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The Free Will Trilemma

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Posts

  • Chake99Chake99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    How is "free will as moral responsibility" a coherent statement when free will is meant to be that which allows for moral responsibility

    Did you even read the Hume quote? Or _J_'s defense of responsibility? Moral responsibility can be defended on the grounds that people's decisions result from factors internal to the agent.
    Hatchface wrote:
    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.

    this.

    Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta.
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Chake99 wrote: »
    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.

    So you do think that only one meaning should be allowed per word? Or you don't? You said what you would look at words, but not what you would be doing with them.
    And if there are contradictory definitions, what then would you do about it? Tell people they can't use those words? That they can't redefine a word?
    How incredibly arrogant. Why should they listen to you? As long as they've defined it properly, why can't they use it?
    Chake wrote:
    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.
    Right but I'm not using a popular stance. I took my ideas from my philosophy of science class and my studies in psychology. I went out and read about free will.
    No wonder I've been thinking you are off your rocker: you don't have the first clue where the hell I'm coming from because you've gone and assumed you know it all. Good work there. Maybe you should have asked.
    Chake wrote:
    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.

    Quantum mechanics happen at a level far below what we are talking about here. At the level of this discussion, human beings and the workings of them, human brains and the workings of them, quantum randomness does not apply. Human beings are systematic. You can study them and work out the rules of the system.
    In addition, when they DO study quantum mechanics, they look for anything systematic about it that they can measure. They don't just throw up their hands and go "oh it's all random". They study the system as best they can.
    The need for cause-> effect does not change in any science, quantum mechanics is just very difficult to figure out.
    Chake wrote:
    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.

    What has that got to do with what I said. Are you doing that thing where you randomly assume what you think I'm really saying? Stick to what I'm actually saying man, you can't read my mind.
    Oh waiiiiit you think there's only one meaning per word. So you think you can! :lol:
    Chake wrote:
    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.

    Ah an ad hominem. I note you didn't disprove what I said. I bet you'll tell me falsifiability originated from popper.
    Chake99 wrote: »
    How is "free will as moral responsibility" a coherent statement when free will is meant to be that which allows for moral responsibility

    Did you even read the Hume quote? Or _J_'s defense of responsibility? Moral responsibility can be defended on the grounds that people's decisions result from factors internal to the agent.

    Um....what agent. Okay, now you gotta defend the existence of an agent too.
    Because I don't agree with agency. It's another one of those circularly defined things, like free will.

    And yes I read the hume quote. I didn't see how it answered my question. I did agree with it for the most part, if that makes you feel better, at least as a description of how people do judge others. Perhaps you can carefully analyse it for me, obviously I'm too dumb to understand the implication.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Moridin wrote: »
    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.

    Usually the argument goes along these lines:

    1) Truth is the purview of reason.
    2) Human beings have reason.
    3) Human beings have access to Truth, by reason.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Chake99 wrote: »
    Did you even read the Hume quote? Or _J_'s defense of responsibility? Moral responsibility can be defended on the grounds that people's decisions result from factors internal to the agent.

    Wait, what?

    My defense of moral responsibility is that we redefine it to be simply causal responsibility.

    I'm not sure what you think the Hume quote says.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    poshniallo wrote: »
    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.

    Not sure why you think I lack a rational reason.

    Truth is Eternal and Unchanging.

    The Forms are Eternal and Unchanging.

    Since Truth is an Eternal and Unchanging thing, and the Forms are eternal and unchanging things, they probably have something to do with one another.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is it to "envision"?
    Imagine?
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What constitutes a "possible" future?
    One you can reasonably imagine ocurring?
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is "personal" preference? What constitutes the "person" in "personal"?
    A preference that one might use in describing your person, as in, "that _J_, he sure likes ice cream," as opposed to your preference not to be shot and killed.
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is "coercion"?
    When another person's will is a more dominant causal factor than your own, and contrary to what your own might be without such dominance?
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is an "accident"?
    Something you didn't reasonably will to happen but are still largely a causal factor in?
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is "duress"?
    When fear for immediate or direct preservation of safety or life is in play?
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is "significant" over-powering?
    What is a "heap" of sand? Perfect precision and certainty are not ours to have, you know that. Significant, though, in terms of whether or not such over-powering would have any affect on the goals, decisions, and lives of those who employ words like "significant."
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What is "relativly" complex?
    Complex compared to other examples of what was described.
    _J_ wrote: »
    - What constitutes a "small" set of circumstances?
    Small compared to other examples of what was described. Small compared to what would necessitate an actual thing of any meaning or importance to one being affected by the things being discussed.
    _J_ wrote: »
    Since you aren't going to answer any of those
    I've never failed to answer anything, whereas even my most direct challenges since page 1 are consistently met with silence. Who is it that is enslaved by determinism, if he is not that which enslaves him? What justification can be given for defining free as uncaused? These are what haven't been answered. Despite that it now seems everyone wants to end their arguments with, "I know Yar is just going to ad hom" or "I know Yar isn't going to answer this," the truth is that I've never ad hommed and I've always answered every angle of this disucssion that has been presented. When you are in the right, the answers are always there.
    _J_ wrote: »
    here is the one I care about:

