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Everything posted by Eise

  1. sethoflagos was referring to Libet, so I reacted on that. If you want to discuss newer Libet-style experiments, then maybe mention one, so we have something to discuss? But if such experiments only show that a spooky, magical and incoherent idea of free will does not exist, then it is not much use. Measuring events building up in the brain before a conscious action is done is not against compatibilist free will, so if this is the only thing these experiments show, you can let it be.
  2. For me the Trash Can would even be better.
  3. Did I claim that epiphenomalists claim that? Quite the opposite: according epiphenomalists the brain would work just as it does even without conscious, mental phenomena. That is implicit in the definition of an epiphenomenon: mental phenomena play no role in brain states. Brain states cause new brain states, that cause new brain states etc. Just a causal process. But mental events are also caused by brain states, but have themselves no causal impact on the brain. Therefore they theoretically could just not exist at all.
  4. No, sorry. In philosophical free will discussions, libertarian free will means that we, with our 'free minds' can break through determinism. The connection with libertarianism, as political ideology is loose. Where it does give some support to political libertarianism, it does not logically follow from a belief in libertarian free will. I think the Libet experiment is not very meaningful as a model of free choice IRL (=in real life). The task of the test subjects was to spontaneously move a hand, i.e. without any reason why just then. Is that really a good model for what we consider free will IRL? Some choices what to do take considerably 'pre-thinking', e.g. the greater choices we make in life. Or in planning longer term projects, be it in private of together. (Was there thinking involved in designing the LHC? I am inclined to believe 'yes'...) Some choices are automatic, trained reactions. E.g. I brake for an unexpected pedestrian on the road, even before I am conscious of me seeing him. But the braking is completely according my intentions, the automatism created by consciously training driving. Sports training is another example. Consciousness is just too slow for many sports (tennis, or even worse table tennis), so you train to get automatically correct reactions. Just what you want I can't think of examples of actions that we do for no reason, have no importance at all, and are still conscious, willed actions. In short, Libet's experiments have nothing to do free will as we experience IRL. (Great abbreviation, iNow!). Perhaps. Or perhaps it's the lack of consistency in the degree of determinism necessary in defining 'will'. I thought we had left that behind? Compatibilism is the position that determinism (without any wriggles!) is compatible with free will, or even a necessary condition for free will. It does not say that the world is completely deterministic. But the more randomness sneaks in, the more difficult it becomes to express out free will. Therefore I used the concept of 'sufficient free will'. 100% Determinism would be best for free will. And if e.g. in the brain quantum processes average out, then we can assume the brain to be deterministic, so that would be great. One sentence linking at least five distinct concepts all subject to diverse interpretation. Easy as pie! I think IRL you know very well what my definition means.
  5. Well, 'afraid' is an exaggeration. But yes, self declared 'Übermenschen' cause a lot wreckage e.g. in relationships. Most of the times, such self declarations come from lack of self confidence.
  6. Sure, this API exists. But to use it for logging, give the possibility to possibly spy out other sessions, is not legitimate in my ethics... The OP did not even explain why he needs it. So I prefer to stay on the safe side, and do not help in how this could be done.
  7. It lies in the kind of relationship between the 'lower order phenomena' and the 'higher order phenomena'. For supervenience this means ontologically we look at same system with different views: we can chemically analyse the paper of a book, measure its dimensions, chemically analyse the ink, and can even describe the form of the ink blobs on the pages. This is the view needed e.g. in forensic investigation, or archaeological research. But we can also just read the book. But it is the same book! Both views are completely OK. But it is clear you will understand nothing about the contents of the book, if you only do physical- or chemical analyses. But this is what 'freewill deniers' do: they look at the lower order phenomena only. And then, by using a magical definition of 'free will', it is easy to deny its existence. Nothing at the lower order phenomena points at some magic. So case closed. Epiphenomalism states that brain states cause mental phenomena, but mental phenomena cannot cause changes in the brain. But it simply doesn't fit to the concept of the naturalist conception of causation: causation implies energy- and momentum exchange (action is reaction), but in this case, we then should see energy leaking away from the brain, that never comes back. One option to get out of this, is proposing a 'mental entity' that cannot be detected by other physical means, but is the home of our mental events. In other words, a soul. Only for this reason, epiphenomalism is not a viable alternative for naturalists. The other problem is that it is a self contradiction. Epiphenomalism means, per definition, that the processes would run just the same, if it produces mental events or not. So it would mean that philosophical zombies are possible: entities that exactly look like humans, behave exactly the same like humans, but they have no mental life. How could such a zombie write an article about epiphenomalism? He has no idea about mental events, also per definition, so when we talk with one, we might soon discover that it looks like a human, but it isn't. Which contradicts the very definition of a philosophical zombie. Here is a short short story from Raymond Smullyan: An Unfortunate Dualist. Read it, it is fun!
