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The Free Will Trilemma

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Posts

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Based upon these concerns, the definitions X, Y, and Z are then assessed. That definition which most accomodates the above desires is then maintained to be "true".

    The difficult is that this process is COMPLETELY FUCKING BACKWARDS.

    Thanks for articulating what I've been saying more clearly than I have myself.

    However, I'd go a step further and say that even in this backward process the compatibilist fails. What we discussed in much of the first half of the thread was how the definition given does not in any way lead to the conclusions society reached (based on their folk notion of free will).

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    2) Fuck Linguistic Description. Modern theories are neither Certain no A Priori, self-evidently true. One can argue for them, but they are not necessarily true or the ONLY way to articulate a theory of language.

    So let me get this straight: All or nearly all English speakers associate the word "duck" with a particular kind of waterfowl. Are you trying to say that it is possible that every single one of these is wrong, and that the word "duck" really means something else--like, I don't know, tornado--and that the word "duck" somehow retains this true meaning independent of the manner it is understood by speakers?

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    2) Fuck Linguistic Description. Modern theories are neither Certain no A Priori, self-evidently true. One can argue for them, but they are not necessarily true or the ONLY way to articulate a theory of language.

    So let me get this straight: All or nearly all English speakers associate the word "duck" with a particular kind of waterfowl. Are you trying to say that it is possible that every single one of these is wrong, and that the word "duck" really means something else--like, I don't know, tornado--and that the word "duck" somehow retains this true meaning independent of the manner it is understood by speakers?

    Replace "duck" with "ironic" and "tornado" with "coincidental" and yes, I do believe that.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    All or nearly all English speakers associate the word "duck" with a particular kind of waterfowl. Are you trying to say that it is possible that every single one of these is wrong, and that the word "duck" really means something else--like, I don't know, tornado--and that the word "duck" somehow retains this true meaning independent of the manner it is understood by speakers?

    Yes.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    All or nearly all English speakers associate the word "duck" with a particular kind of waterfowl. Are you trying to say that it is possible that every single one of these is wrong, and that the word "duck" really means something else--like, I don't know, tornado--and that the word "duck" somehow retains this true meaning independent of the manner it is understood by speakers?

    Yes.

    How is that possible?

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    All or nearly all English speakers associate the word "duck" with a particular kind of waterfowl. Are you trying to say that it is possible that every single one of these is wrong, and that the word "duck" really means something else--like, I don't know, tornado--and that the word "duck" somehow retains this true meaning independent of the manner it is understood by speakers?

    Yes.

    How is that possible?

    Awww, you changed your reply. I liked the reply where you called me a crazy person.


    It is possible because meaning is not use; the meaning of a word is not its use. Here is an example:

    Let's say that "duck" means "a particular kind of water fowl". Alright, well a friend and I agree that when we say "duck" what we mean is that which is meant by "table". So, I say to my friend "hand me the book over on that duck" and he hands me the book which is on the table, because we agreed that "duck" meant "table".

    The meaning of the word "duck" does not change when my friend and I start using it to mean something other than which it Means.

    Duck still Means what it Means. My friend and I are simply using it incorrectly, but both understand the incorrect non-meaning.

    Wittgenstein was correct that there are language games.
    Wittgenstein was wrong in stating that language games somehow render a True Meaning impossible.

    "Duck" Means whatever "duck" Means in the Platonic, eternal language. If 1,000,000,000 people get together and decide to use "duck" to refer to that which is commonly referred to as "table" then, well, they're all using the word incorrectly, but it still functions.

    Meaning is not use. Meaning has nothing to do with the practical use of a term, or the societal consideration of the meaning of a term.

    Cause that's how Meaning works.



    Edit: This is also why pragmatism is fucking retarded. i do not deny that a society of people can get together and do a bunch of moronic nonsense by which their society functions. I'm just saying that their moronic nonsense is not Truth. If a bunch of people get together and decide that they are going to swap "duck" and "table"? Alright, but the Meaning of those words did not change.


