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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 08 January 2014 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 691 ]
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kkwan - 07 January 2014 01:03 PM

From http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwVariousKane.html

You may find all this interesting and yet still find it hard to shake the intuition that if choices are undetermined, they must happen merely by chance—and so must be “random,” “capricious,” “uncontrolled,” “irrational,” and all the other things usually charged. Such intuitions are deeply ingrained. But if we are ever going to understand free will, I think will have to break old habits of thought that support such intuitions and learn to think in new ways. The first step in doing this is to question the intuitive connection in most people’s minds between “indeterminism’s being involved in something” and “its happening merely as a matter of chance or luck.” “Chance” and “luck” are terms of ordinary language that carry the connotation of “its being out of my control.” So using them already begs certain questions, whereas “indeterminism” is a technical term that merely precludes deterministic causation, though not causation altogether. Indeterminism is consistent with nondeterministic or probabilistic causation, where the outcome is not inevitable. It is therefore a mistake (alas, one of the most common in debates about free will) to assume that “undetermined” means “uncaused.”

Bold added by me.

So, the problem of luck is a pseudo problem due to begging the question.

No, and this is a simple subject.

Initially you need to be clear about what problem determinism is supposed to pose.

Once you are clear about that you see that indeterminism doesn’t help.

Let’s say a coin flip causes the coin to land on heads and the very same flip could have caused it to land on tails.

Then the situation is whether the coin landed on heads rather than tails was out of the control of the coin flip.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 January 2014 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 692 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 January 2014 07:38 AM
kkwan - 07 January 2014 01:03 PM

From http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwVariousKane.html

You may find all this interesting and yet still find it hard to shake the intuition that if choices are undetermined, they must happen merely by chance—and so must be “random,” “capricious,” “uncontrolled,” “irrational,” and all the other things usually charged. Such intuitions are deeply ingrained. But if we are ever going to understand free will, I think will have to break old habits of thought that support such intuitions and learn to think in new ways. The first step in doing this is to question the intuitive connection in most people’s minds between “indeterminism’s being involved in something” and “its happening merely as a matter of chance or luck.” “Chance” and “luck” are terms of ordinary language that carry the connotation of “its being out of my control.” So using them already begs certain questions, whereas “indeterminism” is a technical term that merely precludes deterministic causation, though not causation altogether. Indeterminism is consistent with nondeterministic or probabilistic causation, where the outcome is not inevitable. It is therefore a mistake (alas, one of the most common in debates about free will) to assume that “undetermined” means “uncaused.”

Bold added by me.

So, the problem of luck is a pseudo problem due to begging the question.

No, and this is a simple subject.

Initially you need to be clear about what problem determinism is supposed to pose.

Take it on yourself to provide the clarity, then.  I’d say determinism eliminates one of the requirements for free will:  The ability to act differently without regard to preceding conditions.  Tell us how you see it.

Once you are clear about that you see that indeterminism doesn’t help.

Indeterminism helps address the problem I identified like nothing else will.  So tell us how you see it.

Let’s say a coin flip causes the coin to land on heads and the very same flip could have caused it to land on tails.

Then the situation is whether the coin landed on heads rather than tails was out of the control of the coin flip.

Stephen

Control is a function of intention, so your analogy gets us nowhere.  Control is the correlation between the intended outcome and the actual outcome.  What’s the intended outcome of a coin flip?  There’s no intention there at all unless we take into account the motivations of the person doing the flipping—and somehow it doesn’t seem like that’s the point of your analogy.

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Posted: 09 January 2014 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 693 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 January 2014 07:38 AM

No, and this is a simple subject.

It is not such a simple subject as you put it.

Initially you need to be clear about what problem determinism is supposed to pose.

Once you are clear about that you see that indeterminism doesn’t help.

Determinism is a theoretical ideal. It does not exist in the real world.

OTOH, with indeterminism, from the same article I cited:

“indeterminism” is a technical term that merely precludes deterministic causation, though not causation altogether. Indeterminism is consistent with nondeterministic or probabilistic causation, where the outcome is not inevitable. It is therefore a mistake (alas, one of the most common in debates about free will) to assume that “undetermined” means “uncaused.”

Bold added by me.

Let’s say a coin flip causes the coin to land on heads and the very same flip could have caused it to land on tails.

Then the situation is whether the coin landed on heads rather than tails was out of the control of the coin flip.

It is an inappropriate analogy to associate flipping coins with human intentions as such.

We are not in a casino. No rational human flip coins to decide what to do.

However, in flipping coins, it is possible that the coin could land on it’s edge.  cheese

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Posted: 13 January 2014 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 694 ]
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kkwan - 09 January 2014 01:17 PM
StephenLawrence - 08 January 2014 07:38 AM

No, and this is a simple subject.

