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Do non-human animals have free will?
Posted: 10 February 2014 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 856 ]
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So you both: I have given a rather complete description of what free will is in the posting I linked already several times.

You can show me where the errors are in that posting; you can ask for elucidation; you can write an unrelated essay; or you can yell that you are right. I’ll wait and see what you choose.

Oh, I forgot, you both are not able to choose… Assume you have your reasons causes for that.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 857 ]
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GdB - 10 February 2014 08:05 AM
StephenLawrence - 09 February 2014 10:58 PM
VYAZMA - 09 February 2014 07:47 PM

In your definition of compatibilism you never explain why “people feel as if they have LFW”.

Well I did in post 836, if that helps.

And I did here.

Never mind…

You haven’t answered my questions:

But they are never “up to us” if you mean we are capable of overriding out deterministic influences just because we want to.  If you think we can, please describe the part of the human brain that can step aside from the rest of the brain’s natural functions and determining influences and “decide” to override them. How would that work? Where would that ability come from?  We only have one brain and our thoughts can be controlled only by factors we have no control over. In order for us to have free will we’d need another, separately functioning brain that could override those determining influences and which is immune to those influences. Where would that ability come from? Where does it reside! How can we step outside our brains with separate and independent thoughts and change the course of nature just because we somehow independently “want” to? “Compatibilist free will” would be like compatibilist science, meaning that scientific principles work only if we consciously allow them to work and if we want them to work differently we just have to put our minds to it.

You simply can’t claim that mutually exclusive concepts can be compatible with one another and remain a rationalist. Rational people will demand proof that it is possible and a rational explanation and objective evidence of the process.  Compatibilist free will is pie in the sky and wishful thinking taken to the nth degree. It is an impossibility according to science as we understand it.

How about giving it a try?

Lois

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Posted: 10 February 2014 10:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 858 ]
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Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

But they are never “up to us” if you mean we are capable of overriding out deterministic influences just because we want to. 

Lois

We’ve said we don’t mean that Lois. And I’ve given an example. The couple in the forced marriage choose to walk down the aisle but they are forced, they don’t want to. It’s natural to think they are forced it’s not up to them because they are not free to do what they want.

If their parents said it’s up to you, do you want to get married or not and meant it i.e no nasty penalty clauses, they would not get married.

On the other hand if their parents said it’s up to you, you don’t have to get married but if you don’t we will make life very unpleasant for you we get the sense it’s not a choice which is up to the couple.

And this is important because it’s bad for people to be forced into choices under the pretense that it’s up to them and because it’s a choice that they shouldn’t be asked to take responsibility for. So we need this distinction between choices which are up to us and those which are not.

[ Edited: 10 February 2014 10:38 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 11 February 2014 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 859 ]
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Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

You haven’t answered my questions:

You raised that question already here and here, and I have answered it. Of course you did not understand the answers here and here. You obvious even do not remember that I spelled it out for you a second time.

But here we go again:

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

But they are never “up to us” if you mean we are capable of overriding out deterministic influences just because we want to. 

No, I do not mean that.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

If you think we can,

No, I don’t think that, so the rest of your question does not apply.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

In order for us to have free will we’d need another, separately functioning brain that could override those determining influences and which is immune to those influences.

According to the definition you use, yes. Not according to the definition I give, namely:

An action is free when it is according to the wishes and beliefs of that person, and nobody else is pushing me to act according to his wishes and beliefs.

Said otherwise: reasons are causes of our actions. If you think they are not, then please explain how the capability of reasoning could be selected for in evolution.

Now what you say is that these reasons are determined. My reaction on that: so what? For assigning me responsibility and free will it is necessary that my actions were caused by me, not that they came out of the blue, or a soul or whatever. My reasoning is determined, but my actions are caused by my reasons, and it is the latter that matters. Reasons are just parts of determined causal chains: reasons are caused, and reasons on their turn have causal effects, namely actions.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

Where would that ability come from? Where does it reside!

Nowhere. That ability does not exist. Got it? I say it does not exist. I’ve said this already a dozen of times to you, but you keep asking me.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

You simply can’t claim that mutually exclusive concepts can be compatible with one another

Your concept of free will is incompatible with determinism, mine isn’t. So you cannot criticise me in the way you do. What you could do is say that for you my concept does not count as free will. Please do, give arguments against the position I clearly stated here.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

Compatibilist free will is pie in the sky and wishful thinking taken to the nth degree.