    This is the way people think when they are not being anthropocentric silly geese. One realizes that the actions of human beings has no impact upon Truth or Meaning.

    It's pretty damn great.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    J, you are not really explaining your strange idea. You are merely re-asserting it. What is the nature of the relationship between an English word and its "Platonic eternal" counterpart? When a Platonic concept is inhered to this base lower level of existence, why does this concept appear in wildly different forms in different human languages? Where does meaning come from?

    I suspect that you don't have any non-circular answers to any of these questions and have chosen to simply accept the mystical wankery of some dusty Greek, for some reason, even though his claims are entirely baseless.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    J, you are not really explaining your strange idea. You are merely re-asserting it.

    Seems to be how every argument works.

    Hachface wrote: »
    What is the nature of the relationship between an English word and its "Platonic eternal" counterpart?

    Not sure what you mean by this. A particular instantiation of a particular English word is a flawed instantiation of its platonic form.
    Hachface wrote: »
    When a Platonic concept is inhered to this base lower level of existence, why does this concept appear in wildly different forms in different human languages?

    instantiations are flawed.
    Hachface wrote: »
    Where does meaning come from?

    The form it instantiates.
    Hachface wrote: »
    I suspect that you don't have any non-circular answers to any of these questions and have chosen to simply accept the mystical wankery of some dusty Greek, for some reason, even though his claims are entirely baseless.

    Every answer is circular.

    Edit: Every reasonable answer is circular. A reasonable answer will deductively follow from the definitions, axioms, and assumptions upon which it is founded. And those definitions, axioms, and assumptions will rely upon their conclusions for meaning.

    Big old circle.

    Unless those definitions, axioms, and assumptions are self-evidently true.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

    It's based upon the notion that Meaning must be Meaning and Meaning as social convention is not Meaning. To have Meaning, the Meaning must have permanence and not be fleeting. If "duck means water fowl" is only a fleeting social construct then that is not Meaning. Rather, it is a fleeting social construct.

    If "free" means "whatever we need it to mean to uphold our social system" then this is not Meaning; it is simply an arbitrary construct to uphold imagined nonsense. Meaning is Permanence. Meaning does not change.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Even platonists about meaning, if they aren't insane, link the forms with language-neutral propositional contents in such a way that what J is describing is impossible. This is how we avoid retarded conclusions like: "we're all babbling incoherently when we speak English--classical Greek has all the real meanings attached to its words."

    This sort of ridiculousness is also more or less why it is impossible to talk to J.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

    It's based upon the notion that Meaning must be Meaning and Meaning as social convention is not Meaning. To have Meaning, the Meaning must have permanence and not be fleeting. If "duck means water fowl" is only a fleeting social construct then that is not Meaning. Rather, it is a fleeting social construct.

    If "free" means "whatever we need it to mean to uphold our social system" then this is not Meaning; it is simply an arbitrary construct to uphold imagined nonsense. Meaning is Permanence. Meaning does not change.

    Even if we grant the existence of capital-m transcendent Meaning, it is only incidentally related to the semantic meaning of words.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

    It's based upon the notion that Meaning must be Meaning and Meaning as social convention is not Meaning. To have Meaning, the Meaning must have permanence and not be fleeting. If "duck means water fowl" is only a fleeting social construct then that is not Meaning. Rather, it is a fleeting social construct.

    If "free" means "whatever we need it to mean to uphold our social system" then this is not Meaning; it is simply an arbitrary construct to uphold imagined nonsense. Meaning is Permanence. Meaning does not change.

    Even if we grant the existence of capital-m transcendent Meaning, it is only incidentally related to the semantic meaning of words.

    Do you want to make a distinction between "Meaning" and "semantic meaning"?

    I suppose that "semantic meaning" is "practical meaning"?

