• khaled
    3.5k
    The key issue here is not complexity. The key issue here is the structure.Truth Seeker

    These attributes are weakly emergent properties of the electrochemical activities of the brain.Truth Seeker

    Yes, I understand. Your claim is that the structure of the brain is such that it can have accurate representations of reality as well as rationality correct? How did you know that the brain is so structured so as to be rational? (I understand the basics of neurology. I know what electrochemical activities are. That does not change my question)

    The atoms themselves are rational? That can't be it, they're clearly not.

    Complexity? That's clearly not enough. The city of Tokyo is complex yet can't think rationally.

    Having electrochemical activity and neurons? Many animals have brains equipped with neurons and plenty of electrochemical activity, and yet are not rational.

    Evolution would favor a rational brain? Not necessarily. Even we have irrational biases drilled into us through evolution.

    So what makes you so sure?

    I did not say that events are predetermined. I said that events are determined in the present by the interaction of variables. Even in your thought experiment, what happens is determined in the present by the interaction of variables.Truth Seeker

    Well... Duh!!

    If you count even quantum randomness as a "variable" then that's obvious. With this definition though, how come there is a contradiction between free will and determinism? There would no longer be any contradiction between having a "will" variable which acts freely, and determinism.

    I have noticed something interesting about your posts. You frequently misquote me by claiming that I made statements I never made.Truth Seeker

    I don't mean to misquote you... I misunderstood your position. Frankly, I think your position has shifted and I'm not sure you noticed. The way people typically use "determinism" is to say that every event is predetermined by the previous event, and so if we had enough computational power we would know everything that happens (including people's behavior).

    I believe this is also what you meant by it initially, through quotes like these:

    We don't have enough knowledge to predict people's behaviour with 100% accuracy but that does not mean that the behaviours are not deterministic.Truth Seeker

    Here you imply that if we did have enough knowledge then we would be able to predict behavior correct?

    Now:
    1- We cannot predict Quantum events as they are inherently random
    2- Quantum events can cause changes on a macro scale (see cat)
    3- Therefore we cannot predict events (including people's behavior) on a macro scale

    Just so we're on the same page, let's first decide whether you're arguing for determinism as outlined above or just in "causation" (that present events are determined by the interaction of variables). And if it is the former, do you find the above argument satisfactory in showing that determinism is not the case?
  • Benj96
    2.3k


    I think the one who is morally culpable is the one with "awareness".

    Awareness can be broken down into the following tenets:
    1). Agency - the power to exert independent or autonomous choice/ free will through action.

    2). Knowledge - the ability to understand both themselves and the world around them.

    3). Empathy - the trust/faith (without proof) that they are not the only awareness that exists. An anti-solipsist acknowledgement of the existence of "multiple identical agents" - ie others that can experience the same sensations: suffering and joy as the self can.

    Following these tenets we can exclude certain groups from culpability:

    1. "The inanimate" are not culpable - a gun is not culpable for a homicide.

    2. "The deluded or ignorant" are not culpable (they dont understand what they're doing even if they have good intentions). Example - the clinically insane, those with severe mental illness or who have been heavily indoctrinated with propaganda.

    3. Psychopaths, uber-narcissists and perhaps AI - if one is incapable genetically or otherwsie, of being able to "walk in the shoes of another" or relate to another awareness as equals, then they are not culpable for selfish acts nor their consequences.

    There is considerable overlap between the three tenets. They're difficult to separate.

    For example if AI is intelligent but possesses no agency of its own, then questioning its empathy is irrelevant.

    Similarly, one can argue a psychopath lacks certain knowledge of others experience, and so discussing empathy could be regarded as irrelevant.

    In the end due to the difficulty in distinctly separating the tenets, I reduce them to one simple and all encompassing definition - "awareness."