It is not such a simple subject as you put it.

I think it is Kkwan. You can’t overcome the supposed problem with indeterminism but people tie themselves in knots in the attempt.

Determinism is a theoretical ideal. It does not exist in the real world.

Perhaps, perhaps not. It doesn’t make any difference.

It is an inappropriate analogy to associate flipping coins with human intentions as such.

It was an appropriate analogy because it was about the consequences of indeterminism for causes generally.

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Posted: 16 January 2014 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 695 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 January 2014 02:10 AM

I think it is Kkwan. You can’t overcome the supposed problem with indeterminism but people tie themselves in knots in the attempt.

It is not, as people do “tie themselves in knots” with determinism and causality as well.  LOL

Wrt to indeterminism, from http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/indeterminism.html

Indeterminism is important for the question of free will because strict determinism implies just one possible future. Indeterminism means that the future is unpredictable. Indeterminism allows alternative futures and the question becomes how the one actual present is realized from these potential alternatives.

The departure from strict causality is very slight compared to the miraculous ideas associated with the “causa sui” (self-caused cause) of the ancients.

Bold added by me

So, indeterminism does not imply uncaused or self-caused cause. It implies probabilistic causality and it is germane wrt FW.

Perhaps, perhaps not. It doesn’t make any difference.

It does, because as determinism is only a theoretical ideal, then indeterminism rules in the real world and as such, we must reconcile FW with that.

It was an appropriate analogy because it was about the consequences of indeterminism for causes generally.

From the same article I cited:

An example of an event that is not strictly caused is one that depends on chance, like the flip of a coin. If the outcome is only probable, not certain, then the event can be said to have been caused by the coin flip, but the head or tails result was not predictable. So this causality, which recognizes prior events as causes, is undetermined.

Bold added by me.

So, causality does not imply strict determinism and it is a mistake to assume that it does, probably because of adequate determinism.

As such, how can we have FW? From the conclusion of the same article I cited:

Our Macro Mind needs the Micro Mind for the free action items and thoughts in an Agenda of alternative possibilities to be de-liberated by the will. The random Micro Mind is the “free” in free will and the source of human creativity. The adequately determined Macro Mind is the “will” in free will that de-liberates, choosing actions for which we can be morally responsible.

Bold added by me.

And this is LFW.  cheese

More wrt indeterminism, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminism

Definition of indeterminism:

Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically (cf. causality) by prior events. It is the opposite of determinism and related to chance. It is highly relevant to the philosophical problem of free will, particularly in the form of metaphysical libertarianism.

Charles Peirce

Tychism (Greek: τύχη “chance”) is a thesis proposed by the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce in the 1890s. It holds that absolute chance, also called spontaneity, is a real factor operative in the universe. It may be considered both the direct opposite of Einstein’s oft quoted dictum that: “God does not play dice with the universe” and an early philosophical anticipation of Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

Peirce does not, of course, assert that there is no law in the universe. On the contrary, he maintains that an absolutely chance world would be a contradiction and thus impossible. Complete lack of order is itself a sort of order. The position he advocates is rather that there are in the universe both regularities and irregularities.

Bold added by me.

Karl Popper

In his essay Of Clouds and Cuckoos, included in his book Objective Knowledge, Popper contrasted “clouds”, his metaphor for indeterministic systems, with “clocks”, meaning deterministic ones. He sided with indeterminism, writing

  “I believe Peirce was right in holding that all clocks are clouds to some considerable degree — even the most precise of clocks. This, I think, is the most important inversion of the mistaken determinist view that all clouds are clocks

Bold added by me.

So, all clocks are clouds. Vagueness.  grin

Robert Kane

Kane is one of the leading contemporary philosophers on free will. Advocating what is termed within philosophical circles “libertarian freedom”, Kane argues that ” the existence of alternative possibilities (or the agent’s power to do otherwise) is a necessary condition for acting freely, and determinism is not compatible with alternative possibilities (it precludes the power to do otherwise)”. It is important to note that the crux of Kane’s position is grounded not in a defense of alternative possibilities (AP) but in the notion of what Kane refers to as ultimate responsibility (UR). Thus, AP is a necessary but insufficient criterion for free will. It is necessary that there be (metaphysically) real alternatives for our actions, but that is not enough; our actions could be random without being in our control. The control is found in “ultimate responsibility”.