  8. No idea what is obscure in my definition: "to be able to act according to what you want". I think the main problem in this understanding is that the ideological concept of free will always sneaks in. It shows e.g. when people are baffled about Libet-like experiments: it means that people automatically still assume that consciousness comes first, then the action potential in the brain, and then the action itself. But nothing of that is in my definition! And there is also nothing in our experience that I really could have done otherwise in the exact physical circumstances, including my body and brain. So why stick to that? Because we must live with the old fashioned heritage of our Christian culture, in which our libertarian free will was used to solve the problem of the theodicy? If you are not interested in the problem, fine. But if one wants to solve an intelligibility problem, then one has to dive deeper.
  9. Well, if Dim is OK with the reactions he got, we better, close the thread, before a herd of 'oobermenschen' invades it... Otherwise, silence is the answer.
  10. I agree with @StringJunky: we do not know if you have good intentions. I think we should not support technologies where misuse is more common than good use.
  11. @sethoflagos: are you sure you used the compatibilist definition of free will? If you apply the libertarian definition of free will, sure, then these statements are inconsistent.
  12. Exception: Hard determinism precludes free will. I hate the words 'hard determinism' (and of course its companion 'soft determinism'). Compatibilism's determinism is just as hard as what is supposed to be 'hard determinism'. Nope. Compatibilism is the view that there is no contradiction between the concepts of determinism and free will. Incomaptibilsm and compatibilism do not really differ in their positions what determinism is. They differ in their conception of what free will is. So to make the steps as clear as possible: Compatibilism is the position that there is no conflict between determinism and free will Even stronger: without determinism free will would be impossible So if the world is completely determined, the possibility for free will exists Randomness in relationship between events only disturbs the possibility for free will to exist We know the real world is not deterministic through and through Given that randomness possibly plays only a small, maybe even no role, free will is possible So my idea of 'sufficient determinism' just means that we need enough determinism for compatibilist free will to be possible. The wiggle room does not exist: either events are random, or they are determined. Randomness disturbs compatibilist free will, determinism makes it possible. To say it simple: the more events relate deterministically, the less our free will is disturbed by random events. I read it a second time, and I do not get it. Might be just me.
  13. It can be done... This is the way I did it: And then copy, or better cut, the complete text from the 'Reply to this topic' box, and paste it into the topic you want. I had to google it also.
  14. I use 'sufficient determinism' because we do not live in an absolutely determined universe. Now small random hiccups may not disturb much, but if the deviations from determinism become too big, it disturbs the connections between my intentions, knowledge, decisions and actions. For free will to be possible, their relations must be pretty fix determined. The possible actions are given by our surroundings: e.g. in a restaurant, it contains a menu card, on which my 'alternative actions' are listed. Supposing that it is a free choice, i.e. nobody coerces me to some special choice, then what I will choose then depends on me only. So given the situation, my preferences determine what action I will take. Then the action is really free. And I couldn't care less if the action potential goes up before I become conscious of my choice. There is simply no contradiction between determinism and free will. Compatibilism is not the view that there somehow is a little wiggle room in determinism in which we can choose. It is the view that free will can only exist in a determined world, so arguments in favour of determinism does in no sense argue against compatibilist free will. If you would like to give another 'Frankfurt case', one that can also be understood by somebody who is not in the world of active chess players, maybe we can discuss that.
  15. Of course Ekin = ½mv2. The higher the velocity, the more energy you need. That is even in Newtonian mechanics the case. Nope. The Lorentz transformations are like a rotation, they change our perspective.
  16. Not force. To keep up an acceleration, you need a constant force, not more and more force. 'Energy' is correct, to keep up the force, you need energy. Not for the rocket that is accelerating. As long as the rocket has energy to keep the force doing work, it can accelerate. There is no resistance. But for a 'left behind observer', she sees that the speed of the rocket approaches c, but never reaches c. She will also see that the acceleration becomes less and less. But the momentum steadily increases, as long as the force is doing its work.
  17. I wouldn't call it 'the essence', but 'essential', I think so, yes. Our minds are built up from simpler mechanisms. Just as a computer is built up on flip-flops, logical ports, which for them selves are also built up of smaller components (transistor, capacitors etc), but on higher level runs a program, e.g. a simulation of the universe. Yes, too full... But... In the first place, not epiphenomenal. Epiphenomalism is in my eyes just another form of dualism. I prefer 'supervenience' as concept to describe the relationship between the brain and the mind. And in the second place, determinism is a necessary condition of free will.