    By that definition I determine who is morally culpable for the results of their individual experience of reality.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Here is my first post in this thread:

    Who is morally culpable? I don't know. I know that the legal system holds people culpable if they do anything illegal. Are criminals truly morally culpable? If hard determinism is true, then no one is morally culpable. How do we figure out whether or not hard determinism is true? Organisms make choices but their choices are not free from their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Their choices are determined and constrained by their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. For example, I would not be typing this post if I were alive 1,000 years ago instead of now as there was no computer and internet back then. If I had the genes of a chicken instead of my genes I would not be typing this post either. I would not be typing this post if I didn't experience learning the English language. I would not be typing this post if I was deprived of all the nutrients that I have consumed since I was conceived. Is it inevitable that I typed this post when and where I typed this post? Am I morally culpable for the choice to type this post? Please explain how you have worked out the answer. Thank you very much.

    I clearly stated my position that "Organisms make choices but their choices are not free from their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Their choices are determined and constrained by their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences."

    I am still saying the same thing. So, why are you saying that my position has changed?

    I don't know with 100% certainty how consciousness, emotions, rationality, ethics, etc. emerge from the electrochemical activities of the brain. I do know that dead brains don't produce consciousness, emotions, rationality, ethics, etc. So, what is it about brains that are alive that produce consciousness?

    Quoting ChatGPT 4:
    The question of how consciousness is produced is one of the most profound and challenging in both science and philosophy. There are several major theories and approaches to this question, but no definitive answers as of yet. Here's an overview of some of the leading theories on the production of consciousness:

    1. Physicalist Theories
    Integrated Information Theory (IIT)

    Developed by Giulio Tononi, IIT proposes that consciousness arises from the integration of information within a system. It quantifies consciousness in terms of "phi," a measure of the system's integration of information. The theory suggests that any system with a high enough phi value is conscious.

    Global Workspace Theory (GWT)

    Proposed by Bernard Baars and further developed by Stanislas Dehaene and others, GWT posits that consciousness results from certain information being broadcast in a global workspace—a distributed network within the brain. This theory focuses on the accessibility of information across different cognitive systems for decision-making, reasoning, and planning.

    2. Biological Theories
    Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

    An approach that aims to identify specific neural systems responsible for conscious awareness. The NCC approach is less of a theory of consciousness itself and more a method of studying how particular brain activities correlate with specific conscious experiences.

    3. Quantum Theories
    Penrose-Hameroff Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR)

    This theory, developed by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, suggests that consciousness emerges from quantum state reductions that occur within microtubules in brain cells. They argue that these quantum events are orchestrated by biological processes to produce conscious experience, which is a theory not widely accepted in the scientific community due to its speculative nature.

    4. Panpsychism
    Panpsychism is a philosophical theory that posits that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the universe. It suggests that all matter possesses some form of consciousness, with complex systems such as human brains exhibiting a richer and more complex form of consciousness. This perspective shifts the problem of consciousness from emergence to one of combination—how simple consciousness combines into more complex forms.

    5. Dual-Aspect Theories
    These theories suggest that mental and physical states are two aspects of the same underlying reality. This approach tries to bridge the explanatory gap by positing a non-material, yet not entirely separate, realm of existence that interacts with or parallels the physical.

    6. Emergentism
    Emergentism argues that consciousness emerges from complex patterns of physical interactions within the brain, but in a way that is not reducible to those interactions alone. This suggests a form of strong emergence where consciousness is seen as more than the sum of its parts.

    Current Scientific Endeavors
    In the scientific realm, ongoing research involves mapping brain activity and its correlation with conscious experience (trying to pinpoint the NCC), manipulating brain states (through technologies such as TMS and EEG) to see how changes in neural activity affect consciousness, and developing better computational models to simulate how networks of neurons might generate conscious awareness.

    Despite substantial progress in understanding the brain's functioning, how consciousness arises from the activity of neurons, or whether it perhaps emerges from other processes, remains a profound mystery. Each theory provides valuable insights, but none has yet achieved consensus acceptance. The pursuit to understand consciousness is not only about discovering its mechanisms but also about exploring fundamental questions about the nature of existence and our place within it.

    I am a materialist monist because I have never seen any soul or spirit in any brain scans. I realise that if the soul or spirit is not made of matter or energy as we know them, we won't spot them on brain scans. Then there is the problem of how an immaterial soul or spirit can interact with a brain made of ordinary matter.