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

    It's based upon the notion that Meaning must be Meaning and Meaning as social convention is not Meaning. To have Meaning, the Meaning must have permanence and not be fleeting. If "duck means water fowl" is only a fleeting social construct then that is not Meaning. Rather, it is a fleeting social construct.

    If "free" means "whatever we need it to mean to uphold our social system" then this is not Meaning; it is simply an arbitrary construct to uphold imagined nonsense. Meaning is Permanence. Meaning does not change.

    Even if we grant the existence of capital-m transcendent Meaning, it is only incidentally related to the semantic meaning of words.

    Do you want to make a distinction between "Meaning" and "semantic meaning"?

    I suppose that "semantic meaning" is "practical meaning"?

    More or less. When you and your friend agree to use "duck" as a code for "table," you and your friend have changed the meaning of "duck" in a certain context--namely, when you and he are speaking to one another. In most other contexts the meaning of "duck" is unchanged, since most people are not privy to your private code.

    This is all obviously true. The meaning of words is fluid; their relation to their referents is arbitrary. Believing otherwise makes you a legal resident of Crazytown.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The larger issue in all of this, to get back to free will, is a question of what is actually going on.

    The question is what I previously wrote about. Which of these two are we doing?

    1) Proclaiming "We are justified in punishing people" and then arbitrarily constructing a system of definitions and terms which support our punishing?

    2) Assesing whether or not punishment is ACTUALLY justified?

    My worry is that the argument is:
    1) If persons can be punished, they have free will.
    2) Persons can be punished.
    3) Therefore, persons have free will.

    Rather than
    1) If persons have free will, they can be punished.
    2) Causality renders it impossible for there to be free will.
    3) Persons cannot be punished.
    4) OH FUCKSZ

    My guess is that the semantic wankery of "'free' doesn't mean 'free'" is done for the sake of maintaining a judicial system predicated upon the notion of there being free will, or there being choice, or there being an ability to have not done that which was done.

    My worry is that the judicial system is founded upon a notion of what I claim "free" means, but then when it is revealed that this sort of freedom is impossible we modify the definition of "free" instead of modifying the judicial system, or our concept of ethical or moral responsibility.


    If Player A was causally determined to murder 1,000 people, and we justify punishment by saying "Oh, well, he could have not murdered them" but then learn that he necessarily murdered them? Punishment is fucked.

    My guess is that this is why people change the meaning of words. They really really really want to punish that guy despite the fact that it has been causally determined for thousands of yearrs that he would murder all of those people.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So J, you agree that you have committed yourself to the conclusion that, for any English word with distinct historical meanings, at most one historical period could have been using it right? For instance: awesome--were we correct when we use it now to mean 'good' or when we used it in the past to mean 'terrifying?' Like Highlander, there can apparently be only one.

    Which is nuts, and everyone who has agreed with you in the thread should feel embarrassed by being associated with something so loony.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Nothing you said is either self-evidently true or based on any kind of self-evident axiom that I can see. You have just accepted a certain ancient belief system and continually insisted on its truth without bothering to explain it to any satisfactory level of clarity.

    It's based upon the notion that Meaning must be Meaning and Meaning as social convention is not Meaning. To have Meaning, the Meaning must have permanence and not be fleeting. If "duck means water fowl" is only a fleeting social construct then that is not Meaning. Rather, it is a fleeting social construct.

    If "free" means "whatever we need it to mean to uphold our social system" then this is not Meaning; it is simply an arbitrary construct to uphold imagined nonsense. Meaning is Permanence. Meaning does not change.

    Even if we grant the existence of capital-m transcendent Meaning, it is only incidentally related to the semantic meaning of words.

    Do you want to make a distinction between "Meaning" and "semantic meaning"?

    I suppose that "semantic meaning" is "practical meaning"?

    More or less. When you and your friend agree to use "duck" as a code for "table," you and your friend have changed the meaning of "duck" in a certain context--namely, when you and he are speaking to one another. In most other contexts the meaning of "duck" is unchanged, since most people are not privy to your private code.

