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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 12 May 2013 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 646 ]
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StephenLawrence - 12 May 2013 08:18 AM

So answer me: In the above situation, is the sentence “IF I would have had electricity THEN I could have boiled this water” true or false?

I’m assuming it’s true.

But the question is would determinism be true if you had electricity? If not it was physically impossible for you to have boiled this water. And the question which follows is are we free to break physical laws? You need to answer yes to this because otherwise free will is incompatible with determinism because you opt for 1) same past, different laws.

Yes, it is true, and that is all I am claiming. I do not claim that it must be possible that magically there is suddenly electricity. The question is not:

“Was it physically possible for me to boil the water?” (a)

The question is:

If I had electricity, would I have been able to boil the water?” (b)

The answer on (a) is “no”, and the reason is “because there was no electricity”.
The answer on (b) is “yes” as it asks what would have been possible when the reason for (a) would not be true.

See again my explanation with diagram here.

Again: your problem is that the truth value of “If A would have been the case, then B would have been the case” is independent of the question if A in some actual situation was (physically) possible or not; you just do not see that.

I only claim that “if I would have known we were run out of coffee, I could have bought a pack” is true, not that there was a way for me to know we were run out of coffee. The truth of the sentence is based on the fact that a hundreds of times I was in similar situations, where my knowledge helped me to buy the stuff I was run out of.

[ Edited: 12 May 2013 09:03 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 12 May 2013 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 647 ]
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StephenLawrence - 12 May 2013 08:56 AM

If I had bought coffee yesterday a physical law or laws would have been different.

I think I perfectly know where you problem lies. Was my account here wrong?

GdB - 06 May 2013 12:04 AM

“Everything else being the same (i.e. A and B do occur), if C had occurred at d then X would have happened”. (2)

Now you are saying that this sentence can only be true when C actually can occur, i.e.
- C and D themselves are not determined, so independent of their history both could happen
or
- the complete history (symbolised with the ‘?’) must have been different so that C occurred instead of D

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Posted: 12 May 2013 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 648 ]
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Stephen Lawrence,
Our options are:

1) Same past, different laws.

2)different past, same laws.

By opting for 1) What you are saying is we are able to break physical laws.

But here you are presupposing that what happened is the only way it could have happened given the same circumstances.

Why not a third option;

3) Same past, same laws, alternate outcome.  Does it say anywhere that alternative outcomes from the same event are not possible? Can it be demonstrated?

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Posted: 12 May 2013 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 649 ]
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Write4U - 12 May 2013 11:51 AM

...Why not a third option;

3) Same past, same laws, alternate outcome.  Does it say anywhere that alternative outcomes from the same event are not possible? Can it be demonstrated?

I think it can only be demonstrated in retrospect (but in retrospect the past is, at least, slightly different).  And in retrospect, whatever happened is immutable, so, it seems to me that alternative outcomes to the same event are not possible (at the moment that the outcome actually occurs).

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Posted: 12 May 2013 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 650 ]
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TimB - 12 May 2013 12:29 PM
Write4U - 12 May 2013 11:51 AM

...Why not a third option;

3) Same past, same laws, alternate outcome.  Does it say anywhere that alternative outcomes from the same event are not possible? Can it be demonstrated?

I think it can only be demonstrated in retrospect (but in retrospect the past is, at least, slightly different).  And in retrospect, whatever happened is immutable, so, it seems to me that alternative outcomes to the same event are not possible (at the moment that the outcome actually occurs).

Would we even know? It seems to be somewhat predictable, but then it’s all relative anyway. Could we ever know?
  Laie_23.gif

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Posted: 13 May 2013 03:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 651 ]
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Write4U - 12 May 2013 11:51 AM

Why not a third option;

3) Same past, same laws, alternate outcome.  Does it say anywhere that alternative outcomes from the same event are not possible?

There is no third option because we are talking about what would be the case if determinism is true.

Assuming determinism if anything had turned out differently either the initial conditions of the universe would have been different, or a or some laws of nature would be different.

This follows from the meaning of determinism:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

Causal determinism is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature.

Stephen

[ Edited: 13 May 2013 03:13 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 13 May 2013 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 652 ]
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GdB - 12 May 2013 09:07 AM

I think I perfectly know where you problem lies. Was my account here wrong?

I don’t see why you don’t just take what I say at face value.

There are two ways of interpreting counterfactuals.

