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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #301
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    The fact that, as a human, you can manipulate things in a particular way is resident in the being, it is not the power to ..... If what you contend were so a blade of grass has the power to bend in the wind, or if it is stiff enough to resist bending in the wind. Geez, if it were otherwise you'd need to explain why blood flows,why energy is transformed to ATP, and include the mechanisms for using it in muscles. No medial frontal cortical neuron has that capacity. Generalizing all processes to produce a 'you' is ridiculous since it is actually many yous or parts of within your physical sphere acting in specific ways in specific circumstances.

    If one is trained to program one understands operations and processes particular to the computer and language on which one produces the program. Not having a computer one has access to those tools used to replace a computer for carrying out the assignment and execution of trails. The programs, design, and protocols are a set of experimental operations designed IAC with whatever rules you employ to produce a series of trials to which observers or energy are subjected. These in turn are recorded and processed by the analysis program appropriate to treating the results of what those conditions.

    The rules you apply come from analysis of previous results in the area and are to be added to the body of knowledge there upon. That analysis is constrained by whatever results have been previously produced. No wiggle room, no intuition, no E participation in the producing of results.

    As far as one's thought processes, they are constrained by data, theory, and findings absent E participation in the production thereof. One selects from whatever number of bins one requires to fit the design IAC the operations needed to produce a hypothesized result. The process produces a suite of operations unique to the problem being explored limited by the bounds of previous work. Librarian work, programmer work, instrumentation work, etc. are the tasks performed.

    Now if that is intuition it requires a village to be realized. No individual has such information on hand. Yet the necessary information already exists to define and constrain one's experiment. The trick is to substitute research for intuition or guess and to follow a well defined protocol for experimentation.

    What the experimenter has is the training and tools necessary to execute the process. Intuiting, guessing, fudging, praying, are not among them.

    The judgements arrived at by executing the operations are defined by the existing knowledge and necessary evaluation and decision processes, perhaps a particular statistical method configured thus and so.

    Those of us who do such things train for years to have the tools at hand for which to execute operational methods.

  2. Top | #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    What the experimenter has is the training and tools necessary to execute the process. Intuiting, guessing, fudging, praying, are not among them.
    None of us can identify with having a trillion dollars. If someone were to tell you that you really had a trillion dollars, that the problem wasn't that you didn't have a trillion but that you didn't believe enough to realize it, you'd have your god analogy. I guess if they told you you'd finally understand about the trillion dollars after you were dead it might be more similar.

    Believing in free will is no different than believing in gods. Neither one is experimentally demonstrable.

    Years from now we'll be able to know who is religiously inclined and who is likely more rational simply by having a scan of their prefontal cortex. Some people believe in impulsive things like gods because that's the kind of brain they have. And those brains are plastic. Nevertheless there is a strong causal association between the two.

  3. Top | #303
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    What the experimenter has is the training and tools necessary to execute the process. Intuiting, guessing, fudging, praying, are not among them.
    None of us can identify with having a trillion dollars. If someone were to tell you that you really had a trillion dollars, that the problem wasn't that you didn't have a trillion but that you didn't believe enough to realize it, you'd have your god analogy. I guess if they told you you'd finally understand about the trillion dollars after you were dead it might be more similar.

    Believing in free will is no different than believing in gods. Neither one is experimentally demonstrable.

    Years from now we'll be able to know who is religiously inclined and who is likely more rational simply by having a scan of their prefontal cortex. Some people believe in impulsive things like gods because that's the kind of brain they have. And those brains are plastic. Nevertheless there is a strong causal association between the two.
    Given the co-incident nature of art and faith I suspect the ability to conceive something as art and some feeling as mystical or other than what is there for the senses to feel, smell, and see, probably came with the finding of plants and substances that altered those sensed perceptions. I'm pretty sure that humans integrated these differing perceptions into their realities about each other. Living things, primarily mammals and birds have had the capability to experience and relate what they sense to that they sense in others at least since the advent of rodents.

    Having studied fish I'm pretty sure teleosts don't possess that capability, nor do amphibians or most reptiles. I'm not sure about insects. Some of them are among the most social living things on earth.
    Last edited by fromderinside; 01-18-2020 at 07:40 PM.