    This is all obviously true. The meaning of words is fluid; their relation to their referents is arbitrary. Believing otherwise makes you a legal resident of Crazytown.

    But then words do not have meaning. By what you just said, words do not have meaning.

    Rather, within particular contexts, a particular linguistic structure can be understood by particular participants in a particular language game to denote a particular understanding.

    It makes no sense to say that the word duck has meaning, but that meaning changes depending upon the context.

    Rather, in that system, the word has no meaning.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    So J, you agree that you have committed yourself to the conclusion that, for any English word with distinct historical meanings, at most one historical period could have been using it right? For instance: awesome--were we correct when we use it now to mean 'good' or when we used it in the past to mean 'terrifying?' Like Highlander, there can apparently be only one.

    Which is nuts, and everyone who has agreed with you in the thread should feel embarrassed by being associated with something so loony.

    Why is that a problem? because it conflicts with contemporary notions most people have?

    OH no. The majority of the human species is wrong about something.

    That's never happened before.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    But then words do not have meaning. By what you just said, words do not have meaning.

    Rather, within particular contexts, a particular linguistic structure can be understood by particular participants in a particular language game to denote a particular understanding.

    Uh, J?
    This is what meaning is.

  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think I've made this point before, but if free will is not possibly it doesn't matter what we do with our judicial system. If person A was casually determined to murder 1000 people, then the judiical system was casually determined to kill him.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    So J, you agree that you have committed yourself to the conclusion that, for any English word with distinct historical meanings, at most one historical period could have been using it right? For instance: awesome--were we correct when we use it now to mean 'good' or when we used it in the past to mean 'terrifying?' Like Highlander, there can apparently be only one.

    Which is nuts, and everyone who has agreed with you in the thread should feel embarrassed by being associated with something so loony.

    Why is that a problem? because it conflicts with contemporary notions most people have?

    OH no. The majority of the human species is wrong about something.

    That's never happened before.

    Your ideas aren't wrong because they are unpopular. Your ideas are wrong because they are based on an ancient Greek fairy tale.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    So J, you agree that you have committed yourself to the conclusion that, for any English word with distinct historical meanings, at most one historical period could have been using it right? For instance: awesome--were we correct when we use it now to mean 'good' or when we used it in the past to mean 'terrifying?' Like Highlander, there can apparently be only one.

    Which is nuts, and everyone who has agreed with you in the thread should feel embarrassed by being associated with something so loony.

    Why is that a problem? because it conflicts with contemporary notions most people have?

    OH no. The majority of the human species is wrong about something.

    That's never happened before.

    Oh, so you do agree that you believe that absolutely ridiculous thing that makes no sense and dramatically conflicts with everything we know about language.

    Cool!

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    But then words do not have meaning. By what you just said, words do not have meaning.

    Rather, within particular contexts, a particular linguistic structure can be understood by particular participants in a particular language game to denote a particular understanding.

    Uh, J?
    This is what meaning is.

    no, that's not what Meaning is.

    It doesn't make any sense to say "X means U" and then 100 years later say "X means W".

    X can't possibly have meant U if it means W and X cannot possibly mean W if it means U.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    I think I've made this point before, but if free will is not possibly it doesn't matter what we do with our judicial system. If person A was casually determined to murder 1000 people, then the judiical system was casually determined to kill him.

    Yup.

    We can remove the entire "free will" language from the debate and still kill people. we just modify a few justifications and we're right back to it.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    Oh, so you do agree that you believe that absolutely ridiculous thing that makes no sense and dramatically conflicts with everything we know about language.

    Cool!

    It doesn't make "no" sense. It makes sense in the context of all contexts.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    But then words do not have meaning. By what you just said, words do not have meaning.

    Rather, within particular contexts, a particular linguistic structure can be understood by particular participants in a particular language game to denote a particular understanding.

    Uh, J?
    This is what meaning is.

    no, that's not what Meaning is.

