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vanfullofretards

Freewill / Determinism

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Would anyone be interested in learning about this from me?

My last philosophical thread in this section fell on deaf ears, which is why I'm not going to bother putting time into a thread unless someone show a little interest...

To me the subject is fascinating!

 

"An unexamined life is a life not worth living"

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"All is determined by biology and environment and altruism" is a myth.

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"All is determined by biology and environment" and altruism is a myth.

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All is determined by biology and "environment and altruism is a myth."

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I'm done here.

 

Don't know what altruism is doing here but I'm off to the nonsense thread again!

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Well first off, I wasn't intending to talk about my beliefs or thoughts on it... I'm going to re-scribe what was taught to me.

It's important to note that academic / philosophical arguments aren't like an argument you'd normally have! It's purpose is to discover truths by coming to a conclusion through various, related premises using logic and reasoning.

So try to get into that mode of thinking when you read this. (wiki logic for better explanation)

This mode of thinking became easier for me the more I went to class.

With that being said, I'll start HERE... (this is exactly how it was laid out to me, so, free class for you!)

 

First, lets understand why we care about freewill...

There's a number of reasons...

  • Whether people are morally responsible for their actions
  • We simply want to consider ourselves free to do what we want
  • It would be a way of questioning certain religious doctrines
  • We want to know the bounds of our sciences

Now, what do the determinists say...

 

A. Definition of determinism: The physical state of the world is completely determined by the antecedent state of the world. So in other words, whatever just happened in the world is completely caused by what happened just happened before that. A chain of events.

 

B. Many people think freewill is incompatible with determinism. Why?

 

We have the following intuition...

(This is the argument for determinism)

 

(1). Necessary condition on free action:

If action (x) is free, then it must be the case that we could have done otherwise. (i.e. we could have refrained from performing x)

(2) Every action is an event.

(3) Every event has a cause, and so, is causally determined

(4) If an event is causally determined, then the agent could not have acted otherwise.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Therefore, no agents' actions are free.

 

 

(Standard argument notation ^^... premises on top, conclusion on the bottom)

This is just the first part, I'll keep going if I get a legitimate response

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Interesting. Im guessing since this is philosophy the debate is a thousand or two years old? Is this debate still going on? Who are the proponents of each side of this argument and when/where were they alive?

 

 

I also want to add that I think it's a false dichotomy. The proponent for both sides is knowledge. The deeper your understanding of history, the more you can argue that past events determine future events. BUt also understanding history suggests free will, since the more you consider history, the more you understand the effect past decisions had, and the more you can make your own decisions. So the argument of both sides seems to be that KNOWLEDGE is the basis of causality.

 

I may be wrong. I may be misunderstanding the debate since this is the first time i've heard of "determinism" but so far that's my thought.

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Umm well,.... from what I know, the idea of destiny or fate (i.e. your life will uncontrollably wind up at some predetermined place) is a very old idea. Modern ideas of determinism employ a more causal approach (E-V-E-R-Y event is determined by the one prior). And yes, there are still plenty of scholars publishing on the subject, more so, on the implications of determinism and different takes/variations on the idea and combinations of determinism and free will. These problems have been talked about for centuries. But the cool thing about logic and logical arguments is that their unaffected by time. Some things Socrates argued 2,500 years ago are still just as true today and some problems are just as confounding today.

 

here's a good video... super long though. This website was actually created by and is maintained by my former philosophy professor. Really cool and intelligent dude.

http://www.philostv.com/?s=determinism&submit.x=12&submit.y=12

 

 

And for the record, I'm not trying to pretend I'm an expert on this subject, I just know about it.

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Here's the analogy by which I believe that you can save the phenomenon of free will within deterministic universes:

 

I know I will come to a choice, what that choice will be I cannot say until I've already made it. However, I can say that i will invariably make A choice.

 

 

Basically, freewill is maintained in deterministic systems because there is an ignorance to the actual choice we make until it's already made. We feel like we made the choice, but it's more about our perception of the choice once it's occurred.

 

Daniel Dennett has a lot on this. Saw him speak on it once. It was fantastic.

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-

 

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Don't know what altruism is doing here but I'm off to the nonsense thread again!

 

I just added that in there for my own little gripe. Based on my almost non-existant education and research in to the matter I have come to a belief that altruism is a myth and all actions are to satisfy a socialised or biological urge, regardless of the outcome.

 

As for the nature nurture debate, I have a degree of (not a degree in) psych study and where this was touched on I formed an opinion that we are a mix of environment and biology and that determines our behaviour.

 

Philosophically speaking I got nothing.

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I know I will come to a choice, what that choice will be I cannot say until I've already made it. However, I can say that i will invariably make A choice.

 

How do you know that you were free to choose?

Just because you say you can make one, doesn't mean there aren't antecedent events that caused you to pick one or the other.

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Since there was some response I'll add more

Just consider this a continuation...

 

If determinism is true, it does not entail that we are able or will ever be able to predict the future. But that doesn't mean determinism is false.

 

III. The Problem of Freewill

 

Freedom = some of our actions are free.

Incompatible = if determinism is true, freedom is false

 

This will be an inconsistent triad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inconsistent_triad) [i.e. it can't be all three]

 

(I) Determinism

(II) Freedom

(III) Incompatibility

 

3. The Options...

 

(I)

(III)

-----------------

Therefore, not (II) [Hard Determinism]

 

OR

 

(II)

(III)

-------------------

Therefore, not (I) [Libertarianism, endorsed by Dennett] (Not the political kind)

 

OR

 

(I)

(II)

---------------------

Therefore, not (III) [Compatibilism] (endorsed by Ayer)

 

(continued...)

