Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 49

Thread: Should we be responsible for the decisions others make?

  1. Top | #21
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,004
    Archived
    14,025
    Total Posts
    19,029
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Imagine that what caused the shopping cart to change direction was that Joe pushed into a completely different direction from the one you pushed it towards. Is there still a clear causal connection?
    It’s as clear as that. I shoved it. Things happened as a result. Joe then pushed it. Things happened as a result of that. I would not say I caused Joe to push it. If he is asked what caused him to push it, he will only give an explanation for WHY he pushed it. His acting on his decision is what CAUSED it to happen.

    That distinction is paramount. On the one hand, there are things happening that can be traced back causally. But as we go back, when we hit a decision maker, that’s full stop. Actions predicated on decisions mark event chain beginnings. Any so-called cause for a decision is not of like kind.

    Now imagine Joe is 4 years old. Is there still a clear causal connection?
    Clear as day. I made a decison, acted on it, and consequences resulted. Joe too is technically an interceding decision maker that lies between my decison to shove the grocery store shopping car and it finally winding up causing a dent to your vehicle.

    What’s not always so clear is who might blame who. A child’s mother might scold Joe for what Joe did because of both the decision Joe made and the consequences that occurred as a result. In fact, it might be the consequences of like decisions that spawned feeling the need to scold Joe for the decison based action of pushing the cart in that manner.

    The father might blame me. Let’s say that if the child did not intervene, the buggy (shopping cart) would have rolled straight into the outside shopping cart bins where they belong. I’m the adult! I should have noticed a child and not taken the chance that the child might dart over and push it. Just as a gun owner who is responsible for the final resting place of spent bullets, one can argue that the final resting place of irresponsibly shoving a grocery cart rests with the adult who set the events in motion.

    Now let's say that Joe is a lion that escaped from a zoo. Still a clear causal connection?
    He he. If someone accuses me of shoving the buggy, my story for the officer has been rehearsed:

    Yes officer, I was going to slowly walk the buggy back to where it belongs like I always do. I’m never really in a hurry and wouldn’t have been at that time either, but honestly officer, once I saw that prehistoric man eating creature with those ferocious dinosaur fangs, I don’t remember much of anything else other than me slamming my own butt in the car door I got in so fast. Didn’t even know my feet could still move like that!

    Now suppose that the cart changed direction because it was hit by a piece of debris coming from a nearby meteor hit.
    It’s a physical phenomena acting in accordance to the laws of nature.

    Imagine looking outside an oceanside hotel window and notice people running. The question pops into your mind, “what’s causing them to run?” Your wife points out towards a tsunami wave crashing over. Question answered!

    Right?

    Well, that’s exactly the kind of cause I’m saying is an explanation. The wave is not causing the people to run—in the alternative sense of cause I’m recognizing. It’s an acceptable usage; I have no problem with that. My issue is with the ambiguity that goes unrecognized in conversations.

    If you turned to me and said, “so fast, what’s causing these people to run,” i’ll say the same thing your wife did.

    You continue: No, no, fast, I mean in your alternative usage of the word, “cause,”; what is causing the people to run?

    That’s easy. It’s not just the decison itself but intentionally acting upon that decison that is causing the people to run. It’s self-caused in a way. Consider the two people who want to die that are not moving. If the gigantic wave is such a causal factor, how come it’s not causing everyone to move? It’s not physically causing anyone to move; it merely serves as the reason that explains why they are running — to escape the consequences.

    My point is that in all of those cases, you caused some event, and then other causes played a role in diverting the cart. The causal connections are still there. The question is what causes one cares about.
    A cause not fueled by a being with the ability to make a rational choice and a cause fueled by a being with the ability to make a rational choice is not trivial. A rioter that throws a brick through a window after a protest (over a white cop shooting an unarmed and non-threatening black person) goes bad, might explain his actions for doing what he did, but the tsunami didn’t cause the people to run, and the white officer didn’t cause the window to break.

    Your decision was one of the causes, but the expression 'I caused you to shoot me' is interpreted by many as excluding moral responsibility, so it's better not to use it.
    Please elaborate. That’s intriguing.

