I emphasize that LFW and indeterminism are compatible with any degree of determinism short of the absolute. So it isn’t an issue of which “is more accurate.“ I would quite agree that determinism is “more accurate” in that more events are causally determined than not. And it may even be the case that most LFW decisions are described probabilistically in terms that might be mistaken for determinism (as might happen using the reasoning you describe).
Ok, reasonable. I’m not sure what constitutes “absolute” determinism. Is it simply the idea that everything that happens is the only thing that could happen given the initial conditions of the universe, or some such?
“Determinism” is routinely defined as the proposition that all phenomena are the result of lawful and predictable interactions of physical entities. I add “absolute” to make clear that I refer to the normal understanding of “determinism.” There are other varieties such as logical determinism, and if (for example) random quantum events were literally the cause of specific decisions of the human will I’d argue that as a form of determinism—though clearly not the traditional understanding of the term.
I would disavow that idea, since I accept the unpredictability and, apparently as far as current understanding goes, the inherent randomness of some things, such as quantum phenomena.
OK, so when you use the term “determinism” in the present context you’re unlikely to be using it in the traditional sense. It may help facilitate clear communication if you settle on a modifying term when you’re not using “determinism” in its traditional sense.
But I’ve already said I’m happy with a high degree of determinism in that I think our choices are determined by the state of our brain preceding the choice. If you disagree with this, and require some degree of indeterminism to explain choice and allow for soime kind of freedom, what sort of mechanism would explain the selection of one alternative over another in the brain without determinism? In other words, if it’s not the inevitable chain of causal events associated with electrons/neurons and so on, what is the determining factor? What leads to one choice over another?
As I’ve already stated, the consciousness could assume that role where a given physical state of the mind is not taken as a sufficient condition for a single outcome (IOW, simply refraining from assuming determinism with respect to thoughts and reasoning). I’ll emphasize again that it makes no sense to ask for an explanatory mechanism. If I provided such an explanation (see my response to George recently) then I would simply demonstrate that I had failed to construct an indeterministic model in the first place. I hope you’ll agree that it would be ludicrous to fault me for declining to explain an indeterministic model in terms of determinism. The request is nonsense. And if I understand you incorrectly then I apologize—but at the same time I would ask that you clarify what it is you’re asking.
In what respect does the deterministic model “work better” such that we expect that determinism is universal rather than simply common?
Well, it works better in the sense that it is more successfully predictive than the alternative.
That is not a reasonable rationale. Determinism is predictable in principle while indeterminism is not. In effect, you’re saying that the deterministic model is better because it is deterministic. You may, in fact, mean to say that the expectation of determinism aids epistemology and the gathering of information, as with the scientific enterprise, but nothing restricts those who do not accept universal determinism from making use of methodological naturalism as part of the epistemological toolbox.
Indeed, I’m not sure how indeterminism would allow us to predict anything, except that systems might sometimes behave unpredictably. Where’s the heuristic value of that as a model for thought or choice?
There doesn’t really need to be any, though I suppose I could digress and use Lewis’ argument that determinism results in the futility of reason (Victor Reppert is the chief contemporary proponent of that argument).
As I pointed out above, nothing stops the indeterminist from using methodological naturalism as a tool for the gathering of knowledge. You admit as much when you accept quantum randomness, unless you’re intentionally finding fault with your own views.
I don’t know what you mean by “vestigial consciousness.” Could you elaborate?
Sure. I’m just reiterating what we’ve been over before. If the consciousness is an emergent property in an utterly mechanistic sense then it can be done without. If we suppose that a computer can add 2+2 with the resulting value of 4 without being conscious of it then there appears to be no limit to the complexity of decisions that could be made unconsciously. In short, there’s no need to be conscious if the consciousness serves no function beyond that of the configuration of matter that gave it its deterministic existence. There no reason to expect consciousness under those conditions, and consciousness could confer no evolutionary advantage under those conditions. It’s gills on a rock.
As for expecting the evolution of consciousness, I don’t know that determinism would lead us to expect it, in that we don’t understand the causal processes involved well enough to make such a prediction.
In evolutionary terms, you expect things that evolve widely to offer some sort of evolutionary advantage.
The functional value of consciousness from the point of view of evolutionary theory, which is based on the presumption of materialism and some high degree of determinism, can be explained to a reasonable extent.
Do tell. It seems pretty clear to me that if neuronal configuration A results in choice X then it doesn’t matter if A also results in mental impression I. A will result either way. In short, the reasonable explanation is that consciousness confers absolutely no evolutionary advantage under causal determinism.
But this is not to say such a thing ought to have evolved or had to evolve.
So much for useful predictions, eh? We love science!
The appropriate raw materials and selective environment had to exist, and there are elements of chance in that as well as non-random events that can be explained as causally determined. I think the evolution of consicousness is compatible with determinism, but determinism doesn’t require such a thing evolve.
Consciousness is an absurd (ridiculous, not self-contradictory) thing for a causally determined universe to evolve. And the illusion of relevance (I think I want to move my right hand—my right hand moves!) is eminently suspicious. The vestigial consciousness might as well have you subjectively experience a day at the County Fair rather than the appearance of your next animal patient. Your body could go about its business and the consciousness could act as the Holodek. Both should get along very well on their own in a causally determined world.
That they seem to act in concert is extremely suspicious—the sort of thing that produces a reasonable expectation that the consciousness is responsible for action beyond the mere results of a sufficient physical neuronal process (using “sufficient"according to its role in the philosophy of causation).
Within the LFW model, choices are utterly constrained by conditions in the brain unless we refer merely to the physical brain.
As opposed to the “non-physical brain?” WHat is that?
Your consciousness, of course. We’re talking about the LFW model, remember. The physical brain could apparently play its part in a p-zombie.
Can you demonstrate that it exists or has relevance.
No, I can’t prove that anyone is conscious. The best I can do is something akin to the Turing test. Lacking that proof, shall we assume that we are unconscious and stop having this discussion since it is silly for two unconscious beings to engage in discussion?
Freedom stems from B’s responsibility in determining X as opposed to ~X (or vice versa).
So what exactly determines x vs ~X?
If not the deterministic chain of physical events taking place in the brain, then what?
You say that substance dualism is not required, yet you still seem to locate the faculty of assessment and choice somewhere other than in the actions of the physical brain. Where?
The indeterministic consciousness, as opposed to the p-zombie.