• Rich
    3.2k
    So the question is, is this predetermined (according to Daoism?)FreeEmotion

    Time unfolds (real psychological time, not scientific time) as a manifestation of all that is happening including the choices being made. There is no concrete future. Nothing is predetermined.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k


    Okay, and are you claiming that distinction just as a personal idiosyncrasy, or as a statistical commonality with respect to usage, or are you saying that it's a fact independent of usage somehow?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Okay, and are you claiming that distinction just as a personal idiosyncrasy, or as a statistical commonality with respect to usage, or are you saying that it's a fact independent of usage somehow?Terrapin Station

    No. I don't think my recognition of the quite trivial distinction between our attitudes towards involuntary bodily movements or unintended consequences of actions, on the one hand, and towards voluntary actions that achieve intended results, on the other hand, is a personal idiosyncrasy. It's rather more of a truism that this distinction is relevant to ascription of responsibility, including self-ascription as part of the phenomenology of action.

    How many more questions will I need to answer before you will answer the simple questions I asked you several times and that you keep ducking? What's so special about sneezing -- as distinguished from other similarly involuntary actions -- that makes you feel responsible for doing it? Or do you likewise feel responsible for anything that causes your body to move regardless of your own volition?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    How many more questions will I need to answerPierre-Normand

    In order for me to answer the question you asked, I need to understand just what you're asking. I was trying to answer this: "But the point is moot if you aren't conceiving of your own alleged sentiment of responsibility when you are sneezing as something akin as a strict liability. Are you?"

    It's still not clear to me just what strict versus non-strict, non-legal liability is supposed to be . . . I didn't even begin to get to what "conceiving of your own alleged sentiment" is supposed to amount to.. You're one of those posters where the more you type, the less clear it is to me what you're attempting to say.

    Re you claiming a conceptual distinction to be a truism, that just seems completely absurd to me.

    I didn't say there was anything special about sneezing. I just used that example because it's the one you had brought up.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I didn't say there was anything special about sneezing. I just used that example because it's the one you had brought up.Terrapin Station

    Of course you did. I then brought up the point about strict liabilities because that was the most charitable way I could think of for interpreting your otherwise bizarre claim that you are feeling responsible for sneezing. You took that putative raw phenomenological fact about your own experience to be some sort of a refutation of the post where I had mentioned sneezing as a trivial example. But if you can't wrap your mind around the idea of there being a difference in point of personal responsibility between intended or unintended consequences of actions (or purely reflexive bodily motions), then I can't help you escape from the corner you painted yourself into. You can stay there if you want.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    Of course you did.Pierre-Normand

    Based on what?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Based on what?Terrapin Station

    You wan't me to justify my agreeing with you that I myself had brought it up? You are just playing silly games.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k


    What sort of language is that sentence written in? "Justify my agreeing with you that I myself had brought it up?" What??? Try to keep your sentences simpler until you master communicating in simple English. Walk before you run.

    I said that I didn't say there was anything special about sneezing.

    You disagreed and claimed that I did say there was something special about sneezing.

    I'm asking you what you're basing your claim on that I said there was something special about sneezing. And the answer is?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I'm asking you what you're basing your claim on that I said there was something special about sneezing. And the answer is?Terrapin Station

    I explained already, several times, but you keep ignoring the point. Either there is something special, in your view, and then I'm simply asking you what it is such that you feel responsible for sneezing but not for other involuntary bodily movements. Or there isn't anything special and then it's even more puzzling why you'd feel responsible for involuntary bodily movements in general.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    then I'm simply asking you what it is such that you feel responsible for sneezing but not for other involuntary bodily movements.Pierre-Normand

    Again, I didn't say anything like that, and I'm clarifying that I'm not saying that there's anything special about sneezing versus other involuntary bodily movements. That doesn't imply that I'm changing what I said about sneezing. I'm clarifying that I'm not saying anything special about sneezing.

    I used that as an example because you had used it as an example.