  4. Top | #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    ...Because the classic definition of free will (one generally embraced by the public and even the judicial system) is in the idea that given the same circumstances one could have acted differently.
    ... When we're trying to decide whether a litigant signed a contract of his own free will, we're thinking about whether he could have not signed given the circumstance that a mobster had a knife at his throat. We aren't thinking about whether he could have not signed given the circumstance that he wanted the money the contract promised him. ...
    Correction: YOU are thinking about whether he had a knife to his throat.

    Some of us don’t think about determinants and constraints in those extremely shallow and superficial terms.

    Some of us take it, or at least tend to think it likely true, in the absence of any explanation as to how it could possibly be otherwise, that he literally, actually had no way of freely willing himself to do otherwise than sign the contract.
    Imagine you were sitting on a jury in a lawsuit, in a case where business owner P was suing neighboring business owner D, because P and D had signed a contract specifying that P would pay D half a million dollars and D would convert his night club to some quiet business, so that the employees and customers of P's tax preparation business could hear themselves think, and P had then paid D half a million dollars, and D had then kept his night club open and cranked the music up louder than ever, so P sued D. Would you decide in D's favor, on the grounds that the contract isn't valid, because D literally, actually had no way of freely willing himself to do otherwise than sign the contract?

    Compatibilism effectively pretends, or at least allows, that it is otherwise, without offering any explanation as to how it could be the case. Fudging the definition doesn’t count. We could do that for god and then god would exist. We could do it for almost anything, if we needed for some reason to deny the likely actual truth.
    You keep making that accusation and that analogy. It's nonsense. We're not fudging the definition; you are! Your accusation amounts to claiming that you and remez et al. own the word "free". You don't own it. The people who use the word "free" for your vague undefined concept -- a concept that apparently isn't the opposite of determinism but is incompatible with it for reasons you refuse to expound upon -- stole it from us!. The word "free" in its modern sense goes back about three thousand years, to proto-Germanic. It meant "not a slave". Where the heck do you lot get the gall to seize for yourselves a word that's already in common use, make up a new meaning for it -- a new meaning whose relation to its pre-existing meaning was based on a bunch of misconceptions -- and then tell the people who keep using it in the conventional way that we're using the word incorrectly? Get a grip.

    You all might as well collectively start worshiping fire, then use "fire" to mean "sacred", then realize actual literal fire worship is stupid and decide what you worship is sacred invisible metaphysical fire, which you subsequently call "fire", then realize that's stupid too and announce that you've become afirists and fire doesn't really exist, and then finally, at the end of that evolution of your subculture's thought, accuse your neighbors of being foolishly wedded to outmoded primitive belief in sacred invisible metaphysical fire and fudging the definition and denying the likely actual truth, on account of how we doggedly insist on using "fire" to refer to what we get when we throw a match into a pile of kindling.

  5. Top | #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by remez
    By free will I simply mean the opposite of determinism.
    The people who use that definition -- both dualists like you and also anti-compatibilism materialists like r.s. -- do not use that definition consistently.

    I do not use that definition (see above).
    Yes, you certainly do. <exhibits snipped>

    Good catch. It seems I did use the same definition as remez. On reflection I think I was inaccurate and incorrect. The opposite of determinism is indeterminism.
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    In post 206, remez said,

    By free will I simply mean the opposite of determinism.
    Randomness is the opposite of determinism. Nobody thinks free will and randomness are the same.
    Indeed.
    So, now that we have conclusively established that you have been using "free will" inconsistently -- using it for more than one concept -- are you willing to seriously consider the possibility that your views on this topic resulted from an equivocation fallacy?

    What I perhaps should better have said was that free will and determinism are mutually exclusive, and thus their (supposed) compatibility is effectively a contradiction.
    What reason do you have for believing that? Now that we're in agreement that proving it by using remez's definition is not a good reason to believe it, what else have you got? Now that you're prepared to no longer use "free will" to mean "the opposite of determinism", just what is it that you do mean by "free will"?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Could you derive the contradiction, please?
    For example: Assume that the real word is deterministic - not even randomness. Assume I wrote this of my own free will. Derive a contradiction. Could you do that, please?
    Something that is causally determined (and/or random) is not freely willed or freely done. I don't think I know how to put it any more simply than that. It's like saying up is down or black is white. One is not the other.
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post

    Clearly, that argument is invalid by its form, unless it has implicit premises:

    Premise 1: X is determined.
    Conclusion: X is not freely done.