    In deterministic systems, it is possible to predict outcomes if you know what the interacting variables are. For example, evidence shows that if you behead someone, they die in 100% of the cases. So, you can predict with 100% accuracy that if you were to behead me, I would die. In a random system (as in quantum mechanics), you can't predict outcomes in the same way. Instead, you can only calculate the probability. There is a 50% probability that the electron would spin right and a 50% probability that the electron would spin left. Due to quantum decoherence, our genes, environments, nutrients and experiences don't behave like electrons do.

    If we knew the effects of genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences on organisms with 100% accuracy, we should be able to predict their choices with 100% accuracy. I can't test this hypothesis because we currently don't know the effects of genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences with 100% accuracy in all instances. For example, you know that if you were to behead me, I would die as my brain would be deprived of blood which delivers vital oxygen and glucose, etc. for my neurones and glial cells. You can predict this with 100% accuracy. However, what would I do, if you gave me 100 trillion US dollars? It would be hard for you to predict this with 100% accuracy. It's logical to state that the more you knew about my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences, the more precise your prediction would be.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Are the choices made by organisms inevitable given their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences? If so, do they truly deserve any reward or punishment for their choices?

    I think we both would agree that an omniscient and omnipotent being would be omniculpable. I don't know if any omniscient and omnipotent being exists. If such a being existed, he or she should be sued for failing to prevent all suffering, inequality, injustice, and death.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Evolution would favor a rational brain? Not necessarily. Even we have irrational biases drilled into us through evolution.khaled

    Not 'perfectly rational', just 'rational enough'. Evolution has many Rube Goldberg like results.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Thank you for the link. I was already familiar with the inefficiency of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in humans and giraffes but I didn't know about the Sauropods. Please see https://nautil.us/top-10-design-flaws-in-the-human-body-235403/
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    I think we both would agree that an omniscient and omnipotent being would be omniculpable. I don't know if any omniscient and omnipotent being exists. If such a being existed, he or she should be sued for failing to prevent all suffering, inequality, injustice, and death.Truth Seeker

    It's a neat thought, holding what essentially accounts for a "God" culpable for all existent misfortune. One of the popular reasons for atheists to opt for atheism.

    However I do wonder where "free will" falls in this argument. My first tenet of culpability. True agency.

    One would imagine if anyone is to truly have free will then such an omniscient omnipotent entity is simply rolling the dice of uncertainty and passively observing the outcome.

    Given that such an entity did not directly have any input into the outcome in this sense (in order to allow for freedom for choice/free will) it seems counterintuitive to then hold them responsible.

    The only way such an entity is responsible is if the system is fully deterministic - ie a direct result of said entities actions
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    I agree with you. How would we figure out if hard determinism is true or not?

    Our choices are not free from determinants and constraints e.g. genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Does that mean that our choices are inevitable?
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    It depends.

    Genes are subject to mutations and epigenetics (switching on or off) - both of which are subject to environmental conditions. We understand that many environmental conditions are seemingly chaotic and unpredictable: for example - the weather forecast. Beyond around 10 days the variables compound exponentially rendering further accurate forecast useless conjecture.

    Quantum physics is yet another realm in which certainty dissolves into a cloud of ultimately uncertain and merely probabilistic outcomes. Where even the act of measurement itself influences the measured.

    The "butterfly effect" suggests that any slight change in initial circumstances alters the entire system eventually. If this is the case, then hard determinism can be cast out the window.

    In that case, it is ultimately the agent who is culpable. Because chaos and uncertainty reigns Iver hard determinism.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Just because we can't predict something e.g. weather and earthquakes, etc. accurately it does not mean that they are not deterministic.

    I agree that the quantum world is probabilistic but due to quantum decoherence, this does not mean the macroscopic world is like the quantum world.

    If you had my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences would you not be typing these words when and where I am typing these words? If I had your genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences would I not be reading these words when and where you are reading these words?

