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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 06 February 2014 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 811 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 02:27 AM

What does looking at future possibilities mean?

It means that if I am hungry I know what I can do. E.g. I can walk to the fridge to get some food, or to the bread bin, or to the fruit bowl, or just wait until dinner time. These are several options, and I can evaluate them, and then do the one that suits me best, according to my beliefs and desires.

So anticipating the future means ‘playing through different possible actions in my brain, and think about the result, if it is a desired one’; and then choose the one that fits best.

There is no contradiction with the fact that my ‘evaluation machine’ is determined, i.e. implemented in the physical substance of my brain.

Wow, you have been criticising me all the time without knowing what I was writing about.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 03:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 812 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 03:07 AM
VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 02:27 AM

What does looking at future possibilities mean?

It means that if I am hungry I know what I can do. E.g. I can walk to the fridge to get some food, or to the bread bin, or to the fruit bowl, or just wait until dinner time. These are several options, and I can evaluate them, and then do the one that suits me best, according to my beliefs and desires.

So anticipating the future means ‘playing through different possible actions in my brain, and think about the result, if it is a desired one’; and then choose the one that fits best.

There is no contradiction with the fact that my ‘evaluation machine’ is determined, i.e. implemented in the physical substance of my brain.

Wow, you have been criticising me all the time without knowing what I was writing about.

First no, I know what you’re talking about.

Now, when are we not looking at future possibilities?
We don’t look at “past” possibilities.  Of course we “look at” future “possibilities”.

So we can take the word future out.
So we look(evaluate) at possibilities.  And if you agree that the “evaluation machine” is determined then what are we arguing about?

Anticipating the future is just recalling past events and projecting them forward. “Every time it got cloudy in the past it usually rained.”

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Posted: 06 February 2014 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 813 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

First no, I know what you’re talking about.

Your question ‘Does that mean looking in the newspaper and seeing an employment position that is opening up in 2 weeks?’ suggests you (intentionally?) interpreted me wrong.

VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

Now, when are we not looking at future possibilities?
We don’t look at “past” possibilities.  Of course we “look at” future “possibilities”.

So we can take the word future out.

In this context at least, yes it is a kind of a pleonasm.

VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

So we look(evaluate) at possibilities.  And if you agree that the “evaluation machine” is determined then what are we arguing about?

Yeah, I am also wondering about that. But everytime I write such things you are criticising me heavily. I assume you always read something else then I wrote.

VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

Anticipating the future is just recalling past events and projecting them forward. “Every time it got cloudy in the past it usually rained.”

I made that bold. That is exactly what I am saying all the time. If you now apply this also to sentences like ‘Every time when I remember there is food in the fridge, and because I am hungry, I go to the fridge now’ you have an intentional action. (One could argue that an intentional action is a pleonasm too, but I think I leave that question to Stephen and you…)

To explain that evolution could select for this capability we must assume that these projections are causally effective. And that is true, even that the whole process of ‘projecting’ runs on a determined system, and is therefore determined itself. I don’t see any contradiction.

PS You could read my postings (here and here) again, with fresh eyes, and see if I was so wrong all the time.

[ Edited: 06 February 2014 05:25 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 06 February 2014 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 814 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 04:59 AM

Your question ‘Does that mean looking in the newspaper and seeing an employment position that is opening up in 2 weeks?’ suggests you (intentionally?) interpreted me wrong.

Well it was light sarcasm.

In this context at least, yes it is a kind of a pleonasm.

I had to look that word up.

I guess I keep getting fooled by looking in these threads. I think I see some contradictory items, but it is just you guys discussing
language.  When I debate with you or Stephen you both explain that your determinists and that we only have differences of language.

It seems you both want to take the extra step of labeling behavior as intentional actions. Of course I don’t see why.
Obviously we all use those terms. So why dozens of pages if you both ultimately understand the “causal evaluation machine”(your term-I like it)
What’s all of the fuss about?

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Posted: 06 February 2014 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 815 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 06:54 AM

It seems you both want to take the extra step of labeling behavior as intentional actions. Of course I don’t see why.
Obviously we all use those terms. So why dozens of pages if you both ultimately understand the “causal evaluation machine”(your term-I like it)
What’s all of the fuss about?

The fuss is because of the magic of words. When using certain words, it leads people to certain ideas. These ideas might be wrong when one does not see how these words are correctly used.