    Coercsion is an external causal force.
    Yes, but it's more than that. One would not claim that they were "coerced" into X interchangably with saying "here is why I..." did X. These words have different meanings. Coercion is an external causal force, yes, but external causal forces are not all coercion. This line of debate will eventually lead to you demanding that I define "the" and "or" and "is," else admit that my argument isn't sufficiently explained. This is the third time in recent posts you've attempted to employ one of the most rudimentary of logical fallacies. All A are B does not imply that all B are A.
    _J_ wrote: »
    My definition is just plain fucking True. Other definitions are just plain fucking False.
    See... this is what baffles me. You are fully admitting that your argument is "it just is because I say so, and I refuse any suggestion that I must justify my say-so in any way whatsoever." Ok, sure, but then you confoundingly go on to accuse me of doing this. You (and ML) have the mind-numbing gall to accuse me (and those who agree) of not articulating any argument, but just claiming that we're right, and that you are clearly articulating yours and we're just ignoring it... when your above post seems from any rational assessment to demonstrate precisely the opposite.

    As I thought I made clear, I know you don't accept any of my justifications as valid. The point is that you are refusing to counter them or provide any justification of your own. You are saying nothing except "no, I'm just right, and you are fucking backwards for thinking that I should have to back up such a claim." At the end of the day, you are admitting that while all rationale is against you and for me, that doesn't matter, all that matters is what you say.

    Also, I just want to remind you that it isn't just that my definition is what people use, or that it's meaningful. It's also logically consistent and compatible with determinism, whereas yours is logically inconsistent. It contradicts its own premises. It suggests that we are slaves to our own selves, and yet not our own masters (which would be the logical conclusion of that). It suggests that the world is deterministic and then yet seeks to use randomness to define some meaningful aspect of it. So even if I were to allow you the ridiculous notion that language need not answer to usage, you are still in the wrong for espousing a failure to reason and attempting to defend a logically inconsistent statement.

    Are our desires and memories and preferences and biology not all part of our physical self? If so, then the causes of our actions are ourselves. If not, then you're supposing a non-material uncaused soul. Both of those meet even your own flavor of definitions of free will. The idea that determinism is antithetical to Free Will has always been a misapplication of reason due to a sloppy and inconsistent concept of determinism. Everything is caused, and therefore causation can't possibly change the truth value of anything in particular. Any conclusion of any meaning cannot rely on solely on a premise of something being caused. Everything is caused. Causation is existence. Hence when you say my choices are caused, you are saying nothing of any possible meaning except for that those choices exist.

    Of course, it seems that you have been forced to retreat into a logical box of the following:

    "Free will only means uncaused randomness, which, when combined with premises of Determinism, more simply means that the definition of free will is only 'that which does not exist,' and I refuse to accept any burden that there need be any justification for this definition, I refuse to accept that I must provide any rational argument to support it, I refuse to acknowledge any significance to the admittedly true fact that this definition is, on its face, completely meaningless and useless, and I refuse a priori that there can possibly be any relevance to any justification anyone might ever have against this definition or for any alternative."

    Which, naturally, means that it is simply a matter of faith and dogma for you. You refuse to debate it, and in fact insist that is is beyond the application of reason in any fashion. I feel that you have been forced into this position because it is the only way in which you can still call it truth, though of course I also don't agree that anyone in such a state has anything that can be called truth. Certainly they don't have anything that can reasonably be called truth, but again, your truths are supposedly beyond any application of reason. This isn't the first time in this thread you've attempted to escape an overwhelming failure of your reasoning by attempting to claim that you actually don't have to use consistent reasoning.
    _J_ wrote: »
    Wait, what?