    It doesn't make any sense to say "X means U" and then 100 years later say "X means W".

    X can't possibly have meant U if it means W and X cannot possibly mean W if it means U.

    Actually it is totally possible. You yourself articulated how it is possible, with your story about your friend, the duck and the table.

    It's not like the old meanings of words are utterly obliterated by time. Lots of words in common use in the 16th century have changed meanings, but this does not make Shakespeare totally opaque to us. There is a linguistic record of the way the meaning of words has shifted, and we can make sense of earlier speakers and writers with just a little effort.

    This is really the most mundane of phenomena and the fact that you reject it is... puzzling.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    hachface, j believes in eternal and absolute Truth

    which of course must mean that words are incapable of denoting Truth, since their meaning changes

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    hachface, j believes in eternal and absolute Truth

    which of course must mean that words are incapable of denoting Truth, since their meaning changes

    He apparently believes that some words somewhere some time more or less correctly instantiate idealized universals. Whether we have ever encountered such a word, or could know whether we have or have not, seems to be a mystery.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    hachface, j believes in eternal and absolute Truth

    which of course must mean that words are incapable of denoting Truth, since their meaning changes

    He apparently believes that some words somewhere some time more or less correctly reflect idealized universals. Whether we have ever encountered such a word, or could know whether we have or have not, seems to be a mystery.

    You can believe both in absolute truth, and idealized universals, and yet still think that the way that words come to denote them is through linguistic convention. Which is what makes J's position so ridiculous. Even if you want to be a hardcore platonist, you can do it without taking the train all the way to crazytown but J bought a first class ticket anyway.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Also, since J cannot offer a satisfactory account of how we might know whether or not a certain definition of a word instantiates a form, I am going to go ahead and assert that my definition of "free" is the one that in fact instantiates the form of Freedom and that J's is nonsense. He does not after all have any basis to contradict me.

  • Chake99Chake99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm pretty sure this debate for most of us has long ago reached the point of meaninglessness in the early Wittgensteinian sense - we're not disagreeing over the states of affairs that actually exist in the world, we're disagreeing over what are the best words to describe these mutually agreed upon state affairs (which is a normative problem).
    You seem to want to grapple with the issue of people having different meanings for the same word, which is fine and admirable.
    But you are doing it by claiming only one meaning is allowed per word. Which is baffling and silly.
    Whats next, are you going to go through the dictionary and sort out all the multiple definition words in there too?

    Not a dictionary, I would look at people's use of words. And not words with multiple definitions. Words with contradictory definitions.
    I'm not sure who you are referring to when you talk about claiming free will is both uncaused and responsible. I haven't really talked about moral responsibility at all. At least, that's what I thought I was doing. Perhaps you interpreted me differently?

    I was talking to everyone who opposes compatibilism. If you don't subscribe to theory of forms bullshit like _J_ you probably agree that meanings of words are socially determined. These are what people in my experience mean when discussing free will. Many arguments have been given through the thread about why they are contradictory. One of them is in the OP.
    I don't think free will exists at all. As an entity, I don't think it is. I think it is not. I'm saying that there is a deterministic explanation for any given behavior you might express and the claim that there is not is as equally unsolvable as the claim that there is. You cannot ever repeat a choice perfectly because you can't reset the universe. To perfectly prove wether or not free will exists you would need to replicate the exact conditions a given human encountered in that situation, including not having had an experience of that situation before. Except that as organisms within the world, a human being is affected by everything around it at all times, by psychological, social and biological influences. So I don't see how it is possible to even make the claim that someone can choose other than what they are influenced to do. You simply cannot set up that experiment, ever. It's a big fat assumption.

