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Thread: The Great Contradiction

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post

    One can google and readily find articles, papers and videos discussing how both modern neuroscience and genetics are undermining the concept of free will.
    Sure. incompatibilist (libertarian) free will is the idea that for the will to be free it must be free from any deterministic causes. This is at odds with science and common sense. But, as you know, compatibilist free will is not the same as incomptaibilist free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    As to my understanding of compatibilist free will, it's an oxymoron, imo.
    Ok, but what exactly do you find oxymoronic about compatibilist notions of free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    What more can I say?
    You said science was chipping away at the foundations of compatibilism. Can you explain precisely what compatibilism says that is undermined by science?

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Discovered order from bang to demise is completely explained by determined behavior, perhaps?

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    But, as you know, compatibilist free will is not the same as incomptaibilist free will.
    True. Imo, the former is a fudge. The latter appears to be awry for a different reason (determinism does appear to rule).

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    Ok, but what exactly do you find oxymoronic about compatibilist notions of free will?
    The two things aren't compatible, it would seem, in the absence of an explanation as to how the process can (supposedly) get out of the clamp of being fully determined.

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    You said science was chipping away at the foundations of compatibilism. Can you explain precisely what compatibilism says that is undermined by science?
    Compatibilism says we have free will. That's what science is undermining.

    Now, I think I previously asked you some questions.

    Here we are:

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Are you a compatibilist? If so, why do you say there's free will, exactly? I can't see how there even possibly could be, in the final analysis. Can you?
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Basically, how would it even work?
    I make that 4 questions. I'm particularly interested in the last one, assuming full (causal) determinism.

    Also, what did you think of my photo of God? Pretty cool, huh? Whoever thought god could be photographed? God's looking well for his/its age, don't you think?
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-20-2020 at 11:20 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  4. Top | #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post


    The two things aren't compatible, it would seem, in the absence of an explanation as to how the process can get out of the clamp of being fully determined.
    But compatibilism doesn't require indeterminism so your objection makes no sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    You said science was chipping away at the foundations of compatibilism. Can you explain precisely what compatibilism says that is undermined by science?
    Compatibilism says we have free will. That's what science is undermining.
    Science undermines incompatibilist free will. It says nothing about compatibilist free will.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Now, I think I asked you some questions.

    Here we are:

    Are you a compatibilist?
    I think it's a sensible way of understanding what many people mean by the term free will (it's what I always thought was meant by the term).


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    If so, why do you say there's free will, exactly?
    I don't understand the question. What exactly do you find problematic with the notion of compatibilist free will? I'm not sure you understand compatibilism.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    But compatibilism doesn't require indeterminism so your objection makes no sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post


    Compatibilism says we have free will. That's what science is undermining.
    Science undermines incompatibilist free will. It says nothing about compatibilist free will.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Now, I think I asked you some questions.

    Here we are:

    Are you a compatibilist?
    I think it's a sensible way of understanding what many people mean by the term free will (it's what I always thought was meant by the term).


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    If so, why do you say there's free will, exactly?
    I don't understand the question. What exactly do you find problematic with the notion of compatibilist free will? I'm not sure you understand compatibilism.
    Ok, I think I've tried to answer your questions. I really think it's more your turn than mine now.

    I asked at least 5. You surely can't not understand all of them.

    You haven't yet explained or defended compatibilist free will. Come to think of it I don't think anyone has. No wait, Hume's version was cited. But I've already explained why I think that is a very incomplete analysis.

    And how would free will work? How would it actually be free will, I mean? Where's the freely willed part, if everything is fully determined?

    And don't forget to comment on my god pic.

    Oh sorry, I see you answered one. Why do you think it's sensible? Do you mean convenient and pragmatic? If so, fine. A convenient and pragmatic way to see and understand things. We could agree on that. I'm not dead set against pragmatism. When the weatherman comes on, I don't tend to shout 'but the sun doesn't actually rise over the earth!' at the tv. In many ways I broadly accept that it's convenient and pragmatic in that situation to accept that it appears to, for the intended purposes, by and large. Possibly with some caveats, most notably the also having an awareness that it doesn't actually rise over the earth.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-21-2020 at 12:33 AM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  6. Top | #326
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    If someone who believes in free will would define 'will', that would be useful also. Some (eg Angra) appear to think it isn't necessarily anything conscious. If it can be non-conscious, then how is that freely willed by me, rather than just 'totally automatic' (albeit very complicated) and completely 'happening to me'? Surely I can't freely will a non-conscious brain decision in any meaningful sense?

    The relevant contentious term is, after all, 'free will'. Not just 'free' and not just 'will'.