    My defense of moral responsibility is that we redefine it to be simply causal responsibility.

    I'm not sure what you think the Hume quote says.
    Which I've refuted several times now by noting that while a toaster and the guy who designed it are both causally responsible for a fire, only one is morally responsible. This sort of difference is eveident in my everyday observations, and thus leads me to believe it more accurately matches the Platonic Forms of causation and moral responsibility. As others have asked, can you explain what has led you to believe that your notions, which defy logic and observation and all other justification we can think of so far, are still nevertheless what you think more closely match ideal Platonic Forms?

    More importantly, can you explain how Platonic Forms are compatible with determinism?

    EDIT: oh, and by the way, your whole spiel on fucking backwardsness, is actually fucking backwards to how all of us come to know any reason or truth. We evolve concepts of words from use and context, initially starting with very general and even outlandish conceptualizations, and evolve and refine the concepts we have of those words throughout our lives, never achieving anything perfect or ideal or even identical to anyone else. The words only ever mean to us whatever our current concept is, and to others what their concepts are, and there is not and cannot ever be any perfect precision or singular arbitration among them, for there is no material existence in which such a thing could take shape. Your Forms are faith-based nonsense; they are an unnecessary attempt to suppose the precision and arbitration that doesn't exist. And they are a faith even less rational than deity beliefs, because they outright contradict how we actually learn and use language.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So right now, the arguments stands thusly. I'll use I for Incompatibilist and C for Compatibilist:

    I: Free will doesn't exist. Our actions are determined by previous causes.

    C: Everything is determined by previous causes. Being so doesn't mean non-existent or not free. Free will is reasoned judgment and preference, the ability to form a complex vision of the results of potential actions and thus act accordingly. That's entirely relevant to not only the judiciary but our everyday judgment of those around us.

    I: No, free means uncaused.

    C: That's silly and useless. Free as in Free Will has a relevant, usable meaning that doesn't involve "not caused." Defining it as "not caused" doesn't seem to fit any current or supposed use of the word.

    I: So? It's still true. Usage and meaning aren't meaningful to my usage of words.

    C: Usage and meaning aren't meaningful to your usage? Hmmm. Anyway, why is it true then?

    I: Truth doesn't have a why. It just is.

    C: You mean, like, it isn't caused? Again, hmmm. Interesting for a Determinist. Regardless, shouldn't you be able to argue why we should believe that what you are saying is true?

    I: Nope, I have no argument. It just is. Oh, and, incidentally that also means that other definition you and everyone else use, the meaningful one, that thing doesn't exist either. Even though that isn't the thing I am talking about that doesn't exist. Don't ask me why, there, either, I don't have to say why.

    I could similarly argue that the definition of _J_ is a forumer who posts on philosophy and in the chat thread and 2 + 2 = 5. Therefore, he doesn't exist and you're all silly for responding to the illusion of him posting. Don't ask me to justify why 2 + 2 = 5 has to be part of his being. It's just the capital-T Truth. It's his ideal form. The fact that you think you have an understanding of him that doesn't include that last nonsense bit, well that doesn't matter. 2 + 2 equals 4, not 5, I wish you'd just listen to me and quit repeating your nonsense over and over about how you reasonably believe that he does exist.

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    So right now, the arguments stands thusly. I'll use I for Incompatibilist and C for Compatibilist:

    I: Free will doesn't exist. Our actions are determined by previous causes.

    C: Everything is determined by previous causes. Being so doesn't mean non-existent or not free. Free will is reasoned judgment and preference, the ability to form a complex vision of the results of potential actions and thus act accordingly. That's entirely relevant to not only the judiciary but our everyday judgment of those around us.

    [strike]I: No, free means uncaused.[/strike]

    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    How exactly is your definition relevant to the judiciary and our everyday judgment of people when those were based on the previous mystical definition of free will?

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So you replace that line with "well really free used to mean soul..."

    Are you making a historical argument? I don't follow. I don't think anyone is arguing that free means soul or a mystical mind. I don't agree that that's necessarily what it ever meant, and if it did, I disagree with whoever thought that, too. _J_ has argued for several non-material mystical things, including Heavenly Forms, and the idea that our wants and desires exist in a non-material universe (i.e., soul), but he is on the no-free-will side.