    We don't choose to be born. We don't choose our genes. We don't choose our early environments, nutrients, and experiences. Although, as an adult we may be able to change our environments, nutrients, and experiences to something different from what we got as a child. This does not apply to all adults - just the fortunate ones. So, how can we claim that we are culpable for our choices?

    I do some things even though I don't want to do them. Here are some things I have done, currently do or will do even though I don't want to do them:

    1. Breathe
    2. Eat
    3. Drink
    4. Sleep
    5. Dream
    7. Pee
    8. Poo
    9. Fart
    10. Burp
    11. Sneeze
    12. Cough
    13. Age
    14. Get ill
    15. Get injured
    16. Sweat
    17. Cry
    18. Suffer
    19. Snore
    20. Think
    21. Feel
    22. Choose
    23. Be conceived
    24. Be born
    25. Remember some events that I don't want to remember
    26. Forget information that I want to remember
    27. Die

    I can't do the following things even though I really want to do them:

    1. Live forever without consuming any oxygen, fluids, or food.
    2. Do things other organisms e.g. tardigrades, dolphins, chameleons, etc. can do.
    3. Teleport everywhere and everywhen.
    4. Prevent all suffering, inequality, injustice, and deaths.
    5. Make all living things (including the dead ones and the never-born ones) forever happy.
    6. Be all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful and make all the other beings also all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful.
    7. Own an infinite number of universes and give all beings an infinite number of universes each for free.

    Given the fact that I am constantly doing things I don't want to do and can't do what I actually want to do, how can I be a free agent who makes free choices and is culpable?

    I think that only omniscient and omnipotent beings are omniculpable. Everyone else is a prisoner of causality. Our thoughts are not free from the electrochemical activities that give rise to thoughts. Our choices are not free from the electrochemical activities that give rise to choices.
  • khaled
    3.5k
    I clearly stated my position that "Organisms make choices but their choices are not free from their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Their choices are determined and constrained by their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences."Truth Seeker

    Would you agree that the effects of genes, environments, nutrients and experiences can theoretically (not practically) all be reduced to physical phenomena? As in: Changing X gene does, deterministically, result in changes A, B and C. And placying someone in Y environment will, determinisitically, result in changes in D, F and G. And A, B, C, D, F, G are all physical phenomena (think: bigger nose, different neural connections, etc)

    I will assume yes.

    Do you agree that quantum randomness CAN under certain setups, cause macro level changes? (see cat)

    I will also assume yes.

    Do you agree that there is a chance that some of these setups actually exist in nature? I don't see a reason to disagree with that one, so I'll say yes.

    It then follows that one of these premises is wrong, and I am least confident of the first. Maybe putting someone in environment Y will NOT result in D, F and G, as there is the possibility of quantum randomness causing a butterfly effect somewhere in the causal chain from Y to D, F and G.

    There is a 50% probability that the electron would spin right and a 50% probability that the electron would spin left. Due to quantum decoherence, our genes, environments, nutrients and experiences don't behave like electrons do.Truth Seeker

    Ah, how are you sure of this? How are you sure that none of the setups where quantum randomness can have a macro effect (like with the cat) don't already exist in some environments or within our own bodies?

    This is a testable hypothesis, but until we know the effects of genes, environments, nutrients and experiences on organisms fully, it will not have been tested. Until we fully understand our body and our world, it's still a possibility that such a quantum-randomness enabling setup already exists within us or our environment.

    Currently, our technology is not accurate enough to detect these things. Our technology does not have the processing power to even model classical systems with 100% accuracy, much less be able to tell between "classical noice" and any potential effect due to quantum randomness.

    It would be hard for you to predict this with 100% accuracy. It's logical to state that the more you knew about my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences, the more precise your prediction would be.Truth Seeker

    Yes, but it is not clear that it would ever be 100% accurate. The only way it can be is if there is no setups that allow quantum randomness to have a macro effect anywhere. And we don't know that.
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    , this does not mean the macroscopic world is like the quantum world.Truth Seeker

    "Like" the quantum world or "influenced" by the quantum world? The macroscopic world is for sure unlike quantum mechanics. But I would imagine the system of reality is holistic from the smallest (quantum) to the largest, interconnected and thus dependent on these behaviours.

