Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:56 am

No, really, I can't read your stuff more. You actually don't know what you're doing. It's like I got in a scuffle with an abused child. I apologize. Perhaps you've even tried to tell me somewhere.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:47 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:No, really, I can't read your stuff more. You actually don't know what you're doing. It's like I got in a scuffle with an abused child. I apologize. Perhaps you've even tried to tell me somewhere.


I'm compelled to say it: Whatever.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:53 pm

A Compatibilism / Incompatibilism Transformation
By Trick Slattery
From the "Breaking the Free Will Illusion" web site


Compatibilist: A person who (re?)defines the term “free will” to some mechanism that is compatible with determinism.

Hard Incompatibilist: A person who defines free will as an ability that is incompatible with determinism (hard determinism) or indeterminism.

The hard incompatibilist would suggest that the compatibilist definition is often revisionist, given the traditional view, and the hard incompatibilist often holds the definition they do because the majority of people believe in some incoherent notion of free will abilities – and that is the problem.


Here's where I always get stuck. Beyond definitions -- definitions it would seem all of us are compelled by nature to give to these words -- the act of clumping these defined words together to make arguments like this one would in turn seem to be just another manifestation of nature. Only this time embodied in brain matter that compels these exchanges to unfold only as they ever can.

There is no real "revisionsism" here. Why? Because the one compelled by nature to revise the definition is interchangeable with the one compelled by nature to react to that revision only as he must.

Nothing would seem to escape the inexorable toppling of all matter over onto other matter as nature itself unfolds necessarily in sync with its own laws. The fact that this matter has now become conscious of itself as matter able to be self-conscious of itself as matter embedded in nature...well...how does that change things?

The compatibilist might say we should revise the term free will because of a concern over telling people they don’t have free will, and potential problems that can arise that way. Most often the hard incompatibilist would agree that the “decision-making” abilities the compatibilist portrays exists, and, when pressed, vice versa. So to focus on agreements, I want to talk about certain types of each position and what is needed in order to make a compatibilist / hard incompatibilist transformation.


What earthly difference can it make if the conmpatibilist says one thing and not another if it was the only thing he/she was ever able to say? Just as we are compelled to react to what we hear being said as our own brain-matter compels us.

Instead, I can only assume that there are important points being made here that I keep missing. But, given how I understand determinism, others are then either compelled or not compelled to point them out.
Last edited by iambiguous on Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:19 pm

But this thread revolves more around the question of whether or not it can be ascertained definitively that you had any measure of autonomous control in posting that which I am [here and now] uncertain as to whether or not I have any measure of autonomous control in responding to it.

...was no more within the reach of any actual autonomy on your part than my own dismissive reaction is within the reach of any actual volition on my part.

Is this exchange only as it ever could have been? And, if so, are we not both off the hook regarding the compelled reactions of others?

Where does it get a domino compelled to topple over onto another domino? The question is this: how is it determined that these toppling posts of ours were not in turn compelled to topple only as they must given the assumption that our two brains are no less embedded necessarily in the immutable, mechanical laws of matter?
More non-answers which avoid discussion rather than moving it along. Endlessly repeating the same idea.
Capitalism and the global economy have destroyed a lot of lives as well. Am I certain about that? Yes. But, in turn, I have thought myself into thinking only a fool would/could actually be convinced that this particular belief does not require a comprehensive understanding of existence itself.

Especially if that comprehensive understanding includes the fact that human behaviors are entirely intertwined in nature's material laws. And, thus, that the "choices" made by Communists and fascists and capitalists were never able not to have been made.
Shifting away to economic systems. Why not stay on death camps and gulags and actually say something about it?
You can't even say "death camps bad"?
So capitalism destroyed a lot of lives ... Does that change the fact that people were killed in death camps?

Communist, fascists and capitalists were not able not to set up death camps??? They decide not to do it all the time. "Should we set up a death camp today? No, let's not do that."
Indeed, it might well be. Now, demonstrate to me and others why we might be obligated to believe that. While, concurrently, demonstrating that any conclusion we come to reflects the indisputable fact that we are free to arrive at it autonomously.
You should consider not telling people what they are obligated to do and think. It's annoying. You would have better conversations if you didn't do it.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:59 pm

phyllo wrote:
But this thread revolves more around the question of whether or not it can be ascertained definitively that you had any measure of autonomous control in posting that which I am [here and now] uncertain as to whether or not I have any measure of autonomous control in responding to it.

...was no more within the reach of any actual autonomy on your part than my own dismissive reaction is within the reach of any actual volition on my part.

Is this exchange only as it ever could have been? And, if so, are we not both off the hook regarding the compelled reactions of others?

Where does it get a domino compelled to topple over onto another domino? The question is this: how is it determined that these toppling posts of ours were not in turn compelled to topple only as they must given the assumption that our two brains are no less embedded necessarily in the immutable, mechanical laws of matter?
More non-answers which avoid discussion rather than moving it along. Endlessly repeating the same idea.
Capitalism and the global economy have destroyed a lot of lives as well. Am I certain about that? Yes. But, in turn, I have thought myself into thinking only a fool would/could actually be convinced that this particular belief does not require a comprehensive understanding of existence itself.