What allows for ultimate responsibility of creation in Kane’s picture are what he refers to as “self-forming actions” or SFAs — those moments of indecision during which people experience conflicting wills. These SFAs are the undetermined, regress-stopping voluntary actions or refrainings in the life histories of agents that are required for UR. UR does not require that every act done of our own free will be undetermined and thus that, for every act or choice, we could have done otherwise; it requires only that certain of our choices and actions be undetermined (and thus that we could have done otherwise), namely SFAs. These form our character or nature; they inform our future choices, reasons and motivations in action. If a person has had the opportunity to make a character-forming decision (SFA), he is responsible for the actions that are a result of his character.

[ Edited: 16 January 2014 06:33 PM by kkwan ]
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Posted: 25 January 2014 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 696 ]
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kkwan - 16 January 2014 06:25 PM


The departure from strict causality is very slight compared to the miraculous ideas associated with the “causa sui” (self-caused cause) of the ancients.

Bold added by me

But it gains nothing.

So, indeterminism does not imply uncaused or self-caused cause. It implies probabilistic causality and it is germane wrt FW.

It makes no difference so is not germane.

It does, because as determinism is only a theoretical ideal, then indeterminism rules in the real world and as such, we must reconcile FW with that.

Not if indeterminism makes no difference.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 697 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 January 2014 09:48 PM

But it gains nothing.

It resolves the problem of origination for FW.

It makes no difference so is not germane.

As the above is resolved, it is germane.

Not if indeterminism makes no difference.

Indeterminism does make a difference, as such.

From http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/history/

Apart from the fact that information-rich systems with a history are never in the exact same conditions, and ignoring the fact that random alternative possibilities are unlikely to repeat, an adequately determined will would very likely make the same choice, for the same reasons, from the same set of alternate possibilities. But it might on the other hand exercise its irrational prerogative! We humans are unpredictable, which makes us occasionally capricious and arbitrary. Why the problem?

Bold added by me.

On determinism:

“One may legitimately wonder why worries about determinism persist at all in the twenty-first century, when the physical sciences - once the stronghold of determinist thinking - seem to have turned away from determinism.” Indeed, today it is determinism that is “metaphysical.”

As such, FW must be reconciled with indeterminism and not with determinism.

The complexity of the FW problem: 

Two-Stage-Taxonomy-Cogito.gif

From the conclusion:

Determinism and indeterminism are the horns of the dilemma presented as the standard argument against free will, which we can trace back unchanged to the earliest discussions of freedom, determinism, and moral responsibility.

Our physical world includes both, though the determinism we have is only an adequate description for large objects. So any intelligible explanation for free will must include both a limited indeterminism and an adequate determinism, in a temporal sequence that creates information.

Bold added by me.

cheese

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Posted: 27 January 2014 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 698 ]
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kkwan - 26 January 2014 06:42 PM
StephenLawrence - 25 January 2014 09:48 PM

But it gains nothing.

It resolves the problem of origination for FW.

No it doesn’t. If you’re talking about probabilistic causation you still have a regress from effect back to cause and so on.

And of course choices don’t ultimately originate in us since we are built by natural selection, the product of our nuture and nature, so it’s not like there is a problem to solve unless you think we have God like powers.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 699 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 January 2014 12:25 AM
kkwan - 26 January 2014 06:42 PM
StephenLawrence - 25 January 2014 09:48 PM

But it gains nothing.

It resolves the problem of origination for FW.

No it doesn’t. If you’re talking about probabilistic causation you still have a regress from effect back to cause and so on.

One that you can’t explain, based on your performance elsewhere.

The basis for Strawson’s regress, on which you base your argument, comes from the unsupported insistence that a desire is an act.  Some desires may be acts.  Others aren’t.  You expect us to accept a assertion in the place of a reasoned argument.  That won’t do.

And of course choices don’t ultimately originate in us since we are built by natural selection, the product of our nuture and nature, so it’s not like there is a problem to solve unless you think we have God like powers.

There’s nothing quite like assuming one’s conclusion when it comes to begging the question!  grin

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Posted: 27 January 2014 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 700 ]
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kkwan - 26 January 2014 06:42 PM

On determinism:

“One may legitimately wonder why worries about determinism persist at all in the twenty-first century, when the physical sciences - once the stronghold of determinist thinking - seem to have turned away from determinism.” Indeed, today it is determinism that is “metaphysical.”

Because only in systems where quantum effects play a decisive role indeterminism is relevant. In all other cases we can safely assume determinism. Adequate determinism, indeed.

kkwan - 26 January 2014 06:42 PM

As such, FW must be reconciled with indeterminism and not with determinism.

Yeah, right. Reconcile free will with determinism is simple, that is compatibilism. Reconcile it with indeterminism is simple too: quantum effects normally do not propagate to macro events in the brain, so this form of indeterminism is irrelevant. As said, adequate determinism.