    If the macroscopic is hard deterministic and the quantum is not hard deterministic then there is some bizarre disconnect between them and I doubt that is the case. Quantum effects effect atoms which effect molecules which effects higher and higher order complexity and systems.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Would you agree that the effects of genes, environments, nutrients and experiences can theoretically (not practically) all be reduced to physical phenomena? As in: Changing X gene does, deterministically, result in changes A, B and C. And placying someone in Y environment will, determinisitically, result in changes in D, F and G. And A, B, C, D, F, G are all physical phenomena (think: bigger nose, different neural connections, etc)

    I will assume yes.

    It depends. If immaterial souls exist, and they are affected by genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences then the answer is no.

    Do you agree that quantum randomness CAN under certain setups, cause macro level changes? (see cat)

    I will also assume yes.
    I have never seen your thought experiment as an actual experiment. If you are a physicist, could you please do the experiment and share the actual results with us?

    Ah, how are you sure of this? How are you sure that none of the setups where quantum randomness can have a macro effect (like with the cat) don't already exist in some environments or within our own bodies?

    I am 100% sure that quantum decoherence occurs, but we don't know if quantum mechanics is involved in the production of consciousness. Quantum features such as superposition, tunneling, entanglement, and indeterminacy all average out - there is indeterminacy about the exact location of any given iron atom but not about the exact location of the centre of mass of a cannonball formed by 10^27 of these quantum-behaving atoms. If it is involved then quantum mechanics could affect our choices which would make our choices random instead of deterministic. How can we be culpable if our choices are random instead of deterministic?

    This is a testable hypothesis, but until we know the effects of genes, environments, nutrients and experiences on organisms fully, it will not have been tested. Until we fully understand our body and our world, it's still a possibility that such a quantum-randomness enabling setup already exists within us or our environment.

    I agree.

    Yes, but it is not clear that it would ever be 100% accurate. The only way it can be is if there is no setups that allow quantum randomness to have a macro effect anywhere. And we don't know that.

    I am not a physicist, otherwise I would turn your thought experiment into an actual experiment. Is there any physicist on this forum?

    I don't see how quantum randomness is any better than macroscopic determinism when it comes to making decisions. I want to remove all determinants and constraints from our choices but it's impossible for me to do that with our current level of knowledge and technology. It may always be impossible to do. So, we are and always will be prisoners of determinants and constraints
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    The problem is that we don't have a Theory of Everything that unites the quantum world with the macroscopic world. We know that quantum decoherence occurs. Given the fact that quantum decoherence occurs, how would quantum phenomena such as superposition, indeterminacy and entanglement have any effect on the macroscopic world?

    How can quantum randomness remove determinants and constraints from the decision-making process in sentient organisms? You haven't answered any of my questions in my previous reply to you. Is that because you don't know the answers?
  • Kizzy
    96
    can it do that WITHOUT said sentient beings awareness of such observations occurring meaning avoiding any conscious awareness such attempts to remove determinants and constraints are taking place...observations when sentient beings are aware of them happening, risk unnatural behavior taking place misplaced real data when its bias was just aware and leaning in its favor. The sentient beings level of conscious awareness holds power over attempts, even if they know it or not. Its intuit.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    can it do that WITHOUT said sentient beings awareness of such observations occurring meaning avoiding any conscious awareness such attempts to remove determinants and constraints are taking place...observations when sentient beings are aware of them happening, risk unnatural behavior taking place misplaced real data when its bias was just aware and leaning in its favor. The sentient beings level of conscious awareness holds power over attempts, even if they know it or not. Its intuit.

    I don't understand what you are saying. Sorry. Please explain. Thank you.
  • Kizzy
    96
    wahhh wah :cry: its fine, ill be back to try again if the will for it exists then for now its gone with the wind, good as gone. carry on, pardon me please.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    It's ok. Please don't worry about it.
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    If you had my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences would you not be typing these words when and where I am typing these words? If I had your genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences would I not be reading these words when and where you are reading these words?Truth Seeker

    All this amounts to is "If I were you, would I be you?" Obviously. But stating that if initial conditions are identical outcomes are identical (determinism) only works in the hypothetical realm where time and space can be controlled as variables. That's why 2 genetically identical twins no matter how similar in behaviour and habits, will never be considered "one person in two places simultaneously". Even the slightest differences compound over time into deviating outcomes.

