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Free Will Compatibilism and Incompatibilism
Posted: 05 April 2015 04:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Spacemonkey - 05 April 2015 04:19 AM

It has worked fine for me. But compatibilism is more of a position than a strategy. If it is correct, then we just need a better way of explaining and conveying it to others.

Could be my words.

Spacemonkey - 05 April 2015 04:19 AM

I agree that neither compatibilists nor libertarians should be claiming the term free will for only one concept.

I think we should just show that the idea of libertarian free will is empty, and that there is no empirical basis on it. Not even in our experience, if we are honest. Really, the whole idea of CHDO is based on my memory, that I remembered I had a choice between several options. That’s all. If we can explain that, then we are done.

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Posted: 05 April 2015 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Spacemonkey - 05 April 2015 04:19 AM

Surely one kind of freedom or the other is relevant to our conceptions of moral responsibility and autonomy.

Well what do you mean by moral responsibility? We imagine people can deserve what happens to them as a result of their choices in a way which is impossible if it’s no more than the Luck of the draw.

So perhaps if a murderer had been born 2 seconds later he would not have committed murder. Perhaps if I’d been born 2 seconds later I would have committed murder.

We do blame in a way which just does not fit with this and I’d say it’s unkind and unfair and so likely to make us unkind and unfair.

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Posted: 05 April 2015 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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GdB - 05 April 2015 04:24 AM

I think we should just show that the idea of libertarian free will is empty, and that there is no empirical basis on it. Not even in our experience, if we are honest. Really, the whole idea of CHDO is based on my memory, that I remembered I had a choice between several options. That’s all. If we can explain that, then we are done.

The very idea of not having done what we should have done is based on the idea that we could have.

We judge because a person could have but chose not to.

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Posted: 05 April 2015 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Spacemonkey - 05 April 2015 04:24 AM

I don’t think most people have thought about it carefully enough for it to be accurate to say that they believe in CCFW.

I disagree there. People think they alone could have behaved differently. Not would have if their (distant) past had been appropriately different.

I would agree that our interests and values can certainly change at either step.

Yep. This is why it matters.

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Posted: 05 April 2015 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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GdB - 05 April 2015 04:24 AM

I think we should just show that the idea of libertarian free will is empty, and that there is no empirical basis on it.

Yes. But the moral responsibility which is supposed to follow from it is the idea we can deserve what happens to us without any link to consequences. In an ideal world all sentient beings would have lives worth living. Of course we are not in an ideal world but the point is so important. We just get the experiences we are given. Nobody can deserve bad ones not as is supposed and it is shockingly awful to think people or any animal can.

If we get real and say we need some people to suffer for consequential reasons it changes how we feel. I don’t like it one bit. But yes I’m resigned to it. The thing is it makes one want to reduce the harm to as little as possible and yes ideally irradicate it altogether.

We can get a tremendous positive change from getting this right.

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Posted: 05 April 2015 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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GdB - 05 April 2015 03:45 AM

Quoted from here.

Pec of Uliar - 04 April 2015 06:27 PM
GdB - 03 April 2015 09:58 AM

I think if you read here and here, you have a pretty good summary of my viewpoints. I let it to Stephen to explain why he does not agree with me.

Consider:

1. Antecedent conditions, coupled with the laws of nature, entail what I do.

2. No one can change the facts of the past, or the laws of nature.

3. Therefore, no one can do, other than what she/he does, because no one can change the facts of the past, present or future or the laws of nature.

I suppose this is what you see as the core of a determinism that excludes the possibility of free will. Still I think it does not suffice: in a compatibilist view there is still no problem. What people do is determined, but people also determine what happens: this ‘human determining’ runs via reflection, anticipating possible future paths, knowledge, motives, etc etc. It is only when you define free will as the possibility that with your brain given in a certain state, different paths can be taken and that these somehow correspond to your will, that above point rule out free will.

I must note I have sever problems with phrases like ‘changing the present/past/future’: change from what to what. I can change the colour of a wall by painting it, but I have no idea what changing the present/past/future could even mean.

Yes, exactly. I’m sure you’ve noted I’ve set the argument up, only to knock it down.