One of them is if I had done otherwise indeterminism would be true.

So if we are able to do otherwise we are able to do the physically impossible.

Basically the problem is this looks very odd. We don’t usually believe we are able to do the physically impossible. I just believe the idea takes some defending. Especially as a compatibilist because it looks like the ability is incompatible with determinism.

Stephen

[ Edited: 13 May 2013 04:00 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 13 May 2013 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 653 ]
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GdB - 12 May 2013 08:59 AM

The truth of the sentence is based on the fact that a hundreds of times I was in similar situations, where my knowledge helped me to buy the stuff I was run out of.

This brings up a couple of questions.

1)How does knowledge of what happened in similar situations give us knowledge of what is true in a slightly different situation?

2) As we are widening our interest to include similar situations, doesn’t it make sense to also widen the meaning of all else the same, to all else similar?

Stephen

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Posted: 13 May 2013 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 654 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 May 2013 03:47 AM

There are two ways of interpreting counterfactuals.

One of them is if I had done otherwise indeterminism would be true.

No, no, and once more, no. Counterfactuals are logical expressions of relationships between sentences.

Counterfactuals are conditionals, and conditionals (“If A then B”) can be true without the antecedent being true. If we apply conditionals on sentences that express a causal relationship, then they express how events are connected. But not that one of the events really took place at a certain moment, or even that it was possible that the antecedent occurred at a certain place and time.

1. “If I would put this water in a freezer now, then it would become ice in about an hour”.

is true even if I have no freezer at all, even if it isn’t possible for me to have a freezer now.

Same with:

2. “If I would have put this water in a freezer yesterday, then it would have become ice about an hour later”.

Same with:

3. “If A, B, and C would have occurred, then X would have occurred.”
4. “All others being the same (i.e. A and B), if C would have occurred, then X would have occurred.”
5. “All others being the same, if I would have choosen C, then X would have occurred.”

I claim that these sentences are true, nothing more. I do no claim that any of A, B or C would have been (physically) possible at the place and time of interest. The proof is to you that I need more than truth of the complete counterfactual, that I need the possible truth of A, B and C in 5 at a certain moment in stating that:

6. “if you would have chosen another option, something else would have happened”

Why should I claim more than the truth of this sentence in order of it to be true?

[ Edited: 13 May 2013 04:39 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 13 May 2013 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 655 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 May 2013 03:58 AM

1)How does knowledge of what happened in similar situations give us knowledge of what is true in a slightly different situation?

You also could ask how science is possible. You are discussing the very ground of the possibility of science, even of just using past experience in other situations.

StephenLawrence - 13 May 2013 03:58 AM

2) As we are widening our interest to include similar situations, doesn’t it make sense to also widen the meaning of all else the same, to all else similar?

What would that bring? No idea what you are aiming at.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 656 ]
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GdB - 09 May 2013 03:41 PM

That means that every time you say something like “if I would have known we were run out of coffee, I could have bought a pack” in daily life, you know you lie?

Say I had a water cooker, I had water, but there was no electricity. Now is the sentence “IF I would have had electricity THEN I could have boiled this water” true or false?

According to this (it is just basic logic) I can rewrite the sentence as:

“I had no electricity OR I can boil this water”

As it is obvious true that “I had no electricity”, the sentence as a whole is true.

See here:

The truth value of a material conditional, A → B, is determined by the truth values of A and B. This is not so for the counterfactual conditional A > B, for there are different situations agreeing on the truth values of A and B but which yield different evaluations of A > B. For example, if Keith is in Germany, the following two conditionals have both a false antecedent and a false consequent:

1. if Keith were in Mexico then he would be in Africa.
2. if Keith were in Mexico then he would be in North America.

Indeed, if Keith is in Germany, then all three conditions “Keith is in Mexico”, “Keith is in Africa”, and “Keith is in North America” are false. However, (1) is obviously false, while (2) is true as Mexico is part of North America.

So it is also clear that your sentence “If I had bought coffee yesterday I could travel faster than the speed of light is true” is wrong, because the consequent is always false. As there are situations in which you bought coffee (i.e. the antecedent is true), and the consequent is always false, your statement is false.

So answer me: In the above situation, is the sentence “IF I would have had electricity THEN I could have boiled this water” true or false?

It’s true, but it has nothing to do with supporting the idea of free will.  If electricity were available in this case it would mean the environment was different, which would be one more determining factor, over which you have no control, that is determining what you do next.