    Given the fact that quantum decoherence occurs, how would quantum phenomena such as superposition, indeterminacy and entanglement have any effect on the macroscopic world?Truth Seeker

    It already does influence to macroscopic world: quantum computing, the electronic industry and new banking security systems. However if you want an older example of quantum influence than quantum biology is the place to go: Photosynthesis, magnetic navigation in animals and birds, olfaction, enzyme catalysis, many of which use either tunnelling or entanglement. Heres a reference:

    https://www.azoquantum.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=281#:~:text=Photosynthesis%20is%20the%20most%20significant,is%20a%20quantum%20mechanical%20effect.&text=Quantum%20mechanics%20is%20thought%20to,at%20the%20micro%20and%20nanoscales.

    So it would see that not everything is so determined as one might imagine. Quantum effects influence the macroscopic world.

    So, how can we claim that we are culpable for our choices?Truth Seeker

    Even if reality was entirely deterministic, it's deterministic for everyone. So if someone breaks the law against another person that then suffers, and both were entirely predetermined acts, you can argue the punishment given and justice served as also entirely predetermined. If determinism applies to everyone than it applies to no one in the sense of culpability and what that means to most everyone.

    How can quantum randomness remove determinants and constraints from the decision-making process in sentient organisms?Truth Seeker

    In a moment to moment capacity - quantum effects likely don't impact on decision making unless they are the basis of decision making. We still don't full understand the brain or consciousness. And quantum neuroscience is a new field.

    But I think quantum effects likely make a predictive model deviate from actual events over longer periods of time and when larger magnitudes of variables are a contributing factor to the outcome.
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    Thank you very much for answering my questions and the link. I learned something new which is great.

    I far as I can tell, neither quantum mechanics nor macroscopic determinism makes us free from determinants and constraints. How can we have justice when we are not free from determinants and constraints? If a criminal could not have refrained from breaking the law, is it right to punish him or her for breaking the law? If a law-abiding person cannot help being law-abiding, is it right to reward him or her for not breaking the law? Could anyone really have made a different choice in the past than the choice they made? I don't think so. I think our choices arise out of the interactions of our genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences and we are not truly praiseworthy or blameworthy.

    Quoting ChatGPT 4:
    Monozygotic twins, often called identical twins, originate from the same fertilized egg that splits into two embryos. This shared origin means that they start with the same genetic material. However, saying they are completely genetically identical throughout their lives is an oversimplification due to several factors:

    1. Mutations During Development
    As the cells of the embryos divide and grow, small mutations can occur. These mutations might be different between the two twins, leading to slight genetic differences as they develop.

    2. Epigenetic Differences
    While the DNA sequence itself may be very similar, the way this genetic information is expressed can differ due to epigenetic changes. Epigenetics involves modifications that affect gene expression without altering the DNA sequence itself. Factors such as environment, lifestyle, and different experiences can lead to epigenetic changes that differ between the twins, influencing how their genes are expressed.

    3. Somatic Mosaicism
    Somatic mosaicism refers to the occurrence of two or more genetically different cell lines within the same individual, caused by mutations that occur after fertilization and during cell division. This can also happen independently in each twin, leading to differences between them.

    4. Copy Number Variations
    Small differences in the number of copies of certain genes can emerge during the early stages of embryonic development after the initial zygotic split. These variations can lead to further genetic divergence between monozygotic twins.

    5. Environmental Influences
    Even in the womb, monozygotic twins can experience different environments. For example, they might have different positions in the uterus or slightly different nourishment from the placenta. These subtle environmental differences can influence their development, both physically and potentially at the genetic expression level.

