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Eise

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Everything posted by Eise

  1. Well, you are the one that says that consciousness plays no causal role. That means we could just as well be not-conscious, it would make no difference. This seems unrelated to my stance, so again I'll politely ignore it. Sorry, but again, you are saying that consciousness plays no causal role, so it follows it also plays no role in the big projects humans achieve. And where does the question if an action was free or not plays an essential role: in day-to-day experience. You said: So this is the context: day-to-day experience. Not some (meta)physical ideas about how free free will arises from the deeper layers of reality. It is the opposite: 'free will' is a higher order phenomenon, and the only context where it plays a role is the context in which also other higher level phenomena exist: persons, actions, wishes, beliefs, ideas, laws and regulations, etc. That's why you see only higher level phenomena in my definition of 'free will': the capability to act according one's own motivations. Applying the idea of 'free will' on levels where these higher level phenomena do not exist is a category error. It is not so that an electron has no free will: the concept of free will simply does not apply. Well, a libertarian free will concept would lead to such a conclusion. All I was saying is that for a naturalist a causal foreplay is not astonishing. So why people think these kind of experiments are 'shocking'? Simply, because they stick to a wrong concept of free will, thinking it must be rooted in physical reality, and therefore must be found on that level. And for @martillo: I do not see why the capability to act according one's own motivations is in contradiction with determinism.
  2. Better. But not good enough. It still does not explain why we are conscious, i.e. how we explain that consciousness exists. What is the evolutionary advantage? I would say that it is the capability to: observe the environment see how you self are placed in this environment can anticipate different possible actions, and reflect on the results thereof compare this with your aims, interests, needs, desires etc choose the action that fits best Now if all these steps are initiated at an unconscious level, does it change anything? It is only the last step where the question of free will comes into play: can I choose the action with which I can identify myself; or am I forced to do something against my aims, interests, needs, desires etc? Your arguments are valid when you would argue against libertarian free will. But how would they be arguments against compatibilist free will? And may I assume, given your position, that in planning and building e.g. the LHC, the consciousness of none of planners, builders, engineers, physicists etc plays a role? And the Libet experiments are pretty useless in my eyes. In the first place, if you are a naturalist, one should not be surprised at all by the results of these experiments. Everything has a 'causal fore-play', so it would be astonishing to see my 'action plans' pop out of nothing, and causing my behaviour. In the second place is the experiment too artificial, compared with situations in which the idea of free will really plays a role. The task for the subjects of the Libet experiments is to flex their hand without a reason, just spontaneous. So the flexing of the hand, the moment when I am doing this, is in no way personally relevant, so really no model of an action for which the question of free will is relevant.
  3. "Conscious behaviour", but consciousness plays no causal role? Now that is as unclear as Martillo's 'sometimes'. If consciousness is the basis for 'conscious behaviour', meaning nothing else then that consciousness has at least something to do with behaviour, then consciousness somehow plays a causal role. To require that 'the "conscious behavior" itself is also beyond any "conscious" influence' is exactly where I protest against: you seem to think that you must be able to want what you want, instead of being able to do what you want. The minimum that this implies is that you cannot express your thoughts clearly enough that we really understand your point. The maximum is that you do not understand it yourself: that you realise there are gaps in your explanations, and even might be contradictory. It seems your looking for the right replacement of the words 'free will' instead of clearly defining the concept of free will. Your search for the right words shows that you are looking for words that sound acceptable, but in reality just shift the problem under the carpet. This is the philosophy forum, which implies that viewpoint should be argumentative supported. That needs clear definitions, not vague ones like 'sometimes'.
  4. From your viewpoint? I definitely meant "i.e. do not have consciousness". I would like you to work out this 'sometimes'. In what situations does, in your vocabulary, 'will' exists (and we are not completely determined, and in what kind of situations is everything determined, leaving no room for 'will'.
  5. @iNow: If 'we' are just spectators, then 'we' have no causal impact: our nervous system can perfectly do without. Having no causal impact, natural selection cannot make a difference between organisms that are spectators, and organisms that are not (i.e. do not have consciousness). From a '3rd party view', given your worldview that everything is determined, all our behaviour can be explained from the biological level. Not necessary to posit something like awareness, consciousness or 'spectatorship'. That means we can just be as well 'philosophical zombies'. But the idea of philosophical zombies is inherently inconsistent. With other words, there must exist something like 'conscious behaviour', otherwise evolution has no way to select for conscious organisms: consciousness would have no evolutionar advantage.
  6. Well, at least that is a clear position, but still very much in the abstract. However it still very unclear what exactly is not determined. 'Sometimes it is' and 'sometimes it is not' is a bit vague, don't you think?