    Firstly quantum randomness does suggests the universe does not operate by necessity. Secondly it doesn't matter if actions are determined for people to have free will - that is the entire point of the compatibilist position.
    You'd think such an incredibly important concept that leads onto all these other important things, like morality, our legal system, and so on, would have a solid foundation. A strong bedrock upon which it rests. This doesn't seem to be the case.
    Dude even _J_ doesn't believe determinism -> no responsibility.
    I also wanted to mention that the claim that determinism is unfasifiable is a misunderstanding of where falsifiability came from. Falsifiability only applies at the level of theory and also at the level of hypothesis testing, it doesn't apply at the axiomatic level. For most sciences, determinism is a requirement. There's no point in performing experiments if there is no cause and effect. So determinism is an axiom, and a claim of unfalsifiability is an incorrect accusation. It doesn't apply. How do you falsify something scientifically without cause and effect? You can't! Yar was the one who mentioned this and I wanted to respond at the time, but couldn't due to time pressures.

    Don't pretend to understand PhilSci.
    If people are responsible, then People have free will.
    Persons are considered to be responsible.
    Therefore, people have free will.


    But that is not answering the question of whether or not people are, in fact, responsible. That is saying that persons are considered to be responsible; it is a simple description of social considerations. The question in a free will debate (for persons who engage in philosophy) is to ask if people ARE responsible.

    Firstly, terrible strawman, secondly that is the question we've been addressing. We've concluded like you have (in your toaster example) that people are responsible but have continued to say they thus have free will.
    And no one in this thread is doing that. At best, there is a claim that "people consider themselves to be free" which is then supported with nonsense and hateful ad hominem attacks.

    This is both patently false and unnecessarily disrespectful.

    Also: does anyone actually understand what Podly writes in philosophy threads?

    Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta.
  • Chake99Chake99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    MrMister wrote:
    You can believe both in absolute truth, and idealized universals, and yet still think that the way that words come to denote them is through linguistic convention.

    Any chance you could explain how one does this? How can idealized universals be socially determined?

    Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta.
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Chake99 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote:
    You can believe both in absolute truth, and idealized universals, and yet still think that the way that words come to denote them is through linguistic convention.

    Any chance you could explain how one does this? How can idealized universals be socially determined?

    The universals are not so determined, but the words we use to refer to them are. Or so such a person would say.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Also, since J cannot offer a satisfactory account of how we might know whether or not a certain definition of a word instantiates a form, I am going to go ahead and assert that my definition of "free" is the one that in fact instantiates the form of Freedom and that J's is nonsense. He does not after all have any basis to contradict me.

    What is a "satisfactory account" in your reckoning?

    Edit: It seems to be the case, in these threads, that the phrase "satisfactory account" is a pretty well-endowed invocation of the No True Scottsman Fallacy.

    Player A: Give me an account of how X can be the case.
    Player B: <provides an account>
    Player A: Oh, but that's not a satisfactory account.

    So, how about instead of you hitting everything I say with "that's not a satisfactory account" you just give me the criteria of a satisfactory account, I provide an argument which compliments that, and then we all become Platonists?

    Edit edit: Provided that your criteria for "satisfactory account" are not absurd and beholden to a completely contrary metaphysics / epistemology.

  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    What if it's True that there is no "satisfactory account" of why something is True?

    That is, something's Absolute and Utter Without a Doubt True-y-ness is fundamentally unavailable to us?

    Inklings of True-y-ness are still allowed.

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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    The larger issue in all of this, to get back to free will, is a question of what is actually going on.

    The question is what I previously wrote about. Which of these two are we doing?

    1) Proclaiming "We are justified in punishing people" and then arbitrarily constructing a system of definitions and terms which support our punishing?

    2) Assesing whether or not punishment is ACTUALLY justified?

    My worry is that the argument is:
    1) If persons can be punished, they have free will.
    2) Persons can be punished.
    3) Therefore, persons have free will.

    Rather than
    1) If persons have free will, they can be punished.
    2) Causality renders it impossible for there to be free will.
    3) Persons cannot be punished.
    4) OH FUCKSZ

    My guess is that the semantic wankery of "'free' doesn't mean 'free'" is done for the sake of maintaining a judicial system predicated upon the notion of there being free will, or there being choice, or there being an ability to have not done that which was done.