Especially if that comprehensive understanding includes the fact that human behaviors are entirely intertwined in nature's material laws. And, thus, that the "choices" made by Communists and fascists and capitalists were never able not to have been made.
Shifting away to economic systems. Why not stay on death camps and gulags and actually say something about it?
You can't even say "death camps bad"?
So capitalism destroyed a lot of lives ... Does that change the fact that people were killed in death camps?

Communist, fascists and capitalists were not able not to set up death camps??? They decide not to do it all the time. "Should we set up a death camp today? No, let's not do that."
Indeed, it might well be. Now, demonstrate to me and others why we might be obligated to believe that. While, concurrently, demonstrating that any conclusion we come to reflects the indisputable fact that we are free to arrive at it autonomously.
You should consider not telling people what they are obligated to do and think. It's annoying. You would have better conversations if you didn't do it.


With any luck [for both of us] you were compelled by nature to respond to what I was compelled by nature to post above.

But if there is any measure of autonomy embedded in the choices that I make, I choose to respond to you in retort mode as I choose to respond to KT in retort mode:

All you are exposing [to me] in tantrums like this is just how effective I am in perturbing your peace of mind.

Though I suspect that, unlike KT, you will manage to stumble into the grave with your objective morality and your God still largely intact.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:28 pm

separate morality from free will
by Phil Goetz
at the lesswrong website


Moral behavior is intentional, but need not be free

I think both sides agree that morality has to do with intentions. You can't be moral unintentionally. That's because morality is...a property of a cognitive agent, not a property of the agent and its environment. Something that an agent doesn't know about its environment has no impact on whether we judge that agent's actions to be moral. Knowing the agent's intentions helps us know if this is an agent that we can expect to do the right thing in the future. But computers, machines, even thermostats, can have intentions ascribed to them. To decide how we should be disposed towards these agents, we don't need to worry about the phenomenological status of these intentions, or whether there are quantum doohickeys in their innards giving them free will. Just about what they're likely to do.


But: Even if both sides agree that moral behavior revolves around intention, what do they agree about regarding the extent to which intention itself does or does not revolve around the laws of matter?

If our brains/minds autonomically precipitate neurological and chemical interactions that become our intentions then how are "both sides" not wholly in sync with the only behaviors they are able to choose in their interactions with others?

How are all "cognitive agents" not just more of nature's "living, breathing...thinking" dominoes? Or, if you prefer, nature's own computers?

"I" and my "environment" would seem to be of one and only one inherent reality. The only reality possible given the laws of matters.

Which would necessarily take us back to wondering if we are in possession of just enough free will to explain mind as matter of our own volition. As a species on this planet in the vastness of all there is going back to an explanation for existence itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:55 pm

it would never cross the mind of a barbarian who had just slayed a hundred kings and broke a hundred laws, whether or not he has freewill. of course he might find the subject interesting if he were sat down by a philosopher and given a course, but in the end he wouldn't care less. and that's because this question is not important to him, and that's because whether or not he is 'responsible' or 'guilty' or 'culpable' is not important to him. he either does, or does not do, and whether or not he enjoys what he does is all that matters.


Really, isn't this the option that, of our own free will or not, is all it takes to sweep questions of this sort under the rug?

Existentially as it were?

Then just go about the business of living our lives convinced that we call the shots.

Especially if, in our day to day interactions with others, we are awash in all manner of success.

Of course we call the shots! Let the losers fall back on a belief that their own miserable failures are derived solely from things that are totally beyond their control...rather than from their own willed weakness or stupidity.

Here's the thing though. We're not barbarians. Instead, we are among the very few folks in this modern world that do come into venues like this one. Men and women that do in fact take questions like this and grapple with them "philosophically".

And pondering the extent to which we choose to do this freely is no small thing.

Right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:22 pm

iambiguous wrote:
phyllo wrote:
But this thread revolves more around the question of whether or not it can be ascertained definitively that you had any measure of autonomous control in posting that which I am [here and now] uncertain as to whether or not I have any measure of autonomous control in responding to it.

...was no more within the reach of any actual autonomy on your part than my own dismissive reaction is within the reach of any actual volition on my part.

Is this exchange only as it ever could have been? And, if so, are we not both off the hook regarding the compelled reactions of others?

Where does it get a domino compelled to topple over onto another domino? The question is this: how is it determined that these toppling posts of ours were not in turn compelled to topple only as they must given the assumption that our two brains are no less embedded necessarily in the immutable, mechanical laws of matter?
More non-answers which avoid discussion rather than moving it along. Endlessly repeating the same idea.
Capitalism and the global economy have destroyed a lot of lives as well. Am I certain about that? Yes. But, in turn, I have thought myself into thinking only a fool would/could actually be convinced that this particular belief does not require a comprehensive understanding of existence itself.

Especially if that comprehensive understanding includes the fact that human behaviors are entirely intertwined in nature's material laws. And, thus, that the "choices" made by Communists and fascists and capitalists were never able not to have been made.
Shifting away to economic systems. Why not stay on death camps and gulags and actually say something about it?
You can't even say "death camps bad"?
So capitalism destroyed a lot of lives ... Does that change the fact that people were killed in death camps?

Communist, fascists and capitalists were not able not to set up death camps??? They decide not to do it all the time. "Should we set up a death camp today? No, let's not do that."
Indeed, it might well be. Now, demonstrate to me and others why we might be obligated to believe that. While, concurrently, demonstrating that any conclusion we come to reflects the indisputable fact that we are free to arrive at it autonomously.
You should consider not telling people what they are obligated to do and think. It's annoying. You would have better conversations if you didn't do it.