    Is it not clear yet what everyone thinks free means? The manner in which this is exactly relevant is what I've repeated many times. We put a toaster manufacturer on trial, not a toaster. We view intentional acts very differently from accidental or coerced ones, and respond differently.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    I am by no means convinced this is the case. "Free will" in the original theological sense means that God does not interfere with the reasonable deliberations of mankind and compel them to certain actions. While it is true that the theological sense of free will is incoherent, I do not see why non-theists should be held to it.

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    So you replace that line with "well really free used to mean soul..."

    Are you making a historical argument? I don't follow. I don't think anyone is arguing that free means soul or a mystical mind. I don't agree that that's necessarily what it ever meant, and if it did, I disagree with whoever thought that, too. _J_ has argued for several non-material mystical things, including Heavenly Forms, and the idea that our wants and desires exist in a non-material universe (i.e., soul), but he is on the no-free-will side.

    Is it not clear yet what everyone thinks free means? The manner in which this is exactly relevant is what I've repeated many times. We put a toaster manufacturer on trial, not a toaster. We view intentional acts very differently from accidental or coerced ones, and respond differently.

    And again, I believe the reason we do that is that the folks that came up with our judiciary and heavily influenced the moral inclinations of most of us believed in mystical souls. You have not given any rational reason why your definition of free will would lead to the same views, you've just repeatedly stated that we have those views.

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    I am by no means convinced this is the case. "Free will" in the original theological sense means that God does not interfere with the reasonable deliberations of mankind and compel them to certain actions. While it is true that the theological sense of free will is incoherent, I do not see why non-theists should be held to it.

    I'm confused. The theological notion most certainly included some un-caused freedom, because that was the whole point. If everything was caused by god's creation, then he was responsible for all of it. Something not caused by god's creation had to enter the picture to relieve him of that burden.

    And I know you don't have to believe that. I'll let you use your version and call it whatever you want, but no one has explained how that version leads to the the policies of our judiciary or the judgments we routinely make (or anything else that pure determinism does not also lead to).

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    I am by no means convinced this is the case. "Free will" in the original theological sense means that God does not interfere with the reasonable deliberations of mankind and compel them to certain actions. While it is true that the theological sense of free will is incoherent, I do not see why non-theists should be held to it.

    Well, in that sense free will isn't incoherent--it's actually instantiated! After all, god doesn't interfere in our affairs... just for a different reason than the medievals thought.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    I am by no means convinced this is the case. "Free will" in the original theological sense means that God does not interfere with the reasonable deliberations of mankind and compel them to certain actions. While it is true that the theological sense of free will is incoherent, I do not see why non-theists should be held to it.

    Well, in that sense free will isn't incoherent--it's actually instantiated! After all, god doesn't interfere in our affairs... just for a different reason than the medievals thought.

    Touché.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    cncaudata wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I: Well... "free" as in "free will" his historically been meant to refer to some mystical notion of a soul or mind, but if you want to redefine it that's ok, though it'll confuse the general population.

    I am by no means convinced this is the case. "Free will" in the original theological sense means that God does not interfere with the reasonable deliberations of mankind and compel them to certain actions. While it is true that the theological sense of free will is incoherent, I do not see why non-theists should be held to it.

    I'm confused. The theological notion most certainly included some un-caused freedom, because that was the whole point. If everything was caused by god's creation, then he was responsible for all of it. Something not caused by god's creation had to enter the picture to relieve him of that burden.

    You have successfully identified why theological free will is confused.
    And I know you don't have to believe that. I'll let you use your version and call it whatever you want, but no one has explained how that version leads to the the policies of our judiciary or the judgments we routinely make (or anything else that pure determinism does not also lead to).

    You shouldn't assume that just because I believe in free will that I am in favor of the way our justice system has been doing things all these centuries. I am not generally in favor of retributive justice, for instance. I don't think that having moral responsibility -- for which free will is necessary -- means that people who do bad things deserve punishment. I think it means that people are capable of evaluating their behavior and altering it according to a certain set of ethics, and that it is therefore profitable to consider what one ought to do (that is, it is profitable to do ethics).