    If you had used another sort of involuntary bodily movement as an example, I would have said the same thing about that instead.

    So, first, let's see if we can agree on something. Did I say that there's something special about sneezing versus other involuntary body movements?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    So, first, let's see if we can agree on something. Did I say that there's something special about sneezing versus other involuntary body movements?Terrapin Station

    How could I possibly know? I've *asked* you repeatedly if there is, in your view, something special about it. Did you not notice the question marks? That's the only way to assess whether this putative phenomenological fact about your experience of sneezing constitutes, or does not constitute, a relevant counterexample to my general claim regarding involuntary bodily movements in general. But you've always feigned not to understand the question.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    If you had used another sort of involuntary bodily movement as an example, I would have said the same thing about that instead.Terrapin Station

    Seriously? If some part of your body moves, whatever the cause, you always feel responsible for it?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    Seriously? If some part of your body moves, whatever the cause, you still feel responsible for it?Pierre-Normand

    Yes. It's my body, after all. it's not someone else's.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Yes. It's my body, after all. it's not someone else's.Terrapin Station

    That's a non sequitur if ever there was one. Maybe there would be a charitable way to interpret this in the strict liability sense of responsibility, but we've been there already and it's just not plausible that, even restricted to cases where the body is involved, every involuntary motion is some sort of a strict liability for the owner of the body. I also had asked you if, on your view, the cause of the movement being endogenous was a requirement (as opposed to someone else grabbing your arm and lifting it up, say) but you had declined to clarify, as usual.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    That's a non sequitur if ever there was onePierre-Normand

    You don't seem to be getting, or you don't agree with yet you're not presenting any arguments about it, that there are no facts re whether something is a (strict) liability or not.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    You don't seem to be getting, or you don't agree with yet you're not presenting any arguments about it, thatthere are no facts re whether something is a (strict) liability or not.Terrapin Station

    That doesn't help me make sense of your claim that you are feeling responsible for your involuntary bodily motions, whatever their causes might be, just because it's your own body. The concept of strict liabilities was a suggestion meant to help *you* pinpoint the source of your own intuition regarding sneezes. If it doesn't help, then help yourself. I can't do all your thinking for you.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    There are gradations in how one may feel responsibility. It's a feeling.

    Do I feel responsible for a sneeze? If it is from a cold, maybe I could have done something to prevent it. From an allergy? Maybe I shouldn't have gone into the area filled ragweed? From sniffing pepper? Definitely shouldn't have done that. From causes unknown? Maybe, I can figure out what is causing the sneezing? This is all qualitatively different from a willful, pre-premeditated movement to push someone down there stairs this the feeling of responsibility will be different and along a broad spectrum. Certainly each person exhibits and feels a different level of responsibility for action of theirs and of others.

    However, in the normal course of events there is a general feeling that people, to some extent, are responsible for willful actions (in some cases non-action as in the case of negligence). Such is the case that in general there is a consensus on the population and scientific data that supports the notion that we are making choices in our lives. For example, when the WHO reports that more than 80% of chronic illnesses are due to lifestyle choices, they mean precisely that.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Do I feel responsible for a sneeze? If it is from a cold, maybe I could have done something to prevent it. From an allergy? Maybe I shouldn't have gone into the area filled ragweed?Rich

    Yes, that would be a perfectly reasonable explanation why you could be held (or hold yourself, and indeed feel) responsible for sneezing on some occasions. In that case, your responsibility derives from earlier voluntary acts or decisions (or blamable omissions) that had the foreseeable consequence that you would later get sick. Your sneezing then is a manifestation of that. It's not merely because your own body is involved in the involuntary occurrence that you feel responsible for it (as Terrapin Station contends). It's rather because of the relevant involvement of your earlier decisions, as you correctly point out, that you may now incur a responsibility for your presently involuntary sneezes.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I believe, based upon observations, that most people feel this way about responsibility, though there is a very wide variance among the population. Even with criminal acts of misconduct there is a very wide bandwidth of interpretation such as the varying degrees of manslaughter and murder. So, we to a large extent accept that the degree or feeling of responsibility by ourselves and others has many conditionals associated with it and very subjective.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I believe, based upon observations, that most people feel this way about responsibility, though there is a very wide variance among the population. Even with criminal acts of misconduct there is a very wide bandwidth of interpretation such as the varying degrees of manslaughter and murder. So, we to a large extent accept that there degree or feeling of responsibility by ourselves and others has many conditionals associated with it and very subjective.Rich