  18. You forgot the opposites: You did a good thing =>You did it because you had no choice ("determinism" for you) I did a good thing =>I did it because I chose to do it ("free will" for me) It depends on the situation: do you want to avoid blame, or do you want to get praised... Take your pick! Precisely. Neurons do not act, nor do they have intentions. But we have. Yes, because it is not bleeding obvious. AFAIK there have many studies, that show that imprisonment does not help, in fact, show the opposite. Maybe @iNow has some interesting references?
  19. No. I have read a little Frankfurt, but I do not like his contrived examples. And then you pick one of the most contrived ones as example ... No, I was just referring to my conception of free will, in which (sufficient) determinism is even a necessary condition for free will to exist. Well, what is the difference between the meanings of my conception of free will and your's of 'uncoerced'? Nope. But that would deviate too far from the topic of the thread. Only this: an argumentatively reached consensus between members of a speech community (be it society as a whole, or a bunch of experts) is more then just 'subjective'. In absolute terms,I agree. Assuming 'IRL' means 'in real life', it is not absolute, per definition. If they are 'competing' I think you mean the alternatives you have in one choice. A 'free action' is an action in which I recognise that it is according my intentions and knowledge. Just fresh this morning: Does Science Really Show Free Will Doesn't Exist? Here's What You Need to Know. It is mainly reactions on Sapolsky's recent book Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will. The review of Sapolsky's book of course goes a little deeper, so if somebody is interested, go there too: Simply said: just another scientist who shows that my disclaimer is correct. Just in case that one day I might change my disclaimer: Daniel Dennet, Darwin's dangerous idea. As an aside, Dennett is one of those philosophers who are very science oriented; and one of the most vocal about the fact that we have free will (compatibilist free will, of course).
  20. True, 'uncoerced' sounds less ambiguous than 'free will'. But still 2 remarks: as you still stick to the position that we have no free will, but not specifying precisely in which meaning, people may think that for you all actions are coerced. So what would an honest 'declaration' be? E.g. "We have no libertarian free will: everything is determined. However, we are able to distinguish between actions that are coerced and and those that are not. This is the relevant meaning for our practice of blaming, praising, responsibility etc."? You have something in common with Sam Harris. In his pamphlet Free Will, he also argues against it, but when arguing that our practice of criminal law does not has to change much, he is doing this exactly in the same terms as compatibilists defend we have compatibilist free will. A bit mean, I would say, is that there is obviously some allergy against the words 'free will'. But not against what compatibilists really are defending. I hope you also see that when discussing politics, e.g. about imprisonment, we think very much alike. It looks like that our practical differences are not that big. No. It means that as a society we must agree on how we should react on offenders. 'Objective' is the absolute opposite of 'subjective' only in the context of facts. It looks different in questions of morality and values. There one can give arguments for one's position, but they will never be objective. But they might convince somebody. Or it gives the possibility for someone to argue more precise against one's position.
  21. I think the correct way to interpret this as free will, is that you could hit your hand with a hammer, if you wanted to. Obviously, you know yourself good enough that you would never want it, so you also can be pretty sure you will never do it. Full ack!
  22. Moslims, Hinduists, Jews, etc would not agree with that. The bible is a bundle of different writings by many different people, and it was decided by humans which writings it would contain. So it is a collection of subjective impressions by many different people. It definitely is not 'THE Word of God'. And the bible says that the Apocalypse was expected during Jesus' lifetime, or shortly after.
  23. It is not philosophy that decides that. It are lawyers and judges when there was coercion involved, and psychiatrists/psychologists if a defendant turns out to miss the capabilities necessary for evaluating the consequences of his deeds. In the latter case, if the defendant still poses a danger for society, he could be turned in into a psychiatric clinic, in the hope he can be treated. The role of the philosophers is just to point out, that free will comes in different degrees. At least in Europe that is daily practice in judicial cases.
  24. Yes. It is the eradication of all evil on earth by God, reestablishing his kingdom on earth. According to Jesus it had to occur soon, maybe even during his lifetime, but surely very soon. Church members of Paulus were greatly worried about the fact that some of their companions had died, even before the last day. So the kingdom of Heaven should have been in place here on earth for already nearly 2000 years according to the bible. So the bible is wrong.
  25. Where I do not quite agree with your formulation (chemistry?), I do agree with your overall position here. We should do what is best for society. Just to extend: not just Scandinavian countries, but two other countries I know quite well, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Finding the best possible way to integrate criminal offenders, in every individual case, should be our motivation, not the urge for revenge. That may include punishment, but we should always be open for better ways top cope with them. Envy the US sentencing policy??? The Western country with the highest prisoner percentage compared with the number of inhabitants. Is there less criminality in the US than in Europe? And you know that the 'high school for criminals' is jail, don't you? Exactly.
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