    The argument has the same form as:

    Premise 1: X is clever.
    Conclusion: X is not freely done.

    That is not valid. Of course, you might have implicit premises that make your argument valid. Could you please make a valid argument, making the required premises explicit?
    That makes no sense whatsoever, I'm afraid.

    Because freely-willed and determined (constrained) are effectively opposites.

    Premise 1: X is up
    Conclusion: X is not down
    So, now that we've established that the answers you gave to Angra Mainyu's questions weren't any good, are you willing to take another stab at them?

  6. Top | #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post

    I say almost (as trapped) because I tend to think that my skepticism about free will allows me to temper my retributive urges, even if not completely or all the time.
    Why? Why would skepticism about free will temper your retributive urges? Would a person nondeterministically deliberately stealing your phone promote your retributive urges? What would the nondeterminism add to the moral calculus apart from making the thief the victim of bad luck?
    I’m on my phone at the moment so not able to edit replies properly.

    But just on your last question. The reason that retributive urges are tempered by free will skepticism (as suggested in a number of studies) is taken to be the at least partial acceptance that the person responsible may not have been able to have done otherwise. It is effectively allowing some clemency, humility, understanding and a measure of forgiveness, or at least reduced judgementalism on grounds of (perceived) ultimate lack of personal blame.
    That's not on my last question. That's on my third last question.

    My last question and my second last question were supposed to clarify my third last question; it doesn't work if you ignore them. Let's try this again. When I asked you "Why would skepticism about free will temper your retributive urges?", I was asking you for a logical explanation: an explanation of what the bejesus rejection of what you call "free will" logically has to do with tempering your retributive urges. You've given me a psychological explanation: an explanation of what rejection of what you call "free will" psychologically has to do with tempering your retributive urges.

    Logically, rejection of indeterminism only helps the case against retribution if acceptance of indeterminism helps the case for retribution. So I'm asking you how it does so.

    In other words, “He is not a bad person, he just did a bad thing, and I would have done it if I had literally been in his shoes”.
    Well then, why would the circumstance that you'd have done differently in his shoes help the case that he didn't just do a bad thing but is a bad person, when the reason that you'd have done differently is because of the indeterminism of the universe rather than any preexisting circumstances about your respective characters? All indeterminism did was mean he stole due to bad luck. Being a victim of bad luck helps the case that he's a bad person?

    (Note: I'm not assuming "free will" means indeterminism; it's just that that's the only explanation of its meaning that you've ever provided. If a better explanation of what you mean by it can help clear this up, I'm all ears.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside
    The fact that, as a human, you can manipulate things in a particular way is resident in the being, it is not the power to ..... If what you contend were so a blade of grass has the power to bend in the wind, or if it is stiff enough to resist bending in the wind. Geez, if it were otherwise you'd need to explain why blood flows,why energy is transformed to ATP, and include the mechanisms for using it in muscles. No medial frontal cortical neuron has that capacity. Generalizing all processes to produce a 'you' is ridiculous since it is actually many yous or parts of within your physical sphere acting in specific ways in specific circumstances.
    Actually, the word 'power' has more than one use, and mine is pretty usual. Of course, I have the power to type on my keyboard, and generally humans have the power to move small objects. On the other hand, bending in the wind is not a power in a usual sense as far as I can tell. But none of this is relevant to the original point you chose to challenge, so instead of power I will use 'capability', which is not exactly the same but works just as well for the purposes of the example. So, here goes:

    It is beyond a reasonable doubt that I have the capability to move the mouse on my desk. I can easily test it. I just did it, and the mouse moved as I chose. So, on the basis of the information available to me, it is conclusive: I have the capability to move the mouse on my desk.
    Similarly, I have the ability to choose to move the mouse of my own free will. I just chose to do it, but there were no threats - e.g., gun to my head - or compulsion - like, say, a drug compelling me to move my hand in that direction even if I did not want to. So, on the basis of the evidence available to me, it is also beyond a reasonable doubt that I have the ability to choose to move the mouse of my own free will.