  7. Made it bold for you... So free will exists?? Is your decision determined or not? I would say we call that 'making choices/decisions'... See, the question is not if we make choices and/or decisions. We do. There are two questions when discussing free will: are choices and decisions determined? can we act according our choices and decisions? I answer both questions with 'yes'. And it is in the second question that the possibility of free will exists. We simply cannot always act according our choices and decisions, I can be forced to do something I not really want, then we are not free. So you do not think that there is a naturalistic explanation? I think we all (iNow, Studiot, me) see that you don't have a clear viewpoint. It is no use to try to find 'correct' words to hide that fact.
  8. Yes. So you agree that because of the uncaused soul, we can act freely? That is what Descartes says. Because Kant mentions them. Please explain with a real life example (at least we can imagine such a situation as occurring in real life). Is 'will' determined? Always? Or sometimes not? Sometimes? Sometimes the will is determined, and sometimes it is not? Please, give an example here as well.
  9. I am glad to agree with Hume and Daniel Dennett. Descartes was a dualist, who maintained that there are 2 substances, res extensa (~ matter), and res cogitans (~ soul). Because the soul exists independently of the physical world, we can be free. Do you still agree with Descartes? In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant describes how our knowledge of the world is 'filtered' by the so-called categories. One of them is causality. That means we see the world as determined. But then in his ethical work, The Critique of Practical Reason, he states that to understand our moral reasoning, we need 3 concepts: immortailty, freedom and God. Do you still agree with Kant? Absolutely no, of course. But you said 'will' is a question of decisions and choices. And now you must refer to the possibility to act on those decisions and choices.
  10. No. Freedom to act is one thing. Freedom to make a choice is something different. Please answer my question.
  11. And that is my point: we do not have to look there. You are who you are, because of your genes, your culture, your biography, etc. E.g., when somebody does not like chicory, she cannot do much to change that. But she can act according to her preferences: just not eating them, even if if it is a real option (see my restaurant example here).
  12. So sometimes we are not determined? That makes you a believer in libertarian free will. But on the other side you write: Italics by me. Yes, it is. The will is free to act. Simply said: you can do what you want, but you cannot want what you want: that is a logical absurdity. Would you call somebody free who makes free decisions, but is never able to act according these decisions?
  13. This is a joke. iNow has a pretty clear viewpoint, I just do not agree with him. You, on the other side, are hiding your inconsistencies behind words ('restricted', 'conditioned'). Unless you can illustrate them with more or less real life examples it is not clear what you mean. They are just words, not concepts, as you use them. (But I don't know if you know the difference between words and concepts...) So this falls completely back on you.
  14. Nice poetic expression! So far I agree. But then... Obviously, yes, it is needed. Being a system, say with input and output, not looking at the output is quite an omission. More concrete, omitting the causal influence of human agents, you only have half of the story. The question is not how our motivations came into existence, but how I am able to act based on them: can I act according to them, or not? ... and there is the trouble with modal logic. Say, I am in a restaurant with a few friends. The restaurant has 3 different dishes, A, B and C. I choose dish C. I can choose C, because it is on the menu. And the proof is, that I get dish C. Could I have done otherwise? Well, yes, and the proof is that one of my friends took dish A. So if I had wanted dish A, I could have taken it. Now I go with the same friends to another restaurant, which only has dishes A and B. In a very true sense, I cannot choose dish C, because it is not on the menu. Now, this is not a question of free will or not. Dish C is just a none existing option. Another week, I go with a group of vegetarians to the first restaurant, and C is a dish with meat. One of my friends is an 'aggressive vegetarian', and he forbids me to take dish C. So the option for dish C exists, I want to take it, but I am overruled by this aggressive vegetarian. So, acting against my own will, I take dish A. So the meaning of 'could have done otherwise' is: if I had wanted to do X, I would have been able to do X. And that is just a normal counterfactual statement, such as 'the water would have boiled, if it would have been heated long and strong enough'. These are perfect true/false statements. Yep. And I claim that this definition is just closer to our experience of free will. One should get rid of ideological remnants in what many people associate with the concept of free will. My definition is direct and simple: if you can act according your beliefs and wishes, you have free will. no 'could have done otherwise' in some metaphysical meaning no contradiction with naturalism no contradiction with determinism no 'uncaused agents' fits to how we experience free will Yes, because the classic meaning is wrong. It does not apply to anything in our experience. The classic meaning was born from Christian theology, and has obviously still to shake off its metaphysical contents. No necessity for metaphysics if you take a definition that is grounded in our daily experience.
  15. Yes, thanks for the explanation, I really needed that . Your OP was about the Space Shuttle. It was not able to reach escape velocity. And for reaching the moon one does not need the 'full escape velocity': reaching the point where the gravitation of earth an moon exactly cancel is enough. But then, for the return trip, you still need fuel to reach that point again, against the gravity of the moon.