    But that aside, what if my dog gets out and bites you? Would you say that you caused the dog to bite you?
    No, but if I run, things get tricky. The link between dropping a fragile wine glass onto hard concrete and it shattering is quite different than the link between my running and the dog chasing after me. A tsunami wave is gonna crash down. The wine glass is gonna drop. With no intervening events, these things must happen. It’s different when there are creatures capable of making and acting upon choices. The more rational they are, the more morally culpable one may be.

    Why should we be able to predict that?
    We have no means of predicting where the debris of the meteor hit will go, or whether Joe the chimp will push the cart.
    We have no means of predicting the exact coordinates and trajectory of every piece of metor debri, but that’s a technological challenge that might one day be overcome. The chimp, however, can never be fully predicted, not because it’s extraordinarily difficult to meet the challenges of complex systems but because of true choice.

    I’ll address the remainder later. We have some underlying philosophical differences on determinism.

  2. Top | #22
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oregon's westernmost
    Posts
    10,318
    Archived
    18,213
    Total Posts
    28,531
    Rep Power
    52
    Arguing something is the result of determination when much of the evidence is outside the purview of the the one charged with determining is fatally flawed.

  3. Top | #23
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,004
    Archived
    14,025
    Total Posts
    19,029
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Arguing something is the result of determination when much of the evidence is outside the purview of the the one charged with determining is fatally flawed.
    If you do something, it’s generally as a result of choosing to do it.

  4. Top | #24
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Buenos Aires
    Posts
    2,002
    Archived
    7,588
    Total Posts
    9,590
    Rep Power
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    It’s as clear as that. I shoved it. Things happened as a result. Joe then pushed it. Things happened as a result of that. I would not say I caused Joe to push it. If he is asked what caused him to push it, he will only give an explanation for WHY he pushed it. His acting on his decision is what CAUSED it to happen.

    That distinction is paramount. On the one hand, there are things happening that can be traced back causally. But as we go back, when we hit a decision maker, that’s full stop. Actions predicated on decisions mark event chain beginnings. Any so-called cause for a decision is not of like kind.
    No, I mean whether there is a clear causal connection between your action and the cart hitting the car. If, as you go back, when you hit a decision maker, that is full stop, then you stop at Joe, and there is no trace back to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Clear as day. I made a decison, acted on it, and consequences resulted. Joe too is technically an interceding decision maker that lies between my decison to shove the grocery store shopping car and it finally winding up causing a dent to your vehicle.
    If, as you go back, "when you hit a decision maker, that is full stop", then you stop at Joe, and there is no trace back to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    The father might blame me. Let’s say that if the child did not intervene, the buggy (shopping cart) would have rolled straight into the outside shopping cart bins where they belong. I’m the adult! I should have noticed a child and not taken the chance that the child might dart over and push it. Just as a gun owner who is responsible for the final resting place of spent bullets, one can argue that the final resting place of irresponsibly shoving a grocery cart rests with the adult who set the events in motion.
    Say the child was hiding, so with reasonable care, you would not have noticed him. Moreover, again, if as you go back, "when you hit a decision maker, that is full stop", then you stop at Joe, and there is no trace back to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    He he. If someone accuses me of shoving the buggy, my story for the officer has been rehearsed:
    Joe the lion was in hiding and came out of nowhere. You had not seen it.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    It’s a physical phenomena acting in accordance to the laws of nature.
    And lions aren't? Children? Adult humans? Do they violate the laws of nature? What would that even mean?


    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    A cause not fueled by a being with the ability to make a rational choice and a cause fueled by a being with the ability to make a rational choice is not trivial. A rioter that throws a brick through a window after a protest (over a white cop shooting an unarmed and non-threatening black person) goes bad, might explain his actions for doing what he did, but the tsunami didn’t cause the people to run, and the white officer didn’t cause the window to break.
    They were contributing causes, but not causes we care in that context. But what caused the particles in the brains of those people to act as they did, if not previous interactions of those and other particles, etc.?