I give two related examples:

If you suppose that ‘could have done otherwise’ means ‘really could have done otherwise’, in the sense that under exactly the same conditions something else could have happened, then it can lead people to believe in libertarian free will. Then on the other hand, people who have good grounds to think that, for all practical purposes, we are determined are inclined to say that we have no free will. The magic is that the idea of ‘could have done otherwise’ has ‘gone metaphysical’, where it has just a simple meaning that is just as valid in a determined universe. It just means, if things would have been slightly different, something else would have happened.

Now we have something similar with intentions. If you interpret ‘intentions’ as a metaphysical category apart from our physical universe, you logically must think that we have souls or something like that. And also here, if you have a materialistic world view in which souls do not exist, then you will throw away the concept of intentions. But if you see that there is a perfect materialistic explanation for what intentions are, you can keep the concept, without the metaphysical ballast.

And it is with these concepts of ‘intentions’ and ‘could have done otherwise’ that one can perfectly explain what we mean with free will, without contradicting the fact that we are determined. You are responsible for your actions, i.e. for your intentional movements, because they were intentional. And if you had the capability to evaluate the moral dimensions of your actions, then you are also responsible in the moral sense, and therefore legally culpable.

‘Discovering’ or thinking that we are determined changes nothing about that.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 816 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 07:43 AM

And it is with these concepts of ‘intentions’ and ‘could have done otherwise’ that one can perfectly explain what we mean with free will, without contradicting the fact that we are determined. You are responsible for your actions, i.e. for your intentional movements, because they were intentional. And if you had the capability to evaluate the moral dimensions of your actions, then you are also responsible in the moral sense, and therefore legally culpable.

‘Discovering’ or thinking that we are determined changes nothing about that.

I don’t see the value of any of this. We live in a world that believes in free-will and moral accountability anyways.
So trying to rationalize it through this back door so to speak, is an exercise in creativity.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 817 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

So we can take the word future out.
So we look(evaluate) at possibilities.  And if you agree that the “evaluation machine” is determined then what are we arguing about?

 

Because there is a difference between evaluating possibilities and acting as a result so that you arrive at the possibility you want in the future and not doing this. We need labels for differences like this and intentional is one of them.

When you say we don’t act intentionally it looks like you are denying that we do the above.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 818 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 February 2014 08:39 PM
VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

So we can take the word future out.
So we look(evaluate) at possibilities.  And if you agree that the “evaluation machine” is determined then what are we arguing about?

 

Because there is a difference between evaluating possibilities and acting as a result so that you arrive at the possibility you want in the future and not doing this. We need labels for differences like this and intentional is one of them.

When you say we don’t act intentionally it looks like you are denying that we do the above.

Stephen I’m no Ernest Hemingway but you have to compose your sentences better for me to grasp exactly what you’re saying.
I’m referring to the bold type here. Please, with all due respect.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 819 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 09:49 PM
StephenLawrence - 06 February 2014 08:39 PM
VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 03:32 AM

So we can take the word future out.
So we look(evaluate) at possibilities.  And if you agree that the “evaluation machine” is determined then what are we arguing about?

 

Because there is a difference between evaluating possibilities and acting as a result so that you arrive at the possibility you want in the future and not doing this. We need labels for differences like this and intentional is one of them.

When you say we don’t act intentionally it looks like you are denying that we do the above.

Stephen I’m no Ernest Hemingway but you have to compose your sentences better for me to grasp exactly what you’re saying.
I’m referring to the bold type here. Please, with all due respect.

I don’t know what’s wrong with it.

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Posted: 06 February 2014 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 820 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 07:05 PM

I don’t see the value of any of this. We live in a world that believes in free-will and moral accountability anyways.

Well, that is not true. Yes, most people might believe in free will and moral accountability, but these ideas are under heavy attack by many neurologists. Many of them plead for changing our legal system, because it is based on free will and responsibility. But their ideas are based on a misconception what free will is: they still think about a soul that can interfere with the causal process in the universe. That is also the background of my saying ‘there is no technical way’ to George here. Assuming we are determined, then there is nothing a neurologist can discover that we have no free will.

VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 07:05 PM

So trying to rationalize it through this back door so to speak, is an exercise in creativity.

Not exactly. It is the drive to understand the world we live in. That is one of the main motives for doing philosophy anyway. Scientifically researching our world is just one of the many branches of understanding our world. But we also live in a world of concepts, and getting a clear picture of them is one of the most important tasks of philosophy. A main stream of philosophy of the 20th century was analytic philosophy: it believed that most philosophical problems could be solved by analysing language.