    While monozygotic twins are genetically very similar compared to other siblings, they are not absolutely identical. The small genetic differences that can arise are typically not significant enough to affect the fact that they are more similar to each other than to anyone else, but these differences can be important in the context of medical research, forensic analysis, and understanding how genes and the environment interact to shape individuals.
  • khaled
    3.5k
    I have never seen your thought experiment as an actual experiment. If you are a physicist, could you please do the experiment and share the actual results with us?Truth Seeker

    What would that do? I'm not a physicist, but it is well known that Quantum effects can have macro consequences. If you don't believe me there are many articles from reputable institutions that show this, here is one:

    https://www.wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2014/04/22/why-do-quantum-effects-only-happen-on-the-atomic-scale/

    If it is involved then quantum mechanics could affect our choices which would make our choices random instead of deterministic. How can we be culpable if our choices are random instead of deterministic?Truth Seeker

    That's a good question. Personally, I think this quantum randomness can provide a "refuge" for souls or spirits or whatever flavor of immaterial stuff you like. One could say that it is consciousness or souls or spirits or whatever that collapses wavestates, or that it at least has something to do with it. That would give "us" (if you define as some sort of immaterial soul) real agency in inacting physical change in the world.

    I am not sure about the validity of any of these theories, though they are certainly comforting if true. I just wanted to bring your attention to them:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind

    But if that is NOT the case, if it really the case that quantum processes are completely random, you'd have to believe in some sort of compatibalism to believe in free will.

    So, we are and always will be prisoners of determinants and constraintsTruth Seeker

    That is true. My question is, why do you require that we be COMPLETELY free to have ANY responsibility. Let's do a thought experiment.

    Let's say that you were omnipotent, free from all constraints, and you decided to kill someone. Your decision was made without any determinants or constraints, surely you are morally responsible for it in that case, correct?

    Now let's add a limit. Let's say you are not quite omnipotent, you can only exert enough force to lift 10^9999999 tons. Quite the limit from pure omnipotence, but still extremely powerful. If you decide to kill someone now, would you still be responsible? I would say yes, DESPITE the fact that you have a constraint. Because I cannot see how this constraint would influence your decision on whether or not to kill someone at all, do you agree?

    Now we keep adding limitations and limitations, until we get to a point that, say, you're a starving beggar, and steal a bit of food from someone who wouldn't even notice. Most people would say you are not morally culpable for this, because your limitations and constraints are influencial enough that you can be excused.

    Now, where does the line lie for you? The line that separates "constrained enough to not be morally reponsible" from not constrained enough. Is it when we've added hunger? When you get confined to a physical body? When you became faced with death? Or was it all the way at the beginning, at the second you lost your omnipotence and got your first limit, that you no longer became morally responsible?
  • Truth Seeker
    692
    I know quantum mechanics has macroscopic consequences. I prefer actual experiments to thought experiments as you get actual data from actual experiments instead of what you imagine the data is. Reality is often more complex and surprising than what we imagine it is.

    Personally, I think this quantum randomness can provide a "refuge" for souls or spirits or whatever flavor of immaterial stuff you like. One could say that it is consciousness or souls or spirits or whatever that collapses wavestates, or that it at least has something to do with it. That would give "us" (if you define as some sort of immaterial soul) real agency in inacting physical change in the world.khaled

    That's an interesting idea. Do you have any evidence to support it? How would an immaterial soul or spirit interact with material objects such as atoms? How would an immaterial soul or spirit free us from determinants such as genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences?


    Thank you for the link. I read it. It seems to be speculations rather than evidence-based conclusions.

    But if that is NOT the case, if it really the case that quantum processes are completely random, you'd have to believe in some sort of compatibalism to believe in free will.khaled

    What evidence do you have in support of compatibilism?