You are just plainly wrong. Your definition of free will is that of libertarian free will, and compatibilism fully agrees that the concept of free will that LFW uses is incompatible with determinism.

But I defend another concept of free will. Until now, you have never showed any sign of understanding that, and you have never criticised it. You only criticise a viewpoint I do not have.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

We only have one brain and our thoughts can be controlled only by factors we have no control over.

What then is in control?

I also invite you to read this again, about the thermostat. Explain why being determined (the thermostat is a determined system) contradicts with the fact that the thermostat controls the temperature in a room. If you say it doesn’t, then please take the thermostat away and see what happens with the temperature of the room.

How about giving it a try?

[ Edited: 11 February 2014 07:17 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 12 February 2014 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 860 ]
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GdB - 11 February 2014 04:43 AM

What then is in control?

I also invite you to read this again, about the thermostat. Explain why being determined (the thermostat is a determined system) contradicts with the fact that the thermostat controls the temperature in a room. If you say it doesn’t, then please take the thermostat away and see what happens with the temperature of the room.

How about giving it a try?

The thermostat is an extension of the furnace. It’s just a part of the furnace.
So you could also take away the furnace and see what happens to the temperature of the room.
Or take away the fuel and see what happens to the temp. of the room.
Or take away the heating ducts and see what happens to the temperature of the room.
So the whole heating system is determined.
The temperature is the determining factor in the room or the furnace or the person who sets the thermostat. The temperature controls the thermostat.

So your analogy is just sharpshooting one step in the chain to make a point about control.
Your example of the thermostat is trying to highlight the “brain” or “the decider” of the furnace.
So what’s the analogy for consciousness and the mercury in the thermostat?

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Posted: 13 February 2014 01:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 861 ]
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VYAZMA - 12 February 2014 11:46 PM

So what’s the analogy for consciousness and the mercury in the thermostat?

None.

It just shows there is no contradiction between the concept of control and being an determined system. So yelling ‘we are determined and therefore we are not in control’ is an invalid argument. Every regulative system is controlling something, and only can do reliably when it is determined; it doesn’t matter if it does because it was designed that way, or evolution made it that way.

[ Edited: 13 February 2014 01:39 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 13 February 2014 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 862 ]
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GdB - 13 February 2014 01:07 AM
VYAZMA - 12 February 2014 11:46 PM

So what’s the analogy for consciousness and the mercury in the thermostat?

None.

It just shows there is no contradiction between the concept of control and being an determined system. So yelling ‘we are determined and therefore we are not in control’ is an invalid argument. Every regulative system is controlling something, and only can do reliably when it is determined; it doesn’t matter if it does because it was designed that way, or evolution made it that way.

Great. Where do you go from there? 
You’ve shown that a person is in control if they walk around and make decisions.
So now what?  What does that mean?

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Posted: 13 February 2014 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 863 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 February 2014 04:10 AM

Great. Where do you go from there? 
You’ve shown that a person is in control if they walk around and make decisions.
So now what?  What does that mean?

I? Nowhere. I just showed that the argument ‘we are not in control because we are determined’ is invalid. It is one of the cornerstones of Lois’ argumentation.

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Posted: 13 February 2014 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 864 ]
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GdB - 10 February 2014 09:46 AM

So you both: I have given a rather complete description of what free will is in the posting I linked already several times.

You can show me where the errors are in that posting; you can ask for elucidation; you can write an unrelated essay; or you can yell that you are right. I’ll wait and see what you choose.

Oh, I forgot, you both are not able to choose… Assume you have your reasons causes for that.

We “choose” but not through free will. I maintain that you are unable to choose through free will either, so you’re no different. You have just convinced yourself that you can.

Lois

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Posted: 13 February 2014 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 865 ]
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GdB - 11 February 2014 04:43 AM
Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

You haven’t answered my questions:

You raised that question already here and here, and I have answered it. Of course you did not understand the answers here and here. You obvious even do not remember that I spelled it out for you a second time.

But here we go again:

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

But they are never “up to us” if you mean we are capable of overriding out deterministic influences just because we want to. 

No, I do not mean that.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

If you think we can,

No, I don’t think that, so the rest of your question does not apply.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

In order for us to have free will we’d need another, separately functioning brain that could override those determining influences and which is immune to those influences.

According to the definition you use, yes. Not according to the definition I give, namely:

An action is free when it is according to the wishes and beliefs of that person, and nobody else is pushing me to act according to his wishes and beliefs.