With any luck [for both of us] you were compelled by nature to respond to what I was compelled by nature to post above.

But if there is any measure of autonomy embedded in the choices that I make, I choose to respond to you in retort mode as I choose to respond to KT in retort mode:

All you are exposing [to me] in tantrums like this is just how effective I am in perturbing your peace of mind.

Though I suspect that, unlike KT, you will manage to stumble into the grave with your objective morality and your God still largely intact.

A new low.

Of course, if you want to talk to yourself, then this is the way to achieve that goal.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:09 pm

phyllo wrote:A new low.

Of course, if you want to talk to yourself, then this is the way to achieve that goal.


Let's agree to call it a new low for both of us. And, just to be on the safe side, let's agree that nature conspired to stage and then to sustain the whole thing.

In or not in league with God.

Look, in regards to either yourself or KT, I am more than willing to exchange posts that actually revolve around determinism.

It is only when I perceive either of you as being in what I call "retort mode" that I'm really not interested.

The bottom line is that I have a great deal of respect for the intelligence of both of you. Just not in retort mode. When you basically come after me, you may as well be one of the fucking Kids here.

But trust me: This post is no less an existential contraption. In no way, shape or form would I ever argue that all rational men and women are obligated to think like I do about you.

And then there is this part:

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

I think this explains a lot about me here, but I can never really be sure why. It's buried down deep in dasein.

And, of late, godot.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:35 pm

Let's agree to call it a new low for both of us.
No, I don't agree to that. I had valid points.
Look, in regards to either yourself or KT, I am more than willing to exchange posts that actually revolve around determinism.
Repeatedly saying "compelled by nature" is not a discussion of determinism. It explains nothing and it describes nothing.

It's similar to this :

"Why is that airplane flying?" "It's compelled by nature."

"Why did that airplane crash?" "It was compelled by nature."

Useless answers.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:59 pm

phyllo wrote: Repeatedly saying "compelled by nature" is not a discussion of determinism. It explains nothing and it describes nothing.


If the human brain is matter and matter obeys nature's laws, how are our behaviors then not compelled by them? In other words, how are our behaviors not inherently, necessarily obligated to be in sync with the laws of matter?

How would you go about demonstrating that the laws of nature did not compel you to read these words?

How would you go about demonstrating that these laws do not explain and describe everything?

phyllo wrote: It's similar to this :

"Why is that airplane flying?" "It's compelled by nature."


No, it is not similar to that at all in my view. The reason the airplane flies can in fact be demonstrated with a great deal of sophistication. Why? Because all of the parts that comprise it are wholly in sync with the laws of matter as we have come to understand them in the either/or world.

But what about "we" ourselves? What about the matter that comprises the brain, the mind, the self-conscious awareness of all those able to invent those parts and put them together to invent the airplane?

How is this matter the same or different from the clearly mindless matter that comprises the plane parts?

Is the answer to this something that philosophers have [using the tools at their disposal] been able to finally pin down definitively after thousands and thousands of years of contemplating such quandaries as "dualism"?

What, in your view, is the most "useful" answer?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:34 pm

If the human brain is matter and matter obeys nature's laws, how are our behaviors then not compelled by them? In other words, how are our behaviors not inherently, necessarily obligated to be in sync with the laws of matter?

How would you go about demonstrating that the laws of nature did not compel you to read these words?

How would you go about demonstrating that these laws do not explain and describe everything?
I didn't say that behaviors are not in sync with the laws of matter or that one is not compelled by the laws of matter.

I'm saying that the way you are referring to the laws of matter amounts to saying nothing at all. When any and every behavior has the same explanation "compelled by nature", then there is no value to the explanation. You could just as well say "compelled by Pixies" and it would explain just as much as "compelled by nature".
No, it is not similar to that at all in my view. The reason the airplane flies can in fact be demonstrated with a great deal of sophistication.
It's similar because it accounts for the behavior of the airplane just as much as "compelled by nature" accounts for human behavior - not at all.

That's why scientists and engineers don't stop at "compelled by nature". They look at the details, the patterns, the similarities and differences in situations. Therefore, you end up with a science of flight dynamics. And that's a useful way of looking at airplane behavior.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:53 pm

phyllo wrote:I didn't say that behaviors are not in sync with the laws of matter or that one is not compelled by the laws of matter.

I'm saying that the way you are referring to the laws of matter amounts to saying nothing at all. When any and every behavior has the same explanation "compelled by nature", then there is no value to the explanation. You could just as well say "compelled by Pixies" and it would explain just as much as "compelled by nature".


If you do believe human behaviors are in sync with the laws of matter -- laws that compel them -- then what in your own view constitutes a discussion of this that enables someone to reflect something rather than nothing?

Cite some examples of this.

The point isn't whether I say "compelled by nature" or "compelled by pixies", but the extent to which one is able to demonstrate that human brains either allow or do not allow us the option to choose one rather than the other?

No, it is not similar to that at all in my view. The reason the airplane flies can in fact be demonstrated with a great deal of sophistication.


phyllo wrote:It's similar because it accounts for the behavior of the airplane just as much as "compelled by nature" accounts for human behavior - not at all.

