the title.

The sense in which you are using “have to” is banal, or at least that is the claim you ‘should’ be trying to make an arguing against.

Stephen

[ Edited: 08 November 2012 11:01 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 November 2012 10:41 AM
GdB - 08 November 2012 09:49 AM

And then there are neurologists who say we should reform our judicial system, because science has ‘discovered’ that we have no free will.

Even Dennett says the system is really bad. And of course part of the reason is belief in ultimate responsibility, so the neuroscientists are right, we should improve the system because people don’t have free will.

It’s just a question of how far we go.

Stephen


The problem is, and most people fail to see that it doesn’t matter if we agree that people have no free will, we are powerless to consciously respond to it.  When you say “we should improve the system because people don’t have free will” you are suggesting an impossible action.  We can’t do anything, whether we think people have free will or not, because we ourselves don’t have free will.  Again, the movie analogy:  Can we change the movie because we know that the people on screen have no free will?  Or has all of the action already been determined when we come to that conclusion? We are only the audience.  What we think has no impact on how the movie proceeds.

 


...

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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GdB - 08 November 2012 10:51 AM
George - 08 November 2012 10:26 AM

But I don’t really blame them. How could I?  wink

That’s your choice…

Actually, it is not my choice at all. I was determined to be a determinist and a nihilist. cheese

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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Lois - 08 November 2012 11:12 AM
StephenLawrence - 08 November 2012 10:41 AM
GdB - 08 November 2012 09:49 AM

And then there are neurologists who say we should reform our judicial system, because science has ‘discovered’ that we have no free will.

Even Dennett says the system is really bad. And of course part of the reason is belief in ultimate responsibility, so the neuroscientists are right, we should improve the system because people don’t have free will.

It’s just a question of how far we go.

Stephen


The problem is, and most people fail to see that it doesn’t matter if we agree that people have no free will, we are powerless to consciously respond to it.  When you say “we should improve the system because people don’t have free will” you are suggesting an impossible action.  We can’t do anything, whether we think people have free will or not, because we ourselves don’t have free will.  Again, the movie analogy:  Can we change the movie because we know that the people on screen have no free will?  Or has all of the action already been determined when we come to that conclusion? We are only the audience.  What we think has no impact on how the movie proceeds.

So what you believe makes no difference to how you behave?

I went to M&S today to buy frozen pastry. I went there because I believed they sell it (and because I wanted to make a pie tonight)

Do you think that isn’t true?

Stephen

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Lois - 08 November 2012 11:12 AM

The problem is, and most people fail to see that it doesn’t matter if we agree that people have no free will, we are powerless to consciously respond to it.  When you say “we should improve the system because people don’t have free will” you are suggesting an impossible action.  We can’t do anything, whether we think people have free will or not, because we ourselves don’t have free will.  Again, the movie analogy:  Can we change the movie because we know that the people on screen have no free will?  Or has all of the action already been determined when we come to that conclusion? We are only the audience.  What we think has no impact on how the movie proceeds.

...

If we must use the movie analogy, we are not just the audience.  We are also actors in the movie. What we think is a part of how the movie proceeds.

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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.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 11:27 AM
GdB - 08 November 2012 10:51 AM
George - 08 November 2012 10:26 AM

But I don’t really blame them. How could I?  wink

That’s your choice…

Actually, it is not my choice at all. I was determined to be a determinist and a nihilist. cheese

I should learn only to write one statement or question in a posting meant for you. The more important question was before this remark.

GdB - 08 November 2012 10:51 AM
George - 08 November 2012 10:26 AM
GdB - 08 November 2012 10:04 AM

But why are those neurologists wrong?

Because they don’t realize what their discoveries in fact mean, I guess.

O sorry, that was not the kind of answer I was looking for. What do their discoveries mean, and why do you think that the discovery that free will is an illusion has no practical use whatsoever?

Implicitly you also say Libet’s experiments have no practical use. Is that so?

So two questions I would be glad, if you answer them.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Their discoveries mean we have no free will. They have no practical use because no matter what we do, we will always be trapped in the ever lasting chain of action and reaction. It’s like thinking that just because we understand evolution, we can stop it. (I was going to add a Hitler metaphor, but supposedly that’s against the forum rules.)

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Posted: 08 November 2012 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 01:02 PM

Their discoveries mean we have no free will. They have no practical use because no matter what we do, we will always be trapped in the ever lasting chain of action and reaction.

This is like saying a pair of gloves are of no practical use for the same reason.

It’s sensless.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 November 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 08:25 AM

There is only one way we will structure our judicial system and that’s all there is to it.

And what that way is will depend, in part, on whether people believe in libertarian free will or not .

You think you have a point but actually you don’t and that’s all there is to it. smile

Stephen

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Posted: 08 November 2012 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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GdB - 08 November 2012 01:00 AM

VYAZMA,

Do you think people are responsible?
- If yes, on what faculty of humans is this based? How would you call that faculty, that bacteria, plants and most (all?) non human animals don’t have?
- If not, shouldn’t we change a lot of our societal structures (judicial system, prices and praise for accomplishments, etc).

Sorry, but the time is to turn the argumenting around. I am getting tired of defending myself against your verbal attacks.

Good for you…fire away!
Do I think people are responsible? For what? 
People are responsible in the same sense that a volcano erupts and splashes lava all over a city and starts fires.  And the people say the volcano is responsible.  Or they say the pressures deep below the volcano are responsible.
Everything we humans do is determined.  The rest of your argument is irrelevant.
Your just hijacking the free-will discussion to put forth a moral dialectic. I see it.  I hope others who are wasting there time going round and round and round with you realize it too.
Seriously, contextually discussing free-will with you is counter-productive.  As I said before the whole discussion can be wrapped up in 3-5 pages.
Why don’t you just start a new thread and expound about your hopes and dreams for a more just and fair society based on your ideas of reason. That’s all your really interested in.
Was that verbally aggressive too?

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Posted: 08 November 2012 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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Vyasma, Your thoughts that you presented in textual form in your response to GdB were determined.  One of the primary causal factors (among a myriad of other determining factors) was GdB’s post itself. 

If you said what you wanted to say, then you acted according to (compatibilist version of) free will.  A value of this understanding of free will is that the rest of us can assign some responsibility to you, for what you said. (Or if someone was holding a gun to your head and telling you to type what you did, we can relieve you of responsibility for what you said.) We don’t assign personal responsibility to a volcano because, as far as we know, volcanos don’t have the capacity to want or come to know its wants and act according to those wants. 

If we assign no responsibility to anyone for any action, it seems to me that there would be social chaos.

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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.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 01:02 PM

Their discoveries mean we have no free will. They have no practical use because no matter what we do, we will always be trapped in the ever lasting chain of action and reaction. It’s like thinking that just because we understand evolution, we can stop it. (I was going to add a Hitler metaphor, but supposedly that’s against the forum rules.)

We may not be able to stop evolution, but at a local level we can influence evolution drastically. Our advantage is that we can anticipate the future and have the ability to respond to the future before it becomes the present.

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