    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Please elaborate. That’s intriguing.
    In that context, "caused" is sometimes interpreted as "compelled", or some people mistakenly believe that causation implies compulsion.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu
    But that aside, what if my dog gets out and bites you? Would you say that you caused the dog to bite you?
    No, but if I run, things get tricky.
    No problem, because my interest is in the case where the dog bites you. You say you did not cause the dog to bite you. Why not? You said earlier that " On the one hand, there are things happening that can be traced back causally. But as we go back, when we hit a decision maker, that’s full stop. Actions predicated on decisions mark event chain beginnings. Any so-called cause for a decision is not of like kind.". So, in order to say that the dog did not cause you to bite you, you are implying that the dog is the decision maker. So, it seems your distinction is now not limited to humans, but extends to other decision makers, like dogs. Do dogs violate the laws of nature?

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    We have no means of predicting the exact coordinates and trajectory of every piece of metor debri, but that’s a technological challenge that might one day be overcome.
    No, it is not, for many, many reasons. But if all other reasons failed (they do not), there is always the Uncertainty Principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    The chimp, however, can never be fully predicted, not because it’s extraordinarily difficult to meet the challenges of complex systems but because of true choice.
    Neither can the photon ever be predicted! (uncertainty!) Is that true choice as well? And the same applies to tiny particles, and to...everything else.
    But moreover, how is choice related to predictability? You seem to be pushing for some acausal choices. It's weird. What causes the chimp's choice, then? Or the dog's choice?

  5. Top | #25
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,004
    Archived
    14,025
    Total Posts
    19,029
    Rep Power
    59
    Every event has a cause. At least that’s the view I posit. So, it’s not like I believe some events are uncaused. Heck, there could be uncaused events in some quantum mechanical way (so far as I know), but I’m not espousing such a view. The micro events that occur in a functioning brain is no different (those events have a cause too), but there’s something unique going on, and that’s the ability to contemplate, decide, and act.

    If we lived in a world where no brain existed, it would still not be the case that all events are necessary events, but the contingent events set in motion with nary a mind to alter the course of any event invokes the idea of a clockwork-like universe. I believe the ability to make decisions and act on them disallows such an idea to reflect reality. I still think any atom in motion can be traced to a preceding cause, but mind bearing creatures have the ability to make choices, choices that are not a must.

    With no intervening contingencies where a fragile wine glass breaks upon being forcefully thrown on hard concrete, a replay of the same scenario under identical conditions will result again with a shattered glass. But, a rational being that threw that glass might sometimes under identical situations choose otherwise.

  6. Top | #26
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,004
    Archived
    14,025
    Total Posts
    19,029
    Rep Power
    59
    As far as the dog bite goes, whether I caused it or not depends on which “cause” we’re discussing. If my running causes the dog to chase, that’s what you might call a contributing cause, but that just explains why the dog ran. The atoms of my body in motion doesn’t physically connect in some domino-like path to the atoms in the dogs brain. Be it instinctual or not, the cause (of the kind to which I speak) resides in the brain which allows for conscious thought. I hesitate to speak of moral culpability with a dog that doesn’t have the cognitive skills of humans.

  7. Top | #27
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oregon's westernmost
    Posts
    10,318
    Archived
    18,213
    Total Posts
    28,531
    Rep Power
    52
    Lighten up. What you do may have consequences for you but what you do usually has no consequences for those you observe when you do what you do. They have their own chain and you are probably no part of it. Unless the person in the OP told you she did something stupid that resulted in her broken leg you have no notion how she got that condition having not witnessed the incident. Even then you can only presume she actually did something stupid. It all comes back to at time t=0 thereafter. If you want to draw a causal chain from butterfly to hurricane be my guest. For me to do so would be a waste of my time.

  8. Top | #28
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Buenos Aires
    Posts
    2,002
    Archived
    7,588
    Total Posts
    9,590
    Rep Power
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Every event has a cause. At least that’s the view I posit. So, it’s not like I believe some events are uncaused. Heck, there could be uncaused events in some quantum mechanical way (so far as I know), but I’m not espousing such a view. The micro events that occur in a functioning brain is no different (those events have a cause too), but there’s something unique going on, and that’s the ability to contemplate, decide, and act.