Said otherwise: reasons are causes of our actions. If you think they are not, then please explain how the capability of reasoning could be selected for in evolution.

Now what you say is that these reasons are determined. My reaction on that: so what? For assigning me responsibility and free will it is necessary that my actions were caused by me, not that they came out of the blue, or a soul or whatever. My reasoning is determined, but my actions are caused by my reasons, and it is the latter that matters. Reasons are just parts of determined causal chains: reasons are caused, and reasons on their turn have causal effects, namely actions.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

Where would that ability come from? Where does it reside!

Nowhere. That ability does not exist. Got it? I say it does not exist. I’ve said this already a dozen of times to you, but you keep asking me.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

You simply can’t claim that mutually exclusive concepts can be compatible with one another

Your concept of free will is incompatible with determinism, mine isn’t. So you cannot criticise me in the way you do. What you could do is say that for you my concept does not count as free will. Please do, give arguments against the position I clearly stated here.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

Compatibilist free will is pie in the sky and wishful thinking taken to the nth degree.

You are just plainly wrong. Your definition of free will is that of libertarian free will, and compatibilism fully agrees that the concept of free will that LFW uses is incompatible with determinism.

But I defend another concept of free will. Until now, you have never showed any sign of understanding that, and you have never criticised it. You only criticise a viewpoint I do not have.

Lois - 10 February 2014 04:06 PM

We only have one brain and our thoughts can be controlled only by factors we have no control over.

What then is in control?

I also invite you to read this again, about the thermostat. Explain why being determined (the thermostat is a determined system) contradicts with the fact that the thermostat controls the temperature in a room. If you say it doesn’t, then please take the thermostat away and see what happens with the temperature of the room.

How about giving it a try?

A thermostat actually controls the amount if heated or cooled air that is pumped into a room. It doesn’t “control the temperature”—and it does nothing by its own will.  It is a man-made device programmed to act in a certain way. It IS being controlled by its determining factors (its program), just as humans are.  The only thing that will happen if the thermostat is taken away is that the temperature of the room will even out naturally. Human brains work like thermostats in that they both respond to their “programming”—their determining influences. A better analogy to your idea of free will would be a thermostat that can overcome its program and either direct the system to heat up or cool down the room by the force of its own independent will, whatever the temperature is and no matter how it was programmed.

Lois

[ Edited: 13 February 2014 06:58 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 13 February 2014 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 866 ]
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GdB - 13 February 2014 04:12 AM
VYAZMA - 13 February 2014 04:10 AM

Great. Where do you go from there? 
You’ve shown that a person is in control if they walk around and make decisions.
So now what?  What does that mean?

I? Nowhere. I just showed that the argument ‘we are not in control because we are determined’ is invalid. It is one of the cornerstones of Lois’ argumentation.

I don’t know about all that.  It takes alot more to show these types of things than just an analogy about a thermostat.
To get to the heart of this matter, words like control and decisions are not sufficient.
These are terms that are suited to cover a broad philosophical approach.

Philosophy is only suited to state:  I observe people walking around making decisions, therefore they have intents and act on their wishes.
Every single human being on the planet also observes this as well, without philosophizing.

So where does that leave the philosophical idea of compatibilism?  What do you need that concept for?
So you can say, “I observe people making decisions and controlling things.”

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Posted: 13 February 2014 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 867 ]
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Lois - 13 February 2014 06:43 PM
GdB - 10 February 2014 09:46 AM

So you both: I have given a rather complete description of what free will is in the posting I linked already several times.

You can show me where the errors are in that posting; you can ask for elucidation; you can write an unrelated essay; or you can yell that you are right. I’ll wait and see what you choose.

Oh, I forgot, you both are not able to choose… Assume you have your reasons causes for that.

We “choose” but not through free will. I maintain that you are unable to choose through free will either, so you’re no different. You have just convinced yourself that you can.

Lois

No GdB does not think we are able to choose through our own (libertarian) free will.

The confusion arises because the term free will is being used to mean more than one thing. If you say we don’t have free will I know what you mean and so agree. It is confusing to disagree which is what compatibilists do, when really they are agreeing.

Do you believe in magic? A likely answer is no. The compatibilist says I disagree, I believe in magic, it’s conjuring tricks.

If you answered “no” to magic, of course you weren’t talking about conjuring tricks, of course you believe in conjuring tricks.

So the compatibilist has changed the subject from the magic of superstition to the magic that magicians actually do.