Our physical world includes both, though the determinism we have is only an adequate description for large objects. So any intelligible explanation for free will must include both a limited indeterminism and an adequate determinism, in a temporal sequence that creates information.

As done above.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 701 ]
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Bryan - 27 January 2014 01:19 AM

The basis for Strawson’s regress, on which you base your argument, comes from the unsupported insistence that a desire is an act.  Some desires may be acts.  Others aren’t.  You expect us to accept a assertion in the place of a reasoned argument.  That won’t do.

 

It’s neither an assertion or a reasoned argument.  It’s a fact.
Science has enough evidence to prove that desires are actions(acts). A desire is an act of neural electro-chemical impulses brought about by hormonal secretion(as in desire for sex) or brought about by reactions to the environment such as desiring a blanket when it’s cold.
Neural chemical electrical impulses are also activated when one desires to purchase a model airplane or new car.
This would be brought about by the release of dopamines and other hormones that bring pleasure or adreniline based on the brains recording of past memories.
There are in fact no desires that are not a direct result of actions by the brain, which themselves are reactive to a series of causal
events that cascade backward through time.
The human body is well suited to this reverse cascade. Two quick reasons: memory and evolution.
Both deal with “imprinting” an entity with coded information about the past that it will subsequently act on.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 702 ]
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Bryan - 27 January 2014 01:19 AM

One that you can’t explain, based on your performance elsewhere.

The basis for Strawson’s regress, on which you base your argument, comes from the unsupported insistence that a desire is an act.  Some desires may be acts.  Others aren’t.  You expect us to accept a assertion in the place of a reasoned argument.  That won’t do.

The basis is that either you just have the desire or it’s explicable.

If you just have it, it makes no sense to say it is in your control. And here it’s you without the argument since you just say the desire is within your control by definition, which is absurd.

If the desire is explicable then there is the regress to the explanation for the desire.

Your style of philosophy is to pick holes in other people reasoning just to allow yourself to believe the utterly ridiculous.

Tedious.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 703 ]
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GdB - 27 January 2014 04:20 AM
kkwan - 26 January 2014 06:42 PM

On determinism:

“One may legitimately wonder why worries about determinism persist at all in the twenty-first century, when the physical sciences - once the stronghold of determinist thinking - seem to have turned away from determinism.” Indeed, today it is determinism that is “metaphysical.”

Because only in systems where quantum effects play a decisive role indeterminism is relevant. In all other cases we can safely assume determinism.

On what basis do you rule out indeterminism not associated with quantum effects?  Because it’s convenient???

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Posted: 27 January 2014 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 704 ]
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Kkwan-Our physical world includes both, though the determinism we have is only an adequate description for large objects. So any intelligible explanation for free will must include both a limited indeterminism and an adequate determinism, in a temporal sequence that creates information.

Why must it?  So we can try to visualize it?

I watched a Feynman Lecture a couple of months ago. The one with the Photon counter that measures individual photons as they strike it through
water.  It seemed that the photons were acting “irrational” or “random”.

That was in the ‘60s.  Has science figured that one out yet?  I don’t believe they have. I could be wrong.
Is that one’s basis for indeterminism? The “irregularity” of photons?

Random or irregular are just constructs we give to things that we can’t quantize(yet? or ever?)

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Posted: 27 January 2014 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 705 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 January 2014 01:35 PM
Bryan - 27 January 2014 01:19 AM

One that you can’t explain, based on your performance elsewhere.

The basis for Strawson’s regress, on which you base your argument, comes from the unsupported insistence that a desire is an act.  Some desires may be acts.  Others aren’t.  You expect us to accept a assertion in the place of a reasoned argument.  That won’t do.

The basis is that either you just have the desire or it’s explicable.

If you just have it, it makes no sense to say it is in your control. And here it’s you without the argument since you just say the desire is within your control by definition, which is absurd.

It’s amazing how you can persist in ignoring the distinction I’ve drawn between desire-a and desire-p.  How do you explain it?  Or is it inexplicable (as is the rest of your theory of free will)?

If the desire is explicable then there is the regress to the explanation for the desire.

No, not based on Kane’s definition, which specifies the need for an control of *actions*, not wants or desires.  If you take that route then it implies that all wants are actions.  But are they?  We continually find you in avoidance mode.

Your style of philosophy is to pick holes in other people reasoning just to allow yourself to believe the utterly ridiculous.

Your style of philosophy is to repeatedly make assertions that you never get around to supporting.  Case in point.

Tedious.

Yeah, and you’ve said that one before, too (iirc).  But you give yourself a pass on not having any argument, every time.

With you, Stephen, it’s not that I poke holes in your argument.  It’s that your argument is composed entirely of holes.

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