That's why scientists and engineers don't stop at "compelled by nature". They look at the details, the patterns, the similarities and differences in situations. Therefore, you end up with a science of flight dynamics. And that's a useful way of looking at airplane behavior.


I must be misunderstanding your point. It is the fact that nature has evolved into life on earth evolving into the human species evolving into the human brain able to grasp the science of flight dynamics intertwined with/in the invention of the airplane that philosophers grapple with in trying to understand such things as dualism.

What are "the details, the patterns, the similarities and differences" that allow us to grasp the distinction between mindless matter and matter able to become conscious of itself as matter either compelled or not compelled by the self-same laws of matter to build airplanes?

The gap in our knowledge here may well be beyond the reach of the human brain.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:19 am

If you do believe human behaviors are in sync with the laws of matter -- laws that compel them -- then what in your own view constitutes a discussion of this that enables someone to reflect something rather than nothing?

Cite some examples of this.
Configuration of matter A causes behavior X, configuration of matter B causes behavior Y. Etc.

That's where you actually relate laws of matter to real behavior.

For example, one sees it in studies which show that food intolerance causes behavior problems in children.

But good luck, trying to relate gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak forces to real behavior.
The point isn't whether I say "compelled by nature" or "compelled by pixies", but the extent to which one is able to demonstrate that human brains either allow or do not allow us the option to choose one rather than the other?
I'm not writing a PhD thesis or starting a cult or selling a product ... therefore, I'm not going to be demonstrating anything. I will be putting out some ideas and examples - things to think about -that's it.

I'm suggesting to you, and anyone who may be reading this, that there are better and worse ways of looking at these things. I'm suggesting that "compelled by nature" is not a particular good way because it doesn't lead anywhere. It's a dead end.

See for yourself how far you can get with it.
I must be misunderstanding your point. It is the fact that nature has evolved into life on earth evolving into the human species evolving into the human brain able to grasp the science of flight dynamics intertwined with/in the invention of the airplane that philosophers grapple with in trying to understand such things as dualism.

What are "the details, the patterns, the similarities and differences" that allow us to grasp the distinction between mindless matter and matter able to become conscious of itself as matter either compelled or not compelled by the self-same laws of matter to build airplanes?

The gap in our knowledge here may well be beyond the reach of the human brain.
I'm not talking about evolution, dualism, or distinctions between matter conscious of itself and mindless matter. I'm talking about determinism and people making decisions.

Does it make sense to think of humans as merely "compelled by nature"? I don't think so because we can't relate the fundamental forces to human behavior. We need to think in more abstract terms. That is why it's useful to think of agents who have choices and who make decisions. We can then figure out reasons for actions, motivations, compulsions that produce particular behaviors in people. This is where we can get meaningful results.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:49 am

phyllo wrote:Does it make sense to think of humans as merely "compelled by nature"? I don't think so because we can't relate the fundamental forces to human behavior. We need to think in more abstract terms. That is why it's useful to think of agents who have choices and who make decisions. We can then figure out reasons for actions, motivations, compulsions that produce particular behaviors in people. This is where we can get meaningful results.
I think this is a good way of presenting a potential position. Here we are in situ, where experientially it seems like we are free, but we can also see ourselves affected by things and even notice that some 'choices' or choices seem automatic, even compulsive (a word with the same root as compelled.)

I cannot imagine nailing down a solution (that would convince all rational people, for example) as far as determinims vs. free will. Nor can I see, actually, what good it would do. So for me it is not an important issue.

I have my day ahead of me. I have to make a job related call that might give me some work I would like to have. Fortunately it is not a fully cold call. My way of thinking about this call is a muddle of thinking based on causation - I know they don't have a lot of money right now and this will likely make them stingy - and me mulling over my options with an implicit belief in free will somewhere in there - as if several futures are possible, as if might go a number of different ways on the phone. I don't need to make a decision about free will or determinism. I have a bunch of heuristics, just like everyone else, some would seem to indicate I am free - me planning my different options to different questions or obstacles I might meet in the phone call - and some that things are determined - especially when thinking about the callee.

Peacegirl thinks I will be a better person if I believe in determinism. I truly doubt that. I can see it helping on some issues, but also hurting on others. I think a consistant, all the time believing in determinism, will dehumanize. Obviously that doesn't mean it is incorrect, in fact my concerns are about the believe causing certain negative effects. That the future is bascially laid out already I think will be depressing. Perhap it 'should' not be. But humans have tendencies to feel in ways that are not necessarily logical. We are life forms nnot pocket calculators. Some people believe that we will be nicer to criminals once we no longer view their choices as choices. I think the precise opposite effect could take place once we view them as broken machines or creatures with problematic chemical machines in their brains. Once we are seen as, essentially, robots or complicated 'things'...wait that is often the way we are viewed today by governments,corporations and the pharmaceutial industry. Well, there's a downside to that.

Perhaps there are good reasons most people more or less black box the issue and if we followed their thinking we would find a muddle of both models chugging along. (note: many of them claim that they believe in free will or deteminism, but I think if we watched their language and investigated their thinking, we would find that in fact they move between the two).

