45 of 69
45
Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 09 July 2013 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 661 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6021
Joined  2009-02-26
StephenLawrence - 08 July 2013 02:31 PM

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

What about the expressions “we make our own luck” and “be prepared when opportunity knocks”?

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 662 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
Write4U - 09 July 2013 12:36 PM
StephenLawrence - 08 July 2013 02:31 PM

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

What about the expressions “we make our own luck” and “be prepared when opportunity knocks”?


Human expressions have little to do with reality.  They are based on wishful thinking and myth.

Lois

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 663 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
Write4U - 09 July 2013 12:36 PM

What about the expressions “we make our own luck” and “be prepared when opportunity knocks”?

Great golfers “make their own luck” by practicing over and over and over until they get so good that they are really likely to pull off great shots regularly. But they are lucky that they did that, if the inital conditions of the universe had been appropriately different they would not have practised enough (assuming determinism). The initial conditions of the universe are 100% out of their control and they are merely lucky that it started off the way it did. It’s important to realise we make our own luck in one sense, but also to deny it in the other sense.

It makes sense to be prepared when opportunity knocks because if you aren’t you will miss the opportunity. Again whether you are prepared or not and whether the the opportunity arrives or not depends upon the initial conditions of the universe (assuming determinism).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 664 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20

Hi GdB,

GdB - 13 May 2013 05:52 AM

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.

Sure. Good question isn’t it? Start with science is possible and then ask what is it about the world that makes it possible?

StephenLawrence - 13 May 2013 03:58 AM

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.

It’s a question of what “all else the same” really means.

“If I had know we had run out of coffee I would have bought coffee all else the same”

What does that mean? Does it mean all else the same including the reasons I didn’t know we had run out of coffee?

What I’m aiming at is to make sense of counterfactuals .

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 665 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 13 May 2013 04:25 AM


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.

My point is I don’t think you are referring to circumstances in which you would not have a freezer.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 666 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4488
Joined  2007-08-31
StephenLawrence - 10 July 2013 09:11 AM
GdB - 13 May 2013 05:52 AM

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.

Sure. Good question isn’t it? Start with science is possible and then ask what is it about the world that makes it possible?

No, it is not a good question in this context at all. I reacted on this question of you:

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?

I take for granted that science is possible. So I take also for granted that I can derive valid claims based on past situations that are sufficiently close to the one under scrutiny at the moment. You seem to put this method into question. You seem to deny that I can learn by experience

StephenLawrence - 10 July 2013 09:11 AM

“If I had know we had run out of coffee I would have bought coffee all else the same”

What does that mean? Does it mean all else the same including the reasons I didn’t know we had run out of coffee?

Sigh. It does not matter. In all situations that I was in the shop, and they had coffee, and I knew we were run out of coffee, and I had the money etc. etc. I could buy a pack of coffee. However, this time I did not know it, and therefore I did not buy any. But if I had known… Why for god’s sake do you think you need to reflect on the reasons why you know or did not know that you were run out of coffee, to know that that sentence in itself is just true?!?

Take the following example: I have a stone in my hand (just daily circumstances, nothing special), and let it loose. Will it fall? You know the answer, you do not ask me if I have the reasons for doing it, or if it was possible that I had a stone in my hand anyway etc etc. You perfectly know that, under normal circumstances, stones fall from my hand if I loose my grip. To evaluate the truth of ‘if I let loose my grip on a stone, it will fall’ I don’t need any details of how the stone got in my hand, why I would loose my grip on it.

StephenLawrence - 10 July 2013 09:26 AM
GdB - 13 May 2013 04:25 AM


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.

My point is I don’t think you are referring to circumstances in which you would not have a freezer.

The truth of the sentence has nothing to do with the fact if I have a freezer, could have a freezer, or could not have a freezer. And yes, I am referring to all similar situations, maybe exactly the same, except that I had a freezer then, and I have the experience that I can freeze water with it. That is the empirical information that makes my counterfactual true.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2013 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 667 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 10 July 2013 10:24 AM

I take for granted that science is possible. So I take also for granted that I can derive valid claims based on past situations that are sufficiently close to the one under scrutiny at the moment.

So do I.

You seem to put this method into question. You seem to deny that I can learn by experience

No, I accept we can do it but want to understand why it is that we can do it.

Why for god’s sake do you think you need to reflect on the reasons why you know or did not know that you were run out of coffee, to know that that sentence in itself is just true?!?

Because I want to know if we are thinking about circumstances in which we wouldn’t know we had coffee and yet never the less knew we had coffee, or not. grin

Take the following example: I have a stone in my hand (just daily circumstances, nothing special), and let it loose. Will it fall? You know the answer, you do not ask me if I have the reasons for doing it, or if it was possible that I had a stone in my hand anyway etc etc. You perfectly know that, under normal circumstances, stones fall from my hand if I loose my grip.