    My question is, why do you require that we be COMPLETELY free to have ANY responsibility.khaled

    I don't know how free one needs to be to have any responsibility. How free am I? Could I have made different choices than the ones I made at the time of the choosing? I don't think so. I don't murder, kidnap, rape, torture, etc. It's not some towering moral achievement for me. I simply have no desire to murder, kidnap, rape, torture, etc. Even if these actions became legal from now on, I still wouldn't do these things. I think that if I had the genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences of people who have murdered, kidnapped, raped, tortured, etc. I would have done these things. I also think that if they had my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences they would have refrained from doing these things and instead would be typing these words when and where I am typing these words. Do I freely choose not to murder, kidnap, rape, torture, etc? No. I simply have no desire to these things. I wouldn't do them even if they were legal and you offered to pay me trillions of dollars. I considered these actions to be morally wrong. I feel compelled to refrain from doing these things. I dont' freely choose not to. Let me give you another example. I don't like chocolate cakes and chocolate ice-creams. I don't like the way they taste. I don't choose this preference. It is just the way it is. I am no more responsible for refraining from murdering, kidnapping, raping, and torturing than I am responsible for not liking chocolate cakes and chocolate ice-creams.

    Why would the choice of an omniscient and omnipotent being be free from determinants? Their choices would be from constraints but not free from determinants. They will still have determinants for their choices.

    Let's say you are not quite omnipotent, you can only exert enough force to lift 10^9999999 tons. Quite the limit from pure omnipotence, but still extremely powerful. If you decide to kill someone now, would you still be responsible? I would say yes, DESPITE the fact that you have a constraint. Because I cannot see how this constraint would influence your decision on whether or not to kill someone at all, do you agree?khaled

    I think you have never understood the point I have been making in this thread. Our choices arise in the present continuous out of the dynamic interactions of our genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. So, whether someone experiences the desire to murder or not is not free from determinants. It's not about the kind of limitation you are talking about in your example. Whether an organism can lift a huge amount of weight has nothing to do with whether or not they have the desire to murder.

    Let me give you another example. Eighteen years ago, I met two vegans at an environmental event. Until I met them, I had never heard of veganism. I was a vegetarian at the time. They told me about veganism and I immediately became a vegan. All of my family, extended family, most of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances are omnivores. Why didn't I become a vegan when I was in the womb or when I was five years old or when I was ten years old? It's because of my genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Not even our thoughts are free from these determinants, never mind actions. Could you think the thoughts I will think of in one minute's time? No. Just as I can't think of the thoughts you will think of in one minute's time. I don't even know what thoughts will occur to me in one minute's time.

    Now we keep adding limitations and limitations, until we get to a point that, say, you're a starving beggar, and steal a bit of food from someone who wouldn't even notice. Most people would say you are not morally culpable for this, because your limitations and constraints are influencial enough that you can be excused.

    Now, where does the line lie for you? The line that separates "constrained enough to not be morally reponsible" from not constrained enough. Is it when we've added hunger? When you get confined to a physical body? When you became faced with death? Or was it all the way at the beginning, at the second you lost your omnipotence and got your first limit, that you no longer became morally responsible?
    khaled

    My experiments and other people's experiments show that our choices are determined and constrained by our genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. No living thing chooses to come into existence. No living thing chooses the genes, the early environments, nutrients, and experiences. As we get older, we try to get our preferred environments, nutrients, and experiences but we don't always succeed. For example, I used to get my nutrients as an omnivore but then I became a vegetarian when I became aware of the suffering and death an omnivorous diet causes. When I became aware of veganism, I saw that it was less harmful than being a vegetarian. So, I became a vegan. I actually want to be a nonconsumer. I tried living without consuming any oxygen, water and food but I failed. So, I am stuck with being a vegan even though I want to be a nonconsumer. Why aren't all living things nonconsumers? Why aren't all living things vegans? Why do omnivores, carnivores and parasites cause harm or even kill to get their nutrients? The answer is due to the interactions of their genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences. Are omnivores, carnivores and parasites morally culpable? I don't think so. They are prisoners of causality. Their choices are the products of determinants.To be morally culpable one needs to be 100% free from determinants. I have never met any omniscient and omnipotent beings. As far as I can speculate, an omniscient and omnipotent being would be free from constraints but even such a being would not be free from determinants. That's why I selected "No one" as my answer to the question "Who is morally culpable?" which I asked on the first post in this thread.
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