    A particularly bleak flavor of determinism would hold that all ethical considerations are futile, since we are driven by mechanical forces that are basically invisible to our powers of introspection.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    cncaudata wrote: »
    And again, I believe the reason we do that is that the folks that came up with our judiciary and heavily influenced the moral inclinations of most of us believed in mystical souls. You have not given any rational reason why your definition of free will would lead to the same views, you've just repeatedly stated that we have those views.
    But... by "we" I mean you too. You don't consider there to be any difference between intent and accident or coercion? You make no distinction or differing decisions between one who tripped and fell into you vs. one who attacked you?
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I'm confused. The theological notion most certainly included some un-caused freedom, because that was the whole point. If everything was caused by god's creation, then he was responsible for all of it. Something not caused by god's creation had to enter the picture to relieve him of that burden.
    And determinists seem to have named God "Determinism," but fail to recognize it or see the implications of this. Is it that you think "determinism" is who we should place moral responsibility upon?

    Anyway, I don't get at all your challenge that free will doesn't have any place in our judicial system. This is rather trivial to argue. I don't get prosecuted for a crime I was forced to do without any responsibility on my own part. I'm not held to contracts I signed under duress. And so on. Free will is obviously a part of any judgment.

  • cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    cncaudata wrote: »
    And again, I believe the reason we do that is that the folks that came up with our judiciary and heavily influenced the moral inclinations of most of us believed in mystical souls. You have not given any rational reason why your definition of free will would lead to the same views, you've just repeatedly stated that we have those views.
    But... by "we" I mean you too. You don't consider there to be any difference between intent and accident or coercion? You make no distinction or differing decisions between one who tripped and fell into you vs. one who attacked you?
    cncaudata wrote: »
    I'm confused. The theological notion most certainly included some un-caused freedom, because that was the whole point. If everything was caused by god's creation, then he was responsible for all of it. Something not caused by god's creation had to enter the picture to relieve him of that burden.
    And determinists seem to have named God "Determinism," but fail to recognize it or see the implications of this. Is it that you think "determinism" is who we should place moral responsibility upon?

    Anyway, I don't get at all your challenge that free will doesn't have any place in our judicial system. This is rather trivial to argue. I don't get prosecuted for a crime I was forced to do without any responsibility on my own part. I'm not held to contracts I signed under duress. And so on. Free will is obviously a part of any judgment.

    Thank you for yet again stating that we do things a certain way without providing any justification based on your definition of free will.

    As for you first question, yes, I can see that there are differences between groups of causes. Some causes are chemical. Some are gravitational. Some can be abstractly described as emotional, cultural, or based on desire for a tasty treat. But I don't consider those differences to be justification for any sort of judgment without further explanation.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    A more pertinent point..

    what is it about determinism that leads people to think it cannot lead to moral responsibility? Considering that the compatabilists here have repeatedly stated that people are deterministic as part of their philosophy, and also disassociated free will as being neccessary for responsibility.

    Hence they've made the link determinism -> moral responsibility. They then work backwards from there to insert "free will" in the middle. determinism -> free will -> moral responsibility. Where free will in this sense is meant to represent the capacity for moral responsibility.

    Except, I don't see the need for this. Once you have established that determinism can allow responsibility, why on earth do you need anything else? Isn't that adding an extra unnecessary entity.
    This is why I find it so strange that anyone would claim determinists are compatabilists in denial. Occam's razor would suggest it is the other way around.

    So what is it that free will is meant to represent? What does the compatabilist free will add to this?

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  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    cncaudata wrote: »
    Thank you for yet again stating that we do things a certain way without providing any justification based on your definition of free will.
    WHAT?!?!

    Do you honestly not realize that you are going in a nonsensical circle with this?

    Me: Free Will is x, y, z, and is something we use all the time in our lives and judicial system.

    You: We don't use anything like that in the judicial system or in our everyday lives.

    Me: Of course we do. We make practical and legal decisions based heavily on whether or not something was done intentionally.

    You: You're just stating what we do, not why.

