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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 08 November 2012 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]
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To say that we can influence evolution is a truism. Everything and everybody influences evolution.

I am also interested to know how in your opinion your anticipation of the future actually affects evolution. Is it advantageous or disadvantageous? Are people in the third-world countries better at anticipating the future? I guess they’re since their fertility is much higher than ours, right? You are making the same mistake here as the proponents of eugenics who think they know what natural selection will be selecting for in the future.

[ Edited: 08 November 2012 04:57 PM by George ]
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Posted: 08 November 2012 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]
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Oh, I read your post again, Write, and see that you actually claim that it is advantageous. Well, that is clearly not true, since we (and I assume you meant our society, not Africa) are dying out.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]
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TimB - 08 November 2012 03:33 PM

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.

You know wht else volcanos don’t do? They don’t think that #13 is an unlucky number. Just because we do something, it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 04:48 PM

Oh, I read your post again, Write, and see that you actually claim that it is advantageous. Well, that is clearly not true, since we (and I assume you meant our society, not Africa) are dying out.

The ability to project is a two sided sword and must be wielded with wisdom and foresight and certainly not with greed as a fundamental motivation.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]
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Write4U - 08 November 2012 05:01 PM
George - 08 November 2012 04:48 PM

Oh, I read your post again, Write, and see that you actually claim that it is advantageous. Well, that is clearly not true, since we (and I assume you meant our society, not Africa) are dying out.

The ability to project is a two sided sword and must be wielded with wisdom and foresight and certainly not with greed as a fundamental motivation.

Okay, Deepak. What is it with you, guys, today? Is it an International Poetry Day or something?

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Posted: 08 November 2012 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]
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. deleted

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Posted: 08 November 2012 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 05:05 PM
Write4U - 08 November 2012 05:01 PM
George - 08 November 2012 04:48 PM

Oh, I read your post again, Write, and see that you actually claim that it is advantageous. Well, that is clearly not true, since we (and I assume you meant our society, not Africa) are dying out.

The ability to project is a two sided sword and must be wielded with wisdom and foresight and certainly not with greed as a fundamental motivation.

Okay, Deepak. What is it with you, guys, today? Is it an International Poetry Day or something?

On the more practical side then,

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-road-not-taken/

[ Edited: 08 November 2012 06:04 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]
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Write4U - 08 November 2012 04:13 PM
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.

Yes, although we don’t respond to the future exactly. What we do is respond to what would happen in the future if… . Which of course requires the universe to be at least close to a cause and effect type universe.

Stephen

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]
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VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

Do I think people are responsible? For what? 

Being responsible means being able to give reasons for your behaviour. It also means being able to adjust your actions based on reasons and arguments.

VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

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.

The volcano is causally responsible, not morally. The eruption of the volcano is not influenced in any way by moral considerations. Humans are.

VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

Everything we humans do is determined.

You see? Every time I say determinism and (compatibilist) free will are compatible, people argue with me that humans are determined. Where do I say something else? Reasons and arguments belong to the causal fabric that determine us. Having reasons, wishes, and beliefs, and being able to act according to them is what free will is.

The rest of your argument is irrelevant. (I lend this one from you).

VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

As I said before the whole discussion can be wrapped up in 3-5 pages.

No, in two sentences.
Libertarian free will is incoherent and does not exist.
Having reasons, wishes and beliefs, and the ability to act according to them is free will, and that does not contradict the fact that we are determined.

VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

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.

Yes. You are not? This is CFI, promoting reasoning and humanism. It seems that you are driven by hate against everything and everybody who has ideas that seem religious in your eyes. Maybe you would like to ground a Secular Inquisition?

VYAZMA - 08 November 2012 02:16 PM

Was that verbally aggressive too?

Yes. But at least you did not use CAPITALS, I HATE THAT! And your insinuations about hijacking the thread are plainly stupid.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 04:45 PM

I am also interested to know how in your opinion your anticipation of the future actually affects evolution. Is it advantageous or disadvantageous?

It’s been naturally selected because it’s an advantage in evolutionary terms.

That might change.

But what we are interested in is avoiding suffering and being happy and for that it remains an advantage.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]
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GdB - 08 November 2012 11:59 PM

Being responsible means being able to give reasons for your behaviour. It also means being able to adjust your actions based on reasons and arguments.

I think this is made up. Being morally responsible is 1) Being causally responsible. 2) being apt targets for praise, blame, reward and punishment. None of this requires being able to give reasons for our behaviour, it requires there being consequences of blaming etc, or not.

Stephen

[ Edited: 09 November 2012 12:06 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]
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TimB - 08 November 2012 03:33 PM

 

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.)

What I struggle with here is in the case of the gun held to our heads, the reason we are not morally responsible is because we’ve done nothing morally wrong. That is because we have no better moral option not because we don’t have free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 01:02 PM

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.

We are not trapped in ‘the ever lasting chain of action and reaction’: we are parts of it. We are causally determined, but what we do causes effects in its turn. And reasons, what we wish and believe, are causal factors in this causal chain. This means our reasons, wishes and beliefs matter. Imagine the next strain of influenza comes: this is a huge causal factor in the life of many people. Now imagine many people start believing that their race is best. That would be a huge causal factor too. None of them come from blue air of course: the influenza has a causal history, and so has the racial belief.

So reasons and beliefs are parts of ‘the ever lasting chain of action and reaction’.

[ Edited: 09 November 2012 01:51 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]
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George - 08 November 2012 04:48 PM

Oh, I read your post again, Write, and see that you actually claim that it is advantageous. Well, that is clearly not true, since we (and I assume you meant our society, not Africa) are dying out.

At least it was advantageous, don’t you think?

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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]
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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.

As said in other postings, what we think belongs to the causal fabric of the universe. What we think is determined, and what we think determines on its turn some other events. Your movie analogy is wrong. You spectator metaphor is just another homunculus in the brain, be it a powerless one.

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