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If determinism is true, it does not entail that we are able or will ever be able to predict the future. But that doesn't mean determinism is false.

 

 

Agreed, just because something is determined doesn't mean we have the capability to calculate the variables well enough to identify the future.

 

Sorry I'm not reading everything here, I'm chipping in at my convenience. If that causes frustration just ignore my posts......, as most people already do! :scrambled:

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(...continued)

IV: Compatibilism (A.J. Ayer) (I)(II)

 

A. Ayer points out:

If Determinism is true, we seem to have no freewill. (not preferable)

If determinism is totally false, and all actions are totally random, we also don't seem to have any freewill.

 

B. What does (1) really mean? (back in first post, first argument)

 

An action is free if and only if

(1) You actually do it

(2) Doing (x) is what you wanted/desired to do (no coercion)

(3) If you would have chosen to do other than (x), you would have succeeded in doing so.

 

2 crucial points

A) According to Ayer,

Could have done otherwise = If (s) had chosen to do otherwise, (s) could have done otherwise

B.)Freewill is now the unencumbered ability of an agent to do what she wants.

 

***Tah Dah! Freedom is now compatible with determinism***

 

(just general info...)

Now since he as done this, philosophers are challenged with undermining his argument by showing it's either invalid or at least one of the premises is false. (which would discredit his argument). One way to do this, is to come up with a hypothetical (but possible) situation in which the argument doesn't work. It doesn't have to be probable, just possible.

I'll continue this another time

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Agreed, just because something is determined doesn't mean we have the capability to calculate the variables well enough to identify the future.

:scrambled:

 

Yes! You're exactly right.

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Hey... I just saw your edit...

 

I also want to add that I think it's a false dichotomy. The proponent for both sides is knowledge. The deeper your understanding of history, the more you can argue that past events determine future events. BUt also understanding history suggests free will, since the more you consider history, the more you understand the effect past decisions had, and the more you can make your own decisions. So the argument of both sides seems to be that KNOWLEDGE is the basis of causality.

 

I may be wrong. I may be misunderstanding the debate since this is the first time i've heard of "determinism" but so far that's my thought.

 

So yeah, you're assuming a different definition of event.

Perhaps one like "A thing that happens, esp. one of importance" or "A planned public or social occasion"

In the way I described it's being used as "A single occurrence of a process"

 

It's important to use the same definition of a word to avoid confusion. This makes all the difference.

 

As I alluded to earlier...

 

Two Strategies for Undermining (philosophical) Arguments

  1. Show that an argument is invalid (I can describe tests for validity if anyone wants)
  2. Show that at least one of the premises of the argument is false.

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excuse the slight derailment.

 

do you hope to come to some conclusion or is it just for the sake of intellectual analysis?

 

after all, it will only ever be speculation.

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"Logic" as we know it today is derived from Aristotilian Logic, which a form of logic credited to Aristotle from ancient greece. Philosophy is a part of rhetoric. In fact, everything is a part of rhetoric, because rhetoric was the study of what makes ANY statement make sense.

 

2300 years ago there wasnt science. We didnt have any institution that could actually answer questions factually. "Why do rivers flood" or "Why do brothers look alike" or "What is the sun, the moon, and the stars?" I mean we didnt even know there were other planets until the 1700's, so mankind had a huge amount of unanswerable questions. All that we could do was guess, and then discuss why one person's guess made more sense than another person's. That's what rhetoric is, the art of arguing, and it was fucking hugely popular in ancient greece, because it wasnt about being right or wrong. Nobody knew if you were right or wrong. ALl they cared about is who made the most sense.

 

Take socrates for example. That dude was WAYYYY off on a lot of things. He thought the way babies were made was, "Mom provides the building blocks, and dad provides the spirit that animates the building blocks." He also thought semen was purified menstrual blood which is why, even to this day, we use the term "bloodlines" when we refer to ancestry or heredity.

 

So philosophy part of rhetoric. A philosopher is basically whover can make the most convincing guess about things that there's no right or wrong answer to, because we have no fucking clue how to find a right or wrong answer. Some day science might determine if determinism or freewill exists, but for now they're just two contradicting answers of the same theoretical questions, "How is all this stuff doing things?" If you're a logical person you're either going to think the argument for freewill is more convincing than determinism or vice versa. If you dont give a shit about logic, then you dont give a shit about the debate.

 

 

And rhetoric is SILL relevant because we have TONS of arguments about stuff that doesnt have a real straightforward answer. Modern study of philosophy focuses more on behavior and ethics because it's still a pretty open ended debate while "how are babies made?" is better left to scientists.

 

 

If TLDR just listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHcbC_gxJyA

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do you hope to come to some conclusion or is it just for the sake of intellectual analysis?

 

after all, it will only ever be speculation.

 

Well first off, this doesn't have to do with me or what I'm trying to do.

I'm simply relaying what was explained to me in my college course.

 

Second, to answer your question, philosophy as a whole is interested in conceptual clarification.

The method that it uses to do this is systematic and rigorous argumentation. So, both.

 

Hopefully that answers your question.

 

Philosophy is the combination of two latin words philo and sophi or sophis, together meaning the "love of wisdom"

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This quote may clear things up for people, as to what in the hell I've rambled about...

[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized -- despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]

 

There are no permanent or ultimate answers in philosophy. It is only the study of the question.

Then again, there aren't any 100% positives in science either

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