    Me: That's what we were talking about! You just said that we don't do it. Now you're saying that we do, but that you don't know why. What are you even talking about?
    cncaudata wrote: »
    As for you first question, yes, I can see that there are differences between groups of causes. Some causes are chemical. Some are gravitational. Some can be abstractly described as emotional, cultural, or based on desire for a tasty treat.
    And some are known as Free Will. Really, the discussion ends here. But I'll continue to entertain others' failures to reason.
    cncaudata wrote: »
    But I don't consider those differences to be justification for any sort of judgment without further explanation.
    What you're saying makes no sense. Judgment is when we determine there to be meaningful differences between things. That's what judgment is. The process of forming an evaluation by comparing and discerning. Sure, there's more specifics involved in a particular system of law and a judiciary, but in general it is paradoxical for you to claim, "sure, thare are differences, but I don't see why anyone one would judge them differently." Unless, of course, you are saying that the difference is useless or meaningless or insignificant, a claim I will let stand without further comment for now. It remains that the difference between "yeah, it's a difference" and "no, I wouldn't judge it differently," can only be a matter of the usefulness or meaningfulness of the difference. If a difference is meaningful within a given context, you cannot say that it is in fact a difference but that you wouldn't judge it differently in that context. That is not a consistent set of statements.

    But I see what you're getting at, and we already discussed this. "Why," you ask? By the context of your question, I infer that you mean "Why should?" Correct?

    Well, first, you have to define a goal. Tell me what the goal of a judicial system is, and then I'll tell you the why-should. There can't be an answer of why-should to anything unless there is a greater should it serves. Regardless, can you envision a judicial system that cares not for intent? That attempts to rehabilitate a toaster for his evil deeds? That sends a man to a prison psychologist, who deems him a psychotic threat to society, all because on an obvious accident? Such a system would lead to chaos, disorder, and revolt. Assuming that some aspect of the basis for a judicial system is to maintain an orderly, just, and happy society, then such a system would likely fail to meet such goals if it discarded the idea that people make choices or that free will exists, and instead treat all causes as just causes, putting the rain on trial for the floods and ordering the police to arrest the rain, demanding that a toaster pay for the fire it caused, attempting to rehabilitate a rock for hitting someone in the head, and so on.
    A more pertinent point..

    what is it about determinism that leads people to think it cannot lead to moral responsibility? Considering that the compatabilists here have repeatedly stated that people are deterministic as part of their philosophy, and also disassociated free will as being neccessary for responsibility.

    Hence they've made the link determinism -> moral responsibility. They then work backwards from there to insert "free will" in the middle. determinism -> free will -> moral responsibility. Where free will in this sense is meant to represent the capacity for moral responsibility.

    Except, I don't see the need for this. Once you have established that determinism can allow responsibility, why on earth do you need anything else? Isn't that adding an extra unnecessary entity.
    This is why I find it so strange that anyone would claim determinists are compatabilists in denial. Occam's razor would suggest it is the other way around.

    So what is it that free will is meant to represent? What does the compatabilist free will add to this?
    See above. Do you intend to put Determinism himself on trial?

    We aren't "inserting" anything. The concept already exists and is in general use. And it isn't countered in any way by determinism. The reasonable logic you seem to be following in which moral responsibility can still exist within a determinist framework is the same logic that allows Free Will to exist in a deterministic framework. And while it is closely related to moral responsibility, it can be talked about independently, too. I choose chocolate ice cream of my own free will, without any moral responsibility attached to that necessarily. Though, admittedly, that isn't as meaningful, because I don't expect that a gun will placed to my head to demand that I choose vanilla instead.

    EDIT: Again, I declare MrMister, Chake, myself, and jothki, among others, to be the undisputed winners of the thread.

  • edited July 2010
    On seconds thoughts, maybe not.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    guys it's pretty simple

    compatibilism attempts to redefine free will to mean something new, other than the traditional self-causing free will that is fairly common

    determinism argues against the more traditional self-causing free will, because it is still commonly held to be true

    everyone agrees people are caused, and are not self-causing

    why are you still arguing about the fact that a term can mean two different things

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    guys it's pretty simple

    compatibilism attempts to redefine free will to mean something new, other than the traditional self-causing free will that is fairly common

    determinism argues against the more traditional self-causing free will, because it is still commonly held to be true

    everyone agrees people are caused, and are not self-causing

    why are you still arguing about the fact that a term can mean two different things

    I do take issue with this. I think compatibilism is more a clarification than a redefinition, and that it is by no means common sense that "free will" means freedom from prior cause (since freedom from prior cause is a totally incoherent idea!).

  • edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    guys it's pretty simple

    compatibilism attempts to redefine free will to mean something new, other than the traditional self-causing free will that is fairly common

    determinism argues against the more traditional self-causing free will, because it is still commonly held to be true

    everyone agrees people are caused, and are not self-causing

    why are you still arguing about the fact that a term can mean two different things

    I do take issue with this. I think compatibilism is more a clarification than a redefinition, and that it is by no means common sense that "free will" means freedom from prior cause (since freedom from prior cause is a totally incoherent idea!).