    My worry is that the judicial system is founded upon a notion of what I claim "free" means, but then when it is revealed that this sort of freedom is impossible we modify the definition of "free" instead of modifying the judicial system, or our concept of ethical or moral responsibility.


    If Player A was causally determined to murder 1,000 people, and we justify punishment by saying "Oh, well, he could have not murdered them" but then learn that he necessarily murdered them? Punishment is fucked.

    My guess is that this is why people change the meaning of words. They really really really want to punish that guy despite the fact that it has been causally determined for thousands of yearrs that he would murder all of those people.

    _J_ I don't agree with your articulation of meaning, but I also don't think the meaning of freedom is linked to the majority of your point, which is that the bigger problem is starting with the moral and legal system and working backwards.
    Basically I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. It doesn't matter if someone wants to change the meaning of a word. What matters is wether their argument makes sense with this new meaning.

    I do see how a compatabilist is trying to change the meaning of freedom so as to mesh it with determinism and thus preserve the current moral and legal system. I don't have a big problem with changing the meaning of the word.

    The problem is that our moral and legal system is based upon the libertarian definition of free will, not the compatabilist definition. And if you guys want to change that definition, that is fine. But you then have to change your moral and legal system to reflect this. To do that you need to give a thorough account of how the compatabilist definition would affect morals and legislation.

    You can't just throw it into determinism, claim it is changed, then not change morals and legislation to reflect how you claim it has changed. Because how can you say it has changed if everything remains the same? Free will is considered to be the necessary precursor for moral responsibility, so if you change free will you've changed how that affects moral responsibility.

    And you guys are claiming that free will means "moral responsibility". So the precursor to moral responsibility is moral responsibility. That's wonderfully recursive but not a coherent argument.

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • Chake99Chake99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The problem is that our moral and legal system is based upon the libertarian definition of free will

    It really isn't. Libertarian freedom does not grant responsibility. Really it implies the opposite. Hume addresses this much better than I could:
    David Hume wrote:
    All laws being founded on rewards and punishments, it is supposed as a fundamental principle, that these motives have a regular and uniform influence on the mind, and both produce the good and prevent the evil actions. We may give to this influence what name we please; but, as it is usually conjoined with the action, it must be esteemed a cause, and be looked upon as an instance of that necessity, which we would here establish.

    The only proper object of hatred or vengeance is a person or creature, endowed with thought and consciousness; and when any criminal or injurious actions excite that passion, it is only by their relation to the person, or connexion with him. Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil. The actions themselves may be blameable; they may be contrary to all the rules of morality and religion: but the person is not answerable for them; and as they proceeded from nothing in him that is durable and constant, and leave nothing of that nature behind them, it is impossible he can, upon their account, become the object of punishment or vengeance. According to the principle, therefore, which denies necessity, and consequently causes, a man is as pure and untainted, after having committed the most horrid crime, as at the first moment of his birth, nor is his character anywise concerned in his actions, since they are not derived from it, and the wickedness of the one can never be used as a proof of the depravity of the other.

    Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely as they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind; and when, by an alteration of these principles, they cease to be just proofs, they likewise cease to be criminal. But, except upon the doctrine of necessity, they never were just proofs, and consequently never were criminal.

    Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta.
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Chake99 wrote: »
    The problem is that our moral and legal system is based upon the libertarian definition of free will

    It really isn't. Libertarian freedom does not grant responsibility. Really it implies the opposite. Hume addresses this much better than I could:
    David Hume wrote:
    All laws being founded on rewards and punishments, it is supposed as a fundamental principle, that these motives have a regular and uniform influence on the mind, and both produce the good and prevent the evil actions. We may give to this influence what name we please; but, as it is usually conjoined with the action, it must be esteemed a cause, and be looked upon as an instance of that necessity, which we would here establish.