Granted this is bound to be confusing but GdB has explained what he is doing over and over.

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Posted: 14 February 2014 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 868 ]
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Lois - 13 February 2014 06:43 PM

We “choose” but not through free will. I maintain that you are unable to choose through free will either, so you’re no different. You have just convinced yourself that you can.

I have no idea what ‘choose through free will’ would mean. When humans choose it is free will, as long nobody forces you to do something you do not want.

Lois - 13 February 2014 06:56 PM

A thermostat actually controls the amount if heated or cooled air that is pumped into a room.

Right. You said it. You just take the immediate working of the thermostat, instead of the indirect effect, for what it was really built. That’s fine. But it controls ‘the amount of heated or cooled air pumped into a room’.

Lois - 13 February 2014 06:43 PM

It doesn’t “control the temperature”—and it does nothing by its own will.

Again, I do not say that a thermostat has free will. I only say that there is no contradiction between being determined and being in control. The thermostat is determined, and controls the temperature in the room (or ‘the amount of heated or cooled air pumped into a room’, if you want).

Lois - 13 February 2014 06:43 PM

Human brains work like thermostats in that they both respond to their “programming”—their determining influences.

In a certain sense, yes, that is true. But it is not the complete story. We can picture our environment, our position in it, we can see several options what we can do, play them through on their possible consequences, and then act according to what we think is best. That is a determined process, of course, because our brain is a determined system, but these extended capabilities, many more than the thermostat has, make that we have something we can logically justified may call ‘free will’.

Lois - 13 February 2014 06:43 PM

A better analogy to your idea of free will would be a thermostat that can overcome its program and either direct the system to heat up or cool down the room by the force of its own independent will, whatever the temperature is and no matter how it was programmed.

Why would it be better? Because it fits your definition of free will? You see, you do it again! You do not argue against my standpoint.

PS Do you see that I have answered your questions? I answered them here. Please confirm that you have read them, and understood them.

[ Edited: 14 February 2014 03:28 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 14 February 2014 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 869 ]
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VYAZMA - 13 February 2014 09:52 PM

I don’t know about all that.  It takes alot more to show these types of things than just an analogy about a thermostat.
To get to the heart of this matter, words like control and decisions are not sufficient.

Right. Not sufficient. But necessary. And again, I only wanted to show that there is no contradiction between being in control and being determined. Do you agree?

VYAZMA - 13 February 2014 09:52 PM

I observe people walking around making decisions, therefore they have intents and act on their wishes.
Every single human being on the planet also observes this as well, without philosophizing.

Yeah, right. It would be bad if philosophy would contradict daily experience, or not at least give an explanation why it seems to contradict daily experience.

VYAZMA - 13 February 2014 09:52 PM

So where does that leave the philosophical idea of compatibilism?  What do you need that concept for?
So you can say, “I observe people making decisions and controlling things.”

Well, if people start reflecting on free will, and connect wrong ideas with it (‘being uncaused’, ‘could have done otherwise under exact the same conditions’) that are not even rooted in daily experience (do you have the experience that you are not caused? Or do you have the experience that you do not know exactly where your thoughts, feelings and ideas come from? And: have you ever repeated a situation that was exactly equal to a previous one? Did you? Then how do you know this is an aspect of free will?)

As said earlier, compatibilism is nothing else then showing that we have attached some wrong concepts with ‘free will’ and that if we strip these wrong ideas off we are left with something that is compatible with determinism and still is a basis of our societal praxis of blaming, praising, assigning responsibility etc.

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Posted: 15 February 2014 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 870 ]
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GdB - 14 February 2014 01:23 AM

Right. Not sufficient. But necessary. And again, I only wanted to show that there is no contradiction between being in control and being determined. Do you agree?

I don’t agree.  If those examples are not sufficient, then they are not necessary. What is necessary is finding sufficient terms or explanations for consciousness that explain why we perceive we are in control.
If you’re happy enough with stopping at perception-that’s fine. Then that explains why you are content with compatibilism.

For me it isn’t enough to rest with the idea that we observe ourselves going about acting on wishes and beliefs.

That for me is analogous to stopping at the Big Bang.  And saying-“Everything started with the Big Bang, and that’s enough.”
In otherwords, once you get behind the idea of consciousness, acting and wishes and beliefs, it makes the idea of compatibilism redundant.
Compatibilism is like the instruction manual to a TV. It tells you how to operate your TV, but it doesn’t explain how to open the TV and
understand how it works.

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