Sure. But those normal circumstances are those in which I would let it loose. You’re asking me to consider what would happen in circumstances in which I wouldn’t let it loose and yet do.

To evaluate the truth of ‘if I let loose my grip on a stone, it will fall’ I don’t need any details of how the stone got in my hand, why I would loose my grip on it.

You don’t need any details. But perhaps you need to assume that they are there in the background. So if we treat “all else the same” as “all else near enough the same so that you would lose your grip” that allows us to talk about possible circumstances in which you would lose your grip.

Otherwise we are talking about circumstances in which you wouldn’t lose your grip.

And yes, I am referring to all similar situations, maybe exactly the same, except that I had a freezer then, and I have the experience that I can freeze water with it. That is the empirical information that makes my counterfactual true.

What makes the counterfactual true is what would happen in the circumstances you are referring to. Not what did happen in similar circumstances. The question is how can we tell what would happen from what has happened in similar circumstances?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2013 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 668 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4488
Joined  2007-08-31
StephenLawrence - 10 July 2013 12:23 PM
GdB - 10 July 2013 10:24 AM

I take for granted that science is possible. So I take also for granted that I can derive valid claims based on past situations that are sufficiently close to the one under scrutiny at the moment.

So do I.

Really? But that is all you need to. For our understanding of free will we do not need to understand why causality and laws of nature exist, only that they exist. This is the guarantee that I know that in similar situations similar things happen, and that I principally can evaluate the empirical truth of material implications: “If I let loose of the stone, it will fall”.

If you evaluate the truth of the following sentences, is there a point where you think it is not true anymore?

a) If you let loose of a stone, it will fall.
b) If you let loose this stone, it will fall.
c) If you would have loosened this stone, it would have fallen.
d) All other circumstances the same, if you would have loosened this stone, it would have fallen.

My comments:
a) is a law of nature
b) is its application on a single event
c) is a counterfactual
d) is exactly the same counterfactual

All sentences are true, and the truth of b), c) and d) follow from the truth of the law of nature expressed in a). What you refuse to acknowledge is that the sentences:
1) If I would have known we were run out of coffee, I could have bought a pack of coffee,
2) If you would have chosen another option, something else would have happened,
are simply true.

Both are expressions for the empirical experience that my mental states play a role in what happens. And that is the whole basis of compatibilist free will.

Remember where our present discussion originated: in this posting. There I only claim that 2) is true. Reread that posting, and tell me why 2) should not be true; or why it is not enough. If you think it is not enough, then you are using the concept of libertarian free will, and with that concept in mind, tell us that free will does not exist, and therefore responsibility does not exist neither.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2013 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 669 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 11 July 2013 12:43 AM

What you refuse to acknowledge is that the sentences:
1) If I would have known we were run out of coffee, I could have bought a pack of coffee,
2) If you would have chosen another option, something else would have happened,
are simply true.

What I don’t acknowledge is that “all else the same” means “all else exactly the same”

If I had bought a pack of coffee I would have known we were run out of coffee.

If I had known we were run out of coffee other circumstances would have been different.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 July 2013 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 670 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20

GdB,

The point you don’t react to is counterfactuals appear to be nonsense the way you are doing them.

This is easy to see. In circumstances in which I wouldn’t have know I had run out coffee and had known I had run out of coffee I would have bought coffee.

I’m just saying I don’t think that this can be what we are referring to which is why I think “all else the same” is not “all else exactly the same”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 July 2013 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 671 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4488
Joined  2007-08-31

Stephen,

In our context counterfactuals are one method of trying to make sense of causality. They are a way to express that certain conditions are followed necessarily by some consequences, and that there is not just an accidental correlation between some events and some other events. If not all conditions are actual, but e.g. one is missing, then I can express my ‘expectation’ of a causal relationship with a counterfactual that ‘if that condition would be the case, then that effect would happen’. The counterfactual is called counterfactual because the condition did not actual exist at the time and place I was looking at. The truth of the counterfactual as a whole however is not dependent on it if the condition at that moment could have occurred at all.

The positive way of saying it would be: in every situation where a minimal necessary set of conditions occurs, a certain effect will happen. Minimal means: if only one of this conditions does not occur, the effect will not take place. If I have a situation where all of the conditions but one apply, I can claim that my counterfactual ‘if that condition also would have been the case, then the effect would have occurred’. This has nothing to do with the causal history of the conditions themselves. If I have a snapshot of the moment in which the conditions can be observed, then I can draw my conclusions about the effects without any reference on the causal history of these conditions. That is your logical error: the truth of counterfactuals has nothing to with how the conditions, if at all, could arise.

You cannot attack my true counterfactual statement by referring to how the condition what it is about could arise or not. And remember: I only claim the truth of my counterfactuals, nothing more:
i) If I would have a freezer I could make ice of this water
ii) If I would have known we were run out of coffee, I could have bought a pack
iii) If I would have choosen C, then X would have occurred

When I add “All others being the same”, it just means that the other necessary conditions apply just as they are.