    Yes, indeed, and in the context of criminal law some of those degrees of responsibility are codified as levels of mens rea. Anthony Kenny wrote a delightful little book -- Freewill and Responsibility, Routledge, 1978 (recently reissued) -- in which he draws lessons from carefully scrutinized cases and legal judgments, and the various criteria that attach to specific levels of mens rea, to clarify the connections between, indeed, free will and responsibility.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Probably the best way to understand human behavior is to observe and study it.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Probably the best way to understand human behavior is to observe and study it.Rich

    That's for sure, but observations and studies always are performed on a restricted range of cases and against an already existing background understanding. We look at things through a specific conceptual lens with a definite focus. Philosophical inquiry is distinctive in the way in which it attempts to critically assess this conceptual background and look beyond the predefined boundaries set by the natural and social sciences. Case law and legal theory often is forced to push against its own boundaries because it has no choice but to deal seriously with subjects (the defendants) who had been let loose in the field of social life and weren't restricted in the range of their behaviors like subjects in psychological studies typically are, for instance. This is one reason why case law is instructive from a philosophical point of view.
  • Forgottenticket
    200
    I think the voluntary/involuntary acts (the phenomenal feeling of them) are at the crux of the argument. That's where the controversy of the Libet experiment extends from since it suggests all acts are really involuntary and the feeling between the two is some form of illusion (plausibly put there by evolution). Although how we can express knowledge of the "illusion" is beyond me. There somehow seems room for metaphysical (non deterministic) free will in there somewhere. The compatibilists ignore this and focus more on the social aspect which is probably where the frustration comes from.
  • FreeEmotion
    138


    OK, so like a tree growing leaves and branches to where there was nothing before. Is the Dao then all knowing or timeless, or outside of time?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    My interpretation is that the Dao (intelligence or vital force) permeates the universe. It would be a analogous to waves of quanta (the Dao symbol) but the waves of quanta would be waves of intelligence. This you have the Dao creating and evolving via waves of intelligent energy. That which is creating and that which is created are fundamentally the same.
  • FreeEmotion
    138
    Yes, indeed, and in the context of criminal law some of those degrees of responsibility are codified as levels of mens rea.Pierre-Normand

    The link you mentioned has this interesting idea ""the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty". I am not sure how it impacts the free will / determinism argument.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I think the voluntary/involuntary acts (the phenomenal feeling of them) are at the crux of the argument. That's where the controversy of the Libet experiment extends from since it suggests all acts are really involuntary and the feeling between the two is some form of illusion (plausibly put there by evolution). Although how we can express knowledge of the "illusion" is beyond me. There somehow seems room for metaphysical (non deterministic) free will in there somewhere. The compatibilists ignore this and focus more on the social aspect which is probably where the frustration comes from.JupiterJess

    It seems to me that one of the mistakes in the early interpretation of the infamous Libet experiment was a lack of attention to the way in which intentional actions always are intentional under some descriptions and not under other descriptions. It's not just that some consequences of what you do are unintended, but even some aspects that you are perfectly aware (and in full control) of, regarding what you do, aren't deliberately chosen either, and need not be, for your action to count as intentional.

    For instance, if you walk in the cereal aisle at the supermarket intending to pick a box of corn flakes, and proceed to pick one, then the fact that you picked one specific box rather than the identical box right next to it isn't involuntary but it isn't intentional either. Your intention, effectively realized in your action, just was to pick *one* box of corn flakes and not necessarily that one in particular. Your responsibility (or freedom) in picking this specific box as opposed to another identical box nearby isn't at issue because there just isn't any reason to chose one over another.

    So, similarly, in Libet's experiment, the subjects were tasked with pressing a button at some time chosen at random. Under this description the actions are perfectly intentional and under the full control and responsibility of the agents. They freely consented to abide by those instructions and to push a button at a randomly chosen time. They also were tasked with indicating the exact time when they "intended" (or is it "decided"?) to press the bottom using a visual indicator to help in assessing this precise instant. But there is no such moment of decision. The decision was just to press the button whenever they felt like it. So, of course, there was an "readiness-potential" registered in the motor cortex some time before the button was pressed because there is a necessary time delay before initiation of action and bodily movement due to the finite speed of neural impulses.

    However, the requirement for the participants to attend to the "time of decision" didn't really make sense since the only relevant time that they are in control of is the time when their controlled bodily movements occur in the world, and this is the time of the button press. There isn't a specific "moment of decision" prior to that anymore than there is a "moment of decision" to pick this or that specific cereal box when you just pick one at random. The only choice that the agent freely makes is to pick one or another (just anyone) cereal box. And likewise, in the Libet case, one just presses the button whenever one feels like it, for no particular reason. Just because her brain gets "ready", in a sense, before she feels sure that "now" is the time when she has "chosen" to do it doesn't entail that it's really her brain that has made the decision for her. The good functioning of her brain merely has enabled her to do what she had freely consented to do, and this was just to press the button at any time.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    The link you mentioned has this interesting idea ""the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty". I am not sure how it impacts the free will / determinism argument.FreeEmotion

    When one holds an agent responsible for her actions it's because for her to have chosen to act in this way (or recklessly let something happen) reflects well of badly on her character. The argument in favor of indeterminism(sic) (I meant to say 'incompatibilism') tends to focus on the fact that if an agent's character is determined by earlier events that aren't under her control, then there wasn't really any possibility for her to have done anything else. She is being moved around by her own character and never ultimately responsible for it. (This is a simplification of the standard argument for incompatibilism).

    The standard argument for compatibilism, on the other hand, is that it doesn't really make sense to portray the character of an agent as something that is somehow external to her rather than its being a constitutive part of her. When she gives expression to her own character though acting, as we say, in character, then she simply is in control, and thereby free. She's doing what she wished to do, given that she is thus inclined. This is also, of course, a gross simplification of the standard argument(s) for compatibilism.

    I think there are elements of truth in both of those arguments. The difficulty, of course, is to resolve the tensions between them and not just pick one and dismiss the other one without due consideration.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    When one holds an agent responsible for her actions it's because for her to have chosen to act in this way (or recklessly let something happen) reflects well of badly on her character. The argument in favor of indeterminism tends to focus on the fact that if an agent's character is determined by earlier events that aren't under her control, then there wasn't really any possibility for her to have done anything else. She is being moved around by her own character and never ultimately responsible for it. (This is a simplification of the standard argument for incompatibilism).

    The standard argument for compatibilism, on the other hand, is that it doesn't really make sense to portray the character of an agent as something that is somehow external to her rather than its being a constitutive part of her. When she gives expression to her own character though acting, as we say, in character, then she simply is in control, and thereby free. She's doing what she wished to do, given that she is thus inclined. This is also, of course, a gross simplification of the standard argument(s) for compatibilism.
    Pierre-Normand

    The problem with that approach is that it seems to completely ignore the ontological issues re causality (in the physics sense).
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    That doesn't help me make sense of your claim that you are feeling responsible for your involuntary bodily motions, whatever their causes might be, just because it's your own body. The concept of strict liabilities was a suggestion meant to help *you* pinpoint the source of your own intuition regarding sneezes. If it doesn't help, then help yourself. I can't do all your thinking for you.Pierre-Normand

    What you need help understanding is that there are no facts re whether something is a (strict) liability or not.
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