Pec of Uliar - 04 April 2015 06:27 PM

Response:

1. Laws of nature are descriptive, not prescriptive. They are a subclass of all the true propositions that describe the world.

2. Therefore, if at some time I did other, than what I in fact did, then the laws of nature (descriptive, not prescriptive) would have been different. In doing x or y, I generate “laws”: Law x, or Law y—bearing in mind that, like Gresham’s Law, laws of nature are descriptive, not prescriptive, and are a subclass of all true propositions.

3. Given that the laws of nature are descriptive and not prescriptive, no natural “law” can compel me to do anything, because natural laws are not actually laws: descriptions are not prescriptions.

4. It is true that I cannot change any (descriptive) “laws” of nature, such as E=MC2. Nor can I change the past, future, or for that matter, the present. However, no account of free will requires that I be able to change the past, present or future. Nor does any such account require that I be able to change true propositions that describe the world.

Right. The idea that we are ‘compelled’ by the laws of nature to do something looses all its power if you see what the laws of nature really are: descriptions of how things happen. Laws of nature do not make facts true, facts make laws of nature true. Laws of nature force nothing, so they also do not force me to do anything. Facts about me make laws of nature true.

However, you have not broken the complete spell of determinism with this idea. Determinism says that given the state of the universe at a certain time, that for every time afterwards there is only one possible state. This definition is not affected by changing the view of laws of nature from prescriptions to descriptions.

Quantum physics shows that this is not correct. If we rewound the tape of history and everything up until the present moment unfolded exactly the same, the next step is probabilistic, not deterministic. So Laplacean or hard determinism is known to be false. On the other hand, there is the Many Worlds deterministic version of QM, but this opens a new can of worms.

And except your further use of ‘change the present/past/future’ I agree with your train of thought.

Well, of course, I’m pointing out that this notion of “change” is fallacious.

But you said you were a libertarian, so I am awaiting your followup…

Yes, more about that later. In the above, I wanted to defend a compatibilist account.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 April 2015 05:34 AM
GdB - 05 April 2015 04:24 AM

I think we should just show that the idea of libertarian free will is empty, and that there is no empirical basis on it.

Yes. But the moral responsibility which is supposed to follow from it is the idea we can deserve what happens to us without any link to consequences.

Then we agree, don’t we? LFW is nonsense, and so is the idea that we really deserve praise, blame and punishment. Praise, blame and punishment are reactions from the community to actions of responsible persons. And responsible persons are those who are able to evaluate the consequences of their actions, including how the community sees their actions and how it possibly will react.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Pec of Uliar - 05 April 2015 10:40 PM

Quantum physics shows that this is not correct. If we rewound the tape of history and everything up until the present moment unfolded exactly the same, the next step is probabilistic, not deterministic. So Laplacean or hard determinism is known to be false. On the other hand, there is the Many Worlds deterministic version of QM, but this opens a new can of worms.

I think we can leave the question if the world is really determined or not when discussing compatibilism. Compatibilism states that determinism is a necessary condition for free will to exist. That is a pure conceptual standpoint in the first place. It is only a followup question if there is ‘enough determinism’ in the world that we really can have compatibilist free will.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 01:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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GdB - 06 April 2015 01:14 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 April 2015 05:34 AM
GdB - 05 April 2015 04:24 AM

I think we should just show that the idea of libertarian free will is empty, and that there is no empirical basis on it.

Yes. But the moral responsibility which is supposed to follow from it is the idea we can deserve what happens to us without any link to consequences.

Then we agree, don’t we? LFW is nonsense, and so is the idea that we really deserve praise, blame and punishment. Praise, blame and punishment are reactions from the community to actions of responsible persons. And responsible persons are those who are able to evaluate the consequences of their actions, including how the community sees their actions and how it possibly will react.

Yep we agree grin

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Posted: 06 April 2015 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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GdB
I think I go beyond nobody really deserves anything. It makes sense to me to think about what sentient beings would deserve in a just world.