  8. Top | #308
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "I"? A ball has the ability to roll. However it needs an impelling force or condition to do so. What is the condition that impells "I" to choose? I think you can see where this goes. Antecedents without end. Having unrooted antecedents like "free will" and "choose" aren't helping. Saying it is not compelled isn't demonstrating such isn't so or even otherwise.

    So now there are two problems with your arguments. You rely on self reporting and saying. Neither rise to the level of evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside
    What do you mean by "I"? A ball has the ability to roll. However it needs an impelling force or condition to do so. What is the condition that impells "I" to choose? I think you can see where this goes. Antecedents without end. Having unrooted antecedents like "free will" and "choose" aren't helping. Saying it is not compelled isn't demonstrating such isn't so or even otherwise.

    So now there are two problems with your arguments. You rely on self reporting and saying. Neither rise to the level of evidence.
    If I say that the day before yesterday, I went to see a movie, every person reading this understands it. In particular, they (you) understand the "I". If you do not (but you do), then you should improve your English.
    Now the question about what "impells" is loaded, as it suggests (in a very common sense of the word) at least some compulsion. As to the causes of my choice, or the mechanism by which I do it, they are irrelvant questions, as I have explained. But here goes again, adapted to 'ability'.


    Suppose Bob lives in 1500.


    Jack: Do you have the ability to lift that small pebble over there?
    Bob: Sure.
    Jack: How do you know?
    Bob: I'm familiar with that sort of experience.
    Jack: You do not know that you have the ability to do that.
    Bob: Of course I do. I have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt I do.
    Jack: Where does the ability come from? How do your body work? How do you even know you have the ability to lift it?
    Bob: I have no clue where it comes from. I don't buy into religious nonsense. I also do not know how my body works. Someday someone might figure it out. But I do know I have the ability to lift that small pebble, or similar objects. I have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of that.
    Jack: You have nothing, except for your intuitions. No evidence.

    Do you realize that Jack is not being reasonable, and Bob is?
    Well, the point is that having evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that one has the ability to X does not require any knowledge of the way the brain works (or any cells, or particles, etc.).

    So, my assessment of the hypothesis that I'm writing this of my own accord is as follows:

    It seems obvious, but let us take a closer look at potential problems. I have to check two things:

    1. Lack of external threats, like someone pointing a gun to my head telling me to write.
    2. Lack of internal compulsion, like a case of kleptomania, or perhaps a heroin addict.

    I check 1. by looking around. It is beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no such threat. I can also see that other people are not desperately warning me about a gunman threatening me, though this piece of info is secondary. It's obvious that there is no external threat.

    2. I check 1. mostly by introspection, as I do not feel compelled to write, and it is obvious that I can stop if I so choose. In fact, in order to test that, I just chose to stop - and I did. Then, I chose to resume writing, and that worked too. There is also another way in which I check that: other people are not warning me about unusual behavior. In particular, they do not treat me as they would treat a heroin addict, or a kleptomanica. Moreover, with respect to the drug thing, I can discard it in yet another way: namely, I do not take drugs, and the hypothesis that someone is drugging me secretly has an extremely low prior and an even lower posterior probability (as no behavior that might result from it is observed by me or others).

    Also, taking some drugs tend to reduce freedom, but only partially, and often not that much, so a very powerful thing would be require to compromise it enough to say that I'm not doing something of my own free will - something perhaps like heroin. But such drugs - like heroin - do not cause a compulsion to write posts about free will, but rather, they tend to cause very different compulsions.

    Sure, there are weird but logically consistent scenarios in which I'm not writing of my own accord. But they're (together) too improbable. They're like the sort of scenarios that say, for example, that Venus is full of life and all evidence to the contrary has been planted by a massive conspiracy, or things like that.

    In short, it is beyond a reasonable doubt that I am writing this of my own accord/of my own free will.

  10. Top | #310
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    First, understanding what you say is quite different from believing what you say. Obviously I understand what you say. I just don't accept your saying as evidence of what you claim as an ability since you provide no independent evidence to that end. I don't even know what you are saying when you claim "I".

    As long as you are using yourself as a reference for what you claim you are not providing evidence. As long as I'm not seeing you do what you say you can't claim "... beyond reasonable doubt" since it is actually unreasonable to accept hearsay.

    Full Stop!

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