If someone can demonstrate that it is important for us to work it out finally AND can at least make it seem remotely possible, especially for us here, to work it out. OK, maybe then I'll prioritize working out the solution to it. I suppose I'd be flattered they thought so highly of me ( and then also they think very highly of themselves).
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:59 pm

The term "free" is being used in a different way by many than the definition that is used in the free will/determinism debate. Even philosophers in the field are not talking the same language, so it's not surprising that no one here is either.


This pops up over and again in these discussions and debates. The same word is being used by everyone, but not everyone "for all practical purposes" understands the meaning of the word in the same way.

That's when some insist that in order to understand the true meaning of the word we must first pin down the one and only true definition.

Trust me: Five will get you ten that it's their definition.

But as often as not five will get you ten that their definition makes little or no actual contact with those "for all practical purposes" interactions of flesh and blood human beings.

It becomes basically a dictionary definition that they then use to defend the meaning they give to all the other words they in their philosophical "analysis".

And, let's face it, the word "free" is a particular gnarly example of this.

Free in what sense? Ontologically given the understanding of existence itself? Morally and politically given ones value judgments in the is/ought world?

Or, in either context, is it always what the objectivists insist it is?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:54 pm

phyllo wrote:
If you do believe human behaviors are in sync with the laws of matter -- laws that compel them -- then what in your own view constitutes a discussion of this that enables someone to reflect something rather than nothing?

Cite some examples of this.
Configuration of matter A causes behavior X, configuration of matter B causes behavior Y. Etc.

That's where you actually relate laws of matter to real behavior.


Okay, but how does that change [if at all] when the matter reconfigures from mindless to mindful. There are the laws of matter involved in the creation of, say, a tornado. These laws propel/compel the matter in and around it to behave only as the matter can behave.

But what of the laws of matter inside the brain of a meteorologist that cause her to predict the behavior of the tornado? Was she determined to to "choose" that forecast, or is there some element of actual free choice involved in opting for one rather can another prediction?

The behavior of the matter inside the tornado...how much more or less "real"/real is it than the behavior of the matter inside the meteorologist's brain?

phyllo wrote: For example, one sees it in studies which show that food intolerance causes behavior problems in children.


But the point of some would seem to be that the laws of matter are inherently intertwining both the biological interactions here in the child's body and the sociological behaviors of that child interacting with others. Indeed, that our very reactions to those behaviors are no less but another necessary manifestation of the laws of matter.

On the other hand, I will always admit that I am still missing some basic point that you and others make here. I just keep coming back to whether I make it only because nature compels me to.

phyllo wrote: But good luck, trying to relate gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak forces to real behavior.


Exactly. Those scientists exploring the actual functional relationship between "I", the world of the very, very large, and the world of the very, very small all intertwined in the "four fundamental forces of nature", haven't come to any definitive conclusion yet. Let alone alone being able in turn to explain the specific relationship between what "I" does "choose"/choose and a definitive understanding of existence itself.

The point isn't whether I say "compelled by nature" or "compelled by pixies", but the extent to which one is able to demonstrate that human brains either allow or do not allow us the option to choose one rather than the other?


phyllo wrote: I'm not writing a PhD thesis or starting a cult or selling a product ... therefore, I'm not going to be demonstrating anything. I will be putting out some ideas and examples - things to think about -that's it.


Okay, but for those who "choose"/choose to take their speculations from the neighborhood bar to a philosophy venue, it would seem expected that they would at least attempt to intertwine those speculations with their own experiences or with what they have perused by seeking out the opinions of those who have attempted [using, say, the scientific method] to grapple with these things less speculatively.

phyllo wrote: I'm suggesting to you, and anyone who may be reading this, that there are better and worse ways of looking at these things. I'm suggesting that "compelled by nature" is not a particular good way because it doesn't lead anywhere. It's a dead end.


It's a dead end only because we reach that part where no one seems able to move the discussion to a path that finally resolves the perplexities involved.

But it is surely less of a dead end than suggesting that our behaviors are compelled by pixies.

Or, perhaps, by God?

I must be misunderstanding your point. It is the fact that nature has evolved into life on earth evolving into the human species evolving into the human brain able to grasp the science of flight dynamics intertwined with/in the invention of the airplane that philosophers grapple with in trying to understand such things as dualism.

What are "the details, the patterns, the similarities and differences" that allow us to grasp the distinction between mindless matter and matter able to become conscious of itself as matter either compelled or not compelled by the self-same laws of matter to build airplanes?

The gap in our knowledge here may well be beyond the reach of the human brain.


phyllo wrote: I'm not talking about evolution, dualism, or distinctions between matter conscious of itself and mindless matter. I'm talking about determinism and people making decisions.


And what on earth could the latter possibly have to do with the former?

We seem to be in two very different discussions here. Compelled by nature or otherwise.

phyllo wrote: Does it make sense to think of humans as merely "compelled by nature"? I don't think so because we can't relate the fundamental forces to human behavior.


But human brains are either wholly in sync with those fundamental forces or they are not. How could it not make sense to explore that? The only thing that can possibly make sense has to be in tandem with what in fact is true. And nothing either of us might opine here changes that, right?

phyllo wrote: We need to think in more abstract terms. That is why it's useful to think of agents who have choices and who make decisions. We can then figure out reasons for actions, motivations, compulsions that produce particular behaviors in people. This is where we can get meaningful results.