  16. It is not. It is getting rid of remnants of medieval, Christian ideology. It should explain how an omni-benevolent creator makes a universe in which evil exists: it is the free will that allows people to do evil. God is not responsible. Its modern descendant is the concept of 'libertarian free will': that we can intervene in the otherwise determined universe. (Recognise, @martillo?). Why should we not look more precisely what we exactly mean, when we say that an action is free? Calling such an investigation a 'semantic trick' doesn't do justice to this endeavor. Of course we are. Everything that can partake in causal relationships is a causal agent. What you mean is that we, as causal agents, are not caused ourselves: that is the illusion of libertarian free will. The point compatibilists are making is that our personal motivations are part of the causal network. And if we, so to speak, can play out our motivations in our actions, then these actions are free. That is exactly one side of the coin. The other is that we have causal impact, just as any other thing in the universe. And our motivations are part of the causal network. One other point that bewitches many people: the so called laws of nature are not laws that enforce us to act in certain ways. They are descriptions of how nature behaves, which includes us. But descriptions cannot enforce anything. We are just part of the flow of the history of the universe. Yes, we are caused, but we also 'cause'. Deterministic incompatibilists have a tendency to overlook the second point. This second point makes us causal agents.
  17. But those Large Language Models are based on deterministic and digital programs! Not quantum computing, no analog systems (that can have some imprecision compared to a digital computer). How can a guaranteed deterministic system shed light on 'the mystery of decisions and choices', that, according to you, are not determined?
  18. And how would you like to solve this mystery? Scientific investigation (neurology)? But given that determinism is an assumption of being able to do science, how can you expect a none-deterministic explanation? In other words, you shift your 'explanation' of '(a tiny bit of) free will' to a mystery. That is not acceptable, not for science, and not for philosophy. Fully embracing determinism however 'evaporates' the problem. We then only have to carefully investigate what we mean, when we are assuming free will. 'Acting according your preferences' is the meaning that works in relevant contexts, and is not inconsistent with determinism, and so not with naturalism and science.
  19. Are 'choices' and 'decisions' determined? Don't you think there is a neural correlate to decisions and choices? If not, where do they come from? And do not forget that actions often are based on choices and decisions. You do not get away so easy...
  20. And I do not understand why you do not see that this is a contradiction. 'Everything' includes playing dogs and humans sending space probes to Mars. So the playing dogs and we also obey the laws of physics, so how can these 'intervene'? Let's make a formal argument: Your premises: Everything in the universe obeys the laws of physics. Dogs and humans can intervene in the deterministic flow of the universe Conclusion: Dogs and humans do not exist in this universe. So hidden in your position is dualism: there is an aspect of reality, as illustrated with your playing dogs and humans sending a space probe to Mars, that is not subject to the laws of physics. And this is simply a gap in your explanation. Where does this "degree of freedom" come from? It cannot lie in the 'deterministic part' of the universe, because that is excluded by you ("For me they both cannot coexist simultaneously."). It obviously depends on the definition of 'free will' you are using. In your definition, sure, they are incompatible. But as said above, using your definition, and still allowing for some degree of free will, is inconsistent. In my definition determinism is a necessary condition of free will to exist. My claim is that my definition fits to our experience (we can act according our personal preferences) is not derived from the ideological ballast of Christianity about free will (to explain the existence of evil in the world) is useful in the contexts where the question if an action was free or not is relevant doesn't suffer from all kinds of (modal) logical problems ('could have done otherwise') is consistent with a naturalistic world view
  21. Wasn't it you who said we can use different definitions in different contexts? I gave examples of contexts in which the question if we did something from free will or not, is relevant, and with more or less problems, can be answered (there are of course border cases in which question is not easily answered; also unrealistic science fiction scenarios). For the workings of neurons and their connections the question is irrelevant.
  22. Me neither, not under Martillo's definition. But randomness is even contradictory with my definition of free will. It breaks (however lightly) the connection between me and my actions. Well, it doesn't make much sense to define something in a way that is useless in a context where it is used most: in the practice of blaming and praising, of responsibility, ethics, justice, psychotherapy, etc. A neurologist doesn't need the concept at all to study the nervous system. The only fiction is the illusion of libertarian free will, that determinism is not valid for human actions. If previous conditions are not completely determining our actions, then what does? Randomness is no option.
  23. No, I state you don't know what you yourself are posting. Therefore you should answer my question: how can there exist a 'degree of freedom' in a deterministic world? I think it is the same that Studiot wants to know.
  24. And where does this 'degree of freedom' stems from? Randomness? I think you have not thought through what you are writing here.
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