    Not to mention that 'I' and 'me' are arguably contentious terms of themselves. In the final analysis, 'the system that for most humans calls itself me when it's operating in certain modes' is better, imo.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    ...

    So, if someone is confirmed to have this gene and has experienced the stressor, so that the gene is active, does that mitigate their personal responsibility for exhibiting some sort of anti-social behaviour in a certain situation? My intuition says, yes, it does.

    ...
    Personal responsibility? I don't know.

    But one could easily argue that it indicates an increased need for punishment, because, in this violence-tempted individual, there is increased need for rehabilitation and/or isolation.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    ...

    So, if someone is confirmed to have this gene and has experienced the stressor, so that the gene is active, does that mitigate their personal responsibility for exhibiting some sort of anti-social behaviour in a certain situation? My intuition says, yes, it does.

    ...
    Personal responsibility? I don't know.

    But one could easily argue that it indicates an increased need for punishment, because, in this violence-tempted individual, there is increased need for rehabilitation and/or isolation.
    ‘Punishment’ as in rehabilitation and isolation yes. I’m not sure rehabilitation is punishment.

    Punishment as in retribution, perhaps not.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    I think it comes down to understanding causal determinism or determinism

    From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

    My understanding is very close to:
    The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
    For me the shimmy and shake comes when one tries to specify cause. Sure the way things are at time t - many things are proximal at time t - is imprecise relative to effect - many things are proximal to effect after time t and fixed - which leaves us pointing hither and yon. For me the notion of will to do otherwise can be traced from many of those other things one has selected as effect by one of the the things selected as cause at time t. Every aspect is fixed as a matter of natural law. There you have it.

  10. Top | #330
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    The two things aren't compatible, it would seem, in the absence of an explanation as to how the process can (supposedly) get out of the clamp of being fully determined.
    But why? What is it about the meaning of the words that makes it so?

    The vast majority of words in English - and expressions involving such words - are not defined by stipulation (English or any other language). Rather, people use those words to denote something, and others learn by looking at how they are used. The expressions 'of one's own accord' and 'of one's own free will' seem to identify some sort of phenomena in the world, and not others. For example, if A gives his wallet to B because B was pointing a gun at A and telling him to give up the wallet or die, then A did not act of his own accord. But if A decides to watch a movie because he likes it, and A's mind is functioning properly (no mental illness, like the paradigmatic kleptomaniac example but in reverse so to speak), then that's a paradigmatic example of A's acting of his own accord. The expression 'of his own free will' means the same.

    That is also why asking for a definition, or a mechanism by which a person could act of their own accord is out of place. It is not a proper demand. It's like the example I provided before. If Bob says he has the ability to lift small pebbles and similar small objects in his vecinity, and he very much can see that he has that wholly ordinary ability - it is obvious to him and to those who look at him, really -, it would be out of place to say that somehow he has the burden of explaining how it is possible that he has that ability, by what mechanism, etc. Bob might live in 1500, before modern science. He may know nothing about neurons, particles, evolution, or whatever. He still knows that he has the ability to lift small pebbles.

    Well, I say he also knows that he can do so of his own accord, as he can do that without feeling any compulsion or threats, and reckons that his mind is functioning properly - both by introspection and because other people aren't telling him otherwise, treating him unusually, etc. The demand for a mechanism or an explanation as to how a wholly ordinary ability works is not proper, unless there is a good reason to suspect that the person in question does not have that ordinary ability. But why would there be such a reason simply because (let us assume) the universe is deterministic?


    Again, what is it about determinism that threatens the ability to lift pebbles of one's own free will, but not the abilty to lift pebbles?

    If you insist on 'free' implying 'not determined', I would say that you would have to explain why that is so (by the way, the expression 'of one's own accord' does not even use the word 'free', even if it means the same as 'of one's own free will').

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Compatibilism says we have free will. That's what science is undermining.
    Compatibilism says that determinism is compatible with people acting of their own accord/free will. How is science undermining that? Do you have any examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Are you a compatibilist? If so, why do you say there's free will, exactly? I can't see how there even possibly could be, in the final analysis. Can you?
    1. Yes, I am.
    2. It is obvious to me that I'm writing of my own free will, but at any rate, I explained why I think so in several posts, recently this one

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Basically, how would it even work?
    I also say there is consciousness. There is self-awareness. There is pain. And joy. I can tell all of that. I do not know how that even works. I haven't resolved the hard problem of consciousness, or generally of minds. Particles get together and clearly do it, but the mechanism? I do not know. I do not know anyone does. But regardless, it is obvious to me that there are such things, just as it is obvious to me that I have the ability to type on a keyboard, move a mouse, or walk 5 meters - and also, to do so of my own accord.

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