Okay, then note particular examples of how discussions of abstract agents have in fact led to meaningful results in explaining the actions, motivations and compulsions relating to the actual behaviors chosen by flesh and blood human beings.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:15 pm

Okay, but how does that change [if at all] when the matter reconfigures from mindless to mindful. There are the laws of matter involved in the creation of, say, a tornado. These laws propel/compel the matter in and around it to behave only as the matter can behave.
It doesn't change. Matter produces some sort of behavior in a billiard ball. Matter produces some sort of behavior in a human.

If you are saying something meaningful, then you are describing the relation between matter and behavior.
But the point of some would seem to be that the laws of matter are inherently intertwining both the biological interactions here in the child's body and the sociological behaviors of that child interacting with others. Indeed, that our very reactions to those behaviors are no less but another necessary manifestation of the laws of matter.
Again, calling it a "manifestation of the laws of matter" is not saying anything useful. Everything is a manifestation of the laws of matter. So what?
Exactly. Those scientists exploring the actual functional relationship between "I", the world of the very, very large, and the world of the very, very small all intertwined in the "four fundamental forces of nature", haven't come to any definitive conclusion yet. Let alone alone being able in turn to explain the specific relationship between what "I" does "choose"/choose and a definitive understanding of existence itself.
If you aren't getting anywhere by looking at it that way, then look at it another way. Change your approach.
Okay, but for those who "choose"/choose to take their speculations from the neighborhood bar to a philosophy venue, it would seem expected that they would at least attempt to intertwine those speculations with their own experiences or with what they have perused by seeking out the opinions of those who have attempted [using, say, the scientific method] to grapple with these things less speculatively.
I'm suggesting things which I learned from my own experiences and from other people. I'm not pulling fictions out of my ass.
It's a dead end only because we reach that part where no one seems able to move the discussion to a path that finally resolves the perplexities involved.

But it is surely less of a dead end than suggesting that our behaviors are compelled by pixies.
You don't need to think about it very long before you realize that you are not getting anywhere. What result do you have? Anything at all?
And what on earth could the latter possibly have to do with the former?

We seem to be in two very different discussions here. Compelled by nature or otherwise.
What does determinism have to do with people making decisions???

You can look at determinism as involving entirely mechanical interactions where people are essentially the same as billiard balls or dominoes. In that case, they have no choices and make no decisions.

Or you can look at determinism as involving both mechanical interactions(inanimate objects) and agents who have choices and who make decisions. I think that this is the more useful approach.
But human brains are either wholly in sync with those fundamental forces or they are not. How could it not make sense to explore that?
But you don't explore it. You don't go beyond repeatedly saying "compelled by nature". Exploring requires getting into details.
Okay, then note particular examples of how discussions of abstract agents have in fact led to meaningful results in explaining the actions, motivations and compulsions relating to the actual behaviors chosen by flesh and blood human beings.
Really? You have never heard of psychology?
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:38 pm

I think this is a good way of presenting a potential position. Here we are in situ, where experientially it seems like we are free, but we can also see ourselves affected by things and even notice that some 'choices' or choices seem automatic, even compulsive (a word with the same root as compelled.)

I cannot imagine nailing down a solution (that would convince all rational people, for example) as far as determinims vs. free will. Nor can I see, actually, what good it would do. So for me it is not an important issue.

I have my day ahead of me. I have to make a job related call that might give me some work I would like to have. Fortunately it is not a fully cold call. My way of thinking about this call is a muddle of thinking based on causation - I know they don't have a lot of money right now and this will likely make them stingy - and me mulling over my options with an implicit belief in free will somewhere in there - as if several futures are possible, as if might go a number of different ways on the phone. I don't need to make a decision about free will or determinism. I have a bunch of heuristics, just like everyone else, some would seem to indicate I am free - me planning my different options to different questions or obstacles I might meet in the phone call - and some that things are determined - especially when thinking about the callee.

Peacegirl thinks I will be a better person if I believe in determinism. I truly doubt that. I can see it helping on some issues, but also hurting on others. I think a consistant, all the time believing in determinism, will dehumanize. Obviously that doesn't mean it is incorrect, in fact my concerns are about the believe causing certain negative effects. That the future is bascially laid out already I think will be depressing. Perhap it 'should' not be. But humans have tendencies to feel in ways that are not necessarily logical. We are life forms nnot pocket calculators. Some people believe that we will be nicer to criminals once we no longer view their choices as choices. I think the precise opposite effect could take place once we view them as broken machines or creatures with problematic chemical machines in their brains. Once we are seen as, essentially, robots or complicated 'things'...wait that is often the way we are viewed today by governments,corporations and the pharmaceutial industry. Well, there's a downside to that.

Perhaps there are good reasons most people more or less black box the issue and if we followed their thinking we would find a muddle of both models chugging along. (note: many of them claim that they believe in free will or deteminism, but I think if we watched their language and investigated their thinking, we would find that in fact they move between the two).

If someone can demonstrate that it is important for us to work it out finally AND can at least make it seem remotely possible, especially for us here, to work it out. OK, maybe then I'll prioritize working out the solution to it. I suppose I'd be flattered they thought so highly of me ( and then also they think very highly of themselves).
People are able to apply different levels of abstraction fairly easily. They move seamlessly from "big picture" to various levels of detail and back to "big picture".