    The only proper object of hatred or vengeance is a person or creature, endowed with thought and consciousness; and when any criminal or injurious actions excite that passion, it is only by their relation to the person, or connexion with him. Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil. The actions themselves may be blameable; they may be contrary to all the rules of morality and religion: but the person is not answerable for them; and as they proceeded from nothing in him that is durable and constant, and leave nothing of that nature behind them, it is impossible he can, upon their account, become the object of punishment or vengeance. According to the principle, therefore, which denies necessity, and consequently causes, a man is as pure and untainted, after having committed the most horrid crime, as at the first moment of his birth, nor is his character anywise concerned in his actions, since they are not derived from it, and the wickedness of the one can never be used as a proof of the depravity of the other.

    Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely as they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind; and when, by an alteration of these principles, they cease to be just proofs, they likewise cease to be criminal. But, except upon the doctrine of necessity, they never were just proofs, and consequently never were criminal.

    Right so the libertarian position is incoherent. I know this. I agree with this. I wasn't saying it was coherent.

    You do know that when I say based upon, I mean founded upon. Look back in history. Where did free will come from? The libertarian position.

    However the alternative you provided is that free will is defined now as moral responsibility. As the capacity for being responsible for your actions.

    How is "free will as moral responsibility" a coherent statement when free will is meant to be that which allows for moral responsibility. Or else why do compatabilists want to preserve it? This is a circular definition.

    You latched upon that one statement and forgot the most important part of my criticism.

    You can't call upon morals and legislation to support free will because they are dependent upon free will. You can't support the existence of A by claiming B needs A. You need to show that A exists, independently of B, before you can move on and talk about A's effect on B.

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Also, since J cannot offer a satisfactory account of how we might know whether or not a certain definition of a word instantiates a form, I am going to go ahead and assert that my definition of "free" is the one that in fact instantiates the form of Freedom and that J's is nonsense. He does not after all have any basis to contradict me.

    What is a "satisfactory account" in your reckoning?

    Edit: It seems to be the case, in these threads, that the phrase "satisfactory account" is a pretty well-endowed invocation of the No True Scottsman Fallacy.

    Player A: Give me an account of how X can be the case.
    Player B: <provides an account>
    Player A: Oh, but that's not a satisfactory account.

    So, how about instead of you hitting everything I say with "that's not a satisfactory account" you just give me the criteria of a satisfactory account, I provide an argument which compliments that, and then we all become Platonists?

    Edit edit: Provided that your criteria for "satisfactory account" are not absurd and beholden to a completely contrary metaphysics / epistemology.

    A satisfactory account of this linguistic debate would be one which matches our empirical knowledge of the world and allows us predictive and analytical access to language.

    But you reject all empirical data don't you, J?

    You're reluctant to say why you believe in Platonism because you have no rational reason for doing so, and that bugs you because it doesn't match the self-image you're trying to create of a rational being.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Also, since J cannot offer a satisfactory account of how we might know whether or not a certain definition of a word instantiates a form, I am going to go ahead and assert that my definition of "free" is the one that in fact instantiates the form of Freedom and that J's is nonsense. He does not after all have any basis to contradict me.

    What is a "satisfactory account" in your reckoning?

    Edit: It seems to be the case, in these threads, that the phrase "satisfactory account" is a pretty well-endowed invocation of the No True Scottsman Fallacy.

    Player A: Give me an account of how X can be the case.
    Player B: <provides an account>
    Player A: Oh, but that's not a satisfactory account.

    So, how about instead of you hitting everything I say with "that's not a satisfactory account" you just give me the criteria of a satisfactory account, I provide an argument which compliments that, and then we all become Platonists?

    Edit edit: Provided that your criteria for "satisfactory account" are not absurd and beholden to a completely contrary metaphysics / epistemology.

    All I am asking for is a reason why my definition of "freedom" fails to instantiate a form but yours succeeds. I'm playing ball on your court here.

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