We get born with our one possible future ahead of us. We are capable of happiness and suffering. I think we all deserve our one possible future to be a happy one.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 April 2015 01:59 AM

We get born with our one possible future ahead of us. We are capable of happiness and suffering. I think we all deserve our one possible future to be a happy one.

So if speeding makes me happy, even if I regularly cause serious accidents, that is no problem? Do I ‘deserve’ to be punished? Do I ‘deserve’ that my driver’s license is taken away?

And do I ‘earn’ the money I get for my work as a database specialist?

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Posted: 06 April 2015 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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GdB - 06 April 2015 05:47 AM
StephenLawrence - 06 April 2015 01:59 AM

We get born with our one possible future ahead of us. We are capable of happiness and suffering. I think we all deserve our one possible future to be a happy one.

So if speeding makes me happy, even if I regularly cause serious accidents, that is no problem? Do I ‘deserve’ to be punished? Do I ‘deserve’ that my driver’s license is taken away

What I said was in a just world we’d all deserve to be happy.

In this world we need to be deterred from speeding and if someone is unlucky enough for speeding to be their one possible future they need to be required to pay a penalty. But in a just world either they could speed without doing any harm or they’d be happy not speeding so wouldn’t do it.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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In a just world we’d all be happily determined to do what we should.

A just world can’t have what we should do being other than our determined path. Or happiness being other than our determined path.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Your ‘just world’ is a little bit too much of a fairy tale to be taken seriously, Stephen.

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Posted: 07 April 2015 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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GdB - 06 April 2015 01:20 AM
Pec of Uliar - 05 April 2015 10:40 PM

Quantum physics shows that this is not correct. If we rewound the tape of history and everything up until the present moment unfolded exactly the same, the next step is probabilistic, not deterministic. So Laplacean or hard determinism is known to be false. On the other hand, there is the Many Worlds deterministic version of QM, but this opens a new can of worms.

I think we can leave the question if the world is really determined or not when discussing compatibilism. Compatibilism states that determinism is a necessary condition for free will to exist. That is a pure conceptual standpoint in the first place. It is only a followup question if there is ‘enough determinism’ in the world that we really can have compatibilist free will.

I think the compatibilist position can be summed up: We can do what we will, but we cannot will what we will. But, in order to have a will in the first place, we need causal determinism.

This sort of free will is not enough for those who claim we need a more robust sense of free agency divorced from determinism. So people indeed operate with different definitions of free will.

But what is causal determinism? QM clearly denies that the state of the universe at time T2 is uniquely determined by conditions at T1. We now know that this is not true. So surely QM must enter into the discussion somewhere, if not the discussion of free will, then the discussion of determinism by itself.

Even putting aside QM, what would it actually mean to say that the state of the universe at T2 is uniquely determined by conditions at T1? Or to say that this state is determined at all, uniquely or probablistically,  by conditions at T1?

If we were to accept the Minkowski 4D spacetime model as more than a model, but actually telling us what the ontology of spacetime really is (not everyone accepts this, of course) then it seems we must accept that successor state are not “caused by” former states. Spacetime just is, and what looks like “causation” is really just a spacetime structure that can be modeled mathematically such that, if successor states did not look as if they had been caused by former states, then the actual world would be so chaotic that it is unlikely we would be here. So-called causal determinism, then, might be an anthropic effect. What this entails about so-called free will is open to debate.

Probably you’re familiar with the Libet exerpiments of the 80s, which demonstrates that our choices are generated in the mind prior to our consciously becoming aware of them. This seems like a big blow to most conceptions of free will—certainly the libertarian conception—but I think not. The experiments also showed that the conscious individual can veto the pre-conscious choice—some have called this “free won’t.”

The upshot, though, is that I don’t think we have sufficient understanding of the mind and consciousness to rule out libertarian free will. The hard problem of consciousness remains unresolved. Until it is resolved, there remains room, perhaps a lot of room, for the idea that consciousness is qualitatively different from other, so-called causal, chains, and the Libet experiment shows that perhaps consciousness can uniquely override so-called causal chains. If this is so the possibility remains open that mind can be uniquely originative of actions. Certainly the Strong Free Will Theorem hints at this very idea, as far as I understand it.

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