People also usually don't use binary (true-false) logic. They use multi-state logic where statements have some probability of truth. When presented with contradictory statements, one statement will just be seen as more likely to be true than the other one.

That allows for flexible approaches. One is not committed to only one way of handling a situation. One does not have to "nail it down".
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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:48 am

phyllo wrote:People are able to apply different levels of abstraction fairly easily. They move seamlessly from "big picture" to various levels of detail and back to "big picture".

People also usually don't use binary (true-false) logic. They use multi-state logic where statements have some probability of truth. When presented with contradictory statements, one statement will just be seen as more likely to be true than the other one.

That allows for flexible approaches. One is not committed to only one way of handling a situation. One does not have to "nail it down".
Yes, one does not have to know answers 100% to live or act in the world. It might be nice to have the answers, but one does not have to wait until one has perfect knowledge to move through life, make choices (or be compelled to act) or say no or yes to things. Unless someone has evidence that we should withdraw from life if we don't know for sure how we should act or if we are free, we get to participate in life sans a secular or religious Bible that everyone should read and follow.

People also usually don't use binary (true-false) logic. They use multi-state logic where statements have some probability of truth.
And sometimes it does not matter. If I found out today perfect proof that determinism is the case, I can't see how I would look back on the last months and say - oh, damn I did those things - in a sense I am precluded from that concern by deteminism: it had to go that way. And if I found out free will was the case, to 100% certainty, I am not sure at all what the last month would look like to me. I can't see I would feel regret: oh, I should not have done X or Y. I would merely now know that I could have done other things, which is what it seemed like at the time. And since I am not in this enlightened state I feel no pregret that I will continue to live and strive for what I want (or 'strive' for what I want, should striving turn out to have been in some ultimate sense illusory.

Thus knowledge of the world and myself are vastly more important to me than resolving this issue. And yes, that knowledge or even guesses about what is true on a more day to day level about the world and my own inner workings is not binary, it is often what seems to be the case with some probability.

And yes, this leads to mistakes but unless one has a Jesus complex or the like, mistakes are a part of life and I do not think I must be perfect to be entitled to live.
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:52 pm

And sometimes it does not matter. If I found out today perfect proof that determinism is the case, I can't see how I would look back on the last months and say - oh, damn I did those things - in a sense I am precluded from that concern by deteminism: it had to go that way. And if I found out free will was the case, to 100% certainty, I am not sure at all what the last month would look like to me. I can't see I would feel regret: oh, I should not have done X or Y. I would merely now know that I could have done other things, which is what it seemed like at the time. And since I am not in this enlightened state I feel no pregret that I will continue to live and strive for what I want (or 'strive' for what I want, should striving turn out to have been in some ultimate sense illusory.

Thus knowledge of the world and myself are vastly more important to me than resolving this issue. And yes, that knowledge or even guesses about what is true on a more day to day level about the world and my own inner workings is not binary, it is often what seems to be the case with some probability.

And yes, this leads to mistakes but unless one has a Jesus complex or the like, mistakes are a part of life and I do not think I must be perfect to be entitled to live.
Right. Sticking a label on alters nothing about life. But that seems to be the view of the minority on this site.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:35 pm

phyllo wrote:And yes, this leads to mistakes but unless one has a Jesus complex or the like, mistakes are a part of life and I do not think I must be perfect to be entitled to live.
Right. Sticking a label on alters nothing about life. But that seems to be the view of the minority on this site.[/quote]I can imagine deciding one or the other, or believing one or the other, might affect one emotionally, even in ways one would not really notice.

One thing I realized in relation to peacegirl is that there are places in the world where determinism is believed in general as a part of the culture. I don't think they have avoided abuse, violence and war in these places.
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:35 pm

phyllo wrote:
Okay, but how does that change [if at all] when the matter reconfigures from mindless to mindful. There are the laws of matter involved in the creation of, say, a tornado. These laws propel/compel the matter in and around it to behave only as the matter can behave.
It doesn't change. Matter produces some sort of behavior in a billiard ball. Matter produces some sort of behavior in a human.

If you are saying something meaningful, then you are describing the relation between matter and behavior.


But this seems to presume that the assumptions embedded in the arguments of those who champion free will and those who champion hard determinism are equally compelled by nature's material laws.

And, if that is saying something meaningful [and, say, actually true objectively] then this very exchange is entirely beyond our control as actual autonomous beings.

Or, again, I am either compelled by nature to misunderstand your point or I do possess a capacity to reason these things through freely by I am unable to match your own reasoning skills. Or my reasoning skills fail to fully grasp the point that you are actually making.

But the point of some would seem to be that the laws of matter are inherently intertwining both the biological interactions here in the child's body and the sociological behaviors of that child interacting with others. Indeed, that our very reactions to those behaviors are no less but another necessary manifestation of the laws of matter.


phyllo wrote: Again, calling it a "manifestation of the laws of matter" is not saying anything useful. Everything is a manifestation of the laws of matter. So what?


Well, if nature compells me to say that, it doesn't really matter if it is deemed to be "useful" by yourself and others. Why? Because nature's laws compel you no less to react to it only as you must.

Right?

But how on earth are we actually able to pin that down?