If you want to argue against my standpoint then you must tell me why above examples are not true. Saying that the causal history of the conditions should have been different has nothing to do with my claim that the above counterfactuals are true.

Saying that history should have been different in order for me to have a freezer is no argument against the truth of i) at all. Exactly the same for ii) and iii).

In what does my counterfactual analysis differ from the standard meaning:

A counterfactual conditional, subjunctive conditional, or remote conditional, abbreviated CF, is a conditional (or “if-then”) statement indicating what would be the case if its antecedent were true (although it is not true). This is to be contrasted with an indicative conditional, which indicates what is (in fact) the case if its antecedent is (in fact) true (which it may or may not be).

(Italics by me)

[ Edited: 22 July 2013 07:32 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 August 2013 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 672 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 22 July 2013 05:23 AM

The truth of the counterfactual as a whole however is not dependent on it if the condition at that moment could have occurred at all.

What we are looking for is meaningful truth. The problem is if the counterfactual is nonsense then it’s not true in any meaningful way.

If I have a situation where all of the conditions but one apply,

You can never be in this situation unless you use the word situation loosely, which is what I’m suggesting.

Otherwise the conditions that would produce the knowledge are missing from the situation.

I can’t help thinking you are just mistaken about this.

I can claim that my counterfactual ‘if that condition also would have been the case, then the effect would have occurred’.

But it remains nonsense.

This has nothing to do with the causal history of the conditions themselves.

Well, we can leave them out, at least.

If I have a snapshot of the moment in which the conditions can be observed, then I can draw my conclusions about the effects without any reference on the causal history of these conditions.

True

That is your logical error: the truth of counterfactuals has nothing to with how the conditions, if at all, could arise.

We’ll the if… part of the counterfactual must contain what would happen, otherwise it’s nonsense. If you talk about a set of circumstances and are so specific that you necessarily would not have knowledge, it’s nonsense to add having knowledge to them.

And if you do you’re talking about a counterfactual in which indeterminism would be true, which by definition means physically impossible. It doesn’t then make sense to talking about the consequence being physically possible, because the consequence is what would follow a physically impossible antecedent.

When I add “All others being the same”, it just means that the other necessary conditions apply just as they are.

Which can’t be right because those conditions would necessarily produce no knowledge rather than knowledge.

If you want to argue against my standpoint then you must tell me why above examples are not true.

Because it’s nonsense without changing the laws of nature. Since in those exact antecedents you necessarily would not have knowledge. You cant tag knowledge on to circumstances like that and keep making sense.

In what does my counterfactual analysis differ from the standard meaning:

It doesn’t differ and neither does mine.

It’s a question of interpreting what we mean by the antecedents. If we talk in terms of them exactly as they were and just adding something we end up with nonsense (assuming determinism). Which is why, as far as I can tell most people don’t when thinking in terms of determinism. Dennett being one example.

Stephen

[ Edited: 07 August 2013 04:21 AM by StephenLawrence ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 August 2013 05:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 673 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4488
Joined  2007-08-31
StephenLawrence - 07 August 2013 04:19 AM

If I have a snapshot of the moment in which the conditions can be observed, then I can draw my conclusions about the effects without any reference on the causal history of these conditions.

True

But then I could also tell you what would occur, when one of the conditions in the snapshot were different, and I know the laws of nature that apply.

Is the sentence:

When my car would fall into the sun, it would melt.

true? Can I not derive from the laws of nature, my knowledge that the melting points of all material of which my car is made lies below the temperature of the sun, and the factual temperature of the sun, that this sentence is true?

Even if it is nonsense that my car will ever fall into the sun?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 August 2013 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 674 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 07 August 2013 05:03 AM

When my car would fall into the sun, it would melt.

true? Can I not derive from the laws of nature, my knowledge that the melting points of all material of which my car is made lies below the temperature of the sun, and the factual temperature of the sun, that this sentence is true?

The laws of nature describe what would happen:

1) In actual situations

2) in theoretically possible situations.

So if your car went on a journey to the sun and fell in it it would melt.

But whether laws of nature describe what would happen in circumstances in which 3) your car would be pinned to your driveway and yet still find itself falling in the sun is a different matter. I guess not. You’ve certainly given no reason to suppose so.

And it’s not just that, it’s what you are really referring to which is of interest. If I ask “how could your car fall in the sun” you’d come up with a story involving a journey from earth. I think the story about the journey from earth and the initial counterfactual are linked. There are zillions of counterfactuals backing up the first counterfactual. This seems to get confirmed by answers to follow up questions like “how could your car fall into the sun” or “how could I have known I had run out of coffee”.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 August 2013 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 675 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6028
Joined  2006-12-20
GdB - 09 July 2013 08:55 AM

It is true that some people have more luck than others.

It’s all moral luck. 100%.

I’m still not completely convinced that you accept this.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
   
45 of 69
45
 
‹‹ Destiny..?      Babies are bigots ››