    If we lived in a world where no brain existed, it would still not be the case that all events are necessary events, but the contingent events set in motion with nary a mind to alter the course of any event invokes the idea of a clockwork-like universe. I believe the ability to make decisions and act on them disallows such an idea to reflect reality. I still think any atom in motion can be traced to a preceding cause, but mind bearing creatures have the ability to make choices, choices that are not a must.

    With no intervening contingencies where a fragile wine glass breaks upon being forcefully thrown on hard concrete, a replay of the same scenario under identical conditions will result again with a shattered glass. But, a rational being that threw that glass might sometimes under identical situations choose otherwise.
    But how is that possible? If the particles can all be traced to a previous cause, and things just keep happening in a clockwork manner, then the same goes for the particles that make up the brains and the rest of the bodies of intelligent agents. Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    As far as the dog bite goes, whether I caused it or not depends on which “cause” we’re discussing. If my running causes the dog to chase, that’s what you might call a contributing cause, but that just explains why the dog ran. The atoms of my body in motion doesn’t physically connect in some domino-like path to the atoms in the dogs brain. Be it instinctual or not, the cause (of the kind to which I speak) resides in the brain which allows for conscious thought. I hesitate to speak of moral culpability with a dog that doesn’t have the cognitive skills of humans.
    But how is it that "the atoms of my body in motion doesn’t physically connect in some domino-like path to the atoms in the dogs brain", but the connection happens when there is no dog, but, say, a robot?
    Imagine it's not a real dog, but a robotic dog. Would that make a difference in whether there is a domino-like path? Why? Do you think some sort of soul stops the atoms? Or a non-physical mind that appears from the physical and stops the chains of causality? Or something else stops the dominoes? Please explain.

  9. Top | #29
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,004
    Archived
    14,025
    Total Posts
    19,029
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Every event has a cause. At least that’s the view I posit. So, it’s not like I believe some events are uncaused. Heck, there could be uncaused events in some quantum mechanical way (so far as I know), but I’m not espousing such a view. The micro events that occur in a functioning brain is no different (those events have a cause too), but there’s something unique going on, and that’s the ability to contemplate, decide, and act.

    If we lived in a world where no brain existed, it would still not be the case that all events are necessary events, but the contingent events set in motion with nary a mind to alter the course of any event invokes the idea of a clockwork-like universe. I believe the ability to make decisions and act on them disallows such an idea to reflect reality. I still think any atom in motion can be traced to a preceding cause, but mind bearing creatures have the ability to make choices, choices that are not a must.

    With no intervening contingencies where a fragile wine glass breaks upon being forcefully thrown on hard concrete, a replay of the same scenario under identical conditions will result again with a shattered glass. But, a rational being that threw that glass might sometimes under identical situations choose otherwise.
    But how is that possible? If the particles can all be traced to a previous cause, and things just keep happening in a clockwork manner, then the same goes for the particles that make up the brains and the rest of the bodies of intelligent agents. Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    As far as the dog bite goes, whether I caused it or not depends on which “cause” we’re discussing. If my running causes the dog to chase, that’s what you might call a contributing cause, but that just explains why the dog ran. The atoms of my body in motion doesn’t physically connect in some domino-like path to the atoms in the dogs brain. Be it instinctual or not, the cause (of the kind to which I speak) resides in the brain which allows for conscious thought. I hesitate to speak of moral culpability with a dog that doesn’t have the cognitive skills of humans.
    But how is it that "the atoms of my body in motion doesn’t physically connect in some domino-like path to the atoms in the dogs brain", but the connection happens when there is no dog, but, say, a robot?
    Imagine it's not a real dog, but a robotic dog. Would that make a difference in whether there is a domino-like path? Why? Do you think some sort of soul stops the atoms? Or a non-physical mind that appears from the physical and stops the chains of causality? Or something else stops the dominoes? Please explain.
    A robot can do no more than that which its programming allows. We personify complex systems that mimic choices, and we use words to describe machinery that would otherwise be used to describe biological entities capable of real choice, but computers don’t think; they don’t contemplate; they don’t deliberate. We expand the scope of words to include those things, but that’s just a semantic nightmare.