Thus:

Those scientists exploring the actual functional reationship between "I", the world of the very, very large, and the world of the very, very small all intertwined in the "four fundamental forces of nature", haven't come to any definitive conclusion yet. Let alone alone being able in turn to explain the specific relationship between what "I" does "choose"/choose and a definitive understanding of existence itself.


phyllo wrote: If you aren't getting anywhere by looking at it that way, then look at it another way. Change your approach.


Again, the sort of thing someone convinced that the choices we make are derived from free will, would make. Whereas particular determinists are convinced that in "choosing" to change one's approach, one is only under the self-delusion that they were free to opt not to change their approach. Human psychology itself being just another embodiment of nature's laws.

It's a dead end only because we reach that part where no one seems able to move the discussion to a path that finally resolves the perplexities involved.


phyllo wrote: You don't need to think about it very long before you realize that you are not getting anywhere. What result do you have? Anything at all?


On the contrary, the more you delve into the complexities involved in mindless matter evolving over billions of years into self-conscious human brains the more you come to recognize that gap between what you think you know about all this and all that there is to possibly know about it.

After all, that's why there are objectivists on both sides of the divide. All of these complexities get reduced down either this or that. They can then claim to know all that they need to know in order to comfort and console themselves.

With or without God.

phyllo wrote: What does determinism have to do with people making decisions???

You can look at determinism as involving entirely mechanical interactions where people are essentially the same as billiard balls or dominoes. In that case, they have no choices and make no decisions.

Or you can look at determinism as involving both mechanical interactions(inanimate objects) and agents who have choices and who make decisions. I think that this is the more useful approach.


Okay, note how, "for all practical purposes", the latter understanding of determinism comes into play regarding your own interactions with others.

Nature's laws determine your choices but there is a part of what you choose that allows you to be an "agent" that is, what, somehow outside of nature's immuntable material laws.

Maybe, through this God you believe in?

And how do you go about determining that how you have come to look at it is not in and of itself compelled by nature?

A wholly compelled existential leap, right?

But human brains are either wholly in sync with those fundamental forces or they are not. How could it not make sense to explore that?


phyllo wrote: But you don't explore it. You don't go beyond repeatedly saying "compelled by nature". Exploring requires getting into details.


Right, like the assumptions you come back to over and over again in turn does amount to those details.

Let's try this: In detail, note them then in a particular context in which you choose one thing rather than another.

Okay, then note particular examples of how discussions of abstract agents have in fact led to meaningful results in explaining the actions, motivations and compulsions relating to the actual behaviors chosen by flesh and blood human beings.


phyllo wrote: Really? You have never heard of psychology?


No examples, of course, just another nudge toward the general description we call "psychology". In which it is assumed that in regard to your own, some parts of it are embedded in nature's immutable laws while another part of it revolves around you being an "agent" perfectly able to choose some things...freely?
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:20 pm

But this seems to presume that the assumptions embedded in the arguments of those who champion free will and those who champion hard determinism are equally compelled by nature's material laws.
Are you saying that those who believe in free will are somehow beyond material laws? Or that free will is beyond material laws?

How is that possible?
And, if that is saying something meaningful [and, say, actually true objectively] then this very exchange is entirely beyond our control as actual autonomous beings.

Or, again, I am either compelled by nature to misunderstand your point or I do possess a capacity to reason these things through freely by I am unable to match your own reasoning skills. Or my reasoning skills fail to fully grasp the point that you are actually making.
So what ought to be done now?

If you are compelled not to understand then I have few options ... try to explain, ignore it for now, stop talking to you, etc. Decision time.

Well, if nature compells me to say that, it doesn't really matter if it is deemed to be "useful" by yourself and others. Why? Because nature's laws compel you no less to react to it only as you must.
If you feel that saying "nature compels you" is enough then so be it.
Again, the sort of thing someone convinced that the choices we make are derived from free will, would make. Whereas particular determinists are convinced that in "choosing" to change one's approach, one is only under the self-delusion that they were free to opt not to change their approach. Human psychology itself being just another embodiment of nature's laws.
So what if someone calls it "self-delusion"? If you change your approach then you end up on another path. I care where I am, not what someone calls it.
On the contrary, the more you delve into the complexities involved in mindless matter evolving over billions of years into self-conscious human brains the more you come to recognize that gap between what you think you know about all this and all that there is to possibly know about it.
So just to be clear ... you recognize a gap, then you "delve into the complexities" and you end up recognizing the gap again and again.

Well, don't let me hold you back. Carry on.
Nature's laws determine your choices but there is a part of what you choose that allows you to be an "agent" that is, what, somehow outside of nature's immuntable material laws.
Who says that it's "somehow outside of nature's immutable material laws", FFS? I wrote in the same post : "Everything is a manifestation of the laws of matter."
Right, like the assumptions you come back to over and over again in turn does amount to those details.

Let's try this: In detail, note them then in a particular context in which you choose one thing rather than another.
Why do I need to do that? I don't see you doing anything besides saying "compelled by nature" about everything.

Feel free to present your "explorations".
In which it is assumed that in regard to your own, some parts of it are embedded in nature's immutable laws while another part of it revolves around you being an "agent" perfectly able to choose some things...freely?
Apparently you think that 'agent' means not bound by material laws.

I didn't say that an 'agent' is not bound by material laws.
Last edited by phyllo on Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:31 pm

KT,

Am I not being clear about what I mean by 'agent'?

Am I somehow suggesting that the 'agent' is outside of the physical laws of the universe?
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