PS
I think Stephen means:
Because there is a difference between evaluating possibilities and acting as a result so that you arrive at the possibility you want in the future on one side, and not doing this on the other side.
Simpler said: (intentional) actions and simple bodily movements are not the same, even if they are both determined.

[ Edited: 07 February 2014 12:15 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 07 February 2014 03:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 821 ]
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GdB - 06 February 2014 11:27 PM

Well, that is not true.

Huhn?

Yes, most people might believe in free will and moral accountability,

Is it true or not?

but these ideas are under heavy attack by many neurologists. Many of them plead for changing our legal system, because it is based on free will and responsibility.

Whew!  They’ll change things. I’ll abstain from the “heavy criticism” you accused me of.


VYAZMA - 06 February 2014 07:05 PM

So trying to rationalize it through this back door so to speak, is an exercise in creativity.

GdB-Not exactly.

Yes exactly. Legal systems for one example already take in to account behavioral science.
You guys just like to banter. I’m getting off the carousel. Have fun.

[ Edited: 07 February 2014 04:15 AM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 07 February 2014 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 822 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 February 2014 03:55 AM

Yes exactly. Legal systems for one example already take in to account behavioral science.

That’s fine. As long as they don’t listen to neurologists who state we have no free will and therefore have no free will.

VYAZMA - 07 February 2014 03:55 AM

You guys just like to banter. I’m getting off the carousel. Have fun.

Hmm. Then there are a lot of people bantering.

Listen VYAZMA, there are many discussions about free will in philosophy, in legal literature and in the public media. The arguments I used here you’ll find everywhere where free will is discussed. Obviously you think the discussion is not worth the energy. So why did you put so much energy into it?

If you think the discussion, and the clarification of concepts has no practical consequences, what then do you think about the Ethan Couch case? Should we make him responsible for his deed, punish him, or shall we operate his brain (when we could)? How is he different determined then we are?

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Posted: 07 February 2014 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 823 ]
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GdB - 07 February 2014 06:14 AM
VYAZMA - 07 February 2014 03:55 AM

Yes exactly. Legal systems for one example already take in to account behavioral science.

That’s fine. As long as they don’t listen to neurologists who state we have no free will and therefore have no free will.

VYAZMA - 07 February 2014 03:55 AM

You guys just like to banter. I’m getting off the carousel. Have fun.

Hmm. Then there are a lot of people bantering.

Listen VYAZMA, there are many discussions about free will in philosophy, in legal literature and in the public media. The arguments I used here you’ll find everywhere where free will is discussed. Obviously you think the discussion is not worth the energy. So why did you put so much energy into it?

If you think the discussion, and the clarification of concepts has no practical consequences, what then do you think about the Ethan Couch case? Should we make him responsible for his deed, punish him, or shall we operate his brain (when we could)? How is he different determined then we are?

“We” will do with Ethan Couch as we are determined to do and as our legal system dictates (one more determining factor).  There is no “decison” to be made. It was already being made before he ever drove drunk.  We can fight the legal decision, but the desire to fight is also being determined.

One thing the court decision does, though, is to add to his inability to see right from wrong (by any standard). It’s one more instance where he again doesn’t have to pay for a misdeed—exactly what got him in the situation he was in.  They claim he always got everything he wanted so never learned right from wrong, and now the court has created yet another situation where he won’t learn that lesson. Perpetual motion it could be called.

Lois

[ Edited: 07 February 2014 01:40 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 07 February 2014 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 824 ]
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GdB - 07 February 2014 06:14 AM

That’s fine. As long as they don’t listen to neurologists who state we have no free will and therefore have no free will.

Wha…?  I thought you were for the legal system taking this into account? Isn’t that what you are a proponent of?
Having courts be more and more sympathetic to causal determinism??
Am I missing something?

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Posted: 07 February 2014 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 825 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 February 2014 04:51 PM
GdB - 07 February 2014 06:14 AM

That’s fine. As long as they don’t listen to neurologists who state we have no free will and therefore have no free will.

Wha…?  I thought you were for the legal system taking this into account? Isn’t that what you are a proponent of?
Having courts be more and more sympathetic to causal determinism??
Am I missing something?

I have no opinion on what courts “should” do. They will do what the various people in charge are determined to do. I don’t think courts “should” let people off, nor do I think they “should not.”  Courts will act through the determining influences of the people in charge.. Courts will punish or not, depending on their various determining influences.  Individuals don’t “decide” to punish or not, they follow their determining influences, and those influences change imperceptibly every moment. There are no shoulds or should nots. There is the determinatim of the moment.

Lois

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