Lois

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Posted: 04 June 2013 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 657 ]
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Lois - 04 June 2013 09:12 AM

It’s true, but it has nothing to do with supporting the idea of free will.  If electricity were available in this case it would mean the environment was different, which would be one more determining factor, over which you have no control, that is determining what you do next.

Lois, the whole discussion with Stephen started (again) here, i.e. some 5 pages ago. In that posting you find one aspect of free will that holds in a deterministic universe. However, Stephen fails to see that counterfactuals, in this case ‘if you would have chosen another option, something else would have happened’ can be true even if the universe was determined in such a way that the antecedent impossibly could happen at the situation, the time and place, we are looking at.

Therefore I used simpler examples, outside the context of free will, to show that the truth of counterfactuals exactly does not mean that the antecedent occurred. I claim that the counterfactual is true, not that its antecedent must be true. (Which also would not make any sense with counterfactuals).

And for the rest you keep arguing against libertarian free will again (’which would be one more determining factor, over which you have no control, that is determining what you do next’). I defend compatibilist free will. Until now, you have not shown any sign that you realise that, that you understand what compatibilists claim that free will is.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 658 ]
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I think the following is useful.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-luck/

Causal luck. Finally, there is causal luck, or luck in “how one is determined by antecedent circumstances” (Nagel 1979, 60). Nagel points out that the appearance of causal moral luck is essentially the classic problem of free will. The problem of free will to which Nagel refers arises because it seems that our actions—and even the “stripped-down acts of the will”—are consequences of what is not in our control. If this is so, then neither our actions nor our willing are free. And since freedom is often thought to be necessary for moral responsibility, we cannot be morally responsible even for our willings. Sometimes the problem is thought to arise only if determinism is true, but this is not the case. Even if it turns out that determinism is false, but events are still caused by prior events according to probabilistic laws, the way that one is caused to act by antecedent circumstances would seem to be equally outside of one’s control (e.g., Pereboom 2002, 41–54, Watson 1982, 9).

When someone asks “do we he free will” usually they mean do we have a power that overcomes this luck. The correct answer to that question is “No!”.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 July 2013 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 659 ]
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But is it the causality “always” deterministic of the result and at what point?  That point is the instant before a natural causal agent creates a result.
But what if we start sooner and anticipate this causal agent, can we be instrumental in controlling the conditions at the time when they become results?

The law states “cause and effect”, but is the effect always predictable. If not, can a probability be assigned? If a probability can be assigned can man make a choice to act or not to act on this probability. If we can then will we have been instrumental in turning a probability into a certainty for man’s use (the lightbulb). I cannot see a possible way where the universe could come up with a human designed lightbulb, there is no such thing as “irreducible complexity”, however the lightbulb is eminently suited (till recently) for man’s use only and has no influence (other than energy use) on universal deterministic laws.
IMO, there lies therein lies the answer to compatible free will (an augmentation or guidance or manipulation of probable outcomes) to choose from future deterministic probabilities and assist them in becoming true (constructing a lightbulb) or act to avoid them from coming true (building a dam to avoid future flooding).

Of course the processes of thinking are deterministic, no argument there.

[ Edited: 08 July 2013 03:52 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 09 July 2013 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 660 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 July 2013 02:31 PM

I think the following is useful.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-luck/

When someone asks “do we he free will” usually they mean do we have a power that overcomes this luck. The correct answer to that question is “No!”.

I don’t think it is useful at all. It is just libertarian free will (of a slightly different colour): that is what people normally think what free will is. But we know it is wrong.

For free will we just need a few factors:
1) Reasons are at least partially causes of our actions.
2) We are able to think and reflect on our reasons.
3) We are able to anticipate what happens in our world around us, to see what results possibly come from our actions.

That’s more or less it. When these factors apply, somebody is responsible, and can be held morally accountable for his actions. And that is what we mean with free will.

It is true that some people have more luck than others. But above factors just mean that you are aware of what responsibility practically means, which implies you are a responsible member of our society. That is the context in which the concept of ‘free will’ has a meaning, and it has nearly nothing to do with any metaphysical stance of determinism, chance determinism, or whatever. The only thing we need is a certain level of determinism so that 1) can be true.

People can just not get away with, having done a promise, or signed a contract, and then avoid the consequences by saying “Oh, my brain forced me to do something else!”

[ Edited: 09 July 2013 10:14 AM by GdB ]
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