    Why does it follow from an idea being incoherent that there couldn't be a word that means it?

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Combatibilism claims that the definition that is usually provided for "free will" doesn't match what is usually meant when "free will" is used in conversation, and attempts to provide a definition that actually matches the meaning.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    No, there are several meanings for free will.

    Philosophical free will was traditionally the idea that a human mind is self causing or not wholly subject to external causes. When discussing the issue of free will as a philosophical topic, many people will still use this definition.

    Conversational or legal free will means free from coercion or similar. This distinction between free and not free can be tricky, but usually not. It carries the assumption that a person who is being blackmailed or threatened, for example, is not free, and makes distinctions along those lines.

    These are largely two separate concepts. When people are discussing the metaphysical notion of free will, they are not talking about coercion or legal freedom.

    Everyone seems to agree here that the first definition is incoherent, but lots of people don't, and in common parlance, that is what is meant philosophically by "free will."

    compatabilism accepts that it's incoherent and attempts to redefine it coherently. This is a third definition that is usually more like the second than the first.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Conversational or legal free will means free from coercion or similar. This distinction between free and not free can be tricky, but usually not. It carries the assumption that a person who is being blackmailed or threatened, for example, is not free, and makes distinctions along those lines.
    Except that doesn't make sense either. Simply because there is not active coercion does not mean a person is not ultimately forced to make a certain decision based upon environmental factors forcing one decision.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ultimately, I don't like the term because there is so much confusion surrounding it. I don't think it is necessary to refer to free will to keep all the things that one might feel it is necessary to keep. Rather than redefine it, I just think it should be thrown away. We don't need it.
    In particular, it has a very real danger of presenting itself as "the" answer, when in reality it is describing what we actually want to explain if we are talking about someone's motivations. It's a tempting shortcut that leads people to ignore all the extra factors, even if they claim they are thinking of them usually they are not. While some people might be able to keep a proper head on this sort of thing, I don't think it's worth keeping such an easily misconceived term just because a few people can handle it.

    I also think that presenting determinisim as somehow faulty is shooting yourself in the foot, because compatabilism is based wholly within determinism. That is why it is compatable. You cannot attack determinism if you are a compatabilist. To do so is to refute your own argument as well. So I pretty much ignore arguments along those lines and attribute the people holding them as having not quite thought everything through. And again, before anyone starts, quantum mechanics is far below the level at which we are talking about. At the level at which we are talking, physical systems do hold to regular, non random, deterministic rules. It is only at a micro level that this "falls apart". It is irrelevant to the issue here.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    Free will is reasoned judgment and preference, the ability to form a complex vision of the results of potential actions and thus act accordingly.

    But how can "reasoned judgement" and "form a complex vision of the results" occur in a causally deterministic universe?

    That's the problem: You posit volition and agency onto a particular amalgamation of causal forces thereby completely ignoring that the entirety of the action is causally determined and has been causally determined since EVER. It makes no sense to say "X reasoned" in a causally deterministic universe; X does nothing! No entity DOES ANYTHING of its own power. The entirety of existence is billiard balls!

    It makes no sense to say that everything is causally determined and "X reasoned". X does not do anything. You can say that X was causally determined to reason, or X was causally determined to form a complex vision. But that undermines the very notion of any agency to X. It is not the case that there is a wealth of causal forces and then, BING!, X reasons something. Rather, that which is reasoned is simply the actualization of a causally determined series of events.

    That's what does not make sense in the compatibilist position: That there can not be actions attributed to X, "X reasoned". It makes no sense to say that X did anything in a casually deterministic universe. X has no volition.

    In a causally deterministic universe EVERYTHING is just a billiard ball. If billiard balls do not volition themselves into corner pockets, then Xs do not reason of their own power, of their own volition.

    It makes absolutely no fucking sense to claim both
    1) causal determinism
    2) agency

    Unless you want to say that billiard balls have agency.

    Edit: There can be the thought "2+2=4"; that is no problem. The problem is when agency is posited onto a thinker, that the thinker made "2+2=4" come to be. THAT is what makes no sense in compatibilism. Because there was no agency of thinking, no self-created power of thinking. It's just causal determinism all the way down. So, "2+2=4" came to be thought.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
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