    However, this issue isn’t something I have to be right about to maintain the position I have taken regarding cause. Our ability to choose a course of action nullifies any sense of clockwork action that would be evoked with the wine glass breaking example. For instance, why must you choose to protest by standing in the middle of a road? We have self-control. Let me reword that. We have the ability to self-control. We may want to protest and act accordingly, but there is nothing an officer has done that guarentees the consequence.

    If the speed limit in residential areas is increased from 30MPH to 100MPH, we can point to the decison as being a contributing cause to the barrage of subsequent widespread accidents that would occur, but that decison, predictable as the outcome is would not be a physical cause that guarentees the outcome, and that’s because the people driving still maintain the ability to mull over their actions before slamming the hammer down. That ability to exercise free will means something. Sure, there are physical causes underpinning our internal micro events in motion, but they’re not influenced such as our reasons are.

  10. Top | #30
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Buenos Aires
    Posts
    2,002
    Archived
    7,588
    Total Posts
    9,590
    Rep Power
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    A robot can do no more than that which its programming allows. We personify complex systems that mimic choices, and we use words to describe machinery that would otherwise be used to describe biological entities capable of real choice, but computers don’t think; they don’t contemplate; they don’t deliberate. We expand the scope of words to include those things, but that’s just a semantic nightmare.
    How would the fact that they are programmed mean they do not deliberate? I'm not talking about present-day robots only. Consider more advanced robots, superintelligent computers, etc. You say they are programmed. But they can be as complex as a human brain, or even more so. Is it the stuff brains are made of? Carbon-based vs. silicon-based? Is it something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    However, this issue isn’t something I have to be right about to maintain the position I have taken regarding cause. Our ability to choose a course of action nullifies any sense of clockwork action that would be evoked with the wine glass breaking example. For instance, why must you choose to protest by standing in the middle of a road? We have self-control. Let me reword that. We have the ability to self-control. We may want to protest and act accordingly, but there is nothing an officer has done that guarantees the consequence.
    Sure, we have the ability to self-control. But do you think that implies that the movements of particles in our brains and in the rest of us can't be traced back to, say, conditions 1000 years ago?
    I mean, I'm pretty sure in a considerably strong sense they can't be traced back, but then, the same goes for what particles do. There is no clockwork anywhere, in the sense of actual traceability, it seems. That does not settle the question of determinism. But if particles are deterministic, it seems so are we (even if due to some weird physics stuff, things cannot be traced back).

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    If the speed limit in residential areas is increased from 30MPH to 100MPH, we can point to the decison as being a contributing cause to the barrage of subsequent widespread accidents that would occur, but that decison, predictable as the outcome is would not be a physical cause that guarentees the outcome, and that’s because the people driving still maintain the ability to mull over their actions before slamming the hammer down.
    But is it a soul, or what is it? My point is that if you are right that physical causes guarantee somehow the outcome (which we do not know, but let's say), the brain is also physical stuff, and so decisions would also be guaranteed unless, say, a soul intervenes and makes it not-guaranteed.

    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    That ability to exercise free will means something. Sure, there are physical causes underpinning our internal micro events in motion, but they’re not influenced such as our reasons are.
    I agree it means something. We don't agree about what it means. But I'm curious about the physical causes you talk about. If there are such physical causes, and physical causes guarantee future physical causes, then those physical causes guarantee everything we will do, because we are made of particles. So, for example, the people driving are made of particles, so that they drive an at which speed is also guaranteed, etc.

Similar Threads

  1. Babel - God invents war - Is god also responsible for sin now?
    By Jimmy Higgins in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 07-26-2016, 11:58 PM
  2. More Responsible Gun Owners
    By ZiprHead in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-25-2016, 11:40 AM
  3. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-11-2015, 10:23 AM
  4. Responsible use of Social Media
    By gmbteach in forum Media & Culture Gallery
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-16-2014, 08:16 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •