• Wallows
    6.2k
    Much of politics and our conception of society is derived from our conception of free will. A judge won't fiddle with someone saying they had no free will and were determined by causal events to act in a certain way. Hence, there is a great deal of individualism professed in politics, particularly on the right of the pendulum.

    But, let's say that determinism is proven true by science and we don't really have anything called a 'free will'. What then?

    In my opinion what happens after this realization is a dramatic shift in treating individual problems as societal problems. The drug addict is no longer viewed as a hedonist or escapist; but, as a set of problems arising due to unaddressed societal issues. In my view, this shift in perception would enable talk about devoting more resources to societal issues such as crime, drug addictions, even murder. Instead of maximizing personal welfare, some people would tend to agree that more resources should be directed at the betterment of society instead of the individual.

    Now, obviously, nothing will persuade the religious segment of society. So, is this utopian pop-fiction or will it only appeal to those on the left of the pendulum?

    Thoughts?
  • unenlightened
    2.9k
    what happens after this realization is a dramatic shift in treating individual problems as societal problems.Posty McPostface

    That's all I require of free will, that when I realise I am going the wrong way, I can turn around; that my actions are determined by my understanding. So if a dramatic shift happens as a result of a change of understanding, that is a scientific demonstration of free will in action, in contradiction of the proof you posit. So it ain't gonna happen.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    So it ain't gonna happen.unenlightened

    Says who? Heh, had to say that.

    Anyway, I personally don't believe in free will. This is just a recent realization of mine. If it can be demonstrated in court that a person had no free will according to science, then what?
  • unenlightened
    2.9k
    If it can be demonstrated in court that a person had no free will according to science, then what?Posty McPostface

    Then the court has no free will either, and nothing will be other than it is determined to be.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Then the court has no free will either, and nothing will be other than it is determined to be.unenlightened

    Then, addressing society we live in that shapes behaviors and actions instead of the individual becomes the focus, no?
  • unenlightened
    2.9k
    Perhaps, I don't know, not having a crystal ball, but I don't see why - there's nothing can be done about society without free will, except what is inevitably done. You can't help being a criminal, and the court can't help condemning you - 'so it goes'.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    In my opinion what happens after this realization is a dramatic shift in treating individual problems as societal problems. The drug addict is no longer viewed as a hedonist or escapist; but, as a set of problems arising due to unaddressed societal issues. In my view, this shift in perception would enable talk about devoting more resources to societal issues such as crime, drug addictions, even murder. Instead of maximizing personal welfare, some people would tend to agree that more resources should be directed at the betterment of society instead of the individual.Posty McPostface

    You don't need any half-assed concept of 'free will' to defend this view. You just need a half decent understanding of how society works. Dan Dennett - who otherwise is mostly insufferable - makes nice use of Dumbo's feather as a parable for why the whole overblown kerfuffle about free-will was never relevant to begin with. Just as Dumbo could always fly without use of his feather, we don't need any 'free will' to start treating societal problems on a social level. And any policy maker who cites 'free will' as a reason for doing so - and not good ol' sociological fact - ought to be hounded out of office for metaphysical idiocy.

    Only Americans think free will has any bearing on social policy issues. Most of the rest of the world who know better than the swallow the mud-pill of American individualism don't need to wrangle over arcane metaphysical debates to understand how to govern properly.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    And any policy maker who cites 'free will' as a reason for doing so - and not good ol' sociological fact - ought to be hounded out of office for metaphysical idiocy.StreetlightX

    They aren't few in the great States. Reagan was one, libertarians another, the zealots that they appeal to are of a very staunch attitude of enshrining our "free will" into law. It's all about freedom for those folks. Freedom in their warped conception though.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    The confusion of freedom with free-will is one of the greatest philosophical tragedies ever staged. It has as much to do with freedom as foreclosure has to do with doors.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Only Americans think free will has any bearing on social policy issues. Most of the rest of the world who know better than the swallow the mud-pill of American individualism don't need to wrangle over arcane metaphysical debates to understand how to govern properly.StreetlightX

    But, it's appealing to other countries too. Other countries have adopted an almost xenophobic anthropo-cultural version of individualism. Liberalism has found its roots in many other countries around the world, not only in America.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    Yeah and it's all shit.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Yeah and it's all shit.StreetlightX

    Yeah, I get that. But, the liberals need some affirmation from science to prod on forward with pragmatic solutions to societies problems rather than fixating on the individual, a la conservatives. Hence, the OP. It would truly be a blessing if science could prove determinism under this view.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    780
    Strange how the law keeps being dragged into this preposterous debate. Is it thought that its existence somehow explains , proves or disapproves something or other? Leave it alone. It will go on functioning as it does whatever you may think.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    They won't get it from science because free will is a conceptual knot. It will be dismantled by conceptual means. Or possibly political ones. And besides, science's job is to prove positive hypotheses; not negative ones, which is impossible in principle (at best it can prove null results).
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    a dramatic shift in treating individual problems as societal problems. The drug addict is no longer viewed as a hedonist or escapist; but, as a set of problems arising due to unaddressed societal issues. In my view, this shift in perception would enable talk about devoting more resources to societal issues such as crime, drug addictions, even murder.Posty McPostface

    Never mind about free will and determinism. The relevant question is: Who controls the money and what do they want to spend it on?

    You know that wealth is maldistributed in the United States. A few people have a lot of wealth. A lot of people have no wealth. Those who have great wealth are by and large uninterested in, and/or are hostile to the problems of poor people, drug addicts, and various other sub groups that have little to contribute to the increasing wealth of the few. "Fuck 'em!" is a nutshell summary.

    Bad housing, low quality schools, minimal social infrastructure, etc. are not accidental. They exist because resources were directed elsewhere. Why don't blacks live in nice houses in nice neighborhoods? Because blacks, as a group, were deprived of opportunities to accumulate equity in housing over the course of two or three generations. When the post-war suburbs were built, they were explicitly built for white people. It isn't the fault of white people who bought houses in the suburbs. It's the fault of white people who designed the federal home loan system.

    Why are there so many drug addicts? Because selling drugs to people is lucrative. Next question, please.

    Why do blacks do so poorly in school? Because their schools are not very good, and because they come from culturally impoverished families and communities.

    Why are so many white men unemployed in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and so forth? Because various economic policies (which benefit rich people) led to de-industrialization, and the rich people didn't give a rat's ass what happened to the displaced people.

    Certainly, individual decisions contribute to individual and social problems, and social problems influence individual decisions.

    Now, obviously, nothing will persuade the religious segment of society. So, is this utopian pop-fiction or will it only appeal to those on the left of the pendulum?Posty McPostface

    Most of the religious people in the country are in the minimal wealth populations. They are the same boat as everybody else.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.